I HATE LOVE ISLAND

Confession: I do NOT watch Love Island. WHAT?! HOW!? BLASPHEMY! You say. It’s true, I do not watch Love Island. Sorry, I’ll stop saying that now, I know it’s hurting some of you. 

However, in order to be able to appropriately argue my corner I had to endure two episodes of it, just to get the gist – frankly it was hell on earth, worse than my previous bout of tonsilitis this month. 

Let me explain why I have this bitter hatred towards that show from watching only two episodes, wincing at the number of times they say “d’you know what I mean?” and wondering whether I should start a drinking game with it in an attempt to enjoy myself a little more. 

THE GIRLS. Okay, you’re not all stupid, you’re fully aware the girls have had work done. But, there are fourteen year old, twelve year old, ten year old girls watching that! If I had watched girls like that running around in bikinis EVERY DAY when I was ten, I’d definitely have felt even more self-conscious than I did anyway about my body – my lack of perky breasts, my tiny lips and my not perfectly curled thick eyelashes. Yes, you and I know that these women have had work done, but there are so many girls out there who will now strive to look like these women, some of them so much so that they will push their bodies to unhealthy levels. Let’s not beat around the bush, eating disorders such as anorexia affect so many people, please can we just stop adding to that number ITV? It’s not fair to push these subconscious ideals onto young, impressionable girls without them realising. 

THE RELATIONSHIPS. So the premise of the show is to create relationships, yeah? With a bit of drama sprinkled here and there. But these people have known each other all of one month and they’re already saying they love each other?! That’s something we did when we were twelve and it was ridiculous – but there are twelve year olds watching this who will think it is completely normal to tell someone you barely know that they’re the love of your life. It isn’t, in case you didn’t realise. Okay, yes, sometimes you do just know but that’s a very rare exception. In the episode I watched whatsherface and whatshisname (after doing some research I discovered I am referring to Olivia and Chris…or maybe it’s Tyla and Jonny – you tell me) were saying how much they love each other but can’t be themselves around each other. Let me just say, if you can’t make it work in the first month it’s very unlikely it will work beyond that. But then there will be massive drama if one of them gets with someone else, and I’m pretty sure there’s some love triangle between Tyla and Jonny and someone – inevitable when you essentially hot box a bunch of single people looking for love. “Looking for love”, I regret that choice of words because if they’re looking for love they wouldn’t be on a dating show designed to ENTERTAIN people A.K.A designed to create drama in early relationships. Put simply, the people on Love Island are looking for fame, which is absolutely fine, but don’t mislabel it please. 

THE SEX. Okay, I’m not prudish and I have no issue with what order people decide to do things in when it comes to sex and relationships. But, in a time when rape culture is rife and young men’s attitude towards sex with women is, generally speaking, misogynistic, why are we being presented with a norm of sex (and everything else under the sun) before actually getting into a relationship? The problem being that it sets up a new option of “persuasion” (I prefer the word “pressure” in this case though) whereby men can say “we don’t have to be in a relationship to do this” – which you don’t, if that’s what you’re comfortable with, but don’t publish it on national television for all the country to see and be influenced by. ITV, you are essentially giving men a scapegoat for being called out on sexual pressure. 

Maybe I’m old-fashioned and need to relax a bit, but with every rant/message/natter I post I hope to make a difference to the media-controlled, still bustling with inequality society we live in. We should live in a world where women and men don’t feel pressure to look a certain way because of the media, where relationships mean more than just a label of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” and where sex isn’t a poker chip in the game of love. If I can take any step to get closer to reaching that point, I can be proud of something I have achieved. 

HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY RANT. Over and out.

PSA: I’m not OK.

I’m writing this from a dark place. I have to confess from the start; this isn’t going to be positive. I don’t think. I haven’t planned it. But I’m making myself vulnerable, thinking that possibly this might help someone. Of course, that someone may only be me.

Answer me this, how do you tell the people closest to you everything you’re feeling, all the screams from within your head which are starting to hurt you physically, without seeming to be seeking attention? I think it’s impossible. Opening up guilt-free and innocently is a myth. Bloody hell, I’m exploding from within. I have to show you.

