How the Foo Fighters helped me overcome depression 

opinion piece

Yesterday I read an article on post graduate depression; which I have briefly mentioned in previous blog posts (how to deal with rejection), and it is definetly a thing. Infact, it’s a big thing that needs to be recognised. Once you graduate you are thrown into the big wide world, with the expectation that getting a job is not so difficult. And it isn’t really, if you want a job. If you want a career in something you studied – that may be slightly trickier. 

I went through this awful depression, and I know other people that have experienced the same. You feel down, powerless, useless. I got that dark feeling a few months ago. I had just got what sounded like my dream job after graduating – a marketing executive for an educational institution. It wasn’t journalism which I studied, but I vowed to keep my freelance work on the side and save up to enable me to complete internships for journalism. 

I won’t go into extreme detail as I would quite like to leave this subject to a forthcoming blog post; but this new ‘job’ turned out to be a complete and utter facade. The company was built upon lies – I had left my long term loyal job to work for a scandalous agency! I felt so betrayed that I had been manipulated and indoctrinated into thinking I was entering a completely different type of company, compared to the bleak reality. The only way I can describe this place (I refuse to refer to it as a workplace because it is NOT), it was like being in what I would imagine WW2 East Germany to be like. We were in a room with no natural light, in a cellar type environment. Our ‘manager’ watched us like a hawk throughout the day, talking was not allowed. We had cameras everywhere (the reason for this was never confirmed), and we were all pretty much convinced that these cameras had sound. It was terrifying to me that this type of work place exists – continues to exist and that individuals are subjected to these unhealthy working conditions. 

This ‘job’ came to an end after just two months and I was left with nothing. 

This is when it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. Waking up at 5am daily, shaking and sweating in pure angst. My anxiety had reached new levels. I knew what was causing it but I had zero control over the situation. It was the lack of structure to my day, the innate fear that I would never find a job. The utter self depreciation of consistently telling myself I was no good, useless. You will never get a decent job repeated in my mind like a choir hymn. 

There came a point one random monday I was getting ready to attend a job interview, I put my iTunes on shuffle. Foo Fighters came on, I remember the moment so vividly. Because it was the pivotal moment where my attitude took a turn for the better. It was their song ‘The Pretender’ which had been playing. So much feeling within the song, and the lyrics at that point in time meant the world to me. ‘What if I say that I’ll never surrender?’ 

I continued to listen to the band for the rest of the day, their uplifting, reflective lyrics helped me remember why I even started trying in the first place. And why I would never give up. 

The Foo Fighters are a great example of why you should never give up. Dave Grohl started out his music career in Nirvana, after Kurts death he was traumatised – but made the controversial decision to start another band. For which he received a lot of criticism for. Thr band went through numerous members, and numerous dramas. But they ploughed through, Dave never gave up. 

Eventually their efforts and talents were recognised. But if they would have gone and got a day job and given up on the music dream – they wouldn’t be where they are today. And that’s just it, despite my self depreciation and anxious thoughts ripping at my inner confidence – I won’t give up. I really no longer care how long it takes me to get where I want to be. I know that I will be there one day, and that is comforting enough. It’s enough, you are enough. 

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The real McCoy 

opinion piece

You see them on the buses, shopping, on the streets. They’re everywhere. And I just don’t understand how they do it. I mean, I’m working full time and I couldn’t even afford it.

It’s sickening. Most of them are under 19, half of them couldn’t even be 13 by my judgements…How?

They probably have rich parents; or they sell drugs. These kids, KIDS with these Micheal Kors watches, bags, purses. Or the goods are fake?

It goes without saying in our highly capitalistic western world you can see designer brand names absolutely everywhere, and it seems almost everyone is taken in by the trends, no matter how young or old. So, how do you manage to follow these trends and indulge in your passion for fashion when your strapped for cash? Why should you go without just because you aren’t born rich? Aren’t we all entitled to the same luxuries in life?

However tempting it may seem to purchase counterfeit designer items, its wrong. How would you feel if you spent all your energy, time and money designing and creating something – and with passion too. To the point you had almost reached astethetic perfection, for then someone somewhere to undermine all your hard work. Replicate this, exploit workers in the process, and then go on to sell it for almost less than 90% cheaper then what you had thought it was worth. You’d be outraged. So why do we seem to think its okay to do this to the fashion designers we look up to so much?

I do understand the struggle, coming from a seemingly deprived area and growing up in a lower class household. Of course it’s not easy, everyone feels the pressures of conforming to fashions. And everyone feels the elements of competition – especially for young females (believe me, I attended a girl’s only high school), where fashion/style is literally a competition.

