TBT

“Be happy in the moment, that's enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” 
― 
Mother Teresa

jasper alberta

Sometimes I get comments and messages from people who give me a hard time about why I’m posting places “when I’m not even there”. This really bothers me. One — if you don’t like it don’t follow me (and definitely don’t take the time to write a comment/message) and two — who says something is important or interesting or worthy of being shared just because it’s happening now? Where did this come from? I actually think it’s so odd when people post when they are actually doing something. That must be really annoying to everyone else. Being stuck behind a phone. Trying to write a caption and edit a photo instead of enjoying the moment that is worthy of being shared.

I wrote a little about it on Instagram today:

“This photo wasn’t taken this morning. It’s a #tbt of course. Like many of my photos, I don’t aim to post in the moment. For safety reasons first, but more to stay present. In the moment. I take my phone out to capture a scene and then I put it away. I don’t want to spend any time editing or coming up with some caption. ⁣

Photos, to me, have a life beyond the moment. Isn’t that like.. the point of a photo? It’s an artistic expression. So why would I ever feel that it couldn’t be shared again? Later? That a picture isn’t relevant if it wasn’t happening in this moment? ⁣

I think about the life of art sometimes. The picture on the wall. Where it’s been. What it’s seen. The people who have interacted with this same piece over the years. The meaning they ascribed to it. ⁣

Because if there’s one thing that frustrates me about social media, it’s the disposability of it. The fleeting nature. That a moment in time is only interesting for a moment. Before something better comes along. Memories don’t work that way. Art doesn’t work that way. Neither are disposable. They have a life beyond the moment. A life I want to continue to remember. To reminisce. To make meaning from. I hope that’s alright :) “

Because a photo isn’t a beautiful photo because it was taken right at that moment. A story isn’t moving because it just happened. We live in an instant gratification culture, where we want to know it all now. Take the time to step away from it. Wait a little. Experience things first. You’ll be glad you did.

Learning to Share... on the Internet

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.” 
― Amy Poehler

indian peaks

I share a lot on the internet. I’m sure, in some people’s minds, too much. I post an Instagram photo just about every day, I post Facebook statuses, share articles, and then — of course — this blog. And I have mixed feelings about it. 

There are thousands of people who look at my blog and Instagram posts. The great majority who I don’t know. And it’s weird. And wonderful. But weird for sure that a blog I wrote after three glasses of rosé from some notes I scrawled down on a napkin is seen by anyone. 

That weirdness has got me thinking lately about why I do any of this. What’s the purpose? Am I just a narcissist? Out of touch? Did I believe my parents when they told me I was the most special, beautiful, and unique girl in the world? I mean, yeah maybe to some of those (haha yikes) but, I think there’s more to it. A lot more. 

mt audubon

So I recently somehow have acquired over 1,000 followers on Instagram. This is extremely small potatoes in the Instagram world, I know. The interesting part, to me, is that I don’t know at least 75% of these people, who are indeed real people, and not people who I even follow back. The thought that over 1,000 people want to see anything that I do is kind of a shocking thought. And again, while this isn’t a lot compared to pretty much every other person on the internet, it struck me as an opportunity. 

Social media, to me, is a way to connect. Connect with the people you don’t see often, or with the people you have never or would ever meet irl. And the fact that anyone wants to connect with me is kind of incredible. 

The fact that anyone wants to read my blog posts is also kind of incredible. Shocking, really. I mean, even if it’s just out of curiosity or to make fun of my grammar errors, there are hundreds, usually thousands, of people who are interested in what I have to say. Who take time out of their day to read it. You guys, that’s crazy.

ward colorado

I read a blog post a few weeks ago about blog reach. The author said something about the importance of continuing on even if you only have one reader — because that’s one persons life you have the opportunity to influence — and that’s enough. As a teacher that really resonated with me. After a bad day, someone inevitably will mention that “if you helped even just one kid it was worth it” — and it is! It’s an amazing privilege. 

Creativity, and life, I think, work the same way. If I can have a positive affect on even just one person’s day, that’s a privilege. 

So back to social media. It may seem really frivolous, mindless, or even self-centered, but social media is how a lot of us have that influence. It’s what we share. What people see. The way we put ourselves out and show up in the world. 