So, here it is,


a segment of my whiteboard in my room (which I put up because I wrote this sort of stuff on my wall before – baby steps to improving behaviours). Here are tonight’s feelings: one serving of self-loathing with a side of guilt for being so selfish, garnished with temptations of temporary relief strategies. Why am I sharing this? Why have I posted this for all the world to see if they wish? Because I’m sick of being scared to admit how I feel.

I want to make this clear to everyone. Mental illnesses are constant, as I’ve said before, some days are easier than others but it’s continuous endurance. Every single day I am under attack from my own brain and it hurts me relentlessly. How do you explain that pain to someone else though? You can’t. That is the most terrifying part; no matter how you try to get it across, nobody else can understand the suffering inside your head. Not even those who suffer themselves. And I have to admit it, there’s not a magic “but” coming next, no sweet phrase of reassurance. Suffering from mental illness is frankly s-h-i-t-e: So Hard It Takes Everything. Always. It takes everything to will yourself to get up in the morning. It takes everything to try to want to keep fighting. It takes everything to hold back when your brain tells you to hurt yourself. It takes everything to remind yourself to keep breathing. (obviously you do that naturally but you get my metaphor, yes?)

I can’t pretend to be fine all the time. I need to admit that I’m struggling. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up (there’s your reassurance I suppose), it means I’m fighting harder than usual. And it’s tough.

But there’s my public service announcement, admitting I’m not very strong at all sometimes, admitting that for the time being I’m not A-OK, and confessing to those who care that I’m struggling. And I suppose the reason I’m sharing this with everyone is, as I said at the start, in the hopes that it might help just one person in any microscopic way.

Instagram: more likes, less reality

Okay ladies, now let’s get in-formation. *shameless Beyoncé*

Now, if you’re a millennial (or frankly any age) you will know what Instagram is. And it’s great…in some ways. So, on average 4.2 billion posts are liked on Instagram every day. That’s a lot. And I would guess-timate that 80% of those likes are on posts by celebrities or “Instagram Famous” people. These likes aren’t just “likes” though, they can lead to jealousy, FoMo (fear of missing out), and self-loathing.

Don’t get me wrong, I use Instagram and I’m a huge advocate for doing anything you want with social media – post whatever you want; it is, after all, your account. BE INDIVIDUAL. And that’s what I love about social media as a whole, that, even with all the crap it can cause, it indiscriminately allows individuality regardless of size, race, belief, etc.

The Royal Society for Public Health conducted a survey earlier this year which showed that Instagram has the worst effect on people’s mental health. Now, although statistically this may be true, that is not to say that all users should delete Instagram immediately. Not at all.

But I want to talk about this.

So, naturally, I turned to my friends tonight and asked them for their opinions. Now, this is a group of young women, well-educated but by no means claiming to be the wisest nor the smartest on earth. I asked whether they believed Instagram made them feel worse about themselves and, for the most part, they said that it doesn’t and that it can even be motivational at times. Yes, sometimes they look at others’ pictures and may feel slightly worse about themselves but they bounce back. However, these are smart young ladies, women I hope to see in great places one day, and so they are able to remind themselves that, often, what they see is not reality. These smart friends of mine are also strong. And that’s where the issue lies.

Not everyone has a strong enough brain to tell themselves that a photo does not tell the full story, ever. Heck, I definitely don’t. And that’s not a weakness, per se. You could be hugely successful and seemingly content with your life but still be knocked by the photos you see on Instagram. Because if that “Instagram Famous” girl posts an amazing photo of herself looking tanned in a beautiful location and you’re lying in bed alone scrolling through your feed instead of sleeping, your life can seem inferior or even worthless in comparison. But remember, you don’t know what happened three seconds before that photo or three seconds after.

