Student Life

Hidden Treasures!

I have stumbled upon a hidden gem while, doing research for a university assignment. Imagine yourself sat down, getting ready to perform research into a topic you have no idea about. Where is the first place you go? Me, Wikipedia but only for the references. If you look in the references you’ll discover millions of academic articles that people may have used and/or find useful with the topic. I’m not saying that you should use the actual Wikipedia page, except maybe to get a slight overview but always look in the references. This is for two reasons; firstly, if you find something that states what is being said then use that as it’ll be a more legitimate source and secondly, you never know what you’ll find.

So, onto this hidden gem. It was near the top of the references but, as I’m looking into privacy on social networking sites and in the title it had Facebook, I thought it would be useful. It also caught my eye because of the end of the hyperlink .edu which means normally this is associated with education so, if an institution can have it on their site then it should be something you look at. In order, to make this post ‘easy reading’ I’m going to break the article down into sections and then I’ll provide the link-referenced of course if you find yourself wanting to have a look.

A tidbit that I just learned is that this article was this article is one of the first discussions upon Facebook and Privacy, as it was created in 2005 (this tidbit is thanks to my lecturer).  However, do not dismiss the article due to age. The older ones provide a framework for newer works but also, they breakdown the subjects a lot better as it was (when it was produced) a new subject academics were commentating upon.

Introduction

Back in 2005, we’d seen a boom in social networking, with thousands flooding to sign up. No longer were the days of MYSPACE and BEBO etc considered to be aimed at a niche market. This article comments upon “Online Privacy and Social Networking” using, Facebook within a study they conducted. But, firstly they breakdown social networking. Every social networking site has one basic, core feature in common- a user profile. It’s on every website, most dating apps and social networking sites in particular.

A Breakdown of Online Privacy and Social Networking 

As there are so many of these social networking sites, they can have different functions so, dependent upon that, we reveal a wide range of details about our personal life. Some networking sites allow you to use pseudonyms thus, maintaining some privacy but is this really true? We are creatures of habit and that means we will use the same pictures allowing people to create connections and find personal information out before you even talk. We all have a small circle of friends that we share our inner most personal details with, but this article asks how many strangers (the friends of friends, random people) we have accepted upon our social networking sites also know this personal information too. Social networks allow us to ‘air’ our personal problems, celebrations etc but who sees it? But, we are happy to display ourselves so happily to the world. Privacy is dependent upon the person, possible receivers and the millions of uses of the site. Most sites have a privacy policy, as you should all be aware which some experts believe to be enough to combat privacy issues as well as how we as users, use the sites themselves.

The Study

* CMU stands for Carnegie Mellon University.

*SO’s stands for Significant Others.

They took 4000 users of a site (Facebook) aimed at college students. If I haven’t mentioned it enough already its Facebook. The study shows how relaxed we are within the site, referring to online privacy. The demographic of most social network sites is college students thus, that is why they created a study using 4000 people from a college as their sample. Furthermore, when sign up to social networking sites there is a privacy policy, for which we must agree too which clearly states what they will do with your information, and how the you personally use the site in order to ‘cater’ to you better. The participants are all from “Carnegie Mellon University” (CMU).

Findings

They went online and searched for male and female students separately that attended CMU using the sites advanced search feature. On whole they downloaded 4500 profiles and the students ranged from under graduate students, graduate students, staff and faculty members. Here are some facts and figures for you;

  • 90.8% of profiles contained an image.
  • 87.8% of users had revealed their birth dates
  • 39.9% had revealed their phone number
  • 50.8% had revealed their current residence.
  • Also, the majority of users had revealed sexual orientation, relationship status, political views and their various interests.
  • And 62.9% had revealed who they were in a relationship with and a link to their SO’s profile.

They found that the usage of Facebook was relatively similar between males and females except with relationship status. Males shared their phone numbers more than women, in an attempt to attract someone.

