I have known Gemma for a few years now, when we first met she was coming to a party I was hosting. She was kind enough to message me even though I don’t believe we’d met to ask if she could bring some nibbles. Of course I accepted! What this girl bought wasn’t just nibbles, but 2 divine grazing platters of everything you could imagine and was so incredible helpful that night.
That is the sort of girl she is, kind and caring, an incredibly generous soul who just wants to help others. Incredibly smart, warm and loads of fun.
When she said she would do this, in short notice, as one of the first, I was so grateful as I knew we would have fun and it would be powerful.
Gemma chose to do this one the beach, for body positivity. She realised this could be a platform to share her body positivity beliefs. I was super excited for this as there’s something special about the sun setting each day and the light it brings.
Tell us a little about you, what do you enjoy, where do you live, where did you grow up?
I grew up in Stafford, West Midlands, UK until I was 12, and then my family moved to Ocean Reef, Western Australia. I have spent most of my time since in the northern suburbs of WA, except for a short time in Hobart, Tasmania. I was very lucky as a child to be spoilt with trips to Disney World, and have many happy memories and positive associations with Disney films and characters. I have always liked animals, and have a few pets of my own – a beautiful kelpie-cross named Harry, and my cats Delilah, Charlie, and Quinn.
What do you feel like has held you back, what limiting beliefs in your world have stopped you?
Sadly, I experienced a lot of childhood trauma, compounded by trauma in adult-life which has created a lot of fatigue for me. As a teenager I listened to what other people thought of me far too much, and whilst this had some positive influences, it had a very negative impact on my body image. Before I fully learned to accept and love myself as I am now, I suffered with a lot of anxiety and depression about my identity. I now know that whether I am large, or small, I have to love myself now, as I am, and be kind to myself.
Note from Laine Maria: “Each Shoot I will bring a different prop, activity, as a surprise, something relevant or important to the participant that we can get creative with. I chose fairy lights because I know Gemma is playful and fun, but her face also lights up when she smiles. The unicorns were especially chosen for Gemma”.
What was the lowest point in your journey, at what point did you realise something had to change and what was your first step?
After my third serious emotional breakdown in adulthood, I went without work for 6 weeks, and was quite inconsolable for this time, I consulted with my doctor and psychologist and decided to reduce my work hours to better manage my mental health. I have been doing this for over a year and find it truly benefits me. I believe we aren’t all made to fit a particular mould – what works for some is not always best for everyone, so I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to be like everyone else and work full-time.
What modality/form of therapy/activity has helped?
I attend psychology monthly, and had some free services provided to me by Neami Perth – recommended by my doctor due to costs of therapy. Through this counselling, I have spent a lot of time practicing mindfulness and being reflective to identify things I can change to help me function at my best.
If you could say a sentence to your younger self, what would you say?
If I could pass on wisdom to my younger self, it would just be that things will improve, and to be kind to yourself. Also, love yourself now, not later!
Do you have a song that gets you going, help puts a spring in your step?
Many Disney songs , and I have a Spotify playlist I made titled “Upbeat” that I listen to when I need a pick-me-up.
What is your deepest fear today?
That any of my trauma incidents would happen again, or that I wouldn’t be able to manage my mental health and be unable to care for myself.
What has been the most amazing/happiest/best memory-type-thing that you’ve achieved?
There’s been so many – whilst I have had a lot of bad experiences, I am fortunate enough to have positive ones to balance them out. Paying off my car and most of my debt this past year has been pretty awesome. Realising I have such amazing ,supportive friends has been a sincere high point in hard times.
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