I was uncertain whether to post this for two reasons: firstly that it necessarily requires a little back-tracking to before I had a blog, and might seem unrelated to my goal, and secondly that it might come across as a tad sentimental. Nevertheless, the start of a year offers a chance to glance back as well as forward, and I've been doing quite a bit of both. As for sentimentality...you'll just have to bear with me.
So. Here goes.
Three years ago today (on 6th January 2010, through the generosity of Starlight Children's Foundation) I was lucky enough to meet someone who, utterly unbeknownst to her, had pulled me through a rather tough patch - and I was able to thank her for it. This meeting gave me the strength to finish my A Levels, so much so that I now find myself at Warwick University, planning to walk to collect my degree.
You know all that. What you don't know, however, is that last night, almost exactly three years after I met Keira, I did something my eighteen-year-old self would never have dreamt to be possible. I stood for ten minutes (!) as I gave my first ever standing ovation for the absolutely wonderful cast of Chariots of Fire at the end of their final show at the Gielgud - and I felt truly privileged to be there to support them.
It was magical, hugely emotional - and, as I said, something I wasn't sure I'd ever do. So I thought I'd post today about two things: faith, and inspiration.
I don't mean faith in the religious sense, necessarily, though that's all well and good. (I'm agnostic myself, but I have plenty of friends who subscribe to a plethora of different beliefs, along with plenty who resolutely do not.) I mean faith in the sense of self-belief, self-confidence, self-trust; a knowledge that the journey you're on is an acceptable one and that, as long as you stay true to yourself and (sometimes literally) put one foot in front of the other, everything will turn out okay. I don't have much of that, or at least I haven't for most of my life - though I'm beginning to see that that needs to change. Not because I want to be bolder, or filled with more bravado, but because my being constantly enveloped by self-doubt isn't helping me one bit...and it's certainly not helping anyone else.
There are times, such as last night, when I quite literally take a leap of faith, and it feels wonderful. I jumped down two steps, with Mama's help, then stood at the bar of the balcony to clap the hardest I've ever done before - and nothing hurt. My sciatica had disappeared, my spasms were gone, and I know exactly why. I was so caught up in the emotion of the moment, and the desire to give something back to these people who have been so very supportive, that I didn't have time to be anxious. I just went with the flow, and I flew higher than I ever imagined I could.
I'd like to be that way all the time, but I still have far to go; so now to inspiration.
Firstly, my family - especially my stalwart mother, always behind and beside me, often even grabbing the loops of my jeans to prevent me tumbling off whatever precipice I currently find myself on. I love you all, and only wish the world wasn't quite such a big place, so I could see each of you every day.
Secondly, my friends - Jade, Paul, Ruairi, Howes and Ingy, who never fail to make me chuckle, even from as far away as New York. All the fabulous Fam of the Warwick English and Theatre 2013 cohort, indeed the whole of the English Department. Warwick Writing Society. Eileen and Caitlin, two girls I can't believe I've only known since year eleven, because it feels like a lifetime. Jess Hunter, roommate, soul-sister and best pal. My class at Treloar. Shannon and Tena, the three musketeers since we were six.
Finally, my dear Charioteers - a group of people I can't thank enough. You probably won't acknowledge what an inspiration you've been, however many times I tell you, but I'm going to try again anyway - despite being informed by Sam last night that I wasn't allowed to, or he might cry. (Well, you all certainly made me cry, so I think it's only fair I get my own back!) To watch a show in which the cast have invested so much effort and passion and have created such a family, and then to be invited to share that passion and to become a part of that family, has been the most amazingly inspiring experience. I shall be eternally grateful, and feel truly blessed to call you my friends. You should be very proud of what you have done in the nine or so months since Hampstead. Thank you.
Thank you all. So very, very much.