I kissed a girl and I liked it...and then felt really awful.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Having spun myself into a new (yet again) all male friend group, my Tuesday nights have been changed forever.
Usually I'd be tucked up behind my laptop, crossing and curling my legs over the duvet as I desperately search for the illegal download of some new American series, being spritely and somewhat alive on a Wednesday has been a priority for all too long. It is, with reason, a school night after all. 
But no longer. 

Life as a freelance internet someone, throwing yourself between the halves and in-betweens of impoverished bank statements and squandered cash on all day travel cards and expensive new pop-up restaurants gets a bit bloody boring. 
Don't get me wrong, I realise how many of you will want to smack me for complaining, I'd love no other working lifestyle and I'm in no way complacent- but the stress of managing five active email accounts, three shoot days, two demanding clients and a neglected blog all in a short week whilst trying to make a vague attempt at a failing love life means whilst one half of your brain is screaming for sleep, all the other half wants is wine. 
And gin.
And Jagerbombs. 
And a laugh.

Welcome G-A-Y Late. 
The floors are sticky, the music is awful, the queue to get in suggests they're handing out cheques at the door, but you can buy a round for £8 and no one bats an eyelid if you launch yourself across the floor to do a well earned Dirty Dancing lift with a stranger. Which in my books, makes it ironically, heaven. 
Last Tuesday was no exception, scrambling from a party in Leicester Square with my fill of free wine I met the boys inside ready to sing away my spreadsheet woes to some one-hit-wonder from some good looking 90's boy band. 
Flailing my limbs around like a ten year old playing musical bumps, I spotted one of my friends failing to chat up a girl in the corner. 
Off I popped to give him a hand and innocently sprinkle my wing-woman charm and then instead of keeping tight lipped over his unsuccessful efforts my lips ended up on hers.

In true British fashion, I didn't want to seem rude or ungrateful to her advances and just sort of went along with it.
Much to the applaud of the group of guys I was with, I stood and kissed this girl in the fluoro lights of a central London gay club and actually really enjoyed it. 
It was liberating and completely unlike me, sense and conscience left at the cloakroom.
It didn't matter whether or not it was a declaration of me exploring my sexuality or if it were me just misted by the last four mystery shots I'd had at the bar, it was deemed as a perfectly accepted act on a Tuesday night out. 
I am a straight female, I have no confusion there, vaginas terrify me too much to think otherwise, so what the hell was I doing with a girls tongue in my mouth?

Instead of waking up the next day with the promised taste of cherry chapstick, I felt a bit sick with questions. 
Was what I'd done insulting?  In a generation where 'faux-lesbianism' is actually a thing, this idea where it's just as fashionable to eat kale as it is to eat er...the same sex, in the vague and vain hope of inciting straight men whilst (allegedly) showing solidarity for Lesbian women alike. 
Was I just an advocate for the ignorance so many of us are adopting for the sake of finding a win-win promise land of being sexy AND humanitarian?
To be fair, I'd not put that much thought into it. I was literally just kissing someone in a club, the same way I might drunkenly and regrettably get off with a guy who buys me a drink. 
I'm by no means promising him my true devotion or feeling, it's just a physical act taking place on a Tuesday night where we're all trying to forget about someone or something. 
But because I was kissing a girl, I lay ridden with a guilty conscience. 

I don't stand alone in my Tuesday fumble, 35-40% of women report same sex encounters or arousal, up from only 2% in 1992. Is this because society is ticking it off as more acceptable to be gay and as a generation we're more intelligent towards sexuality or simply because famed women like Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevingne are advocating sapphism style?

After I'd told myself repeatedly over half a kilo of mango slices on the kitchen floor of my friend the day after that what I'd done was absolutely fine, I then almost felt sympathetic for him. 
Society wouldn't let him do what I did. 
As a straight male, the ridicule and disgust that would be shun upon him if he were to kiss another male in a club would be catastrophic as opposed to erotic. 
He'd never live it down where as I got nothing short of a round of applause.
I, as a straight female can kiss whoever the hell I like without having to give an explanation. 
Which seems completely and utterly bizarre and ironic when that almost suggests a glimmer of equality whilst trashing the other.

I did what I did because I was under the influence of a ridiculous notion that I was trying to escape something. Which by no means is excusable, nor does it need to be excusable. 
But when you do it just for a giggle, to heighten their attractiveness to the opposite sex, is it just feeding into the horrific and perpetual notion that being gay is or can be just a phase?

A postcard from Will D

Sunday, 19 October 2014

I know it's cruel to think I'm breaking, so selfish and fickle to suggest my youth has run its course on love/luck(?),

                              even if only for those few moments I sat awake on the corner of your bed.

