Gemma: Breaking out of a negative mindset

Gemma spoke about grief and loss on Raising Teens  last year. Here she talks about how that experience has helped her to open up and seek support.

It seems in a world so digitalised we often lose sight of reality; words are said with little truth behind them and conversations go unspoken. 

Make (Good) Trouble has initiated that conversation; discussing topics that are so often pushed aside, avoided, or even feared. It was for that exact reason that I’m determined to speak about the avoided, feared or pushed aside as these are normalities that are made anomalies. Having understood the topics at hand to be discussed, I was initially reluctant in opening up about the state of beings that I am far too familiar with; grief, loneliness and social anxiety. These three states of being tend to be intertwined and when one is taking the limelight the other two tend to sneak up slowly behind. 

After losing my mum at the age of nine and entering the foster care system at 14, I think it’s fair to say that adapting to change is now a skill I am far too familiar with. Anyone who has experienced a loss at such an age would understand when I say, the years that soon follow on from this are the ones you wished them were around to see; the start of secondary school, prom, birthdays and just general adolescent changes. I suppose losing a parent at any age is the greatest loss one can ever experience and as I said in my Raising Teens interview, I know as life progresses, there’ll be times when my mum is the only person I wish to share these moments with. 

We’ve heard from some amazing teens on the latest series of #RaisingTeens. This is Gemma talking about her mum. You can catch up on all the episodes via— Make (Good) Trouble (@makegoodnews) 8 January 2020

The labels and judgement associated with foster care and losing a parent previously led me to avoid all conversations about it completely. While socially I would laugh and joke the situation away, internally the feeling was completely different. Make (Good) Trouble has helped me to break out of that mindset, to speak more openly and expose my vulnerabilities. 

Now, seven years on from where it all started, I’ve realised that I speak about my experiences for no other satisfaction than my own. To show pride in my determination to achieve all that my heart desires in aid of my mum’s legacy, and for those that are reading this, I urge you to do the same. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, a destined outcome is there for the taking if you’re willing to work hard enough for it and neither your past nor surroundings should determine the outcome of that. 

My message here is simple; communication is key. Often talking can be the initiating factor behind that new friendship you never saw coming, the factor that resolves that argument that you no longer remember how it started. And it can be the beginning of the process that eventually heals, in some way, the wounds you’ve long tried to hide away from. 

I want to thank the Make (Good) Trouble team for providing me with the platform to open up on and for allowing me to share my experiences with a purpose to allow others to do the same. 

Listen to Raising Teens: Grief