I know its not Throwback Thursday but for some reason this Wednesday has left me feeling nostalgic and got me thinking how much can change in a year. A year ago I was in my final year of university completing my degree in English with Education & Social Sciences, working a full time job as an elderly carer and hanging out with a completely different set of friends and now everything has changed. I flip through old photos of me with people who claimed to be my best friend but as soon as university ended didn’t want to know or became aggressive towards me and I had to end our toxic relationship to keep myself sane and happy. Friends come and go and the pain of losing a friend can be heartbreaking at the time but looking back at some of the photos I can see that I was never truly comfortable with them and it showed. I just did not know it at the time. We lose friends, we make new friends, people are born and people die, life is an endless cycle made up of milestones, events, break ups and tragedies. But then there are the good times, the laughter, the tears of joy and the people that make your life complete.
Growing up I felt isolated and used to have ‘as many people’ around me as possible to give off the illusion that I was more popular than I was because the truth was too uncomfortable to face; just how many of those so -called friends were there during my darkest moments, how many wiped away my tears when life got me down. A rare few because the others just didn’t want to help because they only wanted to know the ‘fun, happy Ana’ which I was now too tired to play. And that is when you know that someone is a true friend because they are the ones who wait by you in your darkest hour and inject you with a dose of truth, maybe it is not going to turn out the way you expected but one thing for certain is that change is good and you might find something positive in the negative. Which is a big part of my philosophy, I regret some of the decisions that I made and wonder what would have happened if I took another path but I will never know and that is not neccessarily a bad thing. Looking ahead to the future is all made possible when you make peace with your past and that was something I learnt a long time ago. I know that I can never get back my past and I don’t want to because reality might be hard to bear but at least it is my reality. The past is in the past and the future is the here and now. So live in the now because you never know what is around the corner.
When I look at the photos of the friends I have loved and lost I don’t feel regret but I do feel pain because there is always the ‘what ifs’ and what ‘could have been’ but I know that I could no longer maintain these relationships any more and something had to give. When you were known growing up as the ‘crybaby’ and pushover you know that something has to change and that is exactly what happened. Instead of meekly accepting friends mistreatment of me and being happy to be treated like s**t I learnt how to say no and that felt liberating. By saying no I was allowing myself to have an identity and not just be seen as ‘that girl’ who let people walk all over her. Even now I can find it difficult to say no and although it makes me feel uncomfortable in certain situations, when it comes to people calling me names or being abusive I just cut ties altogether. It has left me with less friends I can count on but I know that I have a group of people around me who will be there for me no matter what.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that we get so caught up in the past that we forget to live in the present and there comes a time where certain memories need to be shelved away for good so we can concentrate on moving forward and making the most of our future. I always thought that we can learn so much from our past but it is in fact the present that is our real learning curve. Because if you don’t make the most of what you have now you will regret it and see it as another past decision that you f***ked up.
Photography: Jumanna Khanom
Dress: Rare London
Bag: Best Have
Faux Fur Bolero: Primark
Watch: Elie Beamount
Mules: Public Desire