Masks: We All Wear Them

This one time, I went to Greece, and saw this statue

Have you ever felt like you’re faking your way through life? I have. Our faces are masks, displaying what we hope the world will see. We can project only what we want, and hide the rest within ourselves. Our clothes are layers that cover scars accumulated over the years. Makeup paints a face completely invented, possibly fake. No one has to know.

On my blog I wear a mask, as do all bloggers. The internet is the easiest place to display tiny bits of information. We can fabricate every detail, sculpt what we maybe wish was la verdad (truth). We withhold our identities, names, souls, locations (understandably, for our own safety). We let readers in only so far, slamming the doors in their faces when they are unwelcome.

There are people in our lives (and bloggers) who are those “open books.” They travel to the depths of their pain and spill stories some may consider too personal. This could be therapeutic. Maybe it’s engrained in their personalities to wash off their makeup, peel away the layers, and lift the masks away from their faces.

Yet at times, everyone has worn a mask. Some for years, others for only specific periods of their daily lives. At work when we want to look put together. For our friends who need us to listen and forget about our own problems for a while. In front of strangers who have no business seeing us without a painted face.

Throughout the ups and downs of life, trusting and mistrusting the hundreds of faces I’ve seen, I’ve learned something: It’s all about who is worth it. I wear a mask every day, depending on who I’m around. But I keep my life to myself unless I know the person is worth lifting away the mask for.

“Isn’t that tedious?”

Maybe. But I’d rather wear a mask for people who have not yet earned my trust.

Wearing makeup is tiring; washing it off is a relief. But once a cut heals, the scar is branded on your skin forever. You can cover it, but beneath the clothing, it’s still there. I would rather wear a mask until I know it’s safe.

Does this mean that if we wear masks, we are faking it? Not necessarily. In my mind, wearing a mask means concealing particular aspects of oneself. We may fake a smile, a laugh, or even spill a white lie from our lips.

Some people may go overboard and invent a new person to show the world. But this isn’t healthy, because the lies will eat the person alive eventually.

Wearing a mask is survival. Revealing too much could allow someone to take advantage, use information against the person, or judge him or her negatively. Possible damage is irreversible. Masks are shields to hopefully prevent pain.

At the end of the day, I wash my face and look in the mirror. No smile, no gold shimmer on my eye lids, no pink lip gloss. I know one person who I can live with, without wearing a mask. I relax my shoulders, knowing I don’t need to wear a mask for myself. Some cannot say this. Some people are running their entire lives, searching for their missing identities. They hide within the depths of what they wish they could be, painting a beautiful mask that isn’t la verdad.

Not everyone who looks in the mirror understands what they see, appreciates it, or even accepts it. I have been one of those people in the past. But I’m not that person anymore. I’ve taken the mask off for myself, finally. And I’m slowly finding who else is worth it.

I feel safe enough to not wear a mask for myself.

 

How Do You Cope With Stress?

Anxiety. Panic sets in, and tension headaches overpower your brain. You toss and turn at night, sleeping maybe 45 minutes total. You clench your teeth throughout the day because your entire body is tense. This is your body under stress.

We’ve all been there, and for millions of reasons. The reasons don’t matter because our bodies all react in similar ways in response to stressful situations. The way we cope with anxiety is how we eliminate, or at least manage, that stress.

Everyone deals with stress in their own way. As long as you find healthy coping mechanisms that works for you, then stick with it.

I have found a few ways to manage my stress, and so far they have worked for me:

Source: evolvedns.com

  1. Tea. Lots of it. Usually with lemon and honey.

    Source: yogasurfingretreats.com

  2. Yoga. Namaste. Meditation and breathing exercises are crucial for managing my stress.

    Source: istanbuls-stranger.blogspot.com

  3. The occasional vent. Sometimes a girl just has to vent to a friend about what’s going on.

    Source: kimmychameleon.wordpress.com

  4. A television show, movie, or standup comedy. I need something to keep my mind distracted, so watching something funny or lighthearted helps me. My favorite guilty pleasure show: Sex and the City.

    Source: mashable.com

  5. Writing about my stress. Once I get what’s in my head down on paper, I feel a miniscule weight of stress lifted off my tired shoulders.

    Source: health.com

  6. Walking out in the fresh air. Seriously, being outside is relaxing, especially when I’m stressed out. It calms my mind.

