Having spent the last few years writing about myself in very specific terms, it's quite hard to speak generally about myself. On paper at least, my life has changed dramatically since being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis whilst on my gap year in 2010.
Before that date, I suppose I was much the same as I am now. At secondary school in Bristol I was once described as "the one who is always smiling". I think that summed me up really. I spent my childhood and teenage years very happy indeed. I was social, I was sporty, I was into my music; and cocky enough not to have to work very hard at any of it.
Luckily for me (yes, luckily) life very suddenly became extremely hard work. I was taught a lesson that we all must learn: that none of us are invincible. I was knocked off my perch of invulnerability and cockiness and any half-hearted plans of mine disintegrated. I had been coasting through life, heading for a degree in Biology or something and to what end; I did not know.
Well since then three years have passed. Those three years are well documented in my proudest achievement: Shituation. Having been forced out of Uni, away from a social life and the rugby field, I started writing a book. It wasn't my idea. My mum and girlfriend at the time thought it would be good for me to document everything I was venting onto them. And they were right. When I first took out my laptop and opened a new document with the heading "ulcerative colitis" I hadn't thought of what I would write. A few hours later I had written 8,000 words without a pause and knew that I was onto something. I loved writing. It might sound odd that a book containing the worst memories of my life is something that I will miss adding to. But a few other things have cropped up in those three years that have provided me with an equal satisfaction and new found direction in life.
I am an avid sports fan. I genuinely watched every minute of televised rugby in 2011 and 2012. Hey, I had nothing else to do. This obsessive interest in sport is now playing a huge part in my life. I am back playing club Rugby, competitive snooker ( with a top break of 56), and taking part in national competitions for powerlifting. And on top of doing these, I will study sports science at Uni starting September 2013. I hope to eventually combine this passion with my need to write. A career in sports journalism is my eventual goal right now.
And in the mean time, I will keep writing. I am working on a couple of other books, and frequently add to my blog at jonclarke14.wordpress.com.
My final great passion in life is my guitar. Guitar is my greatest talent and the one thing I really worked hard at when I was younger. I have all the material for an album or two and will make sure that comes to fruition in my own time. Check out a little something something below:
So that's me. Please read the book, it's all about spreading awareness for a hugely underestimated and debilitating illness. And you may get a few laughs from it as well!
Please feel free to tweet me or comment on my blog with anything you want to say!