Dress - H&M Trend
Earrings - Chanel
Shoes - Office
Bag - Mulberry
This dress. This dress. You know sometimes when you see something across a shop floor and then suddenly nothing else exists? It's just you and the dress, the edges of your vision have gone blurry - nothing anyone around you can be heard and any obstacles in your way to the dress have disappeared. There are no other clothes in the store. You and the dress lock eyes, much like young lovers across a dance floor. It's like you're Leonardo Di Caprio and the dress is Claire Danes and you go over to it with a small smile playing round your lips - you're going to pretend to woo it in the changing room but you both know you're going home together anyway.
Well, that's what happened with this dress.
I'm the first to admit I buy far too much of everything and definitely far too many dresses, but this one's totally justified. Mainly because I bought it on Sunday and wore it on Monday. I can always tell when it's true love with an item of clothing or a new accessory because I'll wear it straight away, and nothing shall stand in my way. Not weather, not practicalities, not anything.
I felt a little strange as I pulled these shoes on my feet for the first time in ages, I bought them in what was either 5th or 6th year of high school and they've stuck around. I've worn them loads and I can see me wearing them loads more. The strangeness came from the fact Peaches Geldof had these shoes. Not these exact ones, obviously. But the same style. Except she had the black ones. That's not why I bought them, if it was I'd have clearly bought the black ones to copy her exactly. I wanted them and then when I saw her wearing them in a magazine it cemented my want. It sort of justified my purchase, in a way.
It's strange because when she died I wasn't particularly sad. Don't read into it - it was tragic that someone so young with such young children passed away and I certainly wasn't happy about it, I just mean I wasn't crying my eyes out and feeling like I lost a friend. I hadn't really been an active follower of hers since the Elle Girl days, when she wrote her column. And actually, when she wrote that column she introduced me to Russell and Bromley shoes. A brand which I still love today and who I bought my first pair from because of her. Of course, now I'm in the PR and marketing filled world of blogging and press samples I don't know if she genuinely just wrote about them having paid for some shoes herself or if she was sent some shoes and then wrote about them, but I didn't question it - I just decided to go investigate the brand she was telling me she liked.
So overall, Peaches Geldof has had an impact on my life - in the form of justifying one pair of shoes and inspiring the love of a brand I'd ignored previously because it was one my grandmother shopped at and therefore one I presumed wasn't cool.
It just got me thinking, because I wasn't a follower of hers yet I can probably trace a reasonably percentage of my shoe spending to her. How many people do we impact on? Like in life. It's probably something strange to think about yet it's something I think about quite a lot. Probably because if I was really pushed I'd have to pick It's A Wonderful Life as my favourite film and I loved The Five People You Meet In Heaven. It's easy to think of how you impact the life of those close to you - your parents, your partner, your pets. Okay, so maybe pets don't count as people. (Though I do often shout at my cat as she asks for her seventh treat of the day that she's very spoiled and what if we hadn't taken her home from the rescue shelter and what would she do if someone who wasn't an generous with the treats had taken her? She never seems to get my point that she should stop being greedy though. Especially when I get emotional and think of all the other cats we didn't take and I sit down and wonder for the next few hours where all those other little kittens ended up. Anyway...) But the people you meet briefly then go on in life not remembering, or perhaps people you reach through the internet.
We lead such an online life just now and it's not something that seems to be coming to a halt. More and more goes online every day. We're losing jobs to machines, letters to emails, informed opinions to wikipedia pages and conversation to tweets of 140 characters or less. And despite the fact that online is not an addition to life so much as a replacement for an ever increasing amount, so many people seem to be under the impression that online you can be whoever you want. That online you're not a real person. That what you say or do doesn't matter.
In a way it's very true - you can spend your day logged on running a twitter account pretending to be Angelina Jolie's leg for goodness sake and no one questions it. You can set up a fake profile and lie about many things - let's be honest, there's plenty of bloggers who bend the rules of blogs showing 'the best snapshots of your life' and instead lead pretty fictional lives on their slices of the internet. And you can log off at the end of the day and go back to being whoever you actually are. But what you can't take back is the amount of people who have, in some way, connected with you while you're leading your double life.
