“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

The past 9 months have been the biggest challenges I ever faced, and there’s a couple of experiences that really left a mark.

Going to a LGBT youth group meet up and interviewing the members is definitely one that had the biggest impact. The hurt, pain and suffering they endure for having the courage of being themselves is truly gutting. No one should know such pain, at any age. Their armours were so tick, their walls so high up, their defences always on alert. I felt enraged against a world that should be gentle and kind and instead is only throwing rocks. I also felt helpless, still do. What they gave me, what they taught me, I can never repay.

Doing a short, intense course on Fashion Journalism on the Arts University in London was completely surreal. I’’ve always been such a mamma’s girl, coming to the UK to study was a big step, but going to London, alone for a weekend to attend something that only fuelled my passion, I never felt more certain about what I want to do for the rest of my live. Two very intense days gave me more knowledge and insight view than what I could ever hope for. A much needed push in the right direction and, just sometimes, the right words at the right time, can change a whole course. And the love affair I had one gloomy afternoon with the British Museum was the cherry on top.

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The Telegraph Academy day felt like the perfect closure for such an intense year. By getting me completely out of my confront zone, pushing my limits and teaching me a little more about the ins and outs of this peculiar world that has been part of me for as long as I can remember was the right kick to adulthood. A truly inspiring and eye opening experience, that left me completely drained while giving me so much.

Head and heart have been fighting a losing battle lately. The high from this wonderful experience abroad pushing me into staying and seeking the unknown, once again. The desire to go back to those familiar and corky streets I know like the palm of my hand, the voices of loved ones stumbling a little every time the dreaded future comes up getting my heart clenched in my chest. If only the UK and Portugal were a 45m ride away……

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Love, Ana

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