When I was a little younger, I had officially come to grips with the idea that I am obviously not as ‘naturally pretty’ as other girls. Where I got this idea from, I do not particularly know, but I believed it with all of my heart. In my young mind, some people are just beautiful. They were born with the lucky combination of chromosomes that made them gorgeous. But it is not all bad, because the rest of us had strengths too. Some of us were born with smarts, some can sing and dance, some with the undeniable talent to make people laugh. I did not believe I was given beauty, but that was okay because I exploited my strengths. I sang, I made people laugh, I worked hard in school, I wrote and I was a good friend to people who needed me. All the while, I never felt like not being ‘conventionally pretty’ hindered me. If anything, it empowered me, because I believed that everything I had, I had earned and not because I was nice to look at.
Looking back, it is clear that I only had this view about myself because I compared myself to other people.
For some people, comparing yourself to others just distracts you from the many good qualities you hold. You might be amazing in one aspect, but complete overlook it because someone else shines bright in one particular thing. I learnt that I was beautiful. Maybe not in the conventional way, but then again, who wants conventional? I learnt that some of the things that make some people pretty do not work for me. I had to find indiviudal things that worked for me and made me confident and gorgeous. I think I have.
If you realise something does not work for you, you either forget about it or make it work for you. Life does not give you time to whine and cry about things that do not work, because there will be many things that do not work. If you do not work hard for it, you do not deserve it. Simple as that. And if you get things without working for them, you will not fully understand its value.
I am proud of the beautiful, young woman I have become today, mainly because I worked hard to become her. Because of this, I fully understand my value. I do not ever need to compare who I am, what I am, what I have to someone else, because I am enough. Until I realised this, I was incomplete, whether I realised it or not. If more people could see their worth, they would not care so much when they are cast down or told they are not good enough.
When I was a little girl, I was ‘encouraged’ to join my church choir, mainly because they desperately needed members. I had no interest in music and singing, I was much too busy with things nine-year old girls do. But I joined and soon realised… I hated it. It was not for me, so I believed. I couldn’t hit the high notes, it took up way too much of my time and to make matters worse, the members were incredibly rude. They were not afraid to tell a nine-year old girl that she really could not sing. After crying on multiple occations, I realised they were probably right. Compared to the adults in the choir, I could not sing at all. However, I also realised that if I kept working hard, I will be able to sing. Fast forward a decade or two, and here I am. I can sing. I may not be Mariah Carey, but I can definetly hit more notes than I could then. The point of my anecdote is to demonstrate that comparing yourself with other people can also be a positive thing, but only if you use the comparison to motivate you. If you do it to pinpoint all the bad things about yourself, then it is not helpful.
You do not need someone to make you realise that you are better than where you are in life, right now. You just need yourself to make that first step to improvement. But sometimes it can be just as helpful to have people to measure against, just to show your progression.
Paula Melissa xx
So recently, I kept seeing YouTube advertising this #DearMe hashtag. After a little bit of digging, I discovered it was part of a celebration of International Women’s day. The hashtag accompanies videos where YouTubers say words of encouragement and advice to their younger self.
Here’s the original video on YouTube.
It inspired me to think about what I would tell younger Paula. What should she have known that would have made growing up a lot easier? So I filmed this quick video!
Enjoy, and think, what has changed in your life? What have you overcome growing up? What would you tell your younger self to worry less about?
Paula Melissa xx
I feel proud to be a young person whilst writing this post.
I feel proud that there are young people making a change and standing up for what they believe in. Inspiring young people is my passion, which is why I am always quick to praise and promote some encouraging, like-minded youth.
Suraj is seventeen and the founder of ‘Youth on Abuse’. ‘Youth on Abuse’ is a recently established campaign which aims to educate young people on the realities of domestic violence, through workshops at high schools and primary schools. Its primary focus is to highlight any stereotypes young people may have about victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, whilst allowing pupils to understand the forms that abusive relationships may take. This includes understanding its financial, sexual, psychological, physical and emotional shape.
