“It’s initially used self-consciously in a way that says, ‘I’m on Twitter, I’m cool, I know that this is used on Twitter so I’m using this someplace else,’ so it’s conveying a meta-message that you are a Twitter-savvy person,” Ms. Herring said, adding that it’s “almost as if there are air quotes around it.”
This is not your father’s social media, hashtags seem to say. “If I was talking to my grandmother, I wouldn’t say, ‘I’m having a hashtag bad day’ because she wouldn’t understand,” said Matt Graves, a Twitter spokesman. “She’d be like, ‘Why is there a number there?’ My mom would be like, ‘I’m nu.mber winning.’ If my mom was trying to be hip, that’s the kind of thing that would happen”
An Adventure From 4 AM Testing My Sensibilities and Respect and Reverence For Celestial and Earthly Forms of Beauty
Ignoring why I woke up at four thirty this morning and the fact that I drove to my school to pick up a book I need to do my homework, might I say that the moon in California right now is stunning and gorgeous. I’ve never had the experience of leaving my home when it’s dark out and being completely floored and stunned by the beauty of any celestial being. The moon was hot white and clear; there were no clouds to obscure my view of it, and the moon’s white light radiated from above. I think what struck me most was how
I resent—maybe resent isn’t the write word, perhaps I worry about, or don’t particularly like—my need to distance myself from being in the moment before I can proceed with whatever I’m engaging with. That moon was so gorgeous and instead of doing what I should have—grabbing my camera and soaking and absorbing the moon for what it is—I started to write about it. Sorry for the tangentiality of this post, but I couldn’t keep writing about the moon knowing that it was outside my window falling out of the sky each second the sun rises and each second night dissipates.
After I fully realized how ridiculously I was acting I grabbed my camera and ran outside only to find the sky a little less black and a little more blue and the moon a little less high and obscured by a neighboring condo and the delicate fronds of palm. I didn’t mind missing the shot; it’ll be etched in my mind for the rest of the day if not longer. The experience of losing and leaving that sight, however, was a welcomed and in no way a negative experience. In the two minutes of me running through the wintry air of my street—not caring or concerning myself with whether or not cars were coming (this is probably a problem)—I felt almost pretentiously zen; I took a deep breath and thought, “this moment….”
The photo I took didn’t come out, so I’ll post a photo of an equally stunning embodiment of beauty….
I visited Sierra Leone as part of my school’s Winter Immersion Program. My school’s Service Learning Organizer is the princess of a chiefdom in Bumpe, Sierra Leone, and started the Pesoa foundation which helps to rebuild schools and infrastructure destroyed during the Sierra Leonean Civil War. (She wrote a book called “A Princess Found” which chronicles her journey of meeting her biological family in Sierra Leone, if you’re interested in read it.)
Strange that I felt very much at home in Sierra Leone, and being in America I realize how much I miss it. (Only a fraction of the longing you must feel, I’m assuming.) As far as I’m concerned I’m of indeterminate West-African descent, or possibly Kenyan, so I could be Sierra Leonean and not know it.
(The curiosity is always recognized and appreciated!)
I did take it! Thank you. :)
Thank you, kind stranger.
Thank you, kind stranger.
I’m probably either in Freetown, Sierra Leone, or Bumpe, doing community service work and immersing myself in African culture.
Thank you so much. You’re a fantastic human being and I apologize for never writing my thank you letter to you but I want you to know that you’re intelligent, bright, and funny, and just because you have some trouble articulating yourself sometimes doesn’t mean you aren’t smart; you’re so much better at discerning what’s real from BS than so many “intelligent” and “articulate” people that I know, and you have a strong grasp on the world and how people think. I hope we get to know each other better once I come back because you’re amazing and a great person. Thanks for all the love.
I said the word emotion or some variation thereof twenty-two times in my last post. I’m trying to figure out what that means. I know on one hand I wanted to subconsciously get the point across that this marked an emotional development in our individual selves as well as our friendship, but part of me is wondering about the extent to which the emotional reservoir in which I frequently dip is saying something other than “this conversation made me happy.” I don’t even know and I’m really tired and I’m having trouble getting sleeping. I think this is all coming from the fact that I obviously couldn’t write about everything in a two hour conversation and my brain is getting a little anxious and upset that I couldn’t include all aspects of our conversation in that one post. But I think it suffices and has enough resonating impact, meaning, and critical analysis that my message should be able to register in my friend (I sent the post to him.. We’ll see what he says if/when he responds.) Everything I wrote came from my heart and that’s all I can do and the only way I can represent myself. I think everyone who’s read what I wrote recognizes that, so why am I even bothered. I think I’m honestly just doubting myself again which I said I wouldn’t do and I’m tired and worrying about going to Africa and I’ve had a really emotionally exhausting New Years Day. (Exhausting isn’t acting as a place holder for bad. My day’s been exhausting—mentally, physically, and emotionally.) I guess it’s all a part of the process.
Today I had lunch with a friend (it brings me some emotional relief that I can finally call him that now.) Our conversation today touched on many of the issues we’ve discussed previously in passing and through emails, and it was a nice and welcomed change of pace to talk about the issues in person and face to face.
I have so many different thoughts and feelings about the conversation that I feel a little overwhelmed. To say that it was “nice” would be an understatement. I can’t come up with proper adjectives to describe the conversation without sounding overly sentimental to the point of becoming fawningly gushy and maudlin. Let’s just say the conversation was much more than nice—much more than a simple adjective could describe.
