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I am a child of the internet.

I mean, obviously, I have a BLOG for christs sake.

So since I was young, I’ve been documenting my life online, whether that be in written, photo or video form. I was an early lover of youtube vlogs, was one of the first of my friends to utilize twitter and Instagram and oh boy did I love to rant about my feelings on tumblr. Sharing so much of myself on the internet has always seemed so natural to me. It’s what everyone did and I didn’t mind that it took only a millisecond to search my name and find my facebook, twitter, my email address, and pages and pages of photos of myself.

How else was I going to convey to my family and friends that I was living it up, enjoying life and having a good time if not by posting about it everywhere? How else would I let that person know they hurt me unless I subtweeted about it? How else would old friends feel a pang of jealousy if they couldn’t scroll through my feed and see what they were missing? How else would I get famous if I’m not discovered by my witty tweets and catchy instagram?

Looking back, those thoughts and feelings seemed drenched in insecurity and awful communication skills. If a person hurts me, I should tell them not tweet about them. My family and friends are a phone call or text away I should check in with them instead of watching their lives play out through their social media. Then another huge lesson, I get to choose who is in my life, who knows what I’m up to and how I’m doing. I don’t have to perform and put out this facade for random passerbys to check out and determine I’m doing okay for myself. I get to decide who I let in.

I guess I matured and grew into that understanding of social media and my life online, over the course of my twenties I tweeted less, posted less photos and deleted all the accounts I don’t use anymore. I took a hard look at what I was seeing every day through social media and unfollowed/unfriended anyone who wasn’t surviving a purpose in my life. I also went through all my accounts and cleansed them of anything that I felt like didn’t represent me anymore and in some cases, like the instagram I’ve had since high school, I just deleted and remade an account.

I never understood the appeal of anonymity until now. It’s comforting, searching my name and not finding many results. My memories and personal growth are all saved on my personal drives and in diaries, I can go there to reminisce instead of a public timeline of my life. Plus I know if I met someone new, they’d have to get to know me the usual way.

Unless of course they found this blog which in case, hi. Please stop googling my name and just text me. I promise to respond.

Listen just leave my resting bitch face alone

I was waiting in line to go through airport security when the TSA agent held my drivers license up to my face and said “Now the girl in this picture is smiling you’re not going to smile for me? I’m sure I’m better than the DMV.”

If you know me at all, you know my reaction to that statement. I stared back at him with the blankest look on my face until he awkwardly laughed while handing my ID and boarding pass back. Some people, especially my mother, would say I was being rude. He was just telling you to smile what’s the big deal?

Another day, I was getting in the elevator at my office building. I was reading a book on my phone when an older dude gets on the elevator and loudly proclaims, “Everyone’s on the phone these days, there’s no communication!” I could feel his eyes on me as I brought my phone directly to my face and continued reading.

Years ago, sitting on hot bleachers saving seats before a college football game. A guy turns to me, “Hey why don’t you smile?” I put on my sunglasses and give him the finger.

Years before that, I’m twelve walking home from school. A truck drives by and honks, I don’t turn. They roll down their window and yell “HEY GIRL!” I walk faster.

Around the same time, my mom and I are in the car. A car full of guys pulls up next to us and starts honking and yelling. We speed away hoping they don’t follow us.

My entire life men have been demanding my attention. Demanding I smile, look nice and docile so they can use me for a minute of entertainment. It doesn’t matter where you are, or who you are with, or even how old you are. Men constantly demand women’s attention as if they are owed it and I refuse to play. There are so many stories of women getting cat called, followed, killed all because men think they own women’s attention. We are taught to say no, taught to politely decline unwanted attention and yet it still happens over and over and over again.

And you know I refuse to be polite, I refuse to participate in a broader culture of placating men who think they’re entitled to my time and attention.

So stop telling me to smile because I promise you I won’t.

First Kiss, Female version

I don’t remember the name or the face of the first boy I ever kissed (see First Kiss post for an explanation of that) but that is not true for the first time I ever locked lips with a girl.

It was freshman year of college, soon after my male first kiss, and I was partying with my roommate and her friends. The girl was close with my roommate, she was older, had her own apartment and everything which seemed huge and glamorous compared to my dorm room. She was artsy, a painter with canvass sprawled throughout her apartment and a cluster of paper cranes as a chandelier. She was beautiful and outgoing and free in a way I’d never been before.

So the night in question, we were at a party getting drunk when we all decided to go to the nearby park to play hide and seek in the dark. I had been flirting with one guy most of the night but really only at the insistence of my roommate and her friend when really I just wanted to stay by their side. So the boy, can’t even remember him which is a growing trend I’m realizing, all I know is we made out a little at the park and it was…bad. Even in my little kissing experience I knew that one was just not a great kiss. This is where the girl comes in.

She’d been sitting in the jungle gym with my roommate drinking or smoking and I crawl up to tell them I just made out with that guy. They start laughing as I say how awful it was and then I start wondering if it’s actually ME who’s the bad kisser. That’s when the girl pulls me towards her and says, “well lets find out!” I can see the girls face, I can hear the laughter of my roommate and various drunk people in the background, I can feel the closeness of us sitting on the metal of the jungle gym and I can feel her lips on mine.

This first kiss made more sense to me than the others. My heart was beating out of my chest once she let me go and said “no I liked that it definitely isn’t you who’s the bad kisser.” I laughed in relief and a little bit of fear, then crawled out of the jungle gym to make out with the boy who never became a better kisser.

It took me a couple of years after this to be comfortable with labeling myself as bisexual. My attraction to girls as always been there, no matter how deep I buried it but this first kiss with a beautiful artsy drunk girl got me one step closer to accepting who I was.