Will you make a difference?

Monday, 13 October 2014
Marlene-kick3
Andrea-1
Keri copy
Daniella
Hollie
Heather copy
Sisterhood-Anne_2
(from top to bottom) Marlene, Andrea, Keri, Daniella, Hollie, Heather and Anne.


More than a year ago, an idea started to form in my head about using both fashion and social media as a vehicle and the blog as the platform to feature a series that'll stay permanently online. The stories will be aimed to empower women and offer a source of comfort to those tackling various traumatic issues. If I said that this was an easy project to produce, I'd be lying. There were many moments when I doubted myself. Persuading fellow bloggers to bare their soul online? How will I offer a sanctuary for survivors to share their inspirational stories safely? Will I be able to bear the cost of financing the project myself? Many gave their time freely. I will be forever grateful to both Lucian and Adrianan Paraian of Adrienne Photography.

In a commercially driven world where success is measured by revenue and statistics, would a project highlighting weighty social issues and offering hope but going against the grain of the mainstream current be accepted in the blogging playing field? When social media is used for mainly self promotion and sharing, can it not be used to empower women (and men) in a different way? The majority of us go through life trying to project an ideal image even when we're battling with pretty serious issues for fear of being branded a failure. Furthermore, the pursuit of perfection and youth is largely driven by only showcasing beautiful images that'll sell. Would the Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket fail before it would even reach out to the targeted audience?

Most of us are deeply private individuals and our blogs are merely an outlet where we cater to our frivolous side. I was a nervous wreck for months trying to write my story and the week it was published, I wanted to take cover under my duvet and never leave the safety of my flat. I can attest this holds true for all the other women who are involved in the Sisterhood series. 

Sexual attacks are such a taboo that family members and our closest friends take great lengths to avoid the topic at all costs. Not just mine but in so many others who have emailed or privately contacted me after my story was published. Little wonder because 44% of all sexual attacks happen to children under the age of 16. Pretty scary statistics when you consider 1 in 5 women is a victim of a sexual crime. Whether it's depression, post natal depression, abuse, miscarriage or the threat of being homeless, the anxiety the sufferer experiences cannot be ignored.

Perhaps one of the stories may stop a loved one from contemplating suicide (thank you to the person who emailed me) or be a comfort just to know that she's not alone, you have made a difference and change the course of her life for the better. A few days ago, I received another email in my inbox. One that made my eyes welled up with tears and touched me deeply. Grace wrote this on her blog. Another truly inspiring individual, Lucy, the founder of Heal for Life U.K recently reminded me of the story of the starfish. It may be difficult for a single individual to change the course of history but collectively, as a group, we can all make a difference. One person at a time.


p.s. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket series will remain permanently online here. Or you can share the stories using the social media icons below.

19 comments:

  1. You are all wonderful inspirational women to bear your souls for all to read, very moving and I am sure it wasn't an easy thing to do for any of you. X

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  2. Marlene, it was very brave of you to write your story and I admire you for it. I was also moved by Heather's story, so many thanks to both of you. Xxx

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    1. Thank you! Heather's a wonderful friend and an inspiration to me too.

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  3. This has been one of the best things I've read (as a series) over the past few weeks. I am in AWE of your Marlene and all the ladies that took part in this. I feel very very very privileged to be sat where I am with the 'easy' history of my life behind me.

    Well done to each and every person involved in this project. I have no doubts at all that someone, somewhere has been helped by this

    Fiona
    x

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    1. Fiona, I can't thank you enough for your support. You're such a generous soul and so giving.

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  4. I may not make a difference.....but you certainly have Marlene

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  5. Marlene, having met you in person and then now reading your story, I am in awe of your confidence and how strong you are. Bravo - you and all these featured women in the series have really inspired me to reflect on the challenges I face myself and to be empowered instead of being frightened.

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    1. Amanda, thank you. I feel blessed having the opportunity to actually meet you. I'm touched that the stories have helped you in some ways.

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  6. Wow, amazing photos and such a wonderfully easy look to how everyone holds themselves - an that jacket is awesomeness. I'm scrolling down to find out more about your story.

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  7. I really enjoyed the series, Marlene. A lot of times I was lost for words, because really...words were not enough. I can only thank you and all the ladies who participated in the project and shared their lives and stories with us.

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    1. Kristina, thank you ever so much. It hasn't been easy for any of us to write our stories. Your kind words and support mean a lot to us.

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  8. Hopefully. bravery and knowledge will encourage more of the same in other women. Kudos to all the contributors!

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  9. Well done Marlene for persevering and staying true to your idea, sometimes it's good to be reminded of the harsh realities of life. Not an easy read, but full respect to all the ladies, including yourself, for their bravery and selflessness in writing about their experiences. I truly hope it makes a difference!

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  10. It was a fantastic series and I'm glad to have followed it Marlene.
    I've been striving for nearly 3 years now to break the taboos surrounding mental health and bring some awareness in regards to the misconceptions of domestic violence, self harm, bipolar, agoraphobia and depression amongst others. It's hard putting it all out there but I've found through my own experience, that it does help others and I'm of the thought that if just one person finds solace in your words or your story then it's completely worth it.
    I'd love to see more blogs used for empowering reasons and always read with interest and respect when someone decides to share their stories.
    Well done on battling through your own hard times and to the others, it was very brave to put it out there.

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  11. such an inspiring project marlene. i'll have to pick up where i left off while i was away but just wanted to say kudos!

    steph / absolutely-fuzzy.com

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