Advice, Happiness, Uncategorized

High On Likes

Ten years ago, if a guy were to approach you in a club, knowing your name and other details about your life, you would run away and scream, “Stalker!”

Now, if a guy does the same, it’s cool; he follows you on Instagram.

It happened to me a few months ago and the guy quickly became aggressive when I apologised for not knowing who he was. It wasn’t cool, it freaked me out.

This angry stranger “followed” my life is pictures. Scrolling through my posts attempting an outside point of view made me feel sick: there were photos of me and my friends in bikinis on holiday, selfies, modelling photos half naked… All which seemed innocent, fun and worst of all normal at the time now seemed seedy and boastful in this weird collection of exhibitionism and narcissism called My Profile.

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It was the last straw on something I’d considered for a while. I disabled my account.

Alarmingly, I’d never thought about Instagram in terms of my privacy. Instead, I’d been building up to disable it after realising that it affected my mental health in a negative way.

Within an hour, no less than four people had sent me texts, ranging from concerned to hurt, asking why I had ‘deleted’ them. I later learned that they had been told this through an app which alerts you when you’re followed or unfollowed by an account. People really are invested in this thing. Relationship dynamics are affected and ego’s are hurt.

Social media is weird. The terms “follow”, “like”, and “share” mean completely different things now than they did years ago, with those phrases and others like “retweet, unfriend, block” becoming everyday conversational dialogue. Social media has become as normal as brushing your teeth.

So many relationships begin, grow, or solely exist in cyberspace. Whole persons and careers are created and maintained on smart phone applications. On a whole, social media is undeniably dumbing us down and running our lives, but I believe Instagram to be the worst; Twitter is a platform for words, a space to be intelligent, funny, witty, charming in 140 characters or less. Facebook, however you use it, is designed to share and keep in contact with friends and family – but Instagram? Instagram puts importance on the physical image. You can write a funny caption, but it’s the photo above it that’s going to get ‘liked’.

Yes, it can be used to share beautiful photographs. But it is photos of people  – particularly attractive women’s faces and bodies – that receive the most likes. Just look at the 11 most liked photo’s on Instagram ever – the physical is of sole-importance.

 

 

It allows us to construct our own fairy-tale image; psychologists use the term ‘self-presentation’, “positioning yourself the way you want to be seen.” A study found that self-presentation is so powerful, that viewing your own social media profiles increases self-esteem.

Compilation of boastful, ‘fun’ posts featuring me as an apparent party girl who holidays more than she’s at home

But Instagram never made me feel good. I’d subconsciously compare myself to everyone else seemingly having a better time, looking their posed, filtered best, usually from the comfort of my own bed while I looked like a frog. We never scroll through Instagram when we’re having fun, do we? I would only scroll when I had nothing better to do, making me receptive to negative feelings of boredom or loneliness before photos had even loaded. I would often close the app feeling undeniably depressed. So why did I continue to use something that was bad for my mental health?

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I’d never thought much about why and what I post until I disabled my account. When I was modelling I used Instagram to network with photographers and promote freebies like skincare and haircuts. I never felt that I was sharing too much of myself. But amongst those arguably useful posts are a few that, after my reflective time out, I now see as nauseatingly narcissistic.

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I actually thought I had made it acceptable because I was being philosophical in my caption, lol

 

Why at 23 years old did I feel that it was necessary to post a photo of myself in a bikini, alone, while on holiday with my boyfriend? The honest answers are:

  1. I wanted my followers to know I was on holiday.
  2. I obviously didn’t think I looked bad, or else I wouldn’t have posted it – I wanted my followers to see that I looked alright.
  3. I knew that a photo of a girl in a bikini will get the likes that, at the time, I unknowingly craved.

It all sounds arrogant, but are you honestly going to tell me that you can’t relate? Chances are you, your friends, your girlfriend, have posted photos for the same reasons. Why else would you take time out of your day to share a photo of yourself to the internet?

We are an insecure generation, constantly feeding off likes and follows for some sense of empty validation from strangers. Although I may look confident in that pink bikini, and at the time I thought I was – if I hadn’t needed validation then I wouldn’t have posted it. My ‘racy’ photos littering my feed now make me feel uncomfortable, especially now realising that strangers have studied them.

Compilation of meaningless, strictly narcissistic, vainglorious, egomaniacal posts posted by yours truly

After my much needed detox, the image of a girl alone in a bathroom seems like the epitome of vanity and shameless narcissism. I want to scream at her, “No one cares! Go jump in the pool! Go live your life! No one needs to see that!”. Yet, 99% of sexualised female celebrities and models do exactly the same thing and are praised for it.

