She told me to go f**k myself, so I engraved my response on a bangle.
It was a Thursday evening, and I was dressed up to the nines, (glitter dress and all), off to receive one of my first ever awards for the work I’d done with One Girl. The organisation giving out the awards was holding an fancy event at Crown Casino, and I invited a friend of mine along, hoping we could celebrate together.
Half way through the event, she stormed up to me, looked me straight in the eye and said..
“Hey Chantelle. Go fuck yourself…” And walked out.
I stood there stunned. Uh, wait... what? What the hell was that?
And so, it had begun.
She was one of ‘those’ friends. The ones whose eyes flash with jealousy if you share a recent success. A friend who is more comfortable keeping you in the same place rather than celebrating your growth.
A friend who seemed to think that if I succeeded at something, it meant something bad about her. In her mind, my successes made her less than.
For years, I ignored it.
After all, doesn’t everyone want to be liked? (I know I do).
The strange dynamic reared its ugly head for the first time at the awards night. And you’d think after a situation like that, someone sane would let that friend go.
But no, not me. I want to be LIKED damn it. She presented a challenge to me, so I tried harder.
In my mind I said, “I’ll be better - I promise! I won’t be too much for you anymore. I’ll fit in, I won’t step out of line, and I’ll do whatever I can to support you and build you up so you don’t feel so threatened.”
And on when went.
When she got upset because someone wrote an article about my work with One Girl on International Women’s Day, I apologised and promised I’d try to get some media attention for her business next time.
If I applied for an award, I’d send her the application immediately, encouraging her to apply - desperately hoping we’d both get picked – for fear of what would happen if I was chosen and she wasn’t.
It wasn’t long before I stopped sharing my successes. The cutting remarks and and flashing eyes became too hard to deal with. It became easier to say nothing. To share nothing.
Our relationship was built on a foundation of eggshells. Her trying to contain her anger, while I tried to dull myself – hoping I wouldn’t shine too brightly in case she got upset.
I became less to prevent her feeling bad about who she was.
(Note to self : this is NOT a healthy friendship).
Eventually, our relationship ended.
I got tired of pretending to be something that I wasn’t. When I stopped making myself small and pandering to keep her happy, nature took it’s course and she left my life.
It took me a long time to realise that her judgements and reactions had nothing to do with me – and everything to do with her own low self esteem and opinion of herself. She was hell bent on beating herself with the ‘not enough’ whip, it just seemed to go into overdrive whenever I was around.
And look, I get it.
I’ve spent my whole life thinking I’m ‘too much’.
Too loud. Too opinionated. Too stubborn. Too fat. Too messy. Too masculine. Too passionate. Too driven. Too distracted.
And when that gets old – I pull out the ‘not enough’ whip.
Not feminine enough. Not pretty enough. Not skinny enough. Not caring enough. Not a good enough manager / sister / daughter / friend.
I call it..
The Self Worth Paradox
It’s all about how we see ourselves. The comparisons we make to our friends, our family, the images we see in the media. For most of my life I’ve bounced between these two extremes, too much of one thing, not enough of another. And I bet you have too.
Too much, too much, too much.
Whoops, bored of that now.
Not enough, not enough, not enough.
And man does it get tiring.
So I began thinking, where on earth does this crap come from? What is the origin of the self worth paradox?
Well, it can come from a variety of sources.
Societies expectations of you.
Your families expectations of you.
Your friend’s expectations of you.
Hell, your partner – your kids – their expectations of you.
The threat of their judgement and expectations can weigh heavily on you.
After all, it’s a basic human desire to want to fit in and feel a part of something. So acting outside of people’s expectations and what is considered ‘normal’ within your environment can feel threatening.
But very recently, something clicked for me.
I am who I am. And there is no point in apologizing for that. Or trying to change that. Or trying to be something other than the brightest and shiniest version of myself.
For a long time, I’ve found myself apologizing for who I was. And trying to be less than. To dull. To not offend. To fit into a box marked “others expectations of me.”
And man is that painful.
And it doesn’t have to be a friend. We all know someone who has struggled with their parent’s expectations – whether it pops up in choosing a career, a degree, a partner, hell, even a place to live.
In many ways, it’s easier to blame outside influences, but in truth we often do it to ourselves.
You walk into a room of people we don’t know, and because you want them to ‘like you’, you hold your true self back.
You excitedly share a big dream for the future with your family, and after receiving a few disapproving looks, you file them away in a box marked “one day”. (aka. Never).
Or you walk into that job interview, the business pitch, the sales call, and your own self doubts start screaming, so you stop trusting your own abilities.
You take the safe road instead of the right one.
And that beautiful light inside you starts to lose its brightness because you are afraid to be who you really are.
But the world needs you and your brilliance.
All parts of you. The loud bits. The quiet bits. The crazy bits. The quirky bits. The bits that make you, uniquely YOU.
Sometimes, we all need a little reminder of this. Which is exactly the reason why I created the new Limited Edition Be. Rose Gold bangle. Engraved with…
Be the shiniest fucking unicorn in the room.
Let GO of the expectations you have of yourself, and the expectations others have of you.
Just BE who you ARE.
No apologies. No dulling. Just you.
Comparison is the death of joy. You can be no one other than yourself, so why not embrace it? Give others the space to embrace their shininess as well.
Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.
(St Catherine of Sienna said that).
It’s my new favourite bangle.
I’ve made less than 100 of these, and there won’t be another run of them. These are Limited Edition (just like you!). And once they’re sold out – we’re done. So if you want one, please get in fast. They are going to go quickly. Get one now!
And to finish it off, I’d love to hear – WHO ARE YOU? Like seriously. If you were owning all those pieces of yourself, or in my friend Carmen’s words – Giving Zero Fucks. Who the hell are you?
I am Creative. Loud. Messy. Funny. Radically transparent. Determined. Passionate. Stubborn. Independent. Sexy. Beautiful. Cheeky. Naughty. A Leader. Inspiring. Blunt. Rough around the edges. And having a shitload of fun.
Tell me in the comments about YOU! :)
PS. For the next 24 hours, buy TWO or more bangles and get 12% off using the discount code “IAmAShinyUnicorn.”