Stronger Together.

Manchester.

The city of unity. The place  where you feel like you’ve been there forever as soon as you step into it. Manchester embodies pride and warmth, which transcends through the streets and into the hearts of the people who live there.

Sadly, it is also a place where over 20 people lost their lives, and over 50 were injured at Manchester Arena last night by a suicide bomber whilst they enjoyed a night of fun and music.

Today has been a day of reflection, grief, solidarity and confusion. Waking up to this news was harrowing. For more innocent people to be targeted, with many of them children and young people was incomprehensible.

Social media platforms were overflowing with constant updates, opinions and theories as to who, why and when it all happened. Videos submitted and published, pictures of the wounded leaked. Pleas from parents yet to find their children. Photographs of children and teenagers with the words “missing” above them shared.

It’s a surreal incident that has sent shock waves across the world. Celebrity’s words of comfort saturated social media, with fans and fellow musicians alike sending words of comfort to Ariana Grande, as she tried to process how something so barbaric could have happened at her concert.

This outcry for justice was met with some damaging words. Words that divide and place blame on the innocent.

But there were also stories of heroism. The homeless who were waiting outside the area to beg for money were some of the first to run into the arena to help those in need. The emergency services who risked their lives to save everyone else’s. Locals opening their homes and arms to anyone that needed shelter or comfort.

What started as a night of escapism to celebrate music, love and fun turned into a story of horror that will be told and remembered for years to come. Those who lost their lives will always be remembered. Those who survived will be left confused and somewhat traumatised from witnessing such an ordeal.

But today has also shown the heart of Britain. Our strengths lie in the diversity, culture, unity and love that the British people share and spread. This tragic incident has shown just how strong we are, and how resilient we will remain to be to any threat that comes to attempt to destroy our pride.

Do not focus on the hate, bitterness or aggression. Look at the good, the kindness and the love that has been shown by all.

We are stronger together. Do not let these events divide us.

If you’ve been affected by the attacks, click here for support and guidance.

Gallery #140

This month’s issue was subject to the theme of ATTRACTION.

I must admit, my brainstorming time for this piece took twice as long as usual. I was stumped for inspiration, but eventually found my grounding to the thing I’m attracted to most; home.

In this month’s issue, I discuss the attraction of Jersey, my safe place, my home. I’ve so far had some lovely feedback on the piece, so I’d love to know what you think too!

Be sure to have a flick through and read the brilliant articles featured in the issue.

Gallery #139

This issue of Gallery was created around the theme ‘EAT’.

Now, when I think of EAT, I think of indulging in food, enjoying the unhealthy things in life and experiencing new things. What my article looked at, however, was how our relationship with eating can have a detrimental effect.

In this month’s issue, I investigated how calorie and macro counting has become a new craze of weight loss management in children and teens, and what we need to do to prevent our relationship with food and fitness causing us anxiety and low self esteem.

Check out the piece here, and be sure to have a flick through and read all the other great articles contributed to this exciting issue.

Purge Appeal

When you were five, it was of utmost importance that you had someone to walk out onto the playground with. The same went for bathroom visits as well. Pack mentality was drilled in early on, and none of us questioned it.

These were simpler times, before the number of followers you had on instagram was even a thing. Yes, I and many others my age were the last few to live in a time where social media was not the be all and end all of life. We had mobiles, but they lit up and were made of rubber. The battery life was stellar, lasting a week or more because all we did was top them up with credit we’d get from saving pocket-money and text ‘r u going 2 the park 2nite’.

We didn’t have to unfriend, block or change our account names to avoid people we didn’t like. We just stopped hanging around with them, taking our mum’s advice when she’d tell us “don’t spend time with people who do not make you happy”.

Now, we can pretend people don’t exist anymore by tapping the block button on our phones. All traces of their lives can be eradicated instantly, and it’s as if you don’t even know their name. They don’t even pop up on the back of other people’s feeds. It’s magical. That is, until you see them in person again. The toe curling, nauseating awkwardness that follows that initial meeting is more hassle than it’s worth.

Awkward moments aside though, going back to my mother’s advice is sometimes necessary.

