Re: The Stories We Tell by Jack Harries

I’ve been following (also in love with) Jack Harries since he started posting Youtube videos seven years ago. At first, I saw him as the ideal Brit with a fantastic accent and funny views on living. His twin brother Finn also caught my eye and from then on, these brothers were the British Zack and Cody for me. However, as I grew up, as they grew up, and as their video content started to change, I found different qualities in them that I respected. It wasn’t just that they were easy to look at, but they had real talent and intelligence about the world. I stayed close.

I’m going to only talk about Jack for right now, because he is the one who continues the channel. Finn, I see you. I see you.

When Jack posted the video I linked above that discusses the up and downs of his life, I immediately connected with his honesty. His perspective on social media and mental health inspired me to reflect on why our internet appearance can ruin our real-life experience. Key-word is “can” here, because I don’t think this happens to every person with an Instagram account; it only applies to the group of users that have trouble functioning with the on-going rise of online interactions. I think I am a part of this group.

Jack speaks in the video about how when we click that post button, we are telling a story. Not necessarily the most truthful story but a story nonetheless. He recognizes that as each of us build an online profile for the public to analyze, our perception of close friends, family members or other people we interact with changes. They are not separate worlds. Our reality in society and the reality on the internet have direct links to one another now that so many people use social media. I often feel weirdly grateful for the times that I meet someone who I haven’t yet met on Instagram. It’s almost as if that never happens anymore. If I didn’t rely on social media for research on other people’s lives, how different would my friends group be? Would I know less information about them? Shouldn’t that scare me? My brain is combining all the stories from the accounts I follow with the encounters I’ve had in real-life to construct opinions on other people. So, we’ve added a second variable to the equation of how I perceive a person. While this could potentially augment our personal relationships, I am weary of the fact that it could also destroy the potential of a strong relationship. Stories can now be told through posts and updates rather than sitting down and hearing/reading a story.

Another incredible point to Jack’s talk is that he opens up about his mental health and how working too much on our online appearance can be exhausting. He admits to needing to take time off of his YouTube channel and neighbouring film company. While this is of course very honest of him, I can’t help but wonder why something you love to do can tire you out. I can see that Jack is passionate about capturing stories and visiting places that are new to him and so, I find it so sad that he felt overwhelmed by it all. The pressure of constantly creating is terrifying. Perhaps we all need a break, even from activities we find most enjoyable. Perhaps there could be a happy medium. This is something every human has to figure out during their life.

Another thought that popped into my head after watching this video was that maybe the like button is the villain rather than social media itself. We press a button and our judgement is publicized. Anyone can see the posts you like and the ones that didn’t get your approval. And I think it’s true that when you don’t redden the heart on a post, people will think you don’t actually like the post. This small action of pushing a heart creates another story within itself. I’m curious about why there is no dislike button on Instagram but there is on YouTube, Facebook (the mad and sad emoji’s are very similar to disliking a post), and Reddit. Are we not allowed to dislike something? Does everyone need to love and be loved? Twitter has an interesting take on the dislike button by making your downvote a private matter. It won’t directly show up that you don’t like a tweet but it will cater your timeline to what it thinks you would like instead. That way, it is your business if you want to see something pop up on your timeline. I think this is very smart. You go, Twitter.

Jack’s creativity continues to inspire me and encourage me to tell stories. Whether that be through a picture of my cottage or filming myself exploring dance, my social presence will create another version of me. Let’s see in the next 10 years where it goes from there. There is so much more to discuss about social media’s influence on our everyday lives and so I want to extend my gratitude to Jack for filming this chat he gave as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Thank you, Jack!

It can be a lot.

As an introduction to this, please see this video.

It pains me to know that the life I have chosen (at such an ignorant age) deals with caution, appointments, deadlines. Because I want it. I want to be there, in the lights, no looking back, man I’m ready, let’s go. No more waiting for the stomach to tighten, no more loveless nights of tears, no more laughter that feel uncomfortable. Wait, what’s wrong with me that my laughter is uncomfortable? My smile is numb, my stomach is sick…

This makes no sense. I was destined. I had the world in the palm of my boney hand. Now the world is forcing weight on me that I didn’t even call for or plan for. This wasn’t the plan…

My rib cage has no space to contract in the oxygen I need. My lungs are inflamed. With hatred? No, more like wheat. Are they different?

Being a grown up doesn’t mean you’ve grown up. It actually means you’ve gotten through 20 f**king years of struggle and hardship. So, you’ve earned it. But it’s not even over yet. Life doesn’t magically become your to manoeuvre. EVER. So why is it so important that we rush past these years? Do we need to endure the slouching days of sighing and pencil crushing? is it required? Because I DIDN’T f**king SIGN UP FOR THIS. I didn’t fill out the form. I was too busy crying about the last bowl of cereal I ate in tears over the last bowl I ate in tears over the last bowl I ate in tears over the last bowl. I ate. Eating up all the nutrients to fail. And then I’m suppose to smile with comfortable teeth that aren’t filled with food. Great… well I missed that form too.

