Author Archives: Hannah

You can only be as okay as you actually are.

I spent a lot of time chastising myself for feeling the wrong way.

“This is ridiculous, you’re overreacting.”

“You said, it was okay, so you really have no reason to be upset.”

“You’re not getting anything done feeling this way, grow up and act like a fucking adult.”

The voices in my head are not very kind. I imagine, it’s that way for a scary number of people. Lately, I’ve been really trying to grin through some tough times and be okay. And sometimes, I am. I can laugh and enjoy being around people and feel good about myself, but that doesn’t last, and when those feelings drop into self-loathing, insecurity, depression and anxiety, I have a lot of trouble being kind to myself for switching off. If I was fine yesterday, I should be fine today.

I think I’m starting to come to terms about how unrealistic that is. I put on a brave face while talking myself down all the time, but I’m starting to think that’s not so healthy.Well, I know it’s not healthy, but I think I might try doing something about it.

I also feel guilty, because this blog has had a lot of negativity to it lately, and I feel like that gives off the wrong impression of who I am, or that I’m looking for attention or people to check on me. I put my feelings out there because I know I can connect with other people. Having something resonate to someone in a deep way is a huge deal for me. And if it’s negative? I must continue to tell myself “so what?”, hard though it may be to hear. I’m in a bad place, maybe other people who are also in a bad place can find comfort in that. I don’t know. I don’t pretend to anymore.

It’s hard this time of year because there’s a lot to be done. School, work, Christmas, but I think acknowledging my pain, and almost embracing it, might be the only way to get through it all.

I’m not okay, so I guess maybe I’ll stop saying I am.

A very bad day: follow up

Okay. I am sad. But I have a lot of great things and people in my life. A short list of bright patches on this yucky day:

  • Friends who are there for you at 3 in the morning and buy you breakfast the next day.
  • Friends who let you bother them at work and cry on their shoulder.
  • Friends who offer to carry your groceries for you cause your hand is a mess.
  • Friends you didn’t know were your friends until you spend time with them.
  • Friends who get it, and get you.
  • Friends who invite you for much needed trips.
  • Friends who text you in seconds flat after seeing your whiny blog post.

Basically I’m #blessed to have so many kickass friends in this world. You’re the reason why I’m here. Love you.

A very bad day

I try to keep the tone of my blog posts light. I have a sense of humour and I can see how different situations can be funny, how I can spin them and make them something positive or quirky. This is easy, most of the time, because I feel that the things that happen to me are amusing, or charming, or at least the kind of tragic that makes people groan and say “me too!”

I can’ really do that right now. I feel like the more I try to stay upbeat the worse the world knocks me down. I used to love school. I used to love my job. I used to feel safe and secure and that I knew you and I knew where I stood. I don’t anymore. I can’t bring myself to laugh right now.

I hate seeing my friends feel this way too. It’s not fair. They make this world too hard for us.

I’m just so, so tired, and so, so sad.

Writer’s block

I’m feeling very stuck. Usually when I’m sad, or down, I’ve been able to put pen to paper, so to speak, and write my feelings away. Every time I sit down to write, though, I seem to draw up a blank. Or I write pages and pages of nonsense that won’t serve anyone to read. Therapeutic for me to get out, perhaps, but I think it might have people far too concerned for my sanity than they need to be.

So here I sit, thinking about all the things I would say if I could, what I would talk about. I’d talk about how I’m not very happy right now. I’m feeling stuck in my writing, but I think it’s because I’m stuck in my life. I feel like at this moment there is no room for any forward motion for me right now, and that is not a state that I enjoy being in. I’m a planner, I like to work toward goals, have plans of action, have dreams. I feel like those have come to a halt for the moment and my body, my brain, which are conditioned to be moving forward have stopped like feet in freshly poured cement.

There’s an end to some of this, there has to be or I would entirely lose my mind. I’ve figured out what I have the power to change and have taken action to change them. That just needs time. A few months and that part of my life will be moving again.

Some parts won’t though. Some parts will probably be up in the air for a very long time. I’m not sure how long I can manage to make that work without cracking. Most of the time it seems beyond worth it. What’s a matter of a couple of years in the grand scheme of life? Won’t I look back on this time and remember how silly and small I felt, and be so glad that I waited? But another part of me, the part that wins over on sad grey days like this one, make me think that there may never be a conclusion. I don’t know how to deal with this but I do know that it’s far too soon to make any kind of decision yet, so here I sit, my brain a flurry of strange and scary and exciting and wonderful thoughts, and nothing to channel this energy into.

