When I was 20, I was having a conversation with one of my friends about boys. I couldn’t work out why I struggled to meet anyone where there was that mutual spark. You know, you like him so he doesn’t like you and vice versa.
My friend, who I am sure was trying to be helpful proclaimed, “of course you can’t meet anyone, look at your interests and hobbies, men don’t find that shit interesting, you need to start and get different hobbies they like.”
He kinda had a point. Considering my free time consisted of midday bikini fashion shows in my friend Jessamyn’s bedroom, fake tanning, and hanging out in the beauty department at Myer. I was so lit up by the glitz and glam of life and wanting to be on stage or published and my hobbies reflected that, but I honestly didn’t believe my love of glitter would impede me from getting a guy.
I had a flamboyant group of friends thanks to modelling and dancing and I always felt like I fit in when I was with them. They would accept who I was – a singing and dancing maniac who was high energy and always fun. But outside of that crowd, I was told to wear less fake tan, cover up more, be less ‘extra’ and basically, just be a different person.
The theme of being told to change in order to fit in has been a constant in my life, especially with men and work. Whenever I’d rhetorically ask why my life wasn’t abundant with what I longed for, I’d be met with ‘helpful’ advice of “be less of a slut, you’d easily have a boyfriend”, “stop swearing, it’s really unattractive”, “you’re really intimidating to guys, just tone everything about yourself down and cover yourself up”. Basically, dulling down parts of me and dimming my brightness to fit in.
I’d attempt it, but whenever I wasn’t ‘me’ I’d just find myself in uncomfortable situations; Like dialling down the ho-factor and winding up with an asexual guy, or saying I frothed hard over being fit for men to constantly organise active dates – and not the sexy kind of active – for them to get the shits because my idea of being active is walking to McDonald’s.
It didn’t phase me too much when these failed attempts at a relationship didn’t work out. Dating can be like buses, there will always be a new person every 20 minutes, but almost landing and then losing my dream job was a blow to the chest and really caused me to question who I am and if I have to change me if I want to achieve my dreams.
It was almost a year ago when proposals were sent and I did the silly thing and told everyone my dream gig was happening. I was convinced I had it in the bag. My fulltime blogger dreams were about to be birthed.
I actually remember the traffic lights I was sitting at when my phone started ringing with the call to tell me it wasn’t going ahead. They’d discussed with head office who advised them they couldn’t work with me. She dissected the details of why parts of me weren’t right and how my personal brand wasn’t family friendly and my content pushed the boundaries of what they could align themselves with.
The phone call ended and I head was buried in my hands and the tears wouldn’t stop streaming down my face. I lost the job because I was too me.
I started to hate me. Wanting to get rid of her and change her and just wish I could wake up and be a different person every day. And every time things would go well with something, I started to change myself and play it safe for fear of losing it. I had proof of how being authentic didn’t always work in your favour. And if it was going well, I sure as shit had to change myself for fear of fucking up with this belief that was cemented in my brain and being of, “I can’t be successful if I am me.”
It’s only taken me years to realise I am meant to be me, not everyone will like me and I shouldn’t apologise or meld myself into a version of what that other people would like me to be.
I am working with a mindset coach and kinesiologist right now to change these beliefs and be true to myself again. Finding yourself isn’t easy, especially when we’ve been a sponge for the beliefs of others that we’ve gradually soaked up without realising it. Kind of like when you date a guy and adopt his behaviours and forget the person you were before the relationship. You break up and all of a sudden it’s a self-discovery process to get back to your true self.
There have been journal entries, tears and tremendous clearings of beliefs whilst I shed what as absorbed from others and remember what Peta loves and knows to be true.
So, with homework assigned from both parties who are cheerleaders for my success, I can’t wait to share with you something I’ve been working on – a zine. Inspiration filled with my musings, my photography, my loves and my lessons, I can hear the external noise of others saying it’s a dumb and vapid idea that no one will buy. But I always know my best work and best successes happen when I am me.