Your eyes glint and
shatter           all
of the prewritten unrhymed poems I'll scribble on the backs of receipts on the train home that tell me
It is whatever,
but whatever it was certainly wasn't.
You are too kind to notice and I am too kind to care,
it's always the same and I struggle to be that kind

Even still, I wish I could change your mind.

McArthurGlen New Denim Icons

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Levi Jeans - (c/o) McArthur Glen // Fred Perry Shirt - (c/o) McArthur Glen // Khaki Cape - Zara // Scarf - Zara // Chelsea Boots - River Island // Necklace - Topshop

As the winter months draw in my smile draws wide.
ATLAST, a season I know how to dress in.
Throw me the thermals, unleash the wool and most importantly bring me some denim.
The wonderful people at McArthur Glen sent me on an adventure around their Ashford outlet (literally like Oxford Street on crack...and better) to re-fall-in-love with the perfect pair of jeans as part of their #NewDenimIcons campaign.
Generally speaking, you can't physically go wrong with Levi's and these are a dream.
The pockets on the back don't make my arse look terrifyingly massive (RARE!!!) and they're tapered down to the ankle so I don't have to roll them up at the ends like a school boy in the summer. 
With a crisp white roll neck shirt and some burgundy Chelsea boots, I think I might be able to get away with turning up to a meeting or three in jeans...

Letters to people I love - Shannon Saunders

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Letters To People I Love - Shannon Saunders

Dear Shannon,

I write this to you and also to the 100,000 other people that will stumble upon this.
If I had a soap box to stand on and read this to you and the world I would, but this little spot on the internet will have to suffice.

I've never understood love at first sight. I still don't.
I know it's bullshit.
But when I went to interview you two years ago in that kitsch tea room in East London, it was as close as that feeling is ever going to get.
Instead of formalities, we found ourselves shuffling towards a common ground that most don't discover until the third dinner or the sixth introduction, we took the piss out of each other and deliberated conquests, scrapping the interview to go shopping and drink cocktails in my secret hiding place in Chelsea.

On the Overground train with someone I'd known for two or so hours I bashfuslly uttered under my breath "I feel like we're going to be that new group of people."
I knew what I meant, you knew what I meant, but I felt embarrassed.
It's only now that I can admit exactly what that sentiment was to myself and it's -
"You and I get it. That's really fucking cool. Let's keep doing really fucking cool things and see if other people like it."

Little did I know at the time you so soon after my vague statement would go on to do the things I wanted people to talk about. You were 'it'. You epitomised 'it'.
The months I spent rallying around the country to gigs proudly with your dad, waiting in the wings documenting it with my battered DSLR, fuelled me on my own quest to smash it as much as you.

We enjoyed each other drunk and we tolerated each other tired- but we loved each other hungover with make up down our chins in Bristol or Berkshire the next day after 10 hours of working and endless hours of catching up and that's what really made it.
We were burnt out and exhausted, we were pursued by our passions and we were the corpse of a creative. Perhaps a vague personality lay within us, but to most it was imperceptible.
But between us - it was great.
The silence. The fact we could sit infront of one and other in silence and feel comfortable.
To know that the inner workings of our brain were finally left to sleep or functioning ten to the dozen and not question it- that's what meant it was real.

I dont have many female friends, I can literally count them on one hand, but meeting you made me want an army more - even if just you would've been enough. 
Never, ever, have I met someone with such untapped talent and charisma that I've wanted to tell everyone I know or dont know about.

You got signed to Universal this year and I've waded through four freelance jobs which has meant our gin fuelled nights haven't been as often. I really miss the 5am trains home and the three hour phone calls, but it's never meant you're not still there.

Shannon Saunders, thank you for all that you've taught me, the friends that you've brought me and the memories I'll never forget. 

C x

If you've got a friend that you know you absolutely adore, stop right now (thank you very much), call them, open up What's App, leave a long ass voicemail.
It's not often you meet incredible people and when you do, in whatever capacity, appreciate them. 

I'm Still Me Because You Were Still You

Friday, 3 October 2014

It's been a year and I'm still here.
A little bruised, a little exhausted but also- still here.
Twelve short months ago I walked back to London Bridge Station with a half smile, a head filled with terrified thoughts and an answer.
I organised a drink with my best friend and we sat in a pub in West London with an overfed dog overlooking the river, I stuttered a few excuses for words and before I knew it, something that had been 'just in my head' for so long was a tangible piece of me hovering over a wooden picnic table.

