Nov 19, 2016


This is something I battled quite strongly with, especially for the last couple of years. From a 'looking good on paper' point of view my life has not been 'perfect' but I mean whose has.
I really don't care at all what my life looks like on paper, or to an outsider, I never have (maybe that was my problem?!)  I have always thought of myself as this artistic, bohemian type that doesn't care about money or possessions and have always found it important to follow my heart.

But then at the beginning of the year I started to really think about some of my life choices over the years. I would find myself having full on anxiety attacks, not about the future, but about things that had happened in my past. I began to question why the hell I had done those things and was so angry with myself for putting myself in stupid situations, allowing people to really hurt me, spending time and energy on people who didn't deserve it. I never wanted to be one of those people who made decisions based on money, to me money was the root of all evil but like it or not you actually really need it. It's taken me this long to realise, money isn't evil and you can use it to the advantage and have a really great life without selling your soul.

Throughout my life I have been carefree and reckless and although I've always had good intentions, I made some pretty fucking stupid decisions in my time.

From having no respect for my body as a teenager, the amount of alcohol I would deliberately consume to get blind drunk just for the sake of having fun began to really frighten me, I was so annoyed at myself as an adult for doing that when I was younger.

Does anyone look back on stuff over a decade ago and think, what the hell were we thinking?! I mean the stupid drinking games, the all night raves in London and Milton Keynes, the unsafe driving situations, I'm pretty sure I have been known to travel to nightclubs in the boot of someones car because I was always the smallest, at the age of 16 and not think twice about it.  It's shit like that that gives me palpitations as an adult now! When I think about my friends and I and the crazy stuff we'd do..... All of which is far too inappropriate to publish here, it makes me cringe, it makes me want to go back in time and say 'Don't go to slinky (A nightclub) wearing only a bikini' real clothing is a better option. Say no to drugs, study harder....Don't go to pubs where everyone smokes inside, it's bad for your lungs. (Can you believe smoking inside was ever actually a thing?!)

I can look back now and say Dreadlocks and nose rings weren't that attractive Hayley. I could advise myself that buying a patchwork coat at Camden market wasn't as beautiful as I thought it was....But then we wouldn't have  hilarious pictures to look back on and I guess that would be a shame.

The fact I spent six years in an abusive relationship that made me miserable, frightened and completely helpless every day, blows my mind. I wish I could go back in time and slap myself in the face. I wish I had had the strength to leave every time he belittled me, cheated on me and scared me into staying with him.

From letting him completely control me and completely ruin my finances, credit history and relationships with people I cared about.

I'd began to think about a life where I had gone to University to do an art degree, I'd think, what if I'd saved more money and gone travelling properly, instead of leaving England with next to nothing and being starving half the time and working in absolute horrific jobs in Cairns whilst other travellers lived it up in luxury hostels and planned amazing adventures.

I would be angry with myself and all of a sudden it became clear that all of the 'stuff' that had happened to me that I didn't like was a direct result of my lack of self respect and stupidity.

But the thing is, I can't change any of that. It's my story whether I like it or not and all I can do is learn from it and remember that despite some stupid decisions and some bad memories, there are hundreds of good ones, there's lots of great memories, with friends and family, I've been to amazing places, I've travelled the world and I'm lucky enough to have found my passion in life.

 Maybe all of the bad times were just giving me the strength to prepare me for my biggest battle yet. The cancer.
Maybe all those years of disrespect for myself wasn't actually disrespect it was just being young and naiive.

So I realised to stop the panic attacks I needed to be at peace with myself and my past.

Instead of thinking 'I can't believe I got that wasted when I was 16 years old, that is so dangerous, imagine what could have happened...' I'd treasure the memories of that crazy night, the bonds I made with the people at that time. Because those are the people that even though I live in Australia, I still talk to all the time and I know if I went back to England everything would pick up where we left off and we'd always have that bond.

Instead of wishing I'd never even met my ex, I have to think of the two beautiful children I have from that relationship. They're the ones who are with me everyday, who saved my life, who made me get my shit together, be a great mum and make me love myself again. I had to turn everything around for them and for me.

Because of the time I spent miserable in my early twenties, I realise how important everyday is. I make sensible decisions based on what will make me and my family happy, I look at the short term and the long run. I demand respect now, because I have so much respect for myself. When you demand respect you attract the right people into your life and you build a tribe of like minded people that enrich your life.

I'm grateful for everything I have learnt because I'm still young and I still have all these incredible opportunities ahead of me and I appreciate things so much more now.

I know now that everyone has made mistakes, you have to, to be truly happy you have to learn these life lessons, which is why everyone's always banging on about not having regrets.

Of course when you look back at things in hindsight, as an adult you can easily point out what you did wrong, but at 16 you don't have that knowledge or life experience, you won't get the experience without making the mistake......And that's okay.

I'm thankful for those mistakes because I know I will never be that person again, I'm only the person I am today, that I actually love, that is actually happy, because of my past and like I said for every stupid mistake, for every bad decision, there is a life lesson, and there's way more good memories and bonds with amazing people than there is of bad ones.

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