Behind the Scenes of the #ITalkSex Photo Shoot

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I think it's about time I told you what went on Behind the Scenes of the #ITalkSex photo shoot...


BTS: THE #ITALKSEX PHOTO SHOOT

If you follow me on social media then, by now, you know that I talk sex and that I've been talking about it a lot more recently. The reason for this is that I was one of 10 lucky ladies who were selected to be part of the Scarlet Ladies #ITalkSex campaign. We had to apply and wait...and when I found out that I got in, it was very much an "Eeeeek" moment! I swear I was more excited about this then about getting into uni.

I've talked about this campaign before here and on my socials - if you've missed that "#ITalkSex Because..." post, then simply click HERE to read it.

Anywhoozle!


GETTING DOLLED UP

So, on Wednesday 19th July 2017, I joined the Scarlet Ladies for an #ITalkSex campaign photo shoot. I arrived at the venue: the beautiful 23 Paul Street, and was taken to their lovely Dressing Room, where there was a hair stylist and a make-up artist waiting to pamper me and make me look incredible for the shoot.


Photograph by Sweety


Picture this: a group of wonderful women, yummy nibbles, bubbles, banter and games, and a whole lotta of dressing up going on. And as I was getting  my make-up done, Faby (photographer of Faby and Carlo) came in to the dressing room and chose my outfit. I was so happy when she chose a beautiful latin-esque red dress that I love (We took a selection of outfits, which was great as it meant that we had control of what to wear for the shoot!)

Here's how it all looked...












Before & After: Taken by me


PHOTOSHOOT & POLAROID 

Once I was all dolled up, I was then taken to The Reserve room for the actual photo shoot - Eek!
I met Faby and Carlo in the beautiful Piano Room (which is one half of The Reserve), and after a lovely chat - that really helped feel calmer - they started to photograph me; I posed by a window, and on what I like to describe as a leather throne, and leaning on a piano, I posed on a beautiful red leather sofa; I posed and posed whilst Faby and Carlo spoke to me and kept everything going and feeling quite natural.

It was amazing! And well, the photos turned out just absolutely stunning. I'll let you be the judge...


Photograph by Faby and Carlo 




Photograph by Faby and Carlo 



Photograph by Faby and Carlo 



Photograph by Faby and Carlo



Photograph by Faby and Carlo


 After the shoot, I moved into the other half of The Reserve, and had a polaroid taken as well as a chance to get creative when writing about why I talk sex. The result was this beauty:


Photo by me 



#ITALKSEX VIDEO INTERVIEW 

The next step was to do a short recording about why I talk sex. For this part, I was taken to The Vault where I wrote a short message and spoke honestly about why talking sex is important to me. I've written in detail about why I talk sex HERE, but in short this is my message:

Photo by Sarah at Scarlet Ladies

It was a fabulous day and I'm so so proud of myself, and of the other incredible women, for being part of this beautiful and extremely important campaign.

We've since had a really successful press launch of the #ITalkSex Campaign. And on Tuesday, the 12th of September, we are all getting together to celebrate at the #ITalkSex Launch Party. If you would like to join us, please check the Scarlet Ladies website - by clicking HERE.

And if you can't join us in person, well that's okay, as you can join the #ITalkSex Twitter Party with Girl On The Net - click HERE for the details!

You can also get involved in the #ITalkSex campaign, simply head over to the Scarlet Ladies' website to find out more.

To read more words from me and from the other lovely ladies involved then click HERE.




xoxo

Behind My Scars

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Photography by Sophie Mayanne




* Trigger Warning: This post talks about suicide attempt and self-harm and also contains photos of self-harm scars, which could be a trigger to some. If you choose to keep reading, please tread carefully *


"Every scar, every wound, every ache inside of you is a story. And stories are the wildest, most powerful things of all. Because stories can build galaxies or make entire universes break and bleed and fall"        ~ Nikita Gill, You are made of stories. 

I have Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (also known as Borderline Personality Disorder), which is a debilitating and persistent mental illness. And because of this illness, I've struggled with self-harm all my life - I mean it, I started hitting myself at the age of 3.

Self-harm and suicide attempts, particularly cutting myself, have been my ways of coping with the intensity of my emotions. It just so happens that my emotions are intense and changing all the fucking time, so my urges are there all the fucking time too.




