August marked a year since I first challenged my ego and risked my angelic reputation by publicly word vomiting my opinions onto WordPress.com !
While a few pals had been pushing me to do something with my communications degree (other than practise my stalking/ investigative skills) for a while, it took a hung- dog Saturday morning state to fuel my oh- so feminist outburst about trolling, body shaming & the mighty media in general.
And ever since I slammed the lappy screen shut in a hot ball of anxiety, I have been overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised by the variety of respondents and responses to my overtly opinionated alternative thoughts!
Being the overly analytical psych student that I am, the degree to which I froth while monitoring the many ways in which my words trigger reactions is barely surprising. What is kinda interesting however, is that amount of curiosity many of y’all seem to have also.
So… I thought I would follow in the wise and wonderful footsteps of a good friend who, on every birthday, takes it upon himself to educate the FB world on the shit he’s learnt over the past 12 months of life.
Now, before you close the tab at the fear of a self indulgent exploration of my personal development and Ghandi-like enlightenment, CHILL. This aint’ alllll about me (there are elements, though #sorrynotsorry).
To keep your interest and ‘up’ my following, I have compiled 3 easy to follow, insightful and (hopefully) LOL- worthy lists for the sticky beak in all of us:
What YOU (readers/ stalkers/ feed backers) LIKE:
Regardless of the topic, the dirtier/ grittier and rawer the writing, the richer the response (surprise!)
As a slightly blunt and opinionated person, I have been conscious of being ‘balanced’ and ‘controlled’ in my views, in an attempt to avoid criticism/ offending the softer petals out there. However, it seems the more I dish it out, the more the readership and respect has grown.
Whether its sex, politics or kale, y’all like to keep it real.
While I was initially reluctant as feck to open up to the extent I have done, it turns out that sharing our stories is rather therapeutic and empowering for fellow humans… especially when it comes to #L0V3. WHO KNEW?!
It’s no secret we all love a cheeky bitch session. Alternative Thoughts has strengthened this truth, particularly when it comes to:
> social rules/expectations
> gender norms + sexism (especially towards MEN)
> body shaming
Well, it seems that we love to hate love, love to love love, and are bloody perplexed by the concept all together. We seem avoid it and seek it all at once.. hence the tinder culture of commitment phobes & situation-ships.
- BOOZE, FOOD & TRAVEL
For obvious reasons.
Putting the ‘buzz‘ in buzzwords, it really does sell (haha).
The HATE train includes:
- HIPSTERS ‘n’ HIPPIES
Anyone remember my post- farmers market rant about the latest trend of insta- hippies who sip on coconuts while taking bare foot selfies and munching on their daily carrot stick? well that little post made it big in the blogging world (it’s legit read every day).
Of others, and of our own life choices, regardless of what they are. Freedom and Equality for all, y’all!
Apparently it’s a no-go zone in the white world…
It seems that anytime I have my rosy- coloured glasses on, encourage an optimistic perspective, or hint at embracing a stable lifestyle, the band wagon suffers… #cray
Things we LOVE 2 HATE:
- THE MEDIA
We hate the power the media holds. We hate their manipulative ways, the messages being communicated and the damaging effects of propaganda.
We also hate the trolling and bullying that manifests behind the screens. We are sickened by filters and the insular, vain values the gram promotes.
And yet, we continue to scroll, continue to post, continue to be influenced. The struggle is REAL.
- Feeding our Egos
Because we are human.
And there ya have it~ I’m at 700 words , which means I need to shut up ASAP or ratings will plummet. ( We are lazy and impatient, in case you forgot).
Thanks for following along, I’m always open to suggestions and alternative opinions!
As I lay sprawled over my couch swimming in screens, I can’t help but acknowledge how pathetic my state is. How have we got to the stage where laptop on the lap and phone in our hand with about three different chat forums open, and 10 half- hearted convo’s going on, balanced with a few TV glances, is the norm?
