college, Essay, Halloween

NO PICTURES

As I was on a (what would turn out to be over four hours in the rain and two iterations of Taylor Swift’s 1989) drive back from my Boston Halloweekend, I realized – mid-eating a Chicken McNugget – that I hadn’t gotten a picture for Instagram the entire weekend. “Fuck!” I said, mouth muffled by “meat.”

And over the next few hours, as I caught up on all the social media I had missed – all the Halloween Instagrams of people in their various costumes, all the posed Snap stories and (let’s be realistic) Instagram stories – I felt more and more annoyed. I had let a prime social media weekend slip through my fingers like sand, or silk, or (most realistically) me dribbling a basketball.

It was the second time I was in Boston in October, and I had – on both occasions – made a plan to take a cute Instagram with my friends and completely forgotten. It’s a sober truth, I’ve realized, that when you’re a freelance writer-journalist (slash full-time inspiration and model), your chances for taking cutely candid Instagrams are severely limited. Either I’m working, writing, sleeping, eating, watching Netflix or doing some combination of the aforementioned. And unless my followers want endless versions of my dog with the exact same photo filtering (I do an opaque shadow, get used to it), there’s a limit to the content I’m naturally coming into contact with.

Getting an Instagram is more than an exercise in vanity. This might be dumb – do you know me? – but social media is as much a cultivation of personal branding as it is to remember moments. I want to work in media, and understanding various social media platforms, and being active on those platforms, is important to me. And in a post-grad world where I’m a very small fish in…the ocean? A galaxy? It helps me feel connected to the larger world. And yes, I use those photos for Tinder. Sue me.

Before I came up to Boston in the beginning of October, I texted my best friend. “We have to take a photo together.” She agreed (she loves photos of me). But with the time constraints of balancing family and friends, we forgot. I spent my hours with her, and my other friends, drinking at our favorite bar, hanging out at home, getting brunch. I drank up their presence like a sunflower; it had been so long since I had seen them in person. And I just missed them. And I didn’t want to miss any of them by separating myself through a screen.

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celebrity, pop culture, social media

ROB KARDASHIAN MIGHT’VE BROKEN CALIFORNIA’S REVENGE PORN LAWS

On Wednesday, Rob Kardashian took to social media to blast his former fiancée, Blac Chyna, for allegedly “cheating on him.”

He posted a video of Chyna kissing another man, purporting that she had sent the video to him, a video of Chyna going into what Kardashian alleged was weight-loss surgery, as well as several screenshots of conversations (between Kardashian and Chyna, and between Kardashian and the alleged other man). After accusing Chyna of essentially swindling him for $1 million, given to her in gifts and rent, Kardashian posted three nude pictures of Chyna before his account was disabled.

While this isn’t the first time that Rob has posted sensitive contact information (he posted the phone number of the “other” man and he has posted his sister Kylie’s phone number, forcing her to change it), this is the first time he’s posted nude images of someone else. And, under California state law, it’s possible that he could face charges for revenge porn.

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Humor, Love & Romance

ALL TINDER, NO FLAME

I hate when my throwaway tweets get as much traction as the tweets I carefully crafted and sent out, hair slicked and cheeks rosy, like orderly schoolchildren. I also hate how I “carefully crafted” tweets about me being hot like a model or me making a Matthew McConaughey pun. Which is a lot harder than it looks, because I had to look up how to spell “McConaughey.” Those kinds of things don’t just come naturally, you know.

For the last day, I’ve been messaging some guy on Tinder. I don’t know if he’s trying to act chill, or is just super against punctuation, but it turns me into a crazy person. In the span of a few messages where he, apathetically, asked me what I was doing, I recommended that he check out “Einstein’s gravitational waves theory that was proven right this year” (I accidentally lied, it was 2015 I think). I spun out of control, and I spun out of control hard. This was just after he said he was bored and I offered up that I read the Wikipedia pages for food when I’m bored, like “sandwiches and stuff.” And stuff?

I don’t think it’s a love connection, but there’s something about horrifyingly bland conversations that I can’t ever step away from. Like, I need to talk to them. And if they don’t use punctuations and don’t ask me any questions—oh my god, that’s so hot. He, like, doesn’t care about me at all. Such a turn-on.

