I've been trying to write this blog post for 3 years after I read some horrific news about a fellow photographer attempting to take his life because of the bullying he was encountering. I keep coming back to it after speaking with fellow photographers and even models and makeup artists. For some reason I haven’t been able to post it until now. Please take a moment and read this.
This is a little more of a somber post for me. Normally, I don't like to talk about negativity and I like to keep it positive and upbeat. There have been some things that I have seen come up within our industry the last few months that I feel like I need to write about it. First off, we aren't all going to get along. I know that. Personalities clash and you know what? Its okay. Its okay to not like every single person you meet and come across in this world. Its okay to disagree with someone. In regards to this industry, its okay to not like every single persons work. Whats not okay is when you cyber bully someone so much to the point that they feel worthless. Its not okay to break someone so much they feel the only way to escape is to harm themselves. I can't even write the words because it hurts my heart.
I have been bullied since the age of 4. One thing I never expected was to be bullied as an adult. When I was younger and was struggling with overcoming the words and actions of others, I kept thinking to myself "Just wait, wait until your older. You can do this. Grown ups are mature. Grown ups won't hurt you." Boy was I wrong. Turns out, adults are worse than kids/teenagers. There came a point in my late teens/early twenties that I went spiralling into a deep depression. I couldn't see past this, I couldn't convince myself there would be a time were it would stop. Then one day, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. He told me about a group of people who, in their words, wanted to "destroy me". Those are some pretty harsh words. What in the world can one person do to anger someone so much that you want to break them down and destroy them? Those words are so powerful. Something in me snapped that day. As a child, I was always quiet and timid. I never stood up for myself. It all changed after that day. I promised myself I wouldn't let them get to me. I wasn't going anywhere. All of my life I just thought this was normal, that being treated like that was okay. That night I realized, its NOT okay.
I see so much going on all over the world and in this industry in regards to bullying. When I see a young child/teen/adult end their life because they can't take the bullying anymore, it breaks my heart into a million pieces. I can't breathe every time I see an article about it. I could have been one of those kids. The industry I am in happens to be really bad for it. I don't know why. I don't know if its jealousy or intimidation but the hate is strong. I've seen it first hand but also recently witnessed how far someone will go to make it all stop. This industry is big but in our community, we should all be supporting and encouraging one another. Can you imagine what we would accomplish if we all came together? Sadly, I don't think that will ever happen.
The intensity that some people have in regards to cyber-bullying scares me. You may not agree with everything someone does. Your personality may not jive with theirs. Thats OKAY. I am sick and tired of the bullying that goes on not just in our industry but in all regards. We need to STOP THIS! How many lives need to be lost for us to realize that how we treat people affects not just the person but everyone close to them? I didn't tell my parents about what I went through until a few years ago. I was scared to tell them. Now they know everything and I'm not afraid to open up. But I understand how people feel. They don't want to burden people. They feel ashamed. They feel like its never going to end and telling people will just make it worse. Please, if you are being bullied or going through something, open up to those around you. Tell someone. Never feel like you are a burden. People will want to help you. Don't push people away.
I'm very lucky that I have an amazing support system. My parents especially. I have also met some amazing people in this industry. People who I consider part of my family now and people who are my dear friends. Thats what it should be all about. Creating magic together in the form of our art.
Why can't we stop this? Are we really so stubborn? Do we really want to keep filling this world with hate? I know I don't. For me, I don't worry about what these people are doing. I don't worry about what they are saying about me now. Its all irrelevant. I stick to doing what I love, being around positive people who make me laugh, and living my life because I am so blessed.
Thats my rant done. All I hope for is that we can all stop this. Put the egos away and at least be civil. Be supportive. There is so much talent in this community. I want everyone to succeed. I want all of our dreams to come true. Thank you for listening and remember: spread love, not hate.
Until next time,