A Lovely Weekend

A Lovely Weekend

These past few weeks have been about soaking up summer. June has been penetrated with long drives through rual Indiana, writing freelance feature artilces, learning about tax forms and earning first post-grad paychecks, staying bunkered down through the tornado-fourming storms, and getting out when I can when the blue sky shows itself. This weekend has been especially wonderful.

Columbus Indiana has been a place I’ve been visiting every week, and every time I’ve found a little secrete of the small city–like a flying pig resting on a legde in a quiet ally that leads to more of the interesting archeticure. Did you know that Columbus was designed by several famous architects, both present and historical? The modern-mecca buildings are like nothing else you’ll see in Indiana and they have such an instering history.

On Friday, I kicked off the weekend by going to an escape room downtown Indy with my boyfriend and one of our friends. We didn’t eacpase, unfortunately, but we were pretty darn close. Afterwards, we walked around the city, treated outselves to ice cream and fugde, and visted Rocket Fizz.

Yesterday was the Freedom Festival in my hometown, Greenwood. An annual festival that happens the week before the 4th of July. Although the day was pretty busy, I took over the instagram side of social media of our family buinsess for my mom, I think the best part was at the very end of the night, where it was just my mom and I walking through the crowds who were anticipating that evening’s fireworks. We ended up walking where concession stands and food trucks where set up, and at the every end of the long line of options, was Ben’s Soft Pretzels, the absolutly best pretzels ever. Of course I snagged one, along with cheeder cheese sause to go with it.

Today I have a few articles on deadline that I need to finish up. In college, one of my favorite assingments that I ever did was for my journalism class. We had to write a profile of someone or some place we thought was interesting. I loved it so much because I got to look closely at a subject, ask questions, and show their story in a way that it could be accessible to many. I never thought I’d get to do it as an actual job after graduation, but I am doing it. And I love it.

Oh, and of course I’ll be enjoying these beauties all day.

So what about you–how have you been spending your weekend?

Redefining My Relationship with Social Media

Redefining My Relationship with Social Media

I hear the term on the daily, especially in terms of social media: comparison

Among the people I follow, questions about social media itself and how to deal with comparison have been circulating a lot. How do you feel about social media? How do you handle comparison on these platforms? Should I take an Instagram hiatus? 

I’d like to think that we’re all just sharing our most intimate selves on this platform, but we’re not. As it has been said before, all the squared off corners and filtered pictures are just a hint at what is the trueness of what our lives are. And that’s all it really can be. Airing too much on social media is considered dirty laundry is another form of sharing that can be too much and not needed. Where is the balance? Is there one? 

When you’re reading this post, I want to make it clear that I don’t think that Instagram, or any other social platform, is bad. I also don’t have all the answers, as a twenty-something, I’m just as much trying to figure it out myself as anyone else it. I’m not advocating that people should give it up altogether, but I am questioning its use and its impact in my life, and invite you to question that for yourself. 

The thing I love about Instagram is the visual storytelling. I love expressing through photos, videos, and words, but I think it might be time for me to reevaluate how I use this social platform. Every time I’m bored or when I feel like running away from the hard stuff, I have an inclination to turn to scroll—submerging myself in other’s lives and pictures.

It’s here were this term, comparison has become prominent to me, it has flooded into my life. While it was once an abstract word, one that had meaning but I didn’t see the effects of, it has now become very real for me. I’m starting to see how social media, Instagram in particular, has come to affect my overall well-being.

When I’m trying to make a decision in my own life, even if it’s as small as what to do for lunch, I end up consulting the ideas that I’ve gotten from what I’ve seen from other people that day. What would so-and-so get for a quick hour pick-me-up? What is the most Instagram worthy sandwich I can order? It also comes with larger life questions. I unconsciously ask myself if this next step in my career, if this job will allow me to be like her/him, will it give me the same opportunities, will I be as successful? This is what they did when they graduated from university, should I do that too? 

When these questions pop into my head, I don’t automatically think, Oh, I’m starting to compare myself to someone else, but it’s more of after the fact—after I’ve made the decision and thought about the effects of it, and if it really was a genuine one. 

Instead of being in the present moment, focusing on my own work—or even on the music that is playing in the cafe I’m sitting in—I am constantly in my own mind, comparing myself to whoever’s Instagram feed I just looked at. 

