My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Social Media’

The Fix

Avila at Chestnut

A few times a month, I’ll receive a message either on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or via email asking me for help. For advice. For an opinion on what they should do.

Y’all, social media is a funny and crazy and daunting thing, but it also has this weird way of bringing people together.

It’s humbling, every time I receive one of these messages. From strangers, from friends, from strangers who become friends. And it’s flattering to think that someone somewhere might think I have some answers, or was enough of a catalyst to help someone try to find help for themselves. I don’t think it has much to do with being inspirational so much as it does that most of the issues I talk and write about are things I have struggled with, am struggling with, and am honest about struggling with. Trying to navigate work, relationships, my incessant yet incredibly annoying habit of thinking that ‘perfect’ is and should be this obtainable goal, and adulting in general are all things that I have and will always be open about. Life is hard and confusing as hell sometimes. But from my experience, there’s comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in this thang.

And when you’re a peer, an equal, another regular person who faced any given monster and is doing okay, sometimes that’s less intimidating than a therapist or a doctor or a parent or anyone else in your immediate life who might unknowingly judge you as they try to help. One of the things computer screens have given us is a little piece of illuminated hope, the kind of hope that doesn’t ever touch your real life unless you want it, and the kind that allows you to be anonymous. When you’re struggling, knowing that you’re letting that hope in on your life is sometimes the most blessed thing. It’s empowerment. And who doesn’t like a big ‘ol slice of that every now and then? I know I do, preferably covered in cheese and pepperoni.

But I hardly know what to tell people, in part because I am not an advice columnist, and because I don’t know their lives, and because I am scared to take the ownership of giving bad advice. The truth is, my life is still messy in places. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m trying, and each and every day I learn something new, and grow, but I’m still a work in progress. I think we all are in a way. Nine times out of 10, I’m making my own answers to my life up as I go.

I suppose this is an apology, in part, if you’ve ever asked me something and I didn’t respond. I probably didn’t know how. That’s hardly an excuse, because I could have tried, but I am human too. And humans get scared sometimes. Of our emotions, of our history, of our struggles and our scars. Sometimes we’re scared that if we poke the box where we packed all those bad things away, the memories of those struggles will peep their ugly heads back out. Sometimes giving advice feels like that.

But one thing I do know is that I can cheer you on. I can ask questions. I can tell you that deep down, you know what you need to do, you just want someone else to tell it to you because that’s the easy way. I can be rhetorical and tricky and universal, and it would probably seem personal because when you seek advice, you latch onto whatever you can and call it yours. And I will do all of these things, if that is what you want and need. Because I really do hope that the people who find even the smallest amount of inspiration in my own story know that someone is cheering for them. Someone always is.

But though I can root for you and tell you that if I made it through, so can you, I cannot fix you. I don’t have the answers. None of us do. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have, but the Internet and the transparency and immediacy of communication means we can do it together.

I cannot fix you. But then again, I shouldn’t. That’s not my job. The only person who can and should and might fix you is you. Trust that you’ll be able to do that.

You’re more capable than you think.

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Disconnect to Reconnect

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One of the struggles of the digital age is constantly feeling like you need to create, to be ‘on’ 24/7, to be connected in a tangle of internets, interwebs, networks and sites.  That if you’re not tweeting and Instagramming and writing another article, another post, another piece, you’re losing out on precious time or views or likes or followers or whatever metric it is that you want to call “success.” I mean, hell, Harper Lee didn’t publish a second book for DECADES.

That’s how starved we are for constant content.

But the thing is, when you’re so busy making stuff, you can sometimes forget how to live your own life. You know, offline. Remember that place? It’s the one where none of those numbers and hearts and stars matter.

Believe me, I know how tough it is. My day-to-day life is filled with notifications and posts and tweets and thinking critically about how to maximize all of the stuff that does not and cannot exist offline. And don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my job! And sure, there are ways to sign off and let a computer do its thang, but even then, I have to keep one eye on it because an algorithm cannot make a critical judgment call.

It’s the nature of the social media beast.

Trust me when I say that to work in social is to never not be working. And at my last job, I spent the bulk of my time writing nearly all day long, every. single. day. There was no overarching editorial schedule, just that I knew I had to write something. That freedom was both amazing and terrifying. And I was chasing numbers and page views, and though I was rather good at making those numbers happen, eventually, I burned out. You always burn out eventually. You run out of things to talk about. You run out of ways to write the same story for the 20th time.

So you find ways to recharge.

You close your laptop. (Dear God, I hope you do this regardless! It’s good for your health and your sanity.) You meet up with friends. You swipe a few times on Bumble or Tinder or whatever the latest hot dating app is, and maybe you go on a date. Or five dates. You go for a run, for a hike. You grab a coffee, you talk to the barista and see how their day’s going, you buy yourself flowers at the farmer’s market you swear you’re going to visit more regularly. You live your one, singular, unrepeatable life.

Disconnect to reconnect.

I wear a bracelet with that reminder everyday to drive home how important it is to step away from the digital screens and i-phones, the apps and the websites. And I will be the first to admit how hard that can be sometimes. But the truth of the matter is, these things will still be there tomorrow. And the next day. And three weeks, three months from now.

