Friday, November 27, 2015

Giving Thanks To Who's There... And Who's NOT!

It has never, and I mean never, been easier to be thankful for me on Thanksgiving than today and not just because I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with wonderful company who chose for me to be in their midst. I may have had a happier day, or week, or month at some point in my life, but I never understood the meaning of filling my mind and soul with gratitude and the incredible effect that has on my life as well as I do now, and I therefore have thoughts now that match nothing I ever felt before in terms of blessings, and I'm not even religious anymore. Why? Because I know exactly what I have, and what I don't have, and both provide reasons to be thankful. The losses of almost 27 years on this planet are as much of a blessing as the things I do have. Being grateful is easy when you live this life like me...

Last year, I spent Thanksgiving surrounded with four people who I absolutely adored. Four people in 20 million in this city stood out to me, and we sat around a table thanking each other for existing. All four of them were not present today when me and about 15 other people spent the night eating, drinking and talking, having a completely different kind of experience. Without meaning any offense, I thought that today I would possibly have a harder time being thankful for the company then last year when the room was filled with romantic and friendly love. However, the thought of last year, and the contrast it provides to my current life, is exactly what I realized I'm thankful for. These four people are not in my life that much now, either due to expulsion of emigration, but I couldn't help but look back at the memory and be thankful for its existence.

My company for today's Thanksgiving Day was no less awesome than last year, and I still thought about last year and how the participants had vanished from my life. Yet, I was lucky enough not to get nostalgic today but feel blessed for having had this wonderful experience of actually being surrounded by people who truly loved me, and vice versa, thousands of miles from the people who had done so the previous 26 years. It was a day I will forever cherish, and even a year later I still feel thankful for having had these people although none of them are around anymore. The ability to take a nice memory and let it be a smile in my face rather than a tear in my eye was what made this Thanksgiving the best one yet because I finally learned how to appreciate, and not reminisce.

One of last year's dinner participants actually provided the biggest inspiration for my Thanksgiving speech today: I am not just thankful for those selected few people that make my life worth living, but I'm thankful for not having those NOT worth living for there anymore. This year, I am mourning the loss of a person that 365 days ago was the source of all my gratefulness. Today, I am thankful that is no longer the case. To know what's good in your life means more when you also realized what's bad in it, and it increases its quality. I am not unhappy for the time I shared a table, friends and a life with a person who effectively does not exist anymore, and I am not sad about the fact that these four people and I will never get back together like that ever again, but I am thankful for the time when that was my reality, and I am happy that it's not anymore because lives change, and we made the right decisions not holding on to that past.

This week is a testament to how lucky I really am, having my best friend fly over from Scotland to see me and being able to thank him for his existence today. Only last year our stories of all the good times we've had in the past six years would have made me want the past back. Talking to him about our amazing memories would have made me sad because those days are gone. Today, it didn't make me sad! I just can't believe that, six years later, I have this complete random sitting next to me at a Thanksgiving table that I literally shared the past with although I don't share his present. I have friendship and love in my life many would kill for, and I'm aware of it. I can be thankful for the memories, even though some of them caused a lot of hurt, and not let it affect my happiness of the present. I am so fortunate for this lesson, and I can give thanks to whoever put it there whether it was through acts of love, hate, loss or passion...

Living my life, it's ridiculously easy to be thankful. I have a lot of things to deal with and I for sure don't just sit down and wait for good things to happen, but for some reason amazing things happen to me despite my positive or negative outlooks on life. I get more than I ask from life all the time, and I definitely don't want to get used to accepting that and taking it for granted. Touché, some friends, lovers and acquaintances have departed from my life in the last years, but my heart is home to a group of winners that make my heart the most valuable place there is. Part of the reason why this posse is in such a good company is because I have learned to expel those who do not deserve to be there, allowing for my heart to be the mirror of what I want it to be. And what I see in there is more than an epic reason to be thankful for without even having to compare my life to suffering Africans to make it feel special.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What is Love?

Oh gee, watching Anderson Cooper last night wasn't the easiest thing to swallow. I watched the Silver Fox sit down with some Paris survivors who were certain that last Friday the 13th was going to be their last, and in tears they described the thoughts they had while waiting for the bullet that would end their life. While watching this video, I realized something pretty unlikely to happen when you watch a video outlining events that happened from the most sheer manifestation of hate; I realized what love was, and how that hate brought death, mourning and pain, but in the end demonstrated love in such forceful gravity that changed my life as well.

