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Hi, Im Maddy Lawrence!

I started life in a small town on the edge of London, the younger of two girls until the late seventies when we started a new life in the West Country and my younger brother came along. From a very young age, I had a strong sense of awareness, which led me to feel on a very deep level. I always felt different, and often wondered if there was something wrong with me as people around me didn’t appear to feel the same. I spent a lot of time pretending to be like others and trying to fit in which didn’t feel right to me and didn’t do me any good.

When I was four years old I encountered a bully in the playground, he wanted the climbing frame to himself and so told everyone to get off and they all did, but I wouldn’t do it. I was so small and much smaller than him but I just felt the injustice so strongly that I couldn’t let him do it. This bold sense of justice has been a theme in my life ever since.

I remember another situation at a young age that had a big impact on me and stayed with me into my adult life. I was at a birthday party, I was overexcited and freely expressing myself. Very suddenly I was shut down by an adult who disapproved of my behaviour which was very confusing and left me feeling uncomfortable with expressing my true self. But out of this experience, I have realised the importance of self-expression and being yourself no matter what.

The traditional one size fits all schooling system didn’t work for me and I spectacularly flunked at school. Later though, I became determined to do well and I realised that there is more than one way to learn.

At 17, after I had a go at resitting some exams (badly!) I moved to London to work for a large clothing company where I was bullied every day by my boss and colleague. I built a wall for protection and left 6 months later. This was the second experience I had of bullying at work, the first was at 15. Though my confidence disappeared I always sensed that there was adventure just around the corner. I learned that I didn’t have to stay in the same place if I was unhappy and the confidence I lacked at work I made up for in finding adventures. I learned to get by from a young age and was bold and independent, I was never afraid to go somewhere new and I always had a thirst for visiting new countries. One thing that kept me going was the idea that I would travel again, for a long time it was all I wanted to do. I felt confident about travelling alone. I had many experiences of travelling independently and found it exciting. I loved meeting new people and spending time getting to know the communities, sampling the local food and just soaking up the whole experience. I really felt free to be myself.

There were times in my life when I had to deal with a great deal of inauthenticity from someone who was close to me, and while I found this hard on a communication level it was what I was used to. I now know that it doesn’t have to be that way and I can see the power of authenticity. I am naturally drawn to people who are authentic and when I look at the people who are in my life now, this is something that they all have in common.

I am now finally learning to accept myself for who I am. While I am bold and outspoken in some ways, in other ways my confidence is a work in progress. I’ve realised that I do not have to fit in anymore and that I am enough exactly as I am. I would love to see a world full of people who celebrate who they are and confidently express themselves exactly as they feel.

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Bristol, UK


+44 7816 960658