Does our society have an issue with weight?

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With lockdown going on I have seen way more fat-phobic jokes on the internet. It’s somehow more appropriate to joke about being fat and in turn ugly. I am fat. I was fat before lockdown and I will be fat after lockdown. It is not funny, and I will not lose weight after lockdown to fit peoples closed minded opinions on weight. My body is not your ‘post lockdown nightmare’. Many people have been taking this extra time to lose weight and get fit, which if that’s you then amazing! However, it does not give you the right to make other people feel small about their body. Lockdown has been incredibly difficult for many people’s mental health’s, so broadcasting your toxic views on how everyone should be losing weight now and making dramatic lifestyle choices is unfair. Jokes about ‘wearing a mask to stop you from eating’ and other jokes along that line are incredibly harmful to those struggling with eating disorders.

To be honest, our society has an issue with weight. Whether you are fat or skinny, society will have an issue with you.

Lately, Adele has had an incredible weight loss transformation. I have seen many say this is the ‘greatest accomplishment’ she has had. Which is frankly wrong. Adele has won an Oscar and 15 Grammy awards, which is surely a better thing to be impressed by… Adele was a great icon pre weight loss and is still an icon post weight loss, because her body has nothing to do with the music or things she has accomplished. To compliment someone’s weight loss can become very toxic because it encourages people to believe that smaller bodies are more desired by society. It is also to note that it is wrong to be criticising Adele for her weight loss which I have also seen on her Instagram comments. It is clear women can never win; be too fat and you’ll be made fun of, lose some weight and be too thin you’ll be criticised. I think the thing to take from it is the world will always critic your body, so the only opinion that should matter is your own. Leading on from this, I once said to a friend that she looked very slimmed, I hadn’t made a compliment or criticism, I had just stated it in our conversation, which I did instantly regret because I hate commenting on other people’s bodies. At the same time others of our friends had openly celebrated her weight loss… To which she confessed to me later that it was due to her being in a poor mental health place and struggling to eat. Had I complimented her on this weight lost then she probably wouldn’t have opened up to me, nor would complimenting someone on weight loss from depression be appropriate.  She had not purposely wanted to lose weight and was deeply struggling on the inside, so being complimented on this was draining her mental health further.  I do want to note it can however be supportive to comment on someone’s weight loss, but I do think it is important that the person has lost weight purposefully and for the right reasons. Make sure you have the context before the compliment.

I have so many messages every single day in my insta dm’s asking me to promote weight loss products from skinny coffees and appetite suppressing lollipops. There is not enough money in the world to ever make me want to promote these products. This is because I would rather be eating HEALTHY and be FAT (omg shocker), than be using skinny coffee (which basically makes you poop yourself non-stop to be skinny) and treating my body poorly. There has been some people I know that have become ambassadors for these products, they will use the same stock photos of ‘results’ that the brand will send out to each ambassador. I have a mainly female audience online and I could never promote such a toxic way of living on any of my social media. To me, it is much more important to promote self-love and self-care to my audience. I regularly discuss with them how my opinion on myself has changed. I wish when I was younger, I had someone real to look up to and to take comfort in. Instead I followed lots of slim celebrities endorsing harmful products and showing off toxic ways of living. Leading me to lower the low self-esteem I already had. I think it’s funny that we assume that people’s weight is equivalent to the food style they eat. Some of my friends are slim while eating a considerable amount of junk food, with others like myself being fat while still eating a well-balanced diet. There are so many factors involved in weight (like genetics and metabolism speed), that an appetite suppressing lollipop isn’t going to solve my weight ‘issues’.

For as long as I can remember I have always disliked how my body looked, my whole life I have thought I was fat. That being fat was horrid and a bad thing (which it is not). When looking back at me aged 15 thinking I was fat and disgusting at a size 16 makes me cringe. It is weird to think that at a size 20 I am more comfortable with my body than I was at a size 16. Now at the age of 21 I have learnt the whole world will have an opinion on my body, but I like it and that is the only opinion that will matter. The obsession of my body has come from the environment around me. The media, school friends, family, everyone always has something to say on someone else’s body. When I was 16 one of my relatives gave me dieting pills on my way to work and told me I would be ‘happier’ and ‘liked more’ if I took them. Luckily for me my parents laughed at the idea when I showed them what said family member had given me. My self-confidence issues had stemmed from issues like this. Issues that other people had put on my weight. In all honesty, there is still days now where I wish I was skinnier, where I wish I didn’t have certain faults, but I remind myself that my body is my home. I could spend my whole life picking faults in my body, but I would lead an unhappy life. The secret is you will probably always find things not to like about your body if you spend your time looking for the faults. I am not going to say your body is perfect and the nonsense I used to tell myself. Your body keeps you alive and healthy, that’s it’s job. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I tell myself regularly that my body is keeping me alive, my heart is good, and I am kind, and that’s all that matters. Since stopping looking for my faults I am leading a happier life. I have lost the care of what others think and it has led me to change my whole outlook on myself. I eat what I want, wear what I want and be who I want. Just from one tweak in my mindset. It wasn’t an easy change, and the growth period was uncomfortable. I will always be growing to accept my body more and leaving behind the negative stigma that surrounded me for so long.

I put out a question on my Instagram which has 20,000 followers of which is a mainly young female audience saying ‘Do you think we live in a society controlled by body image?’ , after the 24 hours it was up it received 100% votes on YES. I then asked people to tell me their opinion if they felt comfortable. It was interesting that every single response was pretty much the same. The media has an issue no matter what size you are. Below is one response!

@Jazwillis stated ‘We most definitely live in a society controlled by body images – there’s not a day that goes by where you don’t see a half-naked beautiful body on our social media pages, which is fine. Bodies are art but we then start to compare ourselves to all those images. That’s where body dysmorphia comes into play – we pick at ourselves because we don’t look remotely like something that we’ve seen online when in reality we are more real and should be more accepted than what we appropriate as ‘normal’.

