selective mutism · SM

Jeg skal holde foredrag!

Den 21. april skal jeg holde foredrag om selektiv mutisme, dele min historie og fortelle hvordan jeg kom meg ut av det. Det er en fagdag planlagt og organisert av foreningen for selektiv mutisme (selektivmutisme.no).

Jeg vet at det er noen få plasser igjen, så gjerne sikre deg plass ved å trykke på lenken over og registrer deg! Jeg er så glad for at det finnes mennesker som jobber så hardt for å spre kunnskap, hjelpe og støtte. Jeg håper selvfølgelig flere ser viktigheten i det.

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The 21. of April I’ll be having a talk about selective mutism, my story and how I got out of it. It’s a whole day planned by the Norwegian selective mutism organisation (selektivmutisme.no).

Im excited and I’m so happy that there’s people working so hard to spread knowledge, help and support. As it’s in Norwegian and in Norway I can’t really tell you guys you should get a ticket, but I will of course write on here how it went and so on, as well as share some pictures.

If you want to read my story again though, you can press here!

personal

Jeg trekker meg fra Miss Norway 2018!

Scroll down for english.

Jeg trekker meg fra Miss Norway 2018!

Etter mye fram og tilbake i løpet av en lengre periode, har jeg nå som finalist bestemt meg for å trekke meg fra konkurransen.

Jeg er til tross for det glad for at jeg har valgt å fortsette så lenge jeg gjorde – jeg fikk opp øynene for noe jeg virkelig vil dedikere min tid til, og jeg fant ut hvor mye jeg kan hjelpe og støtte andre på grunn av noe jeg selv har gått i gjennom. Til tross for det er det fortsatt veldig klart at det har skjedd på grunn av viljen min og saken min helt alene, og ikke på grunn av konkurransen jeg har deltatt i. Noe jeg forstår. Det er saken min som betyr noe. Og jeg kan gjøre så utrolig mye, bare ved å være meg og jobbe hardt. 

Hvorfor har det vært så mye fram og tilbake, og hvorfor har jeg kommet fram til dette valget?

Jeg har selv hørt en del om konkurransen tidligere, men ettersom det gang på gang blir sagt at skjønnhetskonkurranser er mer enn “utseende” og “kroppspress”, så tenkte jeg – greit. Hvis jeg gjør dette gjør jeg det fullt og helt for å fremme en viktig sak og vise hva jeg står for. Hvordan kommer jeg til å oppleve det da, kommer det til å føles riktig, at det er det som er viktigst i konkurransen? Jeg har vært objektiv – hørt på flere med forskjellige meninger, tenkt på magefølelsen, og helt ærlig prøvd mitt beste på å forstå hva organisasjonen virkelig står for. Etter å ha fått opplevd dette helt og holdent for meg selv velger jeg nå å trekke meg og en av grunnene til det er at – ja, det handler om mer enn utseende og det overfladiske – penger.

Vi blir dømt og får poeng for sponsorer som gir oss (og konkurransen) penger, vi må betale penger når det kommer nærmere finalene bare for å være deltakere, andre mennesker må bruke av sine penger for å stemme på oss. Vi får også poeng for presse så lenge det blir nevnt at man er deltager i Miss Norway 2018. Så det spiller ingen rolle så lenge det blir sagt? Når man kan nå ut til så mange med presse, hvorfor skal det ikke heller være viktigere å fremme en sak som faktisk kan hjelpe andre? Man får også poeng for veldedighet – som vil si at man kan ta bilde av seg selv hvor man går med børse eller hjelper fattige for eksempel. Og det er selvfølgelig en veldig fin og viktig ting å gjøre. Men hva med de som velger å hjelpe på andre måter, noe som ikke er sett på som veldedighet? Jeg velger å hjelpe, støtte og spre kunnskap til fattige, rike, unge, voksne, samfunnet – de som blir oversett – et så utrolig stort problem verden over. Mental helse, selektiv mutisme. Det gir ingen poeng i en slik konkurranse, med mindre jeg kommer i media og det står at jeg er deltager i Miss Norway. Skjønner dere?  Hvor er fokuset på å hjelpe andre uten å “vise seg frem”? 

