You’re never too old for Kandy

self portraits and article by Emily Louuise here

Kandy is a girl who is affected by her alter ego, something that most young girls have,  sometimes being a girl means crying about “boys” and not knowing if you can call them men whilst clinging onto your mum in hope that you can create a “Freaky Friday” moment but in which you both can turn back into being a young and oblivious girl. Peer Pressure and social issues are a huge part of the growing female life, I read that someone said they learnt in prison that you can not always be yourself, which is true. In most cases were pressured into not being ourselves by work, school and friends not just by the stereotypical strange man who claims that drugs are sweets. 

I spent a year at University writing down ideas I never used, leaving my camera in my room and not feeling like I could be creative I then spent a year in a job where I forgot my camera even existed. Since being off for 8 months with depression and anxiety I’ve had more chances to battle my anxiety and I’ve realised that not only is my creativity is valued, it’s useful. 

For me Kandy is using the best of having an alter ego, it’s not about not knowing the real you but about which “you” your allowed to be in the social setting. For me this is the same as the difference between appearance and beauty, society wants us to appear beautiful, but doesn’t allow us to find true beauty because we can always be ourselves.  For me finding this true beauty was about saying no, and saying no in today’s society means you’re different, saying no to not getting out of bed if I don’t want to, saying no to not always trying to be perfect, even if that means you looking like an idiot to everyone else. Being yourself isn’t always about doing the right thing, I've often found beauty in the moments where things have gone wrong, I believe that dreams come from places where dreams have collapsed and broken and it's up to you to restore them. It's about saying that you can be both that sweet innocent girl and the one who smokes on nights out and turns up late to everything, but without feeling guilty. 

Young people get told who they should be many times creating this constant ebb and flow of pointless who you should be, and who you really are, which is why I think a lot of teenagers are coming out of school into adulthood feeling lost. The problem is society has told us to please society, and not ourselves, and we wonder why depression is one the most common illness and no one talks about it. If we could always be ourselves so easily, then most people wouldn’t be working in a job they hate or laughing at jokes that they don’t find funny. 

I have found that most people who suffer from anxiety or depression don’t value that they know the difference between what’s right and wrong and even when do the right thing they feel wrong about it. Where you feel guilty for signing off work, or not going to school because you’re ill but how is it that helping yourself is a problem? For me doing the wrong thing isn’t so much about bunking off school, if you have a valid reason, or staying out too late, wrong means being untruthful to yourself and unfair to the people around you. 

It’s even more frustrating that being late can be seen as you're not ready now, so you never will be which makes you feel inferior to everyone else society is demeaning of real concepts that make you feel like your dreams can be achieved. I see this when I pass by my old school where at the gates men in charge ridicule how girls dress and get told off for being late. It fills me with sadness because they don’t value what it can take to get to that gate, where you pulled all your strength together to go to a place where you have to experience growing up with ideas that you don’t believe in.  Maybe we’ve started to pre-empt something always going wrong because often our ideas are wrong and get rejected by the people in charge, and has lead me to question why am I not even in charge of myself anymore? The truth is, it’s best not to wait for things to change, I’ve realised that not much changes quick enough and sometimes you may be the person that people are waiting for to change things as cliché as that is and often being that person is really hard because you have to get through all the people that tell you you’re wrong.  

For me, these photographs are about doing something that you’ve never done before and not caring if it’s important or not. You don’t know what it’s like to wear a pink wig until you do it, you don’t know what it’s like to be someone else until you’ve tried but most importantly you don’t know what it’s like to be you, until you let go of what everyone else wants you to be.