On the 15th August I had the privilege to be part of a meet up of awesome individuals. This group is called the Misfits and it was created by a lady I’m proud to call a friend.
Her name is Tracy Shayler and I interviewed her in February this year. You can see the interview here. It’ll give you a better idea of what this group is all about and why the work Tracy does within it is so important. She’s supported by her admin team, -Robert, Glen and Eloise – and fellow friends who do a fantastic job of making sure things run smoothly.
Tracy is also mum to Luke Shayler, one half of the awesomely popular and entertaining husband and husband team of Trent and Luke, YouTubers of note, and both actors, models and very down to earth guys. They are very much involved with the Misfits group too and were there at our get together to *ahem* entertain the troops.
(Until you’ve seen Trent with a mouth stuffed full of Peppa Pigs taking part in an eating challenge, you ain’t seen nothing…… I thought he was going to choke when I murmured, ‘Swallow, Trent, swallow’ in his ear…. but I digress.)
It was the one year anniversary of the formation of the group and we all met up at the incredibly vast Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium in Stratford just outside central London. The weather was beautiful for a change (for England anyway), the sun shone down on us in beaming benediction and it was damned hot.
The aim of this meet up was to try and get the members, who to date had mostly chatted online and shared their experiences, to be able to meet face to face. There was a lot of excited exclamations, hugs and banter being uttered and of course often ‘I know you!’ followed by more hugs and kisses.
One thing I can’t get over is the diversity of the group, who appeared over the morning in various stages of shyness, uncertainty, confidence, bluster and eagerness, sexuality and gender. Above all there was acceptance of everyone else, a friendly wave and a smile, a desire by those who’d met before to integrate the newer, perhaps shyer members into the fold and make them all one united group of people out to have a great time.
People came from all over the country to see each other and it was heart-warming to see just how far some of them had come to meet Mum Shayler, as Tracy is affectionately known, and Trent and Luke. Oh and of course, Benji, the dog. He’s the apple of Trent and Luke’s eye and you’ll no doubt know this from watching their videos. He should have his own TV show.
They say a picture says a thousand words. I think I can safely say that even with all these pictures, they don’t do justice to the warmth, humour and compassion which permeated this band of Misfits, this group of warriors determined to be themselves and forget about the challenges of the real word for a little while. It truly is an emotional milestone and I have never been so honoured to be a part of something as I was of this meet up. I might not have shown it much, because I’m a control freak and emotions are not something I bandy about, but inside, I was bursting with pride and satisfaction. What Tracy has done in bringing people together has been a tremendous achievement and I think she deserves a medal. Or at the very least, an award.
There’s an open invitation to anyone in the Misfits group to get in touch with me as Editorial Manager for Divine Magazine, and write for us, perhaps even show case their You Tube channels, if the content is relevant, and be a part of the Divine team. We’re always looking for people to contribute to articles and stories so don’t be shy, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracy and I have a plan to try and use all the Community functionality of the Divine site to better advantage for the Misfits group, so this is something we agree to tackle together. I just need to find the date when we’re both not too busy to have a drink, a chat and come up with ‘The Plan.’ If we do drink too much wine and end up snorting and giggling in merriment, I’ll try get someone to take a picture for your entertainment.
Finally, to anyone reading this article who may be struggling with who they are, and trying to fit in – trying to be YOU and dealing with what other people think is tough enough. For those people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) it can be even tougher. There’s stresses involved which perhaps isn’t appreciated, or ignored, even ridiculed and this can lead to a myriad of issues-depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm and even suicide. It’s a sad fact but sometimes the people we expect will give their love and unswerving support don’t or are unable to for whatever reasons they cite. Never forget one thing – YOU MATTER. You matter to us, to other people and you have huge value in the world.
The Misfits group is open to anyone and this is the link – MISFITS Unite on Facebook
Beware though. You’ll be vetted and checked before you’re allowed to join, for the safety of those members in the group. But once you’re in there, I swear it’s one big family and I think you’ll like it in there.
AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tracy – we hope you have a fabulous day and get spoilt rotten!!