Inspiration is good, advice is good, guidance is good, but there is a deeper conscious and gut feeling in each individual’s lives that can’t be compared to any other. 

I’ve thought about ditching Instagram for a week, or even a month. Normally, when I set goals that I set for myself they never work. If I say that I’m going to take a week off of Instagram, it will feel too clinical, like I’m giving myself a dose of medicine to prevent the pain and not actually go to the root of it. Or if I fail at the goal I set for myself, I’ll feel worse about it than if I just continued to use Instagram. 

I’ve decided on trying to use Instagram differently. I still like sharing and being connected into people’s lives but perhaps limiting the time I give myself on the platform each day and unfollowing the accounts that don’t add any meaning to my feed. I’ve also considered using this blog more as an outlet than just containing all of my posts on Instagram.

This platform also seems more authentic for me, more genuine, and more approachable. I’ve been blogging since 2014, and although the past few years I haven’t been posting as much, sharing my writing and photos on here is more of a means of expression and rather than comparison.

No matter what I do, redefining my relationship with social media is a task that I’m working on. I’m still trying to figure out this age of social media and how to navigate it as a millennial, but I’d like to open up the conversation to you. What do you think about social media? How does it affect you? What are some things you like and some things you don’t? 

Feel free to leave comments below or contact me via the contact form. Let’s keep this conversation going.

Warm Temps and Listening Ears

The temperature is warming up outside and I have left my coat at home THREE times this week so I think it’s offical: spring has made it’s way to the midwestern state of corn and race car drivers.

I have recently wrote an article for Indianapolis Monthly on hammocking which will be published in the coming months. It has made me so excited to get out my own hammock soon with the warmth on the rising.

Along with the hope of getting to take a swing in in my hammcok soon, posting on this blog weekly has always been one thing I’ve always hoped to dedicate to; however, with the ups and down of student life it’s difficult to scheudal in time to write admist all the papers and required reading and deadline and trips to go get coffee so you can do it all.

But the bitter sweet news is that student life is almost to an end. I’m graduting college with my BA in English within a month. Then it’s time to move on with the next chapter. (The next chapter will definaily include writing on this blog more.)

For the meantime, though, here are a few things I’ve been listening to. I always seem to be listning to something, whether it’s an audio version of a book I have to be reading for class or a song I just can’t get out of my head. These three things have been my favorites, though.

Here is a podcast I’ve been listening too called Simple. Tsh Oxenreider is a wonderful host who asks the best questions to whoever she is hosting. The topics are always thought provoking and relevant.

Here is a song I’ve been listening to on repeat in my car. (Yesterday with the windows down because yay warmth!)

Here is an audiobook I’ve been listening too while I shuffle loads of laundry through the washer and scrub dishes clean. Chaning Slow is written by Indiana based Erin Loechner and I just love her and her story.

What is something YOU have been listening too? Let me know in the comments below. (Also, is it starting to warm up where you are?)

An Ode To July 

1. The Hoosier state’s livid heat wave. Sweat sticking to the soft forehead of kids playing on the playground. Ice cream on the front porch that melts faster than you can lick and lands on the concrete steps you’re sitting on. 

2. The tomatoes in my backyard are ripening. They are in that stage of a yellowish green which will soon give way to a sun-kissed red. My figures smell like their tangy juice after gliding my figures over their smooth surface. Waiting to pick them is like watching and waiting for the sun to rise on the summer solstice.

3. That time I left my sunroof open during a clear blue sunny day. I was inside the bank for 20 minutes when the heavens decided to let the floodgates open and pour down a warm wet rain that saturated my car’s interior. There was a rainbow peeking out from the clouds and it was sunny the rest of the day.

4.  Laying in a hammock between the shade of two trees is one of the most calming actions you can take in a claim to self-care and relaxation. I defiantly suggest bringing with you a good book and a bowl of ice cream.

5. The County Fair: culture hub of the Midwest. If you’re looking for what farmer do for summer fun, this is where you go. Booths that sell lemon shake-ups, elephant ears, and fried tenderloins scatter the grounds. If you walk over to the pig and cattle barn you’ll find young boys and girls chilling out by their animals or washing their pigs for the Friday night auction. I know the people over in the goat barn. 

6.  9:20 pm drives home through the suburban area of midwestern no-where. The July that I write this is the last July I’ll have in school. 

