Category Archives: My Writing

Grateful and Guilty – Barnes & Noble: The Scene Before Me

Grateful and Guilty – Writing Prompt

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Note: The prompt asks the writer to discuss a guilty pleasure. If you haven’t guessed, my guilty pleasure is spending my free time in Barnes and Noble, preferably in the seated cafe area, and soaking up the environment. There’s so much more to learn beyond the books that line these aisles. Following this statement is my description of the scene before me on today’s trip to Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

As I sat on the floor of my local Barnes and Noble accompanied by my purse and laptop, the building swamped with locals taking shelter from the rain, I took a good luck around at the faces present among me at the filled seats. Students, potentially from my university, families with small children giggling at the sight of a new picture book, middle-agers catching up on the latests magazine publications, hot coffee warming the palms of their hands. There’s a lot you can learn about the people you see around you just from observing their choices. What do I mean by that, you ask? What they’re eating, what they’re dressed in, how they present themselves among the crowd. Do they smile back when they catch your gaze? Are their faces buried into a novel, concealed? There are so many factors that come into play when you’re evaluating strangers. I often do this before I sit down, if there are choices to be made between seats. I like to scan the area and make mental notes. Who could I see myself talking to? Who seems to have the same interests? Are they reading that psychology book for study, or for pleasure? Do they look intrigued, bored, indifferent? Are they accompanied, did they bring their work from home?

This time, however, there are no seats. I begin fiddling with my fingernails, picking off the remnants of my icy blue nail polish. I can feel my leg falling asleep, and shake it out from under my other leg, stimulating the blood flow to my dead limb. I look up to see a woman packing her work in a rushed manner, the individual on the other side of her phone line consuming her thoughts. Purse and laptop in both hands, I wait for my approach. As I wait, I catch a glimpse into the conversation of the woman sitting behind her joking with the cafe cashier about prioritizing the production of the pumpkin spice latte. I feel like gagging at the mere thought of pumpkin. She evacuates, and I claim the table before anyone has the chance to grab it first, a little table in the center of the room. The room has grown silent, aside from the scattered orders at the cafe every couple of minutes. An increasingly apparent chatter has grown with the expansion of the cafe line, attracting the attention of the readers. They seem agitated by the sudden introduction of noise. And that is simply what it is at this point: noise. Words exchanged between the ten individuals are essentially indecipherable. Even with such a diverse audience, such a broad spectrum of types of people, Barnes and Noble still captures the essence of calmness, focus, productivity. It’s an environment that sparks and nurtures my creativity.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Comment below.

Love Is…

…Giving me a bite of your burrito bowl when I know you’re internally begging me to decline.

…Donating the one napkin you have at the dinner table at a restaurant to your messy partner.

…Leaving notes around the house that make me equal parts endeared and nauseous.

…Handling my heart as gently as if it were your own.

…Setting all aside to hear what I have to say, even if it’s not in your favor and it’s not what you want to hear.

…Pushing yourself to force a laugh out of your partner even at the expense of your dignity in public.

…Cooking a meal that you know will cut into your Netflix time so I can come home to a meal on the table.

…Smiling for me when I feel like the weight of my day has left me with a permanent frown.

…Kissing me on the nose or forehead when I’m feeling as if I have been emotionally abandoned by those who surround me.

…Sharing something that’s only meant for one, just because you know that it can be split between two.

…Making promises and consciously exceeding them because you can.

…Dreaming about the future with me because you know that I’m a dreamer.

…Bringing forward your playful side to expose your partner’s inner child in times when I feel like I can’t get out of my head.

…Using your two hands and hugging me in a way that makes me feel like I’m engulfed in your embrace.

…Initiating a late-night call to reiterate what the day had to offer, but to ultimately tell your partner that they are what you still dream about.

…Knowing when to end an argument and settle at your differences.

…Determining a positive approach in the shadow of negativity.

…Choosing to cherish your partner’s flaws as if they were their perfections.

…Being a best friend and lover all perfectly wrapped into one kindhearted, genuine entity.

What is love to you?

