My Last 8 Selfies

Hello, friends! I was recently inspired by a very lovely mama over on the It’s A Mum’s Life 2016 blog to post my most recent, eight selfies. For those of you still living in… the age of pre-smartphones, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a selfie as “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.” A lot of people associate selfies with vanity, or narcissism, and sometimes, maybe that’s the case… but certainly not all of the time. Continue reading My Last 8 Selfies

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“We Can Do Better”

Hello, friends. I want to talk about something today that is very near to my heart. It may be triggering to some, and to others, you may not even care. Today, I want to talk about bullying. Specifically, cyber bullying. Recently, a very funny man named Wade, who I regularly watch on YouTube, and who I follow on social media, made a post to his Tumblr page that tugged at my heart. In his post, Wade spoke poignantly about how we, as a generation who spends much of our lives online, treat other people on social media, and shed some light on the ever growing issue of cyber bullying. Continue reading “We Can Do Better”

Remembering Christina Grimmie

Hello, friends. I wish I had something positive to write about at the moment, but due to some recent events, I’m left feeling quite numb and sad. As many of you may have already heard, Christina Grimmie, talented YouTube phenomenon, and ex-contestant on The Voice, was shot last night while signing autographs at a hometown show in Orlando, Florida, where she was performing. The male shooter, a man who is rumored to be a deranged fan, then shot and killed himself. Christina’s brother, Mark, is being hailed a hero for tackling the shooter before any more harm could be done. Christina was in critical condition when she was brought to the hospital late last night, but her injuries were too severe, and she passed away. She was only 22.

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Christina Grimmie was such a beautiful, kind girl, and an amazing talent. She was my sole inspiration to upload videos of myself singing to my old YouTube channel, over four years ago, and I related instantly to her fun personality, and love of Zelda. She had a powerful, unique voice, amazing keyboard skills, and was known for performing in her room, in front of her iconic Sonic poster. She got her start on YouTube, performing beautiful covers of popular songs, but later moved into writing her own music. The first video that I ever watched of Christina’s was her 2009 cover of Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most”, one of my favorite songs of all time, and I was blown away. She inspired me to push past my own fears, and post my first video of myself singing on my own channel.

As well as singing covers, Christina’s channel is also filled with videos of her performing her own, original works, and a handful of music videos. She put out her first album, Find Me, on June 14th, 2011. It is bittersweet to think that just three days from today will be the 5th anniversary of the release of Find Me. She later moved onto the big time, and was a powerhouse and crowd favorite on The Voice in 2014, impressing audiences across the world with her talent. She performed in numerous concerts in the United States, as well as overseas.

Last night, the hashtag #PrayersForChristina was trending worldwide on Twitter, and many YouTubers and celebrities tweeted their support. Unfortunately, this morning, the hashtag changed to #RIPChristina, with over 1.7 million people tweeting. This is a sad day for the YouTube community, as well as the rest of the world, and many YouTubers, celebrities, and fans have posted their condolences to various social media platforms following the tragic news of Christina’s passing.

Today is a sad day indeed, as the world mourns the loss of a great talent. Today is also the 25th birthday of fellow popular YouTube star, and radio personality, Dan Howell, and I sincerely hope that he has a good birthday, despite this sad news.

Rest in peace, Christina.

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Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 6/7/2016 | (Dis)Connected

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/7/2016 | Connected

For the last several years, I’ve basically been living in a cave when it comes to modern technology. I am 26 years old, which means I fall into the age range commonly referred to as the “Millennials“, and we are supposed to be the generation of technology and social media. In fact, nearly everyone I know, who is around my age and younger, own the latest iPhones, iPads, the latest gaming consoles and devices, play all the latest games, etc. They’re also on every social media platform you can imagine, like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and all those other ones out there that I’ve probably never even heard of. Not me. Not even close.

Did I miss something here? Is 26 the new 40? When did all of this happen, and how did I miss it?

