What Are You Worth?

Having binge-watched it almost obsessively and eagerly anticipating a series two, I never thought I’d comment on how the new series of Queer Eye has affected my mental health in a negative way. But, sadly, this is going to be that post.

There are two episodes of Queer Eye that I struggle to watch; “To Gay or Not Too Gay” and “Hose Before Bros”.

To Gay or Not Too Gay is an episode where the Fab 5 makeover the “straightest gay guy in Atlanta” in an attempt to help him come out to his step-mother. I actually very much appreciated this episode because I realised they had dropped the “for the straight guy” schtick but it quickly turned into difficulty for me to watch. That’s because this episode reinforced the stereotype that I really hate about gay men, that apparently all gay men are fit, toned, tanned, slim, slender, etc. The guy they made-over dressed a little bit preppy but was still successful, fit and had a boyfriend. He even felt comfortable enough in his own skin to go shirtless and/or to wear a harness and go to various gay events. Sure, he hadn’t come out to his step-mother and so they sort of framed it around that, but it felt hollow for me because we weren’t seeing a gay man in desperate need of a make-over.

Queer Eye itself isn’t exactly an easy thing for me to watch anyway, what with the Fab 5 being made up of successful, good looking gay guys which I become slightly envious of. Most notably Antoni Porowski has received a lot of publicity because of his dashing looks, with few people actually concentrating on what else he brings to the table.

The other episode’s struggle can be summed up in one word; Superman. Since the show aired the firefighter who Karamo Brown nicknamed Superman has been quite the object of thirst. Even on the show they capitalised on any and every moment to get those shirtless or sexy shots of him, and he wasn’t even the one getting the make-over. People lust over him like crazy. Now I’m not saying he’s not hot, because he is, but somebody even posted on Twitter about “Superman” saying; “good morning to fireman Micah from episode 8 of the Queer Eye reboot and no one else”. It’s this attitude that just because he’s attractive he is more worthy of your attention than others. This really makes me feel worthless because I’m not as attractive as him.

Now I know a lot of this comes down to my own body image issues but being bombarded with attractive people, and sidelining those that aren’t as attractive, really reinforces the idea of worth and value and that unless you look good you aren’t worth as much focus. This is how I feel whenever I see a picture or a gif of “Superman”. It makes me realise I’m probably never going to look like that and so what is the point of even trying? It’s this sort of thinking that leads me to extreme views of self-harm because I hate how I look compared to this god-like person. But this isn’t just Queer Eye that does it. Attractive people are pushed to the forefront in everything we do and given accolades and opportunities that wouldn’t be available to people who look like…well…me. The media really does reinforce this idea that the world is cast like a movie and if you’re not attractive then you’re not the main character. At times I feel like I’m an extra, and the director is trying to lose me at the back somewhere so nobody can see the ugly person in the show.

And let’s revert back to the episode where they dropped the “for the straight guy”. Because this is what, being a member of the LGBT+ community, I struggle with the most. The LGBT+ community does a lot to put its best foot forward but sadly sometimes that comes at the expense of pretending some of us don’t exist. Look at dating apps or websites and you’ll notice that almost all of the men on there are fit, toned, tanned, slim, slender. They basically fit any category that can be considered “above average” for a positive body image. You very rarely see normal gay couples, or diverse gay couples, featured on these adverts.

Beauty is something we are supposed to enjoy, but I find myself enjoying beauty less and less as time goes on. We’re talking primarily about physical beauty here but I find myself struggling to enjoy works of art because of their beauty and the unrealistic expectations it puts on people.

Now let’s get a little bit personal.

There’s a guy who comes into my work called Charley. I’ve mentioned him in a previous post. He is gorgeous (personal opinion, yes, but it’s also widely acknowledged by people I have spoken to). Now when he first came into my workplace I used to love it because, obviously, the eye candy factor. But slowly over time I’ve grown to hate him coming into my work, his appearance has a dramatically negative affect on my mental health. That’s because I can’t appreciate how good looking he is without realising everything I’m not. I can’t see him as good looking without also seeing myself as unworthy, overweight, too tall, stupid hair, stupid glasses, awkward smile, half-arsed shave, etc. I still see him as beautiful but all of these things come up with it too. And this is why I struggle with those episodes of Queer Eye and with the media in general sometimes. It’s because I can’t separate their beauty from my faults. The two are linked in my mind and so when somebody mentions how good looking Antoni is or Superman is or when I’m forced to see the guy in the harness with rippling abs, well then that is just like telling me I’m too ugly to be worth your time.