Thinking about all the times I’ve seen a photo or video on Instagram that made me feel worse about my own life led me to ask the question, why do we take photos? And why do we share them on Instagram (or any other social media) rather than say, keeping them private? Maybe it’s to prove we have friends in times of loneliness, as though we feel the need to remind others we are sociable – because obviously my generation does not have a problem with screen addiction… BESIDES THE POINT. Perhaps it is simply because, as one of my friends put it, we’re feelin’ ourselves. *Yoncé at it again* Or is it to maintain a social status? Is there a necessity to chart events in our lives? Do we have to make our entire life seem exciting and interesting? Nobody’s life is permanently exciting and interesting; we all have to do dull things sometimes, whether that’s adulting by sorting out tax returns or revising for school exams. Honestly, I don’t know why we post photos. I know we take them for memories; photography and videography has been around far longer than social media. But why do my friends and I now have to say, “Memories not social media”, whenever we’re taking photos without make up or looking “rough”? Heaven forbid somebody might post a photo of us not looking our absolute best.

But that’s exactly it, people care so much about what they put out there that it can take hundreds of photos, full of fat rolls and bloated stomachs or unshaved legs and closed eyes, before finding the perfect one. And even then, often that photo will go onto FaceTune or any other editing app to “fix my thighs” or “whiten my teeth”. So why, despite us all knowing the struggle to find an Instagram worthy photo, do we tell ourselves that others have this perfect life based on one photo? Or even based on a whole account of photos? These are frozen moments which capture one second in an entire lifetime; the person uploading the photo has chosen one still element of their life to publish.

I sometimes look at someone on Instagram, Tammy Hembrow for example, and wish so much that I could be her. It can get me so down because I tell myself she has this idyllic life – two beautiful children, a very attractive fiancé and a killer body all before she’s even halfway to 50. But the reality is she has two children under the age of three, who cry and poo and have to be supervised, which cannot be easy 24/7. She will argue with her fiancé from time to time. And she’ll get down herself sometimes. That is all in human nature. Human emotions work such that they are fluid and can change to many extremes. So, yeah, maybe she is smiling and looking great in that photo, but that isn’t a permanent state.

Now, Fitness accounts. They motivate me so much to get into the gym and keep fit. But look deeper, all these people not only work out regularly but they also track their macros and micros (something I have no clue about, and don’t really plan to learn about any time soon). So, obviously you won’t get that toned, magazine-ready body by just going to the gym once a week.

But also, they pose. They admit it themselves. I love the accounts that show reality vs. posed, like GraceFitUK. I love seeing the posed photos because frankly those girls look fiiiine as, but I also want to see reality so that I don’t forget that everyone has some fat on them – that’s called being healthy.

Now, let’s go back to what I said about individuality. Instagram should be a forum where people can express themselves in whatever way that is; whether that’s taking scenic photos in the country or body progress photos in the gym. So why do people feel the need to comment nasty things about how others present themselves? If I want to post a booty pic, whether I have a booty or not, you should damn well support me because that’s what empowerment is all about – making others feel stronger and more confident in themselves.

So, yeah. Instagram is great, as long as you always remember that you’re seeing a fragment of a life. You are not always seeing reality. Remind yourself that nobody is perfect and nobody has a perfect life, fantastic though they may seem. Just appreciate the photos and videos posted, be nice to others, encourage them and always let yourself laugh at funny memes.

Hello, World.

Well hello there, people of the internet. This is supremely surreal that I am writing this and someone may read it that I have just never even met in my life. WOW.

I guess I need to introduce myself; for the purposes of this, I’m Lickle. This name stems from my initials – they sound out like “lickle”. I think I probably could have come up with something more imaginative but I started this on a whim at midnight, so my brain wasn’t on top form.

I think my intention/purpose/hope/idea here is to find a place I can just ramble. I reckon (as you can see I’m not exactly organised about this just yet) I’ll probably discuss various things, ranging from mental health to make up – just keeping it broad…

Probably nobody will ever read this except my friends, and even then it will only be because I’ve asked them to. But wouldn’t it be cool if you’re reading this and have no idea who I am? Hi there, if you are, welcome to Lickle Corner.