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The Problem With Social Media Is...

I love social media. I love that it can make a massive world feel so small. I love that I can stay connected with people I know and stalk people I don’t know. And I love that it unites our generation like no other.

It’s so simple. We can like, heart, tweet, facetime, facebook, face-anything-except-physical-face, retweet, and comment from anywhere in the world, to anyone in the world, at anytime of the day (unfortunately for some, even at 2am after a big night out). And all at the click of a button. But you know what?

It. Is. Exhausting.

In all the liking, hearting, tweeting and faceing-anything-except-actual-faceing, there’s no human contact. There is no vulnerability required. And there is no comfort given.

After hours on the Internet, we are still locked away in our loneliness.

In a world full of virtual community, we’ve never been so lonely. Everyone is connected, yet everyone is isolated.

Almost everyone I speak to at the moment (like actually speak to) feels alone, and ironically at the most “wonderful time of the year.” Maybe you can relate.  Rather than brushing it off as just a “season” (maybe the most overused word in the Christian language) and hoping it wears off after Christmas, maybe there’s more to it. Here’s what I think:

I think we’re lonely because we’re busy highlighting our brand and hiding our humanity. (click to tweet)

Our brand, you with me? Its our reputation, our status, our PR, our style, who we want people to see us as (it’s like the Amplified Bible up in here, choose your own adventure). Our own social media is a show-reel of our life, but we forget that when we’re looking at everyone else’s show-reel. So what do we do? We keep up appearances, because everyone else is keeping up theirs, like a game of chicken, to see who will break first.

We feel lonely because we refuse to share our reality, convinced that it’s not “show reel” worthy for our social media altar ego.

But, today, I’m calling my own bluff, in hopes other people will call their own. It’s a lie.

This show reel social media is anything but real. (click to tweet)

I don’t want a social media altar ego with thousands of “friends” if it means forfeiting my handful of actual friends. There are people around you that you can tangibly hug, laugh with, encourage and even tweet at (if you so feel the urge).

I lose hours on social media seeking community, but I’m left feeling more lonely, depressed and unfit to be human than if I’d steered clear of it all together. Can you relate? But five minutes with actual humans, my actual friends? I’m on top of the world (“ay, I’m on top of the world..” Am I the only one who has that Imagine Dragons song in my head now? You’re welcome).

I have decided. I want the real thing. And that might mean turning off my wi-fi and using my phone for its intended purpose (how retro of me), calling my friends to let them in on the lonely stuff.

We all go through lonely seasons, things our friends might not understand – the loss of a loved one, being made redundant at work, a messy breakup, difficulty falling pregnant, being bullied at school… The list goes on. But I’ve learned that while loneliness is a feeling, isolation is a choice.

Don’t let your loneliness become isolation; it’s your choice. (click to tweet)

Whatever you are going through today, despite your self-talk and what you see on everyone else’s show-reel, you are not alone. People around you might not understand, but they want to listen. Allow them in. Avoid isolation. At all costs.

So today, get out from behind your phone, and get connected. Actually connected.



A Letter To My Teenage Self (Part Two)

photo credit: incurable_hippie via photopin cc Dear Teenage-Elyse,

It’s me again! I hope this isn’t turning into a creepy, Ghost-From-Christmas-Future type thing.. Of course, we're PK's, therefore we don't believe in ghosts, right?

Anyway, below is some final advice I want to give you... So here goes:

6. It’s ok that you love leopard print. Rock it.

The crazy little quirks that make you feel like an outcast right now? They are exactly why I have learned to love you. Please, stop trying to hide them. Stop trying to do what everyone else is doing.

Here’s a secret:  None of your friends know what they’re doing either; they’re just as insecure as you. So, they’re going to copy someone, it may as well be you!

Learn who you are now before the world tells you who you should be. Should is overrated, I mean the world itself is just weird, go on, look at it. Weird right?

So, stop hiding your freckles with foundation, enjoy your Fanta instead of sparkling water with lemon, and work the leopard print everything. You are so much more fun when you are you.

7. Cheating is overrated

In the ninth grade you’re going to get caught for cheating on your English assignment. Apparently you’re not as stealth as you think because you forgot to read through your stolen assignment before you handed it in. You're story about “wishing I wasn’t the only son in my family" kind of gave it away. Your brother won't be too thrilled either, he worked pretty hard on that.

Here's a tip: do your own work.

The feeling when you receive a good grade on your own work is amazing and (heaven forbid) you might actually learn something! Plus, if you do cheat, Mrs McGovern will find out, and the feeling of getting caught will make you want to crawl in a hole and die. 

8. Stop kissing boys.

(You totally skipped down to reading this one first didn't you...)

Despite what you think, the excuse that you’re trying out for The Bachelorette is not valid. Neither is the excuse, "but he looked like Zac Efron!"

I know you think doing this kind of thing will make you feel attractive and wanted, but it won't. All it does is leave you feeling lonely and guilty. Trust me, I know better now.

Deep down your heart desires love and value. I get it, you want to be swept off your feet and looked after. You'll have that, just be patient. Trying to rush your fairytale will only leave you running out at midnight, with no shoes, feeling like a pumpkin... With no Prince.

9. Your friends are waiting for an invitation. Just ask.

You know how much you want to go to Josh’s party on the weekend, but you’ll pretend you don’t care until someone invites you? Your friends are they same. They want to come to youth, but they don’t want to invite themselves.

Your friends see an invite, any invite, is a verification of your friendship. That includes church. Let’s face it, right now their only plan is to sit at home and watch re-runs of Saved By The Bell.

They won’t definitely come if you invite them, but they definitely won’t come if you don’t invite them.

When you leave school, your biggest regret won’t be missing a party, forgetting that it was mufti day (although that sucks) or getting a detention. It will be that you kept your mouth shut. Please, speak up. Their eternity is more important than your reputation.

10. It's ok to fail.

In fact, it’s kind of liberating. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to get it right, every time, all the time. That kind of burden will make you feel like you've just run a marathon, without burning the calories. Exhausted yet unsatisfied. Trust me, you’ll learn more from your failures than your successes.


I’ll write to you again one day. For now, have fun. Appreciate high school, your really fast metabolism, and the fact that mum still makes your bed.

Oh, and don’t try to “grow up” too fast, I know right now it seems as exciting as the idea of being BFF with Miley Cyrus. But, as cute as she might look now, having the “best of both worlds,” one day you’ll be glad you didn’t make her your best friend.

Love, Elyse x