7. The year 2014, age 17, the year where I spent the entire month of July in the state of Florida. My family bought a house five minutes away from the gates of Disney and we spent our whole damn summer painting, scrapping, tiling and completing other vast renovations. All in over-heated, humid, sticky, swampy Florida. It’s a vacation rental now. My body acclimated to the climate so much that, when I came back to Indiana, wearing a jacket and socks in the 80-degree weather was a must.

8. Mosquito bites. Period.

9. We bought a kayak. It is one of those blow-up kinds that have the potential to easily pop but you don’t think about that while out in the middle of the water. Best investments of this summer. To test the 11’ kayak out, we took it over to my friend’s house and tried to use it within the constraints of their 17’x8’ pool. 

10. I listed the county fair but did I mention the fair’s Queen Contest? This year, 21 contestants lined up in the hot rusty indoor arena, to win the judges heart and become the next Miss Johnson county. People were walking around with t-shirts that supported one of the contestants which said: “Good Enough to Scoop Poop, Good Enough to be Your Queen”, with a little a clip-art photo of a pig wearing a tiara.

11. You can find me during this Queen Contest with a couple of my fair time acquaintances up in the bleacher “trash talking” (as my friend put it) about the dresses, the hair, and each girl’s queenly or not so queenly wave. We bet on who will win. None of us win.

12. The Zinnia seeds that I planted back in May are finally blooming. According to Wikipedia, these flowers are “a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe within the daisy family. They are native to scrub and dry grassland in an area stretching from the Southwestern United States to South America, with a center of diversity in Mexico.”

13.   Every 

14.      Day 

15.          Seems 

16.                 To 

17.                Drag 

18.                         On

19.                            Longer     

20.                                and Longer… 

21. My first kiss happened on a July 20th. It was a fabulous kiss. We were cutting strawberries in my kitchen and he leaned over an grabbed my cheeks with is wet, fruity fingers. He did that cute thing where he held a strawberry between his teeth and had me lean in and eat it, then kissed me more.

22. Mentioning strawberries, we had some in our garden when I was a kid, 2009 maybe? I ate them until my figures turn red and my stomach turned spoiled from all the natural sugar. I remember making jam out of them. My mom chopping them up and making a sort of jellied concoction to put into a ball jar and freeze so we’d have fresh preserves all summer.

23. That time my photo of old picture frames went viral on Tumblr happened on July 23, 2016. 1,444 notes. My one and only claim to social media fame.

24. Bored. So bored that you just lay on your bed and look up at the ceiling fan, trying to count how many times it circulates. Congratulations younger me, you hit your summer break’s bedrock boredom faze. It only goes up from here.

25. Actually being homeschooled, you don’t get a summer break. Not really. Learning world history from the adventurous outdoors of my backyard playground was never the best, but then again it was better than hitting bedrock boredom. At least I was learning something.

26.  Light filters through the crack between the umbrella and the house, between the wood planks on the table, between the curtain and the window, between my eyelids and the morning. 

27. This might have happened in August but I’ll list it here anyway. I rode an elephant once.  It was my biggest dare, my greatest achievement, the masked truth I’d use in two truths and a lie. It happened at our Indiana State fare. I’m proud to say I still have the sticker which pictured the said elephant I rode with the world printed in bold I RODE AN ELEPHANT which they gave me after I dismounted. I satisfyingly wore it the rest of the day. 

28. One summer my mom, brother, and I ventured out into the wild west into the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota. On the last leg home, we tiredly sang “Back Home Again In Indiana” right as we crossed over the Wabash River. The moonlight glissaded on its surface and we were happy to be home. 

29 Basel leaves have this scent that penetrates the whole garden and invites you, and the beetles, in to eat their leaves. The beetles prefer them raw. I prefer them with cheese, tomato sauce, and homemade pizza dough.

30.  My birthday is in October, however, the year I was to turn 12 I wanted a warm summer birthday party so bad that we decided to celebrate my birth in July instead. I had an ice cream party where all my friends came. A three-layer ice cream cake from Cold Stone graced the table. It was frozen, so frozen that my dad had to get out the electric turkey knife to be able to cut through it. I cried. I’ve had all my birthday parties in October since then. 

31. July. Ironically yet sincerely my least favorite month of the year.