Wednesday, 12 September 2018

I am More Than a Selfie

From the outside looking in, or through the screen, you could assume I was nothing but a face.

That is far from the truth. Like I have mentioned in the past, I often worry about what people might think when I post one too many 'selfies,' in fear of looking vain.

The real truth? I am more than a selfie. I am more than what I portray myself as on Instagram, and that is my choice that I decide to make. Behind the screen, I am an intellectual. I enjoy in-depth conversation about subjects that most couldn't comprehend or won't give the time of day, (Y'know, conspiracy theories and all that dribble), I dedicate my time to campaigning for Mental Health, and I am in the process of writing my first novel. My photoshoots are nothing but a confidence boost and a way of encouraging others to love themselves.

There is more depth to me than what I share on social media. I don't care to try and impress people or prove my worth to a bunch of strangers. Some people don't deserve to know the ins and outs of your personality or life. Keep your quirks close and your skillset even closer. Nothing frustrates me more than someone talking down to me as if I don't understand their level of knowledge just because they've seen my posey pictures online and instantly stereotype.

I admit I take quite a thrill in my 'dumb cute girl' persona I'll put on from time to time when someone assumes that's my natural character. Because once someone thinks they know you and disregards your humanity, your secret intelligence can bite them in the arse. No one can take my self-worth away. No amount of belittling and judgement will ever stop me from speaking my truth.

We come from a generation of seeming strange if you spend little time on social media. You're a Catfish if there aren't many photographs of you to prove who you are, yet a few too many selfies can set you back as someone with minimal substance. What are we doing to ourselves and each other? Is it worth the negative energy? The drain of false perception? I'm tired. I don't wish to show concern for others believing I have nothing to offer because I don't want to provide them with anything in the first place. Those who are worthy will have gratitude for who you truly are on the inside.

For now, I shall continue to post as I wish. Whether I'm pouting in a bikini or taking a photograph of my shit dinner, it's none of your business unless you double tap to be quite honest. And even then, your compliment doesn't entitle false discernment. Instagram is not my full-time job; it's a mere hobby and a way of staying in touch with friends. You may know me on social media, but you won't ever know my way of life unless you're a part of it.

Never feel afraid to have fun and enjoy yourself as a person. Self-love, people!!


Friday, 7 September 2018

Why be bitter, when you can do better?

There is no longer any room for negativity in my life.

I'm not sure if it's only the people I surround myself with but I feel as though our generation is coming to terms with self-love, removing toxicity from our lives and becoming who we truly want to be without worrying about what others may think of us.

I love to see people from school taking up creative hobbies such as Youtube, modelling, writing, etc. and just genuinely enjoying every possibility and what life has to offer. After putting myself out there for the world to see, I know how much courage it takes to bite the bullet and share your personality, even with the risk of scrutiny around every corner. 

I used to be one of those people who would let even the slightest frustration take over my entire mood. It could be something as stupid as forgetting my lunch for work that day or even accidentally leaving my keys in my car. It would affect me massively and for that day, or ashamedly, that week, I would be a miserable bitch. I would wonder why 'everything bad happens to me' and 'why can't I catch a break?!' That was a re-occurring catchphrase for me. 

If I hear someone say those words now, I can't stand it. I came across the Law of Attraction and realised that acting the victim just doesn't serve any purpose if you truly want your life to change. 'These things happen' I say, and then I quietly go ahead with my day, positive vibes only. 

It takes time to overcome the victim mentality, especially if you have been doing it for years like me. 

Now, considering I would let minuscule problems ruin my life, you can imagine a small criticising comment would do much more damage. 

I used to believe that everyone can have an opinion, and yes, of course, I still believe in that. However, just because someone has a negative view of you, doesn't mean it's true. And, just because you chose to take the high road and refuse to add fuel to the fire to 'protect' yourself, doesn't mean it's true.  

