Why I gave up modelling 📸

Firstly I’d like to apologise about not posting in two weeks I’ve just started Uni and have found the workload a bit of a shock to the system but I’m finally getting there.

I’ve procrastinated about writing it but I feel like I should because I learnt so much from the experiences being a model gave me.

Sometimes I still look at my friends Instagram photos and reminisce with rose tinted glasses about the glamorous lifestyle that modelling offered. But in reality, this is not an accurate representation.

It’s good for me to get my thoughts down as I feel its a good way to process and finally say goodbye to an industry I had such a love / hate relationship with.

Hope you enjoy!

 


 

 

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I remember the night I decided I wanted to become a model. I would like to say I got this epiphany whilst flicking through the pages of Vogue looking at *insert 90’s supermodel’s name here* and thinking ‘I want to be her’. But the idea came after yet another blazing argument with my then boyfriend telling me that I didn’t even come close to the over made up models that cat walked down the ramp for this urban rap battle event. He wanted to be a rap star you see.

It was the insidious pang of a hurt ego that spurned me on to take my first steps into modelling. The irony will become apparent later.

Like a lot of girls I started by getting ripped off by some photography scam paying a good few hundred pounds (out of my student loan) for a ‘professional’ makeup artist and photographer. I hated how they did my makeup, my hair and even what they had me wear. But I guess there was a part of me that loved the attention and the fact I was going to ‘show’ my boyfriend I was better than what he said I was.

After the shoot, I was given a list of model agencies to approach. I was relentlessly rejected by pretty much all of them albeit a few who told me if I lost weight I would be in with a chance. I feel sorry for my younger self as I had no idea what I was doing and was terribly insecure; in hindsight it was like watching a lamb being sent to the slaughter.

Thankfully I continued to study and finish my degree. It’s when I finished and no longer had a routine to keep me balanced the trouble began. Obviously, I wasn’t going to go straight into full time modelling so I needed a job that also offered flexibility. Get ready for years of standing in heels and spraying perfume for hours on end.

At this time my self esteem was starting to deteriorate. I dyed my hair black and started putting on weight from comfort eating. I was also dealing with very difficult family issues and a horrible relationship so all in all this it was a very dark period in my life.

 

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In a way the fantasy of a glamorous lifestyle kept me going all of life’s turmoil. All I wanted was that one photo on a cover of a magazine for my, now ex, to see and that’s it I could quit. I was shooting for amateur photographers and was grateful for the £50 I’d get for hours of work. I thank God I never got hurt or did anything I was THAT uncomfortable with. Mostly it was a case of sacrificing my time for promised exposure that never really came to anything. I found this extremely frustrating but I thought this is how it was.

I was still trying to join a modelling agency so despite everything that was going on my ambition was never fully squelched. I would like to add that this was the time social media was also really taking off so that helped me to network.

I had a few hopeful meetings with some smaller agencies. My portfolio was a complete mess. I had no idea about marketing myself and even less of an idea about fashion. I thought agencies would see through all this if they believed in you, but now I know you have to have the perfect portfolio to approach agencies with in the first place, it’s your CV. This seems obvious now, but it wasn’t back then, I’d been given so much wrong advice by so many different people.

My weight was ALWAYS an issue, no matter what size I was.

It was another day at work spraying perfume when I overheard one of the girls talking about slimming pills. This intrigued me, as I couldn’t lose weight on my own so maybe this was the answer?

The girl (who shall remain nameless) told me where I can get these slimming pills and I managed to get my hands on a batch. They really shouldn’t have given them to me, but in the long run, they might have been helpful because they gave me the energy I needed to kickstart my life.

So now I know these pills were actually a low form of speed. Which is why I had more energy and less appetite. I lost weight quickly, worked on my tan and turned my jet black hair to honey blonde.

My ex-hated my new look and told me I looked anorexic. He was probably right, but I didn’t care for his opinion anymore. I had many more people telling me I looked great, even though deep down I still didn’t feel great about myself.

 

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I got some new photos …. again. I remember someone saying to me ‘when is this mysterious portfolio ever going to be finished?’ Never, is the answer to that. There was always something ‘wrong’ with it. I even started paying for more professional photographs but then by then, I was starting to put on weight. I’d get the odd few awesome shots, but it was really hit and miss. I really didn’t have the confidence to really be ‘seen’, I desperately wanted to which is why I wanted to have a career in front of the camera, but as soon as I got there I felt like I was cringing deep inside.

