Thursday 27 March 2014

An Open Letter: What it means to be a blogger...

Recently I came across a post by a very well-known blogger on this platform that sent my aspirations to the pits of hell, for lack of a less intense description. I'm not going to call any names, or insert any links to the post because I'm not trying to start an argument, or create any internet "beef" with a "big blogger". That's simply not what I'm about. I just want to make my feelings known on the topic.
However, the overall premise of her post was that unless you're a blogger constantly offering or teaching something to your audience people "just don't care." At least, that's what I took from it.

Maybe reading it was as heartbreaking as it was because I don't believe I supply very much to my audience. I'm not a beauty blogger and I cannot teach you a thing about winged eyeliner or having perfect skin or hair. I'm not a DIY or craft blogger. To be honest I don't have the talent or patience to teach you how to build your own home from the ground up in five easy steps. I don't know code or HTML and cannot design you an amazing blogger template. That is not me, that is not what I can do, does this mean people just don't care about me or my blog? I don't believe that. I don't believe that one bit.

When I come across blogs like Scarphelia, Samantha Heather, A Wash With Wonder, Style the Natives, Wildflower of Prague or so many others I may not remember right now that are full of amazing stories, emotions, photos and thoughts I can't describe to you how at home I feel. I care, and I care a whole lot.
But maybe the point comes out of all our everlasting fears of failure. Personally, it's my biggest fear. Nothing petrifies more than the idea that I could be a massive failure. Or that I will fail at everyhing and spend my eightieth year of life basking in unfulfilled dreams and misery. Yes, these are the things that keep me up at night. And I guess we don't have very much to gauge our success as a blogger besides our numbers and comments. I'm sure at some point or another we've all googled, "How to be a blogger," "How to make money blogging.", "How to get traffic to my blog."

I've had all these thoughts for a while and have genuinely struggled to articulate them for so very long. I didn't know where to start, and here I am unsure where to end.
Blogging can't just be about that. It can't just be about page views and all that, which it has taken me so very long to come to terms with. I may never pass a million views on this blog, but I want every post I put out there, every words, every picture, every sentiment and every story to be something I'm proud of.  Something genuine. Something I'm happy that I've written and happy that you've read. I want to believe that though I didn't teach you how to look like Christina Aguilera or teach you how build your dream car from paperclips that I still gave you something. Whether that be encouragement, a smile, or just food for your thoughts.

But hey, whether I agree with what she said or not, I guess she's got the numbers that I don't.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Maybe risking it is a good idea...

The greater the risk, the greater the outcome.

As mundane as the beginning of a story can get, recently I was on the phone with my mum. I was venting my everlasting frustrations at her about the school system, and how underwhelmed I've been feeling about university life.
Recently, and maybe this is my annoyance just resurfacing, I've felt a lot of the assignments I've been getting are just ...stupid. For lack of a better word they're just dumb as hell, and I feel like I'm doing them all for nothing.

Literally using my time, energy, paper and ink on an assignment for NOTHING but a mark. Also the assignments have just been so vague, I'm wondering if my professors are becoming lazy to write properly thought out assignments. In spite of all this, my Film professor gave us an essay to do, which was actually a proper assignment with clear instructions. I wrote it and sent to my mom for a once over.
I'm actually quite proud of it, and I haven't been superbly proud with any assignment I've done thus far in my university career. Let's just say I entitled it "Elephants & Psychos."
Quite pleased with that title, thus quite pleased with my work.

A part of the assignment was comparing a film called Elephant by Gus Van Sant to his version of the popular thriller Psycho. My mom suggested I added to the essay that the title Elephant has something to do with the saying "The elephant in the room". I'd thought about it, as it made sense, but chose not to include it for fear of it being wrong. I told her this.

"The thing about having all these vague assignments, Leah, is that there is really no wrong answer. You've got to let go of that fear of being wrong. The greater the risk, the greater the outcome."

Though she was only talking about an assignment what she said got my brain firing at a million miles per hour. The greater the risk, the greater the outcome. There are so many, and I do mean SO MANY things I've held myself back from saying or doing out of fear. A crippling fear. A fear that literally holds me back from saying things, as if I can't speak. Stops me from doing things as if I physically can't. Because the fear does tell me I can't, or at least I shouldn't because the outcome will not be worth that risk.

I guess the saying in and of it self is a metaphor for life. Life has no instructions. It is, for all intents and purposes, a vague poorly thought out assignment for us to do. That's simultaneously the difficulty and beauty in it. But just as including a saying in my essay that I'm not sure of could be the difference between an A and a B, taking risks in life and sometimes letting life just be is what will make it worth our while.

