DEAR YOUNG PEOPLE, SPOONIES & LITTLE LOST LAMBS
We are the generation of Bloggers, Vloggers, Instagrammers, Youtubers and Social Media Influencers (whatever they even are). We are documenting our lives for future generations to *marvel at. (*please note: sarcasm intended). From instagramming your boring-ass healthy breakfast to snapchatting every god-damn song on your night out, to spamming twitter with your opinions on Kylie’s new Lip Kit. Life changing content ladies and gents, I think we can all agree, yet we are as guilty as the next of either producing or consuming the above. We can fool ourselves into thinking we are the future but right now, we ain’t doing all that great. But that’s cool. I say embrace the shit out of it. Throw the World a curveball and embrace even then bad parts.
We tweak, brighten, crop, filter and delicately construct every slice of our lives that we choose to share with the world online. We choose the digital footprint we leave behind and who on earth would choose to show the world their bad parts? Generations before us did a pretty good job of teaching us kiddos to never let the neighbours hear you argue or see you at your worst, so like hell we should blame ourselves for feeling the need too, nor should you feel guilty for the impulse to appear that way
Poor Little Youth
We were unknowingly tugged along at full-speed with the evolution of technology & communication. Without noticing, we learnt behaviours that shape how we now live our lives and communicate with one another. Gone are the days of hiding away for a moments peace, stepping out of a circle of bad influence by leaving town or ignoring a person for the greater good of your mental health. Older generations grew up in a community in the geographical sense; we have grown up in an online community – this is the equivalent of the biggest, most helpful and loving yet destructive and psychologically damaging family that can’t keep it’s nose out of your business. I imagine, very similar to being a Kardashian.
This seems to be how it works: You share your whole life online, the world becomes a critic. You don’t share, the world becomes a critic anyway. You share only the good things, the world doesn’t trust you. You share only the bad things, the world thinks you’re an attention seeker. You can’t win, so I stopped trying.
We are the generation of wanting everything now, needing the best, having to be the best and not being allowed the settle for anything less. We now live in a world where working ourselves to the bone is rarely met with anything more than a feeling of “yeah… and?”. We are expected to go above and beyond, to over work ourselves to the point of mental collapse for all of the brilliant things that the generations before us have fought so hard for, and then we will be rewarded and praised and only then, sometimes, are we met with the respect from our peers which we all so desperately crave.
Running parallel to all of this bollocks, some painfully perfect underwear model living in Los Angeles seems to spend her days waltzing around the world taking the kind of outfit photos you will only ever come close to by pinning on your Pinterest boards, whilst having great skin & seemingly having complete mental control over whether she will choose fresh air or 2 packets of oreos for desert. (Just so we are clear, I would choose the latter because I’m not an imaginary person on Instagram)
These two ideas in parallel are so dangerous and we are bombarded with these ideals on a daily basis. The most ridiculous part of it all? Neither really exist, not all the time and in constant, yet that’s what we strive for. The sooner you let go, the sooner you will actually begin achieving something of real worth.
Okay, great job Captain obvious but where do we go from here you ask? In your own god damn direction. I am so done with the world defining me, you or anyone else for that matter. I am done with social media being a burden instead of a tool to educate and create. I am done feeling guilty for being a hypocrite because I hate Instagram themes but my god they look great don’t they? I am done believing I am lesser because you feel the need to appear better. I am done hiding imperfections. I am done hiding the bad parts.
Wanna feel empowered? Like genuinely empowered? Not the kind where you buy a top from Topshop saying FEMINIST across your tits? Tell the internet to go F itself and do your own thaaaaaang, make your own rules and don’t feel an ounce of guilt for being yo’ fine self.
Shoutout to my Spoonie Gals
A few months ago, I was diagnosed with a condition that would change my life forever. Clearly, I had this condition for a long time, and so thankfully, it wasn’t as if I’d just lost the use of all my limbs. This is an essay for another day but it certainly explained the millions of doubts in my mind about myself and my body across the past 10 years.
For us fine lot who get diagnosed with chronic illness’, that’s not all you get, especially at such a young age. Something that is handed to just about everyone in the world, a youth, especially for those living the bestest life ever ever like totally ever on my instastory swipe up for more literally – yeah, that? It is taken away very very quickly; the fresh, fun, care-free, party-filled, neon lit, candy-floss smelling youth you all get with no question? It honestly felt like that was swiped out of my helplessly grasping hands within the space of a twenty minute doctors appointment.