I am lucky to currently be in recovery; I started therapy (privately) over a year ago and I've now learned better ways of coping. Nowadays, I really do manage to use healthier ways to cope rather than go for my beloved razor blades. I've had many therapists, but when you find someone that you're comfortable with, and who really gets you and who is genuinely interested in helping you long term, well, then things really do start to change for the better.  

Don't get me wrong, the therapy process is extremely difficult, and being in recovery does not mean that there are no relapses; these things don't change overnight; it's a long, painful & slow process.




Once upon a time though, I was very ashamed of how I coped; I was ashamed of all the suicide attempts and the self-harm episodes, but now I know that there is no shame in having a mental illness, and actually we need to end the stigma around mental health and really change how we communicate about and manage mental ill health.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. But because of how poorly we deal with such issues, we are losing more and more people to suicide and accidental death, as a result of self-harm. And this is happening because society isn't providing an environment where we can talk honestly about our struggles. But most importantly, the appropriate and necessary treatment just isn't available! So, even when people do communicate, they can't access the help they need.

In my opinion, the society we live in has blood on its' hands; we could be doing a lot more to help those living with a mental illness. I'm not trying to downplay the importance of taking care of our physical health, but my Buddha, we are really clueless as to how serious, crippling and dangerous it is to live with mental ill health. And we're failing to help the most vulnerable.

The NHS failed to help me when it came to my mental illness. However, I have many physical health issues, which are all being appropriately dealt with - and I must add that, most of my physical health issues are a direct result of my mental health deteriorating so drastically; my mental illness affects me physically. I mean it; my body literally paralysed itself at one point, and partly thanks to that, I was forced to find a private psychotherapist and a private psychiatrist - something the NHS should be providing. 

I can't end this post without saying that the NHS Mental Health Services are NON-EXISTENT, and I know this from personal experience - even when they do provide any support, it is invalidating, detrimental and short-term. After having group therapy provided by the NHS, for example, I actually deteriorated but I was told that there was no other option. And had I continued to rely on them, I would have eventually killed myself. This is no exaggeration, I was knocking on death's door and there was no help for me, and sadly this is the truth for most patients waiting for mental health treatment from the NHS.

My loved ones, who were understanding and supportive of me, forced me to go after professional help, and this is the reason I am here today to tell the tale. 

Years of self-harm have left me with a number of scars - most of these scars are on my left arm, there are some on my right arm too, and some faint ones on my stomach and left thigh. But throughout the years, my left arm has definitely taken the brunt of my self-harm episodes.



Photograph by Sophie Mayanne





Photograph by Sophie Mayanne 





Photograph by Sophie Mayanne 



I've spent years feeling extremely ashamed of my scars, and for a long time I hid them under long sleeves and baggy clothes. One of my worst episodes consequently ended with me having thirty stitches, and it is now one of my biggest scars. I've had a hate-HATE relationship with that scar for years. However, now I see all my scars as a part of what I have been and still am going through; they’re a part of my life, my story and my survival.

You know how people go through brain surgery or heart surgery or breast cancer surgery and are then left with scars? Well, to me, my scars are no different to those battles. 

My scars are a part of me; they're proof I'm surviving this war. They're proof that things are really hard, but I got this; I'm alive.

I am no longer embarrassed of them. They remind me of how much I've survived and how far I've come. So, random lady on the train, you can stare at them all you want, but don't be surprised if you find me staring back. Because I stand by them, and you have no idea what I've been through.

One thing is for sure, I won't be hiding these stripes anymore.

Photograph by Sophie Mayanne 

And as a way of celebrating these beautiful imperfections and also a way of raising awareness, I took part in Sophie Mayanne's 'Behind the Scars' photo series - where the focus are scars and the stories behind them. A year ago, it wouldn't have crossed my mind that one day, I'd be celebrating my scars. Recovery is real, and if I can do it, so can you.

If you are interested in taking part in this awesome project or simply want to check it out and/or support it, please click HERE. You can also find Sophie on Instagram.

It's about time we celebrated our stories and our perfect imperfections, don't you think?
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Please note: I am talking about MY experience, and MY experience will be different to someone else with the same diagnosis. We're all individuals and we cope and manage differently. This is simply my account, please do not take this to mean that all those with a mental illness or with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder have the same experiences or act the same way. Each to their own. We are all UNIQUE - no experience is ever experienced the same way. 


MONTHLY REFLECTIONS: Goodbye August, Hello September!

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And finally, on the 3rd of September, she finally manages to finish off her August Monthly Reflections! It's been a wonderful August, but I gotta say that I am really looking forward to this new month; I have lots of lovely things planned for September and YAY for Autumn!

