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.

ScreenShot2015-10-06at14.41.53_1060x644.png

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?

2017-05-29 (6)

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.

18788752_10155364947228633_418088231_n

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.

screen-shot-2016-01-11-at-112828-am

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.

GettyImages_142892792

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 

 

Advertisements
Standard
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.

fatal_attraction

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.

500-days-of-summer-zooey-not-interested

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.

12082246

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.

16426802_10154997566998633_1024936314_n

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.

16426407_10154997563943633_1302346341_n

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.

1921983xczyhk6ld6rnyg56io8zbpvzciazq4wnekd3je0ie_67_e7rcn3wh3zlfxcjk0m_i6z5oehpopfeqz5kpoleg

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.

200_s

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.

16443643_10154997566938633_427852136_n

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

 

Standard
Happiness, Health

Top-Secret Beauty Tips that Modelling Taught Me

One question I am quite regularly asked is,

“What beauty secrets have you learnt from modelling?”

Although I always seem to get on really well with MUA’s, I’m really not interested in make up at all. I usually sit in the chair, let them do their thing whilst day dreaming or chatting, and voila, there’s a much better looking girl staring back at me in the mirror.

I’m atrocious at my own make-up and don’t wear much at all when I’m not working. So I’m afraid I don’t have any make-up tips… Although Britney Spears did teach me to dab lipstick of my cheeks instead of blusher, when I was a 10 year old watching her “In The Zone” DVD.

The so called ‘tips’ that I have learned are simple and already well known:

  • Bioderma (once secret way before it became available to buy in every pharmacy in London)
  • Coconut oil erry’thing (face masks, hair masks, hand cream, sexy oils)
  • Enough water and sleep – I know it’s mega boring and seems like bullshit but it is 100% annoyingly true

I have replied with these answers, usually met with politely disappointed responses. But actually, the older I get and the more at one with myself I become, the more I realise what I have in fact learnt from my experience as a model.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 beauty secrets that no one will tell you.

1. No one is that beautiful.  

Some people ask if modelling makes you insecure. Sure, it can make you feel insecure for a number of reasons; rejection, not fitting into clothes, bitchy comments that get you right there and linger forever… But in some ways, modelling actually made me feel more secure. Because, I have seen up close, met and shared toilet cubicles with some of the most gorgeous models in the world… And not once have I been so overwhelmed by one’s beauty that I have felt disgustingly unattractive. Don’t get me wrong, they really are beautiful. But so is that girl that lives down the road from you. They’re still human. Some girls have very picturesque, doll like faces and the standard “perfect” body (yawn), yet suffer from bad B.O and even worse breath. Some move like ballerina’s yet sound like a burly truck driver. Some are simply dumb as shit.

1477349_10152441397817796_888232613_n

There’s usually two ways this scenario will pan out – I will either see a photo of a girl that makes me feel like the ugliest troll in the world, only to meet her and be shocked by her humanness… Or I will meet women who are sexy, beautiful, attractive and interesting, who’s character and aura is simply too intense to be captured in a 2d image.

tumblr_nzz9vegzzo1qjm9bpo1_540

The Western world and particularly the fashion industry is far too entranced by beauty in a 2d image or a film clip that it mostly disregards the unexplainable beauty many people exude; the kind that you can’t bottle and sell, or even pin point. None of the most beautiful, attractive people I have ever met are models.

2. It. Is. Literally. All. About. Confidence. 

Not every model is an intimidatingly confident superwoman. It’s extremely human to be insecure and not entirely self assured. Many models are actually faking confidence, really really really well. And actually, that’s all anyone can do in terms of confidence and beauty; fake it until you make it.

Standing tall. Holding yourself with poise. Speaking with conviction. A smile. Easy and completely free things we can all do which make such a difference to how we feel about ourselves – as well as the less important – how others view us.

agent-provocateur-autumn-winter-2013-1051x540-800x411

3. Accept your body shape and focus on it’s health more than what it looks like. 

Hardly anyone is naturally that thin. I know that some girls are actually that thin even though they eat 5,000 calories a day and don’t exercise. Yeah, ok…

The majority of models’  – not the 1% of models that become super models but normal, nameless models – careers begin at 15 and end in their early twenties. A lot of them still have their childhood metabolism and prepubescent shape. Some have that typical prepubescent shape their whole lives. Plus the fact that they are taller than the average women, meaning their bodies are longer and someway stretched out. But many fashion consumers are more typical shaped women, who are a lot older than the girls they are bombarded with photos of. I don’t think a lot of people really consciously consider that.