I only really felt excited by it when I was getting ready and being pampered. This was tainted with a niggling worry I was too overweight or looked ugly in the pictures. I remember when a shoot was cancelled because I didn’t fit the clothes properly. I know its obviously important the model fits the clothes but I remember I was 18 y/o and mortified!

So with my photos, I managed to get into a few smaller agencies. This didn’t fill me with confidence as in my head if I wasn’t at the top it wasn’t worth doing. Completely the wrong way of looking at it but isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?

My new body was hard to maintain; the clinic wouldn’t give me anymore skimming pills. So I had to do it on my own. It was mid Summer and really hot but I was always really cold with numb fingers. But I was getting more and more compliments about the weight I’d lost so it was easy to become addicted. The doctor told me I was under weight for my height but the modelling agencies told me I still had to get down to a 25 inch waist. I was 5 ft 9 with a 26 in waist. My hips couldn’t slim anymore because all that was left was bone.

 

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It was a really shallow, fake life I was living. I couldn’t be anymore further away from my authentic self. I started going to London’s most exclusive clubs with model friends whilst trying to make a living and going to what felt like an endless amount of castings only to be selected for a handful of jobs.

Something must have worked because all of a sudden people were taking notice. I was accepted into a decent model agency I’d been pursing for ages (in fact they’d previously turned me down three times).

 

 

It felt great because being signed was the equivalent of feeling validated as a ‘professional model’ and I wasn’t doing it all on my own. The quality of my photographs got better and I finally felt like things were taking off. I had a good few model friends I liked and would go out with. But the majority of people I’d hang out with I didn’t really know … I called them the ‘night people’. The type who would party with celebrities but had no real career of their own. It was weird seeing pictures of yourself in campaigns randomly around town. It was a weird contrast of excitement and feeling quite empty.

 

 

People would refer to me as a model and I felt myself cringe as I didn’t identify as one. This all started as a way to get back at an ex boyfriend and to prove something to people, but this new career choice was taking over.

My brain went to mush as I wasn’t really using it anymore. No matter how ‘pretty’ I felt at a casting or a shoot it wouldn’t be too long before I would compare myself to another model who I deemed ‘better than me’. I would scrutinise my photographs within an inch of their life, and was helped by others in the industry to rip myself apart.

I’d see other models getting who I thought were quite average looking getting the jobs I wanted and started to become bitter and resentful. The irony here was that I was already sabotaging my work but at the same time getting angry at others for what I considered ‘stealing’ jobs off me.

 

 

My self esteem was constantly in flux, people flattering me whilst others ignored me. Having my body measured in front of a room full of people I also found really embarrassing, especially if I’d put on weight.

Saying this I was enjoying the perks of the lifestyle, I didn’t have to ‘work’ that hard to make nice money. I’d get treated really well on (most) shoots, food was paid for, hotels were paid for, travel was paid for. I was being looked after at the same time.

 

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I had attention from celebrities and was invited to exclusive places. Shot with renowned photographers and was really starting to make my ‘dreams’ a reality.  My old friends and people I went to school with (and my ex) took notice, finally I was showing them … wasn’t I?

I didn’t feel like I connected with the majority of the other models, and the guys I was seeing made me feel like a Barbie doll. I felt like they didn’t see me as a real person.

I started to binge eat to fill that emptiness… the agencies were quick to notice. I no longer had the energy to attend meat market castings, I got dropped by a few agencies, I just didn’t have the energy to keep up. The more I was guilt tripped about not losing weight the more I’d binge eat and skip castings, being labelled as unprofessional as one of two clients ‘really’ wanted to see me. So it was text book self sabotage.

Looking back I really wish I’d given up the profession a long time ago. One friend who I really respect is Charli Howard. We’d often have a moan about the industry, which confused me as I though Charli was one of the beautiful girls I’d ever seen, so how was she struggling? She took the control back and when she was dumped by her agency she decided to model on her own terms and be an ambassador for female body confidence.

A lesson I’ve learnt in life is if you are going to do something, make sure it’s something you want to give your all to. And make sure your doing it for yourself not to prove something to other people.

Looking back I definitely got into modelling for the wrong reasons, when you’re young it’s easy to get swept up in the glamour and promises. Now I’m a lot more curvier and happier. I’m studying a Masters in Psychology and enjoying my writing. I still love doing makeup and taking photos but it’s more for fun then as a job.

