Don’t you find it frustrating to see how the youth are portrayed by the media, with the youth not speaking up to defend themselves? I do, so instead of just thinking it and complaining about it behind closed doors, I decided that it was time to do something.
As a writer, I wanted to use writing as a positive entity to make a change, as I believe that writing is a powerful tool. Writing gave me a voice, as I expressed the words that struggled to come out of my mouth and gained the strength to tell my stories. It also allows me to pursue what I truly love, but I’ll tell you more about my journey to become a writer on another post.
Last year, I set up a blog centred on young people, highlighting some of the issues affecting us and how we could address them, while also sharing stories from and on other young people, with the purpose of inspiring the youth and giving the older generation a better idea of who we are. However, I wanted to take this further and also engage in face-to-face conversations.
I knew that this was going to be a difficult process and further support would be necessary; then as if by chance I stumbled upon the charity, Fixers, on Twitter. I was immediately drawn to what they do and I knew that this was what I needed to move forward in my journey, so I wasted no time in contacting them and I was ecstatic when I got a response about setting up a meeting to discuss my ‘fix’.
Following a number of meetings, a focus group and ideas development, we came up with the concept of a spoken word piece, which would encourage young people to use their voice and also touch on some of the major issues, in order to develop conversation. The process was fun, stressful and great to be a part of, and I couldn’t be happier with the end result.
Creating this film was of high importance to me, because I believe that youth voice is extremely important – I cannot stress that enough. Young people need to speak up on what is affecting them, but more than that, they need to feel able to speak up. They need to feel that their voices are being heard. It is so easy for the voices of the youth to get suppressed in a world that wants to shut us up, but we must not back down, and this film emphasises that.
I also hope that speaking out and telling their stories will give young people a greater sense of self.
There is not a great sense of self amongst many of the youth and self-esteem seems to be something that is lacking. I see self-esteem as how you perceive yourself, how much you believe in yourself, how much you love yourself.
I have struggled with low self-esteem over the years (in fact, I’m still slightly struggling with it), so I know that increasing it is difficult. However, I would say try to stop looking for validation from others and start to believe in what you can do. Counteract those negative thoughts with a positive about yourself and don’t call yourself stupid. I guarantee, you are more amazing then you think.
Rise above the labels, believe in yourself and make sure your voice is heard. Oh, and watch my short film, ‘What would you say?’ on YouTube now.