Society says….

Boys wear blue; Girls wear pink. Boy play sports; Girls play with dolls.

The best parent is one who appeases their child’s every whim; A good parent never disciplines their child.

Self-centered is the norm. Family and friends won’t be there for you. No one will.

Join in on bullying. They obviously deserve it. Being different is bad, remember?

Girls, play dumb and boys will like you; Boys, act like jerks and girls will like you.

Relationships are about sex; not feelings, trust, or companionship.

Men should brag about their countless sexual conquests; Women should act innocent.

There is no such thing as love. Your marriage will never last.

Lose your virginity at age 17; get married at 23; first child at 25; and another at age 27.

If you have more than two kids, you have no self-control.

Cohabitation gives you the best of both worlds – sex without strings, relationships without rings.

Money is the most important thing in the world. If you have money, you can buy everything else you need in life.

Be clean-shaved, always. Men, your face; Women, your legs.

Thin is beautiful; Muscular is attractive. Volumptous and scrawny are revolting.

Being tan is more important than being healthy.

Wear Abercrombie, Ed Hardy, and Dior and you will be accepted.

If your start growing white hairs, you had better start dyeing them immediately. Aging is disgraceful.

Spend at least an hour a day on hair, makeup, and outfit selection. Get manicures and pedicures regularly. People notice; People care.

If you can’t see, get Lasik surgery. Glasses are geeky. Contacts are difficult.

Spend money on Botox, Liposuction, permanent makeup, and breast implants. Youth is beautiful. If you’re old, you’re ugly.

Steak and chocolate will make you fat. Avoid your favorite foods at all costs.

Fiji is better than tap water. Starbucks is better than Folgers.

Do drugs, drink alcohol, break the law – people will look up to you.

Don’t stand up for yourself and don’t stand out. It’s 1 against 1,000,000. You can’t win.

If you’re black you’re a criminal; if you’re Hispanic you’re illegal; if you’re Asian you’re a genius; if you’re white you’re privileged.

Life is short. There’s not enough time to get everything done. No one has time to make a difference in the world.

Introverts are socially awkward and weird; Extroverts are self-centered, attention-seeking brats.

People who read have no friends; People who enjoy shopping have no brains.

If you’re young, you know nothing.

If you’re old, you know nothing.

If you’re middle-aged, you know nothing.

 

Society lies.

 

Society lies and I am sick of it. I am sick and tired of people perpetuating this madness.

I have spent my entire life disobeying nearly every rule and standard that society has placed before me and I turned out just fine.

To be honest, I would argue that I’m a lot better off than most. I’m confident, independent, and I love myself. I’m not afraid to speak my mind or stand up for others. I don’t worry about what I wear, what people think of me, or how many calories I consume. I have morals and values and I am unyielding when they are challenged.

I believe in love; I believe in relentless individualism; I believe that our most fantastic dreams can be made a reality. But none of this is possible unless we disregard these absurd rules and create our own playbook.

Every individual is different. Society tries to corral us all into the same little cage, but we are not all sheep. Some of us need to break free from the pack and chase our own dreams, live our own lives. For many of us, being tan, rich, and superficial just isn’t enough.

Never be afraid to be yourself, to go against the mainstream. You can be more than one of society’s little minions, but you need to muster up the courage to take that first step.

 

Society says so many things, but society lies. 

Stop listening.

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Knock, knock…persistence here

Persistence is not about knocking on one door until the damn thing finally opens.

It’s about knocking on all of them.

 

All too often, we focus on achieving one particular goal, in one specific manner. We have a narrow mindset and refuse to embrace the “master plan” if it goes against our own hopes and expectations. We thus instinctively ignore and shut out other opportunities when they present themselves.

A hot pink, heart-shaped sticky note sits prominently over the peek-hole on a worn wooden door screaming “In here!” but you walk right past because you can’t see what lies on the other side. Instead, you confidently walk up to the bright white French terrace door with huge windows. Clearly, the other side is occupied by weeds, old cardboard boxes, and is steeped with despair. But you still walk proudly through that door.

Sometimes knowledge – no matter how negative the reality – is more appealing than the unknown. The mysterious is equated to the frightening, the dangerous. Although the new, different, and challenging can be some of the best and most rewarding experiences, people often chose the easy and safe route instead.

