Adulting… It’s not a trap

Adulting… It’s not a trap

Here’s what I’ve learned thus far:

Image result for adulting

Adulting is trying to navigate the partly sunny dirt path that never seems to ends.

Being an adult is making huge decisions that will ultimately benefit you ten years down the road more so than the immediate present.

Adulting is trying to figure out what classifies as good health insurance. And for that matter, trying to save money while drowning in student loan debt where the total number you owe, visibly, never seems to change.

It’s also about making memories, taking wild adventures and “see[ing] the world” while having to (presumably) support yourself almost 100% for the first time in your life.

*Cue scream*

I can’t be the only one who is terribly scared of adulting, right?

question-mark-2492009_1280

When I graduated in May, I had this idea of what was going to happen: I would work one last summer at Chautauqua Institution, come back to Ithaca, find a job and save as much as I could just to pay my student loans. Sounds reasonable, right?

But as everyone knows, life doesn’t always work out the way we have it in our heads or what we want to perceive.

I came back in August and applied to some jobs in Ithaca, nothing. I continued to look online for various jobs in and outside the Ithaca area, nothing. My bare savings was running out, my student loan payments were going to begin in December and I had no job to my name.

Something needed to change.

All my college friends were in Buffalo, finding their own personal success in each of their endeavors and I thought, hey, I can do that. I should be doing that. Why aren’t I doing that? Finding success.

So, I did something.

I found myself in Buffalo by the start of the New Year.

5406324208_970f698d24_z

It’s been absolutely insane. I threw away over 7 garbage bags full of trash, clothes to donate, things I had no use for in bags to donate and I headed 121 miles west to Buffalo. I have just enough room in my apartment just outside the city, with access to all shops and stores which are only a two minute drive down the road in all directions. If I want to go to the mall (read: LUSH), it’s at most 15 minutes, depending on traffic.

In Ithaca, I would have to drive, at most, 15 minutes to get to the grocery store and over half an hour to get to the gym or post office. If I wanted to go to a larger mall, it would take me almost two hours to head north towards Syracuse. Living closer to things and places is a whole new world.

Image result for living life to the fullest

Now, my main reason for moving to Buffalo was not because my college friends are here or that there are more jobs to apply to, although those were major perks. I was becoming too comfortable in Ithaca.

So many people stay in Ithaca forever, in this bubble of our liberal college-town, with the same annual events, with the same beautiful gorges, with the same people you pass by on your everyday outings. Staying in one place is definitely not a bad thing, but I’ve realized that I can’t live in a place that is always… the same.

Ithaca is a beautiful place to visit and definitely to live in. And I do I have my friends, family and my favorite things to come back to. Trust me, I miss all of my favorite people and places, a lot… Oh, lets be honest, I miss my dog, Jack, the most.

But I don’t want to live in the same.

I’m 24 years old with so much ahead of me. I’ve realized that if I want to better my life, I need to start making the choices in order to do that. I can’t sit in what’s comfortable waiting for the opportunities to magically appear before my eyes. If I want something, I need to get it myself. I can’t live in comfort because it’s safe.

I don’t want to live in what’s safe or comfortable. It’s not a life worth living, being comfortable and never embracing life changes or taking the opportunities that come our way.

choice-2692575_1280

If I succeed, I succeed. If I fail, I fail. But at least I tried. I can say I did it. I can say to my future children, “I did this. I found success and I failed and I learned from it all.”

We don’t succeed when we stay safe. We succeed when we do something risky. When we push our own boundaries to the edge to see how far we can actually go is when success presents itself.

The twenty-fourth book of my life is underway, and we’re almost through the second chapter. Right now, nothing can stop me and there’s no challenge that will defeat me.

Book review: January 2018

Book review: January 2018

I plan on reading 20 books within 2018. So, to keep myself on track, I decided to make posts about the books I read during each month. 20 books broken down into 12 months is about two books per month. I’ve found myself sucked into so much technology (i.e Netflix), I want to replace that with books.