The Terrible (And Relatively Tolerable) Truths About Being Twenty

Twenty. It’s an awkward age. And I thought I was awkward then. Psh. I’ve only blossomed. When I was younger, I always thought that twenty was going to be such a grand thing. I was going to have everything in my life together, wrapped neatly in a white picket fence and bow. Well, not yet, but on my way toward the like. But as a current twenty year old, I can honestly say that it isn’t as glamorous as it seems (self-kick to the childhood). Here are a few terrible truths about being twenty that I never would’ve even thought about as a kid, that I now know to be inevitably true. The fantasy has officially been extinguished.

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1. Life: “You need to get your act together. You’re an ADULT. You need to have job experience. Nobody’s gonna take you seriously unless you start taking on more than your schedule can hold. Do it for ME–I mean….employers.” Love always, Your Parents (and supposedly your greatest support system. Hrm. It’s just tough love. Right? Riiiight?)

Reality Check: You’re too young to have a full-time occupation but still too old to “babysit”. At this point, it would just be weird (“You little slacker, you. Nobody’s gonna look at that babysitting job on your resume and say, “Wow, this kid’s a catch. He can whip up snacks and make sure kids don’t die while their parents “visit grandma for dinner”. Hurry, grab him while he’s still available. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHY ARE YOU NOT ON THE PHONE WITH HIM AS WE SPEAK?! These qualifications are rare.”). If you’re not an intern for a major corporation by 20 (If you’re not already owning it by now, because you should really be trying to get ahead of the pack, you slacker), you’re the epitome of a failure. Embrace the failure stink. It’s all that you’ll ever know.

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2. Life: “You know Josh? Do you remember little ol’ Josh? Well, Josh works for the FBI now–he’s in charge of the FBI–oh excuse me, he CREATED the FBI. And he’s only 19. And he’s also cured cancer, built homes for the poor, completely ended world hunger, and invented a flying car, all in one weekend. Could you imagine what he could do in two?! Josh was always such a good boy, but wow! Josh is so great now! Why can’t you be like Josh? You should call Josh. Hang out with Josh. Love Josh. Love him. Josh. Josh. Josh. Josh. Joshjoshjoshjoshjosh….(“Josh” chant that leaves you in a state of eternal hell, kind of like the ending to the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” chant at the end of his intro. Ring a bell?)” (The name “Josh” is hypothetical, but I guess if you’re an awesome Josh, I’m talking about you, buddy. You’re making my parents and everyone with high expectations of me hate my freakin’ guts. Good job. HOPE YOU’RE PROUD.)

Reality Check: We all know a Josh. Ugh. Kinda wish he’d go away and take his Facebook full of all of his stupid milestones with him. He makes my own major accomplishments look like mere blips on the radar, and then I get verbally paddled (with a gentle voice occasionally to cushion the blow) because he’s the next young genius of geniuses in all of Geniusville. This is why Netflix exists. Not to entertain us (me). It’s so we (I) can wallow in our (my) disappointed existence because Josh ALREADY FIXED ALL THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS SO THERE’S NOTHING LEFT TO DO. JOSH HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT, DOESN’T HE?! But think of it this way. Because of Josh and all of his perfections that you lack, your services are no longer needed. You’re free. Roam, my child.

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3. Life: “Here, have some homework. Wanna hang with friends? Here, have some homework. Got some dishes to do? How about some homework? Family is packing the van and driving for several hours, updating you every five seconds to ensure that you’re waiting at the apartment like a dog that hasn’t been fed in months, so they can see you for the first time in what feels like centuries? It’s a great time for a research paper that has to be a minimum (minimum. not maximum.) of 800 pages, single spaced, due obviously tonight. That’s enough time, right? That was rhetorical, by the way. Eh, who cares. I most certainly don’t care.” -Life

