Since moving into Ohio University last September, my day-to-day life has been happier than my BEST days prior to college*. I get good grades, I engage in a variety of playful shenanigans on a weekendly basis, and I feel good about myself. The upside to this happiness is that I constantly find myself dancing from place to place and humming Keith Urban songs. However, there is a downside to life after downtrodden melancholy: I blog my best when I've got stuff on my chest**.
That's why, after another much-too-long break, this post is about to be a whiny one.
As many of my whiny blogs do, today's story begins with a conversation with Justin Timberlake. Now, don't freak out-- the two of us don't talk much anymore, because we've come to terms with the fact that we only cause each other frustration and fury, even now that our old feelings for each other are completely extinguished. But burnt effigies and bad emo poetry aside, we do have quite the history as friends, so we tend to check in with each other every now and then. This particular check-in, which occurred two days ago, went something like this:
JT: "I still have 'I Kissed A Squirrel' on my ipod."
HGH: "Grosss. I like to pretend my old videos never happened."
JT: "And yet they continue to exist."
HGH: "Money and attention!"
(If you know anything about me, you KNOW that was sarcasm. I continue to make videos and write blogs both for the creative outlet and because I adore the artistic community of youtube. You guys are incredible, and if I were in it for money or fame, I'd be in the wrong profession.)
JT: "Yeah, I've noticed that your blog is pretty 'Hey, look at ME!' lately."
(I was negatively struck by this statement instantly, but I tried not to allow him to hurt my feelings so easily, so I played nonchalant and sarcastic, as usual.)
HGH: "Well, that's what a blog is...."
JT: "Unless your blog is about AIDS in Africa."
Sigh. Now, what I should have said was, "You're right; I'm self-centered and frivolous. Why don't you go complain about it in a World of Warcraft forum?" But instead, I said something like, "That'd be a dramatic change!" and let him win. The conversation ended there, but I walked around for a bit afterward, secretly harping on those words. Do I keep up this blog because I'm obsessed with myself? Am I so insecure that I'm asking strangers to validate me? Am I the poster child for American greed and ignorance, pretending like my rich girl feelings matter in this world of suffering and pain?
And that got me thinking. While my obsession with children's literature and tales of recreational binge eating certainly aren't going to save any lives, there is nothing inherently pointless or evil about what I do.
Even though I appear to put my entire self out there to the internet (and trust me, I DO make a lot of my more noteworthy thoughts public knowledge), there are aspects of my personality that I keep more private. For example, I check news headlines every day, and I do a satisfactory job of keeping up with current events, but I don't often write or vlog or tweet about them. It's rare that I'll delve into politics or religion online (or at all, with people other than Jess and my dad, for that matter), but these are things I think about daily. I'm not... vapid. I respect, admire, and am interested in those vloggers like John Green and Dan Brown who choose to risk their popularity in order to make a point, but I use this social medium in a very different way. I'm not here to expose corruption or fight disease or talk about that vile school district who prevented an innocent girl from going to prom because of her sexuality. I'm just trying to relate to a group of my fellow nerds who share my same unconventional interests. Anecdotes about nail polish are not a fair representative of what's on my heart, but I believe there can be a time and a place for silly musings, and I don't see the harm in sharing them.
Anyway, the reason I'm even bothering to address this issue today (because it certainly is NOT to give more attention to the backhanded insults of my ex-boyfriend), is because-- even when you put effort into ridding your quirky public life of politics-- sometimes politics come looking for you. And although I don't frequently gripe about such subjects in this blog, today is one occasion when I just need to rant.
My dad is a local politician back home, and we discovered this morning that some nasty little git of a reporter from our city's newspaper had made another of many unjustified jabs at my father's work. While I continue to positively revere him, I'm now old enough to be objective, and to see my father as a person, rather than as a god figure in my life... and I'm telling you that, from an adult standpoint, this male Rita Skeeter is in the wrong for publishing his opinions as fact. I read the article at hand and was just teeming with anger.
Anger doesn't bode well here. I'm currently on a partial-family vacation, staying in Florida with my parents, grandmother and two sisters in the very small house we've owned since before I was born. My family is extremely close emotionally-- like, 7th Heaven close-- but it's rare that we're this close in physical proximity. Where my bed ends, my sister's bed begins. Where my careless messiness begins, my dad's patience ends. We're practically living on top of each other at the moment, and our already heightened awareness of the goings-on in each other's lives has somehow been multiplied by ten. So it's only natural that all our angst is intermingling. I picked up my phone to complain to The Situation about my dad's woes, when I saw a text from The Situation himself, stating that he was in a very similar, uh... situation.
The Situation... er, screw it. My boyfriend, Mike Lombardo, is a professional musician, and he's currently participating in a songwriting competition. After winning the first two rounds and being a very close runner-up in the third, he's now in a final battle with the second-highest scorer. The winner is determined by votes; anyone on the internet can easily listen to the two songs and choose which challenger they prefer. Both Mike and his opposition have been receiving steadily equal votes, which just makes it fun. The prize at the end is simply recognition and high-fives, and the challengers all have friendly relationships with each other, so it's not really something causing people to get worked up. In fact, since Mike happens to already have a wider following on youtube and twitter than the others, he asked the permission of the other challengers before he promoted the competition at all, to make sure they knew he wasn't using his established audience for an unfair advantage. In all Mike's videos and tweets about voting, he has specifically asked that people not blindly click his name, and that they listen to all the songs and choose which they like best. Yeah, winning is cool, because it reassures someone that their music is worthwhile and appreciated, but at the end of the day, the whole contest is more about exposure to new artists and fans. So when it stops being fun and starts being a race, that's where the problems come in.
He has a friend who writes a blog about nerdy happenings across the internet, and she wrote a long and detailed post the other day, surprisingly attempting to sway the votes away from Mike. In her defense, she did a fair job at not blatantly insulting anyone particularly. Her point was, basically, Don't vote for the more popular party just because he's more popular; vote for the less popular party because I think they're better. Justifiably, this blogger was attempting to root for her preferred song. However, it's borderline communistic to say that the artist with more fans deserves fewer votes. Mike's competitors are good. They are! BUT. It's impossible to know this for sure, but I have a very strong feeling that, even if I were not in love with Mike Lombardo, I would like his song better. It's funny, it's very friendly to the other challengers, and he sounds awesome. Mike has fans because he's loyal, sweet, and puts out a great product. Everyone involved is aware that Mike has a larger following, but he conducted himself so gracefully and with such positivity towards the others that it's simply wrong to accuse him of taking advantage. This competition should be FUN. People should enjoy BOTH songs and pick a favorite without worrying about politics or feelings or numbers.
Ugh. All week my body has been lazing about the riverside, going for runs on the beach, and eating strawberries, but my mind has been a jumble of all these little antagonists. I apologize for dumping them all on you, readers, and I will not be at all offended if you can't bring yourself to get through such a lofty post. If you have made it this far, however, (and you're interested!) go ahead and click this link to listen to all the songs from all four rounds. If you feel like it, vote for the final song YOU like, regardless of anyone's blogs or tweets or urges.
*HEAVY EXHALE.* Aaaand I'm out.
Chipotle burritos this year: 12
Nail color: "One Perfect Coral," Revlon
*This excludes, of course, the fun times with my friends outside of school. But I'm talking about Big Picture Happiness here.
**Regardless of its cheesiness factor, I'll admit that that was an intentional rhyme. I think my songwriter boyfriend is wearing off on me in a bad way.
P.S. For commenter Ben: 1 cup boiled water. 1 tea bag. 1 squirt honey. Stir.