Be who you needed when you were younger

Very early on this year, I remember reading a quote which read ‘Be who you needed when you were younger’. After giving it some thought, I realised that being the person you needed when you were younger is such significant characteristic. It also ties in well with setting examples for the younger generation. I’ve somewhat kept the quote close to me when transitioning through many rites of passages this year. Being the person you needed when you were younger can mean many things to different people – in this post I’ll get into the idea of what it means to me as well as what it could mean to you. I solely believe that representation is important when it comes to influencing and inspiring people (especially young people). To link this to myself – as a child, a perfect role model for me in the media or in school never really existed. I was as impressionable as any other younger boy and despite being shy at times, I always wanted to be a successful individual when growing up. Watching TV in the evening was the done thing ten years ago and I remember struggling to find representation of myself as well as relate to a lot of British TV programmes that were popular to watch. This is because of two fundamental things. Most programmes were predominantly white. Therefore, representation of me was minimal in the first place. And… The representation of young black boys that was on television was unbalanced and did not reflect me. (a large amount of the representation was negative) When I saw big shows like ‘Top Boy’, I was able to appreciate the art of the show (because it was a top quality show), but struggled to relate to any of the characters. Similarly, in soaps like EastEnders I noted that gang members were predominantly represented as black. I don’t only have an interest in sport and having interests in things such as sociology, politics, the media etc is difficult to engage in at times when you’re not represented from within. Therefore, I think that it is important to be your true self as well as the person you needed when you were younger so that you build gateways for the next generation. In recent years, I’ve witnessed a gradual change in television with shows like ‘Chewing Gum’ and even the film ‘Black Panther’. However, it does seem as though America is leading the way in the trend towards fairer representation. I also stumbled across a YouTube channel named ‘The Grapevine’ which is a black owned discussion show which delves into topics of representation in race and gender etc. (a show that I might be writing about in the foreseeable future) I think that it’s impressive when I see people being their authentic selves at a young age, especially when they haven’t been represented sufficiently in the outside world. When speaking about how to be a better version of yourself, it may seem like the most cliché thing to say but being yourself is most important. It’s the truth. Being your authentic self is all it takes to be the person you needed when you were younger. This is because a lot of the time in a world filled with consumerism, social media and copycat behaviour. People often become a replica of the people they surround and associate themselves with. Being someone that doesn’t conform to everything in life is something that we should all commemorate especially if you feel as though you have something of worth to give to the world.

Advertisements

Social media is your BEST and WORST friend.

Over the past ten years, social media has taken over the world with young people innocently being the driving force for it’s success.

It’s clear that social media is a great medium for communication, friendships and even works well in workplace environments. With this, social media also acts as a news outlet allowing us to keep up to date with what’s happening in the wold.

Social media is a young peoples game as they simply dominate it. Any trend, popular opinion or music success is somewhat in the hands of what young people share on social media day in and day out. For example, this year we have seen trends throughout. From the popularity of people jumping out of car doors dancing to Drake to the viral video of the yodelling Walmart boy. These are seen as more comedic trends, however young people have also participated more serious things like the shifting of feminist ideas and helping things like the #MeToo campaign rise to the surface of mainstream media. TV has arguable become an outdated form of media for older people due to sites like YouTube and Netflix taking over.

However, social media does come with its cons. Recent studies show that the rates of depression in young people has risen due to social media. It creates anxiety, depression, loneliness and body image insecurity. I think it’s difficult for people who use social media to accept the negatives because it’s not the most simple thing for us to understand. We need to realise that when we follow people online, we only see a sample of their best experiences, relationships and memories. This comes with them making themselves look as attractive as possible to their audience. Whether we want to accept it or not, watching people share their joy online whilst we aren’t feeling great ourselves is only having a negative impact our lives. It leads us to compare ourselves to a misleading representation of someone else which is essentially ‘fake’. This creates our insecurities.

We should be more aware of ourselves when using social media and we should try our best to make a safe place for all people. If social media seems to be impacting on you negatively (e.g. insecurity), taking a break is completely fine and is actually a pro-active step to take. I know from experience that taking breaks from social media is genuinely a refreshing thing to do, especially during busy periods in you life like the exam period. Even after my exams, I took a few weeks away from social media and visited both London and Paris in that time. Not using social media whilst away made me more aware of my surroundings which allowed me to enjoy my time in those places a lot more. In addition, if taking a break isn’t an option for you, a great thing about social media sites is that you are in control of who you want to follow. Unlike other media outlets, a lot of content is forced down our throats.

Therefore, after reading this blog post, I urge you to take the time to really think about who you follow online and why you follow them. Maybe you’ll start to contemplate unfollowing those who you only follow because of their popularity etc. After all, social media is great as long as you keep your content personalised.

Power

There are many different definitions of power. However, they all run along the lines of explaining that it is as the ability to actualise an idea and make it a reality. Some people view power as being a spectrum. On one side of the spectrum lies people with the most power and the other side represents those with little power.