Reality Check: Any and every time you have plans, there will be some homework knocking on your door. True fact. The only way to fight against the buildup is to either get ahead or build a pillow fort out of your whole apartment and become a total shut in, avoid eye contact with your roommate who already thinks you’re a nutcase, and close off all connections to the real world. Nothing can come with you on this journey of seclusion. No laptop, no ipod, and no, not even the smart phone. That phone will know if you’re hiding, and it will notify all of your contacts (including Facebook friends, maybe even the ones you don’t like and don’t know why you ever added) that you’ve completely lost your marbles, as the newest feature of the newest iPhone obviously does. Before you know it, they’ll all come ruthlessly banging on your paper-thin door begging you to gather some sense. Just kidding. You’re gonna die alone in there. With a heavy head and an empty stomach. Nobody is going to realize you disappeared. All because you didn’t want to do your homework. Kinda seems silly now, doesn’t it? Just whip out the 800 page paper. It’ll only take you about an hour. Or a million hours. Something like that. I’m not good with numbers.

Parents: “See, Josh was never afraid to–“

Me: “SHUT UP. Just shut up”.

Parents: “But Josh always did his homework before it was due and he still managed to–“

*mysterious disappearance not caused by prior events/conversations at all but definitely by something else, yeah*

*Oh no, where did my parents go? Oh it was an accident. Oh it happened all of a sudden. Oh*

 Can you relate?

We can bask together. Share if you dare.

The Pros, Cons, Ins, and Outs of Social Networks – the Perspective of a Digital Media-Savvy College Student

Social networks are essential at this point to keep in touch with others (it’s one of the first things people ask for when they meet, besides phone numbers!) efficiently as we are all part of a network or several networks due to technological advancement and our ever-changing society (especially in this technologically-born-and-bred generation), but what makes them such a useful tool in our abilities to communicate? Even more importantly than that, what about these networks is counterproductive to our social growth? In this post, I’d like to take a second to analyze the networks I participate in from my perspective to bring to light the positives and negatives of these online communities.

Excuse my sarcasm. If you don’t like it, look away.

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Facebook

Real-Life Uses: Telling and showing everyone your inner “wild child”, mentally documenting all the places your friends have gone without you this week, and sharing “”Like” this if you love -insert subject here that is legitimately unaffected by your “like” on Facebook-” pictures. Oh, and occasionally dropping in to say “hello” to people that you speak so little to that you’re practically strangers or initiating unwarranted booty calls.

Sparknotes: “How many times are you going to go clubbing out on a weekday? Or are all of those photos from just last night? Why didn’t you invite me? You said you weren’t going to the club until this weekend….”

Pros – Facebook was the immediate, significantly better competitor of MySpace, it’s failed predecessor. It provided a simple, friendly (overly friendly) interface for users that got sick and tired of the dying Myspace community (“GOD I HATE MY MYSPACE FRIENDS. THEY SUCK. THEY’D BE SO MUCH COOLER IF THEY WERE STILL MY FRIENDS, BUT SOMEWHERE ELSE!”) that were still looking for ways to keep in touch with each other (and who all followed each other into this new world of stalking–I mean…..Facebook). Facebook has its perks. You can create groups easily, which is convenient for people to bond over their unhealthy obsessions with Chipotle and rave culture, but it is also a great tool for users that want to associate with people that work in the same field (potentially to bond over the struggles that only they would know, and possibly to practice empathy?). Or another great feature would be the ease of information transfer, so you can read up on your crush’s latest (and definitely greatest) post to your mutual friend’s profile discussing the crazy party he attended last weekend that he claims he doesn’t remember because he was “sooooo wasted”. Or something.

Cons – I don’t know if you caught the vibe that I let on before, but I’ll certainly reiterate. Facebook is great. It is, I promise. But it’s getting creepy. The latest feature that they released (or what I believe to be the latest notable feature) is the ability to track how close in proximity people are to your location and to share your location as well. It’s so gross how invasive this can be, and you know that this tool could be used for so many more ways that aren’t as innocent as the way it was meant to be used (unless stalking was the full intention. In that case, bravo. You’ve won.).

Another fault of Facebook (and of course, this isn’t little old Facebook’s fault) is the duck-face-peace-sign combination in pictures (usually profile pictures) that transferred from the death of Myspace. It’s quite a shame, really. But I don’t penalize those who use the combination ironically, as long as the irony is known. Let that be known.