We continue to try and accept different body types but somehow comment sections still fill up with negativity and sly remarks are still muttered under people’s breaths. If we as human beings didn’t care so much about what we looked like or continuously compare ourselves to a certain size or shape, we’d be happier without a doubt. The image of perfection that we continuously see results in an unrealistic reality filled with defending our weight, promoting body confidence just for ‘the gram’ even if we don’t feel confident at all, extreme dieting & even surgery.

On a positive note, I do enjoy seeing more people genuinely speak up for different shape, sizes and race on social media. It truly is the growth that we need, and I can’t wait to see more of it.’

The issue with our society is it is so fixated on how people look rather than who people are. I sometimes wonder if I became incredibly skinny while having a horrid personality would I be liked more by society? Quite probably. However, I would rather be known for having a good heart and always doing right by others. Weight does not affect the person you are inside. Which is cringe and cliché, but the size of your body has nothing to do with the amount of love you can give another. Those worthy of loving you will love you at a size 20, 12 or 6.

So, to conclude this, whether you’re tall or short, fat or thin, remember your body is your home. There is no perfect body image, so stop trying to be it. If you stop picking faults in yourself and others, then the societies stigma will begin to change. We are the society and we have to say no to the constant negative chatter on bodies. Stop reading the negative tabloids on people’s bodies, because you feed the writer to keep posting more. Stop liking posts of celebrities and influencers who perpetuate obsessions with being skinny. Stop comparing yourself to others and start accepting you. We need to start speaking positively to family and friends about body image. Say no to those being negative about your body and stand up for yourself and others.

You are surviving this lockdown period and that’s all that matters. I am proud of myself for the person I am, and I am proud of you too. You are you, and that is enough for the world, no matter what weight you are.

 

All the love,

 

Queen Clo xx

BEING DIFFERENT: Being Biracial – Maya

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Tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m Maya, I am 21 years old and I have just finished my undergrad in Psychology! As for my next steps I think I am en route into a career in teaching and later educational psychology!

I have a blog which I post on whenever I’m inspired by the world and people around me mayacuthbert.wordpress.com and I am on Instagram @mayacuthbert 🙂

What makes you different?

I am biracial, my mum is white, and my dad is black. Growing up, I felt different to a lot of the people around me, because aside from my brothers and my other biracial friends, there weren’t many biracial role models for me to look up to. I was brought up around my mum’s side of the family, and unfortunately didn’t see much of my dad’s side. My mum raised me to understand that I was going to be treated differently and I’ll always value her for being open and honest about race in the world, and as my friend Bev said, ‘she’s very woke’. She would always try and teach me about my Jamaican heritage as much as she could, be that through cooking traditional dishes, or taking me there- I could never, and will never, fault her for that, and I am so grateful to have had the upbringing I did.

Unfortunately, feeling different lies in the weird discourses there are surrounding being mixed race that you hear coming from other people who are not biracial. It is those discourses that highlight how you can feel different and almost othered by a lot of the people around you, without them even realising that it can impact you.

What is bad about why you are different?

Race was not something that played on my mind a lot whilst growing up. Having grown up in London, and being surrounded by a huge range of cultures, races and ethnicities, it just felt second nature, to have a friendship group where none of us looked the same and where everyone was accepted regardless of the colour of their skin.

I think coming to university has really opened my eyes to the fact that not everywhere is going to be like my school environments, where race is more acknowledged and spoken of. While university is multicultural, there are noticeable groups, in contrast to my school, these groups tend to be race based. My dissertation research confirmed to me that people will typically create friendships with people who share meaningful similarities, and an important similarity is race. I think it is awesome that this happens, because this can really help strengthen things such as racial identity, provide support and mutual understanding, but as a biracial person it can feel hard to fit in.

I’m glad to say that I have found my niche, my friendship group now reminds me of my groups at school, which is great, but initially it was tough. I understand that race is a sensitive subject, so I do hope I don’t cause any controversy, I am just talking about the things I have been through relating to mine- and I hold nothing against anyone.

I think in this day and age, people are really good at applying stereotypes to different races. This is something I have had to face, and it is so apparent to me. To others I have two ‘sides’ (my white ‘side’ and my black ‘side’) people seem to comment on what are actually just aspects of my personality, turn them into racial stereotypes and use them as points of criticism, where I am not allowed to be both black and white, I am always reduced to being either black or white by others. A couple of examples being that on multiple occasions I have been told that I am ‘too white’ because of how I speak, even a past partner had told me that I was too white – something he even considered trying to change within me, or breaking up with me over…I also remember once being told, when I was angry, that that was my ‘black side coming out’.

These comments, and knowing this is how people think about you, can be so damaging to your self-esteem, especially when these comments are from the two groups that make up my heritage (white and black groups), it really muddled up my feelings, and made me feel as though I was not going to fit in anywhere at university because nobody would accept me! It was even more frustrating, because in my mind, I am not either/or, I am a mixture of both and if I were to identify as one ‘side’ or the other I would be dismissing one whole part of me, and that doesn’t feel right.  Those racially stereotyped criticisms really hurt me- because I was being criticised for being who I am. After hearing these things about yourself, you almost start to question who you are… and I’m sure it might sound slightly trivial to some, but I do struggle with those thoughts of like ‘Who am I?’  ‘Where do I sit?’ but most importantly, why do we live in such a modern-day society where people, REGARDLESS of their race, are still implicitly judged based on how they look?

It makes you feel so frustrated because we are supposed to live in a progressive society, but those implicit stereotypes people hold about other races, really highlight how, yes, we may have come so far, but we have clearly not come not far enough.

What is good about why you are different?

I have learnt a lot about identity, race, and society, simply because of the colour of my skin, and my existence being due to the mixture of two cultures. I think this has really helped and will continue to help me manoeuvre through life and make the right decisions about how I go about things such as teaching my own children about who they are.

I love that I have not only one, but two cultures that I get to embrace and learn about, and that I have two places I can call home. I like this idea of duality, where I am more than one thing, and although it can be confusing to manage at times, it is awesome! I am not just black, I am not just white, I am both- ergo, I am mixed, and I love it that way.

I love that, although I occasionally do have those ‘who am I?’ moments, that I can now recognise who I am, what I am here for, and why I should be and love myself, with none of this having anything to do with placing myself within one of societies concrete sorting boxes.