The most common notion in the last week has been how hate is destroying the world. All we hear is news of violence and destruction that makes one fear that love is actually NOT all around. I couldn’t disagree more! These two survivors seemed to agree with me. In tears, survivor Isobel Bowdery from Cape Town recapped her "last thoughts” on 360: 

"It was important that if I was going to die, if the next bullet was for me, then I left saying I love you. So I said it to every single person I've ever loved. And in that way it felt OK to die, because I had love in my heart."

She tells a worldwide audience how a stranger risked his life to save hers, how she dedicated what she thought would be her last moment to fill her heart and soul with the love she had for all the people she loved and how the gunmen’s’ hate had not won. What other than illogical and natural love would do that? It reminded me of United 93 where shortly before certain death the people on the plane called their loved ones to let them know they’re loved. I immediately thought of the gunmen and tried to picture their last thoughts, wondering if they also saw people and remembered their feelings, but finding it hard to imagine that to be the case. And just like that, I saw my heart, my thoughts and the presence of love that is present in every single one of us until we fight it. And I realized that it’s not just words that say “love is stronger than hate”, it is the way we were born.

We might do hateful things, some worse than others, but in the end hate in our hearts very obviously needs to be fueled while love is innate and has to be haltered by our fears. We try to stop love from happening, but it never does, while hate only happens when we let it. I am thinking of the many years I was scared to open my heart towards friends, family and partners because of fear of pain or hanging on to sorrows. In the moments it mattered though, when my father or my high school best friend passed away, none of that was still there. And I am thinking of the man I used to love whose hateful ways towards me and others have been the result of a wide attempt to stop loving me. I would like to believe that in the moments it matters (which hopefully will never come) he would remember he loves me just like I love him although that love will never find an expression again.

There have undeniably been a lot of horrible events in my life. Many of them happened because of people’s unwillingness to make a decision that would go hand in hand with the love in their heart. Recently, someone wanting to get revenge on me for something I hadn’t even done got more than just himself involved in this plan, but hurt me and other people in his attempt to bring pain to my life. I should really hate that person or the people who helped him in this moronic pursuit, however, I just can’t. My life has been so positive, and the poisonous hate I sometimes catch myself feeling doesn’t punish those who deserve it, but me! My life is good because it follows Bowdery’s stance: it is a good life, because there is love in it.

Unlike many, I don’t count the love I have in my life as a quantity. The mere fact that some random people in California who are completely unrelated to me are considering me a part of their family blows my mind, or should I say heart?! I don’t have many people in my life whose face I want to see on judgement day, but those faces I will see deserve to be seen, and their mere presence in my life raises the quality of it. It is the willingness to let that feeling that they call love take you over despite of all the bad or evil you have experienced. It is the liberation of allowing fear not to spoil the best things you can have in life. That is love!

The other survivor, Bowdery’s boyfriend who she believed to be dead when she miraculously survived the attack, states how he went looking for her, frantically searching every inch of the ground for her dead body. The love we feel for a partner can be so destructive if that person was lost. Although the dramatic display of these two people on CNN can hardly be the measurement of how much they love each other, I believe that is in fact what love is: the complete inability to picture life without that person. I, for one, only really knew I loved my last partner because it was almost impossible to let him escape my life even when there was nothing positive in it for me anymore. And I knew I didn’t love others, not just partners, because their inexistence in my life was never going to change the quality of it. Ultimately, we should vie for the feeling of love in our life that allows for it to become better and to be the object of somebody else’s pursuit of happiness, and nothing less than that.

I know what love is. It is the absence of trying to make something happen, but accepting it will. It is the quality of your happiness, not the quantity of your happiness. It is the one thing you want to think about before you die, even if the memory will hurt you. If I was to die tomorrow, I know exactly who I would be thinking about and who, unfortunately, would not be in those thoughts anymore. And I know that these people would see me if they died tomorrow. For a strange reason I don’t need anybody to know about my love but myself because I’m lucky I have it. Luckier than most. And I am lucky because I see truth and not some distorted idea, clouded by religion, hatred or ignorance. But most of all, I am lucky because I allow myself to feel that love and ultimately that will attract more and more love in my life.

Some people should think about that…

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

5 Times Quality Wins Over Quantity

As we get older, it is said, our tastes go from quantity to quality, and I know that to be true. In fact, I have decided to accumulate all the times where I have in fact realized lately I'm becoming a woman of taste, not masses... or at least I think so:

#1 The Size of a Party vs The Enjoyment of a Party
Last Thursday Night, I went to three parties. One of them was a very quiet, no more than ten people wine and cheese gathering, one was a small, boozey going-away party and the other one was a rager. Now, there were times in life where my choice of venue would have been clear: party #3, with a bunch of stoned, drunk people would have been great because "I loved people, and their chat!" Yesterday, I left that party after minutes to go back to wine and cheese. Why? Because the quantity of people, or the number of different stories really don't matter at all. Today, I invited some of my good friends to a charity dinner, and we sat, ate, conducted conversation that was worth having, and I suddenly realized that's what people meant by "quality time". Funnily enough, the more people get involved in it, the less quality it really is...

#2 The Number of Friends vs Popularity
Last night also serves as a beautiful example to illustrate how the quality of company beats the quantity any day. The quality of both the drinks and the company at wine and cheese was so vastly better that I had to accept times have definitely changed from quality of company being much more important than quantity. When we were younger knowing a lot of people was a sign of popularity. Since I never valued popularity I'm much happier today not having to be known by people. Quite the contrary: those people I meet, saying "they've heard of me" are a riddle to me. WHY? There is no reason to ever talk about me. I'm neither the nicest nor the worst person in Cairo, I'm super boring, and chose to hang out with the same 10 people for well over a year now. And the reason for that is because I value the quality of people I surround myself with, and not the quantity.

#3 Your Drunk Level vs The Taste of the Drink
And one more illustration how Thursday night showed very clearly how 26-year-old Sina is no longer 21-year-old Sina was her preference for wine and cheese over a binge fest. Back in the day, I'd scrap my pennies to buy a bottle of Vodka to go out. I never liked Vodka, but it did the job. I never saw why I would spend more on something delicious when it had the same outcome than Glenn's cheap Vodka. When I went shopping I also didn't ask for much: I usually went for three Primark pants rather than one really nice pair that would be worn far more often. In short, quality meant nothing to me. Obviously, leaving college naturally changes this behavior (or at least should). I'd rather not drink for a month, then have last night's cheeses and wines, than have four vodka parties.

#4 The Duration vs The Relaxation of a Holiday
During my younger years I had a certain amount of my money dedicated to traveling. Since the goal was to see as much as I can in the cheapest possible way, I stayed at 2$ hostels with merely a hole in the ground to piss in, hitchhiked all over Europe and ate in restaurants that gave me instant food poisoning. As a result, until quite recently I had never been on a "holiday". yes, I traveled widely, but my traveling always had a purpose, and that purpose was never relaxing. These days I catch myself wanting to blow the money I spent on two months in Eastern Europe on a five star, one week holiday in a resort just for the added extras of not having to worry about my breakfast, lunch and dinners and to be called "ma'am" by people who actually know what the word "service" means. The only reason for that is that the success of a holiday now lies in quality, not quantity...

#5 The Masses vs The Taste of Food
I never thought I'd even mention this point, but apparently living in Egypt, also known as the worst country in terms of cuisine, has made me appreciate food far beyond of what I thought was possible. Admittedly, I was a bit on the thicker side just a few years ago, and maybe my desire to eat well rather than eat a lot has something to do with it. All-you-can-eat buffets were my absolute favorite; today they're a waste of money because I could never eat my money's worth. And the quantity, of course, comes at the expense of the quality. Since in Egypt it is virtually impossible to eat food that makes you appreciate life unless you pay up, I have increasingly found myself willing to pay that money just to challenge my pallets occasionally. Although I can go have Koshary 15 times for the amount I now spent on a good meal, I wouldn't even think twice about it.   

Monday, November 16, 2015

#PrayForParis: Why Are We Still Talking About Profile Pictures?

Friday Night, on the International Day of Kindness, I hosted a charity event, had a few drinks with friends and then went to a pub. I was happy and filled with gratefulness because I had raised a good amount of money, was surrounded by my very best friends and was celebrating, like my Parisien counterparts, the fact that I am alive on this beautiful planet and able to enjoy this weekend in happiness. When a German friend and I checked the score on the Germany vs France game we then saw there had been a bomb. Appalled, the initial impulse was to get back to our partying, but I decided to browse. The more information I received, the more impossible it was for me to stay at the pub, so I grabbed my stuff and headed to the taxi.