It’s taken me some time to find what works for me. Also, it can be tricky to deal with the stress right away. At times, anxiety can be overwhelming, and we have to remind ourselves to manage it, cope with it, and breathe.

When you’re stressed out, how do you cope?

 

 

 

Figuring myself out (I’m working on it)

Laughter is my workout.

For me, life is a daily learning process. I am constantly evolving as a person, and I believe that over time, I have hopefully become more self aware. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in the time I’ve spent with myself so far:

  1. Writing will forever be my therapy
  2. I will never master the art of drinking coffee without spilling a bit on myself
  3. Or tea
  4. Or any food/beverage, for that matter
  5. Reading is my inspiration for future writing
  6. I may never understand the world, but I sure have my opinions about it

I wrote a blog post recently about how we are taught by society that we should want to find that one person to spend our lives with, but I believe that we are free to have our own life goals. That said, I have a confession to make:

My future self totally wants to find a cool person to spend my time with.

The thing is: People always say, “You should be happy alone before you can be happy with someone else.” This piece of advice totally contradicts the famous “You complete me” romantic movie theme. Which idea do you agree with? Personally, I prefer the first one.

In life, millions are searching for outward sources of happiness. The perfect job. The perfect house. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. The perfect body. The perfect outfit. Advertisements sell us the idea from birth that we need things to make us happy. Yet when we realize that our purchases don’t make us happy, what do we do? Buy more things. We grow up to be consumers, searching for happiness outside of ourselves. If we live that way, we may never be happy.

Source: meagraphics.com

I’ve been guilty of believing that I need to look outside myself to be happy. I don’t know about your life experiences, but there is emptiness in it, and the emptiness can outweigh the possible happiness.

Say we have realized that buying things to make ourselves happy is unhealthy. What’s the next best way to make us happy? Relationships. Finding a person to “complete us” sounds romantic. It’s not. I want to be complete on my own. I’m still figuring myself out. I don’t have time to figure someone else out at the same time.

Source: imgur.com

Dating someone in hopes that he or she will fulfill your deepest desires is putting a lot of pressure on someone else. Instead of finding someone to “complete you,” wouldn’t it be better to find someone who complements you? To me, that’s more attainable.

Society pressures us to crave relationships before we’ve figured ourselves out. Movies tell us that we are not happy until we’ve found someone who completes us (because apparently we’re not complete alone?). If we’re not married before a certain age (25, 30, 35, whatever age the judgmental person decides), we are pitied or scolded to “settle down.” All because we have been taught that we need to look outside ourselves for happiness in life.

Figuring myself out is a lifelong process. Part of that process is making myself happy. I can be happy doing yoga, writing poetry, blogging, reading the Hunger Games series. I am working to complete myself. It’s a journey, and I know I’ll reach my destination eventually.

I’ve also learned: The only time my makeup looks like this is when someone does it for me.

Stupid People Online Have Ruined the Comments Section

Source: thefunnyplanet.com

I am officially refusing to scroll to the comments section of YouTube and any news website. My reasoning:

  1. With a world population of 7 billion (and counting), this increases the probability of stupid people on the internet.
  2. Our technology advancements allow billions of stupid people internet access.
  3. Some of these stupid people have laptops of their own.
  4. These stupid people may also have ample amounts of time.
  5. Stupid people are stupid for a reason; they may not have been taught “respect.”
  6. The simplicity of “type” and “post” is so simple that a stupid person can do it.
  7. Stupid people shouldn’t be posting most of the stuff they type.

Usually these stupid people take the form of internet trolls, lurking behind screens, causing havoc in the internet world. Their usual hiding place seems to be…the comments section of any popular YouTube video, news article, blog post, you name it. I do not understand the way these people work (thankfully), but they appear to have high numbers.

These internet trolls are not trying to contribute useful comments to an internet community or to an online conversation. What are their motives for typing and sending comments in the first place? One can only hypothesize. My theories include:

  1. Boredom
  2. Self esteem issues
  3. Pure ignorance
  4. IQ point deficiency

Unfortunately, because of the skyrocketing number of internet trolls, I have decided that my plan is to ignore the comments section of all websites except WordPress. I’d rather pretend the trolls don’t exist instead of reading their almost incoherent insanity. I’ll spend my time online reading articles and online caring about my own opinion. Sometimes it’s best not to feed the trolls. Maybe if people ignore them, we’ll starve them of internet attention and they’ll become extinct from the internet world like dinosaurs. One can only hope.

