Overcoming Everything that Destroyed my Confidence
Until a few years ago I didn’t really know what the word ‘Anxiety’ meant, I had never heard anybody say it. But now that I do- I know that it is something I have suffered with since being a young girl: never looking people in the eye; overthinking how to wear my hair to school because of how people would judge me for it. Thinking ‘Maybe I should straighten my hair today? Or curl my hair? How would people like me better? Surely people at school would like me better if I looked pretty?’. I was always worrying, always overthinking everything.
Most of my life I have been a little bit of an outsider- not all of the time- I definitely at points of my life had some great friends, but most in my younger age were tarnished (probably my characteristics). Junior school wasn’t so bad, although this was my most ‘Confident’ age. I really, really wanted to be a popstar, it is what i have always wanted. Any relation to me or family friend will always say they thought I would be the next ‘Big Thing’. I was fearless. Since the age of about 4 years old I was singing and dancing for everybody and anybody who would watch me. I made tickets from raffle books and made my parents and my Nan pay to enter their lounge EVERY NIGHT to watch ME. *laughing face*.
I was super confident. I just wanted to perform. My hair was cut like Posh Spice, in a short brunette bob- I went to bed every-night watching the Spice Girls movie, and if it wasn’t the Spice Girls it was the STEPS tape. Who had that? Remember the floating sofa? And that pasta that Claire used to make that she named ‘Pasta Alaclaira’ with the Heinz tomato soup?- I still make that!
And so, I guess because I was so fixated with this dream of mine, I seriously forced it upon my friends. All they really wanted to do was play on the field, but no, I printed out lyrics so we could all sing ‘Lady Marmalade’ at lunchtime. Even though I probably sang over every-bodies part in it *hands over eyes face*. I just knew what I wanted and I was determined to make it happen. My parents and my Nan were also extremely encouraging- all of my Birthday and Christmas presents were music related: Karaoke Machines; Cd Players; Albums; Concert tickets. At home was where I really could express myself- my parents loved watching my shows. This also became their dream for me.
You’re probably thinking, ‘How does this relate to anxiety?’.
But let me tell you, this dream and these characteristics at this age did me no favours. I was in constant battles with my friends who called me ‘Bossy and Annoying’. I didn’t really get invited to sleepovers and parties outside of school and I often had the feeling that the children’s mums didn’t like me either. This was my first kind of memory of feeling left out and alone. It wasn’t a nice feeling. This is when I really started losing my confidence and also when I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I would go home and suppress my feelings by eating a million peanut butter sandwiches and all of the crappy food I could find in the cupboards.
I was always the biggest of all of my friends and I was so self conscious about it. When everybody was wearing cycle shorts and P.E tops I was wearing baggy football kits because I felt so fat. Boys at that age aren’t very nice and I can vividly remember there were a few instances where I would be the butt of the joke. Literally. ‘Who ate all the pie’s’, ‘fatty bum bum’ – this is what they sang to me. I would go home and cry, and my Mum and Dad would reassure me that there was nothing wrong with me, My dad would say ‘It’s just growing skin’ and that I was lovely just the way I was. They would try and help me with food and exercise but I just kept comfort eating- at this point it was a vicious circle. No boys ever fancied me, I never got a Valentines card- although my dad made the effort to send me one every year bless him.
My sisters are both petite like my mum, I am built more like my dad. So this was always at the top of my insecurities. I always wanted to be more like them, and constantly compared myself to my sisters. When we went on family holidays I would wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit when we were out by the pool. Everybody used to ask me ‘Why are you wearing a t-shirt in the pool?’ And I would blame it on my mum and say that she was making me wear it because I had sunburn on my shoulders! This makes me quite sad to think about really. Whilst other kids hadn’t a care in the world on their holibobs- I was worried people were looking at me thinking how fat I was.
Moving on to High School, my weight wasn’t so noticeable then. Everybody had started growing boobs and bums and I didn’t look SO different, but I still carried the same feelings. I had no confidence, I would cling to any compliment- to any person who took notice of me. I became a massive walkover during these years. I always wanted to be a part of the ‘Popular Crew’. You know what girls are like at 11-14. Not very nice. One day I would have friends, the next day I would walk to sit with them at lunch time and they would all blank me or be really really nasty to me and call me names, and the boys joined in too. I had a really, really hard time at High School. I hated it, I used to ring my mum up and tell the school I felt ill and my mum would take me home. I hated it, I swear- I would have done anything never to go again. It’s really sad actually because most people I know now will talk about High School like the best time of their lives and how they wish they could go back, but for me it was torture. And I remember when I finished school all together and I used to drive past kids in the same uniform that I wore and I would be like omg, I don’t go there anymore, THANK GOD, and I would feel a huge relief that it was all over. Those years can be so tough for some people but I really feel like this age is what sets you up as a person. I always think, Being treated like that at school made me a good person. I would NEVER want anybody to feel the way that i did at that time in my life. It taught me how NOT to treat people.
