George - Liberating lyrics fuelled my journey back to authenticity

Before I had any concept of what self-care was, I discovered power in the music of empowering women, for bringing comfort and grounding throughout the ups-and-downs of my recovery journey.

Prior to primary school, I was an outgoing, curious child with great enthusiasm and excitement for life. However, when I commenced Year 3, I noticed an unusual shift in my focus and concentration which was beyond my control. Despite my best efforts, I was regularly told-off or put on the spot in front of my peers for not paying enough attention during lessons. As a result, my internal battle with shame took root and I experienced a major decline in my self-esteem. I became a shell of the spirited child I once was.

From that point on, I endured severe bullying about my ethnicity, appearance, and sexual orientation. This was so damaging to my sense of self, during formative years when I was just beginning to navigate my place in the wider world. 

With no concept of what self-care meant or how vital it is for mental wellbeing, I found that listening to the uplifting music of empowering female artists brought comfort in times when I was dealing with the judgement and scrutiny of others. Immersing in the distinct voices and liberating lyrics of warrior-women like Madonna, Tori Amos, Shirley Manson, Alanis Morissette, Peaches and Dolores O’Riordan, became my strategy for dealing with the judgement and scrutiny of others.

Through the power of music I’ve re-built my courage and found strength to start living authentically.

As I listen, the words of these amazing women resonate with facets of my own lived experience. When I attended their concerts, I connected with like-minded people. In fact, this is how I met my husband who has instilled in me the confidence and self-worth I had lost as a child entering primary school. 

Overcoming the negative experiences I endured as an ethnic, Queer, neurodiverse young person, inspired me to pursue a profession where I can support other people from a place of genuine empathy, drawing on my own life experience and recovery journey. In my role as Peer Worker for Flourish Australia, I’ve found an accepting and inclusive work culture which supports me to be fully myself. 

It is so rewarding to help others to move past any barriers to achieving their full potential, as I journey with them providing Peer Support. I enjoy sharing the healthy, practical strategies for self-care that I’ve been fortunate to discover through music.  

While lingering memories from my early childhood can at times be difficult, I believe reflection provides wisdom and insight. We can choose to view challenging memories as a gentle reminders to treat everyone with value, respect, and dignity, particularly during those formative years. 

To anyone who may feel different or like an outsider, I want to affirm that you are unique and special, regardless of what others might say. Stay true to yourself, surround yourself with supportive networks, and never allow the negativity and limited perspectives of others to dim the shining star you are.

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