This could also be more personal than I even thought. Going back, I don’t get attention from people who look like that. It’s not a pity party, it’s just a fact. I’ve met some drop-dead gorgeous guys and ninety percent of the times they don’t even know I’m there. The other ten percent of the time they know I’m there but I’m not worth giving the time of day to. So maybe it’s my warped mind believing that good looking and beautiful people will always be selfish, stuck-up, conceited, self involved arseholes towards me because I’m not as attractive.


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.


Age – 27

Height – 6’2

Weight – 216 lbs


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).

The Invisible Class


Now, before we begin, I have to say that I don’t really know a lot about Chrissy Teigen (I’m sorry, female models aren’t exactly in my wheelhouse), but I do remember seeing her on a television show and thinking she was quite cool.

Also, I grew up on WWE and it was no secret that I wanted to be the Billion Dollar Princess and so my admiration for Stephanie McMahon goes far beyond anything I could write on a blog.

With that being said, I want everybody to keep in mind that nothing personal is meant towards either of these people. This, once again, is a blog post that explains how sometimes things can be taken badly and why they might be taken that way.

So, as you can see, Chrissy Teigen gets an official invitation to Wrestlemania 34 simply because she tweeted out about how she once attended a show and had to leave early. I’ve done my research and found out she didn’t really want to be there to start with (she spent weeks making fun of it) and then once her husband had performed he decided to leave and she had changed her mind at that point and didn’t want to leave. However, she did.

But this isn’t an issue with Chrissy’s actions at all. Whether she stayed or left the arena at Wrestlemania 24 (I believe it was), is completely irrelevant. This boils down to a class issue.

Let’s look at it this way. Chrissy Teigen is a well known female model, married to John Legend who has fame in his own right. They are both famous for their own things, not just for who they are married to, and so they both have their fortunes. They are considerably higher paid than the average family and have probably had their fair share of what most people would consider “once in a lifetime” things. (Simply going to America once was considered a “once in a lifetime event” for my family), Given this it’s unsurprising that people get their backs up when she’s getting official personal invitations to an event that she didn’t particularly want to be at originally. Contrast that with the hundreds of thousands of people who have admired wrestling for most of their lives, it’s something most people would kill to have. But, and now here’s the kicker for most people, why does she get it? Because she’s Chrissy Teigen. Her name has weight behind it, how much weight is irrelevant because it’s clearly more than Average Joe. Good publicity for the WWE too. But this is the rich benefiting from being rich. This is rich people helping each other out and hooking each other up with things.

I must concede that the WWE do a lot for charity. They have a Be A Star campaign, the Make A Wish moments that they do and Tributes To The Troops to name just a few. This I am not knocking, it’s a fair amount more than most companies do.

But, and here’s where my issue with things in life sit, what about the invisible upper-working class or the lower-middle class? This may seem absurd to a lot of people, in fact the only people who will probably understand this are those that fit into either of those categories because we know what it’s like to feel invisible.

WWE was my life for a very, very long time. Where I grew up it wasn’t socially acceptable to admit you liked it. Being British and liking Wrestling is sometimes viewed as a bit odd and I got bullied for liking it. And this didn’t stop when I went home. I had three older brothers who all thought Wrestling was a waste of time and my parents asked me pretty much everyday whether I had “grown out of it yet”. So I never got a reprise from the suggestion that wrestling was for children. And yet I pushed through.

But I was never an under-privileged kid, I always had food on the table and a roof over my head. Money was sometimes difficult but never “when will we eat again” difficult. I’ll happily admit that financially my family didn’t have it the worst. We didn’t have it the best either. We weren’t First Class passengers on planes and we had to look for cheap deals for holidays. Not awful but we couldn’t drop money like celebrities and we certainly weren’t jetting off to Wrestlemania anytime soon.

And so with my families disdain for WWE I was never going to go to a wrestling event. I still, to this day, have never been to one. My parents weren’t going to take me or even pay for me to go to one. (This is also the reason I don’t know a lot about British wrestling, I was barely allowed to watch RAW and Smackdown so they weren’t likely to take me to a local wrestling show).

But people like me apparently don’t have a right to complain. Why? Well, because our financial situation was good. Forget everything else in the world, if your financial situation is good then you’re viewed a certain way. It didn’t matter that even if my parents did have the money I wasn’t going to get to go. My parents wouldn’t even pay for Pay-Per-Views.

