We Need To Take Note Of Inclusion
It’s not difficult to find an image of 20-somethings and younger sitting around staring at their phones. We call it a shame, that we’re losing the ability to communicate, and that our humanity is all but gone. But that’s not the case: it’s not that we’re less social, it’s that we’re less transparent.
I was out to brunch a few weeks ago, took out my phone, and said to the my friend, “totally taking a photo of this meal and tagging you.” Then I showed her the photo, asked her to help choose the filter, and when I looked at my phone minutes later, I showed her the four Instagram notifications. She noted this sharing process, that while I was guilty of phone-at-the-table, I was inclusive regarding my activities. And I try to be every time I’m on my phone in a social space. I ask people for help on Candy Crush levels. I tell people I’m tagging them in posts about our plans. I explain the project that I’ve been eagerly waiting for a response on and consult about how to respond. I try to make my phone activity part of the social event.
If someone is reading a magazine or a newspaper while you’re sitting on the couch with them, it still feels like you’re relaxing together. You know “where” they are, whether it be lost in Hogwarts or confused about the latest legislation on unemployment. But when they’re engaged with a screen? It can feel that rather than being engrossed with something else, they’re engrossed with someone else. Therein lies the insecurity, and the feeling of being left out of something.
In the age of rampant “feelings” posts, it’s astounding that we can feel so alone in our insecurities when a video about loneliness can be watched millions of times. It’s our nature as social mammals, it is literally our nature, to want to be included in the pack, and it’s undeniable how crushing it can be when you feel like someone who you thought would include you, didn’t.
Imagine for a moment hearing a one-sided conversation, maybe you’re walking the same speed as the only other person on the sidewalk and all you’re hearing is her side, or you’re in the car with another person, and they take a call, sitting next to you, laughing and enjoying it, loudly. It isannoying to listen to one side of the conversation, because your brain is exhausting itself trying to fill in the silences. It’s easy to zone out a complete story. It’s easy to zone out your friend and his book because you’re seeing the whole conversation. It is not easy to zone out your girlfriend and her cell phone because you are only seeing one side of the conversation.
Inclusion is a hard thing to be aware of for other people, but it’s worth taking note of. It’s worth trying to talk to the person sitting in the middle, not being pulled into the conversations on either end of the table. It’s worth noticing who has been pivoted out of the circle of friends so you can open the setting to bring them in. It’s worth telling someone you’re capturing a moment with them. You don’t always have to put your phone down, sometimes all you need to do is turn it around.
Check out my other pieces on Thought Catalog.
5:20 pm • 19 December 2013 • 61 notes
When life knocks you down, look awesome.
Dress: Francesca’s; Shoes: Jessica Simpson; Necklace: street vendor
2:48 pm • 19 December 2013 • 92 notes
sleepingcarowine asked: I love that you continue to be such a strong woman no matter how many times things don't work out the way you think they will. You are not alone. We are all in this thing together and you are truly such an inspiration to your fellow woman. I think having strong female role models like you, who never let a relationship(whether it's the beginning or the end) define who you are is so important. Thank you for continuing to write, for being unwavering in who you are & for always telling us the truth.
Okay, now I’m just crying.
2:35 pm • 18 December 2013 • 23 notes
Anonymous asked: I appreciate the beautiful reminder that we all captain our own ships--and abandon them to save ourselves. I know that I forget that no one else is at the helm but me, and that asking anyone else to save me or love me (they're the same thing, aren't they?) doesn't let me be the hero of my own story--and that's the best damn part. I guess, what I'm trying to really say is THANK YOU (again) for being my spiritual compass and sisterly chart. You inspire me to live and write. Keep on keeping on.
So, my mom thought the “Let the Ship Sink” piece was really sad, but I think there is nothing more beautiful than knowing that all you need to recover hope, to recover faith and pride, all that you need to guide you is you.
I just think that’s the luckiest thing in the world.
1:41 pm • 18 December 2013 • 16 notes
Anonymous asked: Just needed to say, what I find most inspiring about your whole DBN archive is how it tracks the whole complex of hope and despair that comes with relationships - the being terrible and terrified, the many renewals, the backtracking and the moving forward, and the backtracking-with-self-awareness that IS moving forward. I love this. Thanks for letting it speak for itself, in what's accumulated here.
No matter how cringe-worthy or embarrassing some of the early stuff is, it’s messages like this that remind that I shouldn’t be ashamed of the past, I should proud that I grew from it.
1:35 pm • 18 December 2013 • 13 notes
Anonymous asked: I've been slowly working through your blog from the beginning but every now and then I catch snippets of current day action. because of this I now know your real name, so 1) I may name my first born after you because that is one helluva name! 2) I decided to immediately google you and stumbled upon a youtube video. your voice is nothing like I imagined but DAMN can you sing. much love chicka, so much love.
Aww, thank you.
Sorry guys, get ready for me to post some really sweet messages because I need to hear them.
1:33 pm • 18 December 2013 • 2 notes
Anonymous asked: Your posts have helped me get over two guys, and now I'm working on number three. Whether you know it or not, you've been on this long journey with me... somehow your words pop up when I need to see them the most. Thank you for the honesty and inspiration. You are so right - right now is all we have. I hope you continue to find what makes you happy, and please never stop writing!
