It’s not very often I write about a topic that is very personal and honest about one aspect of myself, but with most things in life, you have to go outside that comfort zone and do it. I could say so many positives about my friends that I have at the moment that it would take me all week to sing their praises!
Growing up in an inner-city area in Birmingham when I was young, I had little-to-no friends. You could probably say it was down to a lot of the experiences I had with bullying from secondary school to college which made me a little unconventional and different with my personality, a target for bullies to pick on.
In hindsight, the abuse and name-calling I had in my teenage years spurred me on to have a dedicated work ethic and a never give up attitude. However, it was one friendship that was formed nearly six years ago through an NCS programme called The Challenge that gave me the confidence to build meaningful and worthwhile friendships.
Whenever I talk about the people who are my friends in high regard, I always consider them as a friend because they are the ones who will be there for me when I’m at rock bottom or needing a shoulder to cry on. They share the successes with me and always inform me if I need to calm myself down with my unusual personality.
A lot of the recent success I have had in the last couple of years has been down to being a better person and realising that to overcome tough situations, you need to face them head-on. In 2017, I overcame my fear of dogs in which I am now confident being around pets without jumping all over the room or walking on the other side of the pavement.
Career-wise, it’s coming to my fifth year of being a journalist and media producer. Some of the work I have undertaken with BBC News Online, Sky, ITV Central and The Irish World etc has been down to putting myself out there. Letting that fear of rejection become non-existent is a big part of me wanting to jump into the unknown.
Whenever I meet new people, I am not afraid to introduce myself to media professionals, data analysts and journalists. Meeting Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow on the Tube was something I never expected on my day out in London on the 10th March 2018 but I took full advantage of the situation and got a picture as a souvenir.
A big change that my friends have seen is my confidence and my self-awareness. I must admit, I used to have a huge quantity of friends during my three years at Birmingham City University but it was quite detrimental to my wellbeing and mental health. Now, I have a handful of “friends” and many acquaintances who I meet from time to time.
To the people who I call my friend (Libby, Jem, Pablo, Fiona, Jo and Lawrence), thank you so much for being such inspiring and wonderful men and women. You are the reason why I wake up every morning with a big smile on my face and I cannot thank everyone enough for your help and support over the years.