Say you're running a twitter account pretending to be The Essex Lion, Angelina Jolie's Leg or Michelle Obama's Bicep - you're still being followed. People are reading you. You might make someone laugh when they've got nothing else to laugh about that day. You might provide someone with a moment of empathy if you tweet exactly what they're thinking. Or you might upset someone.
No one likes to think about it, but every throw away comment you make can upset someone.
I'm not pretending to be perfect, I'm sure I've upset plenty of people in my life. But sometimes it does to take a moment and reflect that whilst your sending words out onto the internet, whether it's on a blog, through twitter or on some forum - whether it's Guru Gossiper or The Leaky Cauldron - that your words are an impact.
Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me - I call bullshit.
Not to give you all the sob story but when I moved to Scotland and started school here everyone thought I spoke 'funny'. I spent hours practising a Scottish accent and cried every night because I didn't fit in. The fact I spoke with a different accent wasn't my fault and to be honest I'm not sure if anyone was trying to upset me by saying I spoke funny, but it did. I'm still ridiculously concerned with my voice and got really upset because someone left a rude comment on one of my youtube videos asking if they could have subtitles in future. I'd spent so long trying to get rid of my pretty clear English accent to fit in and then people wanted subtitles for it? I study drama too and my voice is always the thing I get comments on. And the thing is, the more people comment on it the worse it gets because I just get more and more wrapped up in thinking about how I sound.
Now, does anyone commenting know that I'm a bit paranoid about my voice? That I've gone home after days at uni where it's been brought up and burst into tears even though I'm 22 and should have developed a thicker skin by now? That it's all linked to the fact my voice made me the outsider when I moved to Scotland? No.
But the thing is, they're not thinking past what they're saying.
My experience of the human race thus far is that about 50% of people have too much consideration of others and spend their whole lives rolling over trying to keep everyone happy and the other 50% have no consideration and walk all over everyone else, without even thinking about who they're treading on because they're so focussed on themselves.
And online it becomes even worse. Because no one seems to be accountable for much and things that in person might have been a throwaway comment get expanded on. People think they can say whatever they want with no regard for how it makes someone feel.
And it's not necessarily just the person you're saying it to, it's everyone reading it. If you tweet '@' one person but you have five hundred twitter followers - your tweet is going to be read my more than just one person. Even more if the person you @ retweets you to their five thousand followers. And who's to say that, even if you're making an 'in joke' with a friend that someone reading it won't understand it's a joke and thinks it's serious and it's the nail in the coffin for them and they go commit suicide.
Okay, I did say I studied drama. I know the majority of you reading this (if any of you have got this far into this rambling post) probably aren't going to be making fun of anything that could drive someone over the edge. And yes if a single tweet does cause someone to do the deed, there's probably been several things leading up to it rather just that tweet.
It's just some food for thought.
The people you affect aren't necessarily limited to the people you'd think. I've had my day made by someone who's served me in a shop and just been a really lovely person, I practically burst into tears when I saw someone buy a coffee from a coffee shop then go give it to the homeless person across the road, I've watched a woman wander round a whole store with a massive smile on her face because someone on the way in complimented her shoes (okay, the woman was my Grandmother. But the girl who complimented the shoes was a stranger so it still counts. And those shoes were Russell and Bromley, weirdly enough.) Does the girl in the shop remember me? Did the women whose good deed warmed my heart for the rest of the day even know I saw her? Does the girl who liked my grandmother's shoes even remember that she liked them?
Maybe not, but those things are all throwaway things that brightened someone's day.
So throw some good karma out there, think about what you're saying and doing and have the knowledge that someone somewhere has been affected by your actions or words for today; so make them as good as you possibly can. You never know whose life you're affecting.