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I recommend every one –even those who think I’m dramatic for thinking an app could affect my mental health – carry out a social media detox for a week and see if you notice a difference in how you think or live your life. I personally have so much more time for productivity; all the time you spend taking photos, or thinking about what photos to post and simply looking into other people’s lives, really does add up.

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The main thing that was putting me off disabling or deleting was FOMO and keeping up appearances; almost as if not posting was in inkling to the outside world that all was not well. But trust me, you are missing out way more on actual real life than what other people are up to. And those ‘likes’ lose importance strangely quickly. After six weeks, I reactivated my account, but now peeking into others’ lives feels really invasive. I have also completely lost that need to post; once or twice I have almost posted something and then asked myself, why?

Close the apps, put down the phone and enjoy the moment. If you’re going to take photos, print them, and give thought to the ones you do post. Don’t try to create an image of the perfect life – live your version of your perfect life.

The only person you should let validate your life is yourself.

PS. Follow @_theluckyleo on Instagram (no selfies, I promise)

ALL IMAGES TAKEN FROM GOOGLE IMAGES & MY OWN INSTAGRAM 

 

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Advice, Happiness, Uncategorized

Am I A Psycho Girlfriend Or Am I Just Honest?

There are two types of girls in relationships:

  1. The girlfriends that are totally rational, cool and collected. They don’t care that you have female friends, even if you’ve once drunkenly fucked them. They understand that you’re a human being and have your own life, wants and freedom. They call you once, and then wait patiently for you to call them back, however long it takes.
  2. The girlfriends that aren’t liars.

 

Thing is, the ‘crazy girlfriend’ cliché has given us a bad name. In movies, people are stalked, bunnies are boiled, bitches are murdered and cars are driven off cliffs. In real life (the Take-a-Break-Jerry-Springer-World), people can be un-funny psychopathic; penis’ are cut off, fried and served with eggs for breakfast. And of course, some girlfriends are extremely high maintenance or just complete bitches. Number 2 aren’t those people; Number 2 are just women strong enough to be honest about their feelings and their expectations of their partner’s behaviour, in the same way that a lot of men are to their partners.

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You see, for some odd reason, my generation of women have been brainwashed into suppressing their feelings for fear of being considered a “Psycho Girlfriend”. The dream is to be the “Cool Girl”: The Number 1’s. In The ‘Cool Girl’ Is Not Fiction, But a Phase, Tracy Moore writes;

The Cool Girl model of womanhood – Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies, Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (before she starts pretending to be the kind of hopelessly needy girl that is, obviously, repugnant to men) – is something you’ll only find on the big screen.”

The Cool Girl is the girl that’s “not like other girls” – the girl that doesn’t have girlfriends because they’re “too much drama”. The guy in the hot girl’s body. With this attractive image are also underlying suggestions of submission, complete emotional security/confidence and all round robotic-ness.

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I have been, or have at least experimented with being, a Cool Girl. At 16 I thought I was cooler than Summer in 500 Days. I pretended not to care that his best friend was a girl that had given him head months before we met, and that I was cool with him going out all weekend and not calling me for three days. I pretended that I didn’t really want to text him and limited my communication to every other day if he didn’t contact me first. Fucking hell, I even pretended to like football and The Smiths. I went through his phone and saw texts from a girl I hated talking about meeting up and I never even confronted him. Despite all of this, he broke up with me (I know…), thus breaking my tiny dumb heart for the first time. We eventually got back together but I stopped being The Cool Girl and started being more honest. Our relationship was a lot more relaxed, but there was still a lot that bothered me which I kept to myself; that he kept me separate to his friends and that he openly talked about other girls arses, amongst other things.

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I was stupid and blinded by first love naivety. Although I didn’t see it at the time, I believe that that first relationship gave me a sensitive Mugging Off Meter. It made me ruthless from the very start of relationships; If you don’t return my calls, bye. If you flirt with girls in front of me, you’re funny. In every relationship since, I have been honest and frank about my feelings and have been respected for it, albeit being called crazy from time to time. I’m not about to fake an attempted suicide when I’m dumped, or fight a girl that speaks to them in a club. But will I interrupt their conversation and introduce myself with an arm around his shoulder? Yes. Will I leave 30 missed calls, 20 texts and 10 voicemails if their phone isn’t answered all day? Absolutely.

