He cried and I was so proud!
About a week ago, I was working on editing a video for YouTube while my nine year old son was watching videos on his laptop. After a little while I noticed that he was watching something that apparently had his undivided attention, and I got curious. I asked him what he was watching. He told me he was watching a documentary on NRK Super (a web/tv channel for kids) about a boy that was bullied.
Some minutes passed and I could hear the story that this boy told in the background while I was working. It was heartbreaking to hear the cruelty that was done to him by his classmates. They had locked him inside of a classroom, and they’d beaten him up pretty bad. He was talking about how it all happened, how it felt afterwards, and how they eventually had to move and start a new life somewhere else because the bullying wouldn’t stop.
Being a victim of bullying as a teenager myself, I always find it hard to listen to stories like this. The cruelty of kids that don’t think their actions through makes my heart ache. I turned to Leander and saw that he was crying, and it warmed my aching heart.
How lucky am I to have a child that feels such empathy. To be able to watch someone else bare their struggles and pain, and through what he saw, he could feel it all. He could feel it so much that he couldn’t hold it in. It was beautiful to see an emotion so pure, brought forth by information that he himself had gone searching for.
It’s easy as a parent to focus on all of the things that we feel like we have done wrong, or could have done differently. But watching him have this kind of reaction, and talking about bullying with him afterwards, hearing his thoughts, that was a moment where I truly felt that I had done something right. Somewhere along the road, growing up to be the little man that he is, he’s learned to care for others. To love them for who they are and the life they choose live, even though he might not agree with all of it. He’s learned to respect others and to try not to judge them.
I will not take complete credit for this, but the amount of time we’ve used to talk about life, people and choices, I know that’s played an important part in this.
I’m so grateful that my son already is a seeker of knowledge, and I’ll keep on encouraging him. To try to give him as many tools as possible for him to be able to make the choices that will be right for him.
And maybe most importantly, it’s important for me that he knows that crying is not a sign of weakness. To be comfortable enough to show your emotions is a strength that should not be taken for granted. It’s a superpower!
If Only We Could Replace Your Face
When I was about 14 years old, I had a crush on a guy that was my friend. We had som pretty long conversations over the phone, and I could always count on him being honest with me. I don’t remember much from all of the late night conversations we had, but there’s one conversation in particular that I will never forget. It’s the one who broke down my already battered self esteem.
I don’t remember how we got into the subject, but for some reason he told me that he’d overheard some of the guys talk about me. I asked him what they said, and at first he was reluctant to tell me. He did eventually tell me though, and in hindsight I wish he never had.
“The guys think you have a really good looking body, they just wish that they could replace your face.”
My whole life crumbled at that moment. The little self esteem a bullied 14 year old me had vanished. I remember crying in my room after my mom and the rest of the family went to bed. Sobbing as quietly as I could.
For years I only saw myself as “a body”. When I looked in the mirror I could appreciate my shape, but there were so many things I wanted to change when it came to my face. I got into modelling when I turned 18, and that made it even worse after a while. After seeing the photographers photoshop my nose smaller again and again, the complex I already had for my nose grew into a giant monster that was constantly sitting on my shoulders, whispering about how wrong my face was and how I should probably think about doing something about it.
It got to the point where I actually had booked a consultation with a plastic surgeon, but when the day came I just couldn’t bring myself to go.
I was determined to fix it one day though. For years it felt like something I really needed to do sooner or later.
Kids can be so cruel, but often they don’t know the impact their cruelty can have. And I really want to believe that they don’t know that their bullying can change peoples lives for years. The media business is a whole other story for another day.
I feel lucky that I’ve grown to love myself and the way I look. That I’ve learned to appreciate the things that makes me look different. Knowing that I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone looked exactly the same.
Do I still have moments where I don’t like what I see? Yes, that monster sometimes returns at weak moments and whispers things when I’m having a bad day.
Do I still want to do something about my nose? No, I have no plans of going through with rhinoplasty. This is the nose that my parents gave me, and this is who I’m supposed to be.
