My Story

30 Nov

Growing up in the 80’s/early 90’s as a mixed race female wasn’t really the greatest. My family and I received quite a lot of abuse from all angles. For example I remember my mother telling me stories such as a time when she was out with me in the pram and had a complete stranger spit at me when I was just two years old, and when we went to view a house and had the neighbors shout that they did not want “coons” living next door to them.

It became the norm to me as I made my way through primary school. I accepted that I was part of an ‘inferior’ and ‘unwanted’ race. It did have quite an affect on my confidence and character. I was always trying to fit in and please people which meant I didn’t really have my own identity. It’s actually only now when I look back that I realise just how bad I was isolated and attacked with verbal and emotional abuse. It was horrible. I think I may have even blocked it all out due to how upsetting it was. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about it properly until right now! Making me a bit teary actually!

I floated around during my school days trying to find ‘nice friends’ as my mother would say. But it was even more difficult when you were already socially un-accepted. I was teased by girls and boys, which, as you can imagine, as a teenage girl was really hard going. You feel totally alone and start to believe that you are in fact everything they say you are. The feeling of fear, intimidation, dread and loneliness everyday is just heart wrenching. During primary school I became ‘friends’ with two girls who would decide each day whether they would be nice to me or completely isolate me as well as spread rumors about me for their own amusement. So I spent most of these years going to bed hoping that the next day would be a good day and waking up anxious and panicking all the way to school.

It’s so hard for children and parents of children who experience bullying as there is no quick fix. As a child, all you want to do is fit in and be happy, but when things don’t go that way, it’s so hard to process what you should do. Going to the teachers or your parents isn’t an option in a young adults head as that’s just another bit of fuel for the bully’s. On the other end of the spectrum, which I am now experiencing, as a parent you feel completely helpless. You want to protect your children from anything and everything, but if they aren’t telling you what’s going on, what can you do? The nights I would go home and sob to my mother but beg her not to do anything, I now know, must have torn her apart.

It has definitely had an impact on me as an adult too as I spent a lot of years being very submissive and timid as I felt that was my place. I still feel very insecure at times, however, I am so much stronger and more confident than I was. A lot of that I owe to becoming a mum as I would never want my children seeing me back down from something I believed in or show fear of others. I want them knowing their own self worth and being proud. I’m thankful that a lot has changed nowadays compared to back then, even though there are still a lot of ignorant people out there.

People do grow and things do get better. It’s so hard for someone in the middle of a situation to see that but it’s true. My advice for anyone being bullied would be believe in your own worth! Speak out and don’t go through it alone. Strength in numbers! Especially numbers of people who think you freaking rock!!

About the writer: Alex is a drama graduate and self taught photographer. She started out by photographing her friends unique style and was soon approached by others wanting to be shot by her. She has recently been offered representation and has been listed as a photographer for Vogue Italia. You can find her on twitter, facebook and her website.

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