Help.

I need help.

But here’s the problem. The sort of help I need is not the sort of help people feel they can or are willing to give me.

When people are told to ask for help then usually it’s in reference to seeing a therapist and working through their problems. For me I can’t afford a therapist (and the NHS therapy sucks) and so I’ve been working through my problems for the last sixteen months on this blog. I’ve got a pretty good sense of who I am at the moment but I’ve reached that step of my journey where something has to be done about it. This is where I need the help.

Riyadh Khalaf recently mentioned how he’s going to interview the cast of Love Simon. This sent me into a huge spiral of depression because I know he’s got where he is today because of opportunities that other people have given him. His big rise to success came when a video on his YouTube channel went viral and sort of gave him access to all of these other opportunities and connections. Now I have no ill feelings towards the guy (other than the jealousy and envy that I can’t control) but his success has been dependent on other people (much like a lot of people’s success is). His YouTube channel wouldn’t be anywhere without people viewing it, sharing it, liking it and what-not. Just like he wouldn’t be able to get a job unless a company was willing to give him the opportunity.

So this is where the problem lies. A lot of people have various reasons for not helping; either they feel they can’t do anything, they feel I’m attention seeking, they feel other people are more in need or they’re too busy.

I was unemployed for three years, during which time I really wanted to get into entertainment journalism (which is why Riyadh interviewing the cast really hurts me quite badly because it’s an ideal scenario for me) but nobody would give me an opportunity. I couldn’t even get work experience (me working for free) with these people because they just wouldn’t give me the chance. Then I was turned down for work because I didn’t have the experience that the companies wouldn’t give me.

And so this is why I struggle with other people’s success. Even when I admit that my mental health decline is massively in part due to my current living situation and career prospects (living at home and working a dead end job in retail is not what I like), and yet I’ve not met anybody nice enough to offer out an olive branch and say “here, here’s your boost onto the ladder, see where you can go with that”.

I tried it years ago when I asked various YouTubers for interviews and got absolutely nothing in return, not even a reply. It’s not even like I was asking them to go massively out of their way, just a Skype interview where I could post it on my YouTube channel and hopefully boost my subscriber count a little. But no, nothing was heard. I even offered to travel to them, something that would have strained my mental health, but I was prepared to do it because it was what I wanted to do.

I also once wrote to Ellen Degeneres and asked for work experience on The Ellen Show. Didn’t hear anything back from that.

I’ve tagged various celebrities in my posts in the hopes that they’d like and/or share them because that’s also a way to increase my popularity. The only thing I heard was from Shane Dawson and Yogscast Hannah who commented on my article and for a day I felt like it might have been my big break, my view count went through the roof, but then it just died.

My YouTube videos stagnate at meagre views and it depresses me to even get out a camera now because I don’t know what I’m doing so wrong that others are seeing. My ASMR is doing really badly in terms of view count compared to others and I put this down to my appearance or the benefit of a helping hand from somebody already established. Even the opportunity for somebody to mentor me and teach me more about video production and stuff, because I readily admit it’s not my forte, wouldn’t go amiss.

I didn’t get out of bed until 6pm because I didn’t know how to face the world. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’ve reached a stage where I don’t know what to do anymore, I can’t do it on my own and I’m struggling, and so every time I write, publish and/or share, it’s more of a cry for help. I am drowning in the sea and I don’t know what to do anymore. It feels like I’m drowning, telling people all they need to do is throw me a lifeline, and yet everybody is too busy, doesn’t think they can do it, feels I’m just seeking attention or they think somebody else is more deserving of the lifeline.

I don’t really know how to end this without asking for help again. I thought I was being too blunt about how I needed help and maybe it was putting some people off but maybe I’m being too vague. I need work experience, I need help promoting my stuff, I need opportunities to work in an industry that I enjoy, I need mentorship and prospects. I need other people to see that I do have something to offer and give me a chance because otherwise I’m beginning to feel that I don’t have anything to offer and so what’s the point in life?

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My Queer Eye Profile

I have spent the last two days binge watching the newest season of Queer Eye. One of the things I love is that since the original they have dropped the “For The Straight Guy” from the title because now it’s about makeovers and not about the gay/straight divide. There’s still some issues to be explored but it doesn’t primarily focus on that anymore, it’s now about helping people more than anything.

The main thing I like is how they break a life down into five categories and a specialist comes in to help you fix that aspect of your life, or at least teaches you how to maintain it.

In this post I am going to try and construct a Queer Eye Profile for myself.

Basics

Age – 27

Height – 6’2

Weight – 216 lbs

Design

I still live with my parents where I have a single room that has never been decorated since I moved in. It has beige walls with a beige carpet and the only thing design aspect I put my opinion into are the numerous black cabinets stocked full of movies and books. I spend 90% of my time in one single corner of my room where the computer is and it’s only two foot away from where my bed is, making it easy to roll out of bed and just sit on the computer all day. It’s not a bachelor pad, it’s not an elegantly designed room, it always just feels like it’s unfinished and in the middle of change. I also have my own bathroom, although the bath doesn’t work and it doesn’t have a shower so I have to use the one over my parents side of the house which is rather inconvenient at times.