I don’t have to force myself to fit in with any group, I will always find other people with mindsets like mine. I must say I love that about my friendship group, we are a huge mix of races, and yet, we have such open, honest, respectful conversations about race, even when we disagree we don’t argue… we listen, we pull apart our own and each other’s ideas and thoughts and we learn from each other! I wish everyone was like that, because if people could put their differences aside and objectively talk about the issues surrounding race that everyone faces today with such understanding, I’d like to hope that the world could be slightly different.

What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article most?

I saw a quote in a journal article when I was carrying out my dissertation research and it read ‘biracial individuals are both black and white, in a world that only sees black or white’. Obviously, it is important to remember, that there are other mixes that make up a biracial individual, but this quote resonated so well with me. I would love if society could have more open and honest conversations about the reality of race in the society we live in, and that instead of trying to organise everybody into a radicalised box, that we could see each person as their own individual identity, with their own experiences of race and their own ideas and views.

A Note From Clo

Thank you so much to the lovely Maya for this insightful post! As she mentioned at the start she does have her own blog which I highly recommend you checking out! She has been writing some amazing pieces during this lockdown, so it will be a great use of any spare time you have!

The Being Different series will continue again next Thursday at 9pm. As always if you would like to get involved please contact me on instagram at Queen.clo or via the contact me form on here!

As always, stay safe and stay kind!!

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

Sexual Assault at Universities: let’s start the conversation.

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I paid £9,250 a year to go to university to LEARN. A considerable amount of money to live and socialise in an environment which is unfortunately unsafe to many. Over my three years at university, it has become the social norm at universities for someone to have their bum squeezed on night out. It’s a censored topic quite often worldwide that shouldn’t be censored.  It’s uncomfortable because it happens regularly and so many people have adapted it as a normal behaviour so we become desensitised to it. For instance a bum squeeze we don’t necessarily associate things with sexual assault. Sexual assault isn’t just rape, it comes in many different forms and we should not stand for any of it.

The official definition of sexual assault is:  ‘Sexual assault is when a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or when a person, male or female, touches another person sexually without their consent. Touching can be done with any part of the body or with an object. Sexual penetration is when a person (male or female) penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with any part of their body or an object without that person’s consent.’

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It is about time that universities and student’s union step up to support their students. There needs to be a development of how students can report assault when it happens and the further support they receive. I have spoken to students who have dropped out of their institutions following sexual assault and have been neglected by their universities. Some had even communicated that they were made to still live in their room that the assault happened because they did not want to press charges to the police. Earlier this year my best friend and I had enough of sexual assault being the normal around us. We put flyers around the university and kept an anonymous campaign. The posters featured emojis of the peach and the aubergine. While the response was mainly positive from the student body and it started many conversations, there was still a negative reaction. That it was unkind of the starter to have chosen such emojis. Instead of people developing conversations about making a change they picked faults in the posters. Picking faults in the posters are easier to do than to actually comprehend that there is a real issue at hand.

It’s a sad world we live in where we still will blame the victims of sexual assault. The movement like MeToo has allowed communication to start but now it’s time for real change amongst student bodies. There needs to be awareness spread. After starting our campaign, I felt very supported by our student body. The Instagram we created gained 1500 views in the first week, had over 300 followers and 100s of shares on people’s stories (including staff members!) We then realised working together with our university would allow real change to be created, we suggested many ideas to our university, but they seemed to be ignored. What turned into what we thought was the university working alongside us, was actually tarnished when they then took down our posters and threw them in the bin. We had spent considerable time and money making these posters for them to have been torn down to protect the universities image.

Still to this day I do not know who to go to at my university if I have been assaulted. However, it is important to remember to communicate with someone. You are not alone and there are many people around you that want to support you. You have a right to feel safe at university. Sometimes it is scary to get the police involved and this leads people to be lost with who to turn to. If you are sexually assaulted and need some advice immediately this website linked is a good place to go. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/

We tend to forget in these situations that there is usually a third party, a bystander. If you’re a bystander, please remember you can use your voice to protect others and check if the party involved is okay. See something, say something. We need to work together to support each other, whether you know the person who was assaulted or not, be there to help them. I hope that universities become a safer environment and that we all begin to support the safety of one another.

Students should feel confident and comfortable that their university will support them in these situations. I hope that universities around the country and world begin to step up their support. It’s time we allow all voices to be heard and protected. Remember to tell someone and know that you are not alone.

We’re starting the conversation. We are here to raise awareness and educate the students so that we can create a safer university. It is now time for you and your universities to take ACTION.

A letter to those who are strong but struggling

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The mind can be a scary place to live in, it tells us every day that we have to be strong. That we have to keep fighting. It tricks us into thinking we shouldn’t be weak. It tricks us into wanting to fight our battles alone. In reality, fighting our battles alone is a sign of weakness. Life can be tricky and it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to put up a front, so others don’t worry if that will get you through the day, but it is not okay to do this permanently and avoid our problems. Avoiding our issues makes us feel a lot worse about ourselves.

I think a big thing to remember when suffering from anxious thoughts while also being a strong person is remembering that life won’t always be this scary. Just because things are scary doesn’t mean you aren’t strong either. I remember for so long that random little things scared the crap out of me. With the right support and kind of a fake it till you make it attitude I managed to pull through. Trust me losing anxious thoughts was not an overnight process and it took a lot of work, but I got there eventually. I still have bad days and I still struggle to do the simplest things some days. But it’s fighting through the anxious thoughts and remembering you are in control. When your anxiety makes you freak out and tells you the whole world is a scary place, remember it is scary but you are capable of creating solutions. You are capable of breaking through and one day you will be free of your thoughts.