Domestic violence can be such a hard, emotional subject to discuss. It can take a lot of courage to openly discuss and examine the issue. I think ‘Youth on Abuse’ is an amazing group because it demonstrates to men and women that have had to deal or are having to deal with abuse and violence, that we care. We as young people care about the problem and we are committed to deal with it.
Recent surveys reveal 40% of teenagers are already being subjected to relationship abuse. Both my parents are marriage councillors and they always say at their seminars, “Do not allow your marriage or relationship to be based on fear or dread of the other person. Get out of a relationship where you are being abused.” I totally agree but at the same time, I am not naive to believe that it is always as easy as packing your bags and leaving. That is why I respect this charity, for being a voice for people who cannot speak out.
The ‘Youth on Abuse’ aim to lower the amount of people subject to relationship abuse by implementing three elements of their strategy: Protection, Prevention and Education. They aim to fill young people with knowledge that will carry them through their adult lives and therefore positively influence them when building their future relationships. If from young ages people can learn that certain behaviours and certain acts are not okay and are not expectable in our society, we will see a significant decrease in domestic violence and relationship abuse.
“A few people have raised the issue that because we are a young group who aren’t specialised in this topic, the campaign won’t be effective.” Suraj says, completely aware of the criticisms ‘Youth on Abuse’ has received. “But I think it’s about being open to a neglected issue within our community and beyond, not necessarily being qualified. So I guess our greatest weakness is our greatest strength because the campaign puts emphasise on young people interacting with other young people on an ignored issue.”
I am a such a romantic, which means I love love and the idea of being made specifically compatible for that special someone. Domestic violence and relationship abuse is the worst thing because it takes away that joyful part of your life, and makes it a burden that you have to carry. If you genuinely believe that everyone deserves true love, as I do, you will support this campaign.
Please follow ‘Youth on Abuse’ on twitter (https://twitter.com/YouthOnAbuse) to keep updated with the movement.
– Paula Melissa xx
So, are you one of those hopeless romantics that love Valentine’s day, or a complete hater of love, flowers and floating babies that shoot arrows?
The topic of Valentine’s day is a funny one for me mainly because I don’t think it is that big of a deal. It should be a day you spend a little more time (and money) on someone special in your life. Whether this is your beau, girl or even your mummy. I feel like that should be the nit and grit of Valentine’s Day.
Every year, on the 14th February, I scroll down my timeline on twitter to find a million and one people tweeting things like, “Happy singles awareness day”, “I’ll buy myself chocolate, I don’t need you to do it for me”, “Valentine’s day isn’t even a real holiday!” “It’s just another Saturday to me, to be honest!” People can be so dramatic, and that’s coming from Ms Drama Queen herself. Honestly, if you find yourself single on Valentine’s day, buy yourself chocolate. Okay. Fine. But don’t tweet about it. What are you trying to prove? Because if you feel like you HAVE to post about it, then you’re probably not as happy as you’re trying to let on. On the other side of the spectrum, if you find yourself happily coupled up on Valentine’s day, enjoy it. Enjoy the day, the company, the foooood.
Now looking at my blog title, I smile at myself. Why shouldn’t Valentine’s day be happy. If you have people that care and love you, then you deserve a happy Valentine’s day. Forget about the pressure of ‘coupling up’ for Valentine’s day, just so you can post a picture with ‘Bae’ on Instagram or Facebook.
I wanted to understand Valentine’s day a little bit more, and stumbled across this interesting little old video. It’s an oldie but still as relevant as ever.
So this Valentine’s day, let’s love ourselves and other people more, instead of feeling bad and alone just because we haven’t found the perfect person for us yet. This Valentine’s day let people know you love them and that you value them in your life. If you do that, it will be a Happy Valentine’s day.
Paula Melissa xx
I want to be a journalist. I’ve wanted to be a journalist for quite a long while. My desire to be a journalist gave birth to this blog almost three years ago. My next step in this journalism journey is going to university to study it, later this year. Wooooo!
