Category Archives: Social Media

What we talk about when we talk about adult acne

Photo credit: Genista

Photo credit: Genista

It gets better, they said. Just wait. Soon it will all make sense. Soon your hips will stop widening, your jaw and nose will grow in equal pace, you’ll understand bra sizes and stop being embarrassed when you buy tampons.

Soon you’ll understand how wonderful it is to be an adult, to choose your own breakfast and buy your own poptarts, if that’s what you want.

Chase your dreams, they said. Soon you’ll be achieving them. Follow your heart. Soon you’ll be making great decisions all the time and relationships will be easier and it will all make sense. Everything will make sense, even the fact that we live on one of 200 billion planets in our galaxy and that the universe is infinite, truly infinite.

And acne – soon the acne will stop. You won’t have to spend 121 hours every year scrutinizing your pores, determining which ones deserve to be squeezed and which ones must ripen.  You won’t be jealous of the girls in the Clean & Clear commercials or spend significant amounts of time imagining where you would send all the pus in your body if you could choose to just have one perpetual pimple.

And I won’t say I was lied to. I won’t say that I was deceived by those people 18+ in my life who knew exactly what was coming to me. I won’t say I was deliberately led to believe in a fantasy no more real than sea monkeys or the first moon landing.

I believed what I wanted to believe – I pieced together the various messages of my childhood and adolescence and came to believe that once I turned 22 or 23, I would have it all figured out. I – and everyone else – would be living our dreams, wearing clothes that fit and laughing together while eating pasta at a restaurant. And our skin would be clear. It would be completely clear, with not a zit, pimple, blackhead, whitehead, subterranean or squirter to have blemished it in many many years.

Photo credit: Garrette

Photo credit: Garrette

So when we talk about adult acne, we talk about the cruel reality of adulthood, the fact that we still don’t have the answers and know we may never have them. We talk about the fact that relationships are still confusing. We talk about how social media and technology has let us down in some unnamable way, and the despair, apathy, or vague outrage that we feel when we read about politics and the NSA and privacy and drones and the daily body count in Syria. We talk about wanting more in our lives, wanting clear skin, wanting a clear vision.

They told us to follow our dreams but never said that almost everything would be put in the way of that. They told us to make

a difference, but they didn’t say that society often villainizes or kills those who try. They promised clear skin, and still I have blemishes, and now I pay for my own face wash.

They didn’t tell us, but that’s okay. They probably didn’t know what they were doing. Now that we know more of the truth, we can move on, complain together about our acne, and get ish done.

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Hi everyone! I changed my profile picture.

This is my former profile picture.

Dear facebook community,

As many of you have probably noticed (and commented/liked), I changed my profile picture today. For the past year, three months, and…you guessed it! 22 days, my profile picture portrayed me making a funny face while my parents tried to kiss me on the cheek. It was taken on a cliff in Maine shortly after I graduated (with honors, three ribbons, and a wheel of cheese) from Boston University.

The picture was hilarious. It provided all of you with enjoyment for many months, but in truth, I’ve felt for a while now that I needed a change.  I was held back by the fear of not measuring up to past profile picture greatness, of failing to find the one image that bursts with humor, creativity, and wisdom and shines like my beacon into the darkness of facebok.

It just so happened that yesterday, as I was showing my boyfriend pictures I had taken of myself, that I stumbled upon a great prospect.

While being an attention-whore, ham, and all-around obnoxious and spotlight-sucking rockstar in July, I had grabbed antlers and posed with them pressed to my face, as if they were emerging from my cheeks and I was undergoing a painful transformation into a creature both cursed and beautiful. I forced my mother to choke back embarrassment and take pictures of me.

This is the new profile picture.

When I found this gem, glittering in the dust of the My Pictures folder, I realized I must make it my profile picture, that it encapsulated everything I feel about my current situation in San Francisco, that it was the embodiment of who I am and who I am becoming.

“This is it.” I said to myself, and I uploaded it, changing my life and yours forever.