There’s no right answer. I get a lot of disapproving stares and words of concern. I get support and knowing nods. But they don’t know. They aren’t there for every whispered secret, every slow dance, every small act of kindness. They don’t see how nobody else has ever known me so well.

I just want to fly above my life for a little bit. It’s too much for me right now.

What I’ve learned using Tinder for the past 5 months (on and off)

A follow up to the popular March 2017 post: “What I’ve learned using Tinder for two weeks”. Basically, just putting down in writing how jaded and grumpy I’ve become. Just kidding. No, not kidding at all.

I’ve downloaded and deleted Tinder like 10 times since I first got it, and it has definitely lost its appeal. I guess all love fades with time, and so too did my romance with the well-known dating app.

I’ve met some cool people on Tinder. I’ve met more people who seemed cool and then weren’t at all. Now, I just swipe aimlessly when I’m bored and then accidentally ignore everyone who messages me. It’s a very fulfilling practice that I will probably continue next time I re-download. In the meantime, enjoy some less optimistic observations about my time on Tinder.

1. People suck and the internet is garbage.

Might as well start with a reality check. The internet is full of horrible people and I seem to have come across most of them.

2. When you see a friend on Tinder and they don’t match with you, you’ll be gripped with an existential crisis of epic proportions.

Do they think I’m disgusting? Do they think I’ll take it the wrong way? Am I not cool enough to have “haha we matched on Tinder but shouldn’t actually date” witty banter? Are they just worried I’ll blog about it? Too bad, blogging about it anyway.

3. Sometimes Tinder makes a nice ice-breaker for real life, or shall we say, old fashioned, connections.

Those exist?

4. “Hannah!” is not an adequate pick-up line. Neither are active cliches like “if you could pick one ____ in the world to ____, what would it be?”

5. If people say they are “not” something… they usually are that thing.

6. You will get a lot more matches if you have a picture of yourself in a bathing suit.

Which brings me to my final point…

7. People suck and the internet is garbage.

 

That, or I’m just bored. Hey world, surprise me or something!

6 Friends That Every Twenty-Something Definitely Has

1. The Party Friend

Everyone likes the party friend. They’re always ready to hang out and will dismiss sleep, work and responsibility in order to get down with you. They’re the one screaming at you to do shots, introducing you to hot people, and generally trying to bust you out of your shell.  This friend is great because they’ll get you out of your pajamas, out of the house, and maybe even get you to have a great time. Negatives are that you’ve carried them home on your shoulders more times than you would like to count, and they tend to disappear on particularly messy nights.

2. The Older, Wiser One

This friend has seen some shit. They’re there to watch you try, fail, and fall flat on your face, but you better believe they will coach you through your pain better than anyone else you know. They’ll step right in when the moment is right, and offer you sage advice that would never occur to your young little brain. Most of their stories start with: “Something like that happened to me once…”

3. The Long Distance Bestie

This friend will be your best friend whether they’re 3 or 3 000 kilometres away. When you actually get around to messaging one another, it usually includes: [I misssssss you ♥♥♥] or similar iterations, but you know you’re both very busy and important people and both of your hearts are in it. When this person comes to visit, everything else SHUTS DOWN and they become your life. This friend is not great to drunk text at midnight when you are in different time zones, but is handy to have around when you need a couch to crash on in varying cities!

4. The Younger One

It’s very important to keep a younger friend around to:

  • keep you hip to the newest slang
  • show you cool memes
  • remind you that you are an adult and you can’t drink 9 Hey Y’alls and feel okay the next day
  • make you feel very wise and intelligent (for you are their Older, Wiser Friend)

5. The Decades of Friendship Best Pal

Most people only get one True Blue friend like this one. If you’re lucky, you might have two, or even a handful. This friend knows every. embarrassing. story. that could ever be used against you, along with a vast arsenal of photographs that could most certainly dissuade any suitor from ever engaging with you, were it placed in the wrong hands. This person is your best friend. They’ll be there for you no matter what. You’ve probably had massive fights in the past, but you know that making it through stuff like that has only made your friendship stronger and better. This one will be in your life forever, whether you like it or not, so you should probably get used to it.

6. The One That’s Probably Too Cool for You

This friend hangs out with you even though they’re probably too cool for you. You get to go to cool events with them and pretend like you’re on their level. You’re not, and this is obvious, but it’s pretty nice of them to have invited you in the first place.  This friend is worldly, well-dressed, and has an impressive vocabulary. You may strive to be like this person, but you probably never will. The Cool Friend is very good for your personal self-image, but they probably just like spending time with you, cause maybe you’re cooler than you think.