That night, it could have been anyone. I live in a city that is no stranger to bombs, and I've been close to one before that killed a policemen. All my peers are criticizing that I live a dangerous life for that matter, and it turns out that I am still alive, while over 120 completely innocent people in Paris, the birthplace of our Western freedom, are not. And as always when tragedy strikes Europe, or the West, it is a bigger deal than tragedies anywhere else in the world. Facebook is littered with condolences, all news channels fail to broadcast any other news and politicians are speaking of war. Only a day earlier, similar tragedy struck Lebanon, probably part of exactly the same terror series, and those Russian on the plane in Sinai didn't get the same attention either (although they are white, people!). Yet, profile picture changes are only possible now, not in connection to any other human crisis.

There are two kinds of social media posters this weekend: on the one side, there are people posting solitary messages and change their pictures, and then on the other side those who condemn the bias of the media, the hypocrisy of those posting that and those who claim that other atrocities have been forgotten. To the latter I have all but one thing to say: Kindly, please piss off! These critics are not only insensitive since any kind of sympathy is good, even if it's fake, but they are also oblivious to how this world works. Of course it sucks we care more about dead Parisians than Arabs or Kenyans, but this is not because the world disregards people living in the Southern hemisphere, or as most claim "those who are not white enough".

Now I'm not going to be somebody who claims racism doesn't exist but this whole claim of the media, and world leaders and all the "hypocrites" on facebook being biased because those in Lebanon dying were of the wrong race is ridiculous. More white people died in the plane crash, also probably thanks to the same terrorists, and still people don't pray for Russia. Maybe everyone is right and I'm not and people just like the French better than the Syrians, Lebanese or Russians. More likely, however, is that everybody else has missed the fact we're not just mourning people dying, but 15 years of increased security, the defense of liberal views and the illusion of a protected life in our midst being attacked. People outside of the West are quick to understand it as racism, however, it has nothing to do with who actually died, and how many.

It is more ignorant to me that some people seem to not understand that for the WESTERN media an attack on WESTERN soil is of bigger concern than a Kenyan school shooting. I remember the day the Kenyan news broke very well because I was distraught and started crying at work. Since the Western media tends to filter its content it makes perfect sense that they would give more attention to something similar happening in the area they are actually broadcasting or are originating. I have occasionally been upset about what nonsense the media chose to cover over other, more important matters but the media is just another cooperation, usually trying to make dollar. As sad as Kenya and Beirut is it has little effect on the international system and on most people watching. If it was merely about human atrocities every government would be at war with Boko Haram. But I don't hear anyone calling for the US to finally send more troops there to finally kill those murderers. Why? Because it's simply not their problem.

After Paris, ISIS is now France's problem, and since we have a Western cooperation of nations it is now at least the West's concern. If we are still going to pretend we all love the NATO, they the West is soon at war, obviously changing the lives of Westerners quite a bit. Before, I hate to break it to all of the facebook community, it didn't matter, and it's not a state's job to care about people dying, but the survival of itself. You may hate that, but that's how it is. When President Barack Obama doesn't hold a press conference for killed Kenyans that does not mean that the individual Barack Obama is unmoved by the event. Maybe this Christian guy even included them in his prayers, we don't know. His state, however, is completely unaffected by the tragedy, unlike Paris, and therefore we don't hear official words. States and people aren't the same, know the difference!

Now, if you ask me if that is cool or whether I'm happy to live in a world like that I would maybe hesitate. In the last few weeks, however, there's been so many good things happening and I have started to really love this planet. What should be spread is that notion, not the notion of how everything is going to waste. Because, frankly, it's not. We still live in a world where even in fear and mourning Parisians help each other out, where people open their door to refugees fleeing war despite many parts of society shunning them and in which you can sit down, close your door and support those suffering with your positive thoughts and prayers or your profile picture. I don't see any reason to hate on anything more than there already is to hate these days, and really don't understand why everybody's trying so hard... 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The GRE: A Daunting Story

I've done relatively well in all of my endeavors in my life. Usually, whatever the task is, I can make a good result happen once I truly believe in it. And I usually don't doubt this ability, knowing that I'm one of those people that can make any kind of thing happen if I really want to. This confidence was deeply shaken in the last few weeks when I prepared for the GRE. Beforehand, I only heard people say how easy it sounds and how I'll do well with minimal effort. These people were wrong! I did do well, however, the preparation for this ridiculous test had me wishing I wasn't so damn ambitious and just throw in the towel. After 27 years of lifelong struggle, finishing that test was the biggest relief I ever felt...

