I wrote this when I really wasn’t very well, about 5 and a half weeks ago. Reading it back is pretty tough but as always, it’s good to get perspective.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this was not really what I was wanting to write.
I had this idea about 2 weeks ago about what my life would be like in 2 weeks time. A little bit like when you’re 6 years old and people ask, ‘what do you want to be?’.
If I’m honest, I wanted to be famous. I think everyone at one point does – or remembered at least. However, fame comes with a cost – privacy or lack of in reality. This is what can be slightly difficult about being so open on Stop The World sometimes – I bare all – which invites unwanted opinions.
When I first started teaching in 2014, I asked my Year 10 class to write me a letter of what they wanted to do or be when they ‘grew up’.
A couple stood out to me; Nikita wrote that she wanted to be a YouTuber. I didn’t know you could be a YouTuber back then – little did I know.
Another wanted to be a hairdresser. One wanted to be an actress. Others had no clue – which I think is fair to be honest given that I’m still not really sure at the tender age of 26 of what I want to be either.
Some since have become Mum’s to beautiful children. I imagine some have lost friends, family and dare I say – children of their own too.
Some are at university. Some are just holidaying with their friends – living their best 18/19 year old lives. Some are engaged, some have become artists, and social media influencers.
One thing that stood out to me back then was how sure of themselves they were. I couldn’t believe how confident they were for 14 and 15 year olds.
At 14, I had my first proper boyfriend, I had acne, I’d never had a solo detention but had witnessed my French teacher being locked in a cupboard (sorry Miss Shaw). I watched my best friend go progressively more orange from the use of St Tropez or the B&M equivalent. I had rumours started and squashed about me. I had chosen my options, started my GCSE’s and didn’t really know what I wanted to be – other than a teacher.
Turns out teaching is hard. A girl called Lauryn, who always looked so much older than her years, once rolled her eyes so far back at me – I genuinely wasn’t sure they would come back around. We were having a heated discussion after telling her off in class and her argument was ‘you chose to be a teacher, but I didn’t have a choice but to go to school.‘ Dare I say it, she was right.
Everyone has a choice. However, due to different circumstances, beliefs or even genetics – we don’t always get the choices we deserve. Don’t get me wrong, I do think kids should have to go to school regardless but there’s lots to be desired in our education policies which limit kids choices.
Back to me – I never chose to get depression, anxiety and I certainly didn’t choose the latest weird set of events that led me to have an episode of psychosis. What I would give to not see the things my head came up with. What I’d give to have a different set of choices over those few weeks where my life was slipping from under me.
I used to think going to university was one of the best choices I ever made. When I look back, reminisce and reflect, I got to make a load of choices there. Since, choices have been more restricted by finances, relationships, geography and well – life.
When I was really struggling to sleep 5 weeks ago, I kept watching the Greatest Showman. If you ever want a little injection of hope, just watch it. There is so many great moments that I love, but this is one that people tend to forget:
‘When you’re careless with other people, you bring ruin upon yourself’ – Jenny Lind, The Greatest Showman.
I’m not trying to pretend I’m Jenny Lind or PT Barnam. I’m Lauren, and I have my own story to tell and my own choices to make. I try not not to live my life in ‘what ifs‘, but every skeptic will give you an ‘I told you so’ to every choice you make whether it be good or bad. Just look at Theresa May!
I didn’t choose to get depression, anxiety etc but when I’m in recovery, I can start to form my new choices again. I start again. I rebuild and I have to embrace that I am not my label, I am me.
Therefore, I pledge my unconditional support to the young people of this world to make whatever choices they’re given. A choice is a chance, and sometimes, a chance is all you need. That’s the kind of showman I’d like to be. This is me.
Positive of the day: I get to see my two best friends from school tonight and I can’t wait to squeeze them silly!