It's personal post time today. Perhaps I should try this more often. Maybe not? I feel nervous posting this. There's sure to be some kind of backfire.

Here goes.

Whenever I read somebody else's blog, I often don't feel as if I'm being let into the real life of the blogger.

It's like going on Facebook or Instagram and seeing a highly-selective, finely-tuned image of how the author wants the rest of the world to see their life.

We all do it, no matter which social media outlet we choose.

After all, who wants to be seen as the boring one who stays in on a Friday night and eats microwave soup for dinner every night? Nobody wants to publicise that side of themselves.

For me, blogs are scrapbooks of ideas, creativity and the best memories of our lives. We don't often admit when things are wrong to our online audiences unless we truly feel the need  for the support of unattached others or the positive communities that build up through the comments section. Blogs are, more often than not, diaries of positivity.

I started taking blogging more seriously at the beginning of this year when I realised that I had something to share. This year has been a veritable whirlwind of places, trips, restaurants and culture. I've been incredibly lucky. It also tied in with my New Year's resolution of being more positive on social media (I have a tendency to use Facebook as a ranting platform).

Before, I was accused of being too negative, of moaning all the time, of never seeing the bright side.

I decided to change it.

I was inspired, like so many others, by Rosie's blog The Londoner. Hers was the first blog I followed and reading through all of the back posts made me determined to share the positives in my less than perfect life. Rather than feeling jealous (although I obviously covet her lifestyle) I felt happy and relaxed as if I had been the one in that foreign country or expensive restaurant. I wanted to create something similar out of my experiences.

Recently though, it has been made apparent to me that I have gone too far the other way.

In this world of blogging, everything is as perfect as a magazine spread. I am in no way the most envy-inspiring of bloggers out there. I felt quite comfortable documenting the amazing experiences this year abroad has afforded me. It hasn't been a conventional Erasmus year by any stretch of the imagination (and believe me, come September when I head back to uni, the tone of this blog will change dramatically) but I thought that made it all the more interesting. Furthermore, I was using the same platform as the blogging giants whose lives are, and will be for the forseeable future, a complete and utter dream. There was no risk of seeming boastful.

Or so I thought. But it seems that connecting my Bloglovin account to my Facebook profile was a huge mistake.

A very close friend of mine has recently pulled me up on this. Which is upsetting. Because who wants to be called a gloater by their best friends?

But it seems that real life and the blogging world don't mix all that well. Because who wants to see their peers shoot off on an exciting life while they're working on their dissertation or navigating a graduate job?

I find it very confusing, to tell you the truth. Within a matter of months I have gone from being too negative to too positive to the point of making people dislike me.

Part of me wants to stick two fingers up to those people because let's face it, I'm a fairly ordinary girl and I work for what I have. I eat a hell of a lot but I also work out most days. I'm not skinny, I'm not fat, I'm just ordinary. I don't have a wardrobe full of designer clothes - in fact, until a couple of months ago I hadn't bought any new clothes for two years.

Now I am in a more fortunate place, I get to indulge my passions: travel and food.

But these things do not just land in people's laps. I promise you, I have worked hard to get here.

So here's the truth.

And this is not me being negative for the sake of being negative, this is me being negative so that I can then go on with the positivity without making people think I'm some spoilt rich girl who gets to do whatever she likes all the time without ever having lifted a finger in her life.

And before I begin, no this is not an extraordinary story in the slightest. Shit happens. But I just want to show you that I am a normal person. Completely and utterly ordinary. No riches, no fortune, no lottery winning. And in a way, I hope this will encourage other people to come out and be honest about the struggles they've encountered over the years. We can't always expect ourselves and each other to be invincible. I have never suffered huge tragedies, I have simply had to work very hard to stay afloat.

I have been working since I was 16. I have never been eligible for any of the brilliant schemes that help socioeconomically disadvantaged students stay in education because I have always just slipped past the bracket. But I grew up poor and I grew up with the stresses and tensions that come when your family doesn't make much money. My brilliant mum graduated a few years ago so we have since been in an earning bracket that doesn't merit student support. But when was there ever a graduate without debt who could then immediately fund the education of others? Especially when that graduate has already raised two children before shrugging on the gown.