After finishing High School, there was college. My parents didn’t want me to go to the local college because of its past reputation, and so I was sent to one where I didn’t know a single person. THIS WAS EVEN WORSE THAN HIGH SCHOOL. I walked around on break-times and lunchtimes on my own, trying to stand near people so I didn’t look like a total loser. My anxiety was at new levels, Girls were so cliquey, everybody had their friends and I had nobody. I hated it so much, and it wasn’t long until girls started to be horrible to me. I think they could smell my vulnerability a mile off. I went home crying every night BEGGING my parents to let me leave this school. This was the worst time of my life. I felt so alienated and so alone. One girl really had it in for me, and started getting people she knew in the year above to start being horrible to me too. And so I spent every lunchtime in isolation so I didn’t have to see anybody. It was awful, I would spend every lunchtime staring at 4 walls, waiting for the bell to ring so that I knew I was a little bit closer to going home. These girls then started bullying me when I was at home on Facebook- I can honestly say it was ruining my life. My mum and dad eventually gave in, after me begging and crying on the floor to them in their kitchen. I still remember it like it was yesterday. They told me they were moving me to my local school and, after that day, I didn’t go back. I was so relieved, I cannot even put into words how it felt knowing I wouldn’t have to go back there.
The college I moved to was fine. I knew people from other high schools that I socialised with outside of school and some of whom are still my closest friends- so that was fine. I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship at this point so I never really went to school. As soon as I got there, I would just leave. I was never bothered about school. Even when I was in class, I wasn’t listening. I wanted to be a pop-star and, although that would never happen because I was the most unconfident person in the whole wide world, I still had my heart set on it. What else would I do? I didn’t have good grades, I wasn’t going to get good grades… And I was DEFINITELY not doing sixth form- so university was never an option.
I left school at 16 and went to a musical theatre college. I was still in a very unhealthy relationship and i was just lazy-as-f. I couldn’t do the commute back and forth to Nottingham- so after 6 months- I gave up. My self esteem at this point was at an all time low. What would i do now? I tried X Factor- I thought that was the best option. My confidence always let me down. I tried all of the talent shows- nothing. This only added to my insecurities. By this point I was no longer interested in singing and I just gave up on everything. My dad gave me a job at his office- but i was too lazy. I took the piss really, I never did much. So, when I just gave up with that- I stayed at home all day doing nothing. It was horrible, I was watching all of my friends enjoying university- Many of them I lost contact with. I developed an even worse relationship with food- I was the biggest I have ever been and even at this point my mum and dad were telling me I needed to do something about my weight- but that would just make it even worse. This continued for a number of years until I eventually got out of the awful relationship I was in at the time and discovered those clothes in my Nans wardrobe, took a step outside of my comfort zone, and along came HOT!MESS.
Over the last 4 years- with all of the success- of course I began to believe in myself a lot more. I was nowhere near what you would call ‘confident’ but I was more content with who I was. My relationship with food wasn’t so bad- and my relationship with my family which had massively deteriorated over the last few years with me living like a slob at their house-was much better. Life was much better. Somewhere in between all of this I met Jack, the love of my life. The man who brought out the best of me in every way possible. Jack changed EVERYTHING for me. HOT!MESS was soaring, and I had found the man of my dreams. (I’m saying that like its past tense, but we’re still together!).
Living life behind an Instagram account- my own and the brands; HOT!MESS, BAZIIC, Babymilk- was great. I rarely had to see people, I worked in an office where I felt comfortable, I loved who I worked with. It was easy for me to never really go outside of my comfort zone.
Most people perceive me to be this ultra confident person (That’s obviously how I portray myself on social media). So when people meet me in person I think they are genuinely shocked to see that NO, I don’t love myself. No I’m not loud and lairy and outgoing. Whilst at HOT!MESS I was shy and perhaps stand offish as I was just extremely socially awkward. Having said this, I definitely developed some great skills whilst at HOT!MESS. However, one of them was NOT leadership. I am not good with authority and I HATED being a ‘Boss’ – In fact I wasn’t very good at it. I made other people do the scary bits because I just did not have the confidence to do it. HOT!MESS gave me everything. It gave me you guys- those of you who are reading this (most of you anyway), it gave me Jack ( I met him through the business) and it gave me self belief. I was just a 19 year old girl, a very sad one at that. And a girl with a dream to turn my life around. And look, I did it.
Now fast forward four months into my new business (the one I left HOT!MESS for) and I am a completely new person.
As I spoke about in New Beginnings, the decision to give up my company for a new venture that would involve me talking to lots of new people was the scariest thing I have ever done.
But let me tell you now that leaving my comfort zone was truly the best thing I ever did. A little advise to anybody out there that may be stuck between a life changing decision right now: ‘Miracles happen the minute you step outside your comfort zone’. Always. Go. With. Your. Gut!
What’s the furthest outside of your comfort zone you’ve ever been? Let me know in the comments below.
Tayla Blue x