What I Learned from a 40-day Facebook fast

A couple days ago I decided to stop using Facebook for the rest of the semester to focus on the outside world and my studies. Today, Monday, October 17, 2016, I deactivated my Facebook for the next two months while I’m in school. Here I’ll chronicle my journey.

Day 1 (October 17th): I deactivated it before class this morning and so far I’m doing okay. I still can use Messenger and I’m still active on my other SM platforms.
November 10th: Now that I’ve been off FB for almost a month, I realize that I really don’t miss it. I’ll still reactivate it after the semester is over, but I probably won’t be as addicted to it.

November 29th: I caved and reactivated it a little early. I have two more assignments and a final, and my second-to-last assignment, an oral report, I’m completely ready for and am doing tomorrow. The last one isn’t due til December 11th.

So, what have I learned?

  1. Life is much less stressful without it. Being on it all the time meant I saw everyone’s drama and things I didn’t agree with but knew speaking up about it would lead to conflict.
  2. It’s a big distraction. Sure, I still have distractions, but it’s one less.
  3. Facebook really wasn’t as hard to detach from as I was expecting it to be.

Now I will admit, I did cheat a little bit. I have a second account for online friends and while I forgot about it for the first month, I did use it (very sparingly, and mainly for chat purposes) a few times before officially rejoining Facebook. Otherwise, pretty clean break, and I survived. The world didn’t end. I think I’ll be okay.

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5 Things We Should Stop Saying

There are a lot of things that are off-limits to say. There are a lot of things that are frowned upon to say. And then there are the things that aren’t frowned upon but should be. Here are a few things we need to stop saying.

  1. “I’m feeling triggered.” (in a feminist aspect). No, you’re not. You’re pissed off because something happened that you don’t like. You’re causing people like me, who feel triggered to cut, into getting laughed at if we don’t provide context because we’re mistaken for SJWs.
  2. “___ porn” (food porn, poems porn, etc). Stop making porn a casual thing. Porn is sexual. Food is not. Unless you’re using it in a sexual way (I’ll leave that to your imagination), it’s not. And when people refer to food porn, they’re referring to stuff that looks really delicious to eat, not sexually titillating.
  3. “I literally died of laughter.” Saying literally before anything that doesn’t actually happen is stupid. Saying “I literally started crying” is a lot better than the above sentence (assuming you did actually cry).
  4. “You’re retarded.” This is frowned upon anyway for insulting the person it’s directed at, but what about people who are actually mentally retarded? It’s an insult to casualize what they go through.
  5. “I hate ___!” I doubt you really HATE it. Hate is an extremely strong word. Strongly dislike is better. Hate is more like when you wish horrible things on it. You don’t hate your parents if you’re just upset that they grounded you. You hate them when you wish they would die or think about killing them yourself.

I’m sure there’s more and if you can think of any, leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Loopholes and Gun Control

The year is 1999. The setting? Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. At 11:20AM on April 20th, two seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire outside of the school. Their rampage ended around 50 minutes later, leaving 15 dead, including themselves.

The year is 2007. The setting? Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. At 7:15AM on April 16th, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the university, begins shooting at West Ambler Johnston Hall, leaving one of the resident advisors dead. By the time the mass shooting was over around 2 1/2 hours later, there were 33 deaths, including that of the shooter.

The year is 2012. The setting? Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. At around 9:30AM on December 14th, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, then began shooting in the elementary school, killing 28 people, including himself. Nobody knows why he targeted the school. Nobody ever will.

These three tragedies could have been prevented. Harris and Klebold got their guns because at the time, Colorado didn’t require background checks on private gun sales. Cho got his because of another loophole–because he willingly checked himself into a mental hospital and wasn’t forced into it, he was allowed to purchase a gun. Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s (now called autism spectrum disorder) and it’s speculated that he had schizophrenia that went undiagnosed. He also had OCD. I’m a firm believer that anyone with any sort of mental illness (barring eating disorders and learning disabilities) should NOT be allowed to own a firearm under ANY circumstances.

However, there’s more to it. A lot of shootings happen in gun-free zones. The reason for this should be obvious–nobody can stop a shooter if there’s no law-abiding citizen who carries a gun to defend themselves and everyone around them. You only are made aware of problems like this when it happens. And if it’s prevented, it’s not mentioned at all most of the time.

So, here’s what I believe could be different:

  1. Every gun dealer, private or not, runs an extensive background check.
  2. Anyone diagnosed with any sort of mental disorder should be barred from owning a gun.
  3. Gun-free zones shouldn’t exist, even in schools. Because think about how many shootings have happened in schools.

Stay safe everyone. Put your thoughts in the comments.

Secrets (Work in Progress)

I’ve got very few secrets. I’m usually an open book. I rarely keep anything to myself and when I do, it’s because it’s not my secret to tell.