Food

I can’t remember a time when I have actually cooked a meal. My parents prepare dinner for me all the time and when I’m going to be at work in the evening then I just usually have a bowl of cereal for dinner. Even at University I lived on SuperNoodles and pasta but nothing fancy, just pasta in a bowl with some barbecue sauce and cheese. I’m very fussy when it comes to food and textures so my diet fluctuates between diet shakes and porridge to pizza and chips. The food is usually beige and has often been described as “kids food” because it’s processed and unhealthy. Don’t even get me started on vegetables. Yuck. I eat a lot of sweets as well, because I have a huge sweet-tooth. So on the times when I’m not trying to diet and lose weight I can munch through dozens of packets of sweets without even noticing I’m doing it.

Grooming

By far probably the easiest to describe because it’s virtually non-existent. I spend less than a minute on my appearance when I’m going out and if I’m not leaving the house then all I do is brush my hair and not care how awful it looks. My hair regime consists of sticking my head under some water and then brushing it across so I have the hairstyle of a 1920s gangster, or Hitler. I lock it in place with a huge amount of hairspray so it doesn’t move. I’ve been at a loss with what to do with my hair since I cut it short (having used to have shoulder length hair which everybody hated) and I’m still undecided as to whether I want it long or short. I shave once a week and only because I have to go to work, if I have time off work then I just don’t shave until I have to go back and I end up looking homeless.

Wardrobe

At this moment, typing this, I do not currently own a wardrobe. I own a sort of display stand with sections for different types of clothes although I pretty much wear the same things day-in and day-out. I’ve only ever bought a handful of my clothes with 99% of my stuff having been bought by my mother or being gifts for Christmas or Birthdays. A lot of my clothes are black and I’m not a huge lover of colour just because I feel it draws attention to me and I’m not prepared for that. I hate shopping for clothes because I hate being on the larger side of things and it always makes me depressed, plus my mother has instilled the idea that spending more than £3 on a t-shirt is a horrific waste of money.

I have basically no self-style. And I live in tracksuit bottoms when I’m at home or my one pair of jeans when I leave the house.

Culture

I’ve never been in a relationship. I’m on numerous dating websites and stuff but I lack the self-confidence to send any messages to guys I match with or like. I have a slight distrust of the LGBT community because I had a drastically bad experience with the society at University and since then I’ve distanced myself from the crowd. I also consider myself “too old” for the whole “gay scene” and don’t know where else to find love.

I also suffer with depression and anxiety (stemming from a lot of things such as body image issues and bullying) and so I work a dead-end job in retail, fifteen hours a week, four days a week, and end up hating myself because I’m not following my dream of journalism. I enjoy raising awareness of mental health issues and mental health is a huge part of my life because it’s affected me so much, I just haven’t found a platform for myself yet. I tried YouTube but my self-confidence doesn’t always get on well with YouTube, especially when I don’t get the view count I want. As such I sort of stick to just this blog.

The anxiety and depression also leads me to practically never leaving the house. I go to work and the gym once a week (sometimes) but apart from that I basically never go outside. I have practically zero friends (I have colleagues and acquaintances, but nobody I know socially on a regular basis).

It’s Not What You Know

Donald Trump set up his “empire” starting with just a “small loan of one million dollars” from his father. If this isn’t just the pinnacle of nepotism then I don’t know what is. Firstly, if you think one million dollars is a small loan then you’re jaded and misguided and you have no right to talk about money as if you’re self-made. Secondly, if your family can afford to lend you one million dollars then you’re not exactly going to struggle in life as it is.

It’s this idea of nepotism that, on occasions, really has me exceptionally depressed.

The problem I have with nepotism is that it affords luxuries and experiences that other people can only dream of. If my father were CEO of a company then I’d be able to learn on the job when he ultimately appointed me a position within said company. It’s not a privilege that people like me get, we don’t get that sort of experience.

My first example, because she’s been all over my newsfeed recently, is Stephanie McMahon. Her grandfather passed the business down to her father and now ultimately it’s being passed down to her. I’m not saying she hasn’t worked for her position because I know some of her history, where she started off working in the lower ranks and stuff modelling t-shirts as a child and working the lower rungs of the ladder. But this is still an experience most people wouldn’t get. Some days I simply dream of being backstage at a WWE event, let alone working at one with the intention of working my way up. She was also afforded WWE training (as all children of WWE superstars are), which is an experience I would have loved but my parents were never into it.

Now I’m not blaming her for where she is today. She wouldn’t have got where she is by just sitting back and letting daddy do all the work for her. But while people are desperately trying to build ladders made of twigs to higher platforms, her father have her a solid steel ladder and all she had to do was not fall off.

The Yogscast. I’ve mentioned these a couple of times before in previous articles but this is ultimately what nepotism is. The YOGS in Yogscast stands for Ye Old Goon Squad which was the name of a party in WOW (don’t ask the specifics, I’m not a WOW guy). You can often hear of them talking about how they used to do things together in WOW and so it’s no wonder they got the jobs as content creators. Lewis and Simon would have had the initial success but everybody else was allowed the opportunity that others don’t have. People don’t go into YouTube with a pre-set audience but being friends with Lewis and Simon allowed some of these people to begin a channel with a successful channel already willing to promote them and back their audience. It’s not the same as starting out with zero viewers and absolutely no successful channel endorsements.

