Have The Courage To
In light of this weekends news, I felt it was only right to acknowledge what we as a community, are all more than aware of - this should not have happened again and we cannot allow it to happen again. You don't have to have known Caroline personally or even have been aware of her career, to feel sad about her passing. Another person in the public eye, vilified, gossiped about and pushed to the extreme, who felt they had no other way out.
We'll see newspapers and online articles over the next few weeks publishing emotional tributes and saying the things they know we want to hear. Spread kindness, be brave, talk to someone, support is here - but as sure as they'll tick those boxes, it won't be long until they return to their usual vitriol. Pitting women against each other, assuming to know private details of those in the public eye and celebrating people's downfalls when things aren't going the way society expects them to go.
What we need to acknowledge as a forward thinking generation, as equals no matter what our situations and as people who all have access to social media, is that what we choose to consume fuels the fire. Our choices create demand for gossip sites, for tabloid fodder, for trends on social media but in an era of extreme cancel culture, we can still choose kindness.
One by one, until the light finally banishes the dark.
We should take the loss of yet another bright light as a chance to look inwardly and be honest about our own actions. Our voices can cause harm or show kindness - choose wisely and remember to treat anyone who passes through your world (in real life or virtually) with respect. The respect they deserve and the respect you would want to be shown. Every single day we are presented with opportunities on social media and it's our own moral compass that informs those decisions. We are presented with opportunities to share a multitude of opinions, articles and trending topics, but what we choose to share will be our legacy. I for one would like my legacy to be that I didn't spew hate, I didn't fuel cancel culture and I made the choice to stand up for other people. Whether that be in my choice to share positivity, my ability to encourage charitable awareness, my recognising of my own privilege - there are so many ways in which we can be a tidal wave of the great things in life. What we also need to recognise is that we all have room to grow and that in the past even though we may not have made the right choices those choices don't need to define us. Idle gossip and assumptions should have no place in our lives anymore and as we move forward through life, choosing kindness means choosing to replace the things that can hurt with the things that can offer hope, laughter and bright thoughts.
You may have seen the beautiful quote 'In a world where you can be anything, choose to be kind' being shared this weekend and in light of Caroline's passing it seems particularly important. What you may think is 'Well it isn't that easy' when in fact, it most definitely is. Before your fingers hit that keyboard, before your words leave those lips and before you share that tabloid 'entertainment', stop and think. Think of the impact that click might have on another human being who may already be suffering, struggling and finding life already too heavy to hold, even it looks like they have their shit together. Choose to be kind in a world where we're privileged enough to have those choices and use that kindness to be a light when others need a little help. That's how people can sometimes see a way out of their own darkness, when others offer to hold the light for them. Have the courage to choose kindness even when it may seem to be the harder choice and utilise the few tools that social media offers us. Block, delete, report - the more we use them the more we prove there's no place for hate and in turn protect our peers. Choose kindness and make this a safe space for us all.
For those in the UK:
For urgent & confidential 24 hour support: Samaritans
For specific help & support: NHS Helplines
To find the right help & support for you: Mind
To help end Mental Health discrimination: Rethink
For those in other countries:
If you need help and support please reach out to a friend, a family member or a confidential site online, to be referred to the correct support network for you. Help is only a click away.
There is so much for you to see and do with your life.
Please stay x
For those in the USA:
For urgent & confidential 24 hour support: Lifeline
To find local support in your State: TWLOHA
To find specific support & resources: MentalHealth.gov
Find the right help & support for you: MHA