Archive | September, 2015

The Facebook Conundrum

25 Sep

Finding someone who doesn’t have a Facebook account is rare. What isn’t rare is finding loads of rules and reminders about how to properly use Facebook.

Some of the most common things you shouldn’t post:

  • Vague “woe is me” statuses.
  • Obscure lyrics that no one will understand.
  • Humblebrags.
  • Not humblebrags (read: selfies)

There is also this new study of sorts floating around in the cyberwebs that says that we only post the happy moments and the great pictures, and we shouldn’t be jealous of other people based on Facebook. This study advises just remember that we only show our best selves on social media, so our happiness should not be trusted.

So basically, what all these rules tell me is that I can’t post…anything. Posting too many happy moments causes the picture of who I am to be inaccurate, but no one wants to see vague statuses, obscure lyrics, selfies, or humblebrags.

Fortunately, I live by my own rules most of the time, and I do all of those things. My pictures make my life look super awesome and fun (I mean, who wants to see someone crying over a tub of ice cream with a cat in their lap?), but I balance that with a healthy dose of those other taboo posts. The reason? Well, its simple. Sometimes there is absolutely no one that I can tell about how shitty my day is, or how awful traffic is, or how much I hate it all. Facebook stands there in wonderful solidarity, letting me put my woe out there so that I don’t have to have it tumble around in my brain. For often the same reason, I post lyrics. Generally only a couple of lines to a song, but music means the world to me. The lyrics I post have value to me, and either they reflect how I currently feel about life, or I think every person I know should appreciate them.

The humblebrag is something I don’t do very often, but if for once I feel pretty, or someone pays me a genuine compliment, I’m going to post about it because I need to get it out there. It’s life, and I genuinely feel like sharing that with you if you are a Facebook friend. The selfies…those, too. When I feel pretty, I’m completely okay telling you I feel pretty. There is no reason to be ashamed of that (there is such a thing as excess, though).

How do you feel about these type of Facebook posts? Which are you guilty of? How do you traverse social media to find a nice balance?

 

23 Sep

“Got a feeling that I’m going under
But I know that I’ll make it out alive…”

-Shawn Mendes, Stitches

A Letter

23 Sep

They say that when you want to say something to someone, but either can’t or shouldn’t, that you should write a letter. Well, I’m going to do just that.

 

Dear Too-Insecure-to-Keep-My-Nose-Out-of-Other-People’s-Business,

I wish I could say that at any point in your relationship that you had been faithful. Unfortunately, I think we all knew from the start that you weren’t interested in that. You weren’t happy, and it had nothing to do with your significant other. It has all to do with you, because you know what? You’re still lonely.

So what do you decide to do? You decided to sabotage my relationship, and then your relationship, and wear down this person you were so intently interested in to the point that there was basically no other choice than to be with you.

Newsflash: Obsession and jealousy aren’t how you start a relationship.

But, according to you, you are some sort of “expert” on relationships so I guess you knew that. That was your whole reason for paying so close attention to my business, after all.

I am very happy, however, to know that you still find my presence threatening. I’m flattered, actually. I must be fucking amazing. And don’t tell me you don’t feel that way, because you’re hundreds of miles away, and you still feel that its your place to push and push and push this person you are so intently interested in to not even be friends with me.

Well, guess what? I needed the ego boost. The great thing is that unlike you, I’ve always had this person’s best interest in mind. Oh wait…I guess that is only great for me, because that interest doesn’t include you.

 

Sincerely,

FeelingFlattered

Parents Kissing Kids, Too Sexual?

20 Sep

I found an article on my Facebook feed warning parents not to kiss their children on the lips because the child may perceive that as sexual or romantic in nature because Mommy and Daddy do it.

To that, I have to ask…why the hell do we have to over-sexualize everything?

