Life Updates

Last Day at Work!

My last day working for menswear has flown past and I’m left feeling rather nostalgic and a little at loss with what to do with myself. I remember the day I had my interview with my department manager and leaving the interview feeling absolutely terrified. Since then, I’ve massively grown as a person, in strength and in determination. Not without a few obstacles on the way, however! Nevertheless, it’s been a wild ride and one I’ll cherish for a long time.

Working for a high-demand fashion retail company isn’t easy when you’re literally running around the shop-floor all day. The one thing I was guaranteed was a decent night’s sleep after an 8 hour shift. Working for menswear was also an entirely new and exciting experience for me; I’ve learnt to style men for occasions (kinda still getting my head around that one) and help co-oordinate outfits both merchandising-wise and for customers. With regionals coming down every couple of weeks, this job has been simultaneously the most stressful and enjoyable retail experience.

The customers were a challenge, I’ll happily admit that. With men shouting at me for not smiling at them, throwing clothes on me, demanding I run up 3 flights of stairs to find them a jacket etc, it was exhausting. When customers didn’t speak a word of English, they’d start getting furious with me for not understanding them. Also, from called an “asian persuasion” to being insulted and harassed for refusing to give me phone number/ my name, I can only look back and laugh at the nature of half the arguments there’s been in menswear.

However, this job couldn’t have been as wonderful as it has been without the people I’ve met and grown to love over the course of the few months I was there. From the cashiers to the stockroom assistants to the security guards, it felt like one big family and I’m grateful to have been a part of it. I learnt the art of sass from my floor manager and how to control my tongue when men became particularly aggressive towards me and my merchandiser taught me everything I needed/ wanted to learn about merchandising – something incredibly invaluable. Their relentless support and encouragement made the experience evermore enjoyable – without it, I don’t know where I’d be. It was an absolute pleasure working with such wonderful ladies. And finally, my boss. I don’t think I have ever got on so well with a manager before. Our relationship was an odd one, though – one minute we’d be laughing, the next minute screaming in each other’s faces, at times literally hitting each other. I think 90% of that stemmed from my inability to understand what he was saying most of the time, but I’m immensely grateful to have worked for a really amazing guy. He transformed me from the timid little 19 year old at the interview into a no-shit-taking, thick skinned 20 year old. The love and respect I have for him I cannot put into words. All I can say is thank you. For absolutely everything, but most importantly for taking a chance on me and making me cry/laugh at the same time.

I looked forward to coming into work these last four months, so thank you to everyone at Croydon for giving me memories I’ll cherish and friends for life. It won’t be the same not coming down those escalators and seeing your faces again!

All my love,

Anisah x

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Current Affairs, Original Writing

SAY NO TO BULLYING

Being mean isn’t cool.

I sometimes wonder why on earth people have this obsessive desire to be particularly cold and manipulative when it takes so much effort to do so. You have to go out of your way to pick on someone, and I really do wonder what possesses someone to treat someone as if they’re worthless.

I’m going to try not to give an X-Factor-worthy sob story about how hard my childhood was, growing up in an predominantly white, upper class environment. Yes, it was horrendous. I developed anxiety as a result of the teachers’ treatment towards me, and there are times where I lose the constant battle I have with this cruel and unforgiving mental illness. I was made to feel like a failure at everything. I was picked on for standing up against their cruel accusations of being a disruption in class. They had their favourites and I simply wasn’t one of them, so naturally they made my life hell. Shit happens.

I hate to sound so bitter but there’s no way of sugar-coating an experience so traumatising in such an influential period of my life. My point to this is that it was highly unnecessary. My form tutor and my “head of pastoral care” who soon came to claim the title of headteacher both accused me of anything and everything under the sun. I used to sit in the back and do my work silently but that wasn’t enough for them. And it was intentionally malicious; they set out to humiliate me in front of classmates. But why? What did it achieve for them? A momentary sense of satisfaction to exploit an authoritative position and the trust of one’s parents simultaneously without them knowing, sure but what real gain was there from treating me like this? It’s been four years since I left that place and I’m still haunted by it. That’s what bullying does – it leaves scars that won’t ever leave you.