Next they selected 100 out of the 4500 participants profiles at random to analyse the accuracy of information provided analysing profile names, identifiability of images on profile and friends networks discovering;

  • 89% of people used their real names, 8% used fake names and only 3% partially revealed their first names.
  • 61% of images identified the users clearly, 80% of images revealed some useful information to make an identification and 12% of images were clearly not related to the user.
  • 78.2% of people on the users friends list were attending CMU, 54.9% of people were friends at other schools. Also, 76.6% of users have 25 or more CMU friends whereas 68.6% of profiles show 25 or more non- CMU friends.

Findings surrounding privacy suggests only a minimal amount of people made use of the privacy setting around search-ability of the profile. Even more so, only 0.06% had taken advantage of the profile visibility privacy setting. They state that by simply searching on Facebook, it is possible to find a digital dossier of the participants within the study. Clearly, those within the study are simply not bothered about the information they put out there on the internet. Thus, with just the figures above it is clear to see how open many people are to a possible attack online or physically.

Conclusion

Why do we make ourselves such an open book? Are we so irresponsible with our privacy through creating social networking profiles? How can we control what information can be seen via the rest of the world? Are you now looking at your own profiles privacy settings? In today’s society, we are now using networking sites constantly and many employers search for you on google to make sure your ideals and views align with the image of their companies.We are so open in the information we give, it can be dangerous to an extent and open you up to dangers. But, privacy settings exist so you can limit those who see your profiles. We can choose what information is out in the universe of social networking. Maybe to attain anonymity people should use separate images so, to make yourself less identifiable. And who knows as you get older, and wiser maybe you’ll restrict your profiles and make them private.

This article raises a lot of questions surrounding social networks, online privacy and how we as users, use them. It’s useful in providing a beginning to the debate of online privacy as well as, helping you understand the views already out there.

References

GROSS, R. and ACQUISTI, A. (2005) Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Social Networks (The Facebook case). Available at: http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/~acquisti/papers/privacy-facebook-gross-acquisti.pdf (Accessed: 22 October 2016).

 

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Life

Finding Your Inner-Child

As people, we are constantly changing, our personalities evolve and weave around life experiences, you are never a constant. We develop new habits, new dress sense, new feelings towards life based upon what we learn or what we like. Otherwise, we’d be reduced to a gargling baby (all of us) with a personality locked inside with no way out or we’d be stuck in the brightly covered outfits that at six, we thought were great. My mum assures me that some of the outfits I picked out as a child to0 wear were awful. It’s a good job there aren’t any pictures, well as far as I’m aware. Lets just say, I could walk around the house like that but, if we were going out she put me in clothes that went together.

It’s still very much the case as an adult, except we could now dress in those awful outfits and no one would tell us we looked bad due to the amusement that would ensue when we left the house. So, I’M thankful to my mum for teaching me some sense of fashion however, I still question some of the dresses I am wearing in pictures as a baby. But, my point is that you are never the same person as you were last year or the year before or ten years before. We find aspects of ourselves that we like as a child and keep them and throw away the traits we don’t like. Our mind is constantly doing that as an adult also.

At the beginning of this year, I decided I didn’t like the way I looked and I hadn’t for a while but there is always the problem of admitting it. So, I decided to change. I’ve always been a happy person, there is no doubt about it and I am to this day. But, there are the feelings you put out to the world and let everyone know, and the ones you keep to yourselves. This leads to people questioning you at times but, no one really knows you. In fact, we don’t even know ourselves. I began to change how I ate and drank, which cleared up the constant spots I got on my face (now they come from makeup not taken off properly and stress). I always put on a confident exterior but, inside I wasn’t. I’m comfortable wearing baggy clothes even to this day so, people never really notice what you don’t like about yourself. Next, I began running and that’s where I really began to find myself again. I’d done sports from a young age and it made me feel free then, as it does now. It also makes me immensely proud of what I achieve and pushes me everyday to make and achieve new goals as well as relaxing me making me have a positive outlook on life. Thus, within the space of a year I changed. My personality evolved. A lot of my family have commented on this fact; they say I’m much more outgoing, confident, determined, positive and smiley.

