Iโ€™m Addicted to Instagram!

*City Girls voice:* “Period!”

[In walks Rod Serling]

If you’re up at 3am wandering down the rabbit hole into the weird part of YouTube, you may find yourself watching a “documentary”. This documentary will at some point, if conspiratorial enough, suggest that the world you know is a simulation or otherwise unreal. It’ll point to some dystopian future where every corner is lit up with Times Square-esque billboards and advertisements are beamed directly onto your retina. ๐Ÿ›ธ ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

Well, we’re not so far off. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ

Times Square is in our phones. Always beeping, always on, always accessible. I know, Despite how I sound, I own zero cats. ๐Ÿˆ ๐Ÿฑ

My Matrix is Instagram. It has me firmly by the spinal cord pumping #FOMO and #fitspo directly into my brain. It simultaneously connects and isolates me. It binds us with tangible proof of our shared experiences while celebrating our differences in culture and cause; all the while making us clones. ๐Ÿ“ 

I know these things. Deep in my big thinky brain I know this, and I still let it get me. ๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿพ๐Ÿง  I’m worse off than my preteen sister! I grew up with a landline and PBS. Bob Ross was my therapy! How did this happen to me!?

How I know I’m an addict…

1. I’m willfully on the app all the time. I use it to fill my downtime.

2. My thumb can find and open the app subconsciously. Sometimes first thing in the morning; unfortunately setting the tone for a frazzled and preoccupied day.

โฐ ๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ instead of ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ“ฟ โœŒ๐Ÿพ

3. The number of accounts I follow is disproportionate to the number that follow me. Not that I track it for influence or money, but it shows me that I primarily consume media despite my talent and desire to create it.

4. I label everything #goals. What then must I think of my life if I aspire so hard to take pages from other people’s books? Instagram is a perpetual motion machine cranking out envy and comparison.

5. I am noticeably preoccupied. You know you have a problem when you are constantly stashing your phone. I’m afraid it’s affecting my productivity and ability to have quiet moments with others. Simple intimacy. ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ

They say acceptance and admission come first.

In the spirit of coming clean, I’ll make a few more admissions. I’m also addicted to sugar, I binge watch, and I’m terminally tardy. Please send help. ๐Ÿšจ๐Ÿš‘

What I’m doing to get clean…

1. 9-5 fast. During the working day I delete Instagram. The temptation gets real around lunch time, but it feels good to be productive. I’ve also been purging. I unfollow the accounts I can’t see benefiting me. Ones that me feel like I’m not enough.

2. Screen Time Limit. This new iPhone function tells you exactly how much time you spend BS-ing, and you can set a limit for app accessibility.

โš ๏ธ Warning! โš ๏ธ It will cut you off mid-post, mid-comment, mid-like. It’s abrupt and effective, but not without temptation. You can delay and essentially press snooze on the limit for an additional 15 minutes, or for the rest of the day. AVOID SNOOZE!

3. “Productivity Blocks”. Set periods of time devoted to getting ๐Ÿคฌ done! At the end I can reward myself with a teeny bump of that good sweet social media. *snorts*

I’m slowly working on it. Choosing to redirect my energies. Sometimes I need reminding. Sometimes I slip. But more than anything I want to be creating moments worth documenting. But I won’t let chasing the perfect lighting take priority. I’ll actually reach out to people. I’ll work at my goals.

However, I will never stop taking pictures of delicious food. Never.

But y’all accept me.

Free yourselves. Find your hang ups, name them, and stare them down.

Update 11/8/18

Here’s an additional resource in the form of a podcast “Therapy for Black Girls” … or any colored persons…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/therapy-for-black-girls/id1223803641?mt=2&i=1000417841627

Until later,

Update: 1/3/19

I’ve kept up with the 9-5 fast, but unfortunately that now includes Twitter; my paltry drug of second-choice. Thankfully, Snapchat is so unappealing that it has not yet hooked my attention.

I’ve also added an off-the-grid day. Usually a Saturday, most of which I spend with a dead phone. Guiltlessly binge watching on some other device, while washing/folding laundry or cleaning my bathroom.

Plot twist: you can both be a recluse, and a productive young person. Who’d have thunk!?

The holidays were rough. Tucked in at home desperatelyburying yo avoid the “What would you be doing if you were in Miami?” conversations. I spent so much time glued to my screen that I had to take whole naps to rest my eyes. Entire siestas to counteract the phone fiestas! I’m am torn between hiding away from, and actively participating in, my own life. A conundrum.

Caught up in the year-end twilight zone of reflection, aspiration, and regret, I spent what felt like eons looking over my accounts.

Why didn’t I post more? Why don’t I post more? Write more? Travel more? Why isn’t my Instagram more cohesively branded? My messaging more consistent? Why hasn’t my blog taken off? What aren’t I so flawlessly fleek celebrating the New Year in a distant locale?

The comparison monster stuffed my stocking with envy.

On an on. Please help! It’s an ongoing battle: getting clean.

TIRED of Being Broke: No Money, Mo Problems!

Image courtesy of skiptothis.com

[sings Al Green-ly at top of lungs]

“I’m so tired of being broke,

I can’t pay this on my own,

Won’t you help me Mom,

Just as soon as you can!?”

