Taking steps to reduce my social media footprint

This past year has really shown me that it is necessary for there to be a separation between my life, our lives, and our (okay, my) social media footprint. The older I get, the more private I get. Sure, I’ll share pictures of our adventures and our pets – most likely after they happen.

Our engagement taught me this lesson the hard way. In our excitement and sheer joy, D lovingly pestered me to share our happy moment online ASAP because his friends and family were waiting for the announcement. After sharing the news and attempting to call numerous family members I posted a picture we liked online, only to realize we hadn’t told a few more people that we love dearly before putting it on social media. Oops. Etiquette fail. It’s a hard truth of this generation that we are all about sharing the highs and sometimes the lows, without thinking twice before hitting, “post.” We (unfairly, just I) received some harsh backlash. The mistake was ours, that is true and we’ll not shy away from that. At the same time, I recognize how much social media can be a blessing and a curse.

These happy moments shared are all about the two people who are experiencing them and sharing with the people who love and support them. This is the world we live in today and bashing others for choosing how and what to share is just ridiculous to me. So I get it, I hear ya, but come on. Let people live their lives and celebrate the way they want to. Lesson learned and ultimately I want this life to be lived for me and us, not anyone else.

When it comes to media, everyone has a different stance and I don’t think anyone is wrong. We’re all just using it in the ways we are most comfortable. Facebook is more about the funny pictures, articles, and supporting other people’s happy life events. So you’ll mainly find me on The Gram and that’s about it! Now, I wait until the evenings, or sometimes even days, weeks, or months to share our days because once those moments are released online they’re not ours anymore. And that just doesn’t always jive with me.

Just a little mind musing,
H

Taking steps to reduce my social media footprint

Golden North Klaus: Between a rock and a hard place

When I stop and look at Klaus now, I can’t believe he and I ever had a rough spot. I was watching Marley and Me the other day and you know the scene where Jennifer Aniston has had enough and tells Owen Wilson that she can’t take it anymore and get rid of the dog? It makes me cringe every time because that was me. No, I would never actually get rid of an animal that I pledged to care for, but that defeatist feeling was there. The exhaustion was high and the patience was low and that my friends, is on me.

The first year with Klaus was rough, to say the least. I’m a control freak and he was, well a puppy. Mentally a baby and I felt like every time we took two steps forward, he bounded three steps back. It was a game and not one I wanted to play.

Klaus was rambunctious, he had separation anxiety. He ate two original Harry Potter books. He then ate Cesar Milan and Marley and Me books. A point made there pooch. He chewed D’s college homework and then his W2. He also succeeded in making D’s iPhone his teething toy. He swiped a full plate of sushi. He shredded two of his dog beds, tore our window treatments, chewed our coffee table as well as our bookcase, and destroyed two pairs of Toms, countless hockey shoelaces, holiday decor, and the kitchen drain plug.

That wasn’t enough, he ripped up a significant portion of our carpet that couldn’t be repaired, it had to be replaced. That was bad. The worst, though, was going home sick only to walk in on a demolished couch. Might I add that this was our rookie mistake in purchasing a brand new couch? How naive of us, “Look, we’re grown ups! Look how hard we’re adulting!” Klaus sure showed us, the cushion stuffing was fluffed around the room like a faux-Christmas morning and I can only imagine that he created a game in which he needed to remove the springs from the couch cushion. It was premeditated. It was surgical. There are not enough words to describe how frustrated, discouraged, and helpless I felt some days.

This dog and I were not on loving, understanding, or patient terms back then. Or at least I wasn’t. What I can say is that he was loving, understanding, forgiving, and patient with me and that says a whole lot more about our characters than words ever could. It took a bit of reflection and with consistency, training, love, and a lot of exercise for both of us, Klaus and I spent a year and a half growing up together. They say that dogs have a way of finding the people who need them. I have always thought that Klaus chose D, but now I know that he chose me too. He knew that I needed to unwind, laugh more, live more, and let go of my depression once and for all. Not a day does not go by that I don’t look at him and feel thankful for his mischievous eyes and goofy grin.