Instagram

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Real-Life Uses: Selfie storage and meal documentation.

Sparknotes: “We all suddenly know your dietary habits. Really well. A little too well, since we haven’t talked since the third grade. Your toilet schedule would be nice to know, too, if you could post that as well.”

Pros – I love being able to just post photos if I want to. If I want to be mysterious and awesome (not that I’m not already, as you already know–HEY, DON’T LAUGH!), I can “live life dangerously” and post a photo with no context in the caption and it will be all good and dandy. Hah. But really, I think it’s a neat network. I enjoy the fact that you can “try on” a bunch of effects on your photographs before you settle with one, and that as of late, Instagram has provided a sick new set of customizations for photographs, from contrast to sharpening. It looks like they’re headed in the right direction, so I don’t see an account cancelation induced by disappointment in my near future.

Cons – You can’t edit comments, so that nasty comment you left in a fury of bitter hatred is licked and sealed. The damage has been done, and there will be no take-backs to be had. Ouch. I hope it was worth it. Maybe that’s the penalty for getting “white girl wasted” and angry in combination. I do think, on a more serious note, that reporting should be taken a lot more seriously on Insta, as I have seen several accounts become compromised with radio silence from the support staff for days to even weeks before the problem was fixed. Not only that, but people report the most ridiculous material, too, on there which bugs me. The report button is not meant to be a play thing. No bueno.

Twitter

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Real-Life Uses: An everyday Battle of the Sexes and lots of sexually-oriented, anonymous retaliation submissions to Collegefession. And of course, the cheesy love quotes and the “LOVE CAN GO BURN IN AN ETERNAL PIT OF FIRE” quotes, both equally enjoyable.

Sparknotes: “I’m a strong, independent -insert racial label that has nothing to do with independence- woman who don’t need no man. Unless he’ll buy me flowers, call me first (beat me to it, please!), and text me cute things every living, breathing minute of every day. Then I say, “Hell Yes! Come here, my Prince Charming!” But only then. These terms are non-negotiable.”

Pros –  Many of the organizations I already “follow” have a Twitter, so following them on there allows me to herd them all into one place. Is that it? Yeah, I think that’s about it. I don’t use Twitter that much (and this is your queue to gasp dramatically and inquire as to why I haven’t embraced this beautiful thing wholeheartedly within my own life), because I have yet to purge my profile of all the users that spam my dashboard with cliche quote vomit. It’s not Twitter’s fault, so don’t get it twisted. If you like Twitter, continue tweeting on to your heart’s content.

Cons – My dashboard is filled with a bunch of garbage (I want to be nice, but I just…can’t). I probably look at 1% of the material on there, if I even go on Twitter. All people ever retweet are 20-page slideshows (when realistically speaking, I only clicked the link in the hopes of reading ONE STORY on said topic), nudes (or semi-nudes), and anonymous confessions on Collegefession that glorify cheating on significant others and carelessness by people who are legally considered “adults” that act worse than their younger (probably more responsible) counterparts. I feel like I’m mid-life crisis-ing all over this (and I’m only in my twenties!), but going on Twitter makes me feel straight-up dirty for that reason. At this point, I only go on to actually view the Twitter profiles of organizations I admire, rather than scope them out on my dashboard between a slideshow about Miley Cyrus’ red carpet faux pas and a quote supposedly by Marilyn Monroe that was never actually said by Marilyn Monroe. And no, seeing that same quote retweeted over and over never gets less awkward.

Which is your personal take on the social networks you’re currently a part of?

Random thought: Even if you’re a simplistic person, life will not always deal you simplistic cards

There will be a challenge to every chase, but mastering or failing that challenge with a positive disposition is what separates you from the rest of the pack. One thing that is always in your grasp is the control you have over your attitude. Although your obstacles will not be fully eliminated by this way of thought, the journey will be significantly lighter upon your shoulders.

5 Lessons I’ve Personally Learned From Being in a Legitimately Serious Relationship

 I’ve come up with a list of 5 important lessons I’ve realized in the light of a serious relationship (Oh, and enjoy the gifs/pictures for emphasis).

May the truth set you free.

