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: perspective

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.

Nostalgia, in Perspective

In one of my previous posts, I discussed perception and how humans tend to view life from a “big picture” vantage point, as opposed to appreciating the various stages of life. You can view my post on perception if that particular narrative peaks your interest; right now, I’d like to discuss the roles various individuals play in our lives and where they fit into certain moments in time.

Nostalgia is an indelible, universal piece of the human structure, metaphysically speaking. Every human being is privy to romanticizing past eras of their life, generally because they shared happy memories with a handful of people (or one specific person). What we fail to recall is the sadness that accompanied those fleeting moments. It’s easy to envy my twenty year old self when I conveniently block out the persistent unhappiness and uncertainty that I felt at the time.

At eighteen, after severing ties with one of my best friends of five years, I felt a pang of doubt and guilt. Mind you, the decision was mutual. We both felt that we had outgrown one another and felt as though we were clashing more often than not. Still, it’s tough letting go of friends. She and I were each other’s counterpart in high school. We probably fought more often than most friends, but fighting to mend and repair a friendship creates a strong bond. We both wanted the friendship to last, but ultimately, it wasn’t in the cards. I didn’t realize until I was nineteen that her friendship served a great purpose in my life. I was overwhelmed with self-doubt and recurrent spells of depressing throughout high school, and she was always there for me. I’m a night-owl through and through, and my peak hours of socializing are between 3 and 4 in the morning. Though she typically went to bed around 9 p.m., she never, in the five years we spent together, ignored a late-night call. She would pick up the phone and in a gruff voice say, “Yoooo, dude, what’s up???” Haha. I would immediately realize the ridiculousness of my 3 a.m. call and apologize, telling her, “Sorry, I didn’t realize how late it was. I’ll call you tomorrow.” And she’d always refuse, pushing through the grogginess and staying on the phone with me until I felt better. What I’m getting at with this rant is that people serve a necessary purpose in our lives at all times, and we shouldn’t let our frustration or doubt cloud this fact. She and I needed one another in high school (I’m sure I needed her more than she needed me, in hindsight), and that’s okay.

Things don’t have to last forever to mean something or have worth.

Thus my final story, which was the initial motivation for writing this post…last year, I befriended a twenty-five year old writer at one of my internships, who left more of an impression upon me than I realized at the time. He’s a graduate of Brown University and is incredibly passionate about literature. Naturally, when he caught me reading, he would immediately spark up a conversation about said book. Our nerdy connection progressed into a mutual attraction, one which we knew we couldn’t pursue, as I was an intern, and he was technically my boss. I spent the next few months wondering if things could have been different, but I now see and appreciate the time spent together for what it was. I needed guidance and understanding, and he offered that. We spent many early mornings lionizing Henry David Thoreau over breakfast and The Wall Street Journal and discussed how we both dreamed of moving to Maine one day. He implored me to go back to school and finish my degree, insisting that I was missing out on a major life experience. Absurdly (but kindly) thinking that I was smart enough to get into an Ivy League school, he offered to send my writing to a friend of his at

Brown. I insisted that I wasn’t going to waste my time sitting in a classroom when I could continue my education in the world. Yes, I’m ranting. My point here is, there is no need for regret or uncertainty when you identify and appreciate the positive influence a person has had in your life. As I stated previously, I needed guidance and understanding, and he offered that.

People will enter and leave your life in a flash, and that’s okay. Appreciate the role they’ve played in your life, and try to be that positive influence for someone else. Don’t reminisce with doubt and sadness. Enjoy the time and happiness you’ve been dealt thus far, and remember that one day, you’ll look back longingly at THIS moment.