Actually, I’m re-reading our conversation for this article and I’m…a lot. But he’s, like, nothing so maybe I’m overcompensating. I mean, I’m writing an entire blog about it, so I’m definitely overcompensating.

But what, I wonder, was the outcome he was thinking? Like will we tell the children of our adopted/surrogated children how their boring grandfather charmed their hot, former-model grandfather by giving one-word responses?

“It was 12:19 am, and I was listening to a podcast and trying to quiet the voices in my head enough to sleep,” I’ll say, my face creepily ageless from years of black-market dermabrasions. I’m dressed in all cashmere because I got all my sweat glands Botoxed away. “Your grandfather texted ‘Hey.’”

I’ll look at my husband of 70 years (we’re 90s+ in this scenario, but I look amazing, you guys), who will be sitting in the chair next to me, staring at me with thinly veiled contempt.

“He said he was ‘doing alright just bored,’ and I knew that he was the guy for me,” I’ll continue, shaking off the slow-burning acidic gaze of my husband.

“I suggested he look into Einstein’s gravitational wave theory,”—all my grandchildren nod because we’re all smart as fuck—“which has some interesting revelations on relativity and spacetime,”—probably irrelevant at this point in time, since we’re all living in a wormhole near Saturn’s outermost ring—“and he said, and I’ll never forget this children, ‘Yea I’d be too confused’.” I’ll grab my husband’s hand, just tight enough that he can’t easily slip away.

We don’t have a lot in common since he told me his interests were “Beer and hiking; lacrosse, reading; just chilling,” and I listed mine as “drinking, tweeting” and then lied and said, “I like hiking” too. That was a boldfaced lie, because hiking is just glorified harder walking, and walking is the worst.

After our grandchildren go back to their respective spacepods via teleportation, I’ll start cleaning our champagne glasses (I refuse to make tea) and clearing away the remnants of our caviar. He’ll be sitting, staring at me over the lip of a can of beer. The silence will be thick and heavy, hanging between us like sodden clothes caught in a rainstorm.

But then he’ll use one little phrase to crack open the mustiness of a 70-year-marriage. My iCranium will flash behind my eyes with a new message. From him.

I’ll open it.

“Wyd ;p”

LOVE IS REAL. TINDER WORKS.

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Humor, Life, pop culture

WHAT’S HAPPENING RN: I’M A ROLE MODEL BUT I REALLY SHOULDN’T BE

Written after I just contributed to my friend’s blog so I’m ridING HIGH AND FEELING GOOD.  

Read the article I wrote for The Odyssey Online responding to Donald Trump’s claims that he will protect the LGBTQ community here!

In the past week, I have been extremely social. I went to a bar on Wednesday, I went to a party on Friday, and I hung out with two of my best friends on Saturday. Part of me is exhilarated with the contact of people who are not seven years old, and part of me is so over-exerted that I want to hang upside down like a bat and fall asleep forever.

It was a fun change of pace to hang out with different people in different settings, and it only made me mildly misanthropic. Sometimes even I think me using big words is just a ploy for attention. Like, I have used the word “fastidious” in common conversation probably thrice in the last week. Omg, fuck—I cannot stop myself.

After contributing to another blog, I’ve realized that a lot of my blog posts have been rather repetitious and I want to try to branch out again. Remember when I was super into television reviews? How fun was that! I never thought I would say this, but I’m—almost—tired of writing about myself. Scary thought. I would suggest that it’s merely I’m becoming less narcissistic, but we all know that that’s not the case. I spent twenty minutes staring at myself in the mirror to decide which t-shirt I looked better in—black, white, or gray. I chose black. I look so hot in black. But I also look so hot in white. You see my dilemma.

Anywayanywayanyway.

Before I stop being so self-centered/writing about myself so much, I want to dish about Things That Are Happening RN/Have Been Happening In My Life.

Things That Are Happening RN:

1). First and foremost, I was called a role model a few days ago, and I have never been high-key more insulted: Let’s dress the scene (not an expression, but I’m going with it). I’m at a party, and someone who is a mere two years younger than me called me their “role model.” Now, I understand that I am model-thin and model-tall. I also understand that I am capable of “rolling with the homies.” However, these two things do not a role model make. I have role models, but who are decades older than me and are accomplished. This is not a back-door brag, or an attempt to linger in my own praises—you guys know that I’m more than comfortable in talking about myself and my maaaany accomplishments.

