A letter to all the young girls

Image result for moody teenager

Dear young girls across the world,

I found really sad to read in the news today that among 10 to 15-year-old girls, the children’s society charity reported that 14% are unhappy with their lives as a whole, and 34% with their appearance.

I actually find this statistic quite upsetting because I for one, have never struggled with being unhappy as a child. My levels of happiness have decreased since being an adult of course, that’s a given right? But to acknowledge that there is a number of young women out there, who are fundamentally unhappy with themselves and their environments, whilst by contrast the study found that boys’ sense of happiness remained stable, is a really alarming piece of information that leads me onto a number of things that could be causing this turbulence in the pre teen and teenage years of womanhood.

First of all, Instagram

Yeah, we all have it, yeah we all pick the best filter so it looks like it was 5 degrees hotter than it actually was on holiday and yeah we all mindlessly scroll through post after post wishing we were ‘that skinny’ or could ‘cook that well’ or was ‘that rich’.

But we need to wake up and smell the sausage and carrot pasta (a cheap, easy and not very instagrammable meal for anyone who is interested) and admit the fact that Instagram is FAKE.

I will tell my sister who fits into this teen age bracket that what you see on Instagram, celebrities, personal trainers, fashion bloggers, your friends afternoon tea post, most of them, are set up, they are organised, they are faked, or exaggerated, they are not representations of real life. Real life is the bunch of candid snaps of you and your mates as you lark around in the park doing cartwheels and pulling funny faces at each other, the ones you wouldn’t put on Instagram. But instead, people choose the one where they are delicately (and in some cases seductively) licking an ice cream, which they probably have no intention of eating, despite still having the metabolism of a child (god damn you, it runs out pretty soon after 19 let me tell you!)

Have fun, take photos, don’t think about poses or what looks best on Instagram. Because the thing that looks best on Instagram is not the ‘best version’ of you. It’s the staged version of you. God the only staging I was doing at 15 was pushing around the crappy crates we had in our drama classroom to make a stage out of.

Secondly, The Kardashians, and Gigi and all those other models

You don’t look like Kylie Jenner, or Gigi or Bella Hadid, and you’re sad about it. But you also don’t have millions of dollars and the desire to get your face sliced up and stiched back together before your 17th birthday. These girls PAID to look like that. They went under cosmetic procedures to look like that. They (well their equally as deluded) rich celebrity parents paid for it. You’re going to have to make do with a Natural Collection eyeshadow pallet and some sparkly lipgloss. It’s what it’s all about. Boys might ogle at Kylie and Gigi and Bella and all the other ‘models’ out there, but believe me, they are all too ugly to even get within a foot of a girl who actually looks like that IRL (I’ll give you a clue: no one actually does). So don’t sweat it that Callum in Yr12 fancies Kylie Jenner and you wished you had bigger lips. In a year’s time you’ll realise that Callum only wants a fumble up your bra at that house party of the year and that you’re actually beautiful because you’re smart and respectful of yourself. Sure, slap a face of make up on if you want, we all do it from time to time. But take it from a girl who tried to hide away from having red hair and pale skin because it wasn’t deemed ‘attractive’ enough, being a bit different or not having peroxide blonde hair and an orange tan actually works in your favour as you get older and boys like Callum fade and boys like Chris who studies medicine and your mum just ‘can’t wait to meet’ comes into the picture.

And finally, there’s all this outward confidence, but what happened to all the inward loving?

Take some time out from the pressures of being 15. You’re being grilled by your parents to do that extra French homework, and you’re also being told to tidy your room for the 5th time this week and not stay on your phone all night and why aren’t you coming to watch Coronation street? I was 15 ten years ago, and although it feels like ages (I am old n haggered lol) it really wasn’t. I still remember the fights with my parents (soz guys), and the binge eating my feelings on 6 KitKats after school and then trying to eat dinner. But your parents are nagging you because they are terrified they might have done a shit job and you’re actually going to end up working full time in McDonald’s, so prove them wrong on that one. You’re being asked to tidy your room because it’s a tip and its actually a lot easier to sleep and chill out in a tidy room and if you eat 6 kitkats after school, so what? Go on a run with your mates (not alone you’re 15 and female, society hasn’t moved on that much in 10 years on that front) or join an after school sports club because god damn it when you move to London at 21 and find out it costs £300 a month to play for a netball team when you used to play it for free, that’s a kick in the teeth.

In the words of a wise man (apart from the toe cancer thing) called Bob Marley. Don’t worry and be happy. Because you’re 15, and frankly wait until you’re 25 and having an existential crisis about whether you’re a child or an adult or if you have enough money to eat that week. That’s when you actually need to freak out.

Yours sincerely,

Girl who did it before you.

twitter.com/g_hetherington

p.s don’t you just love the picture, it’s me at 15

Why are people getting married at young ages again?