To the one who is strong but is absolutely petrified of never finding love. I feel ya. In my whole life, I have had one boyfriend and let me tell you, it was a disaster. Dating is horrid and quite frankly I am scared I’ll be alone forever. If someone asks me how dating is going I will 100% joke and say that I love being single because that’s the strong girl inside of me pretending I don’t care. While I love some areas of being single, I also hate it. I hate the feeling that I am going to die alone and that I am undesirable. In my heart, I know that when the right person comes along I’ll be everything for them, but it is still hard to pretend the setbacks don’t hurt. People will come and love you, then leave as if nothing happened. It kills you but you have to keep your strength. People nowadays don’t seem to stay around, they just flirt, let you catch feelings and then leave. You have to use your strength as power and move through every ending. I know as a strong person I wear my heart on my sleeve but it does sometimes mean I break my own heart. I break my heart by imaging what could be, and they have no idea. No idea how deeply I care for them. I guess it’s learning to let others in, no matter how strong you are it is important to communicate your feelings and not be scared of the consequences. On the same note, I went through a stage of dating people for the sake of it to try to mask the feeling of being alone, and it was the worst thing ever. In the end, I felt even more hopeless at love and felt broken. So if you’re dating for the sake of it, it’s truly not worth it. You will find the right person but it will take time. Keep your standards high and keep loving yourself while you wait.

I sometimes feel like I don’t belong. For example sometimes when at work I feel like an outsider. That everyone around me is best friends and I’m just there. I sometimes feel that I’m disliked and while I know this isn’t the case, it’s hard to let that escape my mind. If you feel like an outsider too, remember that you are placed in places for a reason. You have a purpose and while sometimes it may be hard to see why to know that there is some reason you are there. If you keep focusing on not feeling you should be there, you miss out on the enjoyment of being in the place. I find work can be hell sometimes but really there are many small giggles and friendliness that I feel along with every shift. It’s remembering that although sometimes I don’t feel like I fit in, that a lot of people in the store probably don’t either and that there are still opportunities to form friendships with others to feel like I do. For my whole life I have never ever fitted in and to be honest I always thought of it as my weakness. In reality, the fact I never fit in is my strength. Don’t force yourself to fit the social norms, you being different may feel like the worst thing in the world but really it’s what makes you loveable.

If you’re someone who does everything for everyone else and wonders why no one does anything in return. Pause what you’re doing and reevaluate. Reevaluate whether you do these task for others for your own happiness or because you feel you have to. Sometimes when you decide to be strong you put others feels before yourself. It’s time to prioritise yourself. Take a breath and remember that while it’s okay to do things for others, you shouldn’t feel you have to. Learn that it’s okay to put yourself first for a change and you deserve all the love that you willingly give to others.

I think it’s so hard to try to be strong all the time and while sometimes your strength may be an act, soon it won’t be. Soon you will realise that you don’t break as much as you used to, that you don’t cry about the small things and that life is getting on track. Eventually, you will see these issues as learning curves and not the disasters they feel like right now. The scars you have will remind you that you fought bravely and you have (and will) always be strong. But remember that showing your sadness is no form of weakness and it is always okay to ask for help.

Each and every day is a new day to bloom, we grow and we learn for all the experiences we face. While you may be struggling right now, life will get better and as cliche, as it is you just have to hang in there. You are strong and keep going! Remember my Instagram is always a place to talk if you are feeling alone.

All my love always,

Queen Clo xxx

Being a warrior and less of a worrier- What happened in January?

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It is hard to survive when your brain is always at war with itself.

For as long as I can remember I have always tried to fit in, to be normal; to be liked by everyone and to never cause a fuss. I have this constant fear in my mind that I will never be normal. That no one ever likes me really, that I just seem to exist. It’s hard because I have some of the most incredible friends and family in the world and sometimes it STILL feels like the whole world is against me. It is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have anxiety what it’s like to live in constant fear. It is difficult to explain that a simple walk to the canteen fills me with dread. If you ask me why it does, I know my answers are illogical, but it doesn’t stop the fear from consuming me.

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When I was in my teens at maybe 15, my school sent me to some group therapy for self esteem issues, but all it did was make things slightly worse. It was hard to sit in a room and listen to people who seemed to have real issues that were worse than mine. I dismissed myself having poor mental health after this time as I felt I had no reason. When I reached sixth form the GP put me on beta blockers to deal with exam ‘stress’. I think that was when my panic attacks became most apparent. That things in my head were not as normal as I had tried to make myself believe. For the remainder of my sixth form education I tried to dismiss things that were in my head. How could anything be wrong when I have the most amazing family who love and support me? It wasn’t till I came to university that I realised that just because my life seemed amazing, didn’t mean that things in my head were always amazing.

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My anxiety controls me some days. It will tell me that my world is falling apart and even when I know that things are okay, my brain still tricks itself. It always comes at what feels like stupid times: when I am at dinner, when I am walking to my friends or when I am watching tv. What could possibly be wrong when I am watching TV? As I write this now I know that these things should be fine but sometimes they are not. Sometimes I just have to ride the wave of the anxiety and hope I am feeling better. I find it hard to cancel plans, and when I do I will sit and overthink about what I am missing out on, making my anxiety worse. So sometimes I will force myself to do things and then regret it. It is hard to find the balance of pushing myself and breaking myself. Thanks to some therapy, I learnt some tricks to deal with the stress of life, but it can be very impossible some days to apply the logical things.

I find life very difficult to process. I hate change and regularly obsess over decisions that will impact my life. I have to discuss problems over and over again before my brain can make sense of things. It can lead people to get bored of me but it’s hard to figure things out when you don’t always trust your brain. For instance, it is incredibly hard to decide if texting a boy back is the right decision, it seems trivial but sometimes small things like this will consume me. I just want to be loved and so texting a boy back I like may seem small but also I’m scared that if I go wrong I’ll be left with rejection. For bigger problems I have rang my parents way too many times, craving for them to make the decision for me. Big decisions scare me. The pressure that the choice I will pick will be wrong consumes me and leads me to shut down. I crave other people’s opinions on decisions in hopes they will solve the problems for me. Which I know they can’t. It’s hard when you are so fearful of your mind sometimes to pick an option. I know that if the option I pick is wrong, I will beat myself up about it for ages and freak out more when making another decision. I am trying to get to grips with everything happens for a reason, but in the moment if I can’t see the reason I just assume its been the wrong decision.