I know there a lot of people out there thinking the same things. People who are just too scared to walk the path less travelled by.

Walk it. Walk it bravely.

Hell, walk it without shoes, you fearless son of a gun.

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Sunday 16 March 2014

Don't touch me I'm a model

I've been weary about writing this post for a long time. Even sitting here, writing it now, I'm still weary. But if this blog isn't an honest chronicling of my life, lessons, and experiences what is it?

In light of this, I'd still like to begin with a disclaimer: I have nothing against modelling, the modelling industry, models or anything of the such. Any resemblance to this, dead or undead is purely coincidental.

I really hope you caught that reference.

I was back home in Jamaica at the time. I sat in the waiting room, which was actually just a patio set on the first floor of a small plaza. The breeze accompanying the gorgeous 29 degree weather shuffled my hair, and caressed my skin. The sun shone in the afternoon sky, bright but not over bearing. Palm trees stood tall, and green all around me. Couldn't imagine spending an evening any better. I scrolled through my twitter and instagram feeds, passing the time as any eighteen year old would.
From the stairs, a slender lady dressed in all business attire called us up to the dressing rooms. We went up and, as previously instructed, changed into our two piece bathing suits and high heels.
As I readied myself for this audition in the changing rooms, I took a deep breath and thought to myself, "What the actual hell am I doing here?"

Nonetheless I stepped out of the dressing room onto a balcony, facing the rear side of another building. How odd. I sat on the wall, the cool breeze rubbing against my essentially bare body waiting for...someone.
A man came out of his office...or rather... the troll crawled out from under his bridge and told us all to line up.
Before that, everyone was vibrant with chatter. Discussion flew around about who would get picked and who wouldn't. What category people wanted to model. Whether or not it was good to come to a modelling audition with false hair, acrylics and full makeup. (Word of advice: Apparently it's better to go without.)

"Are you nervous?" the girl next to me asked, in a small voice.
I shook my head, "Not really."

I wasn't nervous. What was there to be nervous about? I was allowing a strange man to judge me not only my (debatable) talents, my dashing personality, my skills, or abilities; strictly my outer shell. My body. The car I was given to drive through life with, and there's really nothing I can do about it at this point.

"Say your name and age." He instructed.
We obeyed.
"I'm Leah and I'm eighteen years old." And these heels are freaking killing me can we please get this over with.

Silence then dropped around the balcony. The man, the first lady who called us up, another chubbier one, and a few strangers stood around waiting. You could cut the tension on that beautiful, weird back of the building balcony like a thick juicy steak. Yum.
He pointed at his first choice. A fifteen year old girl, 5'9", just over 100 lbs.
He pointed at another girl, and another, until he finally pointed at me and I walked over to the other side of the balcony. He kept two girls further examining them, and looking at every aspect of their face. He chose one more, and said a few words to the last girl before sending her home.

It was the same girl who'd asked me if I was nervous, who'd also confided in me earlier that day that she'd done this before.

We were then given forms to fill out, and our measurements were taken. I, like any other person who's probably auditioned for anything, was told to lose some weight.

This experience could have probably been the most glamorous experience for so many people, yet here I am almost embarrassed I'd subjected myself to that.
Nonetheless, it was an experience. I didn't particularly enjoy it, but I did learn from it.
It's definitely allowed me to reflect on what it is I want to do with my life. It hasn't given me sure, clear cut answers but I know for a fact I want to do something with my life that utilizes my abilities, talents, personality, and all the other things I've worked so hard over my life to develop. I haven't worked on the development of my body. That...just kinda happened.

Maybe one day I'll give a ring to the troll under the bridge. He might need a photographer.

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Wednesday 12 March 2014

An Open Letter: Girls don't have to do beauty, fashion & makeup.

Somewhat recently, I received a message in my YouTube inbox. It was from a twelve year old girl living in the Bahamas. She wrote that she's always wanted to try YouTube but never saw the point as she didn't know anything about beauty or makeup.
As quickly as my soul ignited, it was subdued with sadness. I bet there are tons of girls all over the world with talents far exceeding anything we've ever seen who hold back on starting a blog or YouTube channel because they feel the same way. They don't do beauty, therefore they will never make it anyways.

What saddens me even more is that these girls probably didn't get this idea from the men in their lives either...