Over the years, my appreciation of books and reading has expanded tremendously; I thank my college best friends for that. They brought me to this bookstore down the street from campus on one cold Saturday during the spring semester. Before I knew it, I started grabbing multiple books at a time off the shelves. There wasn’t enough room on the counter for all the books I was getting. Now, I visit every chance I get.

Image result for Between me and you novel

To start us off, I read “Between You and Me” by NYT Bestselling Author, Allison Winn Scotch, published on Jan. 9, 2018. Coming in at 349 pages we follow partners Tatum and Ben on their journey of meeting, falling in love, getting married, having a child and leading success in both of their lives. On it’s own, by what I described, sounds like an ordinary love story, right?

The difference in this story is that we follow Ben recalling their relationship at the end and moving backwards to their first time meeting. Tatum, on the other hand, starts at the very beginning while working our way to the present. If you’re a familiar with musical theatre, it has the same structure as JRB’s, “The Last Five Years.”

When I first read synopses of “Between You and Me,” I thought it was going to be a small copy-cat of this beloved musical. I was very, very wrong.

Every twist and turn is unexpected, the imperfections are more prevalent. There are so many beautiful and tragic moments of doubt, sacrifice, heartache and happiness. The power of love and priorities makes you think; was it only one person in the wrong? When traveling through this journey of Tatum and Ben’s relationship, you don’t necessarily gather all the information in one person’s point of view, which makes you want to keep reading. Sometimes, there were word jumbles but each chapter got you turning the page. There wasn’t a moment I was invested in; 4/5 stars.

Nine days later, I finish my first book. I travel to my college town 45 minutes away to 21 E Main Bookstore in Dunkirk, NY, the bookstore I mentioned before. I thought I would peep in to browse the shelves, see if I could find anything intriguing. Low and behold, there was a book sale happening and, well, I bought another twenty books to my never ending pile on my bookshelf.

Whoops.

But here is where I find my second book, one I’ve wanted to read and dive into since watching this year’s Golden Globe awards. Book number two is “Big Little Lies” by author Liane Moriarty published in July 2014. My copy of the novel comes in at just under 500 pages.Image result for Big Little Lies novel

As I wrapped up January, I haven’t finished “Big Little Lies,” I am roughly an eighth of the way through the book, but this novel will be added to my January and February book log; I will add a more thorough description of it at the end of the month for February’s review.

Here is what I do know:

“Big Little Lies” follows three women, Madeline, Celeste and Jane, who all meet in this town from all walks of life prior to a mysterious murder in town.

Like I said, I haven’t even made a dent into the novel to give more information on the book.

What I can say is that it’s a little difficult to get into; the first chapter takes place in the present and then six months later before the infamous night of the murder is where the second chapter begin.

The novel, written in third person, can be hard to keep track of who’s who when all the main characters are female and all use the pronouns she. It’s a book that needs to be warmed up to, you can’t rush into the novel with this idea that it’s going to be a simple read.

It’s a complex story so, therefore; reading it will be complex. I haven’t read any summaries online, I have not seen the HBO limited series and I am still very new to this journey so anything I’ve said it what I know thus far. And I am excited to keep reading.

New Year, 2018, Reading, Woman, Learning, SittingAnd for my next novel in February after “Big Little Lies”? I’m not too sure which novel I’m going to pick up next as February settles in. I have a couple book series I got when I was at 21 E Main; my entire bookshelf is filled from top to bottom, side to side, with books so the possibilities are endless.

Casting in the high school theatre

Casting in the high school theatre

High school musical. No, I don’t mean the hit tween Disney Channel Original Movie, I am talking about being in a musical during your high school years.

The last couple weeks I have seen multiple articles about whitewashing happening in the high school theater department I spent my younger years participating in. I’ve heard views on both sides, seen what posts on Facebook has produced. Some have been against what the students have said, commenting that their is no issue of racism present in casting.

The issue that is being talked about is, the role of Esmeralda, who is culturally known as a woman of color, was cast to a white female. Above you can read two different viewpoints of the issue at hand incorporating students, faculty and administration’s testimonies. This is not the female who was cast’s fault, this issue is not her fault. It’s the system.