It may seem ridiculous to post a picture of a mountain and a motivational quote on Instagram, but it’s not so ridiculous when you realize that 1,000 or more people could see it. That it could give them the sort of hope and joy that it gives me. Even if it’s just a relief and respite from the normal daily grind, it's something. There's a reason people follow and like and scroll through constantly — and it’s not because they all think the quote you paired with that sunset is #basic. 

sunrise

But I don’t just want to share pictures and quotes, I want to share real, #authentic parts of my life. Without feeling like an oversharer or a freak. I want to show the vulnerability that allows us to connect. The flawless Brene Brown wrote in Daring Greatly that, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” And she’s right. It’s not comfortable to put anything out into the world. To open yourself up to criticism and grammar nazis, but what’s the alternative?

I listened to an Oprah podcast on a road trip recently, and Glennon Doyle Melton was the guest. I’m not a big Oprah podcast listener (shocking, I’m sure) but their conversation was so illuminating. Glennon spoke a lot about truth. About how her success has been a direct result of saying the things that she had always been afraid to before. The things that resonate with others, but that they keep a secret. The truth. 

She said that, “Every time you tell the truth it clears the field for other people to tell the truth.” and that, “Truth telling unlocks people”. I love that. I love the idea of clearing the field for others. The power of your story. 

But what about all the studies/anecdotes of people who feel more jealous/lonely/unhappy because of social media? Well, I feel that too sometimes, I get it. But that’s where the authenticity piece comes in. If I’m sharing my truths and being vulnerable in my life, it creates a bridge, not a wall. Those people who still feel left out, jealous, or unhappy due to authentic stories and moments on social media are either just haters (and who’s got time for that), or have deeper problems that they need to work out. Instagram cannot save us all, after all.

mt audubon

So why do I share? Well, I want to connect. I want to be vulnerable, to show authenticity, yadda yadda. But, let’s be real, I’m not good at that. I’m good at standing in front of mountains and taking a picture with my camera timer. But I’m trying. And that picture of my back looking at something is better than not sharing at all. I think. 

I do almost everything alone. But not necessarily by choice. I want to share my experiences. That’s where joy and meaning comes from — connection. And in 2017, a lot of connection comes from the internet — for better or worse. So I’m choosing to embrace it. This isn’t to say I’m forgoing real life connection and experiences — I want more of that too! But my reach is limited in real life. I connect with a bunch of kids every day, and that’s powerful, but it’s different. 

I don’t think I’m special or unique. No one is actually special or unique. That’s the real story of social media. We all share the same struggles, stories, and hashtags. I can find thousands of girls who do all the same things as I do, but with better quality photos, thousands more likes, and captions that read like the great American novel. But that’s a good thing! There’s room for us all. I share to connect with all those people who are like me — from the superficial solo mountain girl side to the math dress wearing side to the writing about well, who knows what I write about really. But I’m telling my truth. I’m clearing the field.

Friday Favorites - 3.10.17

"I always have my own rules, and I can bend them if I want. I can see the confines I’m working in, but nobody else knows I’m doing it." - Jack White

Reminiscing: 

Yesterday I had a really awful morning. The kind that makes you rethink your entire life/place in the world etc. I tried to achieve some balance from, what else, reading random things on the internet. I read one of those articles (blogs) that regurgitated the same "social media is filtered, fake, etc." story. I was struck, again, by how much I disagree with that. 

I wrote this on Instagram and, although it may not be super eloquent (like this) I really believe it. 

I accidentally just read one of those blogs masquerading as news. It told me for the umpteenth time that social media isn’t real life, take it with a grain of salt, don’t compare etc etc. I look at social media as the complete opposite. This is real life. It is the absolute best parts of real life. The real life that, on a complete dumpster fire of a day like today (and it’s not even noon!), I can go back to in my mind if only for the few seconds it takes to find some kind of a throwback photo that brings me joy. And then I can post it in hopes that someone else finds beauty or joy in a photo of light coming in through a window in a corner of the desert. Because this is real life. And, you know, it’s pretty great.

So reminisce - please! Throwback Thursday, Flashback on Friday, whatever you feel like - it's your life. And it IS real life. How weird and unhealthy would it have been for me to post a picture of my morning breakdown in an effort to "be real?" Umm... no. I am purposeful in my life. I try to find beauty. It is there whether I instagram it or not - it is not a filtered view of anything. This is what I want to remember. 

More Reminiscing! (it's important remember)

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Way to make me feel old ahhh. I never missed an episode growing up, I had the books, the VHS tapes, the posters, the outfits, and some crosses and stakes for the several years in a row I dressed up as Buffy for halloween. You can stream the whole series on Hulu and Netflix (and oh I do) - so if you never got into it in the beginning - do it now! It's still super subversive and amazing. 