I always had this personality within me, it was a case of releasing it from the cage I had built for it. But, this post isn’t just about change, changing yourself, finding yourself and gaining confidence. It’s about the speed of life and how one change can spark another. I’m a different person than I was from last year, or the year before or ten years ago. We all are. So, embrace yourself and welcome the changes within your life. They’ll always teach you something and affect you in one way or another. It’s the way of life. Change is good, it brings out the best in you, it brings out the positivity in you.

I know it’s cheesy when people say new year, new me but it can work. And for the negative people- ignore them. If you are willing to take part in new things, immerse yourself in finding yourself then you’ll find a new year, new me attitude. Or maybe it should be new year, old me? Because people already have these traits inside them and were probably like this as a child you just have to find yourself again. I love my parents outlook on life. They’re mature adults most of the time…well okay mum is…well actually they are both mature when they have to be, and embrace their childish nature the rest of the time. We always ask my dad how old he is; his reply is “6” at the moment. It’s a great way to see yourself. For everything else I’ve said change is good, but so is not taking yourself seriously. Why not release the inner-child? We’ve all got one!

Find your personality, then never let it go. Let yourself change. Be who you are. Be who you want to be. Do it for yourself!

Life

Autumn; Family, Films, Comfy Clothes and Beautiful Colours!

 

Well, for those that were not aware before Autumn began in the last week of September. Now, I know what you’re thinking? Yeah, Alright onto the next one…But, I’m not joking we’ve been in Autumn for an entire month from tomorrow. If you don’t believe me Google It! You’ve done it, right? Now, you’re in shock. But, that’s okay because we can’t blame you for not noticing. It has been pretty warm and summery for about half of October too. It’s this years weather patterns. I think its thrown us off a little bit, in terms of noticing the changing seasons. Even the leaves only began to fall, around the second week of October.

But, I noticed. You see, this is my favourite season throughout the entire year. And yes, my birthday is in October but that is not the reason I like it. Although, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my birthday. I am an Autumn baby, as my parents call it, but so is my dad and he loves the summer so, you can’t really say just because your born in a particular season that is why you love it. But, at the same time, my mum always told me this from a young age that I’m an Autumn baby and that’s why she thinks I love the season. And, in a sense I can see her logic too. I just love Autumn.

My top six favourite things about Autumn:

  1. The Changing Colours

In Winter, we have no leaves and in Spring, everything is growing back. And in Summer, everything is just green-like there’s not contrasts it’s just green. I love to look out of my window in the morning and see browns, oranges, reds. The colour of Autumn- they just make me smile. I love how everything is different.

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Big Jumpers, Hats, Gloves, Scarves and Thick Coats=Bliss!-

There is something about being able to wear oversized jumpers, hats, gloves, scarves and a thick coat that makes me warm up inside. I love it, I think it’s because they’re my favourite type of clothes but in Summer, it’s always too warm to wear them and I have resort to wearing tight, uncomfortable clothing. In the Autumn wherever I am, you’ll find I’ll always be carrying a hat in my bag. It could be warm when you leave in the morning but freezing on your way home!

The Wet Weather-

Now, I am from England so I am pretty used to rain all year around but, there’s something about rain in the Autumn. It picks up a lot more so, the air always feels so fresh especially after a warm summer like this year. Also, despite being clumsy I love how slippery this season is however, I don’t like when people get injured. It just makes for an interesting season.

    4. Yes, it is my Birthday-

We all look forward to our birthday’s whether it’s a milestone year or just another one passing you by. Anyway, I’m still in the excited phase of when my birthday comes around. I’m the baby in my family (my main family so; parents, brother, grandparents) and mine is the last birthday to come around. It’s around Halloween so, there are sweets everywhere, pumpkins. This just gets me even happier. But, it’s one of the reasons that I love Autumn.

    5. Halloween…BOO!-

I’m a huge fan of Halloween, I love the Halloweentown Disney Movies. They are my tradition. So, as Autumn begins I count down the days I can sit inside, wrap up and chill on the sofa with awesome films and family. Also, how amazing are all the costumes, especially those who make loads of effort. I’m expecting a lot of Harley Quinn this year. Halloween is just one of the reasons I love Autumn.

