Hi, my name is Tracy Kiss and yes it’s a real surname as my late grandfather was Hungarian. I am a single parent to my two beautiful children Millisent, aka my Millie sent from heaven, and my angelic son Gabriele. I like to think I’m a pretty level-headed kind of girl who thinks about others before I think of myself, I give money to support lifeboat charities and food for dogs. I don’t take anything in life too seriously, I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong or poke fun out of myself. I used to be a model some years ago now, but I was fortunate enough to have gained a good education, seen the world and learnt a bit about life along the way. What more can I say? Come and see for yourself! Here’s a video which pretty much sums me up, or you can skip to my life in press pictures at the end of this post or read a load of soppy growing up stuff below.
Growing up in the South of England, I lived with my mother, father and older brother. I was a sickeningly shy child who always hid behind adults and the elderly and rarely took part in children’s activities and games. I don’t know quite what caused my shyness, but I never left my mothers side and at school and throughout the rest of my life I would only ever have one or two close friends.
I was always very under confident in how I looked; try being called Tracy Kiss when you looked like one of the goonie’s growing up! I was too afraid to tie my hair in a ponytail for fear of the children at school noticing me or laughing at my ears, and I wore baggy jumpers and knee high pulled up socks to cover as much of my body as possible because all girls were made to wear skirts and I wasn’t a girly girl at all. I rarely spoke because of a lisp that I had until my early teens which I eventually learned to control through speech therapy; and inside the sleeve of my jumper I used to hold onto my thumb by making a fist so it felt like somebody was holding my hand when I felt alone and scared. At lunch time and after school when the rest of the children were outside or at the park and over each others houses playing I would sit in the school library reading or the alcove of my bedroom, hidden behind my wardrobe on an old typewriter my parents had got for my birthday one year; and I would write stories and poems about friendship and happiness for hours and hours on end. When I was twelve I went on to frequently have my poetry published in collections and anthologies used in schools and it made me smile. I put the publication certificates on my bedroom wall and it drove me to try harder each time and achieve more.
I was bullied throughout the entirety of my education for one reason or another; for being too quiet, being too geeky, for dressing dowdy, for having a lisp, for being vegetarian, for my last name being Kiss, for not having many friends, for being friends with unpopular children, for having ugly hair and for just being me. But I was always a polite and pleasant girl to whomever I met and I worked as hard as I could and loved to learn. Some days I would get away with just being nudged in the school corridor, others I would be spat at, have ham chucked in my face, have chewing gum stuck in my hair and chunks of hair cut off when I would be sat alone on the school bus. I had rubbish stuffed into my bag, my chair pulled out from under me, and groups of girls following me home from school laughing and throwing things at my legs. I tried to keep my head down, ignore what was going on and act like it didn’t phase me in the hope that they would get bored and go away because I was too scared of confrontation and I was always outnumbered; but it didn’t go away, and most days after school I sat at the end of the road and cried by myself before going home so my mother wouldn’t see, and if she asked where I was I’d always say the school bus was late.
The teachers tried to help by calling the bullies into the school office but in those days it rarely made a difference, if anything it showed the bullies that it did upset me, that they had provoked a reaction and that I really was afraid of them. So I grew to have very little trust for people who I knew of, and instead I blindly trusted people that I didn’t know because I hoped that they wouldn’t judge me in the same way and might actually give me the benefit of the doubt first and resultantly treat me more kindly than my peers. Unfortunately I was a very naive child, and even more naive teenager. My education was in books, not in life skills.
I spent the last few years of high school trying to change everything about myself in order to fit in. I hated everything about myself, who I was and how I looked, I could never understand the reason why life had dealt me this cruel hand and made me destined to have been trodden on and looked down upon by everyone around me when inside I was such a smiley loving child who had been buried beneath tears for no reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When a boy I liked started talking to me at high school I was so happy, we used to chat feverishly for hours in class and one day he made me a mix tape of the Smashing Pumpkins and I’d listen to the words of the songs in my bedroom and in class we’d talk about why we liked them and eventually he sent one of his friends to ask me out for him. Although I had the biggest crush on him I thought it was a joke and that everybody would laugh at me if I said yes and fell for it, I never imagined he could ever be attracted to me so I politely turned him down and instead I watched him date the popular girls from our year; we hardly spoke after that but I often thought about him. I masked my insecurities with humour instead and started to get on far better with others. Towards the end of school it genuinely shocked me that people actually said they’d miss me when I was gone but despite it all, during school prom, parties and dances I stayed at home alone because I wasn’t attractive and I couldn’t dance so I avoided setting myself up to fail and instead stuck to what I knew was safe, being in my room by myself.
