23
  Photo by    Lien Nguyen

Photo by Lien Nguyen

I was reflecting back on the journal entry I wrote on my 22nd birthday. I wrote about how content I was with life. I wrote about how calm life had become and how it all felt nice. It’s funny, because little did I know that only a few days later I would be experiencing the most hectic night of my life. The one that became the spark to really start a new journey on becoming a better person.

I’ve touched on that night briefly and vaguely in the past on Instagram and I’ve (not-so-briefly and not-so-vaguely) told people about it too. I won’t go into too much detail on here because honestly, I feel like it would end up being a whole book. And I’m sure I'll eventually tell the whole story properly but for now, let’s just say it involved me, 2 friends, a group of strangers, a lot of alcohol, some strong drugs, and a night out in East London.

Yes, it was quite the night and I was totally suicidal for like, a week straight after it. (Not kidding.) But also, it may have had something to do with the fact that I was coming down from the drugs. Either way, a lot of shit came up. I strongly considered going back to Perth. I’m so glad I didn’t because no matter how traumatic that night was, it was also one of the best things to happen to me.

The year leading up to that night involved a lot of new experiences for me. I changed a lot in the year I turned 21. I traveled a lot. I drank even more. There were things with boys. All my focus was on getting out of Perth. There was a strong sense of wanting to escape and I did a pretty good job of escaping.

I had a lot of fun, crazy stories to tell almost every week. And I loved it. I craved it. “Do it for the story,” I’d always say. I still look back and think about how fun those times were. But I was experiencing so many highs (not necessarily because of drugs), that along with them would come a lot of lows. And so I’d have to chase the highs back again. I’d have to drink more, stay out even later, find someone, anyone to fill the emptiness, the fear, the loneliness, the insecurity within me.

So, while 21 was the year of recklessness and Fuck its, 22 was the year of growth and change. Of course, every year I grow and change, but 22 was definitely a pinnacle year for me. I’d really lost myself in trying to be a certain way that I had to figure out who I truly was again. It wasn’t easy. It definitely took the whole year. There were still a lot of ups and downs and I for sure fucked up and broke down more than a few times.

As the year went on, I’d notice myself each month getting better and better. I’m not saying I stopped drinking or stopped going out. But my relationship with all these things changed. My mindset changed. I started to notice myself making more responsible and conscious decisions. At 21 I probably would’ve called those decisions boring. Now, I realise, I was making those decisions because I’d reached a stronger sense of self worth.

Every time I’d do something I would’ve normally not done; every time I’d say no to something I would’ve said yes to, I’d feel better about myself. I remember when I’d go out for a drink with Lien and it would literally only be for one or two drinks. I remember when I told her that I didn’t go home with that nice Italian guy whom I met outside of KOKO, where we bonded over meditation. Lien and I would both be shocked at how much I’d changed. “LIEN! I’M GROWING!” I’d excitedly tell her like a child to their teacher.

It was so nice to wake up not hungover. It was so nice to go to work not hungover. It was so nice to wake up in my own bed having remembered what had happened the night before. And these were all little wins for me that made me feel proud of myself.

I feel like I’m making myself sound as if I had a drug, alcohol and sex addiction. Like, I feel like I’ve made myself sound as if it was super intense. Maybe it would’ve seemed extreme for some people, maybe it would’ve seemed like absolutely nothing to others. Either way, this isn’t about comparing what I’ve been through to what anyone else has been through. All I can say is that I’d been through enough. I’d been through enough to want to change.

I can’t exactly predict what the theme for 23 will be for me. All I know is I intend to make it one filled with ease.

I feel at peace. I feel content, magic, joy, and bliss. I feel powerful and magnetic. I’m proud of the woman I am and the woman I continue to grow into. I’m grateful for all the decisions I’ve made so far to get me to the place I’m in now. And I’m grateful for the love. All of it. The love that surrounds me and the love that’s within me.

Winging it.