In life there are cycles. Repetitive and entrenched, sometimes bringing good things and other times not. Cycles can be broken.
The first time I remember feeling like I was worthless was when I was in primary school. I loved the teacher I had, but the consensus was that I wasn’t doing well academically, particularly in Maths, and I needed a tutor. This coincidently didn’t help because I convinced him to focus on English instead of Maths, clearly what I was good at was debating! This worthless feeling was one that cropped up multiple times in my life. In primary school when I realised I wasn’t athletic, at netball when the ball hit me in the head and the coach told me “maybe that will knock some sense into you”, in high school when I was bullied for my weight and even as I moved into the workforce and despite my passion as a hairdresser was told
“you will always be a sweatshop Betty”.
As you can imagine, I grew up with a pretty serious lack of confidence and this became apparent in all sorts of ways. Dabbling in drugs and alcohol, always wanting a relationship, acting out at school, and at home and the result was never one that gave me positive feedback. I had a rocky relationship with my family and felt like I was never accepted, the fuel I needed to pull myself further and further away from those around me. I had a string of toxic relationships and that helped me to develop major trust and abandonment issues- what a catch!!
At the age of 23 I got into what was a particularly toxic relationship and fell pregnant very quickly and by 24 I was giving birth to my son as a single parent. Once again, I faced judgement, both by people around me and even the nurses at the hospital. I was tired, lonely, and exhausted and caring for this beautiful baby who needed me at my best. The pressure was overwhelming! I didn’t want to accept help, I needed to prove that I could do this! This was something I would be good at! And you know what? I was. I put everything I had into making sure my boy was getting so much love that he would never have to feel the worthless feelings I had struggled with.
Fast forward to present day and a lot has changed. I am now a mother of 3 amazing kids and have been married to a kind and patient man for almost 10 years. When I left hairdressing, I went into the Disability Sector and then found my way into Counselling via a brief stint in Psychology.
In starting my Bachelor of Counselling, I felt like I had come home.
Here was a profession that used all of the best skills and qualities that I had, and I got to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. I miss the creative outlet that hairdressing provided but I make sure that I have plenty of other things in my life that let my creative side shine.
I have gone through extensive personal change and growth in the last 10 years and although there are still times that my brain likes to remind me that I am worthless and provide a great monologue of all the reasons why, I work hard every day to ensure that I am taking control of my thoughts rather than letting them control me. I practice mindfulness and challenge my negative self-talk, and I have learnt to reach out for support when I need it because strong doesn’t mean coping alone. I have a wonderful friend’s network and my relationships with family have either healed or have been let go with acceptance. If I could tell you anything to take away from my story its this:
The person you are right now, is not the person you will always be so keep going and write your next chapter yourself. Break the cycles that held you back.