“Better safe than sorry”, right?

No. I would argue in favor of “What’s the worst that could happen?” You may be embarrassed; You might be forced to laugh at yourself. But mistakes are some of the best learning experiences.

Go knock on every door you encounter! The love or your life, a future employer, your best friend, an important networking contact may lie on the other side. It’s daunting – trust me, I know! But I like to believe that it’s worth it.

Publishing my writing (online) for everyone – friends, family, former English teachers, and strangers – to read is terrifying for me! Regardless of how many positive responses I receive, some days I feel like calling it quits. But, you know what… I love writing and I want to help people. I think writing just might be the medium through which a shy, but opinionated little girl, like myself, can help people. If one person reads a post and is positively impacted by what I have to share, that’s motivation enough for me to keep writing, to keep knocking on and knocking down any doors in my path.

Parataxic distortion

My homepage is set to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Randompage. This means that every time I open my internet browser I learn something new!

However, be wary because everything is on Wikipedia. After a few days of fun, I recommended the site to my 15-year-old sister. Her first pages was sexual positions. I felt awful! What are the chances?

Anyways, today I encountered the phrase “Parataxic distortion.” Wow, “parataxic” would be a great Scrabble word (if it weren’t so long)! I quickly discovered that the definition is almost as fun and exciting as the word itself.

Parataxic distortion is a psychiatric term first used by Harry S. Sullivan to explain the inclination to skew perceptions of others based on fantasy. The “distortion” is not based on actual experiences with the individual, but rather perceptions that are based on a projected fantasy personality.

An example is when someone falls in love and build up a concept of the other person as their “perfect match” or “soul mate,” only to realize later that their partner did not, in fact, meet their expectations. Or come anywhere close. “Falling in love” creates an atmosphere where parataxic distortion primarily influences how one perceive the object of their affection.

How many times have you heard someone exclaim, “What was I thinking?!”

I’m sure we all know at least one repeat offender. For some, parataxic distortion – this perpetual flashing neon sign in the shape of a heart – is a way of life. Some of us may have made the mistake once and then learned our lesson. Other lucky individuals probably have a good head on their shoulders and will never have to worry about such an issue.

Explanations for the formation of this fantasy personality include that it stems from both personal experience and from emotional stress. People often feel pressured to form a new relationship and to find a lifelong companion, or to have children before “time runs out” or “it’s too late.” Although these experiences can be pleasurable and fun, they are often capable of evoking high levels of stress.

Parataxic distortion is difficult to avoid completely due to the nature of humans and their biology. Not only is their social pressure to fall in love, but also the natural drive to reproduce.

Humans are also gifted with a natural longing for knowledge and wisdom; although, sadly, many ignore it. I believe that everyone should try to learn something new each day. Although over half of the pages are irrelevant or utterly strange, Wikipedia:Random is a great resource for anyone interested in learning something new. Who knows, it might even spark an interesting idea for a post!

Fireflies in Pandora’s box

A thought is like a firefly. It burns fiercely and can be a beautiful thing. But it’s fleeting, gone in a flash.

You can either fixate your eyes on the tiny orb and watch it float away or you can run inside, grab a big glass jar, and then capture that wonderful little creature. Thoughts bring momentary pleasure. But it’s only upon further examination that you can really study their anatomy. Only then can you even begin to understand the functions and the potential that lay just below the surface.

However, picking apart an idea can be a risky undertaking. Examining a thought can be compared to opening Pandora’s infamous box. There’s no way of knowing what you will discover, no way of foreseeing what lay ahead, and no way of going back once your mind has been stretched in that particular direction.

Before delving into something, it is important to consider whether there will be consequences and, if so, what they may be. You may get lost, get hurt, or wish you could go back. However, you might also learn something new and be changed irrevocably.

Taking risks and venturing into the unknown can be terrifying. However, hasn’t it been said that we more often regret not doing things than having, retrospectively, acted in bad judgement? Personally, some of my best life experiences have sprouted out of something which I initially feared. Thus, I intend to continue my attempts at looking my fears in the eye and then knocking them out. Granted, this doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned. But isn’t that part of the beauty, part of the allure?

