Allison Coyle

The well established conformists path is the easy one, it has been traveled many times and its rewards are mediocre at best.

Tag: advice

Pageantry of Vanity

If you haven’t yet seen this video, I implore you to do so before you read any further.

Most, if not all, of us go through phases in which we rid ourselves of social media. For some, it’s not simply a phase but a conscious, permanent decision to change the way we interact with others.

I deleted my Facebook account last June after my heart was broken by a guy I was convinced I was destined to marry. I have over 500 “friends” on Facebook, yet I felt completely alone. In my sorry state, I wrote several notes about my situation, hoping to receive feedback from others who could relate. Yet I received none. Thankfully, I was interning with a great group of people at the time who pulled me out of my funk and brought color back to my life. This incident caused me to reevaluate the true purpose and necessity of social media in my own life. I was no longer “networking” or “keeping up” with old friends and acquaintances. I was airing my dirty laundry for virtual strangers to read. And I wasn’t alone in doing so.

Have you ever stopped and really taken note of how people utilize their social media pages? Some people genuinely do keep up with friends and share interesting articles and videos with said friends. My grandma is a great example of that, as is my friend Tiffany, who uses Facebook to create event invites and share info with her friends studying midwifery. I am not a great example of this, unfortunately. While I love discussing politics, music, and movies, I realized not too long after I created a Facebook page that social media is not the best medium for doing so. It’s much easier to debate and argue with others when you’re not forced to speak with them face to face. This has created unnecessary rifts in a few friendships, none of which, thankfully, have been permanent. So while I think discussing politics is a good and healthy practice, I now recognize that Facebook is a terrible venue for doing so.

I’m sure most people have examples of discussions gone awry due to miscommunication over social media. I can’t count the number of couples I’ve seen fight over one of them clicking “like” on someone else’s selfie or getting caught posting pictures of themselves with someone other than their significant other. It’s ridiculously juvenile, and this kind of behavior has permeated our culture just within the last decade. When was the last time you hung out with a friend without them taking a picture of their food or updating their status in the midst of a discussion? I got into an argument a few years ago with a friend who refused to put his phone away during dinner because he wanted to be in constant contact with his boyfriend.

Aside from the bad manners technology has wrought, there is a greater underlying problem in our culture. How often do you compare yourself to your friends on Facebook or Twitter? Their lives seem more exciting, right? They’re at a bonfire or at a party with loads of people on a Friday night, and you’re sitting at home, Netflix binging with pizza. They post pictures of their escapades with their new friends, and you feel guilty for only having three close friends. So, the next time you go out, you make sure to post a status or maybe even a picture of how much “fun” you’re having, because that’s what you do, right? You’re supposed to document everything you do on social media, right? I mean, doesn’t everybody? This creates a toxic cycle in which everyone feels the need to outdo one another in a false reality. We live our lives incorrectly assuming that those around us are happier, prettier, and more successful than us, based on pictures and statuses that they put up. Of course, we don’t know what their lives are really like outside of this social media bubble. We don’t know what they look like when they wake up, whether or not they feel self-conscious when they look in the mirror, how many close, reliable friends they have, or even how happy they are. The same people you envy may very well envy you.

I ended up reactivating my Facebook page last September, 3 ½ months after I had deleted it, for what reason, I can’t remember. I do remember reactivating it with the intent of doing so temporarily. I will be deleting my Facebook page at midnight tonight, with the intent of doing so permanently. I feel like a hypocrite for engaging in behavior that I condemn, and now feels like the right time to bow out.

I hope that you will weigh the pros and cons of social media in your own life and decide whether or not you’re using it as a means of communication or as a tool for narcissism.

Advice at 21

We’ve all felt lost and alone. We’ve all felt unheard and unappreciated. As I write this note at 1 a.m., I feel at one with humanity. I feel at one with every person who has a story to tell but hasn’t yet found the strength within themselves to tell it.

To those of you who have experienced unrequited love, I feel for you. To those of you who have taken that terrifying leap of expressing your love to someone who wasn’t quite “The One,” wow, do I ever feel for you. It is truly their loss, not yours. It has taken me a year and a half to realize this truth, but it is the ultimate truth. You love deeply, and you love hard..and that is a GOOD thing. Your love and compassion are not weaknesses. They are gifts that will one day be treasured.

You are more than the sum of your mistakes. There is so much life ahead, God willing, and you will be in awe of something one day…whether that be another person, a mountain, a book, a poem, a painting, or even your own potential. Don’t let your failures outweigh your achievements.

If you’re single, don’t dote on what you don’t have but rather relish what you do have…time to learn a new language or read a new book, space to meet new people, freedom to take a solo cross-country trip and be amazed by your self-sufficiency.

Do not stay in a relationship if you doubt more often than you trust.

If you enjoy smoking, smoke! This may not be great advice, but it’s self-gratifying advice. The end is (hopefully) nigh, so let’s enjoy it while we can!

There’s no shame in trying new things, whether that be a new diet, a new religion, or simply a new style. Perspective comes from new experiences, so try out something new and run with it. It doesn’t have to fit for it to be a success.

If you gain ten pounds, be thankful you’re not starving. Also, upgrade to a fierce new wardrobe.

Your weight does not define you any more than you IQ defines you. If you own a scale, write the following words on it – 
“The number on this scale will not tell you:
– What a great person you are
– How much your friends and family love you
– That you are kind, smart, funny, and amazing in ways numbers cannot define
– That you have the power to choose happiness
– Your own self-worth

(Yes, I stole this idea ^)

Feed yourself kind words, and learn the power of complimenting others.

If you are fortunate enough to have a singular passion in life, spend your life mastering it. If you find yourself pulled in several directions, explore every option. There is NOTHING wrong with uncertainty. We are all works in progress.

If you don’t already, start keeping a diary and track your progress. When you look back at who you were, you may have the urge to burn your diary in shame, lest you die and anyone discover what you used to write about, but keep it as a reminder that you HAVE grown.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not where you thought you’d be thus far in life. You have grown in immeasurable ways, whether you realize it or not.

This is tough for me, but ladies, try to go a week or so without wearing any type of concealer or foundation. Your skin will feel so good.

To everyone, take up cooking! You will feel fantastic knowing that you have mastered a dish and have it in your arsenal at any given time.

Check your car’s oil frequently. Your car may die. R.I.P. Phoebe (my first car).

Finding faults in others may feel good in the moment, but it can quickly become a habit. Realize that others make unfair judgments of you as well. Try not to make assumptions about strangers.

People only post the highlights of their lives on social media. Don’t envy them or assume their life is better than yours. You don’t know the full picture.

Watch the sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial. You’ll feel like the tallest person on Earth.

Lincoln Memorial