Attending college some distance away was a pivotal part of my life where others accepted me more, because it was such a mixed bag of different groups of people, only I found it very difficult to communicate and socialise with others because they’d already known each other for years. Thankfully I never got to the extent of being a recluse, but I found I didn’t need fake people around me pretending to be my friend. Instead I would sit on benches between lectures watching the world go by, seeing girls stood on their own panicking to find somebody they recognised or who could stand with them so they wouldn’t be seen on their own. But I preferred to be alone, because it was a blessing from being attacked by bullies and I didn’t have to try to talk to fake people just for the sake of it.
I started to date a boy from the city who would one day mean the world to me, but at the time I was reluctant to show my true feelings for fear of leaving myself open for rejection. Despite loving him with all of my heart I pushed him away, played it down and we separated. But we would continue to talk on the phone, meet for lunch and romantic evenings and go on holiday together. And since we were no longer dating, we became closer than ever, you know when you think of somebody and instantly you smile? And when their name appears on your phone it lifts your heart. Well he remained a big part of my life for many years and somebody I would quietly always turn to and think of whenever I needed somebody. Despite the years we spent with each other I never truly understood how he felt about me, I never believed he could ever actually love me because we’d only initially dated for a short time and surely if you love somebody you become boyfriend and girlfriend? So when I saw him dating other girls, it hurt me but at the same time I was glad that he had finally found somebody who was his equal and who he was happy to have a relationship with.
At the age of eighteen I was working in an office when I was scouted by MTV to be a model/actress. After laughing for some time, through morbid curiosity I agreed and went on to be signed to a daily national newspaper ‘The Daily Sport’ for whom I became a glamour model. I started appearing frequently in magazines, working as an actress for hidden camera shows on television and appearing as a special guest on shows talking about beauty and fashion. I was paid well for personal appearances and photo signings across the country and loved meeting the public who were all strangers and all kind. At eighteen I had the world at my feet and a passion and drive for life. And I always looked and dressed immaculately; I wore hair extensions, false nails, and coloured contact lenses, used sun beds, had a breast enlargement and wore daring outfits and skyscraper high-heels. My body-confidence was through the roof, I was standing on top of the world and people were falling over themselves to be around me. The girls who had bullied me for so long were suddenly asking for my autograph, wanting to become models too and sending me letters and knocking on my door. When I’d have a feature in a magazine, newspaper or on television people would run up to me in the street to tell me they’d seen me and at times they’d follow my car to see where I was going which was creepy more than anything. But despite being surrounded by people for the first time in my life, I’d never felt so alone because I knew that they weren’t interested in me as a person, just what they could use me for; to start their own career, to have me as a trophy girlfriend or to take a picture of me to sell. Not once did anyone try to get to know me or speak to me as a person, it was an extremely fickle and superficial environment to be in.
But I had many amazing experiences I could never have imagined possible and met and worked with many famous faces and it finally cracked the shell of my shyness. I learnt I could get my own way simply for looking attractive and people rarely said no to anything I asked or wanted but that wasn’t a good thing, it frustrated me because I wanted people to question me and not just go along with everything I said. There’s no fun in winning if you know your opponent deliberately lost just to please you. On photo shoots I started to take more interest in the set up of the studio than I did being photographed myself, I liked the idea of contrast, focal points and each image capturing a story or emotion rather than simply standing pouting in a bikini. I went on to study for an interior design diploma shortly after.
I dated a few times in between my late teens, although I never truly had my heart in any other relationship because deep down I didn’t believe that men could love me because I was too used to being either completely ignored, bullied or later on, leered over. I was always the one to walk away from a relationship although I never fell out with ex’s because of it. And I found I could cut people out of my emotions and my life just as easy as pulling off a plaster, because the people I could truly love and trust could be counted on one hand.
In 2007 I had a foolish relationship which only lasted a couple of weeks over Christmas when I asked a guy I’d worked with for a few months to accompany me to a works dinner because I didn’t want to be the only person going alone for once, as I was surrounded by smooching loved up couples and considered making my excuses and staying at home instead. Too much champagne, a five-day hangover, and not long after we parted ways. I told him I hated men and was never looking for a relationship nor a fling but it had just happened. We never cared about one another because we were young and had very little in common, we rarely spoke after we split and I doubted I would ever see him again. A short while after I discovered I was almost half way through a pregnancy which had thrown my hormones so badly the hospital had been testing me for a brain tumour instead for my high prolactin levels. I called him to tell him I was having the baby and he didn’t want to know. So that was that. Shortly before my final teenage years I had to face up to the concept of ending a successful modeling career and the lavish lifestyle I had become accustomed to in order to have a baby and become a single teenage mother. In my heart and mind it was the only part of my life that I could ever be sure of, because a baby could never hate you if they only knew of love. I had nobody but my baby to answer to, and I vowed I would give this little person my all. I never thought I’d ever have children, it wasn’t instinctively inside of me to feel that way about babies before and I never thought anyone would love me enough to even want to marry me let alone have a child with me and stay around. I’d convinced myself I’d spend my life alone through choice and it was all that I was expecting, even though I knew I’d set my expectations low but it was only to avoid disappointment.
