Well, this should be interesting.
My first post in English.
In case you’re a non-Finnish speaking friend of mine who hasn’t been able to read my previous posts and now wonders what the hell this blog is about: Join the club. I have no clue either. Luckily, you haven’t missed much: most of my posts (the five I’ve managed to upload since starting this blog 1,5 years ago) are just me panicking and dwelling in existential dread. Oh and once I told the story of the time I went on a date to see Spiderman: Homecoming and got attacked by a python. So nothing really.
Why am I switching to English, then? Why do I want more people to be able to judge my grammar? Do I want my intellectual thoughts to finally gain the wide audience they deserve?
Firstly, if you think for a second that you’re going to find anything on this blog that isn’t best described as a brain fart, do yourself a favour and leave right now.
The second reason is the one I base most of my decisions on: laziness. I just simply can’t be asked to translate my posts from Finnish to English which is something someone always asks. And by someone, I mean one person. Hi Ema.
But to be serious for a while, the main reason I decided to write in English today is that the topic hits close to home and I have quite a lot to say. And ever since I moved to England, it has become a bigger issue for me than I would hope.
I want to talk about appearance.
I was walking home with my friends a while ago. This was before the good old Rona came to our attention so I’m guessing the topic was something else other than a pandemic. One of our common friends came up in the conversation, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, my friend called them ugly. Not with that specific word, but let’s just say they made it very clear that they would do anything in the world rather than put their genitals close to that person because their face is apparently so revolting. Although I wasn’t, obviously, happy with what they said, I didn’t properly confront them about it. I did what I do in most situations: tried to turn it into a joke. I told them “ahaha you couldn’t get them even if you tried” or something as smart and changed the topic.
After I got home, I laid down on my bed, thought about the conversation, and started crying. Full on balled my eyes out. The reason? I knew that if the friend in question would’ve heard the conversation, it would have killed them. I was so ashamed of myself for not standing up for them. ‘The stupid small joke’, that the person who told it probably didn’t even remember anymore after they got home, would’ve dragged our other friend into very sad and dark thoughts.
Some might argue that you can’t get offended by everything and that you have to toughen up to survive in the world. Yeah thanks Karen, that’s not my point. My point is that just because you think something isn’t offensive, doesn’t mean the person thinks the same way.
I’m not exactly the one to say that joking is bad, fucks sake, it’s about 73% of my whole persona. I love jokes, I like to be creative, witty and sometimes even rough with them. Usually with friends you know the limits and especially what crosses them. And sometimes, of course, you accidentally might step over the line. To a certain point, I agree, Karen, shit happens. You cannot always know what topics cross the line, people deal with humour differently. Some people don’t give a flying fuck if you tell them they look like a hybrid of a deformed goose and a baby that got stuck in the womb for a bit too long, some do. But when you know that joking about something, for example, their looks, hurts and you still do it, that’s when you become a shithead.
Stuff that you say ‘as a joke’ might be something the person has been saying to themselves all their life and actually believes it. You don’t get to decide what hurts others. The reason you joke doesn’t matter. Actually funny people know how to choose the time, place and crowd for their jokes.
So if you can’t make a joke without seriously offending someone, maybe you’re just not that funny.
I would love to be the person who does proper research and presents interesting facts to support the things they talk about, but bruh. I’ll stick with my kitchen table psychology skills for now. So just to warn you, nothing from here on will make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Besides, WHY I feel this way, isn’t important right now. I just want to let you know HOW I feel.
(wow sorry my 2014 Tumblr persona possessed me for a while)
Another little disclaimer: I’m a terrible person to have a meaningful conversation with. I rarely say nice things about myself (lmao) but something I’m honestly good at is seeing all (or at least many) sides of an argument. So to free myself of having to write a trilogy about this topic, I’ll just say it now: Anything I say on this blog ever, is not my only opinion. There are many sides to every argument and I could talk about all of them. But again, bruh.
Yeah I’ll get to the point. I told you I’m awful.
I’m going to say something controversial real quick so make sure you don’t have kids in the room and the pitchfork isn’t close:
I don’t understand people who post pictures of themselves to social media.
Before you send a hitman to my house, just listen. There are a million things I could say about this topic. I’m sure everyone already came up with 95 reasons why it’s stupid of me to say that, a big one being that I’ve posted pictures of myself on social media. Most of my good friends and family do it. Most of the world does it.
To me the whole idea of taking pictures of yourself and posting them for others to see is interesting. In a way it sounds very narcissistic.
Why for some posting their own face and body seems like the easiest thing to do and for some it’s nearly impossible?
I’m somewhat of a mixture between the two. One thing is sure: posting a picture of myself has never been easy for me. I love to think and say that my life philosophy is best summarised with the lovely phrase of “fuck it”, and sometimes it is. But for someone who doesn’t care, I often care way too much.
I know people who tell me they’ve never been called beautiful in their lives.
People who sometimes after taking a group picture leave the room to cry because they already know looking at the picture and comparing themselves to everyone else is going to hurt like hell.
People who can’t ever imagine asking someone to take their picture.
People who could only wish for the kind of self-confidence to be able to just put their face for everyone to see.
People who don’t have any pictures with their friends because the idea of getting in front of the camera gives them actual physical pain.
In some of these cases, I’ve been that person.
(And now if someone thinks that in my opinion not posting pictures of yourself to social media equals to not having a healthy self-confidence: please leave.)
