We’re a week into the New Year and what amazing things have I been up too? Nothing.

I spent New Year’s Eve saying goodbye to my sister as she left Aberystwyth, drinking made-up cocktails involving vodka and rum and watching all the crappy New Year’s Eve TV. I was planning on drinking away the sorrows of 2015 but I couldn’t seem to drink enough of my unnamed cocktails to not remember 2015.

New Year’s Day, I woke up with no signs of a hangover. No signs that I had partied the night away. No signs that I had tried to drown away all my sorrows.

Resolutions are a thing many make and almost everybody breaks. In 2015, I think I broke every single one of my resolutions. Which is why this year, I don’t have any. Instead, I have words for the year ahead. Someone I follow on social media hasn’t made resolutions in the past few years and instead has words or phrases for the year ahead. She’s found that these are more positive, more encouraging…there’s nothing you have to actively do, it’s more the way you live your life.

So, with that in mind my words for 2016 are free and able.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

Let me explain these. This blog is sort of for you the reader but also for me to solidify these words. I made a YouTube video on it but I didn’t go into much detail.

Free

 “Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

Finally being free is a really important thing to me. I have felt chained down for far too long. Locked in a small, dark room with the deepest depths of my past keeping me back. I’ve been chained by being a care leaver, my dead parent, my mental health, my degree…those things have defined me for so long. I am not me.

But you see, I’ve also worn a mask. Many masks. Masks that have grown and changed over the years. The drama mask, the music mask, the sister mask, the motherly mask, the Christian mask… I’ve been wearing masks for so long that I no longer know who the real me is. And that sucks. The Boorstin quote “Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be” is so true for this year. I want to be me. Whoever me is.

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.” – Jim Morrison

I am a sister. I am a Christian. I am a performer. I am a blogger. I am a vlogger. I am sad. I am tired. But this year, I am free. 2016 is a year of change; everyone around me feels the same. There is going to be a massive shift and part of that personal shift is to get rid of these chains, to get rid of these masks. To find out who I am, what I am. My role, my purpose.

“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” – Nelson Mandela

It won’t be easy. Nothing in this life is easy and casting off these chains can’t be done overnight and I can’t do it alone. To be free, it will be painful. To be free, it will hurt. To be free, will bring peace.

As Mandela says, on the journey to be free ‘many will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.’ First stop on my journey to being free? Graduation. I have a point to prove, a score to settle. So I will graduate and I will get a degree and I will tell the world that kids in care can do stuff.

Able

 “Every day is a new day, and you’ll never be able to find happiness if you don’t move on.” – Carrie Underwood

 As I said in my YouTube video, I’ve never felt able to do anything. Never felt good enough, I’ve been unconfident, too anxious. I’ve been mediocre. I’ve never chased adventure…but 2016 is going to be different.

As the beautiful Carrie Underwood said, “you’ll never be able to find happiness if you don’t move on”. And I think I’ve finally realised something. I have been living to please other people, I have taken safe routes because other people told me I wouldn’t get anywhere. I’ve not been adventurous because I was told no. I’ve never been that good at the whole ‘moving on’ thing. Ask any of my friends and they would tell you that I can hold a grudge. As I said in the free section, I want to move on from the chains of my past and I need to be able to do that.

And I am able enough.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt

 In 2015, I grew a lot as a person. I tackled my anxiety disorder, I overcome personal barriers, I changed for the positive. And in 2016 I want those things to continue to grow. I have a faced a lot in my life, a lot of negative energies have been thrown at me and it is time to move on. It is time for me to put myself first and not the people who said I couldn’t do it.

Changes are afoot in 2016. God has a massive plan for me and am I going to say yes to the adventure? Yes I am. I am applying for jobs, I am looking at visas, I am looking at apartments. I am getting ready for the next step, ready to listen to God and trust in Him. Because I am able enough to do His will. I am able enough to go where He wants me. I am able enough to say yes.

I am able and free enough to pack up, leave the United Kingdom and move across the Atlantic to the United States.

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” – Joseph Campbell

 So. Where do I go from here? Well, I will continue to muddle my way through the remaining months of my degree. I will work my butt off to graduate and I will walk across that stage with so much pride no one will recognise me. And I am saying yes to the adventure. Many of my friends and family think I’m crazy but I’ve been praying and others have been praying…but the answer is the same. I’m going. Whether we like it or not. I think the next quote sums up 2015 perfectly;

“This past year has been something else… it’s opened my eyes to many things and many people. It’s had its ups and downs and ins and outs. And I believe we’ve all been able to take something from that and grow in our own in-particular ways. We’ve overcome obstacles, and set in motion opportunities that can change our own individual lives.” – Kyle Schmid

 Here’s to 2016 and the adventures it brings.

 

 

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