That being said, a lot of women that do not have this natural, thin shape are ultra skinny regardless. They’ll tell you it’s from diet and exercise. But in the case of most of the models I’ve been in close contact with, it’s extreme, sometimes life debilitating: i.e no carbs, dairy or sugar EVER, no more than 500 calories for 5 days of the week, at least an hour of cardio a day, etc, etc.

tumblr_llrvrncbwr1qzffago1_500

Others rely on an unhealthier life style to keep the pounds at bay. It’s a rarity to find a model in London that doesn’t smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

There is a dark side of modelling that I once thought only existed in cliche parodies. I have so many examples and anecdotes about this, but there is one so brutal it sticks out.

One of my closet model friends was working in New York for a few months signed to a top agency. During fashion week, they called her in between castings to have a “polite” word about her weight. She was “too big”. At that point she was eating under 500 calories a day (that’s a banana, two slices of bread and a few pieces of ham), exercising for two hours every morning, and at 5’11, was the skinniest she had ever been. Her Instagram feed scared me. She looked ill and a far cry from the bubbly, happy girl I love. Shocked, she told them that she didn’t know what else to do about it, since she was already fainting and crying herself to sleep. This is when they suggested she try cocaine.

2005-moss-was-filmed-snorting-cocaine-at-a-party-and-the-london-tabloids-turned-against-her-these-grainy-images-are-among-the-most-famous-ever-taken-of-moss-and-they-cost-her-millions-in1

Of course, it was no secret to me that a lot of the more party loving models used cocaine and other drugs recreationally, and cocaine especially is known for it’s laxative and appetite suppressing qualities. My friend, completely without judgement, is personally against drugs and cigarettes and hardly drinks alcohol. For her to be pressured by the people that were supposed to be protecting her, so far from home, made me feel psychically sick.

I’m not judging anyone’s choices. But I do think it’s unfair that women are duped into thinking that all of these bodies were achieved in a healthy way. The majority of bodies in the fashion world are completely unobtainable for the average woman.

And I haven’t even touched upon eating disorders…

4. Be aware of the fakery. 

A lot of models were not born exactly the way you see them. Although a lot of them had lovely faces already, a good 50% of the girls I know have had nose jobs, sometimes multiple, and even more of the less high-fashion girls have had boob jobs. A few of the ‘celebrity’ models of the moment and countless ‘Instagram models’ have had undeniable face surgery, which for fashion models a few years ago was near unthinkable. I’m ashamed to say I have, more than once, found myself in a black hole of girls’ social feeds, chronicling their changing faces and attempting to pin point exactly what they’ve ‘had done’ and when. It kind of fascinates me…

tumblr_ns30c9dyqc1rt5y7no1_540

Plus, it’s important to remember that you only see models photoshopped to within an inch of their life, with Heaven-like lighting and even better angles. A lot of girls, including myself, have or still do suffer from break outs and adult acne, but you’ll never see that.

I truly believe that the next generation will grow up feeling weirdly human because of their natural human features, surrounded by alien ‘perfect’ features in the media. But that’s for another article.

5. Imperfections really are what make you beautiful. 

Picture your favourite model; Cara’s eyebrows, Cindy’s beauty mark, Iman’s neck, Lara’s gap, Erin’s nose, Lily’s hair… a lot of the most recognisable faces have something unusual about them that makes them stand out from the other hundreds of models wanting to book that gig.

Sculptor Marc Quinn described this perfectly while discussing Kate Moss.

“I think she’s got a very symmetrical face and yet when she opens her mouth she’s got slightly elongated teeth on the top row, so there is a tiny element of threateningness within her beauty, and there’s a kind of balance between seduction and repulsion going on. That’s one thing, she’s not completely flawless. It’s the flaws that make her. In all people, it’s the flaws that make you interesting.”

tumblr_n87ccsgyo81qd06e8o1_540

It’s a lot easier to say than to do, but accepting and growing to love and appreciate your flaws in probably the best thing anyone can learn from the modelling industry. You begin to see how changeable and fluid our ideas of beauty are and how manipulated we are within societies perceptions. Once a feature or trait is confirmed as attractive and desirable, there’s an uncontrollable domino effect. However, as soon as we start to become aware of just how mindless the trends of what is considered beautiful really are, we can begin to unsubscribe from this forced ideal and truly learn to accept and appreciate our own so called flaws.

tumblr_o36yr0kel61r43tiko1_540

Standard
Advice, Happiness

The Ex-Girlfriend Club

When I was 16 I met a boy called Will*. Will was my first everything: first boyfriend, first “I love you”, first other-person-orgasm, first p in my v.