    6. Shorter Days and Darker Nights

It gets darker earlier, and it doesn’t lighten up till later on in the day around 7am. And I love it. I find it’s too light all the time in the summer whereas, sleeping is much easier later on in the year. It’s just the time of the year that I come out of my shell so, obviously I’m going to like it. The only thing I’m not a fan of is walking back in the dark while, living in the city. However, I do normally just ring someone and have a chat making me feel much better. Thanks Mum for being my phone friend…

Story Time!

So, this year my dad was so reluctant to let go of Summer as much as we tried to convince him otherwise he was insistent it wasn’t Autumn until the middle of October. I am much like my father so, I took it upon myself to ruin his fantasy and used Google to show him when Autumn started. He lost his plausible deniability. As a side note, my dad is a huge tease and forever takes the mick out of you and what you’re doing…so, I had to ruin his Summer fantasy you see. Otherwise, how else could I get him back for the 13 weeks worth of teasing I endured over the holidays…

 

 

Student Life

Final Year: 1 Month in…

Can you believe it? Final year is just flying by at the moment. We are already four weeks into the year and in just under three weeks my first assignment needs to be handed in. But, I did it! I’ve gone straight from school, to sixth form, to university with no breaks and soon I’ll be out in the real world. But, while I’m back here pretending that’s not happening I’ll fill you in on this weeks classes. I’ve spent most of my time in the library this week so, I’ve been on top of getting work done. In fact, I’m here now catching up on blogging, deciding essay questions and soon I’ll be looking into privacy settings for social media sites.

I’ll start at the beginning of the week with Media Technologies as per usual and talk you through my week. When the notification came up to tell me the PowerPoint was available, I was already intrigued when it read ‘Power, Policies and Governance’. I have a confession to make-whenever we look at this part of a topic I’m always quite interested. I’ve never really understood, I just am! So, when I got to the lecture we first went through ‘housekeeping’ and by that I mean quite a few people had raised concerns so, the lecturer was settling us. Also, there was a change in the assignment grading which is another story entirely. Anyway, one we got past all of that, it was time to start the lecture which encompassed two videos and the introduction of two very influential people in creating a more open internet; Aaron Swartz and Larry Lessig. Both, I found out fight for freedom of speech, a change to piracy laws among other things. Unfortunately, Swartz is no longer with us but, Lessig who is the founder of something you all may have heard of; Creative Commons is still very much a political activist.

In one of the videos, he was presenting at a conference in which he told three stories and then by using those three stories, he simplified the idea of internet freedom and piracy and then brought it all together at the end. I was entranced by the way he did this, it’s such a genius way of teaching people to understand what is being said. Next, we went off to the seminar largely discussing project ideas and raising concerns.

Next, I had Moral Panics and we’ve started to look at case studies. This week it was the ‘video nastie’. This moral panic is based around the idea that particularly graphic games and horror movies inspire vulnerable groups to copy and re-create particular death scenes. For example, the Bulger Murder. We analysed the two apparent episodes of ‘video nasties’, the first appearing in 1984-84 before it disappeared an reoccurred in 1994. But, it’s not the lecture I want to speak about, instead its the seminar. Our seminar is always quite interesting because everyone joins in, they all have an opinion the subject. Overall, the discussion came down to our increasing de-sensitisation of horror movies, the idea that we know it’s fiction and not real even if the films nowadays are more realistic and the rising concern of the younger generation who are being brought up on games and screens. But, we could all agree on one thing there isn’t enough information out there to say there’s a huge link between the people involved in killings that re-create/are inspired by on-screen killings and scenes. However, we can’t disregard a tiny link but, we all thought there were other reasons behind why someone would commit such a gruesome act. Also, the fabrication of a ‘video nastie’ sensationalising the crime more than it needed. Giving it unwarranted attention.

On the same day, I also had a very productive dissertation meeting with my tutor. We decided to narrow down the episodes to four, found a few more articles for myself to look into and she assigned me to come up with sections for my dissertation to write under so, that it simplified the situation. So, my next few weeks will be watching New Tricks and Vera; two programmes I adore. It’s always good if you are going to enjoy your dissertation. Furthermore, she’s also my tutor for the year so she needs to know how I am in general and she advised me to go to careers which, I have already done. She thought I was an on-the-ball student! It’s been decided that I will research this semester thus, leaving me to draft and re-draft next semester. Honestly, I’m feeling very confident about this now. And as I asked, she’s setting me deadlines to get the assigned stuff done.

