Hi.

I’m coming to the conclusion that I stopped blogging because I stopped believing my opinions were valid. I’m still not entirely convinced, but I think I’ve been silencing myself for too long now that I feel it’s necessary to at least attempt to write again. I haven’t stopped altogether. In fact, my entire career is based on my ability to write. But simply writing, for me, is something I have struggled to continue with for a long time.

Maybe there’s a reason for that. We get more than enough of people’s opinions on social media today. I don’t believe it’s a fear of being drowned out, but rather, a fear of not being able to relate in a way that truly gets through to you. What about me and whatever ends up on this blog makes it legitimately worth your time?

I’m aware that my perspective is another symptom of (what I’m sure a lot of you know all too well) depression. If I’m being honest, I think this particular period of depression has lasted a year now. Prior to this past year, I genuinely did not know it could go on so continuously for such an extended period of time. I’m not foolish enough to think that depression literally cannot last a long f*cking time. I know this. But when it comes to my own experiences with this illness, it used to reappear at my mind’s doorstep in waves. A few months of darkness, then more months in a row of light.

But this time was different. And for a long time it became hard to remember the light at all. Every morning when I woke up, it felt as if this lead blanked was draped over me and I didn’t have the strength to take it off. The weight was excruciating. And speaking of weight. My body now features a lovely showcase of stretch marks that never used to exist. Battle wounds from periods of emotional eating, followed by periods where I didn’t feel like eating much of anything at all.

Let me make something very clear. I am terrified of annoying you. I don’t write any of this seeking pity. I just feel a need to convey my emotions more so than others, I suppose. I’m pretty sure everyone who knows me would say that I have a constant tendency to wear my emotions on my sleeve. While this leads to a passion for communicating on my end, I’m also aware that it has many, many negative side effects.

I become more aware of the side effects of who I am every single day through my relationships. I realize that things impact me differently than most people. I do not wish to be affected by all these things; I would give anything for a different result… but this is part of who I am.

To risk sounding completely selfish (another great fear of mine), I’m not writing this for you or anyone else. I’m writing this for myself and maybe another person who happens to read this and feels slightly less alone in the world. I think that people who feel things so excruciatingly much have a tendency to be viewed as self-centered. Only children, like myself, also have a tendency to be viewed the same as well. But if there is one thing I do know about who I am as a person, it’s that that just isn’t true.

I think about the all-inclusive you constantly.

Maybe I’m failing to make my point and you feel as if I’m literally publishing an example of my selfishness with this post. I really, really hope that is not the case. I know you can’t please everyone, but oh my god, would I like to have that ability. In conclusion, I’m sorry for how many times I’ve said “I” in this post and I hope if you have too many feelings like me, you’ll want to join my conversation about them here.

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I’m currently listening to a playlist called “White Rapperz,” so…

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I know that this originated as a feminist blog and then became my homework blog, but this time around you can expect something a bit different. I’m thinking a combination of my original coverage of women’s issues, combined with… pointless pop culture in the style of White Girl Problems, maybe?? I just need something a bit lighter.

I used to wear make-up every day and do my hair and have really well-planned out outfits, but I’ve since replaced those with yoga pants, wife beaters and messy buns Monday through Friday from 8-5 because I graduated and now I work from home, which is SUPER glamourous. I transform into the former version of myself on weekends and the rare week night for lots of dancing and Bud Light with lime. So it’s only fitting that my blog changes now, too.

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That’s “White Rapperz” on the right with me as her semi-formal date.

Basically, this is what’s going on. I’m listening to this playlist because my best friend made it and she’s cool enough to make me get into artists like MGK and Mac Miller, which is really ironic if you know me. My boyfriend is also cooler than me and is in New York City right now, so I’m alone in our apartment doing things like reviving my old blog and wearing pajamas all day. PS: they graduate in May. Hire them!

Anyways, here’s a video of the Backstreet Boys doing the Harlem Shake. Enjoy.

Me vs. Feminism

Circa before it all.

It’s almost 5 A.M. in Chicago and I just spent the past 30 minutes walking home. I did so by myself- a stubborn habit I’ve adapted due to impatience waiting for public transportation at this hour and an as attempt to retrieve the serenity I feel when I’m alone after an entire evening spent socializing over too many cocktails.

What would probably be considered an average Saturday night for most 21-year-olds, I’ve somehow seized as an opportunity to confront a conflict I wasn’t quite sure existed in the first place. The conflict being myself vs. the alter-ego I like to think I portray.

I write about women’s issues and I call myself a feminist because feminists are women I admire and attempt to emulate. On most days, I do so successfully, for the most part, at least. But then you have nights like tonight- nothing exactly goes wrong, but one thing leads to another and I’m suddenly reminded why I’ve chosen this path in the first place.

