5 Life Mistakes That Made Me Stronger

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger

 Not Quitting Earlier

As many will know, I worked in the Leeds city centre for around a year, at one of the biggest building societies in the country. When I first started, I loved it. Heck, I was just a keen and excited nineteen-year-old who was getting her first pay cheque and starting to feel like an adult. Even six months in, I didn’t really enjoy the tasks my job presented (mainly because I worked in investments and barely have a maths GCSE), but I still loved working.

Then my boss started to show her true colours, she became evil and spiteful, constantly trying to make my life terrible. After a month of this madness, I wanted to quit but I didn’t. I stayed. I kept eating lunch alone, I kept taking the digs and insults, I kept ignoring the side-eye and I kept defeating every hurdle. If it wasn’t for that job in Leeds, I wouldn’t be as tough as I am today. Not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I can be pretty badass nowadays. The reason why is because I put up with trash for so long, not a lot really phases me anymore.

I have also learned to say no. Something I couldn’t really do before. Even in that specific job. In the beginning, I would say yes to everything, and always with a smile because my mother raised me right, but towards the end of my time there, I realised cleaning cobwebs out of the printer wasn’t actually my job and made me feel ill – so no I’m not doing it. The first time I stood up to my boss was the first time I realised I can be untouchable if I want to be. It’s like reality hit me, and I realised there’s nothing she can actually do. And the worst she could do was fire me, I wanted to leave anyway!

It may have been a mistake not getting out of their earlier, especially when it comes to my mental health – but now I feel better than ever.

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerAccidentally Putting Myself Out There

There have been many occasions where I’ve accidentally drawn attention to myself. And despite having a blog with countless photos of me posing in different outfits every day, I actually really don’t like attention on me – in any form. If you saw behind-the-scenes of my OOTD shoots, you’d see a twenty-one-year-old trying to look cute but then awkwardly running away the minute a stranger appears. Yup, that’s me. So anytime there’s a serious amount of attention on me, from getting up to accept an award in school to making a fart noise on a leather sofa in front of my best friend – I feel awkward.

Yet, each time I put myself out there, or each time I accidentally draw attention to myself, it actually makes me a stronger person.

In some weird way, it improves my confidence. One of the causes is most likely my ability to overanalyse and replay any situation. Going over it again and again in my head and coming to a conclusion of: “Why do I even care?” or “Is this worth being mad about? Nah.”

Then I move on.

This process is a slow one for sure, I’m still a shy person and still get embarrassed from time to time, but those experiences have not only shaped me as a person, but helped me to get to know myself much better.


anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerBeing a Party Animal

I was a wild teen. Actually, not as wild as you’re thinking, more like a mediocre wild. I remember being 13 and drinking two WKD Blue’s before acting like I was absolutely off my head; when in reality I felt like I’d have a glass of orange juice. Then I grew to 15 and house parties became a thing. Do people still have those? I’m not sure but between 2010 and 2014, I loved to party.

I still do love to party, but I’ve learned so much from my behaviour as a teen to ensure I don’t make those same mistakes as an adult.

For example, drinking so much my teenage body can’t take it and I fall asleep on a patio table in the middle of December. Not the best thing I’ve ever done, but sure taught me not to do it again. Or, not being able to recognise when I’ve had enough to drink (you know when you go to the toilet, do the swaying thing and you just know you’ve had enough). There was the time I discovered I like gin, decided to drink way too much of it and woke up the next morning with a brand new phone, somebody else’s slippers and an ice cream cone taped to my forehead.

During those years, I became much more social, I was basically pushed out of the shell I was hiding in, and because of this, and I can talk to pretty much anyone now. I learned that I can not only have fun but also be fun – and that’s something extremely important to me. The fear of being uninteresting basically melted away.

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerLetting Bad People In

I certainly won’t be alone here. Whether it’s an ex-partner, ex-friend, or even parent; there’s always going to be toxic people in the world. On occasion, those toxic people manage to talk their way past the barrier, slip through security and enter our lives. It always seems like a mistake when someone (who’s clearly evil inside) manages to have an impact on our lives, but after the pain disappears it’s good to realise there’s always a silver lining.

The idea of a silver lining seemed like a long shot the last time I let a bad person in my life. The whole, “this is it, my life is over, I hate everyone, I’m never leaving the house again” mentality took over and could have potentially dampened my spirit. However, I learned to flip it, spin it into something positive and escape a negative black hole.

Now I’ve mastered my techniques I not only feel prepared but safe. It may sound like I’m preparing for war, but I’m dramatic so it’s to be expected.

I’ve made the mistake of allowing toxic people into my life many times, but each time truly makes me stronger. I may feel damaged in the beginning, but elevation requires separation.

“TIP OF THE DAY; Sometimes you gotta go broke, lose the person you thought you loved, watch your friends turn into foes, just to get where you going. Trust the process. Elevation requires separation” – @ShawtyNotBasic

anika may // fashion and lifestyle blogger anika may // fashion and lifestyle bloggerSaying Something Stupid

I say stupid stuff all the time. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I’m being totally serious. I ask myself why I’m such a moron at least six times a day. Anxiety definitely plays a role in what I find idiotic and what’s just plain awkwardness. 90% of the time, I say something foolish. Whether I’m trying to clapback or just saying words to fill dead air, it’s often they don’t make sense.

Yet, saying stupid things has actually helped me in a few ways, as strange as that is. For example, I made friends from being a weirdo. Because I’m such an odd little egg, I met my fellow weirdos and now we’re best friends who can be weird and say silly stuff together. It’s a judge-free zone, and that makes me feel incredibly happy. Gaining friends makes me a stronger person because they have a positive impact on my life. Similarly, saying something stupid occasionally makes people laugh, and that, in turn, makes me very happy. Because I was such a shy child, I relied on comedy to get me through conversations and that’s pretty much how I get through life. When I say something out of the blue or completely senseless, I often get a good reaction which boosts my confidence.

Now, on the other hand, saying something reckless can get me in trouble, and it has before. I’ve landed in hot water with other people and also had regret myself. Nonetheless, those experiences have only helped me grow as a person and shaped my personality for the better. I’m actually grateful I say meaningless things sometimes, there’s always opportunity and space to develop.