My anxiety has and will sometimes kill friendships/relationships. I fixate on what others think of me, I get obsessed with situations and want to be loved by those I love. My brain needs reassurance in some form that I am loved and cared about, when I don’t get that my brain freaks out. Deep down I know that all my friends love and care for me deeply, but some nights my brain manages to convince itself that they don’t. It is incredibly difficult to explain to people that while I know they care about me, sometimes my mind clouds that and I just need them to tell me or show me they do a little more. What I have struggled with is the fear that my friends will get bored of constant reassurance. It is hard because some friends just don’t get it. Which is fine, how can they understand that my brain convinces itself that everyone hates me. I know that sometimes they get sick of having to check that everything’s okay, so I will try to shut myself away. I am incredibly fortunate that some of my friends notice and will love me a little extra. I find it hard when friendships don’t work out how I have overthought them to.

I struggle to let go of friendships that are no longer healthy because I feel like there is something wrong with me. I blame myself and worry that just because this one friendship hasn’t worked out, that all my other friendships will fail too. So, even when I am being treated poorly I will still force myself to love them and hope things change. I am aware this isn’t healthy behaviour, but it is hard to change a stance I have had on friendship for 10 years. I recently discussed with my therapist that when I was in school I didn’t have many friends, or many good friends, so sometimes having good friends worries me. I am not sure how to be a good friend back, I am not sure why I suddenly deserve friends that love me. It sounds silly that my brain worries about having good friends, but I spent so long hoping to have friends who cared and it is scary to think I could lose them. I learnt to say thank you instead of sorry and it really is a much healthier mindset. I used to think I had to apologise for the way I was feeling but my friends have taught me that some of these thoughts are normal and I shouldn’t be ashamed of them. So this paragraph is finishing with a shout out to my TFL girls, Jade, Lucy and all my other incredibly wonderful friends. I am a mess but thank you for always loving me. Thank you for knowing the right things to say and for holding me a little extra when you don’t. Thanks for understanding that sometimes I find life extra challenging, but you take me under all your wings and walk me to dinner or take me home from the clubs. Thank you for helping me answer phone calls and knowing I will never ring unless I am really struggling. Thank you for accepting that I have to be ridiculously early for events and never ever late. I truly didn’t think I deserved friends who loved me this much.

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University culture is drinking, and sometimes that is the worst thing for me. Firstly, I panic that a group of people will judge me. Secondly, alcohol controls how you think and can lead my brain to freak out over unnecessary things. The constant battle at the minute is wanting to go out in case I miss out on things but also sometimes going out and getting too overwhelmed. I don’t want to go deep into this point, simply because I don’t really understand it myself, all I know is that this February I am limiting the intake in hopes it will save some of my sanity.

I could write a hell of a lot more about my anxiety but this post is already very long. Instead I will finish this section with some small points I missed. My brain sometimes fears the silence and so some weeks I keep myself very busy. I always try to do best by myself and by others. Life is challenging and everyday is a new battle. 

I can be hard to love but I promise loving me is worth it. 

My January review, January is always a hard month. It is the start of the year and I fill myself with constant pressure to make it perfect. This January has been far from it. There has been many tears, breakdowns and heartache, but there has also been a lot of joy too. I am determine to tackle my fears head on, and as I write this, even though I was incredibly anxious I managed to go to the SU today and still have a good time. 

January’s key events.

On the 6th of January my lovely mum dropped me back to uni. We went to Bills for our favourite breakfast. I miss family a lot when away but I know they are only a phone call away.

 

When my exams were finished I went and (awfully) played bowling with my friends. I only won the second game thanks to me being the only person to use barriers opps. Without them I would’ve 100% got 0..

On the 18th of January I held a senior res quiz. I freaked out a little worried that no one would turn up, thankfully people did. I got a little too drunk in viper afterwards.

Girls nights are always the best nights. We had a wine and dance party night on a Tuesday… future wine mums? I think sooo…

On the 23rd of January I went for a girly night out with some of the lovely girls I lived with last year. Turns out like bowling, I am also awful at beer pong. Will I ever find a ‘sport’ I am good at? Probably not, I will stick to my scrapbooking.

The 25th of jan I met up with Julia an old school friend and had a catch up about life. 

We got physical on the 30th of Jan and had a 80s workout themed social. Primark has some sick neon clothes in at the minute, so managed to find myself a last minute outfit. While also finding some bargains (a £1 skirt… yes please). The dance girls have been so important to my wellbeing this university year, every Wednesday is filled with a lot of love and a lot of fun. They really have become my family away from home and I am incredibly grateful to have met them all this year.

The last day of the month I visited a restaurant called Chakra with my blogger friend Ana (https://fadedspring.co.uk ), we had the most amazing Indian food and spend the whole evening gossiping about life. The perfect end to the month? I think so.

So to end, while anxiety plagued my brain I still managed to live. I had some ups and some downs, some days the bad out weighed the good. However, just because some months bad wins, it just means the next month you have to fight a little harder to make the good win. One thing I know for sure is that anxiety will not rule my life, I will win this fight eventually.

I would love to hear any tips and tricks you have discovered to help you live a little easier, so please do message or comment them. Just remember Jan is the Monday of the year, and so if it was rubbish, its time to make February your best month yet….

As always…

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

A Letter To My Younger Self

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Dear Younger me,

Unfortunately, (or fortunately), no one else is going to ‘save you’. You must save yourself. The books you will read will tell you how someone will swoop in and save you. However, you’re no damsel in distress. You’ve got this. Understand that you do not need anyone else in this process. It is helpful to have friends to give you a hand along the way, but you must do this alone. It will be hard trying to find yourself (trust me, I still am looking now), but we will get there eventually. For now, stop looking for people who are going to ‘save you’ and instead look for people who will help you grow.

If someone does not make an effort with you, then don’t make an effort with them. (It may not seem this simple but bare with me) You’re going to meet people that will one day be your best friend and then the next won’t bother at all. If they constantly flicking between wanting you and not wanting you, then they’re not worth your time. One of your biggest insecurities is being wanted, my love, and I know it’s hard to know who does. If someone is not making an effort with you, it does not always mean they don’t want you. Remember, people are busy and do not always have time to talk to you. However, if them ignoring you is a constant thing. Take a step back, breathe and evaluate whether their friendship is worth the stress they are causing you. If not, ‘tell them boy bye’, and if they are, speak to them about what you’re feeling… They may not see they’re hurting you.