Oftentimes our thoughts, potentials, and hopes teasingly dart around in front of our face like little fireflies. Is it easier to let them evade your eager hands and allow yourself to settle for something more certain, but less satisfying? Or is it worth the risk to try to reach out and capture them?

Tiny white pills

I hate medication. Prescription, over-the-counter, home remedies – I despise them all.

They are expensive. They taste like aluminum, dead fish, tainted mint, and unfathomable combinations of the above. The effects range from hallucinations and delusions to stomach aches and migraines, many of which are worse than the initial symptoms. The bottles forbid me from driving and operating heavy machinery. Although I haven’t even been able to look at food in days, the bottle demands that I eat a full meal along with the tiny red pill. And of course, if hemorrhaging and death occur, I am to discontinue use immediately and call my doctor.

I hate medications for all these reasons, but most of all because I feel that my body should be able to take care of itself. A friend joked with me the other day “You need to stop getting sick! Had you been born 100 years ago, you would have died by the age of fifteen!” Or sooner. I don’t get sick often, but when I do it’s never the cold or the flu, like anyone else; It’s always some awful internal infection that brings me as close as I can get to death without it catching.

One blue pill, twice a day. Four white pills today, three tomorrow, two the day after. Pills, pills, pills. So many damn pills. In Requiem for a Dream, the old woman becomes addicted to pills; Since seeing that movie, pills terrify me. I suppose I have a morbidly overactive imagination.

Deep breath out, puff, breathe in, hold. Repeat. See this long list? Memorize it. These are the conditions under which you should use your inhaler. Essentially 39 ways of classifying the inability to breath? Okay.

Syrups. Doesn’t everyone just love having a thick, sticky liquid latch onto the lining of their throat? Don’t drink, don’t eat; You need to let it coat your throat, so you will stop coughing. I’m pretty sure that the goop dripping down my spine is the source of my cough.

Modern medicine is phenomenal; the constant breakthroughs are breathtaking. I should be thanking medical scientists for their work, for all the the advances made, for giving me so many second chances at life; But I can’t help wondering what lies ahead. When debating whether to see a doctor, most friends argued that the body can develop a resistance to antibiotics so I should just let my body attempt to heal itself. But what if my body can’t handle it? People used to die from the common cold; People today can die of the common cold, when left untreated.

Where would I be without modern medicine? Probably dead.

But where is it taking us? A cure for cancer, preventative medicine, a longer life, opportunities for a healthier lifestyle, misdiagnosis and overmedication, addictions, the development of resistance to medicine.

There are so many possibilities and so much potential, but not all positive.

Sometimes I worry.

Sometimes I wish my body could just take care of itself.

Chronic bronchitis and the silver lining

About five days after developing a multi-symptom and progressively worsening illness, I finally saw a doctor.

I cursed every school zone along the way and laughed when I saw someone pulled over by an undercover female cop in a gold and purple low-rider. I arrived at my doctor’s appointment fifteen minutes early, checked in, and patiently sat alone in the waiting room.

Emerald and silver? Cranberry and champagne? Peach or salmon? One of the receptionists was planning her wedding and it seemed as if every female in the building was drawn to the young bride like flies to a picnic, eager to throw in their two-cents. They continually glanced in my direction, desperately seeking one more opinion. Emerald, cranberry, and royal blue are all lovely colors, but does it really matter what color looks best on the groom, how full a particular flower is, or what your future mother-in-law would prefer? I always thought marriage was about love, not tablecloths. Luckily, they didn’t ask my opinion.

Erin McNaughton, to see Dr. S.

Weight: 119.8 pounds. Hight: five-foot-five. Blood pressure: 122 over 60. Temperature: 101.8 degrees Farenheit. Note to self: try on favorite jeans from six years ago when you get home.

I sat in an examination room decked out in Tiger Woods memorabilia, Legos, and a magazines about pregnant teenagers. I closed my eyes and spent the next fifteen minutes listening to the man in the next room cough incessantly. I coughed back, secretly wishing I knew how to communicate in Morse Code. I could faintly hear the man and his doctor speak to one another, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I hate when that happens.

Finally, it was my turn.

