I had a lot of good growing up.
My parents started off very poor – relying on friends and second-hand clothing. Me and my older sister were none-the-wiser however; my only complaint was that my flat had no stairs, like my other friends houses.
Their extreme hard-work ethic paid off, and by the time I was 8, I suddenly became quite spoiled. Me and sister couldn’t even decide what we wanted for Christmas – due to having already what we desired. My pen at school to write with, had to be unlocked from the glass protection in the shop and my cosmetics kit by age 11, was designer makeup galore.
This story does have a sourness; my father was secretly (despite earning well above the national average) billing up huge amounts of debt. When his affair was admitted and the divorce proceedings began, my 13-year-old self had the biggest wake up call – no more spending indulgences – goodbye to my childhood house.
Overcoming my sad childhood, is not about money. It’s not a tale about a girl who said goodbye to riches. Throughout my stages growing up – from living well to budget spending – my sadness remained the same.
I always made a joke that I was born with issues. I remember being in pre-school – with one best friend. If she cried that she didn’t want to go, or if illness occurred, my body would shut down into panic mode. I would spend the rest of the day, being alone.
Rejection is a word that resonates – when reflecting on my past. It’s not so much that I think my class were in any way racist – but being the oddball (the darkest kid with brown hair and eyes), I felt rather left out.
One conversation that I can recall, involved the popular girls saying “blonde hair and blue eyes are the prettiest. Or green”. Ashamedly, when a Greek girl joined my class, I too avoided her, like everybody else. Simply because she was different – her fashion didn’t match the other 7 year olds and her English was not as pronounced.
I could tell that no one I played with liked me, because I was always made to be ‘it’, when playing outside. Eventually, I told them that it wasn’t fair and they said if I no longer wish to be the person whose ‘it’ (think of tag), than I am no longer allowed to play with them. Off I went.
Moving schools made me super happy. My primary school had crashes and waves like the sea. Sometimes, I had many people who I considered myself close too; I was continually invited to birthday parties.
Other times, I would sit in my school office pretending to be ill, as I didn’t know who I could hang out with during lunch time.
Not only was school a struggle, my anxiety started to build from home. My sister was extremely popular – a social butterfly, whose report card was as opposite as mine – as a bee is to a lion.
Hers declared that she was a wonderful enthusiasm – I was a quiet girl who needed to contribute more.
The fly-away comments always dug nails to me; “why can’t you be more like your sister?”. People would express their shock that we are related – making comments (criticism) that she was fun and I was awkward.
This comparison spread venom to our relationship, as my sister competed with me numerously. She was prettier, skinnier; the only one of us with style and of course, had an increased intelligence. Her words – that I clung too. If my sister didn’t like something – neither did I.
A few years into high-school, a turning point began. Still insecure and anxiety ridden, I had a friendship group, popular guys that really fancied me and for the first time, I was complimented on my appearance and fashion. Growing up, I hated my features.
I could honestly write an entirely new post about my time in high-school and college (request it and I will), but for now, I’m jumping forward.
Finishing my A level education, I was not confident enough to pursue my dream of writing (despite qualifying for the universities that I wanted) and somehow found myself as a makeup artist.
18 – commuting to London – working on a bustling street; the wrapper covering me, started to peel. When I stepped onto that train, I was becoming an entirely new person. No one knew about my past.
I worked with a variety of women – varying in age and personality, and I completely felt at home. The biggest wake up call, was to be able to acknowledge that I was ‘normal’ and not so shy as I deemed myself.
The issues of my scoliosis surgeries and acne continued to plague me – when working in high-end stores, women would openly criticise my skin. I was told to stop eating bad, to invest in products (I was spending hundreds) and that I “don’t belong in a beauty hall” – one female’s exact words.
Now, as a far more self-assured women, I find these reflections humbling. An almost gratitude approach to these situations.
Not only am I modelling, I am now writing for publications and have spent the past five years, with a makeup career that expanded to film, fashion, applying makeup to beauty industry people and assisting – extraordinary talent.
My career in my eyes, is at an embryo stage. I guarantee if I hadn’t of lived through what I did, I would not have the guts to go against the grain and pursue something creative.
Sometimes people view the good, without knowing the back-story to the bad. When others tell me that my body is really toned, they don’t realise the amount of crying and pain I faced, figuring out how to exercise with a less flexible spine.
We all have our own problems and demons that we have to overcome. Unfortunately, I’ve heard accounts that make my childhood, seem like a fairytale. What’s important is accepting your experiences and understanding that as adults, we are no longer the same.
Is there anything from your childhood that you have had to overcome, or memories that have made you stronger?