Posted by in News.

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.