It was nice because it was the first time I’ve truly had dialogue with a person with whom I differ racially—a reciprocal exchange and understanding between two people—that necessitated my viewpoints as much as the other’s.
Throughout the course of our friendship it’s been no secret that my friend is emotionally closed and sequestered. I feel as my friend’s emotional safeguarding stems from the various gendered aspects of our society of which we spoke. He admittedly knows that he has trouble conveying—and I think accepting—his genuine emotional, personal, and generally incorporeal responses to situations. Based on my experience in diversity-related and equity-based work, I’ve come to understand that the most genuine and resonating impact discussions of culture and identity manifest come when all parties involved are emotionally and intellectually honest; when we’re able to admit our flaws, biases, and emotions to one another thought-provoking and deep conversations and bonds are able to transpire.
I feel as if my friend’s emotional barricades stem from our culture in which gendered notions of acceptable behavior govern our actions and responses; his responses stem from an ingrained notion that men shouldn’t express affection, sympathy, or empathy—any emotion outside of frustration and anger, for the most part— because men displaying emotion—our society tells us—is a sign of weakness and “femininity.” (Feminist belief, however, debunks this notion of acceptable gendered behavior and instead promotes the idea that men are capable of and should express emotion—that men are emotional beings who should be comfortable expressing genuine emotion and affection.) These notions of acceptable expressions of masculinity are what contribute to a society that feels it’s unacceptable for men to understand a core element of themselves.
His emotional blockades were—and are in some ways, although now to a lesser extent—damaging to our friendship and understanding of one another. I’m an affectionate person who has no serious issue conveying my feelings and emotions to people with whom I’m close, and his guardedness has at many times built an emotional wall between us. (I rehashed the story with him today about how in seventh grade I gave him a hug and made a huge deal of it to see how he’d respond. The response, as one can expect, wasn’t good.)
But he attested to how this barricade stemmed from not just the culture at large in which we live but his community growing up. He comes from a very homogeneously white, jewish, heterosexual community in which strict orders of social conduct dictate the community’s behaviors. He—in that environment—never had the luxury of expressing genuine emotion—at least not with other males—for fear of social ostracism and reprimand. But the social orders under which he was previously controlled—or maybe rather, directed—no longer directly govern his behaviors.
It’s frustrating for me to see the extent to which his previous experiences and the various taboos of our society have limited his range of expression and emotion. It not only has deprived him of being a fully realized emotional being but has also deprived me of a friend at times—a friend who could support me not just intellectually but emotionally—someone who could reciprocate the affection I exhibit not just him but with most of my friends. We’re working on this aspect of our friendship, however.
A relationship is about the extent to which two people connect. He, having read my blog and knowing a large portion of my feelings, experiences, and beliefs, has an archive of the development of my thoughts, personality, and identity. (I’m generally I think more loquacious than he so I’m sure I’ve spoken—a lot—about how I feel.) But our understanding of one another understanding—prior to our conversation—was never reciprocal. In our previous conversations my friend rarely if ever spoke of his feelings or personal experiences surrounding race and gender, and instead spoke generally about concepts and ideas external to his persona and experiences. (He and I both feel on some level that this is attributable to an aspect of his white privilege—the fact that he rarely if ever has to talk about his personal experiences on race—as well as—like I said—his closed nature.)
As the conversation developed and progressed I could feel him opening up more and more; part of that emotional wall was broken down today and my friend gave me insight into his qualms and experiences, as well as some personal reflection on his experiences and feelings about race and gender dynamics. I appreciate his honesty and candor. He told me of how he previously was one of the many who felt I was “hyper” or “over-sensitive,” and how that stigma prevented him from understanding the validity of my understanding of racial issues; he was honest in telling me how I was most likely the first African-American with whom he ever came in contact. Honesty in this tactful and personal form is something I’ve been deprived of throughout my life, and to receive it—graciously and kindly—was more than appreciated, and again, I’m at a loss for words to accurately describe my feelings about it.
I don’t think I can aptly summarize this conversation in one post and I definitely don’t want to try to. I think the conversation marked, however, in both our development as individuals and as friends—a leaven for our strange dynamic: I learned how to enlist people for their support and feedback—to trust the people with whom I’m close; and I think my friend learned how to be more open about his feelings and emotions as opposed to solely his thoughts and opinions.
We gave each other a hug (a landmark development, really) and left nearly two hours after the conversation began. I don’t think I have and don’t think I can accurately convey in this post how grateful I am for this conversation, and for you, “Nausie.”
With all sincerity, thank you.
Thank you, really. And no—I hope to study sociology next year, but as of now I’m in high school.
Thank you very much. While I’m not proficient with Darren Aronofsky’s other works (I’ve had The Wrestler on DVD for over a year and I refuse to watch it; Requiem For a Dream seems interesting, but I’m not itching to see it), I’ve heard and read that Darren Aronofsky has a tendency to bludgeon his audiences with heavy-handedly executive themes and motifs. I’m also aware of the extent to which people have called into question his treatment of women throughout his films’ story lines.
Thank you, friend!
Oh my gosh thank you! I actually go out of my way to make this blog pretentious so any validation and acknowledgement of that makes me all fuzzy wuzzy inside.
Such kindness from a relative stranger. Thank you.