When it comes to mistakes, I’m turning away from self-blaming and toward self-loving.
Sometimes, we make mistakes. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t without flaw. We are human. How often do we allow ourselves to work through those mistakes with love?
I rarely ever have. I’ve most recently shared with you all my second published article. Unbeknownst to me, there was a typo in the title. I am not of Generation X, and while the title of the piece was first published as, “Why I’m the Last Non-Tinder User of Generation X,” it now accurately reads ‘millennial.’ On behalf of elephant journal and for my own credibility, learning and self-forgiveness, it required an accurate change.
Am I going to beat myself up over it? For a minute, I wanted to. I thought about all of the times I reread my article, all of the anal fact-checking I do and how this one slipped, and all of the people who proof-read or heard me speak the title who didn’t catch the error either.
Alas, a lesson in self-love and letting go of harsh, unhealthy tendencies. The edit is now published, and I thank you all for reading it anyway!
This holiday weekend, I sit deeply in my self-love and I hug myself just a little bit tighter.
I have often entertained a fantasy of what love and companion searching might be like in the future.
Perhaps in 20 years or so, what my future children will experience, if they’re anything like me (good luck, kids), will be seeking companionship deeply and truly among a sea full of seemingly screen-preoccupied, out-of-tune-with-their-emotions, robot humans who fuel-fix via a glowing display where likes replace love, followers succeed friendships, and hashtags take the place of life-guiding principles.
I envision this a future where the screen plague is even more prominent, pervasive, and culturally normative than today—so much so that all my future, love-seeking children will have to do is have the courage to look up. And one day, somewhere, they’ll find themselves shockingly locked eyes with another brave, peeking soul, and boom. Cue Drake’s, “Now you’re talking my language, now you’re talking my language.”
In a future where most have nurtured and catered their addiction to this liquid-crystal-display hole, it will be easy to seek out the minority—those choosing the alternative, interpersonal path; those seeking that deeply nourishing off-screen soul connection.
But alas, the LCD-addiction that consumes so much of my generation has not reached this peak yet. (Or has it?) I am living in a sea of screens, yes—but technology, while sprouting and advancing like invasive bamboo, is still a young adolescent figuring out its place in our world while we millennials search for our place in it.
Technology offers advantages we’ve never known before—I would be lying if I said I didn’t value it, didn’t depend on it daily for directions, use it to fulfill my blog-writing dreams, or to stay connected with my family across the country. Not to mention posting hilariously punny, four-part Snapchats of my cooking and the occasional try-hard video of me singing. (Hope you all enjoy those.)
But as far as dating goes—can’t it just be this organic, beautiful thing where we meet and know from the instance of a great, intellectual, and passionate conversation that we are in alignment and want to taste all of life together? Not in like a forever way, per se, but in a way that there are so many amazing things to try and see and experience, and why shouldn’t we be trying, seeing, and experiencing all that deliciousness with someone we’re vibrating high beside?
Okay, maybe I’m romanticizing things again. Guilty. Also, maybe I’m just an old soul, not tech-savvy Taurus who sees inexplicable purpose in partnership and loyalty. Guilty, again. Arrest me, love police.
I’m also a little flighty, I don’t like commitment right away, and am not a gal for the one-night fling. So how to navigate this dating and love-mating world for someone like me?
There exists a three-part rationale against my joining Tinder (or Bumble or something of the sort):
1. It’s inorganic. Call me close-minded and stubborn—I’ve got it in my head that the person for me is also one of the last people not on Tinder and trying to meet someone the old-fashioned way too.
2. Signing up feels like committing or setting an intention to “find” someone. I’m leading a single life right now, full of all the self-loving I’ve missed out on, and I don’t want to actively try to find a partner to fill some void of loneliness. If I’m meant to find someone, the two of us will find each other without trying too hard…right? And if not to find a romantic companion per se, but to find something a bit more carefree and less emotionally intimate—well, I’m just not the one fulfilled by pure physicality.