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If that’s “crazy”, then I’m guilty. I have also been known to:

  • stalk ex’s online (there’s a whole article about that one)
  • stalk boy’s in real life, once hiding behind a bin
  • question boys on every single female they’ve ever met
  • get jealous irrationally
  • kick off in public due to paranoid behaviour
  • hurl footwear at a man (not proud of that one)
  • follow boy’s on nights out completely coincidentally
  • dramatically enter a room when I think something fishy is going on (nothing is ever going on)

I seem like an insecure mess, right? I hope I’ve made you feel better about yourself. But I don’t think this behavior has to mean the girl has been hurt, has issues or insecurities, and it definitely doesn’t mean that she will always be that way. We go through phases depending on what’s going on in our lives and who we are in a relationship with. At a time when I didn’t feel good enough for someone, parties were a sensitive place for me; I once followed a girl around a club because I was sure that she had been flirting with him (she had). Last year, after a lot of self-development, I watched calmly from afar as a girl sat on his lap and he instantly yet politely removed her. Later, when I told him I’d seen it, he asked why I hadn’t come over and sat on his lap instead; proving that what some people see as crazy, some find cute.

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My list of behaviour considered psycho becomes considerably shorter the older I get and the more secure I feel. Since the first boyfriend I’ve never felt the need to check a phone because I’ve never been given a reason to. Nowadays I would never date a person that gave me a reason to feel jealous – if they do, they’re obviously just not into you. It’s that simple. “Crazy” or “Psycho” is just a word used to invalidate your feelings. The truth is, even when our feelings seem irrational – we feel that way for a reason. We are human beings. Love and lust are chemical. Seemingly crazy behaviour is only a reaction to intense feelings, often worsened when mixed with personal feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.

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I believe in vocalising how you feel; communication is the key to a happy and healthy relationship. If your partner is too immature to handle you, they’ll be someone that can. For every crazy girl there is an equally crazy boy or girl to fall in crazy love with. You might be crazy for the rest of your life and meet a person strong enough to handle it, or you’ll meet someone that calms you enough that those feelings quietly fade away.

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Recently, I’ve seen a trend of girls owning their crazy and I love it. I’m so happy to be alive in the time of memes – memes are amazing for relating and normalising thoughts and behaviour once believed to be embarrassing. Confidence is without a doubt the sexiest thing about a woman. Be honest and have confidence in your feelings and you just can’t lose.

Own your crazy. Being cool is overrated.

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And as WordPress doesn’t upload the link, here is a little something to end on.

 

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Advice, Happiness, Uncategorized

Break Up to Wake Up

I have never heard anyone say a that their break up was easy. Even if it was the obvious option, a mutual decision, or for one parties best interests. Even if the love you shared has slowly dwindled into nothing but a comfortable familiarity. Even if that person ripped your heart into one trillion tiny pieces, the loss of a constant presence isn’t something that can be forgotten in the mili-second it takes to say, “Goodbye”. The simple yet agonising pain of missing someone can be overwhelming and at times inconceivable.

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Of course, some people are quicker to get over than overs, and some are lucky that they are kept busy or disconnected enough that time heals the pain faster without much thought. But, I am almost certain that even those people have at some point found themselves awake at four am thinking, “fuck.”

Love is a real strange thing. You meet a stranger. You like them. You spend your very precious time with them. You share your inner most feelings, emotions and fears with each other. Whether the connection hits you like a punch in the face or is more of a slow burner, creeping up on you unexpectedly, it becomes so strong that our emotions translate it in our brains as ownership. They are yours and you are theirs. Out of the 7.125 billion humans on planet Earth, you have a favourite.

Now take it right back to the begging: you meet a stranger. A stranger that has a whole universe of their own before they enter yours. A stranger that owes you absolutely nothing and to whom you owe nothing in return.

But our brains somehow persuade us that we will never ever ever find a stranger whom we prefer to the present favourite stranger, meaning that when the break up comes, we enter panic mode.

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Cat Stevens wrote, “the first cut is the deepest”. I personally believe that your first break up hurts more than any other. Largely due to the fact that after the first, you have the comfort of experience. You got over them, so you will get over the next. And the next after that.

At 20, I broke up with my first boyfriend after three years together. I honestly, seriously, literally thought I would never meet anyone that made me feel more at home than he did. I thought that, at 20 – 20!!!! – that I would end up un married and childless, with ten dogs and an extremely large wine cabinet, still crying myself to sleep over the loss of my first love.

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I can’t tell you that I felt amazing and free and could laugh at my previous sentiments after two weeks. The cold truth is that I was sad for a good six months. I tried to date after a while, but the table space between the new unknown man and I felt like light years. It wasn’t getting better. I then made the cliche mistake of organising a catch up (let’s-attempt-a-friendship / I-just-want-to-look-at-your-face-in-person) coffee, after which we kissed and I begged him for another chance. Cough he said no cough. I was humiliated, and the hurt I’d felt over the last four or five months quadrupled and hit me in one big blow. I promised I would never beg a man ever again.

After that incident, I felt better by the day. My mindset became completely different, until I met someone whose company I genuinely enjoyed and felt I could have sex with without crying afterwards. I never cried once. A few nice men later, I found myself head over heels in love again. This time, it was my first love that felt light years away, and the forever alone sentiment, down right laughable.