I’ve given up the nights in Mahiki for city breaks around Europe which makes me genuinely happy. If the party lifestyle makes you happy I’d say 100% go for it . I know a lot of models who love doing what they do and are able to give it their all. But it wasn’t for me. And I’ve now realised it doesn’t make me any less than, or ugly or not good enough. At least I gave it a go, and at times I would have liked to have wanted it more to see where it could have gone. I’m happy that when I’m 80 y/o I can show my Grandchildren what their Nan used to do for work.

For now, I’m much more interested in getting to know the real me, and what she wants out of life.

 
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Hope you enjoyed this post! If you would like to see more post’s like this I will be posting ever Thursday. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest news and blog posts.

 

Warmest Regards

 

Why don’t you like me? 👍

Ever since I’ve involved myself in the world of social media again, I’ve become entangled in the validation game again.

I am at the beginning stages of creating a business and as an enthusiastic newbie, I already understand the power social media platforms can have for attracting new clients.

However, one of the main reasons I don’t model/act anymore is because I was never comfortable selling myself as a product. Shyness always got in the way.

But now I am involving myself in causes and interests I really believe in, and it’s not about me which makes it much easier.

But sometimes it stings when you’re really passionate about something and it feels like the world wide web isn’t so interested. Can we blame it on the Algorithm or do people just not care?

 


 

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I’ve never been too enthusiastic or strategic with social media. I lose interest in it quite quickly and revert back to putting pictures up of cute animals and psychology quotes. But I know there are a lot of people who are able to gain a mass following from selfies (and belfies) alone. What used to be ‘too much’ is now celebrated.

I guess sex sells.

I wonder if I use the right marketing strategies I can accumulate a mass following of people who listen to what I say? Should I put more selfies up to get more likes? Why do others get more likes than I do? Do I need followers to gain success or success to gain followers? Why aren’t I enough? Why is it only small businesses and random weirdo’s who follow me?

STOP!!!

This must stop. ‘Black Mirror’ was right we are becoming nothing more than rating addicts. I don’t want to be defined by my ‘followers’ or ‘likes’. It’s not too dissimilar from school but instead of competing to be popular with your peers, you’re competing with what seems like the world.

 

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What I personally find difficult is keeping a balance between using social media as a platform for my work and not letting it eat up at my sense esteem. I had a break from social media for 6 months and I noticed some massive changes in my outlook which you can read about here. Since I’ve been back ‘online’ the compulsive checking and the mini ‘highs’ I get from the ‘likes’ has started to creep back in.

Intellectually, almost everyone knows that inner peace and happiness does not come from the external (and if it does it’s short-lived). But that doesn’t stop us trying to crack the system. Social Media is the EPITOME of external validation, so why do we keep falling for it? ‘Herd Mentality’ perhaps? Or maybe ‘this time it will be different’?

 

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I think in this day and age it is really important to differentiate between ‘yourself’ from your online presence. It’s an avatar, no one is who they say they are online and it’s important to remember that. The online comparison is, even more, deceiving these days because people proclaim this online presence is how they are in everyday life, taking selfies at their local restaurant or jumping into a bed of flowers. It’s b*llshit.

Someone with 500,000 followers may be wondering why someone who is similar to them has 1,000,000 followers, you never ‘win’ in this game.

There are a number of reasons someone else could have a bigger following. They could have had a following from back in the days of ‘Myspace’ for example. They could be using social media a lot more than you. They could be hanging around with people who have a large following. They could have been on the scene a lot longer than you, there could be a thousand reasons. If you really want to go down that route Kim Kardashian has twice as many followers as Rihanna. And is she more beautiful or talented than RiRi?

 

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Likes have no reflection on who you are as a person, your self-worth, your intelligence, your looks, your brilliance. We are living in a society that has glorified what ‘likes’ and ‘followings’ mean. Let’s not forget most of the things are liking are edited to magazine perfection. No longer are we comparing ourselves to glossy perfect women on a magazine cover. We are now comparing ourselves to an idealised version of what other people want to be… and we’re falling for it hook line and sinker from a place of indisputable insecurity.

I don’t even put up random photos of myself like I used to, people seem to prefer filters rather than pictures that show the truth. After taking what seems like a million shots I scroll through the photos to decipher which one is at least useable. My gallery using consists of photographs ranging from that classic rabbit caught in the headlight to the double chin of when you turn on your camera on and didn’t expect it to be on selfie mode.

 


 

I think there’s a misconception that its impossible to be successful unless you have masses of attention from the general public. I’m divided on this as on one hand I think the web is very powerful and a great leverage for your business to be ‘seen’. And on the other hand, I think if you have a passion for something you will give it your all and the following will naturally come to you. But then having said that I know many people who are invested in an excellent project can’t get it off the ground as their marketing skills suck.

