Thursday, November 14, 2013

You Don't Exist: The Social Media Plague

Do you exist if you don't have a Facebook? A Twitter? A Snapchat address? What if you don't have a phone? Do you exist as a person?

The answer is sadly, becoming more and more a solid: NO.

You don't exist if you don't have a Facebook that connects you with friends and future employers and serves as your login for GooglePlus and Tumblr. You don't exist if you don't have a phone number that you can be quickly and easily reached at. You will be excluded from dating if you don't join Tinder, and from communicating with your friends if you can't respond to their Snapchats.

Maybe I'm being a little dramatic here, but it's the truth. I see more and more people that are constantly glued to their mobile devices, unable to look up and connect with anyone in real life. In many people's worlds, their true connections are only with people through the digital media. If you don't have a profile, an avatar, a page, a number or a name there, where are you?

I have a flip-phone. An old Verizon brand phone that only plays the most basic of games and can't receive video or any special characters. It doesn't do Instagram or email, and definitely doesn't have a 24-hr connection with Facebook. Although I want a new smartphone, I am content to do with my old version until I can comfortably afford one. And what I'm finding out is...I'm starting to not exist in the terms of my peers.

That's scary, to be considered as not existing.

So let's look at this here, each different form of communication is the same as having a voice. Granted, we have several voices now-days, but hear me out. If you cannot speak, do you exist? Logically you do not. If you don't have a Facebook page, you don't exist in the Facebook world. If you don't have a smartphone with Snapchat, you don't exist in Snapchatland.

Inability to communicate + lack of connection to specific social media = nonexistance

Think about that for a moment. You. Don't. Exist. "But wait..." you say, thinking you have found the loophole. "I DO have a Snapchat and Instagram and Twitterfeed and YouTube page. I have the connections therefore I MUST exist." Let me ask again, do you have a Pinterest? A Bebo? A deviantART page? What about Flickr or LinkedIn? Tagged? Xt3? Don't even get me started on all the versions of Facebook that there are., Faceparty (UK exclusive) and FriendFace. (Ok, FriendFace is fictional, but are you starting to catch my drift?) There are several of these sites and many more that I haven't even named where you don't have a page and thus, you don't exist. In fact, you don't exist on several different levels.

You. Don't. Exist.

"I am a real person! I DO exist! I'll prove it!" So you say, but in a world where the only real communication happens via some form of technology, if you don't have that technology you don't exist.

Let me illustrate a few things here. I was out with some friends the other night. I jumped in the car, excited to begin the adventure and started to say hi to people. "Hi! What's up? I've got a story to...." I petered off. Nobody was listening. The entire car, crammed full of people, were collectively glued to their phones. Even the driver (who was still in park mode) was quickly answering a few texts and searching for a new song playlist.

I was completely at a loss. Do I try to interrupt my friends to talk to them? Do I sit and wait for them to finish? Do I pull out my phone and pretend I have important phone stuff to do too? I was in a car full of people, and not one of them was acknowledging my real-life presence. I thought, is this really what our world is becoming? And I felt lonely, for even though I was there with them, I did not exist. I decided for an in-between strategy. After waiting an appropriate amount of time and trying to start a conversation, I pulled out my phone. After fiddling with the settings on my obviously high-tech flip phone, I decided to text the person sitting next to me.
*Texting! I just wanted to hear the sound again :)* Message sent
Semi-success, awkward conversation was achieved for the remainder of the ride. Which made me happy, awkward conversation is better than no conversation! In fact, I specialize in awkward conversation that makes people wonder if I have any social skillz whatsoever. I don't, thanks for asking, but I pretend to.

There have been studies done that say our generation is the most prone to loneliness and depression. I believe it. There is a chemical reason we enjoy socializing with real people, and without getting into details the fact remains that humans are social animals. While social media makes us feel closer and feel like we have more people to interact with, in reality we are just fooling ourselves. An evening at home, lying on your bed and texting people is infinitely less satisfying than an evening spent talking and laughing with real people. You get to see facial expressions, touch them, smell them (even if you don't want to) and above all, form a real connection.