But for someone who is TWO YEARS YOUNGER than me to call me their role model makes me feel A) unsexy, B) old, and C) OLD AS FUCK. I mean, I suppose on one end I am flattered that someone thinks I’m worthy of that, but on the other hand I’M NOT A THOUSAND YEARS OLD. I’m a mere child. I’m twelve. Granted, he was completely sloshed when emphatically telling me this, but I’M NOT A ROLE MODEL. I’M JUST A REGULAR MODEL. This experience has traumatized me, and I have regressed even futher into my antics so that NO. ONE. EVER. CALLS. ME. A. ROLE MODEL. EVER. AGAIN.

Mark my words, I will act so horribly that no one will ever look up to me ever again. Maybe if I got arrested, he would change his opinion. I’m too good for my own good.

2). I joined a private Facebook group that is a fanclub for a Real Housewives franchise breakdown podcast: Since apparently people think I’m basically forty, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I have been listening to Bitch Sesh for a few months, which I highly highly highly recommend for anyone who watches any Real Housewives series. The co-hosts, Casey Wilson (of Happy Endings fame) and Danielle Schneider (who created The Hotwives of Atlanta on Hulu), are UCB alums and are fucking AMAZING. Anyway, I love them so much that I decided to look up the fan-created Facebook page, “Bitch Sesh by Alene Two” (inside joke), and saw that it was a private group. Before I asked to join, I looked through the people who have already joined, and I s2g I’m not lying when I say it was all middle-aged ladies and middle-aged (for a gay dude) gays.

I was mentioning this to someone the other day, but I can’t wait to be middle-aged. At this point, I’m kinda not into wanting kids, so by forty I want to be pleasantly plump, married to someone hot, a successful writer, and wear ex.clu.sive.ly silk kaftans. And being a part of this Bitch Sesh fanpage makes me feel a modicum closer to my eventual goal.

And the irony is not lost on me that I have joined a fan club for a fan club for the Real Housewives. Remember when I used to be so political? THIS IS BETTER.

3). Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift: Hilariously, my gym was playing “Bad Blood” off 1989—which is the. Most. Loaded. Song.—and so I—hilariously—tweeted this joke and it was immediately favorited (did you know that “Favorited” is not a recognized word in Microsoft??? Microsoft Word is so not millennial-friendly) by the Twitter account “Zesty Kim K News”—it was not favorited by any Taylor Swift accounts. However, I know that I will literally end friendships if I keep talking about the Taylor-Kim drama, so I’ll try to tone it down.

4). A co-worker’s mother called me “very good-looking” (HER WORDS NOT MINE): This is just a brag. It made me feel very good about myself. Further proof that moms love me. It should be noted that this mother saw me in the morning, before I was subjected to multiple hours in the sun, covered in sweat and sunscreen. Once I made the mistake of looking at myself in the mirror after the workday (before a shower) and I was horrified at how meth-addict-y I look after so much physical work. Further proof that I should only do jobs inside with AC.

5). I’ve been going on Pinterest more: There are absolutely no male-oriented (but not entirely, because gender isn’t a binary anyway) fashion/style blogs that interest me, but Pinterest has some photos that are more in my wheelhouse. My style is trending towards “sexy science nerd” meets “dad on vacation” meets “timid Seattle grunge”, and that’s not a hot search topic. If anyone has any good Tumblrs that seem like they might encompass some of my style needs, feel free to drop me a line.

I really don’t have more things to talk about. I’m still getting out of that depression slump, but it’s actually getting towards the end. I’m not really upset about that, because I understand that that’s just my body’s natural cycles. Totally understandable (only what a depressed person could say about their depression).

I’m in a weird place romantically because I’m like 99% the Boy I unfollowed on social media unfollowed me back (“unfollowed” is also not a recognized word—Microsoft why r u being so social media-phobic???), which I shouldn’t care about because I unfollowed him first but I’m crazy. I’ll deal. And there are approximately 1.5 viable options of boyz at my work, so THAT’S GREAT. NOT SAD AT ALL.

