Health

If a situation is already difficult, why make it worse?

What’s wrong with you now? What’s happened?

“Nothing”, I respond. “Nothing’s happened. And therefore nothing can be wrong, right?”

Then why are you being like this? Why are you being so temperamental?

“I don’t know”, I think. “I don’t know why I’m like this.”

Well stop it then. Stop pissing everyone off with your low moods, your frustrations… Just stop getting in everyone’s way. Stop putting your bullshit “problems” onto everyone else. You might be a worthless piece of shit but don’t drag everyone else down with you.

“I’m sorry”, I say. I want to scream it at the top of my lungs. “I’m sorry”, I repeat. It’s become a daily occurrence now. I always have something to apologise for.

If you’re so sorry, why are you still such hard work? Why don’t you just stop crying and doing everything to make things worse? Why don’t you just change?

“I want to change! More than anything in the world!” I repeat this on a daily basis too. Why do you think I keep trying to make my internal pain external?

You fucking idiot! Why would you make it even more obvious that you’re a complete fuck up?

I don’t know how to respond to that. I’ve used some awful coping mechanisms to deal with the pain inside of me.

What is the point in even trying to reason with you anymore? You’re completely nuts!

*************************

I stop and I think about it. Despite all the bad decisions I’ve made, I’ve also got to remember all the positives. I might have done some reckless things while at my worst but I’ve also been proactive wherever possible. I’ve spoken to people and I’m taken a lot of the right steps to recovery.

Surely that’s got to be worth remembering?

The above conversation is one I’ve had many times. It goes around my head every single fucking day and it still hurts every single fucking time.

But the funny thing is, no-one else was involved. It was all in my head. I’ve been mentally torturing myself over something that’s not my fault, something I can’t fully control.

And it really doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve started to realise, though, that life is hard enough without adding to the pressures of everyday life with anxiety.

I’ve already suffered enough without making things worse for myself, haven’t I?

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Society

Kim Kardashian: Why She’s a Toxic Public Figure

Kim Kardashian is a name we all know. Whether we love her or loathe her, we know all about her and her family. But she has not gone without her fair share of controversy, with many labelling her as a bad role model, especially for young girls. So what is it that makes her seem so bad?

Kim Kardashian has recently been widely criticised for promoting ‘diet lollipops’ on social media, that are supposed to help with weight loss. And frankly, I agree with those that have condemned her. She knows that thousands, if not millions, of young girls follow her so it was wholly irresponsible for her to do such a thing. Considering the number of people with mental health issues and problems with body positivity, promoting such an unhealthy method of weight loss is pretty disgusting.

And then there’s the issue of all her Botox and plastic surgery. Fair enough, it’s totally her decision what she spends her money on but, again considering her public profile, is doing all of this such a good idea? There are so many impressionable young girls out there aspiring to have a body type they could never possibly achieve. Not to mention a body they could never afford. And what kind of message is Kim Kardashian really sending to these girls by going mad with all this plastic surgery?

And why is it that Kim Kardashian is actually so well known? What has she actually achieved that really justifies her fame and fortune? The idea of getting famous and making loads of money by not doing anything significant and behaving like an idiot is honestly pretty ridiculous. Fair enough, it worked for the Kardashians but they are an extremely small minority. How will they be affecting the aspirations of young people?

Kim K gives the idea that you don’t need to work hard to do well and make a name for yourself. This might have been true for her but it’s not representative of the real world, where people actually have to work for their money and luxuries.

At the end of the day, I strongly believe that Kim Kardashian is a toxic public figure. She isn’t particularly inspirational or hard working and she definitely hasn’t earned her celebrity status. Instead of idolising people as fake as Kim Kardashian, why don’t we focus on some of the more deserving people?

A series on the life on Malala Yousafzai, perhaps?

Journalism

The Distrust of Journalists in the UK

Of 36 countries, the UK comes 17th in terms of its trust in the media. That’s according to The Guardian, in an article about fake news. This was hugely damaging for the reputation of the journalism industry, and did nothing to boost its public perception. But what else makes the UK media so untrustworthy in the eyes of the British public? There are various reasons for this, including the emergence of fake news.

But all things considered, is it really fair to label all journalists as unethical, untrustworthy liars because of the actions of a few?

