Saturday, 31 May 2014

Social Media

I’ve written about both the positive and negative sides of social media before, here and here. Just like everything, there are good and bad sides to it. For me, overall, my experiences on various Social Media networks have been positive. I’ve met so many great people who I otherwise wouldn’t have met, plus have managed to keep in touch with people from my past and regain contact with others which may otherwise never have happened. There have been days when I haven’t been able to go out, so that little bit of contact can be all that’s needed to keep me going. A little smile, a little hello. Both new friends and old, whether I’ve ever known them in person or not, are just one click away.

Of course, the other thing about Social Media is that, without it, I wouldn’t be able to share this wonderful blog here! :) Now what would you all do without it?!

Yet recently I’ve learnt about its dark side. Now we’ve all heard about bullies that use Social Media to be able to plague their victims from a distance, yet to see evidence of such actions for yourself is something else. Luckily I have personally only ever had minor niggles show up, the odd person who’s decided to take advantage of my Facebook inbox in order to be shouty where they wouldn’t be brave enough to do so in person. On Facebook you’re mostly protected (despite how much I don’t trust them!), as long as you have your security settings programmed in correctly. Twitter, on the other hand, is an open field where mud can be flung and spread at an alarming rate. The rate at which the dung and filth spreads is quicker and more efficient than any farmer’s muck spreader, but without the positives of goodly nutrients going into the earth. People have filth and poison pushed into their open, hungry mouths just so they can go and spout it out somewhere else, or even back at the victim themselves.

Having been a victim of bullying in the past, in person, naturally it’s one of the things I can’t abide. Any decent, self-respecting person would find it abhorrent. Yet, there it is, just a click away, another wannabe thug digging into someone they wouldn’t have the guts to confront in person.

So there, unfortunately, lies the biggest downside of Social Media. The one thing that can be good for us, being able to speak to people at a distance when we are otherwise unable to go out into the world, is the exact same thing that bullies use to spread their filth. I have no time for those sorts of people.

Yet, as I have said, luckily I have mostly only had positive experiences, met some great people who have literally changed my life. So, despite all its negative sides, I am still a big advocate of the use of Social Media sites. Yet, at the same time, we all need to be vigilant and careful. If someone has nasty things to say about someone, make sure you know the full story before jumping on the bandwagon. Better still, stay away.

Friday, 30 May 2014


I don’t believe I’ve ever had a very good self-image, whether it be down to how I look, or how I perceive myself otherwise as a person. There have been many people in my life who haven’t helped that and have, indeed, exacerbated the situation.

It all started when I was quite young. As a child, along with my fellow siblings, I was always put down by my elders, told constantly how I wasn’t good enough at something. Each of us as fellow siblings were encouraged to further the damage with nasty words to the others. So, even if I knew otherwise, the belief that I was “stupid”, “worthless” or crap at a particular subject was ingrained into me. My low self-confidence as a result of this had a knock on effect on how people perceived me at school. It meant that I was bullied and my physical image was attacked, too. I was now not only “stupid”, “worthless”, “crap at everything”, I was also “ugly”, the person no one wanted to be friends with in case they caught something.

As a result of all of this, I have never been content with my self-image, whether it be how I interact with people or how I look. I’ve spent years being uncomfortable if people tell me I’m attractive or good at something. Even the smallest compliment will have me fidgeting and trying to find a way to negate or explain why it may seem I’m that way. All those positives turned into negatives, because for so many years I was always told otherwise.

So, what can I do to change this? Should I change this? Shouldn’t it be right that I believe that I’m worth something?

I’ll start with body-image. As a woman it can be hard to fit into society if you’re not perceived as being magazine-beautiful, or as trying to achieve that absolute perfection. The media tell us that the only way we can ever be acceptable to others is to be this clone image of whatever their latest trend is. Well, this is something that I haven’t fit into for years. Yet still, somehow, on a subconscious level, I’d make those little efforts, a little bit of make-up here and there, body-hair maintenance, etc. Even when wearing the drabbest clothing, I’d still be making over-the-top efforts to look a little bit more acceptable. It didn’t make me feel any better at all and certainly didn’t help me fit in any better.

