So as most of you already know, we had a fun and fabulous photo shoot two Saturdays ago and it was the most fun I have ever had during any working day I've ever been through. The response from people online made it even more exciting as everyone loved the pictures just as much as we did. The messages we got as well about building people’s confidence, changing the beauty standards of women made it even more worthwhile because that’s what we are doing it for. We got featured in our very first magazine by SLiNK too!
(click on the slink to view the article)
However, as expected there were a few trolls here and there that tried to dim our light and criticize the girls, simply for loving themselves. I repeat they criticised the girls for loving themselves! For loving something about themselves that had nothing to do with these keyboard warriors that, surprise surprise, all had cartoon characters as their profiles pictures. Possibly someone who isn’t too happy with themselves and trying to serve us with a glass of haterade because someone did something they would never dare do.
Although I don’t want to give them more attention than they deserve, my curious hat went on and I spent the whole body positive week this week researching more about trolls and tried to apply it to life offline.
When I say offline I mean the people that have said cruel things around you but somehow never really turned the finger pointed at you, to them and figure out why they are so negative about other people. Or why they take so much time out of their day to study you and make comments about you when they could be focusing on something more productive.
Like I have said before, I grew up with people ALWAYS commenting on my weight or how I looked. I remember one time I was on the bus with my friends years ago and there was a school football team that got on. They all started making comments about all the girls and one of them said ‘Ew! Not that girl, she is atrocious!” Everyone laughed and thank God, back then I had the confidence of Madonna. I genuinely did not believe that he was talking about me therefor my reaction wasn’t what he expected although I soon gathered it was me he was talking to.
He expected me to cry and storm off the bus but by the look on his face, I could tell he was disappointed at the fact that I said ‘I know he’s not talking about me’ sassing my neck and fingers. Now I think about it, this is similar to how trolls behave. They try to embarrass you or make you feel worthless in front of people but when they don’t get the reaction they anticipate, they chuck their dummy out of the pram. When you give them the attention they want or crave so bad, its like giving them doggy treats where they keep coming back.
Prime example is when we had one troll on Twitter. We all jumped up defending what we do and every single one of the girls in that picture. Then more people joined in defending us (which was amazing btw!) and the more we tweeted, the more the troll tweeted then other trolls started catching on and joining. What did we decided to do? BLOCK. I secretly went back to that profile and as soon as we stopped responding they moved onto someone else. Now can you imagine if everyone they trolled stopped responding? There will be basically talking to themselves until the buttons on their keyboard disappear trying to find someone who would play their game. I must say though, it is HARD to ignore!
I’m sure we have all had that experience where someone pointed out something about you that they didn’t like but put it in a way that they make it seem like it is in your best interest (or maybe I hang around the wrong people?). Some have been family members, where I recall telling a relative that I wasn’t going to wear make up to my partner’s birthday dinner. Their response, ‘Why, you look ugly without make-up’. OUCH!
My heart literally felt like it ripped in two because the one person I expected to support me and just say you look beautiful in anything said I looked ugly. My choice of no make-up wasn’t a movement or anything like my family always expect from me, I simply couldn’t be bothered.
She was my offline troll. Whilst online there is a block button, what do you press when they are staring at you in the face wanting you to play their game? I was so upset that I pulled out of the dinner at the last minute where I was meant to be making the boldest move of meeting his parents (scary right). I cried a little, I was hurt. I called him and told him I won’t be coming to which he said it was fine but I could hear the disappointment in his voice. It was meant to be something I was doing for him but all I could think was about the pain I felt being called ugly just because I liked my natural self and wanted to go out like that.
After about 10 minutes of moping, I thought no. I am not doing this.
Two seconds of words had stopped me from doing something that took months to prep… Do the maths and if you don’t come up with the answer ‘not worth it’, we need to have a chat.
With that in mind, I quickly got dressed in some white ¾ length trousers and a silver top my mum used to wear in the 80’s that I ‘borrowed’ and ran out of the door, ready to catch the train and make sure I enjoyed the dinner.
I didn’t wear make-up and I turned up. The best lesson I ever learnt.
All you have to do is turn up.
Once I was there, I had such a great time and had already forgotten what had happened before I left. I had forgotten the negative words I had been told before I left and when I got there, there was someone who made me feel like those words did not even deserve the 10 minutes worth of attention I gave them.
Now, with this experience in mind I then thought back to Mymilla’s experience with trolls after the photoshoot. It doesn’t matter if the person spewing horrible words is online or offline, your response is what matters.
You can either decide to let negative comments play around in your mind and stop you from living life or detour you from doing what you want to do, or you can just turn up.
I don’t mean physically when I say ‘turn up’ but I mean forget the comments and continue with your life.
When I get nervous about a certain event I am invited to, all I need to make sure is that I get dressed up and go. I show up because once I’m in that situation, I have no choice but to start enjoying myself and be in the moment. With that, all the anxious thoughts melt away and it was all done just by showing up.
Same for all the amazing ladies that took part in the shoot. If you read all their experiences, we were all nervous but once there, we enjoyed it so much I will do it 10 times over again and again.
We all have that negative person who always has something to say about your appearance or what you are doing with your life or making sly digs here and there. Brush it off, your actions after will let them know exactly how much their words affect your life or choices. Don’t pay attention to it to the point where they just feel so exhausted thinking about the lack of effort you gave their words after they did so much homework about your life.
This is me saying enjoy your life, trolls ain’t shit and continue doing you!