The News of the World. For many, those words epitomise what it means to be dishonest and unethical. The phone hacking scandal in which it was infamously involved in shocked news consumers and journalists alike, and prompted lengthy investigations into the paper. When Rupert Murdoch admitted that the phone hacking had been going on for years, the paper was closed in 2011.

Perhaps one of the most devastating cases of phone hacking involved voicemails left on Milly Dowler’s phone. The 13 year old was abducted and murdered – The News of the World blatantly ignored all ethics and proceeded to hack into her phone.

Looking at this absolutely disgusting act alone, it is clear why many British people do not trust the media. After all, why would someone trust an industry where this had been going on for so long?

Not to mention the political bias of British newspapers. For example, The Daily Mail and The Times are more right wing and The Guardian is centre left. If papers are in line with a particular wing of politics, to what extent can they really be trusted to be unbiased in their reporting?

But despite all of this, to label all journalists as immoral liars is unfair. When you look at the careers of Trevor McDonald, Jon Snow and Alex Crawford, and so many other incredible journalists, it is clear that there are still trustworthy journalists out there. These people are arguably a huge credit to journalism.

So why should these excellent journalists be put into the same category as those who don’t see the problem with phone hacking, lying and deceiving the public? Journalists such as Sir Trevor have worked extremely hard and have been to some of the world’s most dangerous places so we, as news consumers, can know about what goes on around the world. It is, therefore, unjustifiable to portray all journalists as immoral liars.

I do acknowledge that many people have good reason to have little confidence in the British media. After all, many reporters have let the public down by behaving unethically.

But I also think it is so important to remember the many journalists who really do deserve our trust and respect. So many journalists have worked hard for so long to find out the truth about UK and worldwide stories that affect us. And they deserve more than mere distrust.

So while it’s good to be sceptical and ask questions, I believe we should have more faith in the journalists who actually deserve it.

 

 

 

 

Society

Higher prices for plus size clothing: a reasonable charge or discrimination?

The so-called ‘fat tax’ at New Look stores has been hit the headlines in the past couple of days and has been the subject of much debate. It all began when one shopper realised that she would have to pay more for a pair of trousers in the plus size, or Curves range, than she would if they were a smaller size and said that the higher prices in the company’s Curves range was ‘discriminatory’. New Look has since said that it will review its pricing. But to what extent was it discriminating people of bigger sizes? Or was it, as some people have argued, a reasonable charge for bigger items of clothing?

Many who believe that New Look was, in fact, being unfair have suggested that higher prices for bigger clothing would have impacted on people’s body positivity. With many people already being self conscious about their weight and how they look, they argue that this additional charge would have a further negative effect.

And what about those people with health conditions, such as issues with their thyroids? These people are more likely to be of a bigger size, so why should they be penalised for their health issues?

But those who do not think it’s discrimination suggest that it is reasonable for people to pay more for the use of more fabric. However, ranges for taller or pregnant women are rarely more expensive, so should it really be the same for plus size ranges?

So are retailers justified in charging more for their bigger sizes? Personally, I’m not entirely sure the extra charges are absolutely necessary. But one thing I would also say is that it is definitely not justifiable to charge more for one type of bigger clothing – i.e the plus size range – but not for another, for example a maternity range. After all, where’s the logic in doing that?

And despite New Look’s recent losses, clothing retailers arguably still make a significant profit, so I’m not sure they really need to rely on charging extra for bigger clothing to generate additional income.

So that’s pretty much my view – let me know what you think about it!

World

Why I’d like to visit Honduras

The final country I’d like to visit (in this list!) is Honduras. It is notorious for its high crime and violence rates, with homicide, gang violence and drug crimes being commonplace. According to the BBC, Honduras has “the world’s highest murder rate per capita”.

But it’s not just crime that is a serious issue in the country. Poverty and inequality are extremely high, with almost half of Hondurans living below the poverty line.

Even for journalists, Honduras can be extremely dangerous. According to Reporters without Borders, journalists from opposition media are frequently attacked or threatened.

