Internet culture has its pros and cons. With sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, you can interact with like minded people without leaving the comfort of your couch or putting on clothes. You can stay up to date with friends and family with the click of a button. You can spend too much money when shopping online for items you don’t need but are 86% off. There are also major downsides for spending anytime on the Internet. Sharing your opinion or life can become personal when someone decides to threaten you over what you’ve chosen to post. People don’t realize that just because their anonymous doesn’t mean anyone won’t take the threat personally. I’ve often seen people say whatever they like, not thinking about what their words mean or say about them. Words words still sting, no matter how they get to you. Words hurt more than people realize. There are ups and downs to everything. Learning how to protect yourself online by blocking trolls and listening to your gut reaction when something doesn’t feel right is key when being involved with Internet culture.
August 12th, 2018
I love when I’m in a place and my phone isn’t on the forefront of my mind.
This is so important for someone like me who seemingly can’t detach from the lure of always needing to be updated on who posted what and when on Instagram.
It’s an addiction I’ve been trying to control for a while. Habits that I’ve blissfully unaware of harder to acknowledge than one would assume.
Denial and ignorance take over my mind for a long time until my awareness over my routine becomes too strong to the time that falls out the window due to too much time scrolling through stranger’s photos on the app that’s different to detach from.
It’s only when I’m on my own and away from good cell coverage that I can step back and see what life is like when it doesn’t revolve around feeling the need to know who, what, when, and speculate on why.
Although, I had this feeling when walking through New York. Being out and about in the city, I barely thought about what could be happening on the addicting app. It was another view into a life where technology wasn’t sucking up the time in my day.
My goal is to get to a place where I don’t feel the need to check Instagram too many times a day when I’m in good cell coverage or have WiFi.
For now, deleting the app will have to do.
(Some of this is rambling, some of this is incoherent. I’m tired and excited to spend the day not on my phone.)
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this book. I even have a blue star tattoo on my ankle because of Patti Smith’s magical, inspirational, phenomenal memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 60s/early 70s in New York City. This was before either of them were the legendary artists people know them as now. They were young, creative, passionate, explorative, sweet, understanding, and just kids. The love and compassion they shared for one another never faded, even after Mapplethorpe’s passing with AIDS in 1989. Smith writes about her early days in New York City with Mapplethorpe as creative, fulfilling, and hungry. Smith knew she meant to be an artist, she just didn’t know how. Meeting Mapplethorpe began the trajectory of Smith’s creative life. I recommend this book to everyone, especially to inspiring writers and creators, because it’s always inspired me to write something even when I had no subject in mind. I probably wouldn’t be a writer if it wasn’t for this book and the blue star on my ankle reminds me to embody Smith and Mapplethorpe’s creative spirit when I feel like I have nothing left to say.
Purchase a copy of Just Kids.
Like previous generations, millennials contain all different kinds of people.
Passionate people. Lazy people. Stupid people. Thinkers. Scientists. Writers. Makers. Creators.
Yet people, specifically the media, consistently box us together.
I saw a headline a couple of weeks ago about a teacher who said she couldn’t teach millennials because they aren’t willing to learn.
This is both untrue and unfair.
Yes, some millennials are unfocused.
Yes, some millennials are lazy.
Yes, some millennials don’t want to learn.
But making a statement specifically stating all millennials are untraceable is an insult to those of us who have gone to school and more school because we dream of doing what we love.
You can’t box hardworking young adults with lazy, entitled ones.
Old generations put the blame on us while forgetting who raised us.
This isn’t meant to be hurtful, I’m tired of being grouped with labels I cannot relate to.
Every generation has a variety of different people. Stop putting the bales on millennials. We are ALL responsible for the constructs of the society we’re currently living in and it’s important to take responsibility for all of our actions in order to teach future generations to learn from all of us.
Every generation has people who aren’t great. Just because some millennials aren’t willing to be taught doesn’t mean it applies to people born in the early 80s to the late 90s.
I’m writing this post at JFK, waiting to board a flight to Boston. I’m heartbroken to leave this city. Coming here, I didn’t expect to have an ache in my chest as I leave. This city, the people, the art, the culture, the literature, all of it is magic. Yes, it can be smelly. Yes, walking in rain flooded sidewalks isn’t fun. But all of that lessens the more I’ve been here. Seeing the skyline of Manhattan from Queens is always breathtaking. The outline of the skyscrapers is beautiful. Walking up and down 5th avenue every single day is an experience I will never forget. Spending hours walking through the stacks and sections of The Strand, purchasing too many books. Seeking out Washington Square Park and Hotel Chelsea. Being around so many people. Growing as a young woman living in a dynamic, crazy, society that we’re in right now, seeing people of all kinds of diverse backgrounds being civil with one another gives me hope. I understand why New York is called a melting pot, it’s full of people trying to find the lives they dream of. As I left the city, I looked at the skyline as it was fading behind me, I felt as though I am leaving this city I fell in love with as a different person. I hope to return very soon.
