11:47AM, Thursday 07 February 2019
Maleeka is 12 years old and lives in Holyport. She was born with leber's retinal amaurosis, which is an eye condition that severely impaired both eyes.
She is currently attending Holyport College and runs a blog – Meeks Speaks VIP – spreading awareness on physical challenges and empowering young people to accept who they are and to embrace their individuality. meeksspeaks.com
The main problem for teens, in era of information age and social media, is the feeling of being judged and becoming someone that society demands.
The media does not help, especially the fashion, beauty and music industry and those magazines that target young
Luckily as a VIP (visually impaired person) as I can’t see images and adverts, I have the space to find out who I am, what I love about myself and my unique personality and not pretend to be someone I am not to be accepted by others.
Pretending to be someone you are not to impress others can cause many health issues like depression, anxiety, bulimia and anorexia. It can also make teens feel suicidal with the pressure to keep up with society expectations that are simply unrealistic.
Also people who do not ‘act cool’ or follow the latest trends may be neglected, which is wrong because they are not appreciated and don’t get a chance to share their unique qualities. By ‘acting cool’, I mean dressing a certain way or using abusive language, even bullying and disrespecting others, to seem strong or being part of a collective force against a vulnerable person.
Some people also don’t stand up for injustice against another as it is seen as ‘not cool’ by their peers.
To me being cool is having a kind heart, not about what you look like, and treating people with respect.
Being cool is being open to different people, their cultures and accepting for who they are.
Teens are obsessed with social media, the likes, shares and comments on their posts, but if you look deeper they really only want one true person who will accept them for who they really are and not pretend to be.
Social media is a fake reality.
Anyone can pretend to be anything they wish but in day-to-day life they may be really lonely and sad and suffer from many health problems.
We all just want to have one special person or a small group of people who love you and are loyal to you.
How to help yourself?
Calm down, try to get away from the noise and have a think. Understand the nature of social media and bring to your awareness that is not your real world.
Find out what you are passionate about, what makes you smile, brings joy into your life. Find your unique way of expressing yourself whether through art, sport, music, voice, writing and comedy. Put your focus on developing your area of interest and be the best you can be in your chosen passion.
You will attract the people who will admire you for who you are and be happy in the process of genuine meaningful friendships and interactions with others.
Don’t take personally what people say or opinions about you. It is more important to be unique and find a special group of friends than to have many and still feel lonely.
It’s not cool to be part of a crowd but being unique is cool.
Don’t feel pressured to follow the ever-changing trends that ruin personalities and confuse identities.
As a VIP I love makeup and fashion. It is great to look good and look after yourself but don’t make this your purpose.
Luckily as a VIP I can’t see what people are wearing or looking like so I don’t judge them for this. It is my heart’s eye that ‘sees’. I am impressed with people who have good hearts and I like to surround myself with people who bring value into my life and I can do the same for them.
Helping people find their uniqueness is my big passion behind my blog. To empower young people not to copy others but to be you. There is only one of you just as our fingerprints are all different, we as people are all different too and should be happy to embrace this fact.
This way society can grow as you bring unique ideas and creativity to the table rather than the same old thoughts being regurgitated over and over again.
To expect a change, be the change and encourage others to do this too.
If you’re a frustrated millennial or post-millennial with something to say, we want to hear from you. As part of our aim to give a voice to all sections of the community we serve, the Advertiser is looking to provide a platform for younger people living in the area we cover. We’re aiming to recruit some ‘young voices’ columnists from all kinds of backgrounds to write about the things that are important to them. They aren’t paid roles but columnists do get the kudos of being published in the Advertiser and on our website. If you’re interested in taking part please send our newsdesk an example of something you’ve written, such as an online blog, to firstname.lastname@example.org
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