Internet High Five to Jennifer Aniston: Women Making Our Own Dreams

Source: fullmasala.com

Jennifer Aniston became my hero a couple days ago when she was interviewed by Carson Daly and she stated that she doesn’t have a checklist for her life, and she does not need to define her womanhood by marriage or procreating. The “checklist” she refers to is an idea our society invented as a list of social norms we all need to follow in order to fit in as American citizens.

America: Home of the free. We think we can do “whatever we want,” as long as we abide by the laws. Right? Wrong! Before you get your panties (or boxers) in a twist, think about this: The American Dream. The beautiful idea our founding fathers invented.

Over 200 years after our country was founded, people still blab on into eternity about this completely fabricated idea. We are taught this “dream” throughout our American education as if it were tangible (spoiler alert: it’s just a dream). And what is that dream? Originally, the dream was to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But over the course of history, societal norms evolved that dream into something a little more specific. Sure, we all want to be happy citizens. Yet in order to fit in with the rest of society, we are required the same things to achieve that happiness. The Checklist:

  1. Education
  2. Marriage
  3. House
  4. Kids (A.K.A. “family”)

Over a hundred years ago, this list did not exist. Before the Industrial Revolution, we married and had children to survive. We were agricultural beings, needing many hands to tend to the fields. Women were second-class citizens and didn’t have the right to so much as own homes. Marriage and children did not used to be social norms; they were necessary for a woman’s survival (unfortunately).

Time travel through those decades, and women slowly became more equal citizens. The right to vote, own homes, have their own checking accounts. Today, some women believe that we have achieved that wonderful sense of equality. Sorry to burst your happy bubble, but it’s not true. Women still have a long road to travel in order to find it.

In the past, marriage and children was required of women and it necessary for survive, but today that’s not the case. If it’s not, why do we get married and have kids? There are a billion potential personal reasons people have. But the main reason? It’s on The Checklist. And the problem is that this list pertains mainly to women.

If we think our American society portrays men and women equally, we are lying to ourselves. What do we call a man who remains unmarried and childless? A bachelor. And we imagine that these men are mainly sexy, like George Clooney (even though he was briefly married from 1989-1993 and has remained a bachelor until just recently).

Source: sofeminine.co.uk

What do we call a woman who remains unmarried and childless? A spinster. Cat lady. We assume she’s barren.

Source: teen.com

Women like Jennifer Aniston are badgered for years when people ask, “When are you getting MARRIEEEEED??? Are you going to have BABBBBIEEEESSSS???” Sure, men are asked these questions sometimes, but not nearly as often as women.

If a man lives alone and never marries, his house or apartment is called a Bachelor Pad. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never heard anyone call a single woman’s house or apartment a Bachelorette Pad. Why? Haven’t you heard? A man living alone is sexy, but a woman living alone is tragic! (I kid, I kid, but some people do happen to believe that crap).

Throughout history, the American Dream morphed into a list of requirements for all citizens (women, more specifically) to achieve by a reasonable age in order to fit into society. While The Checklist applies to both men and women, it appears in our society that for some reason, it’s more necessary for women to cross everything off their list than it is for men. Why? Probably because of American society’s sexist beliefs that men don’t necessarily need women, but women need men.

I am giving an internet high five to Jen Aniston for throwing The Checklist out the window. She is living proof that women can have whatever life they choose. Some may live by The Checklist, but it’s not a requirement. The American Dream should be whatever dream we want it to be. Better yet: Forget the American Dream altogether. Have your own dreams. Create your own list, or don’t write a list at all. We should be free to live the lives we want, not the lives we should.

Source: bicikel.com

Ending on a humorous note, here is a clip from the late and legendary George Carlin. He said the American Dream is called a dream because “you have to be asleep to believe it.”

 

Guys! I’m This Week’s Guest in a Podcast!

A few days ago, I was interviewed by the awesome bloggers Kenny and Kylie for their weekly podcast. It was so much fun, and my first time ever doing a podcast. Is it strange that I’m nervous to give it a listen because I don’t like hearing my voice? Just me? Well, okay then.

