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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Something A Little More Serious.....

Regular posts will return soon. If you feel this is not the thing you feel comfortable reading, I apologise and suggest you read any one of my other articles. Thank you.

 As a young teenage girl, I've experienced quite a lot of emotions during my existence on this planet. Some were joyous, yet some...not so....pleasing, shall we say.

There was a documentary I watched recently. It was called "Taboo Beauty". The programme talked about how people went to extreme lengths to get to what they believed was beauty. From breast enlargements to leg extensions, there were all sorts of methods to achieve this image of "beautiful". However, the case study that struck me the most was Isabelle Caro, the late French actress and model. Isabelle is most well-known for her campaign in Milan fashion week where she was pictured on a billboard, showcasing the effects of anorexia. Sadly, Isabelle passed away two months after making the documentary. I highly recommend watching this documentary which can be found here or here.

One of the things that startled me the most in the documentary was the mention of pro-ana (short for pro-anorexia) websites. These websites were for people who believed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa were healthy ways of life. On these websites they would share tips and tricks of hiding anorexia and offer each other encouragement of their weight loss goals. While losing weight is not something to be ashamed of, I fully believe that it should be done in a healthy and safe way.

The one thing that I am really hoping is done soon is the banning of these pro-ana websites. I am not here to judge, nor am I here to insult anybody suffering from this condition. However, if 13 year old me came across this website, who knows what state I would be in today. Or even if I would be here today.

Anorexia is not something to joke about. It is one of the leading causes of death between girls aged 15 to 24. That's not to say that women over 24 and girls under 15 cannot suffer from this condition as well. Anorexia can have incredibly damaging effects on heath - both mentally and physically. Physically, it can damage so many vital organs, lead to a lack of essential vitamins and can even lead to death. Mentally, the problems can be considered as even worse.

This article I read today inspired me to let my voice be heard. The article talks about banning hashtags like "thinspo" (short for thinspiration) and "proana" (short for pro-anorexia), on websites such as Instagram. Personally, I whole heartedly agree with this article. As someone who has struggled with body image issues, I know that had I clicked on one wrong thing, I might not be sitting here today. Instagram is becoming more popular every day. This means more users and more of the population online. However, I don't think it is right to expose more and more of our society to this disease.
In the article an Instagram user’s name was mentioned. Out of curiosity, I decided to look up her Instagram pictures. What I saw truly affected me. I saw a person who needed help. A person who was harming herself for not seeing what others saw. A few pictures made me feel quite sick to my stomach and I am not one to react that way to anything. On her pictures, people were commenting and saying “please stop…you are beautiful…don’t do this.” It truly upset me seeing someone suffer and hurt themselves this way.

This needs to stop now.

I guess what I am trying to say today is, if you think someone is suffering from this condition, help them out.
If there is anyone out there suffering from this condition, talk to someone. Anyone. You can even just leave me a message. You can do it anonymously. I understand. Trust me, I really do. I'm here for you.

More information:

http://www.seemescotland.org.uk/findoutmore/aboutmentalhealthproblemsandstigma/eatingdisorders
- http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anorexia-nervosa/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anorexia_signs_symptoms_causes_treatment.htm
- http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/revealed-anorexia-survivor-who-hours-1896501
- http://www.patient.co.uk/health/anorexia-nervosa-leaflet
- http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/about-eating-disorders/types-of-eating-disorder1/anorexia/

Take care of yourself, love yourself and help others.
You are beautiful.
All my love,

♥ Jess ♥

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Congrats!

Congratulations to you,
The best big brother: Woohoo!
 
 
 
I'll admit, the couplet above isn't my best work. But this is exactly the kind of joke that my brother is used to from me: so incredibly bad it's almost laughable. Also, in real life I can be quite an awkward person so that makes the joke even funnier in real life.
 
This blog post is dedicated to my amazing brother! While we're on the topic of GCSEs, my older brother received his GCSE results. Congratulations for getting 11 A*s, you nerd! I'm so proud of you and you absolutely deserve every single A*. You have worked so hard and I honestly think of you as the smartest person. I know that when you become a world famous neuropsychologist, you'll be rich and the happiest you can be. I mean, now there's pressure on me to do the same so thanks for that, but you did phenomenal bro!
 
 
Once again, Congratulations!
 
Love from your favourite weirdo ♥ 
 
♥ Jess ♥

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Becoming Elle Woods?


It's that time of year again! Back to School!
(If you look up images of "back to school", one of the related/suggested searches is "sad". Go ahead. It'll make you laugh.)



Now generally, I tend to have mixed feelings about this. This academic year is year/grade 11 for me. (or Junior year if you live somewhere outside the UK) As many people might know, this year is often described as one of the hardest years you will experience during secondary school. For those children that live in the UK, we've got our GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education). And for those of you that live in the US, you can't run 'cause you've got your SATS! In England, GCSEs pretty much define your life. You spend pretty much the first 4 years of secondary school hearing about them and preparing for them. They decide which university you get into, what career you'll have, who'll hire you among many other wonderful aspects of life. And this is the year that the rest of my life comes down to.

That thought doesn't really scare me for some reason. Okay, it does a little bit. But maybe not as much as it should. Right now, as I'm sitting on my floor, "Walking On Sunshine" blasting from my speakers, I feel confident. Gosh, I fully expected myself to start freaking out. You'll probably see it in one of my later blog posts though, so don't worry: you haven't missed the drama.

