Forever a small fish in a big pond

Friday 24 January 2020

I travelled to London ON MY OWN.... AND DID WHAT?

Being 3ft 11, public transport has never been my best friend- from not being able to reach the ticket machines to jumping 5.5 miles to reach the train platform, the strain it puts on my body means it's not something I love doing, even more so as it often forces me to do my least favorite thing in the world..... ASK FOR HELP. So public transport where possible has always been a no-no!
However, since moving away from home, public transport has become more of a necessity, it's how I get home. But necessity or not, it's not my favorite thing, far from it, especially when I have no one else to rely on.... so..... this may come as a bit of a surprise when I say..... I TRAVELLED TO LONDON. ON MY OWN.

Surprised? too...

It started when I got a message on my blog, explaining about a project taking place at the London College of Fashion- promoting an adjustable clothing range, which they needed a little person to model for. OK SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT. Firstly YOU WANT ME TO MODEL. Secondly... IN LONDON, YOU WANT ME TO MODEL IN LONDON. ON MY OWN? ME? A MODEL? NOPE.


Wasn't happening, I mean really, me? Surely not...

"Yes, of course, I would love to"-Ummmm, ok abort mission. What did I just sign up for?

As the day crept closer, I didn't tell many people. In fact, the only people that knew I was going away were my parents, my best friend, and one of my colleagues. That's it. This was something I had to deal with and process with myself before sharing it with anyone else, this was huge. Like proper huge. If there's anything that scares me the most it's..... Crowds. Big cities. Traveling and putting myself out there. And today I was about to face all four of these things.

The morning came, and I felt like a naughty school girl; I had taken the day off work- giving no valid reason, and I had turned off my snap maps with no possible trace. I didn't tell any lies, I just also wasn't very forward in telling the truth. Part of me I suppose was still in disbelief, another part of me didn't want anyone to worry; I mean I knew telling my family that I was jumping on a coach to the city centre of London on my own, wasn't something that was going to go down without hesitation. Another part of me, also knew I had to do this for myself; if I was going to take the step to push myself this far out of my comfort zone, it had to be because I was choosing too, not because I had anything to prove to anyone else.

When I arrived at the station, London seemed even busier than I remember, I felt even smaller than usual, surrounded by rucksacks and briefcases, all in a rush of different directions. I had half an hour to get to what I believed to be the other side of the city; in rush hour. Brilliant. So far, I had felt calm, almost no different from when I was traveling to and from a visit home. But this definitely wasn't home. Newport felt like a village in comparison to the mayhem around me.

The whole sensation felt surreal.

Walking through the crowds, crossing the business roads, jumping in taxis; from one side of London to the other, how did I ever get to this point? How did the girl who struggled to get on a train, ever end up traveling through London? ON. HER.OWN.

Fast forward to the journey home, I sat and thought if this whole process actually happened. To some, this journey would've been part of their daily occurrence, but for me, it was never something I ever would've considered. Would I love to be a girl who travels, who books holidays and goes on road trips? Of course. But when you stand at the average height of a five-year-old; the big wide world isn't somewhere you always feel brave to venture.

On this day alone, I had conquered more fears than I could count; not to mention the fact of standing in front of a camera. No filters. No hiding behind anyone else. Standing there. As myself. And you know what, it was so much fun. Was it scary? Of course, did I feel insecure; obviously. But the laughter drowned out the worries and the excitement for the opportunity I had been given, outweighed the anxieties it was causing. Not to mention the difference I felt I was making, there I was in front of the camera, no filters, no alterations, no hiding, why? Because people who are different don't need to hide. And that's the message I hope, my photos would spread. As someone who grew up, surrounded by unrealistic media, with body and self-image expectations set by the tease of photoshop; I knew how important it was. I knew how much I wished, I had seen someone in the media; who just looked ordinary. Regardless of disability, difference, or race, I longed to see someone without an airbrush cheek, or without a size 8 figure; and that's exactly what I was. Did that suddenly make me a model that people will aspire to? No, not in any stretch, but someone might. And even if they didn't, they'd still see me, they'd still see me condition, and perhaps it may become more of their norm. A norm to see people who are different, a norm to see someone with dwarfism; and perhaps that was going to take us one step closer to the society I dream of that sees someone's height difference as no more extreme than someone's hair colour difference.

And for that, it was worth it. Worth the fear and anxiety, to think I may have made a difference; even to one person. Not to mention the fact that our project as a whole promoted diverse and adjustable fashion. Something which in 2020; should not be something as a society we still fight for.

So there we go! Who'd have thought it, me, venturing out through the capital city, doing modeling shoots, and conquering public transport; I for sure never imagined it was possible! But if I've learned anything through this experience, it's that sometimes we never know what we're capable of, not until we're in the midst of it, doing it because we have no other choice! For so long I waited, held back from opportunities; 'UNTIL I FELT READY', well I'll tell you now, I did not feel ready. Sometimes we never feel ready; not until it's done and you're left wondering how you did it!

What's holding you back? What dream are you putting off? And for what reason? I didn't think I had it in me to do any of these things..... turns out that was only because I had never given myself the chance.


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