Please go listen to the podcast. Like now. This second. Comment with your thoughts, follow these fabulous bloggers if you don’t already, and check out their weekly podcasts! I’ll list the links below.

Episode 16 Podcast: http://kennyandkylieshow.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/episode-16-the-show-with-rebecca/

Kylie: http://journeyofkylie.com/

Kenneth: http://culturemonk.com/

What’s in a song to make it addictive? My Life Soundtrack

Now playing on my Spotify? On repeat? “Cool Kids” by Echosmith, a song that burst into my eardrums on the radio recently. I am open minded as far as my music taste (within reason), but sometimes, THOSE songs come into my life, grab me, and once I’ve had a listen, I’m an addict. On repeat, I do not allow my ears to hear any other song. THAT song of the moment is my soundtrack. Something intangible lingers in the song, and I must listen to it enough (maybe 500 times) in an attempt to figure it out.

These are the songs that make up my Playlist The songs that define moments, days, maybe even months in my life. Songs that meant something to me, either because of the lyrics, an addictive beat, or a memory attached. Put together, it’s my Life Soundtrack. While the songs that make up my favorites are varied, for me there is something timeless about each one. No matter how much time passes, I can travel back to each song and feel addicted again.

Below I’ve left YouTube links to my Life Soundtrack. Here we go!

1. Cool Kids, Echosmith–This song has been stuck in my head for days. It has a unique, fresh sound.

2. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Florence + The Machine–Okay, I have a confession to make. Florence Welch is basically God to me. Her voice is the modern day equivalent of Grace Slick. Don’t believe me? Here, have a listen. I am dying to hear a new album from Florence, and it is on my bucket list to hear her perform live before I die.

3. Animal Instinct, The Cranberries–Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, is also one of my favorite voices in music. Her lyrics were sometimes like reading my journal entries, in the form of song, of course. If I couldn’t find a way to express my thoughts, I knew, “There’s a Cranberries song for that.”

4. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd–What is there to say about Pink Floyd? Greatness. While there are hundreds of songs to choose from that are genius, zany, or perfect, this song just sticks out for me. Don’t hate me, Floyd fans. This song has simplicity, and it’s unique for the band’s usual sound.

5. Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms–This song is dark, wonderful, and has that 90’s alternative rock sound that cannot be replicated today. Some of the Gin Blossoms’ songs have an upbeat sound, yet balance that out with somber lyrics.

6. “45,” The Gaslight Anthem–I saw The Gaslight Anthem live. They are a band to be experienced. Have a listen to the title track of their newest release, Get Hurt.

7. Heads Will Roll, Yeah Yeah Yeahs–This song was my J-A-M. Karen O is a cool rocker chick, and her song The Moon Song, off the soundtrack for the film Her, was nominated for an Oscar.

8. I Just Want To Have Something To Do, Ramones–This song is fun, just like all of the Ramones’ music. Their music is infectious and their lyrics stick like glue in my brain all day.

9. I Turned Into A Martian, Misfits–“I can’t even recall my name!” Who doesn’t love a classic Misfits song?

10. Applause, Lady Gaga–Yes, I love some Lady Gaga. I can’t help it. Come on, I know you do, too.

11. Over the Hills and Far Away, Led Zeppelin–This song, along with the whole Houses of the Holy album, reminds me of spring and summertime. The sun is shining through my window, it’s 75 degrees, and life is a little brighter.

 

I’d like to hear what songs are on your Playlist, or just some of your favorite songs in general. What’s on your Life Soundtrack?

 

Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment (My Response)

I decided to take part in the fabulous Suzie81 Speaks’ survey. Here is a link to the list of questions she posed to bloggers, and I am going to answer them. If you’d like to participate, head on over to her blog, answer the quesions, and link.

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

The title of my blog, Humyn, is the title of a poem I’d written a few years ago. I wanted my blog to be about my views on the world, poetry, culture, current events, and the human experience in general. I thought titling it “Humyn” seemed fitting.

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

My advice would be to write with passion. Write about your passions, because if you’re not having fun writing, then you will feel burnt out quickly. Also, make sure to read as many blogs as possible. This will help you meet other bloggers and help you become a better blogger.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

Too many to count! Many of those experiences involve my trip to Greece. Clubs in Santorini, a ferry ride to Athens, and meeting the locals.

