Coming of Age

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Why hello there, remember me? It’s ya gal pal Style Shrimp. Yes, I’m sorry. I’ve been M.I.A for the last two months but I promise you, I needed some space from myself. Thats right, myself. The sound of my own damn voice. I don’t know if you know, but if you don’t then you’re about to know, ya know? (See what I mean about my own voice, you’d get sick of it too.) 

So Style Shrimp, thats me, wasn’t just for fun. Sure it was great and brought me some bloody fantastic rewards within the adventure but I want you to know what I did, how I did it and what it means to not only me but others. 

If you’re a shrimp follower you’ll get the gist of what I do. I talk about body image, smooching the wrong boys, anxious insecurities, losing friends and looking fabulous while you stroll through the mess of a journey you have to make. Keyword here, journey. Key phrase, you have to do it. 

But wait, you thought you were just looking at my clothes? Ahh the human fishing line bends to the bait. You came to look at my clothes but c’mon, you read my stories. And that was the point. 

I’m no writer, as I've stated before, but apparently as a baby I blathered on about mumbo jumbo and I guess some things just don’t change. So here I am: blogging.

As a year long university project I wanted to analyse why people dress they way they do in order to turn the “I cannot!” into the “I totally can!” Too many times I get stopped on the street by people who say they wish they could dress like me, my question is why not? 7,000 words of research later I had a conclusion. If an adult feels insecure about their sense of dress they’re less likely to experiment with something new later on, meaning the root of the problem comes down the teenager, where all crucial and detrimental experiences shape our adult wellbeing.

This made me think about my own childhood, what stood out as impactful moments and how I could use my genuine path to help shape others. And thats exactly what I did. 

Style Shrimp was a way for me to use an online platform to test the boundaries of influential status and it’s nemesis: the role model (dun dun dunnnnn). Let me break it down. Influencers are, like, totally cool and all and, like, we all wish we could be as pretty as them, and eat what they do and wear their shoes. Literally their shoes. I will buy your shoes!!! 

Role Models on the other hand are influential in an inspirational way, learning from their journeys, looking up to their values and feeling motivated to express good habits whether it be buying second hand clothing, exercising more, taking on small feminist approaches to life or expressing more feeling and emotion. 

So now I''m that girl that takes selfies like clock work and uses hash tags (arrrghhhhh!!). But that wasn't just it. I wrote a book. Sounds good doesn't it? I still get that satisfying ring a ding ding in my head when I think about it. Coming of Age: A Girls Guide to Growing Up was about taking the online to the offline and giving young teens from the age of 15 an authentic, genuine approach to the upcoming journey they're about to face. 

It was important to recognise that we can't know what lies ahead on every path we choose. Whether it be good experiences, or bad experiences, they are lived experiences that give us knowledge for our future challenges. My book is all about embracing the unknown, because if you take all the short cuts - you miss out on the best views. 

The book follows a path, from finding your own identity and what you mean to yourself to the quirky queries of self development. Should I shave? Wax? Or allow myself to bathe in the jungle of my own womanhood? We move to friendship, first kisses, getting touched for the very first time (ohh still to be published!) and having too much fun with the wrong crowd. Articles are wedged between stories of other empowering women, DIY tips and tricks and cute, playful illustrations and activities. You could say Coming of Age is my first born child. Months of carrying a heavy and stressful load to a final stint of labour. When you look down at the final product it's true what your mother says, you're just so beautiful.

I want you to know that despite being a project there was nothing un-genuine about the stories and motives I had. I feel so blessed for the messages I get on Instagram, the emails from young girls and the people I have a met on this journey that is far from over. It's so motivating and inspiring to hear abut the small walks of life you have helped improve. Whatever age you are, just remember that it's okay to not be okay.

And what's next for me? I've decided to keep blogging. I needed a break, and I've had it. And already I have so many stories to tell and outfits to photograph. So let's hang out, have a cuppa and read some more. Maybe in this New Year we can challenge ourselves to be a little bit more colourful through ever walk of life. Let's bring on new stories, new adventures and way better outfits. 

Hannah Jensen