If 2010 me could see me now, he wouldn’t even recognise me. How confident I am, the things that I have done and the faith that I have in Christ.
11-year-old Darius was an extremely insecure bullied child who was in his first term at secondary school and he was hating it. Not the education, he’s always loved that but everything around it. The lack of friends, the cliques, the fakery, the name-calling and rudeness and worst of all the bullying.
I can write about myself in the third person because that version of me is very much in the past. So much in the past that it often doesn’t even feel like me.
This boy – though smiling – is broken inside. Not just because of the mean names but because of the physical, racial and mental abuse faced in school day-to-day, the inappropriate touching, the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality, the lack of response from teachers when I complained about what I was going through. I went to school to learn and for a long time, that’s all I did. There wasn’t much fun to be had, I couldn’t wait to get home each day so I could be with my parents and cry myself to sleep each night. For me aged 11-13, that summed up my life.
Yet somehow on the flipside of that, I was thriving at the same time. I started my blogs (Now back down to 1) and self-published my poetry books in those years. My school didn’t really care all that much but that didn’t matter to me because I was so proud of myself for doing something so positive in spite of being trapped somewhere so negative.
Never at the age of 13 would I have imagined that my life would change in the way that it did. As you know, my life got a lot worse before it got better. The bullying didn’t let up, I was spat on, hit a few times with a necklace chain, and pushed to the ground repeatedly as well as being humiliated in front of girls that I had crushes on – who obviously didn’t even notice me – in front of classes and groups of people. I became extremely reclusive and started to develop depression and became extremely anxious. There was a side in my kitchen that I used to take knives to every time I wanted to do the same to my wrists or arms. I went to a very dark place that you know eventually ended in a suicide attempt which I won’t go into because I want to show you how truly amazing this decade has been for me.
Despite all of this, by the grace of God, I have managed to perform at national events in front of thousands of people, meet people I have always dreamed of meeting such as Ann Nesby, Deitrick Haddon, FaithChild (I’ve seen him 4 times in the last decade!), Yara Shahidi, Anthony Anderson, David Haye, Marvin and Rochelle Humes and the list goes on and on…
From meeting amazing people to going to amazing places. God has opened doors for my family and I, that many people wait lifetimes to be able to see such as Los Angeles for the Oscars and Golden Globes and Monaco for the Grand Prix and Yacht Show.
My family has also been to visit the Queen because my Grandma Icolyn Smith is an MBE. We’ve been to the Grosvenor House hotel for the Pride Of Britain Awards to the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the EcoLuxe pre-gifting suites. It’s hard to remember all of the places that we have been because God has truly done so much and I cannot fully express my gratitude.
Another thing that I can’t remember is how many lives that TeamDJG has impacted with what we do. From performing at Bristol and Oxford Carnivals to dancing in rooms full of 30 celebrities, the ability to make someone smile and forget about their troubles and just focus on having a good time at that moment is a feeling that is so hard to explain but it is one that is priceless and I thank God for the gift that he has given me and my family.
Something that people used to pick on me for in school was my love for fashion, dance, and performance. Things that are stereotypically associated with women, which meant that people often questioned if I was straight or not… I am indeed straight – just in case you needed clarification! Over this decade, I have explored fashion more than ever, so much so that almost half of this decade has been spent attending fashion events.
I have also had the opportunity to make so many amazing friends – something I struggled so much with in school! I always used to think I needed to change to be accepted but I just needed to love myself more and then the right people would come into my life.
The last decade has been a whirlwind of emotion but one of positive change and in hindsight, I wouldn’t change anything that happened. It all made me who I am today. Thank you, Jesus, for being with me every step of the way and my parents for loving me even when I was unbearable.
Thank you to my real friends, the ones who have stuck by me in some really tough situations and last of all thank you to you who are reading this, I appreciate you taking time out in your day to read my thoughts.
God Bless you
See you in the next decade and thank you for an amazing one.