The 10 year challenge posts so far this year triggered me to reflect on how dramatically my life has changed in the past ten years.
This date specifically – 10th of February 2009 – everything changed for me.
The two years prior were traumatic for a lot of reasons, and I was struggling to find a reason just to exist. It was the darkest point in my life thus far. I hated everything about myself and felt completely lost and hopeless.
As some sort of misdirected coping mechanism I gorged on junk food, this of course made everything worse. I felt disgusting and spiralled down a path of despair, isolating myself and questioning whether this world was even for me.
I could talk a lot about the bad stuff, but want to focus on the positive because I can proudly say these feelings of self-hate are mostly behind me.
On the 10th of February 209 I began a week of work experience in a small print studio in Galway. Initially hesitant to even make the effort, my Mum pushed me into it and I can never thank her enough for that.
At this studio I was introduced to something I had never heard of before – graphic design. I get chills thinking about the moment now. I felt like I had been stumbling around in darkness my entire life until someone flicked a light switch, and I was seeing the world for the first time.
Everything changed. Aileen Hunt loaned me a book about grids and I felt giddy reading it. For the first time in years I felt I had found something worth pursuing, something I could take joy from and channel my energy into, maybe I could even make a career out of it. I was optimistic again, a feeling I had forgotten.
I moved back in with my Mum so I could continue the work experience, applied to study visual communications and later that year moved to Dublin to begin my new life as a budding designer.
I met the most amazing people in Dublin and feel so lucky to call them friends. I learned to see from some of Ireland’s best design educators and I found joy in colour – one colour in particular -ORANGE – which set the tone for the past ten years of my life.
In the picture below – the one on the left is a mask, the smile on the right is very real.