Let’s stick with the topic of YouTubers and take a look at Shane Dawson. Now Shane Dawson is another self-made YouTuber in that he was there at the beginning and took advantage of the timing and opportunity given to him. But, can we say the same for the other people who have garnered a large following off of his back? But who are these people? Shanna Malcolm, Drew Monson, Ryland Adams, Bobby Burns and a number of other people. Now I’m not saying, once again, that these people don’t work for what they’ve got, but Shane Dawson featuring them in videos and promoting them gives them that ladder they need to get to the next level. They don’t need to do the difficult task of gaining viewers, simply keeping them and as long as they’re friends with Shane then that won’t be difficult. It is the equivalent of being allowed a billboard in Times Square just because of who you’re friends with. Not saying you didn’t work hard in making that billboard, but people wouldn’t see it if it wasn’t for your friend.

And finally, where would ASMR be without collaboration videos. The good ol’ “look at who I can get to feature in my videos” video. Most of the time this doesn’t improve sound quality, some people can do better on their own, but it’s shameless self-promotion using others to gain their audience. It’s not a bad thing, it’s how promoting your channel works, but it’s just that being friends with these people allows you the opportunity to create that channel with an already existing fanbase.

What I’m saying is that if I were friends with Shane Dawson, Simon and/or Lewis of the Yogscast or any ASMRtist with a significant audience then it wouldn’t be starting from square one for me. It would be like starting on square four or five from which it’s almost impossible to not garner the audience.

Oh and let’s not mention the added bonuses of better cameras, better microphones, better video editing software and editing techniques from professionals. All of these are things that square one starters don’t have. We have basic editing packages that we barely know how to use and basic cameras that we are learning with but we don’t get the view count for trying, we just get criticised that our cameras aren’t good enough or our video editing isn’t good enough.

I think this is one of the reasons I get uptight with YouTube a lot more than anything else, it’s that people complain and don’t realise the opportunities that they have been given, and it annoys me even more when these opportunities have been given through nepotism more than talent or interest.

This is also why I get uptight when people criticise me for asking for help. I’m asking for help to improve my situation, not just because I’m attention seeking (which some people have accused me of).

(As always, no offence is meant to anybody, I’m simply stating what I see from an outsiders point of view).

Why I Do What I Do

So this whole Keaton Jones thing has had me thinking a lot recently. Mainly because it’s been an up and down roller-coaster of a journey with different things coming out each day. But I won’t comment too much on that anymore because we all know where I stand on bullying. All I want to say in regards to the issue is that if Kimberly Jones has created some elaborate hoax or scheme to get gifts and money then there’s a special place in hell for people like her.

But, and keeping with a similar theme, I want to lay my motivations on the table. Think of this as the end hand of Poker and for a long time you’ve been wondering why I’ve been making the moves I’ve been making and doing the things I’ve been doing. Now this is the moment I lay down my cards and tell you.

I do what I do in the hopes that somebody will give me an opportunity. In an earlier post, If Merle Would Sing My Song, I mention how easy it is for one person to change your life. And so I write and record in the hopes that somebody somewhere will want to help me change my life. I’ve reached a stage where I don’t know what to do anymore, I can’t do it on my own and I’m struggling, and so every time I write, publish and/or share, it’s more of a cry for help. I am drowning in the sea and I don’t know what to do anymore, do you call somebody selfish if they ask you to throw them a Lifebuoy to stop them drowning?

But, and here is where I think I differ from the alleged reasons of Kimberly Jones, I don’t want money. I don’t want 55k put into a GoFundMe account in my name. That’s not what I ask at all.

I ask for an opportunity. I ask for a celebrity to share my work because they have a larger following than I do. The doors that can open is huge. I ask for help improving my job opportunities; internships or work experience. I ask for practical life help.

Unashamedly I once wrote to Ellen Degeneres. I could have fabricated any sort of elaborate lie and gone along with it for attention and money and adoration. The fact is that I didn’t. I simply wrote and asked her to consider me for an internship or work experience because that was what I needed at the time and it would have boosted my career prospects monumentally.

I did the same when I tried to contact some YouTubers for interviews. I wanted to get some interview experience and so I got in contact with them. This wouldn’t have been easy for me, it could have meant long drives and stays in hotels, meeting new people and stepping out of my comfort zone, but it was something I was willing to do for the experience and because it meant so damn much to me. As we can guess I heard nothing back, but it didn’t stop me trying.

Why? Well because I truly believe I’ve done as much as I can do on my own. I haven’t made the connections most people make during their teenage years and University days. I don’t have friends in high places that I can call up for favours. It would be great if I could phone up a radio station and say “Hey, remember that time I did work experience for you? Got any work going?” But I can’t. The only work experience I have is two weeks working in a bank, a week working in a shipping company, a month working overseas in Canada (in a castle) and three years of retail.

You see when I was growing up everything was academic. I wasn’t sporty, I wasn’t social and so my way in life was through academics and education. It sucks that we’ve reached a point in life where education barely gets you anywhere anymore and it’s considerably more in favour of practical experience, something that my mental health has prevented me from getting a lot of the time.

