Autism Campaigner Anna Kennedy OBE and Lauren Lovejoy have been working together to raise awareness for the antibullying week. Lauren, a past X factor performer and one of Anna Kennedy’s Autism’s got Talent performers, has spoken about her experiences of being bullied in the past and how she was targeted for being different.
Lauren wasn’t diagnosed on the autism spectrum until she was 14 years old. Lauren shares her experiences with Anna:
‘Bullying in those days was not addressed as rigorously as it is now and I wish the teaching staff at my primary and secondary school had recognised that I had mental health issues and supported me accordingly.
‘Unfortunately, being autistic made me especially vulnerable to bullying and increased my insecurities which led to experiencing emotional difficulties later in my adolescent life.
That was one of the reasons why I decided to make people aware of the potential long-term consequences of bullying on mental health and well-being.
‘My song “Believe” I recently wrote is based on being a victim of bullying and for all out there also like myself who have also been or even going through it now. And how lockdown through the pandemic crisis is how victims of bullies feel every day.
‘That fear of going to school or work every day knowing that you see the world in a different way and not being accepted and also being slated for who you are as a person, and for not keeping up with having the latest shoes or wearing makeup or having money to be able to buy things or not coping in a loud busy environment.
‘Being lonely not just for a few weeks but for years and when you see yourself every day it hurts and you feel mirrors everywhere cracking because the reflection you see of yourself is not accepted by others.
‘But still having that hope that it should be enough to like someone for the kindness they have. Also seeing the world differently and not being afraid to express our imagination also makes us stand out and as I started to grow I realised people who bully are insecure in themselves.
‘What I want to portray in this song for me the key is hope and self-belief. Put on your cloak and your invisible new shoes, let your guard down like a hero but still having it with you as at times we all need to be a little cautious. Feel the positive energy that like a magnet repelling the positive magnets will stop the bullies from attacking as you are stronger than you think.
‘It is a gift to see the world differently and I want this song to show that cruelty and bullying only happens when that person isn’t happy in themselves or have to follow what everyone else is doing because they are too weak to be their own person and so they take it out on someone they believe is kind and different and to knock their self-confidence.
However, by believing in ourselves and being our own superhero the bullies will not succeed in hurting us. We are all unique in our own way we are all good at something and we should all respect each other.
‘As I started writing the lyrics to my song I started tuning in to an invisible radio station in my head and heard an upbeat sound mixed with lyrics that are how I felt and how I lifted myself up and wanted the upbeat sound to go with the positive outcome.
‘I believe a positive beat gives a positive feel. I am proud to be part of Anna Kennedy Online ‘Give us a break’ charity antibullying campaign this year because it is a subject very close to my heart.
‘I was a victim of being bullied and want to help prevent this from happening and to share positive messages out there so victims can know they are not alone and that things will get better.
I look forward to performing again in the near future at Autism’s Got Talent as I truly admire and respect Anna Kennedy for all she does and the opportunities she gives to people like me.’