Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bulling: The Pain, Experience And The Other Side!

I'm about to talk about something extremely personal to me and this is one post that I have been wanting to share for a while. After many recent events that have happened between my friends and I, now is the time for me to share a painful part of my past. So sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit. There's a fair amount for me to say and I don't wanna leave anything out...

I have been thinking a lot about where I am now and how I got here. Recently I have been speaking with a number of my friends about confidence, body image struggles and the perceptions of those around us. We spend so much time thinking about what we can and can't do, what's acceptable to everyone around us and often it's our own feelings that get crushed in the challenge we face just trying to look good...

Let me bring you back to a time in my life when I wasn't so confident. During my primary school days I was a total outsider among my peers. Not only was I different to almost everyone around me by being mixed race; I had different hair and what seemed to be the worst trait to my physicality...I was fat! Being a young girl in a school filled with wealthy privileged kids with private tutors, au pairs and large houses in London is one thing; looking and acting different to them set me apart in many many ways. Very soon I was called out for being the bigger one in the class and what's sad is that even at such a young age children can be very quick to exclude people from the group. I was taunted by the posh kids, pulled and prodded and never chosen to play jump rope or hop scotch. Despite all this being from the age of about 5 I remember it all so well! As the years progressed my time was even more lonely there and I was lucky enough to meet a friend, Christopher who was soon being picked on for the very same reasons, he too was a "fat" kid in the class. We stuck together and fast became a support network for each other. In hindsight I do not know what I would have done without him.

What was always hard for me was being the only fat person in my family. No one around me was able to understand the way the comments and taunting made me feel and as a result I felt totally isolated and alone. The only thing I had to bring me comfort and escapism was music. I would spend any spare time I had doing extra curricular activities around music. I joined the choir, played instruments and would lose myself in the music. Nothing seemed to make me feel better other than that and I hate to say it, food...
Growing up on the estate I used to live wasn't much different, one other child in the area and my oldest friend Hannah was also a child to battle with weight problems and I guess we both understood how it felt. What was hard is that we never went to the same schools...

My teenage years were even worse, I moved on to secondary school and had to leave my only close friend behind, Chris. He went off to another school and I had to start that scary journey all on my own. I remember being in on my first day and seeing kids around 16-17 from sixth form there, compared to me they looked like giants and the whole experience was quite awkward. What I thought was hard in primary school was a trip to Disneyland compared to secondary school. I don't know if the attitudes of kids were different because they felt they had something to prove trying to fit in or if being the class prick was a badge of honour. For me the worst years of my life were spent in school...

I had such a bad experience my first year at secondary school I was constantly picked on, taunted and made to feel small. Countless times I was reduced to tears in front of the class with teachers always missing the moment when something would happen. I would come home withdraw further and have to watch my mum kick off about the lack of support I was getting as a bullied pre-teen. I was advised to write journals with who was troubling me, what happened and the time and place of the incident. Each day I was asked to submit this to my form tutor who in the end had to do something about what was going on. Meetings were had and I soon changed form groups. 

All was well for a short while and what made it hard for me was being in mixed groups with those who had troubled me before. Many classes would require us to mix and when others had seen people trouble me they thought that it was fun to do the same. I will never forget one morning when things were being said to me and I had to walk down the longest corridor in school to reach a language class, right in the mid section were the entryways to the outside quadrangle and social areas. At least 20 people were all shouting things at me, prodding me and I think one even attempted to throw something at me. Other times I had been made to trip and fall down stairs, have things thrown at me in class I just felt like there was something so disgustingly wrong with me. As far as I was aware there had to be for that many people to hate me and for me to have to go through the same torture every single day of my entire school career! I can honestly say that one of the best days in my life was finishing and being told I was done with that place and that I never had to return. The only happy memories I have being there were of me in the music and drama rooms or performing on stage...

The thing with bullying is that it's all fun and games to the people doing the pushing and shoving or name calling. How we overcome it is different to each and everyone of us. In my case I developed a thick skin and a "don't give a fuck" attitude. I know others who even now still have trouble facing some of their inner demons about it and it really upsets me. What's so bad about it all is that there is so little help to those who go through it and I'm not just talking about people who go through it for being fat. Unless you have had the experience of being bullied about your image it'll be very hard for you to understand how hard that battle is. 