3. The information on these platforms can oftentimes be skewed. If I were to sign up, my online profile, with carefully chosen pictures of myself, would 100 percent say something like, “Lover of love, poems, and being naked in nature; looking for a spiritual, passionate, conversational, and romantic partner to explore life with.” And while all true things, my profile would saying nothing about how some days I don’t shave, wear makeup, or brush my hair, am cranky AF, am going to want to be alone, will forget why/that I even like you, am not great at speaking my mind, stare into space a lot, and will forget much of what you say at first.
Yet here we are, in a day and age where we all know someone who has happily met their significant other on one of these online dating platforms. (We’ve all heard the horror stories, too, but let’s swipe them aside for the moment.)
Technology is an inevitable part of our present culture and world—and the dating, meeting people, and courting process is undeniably evolving with its influence. This technology world makes it easier to meet people now more than ever, so long as you’re participating in it.
So what is one tech-challenged, sapiosexual, deep-connection-yearning millennial to do? How do we connect with someone organically, in a world of people always staring down, working remotely from laptops, Uber-ing to destinations instead of taking public transport, and taking pictures in place of taking time to get to know someone?
I don’t have the answer. Maybe it’s time for me to get with the times and participate on a platform specifically for conscious dating, after all. Or maybe I just need to keep looking up.
But until that pair of eyes locks mine, I’ll see you all on Snapchat, my blog, and Instagram.
Single girl in a cell phone world.
Author: Olivia Morrissey Image: Deveney Williams Editor: Taia Butler
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Callie Rushton
Last night, at a client event for my internship, I found a chocolate fountain. I couldn’t resist dipping a second stick of extra-puffed marshmallows under the melting deliciousness, and I paid for it by staining my white top.
With an escape to the restroom and quick wardrobe innovation involving my kimono-shawl knot-styled to cover the mess, I was right back to find my girlfriends (the ones whom I had originally left for the chocolate fountain).
I approached them with a how-ridiculous-does-this-knot-look hand motion and skeptical facial expression inquiry, to which a nearby male interjected, “You look great, that looks awesome.
“It’s her outfit,” nodding at my friend, “we were making fun of.”
His initial comment was telling enough– despite the event’s complimentary Prosecco (or maybe because of it) our two energies were not aligning.
“What’s wrong with her outfit?” I snapped. Besides nothing. My comment was a misfire however, considering he ignored it to continue talking at me and in my direction:
“I have to say I’m not a fan of that necklace though. Maybe because I’m a guy, I don’t know.
“But you know girls only wear necklaces like that to impress other girls, right? You know that’s the only reason why girls do that, right??”
“Are you trying to tell me what I may or may not be doing intentionally?”
“I mean it’s not for us guys, it’s for each other, you must know.”
Is this what that socioculturally-derived 21st century term mansplaining was all about?
“No, no,” I interjected.
“Are you telling me, as a man, about something that my entire sex supposedly does? Are you trying to mansplain to me my own intention behind wearing this necklace?”
The complimentary Prosecco was getting me a little bit feisty, and I knew my new rooftop-friend wasn’t prepared to get such backlash.
“Mansplaining,” he scoffed. “Yeah– yeah, I was mansplaining!” he retorted back, matter-of-factly.
With a Champagne flute in hand and a knotted-kimono covering my chocolate stain, the words welldon’t flew off the tip of my tongue, spicy and sharp, and I glared into his eyes until he got the hint and turned away. I faced my new friends, almost uneasy about how they might handle my moment of fiery spirit. They thanked me, and we continued laughing and dancing about.
Though we had moved on, the man came up to me minutes later.
“I’m sorry,” he said, passing by.
“Thank you,” I said curtly.
It was my turn to speak matter-of-factly.
I share this story as a reflection on the way I could have better handled this situation. I got the man to apologize, yes, but aside from temporary egotistical victory, what good is that really?
Sans the mind-alternation of the complimentary beverages, I could have helped this man see that his insight was not only unsolicited, but unjustified and even condescending.
That maybe, this was my favorite necklace and I wasn’t wearing it for anyone but me, regardless of a male or female audience.