That dinner with your family, that road trip with your best friends, that night spent camping under the stars or midnight laughs shared sitting on the kitchen floor over a pint of ice cream? Those moments only happen once. Promise me you won’t get too caught up trying to “connect” that you completely miss out on what it is you’re trying to connect to or with.

A Small Thank You Note

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Hi kids.

I know this is the time of year when everyone likes to look in the rear-view mirror and reflect on the past 365 or so days–their highs and lows, accomplishments and things they want to do better next year. And all of this is good. We need to look back. It reminds us of where we came from. Started from the bottom, now we’re slightly higher up from the bottom, top-adjacent if you will.

Despite the messiness and craziness and just plain suckiness that this year has brought, there was actually a lot of good, y’all. A LOT! (More to come on that soon in a future post.) Being the forever optimist that I am, I’m choosing to focus on that. The smiles, the laughs, the new beginnings and adventures and friends and experiences, the unforgettable moments that made me sit back and say much to the same effect as, “Hot DAMN this life is amazing!”

When I look back at my 2016, I see a lot of things that I never thought would have been possible. Not just this year, but ever. And a lot of it is due in part to the crazy social media machine that none of us can ever unplug from. It’s a very love-hate relationship, but one that I am ever so thankful for.

Because of this crazy machine, I have a job. A pretty incredible job. Yes, the fact that there are specific positions out there solely devoted to and around the idea of social media is crazy sauce to me. Building and solidifying connections, information and being able to use my words to inspire, evoke action and make a difference. I think one of the things I love most about what I do day in and day out is being able to have that kind of positive influence and power. Yeahhhhno it’s safe to say that I was given the lucky straw when I landed this gig. Did I ever foresee myself in the position that I am? To be honest, not really. But life is funny that way. Sometimes things fall into your lap, opportunities that may at the time seem unobtainable and ridonkulous, but that’s no reason to not go for them, to try.  If there’s anything I’ve learned this past year (besides the secret on how to make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich), it’s that you should take opportunities that are too good to pass up. Even if they’re terrifying. Especially if they’re terrifying.

And can I talk about the people who have come along for the ride with me? The people who have inspired me, made me laugh, made me ask hard questions and think deeper. People who are out there doing their kickass things in the most kickass of ways, whether it be through photography, traveling, writing, dancing, car-karaoking, grilled cheese making or a wicked combo of all of these. You are those people for me. So, thank you.

Thank you to anyone who has ever so much as replied to a dumb joke I’ve made or fav’d something in sympathy or empathy or anything. Every time someone has ever reached out to me to say that something I wrote resonated with them, or made them feel less alone, or even just made them laugh, I’ve felt less alone myself. It’s a never-ending cycle, and I’m not sure any of us really realize the scope of what we do when we connect with total strangers online. Because they’re not total strangers, really. I would trust some of you with my life.

You guys are my friends.

It’s weird…I don’t know if y’all know how truly grateful I am for you, and though it would involve way more than 140 characters, I can’t seem to be able to put it into words. So here’s to 2017, and every crazy adventure that’s coming for me, for you and for us.

I’ll take you along for the ride if you take me on yours.

And never be a stranger — the internet is way too small for that.

13 Things I’ve Learned From Pinterest

Pinterest. Whoever came up with such an uncanny and crazy and giant interactive web-based bulletin board….you. are. amazing. I am not ashamed to admit that I may have a slight obsession with this somewhat new social media phenomena.

In fact, it is possible that I have learned more about life in general by wasting spending time on Pinterest than by actually living the past 25 years of my existence.

Basically, this is another way for me to justify the time I spend on Pinterest as “work-related.” I’m not wasting time! I’m learning to be a better cook, a better decorator, a better DYIer and better hair up-do doer gosh darnit!

13 Things I’ve Learned From Pinterest 

1. Who knew there were soooo many ways to reuse mason jars. I mean…candle holders, light bulb holders and margarita holders. And don’t get me started on wood pallets. You can transform them into hutches, coffee tables and even stacking boxes of produce. Wait, no, that’s not right.

2. Basically, it’s one giant pictorial ‘I want’ list. Which reminds me, I soooo want this!

And I want to go here!

Oh, and I SO want to devour these!

3. Some people have really kick ass gardens.

4. Some people have really kick ass sitting rooms.

5. Not gonna lie. I am kinda jealous of those people with their kick ass gardens and their kick ass sitting rooms.

6. DIY is so “hip” right now. And not just DIY, but there is some serious McGyver shtuff going on here.

7. You can make goldfish crackers at home, and cupcakes can be made to look like pretty much any one of God’s creatures, except for Kate Moss. Although, she does look a bit mousey so I’m sure you could get creative and make a Moss Mouse Cupcake.

8. Don’t look at the site when you are hungry. Or self-loathing. Or when you have to pee because you might see something funny and pee your pants…

9. Speaking of peeing, I forgot how funny someecards.com are.

10. I have never seen so many end tables, coffee tables, desks and armoires in my life.

11. TOMS and riding boots go with any outfit.

12. Apparently long wavy hair tied up in socks is, like, the thing to do.

13. MINI BANANAS!!!!

You see why Pinterest is so very vitally necessary? Now if you excuse me, I have some pinning to do 😉

Have a great rest of your Sunday night guys!

Question of the day: What do you think of Pinterest? What pinteresting things have you learned?

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