So I personally think it’s a case of splitting the difference. Working on what you’re passionate about whilst at the same time engaging an audience you know your business deserves. And giving yourself the opportunity to meet people who have the power to help you take your ideas to the next level.

The most important thing is not to let the ‘likes’ affect your motivation or self-esteem. I know it’s difficult when it feels like the world is so obsessed. But even if you haven’t got a big following you can still live your dream and be successful; social media is not the gatekeepers of deciding who gets to live out their dream job and who doesn’t. Yes, it can help if you know how to use it safely.

 

‘If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’.

– Rudyard Kipling

 


 

I don’t suggest you go live on a desert island and be satisfied with only self-love and coconuts to keep you going.  We are social creatures and need people. One of the reasons we feel such shame when we are humiliated or ostracised is because it’s our old brain (instincts) fearing we will not survive without a ‘pack’ or a community. Check out this interesting article ‘Why people need people: The myth of solitude’ here. So maybe the ‘likes’ and validation we get from social media triggers something in us that’s akin to survival. To be ‘liked’ is to stay alive?

I’ve always thought of myself as a typical introvert, craving my own space and needing time away from people to refill my energy levels. Looking back I still need this, but the times I thought I was ok being on my own I was actually lonely and would have benefitted from being around people I cared about. Though I couldn’t understand this at the time because I was so cut off from my feelings and my needs.

Stop getting validation from a computer, you are much more than that. Obviously, it’s nice when someone pays you a compliment or likes your photo. But if you rely on this it’s not too dissimilar to a drug addict needing their next fix when the high wears off. Its addictive, short-lived and not real. Step away from the computer and engross yourself with people who love and support you, even if at first it feels like withdrawal.

The strongest thing you can do is go against the crowd. Pull yourself out of the fiery competition. Gently be ok with who you are. Know that you will get to where you want to be. All that energy you give out to others, invest in yourself. Most people go with the crowd and what’s ‘in’ at that moment. Don’t be a passing phase. Make a difference in the world. Because at the end of everything, you really only have yourself to answer to.

 

Warmest Regards

 

Bullying…Why don’t people stop? 😡

 

Today I will be exploring one of the more darker and sinister sides of human behaviour.

Ever since we formed civilisations and communities; bullying has existed.

If bullying is relentless and consistent it acts as a brainwashing technique and after a while, the person on the receiving end believe this behaviour toward them is justified. This gives the bully more control and the power to enforce intimidation and abuse, which crumbles the person’s sense of self-worth.

Bullies will also employ other people to antagonise the person, to strengthen their ‘power’ and to convince the person they deserve this nasty treatment.

We will be exploring why people bully? What behaviours can be classified as bullying? And what we can do to put an end to this horrific behaviour?

 


 

In recent years we have identified the different forms of bullying. It was once thought that bullying remained in the playground and consisted of stealing lunch money and name calling. But we’ve now realised that adults can be broken down and bullied in many of the same ways.

Bullying can occur pretty much wherever there is human interaction such as work, relationships, friendships and even by strangers. The reason I say strangers is because in this new age of social media there has been a new level of malice called ‘Cyber Bullying’.

People in the public eye seem to be one of the main targets of cyberbullying. It’s easier than ever to have direct contact with high profile people minus the Managers and PR people that normally protect them. This leaves the person exposed to the wrath of the general public.  It’s a snowball effect. It often starts with one person sending a critical or even downright evil message to the person in question and then another person sees this and gets involved and then another and another. This is called the ‘Pack Mentality’ or ‘Herd Mentality’. Some people base their opinions and actions on what other people think and do. The targeted person tries to defend themselves but the overwhelming pack mentality can be relentless and bombard the person until breaking point. It’s one thing taking on one person but taking on a group can be almost impossible.

Bullies will often recruit others to do their dirty work. They don’t always reveal themselves as a bolshy, nasty people surrounded by a posse. Sometimes they can come in the form of your best friend or even your partner.

 

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This type of Bullying goes unnoticed for long periods of time as it relies on subtlety. The person on the receiving end of the abuse no longer trusts their own instincts, their self- esteem crumbles and they become a shell of the person they used to be.

That friend who always serves you a barbed wire compliment or the boyfriend who isolates you from your friends or criticises what clothes you wear are all bullies. It’s hard to spot because it doesn’t come in the stereotypical ‘form’ of what we imagine bullying to look like. We all know the classic ‘Frenemy’! Bullies often have a preoccupation with you, watching your every move, it’s weird.

