This is probably not quite the post people will be anticipating it to be upon reading the title. While I consider it the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to be a successful social media campaign and much more effective than hashtag campaigns, I still think there are obvious errors in the ALS campaign. When I was nominated to do the challenge, I did donate money to ALS because it is a horrific disease, but I pointed out fresh water scarcity is an issue that this campaign ignores and I chose to nominate socially aware friends that I knew would donate instead of amusingly dumping a bucket of water on themselves for cheap giggles.
This is a post actually about the social consequences of my ALS challenge & people feeling victimized by social media.
Ideally, I would hope most of the people would realize that reality and social media are not interchangeable. I am a social media fan, I have worked extensively launching social media campaigns and of course I consider blogging to be a power outlet and connectivity for me. I also know that anyone who reads my blog would probably know more about my personal my life than most of the people around me.
However, social media is connectivity and personability. It is not a replacement for human connection and personal intimacy, which all of us need in individually varying amounts.
I have really two remaining friend from high school, one is the mother of my two godsons which I love to death. This friend, Red, chose the route that most of my high school peers chose. She married young, has two children at 23, and is a stay at home mom & never went to college [To be fair, most of my high school class is either already divorced or has multiple baby daddies at the same age so she is doing better].
The other friend, Selena, and I chose the alternative. We moved away, went to college, and both on paths that are making us feel fulfilled. Selena is newly married and working as college administrative support, while I am climbing the corporate ladder and travelling.
I know Red really resents both of us for choosing to move away and she feels alone, especially since she is a stay at home mom and both of her sons are in pre-school. Red has never really been cut-out for a job, but I’ve tried to get her involved in some fun volunteer activities or hobbies I think she might enjoy. She just has never quite latched onto anything.
Well anything, except Facebook.
Essentially while her sons are at school, she sits on Facebook trying to find people to chat with or post Bible verses / children updates. I know that behavior in unhealthy, not religion or being a mother, but keeping yourself shut in all day with no human interaction and obsessing over a virtual platform.
Apparently hell hath no fury like Red going un-nominated for the ALS challenge.
For my intended purpose, I tagged 3 friends in my challenge I knew would donate [Go figure, they did, within minutes of being “nominated”]. I have a few friends and past professors that that either personally or have had relatives directly affected by ALS. I am having a mini-dialogue with people about ALS and donating vs. awareness when Red virtually comes along and comments on my post about wanting to dump an ice bucket over her head and she was offended that people she “previously” considered to be friends had chosen other people instead of her.
Now as much as I care for Red, she is not an aware or educationally smart. She is a good mother and a good Christian, but she does not even know what is ALS. She is also not someone that will research the topic or spread awareness, she merely wants to keep up with the social trend. Especially since it is on her favorite social media platform.
Not only did I want people to donate instead of dump a bucket of water on themselves, I specifically knew I would not tag someone like Red that views social awareness as a fad. So I ingored her back handed comments on my online profile.
That’s when she began messaging me that I was a terrible friend and I obviously did care about her since I did not nominate her. She rambled on that she would disown me, attacking my character. This is about the time that I began feeling annoyed.
It is just a damn campaign!
If you really want to throw a bucket of ice water on yourself, go for it! No one is stopping you, ALS certainly wants the awareness to spread so I am sure they would be fine if you initiated your own little branch of the campaign. However, I know it was the social aspect that bothered her.
I was not going to feed into Red though, I knew she was just angry and in a self-pity stage. I ignored her, until she began posting passive-aggressive Facebook statuses about that I am no longer a friend and that I am a terrible friend in order to gather troops against me. As soon as she slandered me as a heathen, all her non-denominational church jumped on board.
I never engage in pissing wars online because they are absolutely pointless, but I would never respond to something this petty.
She proceeded to blow up my text messages for a bit, causing her fury to transcend communication forums. I never replied to a thing. She must have hindsight regret or irritation at the notion that she appears to be the immature party in this one-way because once 24 hours had passed without my acknowledgment or taking up arms in the fight, Red is trying to play my best friend again.
[At Godson's Church Choir Concert]
Church Member: J, any chance of getting you to attend our little church regularly?
Me: I am afraid I live a few hours away in Chicago. I only came to see my Godson since I know he's been practicing so hard.
Church Member: So many murders there, you need more church in you than every Sunday!
Me: Well I am not the ones committing the murders.
Church Member: You are surrounded by so much sin though!
Me: Not really, it's not like I affiliate with criminals. Mostly secularly educated people and bartenders.
Church Member: What church do you go to in Chicago?
