Storytime. Sometime in 2002ish. Age 12. Sat in a Music class, enjoying time with friends and laughing to my innocent heart’s content until I hear the back row of the class erupt in laughter with additional pointing. My laugh was annoying and harsh and unlike theirs, and therefore I was outcasted and bullied. I stopped laughing so much.
Sometime in 2004ish. Age 14. Sat in a high school Geography class and listening to people muttering my name and commenting on my lack of promiscuity. I didn’t go out drinking and kissing boys at the age of 14, on Friday evenings in central Wigan. I dunno, call me insane. This sort of name calling went on for a few years.
Sometime mid 2016. Age 26, almost 27!!!! With my own business, morals, principles, abilities to understand the rights and wrongs of speaking openly about my opinions on the Internet and knowing especially about how my feelings towards others might affect them. At this point in time, bullying is something I have left in my teens. Nothing that people say now can affect me in the same way, as quite frankly I have grown a back bone and feel sorry for anyone who feels bullying anyone, let alone a grown person, is something they’re entitled to do. Kids sometimes don’t quite understand the outcomes of what they say or how they act. Adults most absolutely do.
And thus, in 2016, watching the name calling being thrown around, by grown women in this industry, is beyond. Not just to myself, but towards others that I know, verbally and in written form. I thought we were past this sort of jealousy and immaturity?! Right?
Girl on girl crime is going down. Big time. And me and countless others are seriously fed up. Following a recent spate of name calling blog posts by a few people in the community who have voices better served on the gossiping hate site that will not be named here, I received SO MANY messages, emails and comments from brand PR members, bloggers and other creatives commenting on the bitterness, negativity and jealousy of these people. It seems that bullies do not go unnoticed. And they do not have the right to get away with it.
Even more storytime.
When I started this blog three and a half years ago, I had no idea it would become a full time career. I remember being perplexed when other bloggers I knew mentioned their lust for a full time blogging life and I thought, well that just doesn’t happen. Does it?
I carried on with my blog as a hobby. I was writing my PhD at the time and wanted to talk about something other than mobile apps and consumer behaviour. So I started Inthefrow and literally never stopped. Honestly, I can’t name ONE day off I have had since then. I swear to you, I couldn’t name ONE day when I completely switched off and did not do anything social or blog related. Three and a half years without one day off. This is not a complaint, just part of my point.
If I know I can’t do something well, I don’t do it. I see no point in failing at something. So if it’s something I want to do, I throw myself into it until I feel some form of completion. That’s what I did with dance, guitar, flute, writing. I passed my GCSE’s, A Levels, Degree and Postgraduate education with nothing lower than a B. Because I worked my arse off all day and night to learn, be educated, be inspired, push myself. And because I was never satisfied. That’s my personality in a nut shell.
The blog was a new and exciting platform for me to throw myself into. I didn’t care if it would become full time. I just wanted to do it well. So that’s what I did. For a year I lived on 4 hours sleep per night so I could stay up until 3am doing more and more. Until I was too exhausted and at breaking point and somehow managed to get my PhD over with.
My point here is this: I’ve worked myself to death to be the person I am now. Relationships have been extremely difficult and on the edge of complete failure. Friendships have been pushed to the absolute limit and even my own mother shouts at me to take time off, constantly worrying I’m going to make myself sick. I haven’t worked at this lightly by any means.
And you know what, at the moment, it feels as though the hard work was all completely worth it. I have been given a number of opportunities recently that I could never have even dreamed of. But I’m not stupid, or in my own social media bubble. I totally understand that it isn’t the norm to be 26, living in London, with my own business and travelling the world a few times a month. You know what, it blows my mind too! It’s a lifestyle I never expected and certainly do not take for granted. But each and every trip is another opportunity to work harder.