This is why viral videos actually hurt me so much and cause me anguish. It is other people getting opportunities that I am trying so hard for. I don’t want to be viral, I just want the opportunity. I saw Calum McSwiggan doing a radio show or interview the other day and I got jealous because he’s been given an opportunity that I wish I had. Why? Did he study journalism to a University degree level? I don’t know but his videos have helped garner him the connections and experience he needs to do what he wants.

And so, now I’m being a bit more clear about things, this is my way of asking for help.

It Gets Better?

“Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year?”

So these words were tweeted by Captain America himself, Chris Evans. A great gesture from a character whose sole purpose in creation was to help boost morale with the suggestion that anything is possible. Captain America itself is about a bullied and unfairly treated youth who gets genetically experimented on with the results being that he comes out buff, chiselled and awesome. The origin story itself is the embodiment of the phrase “It Gets Better”.

I get that we have to be supportive and understanding. These are kids we are dealing with, the people that are told they are “too young to be depressed” because they haven’t reached that stagnant point in their life yet. As a child or teenager your everyday should be filled with possibilities and the future should be unknown to anyone and everyone. You haven’t reached your full potential, you’re still growing and you’re still coming to terms with everything. Both biologically and socially you still haven’t reached a stable point in your life and so there is forever the idea that it gets better. Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with telling this mantra to children because in a sense it’s true.

There is something bleak about life after your teenage years. This is because your transitional period stops. You are expected to get a job, to find a partner, to settle down, to have a family or to focus on your career. The whole idea of being an adult and living is rooted in the idea of stability, you need a stable job and life in order to earn the money to live. The first question people ask you when they meet you is “so, what do you do?” because everybody is supposed to be at least partially on their way to this long-term ambition.

The part I take exception with in the mantra “It Gets Better” is that it doesn’t address those of us for whom it didn’t get better. It doesn’t account for those us in a dead-end job with no future or career prospects who struggle to leave the house when they relive bullying from years ago in their minds every single day. It doesn’t understand that as a child you are encouraged to be your best and reach your pinnacle but as you grow up you’re expected to settle more and more with each passing year.

My job wasn’t supposed to be long-term. It was supposed to get me away from the job centre whilst also giving me time to focus on writing. As it happens I am coming up for three years at the job with a future that doesn’t seem to change. Why? It can get better, get another job. As a teenager I would have no problems with leaving the job in hopes of a better one, as an adult I know the realism. I know that I’ve spent three years unemployed before this job and who knows how long I’ll spend after it. I know I’m pushing thirty and still living with my parents with absolutely no financial future of moving out. In this instance it doesn’t get better. It either stays the same or it gets worse.

I also know I’m crippled mentally from school. The bullying I experienced didn’t go the way that they tell you in the story. Bullies are alone in dead-end jobs with dull and miserable lives while you skyrocket and become yourself to the fullest potential, surrounded by the best people life can give you. That’s not how it worked. That’s not how it works for ninety-nine percent of the people who experience bullying either. Instead I can’t form a relationship because I’m so paranoid about the way the other person perceives and treats me that it leaves me barely able to leave the house while one of my bullies just has to take his shirt off to make friends.

So what is in store for people like myself? For those that are old enough to understand how life works and know that life doesn’t always get better? Those of us that are realistic enough to know that the good-guy doesn’t always win and the bad-guy doesn’t always lose. Those of us for whom bullying has forced us into a corner and we’re being held there by societies expectations and the threat of joblessness, homelessness, bankruptcy, or a future forever alone. What pearl of wisdom do we get that encourages us to put down the knife or the bottle of pills and actually continue on with life?

Self-Harming

This one is actually quite difficult for me to talk about and should definitely come with a warning that it is in regards to some serious mental health issues and any thoughts of this nature should be discussed with a professional.

So I’ve never really talked about self-harm before. That’s because I didn’t do it until I was about 25. I was never a teenager who cut themselves with razor blades and has the scars to prove it. My way of coping, because self-harming is some people’s way of coping with things, was to get lost in fictional worlds of computer games and books. It wasn’t until I was put into a situation where my stress and anxiety levels were through the roof and I had no escape that I did it for the first time.

My first time was at work. Having been unemployed for three years I was having a difficult time adjusting to working and not having as much free time as before. This was compounded by the feeling of insignificance that I felt doing the job and the fact that the overtime felt pressured rather than offered. So, being at work and having to work with customers all of the time, you don’t have half an hour to disappear somewhere for a sleep, video game session or to get lost in a book. You’re stuck. So I started scratching. We’re not talking just a little scratch here and there, I would scratch until my arms bled and there would be friction burns up most of my forearm.

The reasons for this are many-fold and I don’t think self-harming can be specifically boiled down to one particular reason, I think it’s a culmination of a lot of things.

Firstly I felt insignificant and so I sort of felt like I deserved the pain that came with it. I felt like the lowest of the low, with no friends, no future job progression and basically like my life had come to a standstill. For a twenty-something year old I felt like I was a failure because I wasn’t successful (you can see this in other posts about YouTube and Celebrities that I have written).

The second reason was that I was doing it for attention. Not in a “look at me” kind of way, just in a way where I wished somebody would notice and stop me, or take me to one side and talk to me about it. Nobody ever did though. But that was what ran through my head sometimes, that I wished people would pay more attention to me and notice how much pain I’m in.