Det som fikk meg til å fortsette var at jeg har fått til så mye med selektiv mutisme. Men da må jeg ta noen steg tilbake å tenke på hva som egentlig har skjedd. Jeg har ikke fått det til på grunn av konkurransen. Jeg har fått det til fordi jeg har jobbet hardt helt alene, delt min historie, kontaktet presse og rett og slett bare stått på. Og det er noe jeg kommer til å forsette med! Jeg har ikke fått til det jeg har fordi jeg er med i Miss Norway og det ser jeg selvfølgelig veldig klart, og jeg føler ikke organisasjonen er noe jeg vil støtte lengre. Det er ikke det jeg står for.

Jeg har opplevd at det handler veldig mye om å rose individuelle jenter opp i himmelen hvis de klarer å få inn penger til konkurransen, men klarer man å hjelpe familier og gjøre en forskjell i det hverdagslige livet til andre mennesker uten å få penger er det ikke av lik betydning. Det er mange kommentarer som jeg personlig mener blir slengt ut med en negativ betydning av mennesker som kjenner på “makt” fordi de kan bestemme over konkurransen og kanskje jentene også på et nivå – og de som kjenner meg vet hvor sterkt jeg er i mot at noen bruker sin autoritet på en slik måte. 

I tillegg har jeg mye erfaring som modell, og det er noe jeg fortsetter med, men etter flere år med erfaring er det så viktig for meg å være fri i det jeg gjør, både kreativt og som jobb. Spesielt det å representere noe profesjonelt som jeg kan stå for. Gjør jeg modelljobber må det avklares og eventuell “lønn” må deles med Miss Norway, rett og slett fordi jeg er med i konkurransen. Når det er noe jeg har jobbet meg opp til helt selv fra ingenting, og gjør år etter år som en jobb, synes jeg det blir helt feil å skulle gi bort både avtaler og verdi til en konkurranse jeg er deltager i. Det har hatt en så stor betydning for livet mitt og den personen jeg er i dag – og det er ikke noe jeg bare kan overgi til en konkurranse i Norge.

Jeg må også passe på hvilke photoshoots jeg kan gjøre slik at det er “passende” for konkurransen. Nei, det er ikke meg. Det har også blitt skrevet i hensyn til konkurransen at modeller er “sure”, og skjønnhetsutøvere er “blide”. Når man er en del av den profesjonelle bransjen og har opplevd litt av hvert handler det selvfølgelig mer om kreativitet, kunst, følelser og inspirasjon. Det er så mye mer. Jeg har så mye mer jeg vil dele med dere. Jeg kan ikke takke nei til andre muligheter, jobber, samarbeid osv som kan ha så stor betydning for meg. Jeg føler det er så mye større enn en konkurranse der alt må godkjennes, og jeg må sette så masse på hold, og i tillegg har jeg allerede tatt avstand fra modellbyrå som skal være en del av så mye i livet mitt, så hvorfor skal jeg fortsette å være del av en konkurranse som tar enda mer – og hvorfor skal jeg være med i en finale når jeg ikke vil vinne?  Jeg vil ikke måtte gjøre dette i et år til – det er så utrolig mye mer jeg skal gjøre.

Jeg vil heller ikke ta muligheten fra de andre jentene, de som føler at dette er noe de vil stå for og jobbe hardt for. De er noen utrolig flotte og fine jenter, og husk at dette er selvfølgelig hvordan jeg ser det. Jeg ønsker dere all lykke i alt dere velger å gjøre ❤

Jeg har også møtt andre som har deltatt i konkurransen tidligere, og de er også flotte, sterke jenter.

Jeg synes alltid at man skal følge magefølelsen sin. Fra starten og hele veien hit som finalist har det aldri føltes helt riktig, jeg har følt at noe ikke stemmer – det er noe jeg ikke kan stå for.

Personlig vil jeg tro at det er en grunn til at konkurransen har det ryktet det har. Fra begynnelsen da jeg ble introdusert var det noen sterke bemerkninger som ble gjort om tidligere deltakere på en videokonferanse, med både bilder av personer, og diverse kommentarer som jeg fortsatt tenker på. Kanskje det blir meg nå også? Jeg overlever.

