A year can do a lot for a person. Time can heal in the most incredible ways. If I think back on the last year, I have changed a lot. I feel like a new person and I am so grateful for it. I guess that in life, I start again and assess quite a lot. It just becomes necessary. I lose and gain people. I learn new things which help me to develop. I gain qualities and strengths. With passing time, there will always be changes. I embrace mine.

I think of the challenges that I have faced since adulthood. These have been the years of biggest change and the defining of me as a person. Before that, I was mostly sheltered. I had little realisation of many concepts and emotions. I never had to make any major decisions and realised early on that I lacked free will. My suffering never occurred to me as wrong or an issue.

I would say that as a child, I knew exactly what and who I was. I could reel it off to you so easily and quickly. Now I am unsure. I think though that this is a positive thing. I did not watch television because my mother prevented me from doing so. Now I do not because it bores me easily. I did not eat meat because my sister did not. Now I choose to restrict my diet as and when I want for health, environmental and ethical reasons. Also, I have never been too fond on meat. I would not touch alcohol because I was in fact underage, but more importantly my dad died from liver failure and was an alcoholic. I now am careful and in control when in comes to alcohol, but not closed off. Time changes you and your principles. You can discover new interests.

Sports were never big in my family and I was often pushed to do and excel at wide range of things, with little say as to what I actually enjoyed. My mum would take me to swimming lessons, ballet, piano lessons or tutoring. To her, it was all about getting me into a good secondary school. I ran today. I know that I enjoy it. I gained the opportunity to try new things as an adult. I still swim occasionally, but I am glad that it is no longer about winning. I learnt clarinet and taught myself guitar. I do love the piano, but I feel a calling in music. I like variety and being able to improvise on different instruments. Instead of being forced into learning French as my mother wanted, I chose Latin then Italian and now Swedish. I become easily disheartened by a difficult language, but I also envy those who can speak many so I too am on a mission.

I would say that in my life God always had a place. My mum was raised a Christian and my dad died when I was so young that it seemed natural to speak to me about heaven. I went to two fairly Christian schools and I knew all the stories and explanations. I hardly knew the alternatives. I knew that other religions seemed stricter than Christianity so was grateful for mine and felt I needed that guidance. Until recently, the frequency at which I prayed or attended church never affected the idea that I identified as a Christian. I simply was not atheist, because I believed in a God. I am now fairly sure that I am agnostic.

I look back on my messy life and I see that there have been ups and downs. I have done right and wrong. My sins are numerous. I tried to become a devoted Christian. It did not last long. Before that, I had been abused and assaulted. I resorted to drugs and over sexualised myself in attempt to hide the damage. I was on a downward spiral. I used to scream and yell out all the time. I could not understand what I was going through or what was happening to me. I just could not find happiness. I wanted to hurt myself, physically because it was better than the emotional pain from others. I did not want attachment. I treated people really badly. I became aware of my mistakes and it was slightly shocking to me.

In an overcompensation, I found myself in a church. I think I needed it. I have no regrets now. I healed. I took some time out. I had a really simple explanation, although it was still a lie, for why I would not be having sex with anyone. It was a great disguise for me. It gave me a chance to be positive and receive a lot of love for the first time in my life. It hurt a lot. My scars were healing and none of it was easy. I learnt acceptance. I gave up some of my attitudes and negatives. I gained peace. I stopped screaming, yelling, throwing things and resorting to extremes. It did not take long for me to get stuck in and feel back on track and onto a better place in my life.

I was comfortable. I did not want to leave. However, I have learnt the danger of comfort zones. I had to take a leap of a different kind of faith and push myself to live abroad and away from places and people that I knew. I sensed that it would change me. I was, after all, going to the most atheist country in the world. It was incredibly hard for me to go, but actually it was very hard for me to come back. What that has shown me is that I changed, my situation changed and I was growing.

Perhaps I grew away from Christianity or towards something else. I do not know. I am still figuring it out. On my own, I found strength amongst other things. When asked what I believe in now, my only answer is me. I can depend on me and believe in me. I know myself so well and I do not know why I have not believed in myself before, but it is so important. I am becoming so powerful. There was a lot of damage there. I think that I needed to work it out in a way that did not involve another person and I turned to God. Now I am once again not allowing a dependency upon another, but rather on me.

I might be giving up too easily. I may change too often. I do not know what is worse though; changing too much or never changing. I think that is brave and inspiring to start again. If something is not working, why not be courageous and find something new. For me, the travelling was important and a massive part of this process, which is ongoing.


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