1:48 am • 18 December 2013 • 18 notes
“When the army doesn’t come for you, when no one chooses to fight for you, when no one dives in after you with fairy tales and promises, you write a different story. You write a tale of adventure and chaos, of survival and fortitude, and instead of wishing to be saved, you save yourself.”
— Kelton Wright (via itsnevertoolatefornow)
6:25 pm • 17 December 2013 • 261 notes
Let The Ship Sink
All I wanted to hear was a knock at the door and the silence was deafening. The empty inbox, the text that never came, the phone that didn’t ring, no footsteps outside my door, no likes, no comments, no shards of anything anywhere except the sound of being unwanted. The heartache felt like nausea and I wanted to survive on it. My ears ached for any vibration that might sound like love-come-to-the-rescue and I knew I needed to get out of the house. I needed to eat.
At the grocery, I idled through the aisles. I ran my fingertips over labels and took care to scuff my shoes on the floor, trying to prove my amble to myself, to make the minutes feel like hours that never ended, like this moment was all there ever was, where no one knew me and no one knew this was my face when I was sad. No one would think it was unusual my hair was up or that my face was scrubbed clean. I could be as unnoticeable as I felt. I idled on in my self-pity.
The bread aisle was daunting. There were too many kinds of bread. There were too many labels with too many punch-lines for something as simple as bread. Why was it this complicated? A man, a guy, stood in front of the loaves like he was in the feminine hygiene aisle – how was he supposed to pick? Whole grain? Wheat? Seven grain? Seven whole grains of wheat?
“Bread, man. Who knew?” He seemed startled that I spoke to him, but laughed and made a noise that sounded like an agreement. I squeezed a loaf of Sara Lee wheat, put it in my basket, and nodded at him before walking away. I turned into the next aisle and tears welled in my eyes. I didn’t want to go unnoticed. I wanted to be noticed so much it made a scene. I wanted to be noticed so badly I was willing to disregard years of social anxiety to talk about bread with a stranger. I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be fought for, and instead I was buying peanut butter and jelly on a Friday night to put in a kitchen I hadn’t used in weeks.
And what it would be to be fought for, to see and to feel that you mean and you deserve as much as they say that you do. But the army never arrives for your heart the way they tell you it will. There is no note in the mailbox, no flowers at your desk. There is no Hail Mary, there is no grand gesture, there is no one at your door. So you bow your head and you do work. You swallow the hollow and move yourself on with long runs and caffeine, with hearty meals and hugs. You let the ship sink so you can swim to the shore.
Relationships are vessels for love, and they weather in storms and in waves and in day-to-day when their sailors are weary and looking at the horizon more than they look at the deck. Sometimes, all there is left to do is let the ship sink, let the debris decay, and then let it become something beautiful, something of lore. Let it become something you gaze at with reverie as the coral paints it with more majesty than it deserves. It only carried your heart before and now it carries a world of technicolor life. Let the ship sink, let the water engulf the memories, and let it settle into the depths. Let it become something you remember or something you forget, something you look for again or something you respect, a place where lessons lie and treasures can be found when time forgets the storm. It sailed once and it settled into the sea, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t something of glory and that doesn’t mean it can’t be something of beauty. No one will love you by begging them to. No one will dive into the sea for you by wishing them to. Let the ship sink so you can face the next battle, so you can swim to shore, so you can find your way home.
In the caverns of my darkest nights when the heartache holds me hostage, I will choose to let the ship sink. I cannot recover it on my own. I cannot wait for a lifeboat. I cannot hope there is someone to fight for me. So I will choose to take one last breath to dive down and survey what we became. And then I will look a little more carefully with a little more love at my surroundings, to listen to what can be heard in the depths of the wreckage. The footsteps of friends on the deck. The calls on my phone from family. The texts of kindness. The emails of opportunity. The likes and the comments and the hearts and the replies from every other broken heart. When the army doesn’t come for you, when no one chooses to fight for you, when no one dives in after you with fairy tales and promises, you write a different story. You write a tale of adventure and chaos, of survival and fortitude, and instead of wishing to be saved, you save yourself.
Check out my other pieces for Thought Catalog here.
11:52 am • 17 December 2013 • 236 notes
Anonymous asked: I look up to you, read your whole blog from start to present, and need your advice... I'm a year and a half into my relationship and he was a DREAM when we started dating. Last weekend he heated up leftovers for himself, ate them, and when I asked him later on to accompany me to grab some food he asked why I couldn't take my car then called me needy for asking him to accompany me. I feel like ending it over this. Is this forgivable or a clear sign to end it and never look back?
It’s a clear sign he’s comfortable, had a tough day at work, and didn’t act appropriately.
The thing about relationships is that 90% of the time, that person is like a friend or a family member, and every once in awhile, those people act like jerks. Is it cool? No. Have you done it? Probably.
Not every day in a relationship is romance and roses. Sometimes it’s noticing they did your laundry without asking. Sometimes it’s finding they left the last few Skittles for you. And sometimes it’s needing to say, “hey, you hurt my feelings when you said that. I like spending time with you, and that’s why I wanted you to come with me.”
It’s not that this is a sign to break up or forgive him, it’s just a sign that your relationship, like all relationships, requires constant communication and a little vulnerability.
Here’s some required listening to get you amped up to talk about your feelings. Just remember: this is a very normal fight and a very normal feeling to have about it. Work it out.
1:56 am • 17 December 2013 • 32 notes