So I don't exist in Snapchat, Tumblr, or Friendface. I am semi-okay with that. I would like to exist in Snapchat and have a GPS as a phone. You probably don't exist in Instagram or Pinterest. That's okay. I would like to be okay with existing in less social media than I do. I would like to say that I don't depend on Facebook to connect me to people, but I do. It's a complicated situation, I want to be more connected than I really am, but at the same time dislike that I have this need. I'm not perfect, and I bet we all fight with this more than we want to say. I would like to be a hardcore advocate of NO CELL PHONES in buildings and stuff, but I'm not. I see their benefits, and I like knowing when I'm going to get a text.

Point of this blog, 
You Don't Exist. 
And you know what? 
That's okay. 
It really is. 

I know you don't believe me, but try to. Social media serves a good purpose, but too much of a good thing can kill you. So your friends are all on Twitter and make fun of you for being a Reddit user instead. That's okay, maybe you could take your evening Reddit time and go to a coffee shop instead. Even if you don't get anything, go hang out. Meet some new people. Go to a place where cellphones are off-limits and see how well you get along with others when they can't reach you for an hour.

It's no mistake that my two best friends in the entire world have the same love-hate relationship with technology that I do and are slightly behind in social media as well. We have things in common because we can talk face-to-face for hours and never get tired of it. I love finding people like that, people that aren't afraid to be unconnected from the interwebs for a few hours. These are always the most real, most interesting people. They haven't lost their ability to communicate beyond 160 characters.

A few last thoughts, have you ever seen someone who is practically addicted to their phone? They can't go more than 2-3 minutes without pulling it out and checking something. They may even go an hour or two, but it's rare. Now, have you seen that same person when their phone battery dies and they can't plug it in? They look lost. Their eyes get a blankness, and they can't seem to focus on any conversation. It's sad, but it's true. Please don't be that person. Try not existing for awhile in social media, and maybe you'll start existing in real life instead.

Feed by M.T. Anderson 

Also, this video here. Just watch it, 2 minutes from your life.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Poem by Walt Whitman

PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you, 

You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,)

I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,

All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,

You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,

I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only,

You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,

I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone,

I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,

I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

~Walt Whitman

I think Walt Whitman is fabulous! Just thought I'd put this up to increase your cultural knowledge :)

To Be or Not To Be....A Princess

Today I was reading about a girls school in Kentucky that decided to tell students "You're not a princess". First off, the title got my attention and made me rather upset because as much as I like to think I'm a strong, self-empowered woman, I still want to be thought of as a beautiful princess who has people that love her and want to be around her just by virtue of her being who she is.

Then I started actually reading the article and discovered that the school's definition of princess and mine were very different.

School's definition
Princess: Girl who needs someone to take care of her and rescue her, who has to depend on some Prince Charming the rest of her life (who may or may not exist)

Here's the actual article:

I was all like, "Whaaaa?" and "Oh no they didn'!!!"

Seriously though, it seems to me that the school was worried that their students were turning into spoiled, greedy girls who weren't about to have any dreams other than getting married and raising lots of kids. They have it as part of an enrollment video, with messages such as, "Don't wait for a prince, be able to rescue yourself."  The principal, in addition to saying that they thought this message would be risky also said : “Our girls are growing up in a society where they’re told by their parents that they’re a princess, and our message is that they’re not a princess, they’re so much more.” (spoiler alert: apparently all the girls loved it and cried when they were told they weren't princesses....)

I would just like to address that for a moment. This seems to me like another attempt to pull down the idea that women and girls can be thought of as beautiful and kick-ass at the same time. The Disney movies cater to a very specific type of thinking, but they have been changing with the times. Look at Merida and Rapunzel. Merida very notably did not need a Prince Charming and turned down all the suitors. Rapunzel worked with Flynn Rider towards an ending that neither could have achieved without the other (he cuts off her hair to break the ties to her fake-mum, she heals him so he doesn't die, win-win). 

