So I have had a lot to be proud of and celebrate recently, a promotion, an amazing qualification result (full marks, full bloody marks) smashing my half marathon training targets and bossing it at my own self taught DIY skills. Life is really pretty damn good. I’ve recently overcome a difficult phase with little P too and she’s a much more happy, settled little superstar again. All these as we come out of a global pandemic, as a single mum solo parenting 24/7. Now usually I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but I’m bloody on fire right now aren’t I?

So I’m was sat last night basking in the glory of my success and enjoying a little celebratory drink at the end of my very short working week-Tuesday is the new Friday when you work part time and your school closes for Eid with disaggregated training days! Life feels good and I’m totally riding on the high. As I was sat I thought of Poppa M and how proud he’d be, I work in the school he worked at 10years prior to me, I know some of his ex-colleagues and it’s a great comfort now he’s not around. He always wanted me to become a teacher and for long enough I rebelled against him, but deep down he was right, he wanted it for me because he knew I’d be good and because he knew I’d enjoy it, no other reason. Ironically I think I’m actually better than he was and I enjoy it more, I seem to manage the stress better and have pushed and challenged myself to progress further. He’d have loved it and I can hear his voice telling me he’s proud. Then I woke up this morning and suddenly realised something else.

Today’s my anniversary to myself. I forgot, I guess it’s not as significant as it was in the earlier years of walking away. It’s been 3 years, I only realised when I looked at my TimeHop memories in bed after little P came in to tell me it was morning! Wow 3 years and I’d even forgotten it was today.

3 years ago I sat with only a handful of nappies and change of clothes for 8 month old baby P, on my mum’s couch having had the police finally leave. Frightened, shocked but very brave. Back then I’d have never thought I’d have come as far as I have. Never. I thought I’d have to have sacrificed things to cope on my own as a single mum but actually I’ve achieved more than I ever contemplated doing ever.

Now this post isn’t really about what I went through. It’s gone now, yes I look back sometimes, of course I do, who doesn’t, sometimes you do need to remind yourself of where you’ve come from. It’s also not about what I’ve learnt. It’s more about overcoming adversity and self promotion. You see we’ve all just overcome adversity and still are as we come out of the pandemic. We’ve all faced some difficult challenges over the last year, some more than others and I guess what I’m saying is just remember it’s not forever and that if you push through you will get to where you want to be. The picture might not be the same as you ever really envisaged. I didn’t want to be a single mum, I didn’t want to do it alone but I’m bloody loving doing it. Yes my life is not perfect, far from it and there’s lots to still work on and things I want to improve and change but isn’t there always? The fact is, overcoming a difficulty or several has made me stronger and happier and that’s what’s made me successful, not the job, qualification, parenting wins or marathon running…it’s the ability to find the courage and strength to take on these things regardless of what the outcome might be.

Like I said, 3 years ago I couldn’t have contemplated these things, now I’m celebrating them as achievements. So what I’m saying is I’m living proof (just like many other people are) that when things seem bleak and like it won’t get better, when it’s tedious, frustrating, frightening and at it’s hardest, it will change and improve if you muster up the strength to keep going. It just might take some time, some resilience and good old blood, sweat and tears (yes people went through hell with me as I tried to get that word count down).

As well as overcoming the adversity though, don’t be afraid of self promotion. I’ve worked bloody hard in lots of areas of my life these last 3 years, really hard and I still am. I’ve said it before you have to keep on working on yourself because it’s when you stop that things spiral out of control. But you must celebrate the wins, don’t be afraid to self promote and say, “hey look at me, look how far I’ve come?” Some have told me it was the wrong thing to do, to write, to talk about my past and how far I’ve come but why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t I bask in the glory of going through hell and coming out the other side? Why shouldn’t I enjoy the achievements I’ve worked so hard to gain? Surely this might also encourage others struggling to overcome their own personal battles. Plus, it’s taken a lot, a real lot of self work to get to the state of confidence of where I am now.

There was a time when driving to the tip to drop off some stuff I wanted to get rid of was scary, I daren’t go and didn’t know what to do when I got there…seriously, it worried me and I nearly didn’t bother. Now I’m ripping up flooring, mixing cement and laying bricks. That’s some serious facing fears and going beyond them. That’s some serious believing in myself so if you’re doing that too then bloody self promote and celebrate it.

I have other friends that are on fire too, that have faced serious challenges, got kicked out of school, almost lost jobs at young ages because partying was much more fun, friends that have sat at the hospital bedside of their sick children, that have left marriages, fought life threatening illnesses and conditions but have come out the other side, stronger, wiser and still working on themselves. They deserve to be proud and reflect on where they’ve come from and what they’ve achieved as a result of overcoming challenges.

I’m teaching little P to be proud of herself, I’m trying to teach her to focus on her effort rather than the end goal, to be proud of trying to do things rather than the achievement of them. I want her to self promote and look adversity in the eye and say, “bring it on.”

I’m on fire right now but not because of what I’ve achieved, because of what I’ve challenged myself to achieve. I’m really bloody proud of myself and you should be of yourself too.

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