Me: I am actually non-religious.
Church Member: A Heathen?
Me: An Atheist, actually.
Church Member: I never quite understood people like you. I am presuming you are one of those people that do not see the Bible as proof of His existence?
Me: If only the Bible was peer reviewed haha.
Church Member: Well just because you cannot see God does not mean He does not exist! For you and that scientific logic, you cannot see my brain, but you know that it exists!
Me: [Thinking: I really do not know if you have a brain after that statement] I could see your brain if I wanted to though... CAT scan, MRI, lobotomy, head surgery, autopsy, etc.
Church Member: ... Those things you just said are way over my head, I am betting half of those words were made up!
Me: Just because you do not understand something does not mean it does not exist.
I can remember just a few months ago, back to when the apartment was still mine, pristine and only have to mop the wood floors every two weeks [Now I am lucky if I only have to move twice a week]. This is a far cry from the crime scene I walked into today after hauling my luggage from downtown to my Wicker Park loft.
I immediately went to chill a few bottles of Pinot Grigio I picked up from the winery by my mum, absent mindedly swatting at a few fruit flies that were bouncing around my sweat glazed face as I opened the refrigerator door. I glanced at the sink, seeing the full kitchen sink of my roommate’s unwashed dishes that I had been getting her do clean since last Monday. I figured that was the culprit.
Incapable of waiting for all the wine to chill, I figured the semi-dry Riesling would be my best bet at room temperature of all my weekend trophies for not killing Deuceface Cousin. It is when I open the kitchen waste bin that I find the real culprit of the fruit flies!
The butchered carcasses of pineapples and watermelon rinds and orange peels galore for my roommate’s raw vegan diet.
I witnessed the fruit sacrifices Saturday morning as Boho Chic let the internal juices run all over my glass dining room table and floor, knowing that she would not clean that up, my only request was that she dispose of the bodies outside of the apartment so I could not be caught as an accomplice for this awful crime. I had a train to catch, I thought nothing of the interaction until this very moment when I saw the evidence in the kitchen waste bin and was choking on the cloud of fruits flies when I opened it.
It was not just the army of fruit flies that sought to destroy my mental composure, they were expanding. Maggots covered the trash bin lid and the top layer of garbage, who knew how deep into the mound of garbage this army was multiplying! Waves from the air force immediately began airlifting the maggots to drop behind the trash bin barricade, presuming that this shelter was safe.
I immediately took the trash bag out, but the bottom and top of the stainless steel garbage bin were layers of writhing whiteness. I have taken to using lilac-scented Pledge to gas the masses and destroying the fruit flies’ barricade with Swiffer. I have taken out most of their forces, but once in a while I will find an injured straggler waving their peace treaty as they come out of all the nooks.
Sorry, but you have initiated war and I kill you all personally. Have no worries though, the true tyrant, my roommate, shall suffer the same fate!
Me: How have you been?
Deuceface Cousin: More settled in life than you. Can you even keep a guy around now?
Me: I'm not ready for that, we are just at different places. I've applied for law school though.
Deuceface Cousin: Such a waste of time. I will never understand how one person makes so many poor life choices.
Me: Does your wife know you've cheated?
Deuceface Cousin: My God is forgiving and I'm not nearly as big of a whore as you.
Mum: Ok, I think we need to get the alcohol going!
I never want to be reffing couple disputes, but particularly not at 3 in the morning during the business week and right above our landlord’s flat.
I do not dislike my roommate’s boyfriend, but he is over for adult sleepovers far too much. I have discussed the issue with Boho Chic and so far, he has only spent 3 of the past 4 nights at the flat. I can live with 3 nights a week, but I will be irked if he sleeps over more.
Completely different dispute though, they went out drinking and I opted out because I am frankly tired of seeing the boyfriend and hearing his self-pitying, wounded artist, over privileged wealthy suburbanite moans & groans. I will admit that I am a light sleeper so I heard them come stumbling into the apartment around 1am.
However, two hours later was when I would be jolted out of bed because of breaking glass and screeching emanating throughout the apartment.
At first, I was initially worried that someone had broken into the apartment [There has been a crime spike in my area & since we have no air conditioning, I have been leaving the windows open to air out the flat], but then I heard Boho Chic’s familiar clomping wedge heels and the boyfriend’s high pitched screeches.
I lay tangled in my blanket, hoping the drunk people would just wear themselves out and stumble into bed. Once I heard the first glass break though, I sprinted to the kitchen.