Up until around 2012, when I was 22 years old, I was pretty up-to-date on everything (good lord, I sound old). I had a Samsung Galaxy (yes, those were relevant then), a good gaming PC, and a profile on all of the major social media sites, a podcast, and a large group of friends, who I spent hours talking to on Skype, as well as in the various games that I played. Unfortunately, as some of you already know, 2012 is the year that the long-term relationship that I was in ended, and my life crumbled around me.

I lost my home, my computer, my phone, my internet access… basically everything that people need to function properly in first world countries these days.

First world problems, folks, I know.

I went without internet for two years. Two. Whole. Years.

During this time of living on my own, I was unable to pay for any sort of luxury, such as internet and phone, and spent the majority of my time working at my full-time retail job, and reading. I had absolutely no contact with any of my online friends, and my Facebook and Twitter profiles could only be accessed whenever I was able to get to Kyle’s parents’ house and use their internet (this was early in our relationship, when he was living in Wisconsin, and was only able to visit me every/every other weekend).

I wasn’t able to buy a new phone for a year and a half, and when I found one that I could afford, it was far from an iPhone or Samsung, and it was a month-to-month plan. I still had no internet at home, but was able to use Facebook and Twitter from my phone, as long as I had any sort of signal, or WiFi… which, honestly, wasn’t all that often.

In November of 2014, a month and a half before my son was born, we were finally financially stable enough to buy new phones, and get internet in our apartment, something we had kept putting off due to how often we moved around. I tried to get back into my old routine of social media, vlogging, blogging, and gaming, and reached out to the same friends that had been in my circle just a few years ago… but, unfortunately, it all fell apart. With the arrival of my son, and the overwhelming feeling that everyone had moved on from me, I retreated back into the life of being a hermit, and chose to focus on my newborn.

Everyone around me had moved on to bigger and better things, and left me behind, stuck in the Dark Ages.

By the way, do you know hard it is to dig yourself out of a hole, and get yourself back into the present, when you lack the finances to do so? I’ll be stuck with this 2 year old, knockoff Samsung phone, and this ancient, hand-me-down computer that can barely handle Flash games.

Once again, first world problems… I know.

Anyway. I feel like, at only 26 years old, I’m turning into one of those middle-aged moms who has no idea what the cool kids are doing these days, and tries to join in on social media, despite being completely irrelevant, and only posting things for my 14 followers. Ugh… but, hey, you should all totally follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

I’ll never catch up. I’m getting too old for all this. I guess the good news is, since I’m so disconnected from the online world, I’m more connected to real life than most? Maybe? No… probably not.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Never Feed the Fucking Trolls

WARNING: Strong language.

Hello, friends. I have a general rule for myself when it comes to dealing with internet trolls: DO NOT interact with them. Don’t. Just don’t do it. Lately, I have been having a hard time abiding by this rule. With the current state of politics and the presidential race, as well as the women’s rights movement (International Women’s Day was just a few days ago), various LGBT rights movements, and other pro-equality movements going on, our nation has become a nation divided in the ugliest of ways. I am very upfront with my political and moral views, and most of you know than I am an Agnostic Atheist, who believes in equality for everyone. I am not only an LGBT ally, but also a Pansexual woman, and member of the community. I am also a feminist, and a Liberal. I don’t really care if you dislike me for those reasons, because your close-mindedness does not effect me, and I don’t want you in my life if you choose to judge me based on those facts. For just these reasons alone, I have been judged very critically by complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about me, and who throw wild generalizations at me, and that isn’t fair.

I have been called everything from a libtard, feminazi, fag lover, and so much more… all because I believe in basic, human rights and equality for everyone, which apparently, is an awful thing. Who knew?

For the last several days, I have been engaged in a handful of online comment wars, spanning across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Sometimes, I am guilty of being a bit of an instigator, but more often than not, I simply voiced my appreciation on a topic. I am not a troll. I do not scour the web in search of things that I wholly disagree with with every fiber of my being, just to jump into the comment section and spew ignorance and hatred on the subject. I also rarely skim through comments in search of someone who supports said topic, just to call them names and trash their opinions. I don’t make a habit of fucking attacking people on a personal level just because I disagree with something they say on the internet.