So, looking back over August, and forwards to September:

I AM PROUD OF

I am incredibly proud of moi for putting myself out there and taking part in wonderful campaigns like the #ITalkSex campaign and Sophie Mayanne's 'Behind the Scars' photo series.


Photo by Faby and Carlo for the Scarlet Ladies #ITalkSex campaign 

Photo by Sophie Mayanne for her 'Behind the Scars' photo series 

I wrote about the #ITalkSex campaign and why I Talk Sex HERE - I really think you should go read more about it, if you haven't already. As for the Behind the Scars photo series, that post is a work in progress - watch this space.

I am also incredibly proud of me for ALL the hard work that I've put in to revamp and set-up ze new blog; 'Unapologetically Elly', and for all the work that I put in to set-up my Etsy shop - which I've named 'Beija Flor Jewellery'  - Beija Flor means Hummingbird in Portuguese (I'm from Brazil, where we speak Portuguese) and I love Hummingbirds and what they represent, so it felt right to name my little space after those beautiful creatures.

My shop is basically my take on hippie jewellery that I love, including Mala Beads, colourful quirky pieces and dainty beauties. And the shop is now LIVE - go check it out and let me know what you think! Click HERE.

Logo for my Etsy Shop!

But most of all I'm proud of myself for managing to stay on my recovery path (for those who don't know, I had a mental breakdown a few years ago and really hit rock bottom; I am now in recovery) by sticking to my values and boundaries, even with all the new projects, events and extra add-ons. You go girl! * flicks hair back *


I AM LETTING GO OF

Unhealthy comparison; I've spent too much time comparing myself to others this past month - I want less, to none, of that. So, I'm making a conscious effort to pay attention to my path; I want to worry less about what the person in the next lane is doing, and focus on my focus.

I say "unhealthy comparison" as I have also been doing some healthy comparison; I regularly compare the woman I am today to the woman I was this time last year, and fucking hell, I've worked hard and achieved some wonderful things, and new levels of awareness and emotional intelligence.

It 2017 me!

I've proved to myself that recovery and real living is possible. It's not easy, but I can do this.

I would also like to stop fear from getting in the way of me doing things; it's completely expected to feel fear, but I will work on not letting it hold me back.


WHAT AND/OR WHO HAS INSPIRED ME

Sarah and Jannette - 'nuff said. These two badass inspirational women are the co-founders of The Scarlet Ladies - learn more about their story HERE. You're welcome!

Anywhoozle, these ladies have proved that hard work really does pay off, and that you can go after your dreams and make them happen; yes, YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS! They've inspired me to challenge societal standards, beliefs and expectations, and shown me that I can make a difference by simply having a CONVERSATION! How BADASS is that?!

Someone else that has really inspired me is Tree Carr; Tree is a Dreaming Guide, Death Doula, Mystic, Filmmaker and Musician.

"Tree is an avid Lucid Dreamer and looks to her dreams for creative inspiration, self exploration, healing and the personal expansion of greater consciousness."
Last month (August) I attended one of Tree's Lucid Dreams workshops, and those few hours were life changing for me - I ended up opening up about my experiences of death and certain dreams I have, where loved ones who have passed away come back to visit me and give me messages through my dreams. Sometimes I also get death visitations whilst I'm awake, but these are usually of people I don't know rather than loved ones.

Anywhoozle, I spoke to Tree about this and well, turns out that these night dreams (and day dreams) which have left me rattled in the past, could actually be a gift rather than horrible, scary experiences. Tree has inspired me to explore this side of me without negative misconceptions, and I will be forever grateful to her for her words. To learn more about Tree and her work, click HERE.


WHAT I FOUND DIFFICULT
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WHAT HELPED ME

As someone with severe anxiety, it is really hard to put myself out there and do new things. But! reminding myself of how far I've come in my recovery, and that I can do amazing new things yet still be in recovery mode, has been incredibly helpful.

Another thing I've struggled with this August is accepting compliments, especially when I was told  by Tree Carr and my therapist that something I thought was a curse may actually be a gift - I'm talking about the death visitations that I get in my dreams. I've not spoken about this much at all, as saying it out loud made me feel like a freak.

