Guest Post: Why I love My #Selfie

13335849_10154323988412022_7277487513200349573_nI can’t remember exactly when I stumbled across Hayley and her lovely blog A Stitch to Scratch but it feels like a good couple of years ago. I’m very glad that I did too, as Hayley has an aura about her than not a lot of people do. She’s so talented as well, knocking up some really interesting pieces, from toys to secret books and more recently, her own dresses. I’m beyond jealous of her skills.

I feel like we’re also on the same page when it comes to the big stuff, such as self-image and loving ourselves, body positivity and the power of a damn good jumpsuit! Hayley also rocks one of the most impressive lipstick collections I’ve seen (something I’ve never got to grips with) and although some of our tastes differ, I feel like we can learn from each other, which is the whole point of new friends and getting yourself out there.

So please enjoy this post by this blog’s honorary Maid of Honour and then check out her blog as it will likely inspire you to knock something up, MacGyver-style (but prettier).

The wonderful Christa invited me to guest post over here on one of my favourite ever blogs, and well, I was never going to turn that down!

I started out wanting to write a witty post about a subject near and dear to both our hearts – the sacred selfie – and it became something a bit more honest.

I’m glad of that, because I don’t tend towards streams of relatively unfiltered thoughts and feelings, and it was quite cathartic to write this little peice of my brain down for you all to share in.

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Why I love my #Selfie

A month or two ago on your average Saturday morning, The Boy and I were getting ready to go out somewhere thrilling like Sainsbury’s or Wilko’s. I’d done my hair and makeup, put on something pretty and took out my phone to snap a selfie.

Then The Boy looked over at me, rolled his eyes and said

“You’re so vain.”
“I’m not!”
“You’re always taking pictures of yourself.”
“Not because I’m vain.”
“Then why?”

– and that’s the killer question isn’t it? I’ve seen a fair few blog posts on selfies, lauding and condemning, and few tapping into the why of it all. When he asked me, I knew what the answer was, but I still had to sit and think for a second before I could answer honestly and with the right words.

I’m so pro-selfie. I think that putting yourself out there for the world to see is no small thing, and it should always be received with positivity.
Sometimes I hear that looking at other people’s pretty selfies makes someone feel worse about themselves, and that makes me so sad, especially when for me, it’s such a tool for the opposite.

It just makes me want to say: we’re all on the same side, ladies. We should celebrate each other’s talents, skills, beauty and all around fabulousness. We have to stop tearing each other down to feel better, or on the flip side, seeing someone looking great and feeling worse about ourselves in response.

I’m of the steadfast opinion that no-one can shame you down by being their special self. Someone showing off their height doesn’t make you shorter. Someone being beautiful, doesn’t make you uglier. It’s so hard to try and stop judging yourself against everyone else like a standard, I know, but it’s also unfair to expect people not to shine a light on their own awesomeness for fear of someone else feeling shitty in comparison.

I’m sure many people out there have their own reasons for taking their selfies, some very different from my own, but for me, personally, it pretty much comes down to self-consciousness.

When struggling with your self-image the last thing you want to see is yourself. You actively avoid mirrors and photographs. Taking selfies takes that fear and inverts it. It says this is me and I am beautiful. I am not afraid to photograph myself, to have that lasting image out there.
In the past decade I’ve gone from a sad teenage girl who physically averts her gaze from any reflective surface for fear of having to look at herself, to the positive woman I am now, readily – nay happily – snapping photos of myself and putting them online for everyone to see what I look like. Ten years ago that would have terrified me, because even I didn’t want to see what I looked like.

Taking regular selfies combats the insecurity that sometimes still eats away at my brain. It’s regularly reminding myself that I’m good enough. It means everyday I get more comfortable with what I look like. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in the way that I look at myself, and selfies have been a big part of helping that progress along.

For me, a good portion of taking a selfie is saying, this is what I look like, and it is good. To look myself dead on and think positive thoughts. Putting that selfie online is I am proud of the way I look. See here, world, this is me, aren’t I fabulous?

Sometimes they never go online and I keep them just for me, as a memory.

To remind me that dress did not look frumpy and sack-like.

To remember that that very bold lipstick colour looked amazing, in case I ever have any doubts.

13941089_10154502260442022_523495384_nI have this one here of the first time I ever wore (or owned) a jumpsuit. Christa inspired me to get one with the way she always rocks hers, but I was so nervous to wear it I put it off for a whole month. When I plucked up the courage to don it, I snapped this selfie, to look back and remember that it did look good, for the next time I wanted to wear it but was too scared.

Bottom line: Let’s face it – who doesn’t like to see a picture of themselves looking great?

And to end relevantly, here are a million few of my recent selfies. Just because. (Though I must admit, my Instagram feed is being clogged up with pictures of kittens, rather than my face at the moment!)

Do you #selfie? Why? Why not?

