Bullying: an adults private shame – a taboo subject that needs eradicating

It’s time to talk day and I want to share my own private story relating to bullying and how it has affected me.

For as long as I can remember I have always been subject to some form of bullying. First it started in the playground with the typical name calling. I was called spotty a lot because at the age of 8 I had developed horrendous acne that would remain with me until my mid-twenties.

Then in high school I was bullied for a number of other reasons including; having blonde hair and been good at maths and science. I succumbed to peer pressure and asked my mum to dye my gorgeous blonde locks brown in an irrational attempt to fit in. Did it work? No I just got bullied even more. I should point out my mum had no idea as to the reasons for dyeing my hair other than I told her I fancied a change. Name calling had advanced from spotty to E=MC2, point dexter and ironing board (for my lack of chest growth).

Between the ages of 11-16 I endured this name calling and even physical assaults from my personal items been taken and having acid poured on them to having a bottle of cola poured over my head whilst sat in a French class. Nothing was ever said to my parents by the school and teachers showed little to no interest and tried to shrug such behaviours off as ‘normal’.

So as you can imagine high school was a lonely and miserable place except for a couple of close friends. I longed for college where I thought some of the pre-adultescent behaviour would disappear. No, it just followed me. When I turned 17 I signed up for the military to escape my home city and at the age of 18 after completing my A-levels (my back up plan) I officially enlisted.

The bullying settled for a while but then during the middle of basic training it started and this time by a group of younger girls all because I had started to see my boyfriend (now loving husband). I was bullied in the most awful way – these girls made up stories about me to my boyfriend. Things like I was cheating etc but that came to a head one weekend when one of the culprits telephoned my boyfriend (whilst I was in the shower in the next room) to say they had seen me in town with another bloke. Finally, the ring-leader of these stories was caught out! I am still thankful to this day that my boyfriend stood by me and believed every word I said and not that of the others.

The final event of my military bullying came when I joined the main service (completed all training). My so called colleagues just didn’t like me because I got on with the job and found it easy. I didn’t go out drinking every night with them or gamble my money away at the casino. I was on a path to fast track promotion when I let the bullying get to me. I was locked in small cupboards in the dark. Tied to chairs with duct tape. Had my hair cut. Had people pour unknown fluids onto my bed, deface my photographs and steal parts of my uniform. I was an utter reck. I took to drinking and not in a positive way! I was probably one step from been sent to rehab when I realised I had a problem and quit cold turkey. Nowadays I hardly drink and when I do, a couple is more than enough to keep me happy. I know my limits and to me that’s a big thing. A bottle of Barcardi at 08:00 was my pre-work pick me up. I took drastic action and left the military to pursue an alternative career. Which I’m proud to say I have stuck with for over a decade and I’m good at it and recognised for my achievements.

That doesn’t mean my story of bullying stopped. No I was once again bullied but this time in a new work environment. A colleague would delete my work off the server and say I hadn’t done anything (thankfully I’d always have a back up on my desktop as proof). I was also refrained from going on site visits because I lacked experience yet the receptionist with absolutely zero experience and joined the team went out on day one (probably because they were friends with the boss). Some days I’d walk into work and from the reception I’d hear them talking about me in a very negative way. I really started to doubt myself and my abilities. Clearly as a human being there was something wrong with me. I was 21 and had endured bullying for 13 years. I quit that job and started with the company who I’ve been with for nearly a decade. I enjoy what I do and I know it is stressful and your not always there to be liked but the bullying seems to have stopped. I feel much more at peace with life and enjoy going to work.

If I could speak to my younger self and give myself one piece of advice it would be to tell someone about the bullying and insist something be done.

My experiences led me to believe that the more successful you are the more likely you are to be bullied. It’s obviously a ridiculous idea however, it’s the only thought process that brings me peace about my past. I am also not saying my current success is a result of the years of bullying but at least I can hold my head high and know that everything I’ve done has led to where I am now. So don’t pity me, give me sympathy if anything feel sorry for the fools that didn’t win. I’m still standing, yes they wore me down in some places and won some battles but I’m winning the war.