I’m sitting on another curb tearfully waiting for a tow truck; the second one this week.

Lyfting across Miami costs me about a month’s worth of gas, and my lil red hooptie Harriet is no closer to being fixed.

I try to hide my face from the residents of the overpass under which I overheated. We are now essentially in the same water-free boat.

Update: Bought a new car in August. Still broke though ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ Car buying is an emotional ๐ŸŽข

I get it. I’m a quasi-recent grad. I’m young. I “should” be broke. It’s expected. I devoted my first few years after graduation to service, and the non profit sector is so named for a reason. Got it.

Big booty BUT though … now I’m settled in another full time, fully benefited, office based, salaried job with all the assurances and insurances that I previously coveted, and I’m still broke. Still proportionately the same amount of broke.

Brick. Brack. Broke. ๐Ÿ’†๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ™ƒ

I don’t have to bread you in the many work, income, and finance woes that face the average millennial. You know then well.

1. We’re living at home longer which means we buy homes later.

2. We are SADDLED with unprecedented educational debt.

3. We inherited an awesome economy.

4. Will invariably end up working deep into our golden years.

Ultimately it all just feels like…

A memoir.

Chapter 1.

Where’s my mom now with her threats to take me out of this world she so lustfully brought me into!?

I’m tired, boss.

Plus insurance still costs you money and I don’t understand why I’m paying twice to not be sick!

Every-flipping-thing! Bills, insurance, loans, water, the waves that travel through Al Gore’s Internet, breathing, eating animals, not eating animals, education, avocados, air, everything.

Do these headliner tidbits sound familiar?

1. “You should have three months of bills (not just rent) saved up!”

3. How many emergencies can you fund?

Cake cannot be both eaten and possessed simultaneously. The same quantity of money cannot be both saved and spent. It’s not a question of how much I spend, or how aggressively I budget.

I don’t make enough. Thats it.

The rent at my new apartment is $75 less expensive. Our utilities are lower. I eat out less often than ever. And just as I might see addendums to my pockets, I have had 3 emergencies since August. There goes my profit margin.

Credit card balance hovers like a David Blane stunt: inscrutable and racially ambiguous.

{enters stage left} … the side hustle. Which thus far feels more like an internship.

But…

How are y’all escaping the clutches of poverty? Glucose guardians?

Email me!

Boss Bae: Rickeya Pryor

Rickeya sits across from me patiently waiting for me to scribble down her previous statement. I am woefully unprepared, but she graciously powers through. Meanwhile I kick myself for leaving my phone at home and scheduling an interview directly after the gym. Tragic. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜’

RT: How long have you been decorating venues and helping people to create meaningful events? Do you have help?

RP: Two years now. My mom, sister, niece and nephew help. My mom is great with customer service, and my sister is an accountant. She sets the financial boundaries and makes sure I get paid.

RG: How did you know this was what you wanted to do?

RG: I’ve always had a creative bug.

RG: What are your goals with Celebrated Simply?

RP: Well my goal is to be the first black woman to own and operate a theme park. But for now, I want to start hosting very exclusive themed parties.

RG: What thing did you struggle with as CS started?

RP: Marketing. Getting enough of a following with people to support me.

RG: What do you want a CS client to feel or experience?

RP: I want them to feel like I exceeded their expectations. I want the space to look like we stepped into a themed world with food, smells, and colors.

RG: What’s one piece of advice for an aspiring event planner?

RP: Don’t alter the customer’s vision, but stand your ground. Believe in your abilities. Overachieve.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see a team of creative individuals. I will be booked years in advance! [Celebrated Simply] will be a well-known brand. I want my events to be more of an experience than decor.

I want customized party-wear in Party City or my own boutique. I want to be hosting well-known annual events; haunted houses, proms, and weddings.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

I listen to life advice from mentors. “Don’t try to be something or someone [you’re] not. Let [your personality] carry [you] to where [you] want to achieve!

What’s the worst advice you’ve gotten?

“Go to art school!” I started College in art school, now I’m in debt!

[General discussion about the benefits of community college and how slept-on it is]

Start at a community college, then figure it out. Miami Dade College really prepares you for whatever school you want!

If you could teach a class at any level, what would it be and why?

I would teach middle to high school children a creative business class. The class would teach them how to take their passions and turn them into a business; developing and marketing a business and having fun!

[commiserating about working towards someone else’s dream]

Where can people find you, or how can they contact you?

Instagram. Search for Celebrated Simply. Look out for a couple of events!

Be sure to check her out on Instagram, and if you’re in the South Florida area, hit her up to personalize your next event or get-together. Mention my name for a 0% discount. She’ll giggle.

20-Something: Young Adults Seem Stuck

FebYOUary Lesson1

I am the same age now that my mother was when she had me. Conversely, I think a cactus is too much responsibility. She keeps rounding my age up to 30. My throat tightens when people ask me “So what’s your plan, Roze!?” I shudder to think that one day a person could come out of my vajayjay, and drink juice from my boobies. Gag!

