The House That Cleo Built: Stop demonising us and look in the mirror

As I lay here in my bed at 1.28am sweating my tits off, grinding my teeth, feeling like I've been trampled by 1000 horses and nettles are sprouting from my lungs up my throat, gut cramping and gurgling for its life, unable to trust a fart while the Bubba, the dog and my partner snore the night away in blissful deep sleep. It is time for change. I can no longer go hard on everything all of the time because I so desperately want my independence back. I can no longer put my energy in the wrong places getting sucked into things that are not business related or personal growth related.

I sat and wrote out my ideal week what I could do each day to build the business, with family, with friends, for myself but I haven't put it into action. It is so easy this time of year to sack it off and say I'll start something in 2020.

I'm going to get a hold of it now take a look at everything and strip it back, concentrate on one thing and get that one thing to a level I'm happy with then add a then add another string to my bow rather than doing it all at once and burning out and nothing being at a standard I'm happy with. Which is what I'm feeling is happening right now.

Monday the universe heard my calls to go to the wing a women only coworking space. I really wanted to look around to see if it is a place that I could use as a base for my business and meet women in business that I can be inspired by, learn from and possibly collaborate with.

I'm part of the GRL PWR gang membership and they were hosting an event at The Wing and I was lucky enough to bag one of the 5 spaces they were allocated and I'm so glad I did as the venue was amazing I could so see myself there working away building my company. The GRL PWR gang event was all about partnering with brands which is something I am keen to do but after the event I realise that I'm not quite where I'd like to be as I want to be able to really create amazing content and have a long lasting relationship not just a plethora of #Ads all over my account. I want the women I serve to benefit from the partnership not just me and for it to be a mutual arrangement that grows us both somehow.

I'm now going to strip back everything and concentrate on the brunch club and the coaching so I can really help women make positive change.

No more trying to do it all and trying to force the process I'm in this for the long haul as the bigger plan to create a non profit section of the business that helps disadvantaged girls understand their worth and can see opportunities for the future they may not have even thought about and a possible events company too I really have to get focused. This is all part of the process of building a business and I know that realising these things now is better than getting stuck and digging in deeper. I'm so open to learning and December will be spent overhauling the business and getting to a place where I'm truly happy with it and everything House of Cleo stands for comes across clearly.

I'd love to join The Wing now but I will wait for the new year after the overhaul so that when I apply they understand what I do so I am more likely to be accepted in.

So the online world was shook us this week by the confession of midwife, mummy blogger and influencer Clemmie aka Mother of daughters who had been trolling online friends, fellow influencers and even her own husband under a fake account. She had been asking friends how they are knowing the damage she was causing consoling them to their face them going online and skating them. Now that's awful but the worst bit is that she had been creating racist threads against another influencer who is black married with her own family and dug up bits from her past in an attempt to discredit her. MoD also had those black influencer on her podcast talking about the issue of black and Asian women have been proven to be more likely to die during the process of childbirth 5times for black women 3 times for Asian. Clemmie was then also going online to create a hate campaign towards the black influencer saying how she is weaponising racism for her own gain, how aggressive she is. She even dragged other black women into the fold all for what. MoD has over 650k followers the other has around 50k they both get deals have books out so why did she feel the need to decimate the black influencer when she was already doing so well she had everything she could have wanted but felt real comfortable in spitting racist hate while embracing this woman to her face. Reading the comments there are a lot of people willing to forget and allow her to carry on but mist if not all of those people are white and have no idea what it is like to be marginalised all their life, to have others claim your glory, sabotage you for their own gain, attack you with no provocation.

THIS IS NO A SORRY IN YOUR STORIES EVERYTHING IS NOW OK SITUATION.

This culture of fake wokrness posting online that you are a champion of women, advocate for diversity, a feminist an anti racist advocate then do what you did for 8 months consistently no let up only came forward because you were scared of being outted because you had been found out as your arrogance got you caught. You couldn't even enjoy a holiday away in a beautiful destination you still felt the need to ruin people's lives continuously. A mistake is one or two posts but the amount of people and the nature of the comments are sickening that is not a mistake that is a CHOICE one you made over and over knowing that these people had families and are making a living and making a difference in their own ways.

The silence of those closest is deafening and telling but people will ignore and carry on.

Please tell me this would the response be the same if it was the black influencer doing the trolling spreading the lies, negatively impacting pregnant women with unnecessary stress?

I don't need to write the answer because you all know it!