Haven’t seen or spoken to someone in six months? no probs, just shoot them a quick Facebook message and bingo! BFF’S again. Had a heavy argument and have to see them tomorrow? nothing a bit of Insta- love can’t smooth over. Does anybody else see the pathetic-ness?
While our modern life style may be a tech- savvy, comfortable way to maintain contact while getting shit done, it can be bloody unhealthy. Alright, I know that some cheeky porn (for some), trashy TV and BRILLIANT BLOG READING doesn’t go astray… but you can get a lot of the same enjoyment from living, I like to believe anyway! Not only does it stop us from calling people or sitting down for a legitimate catch up, it feeds the illusion of OPTIONS.
Sex and The City happened to be playing in the background of my Sunday chill fest yesterday. Regardless of whether you can identify with any of the gals, think SJP looks like a horse or that filming in the Middle East made the second film SO RACIST, the complexities and struggles of life, particularly in relation to relationships with our pals and lovers, are very on point.
Not only does SATC reinforce the importance of nurturing friendships and sticking by ya bros & hos REGARDLESS of their weird life choices (or the shitty mistakes they make in your friendship), it also explores, time and time again, the issue of COMMITMENT. Cue the sigh’s of millions… I HEAR YA!
Before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that this is not a male issue, I know a lot of girls who magically disappear off the face of the earth when promised some good love and affection. I also know a few boys who would wed tomorrow, even if she aint’ Miranda Kerr.
In my life away from the screen, I’ve had my fair share of ‘interactions’ with the opposite sex; enough to have experienced the frustrations of innuendo bingo, the ever convenient labelling lethargy and time management twister (no thesaurus needed). When I was 14-18, there wasn’t really anywhere my boi- frans could run away to (other than their homelands) and so I guess I was a bit safer. However, now that us 20-something’s have the world at our feet (apparently) everything is a bit more complicated.
There are two main issues when it comes to commitment: FEAR of MISSING OUT (FOMO) and FEAR OF REJECTION/ HEART BREAK.
” Being famous on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly”
While I can see the positives of social media, I reckon our obsession with it has something to do with this FOMO phenomenon. Functioning as a virtual record of every social interaction that enhances our status and popularity, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram competition gives us little opportunity to keep our lives private (particularly from the friends kept off the guest list) because we have to remind our audience of how vitally great our lives are.
(Reminding your ex of what they’re missing doesn’t go unconsidered either, letssss be honest!).
“The grass is greener where you water it”
The FOMO also translates into the options we have to determine what and whether we study, work, make and save money, travel, where we live. The net takes the cocktail of options to a new level, particularly when it comes to meeting people and dating. For people who struggle to commit, particularly because there may just be someone/somewhere better, Tinder and okCupid may just be enhancing the issue. The problem with avoiding commitment, among others is that nothing will be learnt from it, about what we do or don’t want, ourselves, love and relationships.
I know what it is like to be hurt and rejected, its horrible. The only thing that has balanced out those experiences is the loving relationships I’ve had with boy and girls, young and old. If I had closed myself off and become a sour grape, I may have lived a sad and empty life. While I am a massive advocate of self- love and discovery and definitely float around in my own world, no matter where I travel to, whom I meet or how I spend my time or money, nothing provides the satisfaction that a big dose of human bonding does.
We never know anyone’s full story or the reasons they have certain defences or walls, and they are valid. Also, the search for love isn’t easy, finding a soul that grooves with ours is rare (you never know until you try though!).
I just reckon, that if we shifted our focus from our screens more often, expanded our circles and TOOK SOME CHANCES, we might have a better chance of finding our desired Channing and Miranda replicas. Even if we don’t, the journey can be a lot more fun and full of experiences, than the headache and numb ass I now have from sitting here writing this.
Lets go open doors!
“We only really see (or hear) what we want to/ are ready to accept”.
