Lost and Found

Losing yourself is easy enough, in my eyes. People end up doing all sorts of weird things that don’t suit them or their life, for all kinds of reasons and then before you know it, they can’t even recognise themselves. I’m not immune to this despite my quest to “discover myself” *that term makes me cringe too, but it’s apt in this case*. I’ve worked really hard to be authentic in my decisions and to be sure about not just making the right choices, but why I’m making those choices. Still, over Christmas I completely lost sight of all that and have spent the first part of this year trying to claw it back.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of putting others before myself because of my fear of abandonment. I’ll go to the ends of the earth for the people I love, because then they won’t want to leave me. The biggest antidote to this? Being really harshly abandoned by my ex. I treated him like he defecated diamonds and it didn’t work, it just wasn’t enough (because we were terrible for each other, which now I understand). This put me in a place that made me realise I couldn’t rely on people the way I was before. They’re only human and I can’t just do nice things for them to hold them as some kind of emotional hostage in my life if they don’t want to be there. I’m far more chilled out in all my relationships now, if anything, I need to make sure I rely on my people when I really need a hand. Anyway, over Christmas people got busy and I got lonely. I sulked for a few days and it sucked, but I should have really pulled my head out of my ass at that point and got over it. I didn’t. I stewed and and pouted in my lonely little head and kept repeating “no one wants me” to myself. Very Kim circa 2017.

I’m very boringly guilty of being one of those people that doesn’t like trying sometimes for fear of failure. It’s so common it’s barely worth mentioning, but in the context of my uni course ramping up and being faced with some incredible opportunities that I have a real chance of getting, I’m kind of loosing my cool. I’ve been putting off getting stuff done over the last few weeks because it really matters to me. First drafts I will happily smash through, because they’re meant to be bad right?! But moving on from that and admitting that maybe this is the best I can do is scary, because what if it isn’t good enough!? One way of getting over this, is writing this blog! (Hi by the way, thanks for reading and not being mean :). I honestly appreciate it so much.) It’s a lesson in putting my self out there and fuck the consequences…Hence, I don’t always write much, because even though it’s not a big deal to most people, it’s astronomical to me. Sometimes the pressure I put on myself is just far too much. Add this to the fact that I am the oldest person on my course and people see me as an intelligent, hardworking, articulate person so just expect me to do well…Boom. Suddenly the weight of the world is on my shoulders and in my head if I fail or write something bad then life as we know it is going to fall apart and I’m to blame (I didn’t say that any of this was rational).

So, I’ve been avoiding work and telling myself that I’m inconsequential in everyone’s life basically. Today, I feel different. Yesterday I got a tattoo. It’s a cute hedgehog with flowers on my arm, it has no deeper meaning and really I hadn’t thought about it for that long. I just figured, why not? And that right there, that is how I get back to me. Why the fuck not!? I love living like that. Why not apply for that job, why not go to that gig by myself when everyone’s busy, why not talk to that stranger. That’s undeniably me all over, the thing I like most about myself and exactly what I need to remember next time I get lost. I don’t have a five year plan, I have a “what do I fancy today” plan. I don’t do new years resolutions or diets or promises to myself that I’ll be better next week. I do what I want and I want to be healthy and happy and successful, which means getting up and getting on with the things that scare me. Luckily, now I have a permanent reminder of this feeling in the form of a pretty hedgehog right on my arm.

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The Death of Conversation

phone

Screen time is something on everyone’s mind lately. It’s rotting our brains, making the kids want to kill themselves and each other and ruining marriages faster than Ashley Madison herself. We all think we’re immune, but it seeps into every social situation now days, and to be honest, I’m slowly inching towards putting my phone down for good.

Now, don’t think that the irony that I’m typing this on a screen first thing in the morning is lost on me, because it’s not. I’m as bad, of not worse, than a lot of people. I use my phone and computer for work a lot, but realistically, it’s not an excuse. I have two google alerts set up one for “communications” one for “social media”. If that doesn’t scream screen addict then I don’t know what does. I love computers and I love that they’ve opened a whole new career for me. It’s my social media time that I try and limit. I’m still aware that I use it more than most, and not really for anything productive, just that absent minded scrolling. I understand the need to engage the caveman side of your brain sometimes, just switch off and go on autopilot, but these hours scrolling aren’t a brain dead activity. I’m picking up social cues constantly on how I should look, what I should be doing with my life, how much more popular people are than me and, of course, how much happier they are. Maybe some of you are immune to that special brand of bullshit, I don’t know, but I know I’m not. So, I’m trying to become a conscious consumer and if I am using social media for absent minded nothingness, I’ll switch to a number game instead. I’m no scientist, but I’m sure their must be massive benefits for my well being.

I’m not perfect, but I am aware of be my behaviour, and I wonder how many people can be caught up in this epidemic if they had really understanding of how they used their phones. I’m meeting more and more people that don’t know how to cope without. They struggle with real life human interaction, and put online interactions on a pedestal. How often have you heard people say that they’ve met people they really connect with online, and what are the odds that these are the same people that would have a hard time approaching a stranger for directions or chatting up someone in a bar? The art of speaking to people has been lost a little, because we’re never alone. I’ve been for coffees by myself and sat in a bar and had a drink alone and it’s true, my natural response is to pull out my phone. When I don’t, almost every time, people approach me and talk to me. Sometimes it’s a meaningful encounter, most of the time it’s just a pleasant chat. I’m not sure how I would cope with that if I was more of a screen addict. I know people that play on their phones on purpose, to avoid the social interaction, which I can understand. Mainly it’s women who don’t want to be harassed, but spoiler!: having a screen in front of you won’t keep the creeps away. If anything, they’re the ones that are persistent enough to ignore your virtual force-field.

It’s not just talking to strangers that people are missing though, I know several people who will pull out their phones multiple times when we’re catching up one on one. Probably the same people that will ignore my phone calls, then text me asking “what’s up?”. It keeps the barriers up so they don’t really have to engage, because honest connection takes focus and attention. Maybe I should be more forgiving, after all, I am a fellow screen addict, but it makes me feel forgotten. I don’t know what you’re doing on there, but in my mind, you’re always connecting with people more interesting and important than me. I hope I’ve never made anyone feel that way.
I’m sure I’m not alone in that thinking. 50% of people say that social media has a negative effect on their romantic relationships. I know that relationships are hard and screens are easier, but screens can’t love you like people do. If the first thing you do when you wake up is check your phone instead of roll over and look at the one you love, if you’d rather talk to your friends from another country than ask the one in front of you what they’re thinking, if you’re looking for love online then batting away every advance from a real life person, the problem may not be the screen. If my phone died tomorrow, never to be resurrected, sure I would grieve. But part of me would be excited. So, I’m going to stop waiting for that day and make it happen, put my phone down and start looking people in the eye. Sorry if that makes you feel uncomfortable, but growth doesn’t come from a comfort zone.

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