Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Fake a smile, no one will notice. Fake your confidence, guys like confident women. Fake a laugh, you’re prettier when you look happy. Fake your intellect, pretty girls should keep their mouths shut. Fake an orgasm, being truly satisfied isn’t dignified. Fake a life to fit in with society. Fake it ’til you make it and it breaks you. No one is perfect but the world expects you to be the exception.
From a young age I remember being taught to just fake my confidence. They said eventually I’d start to believe my own bullshit and actually love myself. Eventually. What if that day never comes and I’m just stuck in this lie that I’ve built up around myself? I’ve trapped myself here but the slightest breeze would make it all crumble away, back to square one. Pretending to be something you’re not is so dangerous. How can you ignore your authentic self? Sometimes pretending to be confident or happy is ok in order to heal in your own time but to be constantly met with this mirage of having to have a perfect lifestyle is numbing. I feel sad when I see these profiles of people I know and how staged it all is. Their real personalities are nothing like their profiles. We present ourselves to people in a way that we think they will like and we lose ourselves in the process. We forget that the one person that really matters is ourselves. Our self love and healing is the most important because without that we would all be so broken. We should be brought up to see ourselves in a positive light, we shouldn’t be taught to pretend. We’re told that confidence is arrogant and that only narcissistic people love themselves. People constantly preach about self love and self empowerment but when it comes to seeing them do as we tell them we judge them and try to bring them back down.

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We’ve got so caught up in our own insecurities and how others perceive us that we forget to actually look. To truly see ourselves. I find myself looking in the mirror and picking out flaws, I can’t just glance and be happy. No, that would be too easy. Our minds have this funny way of treating us like we’re not good enough and society backs it up. We’re all to blame for how our society is constructed. We really need to work on ourselves, to truly believe in what we are and what kind of person we want to be in the world. Faking it won’t cut it. If you don’t have faith in your own journey and successes then how do you expect anyone else to? Learn that you need to fully believe in yourself, you are the one that can take you places that no one else could dream of. True happiness and love of life doesn’t come from pretending it is, there will always be this void between what you know is real and what you build up inside your head. Find things and people that truly make you happy and feel blessed to be alive, that is where true happiness lies. Find it.

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Women Are Conditioned To Hate One Another

As women we are taught that we must be the best. Not in intellect but in appearance, desirability and confidence. We need these attributes in order to see ourselves as worthy. We’ve been conditioned from a young age to see one another as competitors for these exact reasons. I catch myself putting myself down because I see another woman and think she looks great when I should be seeing myself separately from her. It’s instilled in our minds, I guess. We feel that we aren’t valid or beautiful if other people don’t tell us we are or if we aren’t getting constant attention from onlooking admirers. It is such a strange concept, gratification. It’s become institutionalised for us to seek guidance and validation from outside sources when we should really be looking to ourselves. We are our own worst critic and yet we are the only person we can fully be honest with. We know within ourselves what is good for us and what is not so why do we put our faith in others for that confirmation? I find it so sad when I see women not being able to compliment their friends or strangers if they appreciate them. We need to bring each other up, fiercely support one another and create a new generation of people that spread love and not envy. I am constantly complimenting my friends, they’re absolutely amazing so why would I keep that to myself?  We should instead try to be the best version of ourselves to better who we are as individuals rather than focus on what others are doing and how successful they are. Love yourself and spread that love to others.

Love. Love. LOVE. Spread it and realise that there is so much more power in that than any other emotion that we feel as human beings. Learn that love is the direction that people should follow to truly be happy. Life will be more enjoyable if you just love tirelessly and gift it to those that you love and even those that you do not know. Over my life time I have realised that it is the one thing that unites us and makes us stronger. We get blinded at times but ultimately all we ever want is to feel that we are cared for and that we are valid.

Only In The 80’s

A couple of weeks ago my flatmates and I decided to host a flat party. The theme was 80’s, we got decor and everyone got their outfits. It was a banger of a night. We all got very drunk and had a lot of fun. Having parties and hanging out with friends can be such a great therapy. Just letting go and enjoying ourselves, seeing my friends so happy and letting loose warms my heart. Everyone embraced everything that night and it made it all the more better. Celebrating the life we have and appreciating the ones we have in our life is such a gift. We are lucky to be able to have such nights like this and to have no real worries accept university and looking after one another. Being at university has really taught me how much people are willing to do for one another. I care deeply for my friends and cannot wait to have more nights like this in the near future.

Place | Face | Object

About a month ago I worked on my first project for university titled ‘place, face and object’. Here we had to make three images in response to each word and so we would end up with 9 individual images. At first it was a challenge to really get back into photographing as I had a year out where I wasn’t really doing all that much accept working. It was nice to really get back on my feet and to start exploring round Cardiff a bit. We had about 9 weeks to complete the project and hand it all in. I made over a thousand images and really worked hard on making each one of them as unique to the others as possible. We had to make our work versatile and show a variety of different techniques whether it be through flash, close up, in editing, conceptually or otherwise. I really enjoyed doing this project as in some aspects its was a challenge to make stand alone images that could really present a solid idea and be strong enough to make an impact. Especially living in Cardiff where I have felt strongly uninspired and a little under enthused by it all.

