We have a wall at Rella's called the Great Wall of Braveness where our clients can put up anything that challenges them beyond what they would ever imagine. Some are simply being able to do push-ups.
My own Braveness is when I am required to be the centre of attention;
Anything to do about me in the public eye fills me with the worst anxiety. High school was not a pleasant time for me. Bullying was mainly to your face back then, not on social media (thank god). I had my style and drum beat away from the normal, so I never really fit in with the cool crowd. I would turn to study to distract myself from the bullying and trauma that was happening in my life, but the study turned into me winning awards which raised the bullying for getting good marks. The teachers chose me to be school captain, which led to more bullying, and speaking as school assembly generally was followed by taunting.
So you can see, today, any public speaking, accepting an award on stage challenges me. My safe space in the public eye is on the platform lifting, in the ring boxing or on the court with Karate, those spaces I am only focused on what I need to do, not what others think of me.
Becoming a Model
Janelle, a fantastic designer from The Obtainery asked me to wear one of her designs in the M.A.D (Melbourne alternative designers) Fashion show. This design couldn't have been any more perfect for me.
Character Profile: Raider
A strong female antagonist that says, "Fuck them all". Someone who won't be pushed around. A black sense of humour and sarcasm is her vocab. However, underneath all that bravado, she is a protector, and it has become hard to care for her tribe.
In essence, the ability to use life's adversities and not let them control or define you. But create a new version of you. The attitude of 'I won't be beaten', 'I won't lay down'. The drive to fight and keep fighting, but not in a selfish way. To share the strength.
The Raider comes to protect Mother Gaea and Shamanika, with more skills perfected for ruthless activity. The Raider will stop any intruders. Skilled killer, fire is her element.
While Shamanika is loud, Raider is silent. Of
little words, her actions are far more impactful. Resourcefulness is her talent, and scars are the way she keeps track of her age.
So you can see why I decided to Be my own Brave for this one, those that know my story would see this is me to a T.
The lead up to the event was mentally challenging, and I became my own worst enemy.
Those voices "
You're not good enough.'
The other models won't like you
You are going to be a failure
You are going to embarrass Janelle
You are too fat for this. It would help if you lost weight like you said you would
Everyone is going to laugh at you.
Who'd want to watch you walk down a runway?
The list goes on.
I was so judgemental of myself because I perceived myself and how I think others perceive me. We all tell ourselves stories, and that's all they are, just stories.
My biggest fear was falling off the catwalk or just having a complete mental blank walking (which I did multiple times in rehearsals). No matter what routine I came up with, I was full of fear and would forget what I was doing. I couldn't get it together even on the last rehearsal, which heightened my anxiety.
But come showtime, as soon as my feet hit the stage, I knew what I had to do. There was no fake it till you make it; how can anyone trust you if you are fake? On that runway, I was my true self, fierce, strong, independent, resilient, and resourceful. I am a warrior, and I wore my scars with pride, and I hid them well; they gave me the strength needed to dance to the beat of my drum down the runway, even when I tripped, almost becoming an overnight gif of a model falling off the stage, but I didn't bat an eyelid and stayed focused.
What I took away from the night was the inspiration of many beautiful, unique individuals expressing themselves without judgement or fear of being judged. An inclusive environment, just made you feel free, which was something foreign to feel for me and what our world needs more of.
The next time I want to judge myself, I need to remind myself of that warrior woman inside and slay even the deepest demons that lurk in the darkness of my mind.
Never let anyone dim your shine, not even yourself.