I'm about to get vaguely philosophical now. So if you aren't into that stuff. You have been warned.
Exploration. can be more than something physical. Those who spend a lot of their time analysing the physical world around them out of arrogance or sheer ignorance often avoid exploring themselves. Why do we behave the way that we do? What has influenced the way we are? Why, after experiencing similar things in life to someone else do we turn out so differently? I spend a lot more time thinking about myself. Not from an egotistical view. I don't have the time nor the energy for that crap. Not anymore. Egos are easily over inflated and even easier to pop.
There is this notion that we never really are the same our whole lives. This was pretty evident when I think back over the last decade of my life. Overall, I'm not even remotely the same person I was last year. But I cannot remember when I didn't resent being told I cannot do things or that I won't be good at them. Most of the time, I'll adamantly set out to prove otherwise or tell you bluntly to go fuck yourself. A stubborn yet useful trait. It led me through different avenues and experiences in my young life as self-loathing and self-conscious I was (like most teens). Pre-climbing Gabby, I didn't really find my niche so to speak. I tried soccer. That let out a lot of aggression, putting my natural protectiveness into the spotlight. My father called me Gabby The Axe, however, I don't remember if I actually had any talent for the sport or I was really just good at enjoying tackling bitches. But that wasn't for me. Not that I am not a team player but women and girls alike can be cruel and horrid to each other. I tried, rather I was forced into Surf Life Saving. Dad. I don't regret it at all. But that is another entire branch of discussion off my little and constantly growing Tree of Life.
Promotional and editorial modelling. Aesthetic jobs fed my self-loathing, body hate and vice versa. But also that forever unsatisfied ego. I realised for most girls it's a life of coffee, cigarettes and low kilo-joules.
I was 18 when I started promotional modelling in Townsville for Bundaberg Rum and Jack Daniels. It wasn't exactly difficult to promote spirits in Far North Queensland. Slap a short dress on some young legs and you have yourself a sales driver. For a young impressionable woman, getting positive (and usually sexist) attention based on the way I looked made me, in a sick and soulless way, feel happy. Looking back I don't regret doing that sort of work. I did have fun and get a better handle on talking to people. In this case, men. But that job inflates the ego. Pop.
When I moved back to Sydney mid-2012 I started to try and find promotional work. I was quick to realise I wasn't a cookie cut out busty blonde you often see working in promotions in Sydney. Pop.
I then sought out a boutique agency for editorial work. I was snapped up and became more or less a twig. Less food meant more castings and potentially more money. Men - the types I would meet at pretentious parties and bars - would be interested in me as soon as they got wind of what I did for work. Their eyes would light up like moonbeams. Perhaps it fed the egos and insecurities they dressed in fine clothes and far too much aftershave. Being a glorified coat hanger isn't fun. You feel all of your worth come from the way you look. It was big girl dress ups but with cocaine, booze and boredom. Pop. I never used my own money for drugs or booze for that matter. It was and still is readily available on that scene. I lived in the west but I spent a lot of time between the CBD and East Sydney with a dubious case of Eastern Suburbs Flu.
What does my father say? " If you don't learn from your mistakes, you're a fuck knuckle". I don't call them mistakes. They are lessons. I'm intelligent enough to learn the first time around (most of the time). Moreover, I don't buy into that 'finding yourself' ideal. I don't think you ever 'find yourself'. You grow up.
I still am growing up. But now I have no interest in people pursuing anything with me based on my appearance alone or pursuing a job where I'm told to 'get my measurements down'. The path I'm on now wasn't the one I ever thought, dreamed or chose to be on. Even last year this was not where I thought I would be. It used to worry me to pieces. I have a career in psychology I am enthralled to fulfil. With the supportive people I've met at The Ledge I have confidence in my ability to achieve this. Until then, climbing and pursuing the path of an athlete is the one thing that successfully manages shit and increases resilience.
This is the most comfortable I have been in my own skin and in my own company since I was that nerdy kid with a bowl cut destroying my Mother's garden. The further I explore my mental capability and physical limits I might just grasp an even better handle on The Bitch too.
So find your niche. And be open to that niche changing throughout your life.