Another reason was that I felt helpless. With overtime feeling forced it no longer felt like my time was my own. I was permanently paranoid that I’d be called into work and it nagged at my mind. Even when I was at work, the idea that they would approach me and ask me to work overtime felt like they were taking away my free time. My way to respond to this, to have control over something, was to scratch my arm until it bled. It was a strange feeling because it was something I could control, nobody else could make me start or stop, that choice was down to me. It reclaimed a little bit of the freedom that I felt like I had lost.

I must tell you to prepare because this is where my mind gets a little bit warped.

When I was unemployed I would look for ways to be more selective in the kind of jobs I could take. I still wanted a job, I just didn’t want them to be able to send me to work nine-to-five at a dump for zero pay (which is something they actually threatened). And so, along the lines of self-harm, I did consider something more serious than just scratching; I actively considered physically hurting myself until my life became confined to a wheelchair.

Now, this is where it gets warped because I know being in a wheelchair isn’t something to aspire to, but in my head it was. It got me sympathy and the attention that I craved but it also meant my options for work were limited. I could still do stuff I wanted to do, like writing and journalism and stuff, but it meant my range was restricted down a bit more. It was, in a sense, a control issue. If I put myself into a wheelchair then it meant I could control where and when I got a job, and I could make sure I took a job I was happy with, I had legitimate reasons to turn down certain jobs.

It also comes with a little bit of self-pity. If we circle back to my romantic life for just a moment, the idea of being in a wheelchair gave me a reason (in my head, remember) for why I would be eternally single. It would be my excuse for why nobody found me attractive, I had something I could blame rather than the current confusion of not understanding what people don’t like about me.

To show you how fucked up my mind is sometimes, I also considered self-blinding. Yes, a small part of me hoped that like Daredevil I would be great at martial arts with massively enhanced senses, but that’s sort of the child in me still wanting to believe in everything being possible. But no, it gave me a talking point. I’ve spoken before how, outside of being “The Intelligent One”, I don’t know where I fit in, but this gave me a place to fit in. I didn’t have to fit into that box because the blindness would give me that box.

Also, both of these things would give me the ability to provide my mind with the excuses for why I wasn’t rich and successful. It wouldn’t nag on me any longer because it would understand that opportunities are restricted and the chances for blind and/or wheelchair bound people are lesser than an able-bodied person.

I don’t mean to make light of any disabilities, that never was or is my intention, but in my messed up head sometimes I don’t always clearly see the negatives. This is the truth about what went through my head on the occasions I considered it and shockingly enough the negatives were never something I thought about until my mind was in a more sane and healthy place.

If I Ran The School

So it’s probably no secret that I had a hard time at school. The environment at my school, at least through my eyes, was toxic. By the time it came for me to leave secondary school the place had gone downhill with teachers either too afraid or flat out refusing to do anything about any sort of bullying. I once had a chair thrown at me in a classroom where the teacher was watching and all he did was tell the student to “sit down”. That was the extent of the punishment in my school.

We did have these things called conduct marks. Basically you had ten conduct marks each week and every time you misbehaved or broke the rules the teacher could take one away from you (I can’t remember if they gave them out or took them away, but either way it was a tally system). At the end of the week, when you got your Planner signed by your tutor, the amount of conduct marks you had (or had lost) would indicate your punishment; detention or meeting with headteacher usually. The problems here were that tutors were far too lazy to check Planners and so a lot of people got away with misbehaving and no repercussions.

So this is where the title comes in. If I ran the school I would make some changes.

First and foremost everybody would be treated equally. I know teachers try to do this but I’m talking on a wider scale. The drama kids are treated the same as the sporty kids, the same as the arty kids or the DIY kids. It’s all the same. If any achievements are to be celebrated then all of them will. At my school it was far too obvious that sports were favoured over anything else. The assemblies always had sports awards and sports news and stuff about the school sports teams. It was horrific for anybody who wasn’t interested in sports. Do away with that and make everything fair. You talk about the local sport success in assembly? Then you also talk about the viewing for students’ artwork or the auditions for a school play.

The major change I would make is to discipline.

You have three chances in the first phase basically. If somebody puts in a complaint about you misbehaving, breaking rules or bullying then they need to be investigated. If the investigation proves you have misbehaved or broken rules then these are the three-step punishments to be followed.

Step 1 – You receive a warning. (If a severe punishment is needed then you receive detention). (Offer help if the infraction may have been due to a mental health issue or biological problem).

Step 2 – You receive a detention (If a more severe punishment is needed then you receive a suspension).

Step 3 – Suspension.

When you return to school after your suspension then your three chances turn into two.

Step 1 – Detention.

Step 2 – Expelled.

These cover most of the infractions within school boundaries. Bunking off school? Refusing to listen to a teacher? Non-Physical bullying? They are all classed under this scheme.

However, there is an alternate scheme for serious infractions. This category is for use in the case of physical violence (of any sort) or carrying a weapon and other serious issues.

Step 1 – Expelled. The Police will be involved if it would be considered a criminal offence, had it been outside of school property.

Zero tolerance. This is what zero tolerance looks like. It’s expelling people when they need to be expelled.

Follow these rules and the school will be a much better place for those that do want to be there.