As many of you who know me could probably guess, I was nervous about traveling to New York by myself. I’ve never travelled by myself before to this extent and I’m normally a pretty anxious person when stepping into the unknown. Fortunately, I was in NYC last autumn with my mom, so I knew a little bit about the city. On the downside, I was anxious the majority of the time last year and I feared I would be more anxious being by myself. I was wrong. Thankfully, I was able to push any anxiety I had to the back of my mind and go out of my way and seek out places. The Strand. Hotel Chelsea. Washington Square Park. I walked everywhere almost every day. I never felt unsafe walking in NYC, which surprised me. On Sunday, I walked from The Met to The MoMA by Central Park. It was an lovely stroll. I walked under the trees of Central Park along Museum Mile. I was calm. I stopped often to take photos. I wasn’t in a rush. I took my time, taking in the view of buildings and people, well aware the sadness that was washing over me because it was my last day in the city.
On my stroll by Central Park, I stopped at a Strand kiosk and spent a solid amount of time browsing all the books before buying two more I did not need. I bought them despite the fact that I had already purchased too many. For those of you who don’t know, The Strand is a famous New York bookstore. I spent a lot of time there after long days of stuttering therapy. It was comforting finding solace among books after a day of constantly talking with people and working on myself. As a writer, I love reading other writer’s work. It makes me a better writer. The Strand is a magical bookstore with so much rich history. I even found a copy of Robert Mapplethorpe’s Flowers, which was an unexpected find that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I left New York a different person. I left New York heartbroken to leave. I spent the week working on myself and my stutter. I discovered new things about myself and how I can become a better communicator. The work doesn’t end now that I left the city. It’s only the beginning and I’m excited to do the work. I also discovered how much anxiety is in my head and how it stems from anticipation about being uncertain about the unknown. The anticipation is always worse than the actual event. The worse things I can think of don’t happen and it was proven to me over this week. I was capable of walking throughout the city without having a panic attack or being extremely anxious like I thought I would be. It was comforting to see so many people, specifically women, walking alone throughout the city. If they could do it, so can I. And I did. I had spent years admiring the city from afar and I fell in love wandering the streets with people from all walks of life. I may have left the city heartbroken but I have a strong feeling I’ll be back there very soon.
Photos from NYC.
This week at the American Institute for Stuttering has been amazing. I went in with a few ideas of what I wanted to work on and I’m leaving having learned a lot about myself and my stutter with the tools to navigate this lifelong journey of stuttering. I learned little things I have known about myself but never acknowledged. How I need to work on my eye contact when I speak with people. How I use filler words to make it easier for me to communicate. How my past dictates my present. How I have options to choose how I want to communicate. How the anticipation leading up to something is always worse than the actual event. How being vulnerable isn’t as scary as I thought. How I can have control over my voice instead of it controlling me. How I have more to work through and willing to take on working on myself to become to best human I can be. This week, I met some incredible people who have been so supportive along the way. I’m so lucky to have experienced this program with all of them and I’m sure we will keep in contact as we apply what we have learned here in our daily lives. When you interact with fluent people on a daily basis, you can often feel like you’re the only one. It’s inspiring to be reminded that I’m not alone, that there other people out there who stutter too.
Last week, I watched a live stream on Instagram. A teenage girl named Lilia Buckingham was crying because of the hate she received after tweeting how she’s worried about writing a screenplay because she doesn’t know how she would fund the movie. People came after her for tweeting this because from how it looks through the filter of Instagram, it appears to some that she could just ask her parents for the money to make the film. This is not the case. Yes, it’s first world problems. But that doesn’t make the hate Lilia received any less real to her. Hateful words leave lasting remarks. Constructive criticism and hateful comments are two different things. You can express your criticism in a way that’s not personally attacking someone for sharing their thoughts on something they’re working on. When you put something out into the universe, more than likely someone is going to have an opinion on it. It’s life. I don’t know why Internet trolls attack people for the most mundane things. But they do and words can trigger emotions that can be damaging for a person. Online bullying has become normalized thanks to social media. People write hateful things they would never speak aloud because they’re behind a computer. I don’t know how social media companies should combat the hateful rhetoric shared on their platforms every single day. What I do know is that hating on what people say instead of doing it in a thoughtful, productive way says a lot about humanity and where we are as a society. If the person in the White House can attack people via his tweets and get away with it, what hope does that leave for the rest of us?