We have all done something bad at some point in our life. Out of selfishness or pure hatred, we have all done it. But that does not mean we are bad people, or that we will do bad things forever. You could spend years being an awful person but tomorrow the sunlight will beam in a different direction, and you can change as a person. No little black book writes us off forever. We are human, and we make mistakes or act in manners that we may regret in years to come.

I have forgiven myself for all of my wrong-doings. Not that there were many, to begin with, but I am sure there are old friends or acquaintances out there who will say otherwise. Again, only you know who you truly are on the inside. This especially counts for those who knew you a long time ago and refuse to see you have changed. But it doesn't matter because they will never become the better person you have built for yourself. 

Back onto the subject of our generation stepping out of the confined space of 'normality', I realise how much happier I am since enjoying life and the path I have taken since recognising it doesn't matter what people think.

In my previous blog, I mentioned how I used to fear that I would post 'too many selfies' in case a bitchy girl would judge me for being vain. Now, I have professional photographs taken just as another way to practise self-love. Yes, you have to PRACTISE love to achieve ultimate self-love. Unfortunately, this is because we have all spent years believing that we have to belittle ourselves and pick out our flaws before anyone else can. 

I still do it now sometimes. I'll mention something I dislike about a photo in the caption of the upload just so other people who may have noticed it will realise I ALREADY know I don't look my best. Trust me, most of the time no one will see these things unless you point them out yourself. 

I'm not 100% where I am going with this blog, but the original thought was to remain positive. Do what you love and have no shame in doing so, no matter what anyone else thinks. We have the power to enjoy our lives to the fullest if we merely take a step back and look at how we can improve our mindset. 

You are not a victim of your past experiences, the present or the future. Not if you gather your strength and realise who you are. Find the positive in your challenges. I understand entirely that more prominent, more tragic circumstances could be beyond saving, but that doesn't make you any less compelling. Life is waiting for you to appreciate it's gifts, no matter how small or extravagant. 

Say good morning to a stranger, be sure to be super grateful to someone doing you a favour, and go out of your way to do a favour for someone else, even if it doesn't benefit you.

We are all here to experience different things, but that doesn't mean we can't help and support each other along the way. Humans can be great when you take away the negativity and bitterness. 

Monday, 3 September 2018

My Confidence Campaign - Shan's Self Love Series

I have a proposition for you all. 

What if I told you that you didn't need to drop ten pounds or find love to feel better about yourself? That you didn't have to despise your flaws anymore? Trust me, with hard work, it is possible. 

I spent most of my teenage life hating myself. 

I hated that my body was always 'curvier' than the other girls. (Weight does NOT define you, neither does it make you any less wonderful/stunning whether you think you're too small or too big... newsflash: too small or big is not a thing.) 

I hated that one of my eyes was browner than the other, much greener, eye. It made them look odd in photographs. I hated having no top lip and that my nose was too wide. I hated my darker hair because it would show up on my legs and arms more than a blonde would. The list was endless.

It is so tough to overcome your flaws when they affect you day in, day out. I could never walk anywhere with my head held high. I would cower away and stare at the ground, hoping and praying no one would notice me. 

Social media is 70% to blame. 

We all do it... we hide behind filters and smooth out our skin. We brighten our eyes without realising there is already life behind them if we simply just appreciate ourselves. Celebrities portray a perfect life on screen, and it makes us feel as though a piece of us is missing. We search endlessly for happiness in a Gucci handbag, yet almost always come out empty handed. 

We get upset because a poorly sized 20 H&M top doesn't fit even the smallest of frames yet we comfortably slip on a size 10 from New Look. Topshop only stock size 4-6 and we all wonder what diet we need to go on next to feel accepted by society. We compare ourselves to skinny people wondering how they got so 'lucky', not realising that most of them wish they had a fuller figure. 

The comparison is the killer. 

There is always someone better, we think, but the truth is we are all doing just fine. The person who has all of the money in the world has a void cash could never fill. Even the people who love themselves unconditionally sometimes wonder why they are single or lonely. We are all so beautifully different, yet equal. 