Finally, we had globalisation and the media. This week we looked at Latin America. It was interesting to see their media development because I always thought they were developing quite well however, in the lecture I found that was not the case at all. For the screening, we watch Storyville: Inside the Coup which is about Chavez in Venezuela and a Coup that was staged against him. It demonstrated how the use of the media was used to convince people he was bad for their country but, it was also used positively through him. He wanted his MP’s and himself, to use all the media. So, if you visit another place go on the local radio stations and get his message and ideas across. If I’m honest, I found myself entranced in this documentary and would watch it again!

Overall, it’s been such an interesting week. Next week is a sort of professional development week in which, we have to sign up to classes. I’ve signed up to three classes including a grad talk so, lets see how that goes and who knows it may give me and inkling of what I would like to do.

Life

Runners-Keep Safe

The weather has begun to turn, the leaves are turning brown, we are greeted by dark, cold mornings and early nights and its wet and slippery outside. So, with all this in mind here are a few safety tips that may be useful to the runners of the world;

  1. Buy or Invest in a High Visibility Jacket- it’s dark out more than it is light so, if you are planning an early morning or late night run please wear your high visibility jacket. And if you do not have one, I suggest you invest in one for the next few months of running. Make yourself visible, not only is it dark it’s very slippery and if you fall this jacket may be the difference between the driver seeing you or not.
  2. Picking Running Times- If you have to go to work then unfortunately you’ll find your times restricting but, if you are a student, unemployed or even have a day off try and run while it’s light. Thus, you get your workout in and its in the day time when others are around and its light out.
  3. Is your kit okay?- It’s been a warm summer so, you put the winter kit away however, now its time to get it back out. Make sure you check that it’s okay and buy anything that needs replacing as, this will stop you from getting ill as well as, allowing you to go for a run. If you’ve been running for less than a year (like me) don’t give up for the winter, you’ll lose everything you gained.
  4. Layer Up- It’s getting cold. This means you need to layer up but, within reason as you don’t want to overheat. However, you don’t want to be cold either so make sure its just enough to keep you warm and comfortable while you run. Pull out the running gloves and hat, if you have them.
  5. Hydrate- Well the weather has dropped and you may find it easier to run than it the warm, mild, summer months but that does not mean you shouldn’t hydrate. You’ll find it easier to push yourself because you don’t feel like you’ve overheated but, this is exactly why you need to take water. If it’s a short run (2-3 miles) and you aren’t far from home then make sure you have a bottle ready to drink when you get back.
  6. Avoid Headphones- I know you like your music but, with the shorter days you need to be more alert about your surroundings. So, hang up the AC/DC and Meatloaf and stay safe. I’ll also be giving my headphones up too so,  it’s a sacrifice we must make.

Here are a few tips for the runners of the world. Please bear them in mind on your next run.

Life

Reach For Your Goals (and remember to run through the pain)…

We’ve all got goals in life but, what about those little goals you set for yourself. Because, of course you need them. It’s what spurs you on and makes you believe you can achieve anything if you put you mind to it. I achieved a mini-goal myself today, and if you don’t read my blog it’s about running and you’ll find these posts also: Getting Over The HillWe’re All in This Together and On Top of the World. I decided to attempt a 7.3 mile run, 1.3 miles more than I have ever run and guess what I did it, I achieved my goal and now I ACHE….

I’d been considering it for a while, yes I do find all of my runs challenging I wanted to try something new. So, after much consideration and despite the awful lurgy I have at the moment (commonly known as a cold), I went for it.