But I wasn’t Will’s first any of those. That title in his life belonged to a girl called Chelsea, subsequently becoming another first for me: the first ex girlfriend.

These were simpler times. Pre Instagram and pre Facebook boom, it took a mutual acquaintance causally mentioning Chelsea for me to find out about her, around four months into our then very teenage relationship.

Of course, I’d recently been experiencing multiple overwhelming emotions for the very first time, such as attachment, sexual connection, vaginal stimulation and the gag reflex. None of these shocked me (the gag reflex comes in at a close second) or hit me quite so hard as the pure stomach turning gut wrenching jealously I felt upon learning of what I envisioned of Will’s “First Love”. Suddenly, our relationship felt tainted, which sounds very Victorian I know, and is strange because it’s not like I ever thought he was a virgin. Funnily enough, the fact that he wasn’t a virgin when he met me made me fancy him even more and installed a confidence that he’d take the wheel on my loss of virginity experience. But now, after discovering the details, I wished that I’d been his first. The awful, juvenile terms “sloppy seconds” and “upgrade/downgrade” was rife in our small town Essex gossip culture. I wasn’t anyone’s seconds. He was. I didn’t feel special anymore.

And to make it worse, she was hot. I tried to find faults in her to comfort my ignorant pubescent woman brain, but failed. She was tall and blonde, with a sexiness about her. I instantly compared this to myself, the unsexed round faced brunette tomboy in thick rimmed glasses, and for the first time ever, contemplated my own attractiveness. My awkward stage went on for longer than most (can we just forget pre-2011 didn’t happen?) whereas it seemed as if she’d never even endured one. As the law of attraction would have it, now knowing her face and name, I started seeing her everywhere on our college campus, but refused to acknowledge her existence, even to my friends. I didn’t need their opinions or even the truth, and I wasn’t insecure enough to put her down in order to pull myself up. She never caused trouble in any way. She was just living her life. But to me, she was the bitch that my boyfriend loved before me.

image1

(I literally ignored her existence at this party and we still managed to – kind of – be in the same photo.)

We’re raised well prepared for relationships and “love”, but no one ever warned me of the ex girlfriend game. Once over the age of 18, chances are your significant other has known genitalia other than your own. It seems like a simple fact of life, but one we are never emotionally prepped for or allowed to be honest about. No girl wants to be the “psycho” or to ruin her new relationship ‘cool girl’ myth. But if you tell me that you don’t know your S.O’s ex’s name, guess what – I don’t believe you.

Because, for every man I’ve been romantically or sexually involved in, I’ve known at least one ex by name or face, whether I’ve searched them out, stumbled across them or simply heard stories straight from the man’s mouth. Unless you’ve known them personally, they become a ghost like presence in the back of your sub conscious, even if it is a tiny little thought in a darker moment of the day, existing in a universe parallel to your own – still kissing and loving the man that is now yours. Their names become harder to pronounce, as if even the phonetic produces a venom, paralysing your lips. And even if their name is rarely mentioned, no matter what age, to some degree your person shared experiences and parts of their life with this other person. So in getting to know your person to the best of human ability, they’re going to remain in there somewhere, however much hidden.

To date, Chelsea is the only ex I’ve had no choice but to share an intimate space with, i.e a campus, a corridor or a mutual friends party. I’ve seen others in social situations that have been easy to escape from. I even worked with one, but didn’t have to be in close proximity with her. Chelsea is the only ex who’s persona was crafted in real life. All of the others have been created in a cosmic space between my brain and the internet.

