Opinions on The Internet

I’m kind of terrified to write about anything that could be remotely considered an opinion these days. The Internet is an amazing, but scary place. You can find information on any given topic and no matter how rare you feel like something about you is, 99% of the time you see person after person who has that in common with you. The computer is a fantastic place to connect people with one another, to rally around each other for causes or through hardships, and feel less alone in this big world. It’s a great way to gain knowledge and learn how to be more empathetic, and can be an incredible tool to help others.

I think most people are good and mean well. We all want to make the world a better place, we just sometimes have different ways of getting there. The biggest thing I see people fight about online is politics, but I’ve seen vicious arguments about something as trivial as whether Chips Ahoy or Oreo cookies are better. I see Republicans and Democrats fighting right and left (No pun intended), name-calling and bashing each other for having different solutions on getting to a similar end goal. Each and every one of them thinks their plan is the best way to bring peace on Earth and end great amounts of suffering in the world — they just disagree on the practical steps it takes to get there. Instead of realizing that they are, in fact, on the same team, people yell at each other and resort to name-calling. Rather than wondering why someone might feel there is a different solution, people remain stubborn and set in their ways, and neglect to open their mind to other ideas. It’s really dangerous when we stop critical thinking and forget how to communicate effectively with others. 

Politics is the easiest example to give, but I clearly am not going to be starting a blog talking about current political events, so why should I feel worried about being attacked on here?

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I am afraid to write about my opinions because people on the Internet can be so darn mean about nothing. I see celebrities bullied on a daily basis just for sharing their lives with their fans, and I see well-intentioned posts by girls in Facebook groups get attacked because someone was offended by the way something was worded. Everyone wants to be a social justice warrior so damn badly that they forget the people they are tearing down are human beings with hearts and feelings too. It’s so ironic. In my mind, these people just have one type of person they feel compassion and empathy toward — those who think the exact same way that they do.

One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr is,

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Another great one is,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

If you want to talk about tolerance and love, the first step is to be tolerant and loving. This means loving even those who are wrong.

MLK Jr is someone who truly understands what it’s like to be treated poorly, but chooses kindness anyway. He was a pioneer who changed life drastically for people who were not being treated well. He isn’t known for being offensive, rude, or condescending — rather, he is known for being kind and compassionate, even when he had every right not to be. He was the King of peaceful protests, and fought seamlessly for what was right while remaining calm and respectful. I think we could learn a lot from the way he handled conflict and injustice.

The truth of it is, we live in one of the most unforgiving times ever. A tweet from an angsty teenage version of someone ten years ago can completely destroy a career, a “like” on Instagram can lead to death threats, and voicing your opinion can be one of the scariest and bravest things you possibly do, especially if it is unpopular.

If the world keeps moving this way I think we’re going to miss out on so many creative minds. A world like this doesn’t promote creative thinking, rather it screams that you need to fit into a certain mold to be accepted and loved. I believe bullying is one of the worst things human beings are capable of doing, and I think there are so many online bullies who have absolutely no idea that they’re actually the ones who are being cruel. I’d love to see people ask more questions and find out why someone perceives the world differently than they do. Instead of trying to cram ideas down someone’s throat, find out why they believe what they do and have a civil conversation about it. Agreeing to disagree is what makes America such a great nation, and I hate seeing this notion getting flushed down the toilet with the age of the Internet. Great things will start happening when we learn to work with each other, rather than choosing to focus on and fight about our differences.

Drafted

131. That’s how many pieces I have written and that are waiting to be posted, but I just can’t find the heart to share. Most of my writing is really pretty simple. I write about dating when a friend comes and asks for advice, because I love giving it and trying to help other people feel confident and secure in the dating world. I write about POTS when I am having a particularly bad — or sometimes good — day, and I write about the way other people treat me with this problem that is so misunderstood. Then, I have a couple deeper posts that I am just waiting to work up the guts to publish.

Part of the problem is going back and editing through everything. Several of my entries have general ideas and thoughts in them, but aren’t completed. They are skeletons of blog posts, and need some meat on their bones to help them make sense and tell a story. Others just feel hollow and my heart doesn’t feel up to working on them. Two, though, pierce deep down into my heart and make it beat fast when I think about opening up. Using the words that are deep down in your soul can be scary because they expose your darkest secrets or insecurities people would never guess you are dealing with. Luckily, I don’t have that many “secrets,” as I am a pretty open book, and there isn’t a lot of darkness in my life, so I’d file my posts under “Insecurities” in the glaringly obvious ways I am different.