Image result for hunchback of notre dame

As an alumna to such theater program, I find myself with opinions that I want to voice. I am white, yes, however: being part of a minority, being plus-sized, I understand where this issue roots from. I’ll break the issue at hand as we continue this discussion. Let me reiterateI do not have the same experiences as those who face race problems, as I am white. But being judged and looked over for who you are holds similar feeling.

I’ve seen a black man portray Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” who is always portrayed as a white man. I have seen a black man portray Frank Abagnale Jr. in “Catch me if you Can,” who is, in real life, a white man. I have seen a black man portray the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance,” who historically, is usually portrayed as a white man, as the term “king” is often associated with someone being white. Hell, the title character of the now 30 year long run of “The Phantom of the Opera” has been portrayed by a black man on Broadway and touring companies.

I’ve seen black women portray white characters in youth theatre: “Annie,” “Catch me if You Can,” “The Wizard of Oz.” One of the articles I read, if I recall correctly, mentions composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda discussing how kids participating in high school theatre should play the characters they want to play now before they hit the real world and are placed into a “type.” Playing the type of characters kids have always wanted to play and portray should be encouraged. Miranda encourages that for his musical, “In the Heights,” if high schools choose to pursue that.

Even though one composer and creator gave a blessing of casting whomever in his show in a high school setting doesn’t mean that is a blessing to all musicals or characters who are traditionally a person of color or different ethnicity.

Putting white people in specific roles made for black people proves the point that we don’t take black people, any person of color, or ethnicity, as seriously as we need to be.

My freshmen year musical was “Aida,” with the title role portrayed by a black woman. Would people understand the concept of racism and privilege if Aida was a white woman falling in love with a white man? Or would we be seeing just another love story?

Image result for aida musical

My junior year musical was “The Wiz,” with half of the prominent principal roles, including Dorothy, being black performers. The only people called back for Dorothy were black women. Would we call a production of “The Wiz,” “The Wiz” if a white woman portrayed Dorothy, or would we call it, “The Wizard of Oz?”

Image result for The Wiz Musical

We wouldn’t cast an all-white production of: “The Color Purple,” “Fences,” “Hamilton,” “The Piano Lesson,” “Miss Saigon,” “The King and I,” or “Once on this Island,” would we? It wouldn’t be the same story if we did.

There is work made for people of color and different ethnicities for a reason, because 75% of theatrical material, straight play or musical theatre, is made for white people.

Those who caught the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards might remember Sterling K. Brown earning, as the first black man ever, to win the Golden Globe for Best Performance in a Television Series – Drama. He then said revolutionary words in a revolutionary moment:

Dan Fogelman, throughout the majority of my career, I have benefited from colorblind casting, which means, ‘you know what, hey, let’s throw a brother in this role. Right? It’s always really cool.’ But Dan Fogelman, you wrote a role for a black man that could only be played by a black man. What I appreciate so much about this is that I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me, or dismiss anybody who looks like me.

Image result for sterling k brown globe speech

Dismissing black people, any person of color, or different ethnicity is harming. We feed into the notion that white people are on the top while everyone else is underneath. Roles made for people who are not white, whichever ethnicity or race the role calls for, should only be played by those people who are not white.

It’s not “casting the person who’s best for the role,” it’s casting the person who has the best talent. And I learned through my collegiate years that it’s not about who is the best, it’s about who’s right. Someone might not have a strong voice but they bring something to the role that a director wants and that person is going to get cast rather than the person who has a better voice or dance skills. That is revolutionary. Giving a chance on someone who might not otherwise get one is what makes live theatre thrilling.

And I get casting a show take a lot of time. I have sat ten hours straight one time as a stage manger watching audition after audition to then spending almost three out of those ten hours figuring out, with two directors and my one ASM at that moment, who would be called back. Then add another day of callbacks and preliminary casting, so maybe 16-18 hours total. But within those various hours, I don’t think it was hard to realize that we shouldn’t cast a role made for a person of color to someone who is not a person of color.