When I didn't get into university the first time I applied, I spent my gap year working two jobs in retail to earn money for university whilst all of my friends were away having the time of their lives. Whenever I tried to throw myself into the job and got excited over the small things like finding the right coathanger for the item I was putting away (yes, this genuinely did excite me), it would suddenly hit me that I had gone from being Head Student and having interviews at Oxford to being screwed over by an unfortunate series of events that included my Spanish teacher being fired, the subsequent video-conferencing teacher being absent due to family crises and a personal tragedy that hit our small class very, very hard. In the end I was eight marks off being accepted into university but instead of getting in like every other friend of mine who had planned to go away, I had to try and deal with what felt like a quarter-life crisis, navigating a life path that had no certainty any more and having to make snap decisions about the rest of my life after my carefully constructed Plan A was swiftly deconstructed... all before the next application deadline. (Just for the record, I was never going to go to Oxford as I didn't make it past the interview stage.)

By the time I got accepted into a university that I wanted to go to, the accommodation prices had soared beyond my means. At the open day I asked what my options were. There weren't any. Until fortunately, they released discounted rooms on a building site (a building site, for goodness sake! And the place was infested with silverfish aka the creepy nighttime bugs that look like the bug device in the Matrix. I would have preferred spiders!) I took the chance.

And then things got hard.

Despite the discount, my university experience has still been characterised by my need to work to buy my food and pay the bills. It's a reality for a lot of students but not those surrounding me. When you're working three jobs and then an internship because you don't want your CV to just be full of clothes shops and newsagents whilst your friends are going out to the swimming pool or cinema without you, it really, really, really sucks. I love and adore my friends and they are amazing, beautiful people. But I would have killed to have had someone to talk to in the same situation as me. I was overstressed, overworked and didn't have any time to do the things I wanted to. I remember one night, my friends were going for pizza and wine in the town centre and asked if I wanted to go too. But I had to work on an essay that I hadn't been able to work on due to my shifts and besides, living in the cheaper part of town meant walking through alleys in the dark. By the time I would have returned, it would have been dangerous to walk along the road between the city centre and our house, especially considering the newspaper reports of sexual assault on that exact road. I didn't have any money for a taxi either.

So that's what my university life is like. It's not the best time of my life like I was promised it would be. And amongst the studying and the working and the interning and the trying to keep fit, it was all a bit manic. My boyfriend was almost 1000 miles away and I would fly out to see him once a term which of course was further financial stress. To balance this, I limited my food shopping to £15 a week although would often spend my loose change on packets of biscuits and chocolate bars to try and comfort eat my way through the day. I'm human, I'm weak. I tried my hardest to be strong enough to get through all the things I had to do so when it came to indulging my sweet tooth, a few pounds here, a few pounds there and I was eating away at my sparse income. If anyone has any advice on how to get through 14 hour days without relaxing and without chocolate digestives, I would be hugely grateful.

So now I'm living in Milan for a year with a higher income than I've ever had. I go out a lot, I spend my money. I am living rent free and I do get to visit amazing parts of Italy due sometimes to my income but often thanks to my incredibly generous boyfriend and his inheritance.

But you don't inherit things for free either. And human relationships make life so much richer than possessions. Which is all I will say on that matter because it is not mine.

This lifestyle will come to an end in a few months (sob sob) but I'm still going to be looking for the positives when I go back to university. I'll blog about student recipes, the interesting things I learn on my course and my favourite Pinterest finds. Sometimes I'll post about the things I've done this year that I haven't managed to write about yet or I'll take photos of the everyday beauty that surrounds us in my university town.

So that's the end of that little spiel. I've spent far too long under the clouds of negativity, anxiety and stress and I'm going to continue doing everything I can to keep them away. My future may not be certain but I am making the most of today.

So in short, if you don't like it, you can lump it.

And I'll be disconnecting my Bloglovin from my Facebook verrrry soon...