But, I hear some people say, these people who were expelled will suffer down the line when they leave school with no qualifications. To that I say “So?” If you cannot be a civilised human being in school towards other students then I have very little sympathy for you. What school doesn’t do now is reinforce consequences. Nowhere will take you if you’ve been expelled from every school in the area because, and rightfully so, you will be seen as trouble.

This is brought on by the fact that I witnessed an awful lot of physical bullying in my school. Not just towards me, although that is the stuff I remember most vividly, but across the entirety of the school. And guess what? Probably only between 1 and 5% of these cases were ever treated seriously. Some of them weren’t reported because they knew teachers wouldn’t do anything and those that were reported were mostly just dismissed after a meeting with parents (which is considerably unhelpful for everybody involved).

Parents don’t currently take it seriously. If this rigid guideline were in place then you know the severity of the infraction because it relates to the punishment. Parents would have to take it seriously when physical violence is seeing their child kicked out of all schools within the area. They will need to take action instead of claiming excuses for their child. Because that’s what we need more of, more action and less talk.

A school needs to start being treated like a workplace. I know that the rules I have suggested are the rules that my company obeys. As such we have zero physical violence, I’m not afraid to go in there in fear of being assaulted and because we understand there are consequences to actions. If we seriously broke rules then we would be looking for another place to work, the same should be said for a school.

Your Success Is Determined By Other People

It’s sometimes difficult to decide what to write on here, given that this is an open forum and it’s read by people who both do and don’t know me. But, I do have a rule that if anything makes me feel suicidal or exceptionally depressed, if it plays on my mind so much that I can’t sleep, then I have to write it down somewhere.

I joined the company that I currently work for in March 2015. After a year of being in the role of General Assistant I decided I wanted to be a Supervisor. Now, I know as well as anybody else that a Supervisor isn’t just a job title you decide you want to be and then voila, it happens. I knew there’d be a lot more to it than just changing the job title. Since a Supervisor’s role wasn’t available, because you have to wait for a current Supervisor to leave before that happens, I wanted to take the time to learn everything a Supervisor does so that when it came to it I was ready to step into the shoes. There was also a time here when a current Supervisor had to go home sick and they had nobody to cover the role, I decided then that I wanted to be the kind of person that could fill the role if a Supervisor ever came down sick.

So they agreed. My manager agreed for me to learn some more things and to run things when Supervisor’s went on their break. This was a big step because it was essentially a brief fill of the Supervisor’s shoes, and it meant they trusted me enough to look after things while the Supervisor had their break. All of the Supervisor’s agreed to this too – we have five – and agreed to show me some of the things that their jobs entail.

Around Christmas 2016 a woman (who shall be known as Sam) joined the company as a replacement for her friend who had moved to a different department.

By this time I was already basically doing what a Supervisor does whenever a Supervisor felt confident enough to leave me in charge. There were certain aspects I wasn’t allowed to do, legally, because they were reserved purely for Supervisors and since I wasn’t technically one yet then I didn’t have the power to do some of their job. But for the most part I could do a lot of things a Supervisor could do.

So I was, in pretty much everything but name, a Supervisor. It actually gave my job a purpose. I was no longer just a simple replaceable cog in a machine, I felt important and like I could help people find solutions to their problems.

Well, over the next few months I found out that Sam had passed an assessment which allowed her onto a Management Trainee scheme. The way the company works, in the most simple way I can put it, is a three-tier system;

  • Manager
  • Supervisor
  • General Assistant

There’s some in between those but for the most part that’s the hierarchy of the company right there.

So Sam was on her Management Trainee scheme and I have to say that I didn’t resent her for being ambitious and going for it. I had become good friends with her and worked with her a lot and she did take on a hell of a lot of workload so it wasn’t like she didn’t try hard. I also didn’t feel threatened either, what with her being on a Management Trainee scheme, this meant she was looking for a job above me anyway and she’d need to transfer stores to do her placements and such. None of this would impact on my progression into a Supervisor role.

Only, as you can probably guess, it did impact it. It’s impacted it a lot. But, and this is very important, I do not blame Sam.

Once the Supervisor’s found out she was going for this role then she became, in essence, the Star Pupil. She was suddenly the one covering breaks and running the show whenever there was an available time. She was being shown all the things I had been shown and I didn’t have a problem with this, it would have been nice to have somebody who could help me out if I ever did step into the Supervisor shoes on a more permanent basis.

Well a few weeks ago I noticed that she had been given power over and above me. She was now able to do every aspect of a Supervisor role, even those things I was told that legally I wasn’t able to do. Even though she didn’t have the job title, and she was still a General Assistant like myself, she was able to do anything and everything a Supervisor would do. And they didn’t mind this. They were willing to show her things that had previously been off-limits to me because I wasn’t important enough in the company. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see a Supervisor say “Sam, can you do this.” Despite the fact that she technically shouldn’t have had the power to do so.

So this carried on for a while and, whilst my role wasn’t growing exponentially, it wasn’t getting any smaller. I still had my borderline Supervisor role and was still called upon to run things from time-to-time (although not as often as Sam, of course).

