Dear Ashleigh; This Is Your Life
You're 16 and you're about to leave school without a clue what you want to do in life. You will grudgingly submit your sixth form choices in a week's time and within six months, you're going to hate your life. You're going to hate the people you used to hang around with. They've changed and you will need to face facts that your friendship is dead. Don't try and make it work any longer. You're going to hate your psychology lessons and fail your assessments. However, you will bloomin' love your photography lessons.
October 2009, you will look at who is in your life and following on from talking to that gorgeous boy for two whole years, it will be time to take control of your friendship but 'more-than-friendship-kinda-friendship' and tell him to meet you. It will seem scary but trust me as I write these words looking back on your life; it will be worth it.
You will still be 16 when you fall in love for the first time and currently (as a 22 year old); the only time. You will get butterflies, smiles and be an all round happy person. He will understand you, grow with you and make you a better person. 'T' will be your first love, you're his and nothing will ever change that. You will also now officially quit sixth form and find happiness in knowing you're no longer studying subjects to please your parents. Your college application to study BTEC Photography is now in the hands of the important people, so sit back and get ready for your acceptance letter. Be patient.
30th September 2010 will be the day that you will have been at college studying Photography for a whole month. It will be alright and you will make friends but not necessarily friends that will stick around forever. The same day is the night you start your first shift at work. This will be your job for the next three years; working in a cinema. The pay is shit, the people are morons but it's your income. It will be tempting to pack it all in but don't. Keep at it.
June 2011, you will discover your first blog. What is this? An online diary? A website? People comment on stuff you write?! This will amaze you and within a month, you start up your own blog. Ironically, it's the blog your twenty-two year old self is currently writing this on. So, keep at it. It will seem like everything is moving pretty slowly but give yourself six months and you will have done well.
Let's forward in time a little...
It's now March 2012. Your relationship is about to come crashing down and it will be unfixable. Your heart is going to break into a million tiny pieces and it won't patch itself back up for a very long time. You will feel alone, broken and like you're the only person in the world who is unhappy. It will seem like there is no point in life anymore or that there is any light at the end of the tunnel. However, you will spend quality time with your family and in return become closer and more attached to them. He doesn't care. It's time to move on; for good. You are in the midst of applying for Universities, although you was certain two years ago that you would never go.
November 2013 and you're now a year and a bit into your University course. Naturally, you will choose to study a degree in Photography; studying locally at The University of East London. You are getting to know a whole bunch of new people in your class. Again, no one will be a lasting friendship. One word of advice: don't trust anyone. You will be tempted to leave about 101 times, but don't. Stick at it.
You will also begin speaking to a new boy that you work with. Things will develop between you and by mid November, you begin a new relationship. You will be with him for eleven months but, he isn't the one for you. You are like chalk and cheese and his friends don't like you but through no fault of your own. They are extroverts, you are an introvert; so naturally they think you're boring, quiet and probably a little snobbish. They will make your life hell; dirty looks, bitchy text messages, insulting notes left in your belongings. Prepare for this by keeping your head high. Oh, and dump that boy. He doesn't give a shit about your feelings. He will emotionally abuse you over time and do things to purposely make you feel worthless. He is ruled by his friends and will never change. Oh, and there's someone you will have suspicions about in this relationship. Your suspicions stand corrected - you wasn't going crazy.
Moving on into Spring 2014 and thank goodness you kissed
(not literally) goodbye to that guy. Doesn't it feel good?
You're now in the run up to the last couple of months before graduation. Things are going to get hectic and you will feel like you're a failure. People (your peers) have kicked you down for the last couple of months and it's time to throw your hands into the air and show them who you are. You will kick arse at your graduation show. The stress you will go through will seem pointless at the time but it will be worth it by the time you've officially graduated and you are on that plane to New York in May 2014.
June 2014. Sooooo, now it's that period of time where you don't really know what the heck you're doing. So, you will begin to make a name for yourself. You will start shooting professionally for model agencies and collaborating with other creatives on photo-shoots. Your contact list will start growing and people you once looked up to will start looking up to you and coming to you for advice. Beware of this.
By the time August 2014 swings around, an amazing opportunity will land in your inbox. An internship in your dream career. You will put your all into it; even giving up your part time job for it. However, it's not all that it seems so you will now fully understand the hierarchy about internships.
(If something sounds too good to be true; it probably is...)
You will find another couple of jobs but nothing that inspires you or makes you happy. You will feel like you're doing stuff to make other people happy, but think about you for a change. What makes you happy? Well, your blog does. After being left in a rut of unemployment, you will now make the decision to start blogging and photographing full time. It's a huge risk to change your hobby into a career but it will slowly get there before you know it. Keep working hard and you will succeed.
Yours from me to me,
So readers, this is MY life. I've never made lasting friendships, I've had my heart broken, graduated with a degree, quit jobs for my dream and turned blogging into my career. I think I have done pretty well despite the ups and downs and knock backs I have had. There's still loads of room to improve though so I hope you stick around for the journey. Who knows; I may do another one of these when I hit 30?!