Don’t let the all-black monochromatic wardrobe fool you. I may opt for leather jackets and combat boots, but my favorite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s and my grandparents are the loves of my life. As much as I’d like to be seen as this strong, outspoken, bad ass lady example for my “baby sisters” to look up to, I sometimes have a hard time grasping the concept that I’m still healing. I do my thing and I love what I do, but my own vulnerability comes through more often than I’d like. It leaves me feeling like I’m 6-years-old and playing dress up.

It’s hard to come to terms with things like this when you’re a perfectionist/control freak. Get good grades, do this, do that- all of that you have power over. When things are taken out of your control, it’s hard to accept the fact that side effects are also inevitable. It’s impossible to explain how badly you want to move on when you’ve been a coward about taking the steps to get there in the first place.

My question is this: at what point do you stop emulating the people you admire and instead, stand next to them?

I talk about how women shouldn’t be judged for their sexuality and yet, I’ve subconsciously taken up a modest Hepburn-esque wardrobe that doesn’t translate as sexy to most people. I have to wonder if I’m just developing a more sophisticated preference and growing up or am I actually running away from the sort of freedoms I speak up for every day?

At this point, I’m sleepy and as a favor to all of you to remain coherent in my writing, I’m going to bed. But I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me and everything I believe in. Words can’t describe what you’ve done for me.

Who Really Thinks About Sex More?

Nope. Via MarieClaire.com

For years, men have always been thought to think about sex significantly more than women. In fact, the “statistic” stated that guys think about it every seven seconds. Unfortunately for gentlemen, they will no longer be able to use this excuse as an explanation for “promiscuous” behavior.

Ohio State University has released the results of a new study showing that college-age men actually only think about sex an average of 19 times a day. As for the ladies, we come in at around 10 times a day, which sorrrrrrt of seems surprisingly low.

Slate’s J. Bryon Lowder offered the following reasoning behind the study:

“The lead author on the study, Dr. Terri Fisher, explained that the impetus for the research was partly to dispense with the notion that men are slaves to their more carnal instincts, as well as to show that women aren’t so innocent, either.”

The problem with these dated assumptions is that they make both men and women question themselves for not fitting to their statistic. Men feel weird for not thinking about sex as much as they think other men do and meanwhile, women feel wrong, or “slutty,” for thinking about sex more than they feel is “acceptable” for females.

“It’s amazing the way people will spout off these fake statistics that men think about sex nearly constantly and so much more often than women do,” Dr. Fisher said.

Chicagotalks Tweeting

Note: This is a homework assignment for Dr. Barb. The rest of you- carry on.

For City Dwellers

The Chicagotalks Twitter account (@chicagotalks) covers topics that appeal to the general audience of Chicago as a whole, it seems. This information wouldn’t really be relevant to people living outside of Chicago.

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I’m seeing a lot of use of the site Kachingle, which helps raise funds for free digital material for sites like Chicagotalks. While the concept is cool, it’s not really something I want to see on Twitter. Especially when the tweets are being updated only a couple times a day. I wouldn’t mind getting this feed if I was receiving more information from the account, overall.

I follow a lot of people and look for constant updates. That’s the fun part of Twitter- you’re always being presented with new topics, literally every minute. While there is definitely such a thing as too much updating, I’m still left wanting to know more. I can follow hundreds of people and I can get my information anywhere. Remind me why I’m following you.

Widely Appealing

What I do like about following Chicagotalks is that the topics are pretty varied. The majority of the accounts I personally follow cover specific areas of interest- fashion, feminism, poetry, music, etc. I follow big news outlets expecting specific issues to be addressed and discussed. Chicagotalks addresses very Chicago-centric topics and it makes it a more personal experience for the reader.

There’s civil issues, events and festivals. It seems to be covering stories that would otherwise fly under the radar.

Everything is a Remix

Reporting as curating and collaboration, creativity, and remix.

 

 

“The act of creation is surrounded by a fog of myths; myths that creativity comes via inspiration, that original creations break the mold, that they’re the products of geniuses, and appear as quickly as electricity can heat a filament.

But creativity isn’t magic.

It happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials. And the soil from which we grow our creations is something we scorn and misunderstand, even though it gives us so much- and that’s copying.”

-Kirby Ferguson, Everything is a Remix

It’s a little bit strange as a writer to embrace the reality that nothing we do is really our own. In high school NO PLAGIARISM ALLOWED might as well have been tattooed across our foreheads. Stealing other people’s work is illegal and we’re well-aware of that fact. However, taking someone else’s work, rewording it, and putting your name on it is sort of what we’re all doing to some extent.