The woman who directed each show I was in was a white director but she never dismissed the importance of having people of color, various ethnicities portray characters meant for people who aren’t white. The casts of the productions I was cast in were based on who was right for the various roles.

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

People have stepped down from shows because casting has been unfair.

People haven’t auditioned for shows because they’re only seen as a stereotype based on their race and skin color.

People have called out the problem to challenge the status quo and dismissed.

Related image

We can’t change the status quo if we don’t say something is wrong. When we are so used to something being a certain way, we’re scared of change. We sometimes don’t see or acknowledge the problem because it doesn’t affect us directly. That is a notion of privilege.

It’s been 10 years since my first show ever, a show that was produced by Ithaca City School District. If we want to change, we need to listen and not pass over the emotions, experiences and comments the students have. This is not going to change over night; we all know that and can agree upon that. But it’s going on for far to long to let it continue happening.

But what these students are doing, speaking up when so many have told them not to, will make sure that ten years from now, this doesn’t happen to another student who wants to audition for a role made for them. They won’t have to fear they won’t get the role made for them because of their skin color or ethnicity.

We can do better than this. We need to do better than this.

Journey(ing) to the past

Journey(ing) to the past

The past and future are two of the scariest places in the world. The past is unchangeable and the future is unpredictable. Every choice we make determines the next step into the future.

Over 10 years ago I moved from the little town of Salem, NH, to Ithaca, NY, when I was 13. From eighth to eleventh grade I visited Salem almost every other weekend in order see my father. When I entered my senior year I stopped going as often; I think I went once a month, if that. Once I entered college in the fall of 2012, the first time I went back was the summer of 2015. Now in 2017 I’ve been back to Salem twice in less than five months.

The first time was an impromptu visit for my family’s 4th of July party and then from Nov. 22 to 26, my family and I celebrated Thanksgiving and my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration in the 603. It was a great four days in my least favorite place in the world.

I never thought it would become a place I’d hate going to. My whole family, immediate and extended, are there and that’s what continues to bring me back but it’s not my first choice as a vacation destination.

WoodburyExterior.jpg

On a whim, I decided to drive around town to see if either schools I attended were open that Saturday of our holiday weekend. To my surprise, the middle school was.

I contemplated going in, my chest trembling as I starred at the unchanged brick facade. I popped in my headphones, took a deep breath in and made my way through the metal doors. The entire time I walked around the halls where my sixth and seventh teams were, I was listening to “Waving through a Window” from the hit-musical “Dear Evan Hansen” on repeat. I’ve loved that song since the soundtrack to the show was released but it never resonated with me until I walked around Woodbury Middle School 10 years later.

On the outside, always looking in
Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?

SixthGradeWing

Even though I am a changed person, a better person than who I was at 13 years old, I retracted to the person I was, instead of the person I have become, as I walked those halls.

I saw the lockers I had in sixth and seventh grade with vivid images of where my peers stood gathered around each day, where I was pushed, shoved and ridiculed on a daily basis, the (new) parking lot where I was blamed for defending myself from a bully and later became suspended from school.

I walked through the cafeteria and sat at the exact table in front of the vending machines where a group of boys yelled and flipped me off for no reason every single day those two years, the place where I got gum thrown in my hair before first period one morning, the library where I had to work with my worst enemy to be made in my entire life, that same library where I threw a Twinkie in a boy’s face after the same group of boys made fat noises at me at the end of a school day. I remember which classrooms I was sexually harassed in and the names of the boys who did it even when I said, “No.”

I remember so distinctly standing emotionless outside the counselor’s office where I told two people I couldn’t forgive them for bullying me after a teacher gave a report about the bullying happening to me each day.

I even remember crying at my computer screen over the Myspace profile someone made of me with a picture from environmental camp in seventh grade with a blue background with little Twinkies embedded where I read everyone’s true opinions of me.

When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around
Do you ever really crash, or even make a sound?

NoBullySign

10 years later I remember the names of all who tormented me, who made me feel like I was nothing and those who witnessed what was happening but decided to say nothing. I didn’t want to be saved, I wanted the burning hell that encompassed me on a daily basis to die. I wanted someone to listen. I needed someone to believe me.