All the famous Disney Princess stories do have a princess who eventually (we think) finds a Prince Charming. This is more evident in the classic stories (I'm thinking of Snow White here) but what's wrong with that? Just because the Disney movies end with weddings or a proposal doesn't necessarily mean that their stories end there. Ariel had to rescue her prince several times over, Mulan won a war (and rescued her man), Pocahontas had to say goodbye to John Smith after saving his life, and Belle had to show her Beast the power of love. Come to think of it, why WOULDN'T you want to be thought of as a princess? These girls are gorgeous and empowered, are we attacking them for being able to find love by the end of the movie?

I think the three main culprits that people attack when speaking derogatorily of the Disney Princess stereotype are Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. These are the classic princesses, always featured prominently on all the pink, glittery Disney merchandise you see running around. These are the oldest, most famous Disney stories and for good reason. Let's look at this here. Sleeping Beauty had to go into hiding for 16 years and live away from her parents until she happened upon her prince in the forest. True, she doesn't do much after that besides cry and fall asleep, but what can you do when you've got a witch who is determined to curse you? Okay, strike one for Sleeping Beauty. Snow White runs away from an abusive step-mother, starts becoming self-sufficient until once again, a witch/her stepmom curses her and needs her prince to lift the spell. Oh, she needed a prince, strike two for her. Cinderella works day and night for her cruel stepmother and finally gets brave enough to go to a ball. After being thwarted by her family, she gets a little help and makes her dreams come true. Wait, she got married. Okay, strike three.

I just have to say, a lot of people get married. There's a liberal agenda being pushed for people to NOT get married now, but I have to say that I'm for getting married vs. shacking up. So these girls find a guy and get married? Yeah, not forward-thinking enough, better cross them off. Oh, and curses? We don't believe in magic or difficult circumstances here, better teach our girls that everyone is the same and doesn't need help.

I would just like to say, everyone needs help on occasion. I've needed help with my bills, Cinderella needed help finding a nice dress.

And what I'm asking is, what's wrong with that?

What's wrong with getting a little help to achieve your dreams? What's wrong with having difficult circumstances in life and having other people care about you enough to overcome them? 

I think that's what really bothered me about the school saying, "You're not a princess, rescue yourself" or whatever, because they're implying that princesses by nature are frivolous feminine things that HAVE to be rescued. In reality, they didn't, and they weren't. Both Cinderella and Snow White were servants and cleaning girls from an early age and you can bet they had hard lives. Sleeping Beauty grew up in a forest with 3 rather incompetent fairies (who didn't use magic until her 16th birthday) so you can bet she learned how to work hard and take care of herself. 

Again, what's wrong with being a princess?

I would like to think that Disney's message is that all little girls are special and deserve to think of themselves royally. That's the beauty of it. That's why so many little girls dress as princesses, think of themselves as beautiful, and watch Ariel until their VHS tape snaps. (I had a friend who did that, I wasn't allowed to watch that much TV :) 

Here's what the end of the article says: 
                      “You watch the Hollywood romance movies and you see the happy ending and the guy always comes in and saves everybody and everybody lives happily ever after and that’s not life,”
So what if it isn't? The movies obviously don't end with everyone dead. That's always the true end and so what if we can think that the princesses are happy for the rest of their lives? We know that's not life and that's why we escape into movies. I would also like to point out, there are plenty of movies where the girl comes in and saves everybody. Also, someone who thinks that riding off into the sunset is the end of the Disney movies has obviously never been a little girl and met up with the multiple straight-to-dvd movies that have extended what happens to every princess after they get married. (There's another Snow White, 2 Cinderella ones, 3 Lion Kings, another Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Belle, and don't even get me started on all the Tinkerbell movies that now exist)

My main point is, why is it so wrong as a little girl to think that you're a princess? Worthy of attention and caring, worthy of help when you need it, and empowered enough to make your own choices and to change your life when things aren't going your way. That's what most of the princesses do, they make their own life choices, change their situation, and deal with being madly in love at the same time.

Message to this girls school: Please teach your students that they are royalty. A princess is not to be sneered at, they are a treasure to be revered. Princesses can solve problems and stop wars and overcome impossible circumstances and rule the world, with or without a Prince. I see nothing wrong with that. Maybe you should teach your students that they are princesses. I think you could get away with the exact same message.

Here's a new campaign. "You're a Princess, look at what all these princesses could do with situations more difficult than yours, we'll teach you what to know to be empowered. Now get out there and kick some ass!"

