If there was anything in life that I would want to be remembered for - it would be this, a positive role model.
I don’t have the perfect life nor do I have the best circumstances but I do really try to make the best of it all. I am incredibly lucky.
It’s been hard so hard, the journey is on-going and the destination is ‘the journey’ and that’s key to remember.
We all focus on what want and feel we need in life. What we deserve and so on. We forget how to be so grateful for every moment. Instead, we often play the self-pity card, the blaming game and complain about what is missing.
When battling with an illness everyday is different to the last. You can prepare but never fully be able to prepare if that makes sense. We simply don’t know how symptoms will be on a day to day basis.
My road has by far not been the toughest, there are so many empowering people out there but my road has been tough. It’s been difficult to find light in the pitch black and of course I am guilty of having many days when I simply wanted to give up.
I have felt unworthy, lacked purpose, drive, motivation and felt a let down to my friends and family - in more ways than one.
I felt that by healing others it helped heal myself in ways Western medicine cannot.
From an early age I always wanted to be known as Sophie Ward.. for me. Not be referred to as someone’s daughter, child, friend and so on.
I never really found my place - in a sense that I didn’t know what was going on in my body. How to battle my illnesses and really understand how to manage my condition. I didn’t have any hobbies as such because of my intense swimming program back in the day. This really did affect my progress on becoming (me). I was incredibly lost. So lost. At first, my blog was just my diary. A space I visited everyday to take a load of my mind and prevent me bottling up all the unrest and letting the negativity harbour inside me. I read so many books about people I looked up to and gained great strength from seeing them battle great wars & conquer them.
I realised that we have the power to become anyone and everything we want to become. There is no overnight fix or magic spell to give us the answers. In life there are rarely any answers but a thousand and one questions.
I began growing my platform. Meeting people alike, relating to their stories. Listening to people but really listening to them and offering advice and help where I could. I faced so many fears and so many harsh judgements that I was no longer fazed by the prospect of fear. Yes there have been many times I’ve cried before walking out the door in a dress in front of everyone but I’ve done it, time and time again and smiled through it.
I realised that there was more to life than the outer shell. That inner beauty was far more important and valuable. I am now respected by so many for the real person I am. Without illness, even though it’s hell and caused me so much pain I wouldn’t be here talking to you without that rough ride.
Helping others empowered me to be the person I wanted to be remembered for. Traits, age, climates, health and conditions cannot change a kind heart.
We have to learn ( although it’s incredibly tough) that disability and limitations are really not as so many first judged them to be. Our limitations are what empower us to blossom and become who we are. They shape us. We could be here all day listing all the things we hoped from life, had planned, wanted to do and regrets. We must remember nobody is immune from these bumps in the road. We have to change our frame of mind.
I will admit at first being so poorly and not knowing what was happening to me caused me to lose a tremendous amount of confidence. I was never a confident person to begin with. Now I looked skin and bones and so lost body confidence, I couldn’t drive or drive long distances so would avoid driving and now don’t drive - I lost my freedom, I didn’t know what I was saying half the time so I felt boring in conversations.
I was deeply depressed unable to cope with the massive weight on my shoulders and the massive fall from grace.
It was easier to give up, call it a day.
For so long and like I say ( I still have my days ) we believe our friends and family would be better off without us.
We have to take a step back...
We must recognise that we have lost so much but gained even more. There is always a purpose and that’s what I made my goal to find.
Purpose doesn’t mean a high flying career with a huge wage. It’s as important as making someone laugh, putting a smile on people’s faces and just being you.
Nobody can be you.
That’s the secret weapon.
If you choose to paint picture black and grey and that’s how it will come out. If you choose to paint it with colours it will be far more eye catching and appealing.
My mindful colouring taught me that.
Mama first recommended it to me to help me manage my stress. It worked and I now recommend to everyone. It was also the beginning of proving that purpose can be found in the little things. It was my hobby but also gave me great joy when family members and friends enjoyed my work.
I realised I didn’t need to have training or be a professional to create masterpieces. The key is passion and heart.
I began focusing on what made me happy.
It was allowed to be little things like colouring, cooking and so on.
From there I slowly built my confidence up and realised that we only get one shot at life so I had no other choice but to make the best of the time I had. Perfection is a myth, reality is unpredictable and true friends and family would love you no matter what. I became passionate about helping people have the light bulb moment I did and change their world’s from grey to the brightest colours.
On receiving my diagnosis, I then wanted to help prevent others falling victim to the disease I had. It was hell, and although I do try and make the most of it I do struggle and I don’t want others to feel the pain and sorrow I have experienced.
And here we are today.
I’ve literally built who I have become from the ground up. This is me. This is Sophantastic. I hope to inspire, protect,uplift and empower all of my readers in many different ways.
Of course, living my life is the best way possible too.
We are faced with many challenges in life and nobody is immune to them. We must not see brick walls and see them as stop signs but as a blip we simply need to knock down and pave a way through.
Mindset is key.
I’ve not mastered it all yet but this is proof to myself and to you all that we really do have the power to shape who we wish to become and can enhance so many lives on our own personal journey’s.
Finally - thank you for all who voted for me. I am forever grateful, I am so excited for the awards night and simply can’t wait!!!
I am over the moon and so much more, it’s more than an honour out of 24,000 to be shortlisted is simply insane. Thank you!!!!
Thank you to the National Diversity Awards for appreciating and highlighting my work. Everyday I will continue to push boundaries, grow, face fears and be me.