I always find it funny when a doctor walks in and asks how you’re doing. Well, obviously not well if I’m in to see you.

I’m going to make this quick and painless. When did this start? What are the symptoms? Do you smoke? Drink? Have asthma? Jacket off, breathe in, breathe out. Again. Again. Again.

Sinus drainage. Inflamed bronchi. Looks like chronic bronchitis. Antibiotics should do the trick. You know, most people your age have never had bronchitis, let alone three times. Most of my patients are older, smokers, etc. Some people brag about being the first to get a new car, but you can claim rights to being the first of your friends to develop an old man’s disease. Congratulations.

I laughed. Sometimes that’s all you can do. I went to Walgreen’s to fill my prescription, picked up a large bowl of hot and sour soup from Tao Garden, and went home. Soup, antibiotics, NyQuil, and a scorching hot shower proceeded fourteen hours of sleep.

A day later I’m feeling a bit better, but still in recovery mode. Unfortunately, I missed a class, my childhood best friend’s birthday dinner, a photo shoot with a friend who wanted to practice her skills, and seeing another friend. People keep apologizing, saying things like “Oh, that sounds so awful!” Maybe a bit, but I’m not complaining.

On the bright side, as the doctor so lightly put it, I now hold bragging rights. In addition to that, I now have an annual abs workout built into my life (hey, once a year is better than never!); and for the next few days, I can wear a pair of jeans that I bought when I was sixteen. They say every cloud has a silver lining – I believe it!

 

Bunny kisses

“Bunny kisses!” my grandmother would exclaim as I ran in her front door. That was our secret greeting – an affectionate nose-to-nose nuzzle. I was a shy and reserved child, so big hugs, kisses, and “hellos” always made me nervous. The bunny kiss was perfect. With a bright smile illuminating my face, I could run up to my Grandma, silently perform our little “love bunny” ritual, and then run off and play with her dogs or pick fruit in the backyard.

She only lived a mile away from my family’s house, so we visited her often. My family would go over for dinner and occasionally she would teach me how to bake gingerbread or sew buttons. My brother and I anxiously longed for citrus season, when we would pick the oversized yellow lemons, as well as the small green and brown growths, which we insisted must just be special lemons. We would then happily squeeze the fruit and concoct a sugar-laden drink with a little help from Grandma.

When it was time to go home, my brother would give her a Heimlich-style hug and run off. I would timidly smile, crinkle my nose, and giggle as my grandmother and I rubbed our noses together.

Today I was reading a passage from the textbook for my sociology of sexuality class, Sex, Self, and Society, in which it was argued that, contrary to popular belief, the kiss is not a natural act, not one which is inherent across cultures. A kiss has many different meanings and associations, from love and arousal, to friendship or respect; it can part of a ceremonial celebration, or may even be considered a health threat or a disgusting behavior. Although the European’s deep, open-mouthed kiss is relatively rare across the world as a part of sexual intimacy, other forms of mouth, cheek, and nose contact are quite common.

One such example is the “oceanic kiss,” which is most common among cultures in Oceania. There are several variations of this type of kiss, which are dependent both on geographic location and time period. The oceanic kiss shows disparity in the placement of the nose and cheek, the vigor of the inhalation, the nature of the accompanying sounds, and the action of the arms. Depending on these variations, the kiss can be interpreted as an affectionate greeting or as a form of sexual play.

What struck my attention was the statement that “Some observers think that the so-called Eskimo or Malay kiss of rubbing noses is actually a mislabeled oceanic kiss; the kisser is simply moving his or her nose rapidly from one cheek to the other of the partner, bumping noses in route.”

Whenever I mention “bunny kisses,” no one has a clue what I’m referring to. Over the years I’ve figure out that my childhood bunny kisses are equivalent to the aforementioned Eskimo kiss. Regardless of what anyone else think, they will always be bunny kisses in my mind. And I am so grateful to have been reminded of that long-forgotten, but cherished childhood memory.

I absolutely love those moments in time when I am reading or learning something new and instantly connect it back to a previous piece of knowledge or even some of my most treasured memories. It really is phenomenal how much each of us experiences in a lifetime, how much much of it we remember, and how easily we’re able to access those memories under the right conditions.