trash by taylor

connection

writing

(I’m going to be using the word “I” a lot here, but the subjects at hand may not directly apply to me personally. we’ll see).

Why do I strive so much to make a connection with people?

What does connection mean anyway? I’ve been thinking a lot about how we “connect” with people as a society. Last night I decided to delete my Facebook where I had close to 700 “friends” or “connections.” I decided to delete the page as a whole, because I made the assumption that removing individual people would take a deleting personally, (like I totally would. Oh my God, I hate it, but I know that you deleted me as a Facebook friend in 2012 because we had a crush on the same dude).

That is a complete and total assumption. I know that people have the choice to define their friendships. For me, many of my relationships take place online, because I split my time between Kentucky and Tennessee, and many of my friends have moved around since graduation of some sort. However, what is it that makes some people have the opposite opinion of virtual “friendships” like the ones formed on Facebook, not being classified as being “real” or “legitimate?” Why did I use quotation marks around the word “friend” when I gave someone an explanation for starting over on Facebook?

(This part is definitely about me).

In the single day that I’ve had my new Facebook, I’ve wondered about various people that I could recall out of my nearly 700 friend count, and if they would notice I had made a new profile. Would they wonder if I decided to single them out and choose not to “add” them as a friend? Can a simple notice be defined as a connection? I think about countless people on a daily basis, and think I have made enough of a connection to think about them. Many of these thoughts happen without any type of interaction. Obviously they have left an impression on me, so I personally define an impression as a connection.

There is also the whole sense of mutual interaction taking place in order to create a connection; when we’re applying this scenario to Facebook, we can define it as a “mutual friend” connection. The word “mutual” defines some sort of interaction or engagement; two people have clicked with the intention of sharing something, so therefore you’ve made a connection.

This particular viewpoint has sent me into a tailspin in the aftermath of getting rid of my previous Facebook profile. What does it mean to connect with someone in this day and age of social media explosion? I can send you links over Facebook messenger until I’ve tore my fingers off and my Facebook algorithm has been severely thrown off. Does that even matter unless the other person acknowledges the link? Our seemingly collective social reliance on “likes” and page views seem to think so. After years of social media use and reliance for my daily connection to the world, I am absolutely 100% dependent on the so called phenomena of “likes” and unfortunately see them as an indication that a connection has been made. You liked my selfie? Boom, we’re connected enough for me to tell you that there is a scar on my nose from when I almost broke it in 8th grade.

Since when has a number of “likes” on something become a defining factor of connection? Simply publishing or sharing something on social media is done for the purpose of wanting to make some type of impression. I have this blog because I want to write about my life experiences in order to make a connection with someone. My hope is to find some sort of mutual understanding. If you’ve gone through the same experience, I want to know about it! This notion is the honest reason as to why I am so bothered by my strong desire for mutual interaction. Why is acknowledgement via the internet so much better than a simple look or read? I don’t understand why the addition of the “like” button or the series of Facebook reaction emojis make social interaction so much more authentic, and why it seems to have such a strong presence in our relationships, whether they are virtual or in our reality.

Sometimes, we might not have a choice in our dependence on virtual connection. For two years, I was in a long distance relationship where our interactions were 75% virtual, and while it was difficult at times for me to not be able to physically touch my partner or to smell his neck that always smelled faintly of oranges, I never thought our relationship was any less authentic because our connections were almost exclusively virtual. I’m wondering if this is the reason why I feel so personal about virtual relationships or the idea of something shared. I’m probably still going to ask the question “what defines sharing” for awhile, but I’m just going to share this with all of you for now.

 

 

trash by taylor

I was nine when I lost my power

xmas

I couldn’t stop thinking of this story this morning and I thought it might be appropriate to share on International Women’s Day. I’ve questioned my power for years based off of this story, and I’m tired of holding it in.

For Christsake, please stop telling your daughters that he is being mean to her because he likes her.

It seemed innocent enough, but I got that response from a few trusted women in my life when I came home distraught one day in third grade. I was upset because I had seen a boy at snack time bring Gatorade in a juice box, and I’d decided I would take any excuse to drink my favorite blue flavored (my favorite flavor is still blue) Gatorade at school, so I got my mom to buy me some! I brought my juice box goldmine to school and enjoyed myself, but my juice box enjoyment brought absolute terror to Snack-time Boy. I overheard him tell his best friend, “Taylor brought the blue Gatorade to school! She copied me! That’s it, Taylor has a crush on me!” I walked away defeated.