But having my daughter and being a young single parent taught me what love really was, it allowed me to love another in the most indescribable way, without reservation and without judgment. Millisent Kiss was born the week before my twentieth birthday and in that one beautiful morning when she came into this world my life changed forever and I’ve never looked back or regretted the sacrifices I’ve made since. From that day on I’ve tried my hardest to help others who struggle, to show the world that love is possible and that beauty is what comes from within. And everything I do and have done is for the benefit of my daughter and other children that we meet along the way.
I met Luca when Millie was a few months old and was surprised when after four or so months of talking for hours on end each day, he finally asked me out on a date. In a bittersweet victory of finally finding my soul mate, the one who had always captured my heart for all of those years prior, finally declared his love for me and wanted us to become a family at last. He told me of all the thoughtful things he’d remembered across our years together, things I’d never thought he’d noticed or never thought he’d say and things that made my heart skip a beat for how much it meant to me. He was everything I’d ever wanted but it was years too late, as at that time I had already started dating Luca and something inside of me told me that he was the one; and so heartbreakingly we said goodbye and Luca and I got engaged and remained together for five and a half years whilst having a baby boy Gabriele. Sadly when Gabriele turned fifteen months of age we split up and now I’m a single mother to my two children once more.
Together we had created Dizkis to help families and children to love, learn and have confidence, to spend time together and to talk to one another, to grow with love and respect and kindness for others. We hold family fun days each year for children to play and learn and all money raised we donate to worthwhile charities for disabled children and those fighting cancer.
It’s not straightforward and it’s not easy but I get on with it. It’s very much the mentality you have to completing a task and seeing through what you set out to do in the first place. Some days I’ve had four hours sleep from a teething toddler, my muscles are aching from continuous training, I feel weak from my period and the phone rings, the dog barks, the doorbell goes, Gabriele wants cuddles and Millie needs help with her homework; but I still do it, I do it all and I do it with a smile. One step at a time, nothing is too much and I always put 100% into everything. Nothing is impossible, you just have to have the guts to do it.
In my opinion, training, exercise, diet and lifestyle is a mental state not a punishment. You have to begin each day with the belief that you will see it through to the end, that every task regardless of size is manageable, everything has an order and each is a stepping stone forward to the finish line. If I woke up and looked at the mountain of things I had to do and the very little time or help that I have to do it alone I would more than likely still be weeping in bed by now, which is why I don’t! I realise my responsibility, I understand that it won’t be easy but know the importance of getting it done, so I don’t make excuses I just make a start and it takes as long as it takes.
I like to stand on my own two feet and be in control because lets face it, who else will do it for me if I don’t? I know what the children and I need, what I have to do and how it should be done most efficiently and effectively, so I keep that in mind at all times and if obstacles get thrown in my path by others throughout my day I weigh up their importance and fit them in as and when I have to. If you lose control of your time and allow others to dictate to you that’s when the wheels come off, you fall behind, you miss things out and you make mistakes. If it means that I workout at midnight then it’s what I’ll do to fit it in. You have to be able to adapt rather than give up, if and when the goal posts move don’t go looking for a different game to play, fight harder to finish what you’ve started and the achievement of seeing it through to the end makes the success so much sweeter.
The more you stress and worry throughout the day the harder it becomes to stay positive and do everything that you’ve set out. We’ve at times been twenty minutes late leaving school, which meant that dinner was then delayed or overcooked and had to be thrown and started again, bath time was pushed back, reading and homework still had to be done, the kids settled to bed and an hour and a half military training workout squeezed in when I know I’ll be up all night for the night feeds with my nineteen month old with nobody to pass the buck to. My race doesn’t end at bedtime, my day doesn’t begin in the morning, my life is a 24/7 marathon which has no start or finish point, but I allocate each lap that I complete to a task knowing that the next is scheduled to begin as soon as I cross the finish line. The only thing that I can control in the race is my attitude, not the quantity of needs and responsibility but my outlook and ability to carry on going. Moaning and feeling sorry for myself won’t achieve what needs to be done, it won’t bring me a tirelessly dedicated husband to lighten half of the load and support the weight of my shoulders, it can only serve to make my feet heavier and my head lower, so I refuse to acknowledge negativity.