Now I don’t look down on those that benefit from the charity of the WWE. In fact I admire the charity work that the WWE does, it’s amazing and I love hearing the stories. But sometimes, and here’s where it gets a little bit bleak, I prayed to be in a position to receive it. Whether this meant, as a child, losing a limb or possibly being diagnosed with something terminal, for me they had benefits. Now I’ve spoken about this in my self-harm post but some days I don’t see the negatives of negative things and so my mind only sees the benefits of them. For me, on these days, my brain would only see that my chances of meeting WWE superstars were increased. It’s fairly difficult as a teenager not to self-mutilate when there only seems to be positives to doing it. But I have mental health problems, I’m not for one moment stating that’s the common mindset of everybody. All I can do is speak for myself.

And then, as you get older, you realise your chances dwindle with each passing year. The WWE do a lot of their work with children and so once you’re an adult you can basically kiss away your chances of meeting any of them. (Unless you join the US military but I’m British and the WWE doesn’t get involved with British military often, that I know of).

So I hope you can see how invisible we feel sometimes. Stuck in the middle with nobody really hearing our voices. We’re expected to be able to do stuff because we’re better off than some but we can’t do certain things because we’re not as well off as others. And then you see offers going to celebrities who, if they REALLY wanted to, could afford to go to every single Wrestlemania ever held. In fact the offers go to those in positions above and below you, but never to somebody like you. This is why it’s sometimes hard to stomach things like this, because I sometimes feel like I’m living in the invisible class and as much as I need help people won’t give it to me because they expect me to be able to help myself, even when I readily admit I can’t.

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.


All Stars: Season 3

Today we’re doing something different. We’re taking a break from Mental Health to look at one of my favourite programmes; RuPaul’s Drag Race. The All Stars Season 3 cast was revealed last night and here’s my rundown on the queens selected.

1 – Aja

Despite being from Season 9, Aja is actually a little bit of a blur in my mind. She was good but she wasn’t exactly memorable. Her looks were always good, although never stunningly the best, and her charisma left a little to be desired. She was nowhere near the worst on her season but she was just kind of left drifting when it came to the bigger contenders. To win All Stars Season 3 Aja will need to step up her game a lot. She’s competing with some charismatic queens and she needs to stop the limelight being stolen from her. Don’t be complacent, don’t sit back and hope you coast through. Aja needs to be a force to be reckoned with if she stands a chance.

2 – BenDeLaCreme

Already a hit with audiences, BenDeLaCreme was voted Ms Congeniality of her Season 6 run. She held her own against some very tough competition, including Bianca Del Rio who ultimately won the Season. A force to be reckoned with, BenDeLa knows who she is a works it well. She was, and still is, one of my favourites and I remember being taken by her the moment I saw her. If she’s off guard she could end up losing focus and she needs to stay focus in order to win the competition. Don’t get comfortable, don’t relax, it’s not supposed to be easy. She’s fully formed and just needs to do her best to outshine some of the others.

3 – Chi Chi Devayne

Very much up and down during her Season 8 run. One minute I was rooting for her and the next minute I felt she was complaining too much. Not in a horrible way because she’s lovely and I never disliked her, she just needs to concentrate on the competition rather than how she used to be perceived. She was known as the “cheap queen” but in order to win she needs to flesh out her character a bit more. Perhaps give a little more personality and depth to who she is because cheap queen was getting old. There will be tasks that test the depth of their characters and I just hope Chi Chi can handle them.

4 – Kennedy Davenport

Probably most remembered for her Season 7 “chicken look” which was, by most standards, awful. A lapse in judgement? Trouble with the challenge? Whatever it was she cannot afford for it to happen again. Sporting one of the worst runway looks in history is not going to be acceptable in All Stars, regardless of how well you do in a challenge. Much like Aja, Kennedy was outshone in her season (let’s face it, with Violet, Pearl and Ginger Minj in a singoff, she was never going to win) and needs to not fade into the background.

5 – Milk

Do I remember Milk? Yeah. Do I remember anything about Milk? Not really. Other than the “out-of-the-box” styles she had her personality was a little bit too dry for the show. To even stand a chance on All Stars she needs to tone down her “kookiness” because it just crosses that line from innovative into gimmicky. Just remember that whilst you gotta be yourself at all times, you gotta impress people and sometimes she rubs people the wrong way. I was lactose-intolerant during her Season, I just hope I’m not this time around.