4. What is the best thing anyone has ever said to you?

“You write like Dorothy Parker.”

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

I would travel to California in the mid 1950’s to meet Marilyn Monroe.

6. If you could pick a new first name, what would you choose?

Gwen or Athena.

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

The Attack of the Writer’s Blocks

Attack of the trolls

Source: abagond.wordpress.com

I have learned never to read the comments section of YouTube or any news website. It is horrific to see that two days after Robin Williams’ death, the trolls come out to play, sitting behind computer screens, posting disgusting and offensive comments all over the internet. The online bullying forced Zelda, Robin William’s 25-year-old daughter, to delete her Instagram and Twitter.

While reading articles for references to put in my previous blog post, I made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments section of an article. The comments were so vile that I decided to find a different article to cite. The comments I saw? One online troll wrote that anyone who killed themselves would burn in hell, and another said that anyone who is angry at Shepard Smith’s comments about Robin Williams should “go find a rope and a chair.” I’m not kidding.

Bullying has existed for generations, unfortunately, but online bullying is so awful because of how easy it is, and how difficult it is to regulate. In light of Robin Williams’ death, I feel sad that human beings out there are positing negative comments online and attacking his family. It makes my stomach sick.

Many people have experienced trolls, including bloggers, but I cannot imagine being attacked online after the sudden and tragic death of a family member. I think it was a good move for Zelda to step away from social media, but I wish our online world was kind. It is so unfair that someone who is going through unimaginable grieve is bullied. The stigma surrounding depression and suicide needs to end so that we can help those suffering, but the fight for ending that stigma will be difficult with all the trolls lurking online.

From now on I will refrain from reading the comments section of most websites because there are twisted people in this world who have ten fingers, a keyboard, and internet access. I kindly ask all the trolls out there to go to a corner, away from a computer or phone, sit down, and shut up.

An Open Letter to Shepard Smith, Fox News Anchor

Dear Shepard Smith,

Like everyone else, I was in disbelief as I watched the news reports announcing Robin Williams’ tragic suicide. Thankfully, I do not watch Fox News because it is too conservative and biased for my taste, but others do watch your news station. On national television as a news anchor, I am under the assumption that your job is to inform the public of current events. Whether or not you put a biased spin on those events, you are still required to present the facts. However, when you announced Robin Williams’ death and called him “a coward,” you were not doing your job.

Shepard Smith, I have never met Robin Williams, and I have never met you. I will not judge your character or personality. Yet when I stumbled across a clip of your Fox News broadcast and heard your vile attack on Robin Williams, a man who is no longer here to defend himself, in those moments, you were ignorant and disrespectful. You were disrespectful not only towards Robin Williams and his memory, but also towards his family, friends, and fans who loved him.

I cannot judge you because I do not know you, but I can make assumptions. While most of the world was shocked, maybe you felt angry. Everyone processes death and loss in different ways, and maybe you process it through anger. However, you had a job to do, Shepard Smith. Your job was to inform your audience of Robin Williams’ death. Your job was to report the facts. Instead, you insulted the memory of a man so loved by the world, attacked him, and shoved your heartless opinions down your viewers’ throats.

While I know nothing about your education or life experiences, from the words you expressed about Robin Williams’ suicide, I can make another assumption that you have a narrow minded, misconstrued outlook on depression and addiction. According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. Depression is common and treatable, but it potentially can end in suicide.

Despite the commonality of depression, a stigma surrounds the disorder, and myths continue to perpetuate our culture, preventing open communication and understanding of those suffering in silence. Mr. Shepard Smith, you have already apologized for your comments, saying that you regret it, but I do not believe your apology to be 100% genuine. Your initial comments prove to America that you need to let go of your anger and join the rest of the world in our hope of ending the stigma of depression and suicide. If news anchors like yourself continue to spout hateful comments about people contemplating suicide or who have died from it, then you are allowing the stigma to perpetuate our culture.

I will continue to never watch Fox News, but I hope that for the sake of your viewers, you keep your opinions to yourself and strive to only report the facts. Everyone mourns death differently, but we must respect the memory of Robin Williams, his friends, family, and work to make the world a warmer place for the millions struggling with depression.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rebecca Meyer