It is interesting to me how the soul of a dog saved my own. It is powerful and humbling to say the least. I am happy, D and I are happy, and that directly corresponds to the light Klaus has shined on our lives. He brought responsibility, maturity, and patience to our home and I am grateful for his heart and sweet demeanor every day. As I write this he is sitting beside me surgically removing the fluff from his stuffed animal. I suppose some things don’t change.

xoxo,
H

Golden North Klaus: Between a rock and a hard place

You should go and love yourself

Something disappointing happened last week and I’ve carried the heaviness of it into this one. I haven’t felt like I have needed to address this topic since my freshman year of high school, and I’m sad to say that with all of the education and awareness available at our fingertips it is an even more pestilent disease today: bullying.

bul*ly; use superior strength to influence or intimidate (someone), typically to force him to do what one wants

Synonyms: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, browbeat, harass, torment, intimidate, strong-arm, dominate, coerce, humiliate

I have thrown my fair share of stones. Everyone looks back at some point and wishes they had made better choices; mature decisions that would have shaped their life more positively or gracefully. This is essential to growing up and it is a right of passage in itself. What has never gone out of style, though, even if momentarily forgotten, is the essentialism of kindness, integrity, and self-respect. Nothing will ever be as classy and timeless as this.

What I saw last week raised serious concerns

it took place on social media
it was shared with the intention to hurt others “for a laugh”
the language was derogatory, crass, & abusive
the content was vulgar mentally, emotionally, & sexually
it targeted both boys & girls (middle school aged children)
it was heavy in ubiquity: spread by children hiding behind electronics

It makes me realize how much time has changed in the last decade and not necessarily for the better. Bullying has warped into something even more sinister at the cyber level and is just as hard to prove as it is relentless. This is worrisome not only because of the frank abuse but because of how personal it is. After having the unfortunate opportunity to see this “story,” shared publicly, I wondered what these kids’ families were doing while their middle schooler tapped out those ugly words, heavy with intention, with their quick thumbs. Just finished family dinner? Discussing weekend plans? Working on a project? Rushing off to practice of some kind? The few seconds it took to perpetrate the content makes me sick. We should all expect better, shouldn’t we?

How would you even begin to monitor online use these days? How do you hold yourself and those around you accountable and responsible for their online footprint? I’m not asking for a friend, I’m asking as a sister of a middle schooler and a woman planning her family. How do you keep children safe online too, not just from the monsters lurking behind fake profiles, but their own classmates? How do you instill in your child the importance of uplifting and supporting others, instead of tearing them down and why does this seem harder today than ever before?

To those sweet babies who had their personalities, behavior, and bodies bashed in a public stoning, if someone hasn’t said it already let me scream it from a rooftop. Do not let a handful of bullies:

alter how you view your reflection
twist how you behave towards yourself or others
compromise your values
belittle who you are

Then, do not be the bully. Do not limit others or label them. Do not put them down. Do not spread more venom in an already difficult world. No matter the excuses you’ll hear about how different, quirky, or odd someone is. Turn your back on the whisperings on the collection of their pigmentation, social class, language, ability, or gender. When someone else spreads hate, do not be the person that laughs or goes along with it. We all, myself included, need to be reminded of this sometimes too.

We can strive each day to leave someone with a smile, a grateful heart, or a stronger spirit. Start small: maybe practice grace, empathy, and forgiveness towards people today. Let’s make 2017 the year to bury bullying. I’ll start right now.

Disclaimer: I have unfollowed the offending accounts which is sad to me, considering these are family friends and children I have had the gracious opportunity to see grow up. The behavior, however, is not something I will subscribe to.  

You should go and love yourself

Crossing that mid-20’s line

I have found myself thinking back over the past few years and shaking my head in amusement, and admittedly some chagrin. Maybe it is because the world is celebrating a new year, fresh with possibilities, chances, and surprises. Maybe it’s because my 27th is around the corner. Regardless, I’ve felt a little removed from my life, like it is happening to someone else because it is so sweet. I’m not meaning to brag, honestly, I am just happily surprised.

Looking back to college and just after, I shake my head and wish desperately I could go back and make different choices. That obviously is normal, but they feel unexpected. I kind of laugh at the antics of the depressed, insecure girl that I was, but mostly I’m sad for her and the wasted time. Which of course is silly, I learned so much from those mistakes. In hard ways, but the lessons are there regardless.

I would say so much to the girl I used to be. Mainly that I should have:

+ been happy with ME and taken the pressure OFF
+ realized my twenties were for fun and growth
+ not wallowed in my own sadness or past hurts
+ been single, give or take an exception or two
+ taken time for me, traveled, and just chilled
+ understood I am simply either a white wine or whiskey kind of girl
+ focused on my education and healthy friendships

I so wish I had lived more in the moment and not been blind to the good things that were in my life. Self-sabotage is quite real, friends. Yes, I think I would definitely do things differently and from that, I would have sparked a lot more happiness in my life and treated others better. Which is all fine and good until I blink and realize that this is what those darkest years were all about. From those lessons and with some help, I can say that the girl I used to be is a shadow of the person I am now, and that is okay. Healing came from all of it.