6 – Morgan McMichaels

I must have blocked out a lot of Season 2 once Tyra Sanchez won. For me it was a huge disappointment but sadly I think I spent most of it wishing Tyra wouldn’t win and forgetting some of the other queens. Anywho I don’t remember a lot about Morgan McMichaels. She’s an audience favourite and the other queens seem to mention her an awful lot in their interviews so she’s obviously a big personality, but I don’t remember what got her eliminated. All I can say is that she came in eighth in her season, a season won by Tyra Sanchez (possibly one of the dullest queens…evah!) so something needs to be upped or changed. Step it up girl, you came in eighth and you’re up against some VERY tough competition.

7 – Shangela

The come-back queen of Season 2 and 3. How can you dislike her? She’s full of personality and is the total definition of “eager to learn”. Her runway look in Season 2 was awful but she went away, studied up and came back stronger in Season 3. Let us hope that each time she comes back she is stronger and better than before. A fan favourite, willing to learn and upping her game every time, she’s a true contender but does run the risk of fading into the background if she doesn’t bring it every single time.

8 – Thorgy Thor

I didn’t dislike Thorgy Thor…but I didn’t warm to her either. A little bit cold and seeming a little bit conceited didn’t help me like her but I knew there was a fire underneath her that was spurring her on to succeed. Like Milk though she runs the risk of being “too kooky” or “too fringe” because her style doesn’t really comply. We’ve seen the emergence of Sasha Velour recently though so maybe the kooky and innovative style is on track to win again? Head in the game girl. That’s the advice I have to give her. It’s a game, it’s a competition and it’s not RuPaul’s Best Friend Race. If you want to win then you have the ability.

9 – Trixie Mattel

The modern-day Barbie and the HUGE personality is definitely one of the more memorable girls in the competition but sadly it’s not from her Season. She shone more after her season when she teamed up with Katya for their web-show than she ever did during her Season. The only thing I remember her for really is her garish make-up, which she refuses to change, and I have an awkwardness towards her. I like her but she’s a huge hit with the fans which is something I don’t understand. She’s brash and brassy with make-up that’s been applied with a Simpson’s Make-Up Gun. She’ll undoubtedly be one of the more noticeable queens in All Stars but this does mean she can’t afford to slip up. You put yourself out there and you let the world see you, you better not make a big mistake or everyone’s gonna see it. If you wanna be seen, keep your game consistent.

13 Reasons Why

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything.” – 13 Reasons Why.


The last day and a half have been a roller-coaster of emotions for me because I felt it necessary to binge-watch the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why. This show has hit me more emotionally than a lot of other shows because of the subject matter regarding suicide, bullying, friendship and helplessness.

I had avoided watching this show for fear that reports of it glamorising suicide may have been true. But that’s not what I got from this show. Unfortunately the show does seem to perceive suicide as a justice-bringer and enforce the idea that everybody will miss you and rethink what they did when you die (as long as you leave them tapes explaining what they did and threaten them with police action) and it also seems to treat suicide in a similar way to playing a game (especially with the thirteen tapes and the map around town). But it doesn’t glamorise the actual mindset or frame of mind that a person has to be in to commit suicide.

There’s a heavy bullying tone going on throughout 13 Reasons Why, what with the bullying being the main speculation of why Hannah Baker has killed herself. Her parents have started a lawsuit claiming neglect on the part of the school and it’s actually quite interesting to see what the school does and doesn’t do in regards to emotional traumas.

One of the first things I really want to talk about is rumours. Hannah Baker’s life goes downhill very quickly because of one picture and a rumour. Now with rumours we tend to only place blame on those that started it, believing that if they hadn’t started it then it wouldn’t have happened. It’s true, it wouldn’t, but the blame is on everybody who shares the rumour, believes it to be true or lets it influence their opinion of a person without once consulting the person who is the subject of the rumour. I may be slightly biased with this but the first few episodes were very tough viewing for me because it took me back to a similar place where my own mental health was completely messed around by a group of people and some malicious rumours/gossip. Some viewers may just say that it’s not enough to want to kill yourself but as somebody who has been in that position, it’s a lot worse than you can possibly imagine. It’s not something that can just be forgotten about easily and you can’t just “move on” when a rumour has completely changed people’s perceptions of you.

We also have to talk about objectification. There’s a huge, huge amount of objectification in this series and it’s very well tackled actually. Hannah Baker feels objectified when she finds herself on a list of “best and worst” physical assets of girls in the school. Despite the fact that she’s on the “best” section of the list, it’s not something we can just dismiss as acceptable. Many people in the show pretend that it’s a compliment but it’s objectification and it’s horrific to think that people are treated like that. We’re all guilty of objectification, I’m not going to pretend we don’t all look at somebody and think “they’re hot”, but it’s when they stop being a person and just become an object that things get into a risky area. To treat somebody like they should be grateful to have men leering at them is a ridiculous idea and a horrible reflection of a sexist bygone era. People are people, regardless of what you think of them, and their feelings should always be taken into consideration. My advice is that if you are going to objectify people (because I believe it’s fantasy to pretend it won’t ever happen) is to do it in your head. Don’t single people down to being anything less than human, don’t ever pretend a person is just made up of one single asset or should be grateful for your attention. That’s not how people work.