I went to the Maldives and yep it was paradise, and I posted about 40 photos of me in a bikini, drinking vino and swimming in the Indian Ocean. But I shared those photos because I liked them and thought you guys would too. Because I like to create a feed of beautiful imagery that is Pinterest worthy. And because I saw that trip as an opportunity to get the best content I possibly ever could. I didn’t sit around all day drinking Pina Coladas. I slapped my hot face with makeup, ran out into the baking sun and took photographs. 11 blog posts worth in fact. For the sake of creating imagery I was proud of posting. Because I love to create imagery that is inspirational, beautiful and potentially aspirational. You know what, I am completely aware that the majority of people can’t afford to travel to the Maldives. But for your wedding, or a trip in 10 years time after you’ve saved up, I’m sure it’s probably at the top of your wishlist. And for some reason, people really seem to have forgotten that actually, a LOT of people DO have enough money to afford these trips! In fact, a few days into my Maldives trip, I was told by the marketing team at the resort that a family of four had booked a wonderful holiday to the resort because of my snapchat! If anyone needs more proof that in fact people ARE inspired and DO enjoy seeing new places, new luxury products and new places to eat, that is it.
I am just becoming extremely bored of seeing the same people throwing criticism towards hard working professional women. I know that so many of you reading will have similar criticism and negative comments thrown at you from someone in your profession also. Or if you’re a student and currently experiencing a form of bullying; this topic relates to every industry, every hard working woman. Regardless of your industry, if you work your butt off everyday, and someone isn’t happy with your progression and success, then leave them be. Do not waste any more of your time on them. If they cannot support and praise you for doing your absolute best, they are not people you need in your life. The same goes for friends and acquaintances. It takes nothing to give someone a pat on the back, or to just not say or do anything at all. The energy it takes to be hateful and negative is far more draining than a simple ‘Good Work!’
When it comes to the blogging industry, some people have worked their butts off to create content that is beyond what they have done before. The majority of my closest blogging friends in fact fall into this category. All of these girls come from humble backgrounds, with full time jobs and a passion for their blogs. And I seriously applaud anyone, in any industry, who has been so dedicated to their passion that they could make it their career. They don’t deserve the disrespect.
We need to encourage and support women more. Women supporting other women; wouldn’t that be wonderful?! Jealousy and bitterness is a horrible set of emotions, that could be invested so much better into positivity and inspiration. Jealousy only brings you down, not the person you’re jealous of. So why bother? Support the people who are working hard to push the boundaries. I’m inspired every day by so many bloggers whos content is something out of the pages of Vogue. It looks flippin’ amazing. And it only pushes me to be better. I don’t shun it as unachievable or spend hours green eyed and angry at their success. I work harder and harder to find a way that I too can create something somewhat comparable.
And I have a feeling that so many of you reading will appreciate what I’m saying here. I’ve noticed so many of you commenting and truly appreciating the effort that goes into the imagery and design on this blog. And I could not tell you how happy your comments make me. Hence why I try to comment back to each and every one of you. More and more of you are commenting and reading and it just shows me that there is a huge majority of people who DO enjoy this sort of content and DO want to see more.
And when it comes to me, you only need to watch my snapchat (Inthefrow) or watch my daily vlogs to see that most days are pretty dull and I’m a totally normal gal. Sat in my office in sweat pants with my hair in a top knot and Weetabix down my jumper. And that my Instagram is a feed of great moments in time, because frankly I don’t want to post a picture of me in my sweat pants. But that’s because it’s my feed, and I can shape it into whatever I like. As can you. It’s not false or fake. Just curated and a selection of the best moments I have had. I’m still the normal girl I always was. Just with a passion for creativity and a lot of things to write down on paper, an itch to travel, a boyfriend who loves to take photos and a love of designer clothing. So sue me, but do people not have the right to lead the positive life they would like to, if it’s not hurting anyone else?
My point is this. Work hard, do your thing and don’t let ANYONE bring you down. If they’re trying to do so, it is only because they are below you, looking up at what you’re achieving with glossy green eyes. Bullies will have their moment and then it will be gone, and they will have achieved absolutely nothing in the process. Apart from a very bad reputation. Trust me. They should spend that extra energy being supportive, positive and encouraging towards others doing their own thing. Jealousy does nothing to me or to you. Other than spurring conversations and eye rolls over dinner. And I’m bored of having to eye roll.
Be who you want to be. Push the boundaries that have been built around you and don’t let anyone tell you that the way you’re doing it is wrong. Let’s get supportive guys and stop this girl on girl crime, finally. Have you seriously never watched Mean Girls?!?