Look at the way Meghan Markle has been demonized in the press made out to be some aggressive, controlling woman not giving Harry any choice when us black women knew from the start the narrative that would play out and the sad thing is she didn't she had no clue. She is torn down for the same things Kate Middleton is celebrated for. Meghan's privacy is breached in the most intimate ways and all people have to say is it comes with the territory she knew what she was getting into but this is wrong. Things are so bad that Harry has voiced how he fears a repeat of his mother's death happening to his wife and child. How awful to live with that fear and have no support only well you're a royal and we have a right to access.

Where is the compassion? Why are black women hounded and demonized in this way but when the mirror is turned there is a list of excuses why it's ok, it's turned on us the gaslighting is real.

This one I thought would be obvious you wouldn't tell a rape victim to get over it they over reacted (or maybe you would and that's part of the problem). A lot of people of colour go through some kind of racist experience on a regular whether that be being chased down the street by a gang of boys on bikes throwing stones and cans at you while shouting racist slurs at you or a colleague at work joking about how they have jungle fever and would love a taste of something more exotic to a random white stranger greeting you with a Hello dar mon or touching your hair while you queue.

There are so many experiences I had as a child that I thought were mine alone which had me thinking there was something wrong with me but as I got older and started to read more that I realised they were other black people's experiences too. Great books for this are Natives by Akala, Don't touch my hair by Emma Dabiri, Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race by Reni Eddo-lodge, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Slay in your lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke these are all recent books too but there are so many out there.

Why is it that people can watch a film about the persecution of vampires, avatars, mythical creatures and really feel their pain and emphasis with them but point out that those fiction stories are actually true stories that happened to black people and you get eye rolls and told you're playing the race card like the race card is some kind of trump card IT ISN'T

When explaining how uncomfortable you are with a situation because it has happened to you before and has happened to people you know for that person you confided in to turn around and say well my friend is black and she's never had any racism so you'll be fine is unacceptable and part of the problem just because you don't see it or experience it doesn't mean it isn't happening. When you are coming from a sheltered place of privilege please check yourself before you say such damaging comments.

And if you were wondering yes those experiences above are all my own and I was about 7 or 8 when I was chased by some teenagers after going to the shop for some milk and bread.

#ItStartsWithYou

No it is not

Your overt or covert racism is harmful in so many ways.

YOUR OFFENCE AT BEING CALLED RACIST IS NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RACIST ACT ITSELF

The bias that you hold and refuse to own up to has real world consequences even if you don't see the damage best believe that damage is being done.

Your unwillingness to accept that you hold views about people of colour that are negative, harmful and wrong is a barrier for moving forward.

Just because you have a black neighbour, boyfriend, family member or best friend doesn't mean your behaviour, views and actions are suddenly validated No No No.

Being called racist isn't the be all or end all it's a chance to look within it's a chance to reflect it is not a chance to spot how many black people you know, it is not a chance for you to drag up something from that person's past in an attempt to discredit them somehow.

You being called out for your racist bias is a chance for you to stop and think about why you think that way, where did that opinion take shape where did you pick it up from and how can you address it and stop yourself repeating the cycle?

It's just banter...

I'm only joking...

Some of my closest friend are black...

You Black women are always so serious...

You always have to bring it back to race...

What do you always play the race card...

Slavery happened years ago why are you still going on about it...

You can walk the street, get a job and buy a house where is the racism... I could go on and on and on

Ask yourself why YOU felt so comfortable making that racist 'joke' or comment? What made YOU think I would turn around and laugh with you to make you feel more comfortable?

When I call it out why do you get on the defensive and try to spin it back on me?

It is time we got really aware of ourselves this work starts within and it isn't easy but it is worth it.

It is only as I grown and learnt by reading a lot and engaging in conversations with those doing anti-racist work that I realised how I have acted in the past has played into this so I read some more changed the way I spoke about certain things. This is a continual lesson that I'm still learning but one I want to teach to my son so that he loves who he is and doesn't allow anyone to make him the butt of the joke or expect him to be ok with their racist vernacular.

Staying silent is part of the problem allowing your work colleague, dad, uncle, cab driver to make that joke and it go unchallenged makes it acceptable for everyone who was there at the time to continue that behaviour to pass it on generation to generation. If you think that people of colour are not deeply affected by your micro aggressions that you are unable to address through fear and shame think again.

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Sweet toothed, travel loving, audiobook addict who is also a mum of two. Her passion for inspiring women to find what lights them up, encouraging independence, self awareness and self love through coaching, events and online support have spawned a safe place where women can rediscover who they are this place is House of Cleo.

 Founder and Life Coach 

Cleo Walters

Email me Holla@houseofcleo.co.uk

Call me 07814100145

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