People purging is a thing I have recently started doing across my social media accounts. I have fallen out of the habit of following people purely because we went to school together/we occasionally say hi on the high street/ I feel bad if I don’t. Instead I have regained, to some extent, control over my social media bubble. I now only follow or befriend people whose lives I take a genuine interest in, or whose work inspires me to be better. I don’t follow someone I went to primary school with who posts the same sunday roast on insta every week anymore, because they weren’t doing what social media is intended for; connecting and influencing.

People with thousands of friends on Facebook, or followers on Instagram and Twitter 9 times out of 10 don’t know over half of the people who follow them. And that’s totally ok! Gaining a following is like having your own free fan club, it’s weirdly exhilarating and encouraging, especially if you use social media as a platform to present your work.

But I am just tired of scrolling through mindless posts that I don’t care about, made by people I no longer connect with.

People purging feels brutal at first, because we have this weird attachment to our own and other people’s online profiles and personas. Having access to a very structured and planned out insight into someone else’s life fulfills our need to be nosey. But taking away the courteous follows, and unfriending people you wouldn’t say hello to in person is the best way to spring clean your phone, and your mind. What’s the use in spending your valuable time looking at another person’s rehearsed life through a phone screen?

We aren’t on the playground anymore. You don’t need a group of people to walk out into the crowd with, because you’re perfectly capable of handling shit on your own. You no longer have to conform to the pack mentality, because you know you’ll get nowhere on your own if you’re just mindlessly following others.

 

Gallery #138

Our second Gallery of the year talked about all things Earth. Writers explored the possibility of humans in space, how we can do better to nurture the planet, and what islanders are doing right now to make the most of the land.

In our monthly ‘Appetite’ section, I explored how allotments and kitchen gardens have blown up in Jersey.

Take a look at the issue below, or click here 

The Art of Not Caring

Not caring what other people think has been, hands down, the most difficult thing I’ve had to learn to do. It goes against all of my natural instincts, which is to do everything within my power to be liked and not let on what a nervous and anxious person I really am.

Meeting new people, for me, is terrifying. I resemble a rabbit in the headlights, about to be squashed by an oncoming lorry whilst I’m desperately trying not to stutter because my tongue and teeth refuse to cooperate and form a simple “Hello”.

My brain goes into overdrive, analysing every little detail about what I’m saying, how I’m saying it, and what the other person’s face is doing whilst I’m saying it. It is, quite frankly, exhausting.

We all have a need to be liked and feel included, because it’s human nature. Being part of the pack means you won’t be left to starve alone in the wild, so being socially accepted rather than cast away for being strange is the modern version of pack mentality. But it doesn’t always make us happy.

I woke up on my first day of university petrified at the thought that I would never make a single friend. I thought I’d be the oddball from Jersey, that has no friends and can’t say her last name without putting a hundred extra W’s in front of it. Opening with”My name is R-ria W-w-w-w-wolstenholme” isn’t the way I wanted to make a first impression.

My fear of rejection had evolved into something that truly took over my day to day routine. I’d apologise  to people when there was nothing to be sorry for, just in case I’d upset them without knowing. I’d feel guilty for not accepting invitations to events, but would often cancel plans because I didn’t want to be in a situation where I felt overwhelmingly anxious and couldn’t leave. I was always worried I was invited to things because people felt sorry for me, so never knew if I was genuinely liked or just pitied. I was treating myself like a nuisance, and so in turn became one to myself.

My first year of university taught me a lot about myself, and my own mentality. I began to realise that if I didn’t give myself a break, and stop worrying so much about what other people thought, and how I was perceived, I’d never be happy. Caring that much about other people’s opinions and judgments was not worth the endless nights sat alone in my room, worrying about nothing.

Now, I’m happy being me. I don’t care what people think of me, because I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as a person. I no longer seek the approval of others, because I’ve learnt that I don’t have to justify myself or my actions to anybody. As long I’m happy with who I am and what I do, that’s all that matters.

In reality, nobody cares as much as you think they do. So there’s no point in you caring what they think.

 

Change What You Refuse to Accept.