I now knew I had Bipolar II, whatever that meant, other than being weird and probably someone others would distance themselves from.
It was alien to me that something that was supposed to put an end to all of my questions felt as though it'd put an end to ever feeling good again.
So I wrote about it.
I vomited experiences and thoughts to try and piece them together over my keyboard like a cat who'd successfully hacked up a hair ball and wanted to turn it into yarn.
365,000 people read it.

One year, thirty two boxes of medication (some half finished, some untouched), eighty three emails from strangers, five self diagnosed friends, two parents who now know and countless cold chinese take aways later, it's all becoming a healthy piece easier.
Nobody shut me out or referred to me as crazy.
It's still hard, I still wake up some mornings and ignore it but I'm also now in an incredibly blessed position to walk next to it and treat it as though it's my daughter who needs my undivided care and attention.
I've learnt to embrace it, I'm no longer embarrassed - I am not Bipolar, I have Bipolar, I own it and it doesn't own me.

As winter winds in and I know I'm about to catapult off my high, I am no longer scared of October's and January's, I am ready to feel the ground under my feet as the same earth as July, just with a few more pills to plan.

Thank you to friends, to family and strangers.
I'm still me and that's because you were still you.
We're all a lot stronger than we knew.

To read my conversation about mental health and discovering bipolar click HERE.

oh my kale

Monday, 22 September 2014

"To juice or not to juice?"
I half heartedly ponder scrolling through my instagram feed.
Ever the cynic and Kinder Bueno for breakfast eater, there wasn't a single ounce of appeal to a handful of blended kale leaves that I could find.
I searched, I mustered, I sneered at my packet of Quavers, nope - nothing.
"I'll leave it to the food hippies and the experts."
Suddenly it wasn't just the health fanatics drinking their vegetables, it was just about anyone who could afford one of these unspeakably expensive cleanses.
As they flooded my social timelines they also filtered their way into the hands of nearly every pretty 20 something on my commute to work.
'Another fad I'm not buying into' I reasoned, 
until I noticed that waiting in the wings observing these flat stomached fashion editors were teenage girls coveting over the pristine eco-packaging to gain instagram likes quicker than a shopping trip to Celine would and to lose weight fast.

All well and good as a middle class health kick, but what if it was just unnecassarily prying into young minds making them think it was a necessity and not a luxury- a social media prop - a gateway into believing all of your meals should be drinkable, is healthy?
And were there REALLY any health benefits other than weeing every 5 minutes?
Obviously, I had to try it.
I got in touch with the lovely people at FRUVEJU Juice to see if they'd be interested in letting me try one of their cleanses for free (one of the best and most reasonably priced online, I still couldn't afford it myself) and the next day 18 juices arrived at my door.
I was scared, I was unprepared and I was in my pants eating from a carton of leftover chinese.
It was going to go well.

I started the following day and winced at every bottle I opened expecting them all to taste like WholeFoods bin juice, but was desperately surprised when my favourite one was a shade of Kermit the Frog green.
Still denying that Gwyneth Paltrow was lurking somewhere in my second skin, I moaned and contemplated eating my own feet by the time it was lunch.
It got easier and by 11pm I was sat in a bar with friends sipping on a glass of water whilst they finished their 3rd bottle of wine.
Then, something terrible happened.
Truly truly terrible.
I had become so miserable from being hungry that I caved into a glass of wine thinking I deserved it.
One glass lead me to the cheapest drunk I've ever experienced and in turn had to eat an entire Pizza Express order at 3am and Pizza Express aren't even OPEN at that time.
I was a failure.
But there was always day two.
The next two days I managed to stay clean and drink my 6 juices and nothing else, but working 10 hour days and having a healthy social life made it miserable.
These juices would be great if I didn't have to get out of bed for three days.
It really was a new low, I hated everyone around me and contemplated killing just about anyone that tried to cut me up on my commute.
The only good thing that came from starvation was the sparkly glint in other women's eyes on the train at 7:30am who would tilt their pond muck at mine in an early morning cheers.
It was the kind of satisfaction I always dreamt of when the popular girls at school didn't know my name.

In three days, despite the first day slip up, I lost 7lbs and it became terrifyingly easy to see why so many people were using this as a quick weight loss trick.
My stomach was as flat as a pancake, I felt like Karlie Kloss with thighs.
Well, Karlie Kloss with thighs and a chicken nugget problem.

But in all seriousness, these things are to be done carefully.
You don't need to spend £400 for an instagram opportunity when you could just be watching what you put in your body.
Stop drinking Coke and you'll probably notice just as much of a difference in your skin.
Oh my kale, moderation is key.

Falling in Love with East London - Film Photographs

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Where an old city meets the sky it caresses a new London and in between the cobbled streets with two friends I fell in love.
All shot on a Canon AE-1 with Kodak 400 film. 


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