Children do not have this perception of sexuality that adults do. When a child masturbates, it is simply because it feels good – the same type of good like the sun hitting your face or your feet on the grass. When a child sees Mommy and Daddy kissing, they don’t have this philosophical inner dialogue about the emotional and physical constitution of the kiss. They see two people loving each other. So when Mommy kisses her son or daughter on the mouth, she knows that Mommy loves her, and Mommy knows that she loves her back.

As fate would have it, I also have personal experience to support this.

When I was about 5, I got “in trouble” with my teacher because I kissed a little boy in my class. My parents are both amazing people, so they completely dismissed the teacher’s concern. Why? Simply because I was showing affection toward him, just like I did my parents.

I can also speak from experience that as you discover your sexuality, you do become aware that you are kissing your parents on their lips, and you naturally gravitate toward a newer, more “acceptable” place – the cheek. The lips then become reserved for lovers. (I will hold that in moments of sweet innocence, we sometimes will revert back to that youthful kiss on the lips.)

I question this psychologists relationship with her parents, too. I have a relationship that if I go home, at the age of 25, and find one or both of my parents laying down watching TV in their bed, I will still crawl into bed with them and snuggle. I’d even say that I’m a very needy 25-year-old child, as I’m constantly asking my parents for hugs. I wouldn’t be surprised if she thinks this behavior odd, too.

Do you think we over-sexualize things? Is it acceptable to kiss parents on the lips? Is it confusing? 

When is it Your Place to Interfere?

20 Sep

There are a few things weighing on my mind at the moment (not that that is unusual). One of those things is the appropriate relationship status between two people in relation to when it is okay to intervene or express your opinion about something they are doing or saying.

I have a feeling that half of my readers just went never.

While yes, I understand your reasoning for thinking that…let’s be honest. There isn’t a single person on this planet who hasn’t given unsolicited advice to a friend. This brings me to my question…when is it even remotely okay to do that?

I have friends who feel that at no point is it okay to put your two cents in about a relationship unless cheating has been witnessed or there is the possibility of abuse. I have other friends who will give their opinion on your entire relationship at the drop of a hat. My philosophy tends to swing toward the former, and that is mostly because I really hate for people to give me their opinions on things they aren’t involved in.

There is also something to say about how close you are with a person to what you can tell them. The difference between an acquaintance and your best friend is monumental. The same can be said for a friend versus a significant other. I will put up with a lot more from a friend than I will a significant other.

So, taking that into consideration, when is it appropriate to say I think your girlfriend wants to fuck that guy or I wish you’d ditch the cigarettes. Do I really know that your girlfriend feels that way? No. Could it royally screw things up? Yes. Could it save some heartache later? Yes. Do I expect you to quit smoking cold turkey just because I don’t like it? No. Do I care about you and want you to be a living member of my life? Yes.

I guess it is also a little more complicated than just saying how you feel. It is also the prevalence of how often you express concern, and in what capacity.

When do you think you know someone well enough to express concern to them about their life? Is it okay to express concern, as long as you don’t intervene? When is it INAPPROPRIATE?

2 Years, and a Night I’ll Never Forget

18 Sep

Just over 2 years ago, I spent an evening with 3 people. It was a night that changed my life, and while it was a tragic situation, it was also a night that brought the 4 of us together. Even if things have now exploded, crashed, and burned, likely because this event set everything in motion, leading us to where we are now…I have fond memories of each of us that evening.

I remember Jessica so kindly telling me that it was time to call the police, and walking me through it because I couldn’t even think of how to find the non-emergency number, and then telling me that her and Andy would of course stay with me until the cops arrived (yes, I actually asked).

I remember being outside, and Andy holding me when the officer announced that yes, my roommate was, in fact, dead.

I remember Tim suggesting Taco Bell at 1 in the morning because I was starving, and me trying my hardest not to toss my cookies at the thought of Taco Bell, then him grabbing my arm and turning me away when the carted out the body.

Before, we made light of it. Andy bought me a dead guy ale, and everyone thought I was crazy because these things don’t happen.