Self love is something that’s very important to me, and something that I’ve written and talked about several times. It’s something we all need to practice more and help each other out with. Self love can be a tough exercise, but we all need to do it and do it more often!
I’m currently taking notes for a few self love videos that I’m hoping to make this fall. I’m excited to be working on something that’s so important to me, and I look forward to sharing it with you guys!
Love yourself and share your love!
Thoughts on Bullying and My Bullying Experience
You are not the most important person in the world!
I strongly believe that everyone is unique in their own way and can never be replaced. You are important to the ones that loves you!
Now that I’ve gotten that out the way I’m going to have a late night rant about rude people.
I was waiting in line at a café today when a customer came up to the desk where a lovely girl with a big smile welcomed him as a returning costumer. He asked about a certain beverage and she apologised and told him that they still hadn’t gotten it in. It was a juice box of some sorts. This man then flew into a rage about how this should have been fixed a long time ago, that this was the worst customer service he’d ever gotten and that he was getting really angry (thank you, captain obvious!). The girl behind the desk apologised yet again (in the most professional way) and this man didn’t even take the time to hear her words. He stormed (or rather stomped) off in rage. This brought me back to when I worked as a barista some years ago (and to any other job I’ve had. They all revolve around customer service) and I remember specific episodes where I was yelled at, called stupid and where I felt scared. All of these customers were the kind that got angry because something didn’t turn out exactly like they pictured it.
If you’ve ever had a similar job, you know the type. Let’s just call them “The Impossible Customer”. The ones that are never happy. They never get what they want, when they want it. They find any kind of stupid little detail (of no importance at all) that they can complain about. And they lash out at you if there’s something they don’t understand themselves.
The Impossible Customer will say the most ridiculous thing to break you down so that they seem superior and smarter. I’ve heard them tell me thing’s that were just plain wrong, tell out right lies and even called me the most awful names.
As someone who values good customer service, it is important for me to provide it as well. But there’s something that needs to be said. You shouldn’t have to take undeserving crap from The Impossible Customer.
They can be unhappy as much as they like, but that doesn’t justify bullying. Yes, bullying. Because there aren’t just teens and kids that are bullies, some grownups are just as bad and even worse. And it is unacceptable!!
If you see someone being bullied by a customer, speak up! If you aren’t able to do so, give the bullied person some supportive words when it’s your turn to speak to him or her.
The Impossible Customer might be rich and all that, but they are also the ones who will spread venom around them. They will intoxicate the environment they’re in unless they change their attitude.
There will always be Impossible Customers out there. Their problems are within themselves so don’t be discouraged by their hateful words and negative criticism. Do your job as good as you can and constantly aspire to be even better. And if that isn’t good enough for The Impossible Customer, then you’ve done all that you could have.
Have pride in your work and don’t let The Impossible Customer get you down! Take a deep breath, close your eyes and remember those happy and grateful customers. The ones that always comes back to you because they want to! Those are The Important Customers. Those are the ones that counts!
The Impossible Customer might believe that they’re the most important person in the world, but we all know that it’s not even close to the truth. And maybe that’s why they’re so angry, because they know it too.
My Pale Skin – You Look Disgusting
When I first saw this video it made me want to cry! The second time I got angry! And as I’m sharing it would you guys I’m both with a sprinkle of motivation and inspiration on top! We need to change the way we talk to each other and don’t even get me started on internet trolls! I’ll save that for a later post.
Watch this and go forth as a great example when you travel through the world wide web.
SPREAD LOVE, NOT HATE!
Plus Size Models and Body Image
Earlier this week I read an article that covered the fact that plus size model Tess Holliday had signed a modeling contract with a big agency, being the first in her size to do so.
I’ve been following Tess on social media for a loong time and I did a celebration dance when I heard this fantastic news!
