Written by Alex, a Filmmaking BA (hons) NTU Alumni
This article was written a while back and now Chris is continuing to grow and transform and is going by Alex as a transgender woman, she asked for the article to remain the same to honour those parts of herself.
Hello, my name is Chris. Today I want to time travel with you into a time in my life where things where fine on the outside. The best part is that’s what I thought as well, so ignorant, living in bliss as Cypher the character from the matrix would say. I thought I was following my dreams, a part of me was don’t get me wrong, but mostly I was following my co-depended patterns and my lack of self-worth and self-esteem.
To introduce myself I am an NTU filmmaking graduate and I also completed a placement within the Student Support Services as a Health Promotion assistant. I am also in the process of achieving goals in all parts of my life. I’m writing this as a love letter to my younger self, I wasn’t always there for her, or him as I was raised and when I was given the opportunity to write a blog she really wanted to come out and tell her story.
I grew up in Cyprus which means things most British people consider normal like talking about your feelings, being queer, having different skin colour, being completely drunk at the pub at 5pm is very strange and alien thing for people in Cyprus. Humour. But seriously, I grew up in a society where people would look outside of themselves to have a sense of identity, a sense of belonging, natural survival instincts. My upbringing was mostly chaos and dysfunction, yelling, physical and emotional abuse, bullying, harassment and all the magic ingredients to make a human being internalise all the hate people threw at them. My parents bless their souls could not give me a sense of identity or at least try to bring some positive affirmations in my life. To this day they do not have one for themselves. So unconsciously from the age of four I remember feeling ashamed and scared to express my femininity.
My friends back at home loved me for who I was, my queerness, my emotions and all my ugly parts. It was finally time to move here and start a new life, I thought things would change magically, I thought what I had with my friends I would be able to carry it in the UK. But that’s not always how is works right? Sometimes you attract what your subconscious mind is telling you. And in my case, my subconscious was seeking the missing chaos that I had left back in Cyprus, a part of me was looking for healing from me and instead I went out there looking for answers. I was so lost.
When I moved here, I remember telling my flatmates after a few weeks of living together, ‘you haven’t seen the best of me yet’, meaning my most authentic self, I knew my potential, but my nervous system would not let me embody it. The language barrier, the deadlines, the making new friends, all the challenges everyone can face I was not allowing myself to investigate them, reflect and grow. The part of me that was doing the looking finally found a very toxic relationship to be in and entertained it for all first year. That part of me thought that was the normal way of living, struggling alone finding excuses not to do stuff. Until one day my assignment was due, and I was outside my tutor’s office crying and breaking down.
Earlier I mentioned that I am trying to achieve my goals in life, well that was not by accident. If you are like me, you will know that when you set a goal, the universe has a beautiful way of taking things away from you, things that are not aligned with that goal or that lifestyle or that version of you that doesn’t feel worthy of being where you want to be in life. In other words, the universe will test you and it will throw a few challenges along the way to see if you are actually going to grow from it or not. At least from my experience. For a long time, I just thought that I would never achieve my goals, there was only chaos and distraction around me. I was going along with it because it was comfortable. I was doing yoga one day and it clicked, I realised that all my problems are directing me to my goals, I am not the victim anymore, they are literally asking for attention so I can find a solution and be where I want to be. I realised that I had to let all those intrusive thoughts and anger to guide me into a solution. When I let my anger guide me and feel seen then I can ask myself what needs to change? What’s working? What are the boundaries that I need to set? Who do I have to talk to?
I started getting help at my breaking point, which is usually the case with most people, my soul was telling me get help but I was so depressed and ashamed of what was happening around me so I thought it would be better to suffer instead of face reality.
Fast forward to my life today, after breaking the cycle of dysfunction and chaos for the first time in my life, a lot of therapy, somatic healing and coaching I feel like I am slowly cultivating and finding my voice again, it has been a hard and slow process, and it’s working. I feel like I am reparenting myself enough to break my old habits when I see myself going back to dysfunctional patterns and looking for validation from toxic people. I cannot really explain the feeling of seeing yourself grow, especially after you’ve hit rock bottom. I am able to focus on myself and my goals and I feel like I am finding that part of me that feels like life is worth living again. I never thought I would be able to talk about this.
I guess my message here is, get help. Balancing life without help, is a very confusing and overwhelming experience. Having someone there to celebrate with you creates a beautiful feeling of connection which is what most humans crave. I am breaking the pattern of suppressing my problems until they manifest in big emotional outbursts. Sometimes it’s hard and I can be a little too hard on myself but I’m also learning that is also normal. I am slowly bringing the adult part of me into the scene to reparent her, love her, and forgive her, I journal, I talk to my close friends, I set boundaries, and most importantly I let myself cry, and it’s slowly working.
I would not be here without the help that I had, my community, people going through similar experiences while also wanting to grow. I would not be here without my therapist, and I would definitely not be here if I did not hit rock bottom go through experiences I didn’t want to. And this is not to romanticise my trauma, rather give it a new perspective, I cannot change what happened to me, I can only learn from it and not repeat the same patterns. If I hadn’t gotten help while I was going through emotional abuse, I wouldn’t have known what it is and how to avoid it. If I hadn’t gotten help during a depressive episode, I would have just kept myself in there thinking that’s how it has to be forever. And to give you a bit of hope, it doesn’t have to be like that forever. There is always great wisdom in pain that we must learn so we can stop repeating the cycles.
To close this, I just want to say that your heart already knows all the answers, it sounds so cliché but it’s soooo true. You already know what’s good for you even if it’s buried deep down. To quote Mastin Kipp one of my favourite coaches ‘The part of you that’s been doing the looking, Is what we are looking for’. You got this.
For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support for transgender students
- Support from NTU
- Self-Care books in NTU’s libraries
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness