When Everyone Is Telling You Something Different

I’m going to be honest. I have no idea who you are, you out there in the bubble of the Internet. You could be a baby. (I have seen young parents throw iPads at their children so I wouldn’t be surprised.) You could possibly be 90 years old. You might even be a cat (they rule the Internet, after all.) But I do know one thing: You’ve probably, at some time in your life, had multiple people telling you different things at once.

“Really?” you ask. “People do that?” Yes, really. They do. “People have different opinions?” It comes as a complete surprise. People will tell you different things based on what they believe: where they’re at in life, their experiences, their beliefs.

For example, a wife who has been married for 35 years is going to have a different view on marriage than a single 21-year-old dude. A Fortune-500 CEO is going to have something different to say about success than a homeless man. It’s the world we live in, y’know. People are different (shocker.)

Everyone has a time in their life when they’re trying to make a decision, but it seems like everyone is telling them to do something different. I (like most people) have had to make big decisions before. Of course my parents are going to tell me something different than my friends. Of course my professors is going to tell me something different than my roommate.

“Follow your dreams! Do what you love to do!” says one person.

“Do something practical. Sometimes your passions don’t pay the bills.” says another.

“Marry someone who’s absolutely perfect, your Prince Charming!” someone tells you.

“No one is a Prince Charming. Don’t set your standards too high.” says someone else.

The question is: Who do you listen to? Or, rather: Who is right?

There’s literally no clear-cut answer to this question. Because it’s up to you. I’m not telling you to “follow your heart,” because that’s stupid. It seriously is. Your heart will get you into more trouble than you think. But also don’t completely disregard your heart. Just make sure your brain is involved in there too.

In order to answer a question like that, you have to ask, “What do I know to be true in this situation, in this context that I’m in?” What are your beliefs and how do they line up in the decision you’re making? If you’re thinking about your career, what does following your dream look like? How does it line up with how you’ve been raised, what you’ve come to believe in? You will eventually have to ask yourself if it’s rational or not, but dream on. Shape your dreams based on your situation. Want to be a musician? Get a desk job and offer lessons on the side. Keep honing your craft. It’s not “practical” until it is. Want a “Prince Charming” to come in to your life? Just keep working on yourself, pursuing your passions. Chances are there’s someone out there who shares those passions.

(I know both of these above things are easier said than done. I’m feebly trying to make a point at 12:45am because my brain wouldn’t let me do anything else.)

This all might sound like midnight ramblings (which is exactly what it is), but I hope it strikes a chord with someone out there. I may have just made you more confused about everything (“Oh great, ANOTHER person telling me something ELSE.”) I hope I haven’t. I just know that it can cause a lot of anxiety when it seems like everyone is telling you something different and you don’t know who you should believe – because what if you make the wrong decision? You can feel your blood pressure rising already, can’t you? And this is all hypothetical. It’s scary. It’s stressful. But making decisions is part of life.

So listen to the people around you. Digest what they’re telling you. But you make the final decision. You are looking at the world through your own lens, however you have tinted it. And if you feel like you’ve taken a wrong turn, don’t stress out. Take a deep breath, put your hands back on the wheel, and try again. And keep trying. And don’t stop until you have nothing left to give.

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To Be Obnoxious and Introverted

I am probably one of the most obnoxious people you will ever meet.

You probably wouldn’t assume that about me if you met me. A few words that are used to describe me are, “quiet,” “reclusive,” “reserved,”  and “oh I didn’t see you there.” (That last one isn’t quite an adjective, but trust me, I’ve heard it before.) How can a quiet person be obnoxious?

Let me invite you into my brain.

Never mind. That sounded gross – “Please, lodge yourself into my cerebral cortex. Don’t be shy.” In all honesty, though, my inner monologue from day-to-day is probably not what people would expect.

The same things that I look down upon are the same things I’m thinking. I just choose not to say them. Sometimes. (Sometimes I choose to blog about them.)

And just because I don’t say them out loud doesn’t mean they’re any less bad. Because they still cross my mind, and I still dwell on them. Let me give you some examples.

I judge people. I hardcore judge people. I’m not even going to sugar-coat that. I criticize people in my head while telling them nice things. I’m jealous of people even though I praise them and pretend to like them. Because if I do that, I’ll seem like a nice person. And everyone likes nice people. And I want people to like me.

C.S. Lewis has a lot to say about nice people. (He had a lot to say about a lot of things, and everything he said was brilliant. I’m not being hyperbolic; it’s true.) He said that nice people don’t think they need anything to save them. They’re nice enough to save themselves. They’re not really good, they’re not really bad – they’re just “nice.” (See: The Witch in Into the Woods. She has a lot to say about nice people too.) And nice people are like those people you see riding in pontoon boats in the summer. They’re not speeding, they’re not drifting; they’re just along for the ride.