After, I remember so vividly sitting cross-legged on Tim’s couch being so hungry, and declining any offering of food he could throw at me, until he got to pancakes. And then, at 4 am, he went to the store to get milk to make this girl some pancakes.

And then the 4 of us sat there and ate pancakes, trying to absorb and digest what just happened.

It was a night that actually showed me that my friends did care about me. Moments like that are few and far between, and regardless of the tragedy that caused it, I look back fondly on how supportive they were.

Do you have a moment in which you and others were brought together, and you felt so deeply cared for?

Hi. My Name is Michelle. I’m Normal.

14 Sep

Hi. My name is Michelle. I’m normal.

And that is absolutely wonderful.

I had a moment today at work at which point I felt at home with this fact. I can’t say how many times I’m either fighting for others to respect me as a professional as well as a human being, or feeling like the expectation is there that I am some God among men who must know everything there is to know.

Neither side is accurate, and I think more people need to understand that about themselves.

I once told a friend never let someone make you question your worth. I think it goes without saying that I am a professional, and I do know what I’m talking about. If I don’t, I will not hesitate to ask questions. I am fully capable of acknowledging my shortcomings. Too many people, myself included, get caught in this place where you don’t feel respected, and instead of acknowledging that is the other persons problem, we internalize that and make it our own.

On the flip side, professionals also get caught up in this power trip that simply because you have an area of specialty, you know everything there is to know. You become that person that doesn’t respect anyone without your specialty. I’m guilty of this, too, but I try to keep it in check as much as possible. I like to do this by empowering those people around me to know the same things I know, and gain the knowledge I can provide. After all, there is no meaning to life without the ability to exchange, teach, and acquire knowledge.  I might liken this to the use of the Oxford comma. If I was to review a paper someone wrote, I would very much like to go through and make sure that every list had the Oxford comma. If I asked a senior staff member to do the same paper, he would undoubtedly want to go through and make sure that every Oxford comma was removed. I would never tell the writer of this paper that the Oxford comma was the right way and leave it at that. I would make sure that I told them the Oxford comma is correct, but the lack of one is also correct, and while my preference is the former, they have the ability to choose which they use.

So here I am. Normal. I have a lot to learn, but I also know a fair amount. I have no reason to expect that I am better or worse than anyone else. Respect me, and I’ll respect you. Show me, teach me, help me. And I’ll return the favor.

I’m quite happy with that.

What makes you normal?

Why the Single Life isn’t for Me

12 Sep

This post is in response to @buddy71, who on my previous post The Road to Peace, was interested in why having a significant other is so important to me.

It is a common question, especially from folks who either “love being single” or are currently in a relationship and “miss being single”. My disclaimer is as follows: I am a strong, independent, whole human being. I know who I am and I know what I want in life. I know where I’m going and where I’ve been. A significant other, while nice, does not define who I am, just as my choice in music does not define who I am.

The reason having a significant other is so important to me is actually quite simple. If you take all of the things I am and all of the things I do, you’ll find that some people bring out certain things more than others. I’ll use my love of video games and my love of being outside as an example. When I have strong relationships in my life, one of those may lie “dormant”. This means that if my best friend (or lover, or close sibling, etc) loves video games, I’m going to spend much more time playing video games than if my best friend (etc.) loves going hiking (in which case, video games are more likely to lay dormant because I’m spending so much time outside). Neither is more “right” or “better”, I am just able to express different parts of myself at different times.

This is why I like having a significant other. While my love for video games is great, as is my love for being outside, my desire to have someone to care for and love is a much more integral part of who I am. It is a part of myself that is very difficult to express without having a nice fellow in my life.

And it is a part of myself that I very much like to express, akin to my love of animals, and my quest for knowledge.

So yes, I am whole. That part of me is inside, and while unable to be fully expressed, I find myself caring very deeply for friends and very passionate about the things that I do. I just would like the ability to fully express it.