One of the more complex issues is the way the school handles everything. Children, in particular teenagers, often pass off like they are fine and dandy with everything going on in the world. When somebody is killed via a drink driving incident then the school puts up posters to encourage people not to drink and drive. Suicide is seen to be prevented via more posters going up and urging people they are important. Whilst this isn’t a bad thing, as such, there is definitely more that needs to be done. One good thing I saw in this series and I know they don’t have it at many schools in the UK is the idea of a communications class. Getting people to deal with how they communicate and interact is an integral part of life as a teenager and schools don’t seem to put a focus on that. They’ll hand out punishments but they won’t actually try and educate the children in the ways of acceptable behaviour. Knowing people commit suicide, teaching people about bullying and suicide statistics would be a hundred percent more beneficial than just throwing down a detention whenever you see a fight.

I did notice, from my own experience of counselling, that the show promotes a very disjointed view of counselling. School counselling currently is awful in most schools. We had one and she did nothing. Like, honestly, absolutely nothing. 13 Reasons Why seems to suggest a need for counselling but then doesn’t acknowledge that the one attending needs to want help. I personally didn’t know whether I blamed the counsellor for Hannah Baker’s death or not. Towards the end of the series she seems beyond help, like she has already made up her mind, and she wants other people to sort her problems rather than work with her to sort them. I know the feelings and I don’t blame her, but to blame the counsellor for not following her after a counselling session is a grey area in my books. Granted some of the things he said in the session were questionably unhelpful but it’s his job to offer help and whether she takes it or not isn’t his fault. It made me realise the necessity for mandatory counselling or counselling-like classes at school. People sometimes need help and are too afraid to seek it out, thinking they are beyond help, but mandatory counselling sessions would help to ensure people don’t get to this point and that they receive the help they do need. It would make sure that kids like Hannah Baker don’t get pushed and pushed right to the edge before they finally make that decision.

The show gave me something that I wished would work in the real world. An anonymous compliment bag. Each student had one and you could write a compliment to a person, pop it into their bag and you wouldn’t have to face the awkwardness of saying it to their face. It was a refreshing idea to help those who might be too afraid to show their emotions. Granted this system gets abused and it has it’s flaws but it’s just an improvement on the way people currently interact. I, like Hannah Baker, need compliments to make me feel better – no matter how anonymous. Even if you think the compliments are stupid or just rubbish little things, they are important to some people and they make some people feel better. It’s a good idea that I wish could be in place in a lot more schools around the world. It promotes a healthy positivity that is lacking in the world.

It is worth emphasising that suicide does not bring justice. If you are feeling suicidal and want people to listen then you need to find somebody to talk to. Somebody will listen, I promise. Maybe not the ones you want to listen, but somebody will. Professionals will. Suicide is not a way to get revenge on those that hurt you. Unfortunately that’s the message that some people have taken away from 13 Reasons Why, which is definitely not the message it was trying to convey.

The show 13 Reasons Why can be very triggering to somebody with a preexisting mental health issue and so I recommend it only if you feel strong and comfortable enough in your mental state. If you do suffer from suicidal thoughts then it’s very important that you talk to somebody open and honestly about your thoughts.

“It has to get better. The way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow.” – 13 Reasons Why.


In Defence Of: Sheldon Cooper

Earlier today an article appeared on my Facebook timeline in relation to a possible spin-off show from The Big Bang Theory which would focus on a young Sheldon Cooper growing up in rural Texas with his conservative family.

As is the general rule with most internet related media; Don’t read the comments. This popped up on my timeline because somebody I know commented “Oh God no he’s the reason I can’t stand the big bang agrivates me”. This prompted me to look through some of the other comments which were probably a mistake. Another gem was “I think the tv execs mistake the appeal of Jim Parsons for an appeal of Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon has become an the most annoying character on a stale tv show.”