I have two degrees and did my fair share of exams, with or without comparable pressure. However, the GRE simply cannot be compared to any other task. I did maths during my Masters', and I hated it then, but the last weeks of Quantitative Reasoning was an absolute bane to my existence GRE expression, I'll have you know!). I'm a writer and believed to be good at reasoning; throw in a few numbers, much too much time pressure and suddenly I'm a fifth-grader. I used to laugh about Kellie Pickler NOT being smarter than a fifth grader, and suddenly realized neither am I. I had genuinely never heard of permutations in my life, and in my preparation to learn GRE Math I had either forgotten all about high school maths or had never learned any of that stuff. The end result was the same though: I had no idea what was going on!

I then thought that Verbal Reasoning would appeal to me more. I'm fluent in English, have spoken more English than German in the last seven years and read all the time. I was wrong about that either. I suddenly asked myself what I had learned in the last 15 years since I've spoken English because I didn't seem to be able to answer any of these questions. If someone used GRE words to describe me, saying I am loquacious, intransigent and contentious, I wouldn't even know they're insulting me. I studied vocabulary every day and it might have contributed to three or four more points on the actual test, but I felt I was about three years too late in starting to prepare for the test to do really well because I was lacking about 80% of the dictionary.

I was preparing with my American friend, and sometimes mentioned some of the vocabulary to my British friends, and I had to accept that they just know a lot of things I didn't for no reason other than them just being native to the kind of thing the GRE asks for. Both in language and math rules they had a lifelong advantage on me, and I said goodbye to my dream of scoring a six and two 170s on the test. As a next step, I made it my aim to at least do better than my native-English counterparts which sounds easier than it was. I had developed a false arrogance about my supremacy as a student because my English is better than most foreigners', but when it came to the GRE I was just as bad as everybody else.

On test date, I was hoping for suitable questions, and my prayers were not heard. I got confronted with lots of stuff I didn't know, and close to no questions I had actually beasted in preparations. My last practice test at the house resulted in a miraculous score, and the actual score did not follow up on that. In the end, I was still outperforming my international counterparts and some Americans, so I was happy about the result. Most importantly, however, I was happy it went well and I didn't have to retake the test. That stuff sucked! It's important knowledge being taught in the GRE, but even a 4 hour test on Russian politics, otherwise known as my biggest passion, would suck, never mind the added pressure of knowing it might result in my dreams not coming true. At the end of that day only one thought was predominant, and that was gratefulness that it was over!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Egypt: Dangerous Or Misunderstood?

If you're planning a trip to Egypt anytime soon, you better be prepared for all of your family and friends quickly starting to question your sanity; pictures representing Egypt in the worldwide media do not make it appear like it'd be a great idea! Only last month, 12 tourists were killed in the Western Desert of Egypt because the military believed them to be terrorists, thus killing them. You don't hear that every day. The same goes for the frequent reports on either small or big bombs going off and militants being killed in the Sinai. This week we reportedly had an ISIS plane crash there. Now nobody is claiming Egypt is as safe of a soil as Greenbow, Alabama, especially if one counts being verbally harassed as a woman and getting food poisoning as a danger, but we live in a world where people die of the most random things. As a resident in the Middle Easter country, I feel my account is accurate...

I was once in close proximity to a bomb going off, actually killing a police officer unlike the countless bombs some idiot, either someone disliking the government or wanting to appear that way, built on in their basements without a single clue about how one would do that and detonated in a rundown car. Most of these bombs don't detonate at all, therefore not even making the headlines because it's some hobbyist bomb builder who is making a fool of himself. In pretty much all cases, even the successful detonations, nobody is harmed though. Needless to say, if there are injuries or casualties, the international community goes berzerk over it. At the same time, thousands die every year in Cairo because traffic is back. For some reason that never stopped the tourists.

The fact is that as a Cairo resident I am in fact risking my life but more so by crossing the street or being a writer than being a tourist in the wrong place. People stop going on holiday in South Sinai because an odd 300 kilometers away some terrorists are trying to make a difference. If you told you parents you're vacationing there, I'd get their worry. In Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab or Hurghada, however, your bigger problem is not speaking Russian because the Russian tourists are not afraid and show up in the thousands. And once you're done worrying, you will have the most amazing seafood, the cheapest and most amazing diving lessons and the most chilled and breathtaking scenery to enjoy. The bottom line is: if you ain't a pussy you cash in big time in Egypt!