Don’t get me wrong. If you have negative/bad/evil thoughts, don’t blurt them out. Don’t be that guy. But if those thoughts do cross your mind, don’t dwell on them. If you thought someone’s answer in class was really stupid, don’t dwell on it. Think of a question that might help them, or help yourself understand whatever is being discussed. If you think someone’s clothes look weird, think about how that person must have an awesome personality. Or just look away from that person and think about something totally different, like what you’re going to have for lunch (I think about that a lot.)

The thing is, we’re all dirty, whether we show it or not. We’ve all got dirt. You see that nice person over there? That guy’s got dirt. He probably thinks bad things about people too. (This exercise is really awkward if you’re sitting in an empty room.) You’ve probably heard this before: When you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you (I mean, sort of. They’re kind of pointing into your palm, unless you point really weird.)

In summary: Everyone’s obnoxious. Everyone judges people and has mean thoughts and stuff like that. Everyone’s got dirt. You’ve got dirt. I’ve got dirt. (Up next on Sesame Street…) It’s all about how you channel those thoughts. Jump off that pontoon boat and go for a swim. Enjoy the people around you, the life around you. Look into people’s faces and find one thing you like about them. And if something bad slips out of your mouth, just apologize, either to yourself or to someone you’ve offended.

And keep living your awesome life.

Self-Entitlement and the American College Student

 

I’m going to sound like a mega-grump in this post. Just thought I’d warn you now, so you can back up and switch tabs to the “Which Loaf of Bread are You?” quiz on Buzzfeed. Because that’s probably more important (aren’t we all just carbs on the food pyramid of life?)

What I have to say may not come as a shocker to most people. We all know college students, right? I mean, you must know at least one. Based on the general demographics of the readers of this blog, you probably are one. And for that, I applaud you. You decided to take 4+ years of your life to get a handshake and a piece of paper and maybe a job that relates to that piece of paper. Or maybe a job at McDonald’s. Because does anyone really hire people who got a B.A. in Art History? (Art History majors, I’m sure you’re wonderful people. I’m just using you as an example of the cruelties of this economy.)

Because we all (probably) know (at least one) college student(s), I think it’s safe to say that the following question has crossed our minds:

Why the heck are college students so dang self-entitled? 

You may or may not have used expletives stronger than mine, depending on your level of feeling for this topic. I’m assuming that if you are in the older demographic, you’re thinking, “College kids think the world is gonna be handed to them. They think they deserve everything that comes to them and if they don’t get what they think they deserve, they complain about it to their parents. Or they Tweet about it. Or they move back to their suburban home and live in their mom’s basement until their 30, just waiting for their career in cartooning to kick off.”

Maybe not those exact words, but close enough.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re of the younger demographic (aka an actual college student, or a recent graduate), you might be thinking, “Heck yeah I deserve something. I just spent 4+ years of my life studying graphic design. Where’s my interview with Pixar?”

My cop-out response is that both groups of people are justified. It’s easy to look at a college student and see an entitled brat who drives around the car that Daddy bought for him and actively complains about the dearth of cafeteria food available to him on a daily basis – when he’s one of the few people in the world who eats three meals a day.

Let me put it this way: College students, by nature, invest a lot of time, effort, and money into themselves. They’re probably going to school for the sake of their future, so it’s not hard to become a bit ego-centric when you come to college. Every day is about you – your classes, your job interviews, your activities, your choice of what to watch on Netflix.

(Some of them even blog about these things.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not justifying the self-entitled college student. No one is entitled to anything. I am not entitled to an education or a job. I’m not entitled to awesome food in the cafeteria or kick-butt student activities. I only deserve these things if I’m willing to work for them. But if I don’t, I shouldn’t rant about how I got cheated by society or the economy or whatever nameless philosophical blob I could blame. It all comes back to me.

How am I using this situation, whether I’m where I want to be or not?

So consider this an open letter to self-entitled college students. Let me offer you some unsolicited advice, since everyone has probably been giving you unsolicited advice at this time in your life.

1) Guess what! The world doesn’t revolve around you. You’re shocked, I know. But I think a lot of times, we young, spunky college students like to think the world is our oyster…and it is, but it also isn’t. Just because it’s our oyster doesn’t mean we deserve the pearl. We gotta work for that pearl. So we can pay for that pearl. And turn it into a fancy necklace. Or an earring. Or an iPhone case. Whatever you dig. 

2) Sometimes people are simply not going to like you. That’s a thing that happens. Just because they don’t like you doesn’t mean a) you’re unlikeable or b) they’re unlikeable. Sometimes professors won’t like you. Sometimes bosses won’t like you. Or that guy who lives down the hall from you and exclusively eats honey-nut Cheerios. And you just have to live with it. Because trying to make people like you is legitimately exhausting. And you already have enough stressing you out. 

3) Complaining is not your friend. Complaining will make you sad and grouchy, like a shriveled-up onion, or something gross like that. Just because the cafeteria is serving chicken for the 14th day in a row (yep, that’s a thing at the school I go to) doesn’t mean you need to go complaining about how “oh my gosh I’m so sick of chicken this is so disgusting why *sad face*.” I’m going to play the guilt-trip-mom card on you: a lot of people in the world don’t get to walk into a cafeteria and eat stuff. So you choke that chicken down. AND YOU ENJOY IT. 

4) Hating on people is also not cool. I usually don’t like using “hate” as a verb, but I think it’s justified here. Seriously. I hear people talk trash about other people a lot. Sometimes I even partake. But it doesn’t do anyone any good. It might make you feel good about yourself to put someone down, but that feeling doesn’t last. Just because you think someone is weird, nerdy, or different from you doesn’t give you the right to say so. That guy who eats the Cheerios? He’s got a full, dynamic life just like you. He just happens to have an affinity for fiber. Get to know people. It’ll help you understand why they do some of the quirky things they do. And usually, those quirky things are really awesome. 

Here comes the part of this post wherein I descend from my soapbox and join reality once again. Like I’ve said before, this blog is my space to try to figure things out, and maybe get some help along the way. I’m simply ruminating on some things that have been rattling around in my head recently. Thanks for letting me ramble on and be cynical about people. And whatever you decide to do with this slew of information I just threw at you, continue living your awesome life. Wake up, drink something caffeinated, step outside, and join the many confused human beings out in the world who are just trying to figure things out along with you. And then take a nap when you’re done, because that is one thing you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: It has been brought to my attention that this post sounds slightly pompous and, upon reading it over again, it does seem like a bratty trend-piece writer wrote this (Who? Me?) I forgot to mention that I myself am a college student and a lot of this stuff is me telling myself to not do stuff like this. Because believe me. I do. So I apologize if I came off as obtuse. Also, this post is categorized under “satire.” Read into that what you will. 

And thank you for understanding my somewhat obtuse and close-minded views on the world. 

Everyone Needs to Calm Down About Everything

And that’s not a blanket statement. That’s pretty much true.

Awhile ago, there was a meme floating around social media that was a stock photo of someone shouting (or something, I don’t remember exactly what it was) with the white, blocky, meme-esque letters that read, “Good morning, America! What are we offended by today?”

When I first saw that, I almost threw something because that was so accurate. It seems like very day someone is telling someone that something they did was offensive. Just today, I looked on my Facebook newsfeed (the most relevant of news sources, second only to MSNBC) to see that The Gap had recently apologized after a seemingly “racist” advertisement. I thought to myself, “What horrid, detrimental propaganda could The Gap have possibly coughed out this time?” When I looked at it, all I saw was an ad for kid’s clothes. I didn’t quite see anything inherently racist. It could be that I am an insensitive bigot and am blind to the race issues that plague America and clothing ads.

Or, maybe everyone needs to calm down a little bit. And by a little bit, I mean calm the eff down about everything.

Remember I told you that I’m never going to tell you what you should think? I’m not trying to tell you to not get riled up about things that you think are wrong. But when one man says something that might possibly offend a woman in some way, it doesn’t mean all men are evil misogynists. When one person, corporation, or advertisement says something that peeves you off just a little bit, you don’t have to demand a full-out apology. Sometimes it’s just better to turn the other cheek and focus on more important things in your life. (Seriously, who has time to flip through the Sunday ads and put a red circle around things that are offensive? Everything is offensive to someone. I can show you fifty examples just walking through Abercrombie and Fitch.)

All of that to say, sometimes people will offend you. Sometimes their opinions will offend you. You have to decide whether it’s worth getting worked up about, or if you should just forget about it and keep living the awesome life you’re living. Because guess what? Sometimes you will offend people. I offend people all the time. Do you want everyone you offend to pick a fight with you, express their outrage on social media, and demand a public apology from you?

So, dear everyone: Please just calm down. People say stupid things and do stupid stuff. Ad agencies put out weird ads that are occasionally stupid. But guess what? You wake up every morning, and you probably have a bed, food to eat, and a way to get yourself to work or school. That’s a lot to be thankful for, and not a lot to get offended by.

So why let something as small as a clothing advertisement make you go crazy? Why stop the presses and demand an apology, all over a brand of overly-priced clothes? If you want to live as a perpetually-peeved, tight-knit ball of angst and anxiety and be self-entitled to have everyone apologize to you, then you do you. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you that some things aren’t worth your time. Like Gobstoppers. And the DMV. And somewhat offensive advertisements on the Internet.

