Musings

The Insecurity of Writing

Whenever my blog just so happens to pop onto the radar of conversation (the just so happens is meant to mean this is ridiculously rare), I almost immediately accompany it with the words, “quaint” or “really, really small”. Sometimes I hardly address it as my own at all, like “Ah, it’s just this little site I update every now and then,” which is effectively removing my ownership and, most importantly, my pride in this quaint, really, really, small site I update every now and then. 

Because although this is not a place hundreds of people visit every day, nor has it ever been a place intended for such an audience. Little Rabbit Ears has been quietly stowed away from prying eyes (or lack thereof) since as early as Grade 10, and I’ve liked it that way. In fact, I’ve needed it to be exactly that way. I write this blog in a way that I would write simply to myself. It mirrors journal entries, even, and can be equally personal. Maybe not explicitly – it’s not as though I’d ever even attempt to recollect moments that are fit for my journal because, quite honestly, my life is not a soap opera – but the things I choose to share are an indication of what moves me, inspires me, tempts me.

And yet, I crave to reach out to others who happen to resonate with what I leave on here, on this little site of mine, on this cozy home meant for one but can heartily be filled. Only a handful of people in my everyday circles even know about this blog. I do leave little hints sprinkled over the social media sites I’m apart of. That way, I think, people who have found even the slightest bit of interest in me will find it on their own – rather than me bombarding everyone with my latest love for, what? Anthropologie’s daschund towels? (So valid – I should do that more often.)

Over the past academic year I willingly placed myself in a position that, from what I’ve written about so far, should be considered downright terrifying. I’m an editor for our university’s newspaper. It’s brilliant, though. My senior editor for the section I work in is a damn genius at what she does, and the people I’m surrounded with are no different in terms of the constant delivery of inspiration. A writer for the arts & entertainment section is, no word of a lie, in my own Top Ten Best Writers list. Our media editor just got hired as an illustrator for the Globe & Mail newspaper. Case in point.

And in the midst of all this, I’ve had my writing ridiculed a couple times over the internet, where our articles make an appearance. It took me a day of solid self-pitying before recognizing that it was an opportunity for me to own up to criticism – something i’m often too afraid to do. I instinctively think this criticism is the honest truth that everyone else knows but me.

The problem with criticism is often the tone it’s written in. Albeit petty, a malicious voice can leave you reeling in embarrassment and frustration. Suddenly the comment feels personal, when really it’s anything but.

*in progress*

Our Love Affair with Google

January 2013

I can safely say that 67 per cent of people have Googled themselves. I can also safely say that 83 per cent of statistics are made up. Tough to believe what we find on the Internet, isn’t it?

Either way, Googling our own names remains an inevitable Internet journey we all travel through at one point or another. And even though it seems to be a fad most of us went through when our Neopets were still our big responsibility, the allure of discovering who you are in the eyes of the collective world hasn’t disappeared. Once we grow a little bit older, when angst is our beloved middle name and voice cracks appear in the most socially convenient of times, our lives become even more centred around the Internet. You know, when we’re finding ourselves. We spend our days looking deep inside our souls and pulling out the unexplored wisdom that accompanies maniacally trolling our newly formed YouTube account.

Googling your own name is almost akin to finding someone else’s diary. It’s you, but from an objective view of the world. You see yourself as simply a name, a profile, and it suddenly clicks how small you are. There is a certain intrigue as to who you will find. Suddenly, you’re no longer John Smith, but John Smith, track team member in Grade 6 and the proud owner of the most thumbed up comment on Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” music video.

Does this imply we are a vain society? All eager to snatch a little pocket of fame, even if that entails a Blogger profile abandoned years ago? No; it’s human curiosity. We want to see ourselves as others do. It’s smart. We want to see ourselves as our potential employers will. It’s hilarious. We want to see how many alleged criminals share our names on the FBI wanted list. It’s natural.

Yet it’s also natural for people other than your procrastinating ego to type your name into the mother of all information known as Google. It’s this very fact we have to be cautious of, and is precisely the reason I just signed up for a Google Alert with my name on it. Every time my name is searched, I will be notified. And that’s either a whole new level of vanity or absurd paranoia, but I suggest you do the same, fellow cyberspace civilians.

