‘Look up’

In a world full of mains and privs do you ever think we forget how to live the life we were given? In a screen programmed for these programs that we cram into our minds to leave our world behind in hope that we’ll find something to fill the hole that consumes us whole and leaves no room for anything but Netflix? Ever start wondering if we’re so busy pondering our number of likes we forget how to love? Ever think our eyes are so glued to the screens it seems like you’d rather be in your phone all alone than with those who can mean something to you, outside of that screen?

Do you ever wonder if we fall into the screens, the LED lights, and we’ve fallen too far to live our lives?

We’re losing ourselves. My step brother wrote a poem and it says exactly what I want to:

Look up 

Born into the twenty-first century

known as Millennials, Generation Y,

hard-wired by screens

we are found lost.

Numbed by the phones we float,

trapped high in the cloud,

we count likes like zombies,

addicted to the dopamine

but protected by the filters

we sit alone.

Let go,

listen to the screen shatter beneath you

and look up.

Now I am such a hypocrite, as my best friend would tell you. I complain about our generation of social media zombies, all the while ‘addicted to the dopamine’. I rant about short attention spans and LED lights while I can hardly get through a film. And here’s the thing: so many people have talked to me about how they hate that they feel like they’re missing out on living because of the screen they live in, instead of the world.

But who am I to complain? Without the internet, well you wouldn’t be reading this, would you? How many of you got here via email or a link? 

I love the way the internet can connect us. It can bring us together. But in too many ways. It undeniably divides us.

So, if you ask me, there’s a balance. Between utilising the incredible opportunities that the internet and social media give us, and letting ‘the screen shatter beneath you’. Between enjoying what you can do, but not losing yourself in that world.  Between controlling your phone, instead of letting it control you.

And if you get there, or are already there, then good on you.

Some us are still stuck

Love, Hea xx

don’t just exist in your life, live it

What’s the word? The word for when your heart fills and your mind buzzes and you just cannot get rid of that grin on your face? When you hear the thing you’ve been wanting to, waiting to, for too long? ‘You did it’, ‘It’s a boy’ or ‘I love you’. It can be as short as three words, or one, ‘yes’. As long as your language would allow a sentence to be. It could just be the right look at the right time from the right person and you just feel it. How can you put that feeling into words? That smile hidden, the smirk, because you just can’t stop yourself? That feeling of electricity coursing through your veins? That heart race and complete contentment, undeniable and unstoppable? You know what I’m talking about, right? You wanna know what I call it? What word encompasses all those strong feelings, that undeniable joy?

A purpose.

For those sunny days where the heat seeps through your skin, for those rainy days where you and your friend can’t breathe through the laughter, for those moments with that person you love where you just never want them to end. For the tears you cried and someone wiped away, for those lonely nights made better by the only person who could, for those secret jokes and moments, memories in your mind which mean more to you than any money or gift ever could. You want to know what I call it?

A reason.

What’s the word? The word which encompasses all of the laughs, each tear, every secret, every secret smile and hidden scar. What’s the word which describes every feeling and emotion you’ve ever felt.

Oh yeah, it’s called living.

And just you, still being here reading this, just your eyes scanning over my words, just the breath you just let out and the one you’re about to take in,

Well it proves you’re doing a damn good job.

Love, hea xx

Loss

This blog is actually one that was requested by a friend, and to that person just know I’m sending all my love today. This blog is about loss. 

Now, I personally don’t have a considerable amount of first hand experience with loss, but I know people who have. We all do.

I’m not going to sugar coat it like I’ve seen too many people do, losing someone close to you, regardless of how they’re close, is so heartbreaking. It is upsetting, it’s awful for the people left behind and it’s so genuinely hard to live your life without them. Even in the small things, what they’d look like now, who they would be, whether they’d come to this event or that one.

It’s so horrible knowing that there’s nothing you can do to change the fact that they’re gone. 

But the thing is, you can change how you are with the people you still have.