We humans are funny creatures. We pick and choose relationships based on a range of conscious and sub conscious factors that enhance and sabotage our lives. I could go on about the factors that determine the reasons we do/ do not like others for years, but I’ll leave that for my psych articles. Put simply, we are attracted to people we can ‘relate’ to- those with whom we have shared ways of thinking and doing.
As we know, everyone is different, we are each a completely unique machine, made up of our own biological and environmentally constructed factors, which then influence our life experiences. It seems silly then, to think that we could possibly expect to agree with other people 100 per cent of the time.
This is the major underlying issue with relationships though, we get hurt and effected by the decisions, behaviour and words of other machines, ones that we CAN NOT CONTROL. I have learnt however, (through a lot of trial and error!) that we can choose the way we perceive the information projected onto us, and the way we respond to it.
I had a little convo with a friend the other night who shares the belief that it is in our own best interest to not take ANYTHING personally. For years I over analysed the actions of others, questioning ‘why they would do that?’ ‘What did I do wrong? ‘”Why me’ and the ridiculous cycle lead me nowhere and ate me up. This way of thinking is not only detrimental to our well- being, it can send us crazy because, as I said, we don’t live inside any other machine and therefore may never know or understand why she stopped talking to you or why he felt the need to cheat.
There is one particular shift I have made, that has improved the quality of my relationships and my happiness in general. I have learnt to listen to respond rather than react.
When we receive info, we automatically filter it with our own views, beliefs and experiences. We then form a judgment and open our mouths ready to provide it, sometimes too early. Additionally, if we feel somewhat threatened by the info and the way the person presented it, we can become defensive, and respond in a way that feeds our ego rather than each other’s confidence and self- growth.
For example, if I was on a date and the potential flame had caught up with their ex- partner and stated that they looked good and seemed happy, if I happened to be having an ‘ugly’ day and woke up with a pimple on my nose, I may be more effected by the information, and therefore snap, withdraw or reconsider the potential of a relationship. If however I had been to yoga and was feeling great in myself, I may be happy that my ‘friend’ is not hated by their ex. Also, my relationships with my ex’s would also influence whether I like the idea, and therefore how I react.
Letting someone speak instead of butting in or re- directing the convo, or piping up, helps everyone! When we feel heard we are more open to hearing others (funny that!) and so conversations and relationships function better. This of course has to be reciprocated.
A wise person once asked me what the point of maintaining relationships where we don’t feel heard or appreciated was. After finding little reason to keep ‘blood suckers’ in my life, I re- prioritized my friendships. As a big giver, it was important for me to learn that peoples issues are not my responsibility, and that I deserve equal appreciation.
Remembering that people’s shit has little to do with us, and that there is little we can to do change it, other than monitor the way we receive it, is also helpful.
When something ruffles our feathers, is does also say a lot about the stuff WE are made up of, and therefore is important info we can learn from. Observing my internal (and external) responses to info is a fun process I have practiced for a while. The next time something makes you feel uneasy, frustrated, angry or sad, question what the information means for you? what does it say about you as a person and how does it affect your life and value as a human being? this shit can be life changing.
Until we have gained the full lesson from a situation, it will continue to pop up. As the featured quote states, we choose to accept particular knowledge when we are ready to hear it. It helps to remember this when considering the actions, motives and progression of others… we all live different lives. Every situation or encounter we find ourselves in is a test/ learning opportunity. Seize that shit and grow! It makes life a lot more fun, rather than repeating the same unhelpful mistakes!
We don’t always have to agree to get along or respect each other. Of course, life can seem simpler in words, and when our hearts are hurt it is only natural to defend ourselves. We have to choose our battles, and most importantly, choose the behaviour that will best serve ourselves in the long run. This doesn’t include hurting the threatening other or gaining revenge. We always have a choice in how we respond. It helps to remember that everyone is flawed and could be battling something big.
The most important person in our lives however, is OURSELVES. Once I learnt my worth, I became a much happier person.