If like me you’ve suffered years of bullying speak out. However, don’t do it to belittle your bullies otherwise you just become one. Raise awareness and prevent bullying in the first place.

Katherine xo

Alternative Christmas gifts

I am becoming more and more swayed towards alternative gift ideas – basically every year it’s the same old story of purchase something for the sake of it and end up getting the same items year after year.

This year I stumbled upon a blog article by Rachelle Strauss (MyZeroWaste.com) and it awoken that sustainble fairy inside me. Rachelle shared a 12 days of waste-less giving and it is actually really good although not new to most. The idea of an act of service has always been around in the valentines market place – the “lovers cheque book”.

I do like the idea of giving a gift of a plant though. This would encourage greener and healthier homes. After all the air quality within an average home is actually worse than standing next to the motorway. Even just one or two plants can help remove some of the nasties in the air and replace with oxygen. Plants also give you a slight boost to your wellbeing making you feel a little happier.

What alternative gifts will you be giving this year?

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Iceland’s 2018 Christmas Advert banned for been political

This year Iceland (the food superstore) shares with the world a really touching message regarding palm oil. The advert has been launched for its 2018 Christmas message however, the regulator has deemed under 2003 legislation that this is classified as political and therefore cannot be shown on our televisions. Regardless the message and advert has gone viral on YouTube.

The advert features a little girl with a baby orangutan in her bedroom voiced by the incredible Emma Thompson. The message is clear for all to see and is clever to hit the heartstrings for all generations. The little girl doesn’t know why this baby orangutan is in her room jumping around and ‘wailing’ at items like her shampoo. Today’s the end she realises it is because humans have invaded the forests to cut down trees for palm oil. Destroying the habitats of many species including the orangutan.

Palm oil is used in so many products on the high street from cosmetics like lipstick to bread and chocolate – yes bread.

Society keeps going on about how we can encourage large companies to do something – well Iceland did (and still is). They removed palm oil from its own brand items and then created this touching message with a true Christmas meaning.

https://youtu.be/JdpspllWI2o

Christmas is not about bloody presents! It never has been. Yes, it is centred on religion and trust me Christmas wasn’t originally Christian it was an adaptation from Yuletide which is a pagan holiday. The decorating of trees isn’t because of queen Victoria (and way before that in 1400s). The Vikings also used candles indoors. The Hindus have their light festivities too all though that starts around 7th November.

Christmas or whatever you celebrate is about family. It’s treasuring what you have. What we have today is a greedy society that wants and takes from the planet without much thought about the future. I fear my little boy’s grandchildren won’t have much left of this planet other than ruins. We need to be much more sustainable – only taking what we can put back. Recycle, reuse and reduce waste.

That is why from 2019 I will be starting my own challenge to eat what I grow and supplement with purchase in store. I have never been good at keeping plants alive, so this is going to be a challenge. I am going to adapt my garden to incorporate food without segregating sections. That way I can also help another endangered species – the bee.

Katherine xo

Amazon baby wish list September 2018 offer – free Johnson’s baby bath time gift set worth £12

Free Johnson’s Baby Bathtime Gift Set worth £12 from Amazon

This is brilliant! For ALL new and existing members! Simply follow the instructions below and enter BABYGIFTSET at checkout.

1 Simply sign up, follow the instructions and claim yours. If you’re already a member just click the link, follow instructions and they’ll send you a beautiful Johnson’s baby set!

2 Create an Amazon Baby Wish List (if you don’t have one already) and add products from the Baby Store to your Amazon Baby Wish List

3 Become a Prime member (if you are not one already no problem – just use the 30 day FREE trial!)

4 Add at least £10 worth of eligible baby products sold by Amazon from your Amazon Baby Wish List to your shopping basket

5 Go to the Johnson’s Bathtime Set and add to basket

6 Complete the transaction and enter promotional code BABYGIFTSET at checkout