So, I’ve stopped. I no longer bother with shaving, as I find it a ridiculous waste of time trying to achieve a fake image of so-called perfection that I’ll never reach anyway. I no longer wear make-up, even when the odd spot decides to surface and mar my otherwise less-than-media-perfect features. I don’t colour my hair, as I know that disguising the greys isn’t going to make them any less real. I am becoming a natural being, a woman in the form she is meant to be in. Yet am I happy?

I must admit, I am still uncomfortable with going out in skirts and dresses, trying to wear something nice and comfortable whilst not having made any of the “required” beauty efforts. I have done this in the past and not received any negative comments, yet I know that people still look. But, at the same time, I feel more comfortable with myself and less stressed for not having to go that extra mile, when I know, on the whole, it won’t change my own perceived self-image much, anyway.

So, what is needed to be comfortable with my own self-image? Well, one thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with the physical side of things.

Let’s go back to the bullying for a second. Even when I was trying to make an effort, trying to make myself prettier through using various lotions, potions, powders and clothing, I was still called names, made fun at. I thought I was trying to fit in, but all I was doing was trying to be someone I wasn’t. Even then, it took me far too long to realise that, what I really needed to do, was to just be myself. Now that wasn’t that easy to do when I was always trying to hang with the wrong crowds, if I ever did to socialise after having become a recluse for the most part. Yet, as soon as I had the right people around me, suddenly it didn’t matter how I looked, just who I was. I started to relax and my true colours started to show.

So, now onto self-esteem, the other side of self-image. One thing I have learnt is that it takes confidence to be the person you are rather than the person you think you should be. When you’ve spent any portion of your life being put down, trying to pretend that you’re someone else isn’t going to make people who have made a victim of you like you any more. If anything, it just gives them another excuse to laugh at you. What’s needed is to build upon your own self-worth and realise for yourself that you’re not the person all those nasty people have said you are, that you are capable of more than they say. Of course, it does help when you have good people around you who will encourage you and help you understand your true potential.

I’ve been lucky in that, nowadays, there’s mostly positive people in my life. It means that I’m gaining more and more confidence in being the person I really am rather than hiding various aspects because of what people may think. Because of this, it means I gain more respect and encouragement and means that I can also give some of that positivity back. It also means, when faced with negativity, I’m able to shrug it off a lot easier. This isn't to say that it's wrong to wear or do something that will make us feel better. Not at all. Yet, through that, we should still remember that self-image is all about how we perceive ourselves, inside and out, and we shouldn’t ever be afraid to show and be who we truly are.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


One thing I find that’s important in my journey is to be honest about things. This is not just about being honest to others about what’s going on, but, more importantly, being honest with myself. Being honest with yourself has to be the hardest thing.

We all have faults. Some days it feels like I am unable to escape from mine, no matter how hard I try. At times I feel like I fail at everything. Yet, if I were truly honest with myself at those times, I could tell myself the reason that these things were happening, what was really going on. The things we would otherwise want to avoid or not talk about.

Facing up to your own faults is never an easy thing. Even if we do believe that everything we touch turns sour and that we’ll never amount to anything, we still never admit to where our faults truly lie. The criticising eye we use to judge ourselves is just as judgemental of others, as if it will somehow make us feel better if we can see the faults in others rather than accepting and adapting to our own.

The truth is, I’m not bad at everything. I do many good things. I am bad at managing my own emotions, however, and letting them take me to places I shouldn’t. I admit that I am good at various things musically, but I know that I lack the patience to stick through the hard work and studying that it would require for me to ever be truly exceptional at it. I have been judgemental of others, even when I have refused to admit that I was being so, because the truth was that their faults reminded me of my own.

This blog, for me, has always been about honesty, about writing about the things I would otherwise avoid, or venting any crazy idea that comes into my mind that I’d otherwise shut away. There are many things that go through my mind and happen in my daily life that I don’t like to admit to. Even with being honest that depression does lead me to places I’d otherwise perhaps try to avoid, I still don’t want to be honest about everything that’s been going on. But, honestly, perhaps one day I will try.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

A Change is as Good as a Rest

This very popular saying basically says that if you’re tired with your environment, your work, etc., that changing things about can have a very positive effect, rather than having a rest and going back to the same mundane thing that you needed a rest from. Yet, what if it is something other than the environment that is causing the issue at hand? How can a break away or changing things about help in those times?