You were beautiful way before any boy told you that. You will still be beautiful for a long time after he’s gone too. Your worth isn’t dependent on whether a guys think you have a nice face. Do not crave to be pretty. You must live to be more than this. You were made to be someone who will change the world, and that does not depend on your looks. Don’t let anyone belittle you into only being ‘pretty’.

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Girls can be bitchy. They can tear self-esteem to shreds and make you feel pretty rubbish. I promise you, you don’t need these people. When a bitchy occurrence happens, move on and do not stress over it. There’s not a lot we can do. Also, parents can spot those fake friends way before we can! Mum and dad are going to point out the bad friends, and you’re going to argue with them. Sadly, they were probably right on most of them. That’s okay though. Still be their friends, and know that when they leave or you fall out, mum and dad will still be there having our backs.

Let go of people. I know this is something that’s hard for you. We’re not that type of person that ever gives up someone and it can be a flaw of ours. Sometimes we will get very mad and ignore people for periods of time, but we struggle to truly abandon people. We don’t like to leave them. Which is why we can become so truly upset when people leave us. Learn to stop taking people back because we feel like we have to. If someone has upset us and hurt us, let them go baby girl, we don’t need them. People can be so so so cruel, and they may not even realise they’re being it. After the first few times of telling them they’ve upset you, move on. Don’t let them keep upsetting you.

Overthinking is killing you, it still is as I write this. I don’t know why we stress about something we said three weeks ago, but we do. Learn to control the overthinking inside of us. Overthinking is so unhelpful to our mental welfare and all it does is kill chances of happiness. We need to tell ourselves to stop worrying and not get ourselves so worked up. Keep yourself occupied and your mind off things that don’t help you. Be a warrior and not a worrier!!

You can have a bad day, but I promise you that we won’t have a bad life. There are days when you’ll feel absolutely rubbish. You will cry and wonder what to do. This doesn’t mean that our life’s awful, it’s really not. Breathe and calm down. Sleep and let yourself heal. Wake up the next morning and reflect on whatever was upsetting you. It is okay to have bad days, weeks and months, but know everything will be okay in the end… We’re doing okay now.

Don’t you dare compare yourself to others. You got a C on your test and your friend got an A. So what? Why compare yourself with someone over something that doesn’t matter. The only person you should try to ‘beat’, is the person you were yesterday. Head down my darling, keep revising and working harder to better yourself, not to beat someone else. No one in the world can do a better job at being us than we can!!

Learn to forgive those around you, but also learn that not everyone deserves to have trust in them again. Forgiveness is needed in life and it helps you to grow. However, not everyone deserves to have your trust after you’ve forgiven them. If they’ve hurt you a significant amount, then they do not deserve you trust.

Stop with the act. Just be yourself. Creating a fake person of yourself to impress others isn’t going to make you happy.

Thank you for reading!
All the love,

Queen Clo xx

I’m failing, but that’s okay!

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Firstly, I know I’m VERY late but happy new year!! I hope this year is filled with all the love and happiness you deserve.

Think like a queen… A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.

 

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No matter what you are doing with your life; whether you’re young or old, whether you are a student or have a job, whether you live at home or live on your own, there is always going to be a time when you feel like you are failing. What’s positive to know, is just because you feel like this is the case, it may not be true, and if it is, being a ‘failure’ is not your final destination. However, when you are in this state, you must try to look at the positives. While it’s hard, you need to look at all the great things you do too, things that you’re succeeding in.. Don’t tell me you’re not succeeding at anything because there’s always at least one thing you succeed in every day. It may be something small like ‘you got up today and did something productive’ or ‘you only cried once today’. Look hard enough and you’ll find a success.

If you had spoken to me in August 2016, I would have told you how much of a failure I am. How my life is ruined and I’ll never be able to be successful. This is because I received a U in Physics, a subject I love and wanted to carry on with at university. I also got two C’s in my other two subjects, and an A in my Extended Project. However, all I could focus on was the U. The fail… I was worried that this was it, that I would not be able to move forward and I totally shut down. If you speak to my parents, they’ll tell you how I point blankly refused the idea of going to university after this. I truly believed that I was ‘too stupid’ and ‘too much of a failure’ to ever be able to go. After a meeting with school, it was decided that I could carry on with Physics, as long as I redid the AS level course alongside the A-level course. Although I was overjoyed that I would be able to still study the course I wanted to at Sixth Form, I was disheartened that university may not have been for me. With some research, my mum and I were able to find universities that would accept me with my predicted grades for Physics. I applied for Physics and got all 5 offers within two weeks (the first person to receive an offer in my year). Now, in January, 5 months on, I still have to work hard for Physics, and I am getting some successes. I think its about persevere and I know if I keep working I will get the grades I need. The learning curve I had from this experience was that you may fail the first time, but keep trying and you can begin to succeed. I could have easily decided, actually I don’t fancy Physics anymore, it’s too much work and I could have it much easier if I decided to study History at university instead. BUT… Physics  is a subject I love and I will keep working hard to get to where I want to be.

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With social media, people only post their great successes online. I have very rarely seen anyone post about their failings. This leads us to believe that everyone is happy and everyone is doing amazing things. While this may be the case for some, it is not for all. I rarely post on Facebook when things aren’t going right. I may tell my friends but I find it hard to tell everyone things are not going right. Its good to remember, that I’m not alone and others are feeling like this. Going back to results day, I was surrounded by people who had got the most incredible results, and while I was proud, it wasn’t pleasant to hear how amazing everyone else had done. It wasn’t till after the day when speaking to others that I realised I wasn’t the only one to have failed something. Please remember, ‘You’re not the only one who is feeling like a failure or who is failing.’