Jeg står for sterke jenter som står opp for seg selv og bruker sine muligheter så godt de kan til å hjelpe andre. Det gjør jeg nå. Det føler jeg ikke at konkurransen gjør. Jeg hadde et håp om at det viktigste var å kjempe for noe med en større betydning. 

Tusen hjertelig takk til alle som har støttet meg. Som har skrevet mail, hørt og delt min historie og min hjertesak. Jeg skal selvfølgelig fortsette med kampen min – selektiv mutisme og mental helse. Jeg skal forsette å spre kunnskap i presse og til skoler slik som jeg har gjort. Jeg skal også holde foredrag. Jeg er så stolt av alt jeg har fått til. Jeg er så glad og takknemlig for at dere – venner, familie, ukjente, kjente, alltid har sett viktigheten i det jeg gjør. Takk. 

Og selfølgelig – nå skal dere få se enda mer av photoshoots, jobber, videoer, mer av det jeg vil vise dere og jeg skal være enda mer kreativ. Det er så mye som kommer! 

Jeg er så glad og føler meg så fri etter at jeg nå har dette valget. Jeg må fokusere på viktige og større ting nå. Nå vet jeg hva som er riktig og jeg tviler ikke et sekund.

Jeg håper dere alltid kan regne med at jeg står opp for meningene mine og sier ifra når jeg føler noe ikke er helt riktig.

Let’s gooooo!

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I have made the choice to leave the competition – Miss Norway 2018!

After a lot of thinking and not being completely sure throughout a longer period, I have now as a finalist chosen to leave the competition.

I am still happy that I chose to continue for as long as I did – my eyes opened to something I really want to dedicate my time to, and I realised how much I can help and support others because of something I went through myself. It’s still very clear to me that it’s happened because of my will and hard work alone, and not because of the competition I have participated in. Something I understand. It’s my case that matters. And I can do so much, just by being me and working hard.

Why have I felt so unsure about being in the competition, and why did I eventually make this decision?

I myself had heard about this competition previously, but after hearing time and time again that beauty pageants are more than “looks” and “pressure to be perfect” I thought – fine. If I’ll do this for one reason only – to fully promote an important case, what will it be like? Will it feel like that actually is the most important thing in the competition? I have been objective – listened to different opinions, thought about my gut feeling, and honestly tried my best to see what the competition really stands for. After getting to experience this completely for myself, one of the reasons for my choice is because – yes, the competitions is about more than just beauty and perfection – money.

We’re getting judged and getting points for sponsors that gives us (and the competition) money, we’ll have to pay a fee when it’s getting closer to the finale just to get through it, other people will have to use from their money just to vote for us. We get points for media as long as it’s mentioned that we’re a contestant in Miss Norway 2018. So it doesn’t matter what else is said? When you have the opportunity to reach out to so many people with media, why shouldn’t it be more important to promote a good cause that actually can help others? You also get points for charity – meaning you can take a photo of yourself while walking collecting money or helping someone poor. And yes that is important and a good thing to do. But what about when you choose to help in other ways, some way that’s not seen as charity? I choose to support, help and spread knowledge to poor, rich, young, adults, the whole society – the ones getting ignored – a huge problem in the whole world. Mental health, selective mutism. It does not give any points in a competition like this, unless I go to media and it says I’m in Miss Norway 2018. Where’s the focus to help others without showing off?

What made me continue was how far I got and everything I accomplished regarding selective mutism. But then again I’m forced to take a few steps back and look at what’s actually happened. I haven’t made it happen because of the competition. I have achieved everything because I have worked hard by myself, shared my personal story, contacted media about my case and just generally really worked hard. And that is something I will continue doing! I dont feel like the competition is something I want to support anymore. It’s not what I stand for.

I have experienced that it’s very much about applauding individual girls if they can get in money for the competition, but if you can help families and make a difference in someones everyday life without getting money for it – it’s not of the same value. There’s a lot of comments that I personally feel is being said and written with a negative meaning by certain people who feel empowered by their position in the Miss N. organisation and possibly feeling they can decide over the girls on a certain level – and anyone who knows me know how strongly I’m against people mistreating and misbehaving because of their “authority”. 