 

 

Hannah VS Modern Dating Volume I

As someone who is extremely new to the magical world of modern dating, there are a number of nuances and rules that I have yet to catch up on. Terms like ‘ghosting’, ‘negging’, and variations of different acronyms  (hmu is the most confusing, cause those are my initials) have been on my radar before, but never at the forefront of my daily life. This, needless to say, has changed, as my circumstances have, but I still feel like I am playing a game that I do not understand. An analysis of a few of my dating experiences thus far:

Problem 1: Did I ghost him? Did he ghost me? Or are we both just equally apathetic?

Casper would never ghost me

I think most people have been there. You go on a first date, and it’s probably a pretty good first date, at least the kind that makes you want to go on a second one. Then somewhere between the first and… I don’t know, fifth dates, it begins to feel like a chore to make plans, text once in a while, and actually have human interactions with this person.

In time, interactions become fewer, further spaced out, and eventually stop. Do you cut your losses? Do you follow up? Do you wait it out until you receive numerous 2am booty calls until you command him to stop?

Answer still unclear, will report back.

 

Problem 2: How do you let someone down easy without seeming like a total jerk?

There are some really cool people out there, and some of them simply are not the kind of cool that meshes well with my cool. Or rather, that meshes well with my weird. How does one approach these situations without looking like a total spazz who is also really mean?

Don’t: Accidentally ghost them. You won’t be able to sleep for weeks.

Do: Approach them with thoughtful and honest reasons as to why it won’t work out, without over-elaborating or getting into hurtful details.

*This post brought to you by the girl whose friends call her “mom”. Wonder why.

**Gonna try to take my own advice one day probably.

***Just kidding let’s be real.

Problem 3: Why. Why oh why, do they say they want to “keep it casual” and then proceed to cling to you like a bus seat to your butt on a hot day?

This one is baffling. There seems to be a stigma in the millennial culture about relationships, commitment, and what is expected of one when they’ve been on a certain number of dates. The word of choice for self proclaimed modern commitment-phobes is “casual”, which is a word I’ve heard so much it seems to have lost its meaning entirely.

To me, dating someone casually means: going on dates. Getting to know someone. Now, however, it seems to have developed into a kind of code word, for which I haven’t yet managed to find the definition.

The thing I find funny, though, is that it is often those who are most intent on being “casual” that end up being the neediest. Really, it’s okay to be needy (I’m needy as hell, just ask my friends) but it’s kind of sad to be in denial, don’t you think? This has happened to me repeatedly and I can’t quite figure it out, but I think it has something to do with fear of rejection. Not their fault, of course. The world is scary! People can be mean! But vulnerability is fun and interesting and being straightforward and not doing what society proclaims is cool is usually more interesting!

Keep it casual, or don’t, but don’t say one thing and do another. It’s deeply confusing.

Problem 4: Texting sucks.

Read receipts are awkward.

Scenario 1: It’s 1am. You finally fell asleep and you work early in the morning. Your phone buzzes almost nonstop for 3 straight minutes. It’s two different people asking “u up?” and inviting you to come “hang”. You see? Romance is not dead kids!

Scenario 2: You’ve waited approximately four hundred years. You’ve analyzed your last message 15 times with five different people. You will never receive a reply.

In summary: I quit!

Just kidding. My mom once got mad at me for being too positive. Plus I get bored easily, so it’s nice to have new people to entertain me. More neuroses to follow, I promise! This was but Volume I of many.

 

Bandages

Healing a broken heart is not an easy task.

I started with tissue paper. I figured, it would absorb the worst of it, and I could dispose of it easily. But it stuck. It left little pieces behind and won’t seem to go away.

I tried a bandaid, next. I figured it would hold the pieces together while I figured things out. But hearts are slippery, you know, and the bandaid slid right off.

Finally I found some gauze. I tucked it in deep, and it stayed for a while. Maybe, this was the answer to my problems. My heart began to heal around it.

But no, because when the time came to take it away, bits of my heart were stuck to it, clinging and ripping the wound bigger than it was before.

I don’t know how to fix a broken heart.

 

I’ll get there.

The Publication of Myself Thus Far

This course is called the Publication of Self in Everyday Life. I took this course during a rather unusual time in my life, and it made it a lot more complicated for me to find my online voice. I’ve seen myself in a certain way for a long time, and the events of these past few months have kind of managed to flip these ideas on their head. I’ve gained a new perspective on who I am, who I want to be, and, of course, most importantly how I present myself, particularly in an online setting.