10 years later I knew I had to go back to my roots to fully understand the growth and accomplishments I have made since moving to Ithaca and finally talk about what happened to me growing up.

Because thank God, I have changed. I got out of the town that made me feel like I was a something instead of a somebody, an easy target to the people I grew up with. I left the town, the people and the school administration that was inevitably going to make me fail. I am so incredibly happy I became a new person the minute I stepped onto Ithaca soil.

I’ve learned to slam on the brake
Before I even turn the key
Before I make the mistake
Before I lead with the worst of me.

WelcomeSign

I developed proper social skills and made friends, I had teachers willing to help me in my classes, I wasn’t being bullied anymore, I fell absolutely in love with (musical) theatre, I graduated high school with high honors, I became a leader in college, I found my voice and I graduated college with two bachelor’s degrees. If I didn’t leave I wouldn’t have experienced all that I have and met those who built me back up from the black ashes of the people who tore me down.

I might always be the fat girl who didn’t have any friends growing up in Salem, NH. I might always have the connotation of being an immature bitch, the naive girl who had no where to sit during lunch, the girl who was shamed for trying to be someone, the girl everyone threw to the side like a piece of garbage. Maybe that will always be the image for those who knew me 10 years ago.

20171125_102530 (1)

But here are words I hope you read, from the woman who you can know now, 10 years later:

We’ve all changed. I am certainly not the same person I was back in the day and I hope you aren’t, too. I hope you’re well and I hope our paths cross again in our lives. I hope we can talk, catch up on our life endeavors.

Anyways, thank you. Truly. Thank you for making me realize what pure happiness feels like after knowing what complete humiliation entails. Thank you for breaking me down just to be brought back up by those who only wanted to see me succeed. Thank you for teaching me about character and good judgement for those who pass by in my life. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a friend, kindness and understanding. Thank you for showing me that, “Even if you’ve always been that barely-in-the-background kind of [girl], you still matter.

Thank you for making me the confident, takes no BS, compassionate, empathetic and badass woman I am today. Without you, I would have never gained the courage to leave, stay in Ithaca, “step out of the sun” and experience the beautiful second chance at life I was meant to live.

And yes, I forgive you. I forgive you for whatever you did, no matter how shitty it was. I tell you this in print and I would say it verbally. But please know I can’t forget what happened, I will be remember that part of my narrative vividly for as long as I live. You might not have meant it then or you might have thought it was cool because everyone else was doing it but those words and actions stick, even 10 years later.

NaNoWriMo starts in less than 27 hours!

NaNoWriMo starts in less than 27 hours!

Have you ever tried to commit to something for an extended period of time and when you’ve actually done it, you’re impressed you even got that far? Same for me too. I’m the kind of person who becomes very particular in what I invest in. I give 100% or none at all. So during the month of November I, along with my close friends, will be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).

Apparently, this is a huge event.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days, give or take. There are no restrictions; the author can have the novel be in any genre with however many chapters and can (of course) be longer than 50,000 words. Each day you track your word count and earn badges along the way. You can chat with other writers in your area for support, help, advice and everything in between.

desk-2158142_1280.jpg

Last year I took a step back from almost everything in theatre to focus on my journalism classes and writing for the school paper. I’ve gotten insanely better in just a short period of time but even though I’ve improved I can always improve. That’s how we get better, with practice and experience. That’s why I am challenging myself to write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days.

I’ve never been a writer let alone would I picture myself participating in NaNoWriMo. English class and writing overall was never my forte in middle school, high school and even in college. Let’s put it this way; growing up I couldn’t articulate on paper a cohesive sentence. That was my reality but overtime I have battled mountains in order to get to this point as a writer.

sunset-2893369_1280

With all of that being said, I decided to title my young adult novel as “One Last Chance.” I’ve named my main character Jaclyn, a 22 year old college student who has survived an attempted suicide just six months prior. We will follow her journey into self-acceptance, heartbreak, devastation, triumphant victories and difficult choices as she gives her life “one last chance.” I have begun writing my prologue to this story which brings us to that moment six months ago where everything almost ended. We pick up the story to the present time as she begins her senior year.