If I have one hundred things to do throughout my day then I look at the bigger picture. My children come first and everything else after. If other people demand my time and energy I have to be kind but fair, realistic and practical. I can’t please everyone, I can’t do everything and then some single handedly so if it means saying no then it’s what I do without the feeling of guilt. If a boat forever took on more cargo than it could carry then eventually it would sink and everything would be lost, so I recognise what I’m capable of, what needs to be done and realistically what I’m capable of achieving. I still take on extra, push myself to my limits and work from sunrise to sunset but through trial and error I have discovered my own margins and stay out of the red in order to achieve longevity in what I do. I weigh up the pro’s and con’s of each situation and look at all of the possible outcomes and providing I can cope with the worst case scenario then anything above that is a bonus.
I’ve come to learn that in order to find balance in life you first have to be capable of doing everything single handedly without doubting yourself. It wasn’t an ideal position to find myself in, in the summer of 2013 it was discovered that my silicone breast implants I’d had for almost eight years were made of PIP, a non-medical grade illegal silicone for which the scandal affected thousands of women worldwide. I was in agony and couldn’t bare anything touching my chest, it was discovered that the dangerous silicone had been leaking into my body, a potentially fatal condition. I underwent three life-saving and corrective surgeries over the space of just a few months and five days after leaving hospital after my breast reconstruction, my fiance left me and I become a single parent to my then six and one year old children. It was the lowest, most difficult and by far the most painful time of my life, I was destroyed. Yet it has also taught me so much that has proven to be my most worthwhile lesson in life. It has reinforced in me to not be complacent, not rely on others or expect tomorrow to be a given, but to realise what you have, be grateful, humble and unbreakable. To have being left to pick up the pieces at such a low point in my life was absolutely heartbreaking, mentally draining, physically impossible through surgery and emotionally unsettling to deal with the needs of two young children alone when I needed to heal and grieve myself. But I still did it, and it’s true what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Since my world was turned upside down the things I have achieved have been quite possibly the greatest in my life so far. I refused to give up, I refused to cave in, I looked devastation in the face, kissed it on the cheek and carried on by with my head held high and my children by my side. If you want to have a future you can’t live your life in the past. Before I had my children I was young, carefree, living a lavish lifestyle and doing everything I’d ever dreamed of; but fantasising on ‘the good old days’ won’t bring that freedom back, it won’t take away my responsibility or lighten my workload so that’s where it stays, in the past. It is a beautiful memory which I will always cherish, I have lived it, learned from it and am fond and driven by what else I can achieve in life for myself and my children.
Obviously it was never part of my life plan to become a single parent to two young children, but it happened. I can’t make somebody love me, I can’t make somebody commit to a family life and promise to look after me forever and a day. But I can love my children, I can always be there for them no matter what and I know that I am capable of looking after myself and my babies so fear and insecurity are no longer a threat to me because I’ve made my mistakes and learnt from them safe in the knowledge of my future decisions being all the better for it.
I could quite easily be resentful for what I don’t have, the ability to be a carefree singleton only thinking of myself, a multimillionaire with no concern for bills and taxes or even a supermodel with the perfect body, but jealousy doesn’t motivate me, success does. I can work hard and earn my millions, establish financial security through my success to one day not have to worry about money and I can condition and train my body to become a supermodel if I desire. Nothing is impossible in life, it just takes dedication and passion. I feel incredibly touched to know that I have been able to motivate and inspire others to achieve their goals and we can all become happier healthier people by learning to appreciate not resent success in others. It’s about using it as a benchmark, a motivation and a goalpost to keep you on track. You have to put in the effort to reap the rewards.
A huge part of life is learning to deal with failure, to fight through tiredness, doubt, pain and emotion and to believe in yourself and know deep down that you will achieve what you set out to in time. It may not happen overnight, it may not happen within a year, but if you refuse to give up then you will never fail to achieve your dreams. I see every day as a lesson and opportunity to improve on what I’ve done before. It took me three attempts to pass my driving test at the age of seventeen, not because I couldn’t drive but because I didn’t exaggerate my movements enough. For my first test I failed to check my mirrors obviously enough by turning my head instead of my eyes and for second test I failed to accelerate fast enough onto a roundabout; but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t check my mirrors and that I didn’t accelerate because I performed both, but not to the level necessary. So I learnt from each issue and I put my foot down harder and I turned my head more confidently and I passed with flying colours third time lucky. I wasn’t cocksure to start with, I didn’t have an ego or take uncalculated risks, I started from the bottom, built my foundation and adapted my technique to achieve what I’d set out to by learning from the mistakes I’d made. A mistake is simply an opportunity to learn and progress and it’s well known that practise makes perfect.