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1. You’re gonna see a lot more out of your partner than you do in the “honeymoon phase”, the good, the bad, and the straight-up ugly. During that phase, you guys will be pulling chairs and opening doors like there’s no tomorrow, but of course, as time goes on, it will be accompanied by the occasional air-ripping burp. It’s inevitable. Welcome it with open arms because it will come barging through the door with or without your welcome sign. This is when you will rationally realize that we are all human, even your boyfriend!

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2. You’re going to fight. You’re gonna have the kind of fights that are going to make you want to rip your partner’s hair out from the scalp sometimes, and it’s normal. Yes, I repeat. It is a normal thing. It’s overwhelmingly boring to be with someone exactly like you with your exact same opinions, but what comes with differences comes arguing sometimes. It’s a worthy trade, trust me. Opinionated people are a treat to be around, whether they agree with your love for religiously watching Pretty Little Liars or not.

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3. Being close with your significant other’s parents creates a world of good within your relationship (that is, if they actually like you). Not only can you rely on them to help you plan surprises for your love, but in my traditional little way of thinking, they are part of the approval process if a couple wants to take their relationship to the next level (their opinions in your relationship matter, too!). Why not start from the top, right? Plus, who knows your man and all of his strange quirks better than they do? They can show you all of his cutest, most horrifying pictures from his childhood AND treat him to a sweet dose of reality if he won’t listen to your word and needs an uninhibited opinion. It’s a two-for-one deal.

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4. Holding on to anger is a double-ended sword. You spend all this time letting an issue fester within your mind and build up to tremendous heights, and then your partner ends up dealing with the blown-out-of-proportion version that has swallowed the truth and spit it out into something it clearly wasn’t before. It started as an annoyance that he canceled plans one night, and ended up being interpreted as an exclamation of hatred that resulted in your partner canceling all of your plans together because you claim he’d rather spend some time with anyone but you (which is kinda ridiculous, seeing as how he is romantically entangled with you). *shrugs* By the end point, you don’t even know what you were truly and originally angry about. Keeping communication lines open prevents the bullcrap of reiterating an, at this point irrelevant and unnecessary, problem.

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5. Enjoy every moment. I’m feeling like I’m bringing up a hardcore cliche right here, but hear me out. Every unexpected bump in the road is a test for your relationship to overcome, and each time it does, the reality hits that your partner wants this just as much as you do, which is one of the best feelings in the entire world. Don’t take a single moment for granted. This is your free pass to be disgustingly sweet (emphasis on the disgusting part) with your significant other. Go ahead and post a ten page love letter on Facebook. He deserves the affectionate embarrassment haunting his news feed as a reminder for months to come of all the weird TMI stuff you love about him. In some other dimension, he may be highly appreciative of this much needed public announcement of overemphasized, stomach-churning adoration.

HRChallenge: “Awakening by Sirens”

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The sound of sirens echoes through the empty corridors of my abode, booming threateningly in my ear drums. “Are you awake? Do you hear the sirens wailing? Get up, my fair commoner. Your day has begun,” the winds hiss faintlyMy work apparel is strewn across the floor on my bed side, and I begin to creep to the edge of my bunk with the hopes of not causing a stir, positive that I am the only worker not yet active at her station. One of my greatest felonies yet so far. The guards could hear even the slightest movement, the faintest sound. They are waiting for the next victim they can “justly” torture. Bloodthirsty. Every pin drop, every inhale taken hungrily from the outside world. Only our supreme Master allows their animalistic behaviors to arise, believing that only those who disturb the well-oiled machine deserve the greatest of punishments. However, anything that cuts the silence that fills this everyday existence is eligible for what is believed to be eternal pain and suffering. No one can verify this, of course, because those who experience such things are obliterated. The world is their highly-regulated, obedient oyster, that has had it’s only pearl reaped for the sake of what they believe to be “the greater good”. “Greater good”. Ha. How I long for the days when I could exercise my rights as a human, to express what lies boiling underneath the surface. How I long for the days when I was real, when I wasn’t just a plastic “product” of their flawless mold, nothing but submissive blood and bones.