I don’t know what direction this novel will necessarily take me even after making a rough outline. I know where I would like the story to go, which I will be keeping to myself, but realistically it might not be the same as what will ultimately be written. I am currently at 446 of this post which is already a great start; I want to have the prologue completed before Nov. 1. That’s where I am currently at with my NaNoWriMo endeavors.

My friends who inspired me to do this have really great novel ideas that they will be either writing from scratch or will be continuing further in just a few short days. No matter what, we’re committing to a 30 day challenge which we will all accomplish.

positive-letters-2355685_640

Will my novel be good? … Maybe? I don’t know yet!

Will I become a better writer? All of the yes.

Will I reach my goal? I am sure as heck going to try.

Bring it on National Novel Writing Month!

If you’re reading this and want to be buddies on NaNoWriMo, zoedkiriazis is how you’ll find me.

Because we’re always starting over

Because we’re always starting over

So I am the literal worst. I graduated college, bought myself a domain and was like, “Zoe, you’re going to keep up a blog!”

Fast forward a few months later and I haven’t posted anything. It’s wicked hard when you’re trying to find a job, figuring out how to pay your student loans, pay for all the other things life has to offer, have a social life, binge watch “How I Met Your Mother” before Nov. 13, understand the meaning of life and being this scary thing called an adult. Girl, I am exhausted from just typing all of that. GAH. MER. MAH. ARGH. BLAH. AAAH!

Okay. Cleansing Breath. Hakuna Matata.

magnolia-791571_640

There’s no real reason why I haven’t been writing, it just hasn’t happened. I got promoted to full time adult back in May and life has been anything but calm. I had a cool summer job at Chautauqua that brought alongside homesickness, loneliness and a lot of adventures. I worked at a summer theatre camp for two weeks and that is the last time I have been involved with theatre (excluding seeing performances). I moved back home to Ithaca in August and have been on the look out for some sort of job since while also taking care of my mom, cleaning, cooking, shopping and living the life of a 23 year-old college graduate.

No matter how neat my resume is or how articulated my cover letters are (side note: job hunt it going great, absolutely no interviews or responses), I’m still finding myself at one of life’s moments when you think you might have hit a dead end but need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I can tell you right now that there is a light, a faded light that illuminates a pale yellow peaking out of the tiniest hole imaginable, but it’s there. I can barely see it but it still counts!

Even through all the chaos, mayhem and anxiety towards the future, a lot of great things have happened.

I’ve taken a few random adventures by myself. I’ve become more savvy in social media. I’ve witnessed my first wedding as an adult and was in one for that matter. I’ve made a few wild decisions. I’ve started to focus on myself. I’m slowly losing the “square” and “box-like” personality associations I gained during college. I’m trying to branch out from what I am so used to in order to grow.

quote-791953_1280

I’ve gained new friends, I’ve lost friends, I’m heading back towards my roots, I’m doing what I want to do and I’m putting together the pieces in a never ending puzzle while taking my life one day at a time.

I’m becoming a better me, at least I’m trying to be, but there will be more mistakes along the way, bridges to be crossed, situations to handle and adventures to be had.

Sometimes you gotta go through some tough shit to grow through it all. And sometimes that means starting over.

And starting over is just a way of life saying, “It’s time to move on.”

I was without data for 29 days and here’s what happened

I was without data for 29 days and here’s what happened

Like the headline? I’ve seen many articles where the writer goes, “I’ve done this and here’s what happened,” on “Buzzfeed” or “Bustle.” Without ever realizing it, I had a situation of my own that would fit this kind of headline.

And I am here to talk about that experience.

So I was without data for 30 days. I know, the idea of a millennial without their phone having internet or connection to the whole world in the palm of their hands, literally, is a huge travesty.

Okay, I’d be lying if I told you that having no data was easy.