I wonder if this is when things begin falling into place; people start settling into who they are, knowing what they want, understanding their maturity, and giving back. I’m curious what the rest of my 20’s will hold, but for once I’m not in a rush, I think I’ll just enjoy the ride and remain as ever, a work in progress.

I’m a few days behind, but 2017, I’m ready for this next year around the sun.

Crossing that mid-20’s line

For the love of all that is lilac

There is something to be said about the correlation between anxiety and life planning. Which when you think about it, how much planning can we really do? Life is going to go wherever it wants! So I’m a work in progress right now and a friend of mine said it perfectly: I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I’ve been quietly having mini-breakdowns lately where I’m completely overwhelmed by the amount of work that still needs to be done for our wedding; the amount of planning that is going into purchasing our first home; striving to pursue my career; cheering D on as he focuses on his education; professionally training our dogs; thinking about future children … but it’s not really about any of these life events. It’s about chilling out and enjoying this ride with a cool dude.

That’s how I’m brought back to reality. As long as we keep things true to us and simple, it doesn’t matter how or what comes our way because in a year D and I will be married. We’ll have our own home. Our dogs will be little angels. “I think I can, I think I can … “

When I start tumbling down the rabbit hole of anxiety, I remember when things were simple and easy; when I was stressed about graduating college and Derek left beautiful purple flowers and a sweet note on my windshield to remind me I was important to him – and this was before we were dating folks. He’s a good one! When I was sad about another life event he burst into my apartment wearing a Teletubbies costume and hoarding movies for a marathon. When I’ve had a hard day at work or a difficult day volunteering he’ll surprise me with flowers, a home cooked meal, a clean house, or a chilled glass of wine..  #humblebrag. He’s there for me and I’m going to be there for him.

I think I’m going to let go a little bit and just enjoy spinning around the sun. D and I have a great family, we have amazing friends, and we have a life full of adventure ahead of us. Things are going to be okay.

xoxo,
H

For the love of all that is lilac

I’ve got 99 problems..

I was at dinner with some lovely friends the other week and one of them is helping her nearest and dearest get married this summer. She had some life-changing information to share with me: there are a lot of parties expected when you’re getting married. Like ridiculous.  My other friend stared back at me and echoed what I was thinking, “why are there so many parties?” Sister, I don’t even know. 

It’s not just a bachelorette party and/or a bridal shower anymore (I’m super down with throwing up a tent on the Homer Spit and bumming around for a weekend. Please don’t make me wear a dress and heels and a “She’s tying the knot, so buy her a shot!” sash.) Did you know there’s also engagement parties? The option of a couples shower? Wedding Party Wars? Bridal Brunch? In addition to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself?? I’m sure you did but I’m not going to lie, I sat there with a chilled Rhubarbara Streisand vodka-laced lemonade feeling my insides flip. Introverted brides, do you feel me? 

We aren’t even a year away from the wedding yet so I’m feeling confident that we can shake all of these celebrations. At the same time though, oh my goodness we’re counting down to a year and that’s when everything hits full speed and there are so many questions and so many choices and so many expectations and we’re going to get off the structured planning timeline and disappoint everyone and they’ll call me a bridezilla when I’m aiming for bridechilla or think our simple wedding is stupid or tacky or a waste of their time!

Scrreeech. Let’s back this up. I hear that planning a wedding is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable, once in a lifetime experience. Sure, there is going to be stress like planning any other event, but ideally, it’s supposed to remain a positive thang ending in a few “I dos” and I’m realizing I have control over that. Anyone remember that scene at the very beginning of Fried Green Tomatoes where the older sister cries and says her sister Iggy is gonna ruin her weddin’? Yeah, I’m not having that. 

At least it’s kind of cool to have a groom in on this, we can brainstorm together and things can’t go to worst-case-scenario when I have a partner in crime. My stress-induced anxiety can’t spiral out of control when I have a bridal brigade to be rivaled with. If I need to take 5 and breathe in a paper bag I know my mom has my back. Things are good. Life is good. As big as getting married is as individuals, on the grander scale there are more important things happening around the world than me/us feeling pressured to finalize a guest list like right this very second.

As much fun as all the parties would be, we’re aiming to keep this simple with a laid back “last hurrah” celebration, maybe a bridal shower, and the event itself. All we really need are our close friends, immediate family, a dear officiant, and suitable clothing. That’s what we care about and the rest is just icing on the cake. Which we’re likely not having. 🙂 

xoxo,
H

I’ve got 99 problems..