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#THISLITTLEGIRLISME – NATALIE SIDWICK

This little girl grew up an only child on the outskirts of Bristol with a caring mum and dad struggling with alcoholism. At 4 years old her mum left her dad to find stability in the countryside with her grandparents. She would occasionally see her dad when he would take her to The Rising Sun for the day and she would play pool with the locals (and beat them) to pass the time until her mum came and rescued her. She felt neglected and learned that her needs were not important. She was not good enough.

Over the years she saw her dad less, growing up with a single mum who worked long hours to provide for them. This little girl found escape in sport. She played County Hockey, won the league with Bristol Ladies FC and Captained Somerset Girls Cricket Team through an unbeaten season. Things were going well. This girl grew in confidence. She was happy. She had found her purpose.

Unfortunately during school, she started to get bullied for being “big” and “butch” and she lost her confidence and enjoyment in sport. Once again she felt not good enough. She didn’t want to be the things people were calling her so she went out to change it. After a while people had stopped calling her “big” and “butch”. She was too thin. She had an eating disorder. She was unable to carry on playing the sport she loved as she no longer had the energy.

She struggled with her eating disorder for a couple of years and instead of socialising she spent her time studying to get good A Levels. She managed to get AAB and got into Cardiff Uni.

A year into her degree she was sold the recruitment dream… “100K OTE+ first year” was the promise. The reality was very different. She started on 15K, was told to rent in Bristol and worked her a** off each day from 7:00AM to 8:00PM. This continued for over a year until one day, without any pre-warning she was fired for underperforming on a dead market.

She’d hit rock bottom.

But like with most rock bottoms it was actually the biggest blessing in disguise.

This girl who felt burnt out and depressed would have never left. She still believed that her needs were not important and that she was not “good enough”.

Despite this, she decided to continue her career in recruitment. This girl has now gone on to hit lunch clubs and holiday incentives. This girl started to believe that maybe she could be good at recruitment. She overcame her eating disorder, she now looks after her body, and also the importance of looking after her mental health.

Now this little girl isn’t so little she is able to look after that little girl and she tells that little girl that her needs are important and that she is good enough every single day.

#Thislittlegirlisme 

Why am I telling you this?

Because 70% of girls feel more confident about their futures after hearing from women role models. I’m happy to be part of the #thislittlegirlisme campaign for female empowerment initiated by Miriam Gonzalez Durantez of Inspiring Girls International to mark International Day of the Girl 2021.

A voice for diversity in Tech & Engineering ❤️

I: @womenrockbristol

T: @womenrockbrstl

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