What are you doing

What are you doing?!

Over the last week or so you might have seen the question: what are you doing? The whole thing kicked off after Forbes named Kylie Jenner the next self-made billionaire which was controversial at best. Then the New York Daily News but you this tweet.

What are you doing? Kylie Jenner

Yep, anyone else feel a little gut punch when they first read that? I did. Even if you don’t think about the enormous privilege that Kylie has there’s something not quite right with this. I take my hat off to her for making a business and being successful from that but it was just damn ridiculous to ask what we were doing with our lives. It adds to this idea that we should all be at the same level, that there is an ultimate goal and if you’re not there, then you’re a failure.

I used to have a plan for my life. I was going to graduate with a 1st, I was going to get married in my early 20s, have 2 children by the time I was 30 and a career I enjoyed. I had everything mapped out until I didn’t. Hell, as I write this I’ve got no idea what I’m doing. I’m not married, I don’t feel ready to have a baby any time soon, I don’t have the best selling novel or a big job. Does that mean I’m a failure? To people who changed their minds or had a life change, are they failures? In short, no.

In the age of social media, it’s easy to forget that we’re seeing people’s highlight reels. We might see these super successful 20-year-olds or our friends with a ‘perfect’ life. We don’t see the sacrifice, the late nights, the tears. We don’t see the days where you look and feel like shit, where you want to pack it all in. I know for a fact these successful, beautiful or brilliant people have days like that. They are human, as are we.

There is so much pressure on us to look perfect, to follow a certain path. What struck me about it is the stress I personally feel about timelines. I can bet most of you reading have felt this too! Each of us are doing something with our lives. For some of us, that means getting out of bed in the morning, for others it might be being creative, raising kids or working a job. We’re all living our lives in different ways and that’s what important.

I’d love to hear what you are up to, however big or small. Live your life, and screw what anyone else thinks.

 

 

 

Growing Up With Girl Power – The Spice Girls & Me

 

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I might have squealed when I saw this on Instagram…

 

I love music and have done for just about as long as I can remember and everyone has to start somewhere, right? Unless you’ve been completely removed from the internet in the last 48 hours you will have seen this picture. Be still my child heart because all five Spice Girls were in a room together with their previous manager and now there’s actually talk about new Spice plans.

The Spice Girls were something else for me and millions of other little girls. ‘Wannabe’ came out when I was two, I wanted to listen to these ladies all the time, I had no idea what they were singing about but I loved them. The older I got the more I wanted to be like them.

I remember around the age of four sitting and watching the new videos that came out on the TV or just waiting to see old ones. I remember watching Viva Forever’s video for the first time. Spice World was the first film I ever saw and then in 1999 my incredible Mum took a five-year-old me to see them at Earls Court, Victoria waved at me and it was the best day of my little life.

There’s something else that stands out to me as an adult though, the Spice Girls were a marketing machine. They absolutely nailed it. In the 90s you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing some reference to them, they took over the world – and with a good message. These were women who did what they liked. They were funny and loud and everywhere.

The message of Girl Power is one I held with me long after the girls parted ways. Although I know, Geri Halliwell claims she’s not a Feminist for a lot of young women, myself included, chants of Girl Power were the start of their own belief in women and Feminism. I truly believe that the message of the Spice Girls was part of me never feeling like I couldn’t do something just because I was a girl. I had, and still have, Girl Power!

Whatever these ladies choose to do as a five-piece I’ll be so excited. Really because they were a big part of my life growing up and who I am today.

What are your Spice memories? Are you excited to see them back?! Let me know in the comments below and as ever, Spice up your life.

10 things I’d tell 11 year old me

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Do you remember being 11? While most of us were pretty disappointed we didn’t get our Hogwarts letters, there was something pretty big going on for all of us, we were about to enter the zoo that is Secondary School. There’s a lot I wish I could go back and tell that scared kid because like it or not, it changed each and every one of us. Some for the better, others maybe not so much.

I had a think about things that I would tell myself, things I wish I could have known that might have made things a little easier. So here are my 10, don’t forget to let me know yours in the comments below!

Don’t be afraid of standing up for yourself.

I was bullied a lot as a kid, it was bad at the age of 11 but it continued. I didn’t want to get into trouble so a lot of the time I just took it. I wish I hadn’t.

You and your body are beautiful.