 


 

My experience of Bullying:

I have experienced bullying in many different forms. It started not long after I lost my Mum, in middle school instigated by someone I used to be best friends with. The girls who did it were blonde, confident and nasty (well to me anyway). I was geeky and unsure of myself and obviously, my demeanour encouraged them to mock me, put me down and generally all round feel bad about myself. I was also probably quite damaged from the recent bereavement and I guess they picked up on that. I would stick up for myself, but again when you’re taking on a gaggle of girls it’s difficult not to start believing them.

My next encounter was in High School. Again I was that lanky, awkward girl who had braces, dyed black hair and to be honest was not the most popular person in the world. This time the bullies were male… no matter what I did or said it was ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’. They often found it funny when I got angry or upset, one time I remember one of them stuffing leaves down my top which really hurt. It makes me sad to think about what I went through at that age as I felt people were telling me there was something wrong with me from all angles.

I went to South Africa to see family one Christmas and when I came back I was tanned, blonde and had a new attitude. The bullying stopped, but only for a short time. It was a superficial way to make the mocking stop.

When I moved to London at 16 years old; the years of being told I was crap burned inside me and ignited my ambition or ‘need’ to show people I wasn’t what they said I was. Through work, I gained success and admiration. Finally, I’d shown them that I wasn’t this geeky awkward girl, but inside that still how I felt about myself.

Even though people from my past seemed to back off and have even graciously even gone as far as to throw me a few compliments here and there, the scars were still there. I seemed to attract the same types of personalities but with different faces, which often happens when you’re subconscious is running the show. I’ve realised I encourage processing trauma and tackling the critical voice but actually, I’ve neglected the other side healing which is building confidence and discovering goals and qualities about the self we like.

Bullies are not happy people. When people envision insecurity people often think of a person hunched over, unable to look at anyone in the eye. When in fact insecurity can present itself as grandiosity, narcissism, control and bullying. Think about it why do you feel the need to antagonise someone who has done nothing to you? Why do you care? If the only way to feel good about yourself is to victimise other people than you have a problem. I’d compare it to a poisonous codependence.

I saw this case recently where a young girl encouraged her suicidal boyfriend to kill himself, not suggested it, but actually BULLIED him to do it. You can watch the story here. She tried to blame it on her mental illnesses and change of medication but luckily the Judge saw through her Bullsh*t and sentenced her. It really annoys me when people blame mental illness on their evil actions. They have nothing to do with each other! It just breeds stigma and contempt from people who don’t have a strong understanding of mental health.

 

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When we were kids our self-esteem and sense of self-worth is determined by the relationship we have with our parents. When puberty starts the validation seeking switches from parents to peers. It’s paramount we ‘fit in’, and be accepted by other children. We crave independence from our parents and start to form a personal identity that’s not reliant on Mum and Dad. So anything that makes us ‘different’ is a source of shame for the child because it means they are not ‘like everyone else’. For me, it was mainly because I was awkward, tall and had a funny sounding surname. I hated these things about myself and even developed a bit of a hunch to stop attention being brought to my height.

Now I love being tall, its one of best physical features. I love my awkwardness I think it makes creative and think outside the box. And my surname… well I half South African and proud. Go to South Africa and my surname is like ‘Smith’ over there.

During our teens, it’s all about the opposite sex. We care about being attractive and being desired and it really stays that way throughout adulthood. You could say some even look for validation from their children later on down the line. But in general, that’s the natural order of things.

 


 

Main Forms of Bullying:

Violent:

Physical forms of abuse include hitting, scratching, spitting and can even sexual dominance or abuse. This can be seen in school children wearing extra layers to hide the evidence of their attack. Or wives who claim the bruise on their eye was caused by ‘walking into the door’. It can also be used when describing the destruction of one’s property. Ie) Destroying items that the bully know means a lot to the victim.

Social:

This is when the bully will use other people to help them make the person’s life a misery. It includes spreading gossip or rumours; otherwise known as character annihilation, encouraging others to socially exclude them, mimicking or playing nasty jokes, sniggering behind someone’s back when you know it will upset them and so on. Through doing this the Bully can hide behind other people, thus not having to take ‘full responsibility’  and the face the consequences when discovered. It also makes the victim feel that it’s not just one person that has such disdain towards them, its everyone.