This is something I struggled to accept at first. I'm guessing that's because to think of myself as "special" or "gifted" just goes against the self-loathing I've been doing for years. Well, to continue with my self-care routine, I am working hard to kindly ignore that negative mean voice that says I can't be special, and I've set a personal goal to fully embrace this gift and see where it takes me. As a result, I have decided to immerse myself into learning more about Shamanic Healing and also consider the possibility of me training as a Death Doula (something I think I would love to do.)

The main thing that has helped me this past month though, is giving myself time to process things and talking about it. I've actually been sharing how I'm feeling and how things are affecting me, rather than choosing to suppress and internalise it all. I've been communicating with my loved ones and through my online platforms, and it has been cathartic and extremely helpful to me. Processing and communication is so important, and doing these things has really got me through lately.


WHAT MADE ME SMILE

It's been a month of wonderful events and achievements! From the #ITalkSex campaign, and taking part in the 'Behind the Scars' photo series, to going on wonderful dates with my person; we found wonderful vegetarian goodness at one of Mildred's restaurants (we tried the Soho one).



And we also got to experience 'Romeo+Juliet' (Baz Luhrman's one, of course!) in a fairytale-like church, with live choir - it was beautiful, and sad, and powerful, and just gave me all the feels!



If this is an event you'd be interested in going to (I think they have more events like this coming up), then check out the Backyard Cinema website for more info - click HERE.

So, basically, August was a good month and I smiled a lot. Eek! Which is a huge difference to last August (August 2016) when I was falling apart thanks to abusive relationships and spending most of my time in pain.


BOOKS, MOVIES, ARTICLES, PODCASTS, MUSIC I'VE ENJOYED 

BOOK(S) 
I'm struggling to read big chunks of words at once (I get this from time to time - thanks mental ill health!) so, I'm re-reading my favourite poetry books; Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur and Salt  by Nayyirah Waheed, as these books are a collection of beautiful smaller chunks of words, which I can handle.

Taken from Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey 


Taken from Nayyirah Waheed's Salt 

Both of these books have helped me in my healing. They are truly wonderful, raw and honest words written by women who have been through traumatic events, and who pour their passion and emotions out into their words. In my opinion, these books are beautiful pieces of art, and I can't recommend them highly enough. Reading these words in my candle lit zen den, is some of the most wonderful moments I've had.


MOVIE(S)




I was not prepared for The Big Sick! I'd heard that it was about an interracial couple and the struggles they face when their cultures clash, but my oh my, emotions really took over me as I watched their story come to life on the big screen. It's an honest story about traditions, relationships, health, love, expectations and true feelings. A must watch, I say.



10 Years is just a fun, light-hearted movie. Y'know, for those days when you just want a good movie about life, old friends and the reality of trying to adult. I can't be the only one that has those days, right?


ARTICLE(S)
My favourite article this month is by far Ioan Marc Jones' Reading Orwell in the Dole Queue. I feel like Ioan really nails it when talking about the difference between how society sees those living on welfare and the actual reality of relying on welfare. 


"It was around October 2013 when I received my first dole cheque. At the time, the government and most mainstream tabloids were proselytising about an apparent ‘culture of dependency’. The Sun was running a typically hyperbolic campaign called ‘the war on welfare’. The ever-charming Daily Mail daily condemned the so-called scroungers purportedly unwilling to work. Commentators on Question Time claimed that the safety blanket of welfare had become a 10,000-thread count sheet made from Egyptian cotton. Families settled on sofas across Britain every evening to watch poverty porn on domestic television while social media erupted with faux-outrage. Shows such as Benefits Street gave viewers a misleading glimpse into the lives of welfare claimants. Mocking those without means was business and business was booming."

It's just a brilliant read, check it out, you guys. 


PODCAST(S)
I don't usually listen to Rachel Brathen's (better known as Yoga Girl) 'From the Heart' podcast, but last week (August 25th 2017) Rachel's "A Story of Rape and Responsibility" podcast with Thordis Elva, really caught my attention. And well, I may be tuning in to Rachel's podcast regularly now!



This particular podcast appealed to me as in the past 12 months I have found my voice, and finding that voice has resulted in me opening up about the sexual abuse I have experienced in my life. I've now turned into some sort of human sponge; soaking in as much as I can about other survivors' stories, and reaching out for others who have similar experiences.

In this podcast, Thordis Elva talks about the traumatic story of how she was raped by her boyfriend at 16 years old. She goes on to tell us about how this affected her and about the powerful healing journey she is on, which has involved confronting her perpetrator. The conversation naturally includes discussions on issues such as sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape and how, as a society, we deal with such crimes.

