Why I Am Not Ashamed Of My Selfies.

As some of you know I just moved to California. Settling into my new home and new job has left me small amounts of time to attempt the ol’ making friends thing. Also I am not very motivated. I tend to enjoy being a little on the antisocial side. However, I was looking at my instagram last night and I thought shit, I need to get some friends, I have been posting way too many selfies lately.  Then I took a second to really think about it. First of all, why do I really take all of these selfies? What is the purpose behind it? And secondly, why am I so embarrassed about it?

So I thought… and I thought some more.. I realized that I take these selfies when I am bored, and when I am doing something fun I want to share with people. I don’t think there is anything wrong with sharing fun things that I am doing like gardening or reading in a park or whatever. The “me being bored” reason caused me to think a little deeper. Yes, I do it when I am bored, but why would I choose it over say, watching a tv show? I think it comes down to this one sentence:

Selfies make me feel good about myself and I am not ashamed of doing things to make myself feel good.

Walks make me feel good too, so I take walks sometimes. Writing makes me feel good, so I do that sometimes. Yeah, I might tweak my angle a little bit to make myself look better but guess what? I look at that picture, and I genuinely think to myself- “Damn, I am cute today”.. and guess what again? That will probably the only time I will be confident about my appearance for the entire day. That’s right I said it. I am a self-declared feminist and still I hate my body and appearance sometimes. Like, a lot actually. I am super insecure about my weight and yes I hate that I am insecure about these things because I am supposed to be a body-loving, chub-embracing feminist but guess what? It is fricking hard sometimes. It is a journey, something I work on every day. I want SO badly not to care about what my shell looks like. I truly spend so much time trying to love that shell, but sometimes nothing helps. Sometimes the only part of the day I feel confident is when I look at that iphone. It sounds pathetic, but I am done feeling pathetic about it. It shouldn’t be pathetic! We live in a world that tries to tell us we are not good enough EVERY DAY so we HAVE to find ways to fight that. One of my ways, is selfies. Boom.

So there you go. That is why I am not ashamed of the million selfies I post. It gives me a boost of confidence and I am not embarrassed of needing a boost of confidence every once in a while. If someone bases their whole worth on how many likes their selfies get, then we get into a tricky area. There we have people determining their entire self value on appearance and obviously I don’t want that, I am just saying that I am sick of feeling embarrassed about looking at a picture of myself and being happy with what I see.

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^^ Before I shaved my head in January.

The Most Moving Moment of My College Career

So I was looking through some journal prompts earlier today, just to get my brain juices flowing a little bit and I came across one that inquired: “What is the best advice you have ever been given?” I tried to think about it for a few minutes and was like whoa, that is way too hard. No way. There are so many insightful, wise people in my life who have given me loads of great advice, I can’t possibly choose one. However,this whole thought process got me thinking about my college experience. It just ended, like two months ago, so I am still very much processing it all. To be honest, I already miss it. I love thinking about it all. Anyway, it just got me thinking about all the amazing conversations I had with my professors and how just insanely intelligent they all are. Then that lead me to remember a particular conversation I had with one of my favorite professors and I instantly knew this was a story I had to share. This was one of the most moving and motivating conversations I probably have ever had.

First of all, a little background about me and my education. I have always been SUPER hard on myself in school. I have no idea where it comes from because my parents have always been super supportive and encouraging. It just was always that way. I never thought I was smart enough, and always compared myself to my classmates which I thought much more intelligent than I. I remember in high school I was talking to my English teacher at the time and I said something along the lines of, “Well, I really like English, but I just really don’t think I am good enough at it to major in it.”. Um, 4 years later I graduated with a B.A. in English with high honors. Yes I feel like an ass for putting that in here but I promise I am not trying to brag, only to show how ridiculously insecure I was about my brains. So now you can get a little bit of a feel for how hard I was on myself throughout all of it.