I’m trying to find new music. I’m veeery into podcasts, but there are times (especially when I’m at the gym) where I can’t power-sprint to two friends dishing about politics, so I need to listen to my Spotify. I am obsessed with the “Discover Weekly” playlists, because sometimes they are incredibly on-trend with me. Sometimes they pick songs that I would describe as only appropriate for a gay caricature or someone without ears. I’ve rediscovered Grace Potter and am listening to her latest album. Not bad.

In other music news, check out this song my best friend—HE’S A DJ, I’M HIP—just put together. It has “Me Too” in it (I don’t know dj lingo, so I’m just using cooking lingo) and a dash of “beats” (get it, like “beets”??) in there too. Totally delicious, and I’m so proud.

P.S. One of my coworkers/friends claimed “Hot Sauce” as her Wunderkindof pseudonym. I should mention that all the previous monikers were entirely jokes, and not meant to represent my coworkers. This coworker decided to make the joke hers and DEVOUR THAT NAME. Love you, Hot Sauce.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Here are some funny jokes I’ve made on Twitter recently. My Instagram is not very funny.

 

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Humor

HOW TO BE A NARCISSIST AND GET AWAY WITH IT

Alternate titles: “How To Disguise Your Flagrant Narcissism as Genuine Confidence” or “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.”

First, I’d like to just say right off the bat that if you’re funny, you could essentially get away with whatever you want. Actually wait, that’s not entirely true; if you’re hot, you can actually get away with whatever you want. And I’m not even limiting that to getting away with narcissism. If you’re hot, you can do anything. Like Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP. Do you think Gwyneth is qualified to recommend organic lube? Of course not.

So, if you’re above an 8 (the scale varies re your location), please disregard this blog post. You’re already set for life. Actually, you could give me some advice. If you have a high level of skill in getting people to like you (being blindingly funny, or a natural blonde), then this post can serve as more of light entertainment. But if, like me and rest of the plebeian majority, your flagrant narcissism is unequal to the level of your attractiveness and/or wit (just kidding, no one can be both hot and funny), this article is your savior.

THE NARCISSYSTEM—soon to be trademarked, but it’s not done yet so don’t steal it, you guys. I’m serious.

First I should point out that I’m butchering “narcissism” in the same way that Khloe Kardashian has a video series on her app called “Khlo-C-D.” I know that I’m not referring to clinical narcissisim. Don’t send me your letters. I’m referring to the casual narcissism, the millennial narcissism.

Our generation has been bred for casual narcissism in the same way that pugs and other brachycephalics were bred to look like E.T. It’s almost not our fault, it’s the fault of others…Which is something that a casual narcissist would say to avoid taking the blame for their actions. Moving on. I don’t think that someone could be around so many front-facing cameras and not be a little bit of a narcissist. There are Instagram models, people—open your eyes. It’s completely out of our hands now.

However, it’s a complete double-edged sword. We’re all narcissists, but you can’t be too openly narcissistic, because people don’t like seeing the physical manifestations of their souls. It’s too creepy (similar to the “Uncanny Valley”). It’s a mixture of the joy of having someone to hate—thus redirecting some of that self-hate that every millennial has—and the pure rage of someone having the balls to say what we’re all thinking. But on the other hand, you can’t be too modest. People hate modesty more than they hate ostentation because modesty means you don’t know/accept how good you have it, and people cannot handle that. It’s the Anne Hathaway Syndrome: don’t be too modest or people will want to skin you alive.

Like everything else in the world—it makes no fucking sense. The very act of maintaining social media presence implies some inherent narcissism: you think that what you’re putting out is funny or pretty or palatable enough to be worthy of consumption en masse. Even the Internet troll exhibits some base form of narcissism (mutated, though; in the same way that an actual turtle is tangentially like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles); they believe their vitriol is good enough to be coattailed onto creative content. And if you don’t have any social media presence, it’s assumed that either A) you’re Amish or B) you think you’re too good/authentic/uninhibited for social media.

So if you’re stuck between too open and too modest, finding the right balance requires a mixture of humor, timeliness, bold disregard for social norms, and a pinch of spunk.