And if you do find yourself outraged over something, definitely put it on Facebook. That’s what everyone wants to see. There’s nothing I like better than logging on to Facebook to see a tl;dr post of some news article about some hot button issue like whether manatees have feelings or not. Whatever people get excited about these days.

So, calm down. Take a bath. Eat an oreo. That’s what I do when I’m angry and it makes me feel better. Just keep living your awesome life.

 

 

She Drank A Cup of Coffee. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

Yes, that was clickbait. No, I’m not ashamed. I’m not ashamed because I did not just shamelessly lead you to a website that features articles like “10 Celebrities Who Secretly Have Lizard Tails” alongside 50 ads for how to get clearer skin using mango peels (someone try it; it might actually work – I mean, coconut oil is a thing, right?) Nope. That clickbait led you here, which might be worse than the aforementioned website.

However, I’m also not lying. I drank a cup of coffee. I’m currently drinking another. And since it’s Keurig coffee, there’s nothing incredibly inspiring about it. Except for the fact that it contains caffeine, which always inspires me. That’s why I don’t judge people who drink Folger’s instant. It’s caffeine, and they probably need it. I don’t judge where your caffeine comes from. Unless you get it from an energy drink. Then I judge you. Hard.

I just listened to part of Hamilton the musical, so I’m in a creative mood and I want to inspire people. But I don’t know what about. This is one blog amongst a million blogs. I’m probably not going to tell you anything you haven’t heard before. In fact, I’m probably going to tell you things that you’ve heard a million times. Think of this as the Slowpoke meme of blogs. If you’re extremely behind on the way everyone else is thinking, come and join me. Together, we can be the ignorant corner of the Internet. Which is the entire Internet.

I’m hoping to actually sit down and personalize this website pretty soon. 9-year-old me would have seen “personalized” and immediately reached for the construction paper, stickers, and Comic Sans font (I loved Comic Sans when I was 9. I have no idea why. I am still repenting to this day.) In the near future, I also hope to narrow the scope of this blog somewhat. Right now, it’s sort of experimental (and not in the artsy, absurdist way. More in the annoying, 7th-grade-science way.) I’ll probably, hopefully, eventually crack down on things that I love doing and start talking about that more.

Or it will just turn into a corner of the Internet reserved for a quiet, slightly miffed 20-something.

In any case, we’ll see, won’t we?

Who is this woman posting things on the Internet?

Person: “Help! This man is injured! Is there a doctor in the house?”

Blogger: “I’m a blogger”

This is what I think of when I think of bloggers. It seems like they have the same reputation as vegans – no one really wants to be one, but when they are, they make a big deal about it. (I apologize to vegans – and to bloggers) That’s why I was hesitant to start a blog. But then I realized I needed space. I needed a space to muse about life and to also be heard. There are times during my day when I don’t say things I should (more often, I say things I shouldn’t). I decided to do something about that – create a space where I could muse and perhaps find a few people who could muse with me.

Never forget that your musings and opinions matter, no matter how quiet you are, no matter how stupid you think your opinions are. They matter. Even if you just post them out into the ether that is the Internet, to be swallowed by basketball memes and cats hunting for cheeseburgers.

So this is my space, and you’re welcome to it. But, as any stranger who enters into someone’s space, they usually like to know about the Someone who occupies that space.

I’m Audrey. I’m a Christian. I’m a sophomore in college studying communications. I’m an introvert. I like coffee (hence the website name). I have never been in a fight with a bear. That’s probably all you want to know. I won’t exhaust the subject because there’s not much to talk about.

I know that this post is getting a bit TL;DR, but there’s just a few more things I want to say. Since I really can’t tell you what this blog is, I can give you a vague idea of what this blog isn’t. Then you can decide whether you’re cool with random crap or think to yourself, “This isn’t a blog about knitting cat sweaters? I’m out. ”

This is what I’m NOT setting out to do in this blog:

  1. I’m not going to try to tell you what to think or what to do. (Basically, this is not a health/fitness website. Eat whatever you dang want.)
  2. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. Because I don’t know how to live life. (In fact, if you have anything to say about living life, please tell me. I’m not sure if I’m doing it right.)
  3. I’m not going to teach you how to be a parent. (Why are there so many parenting blogs? Seriously. Someone please explain this to me. I was raised before the Internet and I’m okay.)
  4. I’m not going to show you how to bake things using an exhaustive amount of pictures detailing each step. I know. You’re disappointed.
  5. I’m never going to talk about the Kardashians. That’s just kind of a basic rule I have for my life in general.

If this post were an acceptance speech at the Oscars, they’d probably have drop-kicked me off the stage by now. Blog tips always tell you to “Keep it short! People on the Internet aren’t interested in long narratives!” I guess I’ll have to counteract that at some point by talking about the rise of longform media among millennials. Or I’ll just post a cat meme next time.

In any case, thanks for checking in. Have fun existing.