The boyfriend was crying and calling her all sorts of derogatory female name. Boho Chic was just shrieking and decided to smash my coffee mugs in the dish drainer in a fit of rage. I basically grabbed Boho Chic before she could destroy my remaining dishes and told them they both needed a time out to cool off.
Boho Chic pouted and ran into her room to grab her bedding to go sleep on the couch. I wanted to tell her that it is your bed, but I was just glad the screaming had stopped. Once the boyfriend stormed out to take refuge in her bedroom, I tried to find out the issue from Boho Chic.
Between her drunken stupor and my sleep deprivation, nothing was making sense. All I understood was that she left for work without giving him a good bye kiss and he was still pissed. I was just glad I did not have deal her crying or puking so I got to go back to bed fairly quickly.
However, just as I was getting ready to leave for work, the boyfriend began poking a sleeping Boho Chic that they needed to talk about her issues. I basically dashed out the door, forgetting my much needed coffee thermos [Work coffee machine is broken and we are all in mourning], because there was no way I was going to put myself in that situation.
None of my other dishes better be broken when I come home.
It has been a slow and dreary week. My firm has not been nearly as cut-throat as usual, NY & NJ offices has only called me profane names a few times this week [To my face at least, but still unheard of]. The office has been more somber, these humid summer storms are keeping all of tucked away neatly in our offices as we ideally watching the drowning city from the 51st floor.
It’s been an odd week, especially since I have been coming to terms that I am outgrowing this job and job will seem like a lifetime ago as I move on to other [And hopefully better] things.
This lull in the week has also given me some time to reflect on other things in life and while things are perfect [Are they ever when you are 23?], there are few constants that I always appreciate. Probably one of the things I am most grateful for is, and will always be, my mum.
This week I have been especially grateful for my mum’s acceptance.
I would not say my mum wanted me to be one particular person, I think my mum always wanted me to be happy and she was not always quite sure how to handle that my life was never going to be cookie-cutter. Especially since some of my choices may directly affect what happens in her life.
I am not quite sure that love, marriage, kids, or the like are really in the cards for me. I honestly find some strange comfort in this, it is not a thought that haunts me.
What does bother me is that when I see how lovingly my mum interacts with young kids and knowing that she may never be a grandmother since I am her only child.
However, I think what really bothers my mum the most is that I may never be loved, or at least loved once she is gone. My mum has brought up potential children once in a while, but she mostly brings up companionship and love to me at this point in life.
As close as my mum and I are, there are a few subjects we never more than scrape the surface. My mum never dated after my father left and boys were always a taboo subject because of the monster my father became. She tries to reassure me that all men are not life my father, but I have never fared well in romantic relationships.
There are a few things I have not written about CPA, and may not for a while because I am still trying to cope with feelings that I do not understand yet, but I can’t even stand a male touching me at this point. The few dates I have been on since CPA, I cringe even when a guy reaches for my hand. No guy deserves that much baggage and I don’t want to keep searching for a toad that makes me feel the least bad about myself.
My mum didn’t always respect my thoughts or life choices when I was younger, but I am glad she is starting to view me as an adult [Even though I have a hard time seeing myself that way] and respecting my choices. Even if I am single and child-free forever.
Mondays are always my slow days at work. I have about an hour of actual work, I read for at least two hours from the mini-library stuffed in desk drawers, and I spend a few more hours with NPR & Reddit on my dual monitors so it at least appears I am doing something until I duck out early. Mondays are useless in my office, but I go to maintain appearances or the rare occasion someone might actually have a question about one of my legal files.
On Mondays I never really mind my job. Sure, I do not love it, but I would rather be paid for doing nothing then sitting around my apartment and not getting paid. I also like the people I work with and my boss makes me feel at home.
However, I know this serenity is always temporary. By Wednesday, I will want to kill Dwight in my office because of his constant trying to belittle my competence. By Thursday, HR will be questioning about another grievance my partner has filed against the NY office on my behalf for someone inevitably calling me a “bitch” or “cunt” because I pointed out their error. By Friday, my boss cannot offer me enough free lunches in the world to stay at the firm as I angrily apply to new jobs through Craigslist.
I think one of my greatest struggles has been allowing myself to be comfortable in this current job since I am used to working towards a goal and trying to balance how long is enough time to be comfortable / when should I begin looking for a new job.
Since I do not have a clear direction with exactly what I want to do with my life and no one is really complaining because I do have a comfortable / well paying job at 23, I have a hard time motivating myself to do it.
Since I have chosen to focus more of my life on career instead of love/family, at least at this point in my life, I feel like I need to start directing my life for professional growth. There are 3 main possibilities I have been tossing around.