Now I’m not saying for a moment that this will make up for them not being there. I’m not saying that it’s easy or that it doesn’t hurt. I would never assume to know how you’re feeling, not for a second would I pretend that anything’s made any easier by ‘looking on the bright side’. And sometimes, just being positive is that hardest thing in the world.

But I think that there’s a balance. A balance between missing the person you’ve lost, and loving the people you have.

As awful as losing someone really is, it makes people stronger. It helps them find strength in them that they had no clue they had. It can make people more appreciative, more brave and more than anything else: often the people who have hurt the most, smile the brightest because they know that as horrible as the lows are, you can always appreciate the highs.

So if you’ve lost someone close to you, I am really and truly sorry. I will never know how you feel, never be able to feel exactly what you do,

But there are three things to know.

Firstly, there are people still here, whether you need to talk or to cry or to sit in silence, there are people here.

Secondly, you may never get the person back, but you are strong enough to keep going,

And lastly, as long as you remember them, they’re never truly gone.

Love, Hea xx

Mental health isn’t a punchline

List of things which is off limits to say (in regards to mental health)

  • You look so depressed
  • I swear this is giving me anxiety
  • Lol, I guess she’s bipolar aha
  • God, someone has anorexia, look at her legs
  • I feel like eating disorders may be a good thing for some people…
  • If he killed himself, like, I’d throw a party
  • She just self harms for attention
  • I’d get you mental help, but you’re too far gone to be fixed
  • I don’t get why she can’t just be happy
  • Just relax for once! And don’t blame this on your anxiety like you always do

Do I look like I have serious mental illness? Oh, is this situation giving you a mental disorder? She has mood swings and that makes her a manic depressive? You can tell a psychological disorder by the size of her thighs? Someone’s too overweight in your mind so they should develop a potentially life threatening complex? If someone were to end their life, it would make you happy? So she hides her scars, lies when asked and brings physical pain to her body, for other people right? You’re trying to give someone more self doubt and hatred and turn them away from the idea of reaching out? Want her to just be happy, try chemically lacking the hormones which make people happy? And you think he’s blaming things on his anxiety? Try living a day in his life.

Mental health is not a punchline. These are things i’ve genuinely heard people say. People take so much for granted. The average person laughs 15 times a day. Someone with serious depressive episodes? 0. Can you imagine a day with no genuine laughter, smiles or happiness. And can you imagine it for an extended amount of time, like years?

No? Then don’t throw around the word ‘depressed’ or ‘depression’.

The fact is: mental health is serious. So take it seriously.

Sorry that this one is so heavy but I’ve been meaning to do this for a while  

Love, Hea xx

Family- the people you love

You were born. That means you have a mother and a father. That means they have a mother or a father. Generations of your family must have had to be born just for you to be here.

And whether your parents are still in your life, whether or not you have a good relationship with them, whether you have siblings, whether you have grandparents,

If you have people in your life that you love, then you have a family.

I asked a small number of friends whether they are closer with their siblings or their parents, and 64% said siblings. The fact is, we’re all so lucky to have some kind of family, whether parents or siblings, in our lives. In fact, I don’t think i’ve ever met someone in this country (or my part of it) with no family or extended family in their life.

You know why I brought this up?

I went to South Africa last summer to help out at a school that my old school sponsored. Out of my favourite class of kids, only one person who had both of their parents. When we went into the boarding houses, about 7 or eight people per room, rooms the size of about half a classroom here, not one of the people boarding there had any parents. And these kids smiled brighter than I’ve seen people here do. They laughed louder, loved harder and do you know why?

They realised that you can decide who your family is as much as your genetics can.

Some of the friendships I saw, they choke me up even now. The way they had each others backs, the way they moved as one person, just the love they had,

They were more like sisters than I’ve ever seen. 

So do you know this Tuesday’s homework? Send a message, email, text or letter to someone you call family. Whether it be blood or not. 