I had been handed a new identity to carry around for the rest of my life and it wasn’t even a cool one. Anyone who knows me will know that I didn’t take to being put in a box lightly. I wont be told and I sure as hell won’t feel anything less than superwoman for battling the thing that would floor the majority of the weak-ass basic b*tches I’ve had to endure throughout my life.
How The Internet Terrified the Life Out of Me (& kinda helped too)
Like anyone my age, I jumped online to find out more about this diagnosis and I realised a few things along the way
- What a ‘Spoonie’ was, or should I say ‘who’ – When I read the Spoon Theory, I cried and cried because I was so happy that someone else in the world understood what I had been trying to understand myself pretty much all of my life
- Never have I found a Community so GENUINELY caring – There’s a such a brilliant community on twitter of the most loving caring a supporting people who deal with similar issues, conditions and lives. They are there for everyone & I love chatting to the girls on a down day for kick up the ass
- We aren’t represented – Although there are lots of young girls my age on twitter, when I looked for a person to advise me, maybe even a role model of sorts – at least a representation of what a young female with a chronic illness looks like, how she survives and how she’s okay – that didn’t seem to exist. The Internet is scattered with perfect people and not enough imperfect.
- The only Youtubers out there with my condition, that I could find, were broken.
Don’t get me wrong, I watched lots of heartbreaking stories online and I think Youtube is such a brilliant platform for people just like that to be able to share their experience. If sharing every detail, no matter how depressing or painful it may be is what gets you through your day then girl you better get filming. But my god, you guys might as well have handed me the noose and kicked the chair from under me right then and there. I was fucking terrified. For so long I had used the internet, searching Instagram for hashtags or key terms on Twitter to explore different topics. Imagine suddenly all of those hours in your life you’ve spent on WebMD and NHSChoices (you know u do) scrolling through symptoms actually became true and now that’s your life, your reality. I wish I could somehow explain the terror that washed over me after hearing everyone else stories.
Why I Created Aurelia Blush
The idea of another girl in her twenties, being diagnosed with a scary ass condition which has altered her entire life, being handed nothing more than a 3 page leaflet from the doctor and finding so much negativity online made me feel something I hadn’t before. I couldn’t help but want to do something about that.
I can’t cure diseases. I can’t council young girls. I can’t do a whole lot in all honesty. But I can write (a load of crap mostly), film (until I get too tired and achey) & take pretty photos (when we have good light & I don’t have the shakes) every now and again so that will have to do. I want to create content that’s honest and true but isn’t going to make a girl terrified for the rest of her life. If I can tell an honest account of my life, dealing with an illness and having the normal life of an average (well…) twenty three year old, maybe that will resonate with just one person and in the mean time, I can e-meet a bunch of new people on here who actually get it.
If you wanna be fabulous and walk with an aid, please send your 100 word answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org on who the hell is stoping you.
If you can’t get out of bed today for the pain, please do send your ideas to: email@example.com on why you can’t still buy those shoes to stare at cos they are cute AF.
If you truly think there is only one standard of beauty in this world then please text your thoughts on: 0800-chron1c-can-be-cute-2-bo0
In all seriousness (If I can even do that) I couldn’t give two flying f*cks about your imperfections, about your illness, about your weight, your expensive watch or yacht trip. It’s all a bunch of nonsense that believe it or not, you have the choice on how to both produce and consume. You choose your story, your digital print, you also get to choose how it affects you.
Be a boss-ass b*ch, F the system and do something barely anyone knows how to do anymore.
Choose your own definition of happiness, don’t make excuses for your differences which carve you into the person you are & girl, don’t forget your worth. You’re worth just as much as that chick in LA.
Lots of love x
p.s. I drafted this blog up before the Manchester Terror attack. And while our world can be ugly, the world we kiddos know – to film, photograph and share and retweet was used for so much good that evening – to find safe havens for those in distress, to help terrified family members locate their loved ones, to find free lifts home for those who where stranded, to inform the people of Manchester exactly what was happening in their city by keeping us up to date, sooner than any news reporter ever could. Manchester, u did good.
We Stand Together. Forever Manchester