So, as an aspiring foreign correspondent, why would I like to visit Honduras? The country has a very negative reputation for being a very violent place. And, let’s be honest, the evidence goes far in backing that up.  But I want to look further than all the crimes and statistics. Because people are individuals, not just a number. In the UK, or any ‘safer’ country for that matter, if we hear “this many Hondurans were killed in gang related crimes last year”, it doesn’t really mean much. After all, it’s ‘just a number’.

But I’d like to focus on the individuals.

How is that mother dealing with the murder of her son? How does this wife feel knowing that her husband has been caught up in gang related violence? What will become of this 3-year-old girl living in poverty without her parents? These are the stories that matter most, not meaningless statistics.

If you’ve read the other four posts in this series, you’ll have noticed a common theme. The main reason for ‘Why I’d like to visit…’ is to tell people’s stories; to share their experiences.

It proves my point about what, I think, one of the main things journalism should be: a platform for ordinary people to share their stories with the rest of us.

World

Why I’d like to visit South Africa

South Africa sounds like the perfect trip away: good weather, a great culture and people who speak so many languages. And it would be – South Africa has so many positive things going for it.

But we all know that there’s a whole other side to the country. From gun crime, to corruption, to poverty, South Africa faces a pretty long list of difficulties. So why I’d like to visit South Africa is mostly for very journalistic reasons.

It seems almost ironic that a country with such high levels of crime and violence also has high levels of tourism. But to what extent do South Africa’s tourists actually see any of this? It would be extremely interesting to do an Unreported World type of thing: I want to find out what it’s really like to live in South Africa’s most disadvantaged areas, commonly known as Townships. While people are enjoying the many incredibly fantastic things about South Africa, I believe it’s also vitally important to consider the people who are not so fortunate.

Despite all the progress South Africa has made over the years, it still has an incredibly long way to go, especially in terms equality. It is arguably crucial to be aware of how South Africans are affected by the country’s issues on a day-to-day basis.

Let’s take theft in South Africa. According to Africa Check, in 2016/2017, there were 53,418 common robberies recorded. Now just remember that this figure only covers ‘common’ robberies, and does not include robberies that were not reported; the actual figure will therefore be much higher in reality. One question on the forefront of my mind is: to what extent are South Africa’s robbers actually bad people? A number of those people may just be immoral, but I believe a high number of them are probably not. It may be the case that many of them resort to theft because they simply cannot afford the things they need to survive: they may be ‘victims of circumstance’.

Now, I’m not justifying this criminal behaviour (or any other), but it does make me think of the ‘man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family’ scenario. Not to mention the impact of theft on the people who’ve had their possessions stolen from them.

There are so many issues, such as this, that I would like to find out so much more about. I believe it is essential that people are made aware of them – when people know the facts about a situation, they are more understanding and less likely to jump to conclusions.

But however much I would like to find out more about South Africa’s issues, I would also love to see and experience the more positive things. While it’s necessary to draw attention to the injustices that occur on a daily basis, it’s also important to focus on the good things.

 

World

Why I’d like to visit Niger

Niger is a country I have very personal connections with – I have actually already been there (I’ve had family living over there). Although I was very young at the time, I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to go. Unfortunately, I can’t really remember what Niger was like, which is one of the main reasons why I’d like to go back.

I do, however, remember stories I’ve been told about Niger. My Mum visited the country a couple of years before I was born with my Dad, and she often talks about the visit. She remembers seeing cases of poverty over there, some people had absolutely nothing. It must have been an awful thing to see: an extremely sad situation.

But one thing she also remembers is how friendly and welcoming people were towards her. She told me about how generous and thoughtful people were. One of my favourite anecdotes is about when one parents went to visit one of my Dad’s friends. My parents were guests at his house and he had also given them a gift. It was a set of placemats and washable napkins for the dinner table: I think they’re absolutely lovely!

Niger Blog Picture
The placemats and napkins gifted to my parents

This gesture is one my Mum has always remembered after all this time. She always talks about the sentimental value of the gift that she still has 24 years later.

Now I’m an adult, I would love to return to Niger so I can fully appreciate what the country is like; I’d like to actually remember it for myself. Also, as a British person, I feel we don’t hear much about what goes on in Niger – I’d like to find out more about the country itself, the issues it faces and the people who live there.

And what better way to do that than to return to the place I’ve heard so much about, right?