Breaking away from the flock

“A wise head on top of young shoulders” – a phrase I have been graced with from a very young age. I never truly understood what it meant and I relate it to growing up too quickly but what I do remember is throughout my primary school experience I was called horrible names and picked on everyday for simply being myself; consequently the younger version of the Lexi many know today felt she needed to hide who she was, what she believed in and blend into the shadows.

So what made me a target? I pondered this very question for years and if I’m being completely honest I will never know the full truth but what I can tell you is that I wasn’t afraid to express who I am and be kind to all despite their actions towards me. This mentality followed me throughout my school experience and no matter what bullying I faced I never once retaliated and simply remained kind and true to who I was – teachers told me I was past the “secondary school mindset” and I agree wholeheartedly. I never saw the purpose in misbehaving, being rude or gossiping about other people because I wanted to build a future for myself and prove them all wrong.

A psychologist conducted a study where participants observed lines of different lengths and had to announce in the group which they thought were the same length (little did they know that the rest of the group were confederate told to give the clearly wrong answer) and comically enough even though participants knew it was wrong – they still stuck with the group.  Many people would call these participants “sheep”, simply following the group. Perhaps they wanted to be liked? Perhaps they wanted to fit in? The most interesting part is, when even ONE confederate changed their view (even if it didn’t match the participants) most people spoke their truth. This experiment, no matter how small, should show you that your voice is powerful enough to change a majority, it’s powerful enough to pave your future and it’s powerful enough to save lives. Do not let anyone tell you how to live your life and what your self worth is because you are unique; your presence on this earth is a miracle that should never be taken for granted.

It took me a very long time to be able to look at myself and feel proud of my achievements: I’ve toured in China as a singer, I’ve written tons of articles for this very newspaper, I’ve written letters and been featured in the news for writing to care homes amongst many other things. I was made to feel bad about my successes and merely highlight my flaws, I do not know my purpose in life yet but I can wholeheartedly believe I am making even the smallest difference to people’s lives by remaining kind and true to myself. This world shouldn’t be a factory of carbon copy humans, society was never changed by people idly sitting on the sidelines and twiddling their thumbs. I can promise you that those who build themselves up by forcing others down will never make it further than those who were patient and kind. It took me a very long time to forgive those who caused me wounds that are still yet to heal, but those wounds have taught me life lessons for which I am eternally grateful to have received.

Confidence and arrogance sit on a fine line yet you should never be afraid to speak your truth and be proud of who you are.  Thank you to those who allowed me to grow and learn resilience through kindness, to anyone reading this who has been told they “weren’t good enough”, “weren’t pretty enough” or anything similar please read these lines carefully. You, my darling are a gift to this planet and you were put here for a reason. I am so proud of you and I want you to keep your head held high because one day you will look back and smile, admiring the challenges you have overcome.

Article by Young Reporter Alex Greenwood
First published in Grimsby Telegraph 4th August 2020