“Let me set you a scene…”

I woke up to a dreary, wet and drizzling day. Now, don’t get me wrong I love this weather, I guess I’m a Pluviophile (the name for people who like rain and it cheers them up) but, it’s not opportune when you’ve yet to go buy your high visibility jacket that day for the next few months of running. I was a little upset but, after discussing it with my parents I decided to pop over to Decathlon (so cheap, so much stuff) and see if the rain stopped. Luckily it did, and I got to go for my run on my carefully planned run. As I set off along my normal starting point, I was happy. Bottle in one hand, house keys in my jacket pocket and I loved it. Around the four mile point, as per usual my legs kicked into over gear but, I ran through the ache feeling great (in the sense I was doing it). At the six mile point, my body wanted to stop, it was screaming but I took a sip of water and carried on. On my last lap around the park, my knee really began hurting, I had back ache and I wanted to give up but I didn’t because I knew I hadn’t far to go. At this point, I started picking points ahead of myself and running to them then picking another point. I find this is a good way to run, if your ready to give up because you forget everything else and before you know it, you’ve got past where you thought. I finished my run with an even stronger run up the train station steps, willing myself to get home and drinking my last drop of water and I DID IT!

7.3 miles may not be far for the people who run however, for those who are an amateur like myself after six months of constantly running it’s the best feeling in the world. Despite, the ache and the pain in my knee, I’ve been on a high all day and I will feel this run tomorrow but, you know what I did it, I ran 7.3 miles. In six months, I’ve been able to run 7.3 miles. I started out unfit and out of shape to an extent but, I achieved my goal. So, if you are a beginner runner looking for motivation here it is, you can do it. If you just read this post because you wanted to and don’t run; well here is the motivation for you to start or to set yourself a new goal to achieve.

Student Life

Final Year: Week Three

So, this week was an interesting week of classes. Although, I’d heard of some of the theorists and ideas before, I enjoyed learning more about them in detail and how they applied to this semesters modules. Also, some assignments became clearer making myself feel more confident about completing them. Anyway, that is the overview of my week so, its time to get into detail about all three as well as discuss my dissertation progress.

Media Technologies entailed reading about McLuhan, a rock star theorist known for providing revolutionary ideas about the media. McLuhan believes that the medium is the message however, that does not mean he completely disregards the content of the media either. He’s famously known in corporations throughout America as the guy who told companies they didn’t understand media at all and explained it to them before being hired. His main idea is that everything should be considered as ‘the media’ for example, the desk I’m writing this blog post as is a media, an extension of self. He’s interesting to read because he talks in metaphors so, while difficult to dissect what is being said, if you understand him it’s revolutionary. However, he is largely criticised for speaking in metaphors as they deem him confusing and to general when speaking on the media. It was definitely an interesting and enjoyable week.

Moral Panics saw us looking at the ‘Attributional Model of Moral Panics’ created by Goode & Ben-Yehuda. Their module is similar to the work of Cohen and ‘The Processual Model’ however, while Cohen’s model is flexible and non-linear, their model is meant to be followed strictly and in that order in order for something to be deemed a Moral Panic. Now, we have looked at both I have to say I much prefer the work of Cohen, as his approach is not linear, it doesn’t have an order to it. Overall, it was a recap on some of the stuff I’d heard in sociology but it was interesting to get more in-depth instead of scratching the surface, as we did in A-Level. Next week is the turn of the video nastie which I’m looking forward too. It’s good that we are getting into the case studies and can apply the models more freely. Overall, I’m excited to get into more detail now and enjoying my elective (chosen) module.

Finally, Globalisation and The Media moved from Globalisation theories to analysing the media in the Global South, specifically Africa. Firstly, we went over key terms which will be useful for a semester two module as well as this, surrounding colonialism and imperialism. The African media development has been uneven and under-developed in the sense that they do not use the newest technology. Also, there are key factors that impact upon the media, the first mentioned above but the others pertain to government, the countries development overall and their economy. On top of this, we got a screening it looked at the history of Africa suggesting they had swapped a racial apartheid for an economical one which, the documentary proved in my eyes. The reading was interesting it looked at the development of the tabloid, and an additional reading looked at how media was used within the Rwandan Genocide- a radio being the media. Out of the two, I really enjoyed the second reading however we didn’t discuss it due to only myself and one other person being the only ones to read it. It was an interesting week and we’ll be looking at Latin America.