If you’re deeply self-involved, but also critically insecure, here’s a great way to both get compliments and sympathy. I, as a gay 6 and a Boston 7, will say things like, “It’s hard because I’m so hot,” or “I wonder if I could get away with some of the things I say if I were ugly.”

Then wait, staring silently at your friends/personal assistants and wait for them to laugh or say nothing. If they laugh, it’s because they know that you’re ugly and you’re talking like an 8+, and if they’re silent, either they agree or they’re letting you have this. In either case for the second option, you win. The practice revolves on being hilarious, which is an excellent mask for the fact that you think that you’re actually that hot. Like I think I’m actually hot enough to get away with the things I say. Modern science, as well as my checkered dating history, provides a pretty strong counterpoint to that, however.

Here is where two roads diverge in the woods. Which path you takes depends on whether you’re hot or funny. We have established previously that you can only be either hot or funny, so I don’t have to worry about making up some third, weird combo path. Two paths. Accept it.

If you’re hot, take the Instagram. With a great enough following (or simply a like-happy following) you can bask in the social acceptance of your flagrant displays of narcissism. Outside of early Facebook-late MySpace, taking selfies has never been so publicly accepted. However, if you chose to Instagram, mingle your selfies with landscape shots, shots of dogs bounding freely, and/or simple, white aesthetic shots of food or furniture. Invest in a proper editing app, such as Afterlight or VSCO. Have a wide breadth of edited shots to upload at a moment’s notice (as long as that moment’s notice lies within the bracket of heavy traffic times). I edit my photos in the bathroom so when I’m out and about, I don’t have to edit at a moment’s notice.

If you’re funny (or ugly), go via Twitter. I, shockingly for a L.A. 5 and Milwaukee 8, use Twitter. Twitter allows me to be the most viciously funny, sloppy version of myself. It’s the social media equivalent of being so deep into a long-term relationship you exclusively wear sweatpants. Twitter has seen me at my worst and accepts me for it. In fact, it encourages my worst. I have never been dumber, funnier, ruder or sharper than I am in my best moments on Twitter. At my funeral, I’m going to have a flat-screen above my casket that plays a slideshow of my greatest Tweets.

Lastly, pretend that you’re in on the joke. If people knew that you were actually being serious, they would abandon you on an iceberg. But if they think you’re being funny, skewering our narcissistic society with your acute view and biting wit, then they’ll be into it. Here are some ways to coat your self-centeredness in “humor.” A). Amp up your narcissism ever so slightly, in the vein of shows like Candidly Nicole and Inside Amy Schumer (specifically the skit where she uses Tig Notaro’s breast cancer diagnosis to get people to be nice to her). B). Write a humorous article, maybe entitled “How To Be A Narcissist and Get Away With It” on your excellent, but not widely appreciated (because your humor goes over everyone’s heads), blog called the Blunderkindof and make it seem as if you’re emulating the vapid pleasure-society that we all inhabit. No one will catch on that you yourself are a wildly spiraling tornado of narcissism. It’s foolproof.

If everything else fails—fake your death and subsequent “resurrection.” This one guy did it 2000 years ago and he got a book deal out of it. So extra.

***

I hope you liked this snunny (snarky + funny + nihilism) post! I had an absolute blast writing it, and usually the only thing I enjoy is inflicting pain upon the masses! What a departure! But seriously, I actually loved writing this insane, silly, rude post and I hope that you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Or if that’s too tall an order, I hope that you had a modicum of the pleasure I had while writing it. I’d like to thank Nina for bouncing ideas off (even though she thinks I’m not pulling off being a functioning narcissist).

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Humor, Life

A MILLENNIAL’S GUIDE TO FRIENDSHIP IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Growing up as a millennial can be a unique experience. You have the constant fear of someone bringing up a bad photo of you from seventh grade, or your mom trying to friend you—my mom does not because she “doesn’t want to see what’s on my page”—or your crush reading a message you sent but not responding.

There’s a lot of articles online about dating in the digital age, or doing your taxes in the digital age, or applying for jobs in the digital age. But there’s really nothing dedicated to being friends with someone in the digital age. And not capital-f Friends. We’re not talking Facebook friends—the idea of Facebook friends overlapping with your actual friends is basically an urban myth.