Bullying comes in all shapes and forms: online, in person, through social media etc. I am a strong believer in the notion that not enough is done to catch these coward culprits and bring them to justice. From sharing intimate pictures of your ex as ‘revenge’ to sending death threats on social media, people ought to be punished. Cyber bullying isn’t taken as seriously as it should be, with the ramifications leaving a victim both emotionally and physically traumatised. A boy I grew up with committed suicide after being told to kill himself by another group of schoolboys in the same town as him. They spurred him on, told him they’d kill him if he didn’t go through with it. I cannot fathom how heartless a person can be if they can sleep at night after sending such messages. And to think, my friend’s death is on them now. How can one live with that? Cyber bullying should warrant more punishment, including sentencing and jail time depending on the crime.

Discriminating against someone because of their nationality, beliefs or religion is also unacceptable and ought to be treated with the same attitude as other crimes, too. Ultimately, discrimination is singling someone out from others because they’re different in some way or another. It’s making someone believe they’re inferior to you and treating them as such. I’m talking from recent experience, too. It’s unfair. We didn’t come this far in life, as a society and as a race, only to be defeated by each other. What a step backwards. Some people see bullying as childish: I see it as dangerously destructive.

Say NO to bullying, whatever form it comes in.

A x

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Quotes

The (beauty of) travel

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind. 

– Anthony Bourdain

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Original Writing

My Private School Experience

I was shocked to hear on the radio a few months ago that eating disorders are on the rise in private schools. But when I look back on my experience in my own private school, it suddenly doesn’t seem that shocking after all, just incredibly sad.

My private school was all-girls, I should add first. And because it was private, the girls were from mostly incredibly wealthy families, and with that incredible wealth came a despicable attitude. As the school was small, with classes consisting of approximately sixteen students, the girls had a habit of merging into smaller groups and some of those smaller groups became relatively vicious. The bitchiness was something students had to encounter on a daily basis with it verging on bullying.

Ironically, the girls themselves weren’t the problem in my school. The bullying was something you simply learnt to deal with and eventually ignore if you chose to be passive, as I did. The teachers were the key problem: the bullying took place right under their noses, and not once did they make a substantial effort to stop it, nor did they attempt to help the victims. Instead, they ignored the issues, placing more emphasis on how long your skirt was as opposed to how badly you were suffering as a result of humiliating bullying.

I think that is one of the biggest failures as a school. To accept that there is bullying taking place, and to acknowledge that children are visibly distressed by this abuse yet choosing to act in an insultingly nonchalant manner. The well-being of your students is at risk, yet you choose to let verbal abuse take place? Then what right do you have to be a teacher? How can you demand respect from your students, when you cannot respect their fears, concerns and mental health?

I was brought up in a household where respect was a fundamental value. Respect authoritative members of the public and respect your elders no matter what. However, it has occurred to me over the past few months that respect works both ways. I had no obligation to respect the teachers if they do not respect my well-being, but I chose to stay quiet, allow them to punish me for “acts of disrespect” they created themselves etc. I chose to stay quiet as I was only there to get the best education I could. My parents made huge sacrifices to put me into that school, and it’s saddening to think that I still suffered psychologically, at the hands of those who were employed to help me, support me and educate me to the best of their abilities.

However, I think the main issue here is that children are overworked to the extent that they are obsessed with perfection. To ensure that the reputation of the school does not come into question, students are forced to work at their highest level possible. Any work of a lower standard is condemned as “not being good enough” and unfortunately in my school, I was once even asked what I was doing at the school. This fear of not being good enough and the constant fear of failure is what is damaging the students of today: the pressure they are being put under to do well is far too excessive. Growing up, your childhood should not be spent worrying over deadlines, a C- in an exam, or if you cannot use a calculator to answer a mathematics question. Teenage years are supposed to be the best years of your life!

It needs to be said that some of my friends also attended private schools across England; they didn’t have the same experience as I did. Some had a wonderful secondary school experience, so I am in no way labeling all private schools as malicious, a waste of time or damaging to your child’s health. But please bear in mind both sides to a story: consider everything before you decide to put your child into a school. The teachers will not always look out for them as you do.

I have attached an interesting link which talks more of the eating disorders taking place in independent schools:

http://schoolsimprovement.net/anorexia-the-silent-epidemic-hitting-top-girls-schools/

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