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Blog post 6

Howdy! G’day to you all. And a very happy new year too. 😊

I can’t believe just how quickly the year has passed already. So many incredible things have happened to me in the last year, and as a result, I finally feel myself becoming the person I have always dreamt of being. 2018 brought a hurricane of challenges that I had never even considered would occur, let alone have the time to prepare for and face, but regardless of everything that life had thrown at me (And believe me, it was a LOT) I remained the fierce, willing, and loving individual that I always have been, and will always strive to be.

Nonetheless, my journey of self-discovery is far from over. I still have a long way to go, and so many more challenges that I feel I need to face and experience at least once. But as I reflect on the prior year and those before it, the fact that I still remain with a beating heart despite all of the hardships I have faced throughout my life is an achievement all on its own.

It seems like only yesterday I sat slumped in the exact same position on my bed, except with my head slouched sullenly, an oversized cup of tea grasped tightly within my hands, and the dreaded fear of the unknown perched happily upon my shoulders. I can quite easily say as I look back, that the New Year was something I just so happened to dread even more so then Christmas, and It was certainly the time I began to doubt myself like never before. Had I achieved enough this year? Had I made ANY progress whatsoever? These are the questions that continued to dominate the inner crust of my mind come every new year, which made manoeuvring from one year to the next much more challenging then it should have been.

While my family sat downstairs counting down the seconds to the new year, reminiscing on memories with the companionship of alcohol, and just simply reflecting on the previous 12 months as a whole, I remained curled up tightly into a big burrito of insecurity and mascara stains in my warm toasty bed, trying effortlessly to block out the sound of Tom Jones and fireworks emitting from my neighbourhood estate. There was simply no way I could celebrate when I felt I had achieved nothing, when I felt that I was wasting oxygen while others got to live out their dreams. I spent so much time sat at home away from the world while other people my age were out experiencing it. I guess I just couldn’t see the point.. almost as if I didn’t deserve to see.

Every year leading up to now I would make the same three resolutions. 1. Get out more, 2. Show my artwork to the world, and 3. Maybe loose a little bit of weight in the process. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Isolating myself in the comfort of my home with several bags of crisps at my side was pretty much the norm for me at this point, and as expected, it didn’t take long for my anxiety to worsen, and my waist-line to widen. Ohoh yes, I wascertainlybecoming the person I always dreamed of being.. haha.

Anyway, to get to the point, 2018 was the year I finally realised that enough was enough (despite realising a little later on into the year.. but oh well! Better late then never.) I grew tired of abiding by the same depressing routine. And jeez, merely looking at a picture of myself from my early adolescent period was enough to make me scoff in disgust at how slim I once was. It would be nice to see my feet again after all… I wonder how they are doing?

And so, I can safely say with my departure from school a success, and with not one, not two, but THREE jobs in the bag, 2018 had certainly been kind to me, and will always be known as the year my life took a turn for the better of things. The fact that I am now able to walk freely amongst society without the constant fear of something drastic happening, and communicate with strangers on a daily basis without endless amounts of stuttering and general awkwardness still astounds me to this day. It’s quite easily one of the biggest achievements I have ever made in my life. I remember the shy awkward little person I once was, and how all I could do was mumble in response to a compliment or conversation starter from someone I did not know.

I’ve started showing off my art to more people and taking pride in the response I get, I can finally say I am free from a 5-year battle with self-harm for good, I’m taking cautious measures to improve my weight and overall appearance through portion control and exercise, I faced my intense fear of needles and finally got my first tattoo! I am working harder then I have ever worked before and I have so much faith in my ability. I never thought I would ever be where I am today.

A slightly shorter post then usual, and for that I apologise, but I felt it was important for me to share my frequent experiences going into the new year as a previously doubtful autistic individual. Anything is possible for me going forward, and I simply cannot wait.

If I can do it, you certainly can.

Love and hugs, Shannon. 😊

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