For all the advantages that technology has granted us, among it’s negatives are the utensils to feed our curiosity in this particular subject. A simple Google search could show you half a dozen different medias that she has used over the years. I once found myself three years deep into an ex’s blog, flooded with photos of her and the guy on amazing holidays, making that past parallel universe far too present. And as the years have gone on it’s become as easy as a swipe of the index finger to fall head first down the rabbit hole and suddenly find your self finger slipping on a photo she posted 120 weeks ago. Social media gives us the tools to construct these once mysterious figures from the past. A 140 character tweet somehow acts as an autobiographical look into their soul, as does an over used Emoji or a one sentence self-bio.

monkeys-emoji-movie

^THE WORST. 

You may believe that my behaviour and outlook is “psycho”. I’m ok with that, because I could name you twenty girls that have admitted to the same behaviours, and if we’re all psychos, then I guess we’re psychos. My own mother, at 53, tries to hide the flames in her eyes whenever her partners ex wife is mentioned, but fails. Thank God she doesn’t know how to use Facebook. It’s an organic emotion and action given our lives and culture mixed with our female animalistic instincts. It’s completely out of my usual nature and conscious control: I try my best to love or at least appreciate and support all women. But mixed with this possessive, jealous, stereotypically Leo outlook of needing to be the very best and perhaps a deep down insecurity within relationships, I’ve projected my inward thoughts onto their uniquely-crafted-by-me personas, and created monsters, of which are (probably) very far from their true selves. Take it through extensive experience, stalking is a game you enter with absolutely zero chances of winning, as is comparing yourself or your present relationship to any other human or past relationship. You will never come out of a stalk feeling better about yourself, as much as you like to believe the unflattering drunk photo of her does. Even this paragraph made me hate myself… But truthfully it’s never ever good to feel like that. It’s all about understanding our own brains and situations and having clarity, and not feeling guilt over emotions we don’t understand.

It’s taken me years to establish clarity on why we seek out the ex. I think it begins rather innocently as purely fierce curiosity – trying to work out if he has a type and if you fit it, or measure up to her level, even though a true ‘level’ will never exist. Plus, curiosity over our own metaperception: if I see her a certain way, does he see that in me? Is that how I appear to others? If she is forced into your personal business by way of contact – I’ve had a few weird messages from some scorned ex’s and one that has called the guy while I was sitting next to him to tell him she missed him – it becomes even harder not to investigate a potential ‘threat’. For me personally, this curiosity has at times murdered, butchered and dismembered the cat, and developed into a weird sort of morbid fascination. I’ve paralleled our lives so freely that it’s almost scary – 141 weeks ago when exhibit A. was in New York being a successful supermodel, I was crying after my first fashion week in London. 214 weeks ago when exhibit B. was loved up with my current love… Oh… I was loved up with my ex love… Awkward.

michelle-keegan

The worst type of photo to see whilst stalking his ex / anyone could ever post. 

Which leads perfectly to another interesting comparison: unless you males have a secret community with a strict confidentiality agreement, you seem to react to our ex’s in the complete opposite way – remaining so confident in your patriarchal position that you just lack that need to compare, analyse and care whatsoever. When asked if he cared about in any way or had stalked any of his gf’s ex’s, one male friend laughed, and could only muster, “Why would I?”. Following continued probing, he later added, “I guess if she’s with me now, there’s just no need or want to go looking into her past. The past is the past. You girls seem to love the past”.

I can’t help but agree with that generalisation. But in these irrational, jealous moments, we also seem to magically forget that we have our own pasts, once too featuring other people: perhaps even more in love and having even better sex. There have been a few ex girlfriend’s that I have seen as SO beautiful, in a emotionally distressful time when I couldn’t feel worse about myself, convincing myself that I was the ugly one after a string of Candice Swanepoel’s. It didn’t help that a friend of the boyfriend, every time she drank, told me she loved me and that I was so much better than his most recent ex. “You’re great. I mean, she was BEAUTIFUL, but so cardboard. You are so clever and funny!” The first time she said it, I took it as a compliment. By the third time that she’d repeated the exact same sentence, all I managed to hear was, “SHE was BEAUTIFUL” – i.e, you’re not. I felt too embarrassed to tell my boyfriend at that time, so confided in another male, who cuttingly told me, “Even if she is way hotter, why do you care? You’ve had way hotter men than *****, but you still prefer him. It’s obviously the same with him otherwise he’d still be with her and wouldn’t want to be with you.”