Fast forward to my junior year in college. I had two years of an English degree under my belt and so I had gained a little bit of composure, or so I thought. I was in my professors office one day chatting about an essay I was gearing up to write. I already miss talking to my professors during their office hours. I would always go in with like one question about an essay and end up getting super deep and personal with all of them. I couldn’t help it! I just have serious respect for them and wanted them to tell me everything they possibly could in the short hour or two they had. Yeah, just thinking about it is making me miss it.

Anyway, back to the story. So my prof (Let’s call him Dr. X) and I had finished up our essay chat and were getting into our normal casual banter and Dr. X says “Alright so I am apologizing in advance for this”… And then he stopped.. He looked like he was having a really hard time figuring out how to say whatever it was. I am thinking um, okay this is weird. That was a weird statement. So finally I say,”it’s fine, what is it”? Still struggling for words, he says “Well, I have found this thing, with previous students of mine that come from blue collar backgrounds, that they are constantly second guessing themselves, and I have noticed that you do a similar thing.” He was referring to how I said “I don’t know” after EVERY point I ever made in class. Then he goes, “You need to stop that. Sure, there are kids here that come from huge lines of college-educated people, but fuck them. You are just as smart as them. Stop doubting yourself”.

So here’s the fun part, I start bawling. Like seriously crying. This made Dr. X super uncomfortable, I am sure he was not anticipating this reaction. I just was so incredibly touched that I just couldn’t stop crying. I just put so much pressure on myself, and give myself such a hard time that hearing someone tell me to stop being a dick to myself, that I was worthy, it felt so good. It felt reassuring. He wasn’t just telling me that he believed in me, he was telling me to grow the hell up and stop being scared. It made me feel strong and intelligent, like my ideas and insights meant something. And they do. They do mean something and they have merit and for the first time in I think forever, I gave myself some serious credit for that. Ever since then I have really started to take myself seriously as a critical reader, thinker, and writer and I will always thank him for that. I tried to explain to him why I was crying, but it just didn’t really work. Although I scared him by blubbering all over his office, I think he knew how much that moment meant to me. I mean, I hope he does. It changed me.

Why Ephemeral?

e·phem·er·al
əˈfem(ə)rəl
adjective
1.
lasting for a very short time;
short-lived; transitory

 

The first time I saw this word I think I was in my second year of college. I was proof reading a poem for one of my friends when I came across it. I realized that I had never seen it before, a realization that I absolutely love having, and so I looked it up right away. I immediately felt a connection to the word. Transitory, transient, fleeting, these were the synonyms I saw that just resonated with me so deeply. This word spoke to so much of who I was at the time, and still am. Physically and mentally, I am always seeking to move. One of my biggest motto’s in life is to never be stagnant. Never to stagnate in my growth as a person, never to stagnate in my learning, and to never stagnate in maintaining my relationships.

 

I have kind of been known in my family as the one who just really can’t stay put, and I like it that way. For the past four years, I have never been in one place for more than six months. I don’t really know what it is, I crave change and variation. So I guess in a physical sense this word directly describes me.

 

I think it is really interesting because one of the synonyms for the word ephemeral is transient, which I loved. It reminds me of the word fleeting which just seems so light and airy and free to me. Transient is such an interesting word though, because it has such a negative connotation. I can remember people in Missoula complaining with disgust, “Ugh, the transients are back”. They were referring to the nomads that pass through in the summer with their giant backpacks. There is just this crazy stigma about people who don’t settle in one place in this country. It seems to me that people think “Oh okay it is fine when you are young but once you hit a certain age, there are certain expectations”. Cue the judgmental looks that say, “Isn’t about time you start thinking about settling down? Isn’t it time for you to move out of your rebellious wild young phase into debilitating, boring routine life? Shouldn’t you be acting like a grown-up now?” Well guess what? I don’t want this phase to end. Stability sounds terrible to me right now. I understand some people want it and need it and that is okay but I don’t think this is just a phase for me. I think it is a part of my soul. I don’t want to ever settle because contentment breeds complacency and complacency breeds stagnation and stagnation breed mental paralysis. And that just breeds, ugh, gross. I am getting a weird feeling in my stomach just thinking about it.