Snack-time Boy was the first boy who ever made me feel terrible about myself. He was the first kid who taught me that not all kids might not have good intentions, and they might not want to be your friend. He was the only boy in class who chose not to be nice to me because I had a distinct style of walking, and my distinct walk was my single defining trait. In the years since Snack-time boy, I’ve had male friends, boyfriends, and well-respected men point it out to me. There was a time where I sat a lot at school so people wouldn’t have to watch me walk around. I get it. Please stop pointing it out to me.

I would go to trusted adults and recall stories about my bully and they would respond something along the lines of “you know he’s picking on you because he LIKES YOU! He has a crush on you!” I think at this point I internalized that boys who spent time and energy saying awful things to you which make you question your worth, are worthy of your time and affection.

I lost faith in the Gatorade commercials at the time, which featured a man and a woman arguing “anything you can do I can do better!” Words of encouragement, lessons to embrace myself for unique qualities, and reminders to remember how powerful I was for simply being a GIRL were ignored, and I spent years living in the cobwebs of bullying which played a huge role in defining my self-worth.

I went through the rest of elementary and middle school as your painfully shy sidekick. I wanted nothing but for you to look past me because I believe I wasn’t worthy of your time and attention unless you were pointing out my flaws. In my mind, I would internalize complaints of Bully Boys and file them away for the purpose of bettering myself.

I want to have a daughter. I want to teach her to be extremely aware of the power she holds to set the world on fire. I want her to know that she has her own narrative which is exclusively hers to write, and if someone is making her feel less than zero, she should exclude them from her narrative and never let them define her as anything less than strong and capable. Most importantly I want to teach her that love is never built on anger or negativity. I want to show her that she is full of power and free to make the choice to take Gatorade to school in her lunchbox.

 

trash by taylor

Everything I ever wanted came from the Boob Tube.

THIS POST WILL PROBABLY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS ABOUT SOME MID 90’S TEEN DRAMAS YOU PRETEND NOT TO CARE ABOUT, SO BEWARE.

tv

(Pretty much every picture of me taken from ages 2-4 features me standing incredibly close to the TV. I’m sure that could qualify as being a metaphor for my close relationship with it or something. At least I’m wearing sunglasses.)

I decided to write this post yesterday, after I realized I was feeling nothing short of PURE JOY when I was watching Dawson’s Creek. I was glued to the story line, which I take remains pretty consistent for the six seasons of the show. I was so into the dynamic of high school in a small town, and pretty envious of the triangle between Dawson, Joey, and Jen. I still don’t understand why; I had a tight-knit group of friends in high school and I think we all pretended that our collective razor-sharp wit was a gift to  the world. I know that I never was the subject of teenage boy desire, definitely not enough to be thrown into a love triangle featuring a good amount of glitter and butterfly hair clips.

The first show I remember having a relationship built on PURE JOY was The Brady Bunch. Let me tell you, I checked out every book about the show in the Nashville Public Library multiple times and could probably still win at a Brady themed trivia contest. My fascination for the show stuck because I’m an only child; I was never lonely growing up, but I guess I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like to grow up in a household with six siblings. When I was little, I related to Cindy Brady a lot because I was always the youngest member of the family and I always looked toward the “bigger” kids or the kids who were more confidant in their decisions to provide me with answers to life’s burning questions. When I became a teenager, I was definitely Jan Brady- the awkward, less pretty middle child, but I had an appreciation akin to Marcia Brady’s, for Davy Jones. I spent a lot of time trying to find examples of my personality within the Brady girls perhaps trying to make myself appear to be more groovy.

Being a TEEN is a time for self discovery and my teen years were not an exception. I became even more intertwined with popular culture and furthered my desire to try to find characters which mirrored my incredibly nerdy-anti-style-with-zero-self-confidence personality. The first answer to my televised prayer came as fast as it went. I was on MySpace one day listening to some bizarre new wave music when I discovered a show that made my braces gleam; the one season Sarah Jessica Parker teen dream tv show Square Pegs. 

It was a totally different head for me. totally. I was obsessed with the popular nostalgia over the eclectic nature of the 1980’s, and the story of two girls and their nerdy new wave friends really defined who I wanted to be, even though I was totally obsessed with the concept of popularity and fitting in. Square Pegs was one of the few things that gave me comfort in a time fueled with pimples and standard school attire. I finally had a reason to celebrate my love of vintage nerd culture set to a soundtrack featuring The Waitresses and Devo. I couldn’t finish this paragraph forever because I have the pilot episode featuring The Waitresses playing at a school dance, and plenty of “PEOPLE, IT BEHOOVES ME…” lines from Jami Gertz’s career defining performance as Muffy Tepperman.

