Growing Up On The Edge Of A Pre- And Post-Social Media World

Growing Up On The Edge Of A Pre- And Post-Social Media World

Remember what it was like to build stick forts?
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As a 22-year-old millennial, I’ve grown up on the edge of two worlds; pre- and post- social media. As a 90’s baby - before the age of iPads or the popularity of touchscreen phones - the first decade or so of my life was kept fairly pure of any and all social media; I spent my time building stick forts outside, catching frogs in ponds and rolling down hills. When I went to any kind of restaurant with my parents, the main source of entertainment was building sculptural works of art out of my meals or having foot wars with my older brother. I played with dolls and spent hours upon hours making tiny clay figures with a material called “Sculpy.” For the first decade of my life, I had no idea what the internet was. My parents didn’t allow me to get a cellphone until I was about thirteen-years-old, and even then, I didn’t actually have any use for it. What good is a cellphone to a thirteen-year-old?

The latter half of my so-far two decade life has been universally different to the preceding half. Facebook was bad enough, but it was all downhill when I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon my senior year of high school. After that, the rest came rolling in - Instagram, YikYak, Pinterest, Snapchat, and for a short time, an app called Fade. My rolling social media snowball grew bigger and bigger each year. In the past five years, it would not be far fetched to say that, a majority of the time, I have spent more hours on social media sites in one sitting of a single day than I spend outside for an entire week. I’m not proud of this - in fact I’m pretty ashamed of it. I think I was much happier and healthier of mind as a young fledgling chasing frogs and salamanders.

One sunday morning, I went to Young’s Restaurant for brunch with my boyfriend. At such a popular hour, the restaurant was fairly busy. We were seated at a booth, ordered drinks and browsed through the menu. Sitting across from us was a mother and her two sons; one of them appeared to be around the age of six, the other maybe nine or ten. Their table was completely silent, not a word was exchanged. The mother gazed off into the distance while one son was mesmerized by an ipad and the other by an iphone. Their concentration did not falter for even a second, not until their food was delivered to their table. I looked at my own iphone 5s sitting on the table next to my menu and glass of orange juice. How many times had I done the same thing? Ignored my boyfriend, a friend, my parents, while at a table with them because I was too concerned about something that was occupying my phone screen? I picked my phone up off the table, switched it to silent and stuffed it into my purse. Since then, I've stopped using my phone at restaurants, stopped leaving it on the table during meals. Even if that meant that I couldn’t Snapchat or Instagram or tweet the food I was about to consume. Because yes - even if I didn’t snap a pic of it, I still ate it.

Cover Image Credit: Eric Pickersgill

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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As Millennials, We Are The Loneliest People

From one lonely person to another, let's smash this stigma.

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If you're a millennial and you're feeling extremely lonely, you certainly aren't alone in that feeling. We are often far too afraid to talk about it because society puts such a stigma on this condition. But I am here to tell you that we, as millennials, are the loneliest age group. so let's smash the stigma and acknowledge this feeling once and for all.

As a (nearly) 20-year-old, I never imagined at this age I would think about loneliness. I would always equate that word with elderly people who are away from all of their loved ones, enduring the sullen monotony of a nursing home. Of course, throughout school, I would feel lonely on occasion--the one stretch of the summer when all of my friends were away while I was home, the period of time I was grieving the loss of a loved one, or even particular days when I was just sadder than usual.

But the loneliness faded away after a brief period of healing. I knew my friends would come back and life would return to normal eventually. It was a mood that was sucky but it was only that: a mood.

However, these past two years have been the loneliest years of my life.

Chronic loneliness is different from the loneliness I've ever experienced before. I didn't think living a couple of hours away from home, living in a community of 40,000 people, starting an independent life would leave me so empty, experiencing a far greater level of emotional pain. I kept myself busy in the community, joining various clubs and programs around campus, attending events, and trying to reach out to others, but it seemed like I never belonged anywhere— in my college or in the greater society.

It didn't take me very long to believe that my life and my hurting were not normal.

A counselor on campus, who was a fully grown adult, was "confused" that I felt this way. I "seemed normal" and normal people have tons of friends in college. People would false empathize with me that they "felt that way when they were adjusting" but I'm fully adjusted and feel no less lonely. I call and text people often but everyone is always "busy," and I have no place in the midst of their crazy lives and other friends. In fact, it's been almost six months since I last hung out with a group of people.

But in fact, what I was feeling wasn't so abnormal after all.

The loneliest generation is not the elderly people who live by themselves without family members by their sides. It's us. We can talk to people every day. Since living away, I've talked to the dining hall staff, cashiers at stores downtown, and the one person who knows all the answers in my information science class, but the quality of the bonds was not what they were at home. They did not instantly make me feel like I had tons of friends. The quality bonds we have lost in this stretch of time, a brief stretch of time where we have to quickly develop friendships.

So how can we end our suffering?

We need to open up about how we're feeling. I was convinced I was the only one who felt this way for the longest time, which worsened the extent of this pain. In fact, our chronic loneliness can damage our health in the same way that smoking 15 cigarettes daily can do. But in order to change our health (and our happiness level for God's sake), we need to make it known that us young people are the lonely ones. And maybe then we can help others in our situation who eat lunch alone, who stay in at night, not by choice, who rarely get calls or texts on their phones.

From one lonely millennial to the rest of them, it is time to combat this feeling for good.

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