This is an intense listen but so worth it. But if you are going to listen to this podcast, please do tread carefully as it can definitely be a trigger.

I can really relate to Thordis' words and this particular sentence really touched me, so I'm going to leave it here:

"I ended up in a cycle where I was repeatedly re-traumatised and unfortunately assaulted more than once. So my mind I guess, subconsciously, realised that I had to go back to the source; I had to start my healing work from where it all began."
THE FEELS! Because - SAME! To learn more about Thordis Elva - click HERE.


MUSIC
I am currently OBSESSED with Melanie Martinez's debut album 'Cry Baby'. I love Melanie's sound, and this album really takes you on a journey, and it's a story I can really relate to.


Cover of Melanie Martinez's debut album 'Cry Baby'

The album is about a character, named Cry Baby (hence the name of the album), who is a fantasy version of Melanie Martinez when she was a child, and a representation of her vulnerable and mental side. Each song tells a childhood-related story, with adult themes; so, to me, it's about a disturbed child who had to grow up quickly in order to deal with adult problems. And whenever she displays any emotion, she is teased for being openly emotional; she is named a "Cry Baby".

I've also got Grace VanderWaal's song 'Moonlight' on repeat right now, you guys. In a statement announcing the song, Grace explained the inspiration behind it, saying:

"'Moonlight' is about somebody you know very well changing unnaturally over time right in front of you and pushing you away, so you want to help bring them back to their original self."

Here's the video. And once again, you're welcome!




HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THAT?!


IMPORTANT MESSAGES
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REMINDERS

Don't let fear stop you from being you. You're awesome, fucking embrace that shiz. Those who mind, don't matter and those who matter, don't mind!

When things get too hard, take a break if necessary, but keep on keeping on.

Repeat daily:

  • I am allowed to change and grow
  • I am allowed to be myself and let myself heal at my own pace
  • I am allowed to experience and express my feelings, sensations and sexuality
  • I am allowed to get my needs met in a healthy, open and satisfying way
  • I am allowed to walk away from toxic relationships
  • I am capable and I am allowed to go after what I want

Have a fabulous September, you gems. x

#ITalkSex Because...

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THE #ITALKSEX CAMPAIGN
Last week the Scarlet Ladies launched their #ITalkSex campaign, and this is a campaign I am passionate about and one I believe is extremely important for women all over!

It aims to get a conversation going about
female sexuality - so, I'm here to invite you ladies to join the conversation. As, in the words of the Scarlet Ladies, “Female sexuality is not a dirty secret. It’s a part of who we are.”

The Scarlet Ladies HQ summarise the campaign perfectly, here:


WHY I TALK SEX
I was born and brought up in Brazil, where women are hyper-sexualised. We now live in a society that is aware that women everywhere fall victim to sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape. But unfortunately, the Brazilian culture is one of those that encourages the normalisation of this sort of behaviour.

At the age of 6, boys at school would call me sexy. I hated it, and I  would punch any boy that said I  was “pretty” or “sexy”. In the end  though, I was always the one that  got into trouble with the  headteachers; “they’re just complimenting you, is all. It’s a nice thing. You can’t punch people for complimenting you. The  headteachers would say to me –  yes, “headteacherS” plural, as this  happened in more than one school.


Ok, yes, physical violence wasn’t  the best way for me to deal with this unwanted attention but telling a little girl that she should ignore her feelings and feel lucky to be called “pretty” or “sexy” by her peers, is not right; it is dangerous and harmful. Eventually, I came to believe that if I fought against those comments, then I was wrong and I'd get in trouble for it.

At the age of 10, for a period of 5 months, I was sexually abused by an uncle. Then, in my teens, I moved from Brazil to London, and I experienced more sexual abuse; I was groped and felt up by some of the boys at school. I quickly learned that people’s assumptions are that Brazilian women have lots of sex and love any physical contact.

I am disgusted by unwanted male attention - it is UNWANTED - and I was vocal about it at school, which resulted in my peers calling me “frigid”.

This label left me feeling very confused; it was clear that it was a negative thing. I simply couldn’t work out how to behave, and eventually I lost me and lost track of what I wanted; I knew I wasn’t sure about sex, but I also felt the need to fit into society and thus, I decided to live up to the expectation that as a Brazilian woman, I should be sexy and enjoy lots of sex – so, I started dating and having lots of sex. It is what society wanted after all, right?



