What About Your Friends?

For many women, friends are our primary partners through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses.

-Rebecca Traister’s book

Female friendships are a topic I’ve avoided writing about. I have so many thoughts around the subject and yet nothing I felt would add anything meaningful to this blog. It’s true that I become wholly self-aware and self-conscious around the topic. However I’m here, attacking my trigger.

Where do I begin? So let me say that the age of online friendships is a gift and a curse. I blame Facebook. With the click of a button, you “Friend” someone. Is that all it takes? A passive, mindless act? You may never personally message that person, write on that person’s wall, or even have to remember that person’s birthday (FB does it for you.) But you made a new friend. On the other hand, when I learned of my acceptance into Howard University, I took to Twitter. I couldn’t anticipate the people who extended themselves like @PeaceLuvNicole. We met within weeks, and that made the transition a bit easier. There are people who are eager about taking the relationship offline, and I love and appreciate that. I started becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that I could meet some quality people by just initiating the gesture. Although I dealt with general anxiety from moving to a city where I knew 2 people and had no family, Twitter peoples helped through the process. 

Everyone is quick to “like” my minor triumphs and “heart” my Instagram photos — passive interaction has become the default setting, the status quo.

-Felicia Sullivan

I can make friends easier online. You learn a lot about someone based on what they post. It’s not the ideal way, but it’s easy, less risky and convenient. It’s passive. Trying to make friends in real life involves risk. Meeting strangers hoping and praying it leads to something can be disappointing.

Does she like me?

Does she think I’m talking too much?

Am I talking too much?

She’s so fashionable. I wish I could dress like that.

I’m 30 years old, why is this so difficult?

Truth is, I have a lot of standards because I invest a lot when I care for someone. To me, my standards are like the bare minimum of cultivating and sustaining a friendship.

  1. Thou must not be flaky. I’ve experienced a lot of people that will make plans one day, then inform me the day of that they can’t make it. REPEATEDLY.
  2. Thou must spend quality time. This is my love language, not negotiable. It’s the main reason why I make the effort to see friends that don’t live nearby. We connect when we are actually together.
  3. Thou must show REAL LIFE effort. Check-in with one another, attempt to go out and do stuff. You know, real basic and mutual.

I understand that different people need different things from friendships. I’ve always wanted a group of “girlfriends” that I could count on to do life together with. My history with friends has never amounted to that. It’s not to say it won’t happen, maybe it will take some adjusting of expectations.

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Some posts worth exploring:

What the Market Will Bear: The Long Game of Female Friendships

Sorry I’ve Been a Shitty Friend: A Multiple Choice Form Letter

What About Your Friends?

Spiritual Laws for a Distracted World (Part 1)

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I’ve been trying to continually read and be intentional during this time off. I began reading The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success (thanks to Cliff for sharing the link) by Deepak Chopra. I usually don’t stick with books like these for long, something about the new terminology, the synthesizing and then figuring out how to apply the suggestions to my life can be become a bit much. To be honest, I like things in plain language when it comes to self-help. But there were some things that spoke to me as soon as I started trying to decipher the wisdom in this book. The first Spiritual Law it touches on is the Law of Pure Potentiality and the difference between self-referral and object-referral.

To quote the book, to experience the pure “Self” or self-referral basically means that you refer to your own soul/spirit (not your ego) for a point of reference, as opposed to being affected by things around you. In object-referral, you guessed it (you’s smart!), you are not referring to Self, but are affected by objects; people, experiences, situations (a.k.a things you cannot control.) In self-referral you experience your true being (void of fear, full of respect and humility) and in object-referral you feel an intense need to control or to have “power” over those things that drive the ego. Cool. Makes sense. But how exactly do we operate in the Power of Self daily? I’m glad you asked.

The first tip the book gives is…tapping into creativity through consciousness. What does this look like? Daily practicing of “silence, meditation and non-judgment.” Oh, sounds easy enough, right?

Silence. Withdrawing from speech and basically letting your mind run miles until eventually it quiets down. And it will.

How am I trying to apply these principles?

I already mentioned that I’m on a self-imposed Twitter break. This past week, I noticed myself just scrolling for scrolling’s sake and posting things just because a thought came to me. But what am I really talking about? Is it worth posting? Do I have to post everything I think about? Although I do prefer Twitter because I don’t spend hours on it, how much time am I really “not wasting” if I’m opening the app every 10 minutes because I’m wondering if I got a a new notification, or for FOMO(fear of missing out)? I don’t like the feeling of being addicted to the screen, or being out with friends and having to record everything we do. But what happens after I take 30 days off Twitter? I get right back on and build back up to the same habits that lead me here in the first place. Something has to change.