Today, though, I’m tired. I still don’t feel like working on my writing, and I have been so wrapped up in wedding planning and health stuff lately that I have only posted on here two times this month. I want to write and share every single detail of the little and big things that happen in my day-to-day, but I’ve also seen the dangers of speaking loudly for all to hear online. Tonight I am going to work on a post about POTS that I drafted a few weeks ago after a Taylor Swift concert. I’ll share something that can be really hard on my heart, because I think so many people with all kinds of disabilities will be able to relate. Sometimes the most meaningful thing in the world is to feel like you are actually understood — and that you aren’t alone. As much as it sucks sometimes, the Internet is really cool because you can always find someone with the exact same things you struggle with. I still think writing is something I am meant to do, so I’ll stop being selfish and start sharing again, even if I’m feeling worn out. I think today I just needed to write and feel like I am creating again, even if it’s a silly, rambly blog post.

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Still In The Suburbs

I have a lot of new followers in this space, so I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself to anyone who is new to my blog, and share a few of my favorite posts for “Flashback Friday.”

First, this used to be called Single in The Suburbsbut now that I am engaged I finally changed the URL to reflect just me. This blog will always have some sort of dating and relationship aspect to it — because let’s face it, dating and love are my favorite things in the world to write about– but instead of sharing silly dating stories I’ll be chatting about a wider range of topics, with the occasional flashback or two.

My favorite things in the world are dogs, chocolate, the beach, my friends and family, and New York City. I like wearing soft T-shirts and sweats, but can’t help but love diamonds now, too. Current obsessions are The King of Queens, Fortnite, and Chipotle queso, but a few months ago I would have said Stranger ThingsMario Kart, and GF pizza, so things definitely change around a little. The Office is a constant in my life, as are chocolate waffle dates with my best friend. I love playing sports more than anything, but since I can’t be that active without passing out now, I enjoy watching other people have fun playing sports on TV. Robert is from Massachusetts, so I officially root for the New England Patriots, Red Sox, and Bruins, but I think my fantasy basketball team made me confused as to who I want to root for. I still am not obsessed with watching sports, though, and can really only handle a lot if I am fed good dessert and given the chance to talk a lot.

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Coffee is also one of my favorite things in life, but I can’t have caffeine so I only drink a small amount of decaf.

Now, on to my favorite blog posts. 

Robert and I met six months before he was deployed for ten. This is the most vivid moment I remember from the deployment. To this day I can tell you exactly how my heart felt while he was gone, and how excited I was when he came back. This is one of my favorite posts I wrote about him after we had been dating a little while. Pieces like this still give me butterflies, and I feel so blessed to have written so much about the guy I have decided to spend forever with.

I am an ENFP on the Myers Briggs test, which means I love feelings, and I love writing about them. I think people who are creative sometimes don’t get enough credit for doing meaningful work, too, but if we didn’t have right-brained people, we wouldn’t have great television shows like Seinfeld and Friends! 

This is the most descriptive thing I’ve written about pain. It was real, raw, and this is a day I will never forget. I don’t have as many terrible pain days anymore, and luckily when one does come my way I’m not as claustrophobic, because I know that my body can feel better again.

Lastly, I want to continue writing for my single readers, and this is my favorite piece of advice for dealing with a breakup. I don’t believe it’s typically healthy to stay friends with an ex, and I do think it’s important to move on so you can find the right person. An ex isn’t your #1 anymore for a reason, and until you find that person focus on your friends and family who all love you very much.


That’s all I have for y’all today, and I have a lot of catching up to do on here. Hopefully this gave you some sort of new material to read, and I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Choosing A Season Of Joy

I’m baaaaack! A lot has gone on in the week and a half I took off, but I’m ready to write again and update you all on some new developments.

It’s been crazy rainy lately and my POTS symptoms seem to get aggravated during changes in weather. Something interesting about POTS is that it affects a bunch of important organs, and has trouble finding homeostasis when even minor changes are introduced. My physical therapist takes my blood pressure and heart rate every single session — before and after and sometimes during my workouts — and it’s crazy to see that whenever I feel symptomatic my blood pressure is super low, and my heart rate is higher than usual. One cool thing about people with chronic illnesses is that we really know our bodies well. I can almost always pinpoint what is physically wrong with me because of the way my symptoms are behaving. We are going to start looking at the barometric pressure and my blood pressure throughout the day, just as a little test to see how they compare since both of us have noticed this trend. I can’t wait until POTS has been studied better and we can just look up a million and one facts about it, and one day there can actually be a cure.