Here’s an exercise for you: Close your eyes and picture your “best looking” boyfriend/sexual partner. I don’t mean your most attractive over all to you or the one you fancy or love the most. I mean the usual consensus of what’s physically “good looking” to the general public.

holding-zoolander-hansel-life-lessons

If it’s your current, lucky you, I guess he’s perfect. But chances are he’s the guy from your past that had good looks and not a lot else. Now compare them to your current, in the same way you’ve compared yourself to his ex’s. In my case, exhibit Lol’sFromMyPast was a 6’4 male model gym buff who turned my flatmate’s gooey eyed and wet knickered. He was also dumb and dull as fuck and gave me nothing but something nice to look at, the novelty of which wore off after three weeks, which was still far too long. Exhibt SexiestManInMyEyes was an intelligent, endlessly interesting and charismatic, 5’9, un photogenic, wonky nosed tech geek, who gave me more orgasms than my right hand. The result? What does “looks” matter? Looks are nothing to do with love or even attractiveness and are always completely in the eye of the beholder anyway. Ask me which man I’d pick given the chance out of the two – I’d pick the latter in a fraction of a heartbeat every single time, with absolutely no thought needed.

We see every little thing that could be wrong with us, when others just see you in all your perfectly imperfect glory. I think women think that men think about “looks” ten times more than they actually do. If my current boyfriend told me he’d been humped over on the sofa stalking my ex on his phone for an hour, accidentally liking a year old picture in the process, I’d be dumbfounded. I’d demand to know what had lead him to such a time wasting activity. The ex couldn’t be further from my mind, living in another parallel universe filled with people who’s body parts once touched your mouth but who’s presence you now could not care less about.

Coincidentally, there’s other people I could not care less about, who’s bodies haven’t been near my mouth or any other orifice: my ex boyfriends’ current girlfriends’.

While conducting an albeit light study on other girls’ feeling towards ‘the ex’, another target came to light organically: 8 out of 10 girls I asked were very interested in their current’s ex, but 7 of those added that they also looked for and resented their ex’s current. This is really interesting to me, as it is honestly something that I am not effected by. Luckily, by the time they’ve moved on, I’ve moved on. I’ve been forced to acknowledge their existence, online and in person, but have never ever ever felt that little jealousy twinge I’ve had for ex’s. When I see the currents, I can appreciate their looks or overall character without compromising my own, sometimes even KNOWING that they are way prettier than me, and – I promise you – not caring one little bit. I don’t know exactly what the difference is, or how I can hold such opposing views on the two, or why some girls feel the opposite way. Perhaps that’s a-whole-nuva article.

Lastly, another super important thing to realise in order to come to terms with their ex is the strong likeliness that you are or one day will be the ex girlfriend to someone’s boyfriend. Imagine a girl you’ve never had anything to do with, examining your thoughtless Instagram posts, thinking you’re dumb and wondering if he found you prettier. Freaky Matrix style shit, huh? Ever had a boyfriend talk shit about his ex? He’ll probably be talking shit about you to his new girlfriend in a year from now.

After the first year of my relationship, I never saw Chelsea again, but if I saw her name on a friend’s Facebook, did I have a little look? Of course. Although, as time went on it became way less frequent, until after three years Will and I broke up for good. As my experience in men grew, so did my experience in mythic “ex girlfriend’s”. In turn, the longer I was with the man, the less I cared about the ex’s. I’ve come to realise, that you really only fully get over the girl when you get over the guy. With no judgement, I can’t help but wonder if the girls that have an issue with their ex’s current, perhaps aren’t over either of them.

15barcelona-600

Earlier this year, I received a random LinkedIn invitation from none other than Chelsea. A name that once bubbled my blood now just rung prettily in my ears, and was one I realised had been buried deep in the past. The memories of my past feeling towards her shocked me, and suddenly everything clicked. I found clarity.

I accepted, saw a link to her blog and spent the next hour reading. She seemed cool and clever and exactly my type of girl. I somehow felt I owed it to my 16 year old self, to add her on Facebook and tell her I loved her writing – call it writer karma if you will. A week later we met for the first time. I was excited to finally speak to her and debunk the myths in my head. But like a first date, I was nervous we wouldn’t get on and I’d have to devise an escape route through a public toilet window.