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Guest Post: She Just Might Be Out of Her Mind, Well She’s Got Baggage and It’s All the Emotional Kind

13697208_10153946965846026_8482657056586518980_nThis week’s Guest Post comes from one of the most beautiful writers I know. I’m not a fan solely for the stunning prose and vivid imagery conjured up by her words, I’m also a bit of a fan girl for the frank way in which Lydia speaks. She’s also incredibly inspiring when it comes to her inner strength and I hope she knows it.

Lydia and I met ‘doing nails’ at a short-lived salon in Brighton and although that never took off, I’m very grateful for the talented and interesting folk I met there, which of course includes this lady here. If you like what you read here, which you definitely will, go check her out on her own blog, Belle of the Bluegrass.

It is often said that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. I don’t believe that’s particularly true, but what I do believe is that you can start to love yourself and become more relaxed in your body when someone else loves you. Learning to love yourself through someone else’s love of you.

We all have our insecurities and body hang ups, no one is fully content but being a plus size woman my body image comes under the scrutiny of strangers every time I step out of the house. I hear sniggers and whispers, catcalls and some incredibly confronting comments upon my appearance from people I have never met before. For some unknown reason society has deemed it almost acceptable for this behaviour to occur.

Over the past few years I have tried to take ownership and be happy in the body I have, finding inspiration and courage in the body positive communities of plus size women on social media. I have finally found women with bodies that represent me; looking amazing and doing incredible things. I’ll admit there is still a long way for us to go in changing people’s perception of us, whether that’s within the clothing industry or having TV and film recognising us as something other than just the ‘funny women’ and realising our potential as the sex symbol.

Throughout my life I have rarely sought the approval of others in anything I have done. Yet, when you label someone for long enough, even the strongest of us can start to believe it eventually. The mean words that get screamed at me in the street start to penetrate the force field I have tried to build around myself. And sometimes, if the blow is hard enough and hits just the right spot, a crack can appear. A chink in my armour. These words that I have had thrown at me over and over since the age of ten have taken their toll on my self-worth. Slipping in to my anxieties and seeping into the way I conduct myself daily, these aggressive mean-spirited narrations have altered me as a person.

It took me five months to gather the courage to meet my boyfriend, terrified that he would run away screaming on sight because I am not a conventional size. Of course he knew this before we met in person and my anxiety wasn’t allowing him the benefit of being a decent human and accepting me as me.

Until my early twenties the men I often encountered were still being governed by what their friends might think, regardless of how they actually felt. That coupled with my underlying force field traumas always left me in the role of the good friend. I stopped trying around men, I wasn’t interested in playing this weird game of snakes and ladders. I didn’t want to keep seeing them slide down snakes every time they realised my appearance, even if they liked it and liked me, wouldn’t be accepted by their peers. Living in that weird limbo just cracks the force field further and I didn’t have time for that.
But then this man entered my life unexpectedly. I wasn’t looking to be rejected by someone elses insecurities so I never even tried things like Tinder. This was just a photo sharing app I downloaded as a way to distract myself after my mother passed away. I posted a selfie, always knowing my best angles, you wouldn’t even know I was plus size, but he was still sweet and interested even after I told him.

Having my fleshy curves admired and my wobbly stomach kissed can work wonders for a girls confidence. The parts of me that I was only just coming to acknowledge are entirely accepted and honoured by this man. He is not embarrassed of me as I was myself, standing by my side and telling me that I am beautiful. I think stretch marks are bewitching; mermaid scales and secret silver streaked maps written across my body. I didn’t always feel that way, embarrassed by them when getting changed for P.E. and having other girls ask what they were. Whilst I desperately wanted to be like these confident plus size women I admired, it took seeing myself through his eyes to make me believe that it is possible. I feel less need to try and make myself smaller and apologise for my appearance. He tells me I am beautiful, unprompted, even when I am convinced I am looking my absolute worst. Feeling more at peace and less aware of the looks and whispers going on around me. I have seen my friend, who had her own body confidence issues, become more accepting of herself because of the way her boyfriend loves her.

I am not saying that my self-worth is reliant upon a man, because I don’t think anyone should be reliant upon someone else to feel worthy in this life. Sometimes though, it takes standing back and viewing something from a different angle to really allow you to appreciate the beauty. And with every kiss and sleep laced declaration of love, the insecurities I have had over the years become smaller, beginning to fade away. My nonconformist body is loved by this man and now, in turn, by me.

L

Goals: Redux

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Goal: Be even more awesome

People can be really huffy about resolutions and I get it when we’re bombarded as soon as Boxing Day is over with spam emails from Weight Watchers and gym groups. But I kind of like them myself.

I feel like I’m quite a pro-active kind of chap when I want to be and I respond well to being held accountable, even if it’s just to an old Blog post, written and viewed only by myself.