Verbal:

This is an attack of words which can cut really deep. It chips away at the person self-esteem and worth. The person becomes vulnerable and makes it easier for the malicious words to penetrate. Typical verbal abuse consists of shouting, patronising, insulting, name-calling, abusive remarks about someone’s gender, race, sexual preference etc… making someone the butt of the jokes, humiliation, the list goes on. The old ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is an old-fashioned saying, but it holds very little water because words can sometimes be mentally more damaging than physical abuse, especially over long periods of time.

Cyber:

This is a relatively new one. And has reared its ugly head with the rise of social media; ‘trolling’ has become a millennial epidemic. This is a real nasty one as again it relies on the pack mentality. It’s often said that if people were on their own they wouldn’t behave like that, but when they are in a group something happens. The group can attack not only the victim but other people involved in the person’s life like friends/family. The bombardment of internet messages can overwhelm the victim and has even been reported to cause the person to self-harm or even worse take their own life.  The internet is so vast that any wrong or malicious information can be escalated by vindictive people who don’t even know you, making it their life mission to spread as much hate as possible. This can also take the form of ‘Revenge Porn’, a scorned ex-lover putting a video of you in your most intimate moments for the world to see… creeps, family and friends…anyone. Its purpose is to cause maximum humiliation; thank God at least that’s now illegal.

 


 

Why do people Bully: 

I try to be diplomatic when it comes to explaining the reasons behind peoples atrocious behaviour as I believe we are not born ‘bad’. There are normally reasons why people behave the way they do. But when it comes to bullies, I find it challenging.

When it comes to children, I understand they don’t know how to express themselves properly. They may be bullied at home by siblings or adult family members and the only way they know how to deal with this is to make others feel bad about themselves. I understand this, it doesn’t make it right though. I would encourage the school to get involved with not just the victim but the bully as well. I suggest their circumstance ie) home life and mental health are analysed and be sent to see a counsellor.

Or if they are relatively ‘fine’, I’d say we need stricter punishment so the Bully does not carry on acting out into adulthood. Protection of the victim needs to be made an absolute priority as well as the after-effects of the abuse, this goes for adults at work as well.

Adult bullies, however, I have no sympathy for. To continuously hurt someone who is innocent (and I use this word because no one ‘deserves’ abuse) is bordering on Sociopathic. Maybe insecurity is driving it, but it’s what you allow your behaviour to be that really determines who you are as a person. Bullying can be a sign of jealousy, the victim has something the bully wants. In their twisted minds, they think if they pull that person down it will give them power, control and self-esteem. This may work for a short time but as we know it’s impossible to get validation from the external it will always be conditional. After a while, they may even get a kick out of doing it, to me, this is sadistic.

Having said this bullying also exists in the animal world. Obviously, animals aren’t doing it to be a dick. Although I’m sure there are animals out there who can be ‘so and so’s’ but I’m pro-animal so they can’t really do any wrong in my eyes. Any bullying behaviour would come from a place of survival as against nastiness. For example, the Omega Wolf is the lowest ranking member of the pack. The animal may not possess the right qualities to lead the pack and this will be a threat to the pack as a whole, so the Alpha Wolf dominates.

This is not to say the person being bullied is weak, but they may be smaller in stature or in some way vulnerable. Your vulnerability can be your biggest strength, it’s people’s ignorance that they think they can dominate you because you are shy or sensitive is a true sign of the bullies weakness. You are strong you just don’t realise it yet. The amount of bullies who have tried to suck up to me on Social Media since we left school is quite pathetic really. Shows a real defect of character.

 

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What are the signs of bullying?

From what I’ve experienced and researched there are certain signs. They may be subtle or obvious. I’ve experienced bullying even in acting/writing courses that were meant to be fun!  Great time that was!