But I do have a few. Some things are best left unsaid. I have things I don’t like talking about. Last Monday was my first day of my Criminal Justice class. My professor asked the class to introduce ourselves and say something we’ve never told anyone before. I, for the first time in awhile, had something—the fact that I’m extroverted and egocentric is an effort to mask and defeat my insecurities. Until then I’d never told anyone that. Until now only they and my mom knew—and my mom only found out a few days ago. Now I’m putting it out there. It’s one of my last secrets.

I’m a very open person. I figure if I’m open and honest then people know the kind of person I am before they get too attached to me. Plus in some cases, such as my rocky past, I know it could help whoever I’m talking to get through a rough time. Not to mention it helps feed my self confidence and makes me feel better about myself.

Nobody seems to notice how embarrassed/hurt I get when someone points out my flaws. I get that it’s important, but I’m still very insecure. I don’t know how to take criticism. The English class I took last fall was the first time I was able to get past that. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

The Motions

So while I sat in church today, the inevitable communion time came. Now, I used to take communion every week I was at church no matter what. But recently I came to a realization–I don’t want to do it for the sake of doing it. Doing it because I feel obligated to and not because I’m really feeling in the moment and want to be close to God is kind of like lying, wouldn’t you say? I don’t want to do something out of fear or obligation. If I’m going to do something for God, I want to mean it. It’s also why I don’t sing in church anymore.

It’s hard to do it out of choice. You sin on Saturday, confess on Sunday, lather, rinse, repeat, week after week after week. It’s an exhausting cycle and eventually it’s going to catch up with you. It’s better to be honest and not do something than to do it simply because you feel like you have to, especially when it comes to God.

If all you do is go through the motions, eventually you’re going to start feeling guilty. I’ve stopped doing that and I don’t feel guilty because I know I’m doing the right thing in not pretending to be something I’m not.

Another thing I don’t do is pray. I know I should, but again, I don’t want to do it out of obligation. Praying in front of others, whether out of pride or not, makes me very self-conscious and I think that prayer is something between you and God. If I don’t really feel like talking to Him (or anyone), I don’t want to force myself to.

Going through the motions is something a lot of people do, in a lot of ways. Just think about it the next time and evaluate why you’re doing it. Are you doing it because you really mean it? Or because you feel like you have to? Consider it before you do it.

This is the song that inspired this post:

10 more songs to listen to when you’re sad

I found several more happy songs that I want to share in a new post. My last one was written a long time ago (I forgot to publish it) and several of my favorite songs didn’t make it because they hadn’t come out yet.

Song #1: ‘Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

This is a very upbeat, happy song. I’m really into it. I think just about everyone is. I just wish it didn’t have any bad language though.

Song #2: ‘Shut Up and Dance’ by Walk the Moon

I can’t help but get excited whenever I hear this song. It makes me grin and want to dance.

Song #3: ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye

This one is pretty peppy. It was suggested to me by someone. I don’t listen to it much, but it’s good.

Song #4: ‘When Can I See You Again’ by Owl City

This song is such a fun, catchy tune. I love it so much.

Song #5: ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams

Don’t pretend you didn’t see this one coming.

Song #6: ‘Twist and Shout’ by The Beatles

Suggested to me by a friend, it really is pretty peppy.

Song #7: ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey

It starts off slow, but ends up being amazingly catchy and upbeat by the end.

Song #8: ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry

You can’t deny how peppy it is. It’s got a pretty good beat too.

Song #9: ‘Mean’ by Taylor Swift

Not the peppiest song on the list, but it’s a good message to remember if bullies have you down.

Song #10: ‘Better Things’ by The Kinks

Recommended by a friend, it really is pretty upbeat. Inspirational too.

You can find part 1 here.

When depression overcomes happiness

I’m at a good place in my life right now. I have a boyfriend I’m in love with who loves me back. I’m getting ready to move out of my parents’ place. And on top of all that, I have a steady income now. So why am I not happy?

Let’s just face the facts: depression sucks. It can hit at the most inconvenient times. It can ruin an otherwise perfect day. It can cause people to do horrible things. They might self-harm or even commit suicide. It causes people to snap and hurt others.

Nobody can understand it unless they have it. I’ve been with my current psychiatrist for over 5 years and I think she still doesn’t get it. It’s easy to tell someone ‘suck it up and get over it’ just because you can or ‘happiness is a choice’ just because it is for you. Why would anyone choose to be sad?

I want to be happy. Really, I do. So I don’t get why I can’t be. It hurts to know that I’ll never be completely satisfied with life for more than a day or two at a time.

Depression is a harsh mistress (for lack of a better term). You can’t shake it. It just stays there. All the time. Day after day. Even on your good days, it lies in wait in the darkest corners of your mind, waiting for something to happen that can push it into the light.

It hurts. It hurts like hell and always will. And the worst part? If you’ve got it now, odds are you always will. No amount of drugs, legal or not, can cure it. And there’s not a single thing you can do about it.