How many times have you thought you need to wait to do something till you've lost weight, like wear that outfit, have a family photo or go out to a fancy restaurant?
I know what to do when life gives you lemons but what do you do when life gives you aubergines? You see for the last year (well longer really) I have stepping into my power with colour in what I wear and with my hair.
For those who know we well will know that I am a positive person and believe in positive affirmations, I've spent that past seven years or so growing as a person but I've also learnt in the past three years that sometimes my positivity has been rather toxic. I know it sounds crazy, how can being positive be seen as toxic?! Well you see I was so focused on being a positive person that I didn't really listen to how I was actually feel, there was no room for bad days and I felt that if I admitted I was struggling in my personal life or business then it would make me look bad. In truth, holding in all my feelings for years meant that it all exploded out in a much messier way. It's like a coke can, if you keep shaking it eventually it's going to burst.
The more we tell ourselves that we need to 'put on a brave face' or 'others have it worse' the bigger the explosion is at the other end. I hate the phrase 'others have it worse so I should be grateful' it's literally guilt tripping yourself into pretending that everything's okay. I've had it said to me by someone else and I could easily go around telling other parents to be thankful that they have neuro-typical kids but I wouldn't because that would make me a massive d**k. I understand that everyone has challenges in their lives, whatever they're going through no matter how 'big' or 'small' it might appear it's a challenge and those emotions need to be processed to be able to move on.
The more we shut people down for trying to express how they feel, the worse our mental health crisis is going to get.
Remember when Caroline Flack died and people were saying "If only she reached out for help" when her personal life was publicly sprawled over the news and she was being slagged off on social media, if she had cried for help she would probably have been called 'attention seeking' or 'it's alright for her she's got fame and fortune' mental health doesn't discriminate when it comes to picking its victims. The next time you're feeling down and you try and slap on a brave face, just take some time out to do something that's going to make you feel better, talk to a friend, journal, reach out for help in a support group, seek a therapist but most of all just be honest with your emotions.
If you ever need us we're in the GRL PWR support group and Friday is dedicated to Honour your feelings, look after yourself.
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera
When I had just started secondary school I very excitedly signed myself up for a school talent contest, I somehow managed to convince a boy to sing Grease ‘You’re the one that I want’ on stage with me. I loved going to karaoke with my dad and sang in the school plays at primary, it wasn’t a matter of being confident back then, I didn’t know what confidence was, I just liked to sing so I did it!
When it came to singing on stage during the talent show I felt so good and had so much fun and as soon as I got off the stage I was already thinking of ideas we could do for next years show but then came the voices, the opinions of others. They were mostly good but there were some people who were negative and some people said they couldn’t hear me at all! I thought I was a great singer but then I began to question myself. Looking back I remember a lot of people questioning “you’re only in year 7?” Like someone who just came up to secondary school shouldn’t have the confidence to get up on stage and sing. Guess what happened next year? Nothing, because I didn’t have the confidence to do it again. Guess what happened when I went to karaoke with my dad? Nothing, because I feared that I would be judged and I was worried I wasn't good enough.
It was years before I found the courage to sing in public again, I eventually took on singing lessons and had a great teacher we did the musical based on Queen’s music We Will Rock You and I loved it, she left shortly after and the new teacher was classical and I spent a few years with him, in a Christmas concert I was able to sing a solo to the opening of Silent Night in German - completely out of my comfort zone but I loved it!
However, still to this day I don’t feel confident within my voice and since I thought about writing this out in a blog I have realised that I don't sing out loud even when I'm driving in the car, several times I have caught myself just mouthing the words, ever when I'm alone. It made me really sad that I no longer do something I loved so much because of worrying what others think. So every time I notice that I'm only mouthing the words I push myself to sing out loud and I'm putting it on my list to do before I'm 30 to go to Karaoke and find the courage to sing.
Over the past 3 years I have worked so hard on my confidence in who I am, being comfortable with how I look and believing I can be successful in business but there are still so many areas I struggle with too. We're all born with confidence as a baby, there are just events or people who knock us down, it's our choice to stand back up again, together we can find the courage to be our unapologetic selves.
Was there a time when your confidence was knocked that you still need to work through?
With love & gratitude,
Ana Louise Bonasera, mum of 4 boys, girl power enthusiast.