For a lot of my life, I have been very ahead for my years. By no means was this academically, but in the way that I deal with life and how I approach difficult situations. I am very mature, purely because I have had to be. So many people cannot believe how old I am when I tell them, which I’m assuming is just because of the way I act. Obviously, this is not a bad thing at all, but sometimes I can find it quite challenging. Actually, let me correct that… I used to find it quite challenging. I wanted to talk about this because it could sometimes be a slight problem when I was going through my teenage years, and I know I am not alone at all in feeling like this. I am 19, so to a lot of people I am such a ‘baby’ as they say, although most of the time I feel like I am way into my 20’s, if not heading for my 30’s. This has had its drawbacks over the years, as age really does matter in the world we live in and with age comes life experience.
“Everyone is thrown different obstacles to deal with in life. I have had my fair share, and they have made me the person I am today. I wouldn’t change this as it has made me able to deal with everything in the right way and really understand who I am regardless of what society says I should be.”
For me, this is one of the reasons that I am very mature, as I have had experiences that have actually forced me to grow up and I have just frankly had to deal with them. In the UK this is something that is happening more and more, although apparently not to a lot of people I know personally. I have had to deal with crap, and have spent a long time throwing my hands up and questioning why me? In a way, I think this post is going to be much more personal than I had anticipated,
but it is just really something that I wanted to put into words. I want my readers to really understand me and get why I do things in a certain way, as well as it being somewhere I can look back and reflect on everything that has happened. A lot of people still share comments on where I am in my life, how I am able to do the things I do and constantly asking how I am able lead the life I do just because of my age. This is me opening up and sharing to my readers why I am the way I am, and probably explaining quite a lot.
The Typical ‘Broken Home’ Story
This is by no means a secret, although has always been something that I have kept pretty quiet about on the blog. It isn’t the only reason that I am the way I am, but it is without a doubt the biggest factor as to why. I would never go in to full detail about what happened to me when I was younger, as it is ultimately all in the past and wont help me or you in understanding the story. Ultimately, my parents got divorced… it was pretty nasty, and my brother and I landed up moving quite a lot due to both our parents meeting new partners and getting married again. For lots of different reasons, I landed up in the end living with my grandparents by myself, as I wanted to remove myself from the situation. This was seven years ago now, so I really was very young, only 12. Even though I was very young, I already felt very different and felt like I was old enough to make that decision as I knew it was right for me. Looking back, I am forever grateful to myself for the way this turned out, and I know how strong it has made me. Independence is naturally followed by maturity, so for me it was always meant to be. I think when people do come from ‘broken homes’ it has an effect on them for the rest of their lives, with a lot of people not actually realising. Even now, I know that I still get a slight lump in my throat when my friends talk about their mums and dads, when it comes to looking back on memories, or even the effect it has had on my own outlook towards relationships. However, because this has made me a lot more grown up, I can handle these situations so easily when they come up and to be honest don’t really ever give them a second thought. I know the impact this has had on me, but it has made me see things differently to a lot of people my age and has taught me how to deal with things easily.
Change in Schools
Up until my parents separated, my schooling had been pretty steady. I went all through nursery school, then primary school until just before the last year, staying in the same place and being settled. When the whole divorce happened, both my parent’s then moved, so obviously I moved as well. I landed up going to another primary school for just a few months, before then finishing my primary education in another school. I then changed to secondary school, as did everyone else, and did my first year there. When I moved in with my grandparents, this was when I made the move to Bristol, so I then changed school again. Luckily this was the last time. When I look back and think about this, I can very much see the positive and negative effects of it. It has made me incredibly resilient in social situations and I definitely find it quite easy to make new friends and interact with everybody. However, at the time it was horrendous. Children crave stability and routine, so changing such a huge part of their lives is such a big deal. Obviously, the after effects haven’t been awful, but I do know that it would have been so much nicer not to have gone through all of that. It is without a doubt a huge contributing factor to me feeling so grown up.
When I moved in with my grandparents I instantly felt happy and at home. Their stability and support helped me so much to heal and to move forward. Even though I was able to go back to a sort of ‘child’ routine, because of their age it meant that I was treated in a much more grown up way. They naturally brought me up to be independent and mature, even though I knew I could rely on them all the time. To be honest, this is still the case now. If I have a problem, I am on the phone to them within 30 seconds. I love that though, I am able to enjoy my independence and being grown up, but still feel like I have a huge support system behind me. In turn, I think this actually makes it easier for me to act the way I feel, as they never make me feel like my age needs to hold me back. They encourage me to do the things I want to do and respect the fact that I am very ahead for my years. Probably because they know that it is partly down to the way they looked after me. I was always made to feel like one of the ‘grown ups’ and they involved me in everything.
In a strange way, when I look back onto my teenage years I realise how it actually helped me to grow up massively and challenged me constantly. The time I noticed feeling ahead for my years the most was without a doubt when I was going through school. It sometimes made it quite difficult to become close to friends and to engage in conversations. I didn’t find teenage jokes funny, I didn’t really enjoy doing the same things as everybody else and just felt a little bit different. A big problem now, that I found massively, was teachers seemed to forget that every child really is different. So often I felt talked down to and patronised, when I wasn’t actually doing anything. In a way, I think if teenagers were treated much more like adults, then the majority would start to act like them. As I did hate the way I was often treated, it made it quite hard and sometimes it made me quite unhappy. It really is something that needs to be looked at in our education system. By the time it came to my last year in sixth form I think my teachers were getting very excited to not have to deal with me anymore! Not in a horrible way, but I basically only ever did what I thought was right for me and challenged everything they wanted me to do.
If you haven’t read it already, In May I posted all about my heart problem, as I thought it was about time I shared something quite big that is going on in my life. To read the whole story you can click the link here. To be brief, three years ago I found out that I was born with a heart problem which basically means it is half functioning. This is obviously something that has to be fixed, so in a few months’ time I am going to be having heart surgery. Three years ago I was 16, about to start my GCSE exams and slowly starting to recover fully from everything that had happened before. You can probably imagine the feeling when I found out about this… best to say I was pretty pi**ed off. I have lived with this for three years now, and it is definitely made me grow up that little bit more again. I have had to be careful with my health, trying to stick to a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not drinking excessively and never going near drugs or smoking. This is a lifestyle that most people don’t pay attention to until they are out of university and into their 20’s, but I physically have had to do it now. I promise I am not boring, I just can’t keep up with all the other 19 year olds out partying every weekend and eating pizza every night of the week.
An Innate Drive to Succeed
All these factors have contributed massively to the way I am, although I am pretty sure a significant part of it is my personality. I seem to have a very innate drive to do well in life and succeed. I am extremely determined and always strive to be the best I can. Something my grandma always likes to remind me of is a comment one of my teachers made at a parents evening when I was only in my second year of primary school. She said “In all my years of teachers, I have never met such an unbelievably determined little girl”. If I’m being honest, I can completely believe that this was probably true. I can’t remember at all what I was like back then, but from the way I am now, it would make a lot of sense. Here’s hoping that my children don’t inherit this trait… otherwise I am going to have a tough time ahead!
The main point I am trying to get across by sharing this with you, is that not only is it okay to often feel ahead or challenged by the way you are treated, but also that there is always so much more to the story. Even though I do have something in me that determines the way I am, I know that the majority of it is down to what I have experienced, which is something that I could never change or takeaway. It is so important to think about this before passing judgement about somebody based on how they come across on social media or the way in which they talk to you. What I show you is only ever a mere half an hour from my day.
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Photography by Abi Galatia
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