My favourite way of dealing with my own looks has always been, surprise surprise, joking. I’m not sure if there is a person I’ve met who hasn’t heard me compare my head to a bowling ball. I’ve always made an effort to get all my chins to show or do whatever to look as stupid as possible in pictures just so I have an excuse to look the way I do. It’s easy to say ‘well yeah I look like that goose-baby hybrid but I wasn’t trying so it’s fine.’ You then don’t have to admit to yourself that you don’t look the way you would like to.
It’s easier to deliberately fail at something than to try your hardest and not make it. This is something I’ve done a lot in life, especially when it comes to my appearance or schoolwork, and I’m planning to write another post only about this. Thankfully, I’ve lately realised how toxic this way of thinking actually is and now do my best to work on it.
Earlier I said that appearance and looks have become a bigger issue for me ever since I moved to England. In a way, it’s true, in a way not. As I just told you, I’ve had a problem with my appearance all my life. That didn’t start in England. Actually, a while ago I made a conscious choice to change. I started to ask to have my picture taken and stopped complaining about my looks every single time after seeing the result. I’m happy to say, it honestly has made a difference in the way I think about myself. Besides, in England, I’ve found people who make me feel good and comfortable with every aspect of myself.
But as my friend group got bigger and more international, I also got to see a much broader version of how people think about looks. And that is highlighted in social media behaviour.
Honestly, this just might be my own observation that has no facts to back it up, but I think here people seem to care much more about looks. Comments, both nasty and nice, about others’ appearance are much more common than I’ve ever experienced before. And even when looks aren’t directly discussed, they’re brought up all the time in the way people act.
I sometimes feel like unfollowing people on social media, even those who are my friends and who I love because their social media makes me feel so shit about myself. I’ve tried to figure out the reason why, without luck. I know I have my own problems with my appearance, but I wouldn’t want to look like anyone on my Instagram feed either. Maybe it’s just that people being so into looks, not necessarily even their own but in general, is so out of my own world that it’s hard for me to grasp sometimes.
I’m obviously not saying that everyone who posts pictures of themselves to social media is full of themselves. Of fucking course not. In a way, I’m jealous of those who can post a selfie without thinking about it twice. I just really cannot relate to them.
What I honestly want more than anything is to not care. Caring is fucking exhausting.
What I want is to normalise not looking picture perfect. What I want is people to stop thinking that they have to make their face as perfect as possible before posting anything anywhere but also making it a big deal when they post a picture without makeup.
I have a really weird example of this. Karaoke.
Not too often anyone but the people who have incredible voices perform at karaoke, and nobody wants to sing after them. I live for people who know they aren’t perfect singers and still do it, those who sing in front of others even though they and everyone else can hear that they wouldn’t be the next X-Factor winner. Doing things you love even though you’re not good at them is what I fucking love to see. That love is real and genuine.
Sometimes you hear that people who can sing should be banned from karaoke to give others the courage to do it too. Even though it’s obviously a joke, it’s still fucked up in many ways. Of course, you can’t ban people who are amazing at singing to do it just so others wouldn’t feel bad, that makes zero sense in every way possible. It should be okay of absolutely everyone, regardless of their talent, to sing and feel good about it.
Same goes for Instagram. Everyone should feel absolutely fine to post their picture even if they don’t have a face any modelling agency would kill to have on their list. (Let’s not even go to the point that beauty is relative, jesus christ I’m taking enough of your time already)
I want to normalise being average.
I want to normalise being bad.
To make the shittiest point ever and take another step on my way of being comfortable with sharing my pictures, here’s me right now.
I already started writing about the context behind this photo and only then realised how perfectly it would fuck up my already weak point. So I won’t.
I won’t go too deeply to my opinion of shallowness on social media, because this post would honestly never end. I think it can best be summarised in a story my little sister told me. She was on a bus with her friend, who was scrolling through Instagram. The friend stopped on a selfie their common friend had just posted, scoffed, showed it to my sister saying something along the lines of ‘this bitch is so annoying.’ And then, of course, proceeded to not only like the picture but also write a comment about how much she loves her, accompanied by endless heart emojis.
To me, the way someone talks about others’ appearance tells more about the person talking than the person they are describing. I don’t think I can ever understand why anyone would attack a person for something they can’t change about themselves. It doesn’t fit into my brain. You can always change the way you act but not your looks. And before anyone even dares to think that “well technically you can change your looks if you do x, y and z”, let me just say, go make a nice cup of tea and shove it right up your ass.
As I’ve probably said enough by now, this post makes absolutely no sense or even tries to do so. I decided to write it because I still think that the conversation about appearance is sometimes too shallow. Every time you go online you find people talking about how toxic the impact social media has on us is, but I still feel like stuff doesn’t change. You know the reason? No one changes the way they act. Yeah, as stupid and obvious as it sounds, things don’t change if we don’t change them. This is a full-on #WeAreTheVirus situation.
That’s why I’m not just going to write this post and think “yay I’ve acknowledged that shit is fucked, now I’m done.” No, I’m going to try to do my best to change my own behaviour. Next time if I hear someone calling others ugly, I’ll call them out. I’m going to stop if I notice myself making shitty comments about appearance. My own or someone else’s.
I made this post because I want the conversation about appearance to continue. I also want it to lead to a positive change.
And also maybe now the four people, who ask me every other day when I’m going to post next, will shut up for a minute.