I just moved back to Fredonia in May for the summer and was without internet for almost four whole days. Time was going extra slow those days. I procrastinated too long and didn’t make an appointment to have people set up my internet and box. My data was going to come back onto my and my moms’ new cycle that Thursday.  I get back my allotted amount of data t

Online, Internet, Icon, Tree, Leaves, Symbols, Www, Web

hat Thursdays and not even in 24 hours did I blow through 2 GB of data.

I am one of those people. I called my mom and she nearly had a heart attack over the news.

“Zoe Dimitra Kiriazis, how the *bleep* does one go through 2 GB of data in not even a day? Kim and I don’t even go through out one gig. a month!” she said. By the sounds of it, she was impressed, clearly not angry.

“1 day down, 29 more to go. I can do it!” I said.

“What’s a month without data because you know, the only way you can get connected to the world are the limited places in town that have Wi-Fi available,” I thought.

 

The first week or so were rough. I’m not going to lie. As millennials we’ve grown with the growth, privileges and modifications that have been made in the technology industry.  I remember in elementary school when kids started getting a Razor phone; you were the cool one if you got one of the colored ones.

This was also the start of knowing how to spell words based on numbers. Although a helpful skill to have, the next advancement in phone technology came about.

Then everyone would be getting the enV and env2 which included a T8-keyboard for an easier texting experience as well as the “flipped open keyboard selfie at the bathroom mirror” trend occurred.

Image result for cell phones

Then the iPhone started making its grand appearance and presence; it was then when cell phones became the next big trend and hit.

 

I didn’t have a phone until I got to high school and I didn’t get my first smart phone until I graduated high school. Every one of my friends had a smartphone of some sort, connected to the internet and Facebook like it was no big deal. At the time I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. If it was something of dire importance, I would check when I got home.

Well, I’m afraid I don’t have that same mindset now. I have to be connected with internet to keep up with what is going on in the world, who’s posted on Instagram and to keep filter of any emails that come through. Maybe it’s the curious bud within me or maybe it’s because I’m working to become a better journalist? I’m not too sure.

And while we’re being honest with each other, I check my phone way too much; sometimes I’ll even check it when I am talking to friends deliberately.

 

It’s out of habit, my foolish need to be on my phone when this rectangle is only 5.94 x 2.86 x 0.30 in.. I don’t understand how something so small and powerful can take over someone so innocently.

Having no data to escape to, I’ve found my conversations were more meaning some. I had more to say than when I didn’t have Facebook to check every 10 seconds, when I didn’t have to play against my opponents in Yahtzee or my horoscope to check randomly. When a conversation was at an awkward pause or standstill, I didn’t have my phone to default to. I had to figure out what to say next on the fly without the deliberate pause texting or private messaging naturally brings.

Adventure, Connection, Forest, Freedom

All of this made me realize the bigger picture which is that we, as individuals, need to stop being so heavily reliant on our mobile devices. We miss moments when we are always on our phones, sucked into the dark hole social media can potentially drown us in and we don’t know how to communicate effectively when there is small screen in front of us.

We’re afraid to make phone calls because we don’t know what to say. We’re afraid of in-person interactions because we don’t know how to handle ourselves.

This is why I want to study communications because we have these tendencies that stem from something else which, in this case, is the protection of our phones from the rest of the world. Connections can’t form if we are hiding behind a small screen.

I’ve been working on not being on my phone as a case of protection. I’ve been using my words to truthfully talk to my friends and family. It’s a process to unlearn what you’ve grown up with but I want to detach myself just a little bit from my phone in order to fully appreciate all of life around me. We miss so much of what is happening now because we are so focused on something else.

I will always love my social media but I am realizing there is more to life than the statuses we post, the 140-character tweets, the likes on Instagram and who’s seen the latest YouTube video.

Tree, Social, Media, Structure, Networking

Being without data for 30 days was a lot to manage but it got easier as time went on. I can’t promise that I will have data remaining by the end of the cycle but I know it will last longer than 24 hours. And I will make sure I don’t use it when I don’t need to use it.

There’s a whole world to see but only some of us get to experience it when we’re not preoccupied with the uneventful.