Which leads me to my next point. I have been trying to be really cognizant of the blessings I have in my life lately. It makes every obstacle a whole lot easier to tackle, and I have felt more peace and joy by looking at the great things God has given me, rather than focusing only on the pain or discomfort. Today, for example, I saw a sweet little bunny outside on our front lawn. He was eating part of our flowers, but I sat and watched him until he was ready to leave before I walked past him. While I was sitting on the porch I saw a little red robin fly into a puddle next to our yard, and he started to fluff his feathers and bathe himself. These two little moments made my heart so warm the rest of the night.

As far as wedding planning goes, we keep making slow and steady progress. Robert and I got our wedding bands this week and they’re absolutely perfect. I keep putting mine on every time I go to his house because I love it so much! I am super sentimental, so I love that he picked everything out for me, but it’s also just so me. I love his too, and I think he looks super handsome with a wedding band. I wrote a little message to him in it so he’ll always be reminded of how I feel when he looks at it. 🙂 Despite all the stress of planning, I keep realizing how fast this time is going by and reminding myself that the primary feeling of this time of engagement should be joy. We have four months to go as of today, and I am so, so excited.

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My Resolution To Be Fearless

We are over 4 months into the new year and I decided to reevaluate how I am doing on my resolution to fear less in my everyday life. I wouldn’t quite say I am failing, but I’d give myself a “C” on this front, and I am not okay with that.

Having a lifestyle blog for anyone in the world to read is a little nerve-wracking, but the fact that any of my friends, family, and acquaintances can read about some of my deepest feelings and thoughts is a whole lot scarier than strangers following along my journey. My best friends know what kind of beautiful, fearful, and thoughtful desires are in my heart, but putting it on paper for those who don’t know me very well makes everything feel a whole lot more intimidating. Ink is permanent and words are sometimes interpreted by readers differently than the writer intends.

I know people like to talk about what others are up to sometimes. I do think about 99% of my readers are kindhearted amazing people who genuinely want what’s best for me, so despite having a good number of readers on this little online space, I believe it’s safe to share my heart with you all. I also know how easy it is to make snap judgments about others on social media, though. This blog showcases a small piece of my life, despite my best efforts to share meaningful things with y’all, and it can be difficult when friends make an assumption based on one, three, or a dozen little posts from a couple days of life. Feelings can be long and drawn out or incredibly fleeting, and I write a lot about both. 

After thinking about it a lot, I’m not going to say I’m done with being afraid — because I’m totally not, and there will be times I won’t share a lot of what’s going on in my life — but I am going to use the next few months to put a lot out there and cross off some of my goals without worrying so much about what other people might think. I will continue to work to “fear less” every day so that one day I might be able to call myself “fearless” in pursuing my dreams.

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To The Creatives Of The World

Your work matters too.

Having a chronic illness makes me so, so thankful for people who are different than I am. I appreciate the people who can handle blood and unhinged joints, and those who have brains that work for chemistry and biology. I’m not wired like that; I enjoy using my hands to write and create stories. I like painting metaphorical pictures for people, and I love resurfacing feelings from my heart and putting them on paper for others to read and relate to.

Something that really kept my spirits up when I first got sick with POTS was watching The Food Network and reruns of The Office. Laughter is often some of the best medicine, and despite not being able to do very much physically, I was able to laugh and dream. I learned as much as I could about food and health, and I lived each moment in the present as the room spun in circles around me.

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Every chapter of my life has included a soundtrack. I hear an old favorite song and it takes me back to a memory. I often do my best writing while I am listening to music, and will play a song on repeat until I have spilled old feelings on the pages in front of me. Despite not having the same ones anymore, I have a perfect memory for feelings. I know them all so well and even though I can’t remember dates, numbers, or physical details, I always remember how my heart felt about something. The best part about my writing is that it strikes a chord with people. With each blog post I get messages about how someone could relate to my own thoughts and feelings, and I take a lot of joy in knowing I can make others feel less alone by sharing my life with them.

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There are a lot of people in the world who get credit for their practical work, but I think creative people sometimes get left out of the thankfulness. I’ve written posts about how great I think people like doctors, physical therapists, nurses, and researchers are — without them I would be a complete wreck — but I’ve conveniently left out the people I understand most. The artists, the writers, the actors, and the comedians who all make life just that much brighter and more beautiful. The world is a really cool place because we have such a vast mix of humans who care about all of the other kinds of people. Without the left brains we wouldn’t be able to fix painful everyday problems, and without the right brains we wouldn’t have all the entertainment options we do. Both types of people bring more joy to the world, and we are all are a piece of the puzzle that makes for a happier society as a whole. No matter what your talent is, use it to make the world a better place.