Finding My Online Voice

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my blog when I first started. I figured personal blogs were not the kinds of things that strangers would want to read. Everyone these days seems to have a niche blog market that they appeal to and serve. For myself, I don’t think there is one particular niche that I feel comfortable in (yet) so, I figured, why not just put myself out there and hope that it is received favourably.

Something unexpected happened, though, and I began to find my voice again. I was always blogging as a teen. There are tumblr and Blogger pages out there with my teenaged soul splashed across them. I couldn’t go a day without spilling my hormonal guts out to a mostly anonymous online audience. But I see why this was so cathartic for me then, because it is just as much so now. Writing for a personal audience of one in a journal is healthy but doesn’t inspire me to do my best work. The chance to hear feedback from family, friends, and those I look up to is powerful and important, and has allowed me to build a community of people that see the world the same way that I do, forging connections that I certainly would not have made without it.

Throughout the semester, I have done a lot of thinking about my identity, and who I wanted to present through my online persona. I found myself fascinated by the concept of the Online Disinhibition Effect, and how I’ve seen it demonstrated in various online interactions. Within myself, I have noticed I show my disinhibition online through my invisibility, in that I am much less fearful of backlash brought about by my online sharing, because I cannot see those who read my work, and likewise they cannot see me. This gives me a bit of a dissociation from the fear I normally have in expressing myself in real life, which has proven to be a very liberating and exciting experience.

Audience and Analytics

Thus far, my audience has been made of primarily (almost exclusively) from referrals from my Facebook page. It took me a while to become confident enough to share my work online, and also to create content that I felt was worthy of an audience, but once I did, I began to post my blogs on Facebook on a regular basis. This resulted in a massive increase in traffic on my site, and a fairly even split between returning and new visitors which has since moved to approx. 66% new and 33% returning. As you’ll see below, a huge number of my website traffic comes from Facebook, either from my own linking, or other people sharing my posts (Thanks, Suzanne!). This is unsurprising, because according to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, Facebook is still the most used social media platform for those aged 18-34, which is my primary demographic (Meeker, 2016).

Additionally, I feel like I could really generate a lot of activity on the site were I to start sharing my content on Instagram, especially since my Instagram profile is public, while my Facebook posts can only be seen my by friends.  I have a link to the website in my profile, however, I could do more to increase referral from Instagram if I were to include snippets of blog posts in my Instagram posts.

One of the more exciting things that developed recently was a comment I received from a well-known Canadian money blogger who read one of my posts that linked to her website! Hopefully this will be the start of a growing network of bloggers and individuals that I will one day be a part of. It seems like a wonderful place to find a supportive community to grow within.

With regard to branching out into the world of monetizing, I don’t think I’m quite ready to do that yet. Perhaps as I grow and improve my website, I will feel more like I have a product worth monetizing and enough traffic to actually make a difference. Until then, I am very much okay with keeping this a non-monitary endeavour.

Goals

As I continue with my blog, I have a number of goals that I am interested in pursuing and tackling, in order to grow in my personal brand, as well as developing skills that I may be able to apply to the work that I may want to pursue in the future. These include:

  • Find a new theme that has a professional and clean appearance, so that I appear less like a beginner blogger and more like someone who has been around for a while and has a good sense of branding.
  • Continuing to develop my personal brand and discover the appropriate audience for these endeavours.
  • Branch out on how I share my content, and possibly begin to collaborate with other companies/bloggers to build a positive reputation and good connections.
  • Honing in on more specific content and a better-developed purpose of the website.
  • Apply the skills learned in this class in a professional setting.

I’m feeling particularly inspired by Jesse Thorn’s piece, Make Your Thing, and his tips and tricks to finding success. The great news is a lot of this I have already embarked upon (see #1 Start Now) and I am comfortable and confident there is no way to go but up from here.

So… now what?

My perspective on my personal voice, and what I have to offer the world has changed so drastically. It’s helped me to change my mind about what kind of career path I want to be on, and it’s reminded me that people genuinely are interested in hearing what I have to say. So now what? I’m going to keep doing this. I’ll post whatever strikes my fancy and hope that occasionally I’ll strike gold. But I’m doing it with a renewed sense of optimism and confidence in myself.

Sources

Mary Meeker. 2016. “2016 Internet Trends Report.” http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/2016-internet-trends-report

Suler, John. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html

Jesse Thorn. 2012. “Make Your Thing.” http://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/