After many years of struggling I reached a place in my life when I thought 'I have spent the majority of my life hating the way that I look'. I hid myself away in safe clothes. Did very little to enhance my femininity and in turn I was harming myself more than anything else. What I thought was doing my part to fit in and reduce the bitchy comments actually left me missing out on all the fun. I reached a point in my life when I thought to myself I need to learn to like myself! If I have an issue with someone around me I can leave the room, walk away and get on with my day. Unfortunately the one person you cannot get away from is yourself so you need to do whatever you can to enjoy your own company and to try and enjoy the way you look. It was then that I started hunting around on websites for bigger women who looked amazing in their clothes. I soon saw a stream of bloggers and fashionistas who were around my size and some even bigger than myself wearing all sorts of looks and it made me think 'what the heck if they can do it, so can I!'

I guess what I am trying to say is that I understand the pain and the hurt that a person goes through when they literally hate the reflection that stares back at them in the mirror. I understand how traumatic it can be to pick up the largest item in the store and still not have it fit. I get what it feels like to think that there is no hope and that you may as well just reach for that cream cake or chocolate bar for comfort. One of my biggest issues is using sweets to comfort myself or to deal with stress and it's something I still have to work on. I just want the message to be loud and clear that you can look good and that there is nothing stopping you from doing something that you want to do. In my experience I found that by my gaining some self confidence that alone made me happier. I was able to enjoy my image and want to make the most of myself because of it.

Give things a try, take some risks and if you fall you can always pick yourself up and dust yourself off again. I can honestly say that I feel fantastic these days I enjoy how I look and I can look in the mirror and actually think I look hot! Some may call it vanity or whatever for me I just feel proud to have come this far as I honestly didn't think I ever would.

If anyone feels isolated and that they have no one that they can talk to about some of these issues there any many people you can speak to for advice and support such as: BullyingUK and the Samaritans 

Speak out and don't just take it! How you feel matters, remember that! 


  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I had tears in my eyes when I read it. I know oh so well how it is. Your stories from school days being back horrible memories from episodes that I've tried to supress. I was bullied throughout the years at school and the worst was one time the other pupils dunked my down ti my bum long hair in flower, forced me into the toilet and flushed my head forced into the bowl. My hair was destroyed. It was glued together and I had to cut most of it off. The story is long, so I might make my own post one day. I still to this day feel scared of being left out and I sometimes feel awkward when I'm around people. It's something you carry with you every day and I think that my background has made me do some silly choices in life. I love you mayah. You and Sam are such great girls that I can't wait to hey to know more. ��

    1. There are so many painful stories that many of us hold from our past and the saddest part is that we all had to go through it in the first place! I cannot tell you how lucky I am to have come out of that the other side and be the woman I am today. Perhaps if I hadn't I may not feel the way I feel about these issues and I may not be so quick to give people the benefit of the doubt. It just saddens me to know that there are people all over the world having to go through what some of us went through and for the same reasons.

      Hearing you say that much almost had me in crying! It's too much to bare some of the painful stories and while there are many more I could have mentioned I just couldn't bring myself to write them. I love you ladies you help me out in more ways than you could ever know and I think you are so strong and inspiring! Thanks for being such a good friend honey xx

  2. Mayah, when I met you on Saturday all I could think was how beautiful you are. Seriously, I couldn't stop staring at you (sneakily, hahaha!) and how they couldn't see it defies beief. Or maybe they did and they were jealous. Either way, it pains me to know you were bullied so terribly and made to feel 'less than' by a bunch of insecure, sheep-like idiots. Bullies are always cowards and you're worth 1000 of them.

    I hope you hold your head up high for the rest of your life knowing you're a beautiful woman inside and out. x x x

    1. Leah that's such a lovely thing to say thank you xxx

      I am past it and that's what makes me able to tell my story. What's strange to me is when I hear people say that the best days of their life were their school days. I hated each and every one of them from the age of 4 right the way up to 16 and even through some days at college. My confidence was in my shoes and it affected how I saw myself and how I was around people. I was shy and withdrawn with boyfriends and always intimidated by my female friends with the gorgeous faces and slim bodies. It really can take you into your adulthood, childhood bullying despite the incidents being long ago.

      I just think that if my telling my story helps one other person then it was worth re-living some things to write this post.

      Thanks for your support honey xxx