To most people the idea of living with Sheldon Cooper would be a nightmare. But, for some of us, living with Sheldon Cooper is a reality. I have found over time that I embody some of the quirks that Sheldon demonstrates. Now already people will probably be leaping to my defence and saying “no, he’s a character, he’s exaggerated and over the top” to which I would agree to a certain extent. However we have to be realistic and understand that this idea for a person came from somewhere, these “quirks” do sit within some of the general population. Therefore when you decide you hate Sheldon Cooper, somebody like me sees that you probably hate me as well. Truth is you hate Sheldon Cooper because you don’t know him. You haven’t lived his life and no matter how good a television show is it can’t make you understand what it’s like to live in those shoes unless you have.

This is why I make a defence for Sheldon Cooper as a character. Whilst I don’t advocate being more like Sheldon, I do suggest trying to understand more about why he does the things he does.

Sheldon has OCD in his routine. His days and weeks are planned out well in advance and he freaks out with any sense of change to this routine because it throws confusion into his world. I experience this too. Whilst I don’t actually do enough to plan every moment of my life, I do understand that a spontaneous change of plan can terrify a person. It feels like somebody has taken time away from you. Even if you’ve planned to do nothing on that day, it’s suddenly a huge deal when somebody wants to make you work or go out because your time is no longer your own. It feels as if a part of your life is being controlled by somebody else and it is terrifying.

Sheldon also has OCD in other things; the way he has his tea made and his three knocks on doors are just some examples. This could have started out as something innocent, it felt good and so he continued it. As habits go they aren’t the worst but anybody can find anything addictive. Perhaps Sheldon finds these sort of behaviours soothing in an otherwise busy mind and sometimes we’ll do whatever we have to for that hit of relaxation.

Sheldon is rather obsessive over “his spot”. He has a spot on the sofa that is the perfect distance for him in regards to temperature, comfort, television watching capability and other things. This is another sense of control. This way Sheldon knows he always has a seat and never has to worry about awkward social gatherings and where to sit because people know not to sit in his spot. It’s one less thing to worry about in a world where he worries about everything.

Sheldon and his “contracts”. He has roommate agreements and relationship agreements that he makes people sign and agree to. This is the work of an insecure person and I know that because it’s exactly something I would do. It’s not that Sheldon doesn’t trust people, it’s that he doesn’t know how to trust people. He’s been hurt a lot in his life (taken from any of the numerous bullying stories and his turbulent home life) and so it’s not strange that Sheldon would feel he has to have some sort of legal agreement that people won’t break their promises. Also given that he’s not particularly great with his emotions and focuses more on logic, this is a more logical thing to do than just trust somebody won’t betray you.

Sheldon is a know-it-all. Sheldon puts more stock in his intelligence than he does in any other facet of his personality. Without his intelligence he doesn’t know who he is. I know exactly how this feels and yes, sometimes we can come across as a know-it-all or pretentious but it’s just our way of making sure you don’t forget about us. It’s another insecurity really; we don’t have a whole lot else we value in ourselves and so we exaggerate the one thing we do value. Just look at the episode with Dennis Kim, a child prodigy that seems to overshadow Sheldon in terms of intelligence and achievements. Sheldon is lost for who he is as a person when he’s not the smart one. Him putting other people down isn’t a malicious thing, it’s his way of reminding people that he has something to offer. If you want more on this then I suggest you read this blog post which I wrote a while ago about how without my intelligence I don’t know who I am or what I have to offer.

Sheldon expects people to do things for him. This is a sad one. Given that he didn’t have the ideal home life growing up, it’s not difficult to see why Sheldon would cling to a time when he felt loved and cared for. As a child (possibly infant stage and before) we have parents to look after us, make our decisions, care for us when we’re sick, drive us around, buy us things, reward us, etc. It’s a mindset that can be hard to break when you have hated the following stage of your life so much. I know I personally sometimes do this because otherwise I don’t think people would notice me. If I didn’t ask them to do things for me or over-exaggerate when I’m sick then I feel that I would fall into the background and be forgotten about.

A lot of what Sheldon does can be put down to insecurities and fear of being alone or forgotten about. They are also classic signs of mental health issues and so to write somebody off as annoying because of mental health issues doesn’t encourage people to be open and honest about them. Some of my favourite moments of Sheldon’s come when he’s open and honest about not understanding people and how alone it makes him feel, when he tries to explain why he’s different without ever truly understanding it himself.

The show, if you don’t like Sheldon Cooper, shouldn’t be looked at as being about him and his quirks. What you should focus on is the people around him who DO live with him and DO put up with him. How do they do it? Why do they do it? They may be fictional but they are better human beings than anybody who says they cannot tolerate and hate Sheldon Cooper.

As somebody who identifies very closely with Sheldon Cooper it hurts me when other people rail on him for being “a horrible person”, “annoying” and “unbearable” because you might as well have just said the things about me.