On top of that my continuous experience as a model plays a part in this. After a lot of years of experience in the industry it’s so important feeling free in what I do, both creatively and as work. Especially representing something professionally that I can stand for. If I do modeling jobs it will have to be “clarified” with Miss N. and possible salary has to be shared, just because I’m a contestant. When it’s something I have worked and established from nothing, by myself, after years of hard work, it’s not right for me to give everything away to someone else – including values and work. It’s had such a tremendous meaning for my life and who I am today as a person – and it’s not something I will just let go of like that.

I also need to think of the photoshoot I do so it’s “appropriate” for the competition. That’s not me. It’s also been written in light of the competition that models are “angry” and beauty contestants are “happy”. When you are part of the professional business and have experienced a lot of different things it’s very clear that modeling is about creativity, art, feelings and inspiration. It’s so much more. I also have so much more I want to share with you guys. I can’t say no to other opportunities, jobs, collabs and so on – that can have a much bigger meaning to me. I feel like it’s so much bigger than a competition where everything needs to be “accepted”, and I need to pause so much. On top of that I have already distanced myself from modeling agencies that takes big parts of girls lives, so why would I continue this competition when it takes even more from me – why should I be in a finale when I don’t want to win? I wouldn’t choose to do this for another year – I want to do so much more.

I also don’t want to take the opportunity away from the other girls, the ones who feels like this is something they can stand for and work hard for. They are amazing girls, and remember that this is how I personally see it. We have all lived different lives, are different people – and with that comes different opinions and thoughts about certain things and experiences. I wish you all the best of luck with everything you choose to do ❤

I have also met others who previously participated in this competition, and they are also amazing, strong girls.

I always think you should listen to your gut. From the beginning and all the way up to me being a finalist it’s has never felt completely right for me – it’s something I don’t want to support and stand for.

Personally I do think there’s a reason why the competition has the rumour it does here in Norway. From the beginning when I was introduced there were some strong remarks being said towards previous contestant through a video conference, with both pictures of the person, and comments I still think about. Maybe that will be me now? I’ll survive.

I believe in strong girls standing up for themselves and using their opportunities to their best effort in making changes and helping others. That’s what I am doing now. I don’t feel like the competition does that. I had a tiny hope that Miss Norway was about something more important. Something bigger.

Thank you so much to everyone for your support. Everyone that has written emails, listened to and shared my story and my case. I will of course continue my fight – selective mutism and mental health. I will continue spreading knowledge in media and to schools like I have done. I will also be having talks about it. I’m so proud of everything I have achieved. I’m so grateful for you guys – friends, family, acquaintances , strangers – that you have always seen the importance in what I do. Thank you.

And of course – now you’ll see even more from photoshoots, work, videos – more of what I want to show you guys and I’ll be even more creative. There’s so much to come!

I’m so happy and I feel so free after making this decision. I need to focus on more important and bigger things now. I know what’s right now and I don’t hesitate for a second.

I hope you can always count on me to speak my mind and opinions.

Let’s gooooo!

SM · Thoughts

In The Local Paper – SM

Yesterday I was published in the local paper – I spoke about me being a semifinalist in Miss Norway 2018, but more than that I spoke about Selective Mutism. As i said earlier this year I really want to work harder to make people aware and more open when talking about mental health and also spreading the knowledge. Especially about mental disorders that is “forgotten” or just not known to most people, when it’s so much more common than what you would think if you haven’t heard of it before.

I talked about my personal experience and also how I want to use my voice in this competition to spread awareness. I know there’s a lot of you that started following my website both in America and England after previous posts about Selective Mutism, so I feel it’s important to share when something happens. Every step counts! Keep working hard ❤

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personal · SM

New Motivation – I Want To Change Something

Some of you might remember this blog post. Selective Mutism affects about every 1 in 1000 kid. It affected me. The truth is there is not enough knowledge anywhere about this anxiety disorder. There is not enough help for kids struggling and parents struggling. My mom and I was a team and we managed it together, I got through it stronger than ever. Sometimes you will need more help. You should be able to get professional help, it is such a serious disorder.