Overall, I’ve been enjoying getting into classes more now that the beginning theories that we need to know have passed. Assignments are coming up so, it’ll be hard to juggle everything on top of my dissertation however, news on the dissertation front. I have my first meeting on Tuesday and am looking forward to discussing it more.

Life

I’ll Always Be a Curvy Girl

Over the last few weeks, I began to attend my final year of my undergraduate media degree which left me wondering about a few things. During the summer, I lost a bit of weight through running, a healthy diet and cutting out the constant fizzy drinks only upon, occasion will I drink one. But, once I came back I’ve been worried about keeping the weight off, finding time to exercise and feeling good about myself. I won’t lie, I still worry now but I have never been stick thin so, I know I’ll always be a curvy girl and I’m proud of that.

I’ve found time to run two-three times a week which helps along with exercises I complete everyday, and I’ve stuck to the foods I was eating at home. Getting back to the house is hard, I have to complete my own shopping again and although, I enjoy this sometimes I forget that I shouldn’t shop like I was before I lost the weight but, I seem to have gotten a handle on it now. So, I have a routine down however, despite feeling a lot better and a little more confident with the way I look I’ve come to realise I won’t be happy. I still look in that mirror and wonder about things I could change.

Walking up the stairs near my house tonight, I walked past a group of teenage boys having what they called ‘banter’, calling each other ‘fat’ even though neither of them were. Under the guise of banter, a lot of people get away with calling each other ‘names’ without realising if it has an affect on the other person. What kind of world do we live in, in which even for a joke it’s okay to degrade someone, based upon their appearance because that’s what makes us self-conscious about the way we look. It’s the way society is though, there is constant debate about men and women’s appearance and the comments that are unacceptable. Trump is a prime example of that, he’s all over the internet stating it’s okay to degrade women.

I went on Facebook the other day and saw a video, one that had been shared before of a group of lads taking the p*ss out of an obese male having fun and dancing with some of the comments being just as horrible. One girl had posted a picture of  herself in a bikini stating she was proud of the way she looked and I thought ‘go on girl’. She played baseball, and had a beautiful prom dress as part of her motivational status and underneath were hundreds of comments based on her weight, stating she must not play sports because she was ‘fat’. It was not the case, and there are those who don’t condone this behaviour, who were taking on those who were calling her fat. I don’t condone what was being said either, I never would. Some girls like myself can run, we can play sport and still have curves but guess what we love them!

As an example, I lost a stone over the holidays and as you can see in the Instagram pictures there is a change in the shape of my face and with the rest of my body. I went from wearing a size 14 to a size 10/12 but, that was my choice because I wanted to feel better about myself and I’m getting there slowly but surely now. This brings to mind a song. Mika’s Big Girl (you are beautiful), I love it. It’s a song that fills you with confidence and is about the bigger girl. Just remember no matter whether your small or big, you are all beautiful and embrace it.

Life

You’ll never hear graceful followed by my name…you’ll hear clumsy!

THUD! It’s a customary sound in my student house, followed by a string of profanity. Everyone I know, would describe me to be clumsy, it’s in my nature. There is a common joke within my home, my parents constantly state they should buy me a rubber suit so, to protect myself from the next bump. I’d argue I inherited this wonderful, slightly painful trait from my mother. She’s even worse than I am, she can be turning around to leave a room and bang her arm on the door on the way out.

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Now, given my clumsy nature you can imagine how much worse it is when I wear heels, which is why I don’t wear them much. Aside, from the fact I choose comfort over beauty there have been occasions where I rip a new pair of tights, falling over or ladder them due to the slippery floor and my bodies insane notion to attempt the splits, even if I didn’t even want to do them in the first place.  So, the heels enhance my clumsiness but I’m also around 5 foot 5 which means I prefer to wear them on family nights to make myself appear much taller next to my 6 foot 3 brother…

But, the clumsiness doesn’t switch off in public. My most recent fall was attempting the stairs in a university building and falling up them, the fourth time I’d hurt myself that day. I cannot even blame the six mile run I did that weekend, I was recovered from aches the day before. On the plus side, my friend told me I’d caught my foot on my bag strap so, I can use that as an excuse although, it’s really just on par for me.