BUT LET ME TELL YOU. The show where I finally ~found myself~ in a character came to me in the midst of tortured teenage angst phase, where I wore flannel to impress dudes and pretended to know The Melvins from Mr. Bungle. Angela Chase from My So-Called Life became my soul sister I never knew I needed. She struggled with her parents at a time when my diary was filled with more than one yelly letter to mine. She struggled with her best friends, and wondered which side of the friend groups she *really* fit into. Most of all, she was wrapped up in the all-consuming will-they-or-won’t they Jordan Catalano saga. She asked him “why are you like this?!” to Jordan, when I mentally asked the same question to my Jordan Catalano on a daily basis. This show was the first time I was shown that TV could be healing and provide all of the answers.

I don’t think I’ve watched My So-Called Life in full since my sophomore year of high school because it was a pretty painful time spearheaded by R.E.M.’s “Automatic For The People” as a soundtrack. Angela Chase taught me how to navigate through life asking questions, but still remain strong when the answers to those questions totally weren’t what you expect. I’m still asking Tino what these answers are, constantly.

catalano

(Can we talk about this picture though? Watching him smoke a cigarette was IT for me.)

 

(Yes, I now some Melvins songs now. The Jordan pic is from Pinterest, where I’ve probably pinned it before.)

trash by taylor

hey ladiesssss!

ladies

(these are my ladies. my OG ladies, if you will. I have many ladies I will talk about in this blob but these ladies are my ladies.)

I love this time of morning. It’s 9:30am and I’m just barely awake. I’ve got one cup of coffee next to me that I have only had one sip of. ONE SIP! When I was on campus, I would wake up much earlier than this, and so much more frazzled than I am now, but it was part of the routine that I so craved and was determined that it would make me successful in the future. This routine consisted of drinking three cups of coffee before I decided to leave my room, and then gathering a ton of notebooks or something to carry to which I would finally run to the campus coffee shop with notebooks in hand. I’d balance my cup of coffee in one hand and all of my books in the other, and I would toss them all on the table with a very hard thump, that I’m choosing to describe as a flourish.

In my head, I associated the fast paced routine of the early morning as a practice run for ADULT SUCCESS and it was a reflection of all the women I’ve ever admired in my life. As a kid my version of a successful woman was someone who could get stuff done while drinking insane amounts of coffee in order to enhance her productivity levels (I’m under the assumption that all Coffee Drinking Ladies are like me, and their productivity levels collectively go down by noon). One of my Favorite Guys recently remarked that I “seemed to have a good work ethic” but then he made fun of my love for black coffee in the same breath. I wanted to take my spine out and show him it’s made from coffee grounds.

My model of “Coffee Drinking Ladies” originated from exposure to (many fictional) women who were driven to make themselves heard through their talents. I’m sure many of these women didn’t have a crazy dependency on black coffee but they knew what motivated them to accomplish their goals. The first lady I admired was an extreme badass in her own right, but she also showcased her abilities in a fictitious version of herself. Lucille Ball is the reason why I’m alive, y’all.

lucy

(me as Lucy in second grade for “famous americans day.” I know the whole Vitamitavemin monologue by heart. get at me!)

Lucille Ball was a pioneer in comedy and was one of the first women to headline her own production company. I always admired her because she was an amazing writer and I was always captivated by the way she told stories. Most importantly, her character on I Love Lucy taught me the importance of independence and to always have an unwavering sense of motivation to accomplish your dreams. Sometimes she had 23% of alcohol to help her in the process.

granny

I owe nearly everything I know to this lady right here. I have Granny to thank for my hard coffee addiction, and my ability to remind myself to Keep Going when everything is tough and I just want to watch episodes of Full House or 7th Heaven. Granny accomplishes most (if not all) or her daily goals while I’m still on my first cup of coffee and sighing heavily about whatever chores I have to finish. Most importantly she has taught me to always go after what it is that I want and to never let anyone stand in my way (even myself. hoo boy, especially myself) to accomplish these goals. Just the other day she sent me an email titled “12 Ways To Stop Being Average And Make Your Life Better Right Now.” Truthfully I wanted to throw my phone against the wall, but it’s really important for me to remember nuggets of wisdom like this. Success is up to me and I can’t rely on the stupid excuses that charge into my head at approximately 8:15am each morning.

I’ve been seriously irritated at myself lately for taking some (much-needed, despite whatever I tell you) time to figure out my next step in life. I’m trying to make the most of it each day by cranking Husker Du’s version of the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song and continuing to get stuff done. I owe all of that to all of the women in my life who inspire me to keep going with one cup of coffee at a time.