But where’s the help? Why is it that so many doctors, professionals in mental health – no one knows more about it? Why have teachers not been educated more about such a disorder, when time after time there’s someone right in front of them, in their class, struggling so terribly?

After my blog posts and shares in Facebook groups there have been people reaching out to me. A lot more then I would have thought. I hope my story can be an inspiration and that anyone struggling know that they can contact me wherever and whenever. I’m here. There has been kids, parents, teenagers and adults – it doesn’t matter what age, you can be affected regardless.

But it’s not enough, I know that. I want to work harder so that more people can get educated about this anxiety disorder. That teachers can understand they make it so much worse for someone with SM by trying to make them talk in class or punishing them because they are not speaking. So much worse!

And just using some of my platforms to talk more about this, and share it as well is somewhere to start. I’m motivated – more people needs to understand what Selective Mutism really is.

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Photo on 07-01-18 at 20.09

I just got back from Oslo today and have been sitting in this same spot working and planning all day. Tiiiiired! But this is me right now so why not just share it with you guys. Hope everyone’s good ❤

personal · Thoughts

Why Didn’t I Talk?

So I know I have had a lot of people come across my blog after this post. My mom posted it in a group on Facebook and showed me all the response which was incredible. Incredible and tough. It was tough to see that there’s so many struggling. I just wanted to let you all know that you can contact me whenever with any questions you have. I’m happy to share more of my experience and how I managed to get better, to answer any questions or just listen.

I’ll share my other platforms here as well if you want to continue and follow my journey or contact me on any of them ❤️

Instagram: @martefre

Facebook: Press here.

Email: fma11824@gmail.com

Youtube: Press here.

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Can’t help but laugh a bit of this pic. Me and the guy that made it so difficult for me to go pursue my dream 🙂

personal · Thoughts

Why Are You Not Talking?

So I did a post on my previous Norwegian blog about this, which I know came to a surprise to a lot of people. And now I’m doing it in English so anyone who does not understand Norwegian can still understand what I have been through and what so many others are going through. 

Why are you not talking?

It’s when you can tell the world about the things you keep so close that you start to let them go, or has already let them go.

Maybe not the world, but at least being able to talk about it – tell it to someone else.

This is the most personal post I have ever written, and ever will write.

When I talk about it it seems like an entire life away, a different girl. At the same time I remember it so well, the feelings and the despair.

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Little Marte that went to kindergarten. Mom had no idea. Dropped me off and picked me up – I got in the car and started talking with no stop.

There is a lot of people going through tough and hard times as kids, even though you might be very young and can not remember the exact moments it does not mean that the little person wasn’t present in those moments and that it won’t affect the child as it gets older. That is exactly what happens. The brain is very good at purposely forgetting and shutting out bad memories or bad things, but it does not mean that it’s not still there in the subconsciousness. 

The little girl that moved to Bodø. Went to kindergarten and kept talking non stop with Mom.

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All until one day the kindergarten aunt (we call them that in Norway) said she had to speak with Mom.

“Marte doesn’t talk.”

More things made sense to Mom. I had always been quiet when she came inside to pick me up, but the second we got into the car I started talking again.

I talked to my two best friends in kindergarten. I trusted them. Kindergarten aunties could stand outside the door of the room we were playing inside to hear me talk, and that was the only times they would hear my voice.

After that it was multiple years with minimal talking. I went to school with the same people for years, but I guarantee they could count on one hand the times they heard me speak. No way they would get to know me either.

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It is so clear on photographs as well. To the left you can tell I’m confident and feel safe, to the right you can see I feel unsafe and uncomfortable with other people around me.

Looking back at it I think it’s sad. I was such a good kid with strong opinions and always made the people close to me laugh either when we were playing Idol or played dress up or any of the other ideas I always came up with. I wish more people got the chance to know that little girl.

The few people I trusted and let in has been with me since then. I hope and do believe that is the reason why I’m able to keep and take care of good friendships today. I have had them by my side through everything and they were the first ones I let in. Malin, Martine and Mathilde.

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I could probably have written an entire book about this. My feelings, my despair, the reason for everything and how I got out of it.

So how did I feel? Why did I choose to not speak?

It was never a choice. What kid would ever choose to not speak up, not get to know new people, listen to adults and kids talk about you – but say nothing yourself?