Today’s lesson: Just because you can’t cure sicknesses or fix things doesn’t mean you aren’t important to the world. Laughter and bringing joy through the form of creativity and entertainment is a very important job. Keep practicing what you do best and giving back to the world with your own unique talents.

An English Major’s Love Language

Who else was excited that Ed Sheeran got engaged this weekend?! I was super excited for a few reasons. First, I absolutely love love. I want every single person in this world to be happy, and falling in love is something I think can really add a different element of brightness to your life. Second, I am stoked to hear all the new music he comes out with now. One of my favorite things about listening to artists I really enjoy is knowing who songs can be about. Taylor’s breakup music is fun, but the tracks about being in love and spilling her heart out in words is incomparably beautiful. I am excited to learn more about Ed’s fiancée, Cherry. Lastly, I like having a face to put to his song Perfect. The lyrics are some of the sweetest I’ve heard, and I absolutely love that he wrote such an amazing song for the girl he wants to spend forever with. That is just the “cherry” on top of the most wonderful words that have been put together.

Oh my gosh, this really gets the waterworks going. As if I needed any other reasons to love this song, knowing that each and every word written is real and raw makes me so, so happy. Something I enjoy most is knowing that the feelings in Perfect are real and raw. Being a fellow writer — though far less eloquent — I know exactly what it’s like to feel like your heart is about to burst and overflow with all the love it’s trying to contain. I also know very well that the only outlet for us to really express a deep love is putting pen to paper. Even though I don’t really know Sheeran, I feel like I’ve gotten a peek into his heart, and he’s been able to bring up my own feelings and experiences, despite being really descriptive about his own, too.

 

 

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Me interviewing Sheeran at the Jingle Ball in 2012. If you click the first link in this article you’ll see a picture of Cherry wearing this sweatshirt. I guess when it comes down to it we all love stealing our guy’s clothes.

I know that there’s significance behind “dancing in the dark,” and that they’re not just meant to be carefully crafted lyrics.  I know that there was a night where he whispered, “darling you look perfect tonight,” and I can picture him blushing happily while dancing with his sweet new fiancée.

These memories bring up my own. I think about dancing to Sheeran at a friend’s wedding with my own significant other. I think about how perfect that moment was, and going home to write this in my journal:

“Our first dance together was magical. We smiled at the newly wed couple happily, and our eyes danced as they met one another. We knew we were thinking the exact same thing; we are similar in so many ways, and we both feel touched deeply by true love — though Robert might not as openly admit that.

We swayed back and forth and I got lost in the twinkle in his eyes. For a moment I felt a little self-conscious that we were having such a moment in front of other people, but my nerves were quickly put at ease when I realized how comfortable Robert was. The way he was looking at me I knew he was peering deep down into my soul, and our two moving bodies became one. My heart hadn’t ever felt so warm, loved, and bright as it did in that very moment. It was as if all the love that had ever been in our relationship was piled into this one dance, and I didn’t want it to end.

‘I guess our first dance is to Ed Sheeran,’ Robert observed. His eyes were still smiling at me, and the twinkling lights in the barn around us were just background noise; he was the star of my show. ‘I don’t hate it.’

We continued to sway to the sweet lyrics until the song ended. I didn’t want it to come to end, but I also knew in a way it wouldn’t. I would have this in my heart forever, and that dance will be one of my favorite memories of us for the rest of my life.”

I remember having a feeling of pure bliss because of how innocent and special sharing a slow dance with the love of your life is. I think further back to being pulled close in the kitchen and listening to his heart beat while we swayed back and forth to silence. I wonder if he remembers this too, or if these moments are only preserved in my own heart and journals from before the deployment.

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Writing, to me, is the most beautiful love language. Words of Affirmation aren’t listed as my #1 love language, but they are the most special to me in so many ways. They can make my heart sink or soar, and I use them to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with others. I have screenshotted text messages from years ago that made me so happy that I couldn’t imagine just letting them disappear into thin air. I save every note someone who is special in my life sends to me, and I treasure certain words that are said in my heart forever.

I want to collect thousands of “I love you’s,” and hearing about what I mean to someone is the best gift that could be given in this world. I look at words as being sacred pieces of the heart, and despite using the “L” word freely, it also means very different things to each person in my life. When it comes to romantic love, there is only one person in the world who hears “I love you” in the giddy way that will always signify true love, and for me, that person is Robert.

Congratulations to Ed and Cherry; they’re definitely going to be people I ‘ship while wedding planning and thinking about how beautifully special two people coming together to create a life with one another is. I can’t wait for the next sweet single to come out, and in the meantime I’ll continue gently taking words from my own heart to keep writing about the things I love in this life.