1. Partnership. This is more of an offer my boss made. He has been pushing me towards law school and he wants to start his own firm, but is also flaky and since I have never wanted to be a lawyer [I ended up in the legal field as fluke] then I would never want to go to law school otherwise.
2. Marketing. More so my passion. I am more into writing [obviously] and content development so ideally I would like to be a publicist or social media management.
3. Going Abroad. As an immigrant, something I have always struggled with is identifying the place that I want to call home. Ironically, I do not think it is the motherland or the US anymore. My heart has been set on the Netherlands for a while because there is a good immigration treaty with them and there is quite a bit of work there for a freelance writer.
I am not wandering completely aimlessly, it is just trying to figure out which is right for me and it seems too difficult to make such a great life choice at 23… But I am at least beginning to explore my options.
I am meeting with a marketing recruiter tomorrow morning before work and I am visiting my ideal law school Friday so hopefully I will have a bit of a clearer picture once I have the weekend to digest everything.
As people start getting out of their early 20’s [Or maybe closer to any time after you turn 21], the club scene can get really old really fast. I love dancing, as long as I have enough liquid courage in me, but clubbing is an entirely different beast.
The club is a place that is so packed, you can really only do the “box dance”. Clubs have outrageously priced drinks. Clubs are full of drunk and crying girls that are hogging the bathroom. Clubs have a lot of creeper guys that either do not understand “no” or that no girl is really interested in him rubbing his penis all over her butt.
I went to go see a show, Bye Bye Liver [And it was phenomenally fun, I would recommend it to anyone over 21 visiting/living in Chicago] and as you may have guessed by the name of the show, I was drunk and definitely was not ready to go home when the show ended at midnight. So I hoped into a taxi and chose a dance bar close to my apartment [Even drunk me has foresight that drunker me will not want to stumble very far home].
As soon as I walked into the club, I could see guys were already circling like vultures around the girls on the dance floor. Guys were essentially taking turns, trying to pull the lone girls to grind on them.
I honestly do not mind going out alone. When people are drunk, you typically don’t get to spend time with the people you came with anyway and everyone loves everyone when enough alcohol is involved. I have also mastered two skills fairly well that help keep the creepers at bay.
1. The Death Glare. This speaks for itself, if any guy is trying to force his dance moves on me, I usually do not even have to say anything anymore because stare of pure hatred speaks for itself. You are not welcome!
2. Dance with Girls. Spending the night tearing up the dance floor with a random girl is always more fun than spending it with a creeper. She is not going to roofie my drink. She is not trying to take me home. She is also not going to try to dry hump me all night. In fact, she is probably going to join me doing The Sprinkler on top of the speaker boxes.
Girls just want to have fun, right?
However, this is also probably why I never get a date. I haven’t had a guy buy me a drink since I was 21, unless I was dating him. However, I score free PBRs and phone numbers from girls like a champ. The girl I was dancing with this particular night absolutely loved it, she danced with me until close and bought me more than a few drinks.
As I walked out of the club, the bouncer patted me on the shoulder and laughed as he told me I could have probably taken that girl home. Maybe I need to rethink my tactics.
I finally re-did my blog layout and I really like the theme better, though highly biased!
I am still in the process of cleaning up some of the bugs [My additional pages are being buggers at the moment]. However, I made a few pages of things I either enjoy [Exploring my city or fashion/product reviewing] or things I am trying to work into my life [exercise & healthy eating].
[And Instgram… Let’s face it, it is a fun addiction]
And I think I might also begin posting pictures again. Pictures or complete anonymity is always a battle. I have gotten rid of a blog before because my privacy was compromised and an ex tried to use certain posts against me in my personal life. However, I keep my personal life and blog very separate now & no one has vendettas against me now, as far as I know at least.
I always try to give any roommate I have ever had the benefit of the doubt, even if we did not personally get along well. I typically try to initially tell myself that I am the one that is imagining things. I am the one that is crazy.
It is only when other people begin to point out the issues in my apartment that I give myself credit for not being completely crazy after all.
My last three roommates have been close friends, which is always playing with fire when you choose to co-habituate with some of your best friends. I went through a streak where I did not get along personally with any of my roommates and I just ended up feeling lonely. I was elated when one of my friends, Noel, agreed to move in to me. There was nothing I wanted more than to come home from work and just have someone I can talk to.
However, good friends do not necessarily equal good roommates… And this has always been my issue.