In the student house, my room is upstairs with my course mate in the one below, so every time I walk into something, fall over or even drop my phone for the umpteenth time in that day she hears me swear. It must be amusing, I wouldn’t know I’m in pain right after. As someone who competed in sports and has done some serious damage to her ankle, and knee more lately I’m used to pain because I’m nearly always in it, yet I still run and push through it? That says something about me though.

I’ve a high pain tolerance, I believe. This results in mystery bruises, and the ability to carry straight on even if I’ve just fell over. Also, I’m pretty used to being constantly in pain so, maybe I don’t notice the little things? I do a lot of exercise and they say an athlete can withstand much more pain. As someone who has competed in sports from a young age, only taking four years off this could be considered a possible reason for my pain tolerance. Ironically, as someone who is clumsy I’ve yet to fall over while running. Or should I start running everywhere and that may make me less inclined to fall over but, more sweaty…I’ll stick to the walking.

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On the opposite side, I’m a red-head and according to studies I should be more sensitive to pain so, why am I not? Again, I posit the idea that I’m constantly feeling twinges throughout my body from past injuries so maybe a little fall here and there isn’t as bad? It’s a mystery to us all. I’m a little off topic now but not as pain is part of being clumsy. This daily prompt speaks to myself, I saw it and a smile came to my face. I knew what to write straight away. One thing for sure, being clumsy can make for some awfully funny stories and why not? You should be able to laugh at yourself.

I accept it, I’m clumsy and I love it. It may leave myself with a few more bruises than most but it’s part of who I am. I spoke about my mother earlier and thought I could blame her for my clumsiness but, it’s not inherited I just have poor co-ordination and so does she. I can vouch for that to some extent, I’m terrible at throwing things, catching them but I’m yet to poke myself in the eye with the mascara brush and that must need some co-ordination right? I guess we’ll never know. I’ll leave you with this: think about all the times you’ve fell and been clumsy in some way and laugh at yourself because honestly, there’s nothing to fix it unfortunately. Embrace the bruises, always remember to wear tights and have fun you cannot help being clumsy.

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Myself and Mum: Being Clumsy isn’t inherited unfortunately 😦

via Daily Prompt: Clumsy

Life

Daily Prompt: Original

We’re all striving to be ourselves, an original. No one wants a copy of the same thing, we want to stand out from the crowd, be original, be extraordinary, be ourselves. There is a quote that sprang to mind as I read the prompt for today;

“If you want to be original, be yourself because no one was made the same.”

I’m not sure who said that, but they are wise words. There are no two people in this world alike, even twins have differences because we are all original. Originality can be displayed more promptly in some people than others whether, they have specific tattoos, walk like a supermodel everywhere, dye their hair bright colours weekly or just wear that bright multi-coloured dress that we all say, we wouldn’t be able to pull off. But, don’t shove the people aside who hide their originality behind the desire to fit in with the rest of the world.

So, I have curly red hair (orange if we have a particularly hot summer), tattoos and two piercings in my ears respectively but based on that photo would you say “wow she’s original” probably not, my point is, sometimes people hide their originality in an attempt to fit in. But, just because I’m not showing my originality, does not mean there is someone out there exactly like myself.

If you asked someone, stopped and asked a stranger about themselves I’m sure you’d find something you find interesting and wouldn’t associate with anyone else. Being original, is not about standing out at all, although the people that display their originality bravo! Original can be defined as “present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest”. So, from the moment of your birth you are original, you are special, you are an individual.

This prompt actually rather nicely fits with World Mental Health Day which was yesterday, daily people struggle with their self esteem, how they stick out from the rest of society. It also ties in nicely with today which is the International Day of the Girl Child, a day to promote girls, their differences, their rights and the unique challenges we face around the world. The struggle to fit in, or the struggle to be original and stand out is a problem most people face however, us girls are just much more expressive about it.

So, if you see someone and their originality is on show, commend them its a beautiful thing to be that confident within themselves. But, if you even just talk to your friends, really talk, find out why they are original and embrace them for it.

via Daily Prompt: Original