  • If you dread going somewhere because certain people will be there. That’s normally a red flag that bullying is occurring.
  • It seems to be you vs the rest of the group and you feel singled out. You may feel like you’ve done nothing to encourage this treatment.
  • Everything you do is ‘wrong’. Things you say/do. They may question why you did this or that a certain way making you doubt yourself constantly.
  • You may hear rumours about yourself. Or some people could be really nice to you and then get involved in the ‘pack mentality’ against you. It’s often people who are malleable who tend to be easily swayed. They are incapable of having their own opinion.
  • Someone who criticises you constantly. And then often tells you you’re being paranoid. This is what’s known as ‘Reactive Abuse’. People taunt you or bully you to get a reaction out of you then label you as aggressive or crazy or whatever when in fact you were just reacting to their abuse or defending yourself.
  • Your instincts are usually spot on. If someone makes you uncomfortable you don’t have to put up with it just to keep the peace.
  • Mocking … again this goes with the last comment if you feel it’s done in a malicious way you are well within your right to call this behaviour out. They may tell you to not be so sensitive but this is also a manipulation tactic in order to make you doubt what you know is wrong.
  • When having a disagreement with someone, they use aggressive body language or start trying to dominate you. If someone tries to ‘intellectually dominate’ you watch out for this as it’s a form of bullying.
  • If someone who is nice to everyone else but pretends you’re not there then this again is bullying albeit a subtle form. They may exclude you from events that everyone else is going to. Or give you the short straw ie) knowingly overwhelming you with paperwork, and then criticising you for not being able to keep up.
  • Laughing can be used as a way to humiliate. So if you feel someone is laughing at you and not with you this is normally a red flag.
  • Nitpicking, again this goes with trying to make you feel like ‘everything you do is wrong’.

 

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Fighting Back: 

I don’t suggest fighting fire with fire, try water. I’ve acted aggressively towards the perpetrator in the past and it’s only escalated things. You can fight back from a place of strength and genuine power. You may want to ‘show them’ you are more than what they say. But this will all come in good time, trust me from experience.

Here are some tips:

  • Bullies are looking for a reaction. Don’t let them have one. Show their opinion of you is worthless. I know it’s hard, and even if you want to burst out crying right there and then (which you can do when you’re on your own) be strong and know you are taking away the bullies power.
  • Tell someone! Tell a person who has your best interests at heart. Sometimes in the workplace, it can be difficult as the bully may be your Boss! There is always someone more senior to tell. If the person is reprimanded then they will normally blame you. Know this is only because they are scared of the consequences in store from them, which they absolutely deserve. Even if you are worried people will think you’re exaggerating, just know bullying is bullying and you don’t have to put up with behaviour on any level.
  • Keep evidence. Start building a case against the bully. When you do tell someone they will be able to take stronger action if they have your evidence to back up the story.
  • Start building up a support group. I don’t mean a posse, because you’ll find some people don’t want to get ‘involved’. But a support system of friends who can help you and support you day to day whilst this is going on.
  • Do your best to realise that this has nothing to do with you. It’s them who have something wrong with them. Not you!

 


 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Bullying is thankfully now being taken more seriously than it was in the past. It’s important we recognise the detrimental effect this kind of abuse can have on people whether they are a child or an adult.

People are speaking up on a massive international platform and this behaviour is no longer being tolerated. I think sometimes victims of bullying don’t realise the severity of their situation. They think they deserve this treatment or it may be in some way their fault. This is why we need to vocalise the signs and symptoms so people can recognise those insidious traits in the perpetrator, and take action to get out!

 

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If you want to read more posts like this don’t forget to subscribe to my blog. I’ll be writing a new post every Friday.

 

Warmest Regards

 

 

Happy belated Birthday Madonna! And btw what’s the obsession with women and age?

Happy Birthday Madonna!!

Sixty years old!

An Icon, a Superstar and the ultimate Game Changer!

Since before I existed Madonna has been performing and wowing audiences on a humongous international level. Love her or hate her she is still one of the most famous women to ever grace the modern pop culture era and is still going strong!

But as she hits another birthday milestone one of the hot topics that has come to light recently is her age. I can’t help but feel this opinion seems to be flavoured with a hint of judgement.

It seems her male counterparts are praised for their golden years; they are thought to be in their ‘prime’. We speak about people like Mick Jagger ageing but it’s something that’s considered a celebration rather than a criticism and he’s 15 years old than Madonna!

It’s not only the Celebrity world which is affected by sexism and ageism. We deal with it on a daily basis through off-handed remarks, social media, family, old-fashioned opinions etc… But why should we be ashamed or embarrassed about our age!? We shouldn’t feel like need to lie about our age.


 

A lot of women say they are actually happier with age and experience behind them. They know themselves, care less about what people think and are no longer concerned with conforming to what people expect of them. This sounds like bliss! I’d take this any day over my teenage years of insecurity, hiding my face full of makeup and never being thin enough … despite being considered ‘lanky’ at the time! Whenever I look back at pictures of my younger self I wonder ‘What was I so worried about?’.

 

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Madonna has always pushed the boundaries of what’s considered appropriate so why should she stop now? Who decides the age limit to be able to wear certain attire?

