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Friday, 2 September 2016

An Open Letter To Bullies & Supporting Each Other, We're Better Together. Let's Be Nicer.

I've lived in a happy bubble for quite some time now, where people are nice and I cut out those who aren't. It was through choice that I chose to live this way, because trust me, it's easy to get dragged down with negativity and become a doormat. I made a decision quite some time ago to eliminate unsupportive people from my life, even if that meant having practically no friends at all. The saying is true: If someone no longer grows you, you don't really need them. I think it's really important to surround yourself with people who make you feel great, inspire you and do good to you.  We get one life, that life is for living, why waste it? Trust me, I'm saying this after years of wasting time on particularly horrible groups of friends and men too or should I say, boys. Sometimes it's easier to get stepped all over than it is to stand up, take control and leave, I totally get that but as far as I'm concerned, life shouldn't be just 'okay' or 'mediocre' - it should be amazing and if someone ever makes you feel less than amazing, they don't deserve to be in your life. It took my family  over 20 years to remove themselves from a volatile, dangerously abusive relationship.  These things take courage. Granted, it isn't easy to cut people out, but, I've come to the stage in my life where if someone isn't nice to me, doesn't support me then I'd rather use my energy on those who do. It is 2016 after all, the year of supporting each other. If you read my friendship post, you'll know that I'm all for supporting others and growing together.  Something happened last week and it made me want to have a little personal ramble about some of these topics. I hope you enjoy another personal post from me today. 

Dress online here 
Sitting in a restaurant having brunch with three lovely girls, minding our own business, we noticed a girl, similar age, on the table next to us, sat pretty much opposite me. She was staring at us. You're probably reading this like, what? She was only starting. I can cope with starting, but usually, if I catch myself staring for too long,  I turn it into a smile so the person doesn't think I'm being nasty. This 'staring' got quite bad, to the extent where every time I spoke I could feel her eyes intently burning into me. Every time I spoke, I could feel her looking at me, sniggering, whispering and just not being very nice. I feel very fortunate that I am often approached by lovely readers who tell me they read my blog, so at first, I wondered if maybe she was a reader who was a little nervous to say hello. But, as the staring continued, I quietly asked the girls I was with if they'd noticed it, they had noticed it too and we all started to feel extremely uncomfortable to the point where we looked at her politely to prompt her to stop. She continued, pointing, laughing, sniggering and as she whispered, her boyfriend would turn around and look at us too. It was overtly obvious that she was talking about us and not in a nice way either. We wondered if maybe we had lipstick on our teeth? Did my hair look funny? Was she mocking us? What was wrong with us? It was hard to ignore, she was more interested in our table than her own to the point where I couldn't finish my conversations as I felt awkward every time I spoke because I could feel her looking. After a long afternoon, we stood up to leave (I was scared to leave as I didn't even want to walk past). As soon as we stood up,  this girl dramatically rolled her eyes at my friend. It's worth saying that we were minding our business the whole day and in no way egging her on or looking at her in a nasty way, we genuinely sat there trying to ignore her glares and felt baffled that we were being stared at and sniggered at for no reason at all. We didn't do one single thing to deserve it, even the waiters were watching and could see this was going on. 

I am used to nasty people, who look people up and down, far too much of it goes on and it upsets me when I see people looking others up and down, just be nice! It's not hard to be nice. As they said in Mean Girls: calling someone ugly isn't going to make you any prettier. I actually once heard a bride walk past another bride in Canada and say: "Ha, my dress is way nicer than hers." WHAT, it's the happiest day of your life and you have time to slate another woman on her happy day?! If you can't drop rivalry even on your wedding day then jeez! Equally, you can be the best looking person in the world but if your personality is nasty, then to me, that makes you ugly on the inside and reflects on the outside. 

Anyway, back to the other day, it got so bad when we left, as I walked past her table, I nervously and politely said to the girl: "Hey, I'm just wondered if you had a problem or something?" to which she looked at me and said "no". However, she did look shocked that I had approached her. I would never ordinarily confront someone, I'm not a confrontational person but I almost felt like our table had been bullied out of the restaurant and I needed to let her know that you cannot sit and look people up and down, even though I didn't mention that she was looking at us. I genuinely was interested to know if there was a reason she was looking at us so much and the answer was simply: "no". I didn't ask in an intimidating way, it was more of a curious manner.  We all felt pretty upset when we left the restaurant, that one person can make someone feel so rubbish purely by the way they look at them.

I see this as a bit of an open letter to any one who's ever looked down on someone/made them not feel 100%. We're all guilty of it. 

This experience really got me thinking and inspired me to talk about some of my favourite, yet quotes. They may be cliche - but they're so true. 

1. Supporting someone else isn't going to do you any harm - Seriously, clap for people, why wouldn't you? When I see people doing well, I turn jealousy into motivation and it makes me want to work harder. It totally inspires me. 