My roommate left last night to change residency from Egypt to Syrian Kurdistan. One may argue that's not the safest place to be right now either. However, if you live your life based on where you have the biggest chances of survival you might as well just lock yourself up in a log cabin somewhere in the Mid-West. Be warned that your life will suck though! In other words: I get that people consider the increased risk of being close to a bomb in Egypt, but that risk is ridiculously unjustified considering there are 20 million people here. Between me and the next destructive thing happening here might only be a distance of a mile but there are one million people between here and there that would be more likely to be affected by it than me. Death can find you anywhere, here he just has to look for you more intensely.

Yes, there's more chaos and harassment. And yes, we lose more people to terrorists on ground than in Europe. And maybe that Mexican tourist incident and plane crash was a result of failuresComing to Egypt is safe! For me, the problem is neither the bombs, the terrorists or the government. My biggest problem here are heartless landlords, greedy vendors and low-lives that grope women. If these people would disappear my life would be much more secure. If tourists stay away because they think there should be tenants rights in Egypt or harder punishments for sex offenders, then I'm with them. But since they're not, I can only say "Your loss!"...
that would not have happened somewhere else. But, and it's a big but, a trip to Egypt's amazing tourist spots does not equal a signature on your death certificate.

Am I fake for using a filter?

Being on Social Media yesterday wasn't fun as this model Essena O'Neil was all over it "telling the truth" about being an Instagram celebrity. While I commend her for admitting to airbrushing, cropping and every other little tool there is to make someone very pretty to a large audience, I felt this story was mostly dumb. Does anybody actually think the Kardashians look this good sans makeup? No, they don't. People know these techniques, and to criticize social media itself for lying, to me, was a largely idiotic notion. There are a number of reasons for this, and it's not just because I don't use my social media account to get people to admire my beauty on a daily basis. Now Essena was obviously making money, so I guess she was fake, but we're not all fake for posting selfies...

Duh, I've posted selfies. And yes, I also used filters. And I'm not even going to write here that I haven't used such filters to make my pimples disappear. Of course my motive for such actions was feeling pretty and wanting to share that. Maybe people don't believe me but I don't actually have to convince people I am pretty because I don't care if they think I am or not. Not everyone is like that, I understand. To propose that I'm not depicting my real life because I use such tools is simply not true, though. Just because a filter, or some other things the stars use to make themselves look better, are applied to a picture one's life does not get destroyed, like the Instagram model claimed hers was.

If a psychological problem arises from drawing a wrong picture of oneself on the internet, a psychological problem is already in place. I don't lie on my social media profiles. I might be more open about the good things in my life than I am about the bad things, but I don't lie to my circles to evoke jealousy or portray myself in a better way. And even if I do, how does that destroy my actual presence? I am tired of people telling me I should put my phone away and actually speak to people. Nice suggestion, however, I am actually quite thankful that social media allows me to "speak" to my friends in the first place since 90% live abroad! The negativity around social media therefore exceeds people criticizing the fakeness, but don't people forget we also have a lot of benefits due to this new kind of media?

For Essena O'Neil to post pictures that do not reflect her actual life is a sign of weakness that is evidently starting to catch up with her. Fortunately, she has realized that her depictions don't make her happy. Another normal human being should realize that the pictures we see on there many times are not reflective of a person's actual struggles. In the case of the Kardashians, often accused from painting such a false picture, we actually know their various body parts have nothing to do with God's gifts. Kylie Jenner, despite being super beautiful, was certainly not born this way, and when I see her pictures on Instagram I largely just feel pity because she is very clearly not accepting herself. Immediately, my short moment of jealousy is fading, and I remember it's good to be me, too.

I like social media and sharing, and I am exceptionally transparent, even talking about the bad things in my life openly to people on the internet who do not even know me. For me to not feel offended by O'Neil's claim makes total sense. I have to seriously doubt people's intelligence, however, if they see a model's Instagram feed and believe the only thing that happens in her life is looking gorgeous. Yes, some girls will fall for that, but I would go as far as saying that these people need to learn a lesson about life, not social media. As if that platform was the only one you're being fed lies... just like any other person on this planet even your best friend will use social media to lie to you, make you think things are great when they're not and try to appear awesome. It's called life... get used to it!