English has taught me to be cautious of my words. To be greatly invested in what you’re doing. To see past the black and white page. To know there isn’t always a happy ending. To feel blessed with the kindness of your own life. To be, to see, to know, to feel. All these humans things. And I still get to be young.

All my friends make the world less hellish. I guess?

Making me feel less hellish. I guess?

Wondering if they’ll ever be like me. And they can’t. They’re lucky and blessed with their beautiful lives. I have to suffer.

Will I reread my life when it’s over? Am I just a story? Are my actions and feelings turning black and white immediately as I pass through them? Am I passing through them? Or are they passing through me? Why are there no answers?

Are we our hair?

I ask myself this a lot because unlike most people in their young adult life, I have never dyed or cut my hair (other than a healthy trim). I don’t think it’s because I am afraid to make a drastic mistake with my locks. I have never really seen the value in caring. I wonder if I’m too blasé faire about my hairstyle. I have never wanted to change the way my up-do looks… is that holding me back from realizing a new confidence in myself? If a change in appearance could actually improve my mental health, then maybe I should be trying new styles or colours to bring out my personality.

Although, I feel connected to the colour and style that I currently have because it reminds me of my younger self. During my time as a nine to fourteen year old, I became increasing aware of the frizziness of my hair. The ponytails and ballet buns that were required for my dance classes started ripping my strands of hair to a point where split ends would happen near the top of my head. My hairdresser, still to this day, brings up my frizz with a look of despair. It was horrible to look at, according to my mom, but I felt indifferent. It made my head look more full and less thin. I wanted to have big hair, not hair that was the width of my head. I was influenced by beautiful women of colour like Beyoncé and other unique artists like Lady GaGa. So my brown, split hair was the constant in my life and I knew that I could control it because it was always the same. Should I have experimented more?

If we, as humans, are directly linked to the long follicles that rest on our head, then we must be also labelled by others by the way our hair looks. For example, a person with spiked black hair could be deemed “a punk”. Moreover, a hairstyle that resembles Rachel Green’s iconic hairstyle could mean that the person is flakey and easily lovable. The equation happens every time:

Style + Length + Colour = Personality

But what if we just want to make our hair a certain way simply for the reason that it makes us feel confident? I sometimes like it when my hair is down straight even when it’s greasy, but does that make me a slob? Will I be judged as a person who doesn’t handle healthy hygiene properly? I only want to try different concepts with my hair as if it rests on my head for the sole purpose that my brain feeds it creativity.

As well, humans lose so much hair every freaking day. We are constantly recreating our style involuntarily and we have the opportunity to do whatever we want with it. Most people throw it away because it’s practically garbage now. I take the time to put it on my shower wall when it starts to follow the water down my back. I create art with the hair that is no longer mine. I stare at it, step away for a second and watch as my body’s garbage turns into a masterpiece.

Then I form a circular path to capture it all up and I throw it away.

 

Just me

My extra stomach skin is my friend. People always say that your body is a temple but they always seem to talk about it like a yoga practice or something… it’s not a religious thing, it’s just what you live with for your life. You didn’t choose the body you were given. But you can choose how you want to connect with it. Connect with your armpit hair, your digestive system, your genitals. It’s allllllll up to you! How exciting! I wish I could quote Dr. Seuss in his book “Oh the Place You’ll Go!”… but the saddest part about living is that other people will convince you that you hate your body. So whenever I feel like I’m on an uphill journey to being a crazy fitness guru, I realize there’s no point.

Once upon I time, I starved myself for a full day. No substance, no junk food, just water. Let me tell you, I have never felt so lonely in my life. I got compliments from my peers at school, them saying that my hard work is paying off. How exciting! You’re finally on your way, right? But the sadness ate up my skin and forced me to emotionally collapse. I was solitary.

So my body is my friend. My body is my companion that never leaves me. How exciting for me. 🙂

When duck lips became popular.

Another piece from my archives. I felt lost at this time because I didn’t want to take selfies or push out my hips (I mean lips). I still don’t but now, I can admit it.

Jan 01, 2013

THOUGHT #3

Looking panoramically at the different social circles I visit on a daily basis, I see people who are comfortable with how they act and the choices they decide. They search for normality and feel okay; they never want to feel like an outcast or like people are judging them. And I blame the media. For sure. As promised, proof that I have a world-changing idea is as follows:

Selfies: Like c’mon, I see you almost everyday. Do I need to see you wearing the lips of a duck or looking like an idiot. There is also absolutely no reason to see your arms or your room in the background. NO ONE CARES.