So this blog is my letter. To my friends, M, A, H, J, S, C, E and D, my mum and dad, my step mum and siblings, to my aunt, uncles and cousins, to my gran and her boyfriend, to all the people who I love and can call my family,

Thank you for being in my life,

Love, Hea xx

Instagram? Insta-sham

These people that you idolise, these models that you admire, these bodies that you envy:

They’re lying.

Photoshop and photo angles are beautiful things, things used to make us look better. Just editing out a spot, to making your waist a little smaller, what’s the harm? Making your friend crouch on the ground to get the perfect angle. And the thing is, there’s nothing wrong with it. Of course there isn’t. It’s natural to want to impress people, to put out the best version of yourself to the world. It’s natural to feel the need to look and be beautiful. Or whatever you count as beautiful. But here’s the thing,

If you use filters and photoshop and angles, do you really think that the models don’t?

The people we see on instagram, the lives we’re lead to believe they live, the version of reality they choose to share,

Well it’s exactly that, isn’t it? What they choose to share. 

When I post a photo, I’m not going to post me lying in bed on Netflix with a bowl of cereal. I’m not going to post me when I’m singing chandelier or high school musical at the top of my lungs surrounded with friends. I’m not going to post the times when I’m crying,

I’m going to post my face with make up, wearing clothes I like, hair nicely washed. I’m going to post something I feel comfortable in, something where I like the way that I look.

So why in heavens name wouldn’t models do the same? 

Some of these people, their very livelihood relies on their following. Their wealth, their self esteem, their happiness depends on likes per posts. Even people who aren’t models, plenty of people base their confidence, their popularity and again, their happiness on their response from social media.

i’m going to be really honest here, yes: I do feel better about myself when I get more likes. Yes, I do feel more confident when I get load of comments. But you know where I cross the line? 

Letting the lack of these things effect me.

People share the parts of their lives that they want you to see. A touch up here, some blemish control there, just little things, tiny things for their lives to seem even better,

But remember this:

If you search for validation and happiness on your social media feed, then you’ll never stop looking,

Love, Hea xx

Jealousy, normal but dangerous

I get jealous, okay? I really do. But, by definition, (you may have noticed that doing loads of practice essays really drills using a definition to make a point into you, so expect more of that to come), to be jealous means: feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages. It’s completely understandable when you feel left out or not a part of a situation that you feel jealous of the people’s friendship. Or if you think someone has a tiny waist and your idea of perfect legs that you are jealous of their looks. Or if someone walks in wearing an outfit of your favourite brand that you might not be able to afford or get at the moment, you’re jealous of what they have.

But here’s the thing with jealousy: it spirals, hard and fast. 

You’ll see a person and maybe be jealous and that jealousy will grow into resentment. Your two friends will be laughing and your jealousy will turn to anger. That person wearing those brands, that jealousy could go to bitterness. 

On its own, jealousy is a natural feeling, a normal feeling that we all have. If we’re honest, we’ve all been jealous before, whether with or without good reason,

But like any emotion: you can’t let that jealousy control you.

My example is this. Imagine you don’t have much money so you ride a bike to school. You look next to you and see a bus and you think, ‘I wish I could afford a bus ticket’. You know what the person on the bus is thinking? ‘Gee, I wish I could afford the car that that person’s driving’. You know what the person in the car is thinking? ‘I just wish I had that limo, someone to drive me anywhere’. You know what that person in the limo is thinking? ‘I wish I could walk like that man can’ because do you know why he’s in the limo? He hasn’t got use of his legs.

So you know what? Feel jealous. Let it wash over and accept it.

But like anything, never let it dictate how you act or who you are. When you’re always looking for that one step ahead you forget to see how far you’ve come.

So, you know this Thursday’s homework? Instead of focusing on anything else, wishing things would change, here’s what you do. Take a deep breath and look at your past year. You see how far you’ve come? If nothing else then you’re still alive reading this.

You don’t need to be jealous of others, who you are it always enough

Love, Hea xx