If you Google (yes, it isย a verb) the phrases “twenty-something” or “millennials” you’ll find an endless cache of books, think-pieces, click-bait, and BuzzFeed-esque articles.

Everyone born after 1980, and subsequently everyone who birthed or came before us, is trying madly to explain what we are. How we came to be, and what ails us.

The Internets are frantically trying to WebMD our symptoms and rationalize the largest and most unprecedented generation the world has ever seen.

Fail.

We were born of web, and wiki, and wire. Our encrypted spirits travel weightlessly through code across the stars. We are the unsullied.

But some us have moved back home. We have insurmountable debt. We marry later. We are the smartest and ironically most inexperienced. We ruined everything.

Or so they might have us believe.

_Baby boOmers be like

Robin Marantz Henig, and her millennial daughter Samantha, co-authored “Twenty Something: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck!” as a means to flesh out the tens of theories about the romantic, academic, career-related, and socio-economic phenomena surrounding young adults.

*Disclaimer: Not sure if taking pictures of book pages is illegal. Please VHS bootleg ๐Ÿš”๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ฎ๐Ÿพ police, don’t take me to copyright infringement jail!

The book opens with an excerpt from “The Bell Jar”, by Sylvia Plath. The colorful depiction of a young woman caught in indecision. The breadth and width of the tree and its many fruit surpassing the undetermined length of her conflicted life. Pursue her passions at the cost of a more comfortable or socially acceptable life? Or travel and eat of the world as the possibilities of marital bliss and motherhood slip away?

Same.

All the feels. Pick the wrong path, and all the others are impossible to harvest. Deliberate too long, and none are possible. Now more than ever, I’m pressingly aware of the passage of time. The length of time between posts, between graduation ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐ŸŽ“ and the present day, between when I thought I knew what 27 would look like, and now…

Structure

The book is split up into nine chapters that cover a series of equally complicated young adult benchmarks. Robin and Samantha tag team each chapter with their perspectives from different generations and experiences.

Demographic studies, marriage/birth rates, and economic trends are all featured as the Henig duo dissect each societal stage and step and compare stats between baby boomers (Robin) and young adults (Samantha). Each chapter ends in a sort of scoreboard that determines which generations notions are more relevant or withstanding, dependent on the topic: “Now is New” and “Same as it Ever Was.”

Settling the score_ The Henigs concluded that although millennials have a more publicized young adulthood that previous generations, and face an admittedly more uphill battle than their parents, but our concerns are and were very much the same. We are pressured by similar yet shifting benchmarks like marriage and home-ownership. As the great life-liver Maya Angelou said, “… we are more alike my friends, than we are unalike!” “Same as it Ever Was” takes the W by their tally, and the old people win again. Typical.

Feels

The whole thing reads like…

Adulting is just a big ass Catch-22!

BUT!

I’m sssoooo ๐Ÿ™„ pleased to feel like my anxiety is such a common experience. I’m not weird or self-indulgent for looking into this; seeking answers. Feeling so stymied by inhibition and decision-making fatigue. What I’m experiencing is uniform the world over. I’m not in a funk, andย  you’re not either! We’re just 27, and there is no cure but to celebrate another birthday. Get one day closer, better, wiser. Save more, learn more, and not give up.

What I feel the book fails to do, is to address the development of young adults from different educational, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. The eldest Henig highlights this briefly, but the disclaimer is nonetheless unsatisfying. What are the gripes of millennials in Mumbai vs. Miami?

Choice is a luxury that so many of us cannot afford. Even those of us fraught with indecision get to be caught between a diamond-encrusted rock a haute couture hard place (shout out to Guapdad 4000!).

We dream of lives with fewer decisions to make; to live simply while both here and abroad choices aren’t so numerous, and are often at higher stakes. #firstworldproblems I’ll find a career, I’ll go back to school, I’ll eventually marry. I don’t have to choose a bath over food. I don’t have to decide between my life or my child’s. I pick movies on Netflix.

In reading this I also acknowledge my privilege. I was brought up with certain expectations, and for the most part was given the support necessary to fulfill them. I was able to obtain a degree, I’ve been advancing in careers ever since graduation. I live in the United States (whatever that means now anyway), I speak English, and I’m a citizen. This book reminds me. It;s a good reminder, and a reality check! It wasn’t on Oprah’sย 16 Must-Read Books for November 2012ย for nothing!

twenty something oprah ย  Score: ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน/๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Read Time Rate (1 night = 30 mins): 16 nights

Why should you read it?ย I’ve never read a book so “OMG same!”ย  in my entire life. It sparked a great conversation between my mother and I. I appreciate her so much more with my deepened understanding. We are, and were, twenty-something, and fifty-something just doing our best; figuring it out, stumbling along, and trying like hell not to HECK up too bad. You are too. There’s nothing wrong with you. You have some time.

What’s your most recent adulting triumph? Figuring out how credit works, saving for retirement, or perhaps you’ve had enough to help your parents? Maybe you’ve finally figured out what you wanna be when you grow up. Tell me in the comments below!ย 

Roze Goes,

You’re right, it’s not comparing, it’s market research. Just don’t overindulge. I love you.

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