Throughout time, power has often carried with itself a negative connotation. This is due to power being misused in a way that has lead to negative realities being actualised. An example of this would be Hitler’s Nazi far-right political party or even just a smaller scale example of a teacher using their power to treat students unequally would still fit suit. Nevertheless, we need to remember that power can also be used in positive ways (which tend to actually have longer lasting affects).

In order to find yourself on the side of the ‘spectrum’ that allows you to have a lot of power, it is thought that you need to have a broad and clear understanding of the world. A wide ranged understanding of the society that you find yourself in is important. This understanding needs to include knowledge of social matters, politics and current affairs.  An awareness of reality consequently leads you to the resources that can indeed make you a powerful person. These resources include money, education and social support. This explains why the majority of politicians (that have a considerable amount of power) have such powerful statuses. Their parents often had the money to send them to high performing private educational institutions. At these institutions, they have a huge amount of social support as there tends to be a value consensus status quo.

This theory is evident in everyday situations. When somebody has a wide understanding of a situation, you tend to respect their opinion a lot more. This also happens often when you are aware that somebody has a lot of money, a big educational qualification (a degree for example) and social support. In addition, in today’s society, money tends to be the biggest influence of an individual’s power status as social class is somewhat always determined by monetary success.

So, as said before, those with power generally have a greater understanding of the world along with the resources of money, education and social support. With all of that being said, there are still people out there who find themselves in powerful positions without the resources that usually enable you to be powerful in the first place. This often leads to power being used in nonconstructive ways. Nevertheless, it isn’t always too late to change that. Jay-Z is an example of a man that arguably didn’t use his powerful status constructively in the beginning of his success. Although, he has now used his power (and money) to educate himself and others on social matters to try and make a positive change to society by having important conversations about politics, social justice and even love. Without his efforts to have a better understanding of the world, it is likely that his power would been misused.

In regards to the main message to this blog post, I wanted to explain why certain people may or may not be seen as powerful. Maybe you could use this information and make yourself more of a valued, powerful individual (for good reasons). You can become someone that has the power to influence or actualise an idea. Educate yourself on social, political and current affairs. Knowledge equates to power. If you aren’t someone who can easily get the resource of money, your knowledge will often outweigh it. A lack of education leads to limitations and you don’t want to find yourself in that situation. Let’s make ourselves able to make the right decisions which impact ourselves and our surroundings in a positive way. As a result, you’ll also be viewed as a much more valued individual in society.

January.

Happy Friday. It’s not often that I post on Fridays but it’s 2018 now. So let’s just say… New year, new me, right?

January. A time for us all to join the gym? Set some new goals? Maybe even start up a new diet plan. I think it’s funny how all of a sudden, once the clock strikes 12 on January 1st, everyone seems to rebrand themselves as if they’re contestants on The X Factor. If it motivates you and makes you a better person then go for it. However, it makes me giggle how some people have been ‘rebranding’ themselves for the past 7 year and are stood in the exact same spot; saying that they’re going to do the exact same things as they were going to do almost a decade ago.

This year, I didn’t set myself any new year resolutions. It sounds ridiculous considering that I’m an athlete and A level student. I even wrote a whole blog post on how goal setting is important (which you can read here). Of course, goal setting is important but it shouldn’t be forced simply because it’s January 1st. A constant and steady flow of goal setting is much more productive. After all, we grow as people everyday and nothing is going to magically happen over night.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this blog post and to be completely honest… I began to think about how January feels like it’s never ending this year. (Hence the title ‘January.’). I was struggling to come up with some ideas to write about. Prior to that, many of my peers wanted me to write about the whole Logan Paul situation. People mentioned the H&M scandal and even Offset’s homophobic song lyrics that caused outrage. They’re all popular culture topics of which I felt I could write confidently about, but I wanted to be unique. Until I saw today (Jan 25th), that Logan Paul has quite literally ‘rebranded’ himself in his new YouTube video which aimed to raise awareness on the topic of suicide. This was after he was globally criticised for essentially mocking suicide earlier this month.

It’s astonishing that within the space of  25 days, Logan Paul went from ignorantly fooling around in a suicide forest, to now being an advocate for suicide prevention. This is a genius move by him. Only in the sense that he has been able to maintain a growing audience with little criticism by ‘rebranding’ himself. The general public were waiting to see what his next online move was going to be after all of the commotion (including myself). To many people, him suddenly becoming an ambassador for suicide prevention comes across as very cynical. In all honesty, people have every reason to believe that it was only done so that he could continue his career on YouTube as a social influencer (with minimal backlash).

Which takes me back to my initial point of ‘rebranding’. Are we really making some of these new goals for the right reasons, or is it to satisfy others and be strategic about situations that we find ourselves in?

Inequality within the English language

Is the English language sexist?!?! Not quite, but it doesn’t always support men or women.

It was a few months ago when someone suggested that I wrote about this topic. I was keen to explore and read up about it as I had never really digested it much during day to day life. So let’s get into it.

Essentially, this post is going to be about how the English language may in some ways stimulate the inequality of both men and women in society.