I wanted to talk so bad. I always answered in class. In my head. I just could not get it out. It was a block there.

When I got a bit older and could say a few things I got even more attention when I did because it was so rare. It only made it worse.

If it was something I hated it was attention. I hated it more than anything.

I have been so insecure and I have been so scared to trust people.

When I was around people I did not trust it was all I could think about. “I have to try and say something, just anything”, “It doesn’t fit the conversation, everyone will be staring”.

I just need to try everything so they won’t ask that question.

My stomach hurts so much then. It’s a type of feeling I would never want my worst enemy to experience. I still remember that horrible feeling.

“Why are you not talking?”

Auch. There it is.

Today I know that no one ever asked that question to be mean. Kids are kids. Kids are supposed to talk and play and laugh and tell stories and get to know other kids – especially if you are in the same class. 

Kis are curious. Of course they will ask why. Why a little girl choose to never say anything. It is such a strange thing for kids that don’t know what it’s about. It’s hard to understand.

I did not even know what it was about. I also wanted to be like everyone else.

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I’m gonna let you guys know one thing. It is insane how drained and tired it made me. I can tell you that it’s tiring to jog for an hour, to work for 9 hours, to do a commercial for 24 hours. But all those thoughts, all that frustrations inside the head and body of a little girl – that it the most tiring things in the whole world for a girl that wants to so bad, but just can’t. A girl that feels so different, but still just like everyone else. “If only I could show how I, Marte, really is, then I know you and you and you would actually like me so much.”

I did not like other people talking about me, or saying my name. Because when they said it they were talking about the girl that didn’t talk, it was not the stubborn Marte that my Mom knew, the annoying little sister my brother knew, or the goofy girl my best friends knew. It was my name, but I never wanted to hear it from them because they weren’t talking to the girl they thought they were. I was not weak or an invisible person, but that is what I felt when they said my name. It might have been easy to see that little girl as that. If they only knew what was going on inside my head.

Stress, despair and worries a seven year old is not supposed to have. I had so many more “adult” thoughts even then compared to kids my age. I had a lot of time to think while the others were talking

But there’s a hero in this story as well.

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My amazing Mom.

If it had not been for you I would never have been where I am today. I know for certain I would not be living in London. I would not have experienced half of what I have today.

She read and studied and talked to anyone and everyone who could know anything about this. Selective Mutism. Anxiety of speaking.

She didn’t pamper me, she explained to me that I had to challenge myself if I wanted to get better. If I wanted to talk more.

It was so hard, but she was right. We went to a place almost every Saturday, a place we had been going to since we moved to Bodø. I wanted water, sometimes hot chocolate. If I wanted it I had to go with my mom up to the counter and ask for myself. Sometimes I ended up with water or hot chocolate, sometimes I ended up with nothing.

But it got better, and it got easier.

Mom was right.

School was something else. It was so much I really wanted to say – and I wanted everyone else to get to know me and not just be the girl that doesn’t talk – I knew that I was so much more than that. I wanted them to know the girl I was at home or with my best friends. Smiling and happy, pretty funny at times, and the most stubborn little girl. Not afraid to talk.

It took time. There was so many things I wanted to say, but I was overthinking and could not get anything out until the people around me started talking about something new, and then I felt like it was too late.

Every time I went home from school without being able to say what I wanted, I felt like a failure. That feeling was horrible. Stomach ache and so very tired from walking with my shoulders up to my ears and all the thoughts that had been going through my head.

Sometimes I did it. And then I left school with a better feeling. If I could not do it next day again I felt even more horrible. I did it yesterday? So why not today?

After a while I got more tough for every day that passed. Sometimes it was still extra hard.

What changed me a lot I would say is traveling. It was a huge turning point for me.

I started seeing things differently. We are all just people living our lives, why should I care so much? I need to be proud of who I am – and be able to show it. It’s not a bad thing that people are interested in who I am, not a bad thing to get attention. I need to talk.

I started getting annoyed at myself. I am a good person – I know I should have a lot better confidence. I’m hiding away, hiding away everything that makes me Marte. Everyone should get the chance to see how weird and happy I can be, how strong opinions I have.