Ah Puberty, there’s nothing like it to destroy your confidence. This was the start of me worrying about my body. Was my stomach flat enough? Were my boobs going to be big enough? Why did my hair get so gross even when I washed it? Was my deodorant good enough?

This is when I started to doubt it and I wish I hadn’t because it takes YEARS to undo, I’m still working on it!

Don’t panic about not having any friends on the first day of school, you’ll find your friends.

I was petrified no one would like me when I got to secondary school. Little did I know I’d meet the best person in my life there a few years later…

Being nice will get you further than being a bitch, those girls won’t understand that for a long time.

BUT being too nice will get you walked on, it’s a thin line.

Don’t be embarrassed about being smart, keep reading, it’s going to help you a lot later on!

I got mercilessly teased as a kid for reading a lot…I was the 11-year-old reading Victoria Beckhams autobiography because I wanted to know more about her and had gotten through all of the Jacqueline Wilson novels the previous year. Don’t be ashamed of being smart!

Play with your sister as much as possible, she’ll grow up quicker than you think.

Having a sister that is nearly 7 years younger than me I wish I’d appreciated the time she was always at home. Now she’s 16 and off working, meeting friends and doing other things cherish the time!

Everything will happen for a reason.

The good, the bad, the ugly. Every damn thing happens for a reason and that’s what I believe.

There’s going to be some really shitty times ahead, but you’re going to get through them and it’s going to make you stronger.

My teenage years were really tough and sometimes I’m in awe that I managed what I did. But, I’m here, I’m still going.

Think about the future, you can’t do anything about the past.

This is something I’m still working on. It’s easy to get stuck in the past, think about who hurt you and where things went wrong but it won’t help you.

You’re going to grow up to be pretty awesome.

You’re pretty cool, kid.

 

What would you tell your 11-year-old self? Let me know in the comments below.

Music Growing Up With Paramore

Growing Up With Paramore

Friday night I was lucky enough to go and see Paramore for the fourth time. I’ve been a Paramore fan since I was 13 years old and coincidentally since I met Ali, but Paramore isn’t about just that.

I think everyone has a band or artist that impacts their life, for me that was, and still is, Paramore. Hayley talked a lot on stage about how the band and fans have grown up together and it made me think, a lot about what the band meant to me. If I’m honest, I got a bit emotional.

When I was that 13-year-old who first heard Riot I was just getting into my own identity and working out, as a teenager, who I was. A friend recommended this band, Paramore. I loved it and I loved the lead singer she was short, a redhead with a big voice. She was everything  I wanted to be.

I listened to Riot on repeat and I met a boy that I really liked. I waited for Brand New Eyes to come out and it was like nothing I’d ever listen to. I fell in love with each and every song and they made sense. Brand New Eyes came out in 2009, it was around this time I was struggling with Depression, it hit me hard and that album got me through, The Only Exception became ‘our song’.

 

Couple Paramore 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018

When Zac and Josh left the band, I was devastated, I thought the band I loved was over. And then the singles came out, and then ‘Paramore’. At first, I didn’t get it, it seemed petty, it didn’t measure up to Brand New Eyes, all of these thoughts went through my mind. Then my band broke up, I was leaving for uni and the unknown. Suddenly it all made sense. The lyrics, the music it all made sense. My heart soared and it felt like the music held me together for the next few years.

Then another album and another part of my life, ‘After Laughter’. I’d graduated I was an ‘adult’ now but things weren’t going to plan. The single ‘Hard Times’ was released on the 19th April and it seemed to be the perfect thing for me, I’d lost my job 2 weeks earlier and graduate life wasn’t great. I listened to that song obsessively, again the tracks made me feel a little less alone, a little more capable. Then the album came out and ‘Rose Coloured Boy’ and ‘Fake Happy’ became my anthems.

Hayley was right the other night when she said we’re not the same people we were when ‘Riot’ was released and ‘Misery Business’ was all I listened to on repeat. I felt so many emotions watching. I was proud of this band and proud of myself for overcoming so much shit in the past 10 years and still being able to smile.

This might be fangirling, might be OTT but I really feel like I owe Paramore.

What band is it for you?