Happy ending alert: we did get on, shared a few bottles of wine and laughed hours away without any weird “what-shall-I-say-now?” moments. In fact, I think I get on with her easier than I ever got on with Will. If you’d have shown a 16 year old me this scene from her future, she never would have believed you.

It’s so weird to think that, the way I feel about Will and whoever his current girlfriend may be now, is the same way Chelsea felt about Will and I way back then. She was over him, not caring who I was. I was in love with him, caring way too much about her. And now seven years later, we were in a bar in Notting Hill together, getting on so well that the topic of our once shared ‘love’ was the dullest and briefest thread of the evening’s conversation.

A POEM:

So remember, ex girlfriends are humans too
living their own unique lives as are you
If you’re cool and he finds you’re cool
chances are she’s cool
and you’d find her cool too.

Give it a few years – who knows – you could be friends.

ALL PHOTOS AND IMAGES FEATURED ARE COURTESY OF GOOGLE IMAGES & FACEBOOK.

Standard
Happiness

Little Things

What is it about 4am that makes my brain go into over drive and burst with epiphanies?

I’m feeling really happy at the moment. Maybe because I’ve distanced myself from both the vacuous fashion industry and the sometimes more vacuous nightlife industry. Maybe because I’ve been spending more time with my mum. Maybe because I’m getting older –

(My friend Jake, who is an amazing producer in his thirties, once gave me a great piece of advice. He said that as you get older you naturally start understanding your own brain and life gets so much easier. He said that 28 was the age when, mentally speaking, everything seemed to fall into place for him)

– whatever it may be, it’s a lovely feeling. It’s not even that I can say everything is perfect. I’ve been in and out of hospital for two weeks. I’m poorer than I’ve been in a long time, my future seems uncertain and my skin in currently going through an awful breakout. Ordinarily, these points would have me spiralling into an anxious wreck (when to most they are simple privileged-girl-problems). But even though these things are on my mind, they’re definitely at the back, or at least in the middle – definitely not at the forefront. My brain feels calm. Instead of a million voices racing at 1,000 miles per hour, the soundtrack to my brain sounds like reggae music and birds singing. For tonight, at least.

And it just makes me realise – I have wasted so much of my time being simply unhappy. So many precious moments, hours and days have been wasted with worrying about things that haven’t happened or things that really really don’t even matter.

Due to the numerous hospital visits (a cyst in my ovary burst last week and the pain, although greatly improved, hash’t gone away) I have been resting at my mum’s house. While searching for something in her office, I came across a box filled with childhood photos which were obviously too random and meaningless for an album or frame. Bubba/family photos are one of my favourite things in the entire world. I sat for literally hours rooting through photos I’d never laid eyes one, deciphering when and where they were taken and who long forgotten people were making appearances in them. It’s such a lovely but strange thing to look at photos of yourself. There’s kind of a dramatic irony to it, like, woooah little girl, you have no idea what’s coming or about the world you think you have already mastered. I know that little girl so much at the same time as feeling like I have no idea who I am at this present moment.

The little girl is fucking cool. Made so much cooler for the fact that she had no idea at the time. She didn’t care. She was happy. She thought she was the shit purely because she was herself without having seen or heard anything that had told her otherwise. She’d had no outer influence except her family who made her feel like the shit 24/7, and who were and still are themselves ‘the shit’ (I’ll stop saying the shit now). She didn’t care about the little things. She knew what she wanted, she just had no idea how to get it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 04.57.50

At one point I thought – imagine if time were reversed and this little girl look 17 years into her future and see her future 23 year old self. What would she think? Who would she hope to be?  Would she be disappointed, or excited to get there?

On paper, she may be excited. On paper (completely shallow, ignorant, thin paper) I have an ‘exciting’ life, with an ‘exotic’ job, a flat in a place that 7 year old me could only dream of (anywhere out of Essex would have seemed fabulous to her, mind you), great friends, a great relationship, three beautiful dogs – every 7 year olds dream… In fact, everything 7 year  would have written down on a list of “Things I want at 23” (minus 1million£ in the bank. She aimed high) But if she looked deeper, I image her inexperienced, simple mind would be confused – why is 23 year old me not always in a good mood? – I’m sure she’d be wondering. Why does she let little things bother her? Why does she let little things stand in her way? What’s stopping her? Why isn’t it enough?