But, when one relationship ended and soon after I met someone else, I was then called a “slut”. Around that time, I also realised I was attracted to girls, and I explored those desires. And, again, I was called a slut for doing so. Because HOW DARE I, A WOMAN, MOVE ON AND HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH ANOTHER MAN?! AND HOW DARE I, STILL A WOMAN, TURN DOWN A MAN FOR ANOTHER WOMAN?! GASP!!!!

In my teens, I tried to talk sex, and some people seemed shocked that as a victim of sexual abuse, I enjoy sex and am so open, honest and willing to talk about it. It’s assumed that because I've been sexually abused, then I should be anti-sex, when in fact I LOVE to talk sex.


Trying to live up to the above assumptions and expectations of me, left me feeling confused and overwhelmed. I eventually stopped talking about the sexual abuse I survived, or about the abortion I had or about how I fantasised about women, and I never talked about how I didn’t want to have sex with my boyfriend most of the time but I forced myself to.

I stopped talking. Full stop.

Society made me feel like I couldn’t talk about any of it and that I didn’t have a choice over how I explored my body. For a long time, I believed that I was here to please male partners. Society’s views on sex has become very much about women pleasing men, and that’s wrong and damaging. We still live in times where if a woman doesn’t have sex, then she’s “frigid”, yet if she does have sex, especially with multiple partners, then she’s a “slut”. I’ve been called both – as mentioned above - which is special kind of confusing! There is a huge misconception about women and sex – and it’s about time we changed that.

Last year I discovered the Scarlet Ladies, who have given me a safe and judgement free environment to talk about my sexual experiences and feelings on this subject. Now, I know that women have a right to explore their sexuality, when they want, however they want it and as often as they like, without judgement. My body is mine and I decide when, with whom and how my sexual experiences happen! I can have lots of sex or no sex at all, this is my choice and it’s nobody else’s business.

Now, I talk sex because I didn’t talk about it for a long time and that silence caused me a lot of harm. I talk sex because I believe that sharing our stories, experiences and doubts is important, it spreads knowledge and knowledge is power. I also genuinely believe that had other women around me talked sex, then I would've had healthier sexual experiences.

I talk sex to not only help me in my healing, but to also hopefully let other women know that they are not alone, and that talking sex is important, and healthy, and it can be life changing in an extremely positive and powerful way. The thought of other women being silent about their sexuality, the same way I was, really upsets and worries me. Talking sex has helped me claim my experiences and sexuality as my own; it’s mine and nobody has the right to take that away from me.


Photography by the fabulous Faby and Carlo 

Thanks to talking sex, I’ve now walked away from abusive relationships – including one particularly harmful one where I became a personal porn-star for over ten years. I’m finally getting to know who I really am and who I want to be, for me. And I’m slowly working out that:
  • I am someone who enjoys sex, with another person or on my own;
  • but now I respect my wishes and my body, and I respect that I am a woman who can only be intimate with someone I love, respect, and feel extremely comfortable with. (Which apparently goes against my Brazilian roots; as I’m not having sex all the time …);
  • I identity as pansexual;
  • I no longer have sex to please others, I do it for me;
  • there is nothing wrong with having sex or not having sex, IT’s UP TO US! It’s a gift that we choose how to fit into our lives.



A loved one recently told me that:

And this has really helped me realise that sex is more than about physically sleeping with someone else; so much more. For me, now, I am exploring my body on my own – and that’s how I want it for a while; I need some alone time with my body - and it’s been the most healing and liberating experience. It's been incredibly empowering to be with myself and learn about myself without the influence or pressure from someone who thinks of women as sex objects.

I’ve noticed that some people are uncomfortable when others talk openly about sex and sexual abuse. But this is a conversation that I believe we should be having. I hope to one day live in a world where ignorant and narrow-minded views about sexuality no longer exist. And I am more than happy & willing to be part of this revolution.

Talking sex has empowered me, and I hope that we can inspire others to do the same.


JOIN #ITALKSEX

I am super proud to be part of this powerful and, in my opinion, much needed campaign. And if you wanna join the #ITalkSex movement, you can! Head over to the Scarlet Ladies Website and find out how you can get involved. You can also find more words (and more beautiful photography) from me and the other lovely ladies taking part in the #ITalkSex campaign by clicking HERE.

On Tuesday 12thSeptember 2017, we’re all getting together to celebrate and officially launch the #ITalkSex campaign, and you’re invited to join us – for more info, check out the Scarlet Ladies Events Page.

