Why I'll Never Trade My Paper Books For The Digital Versions

Why I'll Never Trade My Paper Books For The Digital Versions

My own copies are sentimental to me.
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With technology seeming to advance forward faster than ever before, into a spiral of smaller, faster, smarter--I seem to stay attached to what we are leaving behind. Whether thats all my Disney movies on VHS tapes, my cassettes I used to put into my kiddie karaoke machine, or simply books where I turn the pages with my own hands. I miss that easiness of my childhood, even if things seem to be even easier now.

I'm not technologically-inclined like a lot of my fellow millennials. I don't know all the commands on my computer keyboard, I couldn't really tell you how bluetooth works, and I don't understand how to get pictures put into an email without having to look it up first. So besides my lack of knowledge when it comes to technology--I just don't think we need it.

But I'll never trade in my paper books for the digital versions. There is nothing like holding the book in your hand, flipping through the pages to see how much farther you have to go, and realizing that you're finally on the last page. You can chuck it at the wall when you get really angry (unless you want to do this with your Nook/tablet/Kindle which I don't suggest), you can hold it to your chest when something moves you, and you can smell that old book smell whenever you feel like it.

And its something more than that too. Its seemingly coming to end like Fahrenheit 451--where books will be no more, where reading on paper will become a thing of the past, where flipping through picture books will become foreign for a child as they swipe the screen to the next image. It just doesn't seem right.

Most of my textbooks are online versions, most stores offer not only the print but electronic pricing, and even some newspapers are now completely online only. Although the process of switching from paper to technology has gone much slower than I expected, and although I am happy that paper is being saved in all of this to help the environment, I just like to take a couple moments and step back every now and then. I like to see what I grew up with, what I learned with, and how I experienced reading for the first time.

Its so very different now and that makes me sad. I just don't want to let go of that part of my childhood--because it gave me so many good memories, so many great characters, and so many ideas for my own future books. I can't imagine my life without reading--but if I am going to read, I want it to be out of my own copy, not a digital version of the same thing.

Cover Image Credit: http://wallpaperfolder.com/wallpapers/girl+reading+book

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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The Fake World - My Personal Experience On Instagram

Body Dysmorphia, Followers, and Posting Photos—How can Instagram NOT affect my mental health.

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The sticker on Kendall Jenner's phone says, "social media seriously harms your mental health." Despite her heavy presence online, she and many others are taking steps towards pointing out the dangers of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media.

While it may seem like a source of inspiration, social media (Instagram in particular), seems to be causing people like me more negativity than anything else.

"People like me…", what does this mean? I am a 19-year-old female college student with serious body dysmorphia. By definition, body dysmorphia is "a distinct mental disorder in which a person is preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see." Those with the disorder often perceive themselves as ugly or obsess over ways to improve their physical appearance.

I grew up in the ballet world—one that emphasizes your weight and bases a large amount of success on attaining a specific body type. The ideal silhouette is long, willowy, and malnourished-looking. I have a more muscular build for a ballet dancer. Some days I see myself as a beautiful person on the inside and out, and other days I am the complete opposite.

My body dysmorphia comes and goes, but I know this: every time I open the Instagram app, I become consumed with my physical appearance and attaining the perfect body. I end up in a comparison game that I did not sign up for, obsessing over my imperfections and ultimately feeling unhappy despite all the blessings I have been given.

I initially created an Instagram to follow the trends—everyone at the time (when I was in middle school and high school in the 2010s) had an account and posted cool, artsy photos. I wanted to join in because I liked being behind the camera. Soon enough, however, Instagram started to place emphasis on being in front of the camera and now, seems to be a competition about who can look the best and show the most skin. As someone who is not always comfortable in her own skin no matter the outfit, it becomes quite the struggle to keep up with the followers, likes, comments, and appearance of being confident.

It was not until this year that I started to realize "the fake" in just about every photo on my feed. The "Instagram models," real-life models, and others post constantly because it brings fame, attention, and for some, confidence. I applaud anyone who believes Instagram is a positive in their lives, but many people that I know feel the same way I do—even without explicitly saying so. I am constantly reminding myself that people pay to have their photos edited. There are other apps like Facetune which are designed to alter the real-you into Instagram-you. I believe Instagram is wishful thinking—wishing you really look like what you post. While I take part in the comparison game, comparing every part of my body to famous models, I do not take part in the paid editing game. I do not have apps that will give me a jawline or thinner legs. I do not have an app that will change my face shape. I do not applaud myself on this, as I am more self-conscious than ever and have not posted a photo since February.

However, I am strong enough to know that the fake world on Instagram does not take into account real-life aspects like someone's charisma, personality, voice, behavior, etc. It does not guarantee you friends, likes, or happiness. It is taking a chance to put yourself out there, however you wish. It is up to you to interpret what you see and have a sense of your own self-worth.

With this being said, Instagram does come with some benefits. There are a few brave souls who are not afraid to post un-edited photos and who do bring awareness to the falseness and extreme editing. Instagram also comes with accounts not dedicated to selfies, but that serve as platforms for important causes such as human suffering, pollution of the earth, animal brutality, and the like.

Instagram is overwhelming with its positives and negatives, and it is up to me to decide what to believe and what to perceive as false. I find it helpful to take breaks from the app by logging out. Whenever I do decide to post next, I will do my best to post for ME, thinking about my own well-being and creating a positive message for all.

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