Friday, 12 February 2016

Learning To Smile On The Internet


The internet has known my face for nearly a decade now, but it was only a few weeks ago that I uploaded what I believe is the first ever picture of me smiling.

I actually remember my first ever internet 'profile picture'.

It was on MSN, when I must've been in about Year 8, and I have no idea where I got it from but I had this cartoon-like illustration of a girl in ripped fishnet tights and biker boots sat crying on a bench, with the words 'Where The Pretty Girls Go' written in a banner above her head. Which seems like a pretty badass move for a 13 year-old girl, but I'm almost entirely certain I'd just google image searched 'pretty girl cartoon', so.


For my photo after that, I did the absolutely unthinkable, something which would go on to shape a big portion of the rest of my life. I nicked my sisters laptop, climbed out onto the little roof outside my bedroom window so I could reach our next door neighbours unprotected wifi, positioned that hefty piece of 2007 machinery in a precarious way as to get my best angle but also not drop my sisters computer off the fucking roof, and I snapped my first ever selfie on that grainy webcam.

I was the first person in our year to use a picture of themselves as their profile picture. As soon as I triumphantly uploaded it, I received a barrage of messages pop up in those flickering orange boxes: 'who is tht in ur pic???' 'is ur dp u?' and truthfully I felt like a fuckin' boss.

So began my illustrious selfie-taking career.

I'm not even exaggerating when I say I reckon I must've taken close to half a million selfies in my life. They've been a huge part of my understanding of how I look, and how others perceive the way that I look. Which, when demonstrated through the easily-manipulatable lens of say instagram, is perhaps not always the healthiest thing.

Through my years of practice, I've learned that I can take a mean selfie. 

Precisely that. In the past couple of years, the pictures I choose to release of myself all have a running theme - I look mean as fuck in them . 

Not a trace of good humour or joy seems to creep into my expression, regardless of how I'm actually feeling. I have the same foolproof raised chin, eyes cast downward, lips subtly pouted so it looks natural and menacing glare formula in each picture, and then it really gets to me when people accuse me of thinking I'm better than everyone. 

"I don't present a false presentation of myself online, though... do I?" I asked Chloe when I was in NYC this January and she just laughed. Yeah, I mean, I could see how to someone who didn't know me might assume that I'm cold, a bit unpredictable, incredibly self-assured, cynical even from my photos, but I liked that. And I was all of those things inside... but only perhaps 8-10% of the time. 

That's when I realised that while the way I was making myself appear wasn't technically inaccurate, it was by no means any kind of accurate at conveying the bigger picture. 

Because really, I'm a happy, gawkish, trashy mess who is prone to being quite serious, but loves nothing more than just being a silly bitch too.


And so I made a decision. I'm only gonna post a selfie if I am genuinely happy on my inside and just wanna share something nice and honest with the world. Not a carefully-controlled ego boost when I'm feeling fragile.

For 8 weeks now, a selfie has not touched my insta unless I'm smiling and lovin' life. And when I scroll back over my archives, I look back at my life and my captured memories and I realise that I am genuinely happier and more confident at this moment in life than I think I have ever been.

I've always understood 'cool' as just not caring about anything. But I don't look back at my old pouty selfies and see a cool girl. I see a girl fraught with insecurities who cares an awful lot, searching for someone to tell her she's pretty enough.

Now I've realised it isn't 'not caring about anything.' It's genuinely not caring about shit that doesn't actually matter. 

And you can trust me on this one, 

'cause I'm now cool as fuck.  



51 comments :

  1. I absolutely love this post. I know a girl who does the same thing you did. She creates this fake image of her on Instagram (mostly fake) like putting on gym clothes just to take a picture so people thinks she works out. It annoys me because she's not this person she's trying to make people think - she's so much better, funnier, happier, more down to earth. I hope she realizes it some day just like you did.

    I'm so happy for you x

    Tess
    thelyricstolife.com

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    Replies
    1. Ah man, that really sucks! I don't think I ever got that bad... but I deffo was perpetuating something which wasn't accurate! x

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  2. HELL YEAH. I love this post and it's so important <3

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  3. I love this so much. We've all had our emo phases but it honestly gets to a point where you're just over it - the façade. Your instagram is lovely at the moment x

    Erin | http://beingerin.com/

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  4. I totally feel you on this! I don't actually post selfies anymore it's been a while since one hit up my insta, and I agree only if you feel happy inside or comfortable xxx

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    Replies
    1. yeah its funny, maybe its something we grow out of?! x

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  5. YES I love smiley selfies the most! Humans are definitely most beautiful when happiness is shining through their faces :) x

    Martha Jane | www.marthajanemusic.com

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    Replies
    1. Couldn't agree more, thanks for reading Martha! x

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  6. LOVE THIS!!!!!

    www.waytogoelaine.com

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  7. This post is powerful and I LOVE it! I'm totally not one to master a selfie nor do I particularly like my smile (clearly you are and are beautiful either way) but I agree wholeheartedly that when you start losing that typical Insta pose and perception, the real you behind the pout shines through. You go, girl! x

    Bridie | The Same Old Chic

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    Replies
    1. What a lovely comment, thank you so much Bridie! x

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  8. Well we really need to smile more often, right? Also the inner smile, the inner happiness will show out on our faces. Love the picture.

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    Replies
    1. I'm definitely learning to smile more, and stop pretending that I don't! Thanks Abby x

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  9. This is a rad. The internet is full of so much judgment & expectations it makes a casual selfie hard to master or appreciate. I like what you said about not caring about things that just don't matter. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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    1. haha thank you so much for reading Carmen :)

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  10. You're cool af! I think selfies with smiles are a treat yo self.

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  11. I've been reading your blog for a few weeks and I'm convinced that I could read your beautiful writing all day. a truly unique blog in a sea of noise! loving all your gorgeous smiley selfies!

    http://tarnalexandra.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. That honestly is the nicest thing ever to read it makes me go all eeeee inside! Thank you so much x

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  12. Inspiring!!! Loved this post...

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  13. Loved this post! It's so important to smile and to feel confident online when you post the pictures of yourself! You go girl x

    http://thriftyvintagefashion.blogspot.co.uk

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