Our knowledge comes from various different sources- news outlets, literature, textbooks… As a journalist, our entire job is to steal other people’s stories and put them into a lovely, readable format with lots of attribution. The film uses the following to define the word “remix:”

“To combine or edit existing materials to create something new.”

In reality, that’s what everyone’s been doing all along. But in this new wave of journalism- a time when connection to what’s going on is so constant it’s 24 hours– embracing collaboration seems to be growing more and more popular. We use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, and every other social networking site you all might access, to share things. We’re posting, updating, and editing at all hours of the day. You can get breaking news literally as it happens and now more than ever, citizen journalism is playing a major role in our field.

Ferguson calls remixing a folk art and says that anybody can do it. The same goes for writing. Anyone can do it. It might not necessarily be good or pretty or well thought out, but anyone can certainly share news and tell stories. That doesn’t mean we’re out of a job as a journalists though. People look to sources with credible reputations. We are not so simple to place our trust in just anyone’s hands. I read blogs for ideas, but the newspapers (yes, online) are who I look to for facts.

“We can’t introduce anything new until we’re fluent in the language of our domain and we do that through emulation.”

It’s true. It takes time, and a lot of that time is spent reading other people’s work, for a writer to find their own voice. “Creation requires influence,” Ferguson says. Maybe we’re growing less greedy by becoming more open to accepting less credit for the work that’s being produced today. That doesn’t make it less awesome or epic or deeply moving at all though. I think it’s simply more realistic. Like maybe the whole “there’s no ‘i’ in team” bullshit has been right all along. If nothing else, maybe we can learn to be a bit less selfish and desperate to appear “original” to our audiences and peers.

After all, “nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” –Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Keeping Track of News

Note: this is a homework assignment for Dr. Barb. The rest of you- carry on.

Okay, so the idea of using all of these sites to help me keep track of news just seems way more overwhelming than trying to keep up with news in the first place. But. I will tell you how I personally enjoy staying up-to-date and what elements of these applications I did like.

1. Twitter 

This is, hands down, my favorite way to keep track of the various organizations I’m interested in. I like that it’s a constantly updated timeline of everything all in one place. SO EASY. And fun. Maybe if I used the list option to categorize the types of news I follow, I could have a more organized separation of the different types of news I’m receiving feed for. Despite the new options we’ve been introduced to, I think I may remain a stubborn supporter of Twitter.

2. BlogLovin’

This wasn’t on our list of ways to keep up, but I’ve used BlogLovin’ frequently in the past to keep track of the blogs I follow. You get to see all of the blogs to the left and then you’re given the number of posts you haven’t read yet. It’s really great if you have those days where you simply can’t go check everything, but then you won’t miss out on what you haven’t already read. It’s very easy to use, which is sort of crucial when it comes to these things.

3. Summify

I think I can really grow to love this app. For one, it’s visually appealing. Let’s not kid ourselves, aesthetics are important, especially when it comes to viewing things online. Yay, vanity. I’m still working on figuring this application out, but it puts Twitter feed on display in a way that makes it stand out more and easier to decipher tweet from tweet. It shows you what’s most significant (hopefully) or really what’s being discussed most frequently. Summify = trendy, pretty, organized news.

4. Google Alerts

I’ve always been a fan of Google Alerts. Always will be. I think this application will really come in handy on the posts I plan on doing every week about a new female artist (thanks, Dr. Barb). It keeps all your news in one place, while also allowing you to see what various outlets are reporting about a similar topic. So important in journalism to get every side of the story.

5. Twitterfall

It can get a little crazy, but I used this app to search for the general term “feminism” and found really great articles immediately. I think this will be best for quick ideas and help when you’re feeling uninspired.

Esquire Vs. W

Esquire
 

Esquire has been the one magazine I’ve been aware of doing significant coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. For example, the essay What I’ve Learned by Michael Wright was particularly striking. While it was originally published in the January 2002 issue, Esquire.com brought it to the surface once again for the 10th anniversary. This has been the only online version of all the magazines I’ve researched to place serious emphasis on 9/11 front and center. A slideshow at the top of the screen is clearly the focal point of the website today and three of the five stories featured are on the topic.

While Esquire.com is covering fashion week rather extensively, they have still made it a point to direct attention to today’s date. A round-up of 38 stories the magazine has published has been created that allows visitors to go through the archives and read stories about September 11th written over the past ten years. It was quite impressive.

W

Upon arriving at W magazine’s website, I found ABSOLUTELY NOTHING relating to the anniversary. I tried to search for anything on topic and came up with zero results. Yes, W is a fashion magazine. But as a loyal subscriber, I did expect a bit more. Mind you, Esquire is a fashion magazine, too. Maybe I’m naive or maybe I’m just surprised because I’m actually seeking out something that just isn’t there. But if men can combine fashion and the anniversary of a significant tragedy in America, why can’t we?