The male equivalent of the shaming ‘Mutton dressed as Lamb’ label seems to be the middle-aged man having a mid-life crisis; buying a motorbike and leaving his wife for a younger woman. So I wouldn’t say the obsession with ageing is just catered to women but it does seem to be more publicised and stigmatised when it comes to the ‘fairer sex’.

Mother Nature lacks a bit of compassion in this area too. As women approach 30 pressure from society and her own body clock to enter into Motherhood becomes a constant niggling anxiety for a lot of women. Nature dictates we can’t wait as long as men can but if someone isn’t ready to have a baby or isn’t interested in being a Mum surely that’s her business?

Men can Father children well into their 60’s, even 70’s and women are judged for having a baby in her 40’s. It feels like an unfair advantage that men have. And if a woman does choose to have a baby later in life the claws come out just like they did for Brigitte Nielson when she revealed she was pregnant at the age of 54.

Just like Brigitte, Madonna is in an industry that monetizes on beauty, youth and some could even argue the insecurities of women. Madonna refuses to care what the critics say and continues to wear the same attire that would be considered risqué for even a 25-year-old to wear. In my opinion, I think this is a great political statement and takes serious balls to break the mould; maybe we could have taken a leaf out of her book when we were younger instead of bowing down to other people’s opinions.

Personally, I wouldn’t wear the clothes I did as a teenager because a) they were a mismatch of things I thought looked good and b) as I’ve got older my taste in fashion has changed. I’ve never been too comfortable showing off my body, preferring to go for comfort rather than fashion; that’s just how I am. Now I’m older I figured out I can go for both; I’m more the demographic for ‘Zara’ than ‘Forever 21’ nowadays. But also I would like to think if I did have a complete change of heart and dress more extravagant I could do this without feeling like I’m ‘not allowed’.

I also appreciate a beautiful woman no matter what her age, I even think some women look better with a bit of age.  I prefer how I look now compared to how I looked when I was 17 years old with puppy fat around the edges. I know what suits me instead of trying to copy what my friends wore and what suited them.

 

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Women are also more prone to invest in surgical procedures to stay ‘youthful’ and ‘attractive’; although saying this in recent years it seems more popular for men to go down this route as well. Beauty Brands exploit women’s insecurity surrounding age to make money. They strategically market their products to have the ‘magical formula’ that will apparently take years off ‘Death Becomes Her’ Style. I don’t think I’ve actually used a product where I thought ‘I look younger!’. If I ever have thought this it’s when I’ve had more sleep and was eating healthier.

 

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In recent years going grey has taken the fashion world by storm. It’s mainly sported on younger women, but there are definitely some older women embracing their silver hair.

I remember the women in my family desperately trying to cover up grey hairs with blonde boxes of ‘Wella’. Whereas men were seen as ‘sexy’ flaunting the silver fox look. But saying this let’s not think about those cheesy commercials enticing men to dye their hair charcoal black.

 

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Meet Eveline Hall a 72-year-old Classic Model signed to the prestigious ‘Models 1’  Model Agency. She has worked with plenty of renowned fashion brands internationally, jet sets across the globe and has a job most twenty-somethings could only dream of! How admirable is this for a woman who is monumentally past the discriminating ‘shelf life’ stage!

A lot of women fall into the status quo by settling down and working a 9 -5 to help pay off the Mortgage. Nothing wrong with this but some may only find out what they really want when they’re older. We shouldn’t have to deal with a ‘missed opportunity’ culture that discriminates against people finding their passion later in life. At least female models are getting some kind of break with agencies expanding their categories to ‘Classic’ and ‘Curve’ instead of just ‘Main Board’ and ‘New Faces’. What this means is that the world now realises that you can be beautiful, even if you’re not skinny and/or younger.


 

Even though I am not overly thrilled about some of the ways society is changing; I am however noticing a new age where a celebration of one’s self is being recognised. So when I see derogatory comments about someone’s age, sexual preference, gender etc… it tells me we have some way to go before we are all considered ‘equal’ in societies eyes. There’s a change occurring in the way people think but I also fear that things are still the same just on a more subtle level as they know they can’t be as expressive with their judgement as they may have once been allowed to be, so it goes on in more of a devious way. But as long as it’s not the ‘norm’ and they have an element of fear about their prejudices we are making progress.

I think there’s more to a woman than her age. Confidence, kindness and wisdom are all just as beautiful as a wrinkle-free girl with toned abs, if not more.

Let’s celebrate age, and not give ourselves a time limit to feel beautiful and desirable.

This is your life you only get the one. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, live it as you please, you always have the right to feel good about yourself.

 

Warmest Regards