I’m sad to say that I can’t answer any of these questions, because deep down I’m still wondering myself. But at least I’m getting there. All I do know is, I want to be the 23 year old that the 7 year old dreamed of.

So, I’ve decided that I will be. I owe it to her.

“No offence but I’ve decided I’m gonna stop being sad and start being unbelievably powerful, creative, and full of love & light”

Standard
Advice, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Interview

TUESDAY TALKS: Melise Williams

MEET MELISE: Originally hailing from sunny Sydney, Australia, Melise Williams is a true globetrotter; she has shot with the best photographers and walked the runways of NYC, LA, Milan, Paris, Dubai, Turkey and New Zealand (to name a few…). Lucky for us, she is currently taking London by storm with her elfin features and Aussie wit.
NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE: Miss Williams is a passionate foodie, and keeps followers up to date with ‘THE FOODIE ADVENTURES OF A TRAVELLING MODEL’ on her Instagram. She is also a talented actress in training, so watch this space!
image
What is ‘beautiful’ to you?
What is beautiful to me is not what’s on the outside but what you hold on the inside – your energy! I can’t put my finger on it but it’s when someone radiates a vibrant, beautiful energy. It’s catching almost! That’s what beauty means to me.
  554776_3778136105283_1301723758_n
What’s your top beauty secret?
My secret is honestly healthy living: eating well, sleep well, get rest, and be positive and keep believing in yourself. Also I love putting pure rose water on my skin (a little tip from my amazing grandmother) Also WATER WATER WATER. And if you want to treat yourself, do. ENJOY LIFE! You only have one!
311220_4236673288426_17624281_n
What do you love the most about yourself? 
My determination I think. Even though sometimes I can’t see the light, a little voice inside me says keep going because everything is going to be okay. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end!
300149_2362794282622_1364079923_n
Standard
Advice, Happiness

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”

How many times have you heard a loveable friend say the heart wrenching words,

“I NEEEEED a boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/life partner”?

During a conversation with Steve Inskeep aired on Morning Edition in 2012, the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman said, “to be loved, I think, is like, the thing that gets you up in the morning.” I agree with him to an extent. Of course, we all want to be loved, cared for and somewhat cherished. But hearing the desperation in my friends voice – a girl that is for the most part really cool and intelligent, by the way – made me feel thoroughly sad. My facial expression was not too dissimilar to this:

20caebf67250319f6a0e65211eae5973\

The friend sensed it. I’ve never been good at “putting on a face.”

The idea of LOVE, however you may chose to define it, is romantically installed in us from the word go. “Soul mates” sounds ever so lovely, doesn’t it? The idea that there is someone out there just waiting to be found (or for the lucky ones, found long ago) that will make our life complete and our entire being happy and fulfilled forever and ever until death do us part. Nice sentiment, sure. But is that really all the human race is capable of? Needing another whole person to complete another entirely whole person?

romeo_juliet_baz

My opinion is, we shouldn’t need another human to make us whole. I’ve been ‘in love’, to the best of my knowledge*. It’s really really nice, and I’m in no way disputing that. But there is a lot of things in life which make us whole, and I don’t think that responsibility should be laid upon any human other than yourself. And what exactly defines a soul mate? Richard Bach says, “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are.” Instead of falling over backwards in our attempts to find ‘the one’ that will complete us, searching hopelessly for the perfect person (if there is such a thing as perfection personified) and using up important time, energy and emotion in helpless feeble relations, perhaps we should look inside ourselves. What if we already own both our lock and key, without the need for a foreign object?

ef2438f420d3b246715ee3e472f3aca7

I like the idea that we may have many soul mates across our lives. Whether it be a best friend, a companion, a sibling or a parent. If you’re one of the lucky ones that has fallen in love with their best friend, and believe that they are the missing puzzle piece to your work of wooden art, I am very happy for you. There is nothing wrong with being happy in love. In fact, I wish it for all of us. But there is so much more to life and so much more to the world than finding a romantic love. Love can fill a gap, but no one can complete you but yourself.

56dc8e30b6d77562c7adb4a8f04066aa

*Love is many different things to many different people, and in my experience, you’re only in love with the person that you’re currently in love with. When that love dies and you find another person to love or another kind of love, the past love somehow becomes undermined or disappears at all. So can everyone ever really be sure that they are “in love”????? But that, dear reader, is a conversation for another day.

Standard