2. Your smile could make someones day - I was once in a restaurant for breakfast and an elderly man from a care home goes there every morning with his slippers and his paper. I absolutely adore elderly people so kept smiling at him. When I left the restaurant, he told me that my smile had brightened his day (not in a creepy way) as he was very lonely. A little smile goes a long way, I always find myself responding to homeless people in the street if they ask me if I have money, even if I don't give them money, I still give them the time of day and ask how they are or say, have a nice day. You see their faces light up because a lot of people blank them as if they're not human. These people are living, breathing humans. One minute of your day could mean everything to someone else.

3. You don't know someones story - Equally, you never know someones story. Even if you think you do. Fair enough, the girl looking at me may have just been having a bad day, but usually, girls stare and quickly get it over with, or, after they've stared, they'll smile or tell you they liked your dress - this was a full blown nasty situation which continued for hours. But equally, she didn't know our stories. You should never judge someone, not even when you do know someones whole story. It's like when you hear people say: "oh brighten up". You just don't know what that person has been through that day.

The restaurant situation prompted me to write this blog post, it brought back bad memories in high school when people made me feel so low, unhappy and unable to even go to school. It sounds cliche, but when we all work together, great things really can happen. I don't just mean girl on girl either, although a lot of the time on social media in particular, it's women I see breaking eachother down. I had issues with nasty boys in school too, I was mocked over having a blog in college, by the nastiest group of boys, I ended up having to block them all on social media because they'd comment on every single thing I did. Looking back now, it wouldn't hurt me if they did those things now, but because I was young, impressionable and to me, their approval was everything; it really did hurt me. I spoke to a 15 year old girl the other day who told me she is getting bullied at school, the things she told me reminded me exactly of what I went through - whilst it may seem trivial now looking back, school was actually horrible. A flower never competes with someone next to them, it just blooms. It's something I'm living by at the moment. Why knock people down when you can build people up? Does it really take much of your time to say well done or good luck to someone? We are all busy, I know myself and my friends are at the moment, but it doesn't take long to quickly send a text wishing one of them good luck in a job for example. 

I had a really bad time at school looking back; some people there were just awful. My Mum says I was just unlucky with my year group. Not only was I going through horrendous abusive struggles at home, something no-one at school knew about, to the point where I was once found crying my eyes out in the rain down a dark footpath because I couldn't go to school in the emotional state I was in, making an elderly man want to call the police as he was so concerned about my well-being. I needed to get away from home, so school should have felt like a safe place for me. However, going to school was so horrible to the point where I really didn't want to go somedays and looked at moving schools so many times. One day a girl aggressively squared up to me in the playground because I 'took her friend off her'. Another day I was so petrified I locked myself in the toilets and my Mum had to call the headmaster to remove the girls so I could get out. Another time an older girl walked past me and for no reason at all, punched me in the stomach. This is only a week before she pushed another girl down the stairs and hospitalised her. The scary thing is, I went to a really nice, leafy green, village school but unfortunately, some of the people, for whatever reason, were nasty, for no reason. I thought it would end when I got older, but even in college, I was abused by a group of girls when my boyfriend cheated on me (read my personal post about that experience here to understand more). I was the one who was cheated on and left devastated, but the girl who he cheated on me with (one of my best friends) was protected by the 'scary older girls' whilst I was petrified of going into school as they threatened me. 

In school, I was surrounded by these people every day, there was no escape, if I wasn't been attacked in the playground, I'd see nasty Facebook statuses instead. I feel lucky now, that I've found the strength to let go of these people who aren't good eggs, these people who can't support, don't motivate me and don't make me feel 100% me. I also feel lucky that I don't hold any of this against those people, I can see that hopefully, they were young, they made mistakes and people can change and grow. Just like I have, I hope they have too. Remember, keep doing you, you should never change who you are for anyone. For so long, because of these people, I stopped doing me, I kind of lost my spark and my personality. 

I guess as I've got older, every single day for me is a learning curve. Going to University made me feel better, it was a fresh start out of the small village mindset. Some of these people who made me feel that way have never stepped foot out of our area. They haven't seen the world or experienced things. You don't need to experience things or see the world to be a nice person  but I definitely think seeing the world and experiencing things has made me who I am today. I've been through some horrible situations in the past few years, but they've shaped me, made me appreciate the world and certainly made me want to live for the moment and never take life for granted. Sometimes, horrible things need to happen to put life into perspective. I only hope that these same people who made me feel unsafe and unhappy when I was a child, have grown up now. Grown up like I have. Some of these people now have children of their own, I just hope their children never have to go through what they put me through.

If I can make one person just be nicer, ("it's not hard to just be nice"), compliment another person or smile at someone instead of growling at someone, my job is done. In an ideal world, we would all support each other, that's never gonna happen, but hey, who knows what we can achieve if even some of us start being a little bit nicer, more supportive and smiley to strangers. I guess it's simple really: let's be nicer. 

Let me know if you had any bad experiences like this/how you feel about this topic. Should we support each other?

Dress online here / shoes online here / hair by Sassoon & styled by ghd / Photos by Rebecca Spencer

*I've been shortlisted as InStyle magazines top lifestyle & travel blogger - your vote would mean the world to me (you can vote here) thank you so much x *

Lots of love, Em x

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