I think it is so important that we start to see the lovely beauties of different sizes doing their thing! Tess is an absolute fox and the work that she does with trying to help other girls to be proud of the body that they have through her EffYourBeautyStandards is amazing and so important! The media has taught us girls to hate our bodies if it does not fit into the size that they have decided is the right one. We are bombarded with commercials, movies, music videos etc. that shows us bodies that are photoshopped to someone other than that person who actually stood in front of the camera.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that this isn’t the case for everyone. Not all of them are twisted versions of the truth but there’s no secret that way too many are! It’s time for a change and that change has been very much needed for way too long! And I think that women like Tess is a big part of that change (no pun intended)!
So when I was done doing my dance I looked for any cover of this story in Norwegian newspapers, and sure enough, there it was! Hurray!! But then I made the fatal mistake of reading the reader’s comments below and it made me so sad and angry.
Most of the people who posted comments agreed that it is a good thing that we are seeing models who’s got some meat on their bones, but then the rants came. How Tess is an unhealthy role model for young girls. How they think that it is irresponsible to show “fat” women because that will make young girls think that it is healthy to be obese/fat.
“This is the counterpart of starved and anorectic! We need healthy role models for our kids, not this!!”
Really? Is this really what people are taking from these great news? Let me set the records straight right now!
The focus on this news is not what size she is! Does who follow Tess will also know that she does work out and is healthy but has always been a big girl. She was bullied out of school as a young girl and never thought that she would be a model even though she really wanted to.
So all of you with all of that negativity out there, throwing it around like you just don’t care: What makes you any better than does bullies? Haven’t we grown past that yet? Shame on you!
So when you’ve maybe gotten that through your head then tell me this: Are you comfortable in your own body?
I hope you are, because we should all be! We always find things that we would like to improve, and that’s fine, but do it for you! NOT for anyone else. A size zero won’t make you happy!
The important message that Tess is all about is redefining the standards of beauty. To love oneself and letting go of does stupid ideals that’s been pushed down our throats for way to long. To stop the bullying and to see the beauty that is in us all. To reach for the stars and follow our dreams no matter what other people say!
So I say: YOU GO TESS!! I’m rooting for you!!!
Let’s shake it off and chase those dreams!!
Confessions of a Ginger
Being a ginger is awesome! I love it! I’m proud of it!
But there was a time when I wasn’t.
Being an unsecure teenager was tough. Being a bullied one was even worse. There are some things that are quite different when it comes to us gingers and the bullies have a talent for finding those little things and using them against the ones who are bullied.
One of the things I heard a lot of comments on was my pale skin. I didn’t get a tan like all “the pretty, popular girls”. My skin has pretty much the same color all year round and even when everyone else complains about being pale I can usually beat them all if it were a competition.
The freckles were pointed out as well and there was a time when I hated to be different. I just wanted to look like everyone else. Wanted to fit in. I wanted the bullies to not have anything to pick on.
The bullies came and then they went. I grew older and somewhat wiser (I’m still working on that part). Then something amazing happened. I started to love all the things about me that were different. I found that being different makes you stand out and that can be a great thing! And when you look into the science of gingers it is pretty awesome!
Did you know that we are mutants?
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters here I come!! The gene that causes red hair, which is recessive, comes from the MC1R, which is a genetic mutation.
We produce our own Vitamin D!
The pigmentation of our skin allows us to absorb a lot more sunlight on the days where there is hardly any and this increases our own production of Vitamin D! Maybe this is why I never got depressed during the dark days of winter??
Gingers don’t go grey!
Our hair usually doesn’t go grey with age. It goes from red to blonde and then to white! I’ll braid mine, run around and sing “Let it go” when I get older.
Ancient Greeks actually thought we were vampires!
Gingers do have souls, I’m pretty sure of it! But the truth is that the ancient Greeks thought that when Gingers died they turned into vampires!
Want to guess the rarest combination of hair and eye color?!
Ding ding ding!!! Red hair and blue eyes! This combination makes up only 1% of the entire planets population!
So there it is and here I am! I’m a ginger. I get sunburnt easily, I need a lot more anesthetic than other people for it to work, I have pale skin and freckles. These are all details about me that I have because I am ginger.
With confidence comes love! With love comes beauty! And no matter what hair color you have, you should rock it! Your uniqueness is what makes you perfect in every single way! We need to stop striving for some ideal beauty. How boring wouldn’t the world be if we all looked the same?
