Forever a small fish in a big pond

Saturday 13 June 2020

Bitter VS Better

From a young age, I have clear memories of being shamed for my body image and size. From the innocence of my reception classmates saying I “looked funny”..... to the 15-year-olds shouting “freak” down the secondary school corridors. Be it right or not, I guess you can say “I’m used to it”, so more times than not I brush it off... cold shoulder, because frankly there are not enough hours in the day to give attention to every person who stares at you as you walk down the street, I’ve mastered the brave face. But that doesn’t mean I always want to use it. I don't always want to say I'm used to it...

When I was 15, whilst walking home one evening, I had abuse hurled at me, with various items thrown in my direction. That was my wake up call to the bitter world we live in. My realisation that the pettiness and immaturity wasn’t going to end when I left the school corridors, this was reality now. And it was only just beginning. 

[Antibullying shoot:2017, Photo Credit: Miss A.Wait]

I’ve had my face photoshopped on memes. I’ve been followed and filmed in the streets. Had my social media’s leaked onto “just for fun pages”. I’ve been called every name under the sun...... Fat. Ugly. Freak. Monster. Been told that I should’ve been given up as a child. Some even going as far as telling me my existence on this planet isn’t worthy. And for what?

Because I happen to be 1 metre shorter than the average adult my life doesn’t hold as much value as if I happened to be 100cm taller?.... I’m not going to bore you with the jargon and statistics behind my physique, but the simplest way to explain how my condition became a thing, can be done in two words.

Genetic fluke.

Neither of my parents have the condition, nor have traces of the gene in their families. Therefore it was a fluke. A chance. A coincidence. An accident if you will?..... whatever you wish to describe it as, no one held any responsibility for it. No one has any control over it. I certainly didn’t choose it. Yet society continues to punish me for it.

I started my blog in 2016, off the back of years of writing diaries and notes on my phone. I found it very hard to speak openly to people as a teenager, for all the reasons above.... so I always wrote instead.... be it to a counsellour, a support worker, a teacher... a friend... if it was something that I knew would make my words shake, I put it on paper.... then in 2016 after leaving secondary school and going onto college, my life experiences were changing; the way I felt towards things were altering.. and I found myself looking to a lot more social influencers for comfort... looking for the reassurance that others were feeling my feelings too..... I craved to be inspired; and with that sparked the thought of maybe... just maybe... I had the power too to inspire too. 

But there are hardships that come with having an open social platform; you hold yourself open to hurt, to hate.... so much so that you can almost expect someone to pick something out of a post. I remember one time, a post of mine grabbed the attention of online trolls, to which I was told by someone I knew “well what do you expect...if you put yourself out there...... it’s bound to happen”. Hang on? It’s bound to happen? Is that really what we’ve let our society come to. That bullying isn’t even seen as a surprise, but instead something that’s bound to happen? Almost as if, me writing my blog, deserved me of such targeting. 

There have been many times I’ve felt just pressing delete. In my life there’s not many things I can control, so sometimes deleting a platform that opens me up to vulnerability and targeting seems like an easy option, a power I’m hungry for. But whilst it would take away some of the hurt and pain our society causes, it would too take away the blessings being a blog writer has brought.

The thank you messages. The signs of gratitude; the “you really helped me”. All of that. It was all I ever could’ve wished for when this all started.... and it’s something I feel lucky enough to be able to have achieved. I know from experience that sometimes all the comfort we need lies within knowing that someone else is feeling it too, someone else is carrying your load.... and even more than that someone else has come through the other side. And not to mention the friends. The people that have come together; the families I’ve met who all found me here. 

All of that and so much more. It would all be gone, and for what? The satisfaction of an online troll.... who probably couldn’t even tell you my name. Which is why. We get back up. We dust ourselves down. We cry. Scream. Shout. Feel sorry for ourselves maybe..... and then we wipe our eyes, tie our hair up, and come back even harder.

It would be easy to be bitter. As bitter as the world that surrounds us... And believe me, those feelings don’t go unseen. I’ve cried for days. Prayed for days. I’ve begged doctors to “take it away”, but all the time knowing nothing is going too. This is my card. Albeit not one I asked to be dealt, but still one I have to deal.... and how I do that could easily be influenced by the hatred and torment of others. And believe me, some days it is. 

But whilst I have power over very little else, one thing I keep power of is how I choose to play my card..... And whilst I still continue to pray... for a day society feels no need to bring others down simply for.... a fluke. I’m not going to allow my actions now to be influenced by those who see nothing better to do with their lives than bring down others. 

I for one do have better. 
And for that. Regardless of how they try to make me feel... 

I’ll always be better.


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