Despite the creepers lurking behind the screens around the world (and apparently anyone who has looked through someone else’s photos on Facebook qualifies for the endearing term “creeper”), the Internet is a place of endless discovery, perhaps even nostalgia. A few months ago, I stumbled across my old Neopets account, which reminded/guilt-tripped me about the fact that I had left this virtual little pet without food for 3627 days. No wonder eight-year-old me was so addicted, seeing this creature’s eyes tearing up, begging me to come back and play. This was a game of serious responsibility!

A friend of mine entered his name into Google only to find a website which looked to be dedicated to him, as if he came across a personal shrine created by his oh-so-devout fans commending his piano expertise. It was entitled The Piano Sensation, but not targeted towards my buddy over here. Just another guy who made a website for himself praising his piano skills (if that’s not sad, I don’t know what is).

I, for one, share my name with what seems to be hundreds of middle-aged women in Ohio. A fascinating lurk, I know. Others have such unique names that they are really the only ones who come up – the one and only in a vast world of Internet fame.

It remains a source of intrigue for everyone. Some are left feeling sufficiently creeped out after finding their name inserted into a foreign blog entry, others feel a little ashamed that they only appear once for participating in their school’s annual bake sale, and most feel a little bit smaller than before.

The power of Google has literally overtaken the world. We may think of the internet as being an invincible creature, holding our secrets as its own, laughing with us while we watch the panda sneezing for the thirtieth time, patting our back while we read a surprisingly tear-jerking chain email (grandparents always have a knack for those). But in reality (please stop reading if you’re morbidly afraid of the Internet already) it’s as if Google is glaring at us at all times. Really? It rolls its eyes. You’re checking how to spell “definitely” for the third time today? Do you honestly think the baby with the bellowing laugh is this funny?

I’ve essentially come to view the Internet as a cynical, bitter creature before me, who probably views me as a sporadic, ADD-prone maniac. But hey, at the end of the day, we are their masters. The Internet is our very own tool for success. It doesn’t have a brain.

…at least for now. *m

Issue of Sleepover Attire

January 2013

If you have ever organized a night dedicated to girlish giggles and (not-so) scandalous secrets, otherwise known as a sleepover, the pajamas you throw on every night are no longer a matter of comfort. As much as we would like our friends to believe that we wake up with bouncing curls in our hair, perfected eyebrows, and shimmering eyelids, that illusion is about to shatter to pieces when you emerge from the bathroom in a three year old summer camp t-shirt, and a pair of sweats that are appearing more like shrunken bell bottoms everyday. So what realistic options do you have? Are you doomed to a broken social life after a single sleepover? No, no, no. Don’t think like that. Consider your choices.

1. Silk, baby-blue lingerie with fuzzy faux-fur slippers.
Oh, you vixen, you! There are two perks to this choice. One, you’re a real-life dream come true to all the men who still believe that sleepovers consist of pillow fights in nighties, rather than three sobbing girls reciting the lines of the Notebook together. Two, you may be able to convince your friends that the reasonyou’re nonchalantly wearing lingerie to a sleepover is quite simply because of the endless number of occasions in your life that call for such attire. I mean, look outside, your suitors are lined up around the block.

2. A classic, cow-print onesie.

Any other print will do, really. The beauty of onesies is that they don’t sacrifice comfort at all. In fact, they kind of define comfort. You’re covered head to toe in a blanket and can technically call it a pair of pajamas. Praise the onesie!

I should warn you though. Onesies do not bode well in the heat. What, it’s still hilarious? No. Resist. Nothing is more painful than facing the sweaty reality that the stench intruding the room is thanks to your piggy onesie. Irony at its finest.

3. Matching sets!

Ah, the matching pajama sets. It’s what your mother forced you to wear until you got your first concert t-shirt, and subsequently rebelled against her fascist wardrobe demands to sleep in the much preferred Avril Lavigne shirt instead. I just hope you didn’t make the mistake of wearing a tie over your t-shirt too (Avril-swag failed miserably for me).

Despite the bad rep matching sets had when you were younger, let’s get over our angst and admit it – that shit was comfortable. It’s usually some ridiculously soft material, while covered in a rather cheerful or humorous print. My personal favourite is covered in cupcakes and as nauseating as I may look to the average sleepover attendee, nothing can penetrate my bubble of happiness.

4. Your birthday suit!If all else fails, you can go nude. Minimalist, understated, elegant. Also you will really freak out your guests and might get your spot on the couch back.

*m

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