Growing Up and Letting Go

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I didn’t know a year ago that such a large part of growing up meant letting go and, sometimes, walking away. In the past year, I’ve learnt more about those things than I have in my entire life. I’ve had to let one of my precious girls go for her sake, I’ve walked away from friendships that I didn’t feel were working and I’ve had to let go of who I thought I was while trying to work out who I think I am. I might sound like a clichèd 20 something, ‘ I don’t know who I am’, but I really don’t. There’s the person I thought I was at university, there’s the person I am after leaving. I’ve had to let go of a sport I lived for, something which I never thought would happen and breaks my heart more than I’d like to admit. Growing up is full of changes and evolution

Growing up is full of changes and evolution. I guess it’s how we learn and all adds up to the person we’re supposed to be, but that doesn’t make it any less exhausting or any easier. The amount of time I’ve spent just wondering ‘what do I want to do?’ because that has certainly changed since I graduated. People say that being young is easy but this is certainly the most confusing time in my life, even more confusing than when I was a teenager. Theses ideas of what you should be doing, thinking etc compared with what you want to do.

I don’t have a grand plan when I write these things, maybe I should, who knows. I just get it all out on a page, because I do know I’m not the only one who feels this way. We’re all young and confused and that won’t change for the generations to come, to quote one of my favourite bands ’22 is like the worst idea that I have ever had, it’s too much pain, too much freedom what should I do with this?’ Hell if I know.

Feminist Fridays: Little Girls and Lipstick

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I’m a firm believer that women should do what empowers them and not take any notice of anyone else. For some this means putting on their make up or perhaps a lipstick to go out, to make them feel confident. Hell, I know I’ve put on a splash of lipstick to make me feel more confident than I really am. While I’m not a frequent make up wearer, I understand that others do and respect their choice. Banning make up isn’t going to sole gender inequality in the world. This week, however, I did have a serious think about children and make up.

When I was a little girl I thought my Mum’s red lipstick was the most classy thing ever ( which is probably where my love for a good red lip comes from), but she only did this when we were going out somewhere special. Day to day, while my Mum used make up it wasn’t made out to be a big thing, she could go out without it if she wanted too, and often did. Now she has two daughters, one who has minimal interest in make up (me) and another who can shame some make up artists if she tried (my sister). I thought back to our childhoods and the way make up was presented to us, it was just another thing. Did we want our nails painted like our Mums? Of course we did but that’s all it was, Mum never showed us a desperation or a need for make up.

Now, when I look for presents for my Goddaughter, due to the fact she’ll be a big sister soon, I find myself increasingly frustrated about what is put on the shelves and the child models themselves. Someone on my Facebook shared an image of a toy that was marketed as 5+ but, alarmingly, the little girls on the front appeared to have red lips. There are piles upon piles of ‘toys’ that have nail varnishes, lipgloss etc with Disney Princesses on. I fully understand little girls wanting to be like their Mums and Sisters but at the same time I’m worried that at the age of 3 or 4 little girls are introduced to an idea that playing, for them, is to do with their appearance.

We all know that growing up is not easy, so why are the toy companies cashing in on making little girls grow up even quicker? I know it’s about business, I know it’s about profit but there’s something I find deeply uncomfortable about it. You don’t want a 4 year old thinking that all they can do is play with dolls and lipgloss. I’m a big believer in letting children be children, because they are for such a short time. Women are told to worry about their bodies from all kinds of media for their entire lives, but putting lipstick on a child that’s going to go on a toy box? It’s too far. We need to take back the toy aisles. We need to tell girls it’s ok to want to play with other things, that they can build whatever they like about lego and we need the kids on the boxes to look like happy and healthy kids, not a dressed up version.

Sometimes, when I write these, I just feel an overwhelming sadness. I struggled so much to fit in even at secondary school because the only make up I was interested was eyeliner, and a lot of it. I struggled when girls would be making up dance routines or playing ‘Mums and Dads’, because I was leading an army in the woods with the boys. I’m not saying that I didn’t LOVE body glitter the age of 10 or put on my Mum’s make up like other girls, of course I did at home. The thing is for almost al of my life I’ve felt like make up was just a thing, not the be all and end all. I don’t care if I go on without it, but I worry about what little girls are seeing now. Look at everyone on Youtube doing make up tutorials, the images used on boxes and the pop stars they watch. There’s never a hair out of place and images are photoshopped for perfection. It may only be a little bit of make up on a model but I for one want to give kids as much time to be kids as possible, before they have to deal with growing up.