I’m not only failing at school, but at life… Friendship is difficult and can often lead me to feel like I’m failing my friends. I have friends that I love dearly, but I really struggle to fit the person they need me to be all the time. Sometimes I have to distance myself a little and breathe. To take a break from speaking to them. As said, I love my friends and I try my hardest to do all I can for my friends, but occasionally I can’t be there for them all. In situations like this I take a step back and focus on myself. It used to make me feel very guilty and that I was failing them. Now I understand this is not the case. Real friends would much prefer me to be okay and happy. They totally understand me needing to step back and wouldn’t think I’m failing them. I may fail sometimes at being a friend, but working on myself is not me failing my friends.

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Failing and making mistakes are totally normal. You can make as many mistakes and fail as much as you like, so long as you learn from them. I may be disappointed with a poor test score, but I realise now it’s a learning curve. If I can go back over the paper and see the mistakes, it’ll make sure I don’t make them in the real exam. Failing multiple times does not make you a failure, but instead means you have found 100s of ways that may not have worked. After failing, review why and learn from it. If you are failing for different reasons every time, you can learn and will eventually have a success. If you keep failing for the same reason, then that is an issue you need to address. Failing for the same reason regularly is frustrating and time wasting. Failing for different reasons is enabling you to do great.

Stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else’s on stage… I always feel like an incredible failure when I try to compare myself to other people. Why on earth do I compare myself to others is beyond me, because I know how upset it’ll make me… Yet I still do it. It’s usually over trivia things. For examples, a test score, how many friends someone has or the amount of likes on a post. It is truly silly. I am a good person. I shouldn’t have to compare myself to others to validate that I am.

Failing does not mean I’m ‘helpless’. After a failure, I know my confidence is incredibly low. It is during the time directly after the failure that I want to completely give up. However, giving up is the only real failure you can ever make. During this period, it is better to build yourself back up again slowly. As you restart on your journey begin to celebrate every success you make, whether big or small it will (hopefully) improve your confidence and allow you to succeed in your main goal.

I wish you all the successes in life, but remember failing isn’t so bad after all.

Failure happens, but I promise you aren’t a failure. You are a normal human being who is bound to mess up once in a while.

Have a wonderful day!

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

Losing Friends

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Welcome!

It’s December 2016, and I can truly say I’ve had a great year. However, this year hasn’t turned out quite how I imagined it. I started the year with friends, not masses amount, but not few either. I envisioned that the year would be full of incredible memories with them all, which has happened, but some not so nice memories have been made too. This post will not only be addressing losing friends, but friendship in general.

Should we crave popularity?

As a young teen, I believed that in order to feel amazing, I had to be popular. I honestly believed that if I was top of the social pack, I would be happy. But now, as an adult (still find saying this scary) I know this isn’t the case. Personally, I’ve been more happier with a small, tight group of friends than when I was younger and had many. So I refuse to crave to be popular like the magazines and tv shows force you to believe. I will be happy, whether I have no friends or whether I have a group of friends.

What to do when friends hurt you?

This year, people I believed I would know for the rest of my life have hurt me in ways I didn’t think they would. It’s not one person either, but a few different people from different situations. Originally, I was heartbroken. I was so upset that I people I loved dearly were treating me like crap. As the years gone by I’ve started to deal with them hurting me better. Instead of moping about this and wondering what I’ve done wrong, I’ve decided to keep living. To keep moving forward. I could relive every memory I’ve had with these people and look at every bad thing that occurred between s, but it’s not going to change the situation. I could ignore what they’ve done and keep being friends with them, but in the end I’ll be hurting myself.

There is a need to talk to people when they have hurt you. Although, after the first few times you’ve discussed about them hurting you, if they carry on hurting you what’s the point. I know in my heart that it’s much better to get rid of friends that hurt you, than keep trying to be friends with then.

I am losing friends, but that’s fine by me.

I believe if you’re not losing friends, you’re not growing up. The people you’ve known for a long time are going to change and you’re going to change too. Therefore, you’re not always going to be friends with them. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some friends that I’ve known since I was tiny and I hopefully will know them till I’m old too. But, I think it’s important to remember not everyone will stay till we’re old. It’s okay to lose friends, you’re not a bad person for losing them. You are still good at being a friend, even if people are leaving.

Toxic Friendships

I’ve had many friendships over my short 18 years, however a few friendships have not been the healthiest.

So I went on to urban dictionary, the source of all the knowledge in today’s times, and got the definition of a toxic friendship:

A friend that embarrasses you in social situations in order to gain attention; a person that constantly betrays your trust, but you cant get away from due to guilt issues; a type of friend that is ok one on one, but will turn on you as soon as other people are around, making it hard to break off the friendship because you ‘know how they really are’.

I’ve never known how to cope with people who come into my life and are what I believe are toxic. It baffles me how people can be totally okay to you on your own, but in social situations bully you to no end. You should be able to feel comfortable around your friends and be free to say whatever you need to. If you feel anxious and upset around them, is it time to let them go? Letting go of toxic friends will make room for more healthy friendships. I think it is incredibly difficult to let toxic friends go, because there must be something you like about them to have them as a friend. In these situations it’s about weighing up the positives and negatives of having these types of friends…

Friends are allowed to argue.

This topic is important to me. People are so scared to argue with the ones they love, but I promise there is nothing wrong with arguing. As long as after the argument you talk it out and find the cause of the argument, it’s okay. Arguments are a perfectlly normal thing. I tend to argue with people I care about most, more than I do with anyone else. However, it is unhealthy to argue and then pretend nothing’s happened. You’ll still hold the grudge with whatever you’ve argued about, and can cause more damage further along in the friendship. It is vital that you talk and sort out the argument cause as soon as you’ve both calmed down!

Acquaintances VS Friendship

I once called a girl an acquaintance instead of a friend. The horrified look on the girls face is something I wont forget. If you do not speak to me on a regular basis, and we do not hang out with each other, we are not friends. I do not mean to offend anyone when I say this but its true. I’m a polite person. If everyone I said hello to, or had small talk with is my friend I would be balling in friends… However, I personally believe that my friends are the people who love and care for me regularly. Not someone who says hi to me once in a blue moon. So if you’re that offended about being called an acquaintance, put more effort in and maybe we can become friends…

Friendship is a two way thing, if its only you putting the effort in all the time, is it really worth it?