There are legit ways of obtaining these luxury goods we lust after, you must must must be smart with your money. And, like most good things in life – they won’t come easy. You need to be disciplined, and also use your initiative. Because, if you have such a passion for fashion as you claim, you’ll agree that nothing in the world feels better then buying the real thing. Sometimes, I’d even go as far to state that its not only so much about the item your buying – but the whole experience.

You saunter cooly into the glossy Prada store, the cashiers giving you a side glance; whilst you act calm but inside your dying. Heart racing, palms sweaty. Fashion excites you, and you can’t believe your here. Inside the store you dreamed about as a child. Worlds away from the world you grew up in. Miles away from the struggle and the lack of money that you know. So you smile, knowingly, knowing that yes I’ve made it now. And, yes that fresh leather smell from a brand new Prada bag…it’s to die for.

I’m a great believer in hard work. I believe if you want anything bad enough, and your willing to use what assets/talents you have to achieve that goal, of course focus, determination and discipline are fundamental. But with this perserverence what you can achieve is nothing less then impossible. You can do it, you can save and you can purchase your first real designer bag. However there are also smart ways of doing this. You need to scour Vogue cover to cover, and spot classic trends. Because, let’s face it no matter how hard you save, you still need to be realistic. That 10,000 Hermes bag you see Victoria Beckham posing with – is probably out of reach. However utilising things such as car boot sales, can bring you great vintage buys- as can eBay. There are also Designer outlets, such as the one in Bicester. Which, by the way is comparable to heaven to earth. Everything from Vivienne Westwood to Ralph Lauren resides there. And the shops are almost 50% cheaper then the flagship stores. Amazing right?

So, what you may assume is unreachable and how you use your ignorance to indermine an industry you claim you love? It’s unjustifiable. The prices, and the buying into brands is an accepted part of the fashion industry. And that’s not going to change for now. We live in a capitalistic society, this is what we have created. The principle applies to almost everything. I’m pretty sure a BMW is just as reliable as say, a Toyota Yaris…But which would give you more street cred? I’m pretty sure 99% of people given the choice would be prescribing to the Bavarian motor wheels. Because its known for its high quality and its reputation giving It great street cred stems from that great quality. Ladies, you are a Porsche 911 not a Ford Escort. Treat yourselves accordingly.

It’s her own fault…

opinion piece

I recently read a blog post from an anonymous female who had been raped. It was such a powerful blog post, it reduced me to tears; not only that, it reiterated through my mind for the rest of the day. Until it pushed e to a point where I thought, people need to be aware of this. It struck a chord because actually some of the scenarios she described are what women are expected to go through without question.

I’ll give you a personal example; this is rather shocking and morbid, nevertheless if it helps raise awareness I’m willing to share the story.

I was 17, maybe 18 when I decided to first start taking driving lessons. There was a small local driving school which I had decided to use as they were cheaper then the AA.

He seemed rather charming at first. ”C’mon take a seat, don’t be nervous Michelle”. He made a conscious effort to offer me several hot drinks (I had no idea this was a ploy to deliberately ensure I later on needed the toilet), and kept asking if I understood everything he explained. After the lesson as he was driving me home he said he needed to stop at his parents house quickly which was en route. He explained they had gone on holiday and he needed to pick up the post for them. I mean he was a qualified driving instructor for goodness sake, had he just been anyone I wouldn’t have gone in this house.

Initially I said no it’s ok I’ll just wait in the car. But he insisted, and said ”Are you sure? Are you sure you don’t even need to use the toilet at all?” Then I thought, actually I do need the toilet I’ll go really quickly. So I walked in and he led me upstairs, he showed me his old bedroom . To which I politely nodded. When I came out of the toilet he looked like a demon, something had changed in his eyes. ”Can I have a kiss?” he asked, half sounding like he was joking, half sounding angry.

I said ”No, I want to go home now.” At that point I could not have felt more vulnerable I turned to run out the house as I started to think anything could happen to me right now. No-one knew I was in this house.

I turned around to walk down the stairs, but he grabbed and yanked my hair and pulled me back so hard that I didn’t even have time to react.

”I’m just playing with you Michelle, what’s wrong?” He said with a glazed over look in his eyes.

The whole way home was spiked with silence. I didn’t say one word. Call it shock, fear, disgust, anger. I could not breathe one word.

I didn’t tell my parents, I didn’t tell the police. I blamed myself because I willingly went into this strange house with him. But looking back now, I so wish I had reported him because Adam the pervert who is in his mid fourties probably with a wife and several children, is still free now to strike again. And maybe the next victim wouldn’t be as fortunate as me to escape.