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It is never too late to move on from Mr. or Mrs. Wrong. My mum met her Mr. Right after a failed marriage, two children and countless relationships along the way, aged 49 in Stansted airport after a delayed flight. They have now been together for almost six years and are yet to have their first argument. That’s the best example I have, and it’s a pretty good one.

A big part of waking up after a break up is acceptance; accept who you are, what makes you happy and the kind of person that could add to your unique breed of happiness. Even if your heart is broken and it was completely that persons fault – it wasn’t really their fault – you just weren’t right for one another. Once you come to that understanding yourself through time, self love and rational thinking, that acceptance will come naturally, and forgiveness will follow. If hating that person gives you the power to move on, so be it, but only through letting go of that hate will you truly, truly move on and discover your true love within yourself and for another.

Louis CK said, “Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” It’s the same with all relationships, whether you’re married or have been dating for four months. A rational break up is always, always, always good news. Life is far too short to be in a complicated or anything less than happy, fulfilling relationship. Plus, the greatest things in our lives happen because something changes. Perhaps the relationship has been subconsciously holding you back from being exactly who you want to be or doing exactly what you want to do.

Being with the absolute right person for you is the easiest thing in the world. However much you try to tell yourself otherwise, or how ever much the nostalgia and the panic mode clouds it: if someone makes you miserable than they are not that person, and you should not be with them. Period. And anyway… You’ll never find the right person if you never let go of the wrong one.

You – whoever you are, whether I know you personally or not – are amazing, and you deserve happiness. The best thing you can do, the only thing you can do, is turn your hurt and heartbreak into a positive drive. Use this time to find yourself, excel at work, get healthy, sort out your shit with no ties. If you’re the revenge type (maybe you should re read the last few paragraphs if your answer is yes), happiness is the ultimate revenge. Being self destructive will get you absolutely NOWHERE. Take that from someone who has made that mistake and learnt from it.

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THINGS I WISH I’D BEEN TOLD TO DO 

  1. SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH PEOPLE THAT MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY AS POSSIBLE. Family, girlfriends, guy friends, your pets, your therapist… Etc.
  2. TREAT YOURSELF. Whether that be buying yourself a break-up-gift, pampering yourself, a holiday. Happiness if priceless, even if it’s fleeting. Although please keep in mind your rent.
  3. TALK ABOUT IT. If you can feel certain friends getting bored of it (insert question of friendship quality, sorrynotsorry), find someone that has perhaps been in your shoes and is a talker AND a listener. It really will help. They might even point out some things as an outsider that will bring you to your own realisations.
  4. DO NOT CALL/TEXT/EMAIL/‘ACCIDENTALLY’ BUMP INTO/MEET FOR ‘FRIENDLY’ COFFEE. Under no circumstances. Unless you share a child. Exchange possessions, get your shit and leave. I KNOW it’s hard but it really will make it a lot easier in the long run.
  5. READ:HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU IT’S CALLED A BREAK UP BECAUSE IT’S BROKEN HEAL AND MOVE ON 
  6. WATCH: 19 Best Movies to Watch After a Breakup  I couldn’t have written this list better myself. 
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Uncategorized

LIGHTENING BOLTS & TIGER STRIPES PT.2

One of my most admired photographers is Jason Bassett. I’ve not had the pleasure of working with Jason (yet), nor ever met him, but the magnificent Miss Maddie M is one of this muses. Therefore, I unashamedly stalk his work on a regular basis. You should too.

He is the luckiest man in the world (now officially christened The Lucky Pisces) having photographed more stunning, sparingly clothed ladies than I’ve had hot dinners (MM being one of them). He’s seen it all: acne, ingrown hairs, scars, lumps, bumps, bruises, greys, rashes, moles, cellulite and… stretch marks.

Tonight, Jason sent me this message.

Hey Leo! I showed a few people your writing about stretch marks and they were absolutely floored by it! They are so happy to have read it. It was about 4 models on set during down time!

I wish more people would come around to the idea, a lot of models I know HATE theirs and have begged me during a shoot to retouch things like that. Which I don’t mind but it’s refreshing and beautiful to leave them alone!

It’s because of you that I am starting to not retouch them.

The article (which you read see here if you haven’t already) inspired him during a shoot recently. He left the gorgeous model’s stretch marks untouched, usually a NEVER with top photographers. I truly, honestly believe that this has made the photograph ten times more beautiful and special.

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I have had so much support during the start-up of The Lucky Leo, and to hear that someone has enjoyed/been inspired by my writing is the biggest compliment I could receive. Thank you all so so much, and I hope I can continue to breed happiness and positivity.

An extremely humbled Leo X

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