I immediately commented on it, liked it, and did everything I could to promote it, including making it a life event and asking people politely to comment or like anything regarding the photo change. Just a few minutes into the barrage of news about my profile picture I was bestowing upon you, the facebook community, the giddiness of my endeavor wore off and I realized I had made a huge mistake.

The picture was too dark. The community could not appreciate how ridiculous it was. The expected outpouring of likes and comments was not appearing as I had expected. Not only that, I felt in my heart of hearts that this was not the best possible photo for my profile.

I am now trapped, with no way out. Should I change my facebook photo again so soon, I will make an ass of myself and the 5 people who liked it will mock me endlessly. Soon I shall become an echo of my former facebook profile picture greatness and live in the shadow I have created for myself.

I shall grow paler.

My freckles will fade.

And I will be forgotten.

Goodbye, facebook community. Goodbye to those who know me and love me.

Please like this post.

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An Open Apology to Innocent Girls Everywhere

No no no, it’s alright. There there, I’ll get you a pony. It’s going to be fine.

Dear girls and a few boys,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused you, for the unwanted nightmares, for the blind fear you’ve probably felt as a direct result of my blog. I’m sorry for the bizarre and uncomfortable thoughts I’ve exposed you to and the resulting compulsive habits you developed such as refusing to turn on faucet in the bathroom without a parent nearby or googling with your eyes closed. I’m sorry your pigtails have been electrified with terror and your precious eyes bugged out in horror. Careful, you’ll get your face stuck like that.

I hope you know I never meant to harm you.

I’ve been writing this blog for a little over a year now.When I first started, I was kind of like you: I knew nothing. I was an naïve blogger that just wanted to talk about her life, punctuated. I didn’t know how search engines worked, or the fact that far into the future, the vast majority of the hits on my website would come from children searching for images of my little pony and Belle the princess from Beauty and the Beast.

How was I supposed to know that Google’s crazy mixed up logarithm would rank my site as being an appropriate resource for images of Belle and My Little Pony? Did the logarithm know the secret behind the pictures? Did it know the content of the actual article written behind the images? Oh the humanity.

An elementary school girl (or boy) searches for Belle on google and unknowingly clicks on my site. The image is indeed the fair lass clad in yellow, but the article is one in which I pitch her and Beatrix Kiddo, of Kill Bill fame, in a fight to the death. All I have to say is: I’m sorry. I didn’t know you would be reading it. But if you did read it, you might as well tell me what you thought of it. Was it too much? Just right? Okay okay you’re scarred I get it.

And for all of you lovely lads and lasses searching for any variation of pink pony or little pink pony or any adorable construction therein, no doubt you have found my snippet of a story called “The land of tiny pink ponies and tiny pink pony eaters.” In this story, the adorable, glittery, pony playthings lived in constant fear of being devoured or falling into a poisonous river that dissolved their cute pony flesh. Girls, boys, what did you think of the story? Too gruesome? How do you usually plan your ponies’ deaths? You don’t? Oh.

So I just wanted to say I’m sorry to all those budding minds out there. It’s not my fault I have no idea how Search Engine Optimization works. Should I write a letter to the Google bot and tell it to remove my site from that search? Do I fax something somewhere?

Maybe the kids would know how to do it.

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A Harrowing Trip through my Thought Process. Bring Your Galoshes.

This would have been the picture for the coffee post, even though it’s not completely relevant.

It’s 10:30 am and it’s time to blog. I’m running some raw ideas through the meat grinder of my brain.

My sister’s wedding is tomorrow, but I don’t want to blog about that because I’ve been talking about it constantly and I’m sure people are wondering if it’s even real. (It’s happening tomorrow, by the way.)

So I trashed wedding topics, and moved on and tried to think creatively. When I try to be “creative,” I tend to look around my room for inspiration, which often leads me to killer ideas such as “what if my clothes came alive and tried to kill me” or “what if my lotion came alive and tried to kill me” or “what if my bed came alive and tried to kill me.” You see, I mean killer in the literal sense of the word, not in the sense that any of these ideas are good. Room-based inspiration does not often work for me.