Effort is something I struggle with frequently. I regularly argue with myself as to whether I’m putting too much effort in, or they’re not putting enough effort in. I get so worried when people start to drop the amount of effort in. If you don’t want to be friends anymore, tell the person. Don’t drop the effort and hope they get the point.

Long lasting friendships take a lot of effort. If you want a strong, worth while friendship you have to put the groundwork in. You physically cannot keep a friendship with someone who cannot text back or speak to you.

It’s also crucial to remember that you cannot nurture every friendship. Pick the key friendships and stick with them. If you try to be a friend to everyone, when will you have time to be a friend to yourself? You will cut friendships that no longer serve you purpose, and people will cut their friendships with you. Don’t take it as being offensive, but just remember that they cant be everyone’s friends either.

Social Media may be leaving us confused about who are real friends are…

My Instagram has over 14,000 followers, but in reality (maybe) 150 of them I know in real life. Then take 75 family members away and I’m left with 75 people I know. But only a few of those 75 are who I ACTUALLY consider my friends.

I love my social media because I am so nosey. I hold no shame in admitting this. Theres nothing I enjoy more than having a good nose online when I’ve got free time.

Just because someone is liking your Instagram or Facebook posts, doesn’t mean you guys are actually friends. I scroll through and double tap many strangers photos, does not mean I am actually friends with them. The opposite is also correct, just because someone does not like your social media posts does not mean they are not your friend. People show their friendships to us in different ways and we should be less worried about how they show their friendship to us on the internet. If they are there for you when you need them in person and you can count on them, does it really matter if they aren’t liking your selfies?

Under the category of social media, I want to add that as humans we tend to only share the good things that are happening in our lives. Its important to remember not to become jealous of what we see people we know post, as you are only seeing a snapshot of their day. Just because our friends are posting how amazing things are, it does not mean this is actually the case. Just because you’ve seen someone post how great life is, don’t forget to message them occasionally to ask them how they’re doing. They could be hiding their pain…

So please, for your sake, do not let yourself become disillusioned by social media.

(LOL, BUT SERIOUSLY GET AT MY INSTA QUEEN.CLO AND GO LIKE ALL MY FIRE SELFIES XO)

The saddest part of losing friends…

I think the saddest part of losing friends is losing someone to go and talk to about your life. Someone that once knew everything about you, will now no longer be there to know more. The few people you could trust are no longer trustworthy.

And all you get left with is memories and meaningless information about them, things that will keep in your mind for a long time to come.

It’s good to know that you do still have other friends, and you’ll find new friends to tell new stories to. You’ll make new memories and you’ll get new information with new people. Keep living and leave the bad friends.

Good friendssssss

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Some of my loves!!

I just want to say a massive thank you to those friends that have stuck by me and always look after me (even those of you who are not above). I can’t wait to make more amazing memories with you all in 2017!! Woooo xx

Lastly, a quote I found on Tumblr that I believe in:

“It took me too long to realise that you shouldn’t stay friends with people who never ask how you’re doing”

Have a fantastic Christmas!!

All the love,

Queen Clo x

I Won’t Be Shamed For Being Fat…

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When I was 14 years old I used to love shopping… The pure excitement of going into town and knowing I could buy what I wanted. (With the bank of mum and dad, thanks parents. I love you). Now at the age of 18 the excitement has been replaced with dread. As I’ve gotten older my body shape has changed massively in different ways. I am now taller, larger and broader than I was 4 years ago. This leads me to a small selection of clothes that actually fit me.

The left is me aged 14. The right is me recently.

I refuse to enter stores that I know do not stock a reasonable size range. Which unfortunately is most stores. I refuse to go into a store and feel ashamed of who I am. I am comfortable at the size I am. An example of a store with ridiculous sizing is Topshop. Topshop sizes stop at a size 16? 16?!!!! What a silly size to stop at. I can vary from a size 16 to 18, but I can never fit into a Topshop 16… Its almost like they don’t want larger people to be seen in their clothes… Lately, I have found it so much easier and less stressful to shop online. Stores like ASOS and Simply Be have amazing ‘plus size’ ranges. So, for now I will be throwing all my money at them… YAY!

In the recent picture above, people may be thinking ‘this girl is crazy, she is so not fat’. I am fat, that’s okay. I’ll accept I’m fat. We seem to hide away from using the word fat, like its the worst thing that I could be called. I can tell you now, I’d rather be called fat than a bitch. Fat is not a bad word, it is a way someone can look. We have made it a negative word by adding negative connotations with it, and making hurtful comments to those we consider ‘fat’.


At the time of this photo being taken I was in Disney Florida. For so long I was looking at this image and just thinking about how fat I looked. However, while doing this I blinded myself from how lovely this photo is. I’m a mad Disney fan, and I was super excited about meeting Disney princesses. The excitement is clear in my face. I realise now, that these pictures are beautiful. My size does not affect the beauty of this photo.

You can pick up any teen or women magazines in your local supermarket, and they will all tell you about the latest celebrities that have lost weight, or who have put on weight. But why? Why does anyone actually care enough about the size of anyone else? Does it make the celebrity any worse at their job? Of course not… So why should it matter? The person may be amazingly talented in their field of work, but instead of discussing their achievements we scrutinise them for the shape of their body… We should be bringing men and women up, and celebrating their achievements, not bringing them down for the way they look. Another thing in magazines that annoys me is the ‘amazing’ diet plans. Whether I go on a diet or not, I am still a good person and worthy of love. So why waste my time in slimming down and stressing about how many calories I am consuming. I will eat healthy, but I will also treat myself to junk food. I will not be pressured into doing a diet plan. I will love myself whatever size I am, so sorry, I will not be taking one of the amazing diets soon!

We, the public, have began embracing that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes. Isn’t it time that the fashion industry does the same too? It has taken me a long time to be comfortable in my own skin. I realised I could waste my whole life away wishing I was slimmer, and a size down. But at the end of the day, I’ll be loved whether I’m a size 6 or a size 26. If people won’t be friends with me because I’m fat, then that is their loss and not mine. So I won’t feel ashamed for who I am. I’m happy being fat. The beauty and fashion industry won’t stop me from loving myself.

All the love,

Queen Clo xx