Well this week one of the Supervisors decided that too many people had Supervisor Numbers (basically the power that I had) and that she would need to go through and cull everybody that didn’t need them. I didn’t worry, as somebody being trained up to be a Supervisor, I was assured to keep my number the same.

Nope.

Within seconds I was down to a mere peon in the company with no more power than somebody who had joined that very day. In fact there were people who have worked at the company for less than six months that were allowed to keep their Supervisor Numbers.

I do actually resent this. As somebody who had spent over a year training to be a Supervisor, I was now back to square one all because the Supervisor’s had decided that too many people have too much power (a fact that they are ultimately responsible for, yet we get punished for).

So now I can’t do half of the things I was able to do. No more running things when they are on their breaks because I don’t have the power. I don’t have the authority to overrule certain things on the computer system because my number is basic and only has basic powers.

Things get a little bit worse now because twice Supervisor’s have gone home sick and Sam has been asked to step in and take their shift in running things. That was what I was training for, what I wanted to be able to do. But now, not only was I having my power redacted, I was also being overshadowed by somebody who hadn’t been training as long as I had. The only reason she was able to do it was because it felt like they had devoted more time and effort into teaching her than they had teaching me. Teaching me was “if we have time to teach you” whereas because she was on this course it meant that her teaching was “we will make time for you”.

And so now I’m back to square one in the company with this taste of bitterness in my mouth from where I tasted the champagne of the next floor up, only to have it snatched away and be kicked back down in favour of somebody else.

I don’t honestly know what to do any more. When I found out she was running things tonight I was seething with anger because  I had been kicked down and she was being raised up. I felt useless and pathetic, like why bother even trying with things when your life, and your success in life, is in the hands of other people. Now, if a Supervisor position comes up, Sam will get it. Not because she’s been training longer than me, despite the fact I’ve got almost a year and a half on her in the job, but just because her training is “official” and they’ve devoted more time and effort to training her and helping her. Some people may be thinking “don’t worry, she’s going for Management, she won’t go for Supervisor when it comes up” but this suggests she can’t go for Management if she goes for Supervisor. She can and she will. And she’ll receive all the help she needs to get there.

(Oh, and before you say “why didn’t you get yourself on a trainee scheme”, I was already being trained up before the scheme came around and nobody told me it was management trainee, it was just advertised as “giving you options”).

A Rose By Any Other Name

On November 9th Miranda Hart posted to her Twitter “Still don’t understand the concept of ‘celebrities’ writing books and being admonished for it. If I do a play am I celebrity not an actor just because I have some recognition?” and it’s been playing on my mind a lot, especially after my post Pretty People Have It Easy.

What I want to explain, to all celebrities who write books, is that it’s not a personal thing, nobody admonishes you for writing the book. As an actor, musician or even sports star, if you choose to write a book to expand your creative curiosity then that is completely fine with us. Likewise if you choose to do it purely for a financial reward. We understand that the world runs on money and people do what they do to earn a living and so to admonish somebody for making money wouldn’t be right. If you are doing it out of pure curiosity, to see whether you’re any good at writing a book, then this is also acceptable. In fact, there’s no reason a celebrity can’t write a book, it’s the same for anybody on the planet.

Yes, some people do see celebrities writing books as having not earned their craft, but it’s the same way any overnight success is viewed. If, having never acted in my life, I went into an audition for a blockbuster movie, got the lead role and became a Hollywood A-Lister then yes, some people would view that success as unwarranted. This is because I would be making it big in an area that I have neither studied nor worked in for any period of time and as such that can rub people, who do study the field or audition every other day, the wrong way. But that’s more to do with the person admonishing them, rather than the celebrity.

But there is a problem that arises when we talk about publishers. The problem here is that publishers will willingly accept a submission from “celebrities” over your average Joe. It’s probably ten times harder to get published when your name doesn’t already attract an audience.

If we go back to the original quote – “If I do a play am I celebrity not an actor just because I have some recognition?” – Well the comparison here would be, did the casting director hire you based on your acting ability or based purely on your name? Were you a fantastic actor or were you “okay, but people will want to come and see Miranda in the play”.

I speak as somebody with a degree in Creative Writing, somebody who has studied Literature and Writing for their entire adult life, and so I don’t write this with any intended malice. But, I would have to work probably ten times harder than a celebrity would.

Put me up against…I don’t know…Brad Pitt. A publisher gets two manuscripts on his desk; mine is perfectly set out with immaculate spacing and the most perfect font style and size. The story is engaging, funny and witty and the characters evoke emotion that you have never before seen on a page. (Yeah, I’m a bit full of myself sometimes). Brad Pitt’s manuscript is only half as good. It has occasional typos, the story is good but it’s not going to win the Nobel Prize any day soon, and some of the characters are a bit two-dimensional. Now, the publisher can only publish one of these books. Who do they choose? The writer inside of me hopes they would choose me but the realist knows that Brad Pitt has almost double, if not triple, the chance that I do of being published.

But why?

Because of his name. It’s much easier to edit a book than it is to sell a nobody. His book will require some editing and re-editing and may take a few weeks or months, but that’s nothing compared to the investment in publishing an unknown person and that investment not reaping the benefits when people don’t pick up the book because they don’t recognise the name on the cover. The payback on the name alone will be worth the time and effort put into editing it.