Too long? Not catchy enough?

Sigh, enough said. 

Here's a link to Disney Princesses with beards. If I have one regret about  being born a girl, it's that I can't grow a gorgeous flowing beard as depicted here. Only during November though, the rest of the year I couldn't care less and I appreciate having one less thing I need to shave. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sherlock Holmes Meets Taylor Swift

Being the huge Sherlock nerd that I am, and also knowing all the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song ever, I decided to do a little mash-up just for fun :) If I had computer skillz, this would be a Youtube video, but I don't so blogging skillz will have to suffice. Here's the song: I Knew You Were Trouble, put it on and enjoy!

Once upon a Time...

A few mistakes ago...

I was in your sights...

You got me alone.
You found me...

You found me....

You found me-e-e-e-e-e-eee!

I guess you didn't care,

And I guess I liked that.

And when I fell hard,
You took a step back...
Without me,
Without me...

Without me- e- e- e- e- eee!

And he's long gone...

When he's next to me,

And I realize....
The blame is on me.

Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in.

So shame on me now-ow,

Flew me to places I'd never been...
Till you put me down, oh!
I knew you were trouble when you walked in...

So shame on me now-ow
Flew me to places I've never been...

Now I'm lying on the cold, hard, ground...





Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Art of Mismatched Socks

I am an avid sock mismatch-er. A sock connoisseur if you will. I regularly purchase packs of brightly colored socks and mismatch them on purpose to create a fashion statement of sorts. It's a bit more subtle than wearing red shoes, and despite what you may think it does take a little effort. Perhaps even more effort than actually matching socks.
Mismatching like a Boss
You see, wearing mismatched socks requires finesse and following of certain rules. Occasionally I run into people who see my brightly colored, unmatched feet and exclaim; "You don't match your socks? Me neither!" They then point to their own feet, clad in two different white Hanes brand socks, proving to me that as well as not knowing how to properly mismatch socks, they also have a tenuous grasp of the English language.

This person deserves a trophy for the skulls and the proper mismatch

So as there seems to be confusion on how to mismatch socks, let me spell it out for you.

1. It is not, and never will be, 'cool' to mismatch your regular or 'dress' socks.


You see, this is laziness. This is what gives true sock mismatchers a bad name. If the sock is meant to be matched, for heaven's sake please match it! This is as bad as wearing black and navy blue together, purple pants and an orange belt, or any kind of non-toe socks with flip-flops.

Never, EVER, try to mix and match these type of socks

It just doesn't work. So, for the sake of the fashion world and to prevent your date from thinking you're an idiot, match the socks that are meant to be matched!!!!!

2. Any socks that you wear should always be of the same style.

Um, no.

Definitely no!
Never attempt to mismatch between styles, this is the ultimate in laziness. If this is a difficulty for you, simply start purchasing only one style of socks (i.e. only ankle socks) and with time the issue will take care of itself. Or you could just organize your sock drawer by style. A little effort goes a long way.

Points for creativity, but NO.
Some people do look at my feet and exclaim, "Your socks don't match!? Isn't that uncomfortable? My feet could never stand it!" Thing is, neither could my feet. I prefer them to feel the same. Wear the same style of socks and work on your observational skillz. This isn't something only Sherlock would notice, it's something anyone with eyes can see.

3. Try to match colors or patterns. 

Yes! Stripes and polka dots of the same color on a matching background. Yes!

If there is some similarity between the socks, this speaks to a conscious choice. It looks better on your feet, and those people with understanding see your feet and think, They didn't match their socks! That looks pretty neat actually....

Mismatching with class

Stores have caught on to this fad and in an effort to help with proper sock mismatching, now sell socks that purposefully mismatch. These are usually simple mismatches that are of alternating colors in the same patterns, but they know how to do it. If you're confused, just go to a store, purchase a pack of non-matching socks, and ONLY wear the socks together that come from the pack. It'll be okay and you'll look like a mismatch newb but you'll be getting there.