What are some pieces of yourself that are integral to your being? Do you ever find yourself in a similar situation to mine?

The Road to Peace

10 Sep

To say that I’ve been struggling lately is quite the understatement, as the universe seems to have handed me the perfect storm. Feeling the need to find a new job is one thing, as is feeling the need to move. But the overwhelming urgency to find a new job, a new car, a new place to live in a new town, a boyfriend, and wanting to get rid of your pets without the support of friends, said boyfriend, or said pets is a different story entirely.

I’m no stranger to this, though, and after a somewhat embarrassing gush of emotion to a friend I discovered that nothing would change unless I centered myself and focused my efforts on something. The problem isn’t these things. 

The problem was me.

I spread myself so thin worrying about all of these things, that everything was crumbling and slipping through my fingers, no matter how desperately I tried to hold on and pick up the pieces.

I needed to do some soul-searching and find my center again. Most people wouldn’t describe me as “spiritual”, if for no other reason than the fact that I’m atheist.

I would, though. I am a very spiritual person.

[Some might also call me superstitious, but that is a story for another day.]

What did I do? Well, I sat down on my bed and did some brief meditating over my tarot cards, and I did 3 spreads. In those spreads, I found my answer. I found what I needed to let go of, and what I needed to work on. And it was wonderful.

The next day, I got home from work, and did my very first yoga session, armed with nothing but me, a towel, and a very excitable, very eager dog.

Rinse, and repeat.

Today, I had a tai chi session, followed by a yoga session, followed by a delightful session of writing. Sometimes you strive for so much control, that you begin losing control. That was where I was. The universe had different plans for me, and to gain the control I am looking for in my life, it just turns out I had to give up the control, first.

The One Time Someone Stood Up for Me

7 Sep

I guess I can only say as much as I know, so if there was ever a time when someone stood up for me when I wasn’t there, I can’t really say (that isn’t usually something you tell a person). I can only think of one time in my 26 years that someone has stood up for me when I was present, though. I should be thankful for that, and I suppose I am, because if you always require someone else to fight for you, you’re not doing a very good job standing up for yourself.

That one time was when I was 16. It happened on the football field, of all places, and it happened between two fellows who just so happened to have the same name. I was football manager at the time, and being wet was apparently a requirement for the job. Leaking water bottles, leaking Gatorade jugs, melting ice, and the frequent enough squirt from a bottle (intentional or otherwise). Most of the season was hot, so it was a fortunate side effect.

This particular story takes place on a very warm end-of-summer day. It was more than likely August, and while it was still the beginning of the school year, we all knew each other anyway. That was the side effect of small town living.

The details are a little foggy, as I can’t remember if it was the beginning or end of practice (end, perhaps?) and how physical the altercation was between these two football players I can’t say for sure.

I do remember that I was wearing a red ribbed tank with a black flame on the left side and jeans. Always jeans. And I remember standing on the east side of the field, near the bleachers. More than likely, there was a water break that started it. More than likely I was collecting bottles. More than likely, this guy stuck around a little longer than the rest not for an “extra sip” but because he had a major crush on me (the likes of which he had professed several times).

He turned to me, made some off-handed now-forgotten comment, and poured the entire contents of the water bottle he was holding down my shirt. Things like this happen to me more than I should probably willingly admit, but this time was different. This time, another play came over. This time he yelled at the guy who had just poured water all over me. He told him never to do it again. I think there was some pointing, and I think he very much got in the others face. I don’t think he grabbed his shirt, but the possibility exists, I suppose.

The sheer force of his words defending me and standing up for me was impressive. The look of fear on this other guys face was probably even more impressive.

And that was the one time someone actually stood up for me. While I don’t suppose I would be much different had it not happened, but I am oh so thankful to that man for doing that. It was one of those moments that fuels your faith in humanity, however minute, and regardless of how much you know about things like the bystander effect.

Have you ever stood up for someone? Have you ever been stood up for?