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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

selfie culture and body image

(tw for body image, weight, shaming etc)

I was about eight when I became aware of my body image. My self esteem was already low, but it was at this point when I started to believe that I was ugly and fat. I still feel that way now, but with key differences; and looking back, it makes me so so sad to think that I was so young when these feelings started.

I was eight, I should've been playing and laughing and smiling instead of pinching at my thighs and wanting to change every element of myself.

At twelve, I moved into secondary school. I frowned at myself in mirrors and poked at my spots, I refused to be in pictures. There are holidays and scout camps and outings with my friends that weren't captured by photos because I simply hated being in front of the camera. I took my refuge behind it, taking photos at relatives' weddings as an excuse for not being in them.

It was around this point, maybe the next year, when "selfie culture" began. People at school would take them every single morning for snapchat, for instagram. They could be of ugly poses to send your bestie, or airbrushed and filtered with the perfect pout for your instagram, complete with the hundreds of likes and comments.

I hated it. I didn't have an account on either thing. I thought it was self-indulgent and ridiculous that all people did was take pictures of themselves, or in groups.

A while later, one christmas, I got an instagram account. But all I would post were quotes, pictures of nature and etc. I followed all my friends but I wouldn't comment on selfies like everyone else, heart emojis and "stunning", none of that.

I posted my first selfie in early year 9. I got a little flood of comments telling me that I was pretty and the like, and whilst I didn't fully believe them, it made me happy. I didn't post them often, but I did occasionally.

I have a lot of doubt over selfies that I post. I hate the idea of people laughing at me or thinking I look ugly or stupid. But these days? I see why people post them, I feel what they feel when people tell me I'm beautiful.

People from other generations are negative about selfie culture because of similar reasons to what I was stuck in for a long time. But I don't like that. Because while my self esteem is still chronically low, and I'm having therapeutic help with it; posting a picture of myself occasionally, taking pictures in bathroom mirrors with my friends, striking a little pose on my snapchat every once in a while? Yes, perhaps it's self indulgent - but it's helping me with my journey to self-love, just that little bit.

Monday, 16 May 2016

on being "the asexual one" / my coming out story

On "coming out day" in 2015, I came out on instagram as demisexual. Having only moved school a few months before, I was slightly wary, but it was something I wanted to do.

The catch? I thought being demisexual and explaining that was safer than coming out as completely asexual (or asexual demiromantic, in my case)

A lot of people don't really get asexuality. Quite a few didn't get demisexual, either, saying that everyone has to know a person to date them, whereas demisexuality refers to needing an emotional bond before you even feel anything.

But asexuality? As both it's own sexuality and a spectrum of such, so many don't understand it. Do they or don't they have sex even if they don't feel attraction? What about romantic attraction? And, of course, who DOESN'T feel ANY sexual attraction? The answers to the first two are down to each asexual person, which should be easy for people to understand, but it just isn't.

Nowadays, I'm openly asexual and demiromantic. My parents, friends, therapist, some teachers... they all know. I didn't do another coming out post or anything, I just started referring to myself as asexual. No-one really minds; they just know that it's not often I like someone and when I grow up, I probably won't have kids naturally (although I've been saying since I was 8 that I'll be adopting, so it's not much of a shock).

While no-one minds, as I say, sometimes being asexual and such can be a bit lonely, for me in terms of discussions rather than relationships. I am left out of discussions about actors being "fit" and such; my friends don't need to hound me over whether or not I like someone. One of my male friends often comes to me for advice about his girlfriend, and while I actually normally have some pretty sound advice, if I do say so myself, it makes me feel that bit stranger.

At my old school, there were tons of LGBT+ people, and so, it wasn't a very niche place to be in. At my new? Well, a couple of people I know are bisexual, and then there's me. The people who don't know my sexuality get confused as to why I don't date. One of the first questions I got asked when I moved there was "so who do you think is cute?"

And whilst I love being me, and I will never hate my sexuality, it hurts to feel that little bit broken, that little bit robotic. It took me over half a year to come to terms with it, and I'll never lose that feeling, but very occassionally? I just want a sense of normality.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

nice to meet you!

Hi! My name is Charli, and you may know me from a lil blog called To Another World.

I've been running To Another World for almost 3 years, but it's been through some rough ol' times and because of all the bad times attached to it, after some long consideration, that it's time for a nice clean break.

TAW was a book blog but now I'm in my GCSE years, do a bunch of extracurriculars and have 4 months worth of schoolwork to catch up on (more on that later), I barely have time to read, so the content was becoming less and less frequent.

Instead, I want to write about my life, childhood, my mental and physical illnesses, about sexuality and feminism. I want to write about studying and Lush products, and sometimes books, and post poetry.

Also, in December 2015-February 2016, I spent time in an adolescent (CAMHS) mental health ward. I came out with memories and goals and I want to share my experience with others.

And so, welcome to my new little corner of the internet. It's not the prettiest, but it's mine, and that's what I've wanted for a little while now.

Charli x