I used to do it all the time, I would look at other girls and wonder why I can't look that pretty in an Instagram selfie. What do they have that I don't? I'd desperately search look for the answer in makeup and filters and wonder why I still hated myself. It was because my social media was one big lie. I would post selfies for validation, to judge my worthiness on how many likes I could get.

Meet the new Shannon

Now, I post pictures for me. I love posing despite how awkward and shy I can be. I no longer worry about whether I will be judged for posting 'too many' selfies for fear of seeming vain. If I feel good that day, you're going to know about it. I want to scream it from the rooftops that for the first time in years, I love my body. I love my face. I love ME. My personality is one of kindness and pure sparkle. I am kindhearted and selfless (most of the time.), and I enjoy dedicating my time to helping others, even strangers because that's just what I do. It's just the way I am. I don't know any other form of living without sharing warmth with others.

Every day I make sure I let people know how radiant they look today, or that their new dress suits them perfectly. If you believe someone looks nice, tell them. Tell yourself. Look in the mirror and find something you like about yourself. Forget the flaws because one day they will be your favourite feature. You have the strength and power to present yourself in the most favourable light. No one else's opinion matters as long as you are happy and aren't harming people around you. Just because you don't address, it doesn't make it accurate. No one knows you better than your own damn self. You are good enough to push toxicity out of your life and those who try to project their own insecurities on you. That is not self-care.

This is my life 

I don't get paid to boost others, it is not my job to listen to problems that are not my own. I do it because I care. Perhaps too much, but regardless, I care about the wellbeing of strangers because we all live on the same planet and spreading negativity will only make our precious time on earth a misery. No one needs that.

You will notice that once you begin to enjoy your own company and uplifting others, your life will become so wonderful. Kindness is magical and priceless. Especially when you give it to yourself. 

For the foreseeable future, I'm going to focus my blog on self-love alongside certain processes and ways of thinking to change your mindset. If I can do it, everyone can. 

As always, I am always here to support or offer a helping hand, and I genuinely mean that. I often get messages starting with ''Sorry if this sounds weird' or 'I hope I'm not bothering you' and trust me it doesn't and you won't. I was born to make some sort of change in the world, and whether it only continues to work for the small community I live in or across the globe, it will be for the greater good.

I'm not hiding anymore. 

Love to you all

S x

Monday, 13 August 2018

Recovery... third time lucky?

As most of you would've realised I haven't blogged a lot the past few months.

In fact, I haven't written much at all. I couldn't find the words for the pain I was feeling. A lot has changed this year, and the beginning was perfect. I fell in love with someone, and I truly believed that was it for me. He was 'the one'. But some things just don't work out and it fucking sucks.

I suppose when someone comes in unexpectedly and is so kindhearted and loving that they make you fall in love with yourself as well as them, its bound to leave a lasting effect on you. 

A break up wasn't the only thing that I have struggled with. My depression, although quiet, isn't and never will be silent. I celebrated my year anniversary of not harming myself... by hurting myself. It may have been one little scratch, but it was enough to snap me back into reality - straight back into gratitude mode.

I am so blessed to live my life. I feel lucky that my heart and soul dedicate time to others to help and support them on their own journey. So many beautiful people tell me I inspire them every day but something inside of me refuses to believe it. Am I spouting out lies about recovery? Surely I can't be.

Recovery isn't easy. If it were, the world would be perfect, and that is far too boring for my liking. Struggles are only given to us to make us stronger. The universe wouldn't put this shit on our plate if it didn't know we were tough enough to eat it.

It's hard. It is so hard having a shoulder to cry on one day, to being alone the next. I never relied on anyone. I don't need ANYONE. But when the silver platter lifestyle of love is handed to you so delicately how do you then switch back to living like a pauper? I was so used to being alone, and I was perfectly okay that way.

Readjusting has proven more difficult than I could have ever imagined but I am strong and deserving of love. Everything happens for a reason, and we are on the right path no matter what. I don't want to lead a life of misery any longer when there is no reason for it. My blessings are beyond a gift now. My luck is a joyous rollercoaster which I intend to enjoy with every last bit of energy I have inside of me. 

