It's surprising how it seems as if just yesterday I was born. I have said goodbye to the last of my childhood and am now embarking on a completely new and uncharted portion of my personal growth. No Longer a Teenager, I've shed the training wheels and am riding into Adulthood.
It's scary. I will not smile and say that i'm super duper overjoyed at having left my teenage years behind. They were so comfortable, so familiar; and it will take me a while to be able to adjust from that.
I'll now be expected to do things a lot differently and have most of the answers. However, not much has changed apart from the number I call. I might now be 20, but i'm still grappling with that reality and coming to terms with the fact that I now really have to grow up.
Despite my slight despondency over not being an outright child anymore, I'm actually quite grateful for the past 20 years of my life.
I've been able to learn so much, grow so much, experience so much. Much more than persons who are much older than I can say they've experienced. I am reminded everyday by my Mom Danie just how fortunate i am to be able to do and experience all I have at such a tender age.
With so much having been given to me, She always reminds me to be levelheaded and not squander the opportunities set out before me. I have used that as inspiration to expand my horizon and make the most of what's been given to me.
At Twenty Years of Age, I have so many reasons to be Happy. I have a family that loves and cares for me. I have a solid group of friends who i can turn to for support. I have successfully completed my first year of University with good grades behind me. I even have professional accomplishments under my belt.
This past year i had an article that i had written being published in a regional magazine, I had photographs that i had taken being featured at an exhibition on Mental Health at the University of Manchester, I became Vice-President & Head of Social Media at the UWL Photographic Society, and I completed my first ever legal work experience opportunity.
A lot of major changes happened to me over the past year as well. I moved overseas to study, I went to the Netherlands on a trip, I became a wig enthusiast, I learnt how to properly apply makeup, I gained weight. (i'm 113lbs guys!)
At Twenty, i find that i'm finally beginning to look my age. Slowly but surely i'm rounding out into maturity but i can always switch up at any time and revert to a 12 year old.
I've learned to speak up more on issues that I think should be addressed. I have allowed my self to fall back in love with reading the physical copies of books. I have opened myself up to befriending people completely different from me and appreciating their ideas and perspectives.
I firmly believe that I've grown more as a person this year. I am completely different than I was a year ago when I turned 19. My reality has changed, my thought process has changed, I have changed.
I can't sit here and claim that my personal growth is all due to my own merit... of course not. So many people have been influential in my life and have seen potential in me and have gotten me to this point. So many individuals have been sources of inspiration and reminders of what I have set out to achieve. So many have provided sound advice and have been key examples of how i should lead my life and what paths I should follow. Honestly, without them, my own efforts would be lack luster at best.
This is where i say thank you. Thank You to Danie Horsford, My Mother, for molding me these past 20 years and for providing the stability and support that i needed to be this person. Thank You to Norris Scholar, My Father, for pushing me, encouraging me and training me to be critical and to question; Thank you for looking out for a child to whom you had no relation and taking her into your family. Thank You to Dollett Jackson, My Mother, for giving birth to me and for sharing me with my other parents. Thank You for always cheering me on and showing me where i can do better. Thank You to Robert Jackson, My Father, for providing me with a love so unconditional. Thank You for always investing your energy in securing my future and for being supportive of my dreams.
To the Women who raised me; Deslyn Lachish, Vincere Bachelor, Ruperta Jarvis, Lydell Horsford (HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNTY), Sandra London (Muff), Davidaire Horsford (especially this past year in London), I love each and everyone of you. You each have done so much to shape my life. Your support and love mean so much to me and I can never truly type how much all of you mean to me (literally crying while typing)
To the Women who inspire me; Toya Turner, Linisa George, Renee Edwards-Ambrose, Amaya Athill. You are all phenomenal professionals. You have each imparted to me lessons which i will always refer to at any stage in life. You are beacons of light who have contributed to much to my development. I adore you.
To the Old Friends that ground me; Kennick, Jahrika, Fiona, Nathanya, Shawna, Zaeke, Tassah, Marc, Adia, Brian, Brandon, Lehana, Shamere, Tristan... Thank You. (special shouts to Stush R Us from way back)
To the new friends who took me in; Buki Ajimobi, Tee (@TeesFood), Rico, Heather, Hope, Sian, Ciara... Thank You
This sentence alone is dedicated to Chavel Thomas whose self expression pushes me to explore my own art.
To Everyone Who Has Contributed To My Development and Growth to this point, Thank You! I Love You and appreciate you and you have my utmost respect.
*Large Up Antigua Twitter lol*
- Annetta Jackson