And that at the core of it all, he wasn’t speaking from a loving place, or to me as his equal. I could have agreed that he had every right to have his own opinion, but shared that his extended, entitled, so-claimed awareness over a population of humans whose experiences he could never empathize with was unjust and unfair and even ignorant.
And if I could have connected with him and helped him understand that in a calm and loving manner, I could have engaged in healing with just one person; healing that would ripple in his future engagements and in mine, too.
I reflect back on this interaction last night as a lesson of mine in patience and boundless love. A lesson in embracing courage and speaking my truth yes, but doing so in a kind, constructive and empathetic manner.
It appears to me that with every pained, frustrating or instigating experience, there is an opportunity for healing. Life will continue to present us with chances for healing, though they don’t often show up beautifully upon the first glance. I am learning to pay attention to the triggers, for they are some of my best teachers in this healing journey.
I hope we meet again, rooftop party friend. Because next time we do, I’ll be wearing one of my many flashy necklaces, and I will welcome you with a hug– or at least a cheers to healing.
I love discovering secrets. Answers. Treasures. I love connecting with people– old friends and strangers– and searching deep into their past experiences to read empathetically into their present. And oh, do I like advice– really, any form of guidance– on this journey that is my wild, winding life.
Riding high on the iconic Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel.
Birthday parties are better on rooftops at sunset in Los Angeles.
My first time in Los Angeles was filled with many highs (think: riding the Santa Monica ferris wheel, sunset-dancing on a rooftop with new friends, recovery-Sunday brunching) but this spontaneous interaction with soul-strangers on the canal-backstreets of Venice Beach takes the cake. Good’s & Grateful’s, meet Leigh and Richard.
“Hey, before you all go, can we ask a favor of you?”
The five of us, recovering slowly from a luau-themed, June-gle joint-birthday-party the day and night prior, were about to trek back to the car to assess the debris-damage that awaited us back home. We had just mustered enough energy to cap off our sunbathing on the bridge of one of the euro-inspired canals in Venice Beach, California, when Leigh approached us.
“Can you take a picture of us, but make sure you get the water in the background, all right?”
The 60-something-year-old woman with soft, pixie-cut blonde hair and layered gold and silver necklaces handed us her phone.
Leigh and her husband, Richard, in an all-white denim ensemble with slick-tousled silver curls and a gold-link chain on his right wrist posed. They posed with the smiles and comfort of two human-souls who have lived out their own dreams and lives, learned lessons along the way and laughed years alongside each other in moments leading up to this very spot on the Howland Canal bridge in the culturally rich Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice Beach.
The duo stood to return the photo-favor with stylish, matching, double-shade sunglasses with the outer lens’ flipped up, and we decided that they were way cooler than we were and consented to be adopted by our new grandparents.
I got to talking with Richard as his beloved ran with energetic youth to the water below, throwing up two peace signs in pose for another picture.
Leigh, chucking up the deuces.
@Goodgrateful: The Howland Canal in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, June 11, 2017.
With a kind, seasoned disposition, he told me that all of the jobs, experiences and chapters of his life in production design, film studios and travel led him to where he is now– where he likes to be. At his 70-something-year-old age, he’s just gotten into real estate and is learning the business side of all of his prior professional endeavors.
“I almost went to RISD,” he says when I tell him I hail from Rhode Island.
“I chose to go to NYU instead and I’ve often wondered how such decisions play a role in changing your life. You kind of wonder what could have been… it’s oh, well, though.”
The nonchalance in his voice expresses his contentment with the way his life played out. His “whatever” is genuine and soothing. Maybe it all being “whatever” at the end of the day really can be a beautiful thing.
By the time Leigh returned and had gone back-and-forth about living the L.A. life with our token local in the group, the curious journalist in me was arising.
“So, one piece of advice?” I started, my state of dehydration from the night before altering the emphasis on all of my syllables.
“One piece of advice for us? Alright!” Leigh said, sitting back and intertwining her fingers palm-to-palm.
“Oh no, no. I meant if you two could give us millennials one piece of advice…”
Leigh enjoys this.