The two friends I have lived with previously, Noel & Mel, are messy and never paid rent on time. I know that I am obsessively clean and neurotic so I try to tone myself down when I do have roommates, but some of their habits were just health hazardously bad. Noel would let meat go rancid on the counters and Mel would hoard dishes & garbage in her room so she didn’t have to clean it.
I was really hoping that things would go more smoothly with my current roommate and closest friend, Boho Chic… But I should’ve known better.
She has the typical issues I encounter with friend-roommates. She is messy and she doesn’t pay rent on time. I can deal with clutter, I have a “Boho Chic Bin” where is she has clutter sitting out for more than a week, then it gets thrown in the bin. Slightly more irritating is that it takes her about 2 weeks to get around to washing dishes. It is more so problematic at this particular apartment because we have an ant problem.
However, there are 3 new and more irritating issues I have never encountered with friend-roommates:
All of my friend-roommates have had FWB. Sleepovers and loud sex really don’t bother me in a roommate… But everything has a limit. Boho Chic’s FWB treats her poorly and I do not particularly like him personality-wise, but I actively try not to let this interfere with the roommate co-existing.
However, FWB has been here for 2 weeks straight. He does not live here nor does he pay rent, he does not need to be here 14 nights in a row. He also has an apartment just a mile away, I have no idea why they are not taking turns with the sleepovers.
2. Paying utilities [Or lack there of]
I have had to have many conversations with that electricity is not brought to this apartment by a stork and my wallet is not a charity for the internet fund. I have to have a talk with her about this every single month and yet she still have not paid for utilities the entire time she has been here.
She pays me her half of rent about a week late as it is, I couldn’t even imagine trying to get her to pay me her portion of the utilities.
She is currently unemployed, but she has a trust fund so I have a hard time understanding what is the issue.
3. Respecting Personal Property
I do not consider myself a materialistic person. However, I come from a very poor background and I worked very hard to pay for everything that is in this apartment. Everything in this apartment are things I have bought by myself with the exception of Boho Chic’s bed. Even though I am making a comfortable living now, I do not have the money to buy a new dining room table every month.
Boho Chic is accident prone and a klutz so I try to give her room for error, but she has destroyed so many of my things and does not replace them. There are some things that I also just do not understand how she destroyed them, like ripping my spice rack [And some of the plaster] out of the wall.
I called a “Roommate Meeting” and apparently her FWB now thinks that he is a roommate since he attended as well, just to calmly talk about everything we both could be doing better. I know I am not the perfect roommate either. However, Boho Chic just got flustered and went to her room because she was starting to tear up.
I understand conflict is uncomfortable, it was not exactly my idea of fun to bring up issues that have been occurring within our home. However, we all have to face the ugly truth.
If I stay in Chicago, perhaps I will get a 1 bedroom once this lease is over.
I suppose I am not different than anyone else in their early-20’s… Hopelessly without direction and not a clue what you’re doing. The ultimate goal is at least pretend like you know what you are doing.
I suppose it is just a jeering reality for me because I always have had direction, a purpose. I spent years fighting to stay school, financially support myself, and to be ahead of all my peers. Yet it does not feel like I have anything more or less to show for it than everyone else around me. I got a piece of what I was working for, a white-collar job with a comfortable income, but I know it will feel like all my hard work was a waste if I just plateau at this.
Luckily I have the basics to satisfy the masses as a young 20-odd-something. I have a degree and I have a steady job where I am steadily excelling. Luckily since I am young, no one is really inquiring much about my relationship status or when the stork will be visiting. Overall, I am contributing member or society, or at least not burdening the society.
My mum is happy with what I have achieved and she is the person I have ultimately been trying to impress. My accomplishments are nearly as much as her own. I have worked hard, but I would not have gotten here without my mum. However, my mum is striving for me to find my own happiness and I think she is slightly thrown off track because I am “unconventional”.
I don’t necessarily know if I ever want to fall in love. I am starting to think that I might never want to be a mom. I know for sure I do not want the house with the picket fence or the SUV. I don’t find satisfaction in being “just a white-collar drone” because I want to be more successful than that.
Ultimately, I am not happy with where I am and I am frustrated I do not know what I want.
I truly envy my friends that seem to have this innate sense of self and a dream career/life since childhood. A lot of my current friends also have the luxury of holding off until they find the perfect job and they seem perfectly content waiting for it to happen.
Even though I don’t like my job, I do find some comfort that it gives me some sense of purpose and it does bring a small sense of centeredness in my blip on the universe as I am trying to sort out exact who I want to be at 23. I have been looking at other jobs, possible abroad option, and graduate programs. Eventually something will make sense… I hope.