Today marks 10 years since I collapsed at school and lost the complete use of my legs. On this very day my life changed, never to be the same again. 10. Whole. Years. Ago. At just 14 years old, my whole world collapsed around me and the hardest fight I’ve ever had to fight began!
I write a post every year to document my ‘illness journey’ and I won’t lie, every year I struggle to find the words to describe the feelings I’m feeling and the hell in which my body has been through. So, this year I decided I wanted to take a different approach – rather than sharing the hardships of my journey (which I do to raise awareness), I want to share one positive thing in particular that the last 10 years has brought me and something I’ve learnt along the way.
They say ‘everything happens for a reason’ and whilst in some circumstances i don’t agree with that statement at all, I do believe that there are certain things within our lives that do in-fact, happen for a reason.
From a young age I was 100% certain my calling in life was to be a forensic scientist. Anyone who knows me will know that I have a huge love for science, in particular, biology. I worked incredibly hard during my GCSE years to achieve good grades to go towards me taking A-Level biology and chemistry, all whilst being in hospital. I then went onto college to do those exact A-Levels and completed a year and a half at college before having to leave due to my illnesses progressively worsening.
Once I left college, I felt lost, completely and utterly lost. I felt I had nothing, it felt as though my illnesses had taken everything from me that I had worked so hard towards and I had absolutely no sense of purpose. My teenage years had been so focused on science being my future so, for me to then have to leave college, I felt like I had no future left.
Then, one day, very much out the blue, I decided to assist my mum on baking a cake. Baking was something I use to enjoy doing as a child with my mum and nan but once my teenage years hit, baking never really bothered me. To be completely honest with you, when i fell ill, I took even less of an interest as I wondered what was the point in baking when I couldn’t even eat the bakes I’d made. But this one day, being the angelic child I am, I felt like mucking in.
It was almost as if that one cake ignited a fire within me. Baking very quickly turned into a passion and today, I can very clearly see baking being my future. Baking runs through my veins and it’s the one thing that gets me out of bed every morning.
That being said, being a keen baker with multiple chronic illnesses isn’t easy. I can’t possibly put into words how difficult it can be not to be able to get up and bake whenever you’d like, especially when you have a mind like mine which is practically bursting at the seams with ideas on what to bake next.
There are days I’ll have a full on meltdown in the kitchen and have to wheel away from a bake I’m halfway through due to agonising pain and fatigue taking over. There are days I’m so weak I can’t even lift my whisk to beat my mixture together. There are days I get this overwhelming feeling of guilt that I’m not using every spare minute I have to bake.
I can really beat myself up but something I’m slowly but surely learning is that slow and steady is the key to being a good baker. You don’t just bake once and you’re magically a professional, like many things in life, I’ve learnt that it can take years of perseverance to get to a professional level and I’m finally coming round to being okay with that.
Like with many things in life, it can be really difficult not to compare yourself to others in the baking world. I see the progress some people are making and whilst I’m beyond happy for them, I do feel so discouraged as I’m not progressing as quickly as I’d like due to my illnesses.
With that being said, I am blooming grateful for the time my body does actually allow me to spend in the kitchen practicing, it’s something I’ve learnt not to take for granted – this year especially.
Talking of time, if you’ve been around here a while, you’ll know that this year marked 3 years since I turned my blog from a ‘bits of this, bits of that’ blog to a full-time baking blog and looking back at photos from 2020 when I first changed my blog, I can physically see how much I’ve actually progressed in my baking skills.
I truly believe that’s down to the fact that ever since Covid hit back in 2020, I’ve set myself small goals which despite the bad days (and there have been many of them), I’ve actually managed to achieved and I’ve also set goals which will take years to achieve, but I’m willing to put in all the hours my body allows in order to achieve them and this is what keeps me motivated.
If you take one thing from todays blogpost, let it be to embrace new things, your future is never set in stone and things can change within an instant. Don’t rush, just go with the flow and see where life takes you. Life is far too short and far too precious to not try new things as you never know, it may turn out to be the best thing to happen to you yet! Just like baking has been for me.
I don’t think there’s any given reason as to why I’d fall ill (unless I was a seriously bad person in a previous life haha) BUT I do believe that I picked up that wooden spoon that day all those years ago for a reason, and that reason was that in doing so, I’d find my passion, my calling and my future. I’d finally have goals to work towards and something to keep me focused on the really hard days.
I’ll forever be thankful for baking – it has quite literally saved me and brought me so much happiness during this awful fight. It’s given me back that purpose that I was so convinced I’d lost and it’s given me a strong fighting spirit to not allow these damn illnesses to bring me down.
A whole decade ago I began the hardest fight of my life but I’m still here and I’m still going strong. Ain’t no chronic illness gonna bring me down *wink wink*.
I wanted to finish by thanking you guys also. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the endless support, love and encouragement I receive on a daily basis. The support you guys give me is like nothing I can describe. Nothing brings me joy like receiving messages from those of you who have tried my recipes and fell in love with them. It makes the blood, sweat and tears (literally) so worthwhile. You’ll never know what it means to me.
Sending you all tons of love & hugs as always,