So I am the kind of person who thinks about resolutions and goals as the NY starts undulating toward us. Of course I’ve already set some goals but I’ve been thinking of some more. Here they are:

  • I will not say anything derogatory about my body in 2016 – Verrry challenging but I’m going to try because I deserve this and so does every woman of every size, shape, etc
  • I will buy and keep a sketch book close to me, and find a drawing style – I don’t think I have any talent in this arena but that’s okay, I’m at a point in my life where I can happily accept that just because I’m shit at something, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it
  • I will be more direct and less apologetic – No explanation needed
  • I will not doubt my skills at work no matter how I am made to feel – I’m a paranoid android from 9-5, this needs to change
  • I will read the classics I have not yet read – There are a lot. I’m really looking forward to this one
  • I will up my selfie game – IMPORTANT

Right. Happy New Year all, I’m off to achieve some of these bad boys. Starting with… maybe buying a sketch book?

See you soon!

Advent(ures) in Spreading the Love (AKA Doors 1 & 2)

tumblr_nyej8sughd1u4taepo1_500December, you crazy cat. You’re so busy, aren’t you? With all your spangly jumpers, drinks parties and invitations left right and centre.

Not that I plan to miss out myself obvs, I enjoy joy as much as the next person. So I’ll be accepting a few pub suggestions, supping mulled cider by roaring fires and snuggling up to my friends and colleagues with the best of them. But I’ve also got SO MUCH to do. Like every other person right before Christmas then.

In between all the rushing about, I thought I’d try and do a daily affirmation for anyone reading because I think we need it. Basically, my version of an online Advent calendar, without chocolate (I know right, what’s the fucking point in that?).

We need female solidarity above all things at the moment though, right? Even chocolate. (Not to exclude the boys who might pop by, you can join in but this is about us, not you dudes).

This is, of course, a quickly tapped out introduction to my plan, a day late and not perfectly constructed by any means but hopefully the sentiment will still get through. Every day I am going to post a message to you (yes, you). It will be anything from a question to an affirmation or a picture of a cat I saw that made me titter.

I thought of this after a week (it’s only Wednesday) of some very low lows and then wonderful highs on the internet, more of which I will talk about later. It seems more than ever that we should be bolstering our fellow women and encouraging them to shine (something else I will come back to is The Shine Theory via Cattitude & Co, which I LOVE).

I’ll still proper blog in between but also keep this going until New Year’s Eve, that’s my Christmas promise.

So, as we’re on the second day of December already, here are doors 1 & 2 together:

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1. This mug urges you to throw away anything that isn’t absolutely essential to your well-being. Easier said than done, but still a nice sentiment. Let it go, you’re doing your fucking best and I salute you, girl!
PicMonkey Collage
2. I saw someone on Twitter post their favourite selfies of the year (so far) and thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. I’m pro-selfie all the way for many reasons, including their ability to make me feel good about myself, for recording change, etc. Here are my recent favourites.

Do you #selfie?

See you tomorrow, you beauty ❤

Love Your #selfie

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Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline. It is Maybelline. And Rimmel, Max Factor, 17, Make Up Revolution, Bourjois… ❤

Sometimes you’ve just got to spend £27 in Superdrug on new make-up then come home and put it all on, despite having nowhere to go to show it off. I could find somewhere obviously, but Netflix.

I’ve been feeling pretty shitty about myself lately. I won’t lie, despite my vow to stop worrying about ageing, I still have the odd wobble. I sometimes look through pictures of myself, for instance and wonder if my eyelids have got extra baggy.

HOW PATHETIC.

Today I feel fucking fabulous* though, hence this picture of my moon face. I personally love the phenomenon of the #selfie. If a person is feeling amazing why the hell shouldn’t they share it? Yes, even the people who share 1,2,3 a day, even those in contorted positions, skimpy outfits – all.

All #selfies are beautiful because it means the taker is feeling great about themselves.

*My friend Panda says this when something is particularly fabulous, and when she bought herself a Mulberry handbag last year, she asked them to include a card saying “To Panda, you’re fucking fabulous”. They didn’t, but it’s still makes for a FF anecdote.

My City: Brighton

 

You know how I love great graffiti. Luckily, we have some insanely talented local artists whose work pops up regularly and sometimes in the most interesting of places. Seriously, I’ve taken an uncommon turn around a corner and ended up in Wonderland, more than once.

There’s even a piece outside my workplace (left), should I ever feel the need to go and look at something more inspiring than the interior of our run down office block. Which is a lot.

Last week, on our anniversary, we wandered the streets and found some gems. I’m not the greatest photographer but it’s okay as these subjects speak for themselves. I love Brighton for many reasons, the graffiti is one of them.

Check out this AMAZING house in Brighton, recently decorated with the landlord’s blessing.

Featuring the artwork of: @aroe_msk, @gary_msk_ha, @morf_@snub_23, @fatheat, @turkesart and others.

#brightongraffiti