How Moments Can Shape Us

Hello, it’s Captain el Ramsay bringing you on yet another endeavour with the Epiphany Express. This time, I’m focusing on ‘definitive moments’. After a conversation with a stranger led to me booking a trip to Vietnam, and the dumping of a boyfriend leading me to throw myself off a cliff (in the form of paragliding), I’ve come to realise that life is simply a series of definitive moments. Moments that shape and change us, whilst having a huge impact on our development and choices. Although some aren’t easy to recognise, if you look back, through the whimsical lens of hindsight, it’s easier to recognise the small twists and turns that shaped everything – even a drunken conversation with a girl you meet in the toilet of a nightclub, could plant a seed of doubt. And when I say a seed, I mean finally get rid of That Fuckboi. Moments like that can change everything you believe in or what matters to you. So here I am, discussing which definitive moments shaped me into the person I am today...

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The moment I became besotted with my hero.

It was 2004 and the iPod Mini had sent the then less tech-savvy world into utter meltdown. After the very limiting released amount selling out in the UK, my (fairy godfather of an) uncle returned from his trip to America with my own precious, millennial pink device.

At the ripe old age of eight, I was the first of my friends to get an MP3 player so combining this milestone with my newly purchased tongue-twisting K-Swiss trainers, I was the original M.V.P. of my friendship group. And yes, that statement is referenced on my C.V.

Anyway, once my head finally fell out of my own derrière, I soon discovered that my uncle had synced all of his favourite artists, including the original MVP, Kanye West. Who’d have known that my first listening of College Dropout would lead to the current me – thirteen years later – being so inspired by Kanye’s wise words that it led to me following my dream? Since that very first listen, I’ve watched him perform three times, had a Kanye themed emblem in the form of a tattoo added to my skin, and most cringe of all, listened to Waves whilst romantically (i.e. drunkenly) cuddled and watched the waves with a Holiday Romance at 4 am on Barcelona’s beach… At least it’s a story, I guess.

The moment my persistence (harassment) finally paid off.

After completing the first term of my university course, I knew that it just wasn’t for me. The tutors and course syllabus wasn’t interesting, I hadn’t learnt anything and after speaking to students in the year above, they confirmed it didn’t get any better. I’d begun to detest the course *almost* as much as the opera singer in the Go Compare advertisements, but not quite. After ringing up my initial backup university, Northumbria (in Newcastle), about a possible transfer the following academic year, I was told “no,” as the sought-after course was full. I then tried the same with UCAS and received the same brutal answer. Now if there’s anything I find more satisfying than switching the channel when the Go Compare advertisement comes on, it’s taking on a challenge. I guess this constant telling of “no” led to me taking the matter into my own hands. After discovering the direct email of the course leader, I proceeded to beg him to let me onto the course. After five weeks of exchanging emails, I was one email away from simply writing “Please. I’m just a girl, standing in front of a tutor, asking him to give her a chance.” But thankfully, my desperation never got that far, as I was eventually accepted for my persistence. Result. 

 The back of my final major project: my print publication, Othala, which focuses on the sentiment and stories behind clothing.

The back of my final major project: my print publication, Othala, which focuses on the sentiment and stories behind clothing.

The moment I had my first kiss and in turn, unleashed the pandora’s box of a new world: guys.

Now, this was back at the pubescent age of thirteen, when dating meant hanging around with my cool, mysterious, BMX-ing boyfriend, who may I humbly brad, was in the year above. A true romantic, he would cycle all the way to the next estate to pick up his beau her favourite treat: a smarties cookie from Subway.

We would spend our days cycling around, me on my neon pink BMX emblazoned with Pacman stickers, before taking cutesy photos in our New Era Caps for Bebo. Anyway, after weeks of dating, we were both lying on my living room sofa watching Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging. The iconic scene for all noughties’ teenage girls – the one where Georgia gets kissing lessons – had just started. And that’s when my boyfriend asked if I had ever kissed anyone, only for me to bashfully reply with “no”. He then leaned in and with that awkward first kiss, I was suddenly infatuated with the opposite sex. Little did I know that one single kiss meant signing my life away to the world of dating, who has since picked up some hilarious stories I may one day share.

 The moment I realised that “everything happens for a reason”.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m a firm follower of my horoscope, and also of the phrase “the stars have aligned!” For you more realistic folk, this simply means “look, I think this happened for a reason.” After being diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, the copious amount of chemotherapy, hospital appointments and other forms of treatment, finally came to an end in 2011, as I was put into “remission” (This basically means the all clear, but isn’t signed off as the all clear until five years later, which is where this part comes in.)

However, I’m not here to talk about going into remission. Nope. I’m talking after the aftermath. After spending a lot of my sick days watching Jackass, I’d grown a certain attachment to the group. They were so carefree and genuinely spent every day living their best life – something that was the polar opposite of my days spent in the hospital. So the day after going into remission, I pursued my own adrenaline rush, and quite literally, threw myself out of a plane by completing a skydive. That moment spent dangling from a bit of rope and fabric in the sky was life-changing. Would I have done a sponsored skydive at sixteen if it weren’t for being diagnosed? Hell no. But that moment I knew that I wouldn’t have a fire in my belly, and an underlying desire for more in life, if it wasn’t for my diagnosis. I wouldn’t be me.

Defining moments can be poignant; they can be inspiring but they can also make you more miserable than missing out on all of the best yellow stickered goodies in the M&S food aisles. But both kinds of moments are just as important because, with each one, you’re being shaped into the person you become. From your priorities to what people make your cut as a friend and to what job you get to possibly even treating yourself to a full price meal from M&S, each definitive moment is important.

Let these defining moments come. Let them happen, let them influence and try and learn about yourself. Look back and look back regularly. Like Frank Ocean coming out of hiding every couple of years, your defining moments may slowly become visible.

What moments have helped shape you? Feel free to share below!