Who are you?
Hello! I am Belle, short for Belinda. I am a 43 year old woman living in Canberra with my beautiful soon-to-be husband Mick and 3 children Mitch, Maddy and Ava. I have a photography passion business (Belle Photography) and work part-time in government with an awesome team of caring, empathetic, people-centred service designers. I love smiling at strangers, being silly, complimenting people and encouraging others to follow their passions. I am also the eldest sister of 3, born and raised in Richmond (Western Sydney).
Belle with her family
Why did you want to be involved with The Just Be Revolution?
I wanted to be involved in Just Be from the moment I heard about it! There are so many reasons that I could go on for days. I have always done small things to try and contribute to a kinder society whether it’s the odd post-it note with a kind message on it left on a public toilet mirror or just a compliment in the lift to a stranger to make their day. But it really does take a collective (an army) to make a difference so I am very happy to join this revolution!
I have grown up with judgment and ridicule all my life. I have a sister (Beth) with a disability who would be teased awfully and called ugly and not just at school but from adults. Yes it seems hard to believe but I have pulled up many grown people (sadly always men) who have pointed and yelled out ugly. As a school kid Beth would come home get off the bus and run to her room locking it with a knife yelling that she wanted to kill herself. It still gives me shivers talking about the pain and sadness I heard in her voice. You will hear more of Beth’s story in my first blog post.
I have always been chubby and growing up I was always taunted about it with names like Fatty, bush pig, miss piggy. If there was one time that really did it for me it was at a nightclub and I was around 18. I was with a group of girls and on the stairs waiting to enter. There was a group of guys below us on the stairs who started to say check out this fat thing and making comment about me being able to even climb the stairs. If I had a choice at that time I would’ve left but I went in as I was with a group and I stayed in a corner feeling self-conscious all night hating that I was born in this body.
I reflect back now and think of a few things:
- Who were those men to feel they could speak about me like that? They knew nothing about me yet they judged me. Have you ever thought about the consequences of doing that?
- Why did I let them win? I have toughened my skin these days and would not put up with that anymore.
- I was and am beautiful no matter what my body shape. I am interested in being healthy but otherwise you can take me as I am.
Who or what influences or inspires you?
When it comes to inspiration, I am truly inspired by genuine people who choose to make the lives of others better and don’t even think twice about the awesome impact they have. I hear stories of foster mums, nurses, social innovators, disability carers, SES workers… those types of people. They are often selfless acts they do out of goodness not for recognition.
Belle with friends. From left to right, Jeanice, Kartika, Vicky, Belle and Julie, who are all co-founders of The Just Be Revolution
What motto do you live by?
Treat others as you would wish to be treated.
What advice would you give someone struggling with self-confidence or wants to try something new?
I am a big believer in having goals and finding positive things to focus on. A goal can be trying something new like a hobby or can be long term like growing a business. And positivity is absolutely a mindset – try asking the person closest to you what they like about you. I tend to look at myself these days and say I have stories, I got these scars from my baby growing in my belly or wow I have a nice smile or isn’t it great my fiancée thinks I am cuddly and he loves it!
I have also learnt to just let go of stuff. The talk in your head will make you sick and do awful things to you so don’t overthink stuff, choose to worry about the really big things only.
As said in an old song…
You've got to accentuate the positive
eliminate the negative… You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Just be… kind to others cause you never know the road they have travelled
Belle and Mick with their newborn daughter, Ava
Belle’s ‘yellow brick road’ blog series will share the journey of others, from those who have taken the road of self-love through to inspiring people who show us the power of empathy, kindness and helping others.
Belle refers to her body as ‘cuddly’ and her man loves it. Belle is a mad Oz fan, mumma bear of 3, and loves to shoot people in beautiful settings.