The world is a strange place. One full of marvellous, exciting and beautiful things, whilst simultaneously consisting of curiosities and contradictions.
Where we're told to embrace our natural beauty and accept our bare skin and yet still be shamed on the front of a magazine cover for daring to leave the house without concealer.
Where curvier and slender frames are adored equally but be too much of one or the other and undergo viscous labelling.
Where you shouldn't dress like a clone but if you don't you'll be outcasted and fall behind this season's trend.
Enter, The Real You Campaign; a project I have been invited to take part in, as well as something which I do and have always felt to be of fundamental importance.
I remember in my early school life being comfortable in who I was, feeling conscious of course, but not in how others viewed me. Seasonal school discos meant channelling Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani, and I was 100% confident in my wardrobe choices.
Secondary school begun and so too did the growing of personal insecurities as well as acknowledgement of others around me. Who obviously cared deeply about my everyday conduct/appearance/word that left my lips.. Obviously.
And so followed the introduction of ceremoniously cooking my hair each morning so every hint of wave was diminished, the eyeliner and mascara of which I was ignorant how to apply and of course the constant hesitation prior to every word I said.
The continuous mental assault course in analysing and over analysing everything I did and said in order to create the least upset possible regardless of my actual beliefs.
Putting every ounce of effort into trying to please what I believed to be everybody else's expectations rather than my own.
I am still a work in progress when it comes to caring how others perceive me.
But there is a point, where it suddenly dawns that everyone is so wrapped up in their own problems, they don't care about yours.
The blemish on your nose or your hair that won't sit right today or the fact you should have put on the other shoes to match your jeans.
I find it's not the positive act of doing something but the motivation behind it which makes you question whether or not you're trying to please everyone else and forget yourself.
Yes, I wear make up, but as something to enhance and experiment with, no longer as something I feel I must in order to be accepted.
I eat healthily as well as unhealthily to my own benefit and to my own detriment.
I dress how I want to, based on how I feel when I wake up regardless of what everyone else in the lecture theatre will think.
Coming to terms with the true version of yourself is tricky at first, especially since we're plagued with constant messages and images over how the pieces of our life should fit together, despite the fact that we're all totally different jigsaws. (Can't get enough of these metaphors.)
Moments of doubt do creep in from time to time but The Real You campaign is about abandoning the idea that your characteristics have to fit into this box which society has deemed acceptable. This is about accepting yourself; the unapologetic, undiluted version of yourself and realising you shouldn't have to change for anybody.
So now you've got a better idea of the real me, I'd love to hear about the real You. Whoever that may be, whether it's through a tweet, instagram, tumblr or youtube, let me and everyone else know #therealyou.