Lately I have reached a cross roads of sorts. Alot of things have changed over the past couple of years, not least of those things is me! For whatever reason, I have discovered dreams and aspirations that I never dared consider before and the possibilities have at times been overwhelming. This should have been a good thing, but it was stifling.
Just recently I met a lovely lady who works in PR but also as a life coach and motivational speaker. Lydia and I met casually, not professionally and struck up the beginnings of a friendship. Every day she tweets messages of love and support to her followers; words of motivation for the day and her circle of friends is incredibly diverse. After attending a swanky event that she recently organised, I called her to thank her for the invite.
Lydia was well aware that I had been feeling a bit lost recently, struggling to work out what to do next and desperately trying not to squander my opportunities. So it wasn’t a surprise when she started to ask questions.
I explained that I felt as though a huge set of doors had been opened into another World, another life, but I didn’t know how and perhaps was too afraid, to step through. Why? They might not like me. What will they do? They might laugh at me, I might not fit in, I won’t be good enough, I might have to pretend to be someone I’m not.
My 14 year old self was still taking part in my decision making process. Apparently this is not uncommon at all!
I was a bit of an ugly duckling. When I look back at photographs, I don’t think I looked that bad, but the taunts of bullies and bullies who didn’t even realise they were bullies, throughout Primary School and High School would convince me otherwise.
I never had the right shoes, the right hair, sometimes even my socks were hand-me-downs and the other children certainly let me know that they’d noticed. I was clever too, which didn’t go down well. Heaven forbid someone might actually ‘try’ in school. I had quite a loud, bubbly personality, but if it were to come out infront of the wrong people then it would be shot down and mocked and done so as publicly as possible. It got to the point where I was desperate to fit in, just to go unnoticed. I remember desperately wanting a boyfriend, like having one would put pay to jibes about my appearance, clothing and social awkwardness….so much so that I ‘went out’ with a boy that I didn’t even like and who didn’t like me. I even found myself taking it out on someone else and being mean to another girl (which however brief it was, I will beat myself up about forever). Rumours were spread about me, you know the sort that are spread about teenage girls and I hated every single minute of it.
Where were the teachers? Nine times out of ten, they were witness to it, one Maths teacher was even party to it from time to time.
Bullying is not confined to the school yard, it goes on into adult life and so too does the ‘victim mentality’ that bullying leaves in it’s wake.
I’m sure that alot of people don’t realise the damage that they’ve done to their peers. About a year ago I was talking to an old school friend who had witnessed, though seldom took part in, the ‘picking on’ that I experienced. He was surprised to hear that I considered it bullying at all and said “it’s just what kids do”. I think that when he realised how relentless it had been, he changed his opinion, but the fact remains that many people believe that bullying is an acceptable part of growing up. It is in no way acceptable.
So there I was, explaining my fears to an off duty life coach. Lydia shared some of her own experiences, which of course I won’t go into and we talked at length about forgiveness, strength and choices. Unless someones actions can really hurt you now, let them go.
We are all the product of our experience and some of us have had more positive experiences than others. There is a phrase that my Auntie Lizzie likes ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. I like it too, but it suggests that we should be thankful for the bad times, for making us who we are. Lydia suggests that we should actively decide to be the product of our good times; what made me smile, made me wonderful.
I know I’d much rather walk into a room, feeling like the product of my successes rather than my sadnesses.
The crazy thing is, I’m a happy person! I’m lucky, I’m loved and I’m full of potential and yet perhaps I was walking around with a victim sign on my forehead. I was allowing old fears and insecurities to hold me back and creating my own obstacles. It makes me wonder how many other people are carrying similar burdens; it isn’t always obvious.
I’d often wondered what a life coach actually was and now I think I know. Life coaching is like very positive, upbeat counselling! I’m lucky to have a supportive husband who tells me every day how much I’m worth, but somehow hearing it from a professional (and someone who doesn’t rely on me to wash their pants and socks!), felt very different.
I wholeheartedly advise that you follow Lydia on Twitter right away and if you’re needing a little direction, get in touch.
So how did our chat end?
Well, I now have a clear idea of what my dream actually is. If you’re aiming high, you need to be specific about where you want to be. I want to continue writing, broadening the publications who feature my work and I’d like to work in broadcast journalism: I want to work in Radio.
Now that I can see how the past effects our future, I feel I can have a better control over it’s power.
I feel more confident in myself, my appearance, my ability, my worth.
I forgive what has happened. Most bullies, whatever their age are being bullied themselves or at the very least are suffering in some way, so I forgive them. Adults and children, recent and long ago; who cares about it anymore? The future is so bright.
I thought I’d maybe had my butterfly moment, that I’d ‘peaked’. Now I realise that I’m just in the chrysalis phase and the best is yet to come.