Over the past couple years, I have been advised and I have researched intensively how to improve myself to ensure I am ready to become a journo. I am by no means an expert in this field yet obviously, but I have a few tips that hopefully will steer you to the right direction, especially if you want to be a presenter, journalist, reporter or writer.
- First of all, you need to love reading and writing. As obvious as this sounds, you would be surprised how many people want a career in Journalism, but groan when asked about books or panic when asked to write a short story. Mate, you need to love reading and writing.
- Secondly, you need work experience or work placements. This needs to be done as soon as humanly possible. Seriously, start now. It doesn’t even matter if you haven’t finished high school yet – get work experience. Now, I mean no disrespect when I say this but when I say work experience, I am not referring to working in a primary school or a retail outlet. What I mean is in the media industry – intern in your local newspaper, magazine or radio station. Or all three. Anything and everything is valuable experience. Here are a few good sites to begin your search for placements, work experience, internships and apprenticeships: https://gothinkbig.co.uk/, http://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/, http://www.bauermedia.co.uk/ and https://www.gov.uk/browse/working/finding-job.
- Thirdly, get yourself online. Nowadays, everything is online and we (as young journalists) need to use this to our advantage. All these media outlets and institutions are now increasingly using social media and online services. The online world is constantly expanding and evolving, rapidly – do not allow it to leave you behind! You (as a young journalist) need a twitter account. It is necessary to find out about news and opinions on news stories, literally as they are happening all over the globe. Keeping up with current affairs is everything (forget Keeping Up with the Kardashians) in this profession. Make sure you follow broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, radio shows and media cooperation (follow me while you’re at it: PaulaPaceSetter) such as; The Guardian, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Independent, Sky News, BBC News, Radio 1 etc. You cannot be a journalist if you aren’t interested in the world around you. You cannot live in a social bubble.
- Start researching universities from now. This one may be a little early or a little late depending on how old you are, but generally this is an important step in the whole journey. Find a course that balances all media platforms, especially online journalism which is an emerging mode. Also, make sure you find a course that is taught by established and practising journalist, that way they aren’t teaching out of date content.
- This one closely follows the previous step but is SO important it deserves it’s own number. Only go for universities that are NCTJ accredited. The National Council for the Training of Journalists has been training journalists since 1951. This course is the industry benchmark that ALL editors value and expect from their journalists. Make sure you go to a uni that offers this qualification alongside your BA or MA in Journalism because trust me when I say, it will be much harder to get a job with just a regular journalism degree. Do not waste three or four years of your life on something that doesn’t open doors to your dream job.
- Ensure that you can spell and write in good grammar. This seems really silly and small but honestly this is super super important. I recently completed (and passed) a 2-hour Journalism admission test at a university and honestly, I almost fell at the hurdle of the spelling and grammar part. It made me realise how much work I need to do on spelling. I cannot rely on spellcheck forever.
- At any stage in the Education system when you are deciding what subjects to do, ensure you pick essay based subjects. You need to learn how to cohesively structure writing in and interesting but functional way. Here is a list of subjects I suggest from; English Language, English Literature, English Language and Literature, Sociology, Phycology, Media Studies, History, Geography, Law, Government and Politics, Philosophy and any modern foreign language.
- Lastly, practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Find a story in your local area, get interviews and write an article. Just write. Then ask someone to read it and get feedback. then build on that feedback and build up a portfolio of your work. This blog is kind of my version of that.
I hope this tips are some what helpful. If they are, I’m glad.
Paula Melissa x
A friend (within or outside marriage) is that person who will still hold your hands when you are in error.
A friend is the person who may be unable to solve your problem but can give you a shoulder to lean on.
A friend is the person who can listen to you even when you are not making sense.
A friend is the person you are not afraid of sharing your struggles with.
A friend is the person who can still call you ‘my friend’ when you do not deserve it.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:13-16 ASV)
– written by anonymous guest writer