Apparently, I am a minority when it comes to this sort of behavior, because people online are fucking assholes. Shocking, I know!

Recently, an LGBT/equality page that I follow on Facebook posted the following picture:

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This graphic was posted on International Women’s Day, and while it did received a ton of praise from the LGBT community and its allies, it also received a lot of backlash from a lot of people who knew very little on the subject, and really had nothing of value to input other than “Fuck Caitlyn Jenner!” or “Until you’ve had a child you’re not REALLY a woman.”, both of which have nothing to do with what was said. The latter isn’t even a correct statement.

I posted the following two comments beneath the photo:

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Both comments received more positive feedback than negative, but there were a few people that had apparently just had a bad day, and wanted to tear everyone on this page apart for no reason. There were even a few commenters that were clearly fake accounts, created for the sole purpose of trying to hurt other people who disagreed with their views. Others had nothing of value to say other than calling me ridiculous names, or paraphrasing the Bible in all caps, WHICH AS WE ALL KNOW MAKES YOU SOUND SO MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT.

Why? WHY? What could you possibly get out of doing something like that? You are about as unlikely to change my way of thinking as I am to change yours, and that’s why I don’t waste my fucking time.

On a day that was for celebrating ALL women, there were feminists who wanted nothing more than to point out how they felt that trans women weren’t women, and gave them no support at all. There were civil rights activists, and #BlackLivesMatter activists, talking about how trans people, as well as the LGBT community in general, did not deserve rights, let alone to be recognized in a holiday. This lead me into several, one-sided, heated “debates” (I can’t even really call them that, because only one side had anything logical to contribute) across all of my social media platforms, that I let get to me. I couldn’t stop.

I let these trolling, immature, ignorant, terrible people get to me. I broke my own rule. And boy, did it get me fired up.

How can people actually think like that? It is 2016! How can you still have so much hate in your heart that you think it is okay to hurt people like that? I’m not even a member of the trans community, but as a woman who has struggled with her sexual identity for many years, I can certainly tell you how hard it is to KNOW that you one thing, but have everyone around you tell you that you aren’t, for a whole list of bullshit reasons. What if you were black, and people told you that you weren’t black enough, because of your eye or hair color? Telling you that you weren’t what you KNEW you were, what you were meant to be, because you didn’t look like it on the outside? That would hurt. You would be stuck feeling like you don’t belong on either side of the tracks, and it would tear you apart.

No one deserves to feel that way.

There are people who use sources like the Bible to back up their behavior, thinking that they are doing their god’s work in tearing down and hurting these people, because they disagree with how they live their lives, and that is WRONG. But even more wrong are the people who have absolutely no reason to hate these people, and choose to anyway.

Hatred is a choice.
Sexuality, gender dysphoria, and race are not.

If you want equality for women, or African Americans, or Latinos, but not for your brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, then you want privilege. Not equality. Those are not the same thing.

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

I’m so done. Back to my happy place.

Jan

[Just now, as I finish writing this, I am reading the comments beneath Ingrid Nilsen’s latest video on public bathrooms and gender identity, and it is honestly making me want to scream and rip my hair out. I fucking hate people.]

Daily Prompt 1/25/2016 | Key Takeaway

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/25/2016 | Key Takeaway

“Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.

YouTube, vlogging, blogging, Instagram, Twitter, podcasting… the biggest piece of advice that I could give to someone, is to not worry about the numbers. This is something that I have struggled with, no matter what platform that I chose to express myself on. The most important thing to remember is that if you have good, relatable content, the followers and subscribers will come. It may take months, or even years, but if you stick with it, and stay true to yourself, and what you want to produce, then it will happen.

Focus on quality, not quantity.

I think everyone secretly thinks that it will happen overnight. That they will put out a few blog posts, or a few witty videos on YouTube, and all these people will magically find them, and they will become a hit sensation immediately, and become monetized, or even sponsored, but that’s not how it works. You also have to put yourself out there. Find other, like-minded people in the community, and reach out to them. Participate, give feedback. You can’t expect to gain anything, if you’re not willing to give.

Stay patient, don’t give up. It will happen.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan