If a Line is Crossed and No One Is There to Stop It…

It’s been quite a busy week filled with plenty of homework and a long bus/train ride between home and SLO; I’ve been so caught up in my work that I tend to lose track of time. Before I knew it, time for another Friday post. 

Have you ever had that happen? That feeling of being excited or so invested in something that you lose track of time and little details, getting lost in whatever it is instead. I do that a lot when I’m writing or working on a good piece of artwork. 

It can also happen with people. Because last week I talked about dating and how there are so many different ways to meet people nowadays—for all we know, we could meet someone on an app and never actually meet in person for weeks. That’s how some people end up falling for what or who they think someone is. After all, we just want the best for ourselves. Sometimes though, that want can come with a little tunnel vision. 

And when it comes to dating, such tunnel vision can be a dangerous thing for all of us.

Let’s say two people decide to finally meet up in a public place and get to know each other. So they make a date and get to see one another face to face.

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Now picture this: both people are having a good time, drinking lightly and just talking for a while. Once the initial nerves start to fade and they settle in a bit more, laughter gets a little louder and their faces flush because maybe they realized they’re enjoying themselves together. So one of them asks if their partner wants another drink, you know, can’t hurt to ask and everyone should be comfortable right? But the question is answered with a “no” and a smile; it’s shrugged off and diverted into another conversation topic for maybe the next ten minutes.

Then they ask again, “drink?”

Again, “no, thank you though. Not trying to drink too much.” Nervous laughing to try to keep the atmosphere light, but it’s a first date so that can be hard to do.

It was only by the third time of hearing the same question within fifteen minutes that things were beginning to click. But it didn’t make sense, they had talked about boundaries together and comfortability way before the date. Everything was set. And this person was funny, they were kind despite a few awkward moments of weirdness between them both.

So why would— 

“Thirsty yet?”

Cue the very large red flag thrown off in one of their heads, thinking that maybe it was time to go home. Alone.

So in just a few minutes, that’s exactly what they did. Politely and kindly, but firmly stating that they were leaving before making their exit.

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It was only a couple blocks away did they finally take a deep breath, glad to be out of that situation. But what would have happened if the tunnel vision they had going into the date didn’t fade until after the first several drinks… What if they only noticed the weirdness a bit too late?

Because I have a lot of smart, incredible, wonderful friends. And lucky for me, last week one of them followed their gut and left this date before anything went farther than weird and uncomfortable. Maybe add pushy to that. 

But they’re okay. 

The part about this that isn’t okay though, the part that I hate, is the pit in my stomach when I know that some people aren’t okay. No matter what someone is wearing, no matter if a mind was changed, and no matter if boundaries were set, things happen.

Of course they do, when some people enjoy crossing those boundaries or taking advantage of other people. As much as I wish it weren’t the case, it is something we have to look out for and the older I get, the more I understand why. 

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter your gender or age, your confidence or your choice of place—you have to look out for yourself as the only priority in these situations. Tell someone where you’re going, check in on your friends. Keep an eye on your drinks (though this does not excuse a lack of affirmative consent), meet in public places, use your voice. And use the people around you too. 

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Because sometimes, it helps not to be a bystander in your life and other people’s. If something feels weird, figure out why. If someone seems too drunk to leave with their date, give it a quick check or tell someone else who can. After all, it isn’t hard to get caught up in someone or something, what you think it may be; just don’t get so caught up that you lose your grip on reality too. 

Reality is your truth and well, truth can be pretty powerful if you pay attention to it. So look around, for the good moments and the bad ones because there is a time and place for everything, including carelessness.  Look out for yourself and those around you too, wherever you’re at, stay safe. All of you deserve that much. 

What Exactly is Dating at 21?

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Have you heard of Bumble? It’s a dating app much like Tinder where the user gets to see photos and profiles of people who fit their preferences; then they get to swipe right on those they are interested in and left on those they are not interested in. 

So, for kicks and giggles, I wanted to try it out. I mean, how else do I find interesting people to date in a college/retirement town over summer? Besides bar hopping.

Bumble was my solution. Meeting people online has its risks, I know that. They could be fake, catfishes, bots, or so many other things. That’s not the risk I want to talk about though, I want to talk about dating… Or not.

After all, what do we consider dating for young 20 something youths in the 21st century?

From what I’m told, some people aren’t really into being together in the sense of actually courting one another or getting to know one another. After all, it’s nice to have your freedom and not be tied down by emotion and responsibility. So I’ve heard.

Other people are into dating and that’s great too. They aren’t into hook-up culture or just kind of going with the flow without definitions. Sounds a little more like my preference at least.

My problem comes in that I don’t understand where I fit into this whole schema. I’m not really into hookups; that’s just not my thing. And if you don’t know what that means, leave it at not being into casual flings.

On a lot of these apps though, despite what other people may claim, they are just looking for friends and maybe some casual hangouts. It gets a little complicated to try and figure out what someone else is into.

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I mean, how do you even mention that topic when you just “meet” someone online? Remember now, I’m awkward.

I bring it up now because, well, I met a nice boy on Bumble and we were supposed to hang out. So we made a plan and I figured out what I was wearing, who I would tell, who would drive, etc.

But then came the mental deliberation: Do I mention it? Of course I mention it, not doing so would be foolish. But what do I say? Uh… “Hey, so I don’t know what you expect but…” But is that too much?

It took a lot of back and forth, trust me, but I ended up just letting him know what my intentions were not.

And then I waited for a response.

Then I waited. 

Took a shower, started laundry, then waited…

And waited some more.

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After two hours, he didn’t answer. There was my answer I guess, he wasn’t into the whole dating thing and would simply ghost me instead. 

I shrugged, switched into sweatpants, and went about my night. That’s how it goes for my age group on dating apps at this point, its a hit or a miss. Kinda like some medications… It’s a trial and error. Some won’t work out, you’ve got to find just the right one for it to work out all right for you. 

That, my readers, is how I am navigating dating at the age of 21. Apparently, it’s a little complicated. Less hookup common than Tinder, but still this is how I’m starting with Bumble.

After I go on a date with that nice boy next week. Because three hours later, he did message me back and said what? He respects whatever boundaries I set and he won’t cross them without affirmative consent.

So maybe 21st century dating isn’t awful. I’m still confused and who knows, maybe he isn’t that nice of a person. But I’ll find out by taking a chance and also taking precaution (meeting in a public place, telling someone where I’m going and when to check in, etc) while I do. 

The Last Summer

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And here we are, another Friday. I don’t know how all of you usually spend your summers, but if mine aren’t filled with a couple rereads of my favorite books and discoveries of new ones, then I am doing something sorely wrong.

After all, travelling right now isn’t in my budget and travelling alone isn’t really my thing regardless. So what’s the next best way to get out of town, even if not physically? Our imaginations. Whether you prefer movies, books, video games, or wine, all of it is a chance to get out of our reality for a little while. 

Another word for that, at least in my case: escapism. Usually this word gets a bad rep for people using it as an out instead of dealing with their problems, but let’s be honest, I think that’s just human nature. In my case, escapism is a way for me to get away from the banality of what summer can sometimes turn into. 

It’s also a chance to take solo adventures, learn a few new skills with summer classes, and of course, create my own worlds to escape in. I mean, that’s the fun part of being a creative… Creating.

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If I want to make creativity and art part of my future, if I want to be good enough that it’s the only way to live, I have to practice it. I would like to say that it’s the path to a successful future for me, but I guess none of us can really tell exactly what the means until we get there. 

Not unless one of you can tell the future, in which case if you can, I have a few questions.

Because I’ve been talking to a few friends and I’m starting to get the feeling that none of us are quite sure what path is the “right” one. There are quite a few options after all. 

There’s getting a job straight out of college and seeing where that takes us. There’s freelance or travelling and seeing what this world has to offer before settling down into it as if we know what it all looks like. Then there’s grad or post undergrad studies and depending on what we’re looking at, it could take a couple years. Even then, we still have to figure out what to study or specialize in. Another path per say. 

And these are just a few of the options, I can’t say I know what all of them are. I don’t even know what I would prefer. This is most likely my last summer of wandering somewhat aimlessly between jobs and places and friends that I’ve known at least for a little while. After this, all of us are supposed to be heading in directions others cannot follow, down what at least for them will be path number 1.

