My Good Vibes Snapshot: Brooke Mason
While going through school, Brooke Mason from Tasmania felt that things were not right. The rigid pressure to look a certain way and be a particular type of person, left many students lacking in confidence and questioning themselves. Brooke became passionate about making a difference and spreading positivity. Her involvement with the Fresh Faced Friday campaign is a key part of her mission to bring about change.
“…. Fresh Faced Friday is on the 4th of September this year. It’s during Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness week. We’ve gone with the idea of the “Tear it Up” campaign. It’s about writing down negative thoughts, tearing them up and then writing down more positive thoughts about yourself and sharing those on social media (#freshfacedfriday #FFF).
In all started in 2012 when I went to the Heywire summit. We were looking at changing social norms. I was in a positive body image group and we had to come up with an idea of how to improve body image from a young person’s perspective. It was really cool. Our topic won a grant so Fresh Faced Friday could actually happen. We got lots of young people involved … we got them to talk to other young people, and it went from there.
I went to a private girl’s school and I always felt that what was going on wasn’t right. There were so many eating disorders and it was such a conformist situation – you had to fit the ‘norm’ or you’d get bullied.
I’m really passionate about talking to young people, especially to young girls about attitudes, standards and self esteem. I think Year 6 is a really good age group. They are about to go out into high school and they’re a bit vulnerable, but they’ve still got their enthusiasm. I think sometimes people lose that a bit as they get older. It’s such a shame. It would be awesome for everybody to be able to keep that passion.
Before I started speaking at schools I thought “How am I going to do this?” “How am I going to involve them?” My first time, I had all this technology and videos to show, but I couldn’t get any of that to work. So, I just told them about my own life. I made myself a bit vulnerable. I told them how when I was young I had really bad eczema. I always covered myself up and I wouldn’t go in the water. I was a super quiet little kid. But when I was 10, I literally just came out of my shell… it was crazy. I just fully turned it around. I came to realise that eczema didn’t define me as a person. I had this really awesome teacher and he got me motivated. He got us out playing dodge ball and t-ball. He was one of those characters… it made me think about what an influence one person can have. With his encouragement I got ‘out there’. Sport and surfing really helped me find my confidence.
I talk to the kids about how the rough things in life make you resilient. I talk about ‘coolness’ too. Why shouldn’t it be cool to go to the library if you want to be a doctor one day? That’s just as cool as going to play soccer if you want to be a soccer player. Everyone is different and that’s cool. To me coolness is about being able to be yourself… being able to embrace what you’re about. Finding your own ‘thing’ and not being afraid to be your own person. Everyone has their own little niche and coolness is about finding it. It’s tough at school because there’s always pressure to be a particular kind of person. That pressure is really difficult to tackle, but I totally believe we need to try.
Getting up in front of a group to talk actually freaks the hell out of me. I talk to the kids about how scary I find public speaking, but being able to overcome that fear. I told one group about how nervous I felt and how that makes me get super sweaty armpits…. then I showed them a pit.. ha! I could just see their reactions… the shock and jaw drops at the humiliation I was putting myself through…. but you know, that’s just me. I like making everything real and honest. It can be fun saying stuff that people are usually too scared to say.
I find when you open up and make yourself vulnerable, people actually relate to you better. It makes you more of a ‘real’ person. If they’re comfortable, they’re much more willing to talk to you about so many things…sometimes things they may not have ever talked about before. Pretty much everyone I know had a hard time at school in one way or another, but they kept it under wraps… I think it’s good to talk about it. When you get a little bit older you realise that so much of that stuff that we get stuck on at school (such as how you look or what others think) doesn’t really matter.
Last year I had a year off to go travelling and surfing . My aim was just to please myself for a whole year. It was fun, but it didn’t actually make me as happy as I thought it would. I started to realise you get a lot more enjoyment and happiness from making a difference to others.
I’ve had a pretty simple life compared to so many people, but a few big things have happened this year. I saw a guy get attacked by a shark when I was surfing and a couple of months ago my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been fighting that with so much gusto. It makes me realise that there’s so much more to life than the things people often get caught up with. I’ve started thinking about how precious it all is ….
I am passionate about trying to spread more positivity…. I know it’s a big thing… but I’m determined to keep trying…”
Thanks so much for talking to us Brooke. You’re like a vortex of passion, enthusiasm and energy…we couldn’t help but get pulled in 🙂 Good on you for having a vision and taking steps to be the change you want to see in the world. Keep spreading the good vibes- teenconfidential
PS: Everyone, get on board with Fresh Faced Friday (this year it’s on September 4th 2015) . Check out the awesome video (developed through the propeller project) featuring Brooke at her bubbly best….
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