When you stop running, doors start opening.

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I’m writing this post tonight as I reflect on the people I’ve met recently through work, who’ve opened up to me rather quickly about their own personal battles. I don’t know if it’s because A) They feel like they can trust me or B) They just want someone to talk to. It’s probably a mixture of both, and don’t get me wrong – I’m more than happy to listen and engage in deep conversation early on into meeting people. None of this small chat about the weather! Let’s get right down to the nitty gritty. But I can’t help but feel a little guilty for initially trying to appear as someone I’m not. You see after the awful year I had in 2016, I wanted this job to be a fresh start where I could leave all my past behind. I wanted to be cool, calm and collected. I wanted to leave my personal life at home and be the ultimate professional on the job. But after my recent conversations with these colleagues, I’ve realised how much humans crave that connection – and how important it really is.

I spent all my energy last year trying to cover up the fact that I simply was not okay. I wasn’t okay going into those meetings, or making those cold calls. I wasn’t okay with that workload, or with that pressure, and I most certainly wasn’t okay with pretending I cared about such meaningless tasks. So this year I told myself that I would focus on me, and what I really wanted. I would take a less stressful job where I didn’t know anyone, and they wouldn’t know how close I’d come to rock bottom. I didn’t have to disclose the battles I’d come through, and I intended on staying that way. I’d come from a workplace culture of keeping your mouth shut and carrying on – you were a cog in the wheel and every cog was replaceable. So I tried, for as long as I could to keep my cool – but as many of you will know that became impossible.

Since meeting the staff in my new job and having them open up to me about their own battles (be it sexual identity issues, domestic violence or mental health problems), I’ve realised that it’s OKAY to be honest with people straight up. We don’t have to wear this mask we create for ourselves, and we don’t have to be ashamed of whatever we’ve gone through. We should feel empowered to be transparent, be trusting, and lean on each other. After all we are in this job together, and how can we really perform to the best of our abilities if we don’t know each others triggers and weak spots?

From now on I intend to be completely honest with my colleagues, both current and future. I’m done with pretending to be someone I’m not, and you can either take it or leave it. We’re all unique individuals with our own stories of perseverance, and we should lift each other up – not bring each other down.

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Photo credits – maison.chloeyeur & hautepunchmag

An open letter to women who belittle women.

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I’m truly sick of having to interact with women who are nasty, competitive and downright NOT about the sisterhood, whether it be through work circumstances or friendship circles. We all know one (or many). They’re typically insecure and mask it through being perfectionists, enjoy making you look bad, ‘dobbing’ you in for things, and always appear switched on at the right moments. They’d do anything to climb the ladder, manipulate the truth to frame themselves in a good light, and pull you up on tiny (un-important) things, while you meanwhile bite your tongue because really – who cares whether a document is folded this way or that in the grand scheme of things? Who cares whether a sentence is written in bold, italics or CAPITAL LETTERS? Absolutely nobody cares. What matters is that you are a kind person, do your job with honesty and integrity, and look out for each other. What would Beyonce think of your petty attitude? She’d see through that fake smile in a heartbeat and smite you down, that’s what!

I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some truly beautiful women in my working life, both inside and out. These are the ones who won’t tell the boss when you make a small mistake, who’ll have your back when you’re feeling upset, who’ll be there with you at the end of a long day to have a glass of wine and tell each other tomorrow will be better. These are the ones you’d be happy to catch up with outside of work, and who you genuinely care about. Thank God for these women! They lift you up on hard days, they understand when you’re not feeling up to it, and they make those long days slightly more bearable. We spend a lot of our lives at work, so we need a strong sisterhood to hold our heads above water.

I’ve worked in some incredibly strong teams, and some incredibly fractured teams. The fractures usually intensify in time, making for an unpleasant mixture of tension and baited breath, waiting for the storm to explode. I know what I prefer, and I’m not going to play stupid games with two-faced personality types. Life is way too short to spend it competing with each other. There are enough problems in the world so give it a break and think about what actually matters!

‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’

Madeleine K Albright. 

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Photo credits – popmyeyes & naydafernandez