It is clear that the English language is constantly evolving as new words get invented and others die out. However, it is known that the English language was primarily created by men which may have had some effect on the inequalities addressed. Hence words like ‘mankind’ still being used instead of a simple alternatives like ‘humankind’.

I once read that derogatory words used against women like ‘slut’ or ‘hoe’ have no equivalent when it comes down to negatively describing men. Many would argue that you could use words like ‘player’ or ‘man-hoe’. But they’re used too many times in a comical way which defeats their true derogatory meanings. In a perfect world, none of these words would be used at all but we can’t escape the fact that the are; and more importantly, to disrespect women.

Another term which is used a lot is ‘man up’. A phrase that Piers Morgan tends to use a lot to encourage men to get over mental health problems despite it’s damaging effects on men (and women). It sends a message that men have to be strong, tough and ignorant when it comes down to understanding their emotions. Language like this can easily make men feel trapped and forced to fulfil a specific role even when it doesn’t fit for them. Statistics for male suicides are excessive and many professionals state that it is because they are told to ‘man-up’ and be masculine instead of seeking help at times of distress. For women, it infers that they are weaker than men. Women are never told to ‘woman up’ because they don’t carry connotations of being strong.

For both sexes, language in some ways is nonfunctional. Just from these few examples, it is clear that men and women have an ongoing silent battle with the English language. It often devalues them. On the other hand, with new language flourishing, maybe one day these battles will end.

I’ve been busy.

Apologies for not posting last week. I’ve been busy.

My message for this blog post is that you can do anything if put your mind to it. The post is going to be pretty self-centred so I’d stop reading from here if you’re not a fan of me, myself and I. However, I will also go on to talk about International Men’s Day.

Anyways, over this past two weeks, I’ve passed my driving test, applied to university, began hurdling at training and many other things. Not to be overconfident and annoying, but I’ve done all of this by staying consistent in staying focused and getting things done as and when they need to be done. I’ve set so many goals for myself since the academic year has began and I’m happy to say that so many things are finally coming together.

I would say that all of the things written in this blog post sort of links to my ‘Goals‘ post that I wrote a few weeks ago. I stressed the importance of having goals and gave advice on keeping a healthy mindset about them. I would advise reading it 🙂 (yes, that was me giving myself some self-promo). Being able to say that you’ve achieve a goal is so satisfying no matter how big or small the goal is. Therefore, I wouldn’t see any reason for me to stop setting myself goals.

I also woke up this morning to see that today is International Men’s Day. After seeing a few tweets, many men were taking this day to not only praise and appreciate the good men in this world but also reflect on how men could improve. Especially in this moment in time where feminism is growing and where toxic, hyper–masculinity is being challenged. (A blog topic that I look forward to writing about in the future). I think that some of the top tweets that I have seen are spreading awareness about men’s mental health so if you’re a male reading this, maybe you should join in with the conversation using the hashtag #InternationalMensDay.

That’s all for today’s post. Thanks to everyone reading 🙂

Love, Lifestyle and Love Island

Appearance and physical attraction has arguably become the most important and first thing that people look for when seeking love. Natural beauty and personality is becoming less valuable. More and more people would much rather appear to have a lush lifestyle instead of a ’10/10′ personality.

We use social media sites, dating apps and even watch programmes such as Love Island which all contribute to the pressure of finding someone to fall in love with. However, this “love” that is being drilled into us seems to be based on what people look like. The individuals shown on shows like Love Island all have something in common. Materialism. They all appear to be the type of people that are buying the latest brands for clothes, makeup and gadgets. Is this representation of a perfect lifestyle damaging though?

I admire people who present themselves well. I think that it’s important. However, it’s also important to not fall for someone simply because or their way of living. In ten years time, your lifestyle changes. A lot. Don’t think that because someone you’re attracted to has an iPhone X now, they are going to be seen as trendy in 10 ten years time. Because they won’t, and neither will their iPhone X. If your significant other is caring. Genuinely caring, not to look good in front of others but because they really CARE. That’s ‘attractive’. Or it should be anyway. However, shows like Love Island haven’t really emphasised how important those sorts of qualities in relationships are. In ten years time, if your partner is still caring, then you’re the winner. Logic. Simple logic.

We all know that personality is important. We understand that Love Island is for entertainment purposes and that it’s fake and set up and blah blah blah. The problem is that young people genuinely can’t disconnect the fact that Love Island is a show and not real life. Fourteen year old’s are growing up with the mindset that money can buy you happiness and a partner can make you look fancy. Love Island is just one of the shows that push this ideology and it’s all rooted from capitalism but let’s not get too deep for the sake of Love Island being the lead example.

It just seems weird that these shows are portraying perfection as something that it really isn’t. But that’s entertainment for you. We have to admit that these shows are addictive and fun to watch. I didn’t watch this years series but I watched last years and I genuinely enjoyed it. These shows are great for entertainment, just don’t be one of those people that can’t disconnect reality TV and real life simply because Kem and Amber are still ‘together’.