There are so many great articles out today to commemorate the day. Here are a few I've read to start your journey into the rabbit hole (or should I say hellmouth) :)

Buffy's subversive feminism, NPR retrospective, how Buffy transformed TV, and Buffy and the birth of TV as art. 

Reading:

I just read this article/interview with Jack White in The New Yorker. I've always love White, but even more so now. Some cool takeaways from the article:

- White is obsessed with the number three. I have had an obsession (like, diagnosed) with it as well since before I can remember. "The number three is essential to his purposes. He says it entered his awareness one day when he was an apprentice in the upholstery shop. He saw that the owner had used three staples to secure a piece of fabric and he realized that “three was the minimum number of staples an upholsterer could use and call a piece done.” The White Stripes were built around the theme of three—guitar, drums, and voice. As both a stance and a misdirection, they wore only red, white, and black."

- He's into restrictions. This goes along with the number three. He says that, "the notion of restrictions appealed to White, who believes that, as far as his imagination is concerned, having too many choices is stultifying. The number three is essential to his purposes." I love this. I always talk (and write in this blog basically every week) about the importance of creative restrictions. Too many options is just that - too many. Restrictions are what allow us to come up with the most innovative ideas. 

- The Icarus Project. Omg. This is just geeky and perfect. "Recently, he put five years—a lifetime to him, he says—into a pricey piece of ephemera he called the Icarus Project, which involved sending a turntable into the stratosphere as it played a record, because a record had never been played at such an altitude. The project, he told me, exemplified his ambition “to be an eccentric and produce a beautiful moment that people will talk about.”

I especially love this quote, "White watched from a catwalk above the Detroit store, and about two hundred people watched with him, seeing the turntable revolve at one point with the curve of the earth behind it. The balloon exploded, and White thanked everyone for attending. Then he sat on a couch and said, “Now I can sleep at night.” This is exactly how I feel after completing something that I know is probably only important to me. But it is so important to me that I literally won't be able to sleep until it's done.

Listening:

I've been listening to PJ Harvey nonstop this week. I've been a fan for 15+ years, but like most things, the frequency of listening comes and goes.

I distinctly remember buying "Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea" as a 15 year old - and falling instantly in love. The music, her voice, lyrics, everything.

I'm also just really fascinated in her as a person. Like Jack White, and most artists, she is totally unique. She changes her style for each album and always brings a fresh perspective. Anyways, if you aren't acquainted, here is a list of her top albums. And if you aren't convinced yet, this is how the number one album is described:

Rid Of Me proves disturbingly relatable to anybody who’s ever been hurt by love, which is everybody, but it’s not the sort of album you casually spin while going for a drive. Truth be told, I don’t listen to it very often anymore — it’s too draining. It’s for moments when you crave all-consuming catharsis. Sometimes it’s enough just to know that this album exists. That it’s there waiting, for when you need to douse hair with gasoline, set it light and set it free.

Who could say no to that? :)

 

Thinking:

For my graduate theory class this week I had to read a whole lot of Foucault and write a paper. I've read a lot in the past, but never this particular excerpt from "Discipline and Punish" (sounds great already right?) Anyways, the architectural Panopticon is discussed and, well, let's just say it led to a never-ending (literally, it is still going) internet hunt for more information. 

A Panopticon is a circular building meant as a prison, where guards can observe prisoners at all times, but at a vantage point where the prisoners cannot see them. Therefore, the prisoners never know if they are actually being observed, but must display the same discipline regardless. It was designed by social theorist Jeremy Bentham, and despite it's popularity in theory, a true panoptic prison has never actually been built. 

The super interesting part of all this is the connection to the CIA wikileaks this week. Read up here if you're unaware. Like the telescreens in 1984, technology has in effect placed us in a panoptic society. We may be under surveillance at almost any time. Because we don't know if we are or not, our behavior may change. Foucault would say that we have become more docile as a result of the "unequal gaze" and therefore more easily coerced. There's obviously so much more to this, but even just the surface is an interesting thought experiment. If you want to go deeper... let's get a drink :)

Until then, read more here, here, and here

Planning:

Spring Break is just two short weeks away! I have a ticket to LA and a rental car for a week. I have trips planned to a few National Parks, some awesome AirBnB's booked, and... that's about it. I'll be in Mariposa (outside Yosemite), Carmel Valley, and Malibu - and while I won't have toooo much free time, I want your suggestions! What are some overlooked stops in these areas? Let me know! 

Happy Friday :)