We live in a world that places so much more emphasis on how a woman looks, rather than what she can do and here we have a free platform where we are 100% free to do whatever the hell we want and we're still believing we have to base our experience solely around how we look. How we did our hair, makeup, or what we're wearing.
I know several may argue it's the only way for a female to get any attention, but to be perfectly honest I'm not even sure that's the case anymore. The market is so full of so many people doing identical things, I imagine it must be pretty hard to stand out. If anything showcasing your talent whether it be your writing, photography, videography, humour, interviews or advice giving may get you more attention than would jumping into an already full industry.
It's the modern day, "A woman belongs in the kitchen."
Only now it's a woman's place is a fashion blog.

So to that girl who sent me that message, or anyone who's been scared about starting a blog, if you really want to... do it. Though it may look like you can only make anything of yourself doing fashion, you've got to jump in here and do what you love. If you're passionate about it, and keep 100% true to yourself at all times things will work out how they should. I can promise you that. Plus, I can almost guarantee whatever niche you fit into there is a vast expanse of people hungry to find someone like them.

Be the change you want to see.

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Friday 7 March 2014

Then & Now

Going down memory lane is one of the most fun and horrifying things you can do with your time. Whilst it may be fun to laugh at old, inevitably horrible pictures of myself, I can't help cringing at the utter mess of a human being I was before March 2014. Yup, it's that recent everyone.

Nostalgia hit hard searching for the perfect now & then pictures to show how much & little I've changed. Looking at old pictures brings you back to such a simpler time.

I was tagged by the lovely Samantha Heather to play the Now & Then game. Where I showcase to you how much (or little) I've changed over the years!

Now: Where do I even start? Everyone from Milo from the Lost City of Atlantis, to Adam Levine to Captain Jack Sparrow to... Pewdiepie.

Then: Every male involved in Twilight.  
Now: I basically only watch Youtube and youtubers I enjoy. Recently I've been watching tons (and I do mean tons) of CTFxC and Pewdiepie. And cartoons.

Then: An endless plethora of cartoons. If it was on Nickelodeon, I watched it.
Now: A lot of Eminem, Drake, Hoodie Allen, B.O.B. & rap in general. 
Then: With pre-teen angst running high: Jesse McCartney, Avril Lavigne, Teeny-bopper Sean Kingston. 
Now: Short, straight with highlights 
Then: Crazy twists and braids. 
Now: Watching Youtube, writing & reading.
Then: Further indulging in that plethora of cartoons, and riding my bike outside
Now: University text books (I hate them with a deep burning passion in my soul).
[This year though: The latest wimpy kid book, The Program by Suzanne Young]
Then: Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, earlier diaries of a wimpy kid, Series of Unfortunate Events.
Now: What style?
Then: What style?
Now: Ain't nobody got time fo' that. 
Then: Way too concerned with what I really shouldn't have let get to me. 
Now: Realizing that my dreams aren't worthless and that they are 100% worth fighting for. 
[Writing, Photography, Photo/Video Journalism] 
Then: Wondering what my dreams were and if they were worth the fight. 

I'd like to tag:


& anyone who'd like to give it a go!

Link me your posts down below if you've done it, or are planning to.


x Leah Symonne x

Sunday 2 March 2014

I've got the blues...or maybe it's the reds.

I'm way too proud of the title of this post. Lately I've been feeling unexplainable...and that's literally the best way to describe it. I can't. I've been invigorated and painstakingly unmotivated at the same damn time and I don't know how the hell that's possible. Maybe it's a feeling that arises from being on the precipice of something so mind-blowingly awesome while stuck in something so mind-blowingly crap. You're motivated and not at the same time. It's a weird place to be.

Have you ever noticed what you want to do are some of the hardest things to do? For example, why does the body fight sleep when it so desperately wants it. Why is being tired & not able to sleep a thing? Why do we do that? Why do we dive headfirst into bad situations? Why when I have class at 9 AM am I up at 2:30 A.M. writing this post instead?

I've come to a weird crossroads in life where I think I'm slowly starting to see clearly now (the rain is gone). I can see all obstacles in my way. But I think telling myself I know for sure is scaring me as much as not knowing at all. Why is it so hot in here? I don't know if it's a good or bad thing writing thoughts as they come rather than sorting through them. I think it's a pretty bad idea to be honest.

University is all but sucking the life out of me, and whilst being on this precipice of figuring myself out and what I want to do with my existence knowing that because of being at university they will all have to be on hold sucks. I'm being filled with life as it's simultaneously being drained out of me.

I'm pretty much a leaky faucet at the moment.

Why is teaching pointless information to regurgitate onto an exam paper a thing? Why does that determine my intelligence more than my ability to ... I don't know...balance a cheque book. Oh wait...

Why's the sky blue?

Or maybe it's a shade of red.

x Leah Symonne x