How I Coped With Depression: Television

This blog post was inspired by a friend of mine. I hit a low point in life and didn’t know what to do. I was stuck in the pit of jealousy, anger and that horrible spiral that YouTube kept me in. I couldn’t watch YouTube anymore because it was making me feel worthless. My friend suggested some form of escape. Amongst her suggestions was the idea to “get lost in a television series. Totally immerse yourself in it and forget the real world for a while”. While this isn’t a long term solution (because you have to deal with things rather than avoid them) this definitely helped lift my mood enough for me to carry on with life from time to time. What I wanted to share here were a selection of TV shows that really engrossed me and captivated me enough for me to forget all about anything else going on in the world.

Scorpion – This show is about a team of geniuses – a mechanical prodigy, a doctor of behaviour, a human calculator, the world’s fourth highest IQ – who don’t feel like they fit in anywhere because of their intellect and inability to connect emotionally with others. A waitress proves to be their best ally when she joins the team in order to be a go-between for them and “normal people” to help translate and get them to understand and empathise. It all sounds very dry like that but this team of geniuses save the day on a regular basis. Sometimes they save the world, sometimes just one little girl’s life. Oh and you’ll learn a hell of a lot if you actually pay attention to the show. (If any of it interests you then definitely look up the technical terms they mention). It’s all loosely based on the life of Walter O’Brien so while you have to take things with a pinch of salt, the maths, science and logic behind it all is almost perfectly accurate.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Have you ever wanted to drop your boring, mundane life and move somewhere completely different? Find new and different people, have wacky adventures? Well that’s exactly what Rebecca Bunch does in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Why she moves is debatable but this is a story of one woman changing her life because it’s in a rut. In true Sitcom fashion not everything always works out for her (it’s television after all) but I felt connected to Rebecca from the first moment I saw her living in New York – she appeared to have it all but she wasn’t happy, not on the inside. It’s not been explicitly stated whether Rebecca has mental health issues although the warning signs are there (she just doesn’t see them because you don’t if you’re so close). The show stars Rachel Bloom and a host of Broadway and professional singers and dancers so you can expect some amazingly funny, moving and thought provoking musical numbers. If you like musicals (not just the hyper upbeat ones either) then this show is for you.

Supernatural – Oh boy, where to begin with this show. It’s quirky, funny, brutal, gory, emotional, sexy and downright fantastic. Two brothers return to the family business – Hunting. Only this isn’t normal hunting, this is Supernatural Hunting, we’re talking vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, demons, kitsune and everything in between. Actually everything in general really. The real draw for this show is the chemistry between the characters – having spent twelve years together on the show Jensen and Jared might as well be brothers. Throw in a curmudgenly, paranoid, booze addled mentor; a winged angel who doesn’t understand humans; and Crowley, The King of Hell with a British Accent and razor sharp wit. The writing is on point throughout this show. Even the weaker episodes still hold up a hell of a lot better than a lot of other television shows. The show isn’t afraid to make fun of itself, or the people who work on it and it’s a breath of fresh air in a world that can sometime feel so bogged down in seriousness that you forget to have fun. I wish I could give you a review of each Season but I’ll just have to hope you give it a watch (definitely a recommended watch and kills a lot of time – 12 Seasons worth).

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments – A relatively new show and not one I would recommend to everybody. Read the books if you really want to get involved in this series but the television show is second only to the books (both are streets ahead of the film version). Clary Fray finds she isn’t like normal people when she discovers the secret world of Shadowhunters – an organisation in place to protect the world from Demons (and rogue downworlders such as Vampires and Werewolves). I suppose this is worth watching if you like pretty people kicking ass (which I do). There is copious action and a variety of weaponry but it’s not all an action packed kick-ass show because there are some nice romances that pop up too. I preferred this to the film because it really hit the characters better than the film did. It stayed fairly true to the books (whilst also taking into account the transition of medias) and was actually a nice adaptation from book to screen.

How To Get Away With Murder – Okay so maybe people might frown upon me suggesting this for escaping mental health problems but it’s a nice show to see that even the well presented and the well manicured aren’t as put together as we all think. It’s nice to really see people with flaws (and my god this show exposes a lot of character flaws) but not in a way that you hate them. Told through flashbacks and flash-forwards and unreliable storytelling with immense amounts of deceiving and selfishness, it’s a great show for anybody who wants to escape from the world of picture perfect celebrities and perfectly put together people with perfectly put together lives. If you want to peel back the facade of perfect people and see underneath then this show might just be for you. The characterisation brought about by both the writers and the actors is something of a marvel, a great watch. Viola Davis is exceptional in this show.