4. Try choosing socks of the same style, in solid colors that complement each other

Any of these can be combined with the other, it works!
This is called Color Blocking. Abercrombie & Fitch does it all the time. As much as I don't like them for their fat people policy, you have to agree that their color methods are quite fantastic. The neon matches are my favorite. I've had three boyfriends that have been colorblind, one of whom was quite adverse to any type of sock mismatches due to his obsessive-compulsive qualities. So, as neon colors were hard for him to focus on and tell exact colors, I would wear my brightest neon socks in different colors. To him they matched, and for me, it was a small rebellion. (And yes, that did factor in to why we are no longer together, the obsessiveness I mean.)

5. Have fun with it!

Bright and yet subtle. Brilliant!
Make your socks a focal point of your outfit. Make sure people notice them! After all, you've taken the time to ensure that you are correctly mismatching them. Show people your feet fashion and be bold!


Monday, November 4, 2013

That Don't Impress Me Much

So I was out with some friends the other day, and I encountered a social situation that I've never really encountered before. One of the people at this outing is someone that I had previously agreed to go on a date with in the future. On this outing he decided to announce to the group that he and I were going on a date and that he was going to do all these awesome things for me. Borrow an expensive car, roses, yadda yadda. It was uncalled for and I was embarrased. Embarrassed to have my dating life brought up in a group setting, and even more embarrassed at the ego-stroking that went on from the people around him. 

"Wow, that's so awesome, I'd be so impressed." 
"Girl, you better reciprocate because he's going to a lot of trouble."
"This guy must be Batman, he's awesome."

I mean seriously? I could put this in more 'indelicate' terms, but I think that this gets the point across. He started talking about the future date in front of a bunch of people as a way to 'lay claim' and to have his manliness affirmed by a bunch of younger people who obviously couldn't afford things like this. 

It was embarrassing for me, but in a way I'm glad it came up. At least I got a good glimpse at what kind of a person he is. I think what bothered me the most is that everyone thought I should be impressed by this show. Fancy car? Money spent? Whatever. I think it's fine to go to trouble for a date, but to need to have your actions affirmed by everyone else? Talking about it as if I was already taken? Without my permission? No tact and definitely not cool. I hated being put in that situation. 

I've got an idea of what I'm going to do about this, but I'm going to keep that to myself for now. One thing that ran through my head clear and strong though, in the midst of my potential future date patting himself on the back was the lyrics to this Shania Twain song, the best of which lyrics I have included below. 

"That Don't Impress Me Much"

I've known a few guys who thought they were pretty smart
But you've got being right down to an art
You think you're a genius-you drive me up the wall
You're a regular original, a know-it-all
Oh-oo-oh, you think you're special
Oh-oo-oh, you think you're something else

Okay, so you're a rocket scientist
That don't impress me much
So you got the brain but have you got the touch
Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night
That don't impress me much

You're one of those guys who likes to shine his machine
You make me take off my shoes before you let me get in
I can't believe you kiss your car good night
C'mon baby tell me-you must be jokin', right!

Oh-oo-oh, you think you're special
Oh-oo-oh, you think you're something else

Okay, so you've got a car
That don't impress me much
So you got the moves but have you got the touch
Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night

That don't impress me much
You think you're cool but have you got the touch
Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
But that won't keep me warm on the long, cold, lonely night
That don't impress me much

Okay, so what do you think you're Elvis or something...
That don't impress me much!

Alright! Alright!

You're Tarzan!
Captain Kirk maybe.
John Wayne.
That don't impress me much!

So, note for those reading it. Things don't impress me (much). You got a car, money, connections... whatever. Do you have personality? Tact? Grace? Social skills? Humble? Maturity? Sweetness? Because money can't replace any of these things. And the girls, the really good ones, won't give a flying fig about the car you drive. They'll more care if you make them feel safe, loved, beautiful, and needed. I have yet to meet the guy that can make me feel safe in social situations, usually I sit there and cringe at the things that fly out of their mouths and hope no one holds it against me. 

So you're Benedict Cumberbatch?
That don't impress me much. 
(Well, actually it would, because that would be freaking sweet to meet him, although we probably wouldn't really hit it off, on account of him being almost 20 years older than me and stuff... Maybe that actually explains what I mean about it better than anything.)