This is something I know about from experience and someone reminded me of recently, at a time when I’m thinking about making major changes in my life again. I once ran away from everything, thinking that that would solve all my problems. It didn’t and they just came back again, having just been hidden away in the background waiting for their chance to reappear.

This is one of the major problems with depression, when not treated correctly. When left to face up to the problems on your own, you think that the problems are elsewhere than where they actually are. Often the problems are just inside your head. I didn’t like the neighbourhood I was in, disliked going out, felt trapped, because I felt like I had no privacy from the prying eyes of the gossips just outside the door. Yet part of what the real problem was, was that I was embarrassed about myself, who I was, and didn’t have the confidence to stand up to anyone who may be otherwise accusing of my choice of dress and lifestyle. That was something that didn’t go away with moving. Going out anywhere if you dress like an outsider means you’ll always be an outsider, unless you have the confidence to stand up and just be yourself despite that. I’ve never been into any sort of fashion, always preferring the comfortable route for clothing, and in a world that’s happy to criticise for the slightest faux pas that they see of any kind, it’s meant that I’ve been a target for those nasty words in the past. But, dress sense aside, I also didn’t know who I was, which left me being just as much an outsider.

There were other things at fault in my life at the time, other things that also weren’t simple to change. I didn't realise that there were other things that I could have done at the time, other than running away, to sort out the problems I was having. Yes, I am more comfortable now I’m not living on a housing estate with an assortment of various disreputable characters mingled amongst the ones who are more decent and have learnt to live with it. Yet I’m still quite isolated, away from friends and often quite alone. So, what else could I have done? Perhaps turned to them for advice, looked to have moved closer to people and places that were more comfortable to live in, and, above all, get help so I could learn to be more comfortable with myself.

That last one is easy to say, because in the UK at the time I wasn’t getting the help I needed. I often think that perhaps, if I had, things may not have turned out the way they did. But I then wouldn’t have had the other benefits of the crazy changes I enforced on myself, which were finding out who I really am and what I really want. The next changes I make in my life will be moving towards just that – places that I want to go, rather than panicking to get away from something that isn’t as bad as I may think.

A great follow-up article to read on a blog I’ve just started following, Finding Positives, is I Could Be Happy Here. I read this just as I was thinking about writing this post and it not only gave me the extra nudge to write this, but I think it expresses the ideas on this subject amazingly.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Awkward Weirdness

I’m not the best communicator. I have a habit of making a tit of myself even in the most mundane of situations. It tends to depend on my frame of mind at the time as to whether I’ll come out with a sensible line or one that’s entirely inappropriate. Of course, when you’re just the right side of potentially life-threatening thinking, then being able to say anything that’s both positive and sane is incredibly difficult!

Unfortunately, this has led to me being an outcast at times. There’s very little I can do about it. Rejection is a very painful thing, but, having just turned thirty three, I’ve gotten used to it now. Sometimes, though, it hurts more than others.

What do you do if you sort of like someone, but you haven’t a clue about how to communicate with them and every time you do try, you just make more of an awkward mess of things? Now I’m not talking about potential love interests or anything like that, but people you may like to be friends with, yet find it difficult to be so because the only thing you’re able to do is flood them with weird nonsense. Yeah, this happens too often in my life. Because of this, I’m surprised that I have any friends at all!

The people I have the most difficulty with is those that are also awkward and weird, but in different ways to me. It means that there’s a clash somewhere in the middle. Me being me, the chaotic communicator who has to over-explain everything, goes in there and makes it worse. It means that behaving relaxedly around these types of people is almost impossible. Now this is fine when you don’t really have enough in common with them to really be interested in being friends with them, but when it’s the other way around, it’s as sad as it is frustrating.

There’s not much that I can do about my weirdness. Life experiences have made me the person that I am and at my age I’m unlikely to make any huge sways in changing this. That’s if I even wanted to make such drastic changes to my persona. Yet, luckily, there are people out there who not only can put up with my special type of weirdness, but are drawn to it and love it. I’m glad that they are there, as they make this lonely life more bearable.