The Shona Project was built for girls, by girls, and we love having a safe space to share our experiences. This week, we decided to shake things up a bit and bring some boys into the mix, to hear from them about their lives.
Our last lad for our Lad’s Takeover Week is Eoghan. Eoghan is a student at UCC but also an all-around great human. He has decided to share somethings with us that he wishes he could tell his younger self, and honestly, it’s something we really think you should read. So Eoghan, take it away and wrap up Lad’s Takeover Week for us…
When You Are Unsure
There are depths of your consciousness, which often unknown to you, come to the forefront when you are feeling unsure. The whole experience of being a young person is hard – it is natural for there to be times when you feel entirely at a loss. Everything now is changing more rapidly than ever and keeping up with a continual certainty, be it internal or external, is near impossible.
When it feels like you are wallowing in uncertainty, or stuck in a moment when it feels there is no escape, take the time to realise a few things; there have been many moments that have led up to this, and there will be many moments which follow. If you can get this far, you can definitely get much farther.
When you are at a loss as to who you truly are, it can be overwhelming to reach into the fibers of your existence and comb through what it is you are formed of. If you do, you will likely find many of your insecurities and it can be very easy to get snagged on your flaws – but you must step back from this. Disregard your personal anxieties for a brief moment. Instead, try looking at the picture of you as a whole: sure you have flaws, but don’t forget to look at your talents and strengths. Momentarily treat yourself from an objective perspective.
What is it that is going on around you in life? What is making you feel unsure?
So far in life, it is likely there is much you have wrapped your head around: as time progresses you increasingly begin to understand the motives and actions of others. Yet, just because you understand someone’s actions, doesn’t always mean they make sense. Oftentimes this can hurt, and leave you feeling frustrated for days, weeks, even months on end. Yet the time will pass, and things do get easier. Emotions, like grief and heartbreak, will unexpectedly come running in one door of your life and will run out another just as quickly. It is okay to feel absolutely devastated, it is entirely understandable. You may find intrinsic parts of your being have been altered, and your emotional defenses will be at an all-time high, but in the long run, each of these individual awful experience will combine together to form a stronger, greater version of you.
If you feel unjustly betrayed, or feel so lovesick you can’t focus your thoughts or on anything besides the person who broke your heart, just know it will get easier. It is okay to physically feel your upsets, to have no desire to do anything, but it is not okay to let these intense emotions negatively impact your life. You are great, and although there are times when you feel that no one in the world has ever experienced as much hurt or heartbreak as you, they have: this does not mean you do not have the right to emotionally experience what you are going through, it means you are not alone.
Unexpected things expectedly will unexpectedly happen. You’ll likely fail an exam at some stage in your life, or maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll mess up something else which at the time can seem really important. If you do, it’s not the end of the world and although an event like this may be a massive inconvenience at the moment, it oftentimes can be resolved.
You will lose a few friends along the way of forming who you are, and will likely find yourself surrounded by different friends during different periods of your life. It’s interesting to note, on reflection of my teen years, the people that were surrounding me for each of my birthdays. Some years, I had no friends, and then the very next had many. It is natural for friend groups to fluctuate and for tensions to arise. Dealing with these anxieties are hard on their own, never mind experiencing growth spurts or unexpected acne alongside them.
Your weight and overall appearance will change, this is also natural, but make sure to continue to take pictures of what’s happening in your life. Never shy away from the camera, even if you feel like you are disgusting. You are not. You may hate the picture at the moment, but in as little as a few weeks to as long as ten years, you may find yourself looking back at these memories and realising you actually look nice, and won’t be able to understand why you felt you looked awful at the time.
If you feel entirely alone, and feel as if you will never make friends, just know you will. If secondary school is a place where you feel your boundaries are confined: be it by classmates, or trivial school rules, know that there will come a time in your life when you will be entirely boundless and will be free to be whoever you are.
Don’t be pressured into doing things you don’t feel comfortable with. It can be hard standing your ground, but oftentimes it is worth it. Sure there are times you will slip up, and you may do things that you perceive as entirely not you, and that’s okay. Life is about messing up again and again and again, but that’s part of the fun of it. For all the times you feel awful there will be twice as many in which you feel amazing, and you’ll find yourself in places where you never even imagined you’d be. You’ll get the kiss off the prettiest person you know, and it’s likely that those sorts of feelings will be reciprocated by the person you meet.
Things have a tendency to slot into place when you least expect them to. Everything works out, even if every step along the way is disastrous. Try not to be distraught when things unexpectedly change, that’s the nature of life and desire – nothing can ever be fully satisfied, which is why we must keep moving, must keep trying our best, because eventually, everything will be fine.
Distract yourself, you’ll need to learn how to. Take a break from your phone, we all know how draining it can be scrolling endlessly on social media. Find your favourite albums and dance to them. As much as this thought makes you cringe, roar your lungs out to that album you shamelessly love, you need to for spiritual cleansing and for emotional healing. Go exercise, it’ll help clear your head and will make you feel better. Keep a diary, even if each entry is sporadic and irregular, it is the perfect means to clarify your inner thoughts.
Life will come at you in massive waves, and you will often be unprepared, but this doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. You’ll often be out of your depth, but who cares, try and try and eventually you will get it. If you find you are still struggling to manage something on your own, reach out to the people around you. They will want to help you, and will gladly do so. We all want to see one another reach our full potential. Where’s the fun when we’re trying to tear each other down?
Life can be a lot, that’s a given. You are allowed to feel down just as much as you are allowed to feel happy and carefree. No one blames you if you find one day harder than the next, and you are allowed to feel as if everything sucks sometimes. Just know that great times are coming, and though they’ll occasionally be tarnished by inconveniences here and there, you’ll get through it. You will feel at a loss sometimes, and it’s okay to feel as if you’ll never know who are you – it can all be a bit much sometimes.
That moment of clarity in life will find you though. Some day, when you find yourself peering into the mirror, tugging at your hair or applying your makeup, or removing your contact lenses, bubbling to the forefront will come to a certainty in who you are.
We want to say a massive thank you to Eoghan for writing such a truly beautiful piece and we can tell that he wrote what he wished he had known at an earlier age.
If you want to keep up to date with Eoghan, you can follow him on his Instagram below.
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And that is a wrap on our Lad’s Takeover Week here at Shona where we got the boys involved in the conversation. We are still here if you have a story you would like to share with us, just pop us over an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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