I can’t be wasting all my good characteristics and only keep them to myself. I need to listen to what my close ones tell me.

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I remember things really starting to change. But back home I still got some of those old feelings back. I think it was the memories.

I also think that so many years spent just observing people, just listening to them talk, how they choose their words and looking at their body language – made me kind of an expert when it comes to reading people.

That today has really payed off. I notice all the small things that might be difficult for others to see. Signs of nervousness, lies, people trying to be someone else, people hurting inside. I always have enough confidence to let people know my opinions, more than that even – I will always speak up if I think something is wrong. I am not afraid to show my reactions. I don’t let people scare me anymore, no matter how big authority anyone has it does not mean you are more worth, that you have more of a right to speak your mind or that what you say is more correct – I can tell that everyone has their insecurities, that it is so many people trying to be someone else. Everyone is struggling with their own stuff, and that’s just how it is.

I have pushed myself so much throughout my life. I’m so thankful for my stubbornness.

My stubbornness started showing more than ever when I was struggling the most with talking. My teacher at school and my Mom used to write to each other, and make a plan for when I should try and say things in class so I could be prepared and actually do it. One time everyone was going to say a song they liked. For me it was between two different songs. One had the most difficult and long name, but that one was actually my favourite. The second had the easiest name.

I know for anyone not experiencing this kind of block, this anxiety, can’t imagine how this possibly can be difficult, just say it right? It’s not that easy. The body stiffens and you can’t speak at all. That feeling is so horrible. It’s terrible. I always wanted to, but I couldn’t.

I was screaming and yelling and was so frustrated at home. I have to laugh a bit – if everyone that knew me as the girl who didn’t speak was there to see me then they would have been shocked – talking was not the problem back home where I felt safe. I was again back to feeling completely drained. Mom told me I could say the simple one. No, I couldn’t! It was not my favourite. I ended up saying the hard one. One step closer.

I also remember my Mom organising a little meeting with someone else who had Selective Mutism. It was a little girl my age, and her parents. Mom and me. We went out to eat pizza. That meeting helped me a lot. I realised how far I had gotten, and that it can be even worse for someone else. That I was not alone. I answered her parents when they asked me about something. The girl had to whisper to her parents if she wanted to say anything, and then they had to tell us. I think meeting me gave both her and her parents hope that something could change as well. Sometimes I think about her still – wondering how things are now for her.

Little Marte that did not want to talk to anyone, couldn’t talk to anyone – ended up leaving home at 17, working as a model, being the one asking strangers, calling, fixing things whenever I’m with friends or family, letting everyone know my opinions, experience the world on my own, giving people an opportunity to get to know me – but most importantly, me getting the opportunity to get to know so many new amazing people.

The girl that once hated attention and people noticing her – she now wants you to see her, hear her, and understand her.

We can all get better if we find the strength to push ourselves. No matter how much you are struggling I know things can get better, it can get so much better. Don’t let your past define you, please don’t. You have new opportunities every single day.

I don’t want you guys to compare this to being shy – it’s something different.  I remember I hated that word. I truly hated it when people used it regarding me – or asked me if I was shy. I wasn’t – I just couldn’t get out anything that was going on inside my head! I hated it when people made me feel like I was weak and someone who was less worth, that I was no one. I was 7 years old, 10 years old, 12 years old – and I could already see how badly everyone around me was trying, how they tried to be accepted by others, how insecure they really were, but I was still sitting there feeling that horrible feeling because I could not get any words out. I think that was something that made me feel a bit better. “You’re not fooling me, I can see that you are struggling – you as well.”

I think that was part of my motivation. I wanted everyone around me one day to understand that I also understood, I saw so much more than you thought.

On the positive side, people with this condition also have:

❤ Above-average intelligence, perception, or inquisitiveness

❤ Creativity and a love for art or music

❤ Empathy and sensitivity to others’ thoughts and feelings

❤ A strong sense of right and wrong

Thank you so much, Mom. For all the knowledge you have given me, for all the times you made me stronger, for the times you have been there right by my side, and for the times you have let me challenge myself alone. That has all made me into the woman I am today. And that woman – I am so proud of her.

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