If I handed you two books now; one has the name Joshua Jace written on the front and the other has Brad Pitt, based purely on the names alone, you are probably more likely to pick up the book by Brad Pitt. Now this doesn’t always work, some people do prefer unknown names, but the majority of people are more likely to pick up a book if they recognise the names on the front.

And this is how publishers make their jobs easier, but also how the world gets flooded with dross. Zoella hires somebody to ghost write her book, considering it’s a fictional book that essentially mirrors her success it seems absurd but she does. She doesn’t write it, she simply slaps her name on the front of it and suddenly a publisher is a hundred times more likely to buy it because of her celebrity status. And the fact that it’s ghost written is supposed to be kept hush-hush because we must all believe she wrote it (the fact that it didn’t stay hush-hush is another story). And so that is a prime example of publishers going primarily on the name rather than the content. It could have been written by anybody, who cares? It’s got her name on it.

And we see this a lot, especially with YouTuber and these Social Media Celebrities in the modern world. A lot of books are half thought out, basically written by somebody else and it’s more of an afterthought than anything else. It makes the celebrity money and I don’t blame them for doing this, I blame the publishers for looking at it and thinking “yeah, it’s going to sell” rather than “yeah, it’s good”.

Pretty People Have It Easy

A while back somebody asked me the question; is the world easier or harder for better looking people? At the time I didn’t know how to answer. After all, not everybody wants to be judged on their looks and sometimes typically attractive women have found success in their male dominated fields, only for their success to be overshadowed by their appearance. My feelings are very much not the same as they used to be.

I have spent the last couple of days looking up plastic and cosmetic surgery as a way to improve upon my appearance. Not that I hate my appearance because I don’t, I just dislike it and think some things could do with improvement. This is because in my head, I don’t know where or when the wires got crossed, but improving my looks would increase my chances of success in life.

Woah, woah, woah. Did he just say that? Yes.

Let me give you some facts to begin with. I have made videos for YouTube for a long time now. Most of the views for these videos are a slow trickle; starting off with maybe sixteen or seventeen in the first few days and then dropping to one every other day before completely stalling at a relatively low number (usually just under thirty). (I’ve been doing it longer than my channel suggests too. I deleted a lot of videos when the view count stalls and I begin to contemplate suicide). However, I have seen much less impressive channels – less charisma, worse production and sound quality etc. – that have 10k+ subscribers. I currently have less subscribers than I do actual videos on my channel, that’s how bad it is. The only difference I can see between my videos and their videos are that they are pretty.

Let me give you an example and we will use ASMR videos for this. The girls are usually front-runners in ASMR given that most of them these days just pan their camera downward so it focuses primarily on their breasts and voila, you have views. To get a lot of views you just have to be young, innocent looking and be prepared to sex yourself up. By this I mean forget the main focus of ASMR being all about the sound production, just make sure you look sexy in whatever you’re doing and you’re a hit. For guys genetically blessed it’s also not that hard. Clear skin, good hair and a slender or toned body gets you views regardless of your quality. If you wonder how to get popular as an ASMRtist then just take a picture of PJ Dreams, FredsVoice ASMR or ASMR Darling to a cosmetic surgeon and ask to look like them. This isn’t even a reflection on them (because I try to put my personal views of a person aside when talking about their videos) but the comment section on their videos is THIRSTY (modern day talk for overly sexual and desperate). It’s quite clear that a lot of these people only watch them for the eye-candy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like eye-candy myself and some of the people I watch happen to be pretty, but I’m not going to comment on their videos about how gorgeous they are because technically it has nothing to do with the video. It’s also never the main reason I watch a channel or a video, it’s always usually just a plus point and never something I take into account when considering to subscribe or continue watching.

Okay so this is just ASMR so far. But look at the famous Vloggers. Zoella, Caspar Lee, Joe Sugg, Davey Wavey, Joey Graceffa, Shane Dawson, Tyler Oakley. None of these people are unattractive and the primary reason people watch their videos is because they’re attractive. I will admit that in my younger years I was enamoured with Davey Wavey because he was hot. He’s still hot but I find myself caring more about what comes out of people’s mouths than how they look without a shirt. But these people earn a living looking pretty and it’s reinforced by those who buy Zoella’s £50 advent calendar or watch Caspar Lee go on some stupid road-trip. It’s absurd. Can we even look at some people who have received viral attention due to their “videos” which should be down to the message portrayed but ends up just being about how pretty they are (I’m looking your way OliverVlogss and The Rhodes Bros).

And this idea makes other people feel bad. It makes other people question their own life’s worth. I have considered committing suicide half a dozen times in the last week just because I hate how I look when compared with some of the people mentioned above. I know it’s not their fault, but it’s how I feel about things. The suicide aspect comes in because I feel so ugly and insignificant compared to these people that I honestly don’t believe my life is worth living, given that the only thing people appear to value in life is how somebody looks. If we’re giving Zoella enough money to buy a £1 Million house based on how she looks (which, let’s face it, is her primary brand) then it makes me question what monetary value (if any) would be placed on my appearance.

So do pretty people have it easier? There’s no easy answer because as I know from experience, anybody can suffer mental illness, but if you want success on YouTube or in the media then it definitely helps to get rid of the double chin and get those man boobs liposuctioned.