There’s a lot to be said from a positive perspective in regards to feminism; we have come a long way since, say, 50 years ago. But in my eyes, there are still some fundamental attitudes which have a long way to go.

Attitudes which we are inherently expected to just sit down and accept; attitudes which are wrong from the get go. And it’s funny that so many men have this attitude, without realising actually a woman raised you. You married a woman, and one day you might have a daughter.

”Boys will be boys”. No, no they will not if you raise them correctly. We have to stop making excuses for sexually forceful behaviour. I’m sure 90 percent of women have experienced a situation where they are saying no, but a man is being persistently forceful. Why can they not respect you saying no? Personally I think there are a number of reasons. One being that for some men it’s not about the sex its about the domination, about seeking an authoritative position as the ”strong alpha-male”. Only he’s willing to do it at our expense. For others,  maybe they are extremely sexually frustrated. Who knows, but the difference between us and animals is that we distinguish between emotions and feelings; and we have this great thing called speech which allows precise expression of thought. So it’s not that difficult to understand someone saying no, and furthermore it’s not even rocket science to have self control to stop.

What’s even more frustrating is the ignorance of some men to try and justify this behaviour. ”But she’s a slag anyway” , ”If you dress like that what do you expect”, ”She enjoyed it though so it’s not rape”. Even if you see a female sauntering down the road butt naked, what does it say about your character if you force someone into doing something against their will. Regardless of what they wear, or their sexual promiscuity. These elements are irrelevant.

Without being too depressing or revealing any details of my personal life; I will confirm that I know people, and I have been in situations as mentioned above several times. It mentally scars you, and that is also why I am able to comment and assume this attitude is so widespread.

I’m not accepting these attitudes and as women we are expected to put up with this, and live with the trauma which we are consequently scarred with after being in situations like these. Everyone needs to be aware of this ignorance and spread the word like wildfire. Because I do not want my daughter to be prematurely sexualised because of misogynistic, forceful attitudes; nor do I want her to be taken advantage of by any male.

Jimmy Choo Vs Christian Louboutin

opinion piece

It’s the equivalent of Porsche vs Ferrari, only in the fashion world (except neither of these brands are German or Italian); Parisian fashion powerhouse that is Christian Louboutin, with its iconic and decadent red soles…against the Malaysian, London based masterpieces that are Jimmy Choo’s, handmade to perfection with their ever so recogniseable stitched white label.

I have owned two pairs of each (soon to be more if I’m frank about it), so we’re on a level playing field here. Especially aimed at younger females, who may only be able to afford one pair of luxury shoes – you need to be well informed, the last thing you want to do is waste your hard-earned cash.

Starting with the drop dead gorgeous red soles, (I could lick the sole it’s that attractive) on the aesthetics they get a 10/10 every time. They epitomise glamour and class. However, and this is not only my opinion but something I have heard amongst many Louboutin owners – the practicality of the shoes is almost non-existent. Have you ever tried walking on stilts? Me neither, but the Louboutin experience is pretty close to how I would imagine it’d be. Although I opted for the slightly risque 120 mm version; unfortunately almost all of the shoes have this needle thin heel, and no platform at the front to support your foot. But, they still look so beautifully edible. The smell of the leather is orgasmic. Verdict – a worthy investment for a special occasion, but check the website thoroughly before ordering as they now have chunkier heels available which should be easier to walk in. (Beware that Loubs also usually come bigger so get a size smaller then your usual measurement, this will help with the skyscraper heels, giving you slightly better support).

photo (40)Jimmy Choo’s are just as luxuriously glamorous; with their handmade half sizes they fit like a glove and not to mention their high quality leather finishes. Just as beautiful as the Loubs, but perhaps more variety. Which in a way adds to their practicality, you can choose a heel height and width, safe in the knowledge that you won’t break your ankle walking further then 10 steps on a night out. The shoes pictured, I purchased recently and omg. The comfort is unbelieveable. They feel like wedges, like flats, almost as soft as my converses. Seriously, 11/10 for practicality. In terms of pricing, although Jimmy Choo is usually more expensive, they do have an outlet store in Bicester village (Oxford), which means great opportunities to grab bargains. My pair were only £143. Verdict – Although both brands are as prestigious as one another, and both shoes are as stunningly beautiful I think if you have to choose just one – for me it has to be the Loubs. I can’t get over the red sole. It’s too iconic, it’s one of those items every girl must own before she’s 25. Although they are pricey, and difficult to walk in, at the right occasion I’m sure they’ll do me justice. And next time I’ll get chunkier heels, which aren’t paper thin, because frankly I quite like my ankles intact, kinda need them to walk you know. Shiny on you crazy red sole!