So since I have to guide you into the light—not in an angel-y way, but in a cool way—on other issues—race, gender, what to order at McDonald’s—then it’s only fitting that I guide you through this process. So are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s go!

Here’s rule number one, right off the bat. Group chats are literally Satan’s asshole, but they’re a necessary evil. Just, for the love of all things holy, put it in Facebook so I can at least mute the conversation. I’ve turned a deaf ear to at least half of the groups I’m in.

Rule number two: Do your civilian duty and take yourself off “private” in your social media. The very fact that you’re on social media implies, at least a little bit, that you’re a fame monster (Buy ARTPOP on iTunes). We live in the age of media-stalking, so just assume that someone wants to get a cute look at you.

In fact, the Golden Rule of Social Media: Do unto your social media as you would wish others to do unto theirs. I.e. if you’re stalking, you better open up the digital gates so people can return the favor.

Rule number three: Follow people back on Twitter and Instagram. The only time it is acceptable to not follow people back is if they’re strangers or if you’re a celebrity. If you’re not a celebrity, and I follow you, it’s because I know you. Don’t throw shade and not follow me back. That happened to me once. I met a really cool girl, had a good conversation with her, and then followed her on Twitter. She didn’t follow me back, and now she is on my List. You’re not Madonna. You can afford to alter your ratio. I’m stretching out an olive branch.

Rule number four: But conversely, don’t feel obliged to Favorite, Like, or Retweet everything I do. Sometimes I have an off day and my tweet is a little sloppily crafted. You don’t have to placate me with a flurry of Likes. Save those for when I’m really funny (which is 99 times out of 100).

Note: This does not apply to Instagram. Like my Instagram or I will hunt you down and gut you like a fish.

Rule number five: I will allow you to crop me out of photos if you look really good. I don’t anticipate it happening often, and be careful how you crop. If it’s a simple group chat, go nuts. But if we’re entwined in some sort of gymnastics, and you crop the living sh*t out of the photo to the point where if you click on the photo, it’s just a small square of your face surrounded by black, then we have a problem. I understand that good photos are like shooting stars—they happen only ever so often. But have some sense of decorum.

Rule number six: Landscape, never portrait. Don’t play with fire.

And because I need to preserve my sanity, rule number seven: keep conversations to one medium. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with a friend in Facebook, and had a separate, distinct conversation with the same friend over text. Okay, it’s only happened twice. But still, it’s a thing.

Rule number eight: Ghost with integrity. If and when you decide to stop being friends with someone, it’s a little harder than just ducking or avoiding them on the street. No. Now that we’re living in an age where nothing ever dies online, you need to learn how to ghost with grace. Ghosting is basically—it’s a trend, and I’m hopping on the trend—when you slowly slip out of someone’s life. You take longer to answer texts. You can’t FaceTime anymore. You “forget” to tag them in your popular blog posts that everyone loves but is too afraid to say that they love, so they ask things like “What’s the Wunderkindof?” and “Oh, I didn’t know you blogged” and—oh, I’m projecting. It’s fine when you want to ditch people. We’ve all done it. Just be smart about it.

Rule number nine: Tag me, but don’t drag me. I look good from approximately two angles. So I can’t tell you how visceral the fear is when I see that little notification pop up in the “Photos of You” tab in Instagram. You can tag me in your photos—actually, please do—but realize that if it’s an unflattering angle or me doing something “hilarious,” that you are putting your life, the lives of your future children, and the life of your iPhone at risk.

Also side bar: No one ever looks good in “funny photos.”

And lastly, rule number ten: social media isn’t a substitute for quality time. Yes, I love tagging Jenny in funny Instagrams, or texting Shelby whenever something salacious happens in the celebrity world, or g-chatting (gay-chatting) with Marco, or sending ambiguous emojis to Mitchell. But that is just a complement to being with them. So rule number ten-b: don’t let social media rule your life. Let me rule your life. Through social media. I understand how confusing this might be. Just give me your Social Security number and everything will be okay.

Living in the digital age is hard; everything should be quicker and more immediate, but it often ends up lost in a haze of misinterpretation. Did he mean to send me that winky emoji? How long is too long for me to return someone’s text? What is “fam” and how is it being used in the vernacular? All of these things are questions that I know that I have.

Ew, bye.

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