“I was five years old when my parents split. This was such a shock to me and my siblings because we were so young and didn’t understand what was happening. My oldest sister, Holly, was 10, I was 5, and my younger brother, Ethan, was 4 years old. Being so young, we didn’t know how to feel or what we could do to help the situation. The split caused a lot of upset and we didn’t really understand how much our lives would change.
It was apparent my parents had fallen out of love because they both moved on quite quickly with other people. Us three kids left the family home and moved in with a man who became our stepdad and my dad has another partner, who moved into our family home.
When you are so young, you aren’t aware of what it means for your parents to split. You don’t understand the extent to which your life will change. It was very hard to accept we wouldn’t see my dad every single day and our home dynamics would change. Even though both of our parents had new partners, we knew it would never be the same again. The split affected us a lot, all in different ways. For me, personally, I turned to comfort eating, which affected me physically and mentally. I didn’t know for many years to come, I would struggle with the way I looked and how it made me feel.
When I went to Primary School, I found it quite hard to settle in and I always felt like people didn’t like me because I was slightly bigger, however, none of the children were nasty to me.
It was when I went to Secondary School, I realized very quickly it was a whole other ball game. People would call me fat and try to start fights with me because they saw me as the big girl and to them, this was a weakness. I have always been the type of person who will stand up for myself no matter what and this resulted in getting into quite a lot of fights at school. My older sister was at the same school and quite often, she would step in a couple of times to protect me when others were nasty. I was so fed up with feeling like I didn’t fit in and all I wanted was to be friends with everyone. I would feel so scared to go to school, as I never knew what to expect. I remember one day I had an argument with a girl in the corridor when she started calling me names. After the argument finished, I went to a corner of the corridor and called my mom, sobbing. A couple of times when I was in class, I would see some of the nasty girls standing outside my door waiting for the bell to ring. They were waiting for me to go leave class so they could say something. My mom would get called up the school multiple times because this started to disrupt my learning. School was genuinely a place I was scared to be at.
Another memory I have is of me coming home from school and I went straight to the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror and can just remember feeling so insecure. I actually got out a razor and shaved both of my eyebrows completely off because I thought they were too bushy. Looking back on this now, it is quite comical. However, at the time, I felt so lost with myself and really struggled with who I was.
I remember sitting down with my mum when I was 12 and saying I really wanted to lose weight. I wanted to eat really healthy and exercise every single day. I wanted to start loving myself, to focus on me, and to practice self-love. We bought an exercising bike and every day after school, I would go on the bike for an hour or so. I dropped quite a lot of weight and I finally felt happy and comfortable in my body. I was no longer seen as a target at school. I felt like this was where I was supposed to be with my body and was starting to love myself.
Fast forward a couple of years, I had been studying performing arts for a while and developed a love for makeup and special effects. In class, we would create makeup looks for actors in plays and write about it. I then attended the University of Kent where I studied Drama and Theatre. From my first year at university, I started really experimenting with makeup outside of the university.
I love experimenting with different products and colors. One day, I love wearing a warm-toned eye with a bit of gold glitter, and one day, I love wearing a hot pink eye with red glitter. For me, it is more than just makeup. Each look I create has a story, a different character if you will. It may sound a little strange but this is honestly how I see it. I love how confident I feel when I wear makeup. I am able to suspend any insecurities I have on my face with the use of makeup. I can make my eyebrows a little longer, make my lips a little bigger, change the shape of my eyes — all through the power of makeup. When I was growing up, I was very insecure because of my weight and I always felt like I looked ugly, but makeup allowed me to change the way I felt about myself. Makeup made me feel confident and beautiful. I would forget about the fact I hated my body. I would love I felt pretty.
University was a place of self-discovery. I learned a lot about myself and really discovered who I was as a person. At University, you meet people from all over the world, with different backgrounds and different religions. Especially since I did drama and theatre, this involved a lot of group work. As I was becoming more aware of the young adult I was becoming, I became aware that not everyone was going to like me and vice versa. I wasn’t going to get on with everyone I met and this didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the adult I was becoming but because this was the way of the world.
Once I was in my final year of university, I started my blogging journey. I created my blog on the first of January in 2017 because I wanted a place I could call my own and review products. I also loved the idea of connecting with other people who shared similar interests to me. Within the last year or so, I started showcasing some of my makeup looks in more detail on my feed. Growing up with Instagram becoming very popular, I always felt like my makeup looks didn’t fit what was deemed ‘Instagram worthy’ so I never wanted to put my looks online. However, I decided I didn’t care anymore and I wanted to start showing what was a big part of my life. I started uploading my makeup looks, which then turned into body art looks.
After my platform started getting a little bigger I decided I wanted to use my platform to raise awareness, talk about taboo subjects, and try to inspire others – all through the use of makeup. With every look I put online, I always have a well thought out meaningful message behind the post. Some of my recent work includes:
– Talking about how your follower count on Instagram isn’t important and not to compare your journey to someone else’s.
– Discussing the idea some people are almost afraid to show their true selves online and it is okay to be you.
– Encouraging people to accept what makes them unique and just because something is different doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
– Talking about how your weight doesn’t define you and the numbers on the scales mean nothing.
– Talking about bullies and how blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.
– Reminding everyone to be kind because we never know what someone may be battling behind closed doors.
One of my most recent posts really blew up and caught a lot of attention. I cut out headlines and parts of people’s faces from magazines and stuck them to my body. Within minutes of this post going up, it gained momentum and started getting more likes and more shares. Within a day, it hit over 2k and this was insane to me. The picture now has over 15 thousand likes with a reach of over 320,300, which finally got me to 10k followers.
The media does a very good job of constantly making people feel like they aren’t good enough. People constantly compare themselves to celebrities. While I know Instagram does play a very big part in this, I really wanted to focus more so on the media and how it represents people. In magazines, there is such a lack of representation. We do not see a lot of people of color. We do not see disabled people. We do not see a section about religion. We only see ways in which we all need to better ourselves whether that be from going on a diet, getting botox and filler, or wanting that perfect hourglass figure. I think the post did so well because so many people can relate to it. We are all on a journey of self-love and want nothing more than to be happy and comfortable in our own skin.
When I was younger, I used to buy magazines all the time. I would read them in the car on the way up to my dad’s. I always remember feeling not pretty enough or not good enough because I didn’t look like those ‘perfect celebrities’ they plaster on the front covers. That is extremely damaging to the younger audience. Imagine being a young girl or boy and feeling ugly because you don’t have the same lips at Kylie Jenner or you don’t have the same bum as Kim Kardashian.
We are all unique and different, and sometimes we forget this. There is so much pressure in the world we live in today to look a certain way or to feel a certain way — no one makes the rules. Just because we are all different does not mean we aren’t beautiful. Growing up, I wish I had seen something like this article I am writing. I am so glad we are at a place in the world where talking about subjects such as body image is a popular thing.
Love yourself as you are, insecurities at all because that is what makes you different. Do not conform to the idea of what beauty is.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sophia Tranter from Kent, UK. You can follow their journey on Instagram and YouTube. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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