The Quest For Relevancy

The Quest For Relevancy

How we can shift social media to make our posts matter.
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It is late. I am lying in bed; the only light is the dim glow of my phone screen, brightness turned down so as not to abuse my tired eyes. I scroll through Instagram, my finger pressed idly up against the glass, photo after photo of tall, lean girls with their lithe forms smiling at a camera, intricately arranged plates of fruit, crowded city streets and picture-perfect sunsets. I tap the screen; a heart appears, creating an instant gratification for the poster. I do not think twice about this. I continue to scroll, wondering what filter they used on that picture, wondering how many shots were taken to get that perfect one, wondering why I don’t look like her, wondering why I don’t have that many followers, wondering why my photo didn’t receive that many likes. I roll over, placing my phone on the nightstand. In the morning, I wake up to the alarm buzzing from the glass and metal rectangle. I open Twitter. And I scroll.

I never understood my addiction to social media until I stopped to consider that I might actually have one. In comparison to most people my age, I don’t use it very much. For the most part, I leave my phone at home when I go out, and have never had trouble feeling like I needed it. Primarily, I use my phone for music and to text friends, both things which could be done on a laptop. So I always felt like I didn’t have this deep attachment to social media that so many reporters speak of and so many parents critique their kids for.

Needless to say, I do. And I’m willing to bet that you do, too.

When you first wake up in the morning, do you immediately reach for your phone? Do you open your text messages or view your Snapchats? I do. I scroll past images of peoples’ brunches, snapshots of tan girls standing in bikinis on sunny beaches, selfies of impeccable eyeliner and perfectly contoured cheekbones. While all of it is no doubt appealing, it is also fake.

In analyzing social media, I had to ask myself what purpose did my content serve. What message was I promoting? Photos of me that demonstrated nothing other than the fact that I knew how to put on makeup and look socially appealing said nothing about who I really was. Photos of me buying things, promoting my recent purchases, demonstrating the event I went to, said nothing about who I really was. I had grown tired of posting photos like cries for help, screaming, “I am here! I am social! I am popular! Someone recognize my existence! Someone tell me I matter!”

So, I quit. I went through the accounts I used to love so dearly and stared at every photo. I asked myself, what does this promote? And if the answer was me, my beauty, or my appearance, I deleted the photo. I am more than a nice filter or a teeth whitening app. I want my content to share interesting information, promote things that matter to me. Scroll through your pictures and ask yourself, "What do they promote?" Do they show you at a party with full makeup on, smiling weakly at the camera? Is it you, standing on the beach in a bikini, poised and posed and filtered? These are visually appealing, yes, but they are not real.

What matters to you? What drives your soul? Ask yourself this now, and then ask yourself what your online identity promotes. Is it true to who you are? Is it an accurate representation of the things you care about, the people you love, the person who lives within you?

Mine wasn’t. I remember scrolling through my photos before I went to bed at night as if I was staring at the pictures of a stranger. The girl in those photos seemed to have a fantastic life, great friends and a pretty face, but she wasn’t me. I looked at the photo, looked up at the mirror, the real me reflecting off its surface. There was such a breach between the two halves of me, and in the gaping crack between the girl I wanted to be and the girl I led everyone to believe I was, I was beginning to lose my true self. I went back through my photos. If the photo wasn’t an accurate representation of the real me, I deleted it, for good. I have never felt so free.

These days, I use my Instagram to promote #NOTYOURGIRL, the non-profit campaign I launched this past year to teach self-acceptance, and discuss the other major part of my life: the literary world. These are the things that matter to me, and for the first time in a long time I feel a connection to the girl in the photographs. They do not haunt me anymore. Instead, I post quotes, links to my website, occasionally pictures of me with friends. But I no longer feel like I have to try to be someone whom others would envy, whom others would like, whom others would respect. I don’t need to feel that anymore, because I respect myself and I love myself and, for now, that is enough. I tightened my flesh over the girl I was and became the girl I was born to be — powerful and all-encompassing, like a hurricane. I want to be beautiful not because I am visually appealing, but because I am alive. And in fifty years, when my youth has faded, I want to know that I have something left.