It is okay to get knocked back a few steps, its what you do next that counts. I will rise above the sadness and heartbreak, just as I always have done in the past. Because I am worthy of that. I am worthy of happiness and love. I give, and I give until I have nothing left, and although that may not benefit me regarding receiving it back, I gain so much more from my own generosity, and I know that is enough for me. 

I gave myself the closure I desperately begged for. The people who wronged me will only ever be left with 'what if'. I will allow them to watch in awe at my appreciation of life, knowing there is and always will be something missing in their heart.

I am a good person, and my good thoughts will shine through my green eyes no matter what. It's not my problem whether you can look into them at ease without feeling pain or guilt. 

Every day gets easier, and I can't thank my support system enough. Whether you're a friend or a stranger your words of support and encouragement help me more than you could ever know.

I am so glad I have an outlet where I can be completely open and honest, regardless of judgement or negative opinions, I am happy with who I am and no one will ever change that. 


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The 13th Year - Reflecting on My Younger Self

As I sit down and reflect on last year - the year I turned 21 - I find myself thinking about the young girl I used to be.

At 13, life is pretty stressful.

Although I wasn’t paying bills, working in an office and trying a new diet every week, I was crying about unrequited love, thinking my size 4 frame was fat and trying to grow boobs. To a 13-year-old, that is certainly a tough, life or death struggle.

I cringe every time I think about the very first kiss I was peer pressured into on the playground at lunchtime. I look back at my first love with a heavy heart knowing I so desperately wanted us to be ‘together forever’. I even revisit old memories of being so besotted with Zac Efron and Aaron Johnson that I couldn’t bear to watch any other movies without them in. (At this point I am trying to forget the fact I sent many, many love letters written on personalised ‘Zac’ paper.)

I live in shock that I could spend the weekend smoking one too many cigarettes and drinking WKD I managed to get from a stranger standing outside the local onestop. Seven years later, I still can’t bear to smell even a hint of lambrini without feeling sick.

All silliness aside, I wish I could go back in time and tell that naive 13-year-old girl that she didn’t have to worry, or over think about the trivial matters she obsessed over.

I crave the opportunity to convince her that it really doesn’t matter that she has hair on her arms or braces bursting out of her mouth. She is great just the way she is. I feel a sense of sadness knowing that she feels alone, believing that she isn’t popular or pretty enough. I suppose most young girls feel that way.

When you’re coming of age, life seems to throw every obstacle at you; although at the time it feels like the end of the world, getting dumped by a two-week boyfriend via MSN isn't quite the same as ending a long-term relationship with the guy you thought you'd marry. Ten pounds would get us to town and back with a trip to the cinema in between. Now we're lucky if it gets us a bottle of wine and £3 club entry. The kids you spent every waking moment with at school are now your uni flatmates and they suck at washing up their own dishes. The real world is at our fingertips and although we now have the freedom to buy our own cigarettes and alcohol, I can't help but dream of the times I would have to beg for it if it meant reliving those silly problems that kept me up at night.

I feel lucky to look back in awe at my teenage years. Now that I am older, I have found the strength to forget those small niggles that the stereotypical popular girls would say as they passed your lunch table and picked out their next victim. I see my first love out in the town nightclub and smile, perhaps even say hello, without reliving the terrible heartbreak I once experienced. Sometimes I see the young girl I once was in the mirror, but instead of picking out those insecurities I noticed back then, my heart is full. I adore the terrible side fringe and overdrawn eyeliner - everything about her is awesome and I don’t think I will ever truly let her go.
You might not realise it but your 13-year-old self shaped you into the adult you are now. The thirteenth year is a year of firsts for many. Perhaps a first kiss or the first proper birthday party with an even girl/boy ratio. The memories and mistakes will live with you forever and weirdly enough I am more than happy for them to stick around. The embarrassment is no longer present when I think of my younger self, instead, I look back in admiration.