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Finding Myself Again

For the past few months I’ve been living in Cardiff and to say the least it’s been hard to adjust. I never really felt a strong connection to the city and haven’t been able to really find my place here, yet. I originally saw this place as dismal, I haven’t really felt a spark of inspiration or joy towards the city. In part, it’s probably because I’m not used to busy, cramped city life with no greenery or ocean surrounding me. I felt a real disconnect from everything and everyone, including myself. Eventually, piece by piece I’ve been building myself back up and really trying to figure my new self out as an independent young adult. I started to build the space around me to reflect the kind of person I am. I’ve been sending out the energy I wish to receive in return. I’ve managed to create a home out of my halls and my room really is my little haven now. It’s so relaxing and I’m so glad that I did this to really help me settle in and make something my own. It really helps that I love my flatmates. We’re like a little family. I guess it just takes time to really settle in and find out the kinds of things you like and dislike. You get to know people and who they really are and the same for yourself. Independence can really change a person and make them see the world from a completely different, unsheltered, perspective.

It’s so important to surround yourself with like minded people who want the best for you as much as you want the best for them. It is so easy to lose yourself in the mix of things. I found at first I really wasn’t myself, I couldn’t be happy because I simply wasn’t. I felt out of place and I was annoyed at myself for not being my authentic self. That’s the beauty but also the ugliness of starting a fresh somewhere new, you can be anyone that you want to be. It gets dangerous when you become someone that even you don’t recognise. I never really changed all that much when arriving in Cardiff, just a more sheltered version of myself. I guess that all comes with nerves and being scared of what others think of you. Now I can say that I am myself and I feel moving away has helped me find more of myself, some aspects that I had never really focused on or developed before. It can be hard to let go of the past and easier to just stay in the same place with all the same people not really changing anything that you’re doing or experiencing new things but life isn’t as simple as that. In order for us to grow and develop as people we need to go through things that may challenge us or scare us. We need to realise that there is so much we have not yet experienced and something we should strive for. We should accept change and enjoy the journey. No one achieved their greatness by staying in the same place their whole life.

This Is Halloween

For Halloween this year my friends and I decided, even though we have our deadline this week, that it would be a great idea to dress up and go for a night out on the actual Tuesday. It was actually so much fun. Two friends and I got ready together and helped one another with our makeup. I dressed up as a fortune teller and did crazy makeup for the first time ever and it actually turned out quite well. We didn’t finish getting ready until about half 9 before we met our others friends, had a few drinks and head to a cool little pub.

I really feel like my inner being was revealed when I dressed up as a fortune teller. I even took two of my friends down to my room and gave them a reading. It was quite funny and a little silly (thanks to the gin) but I really enjoyed myself. I got my outfit in part from a charity shop and in part from a sale so it was actually super cheap and really easy to find. Dressing up is so much fun, you can be whoever you want to be and really become someone new for the evening.

Halloween is really such an amazing time, people really go all out and don’t care about what anyone thinks of them. You become a character, someone that is free to do whatever they want and enjoy themselves without limits. No one tends to judge as hard on Halloween, it’s more about having fun and seeing all the different kinds of costumes that people go for. I love this time of year and the joy it brings. There is so much to do and to get excited about, like Bonfire Night in a couple of days and, of course, Christmas. I do have to say that Halloween is probably my favourite holiday just because it isn’t really about anything more than dressing up and having fun. There’s no deeper reasoning for it and it’s something that can really be celebrated all over the world.

6 Months On Film

An entire half of 2017 has gone by and what have I done? I have faced many new challenges, some of which were much harder to overcome than others. One thing that I have learned is patience. You must wait for the things that you desire most and no matter how badly you want them they will not come to you until they are ready. I like to reflect to prove to myself that I have grown and what I have taken on with that growth. This year I have become a more caring person, a strong one and a more passionate and driven person. I strive for the things that are out of my reach because I need these challenges to excite me, to bring me purpose.

For this half of the year I have taken photos using a disposable camera. I used it sparingly and only used it when I deemed it necessary. Many of the images I have forgotten about because they all seem to be from so long ago. It’s funny how we say time flies and yet when we look back on recents months we feel that they are so far away from us that we can no longer remember the content that filled them. I have taken so long to fill up the film on this roll because I wanted the images to be real, something that I can see and generate a memory or some sort of meaning towards. I still haven’t seen the images myself but am excited to reveal them. What did 6 months younger me deem important enough to photograph on a non-deletable device? Something I hope to be able to shed some light on soon.

I like to think that the images I made with this disposable camera are amateur, a stepping stone towards using film. I wasn’t thinking in a photographic sense when making these images, I simply took my camera out when and if I wanted to. When it felt like the right moment. Some of the images on here are really beautiful scenes of the island I am from. Many include my mother. It took something drastic for me to fully understand the kind of love I have for my mum. I never knew it existed until I thought I might lose her. I realised that I love my mum with all my being and it is this unconditional feeling and this feeling of so much love. I care so much for her, beyond words. At the beginning of the year I looked after her while she was recovering from a long time in hospital and it gave me a sense of purpose. I didn’t once get fed up or tired of  it, I enjoyed caring for her. I seriously appreciate everything my mum does for me and I care for her so deeply that my heart kind of aches when I talk about it. The images I created were mainly inspired and surrounded by her, a kind of homage to her.

Upon looking at the images I really noticed a pattern. One of which started as quite dismal and sad, the images are all very dark and mysterious to then suddenly bright and happy. The first images were taken when my mother was in a coma and I felt lost. I felt like I had lost all sense of purpose and that nothing really mattered anymore. Until she woke up and was on the road to recovery. I did not make happy photographs until she was with me. The first image is that of the boats and the blue sky where I went with my mum, her best friend and her daughter and we just got some lunch together. It was a peaceful day. I didn’t realise while making all of these images that they changed in this way but I guess they really reflect my feeling. They give a physical embodiment to help express my lack of words at the time. I became a sort of mute when things got bad, I bottled myself up and that was how I coped. I kept myself to myself and that was it. These images really have helped me to express my thoughts. It’s amazing what stories images can tell, especially using film where you can’t edit or reshoot and change anything afterwards.