“Oh, that’s good! Ok, here’s a good one.
“All those hang-ups or insecurities or feeling like you’re not pretty enough or fit enough, forget about them. All that thinking your thighs are too big, etc., throw it out. I remember lacking that confidence all through my 20s and when I look back at pictures of myself from that time, I was smoking hot!
“You are beautiful right now, embrace it, enjoy it while you have it. Because you won’t have it forever!
“And enjoy the ride down,” she tells us.
Save your money. Think about retirement early on. Calculate your risks and invest in something that will offer a safe financial return for later.
Richard chimes in in response to a, “What about you honey, what’s your advice?”
“Save money, but also remember that money isn’t gonna’ do it all. It’s not what it’s all about. Do something that you’re passionate about… don’t do a job you don’t like, just for the money. Then you end up miserable living in a nice house.
“I remember being young and not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I was quiet and insecure and I didn’t talk too much. I didn’t know. I tried a little bit of everything, and I knew that whatever I did I wanted to be the best at it. And that meant working with the best.
“You know, there is value in formal education but start working different jobs, get your hands dirty.
“And travel while you can. Travel teaches you everything.”
Though the five of us had planned to trek back to the car more than 20 minutes ago, we are content.
“Thank you for speaking with us,” I say.
“This is the kind of stuff that I love. Maybe I should just keep traveling to new cities, interviewing people and write a book, after all.”
“That’s a great idea,” Leigh says, “write a book!”
Richard and his kind disposition laugh.
“Alright, your turn,” says the ever-spunky and ever-lively Leigh.
I woke up from a dream yesterday morning where I was losing myself in falling in love with another person. In the past of my reality, I have tended to do this. In my dream, I felt it coming, and while this person was incredibly special to me, I felt that I hadn’t connected with myself once in the time my lover and I had been spending together. I went for a drive in this dream-land and ended up at a small, charming flower stand where I parked and was met to my emotion-processing dismay by a mother and two young daughters who, unhesitatingly, hopped into my car to sing along to the pop song I had playing.
The woman sat beside me, her daughters in the backseat singing and giggling in their own la-la-land that is life before the treasures and trials of love and loss have occurred, and she looked to me and spoke. The woman asked me if I had a love-person in my life, and if they were at the root of the heaviness in my heart that she could feel coming off of me. I told her I felt I was losing myself and it saddened me. I told her that he was treating me, but I was still aching for my own love. In that moment I stepped outside of my car, leaving behind my new friends. I saw serene pools underneath white, Greek columns above and I felt compelled to dive into them. It was my turn to lack in hesitation: I dove into the first pool, traveling its distance underwater until I reached the other side, got out and dove into the next one. My dream-gut trusted the women in my car with all of my belongings, and I needed to be swimming and diving into these pools at the moment.
I was immersing myself in the third pool when the mother and daughters called to me. When I returned to my car, all of the doors were open and it was covered in flowers. There were flowers in every door handle and crack of the window, underneath the windshield wipers and on the roof of my car, and a woman was still walking in circles placing more petals and stems to add to the collection.
“Some days, it’s potatoes that they cover your car in,” the mother said, coming to stand beside me.
“Happy birthday, love,” she said.
And with that, I began the first day of my 24th rotation around the sun feeling a little lighter. A little bit more self-aware. Incredibly immersed, and reminded to be fully diving into my self-love first. More than anything, I am grateful. I spent the first few hours of my birthday Saturday sobbing tears of joy feeling entirely overwhelmed by the magnificent amount of love in my life. This emotional overwhelm is not uncommon, and I embrace that part of me. I am grateful to have been touched by every one of you in this life-trek, and if I have ever looked into your eyes, know that I host unfaltering love for your presence no matter how close we are. I am grateful for my journey and pains and trials that have allowed me to feel such love and joy and light in this life. I am grateful for my truth and for learning to speak it. I am grateful for here and now. And of it all, I am endlessly grateful for all that this life is to continue offering me– be it flowers, or potatoes.