I spent most of my teenage years in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship that broke me – or so I thought. In hindsight it made me stronger. I put myself back together again and created someone who I am proud to call me.
Although I’m not broken, the relationship left its scars that sometimes feel so visible that I want to hide away from the world because they’re a constant reminder of what once was. More recently I’m learning to embrace them. They’re marks on a map of the places I have been, although those places were hard, I survived them.
My mental scars surfaced themselves as PTSD, Anxiety, OCD and Depression. I used to be angry that the relationship triggered these mental health problems, but after spending time with my brilliant counsellor I’ve learnt that in my case they’re strategies that my brain put in place to keep me safe. They used to control me but now I am starting to control them.
I built a life for myself out of stories. I put up walls made out of books and called it home. Slowly, I started to let people inside. These people helped me take down the walls of books and instead placed them down as stepping stones that led to friendships and opportunities.
I am a woman, who as a girl, was made to feel that she wasn’t worthwhile, that she didn’t have anything important to say, but I’ve learned that that isn’t true.
I am on a journey in reclaiming myself. I’m taking back the reins of my life, that first my ex had a hold of, then my mental health. I’m finally placing them back into the rightful hands. I’m learning what I want from life, what I believe in and who I want to surround myself with. I’m learning that it’s okay to mess up because that’s how we learn what is important to us. I’m learning that sometimes you have to find out what you don’t want from life first.
I started Safe Space because I have a voice and it’s about time I used it without fear. I’m not perfect, and I’m bound to mess up and get things wrong, but I’m tired of letting my fear of imperfection hold me back. I feel strong enough now to reach out to the world and share my experiences of life so far in the hope that I might help a girl or young woman who has been through similar situations as me. I want to be that representative that I never had when I was sixteen years old. There are so many stories and voices that I don’t feel are represented enough in society so I decided to create a safe environment where these stories can be heard.
I am a combination of my highs and my lows, my mistakes and my successes, my qualities and my flaws, the people who left and the people who remain. Those are the things that make me, me.