But believe me, in no way am I ready for school. You see, I'm only three chapters into "Pride and Prejudice", I have about 59 more to do, I want/need to do other various writing pieces, translate some passages into a multitude of languages and get mentally prepared for the year ahead. And I only have about 5 days left of this glorious freedom.Yet somehow, I'm....dare I say it? Excited?

I like to picture my life as a movie sometimes. Take "Legally Blonde" for example. This is perhaps one of my favourite movies. Fun fact: I won this as a prize on one of my school Ski Trips for the "best dancing" in the talent show and "party" we went to.

Besides being funny and having the wardrobe of my dreams, not only does it basically describe my life (one of my dreams is to go to Law school). The best thing about it is the fact that Elle shocks people and proves them all wrong when they underestimated her. *clapping* There's a particular scene (shown below) that makes me feel content and motivated every time I watch it.


I guess I always imagine myself rising to the top the way she did. That scene just shows me that hard work, perseverance and determination can pretty much take you anywhere. So when I watch that, I pretty much picture myself as Elle Woods. Is that weird?

Side note: Originally, I was going to title this post as "Legally (colour of my hair)" but since my hair colour is black, I feel that may have been a teeny bit controversial. So I decided against it.

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't.
- Elle Woods

This year, I've decided to....um....install a new app? Ok, what I basically mean is I've decided to turn over a new leaf. To move on the next page, to write the story of my life, to start with a clean slate. See, I feel like those sentences are just far too cheesy to use. Even for me - the Queen of Teenage Movies and All General Cheesy Crap. I tried to invent my own cliché...or a little phrase, as a cliché is generally something that is overused and incredibly cheesy. However, I believe nobody has used the phrase "install a new app" quite the way I have. But as you can see, um, I think we can rule out "inventor" from my list of possible careers.

 
 
I mean people pretty much say that phrase every year, right? Turning over a new leaf, not my stupid app one. They think they're going to work really hard and about a month (maybe less) into school, they then say "I can't really be bothered anymore."

Trust me; been there, done that.

Perhaps I'm being naïve, but I genuinely believe that this year is going to be my "Elle Woods" year. I'm fully prepared to spend my nights staying in and studying. Same goes for my weekends. I guess maybe the trick to it is believing in yourself. After my summers and the amazing people I now know, I think I'm finally headed in the right direction. What I mean by that is; I know who I am, I know where I want to go and I know what I want to achieve.

On our very first day at Harvard a very wise professor quoted Aristotle: "The law is reason free from passion." Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law...and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world. Remembering that first impressions are not always correct, you must always have faith in people, and most importantly...you must always have faith in yourself.
- Elle Woods


So maybe, just maybe, this year will be my "Elle Woods" year. I really, really hope it is.

♥ Jess ♥

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Quotation: Part 1


"You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write."
- Saul Bellow

Sun, Sand & School?

Hello my lovely jubblies! Hope you all are having an amazing summer, refreshing and relaxing by the beach/pool/latest holiday hot spot.

I've been a bit of a bad child and so I haven't written a blog post in a little while. Granted, I have been away for a month but I know, I know...I should really keep up with this blogging thing. So apologies if any of you out there are actually reading this.

Where was I? I hear you ask. Well, I was in the city of love - otherwise known as Paris! However I was not just in Paris to do the normal touristy junk (although there were plenty of sightseeing trips and tourist pictures taken), I was in this amazing city to do some studying.

 



School? In Summer? Yes, when most people think of summer they think of NO school. Well, not me. I was lucky enough this year to be able to have the opportunity to spend a month studying in Paris. For the past 3 years, I have been blessed with the opportunity of going to Summer school. Now I don't go to summer school because I'm bad at school! (At least in my opinion...)

Honestly at first, when my dad suggested I go to summer school for a month, I thought he was doing it because he hated me and he just didn't want me around! Mind you, I was a bit of a rubbish child back then. But now, if you asked me my opinion on the topic of summer schools, I would seize the opportunity within a heartbeat.

The amazing thing about summer schools is the experience. I can whole-heartedly say right now that summer schools have given me the most amazing experiences of my life. They prepare you for everything; they give you independence, make you more intelligent and give you a little taster of university life among many other wonderful side effects.


However, the thing that makes me yearn to go back every single year are the people you meet. There are some absolutely amazing people that you meet from all over the world. I feel lucky enough that I can say that I have friends in Turkey, New York, Lebanon, Charleston, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Canada, France etc. etc. It's not just that though. The people you become friends with, are the best people for you. They make you appreciate your own quirks and flaws and accept other people for their character. It almost seems like a dream the way everyone seemed to just fit together. It didn't matter who you were, you were just accepted.

They make you a better person.

Side note: I am trying so hard to write this without using annoying clichés or cheesy lines from those teenage rom-coms I kill my brain with. I really doubt I've successful with this task.

I guess this is my public thank you to everyone I met at the program. I believe that in the next couple of weeks my dear readers, you shall expect plenty more blog posts about this summer school program.


 



Thank you. Thank you so, so much. I can't properly formulate adequate words to describe how much I wish you all could be with me. Thank you for everything. From late night ice-cream runs to long talks to angry rants about things that were annoying us to taking care of me to Subway runs to letting me steal your food to helping me to burger bars to parties to always dancing and to always making me happy, you are my family. I miss you so much that it hurts and I love you guys (you know who you are) more than anything. Here's to Paris. Here's to Friendship. Here's to us.

À bientôt!

♥ Jess ♥