Before this time I’d never had a minute to myself, I ran around after everyone and everything, bent over backwards to please other people and burnt myself out, finally turning to my partner for help who wasn’t capable of giving it so left. I lost sight of the person I am, I forgot about myself and my own needs and I allowed others to dictate to me how I should spend my time. I was always told where to be, what to wear, what I would eat (the only vegetarian option) and what I had to do for others who expected so much of me, but finding myself on my own I was utterly shocked to realise that I hadn’t made my own personal choices in so many years that I didn’t know where to begin. I was almost incapable to deciding what to eat when given a choice on a vegetarian menu, I couldn’t decide what clothes to buy myself when I was shopping for post-surgery clothes and given the choice of who to help I picked my children instead of others who are capable of looking after themselves but far too used to depending on others. Now that I’m on my own I have time for my own thoughts, my own needs and my own desires. I see what I want and I can concentrate on setting out to get it myself. I don’t have to have somebody around me 24/7 in order to feel complete as a person because I am confident in myself. Obviously I enjoy the company of others, the companionship of adults balances out my child-orientated regime but on the other hand I’m not afraid to be alone. I am capable, confident and far more conscious through becoming a single parent and to me that has been priceless.
The world doesn’t owe me anything, I don’t need anybody to take care of me or to do everything for me. I have all of my limbs, I have my health, my heart and my own mind and the world is my oyster. There is so much opportunity in life, at every twist and turn there is a new beginning and chance to succeed in everything you do, you just have to open your eyes and mind and never be afraid of change because it’s what makes us stronger even if it isn’t evident at the time you’re going through it. Weeks after my breast reconstruction, my heartbreak and workload I faced alone with the children I committed to a ninety day workout regime, the P90X. I was tender from surgery, weak from not eating, skinny, fragile and lived everyday on an emotional roller coaster. I didn’t do it to lose weight, I did it to build strength, centre my mind, body and soul, gain power, control and drive and to prove to myself that in the darkest time of my life I could create my own light. Day by day I transformed myself from a feeble Bambi into a fearless lion, not because I thought it would be easy, but because I knew that it would be incredibly hard.
The results were hard earned, it took time, dedication and training seven days a week with no rest or down time. At first my joints cracked, my back buckled, my muscles hurt and I felt weak and lethargic. As my surgery scars healed, my heart mended, my mind balanced and my routines became stronger day by day. I got the sparkle back in my eyes, the fire in my belly and the belief in my heart; I found the strength to hold my head high, to fill my lungs with air and to push and strive and fight for every drop of sweat that I earned myself. In order to see change I first had to maintain dedication, I already possessed the skills to do everything asked of me, I could run, jump, stand and stretch, but over time I developed the stamina, the depth and the strength to go harder and longer. I didn’t give up when it hurt, I didn’t cave in when the results weren’t immediate, I focused my mind and I told myself that I will do this. And I have, and I am and I’m loving every second and growing so much as a person.
Never be afraid of the dark days that challenge you, never fear the things that try to break you or the people who hurt you in life. Be in control of the things that you have power over, yourself, your outlook and your mentality towards life. Expect nothing and achieve everything through hard work and dedication, time and endurance. The most amazing things in life are worth fighting for wholeheartedly and surprisingly not many people posess them because they’ve already given up long before they’ve even started.
Make today your own, take control of your life and believe in yourself. You will soon realise that you are far far stronger than you ever imagined possible.
I hope that you will enjoy reading my blogs, which really aren’t depressing at all. I hope they might touch a small part of people that I thought I’d never find within myself, and I hope that one day I might make a difference to this enormous anonymous world. Everybody has a battle to fight in this world, whether it be bullying, self-confidence, happiness, love, understanding, trust, finances, addiction or something else. Just because the sky fills with black clouds at times doesn’t mean you won’t ever see the sunshine again; because you can never fail at anything in life if you refuse to ever give up trying, trust me one day you’ll find it. If we never experience tough times, we wouldn’t know how to recognise and appreciate the good things that we have in life. I’ve learnt that life is a journey of emotion, growth and understanding and talking to others and sharing your thoughts and feelings mean you’re never truly alone. If only I had known then what I know now things would have been very different!
Please have a look through my blog and leave me some feedback in the box at the bottom of this page. I read everything that I receive and am always looking to try new and exciting things.