“We are mothers. We are caregivers. We are artists. We are activists. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise.” – Alicia Keys, Women’s March 2017

From a young age I was told ‘boys will be boys’, and that acting and dressing in a certain way was not ‘ladylike’ and would make people treat me with less respect. I then realised that’s bullshit, and that I am free to say, do, think and wear whatever I want. Period.

It’s come to my attention as I have grown older, that being a feminist woman puts me in a box. I apparently hate men, demand equality but do not actually support it, and am ‘rabid’ and ‘nazi like’ when discussing my views on the matter. I was reluctant even now to make this post through fear I would be subject to labels and misconceptions, because of how people view feminists.

The main misconception concerning what feminism is revolves around the idea that being a feminist means you hate men and want more power than them. In reality, feminism is about making sure that women have equal rights. Those rights include rights over their bodies, equal pay, social opportunities, and political representation.

The Women’s Marches that occurred around the world last week embodied, to me, what it is to fight for equality. The mission statement of the organisation who started them reads;

“This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.”

Many men came out in force alongside the women marching, which was humbling to see. Others may not have agreed with the march itself but backed the message behind it. Then of course, there were those who thought the whole thing was a giant middle finger to anyone who doesn’t have a vagina.

One of those people was Piers Morgan , who’s response to the Women’s Marches that took place around the globe a few weeks ago was that he was going to start a “Men’s March”, protesting the “creeping global emasculation of my gender by rabid feminists.” Not that anything Piers Morgan says is worth wasting time or energy on, but his small-minded response struck a chord with me.

The fact of the matter is, no matter what generation you’re from, we are living in a time where possibilities and opportunities to effect change are everywhere. A time of struggle offers the opportunity for a time of unity. To come together and make it through the bad times. I am privileged enough to live in a place where my rights are still intact and I am not being dictated to by a wotsit with a bad toupee. But I know that too many little girls, who might not fully understand what it is going on, are worried about what will happen next.

I hope we can make this a part of history we look back on and say ‘thank god we made things right’, before any more little girls have to fear for her future.

 

 

 

 

Gallery #137

The first 2017 issue of Gallery is now live! A great way to start the new year, looking at present and future possibilities of who rules our world.

In this issue, I took a look at Noam Chomsky’s new book “Who Rules the World?” and had a very serious chat about what we as a society must do to better our world. On the flip side, I also took a look at the world’s top food manufacturers, the up and coming ones, and some great little local Jersey based food businesses who are new on the block here.

Take a look at the magazine here!

Burnt Toast

There are some days when burning your toast in the morning is the final straw to tip you over the edge. You go from teetering on the verge of handling it all, to falling face first into the pile of rubble that is your life. It just happens.

However, in today’s world, our phone screens are flooded with images of perfect, happy people, living their absolute best life. There is no hint at a bad day, or even a bad minute, because these people are perfectly polished social media influencers. There’s no room for them to be real, but we all buy into the facade that they are.

A recent video made a couple of days ago by YouTube’s king himself, Shane Dawson, brought to light the harsh reality that these perfectly packaged people are in fact battling demons of their own. The video discussed the turbulence of being a creative person, and how it seemingly goes hand in hand with being, as he said, “dark and fucked up.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Shane talks about how the more darkness there is inside of you, the more creative a person you are. Because whatever you suffer with acts as a tool that you can utilise in your creative outlets. It makes people connect with you and your content, and helps navigate online users away from the sugar-coated posed world of many influencers. A way to bring them back down to earth, if you will.

Another article that sparked my interest whilst searching for the reason why creative people are depressed after watching Shane’s video, was this. It’s now seven years old, but still wildly accurate. For those of you too lazy to click the link, here’s what it contains:

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This sums up, for me, how to explain why wanting to create but actually creating is a constant war in your own mind.

The fear of rejection, the self-doubt of ability, and the worry that someone else will interfere or steal from you makes even starting the creative process seem like it’s not worth it.

But if your creative outlet makes you happy, and helps you channel the unexplainable struggle you feel, then ignore the doubt and don’t let anybody stop you. Creativity is what keeps people going a lot of the time, and as Shane said to his audience, and I feel on behalf of #TeamInternet , “It’s comforting to know that we’re all doing the fucking best we can.”

And really, if all you can do today is your best, then at least you got up and tried.

That’s the most important thing.