With the exception of Supernatural, all of the shows above are available on Netflix (at least the UK version of Netflix anyway) and are definitely worth checking out if you have a subscription. I’d suggest picking up Supernatural anyway though, it’s definitely brought me a whole new comfort realm to fall into when I’m feeling the need for escape.

Sissy That Walk!

I didn’t know it at the time but the way I grew up, and the area I grew up in, was very gender split. If you were a boy then you did things like play sports and if you were a girl then you did things like dance classes. Even the Physical Education classes in my school were gender biased and made sure the boys played certain sports (Rugby, Baseball and Basketball) while the girls did other activities (Hockey, Dance and Softball). At the time this was what I thought the world expected of me. To be the rugby playing manly man that they were expecting. My dad played rugby. My brothers all played football. I was sent to numerous sports clubs to try and give me something I could do.

I knew what I wanted to be at the time but I didn’t know there was a word for it, all I knew is that society around me wouldn’t have accepted it. I knew at the age of thirteen that I was gay and that it was just another aspect of me that society wouldn’t like.

I retreated into the media to try and find solace in the portrayals of LGBT people on screens and magazines. This was not a clever idea and pushed me to the brink of near suicide in my post-University years. This was because the media didn’t portray gay men in a positive light. Not only were they barely seen but they were also promiscuous and bitchy and they appeared as very slender or buff models. This isn’t what an overweight teenager going through an identity crisis needs to believe all gay men to be like.

At University this was reinforced with a rather bad experience with the LGBT society who really personified the idea of the bitchy and two-faced gay stereotype that had shaped my teenage years. This perception was now ingrained in my head and I knew I didn’t want to be gay.

The problem was that I knew being gay wasn’t a choice and so it was who I was doomed to live as for the rest of my life.

I spent a long time feeling not good enough. I wasn’t any of the gay stereotypes and so I didn’t feel like I belonged alongside the LGBT community. My upbringing, the society I grew up in, had made me feel like an outsider. I didn’t fit in with macho-straight guys but I had been conditioned to believe that a man shouldn’t do effeminate things and that whenever I was in front of people I shouldn’t display these qualities. Every limp wrist, hand on hip or hair-flick was picked up on and shamed to the point of me hiding possibly ninety percent of myself.

I like staying up late. At night, when everybody else was asleep, I could be my headphones on and lip-sync into the mirror as much as I wanted. I could be as sassy as I wanted, I could flip my hair and shake my hips as much as I wanted because nobody wasn’t going to disturb me. By daylight I would go back to being your normal mild-mannered, quiet, “butter wouldn’t melt” type of guy.

Even when I accepted that I was gay and came out to my friends and family, I still wasn’t me. I was still this cardboard cut-out of a person that society had forced me into believing was what people wanted me to be. When I look back on this I think how my friends would say that I didn’t hide it very well, that I was still a little bit effeminate, but trust me, there was a whole boat-load that you weren’t seeing. There was diva beneath the surface that I held down for so long it became painful.

Then I was introduced to RuPaul.

My friend, in early 2016, introduced me to RuPaul’s Drag Race and I was hooked. The colours, the lights, the fabulousness, the dresses, the hair. Everything. It was spectacular.

This was what I was needing. I needed Drag Race. I needed RuPaul and I needed his girls because they were the personification of everything I had been trying to stuff down deep inside me. And they were doing it on television. In heels. And these girls didn’t have a single ounce of shame about what they were doing, it was glorious. But not only this, the show also portrayed them as people. They weren’t the butts of jokes or the sex-selling face of a company, they were actual people who just wanted to entertain and look great. Until that day I honestly thought I was the only one with these creative thoughts and that I should keep them quiet or the world would hate me.

And to top it off they lip-synced. Something I had been doing in my mirror since I was a child. These were the people I needed.

I honestly had never felt so passionate about a television show in my life. I wanted to be friends with these girls. I wanted to know who they were and talk to them. They were the most accurate representation of me that I had ever come across and yet I had never put make-up on my face.

I’m still learning. I’m not going to say that now you can see me in Soho with high-heels and a mini-skirt but RuPaul and his girls have honestly changed my perception of society and given me a place to feel like I belong. I can only hope that one day I find a drag-mother to show me how to really bring out the glitter and the sparkles that have been kept beneath the surface for so many years.

Thank you RuPaul. You broke through societies deeply ingrained perception and showed me the reality I needed to see.