Feminist Fridays: Back to the Archives My First Public Feminism Post

For this weeks Feminist Friday, I wanted to take you back to the first post where I unapologetically called myself a feminist. I’d had some years that I’m not proud of where I both feared and loathed the label, I wanted equality, why did I need to be called a feminist? Weren’t most of them all angry and man hating (a common misconception). I’m not the first young woman to have felt that feminism wasn’t for them, and I wouldn’t have been the last BUT in the summer before my final year I read a lot (what else is new) and I found what I’d been looking for. I found other women who initially thought the label was too much but then realised there was so much BS in the world if you’re a female. So I wrote this blog and I hope that I’ll show that feminism and feminists aren’t as scary as people make them out to be. We just want equality and we don’t hate men (well no true feminist does).  Enjoy my archive post titled ‘I am a Feminist’, because now I’m so damn proud of that label. 

A lot of people may see the title of this post and think, so what? I’ve thought about writing this for a while and put it off for no reason other than I didn’t want to get this wrong. I am publicly declaring I am a feminist and anything I thought or wrote before is now over written. I’ve always been a feminist but I hadn’t always liked or used the word. I’ve been a feminist since I was a little girl where I’d shout GIRL POWER at everyone while wearing girl power temporary tattoos and would play armies at school and take charge. I’ve been a feminist since I got bored of barbie and used to sketch out my own dolls who could do anything and be anything. I’ve been a feminist since I was a passionate and angry teenager  determined that women could be and do anything and later as an excited 17 year old who saw a poster for the feminist society at university. Then something changed. I came to uni and got in an argument with a male feminist about how oppressed and angry I should feel. As a rule I hate being told what I should and shouldn’t do or feel, more people tried to fit me into a mold so I decided I didn’t want to be a feminist if that’s what people expected of me.

For a long time I, like a lot of young women, refused to call myself a feminist. I didn’t like the way the word had ugly connotations of man hating, being angry and not wanting to shave or wear a bra. I hate body hair on any human and I love a good bra (let’s face it, exercising without one is just damn painful). I’d say I was a humanist and other things like that, I got in arguments at uni and a lot of ‘feminists’ made me feel like I had to conform to their way of living and thinking. Fast forward to when I broke my spine and had a lot of spare time on my hands and something changed. I picked up a copy of How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran for my Writing Women class and it spoke to me. I suddenly felt like I belonged and I could be a feminist and still be myself.

I read and continue to read every book on feminism and strong women that I could get my hands on. I got more interested in politics and women in an international context. I was happy talking about feminism and debating with others. I wanted to be part of a great group of men and women who wanted positivity and empowerment. I’ve said too many that I feel feminism is something you need to discover for yourself and not just tell people WELL YOU ARE, that just pisses people off. I found, fell in love and embraced feminism. I love women like Roxanne Gay too who question what it means to be a feminist in her book ‘Bad Feminist’, because I don’t think there is one true way of being a feminist.

I’m all for women going out and getting a career but I’m also totally supportive of stay at home Mums. My first female role models who I spent time looking up to were my Mum, my Aunt and my Nanna all three are incredible, powerful, kick ass women and all three were stay at home Mums. I also admire working women too, I’ve learnt a lot from my boyfriend’s Mum, who’s always worked. They’re all different and all deserve to be respected for different things.

I also feel that a woman can do what they like with their bodies. I’m not against glamour modelling or the porn industry. Don’t get me wrong there are issues and that’s a whole blog post right there, but if women WANT to do that to their bodies then who is anyone else to dictate to them? Because to me feminism is all about having a choice.

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image from Pinterest via Popsugar

 

I could go on and say all the things we need to fight and put right in the world gender stereotypes, rape, female education around the world, the children debate, etc. I could write about all the men on Twitter, when I posted about equality, who told me I was wrong that the pay gap was a myth and feminism wasn’t needed anymore. I could apologise for being young and naive when I said I wasn’t a feminist. Really though, I just want to say that I’m a big fan of feminism and other women. I don’t want to get angry and compete with them or knock them for every little thing. I certainly don’t want to stand up and go well women are better and men suck, I love men!

I’m writing this because I felt like it was the right time for me to say. I’ve been thinking about feminism instead of sleeping and looking up more books to add to my collection. I know there are some fantastic women out there who I’ve yet to meet and I also know there are people who will judge me first on being a woman before anything else, but you know what I’m excited. I’m excited that I’m a part of this community and that we live in a time where there are so many people working for equality and hopefully less hatred.

So there you go, I’m a feminist, how about you?