MTV

I’ve got one friend who defied the odds of the modern woman and got hitched at 19. I’ve got another friend who’s vowed that they’ll never get married, ‘it’s just a piece of paper’. There’s mixed feelings about the recent upping in female to male Leap Year proposals (4 more years to wait if you missed it!) And then, here I am, somewhere in the middle.

I think it’s hard to have an opinion on marriage, because like a lot of things, it’s exactly what you make of it. I for one, grew up as a child in between a marriage, or rather a divorce and although I don’t think it in any way affected me (I’M COMPLETELY SOUND OF MIND AND SUCCESSFUL HONEST) it has made my own opinion of marriage a strong one.

And surprisingly, I feel the other way about marriage than people who are from what my French teacher once translated/described as ‘broken families’ stereo typically do. I want my marriage to be forever. BIG surprise, doesn’t everyone think that? Who goes into a marriage thinking it’s not going to be forever apart from someone like Courtney Stodden? Realistically, you never know what’s around the corner for anything in your life but marriage is one of those things that you’ve got to think about, it might not work out, but do you work at it? Or it might be over quicker than you’ve been engaged. Or maybe it might just last forever.

Marriage statistics in the UK denote that marriage is on the up for the first time in over 40 years, with over 50% of over 16s tying the knot since 2011. Like an economic dip puts the country in recession, there was a time in the mid nineties where over 50% of marriages ended up in divorce. It seems it’s taken a generation to bring back the faith into marriage. Basically, if you’re in the bracket of twenties to early thirties, you’re in the generation of the kids who believe once again, in love.

However, although the stats suggest that the credit to the increase might be the factor of those tying the knot later in life (my very own mother and stepdad have been courting for 20 years due to tie the knot this summer) it might just be the younger lovers of the generation who are reverting back to more traditional values that has sparked an increase in ‘I Do’s’.

One thing I want to be clear on here though is that although we all know the difference between what it means to get married (have a wedding) and be married (a continuous struggle and wondrous experience of sharing your life with one significant other) lest us forget the show Totally Jodie Marsh: Who’ll Take Her Up The Aisle.

 

9 Ways to Fall in Love in London

Thanks Google Images, for reminding me that Yes I would swipe right purely for this picture of a dog and not for the person’s who’s face I’ve already forgotten.

London’s a very busy place and although it’s full of people – it’s hard to meet the right one who you want to spend lots of time with and you know, do stuff with. That’s why I have created these 9 wonderful tips to help you find love in the nation’s capital. Whether you’re looking for a long term romance or a cheeky snog on Tower Bridge (pls don’t do this), there is someone special out there in the capital for you!

1. Meet friends of friends of friends. So you’ve met the friends of your new friends, but now it’s time to meet your friends, friends, friends, geddit? Expanding your friendship group with nice like minded people will more often that not lead to you finding someone you have something in common with and gradually spending more time with meaning you’ve got new friends and a potential new lover.

2. Go speed dating. Srsly. Drag your friends along, even if they’ve got spouses, they can make up a person they want to be that night and just be there for moral support. Speed dater is a great site that gives you lists of nights and prices for that all special singles night.

3. Tinder. Tinder is a bit of a last resort in my opinion. I’ve had friends that have had bad experiences with the ‘it’s like real life, but better’ app but I’ve also got friends who found blossoming relationships out of it too. Not everyone on there is DTF? Promise.

4. Reconnect with old school/college/uni mates. Remember Josh/Holly/Patrick from school that you always kind of had a semi crush on but you couldn’t bring yourself to talk to them/be seen around them/confront them about their monobrow? Well, are you hotter now than you were in school? Chances are they might be too. It could be worth revisiting…

5. Going to every club night of your favourite genre of music every week without fail. You might also develop an an alcohol/drug addiction along with going out all the time, so your idea of ‘the right one’ might be askew, but hey, people meet and fall in love in clubs all the time. Right?

6. Do your hobby. Who knew you both enjoyed and were good at wine archery? And is that guy Tom kind of cute, he sure pull a bow string back well. Maybe you should ask Tom if he wants to go for a drink somewhere in Hampstead where you can drink an earthy shiraz and talk about how leafy the park is this time of year.

7. On public transport. Contrary to popular belief, people do actually speak on public transport in London. Okay, not at rush hour or like…completely randomly. But maybe next time you spot someone cute on the tube, I dunno, you could actually speak to them…or just gaze at them (gaze not stare) until they approach you.

8. OR you could just Rush Hour Crush it in The Metro. I mean ‘cute giggly brunette with amazing ti -eyes’ why wouldn’t you want to go out with ‘shy guy who stared at you on the 8.17am from Walthamstowe Central’?

9. And finally…stop looking for it and it’ll find you. London is a pretty romantic city but it’s not like cupid is around every corner, and you can’t force someone to like you or vice versa (I think the Met might file that under harassment and rape) if you just focus on living your life in London, doing the things you want to do, chances are you’ll probably meet someone who’s doing the exact same thing as you too.

If you want to follow me on instagram and see what I get up to @ecarg_h

I tweet stuff and say stupid sh*t @g_hetherington

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