 

I need to be moving and learning and seeing and feeling to breathe. How can you do that when you adhere to the rut of so-called normalcy? You can’t. Well, I can’t at least. So, there you go, that is why I love the word ephemeral and chose to name me and my blog after it. It represents constant change and fresh renewal and growth. Those are things I want to embody and expose myself to all the time.

Combobulation, Confusion, and Chaos.

So there I was last night, work week finally  over, whole Friday night ahead of me. I thought to myself, this is the night. Tonight is the night. I shall start my blog. Very dramatic, I know. Throughout the past couple years, I have dabbled with blogging in my travels but never have committed to one outside of that. I have never really shared my thoughts in one, only told stories. But guess what, I have a lot more thoughts than stories. Thoughts that turn into opinions, I have a bunch of those too. Which I am sure you are just dying to hear. 😉

Like for example, I have an opinion forming right this minute. Wanna know what it is? Bosses suck sometimes. Wanna know why? Because I am currently sitting in the dark, in my car waiting for my partner to get off work. Sounds normal right? Not when he was supposed to get off work an hour and fifteen minutes ago… Of course, since I am inhumanly punctual, this means that I have been waiting to pick him up for an hour and fifteen minutes. Why am I sitting in the dark you ask? Because the street I am on has a sketchy bar with drunk weirdos walking around and I am being a paranoid freak so I don’t want to draw attention to myself by turning the light on. I don’t know why my wussy pants are on tonight, but whatever. So yeah, I’d just like you to take a second to picture me scribbling in my journal on some random street trying to see what I am writing by the light of the street lamp. Not my most glamorous moment.

Anyway, back to my original point. There I was yesterday afternoon with the whole night ahead of me. I was excited to jump in and write my first entry, but first, aesthetics. My blog has to be cute right? No one wants to read an ugly blog.. Well that was my first thought anyways. So I began my little customizing endeavor.

Four hours later…

Me yelling at my computer screen: “FINE WORDPRESS, I DON’T BELIEVE IN THE VALUE OF PHYSICAL APPEARANCE ANYWAYS”!!! How did I get to this point of rage? I will tell you. First of all, I started looking at the themes they provide, who the hell pays $79 for a blog design? Not this gal, I will tell you that much. So of course all the free ones are absolute crap so I thought maybe I will get nifty and create my own. Did that shit on myspace when I was like 14. How hard could it be? Turns out I had one thing when I was fourteen that I lack now – patience. (Aren’t you supposed to get more of that sort of thing as you get older?) It all just got really technical, really quick. Here I am feeling all high and mighty because I have been using basic html for my job, well this stuff knocked me down a few pegs. Needless to say, I got angry, grumbled a bunch, and settled on a very simple design.

The worst part was, by time I came to this conclusion I was so drained and tired that I didn’t want to write my first post anymore. Classic aesthetics – screwing up everything. I even had a topic planned out and everything.

Alright, so this finally brings you up to speed to where I am now, in a figurative sense I suppose. Physically, I am still in my car in the dark, just to let you know. However, now I get to talk about my actual blog. I think my little subtitle says it all. “A place where combobulation, confusion, and chaos get explored and sometimes molded into insight and wisdom.” I want this to be a place for free thought to flow and run. I have written in a journal ever since I can remember and I really cannot explain how amazing it is to just get all the chaos in my head out. I once wrote a whole journal entry about how you can seriously write your way out of anything. You can write your way out of sadness and anger, or hopelessness and pain. I know, I have done it many times. Just start writing, and I swear you can manipulate your own consciousness to become hopeful or happy. It’s crazy. Anyway, I guess this just will be a place for me to throw out my perspective on things, and have a little bit of fun doing so. I might just talk about my day in one post, and I might do an eco-critical analysis of a poem or novel the next day. Anyone and everyone is welcome to read and share how they feel about that. I like the idea that this blog as a whole will not have one single theme, and I will just sort of see where it leads me. If you want to lead it somewhere specific, and want me to write about something in particular, let me know. I would be willing to consider that. I am actually really excited about this. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do. 🙂

Cheers,

Ephemeral Cas