Keeping Ourselves from Overdosing on Politics in our Daily Lives.

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It’s been a crazy year politically, but it’s been a crazy year for my view of politics also.

I went to small private college that was very political. Every class was political, every time someone raised their hands it was political. I was overdosing, so to deal with it I drew a firm line in the sand and stated that I didn’t care about politics. And I didn’t, I kept it up all four years. I only voted my freshman year for president and didn’t talk about politics or read about them. I blocked them out of my life everywhere but the classroom, and then rolled my eyes at how people couldn’t seem to talk about anything without them.

Then I graduated and I was no longer overdosing, because people don’t actually talk about politics all the time in the real world. People talk more about boyfriends, buying houses, sports, music. The topic would come up, I started caring a little more about the issues, because it was something you could debate, then close and move onto something else.┬áIt was nice. I felt at peace with it.

Then the 2016 election happened and ever since everyone has gone back to talking about politics 24/7 like I was in a classroom again. The issues come up more in real life, people debate more, and they get much angrier than before. And online? Online has become a toxic graveyard where people only seem to want to talk politics. The “talks” aren’t even that, they’re screaming matches, spattered with insults. Nobody can seem to agree to disagree and no one can seem to scroll or walk by something they dislike without commenting on it.

It’s dangerous surrounding yourself with that kind of content all the time, whether online or off. When people are hostile you get hostile. When faced with extremes our own opinions often become more extreme. We start to get to the point we can’t disconnect anything from politics.

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You’re a person, you don’t have to stay on brand all the time.

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In this social media world we live in it’s easy to get caught up in our aesthetic. I don’t think that word was a part of my everyday vocabulary until about two or three years ago. In some ways it’s wonderful to be able to express exactly what you like so easily. It’s nice being able to control what kind of vibes you let off into the world.

But, this shift in how we’re presenting ourselves has lead us to keeping certain parts of ourselves ‘offline’ or just generally ‘out of sight’. I know I’ve faced this myself, having a great memory or picture but not wanting to post it because it doesn’t fit with my Instagram feed. Or even offline, finding a dress I really like and would wear but not buying it because I don’t know if it really meshes with my style.

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Our electronics are getting smarter. Are we?

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I keep thinking about how I need to be spending less time online, because I’m not only spending my free time sucked into a device, but I’m also doing it at work now. I’ll unplug briefly while on the horse or at dinner with a friend, but I feel like the only time I’m truly 100% unplugged is when I’m asleep and that is terrifying.

I’ve read a lot of posts and articles on smartphone addiction and every time I do I feel great proudly announcing that I’m not addicted to my phone, because in fact, I actually forget my phone and don’t have it on me all that often. But here’s the hitch, and it’s a really big one, I’m addicted to my laptop, so it really doesn’t matter whether I have my phone or not. Obviously with a laptop I’m only drawn to it when I’m at home. When I’m out of the house I don’t think about checking anything or tweeting out, but the moment I step through my front door I feel a gravitational pull towards it.

I’ve fallen into a routine of checking certain sites for updates, and listening to lectures and podcasts while I do it so I feel productive. I’m not being productive. I’m feeding myself the exact same type of information every single day. It’s become completely mindless.

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Six of my favorite Instagram accounts:

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Consider this a follow Friday on a Thursday! I’ve never been very good with keeping up with the appropriate time to use a hashtag. I’m known to #tbt on a Monday.

I did a post on blogs you should follow a while back, so I wanted to do one that include five of my favorite Instagram accounts so everyone on her could go check them out! The sixth is mine, because I’m shamelessly self promoting.

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The Dangers in Media Consumption:

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While I’ve been sick I’ve been spending a lot of time online. I’ve been checking out all corners of the internet. I’ve read deep into both sides of politics, I’ve read about science, and I’ve watched some teen YouTube stars. When you dive into each of these universes it’s a bit like falling down a rabbit hole. You get consumed by it for the few hours your online.

What we don’t think about that much is what it does to us when we log off. Certain ideas stick with us and we’re not blind to them, but what we tend to miss is the fact that our mental vocabulary changes to meet what we’ve been consuming. The ideas overcome us.

A good example of this was when I was reading extreme feminist Twitter accounts. A few days after I was in my car and this song came on and I thought “this song is really good and so emotional, how is it even written by a man?” It took me back because I couldn’t believe what I just thought. I had been reading about emotionless men and “toxic masculinity” that I accidentally started to internalize it. There is no reason for me to think of men this way. All the men I’ve been in relationships with have shown emotions to me and their masculinity never was toxic. I actually enjoy masculine traits in men. I knew men could be emotional, so why had I forgotten it? Continue reading

Aesthetically Speaking

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Sometime last week I was going through my social media feeds and noticing that I follow a lot of minimalist accounts, ones that lack color, but are super sleek. I went through my own Tumblr and noticed that huge sections of it lacked bright colors as well- and so does my Pinterest. I’ve always laughed that my Tumblr is a good representation of my aesthetic. The problem with this idea is if you then look at this blog full of my photos you’ll see… a lot of color.

It’s true my fashion style is pretty minimalist, I like basic shapes and I pretty well steer clear of pattern. But, I do wear colors too, mostly jewel tones. My Pinterest fashion board is washed of most jewel tones though because the lines and shapes I like tend to be showcased by people who wear neutrals and think navy is a flashy color. There’s nothing wrong with that, I clearly love their outfits, but it made me step back and question what I’ve always said is my aesthetic.

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Magazine of the Moment: Belong

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I’ve been reading more magazines than books, mostly because my attention span has been shot lately. But I’ve had a ton of quality reading material either way! I snatched this copy up at Barnes & Noble. It’s a magazine based around social media marketing! In other words it was a honey trove of information and beautiful pictures. (Which is what social media is all about right?)

This issue focused on the topic of hospitality, both on and offline. It talks about big blogger and entrepreneur events, hosting people, and how to treat people online to make them feel welcome. It had one article that talked about forming the kind of online relationships that last which struck a chord with me.

This magazine was only issue five, so it’s still fairly early on. I’m thinking about going back and buying at least one or two of the earlier issues once I get paid for the month!