So I love all things stylish, everyone that knows me, knows this. My sense of style has evolved over time, and I really feel like I can express myself through this. But there is a topic that I do struggle with, and have done for many years.
Believe it or not, self-confidence is something I have had to juggle for a long time. For a significant part of my life, I have found it very hard to completely believe in myself.
As a child, I was a very happy, out-going and bubbly character. I loved being in the spot light, I loved to talk, I loved being around people. I was a very confident young being. I was born in Manchester, and for the 7 years of my life that I lived there I was a happy, confident individual. Even though I was so young I felt like I knew where I wanted to be in life. I loved to dance – I was part of a dance group. I loved to act – I always got involved in productions and plays at school, I even loved to sing. I was innocently confident.
My family moved to Kent when I was 7 years old, and it was immediately a different experience for me. I didn’t know anyone – all of my friends I had grown up with, the people I used to play out with after school, my cousins, they were gone. I knew no one. The area we lived in as well was predominately white, and at primary school, with the exception of a couple of mixed raced children, I was the only black person in the entire school.
I used to get called names, all the time. And I didn’t understand it. I had never experienced any form of racism before, so this was a completely new experience for me. I didn’t understand why people chose to treat me differently, just because I didn’t look like them. After all we are all human beings right? It was strange for me, a confident 7 year old who wanted to fit in, but was made to feel completely left out. The nonsense people used to call me, looking back now is laughable. I even used to get called a paki. Pure Ignorance. I remember being picked up by my mum from primary school one day – she waited for me in the playground and when the bell rang all the kids came running out of the classroom. As I walked towards my mum, one of the kids ran up to her and said ‘is Sarah a paki?’.
The more people called me names, the more I felt as though there was something wrong with me.
We did a play of Cinderella at primary school, and being the performer I was back then I wanted to be a part of it, and I actually played the part of Cinderella, which I was extremely excited about. But a lot of the kids made fun of me and said I couldn’t play the part because I wasn’t ‘white’; some of the kids even said I would need white face paint in order to play her.
I used to walk in town in my area, walk down the street, and people would shout abuse at me. But why me? Why treat me differently because I am a different colour to you? As a child, I didn’t understand why people would behave like this, I had never known anything like it before. And it went on for a quite a few years.
My self-esteem plummeted, and before I knew it, I became very shy. The happy, confident and bubbly child was starting to disappear. All because I felt that I was different from everybody else, and for that reason I could never fit in, and would always be judged.
And I guess this is something that has stayed with me. Even now as a mature woman I still struggle with my self-confidence, and I think much of it is to do with the experiences I had as a child, growing up in a world where people would judge you because you were different.
I always worry about what people think of me first and for most, and I always worry about being judged. And for this reason I’ve felt like I wasn’t sure of who I am.
I have spent a lot of time trying to understand why it is that people may not like you, or they may judge you, and the answer to this? It’s not your problem.
I am coming to a point in my life where I have to stop and say to myself, ‘is this something you really need to worry about?’ And 9 times out of 10, it isn’t. I always worry about the littlest things. I worry about offending someone, I worry about hurting someone, I worry that someone may not agree with me, I worry I may say the wrong thing to someone, I worry that someone doesn’t like me. But should I? No. And why? Because it’s not my problem to worry about. A good friend of mine once said to me, that if your intentions are good, then the problem lies with the other person. And that’s the pure truth of it all.
Not everybody in this life is going to like you, and I guess that is just life. And what I am coming to realize as I go through different experiences in my life is that if I want to reach my fullest potential, then I need to accept myself for who I am and who I want to be. Accept you for you and strive to do your best. If your intentions are good, you have nothing to worry about.
Coming to terms with this has probably brought me here, to the world of blogging. It’s a start of me bringing out my creative side, and gaining back that confidence that is in me waiting to be released. And that’s what I’d encourage each and every one of you to do. Accept you and be you. Be who you are and say what you feel, because DR Seuss says that those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.