I discarded those killer ideas and transitioned to sweat-based ones as I considered blogging about the wedding guests’ sweat potential. The extreme heat at this outdoor wedding, the high amount of social interactions, the excitement, and the nervousness will create the mother of all perspiration-inducing cocktails. It’s going to be a moist one. But then I considered that not only is this pretty gross, but it’s also about the wedding, which I didn’t want to write about.

After I tossed that idea out, I looked to my right and saw my coffee mug, which appeared to be empty. I picked it up and found a different situation entirely. There were a few mouthfuls of lukewarm joe left, and I was a little happy about that, so I considered writing an overblown piece on how incredible and amazing and wonderful it is when there’s coffee left over in the mug that you didn’t know about. But then I thought, well I wasn’t that happy about it. This might be a little hard to do. So I didn’t do it.

I moved on to consider blogging about how I’ve been following a lot of people on twitter lately. But if you just read that last sentence, you know as well as I do that my twitter antics are likely a dead end. So I buried that one too.

At this point, I have roughly 5-15 bad ideas buried in little idea coffins in my idea graveyard, a place I visit regularly. Some of these little guys even become zombies and try to eat my brains and make it impossible for me to think of other ideas, or become ghosts that haunt me continually with false potential.

Just when I was about to despair, I stumbled upon the idea of writing about how to unleash my creative potential, which in my mind was literally about unleashing some kind of monster named “Creative Potential.” Seconds later, I realized that this very literal interpretation of creative potential and the word unleash is not actually creative. So I hung up my hat, downed a cold brew, sighed a great sigh, yearned for more in life, and then published my thought process for all to see.

You’re not alone if a good idea escapes you. Don’t be jealous of the people that do have awesome ideas, because that could be you someday.

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What if Facebook Told the Truth?

Social media is on everyone’s mind nowadays…bloggers, corporations, college students, retirees, mid-level dental practitioners, etc. We are all talking about it. For better or worse, we’re putting social media on our salads, marinating pork chops in it, and using it to style our hair.

Gah! I'm nameless!

Some see the advent of social media positively, as an exciting new frontier, the way of the future, and a symbol of human innovation. However, others fear the advent of social media signals our civilization’s decline, with meaningful relationships being transformed into an insipid system of likes and reblogs.

One criticism I hear consistently is that social media networks allow their users to construct false portraits of who they are. They can choose a flattering profile picture, carefully select their favorite movies, books, and music in order to put forth their best self, or at least the self they want to present to the world.

In theory, this might make it more difficult to tell if a person is a loser, but it seems the fools are still easy to spot. People shamelessly admit, with no hint of irony, that they love Jersey Shore and Gossip Girl, that they only read texts written in Ottoman Turkish, and that they prefer to listen to Disney classics covered by a famous jazz flutist you’ve never heard of.

Perhaps it’s most frightening to consider that our facebook profile is the most accurate portrayal available of our mind-self. Nevertheless, the information is still selected by the user, for the most part.

But what if facebook told the truth about us, all of it, in addition to the profile we create and the photos and posts we censor? What if, in addition to statuses filled with articles, Bible verses, smiley faces, and humorous thoughts, facebook also posted things like, “had black thoughts of hatred towards innocent person” or “took the last cookie out of spite” or “hurt someone on purpose without remorse?”

What if facebook recorded our interactions with others and organized it in a virtue and vice section, with characteristics such as selfishness, unfaithfulness, joy, and kindness. And what if it filled in the other categories too, revealing our guilty pleasures and secret loves, like country music and chick flicks and picking our toes?

If facebook reflected not only how we see ourselves, but how we interact with others and how others see us, what would that be like? Are these things already apparent? Would we be any better for knowing the truth? When we knew the dirt on everyone, would we lose all faith in humanity because of our iniquity and poor taste?

If it really showed everything, including our struggles, our darkest thoughts, and the sense of hopelessness we all sometimes share, I think in most cases we would see that we are more alike than different, even the people that like country music; the disclosures would reveal a common humanity that is not at all shameful and probably not even surprising.

Isn’t this precious? I’m imagining a reaffirmation of humanity through the use of an omniscient social network. Orwell, what are your thoughts?

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