And if you can’t be there in person, well you can always join the #ITalkSex Twitter Party with Girl On The Net - 12th September 2017 @ 8.30PM - Follow @ScarletLadies on Twitter for updates.

Because, damn it, why shouldn’t we talk sex?!







PS: I’m going to be posting a Behind the Scenes of the #ITalkSex photoshoot soon, featuring more gorgeous photography and everything - watch this space. Spoiler – it was sexy. I am also going to be sharing more about the campaign and why I Talk Sex all over my Instagram and Twitter - find me on there so you don't miss me being "emotionally slutty".

Goodbye 'This is Mental'. Hello to a new me, a new name, a new blog, a new ever'thang!

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I deleted my blog. Gasp!

There was a moment of "OH MY BUDDHA, what have I done?!" But that was soon followed by a sense of...relief. I felt lighter.

I still feel lighter.

My "This is Mental" blog no longer felt like me, you see. 

I've changed so much in the last year, and the woman I am today is definitely not the one that created and kept "This is Mental" going.

Don't get me wrong; I had to hit rock bottom to get here, so thank you past Elly. I am forever grateful to that woman, she introduced me to a stronger me.

 And I feel like I can dream again.

But more importantly, like I can make those dreams come true! And I've decided to do it by being unapologetically me. Thus "Unapologetically Elly" was born - it just feels right.




Here's to new beginnings!

"And here's to the fools who dream.
Crazy as they seem.
Here's to the hearts that break.
Here's to the mess we make"

(Emma Stone - The Fools Who Dream, from the movie La la land)

(MY FIRST EVER) This is Me // 21st August 2017

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I identify as being Pansexual.

I love almond milk. And blueberries.

This year (2017) was the first time I felt like celebrating my birthday since 2011.
My hair is currently short, brown, turquoise and cerise.
I'm in psychotherapy, I have been for over a year now, and will be for a long time.
I'm in recovery.
And I'm finally okay with that.

I really like Nakd bars. Nom nom nom.
I tend to either starve myself and throw up after eating OR I binge eat, however I've been able to stay on a healthy diet for around a month now.
It took me a long time to accept that I have Borderline Personality Disorder.
I may have Bipolar, but I don't want it. So, I'm not claiming it yet.

I love going to the cinema.
The last movie I watched was 'The Big Sick', and it's changed my life. Yes, some movies really do change my life.
I also recently watched '10 Years' and it's now one of my favourites. It's on Netflix, I highly recommend it.
My all-time favourite movie is 'Almost Famous'.

I love finding a bargain.

Confession: I have never had an orgasm through penetration alone.

I don't believe in Soul Mates.

I love to dance, and I dance in quite a sensual way, but I do not enjoy attention from others.

I'm not great at having sex with people I don't love, so I've stopped doing that; I've stopped fucking people I hardly know or don't feel comfortable with. There's nothing wrong with having sex with strangers etc, it's just not my thang.

It's taken me a while to be okay with who I am and how I feel, and I'm finally in a place where I know that my body is mine, and society can fuck off with its pressures.
Because I felt pressured by society to behave in a certain way, I ended up having lots of sex when I really didn't want to. I pretended to enjoy sex when really, I felt used and disgusted. So much so, that I often held in the tears. I don't mean to brag, but I could win an Oscar for my performances.

I am currently reading 'Stardust' and 'Diana: Her true story - in her own words'
Current favourite song: 'Moonlight' by Grace VanderWaal.
Current favourite album: 'Cry Baby' by Melanie Martinez.
Current guilty pleasure(s): Listening to 'I don't want to live forever' by Taylor Swift and Zayn. 

I've Finally Discovered Honesty

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Honesty. What a fucking word. Don’t you think?

It's a principle that is hard to come by, and when we do – do we want it or would we rather live in the “ignorance is bliss” world? More importantly, do we ourselves want to be completely honest? Or would we rather omit parts of ourselves and keep secrets?

On Living a Lie

I used to be a “I want honesty but I keep a lot to myself” kind of girl. Secretive should've been my middle name, so much so that even I became a mystery to my own self. I managed to live a lie and keep the honest truth even from me. Magic, you say? Nope, mental ill health.

I know many people believe that they are simply secretive, but I bet that there is an unhealthy reason for this behaviour. Sorry to burst your bubble. I learned this the hard way and would hate for you to go through it that way too.

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