Lots of ginger hugs from me to all of you!!
His Tears Transformed Into Words
His tears are running down his face like the purest little rivers. The ones that breaks a mothers heart in an instant.
‘What is it sweetie?’
‘I don’t think anybody likes me…’
He runs into my arms, crying, and while I stroke his back I ask him if anyone has told him that they don’t like him. He shakes his head and gives me an answer I never saw coming.
‘How can they like me when I look so weird?’
This really happened tonight! My six years old son was so scared of people not liking him because of his appearance. SIX!! He sat there in my arms while I told him the importance of real friends. Had him count the friends he loves and I could tell him that his number of best friends was no less than my number.
I told him that in life he will meet people that might not like him, but that he must never let that bring him down. That he has to remember that it is not important to be liked by everyone, but to try to be nice to everyone.
We hugged each other and I followed him back to bed, tucked him in and kissed him goodnight. The tears were gone and he smiled. A few minutes later he was sound asleep.
My mind has been running a marathon for almost an hour now. How screwed up have we become? These beauty ideals that are being flaunted at us from every direction is so out of place, so wrong and so meaningless. It makes me sad and angry to know that they reach kids at age SIX and makes them question and worry about their looks. Things like that should be the last worry on their minds!
We as adults (not just parents alone) have to really think about what kind of ideals we want to leave to the next generation. They pick up on how we talk and act. Listening to us looking at pictures and commenting about the look of famous people can be disturbing enough!
‘Wow! She’s certainly put on some weight!’
‘What’s up with that outfit?!’
‘She’s dating THAT guy?’
‘He looks so old!’
And not just celebrities either. I hear these comments everywhere and we tend to forget that tiny ears hear them too.
It doesn’t matter if you’re “just picking on someone who can’t hear it” because those tiny ears won’t know the difference of telling it to their faces or talking behind their backs. What they get out of it is how much we focus on appearances. Of how important it is to look good.
Think about the appearance pressure that a lot of us adults feel and then try to imagine how tough that pressure must be on an innocent child!
All that negativity that we put out into the world is being picked up by the next generation.
Think about that for a moment!
Now, think about how great it would be if we could change that. By teaching each other to see things differently. To talk about others in another way.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
That is what we try to teach our kids, right? Maybe it’s about time we teach it to ourselves as well.
Spread joy and smiles, not worries and tears!
Let us teach those tiny ears to love themselves and not to pass judgment on others. This world needs more sunshine and more love! Let us shift our focus!
Are you with me?
It’s reunion time…
The time has come. It’s been ten years since I got out of high school and this weekend we’re having a reunion.
I’m going to admit that I do have mixed feelings about this reunion. I wasn’t any kind of popular in school and was bullied a lot. I got to feel how cruel girls at that age can really be. A part of me wants to meet those girls and tell them that every mean word they ever threw me has made me into to strong person I am today, and yet there is another part of me that wants to run away screaming.
I do have a feeling that as they have now grown up they will act like the bullying never happened, but the ones that are bullied forgive but we never forget. If any of them would be big enough of a person and give me an apology I would gladly accept it, but I don’t expect any of them to give me that. I’m expecting a fake welcoming and the girlfriend act that pisses me off big time.
“Hiiii! How are you?? What have you been up to?? “
For over two years they made my life miserable and for some reason it should all just be well and forgotten. I’m not saying that I’m holding a grudge because that isn’t the kind of person I am, but there still is a part of me that hurts whenever I think back to those years.
Maybe I’m just afraid of feeling all of those things again. And even though I know that I’m a strong person I don’t really know how I will react to the situation. I usually avoid being stuck in places with people I don’t get along with. It’s not worth my energy or my time.
This time I’m making an exception and giving it a go. I’m so glad that Kathrine and I are still friends so that we can go to this thing together. And we have decided that if we feel uncomfortable and anyone of us wants to leave we will do so. Then she and I will go out and have a glorious time as we usually do!
It feels good to have a plan B.