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  • Shanley McConnell

The Seven Stages of Acceptance, Guest Post: The Seven Stages of Acceptance, with Maddie Bayley

Updated: Jul 19

Maddie is sweet spontaneity; she is the "coffee-today?" kind-of-friend, always a message away, willing to reschedule plans in order to just sit beside the ones who need someone near-------there to listen, to love, to talk. She is such a thoughtful soul, and this is very evident in the way she approaches certain topics, especially those in relation to social media and the "technology face." As a fellow graduating student, her vulnerability and humour both inspires and comforts me. I am thrilled to welcome her to the blog this morning. To read more, check out her blog here: https://www.vitriolicbumblr.com/?m=1.


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It begins with Envy, as all bad things do. A hectic, Instagram-centric whirlwind of I want: I want her hair, her legs, her smile. I want her tattoos, her brows, her style. And so it begins: the seemingly endless cycle of never being satisfied.


It sucks me in, and yet I love it. It's only Lust, but then those words come out of my mouth: I must. I must be like them. The ones who know what it's like to be loved for how they look, the ones who live lavishly and pose in pools and never dress down. The ones who never seem to frown or feel depressed. Maybe life's just better when you're pretty and well-dressed.


Brand endorsements, constant reinforcements. These are the things you need. And along comes Greed, a creature with no regard for credit cards or saving money for rent. Next thing I know, my basket is full and my account is empty, but as I admire my new hair, new nails and new face courtesy of Nyx, Maybelline and Fenty, I couldn't care less because for once, I look good, and isn't that what really matters?


I drown in products, in my own Gluttony. Every buttery-soft eyeshadow, every textured spray to make my hair look messy... they're all necessary. I dare them all to impress me, and they join my collection, one after another, until I barely recognise my own reflection. A girl caked in too-pale foundation with a fake jawline and cartoon brows.


How could I get this so wrong? And that's when Wrath comes along. I don't look like her, and I never will. My eyeliner's not straight, I hate how I look in shorts, and of course, my hair could never be that long, or my stomach that taut. And that new lipstick I bought? Wrong shade. My mascara smudges, and it looks like I've been crying. Maybe I have. I've tried it all, and I want to stop trying.


And so I do stop. Sloth sets in, and I slouch on sofas and become a sloppy mess in sweatpants. Scrubbed clean, my skin is laid bare, and I see myself as I truly am. Red cheeks, stretch marks, a far cry from the world of Instagram. In these moments, I'm messy, imperfect, and yet, I have a sense of clarity. I have fallen into the old trap of comparison.


We forget ourselves, we neglect ourselves, we misuse and mistrust and disrespect ourselves in our race to become somebody else. We only want what we cannot have, and what we have, we do not want. But this is simply an invitation to reinvent, reform, reshape expectation. Take a first step in trepidation, because being yourself takes time. Learn that it's fine to not want to be somebody else. The way you style yourself is not wrong because beauty has no rules. You only have yourself in this world, both in body and mind, and life looks just a little bit better when you carry yourself with Pride.


Maddie Bayley





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