Those who respond with contradiction to your honesty do so from a place of fear and hatred. They do it from a place deep within themselves that, no matter how they may deny it, aches to possess the courage and strength that you do. Do not let those who disdain your confidence tear you apart; you are more than their insecurities. Be honest about who you are and the rest will follow. All it takes is one person to spark a change. If girls felt more comfortable about posting unedited photos, then they would do it. After all, why do we edit our pictures? For the sake of others, so that they will look upon a screen and believe we are perfect. In Emerita Maia Mayor’s spoken word poem “Perfect” she discusses the desire to be “perfect”, a concept we have made up. She lists endless insecurities and stereotypes, demonstrating the expectations her mother has for her and her inability to match up. Social media allows us to create a perfect moment and receive instant validation for it, and we confuse ourselves into believing our entire lives are made up of these perfect moments.

But we are not perfect. We are human, and while there is a big difference, there is not one that is good and one that is bad. This is the mistake we make, confusing the two. We teach that perfect is good and human is bad, that emotion is bad, that weakness and vulnerability is bad. They are not bad. They are beautiful. It is our fallibilities which make us exceptional, not our attempts at perfection. If we could use social media to teach this, we could spark a cultural revolution. We want to be relevant, and we feel that beauty and perfection give us this. We feel that people will love us if we can prove our external worth.

No. This is not, and never should be the case. Relevancy comes from within, from the things we care about, the things we love, the things that drive our souls and make us human. They are all there, lying in wait inside of our souls.

We just have to learn to set them free.

Cover Image Credit: "Nobody Likes Me" by I♥

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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6 Reasons Crocs Are The Superior Shoe

Recent debates have come to light and it's time to set the record straight: Crocs are the superior shoe.

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Long time Croc enthusiast Athena Schnorr states, "Crocs have always been there for me in the rough times, the good times, the bad weather, the good weather they have quite literally kept me afloat"

The days of sacrificing fashion over function are over. Crocs are bridging the gap in the fashion industry, but incase you aren't convinced here are six reasons why Crocs are superior to any other shoe.

1. Crocs Are Highly Functional 

Crocs are undervalued for their supreme functionality. I can not count the times I have needed to jump in a rain puddle, take a quick walk, or bounce along throughout my day without the hassle of lace and what better shoe than an easy and colorful Croc? Crocs offer wonderful support without the hassle of worrying about getting your feet or shoes permanently stained.

2. Crocs Are Water Resistant

They say April showers bring May flowers, but May actually has brought storms with rain equivalents feeling like a tsunami. Nothing ruins a day faster than wet socks and soggy shoes as you hike uphill to class and start your day. Crocs are made of supreme rubber material that hinders any challenge the rain could present. To make things even better, once it's time to dry your shoes off from the rain Crocs rise to the challenge and dry off in a jiffy, making them ready to wear again at any moment.

3. Crocs Offer Convenient Sports Mode

Some might argue that Crocs aren't the most reliable fashion statement because of the exposed heel. After all, how would you run through the summer with an exposed heel? Thank goodness for sports mode. Kick your Croc clogs into action by switching the front facing band into the down and locked position. Spots mode is the solution to all your problems.

4. Crocs Come In a Variety of Colors

In these trying times, self expression comes in so many forms and is so vital to our daily lives. Croc offer a wide variety of styles and colors that are bound to suit the needs of any individual. School colors, family matching, his and hers, even sparkly white crocs for your wedding day. There is no limit to the color Crocs can sport, and even better, they will match every outfit.

5. Crocs Can Be Decorative

Following on the coat tails of self expression, crocs offer a variety of customizable options for individuals to express themselves. Crocs are known for their accessories, Jibbittz. Jibbitz come in so many shapes and colors, that regardless of your age, are sure to please.

6. The Best Is Yet To Come

By now, I know it can be hard to believe, but the best season of Crocs are yet to come. Crocs are launching their newest addition to the rubbery life savers- fanny packs. That's right, something that was already great, just got even better. In their newest line, crocs will be adding small fanny packs to the sports mode straps on Crocs. By the looks of it, if Crocs keep improving their line, the best is yet to come.

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