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To be honest, I’m only just starting to realize that I don’t have a plan for my blog once that happens. There’s no plan, no telling what my days will look like or weeks will hold. No telling how many paths I’ll settle into. I have no idea where I’ll end up. 

For me, I love falling into fiction and writing my own ways out of this reality. Art in itself is a whole different kind of study in escapism. But this idea of figuring out where we’re headed and what we really need to be doing in order to get there, that’s something that escapism doesn’t really work for. There’s no running from time.

If I play my cards right this summer, I’ll head into senior year with a few extra options I created for myself. From books and extra skills to job prospects and even just a hunch of where I want to go next, one of the few things I can control is what I do right now.

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So who knows, maybe my version of turning a mundane summer into something interesting might just pay off in the long run. Again, if you tell the future, feel free to let me know what you think. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait just like everyone else.

At least we’ve got right now guaranteed. Happy Friday everyone. 

If It Ain’t Broke…

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Sometimes I forget that even though this blog continues week by week and my age keeps going up one by one, that doesn’t mean I’m outgrowing everything I think I am. Habits, friends, tendencies, the usual. Just because we’re growing up, all of us, doesn’t mean we don’t fall back on the little things that used to work for us in the process.

Even if they’re little things that we thought worked for us, when maybe they didn’t. If it ain’t broke… Maybe we need a second opinion.

You see, here’s the thing. They say matter cannot be created nor destroyed and we know that as a fact, at least I hope we all do by now. But when it comes to social laws, are there any that say one thing that grows while another one does not can no longer fit together as it has before?

Because there should be. Either that rule has not been defined yet, or human beings simply cannot refrain from testing this rule again and again until our patience has been tested positively past worn down and weary.

As much as I wish for someone to answer that question, I think I already know what the answer is. But here’s why I’m only struggling with it (again) right now.

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When I was younger, I think grew up in people’s shadows as much as anyone else would. We’re all side characters in someone else’s story after all, whether we try to be or not. Even now I tend to have my head stuck in a book or a fictional world that really isn’t this one and I think I took my role as a reader, or that side character, a little too seriously. Always have.

So when other people that I care about or do things for or support, aren’t supporting me in the way I need them to, I wonder why. Anyone would. But then I negate all the times that I haven’t been that support for other people and realize that maybe I’ve done the same thing to people that love or support me too. After all, we’re all our own main character, we put life in terms of ourselves. Sometimes.

This is a healthy way to think, if we question ourselves when criticizing something and examine why we feel the way we do, or if the logic is one-sided rather than at least trying to see all facets of the story before claiming it to be truth. It’s good to think this way. 

Unless, of course, we then believe that we’re the problem. Consistently. I mean yes, sometimes we are. Just ask my mom about my venting or complaining about my expectations for people—the other person is not the problem, at times my expectations are just a little bit too high. Or simply incorrect.

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Other times though, she also does a really good job of reminding me that my expectations or standards for how I feel I’m treated and valued and loved and supported… Those aren’t expectations at all. They should be the set bar for how I feel in my own life and the people that impact that every moment I breathe.

Just like our habits and our tendencies, even our diets and our preferences, as we grow and figure out who we are the key people in our lives should be growing with us.

Maybe that means they grow apart; some people grow to understand that their relationship is more the check in every couple of months kind. Others realize they’re the ones we go to with the “situations” or to “spill the tea” if you know what that means. If not, check this out.

But whether or not it’s together—sometimes better for each party if it isn’t—growing does need to happen. And if we’re the ones holding ourselves back, we’re also only just hurting ourselves in the process. I can’t say I’ve always been a big fan of change; readjusting and finding new normals is hard. And scary. And exhausting. It’s supposed to be.

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Yet, that’s also where I find the best parts of the story: my story, the stories or lives I’m simply a side character in, and especially the fictional ones I get to be a part of too. Growing is necessary and the in-between, the insecure parts… That’s when almost anything can happen, when something almost always does happen. We just have to be willing to make it.

There are no right times or people or circumstances; do what you can with what you have. If what you have isn’t enough, then go find what you need and go from there.

It’s not about fitting in to what used to work or playing a waiting game, not at all. Life seems—is—a little too short for that. Take what you’ve got, and make a move. Grow. 

That’s all you can do.