Besides the social media silence, I have experienced silence at home this past week. I’ve had minimal TV intake. By nature, I’m not a big TV watcher, I tend to prefer doing more creative things when I’m motivated. Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed and I need to do something that doesn’t require much effort, so I turn on the TV. I actually finished watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix last night and I was disturbed by some of the scenes. What happened to the time when events were inferred and not necessarily filmed? I’m reminded that everything everyone is watching might trigger certain things for me, and I should be more prudent before I consume. Same goes for the things we are subject to “auto-play” on Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

The book goes on to point out what silence brings out of us.

What happens when you go into this experience of silence? Initially your internal dialogue becomes even more turbulent. You feel an intense need to say things. I’ve known people who go absolutely crazy the first day or two when they commit themselves to an extended period of silence. A sense of urgency and anxiety suddenly comes over them. But as they stay with the experience, their internal dialogue begins to quieten. And soon the silence becomes profound. This is because after a while the mind gives up; it realizes there is no point in going around and around if you the Self, the spirit, the choice-maker are not going to speak, period. Then, as the internal dialogue quietens, you begin to experience the stillness of the field of pure potentiality.

Silence is powerful. We lead very distracted lives. Can we control that? I believe so. It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible, if we are intentional.

-She

Spiritual Laws for a Distracted World (Part 1)

A/S/L?

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Remember when instant messaging was GREATER than text messaging? When you used dial-up and tied up your phone line just to get online and type to people in real time?

What happened to the good ol’ days of primal internet? When conversations with online strangers began with A/S/L…with hopes that you’d have a connection and convince the person to e-mail you a picture? Sometimes you still spoke to that person without a picture because they were an interesting character. There was a thrill factor. There was anonymity. There was only so much information you could find about that person on other websites. Your best bet was to stick to the primary source.

Were chat rooms your thing? Before the predators were at large. Live journals were the archaic blogs. Making the American Online (AOL) Search log was comparable to ‘Trending’ on Twitter. Times have surely changed, but in my not too distant past I was introduced to AOL. The family used a shared AOL account, and my screen name always had those stupid parental restrictions. Do those even exist anymore? My only means of getting to the chat rooms was to use someone else’s screen name, and I had no qualms about that. When I got into the chat room I would quickly set up my screen name: SINCERITY710. I loved to chat, pretend I was 18 when I was really 16. If the scanner was working, I would scan some pictures of myself and upload them, waiting for the next private chat request.

And when that window popped up…

I might would choose “ACCEPT” and respond…

18/F/Queens.

18/F/Queens

YOUR TURN! What was your screen name and why? What are some of your favorite memories from the AOL-era?

A/S/L?

My Summer So Far…

I know it’s not technically summer, but since classes have been over for awhile (maybe 2 or 3 weeks, who’s keeping count?) I feel that my summer is already under way.

What have I been doing besides wearing the same Interview outfit over the past couple of weeks? (in no particular order)

Making cheesy collages like this one…
  • Decided against straightening my hair for the summer to prevent the battle against humidity
  • Fell in love all over again with blogging
  • Have been blessed by God beyond belief not only to be attending my dream school for Grad Studies, but to have an awesome community of people who are supporting me along the way
  • Joined some other new social site where people are signing up to meet people aka Flirt: Badoo
  • Also joined LinkedIn- and cringe every time I’m notified that I’m connected to someone by e-mail
  • Read Animal Farm and started 50 Shades of Grey
  • Have felt like I’m loosing my religion by continuing said journey through 50 Shades of Grey and since then have not read past page 125ish
  • Washing my hair almost every other day (a practice I’m not used to)
  • Acting kinda skankish
  • Responsibly gotten my mid-yearly Status check-up
  • Adopted a little sister of sorts
  • Have lamented over countless hours behind my computer screen
  • Experimented painting my nails in some funky summer colors
  • Have contemplated doing my follow up vlog to Rejection
  • Have suffocated on humid nights trying to sleep in a room that gets no outside ventilation
  • Fallen asleep late night next to my bed buddy aka my laptop
  • Pondered over paying any mind to the new season of Love and Hip & Hop: Atlanta
  • Found out about the political climate in certain states while performing telephone surveys- my unofficial ‘job’ of the moment
  • Have set intentions to start reviewing my coursework/start refreshing my memory before Grad school begins
  • Am contemplating having a quiet birthday, although I’d rather be spoiled.

As you can see, my summer so far has been filled with all kinds of trivialities. I can’t say that I want it any other way right now.

What are some habits/plans of yours that mark the official beginning of summer?

My Summer So Far…