HOW BLOGGING CHANGED MY LIFE: ONE VINA’S PERSONAL ESSAY ON THE POWER OF WRITING

Let me set the scene:

I’m in an aesthetic coffee shop as I type out my last passion-filled sentence and close my laptop. The first draft of an article I’m writing is complete, and I’m basking in the glow of the cleansing feeling I now have. My skin is clear, my crops are growing, the sun is shining, and it’s all thanks to blogging.  

Of course, this is the ideal scenario. Usually it’s more like I start with a half baked idea, play with it in my mind for a week or two until I finally put pen to paper (or, more likely, fingers to keyboard) a couple days before my deadline and crank something out. This process isn’t one I’ve always had, but I am thankful I get to experience now.   

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil (I’m not exaggerating). I was inspired by Lemony Snicket and Barbara Park’s stories that were gripping, sassy, and self-aware. I would spend recess on a bench writing pages and pages of stories in an attempt to replicate good dialogue and spunky characters. Any “quiet time” was used to ask my teachers how to spell big words like “unfortunate.”

As I grew older, I started struggling with mental health, and, before a therapist could tell me that writing was a good coping mechanism, I was pouring myself into stories. My darkest times spurred my interest in sharing my experiences. I was admittedly shy about my writing, mostly keeping it to myself, but what I did put out into the world made me feel good and in control of my life.

In college, I went through a phase where I wanted to do anything except what was expected of me, which meant that being known as “the writer” inspired me to enter college as a Business major, change to a Nursing major, and then finally coming back around to Communication when I realized I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by not following my heart (as cheesy as that sounds). Letting myself really write led to me starting an online magazine where I got to interview amazing women and work with international companies and organizations. It didn’t last, however — I was only a Business major for a hot second — but I did use my final year of college to be the Editor-in-Chief of my school’s newspaper.

My goal in all of this? Making hard conversations possible and accessible. Conversations about Black Lives Matter or the systematic influences on mental health or ways that all genders can have good sex weren’t being had, but my staff and I made it happen.

For me, blogging and writing in general has always been cathartic. I can process and come to terms with my emotions, making me a better communicator and friend. I can talk about serious matters in a way that’s palatable to the everyday person and even, at times, fun! I can express myself in my most authentic voice and have my experiences be relatable to readers. I know I’m not alone, and someone else gets to know they aren’t alone either. Where’s the downside in that? That feeling you get when you read an article and wonder if the author spied on you to be able to write such similar experiences? It’s a two-way street. Though sometimes it feels like I’m shouting into the void, I often feel like I’m talking to a bunch of my favorite vinas.

Whether it’s been for needing to cope with the stresses of life, having the opportunity to meet amazingly inspiring people, or engaging with my vina community of the internet, writing has always been there for me. As I finish this blog post not in a coffee shop with a great aesthetic, I know that blogging really has changed my life and made me a better person.

Want to start blogging or writing for an online publication? VINAZINE is the place for you! Check out Hey! VINA to swipe and find your writing soulmates.

FRIENDSHIP GHOSTING: VINA ETIQUETTE DO’S AND DON’TS

In this day and age, we all know someone who has or been ghosted. In some instances, that person may be you. For those who don’t know, ghosting is the modern day term for giving someone the slip, usually in a way that involves technology (think: being left on read indefinitely). While the term is often reserved for Tinder matches and failed dating prospects, friendships are not immune to the one-sided decision to abruptly end a relationship. Not only is friendship ghosting a real thing, but it also happens for similar reasons to romantic ghosting: lousy communication, safety concerns, or even just lack of interest.

Because it’s 2019, here are some do’s and don’ts of friend ghosting:

DO CONSIDER YOUR “WHY”

It’s just as important to figure out what you don’t like as it is to figure out what you do like. Reap the most from your situation by asking why you need to end your friendship and why you need to do it via ghosting. Whether you’re ghosting because you just never feel like answering your old group partner’s invite to drinks, or because you had a falling out that would make the Real Housewives cringe, you’ll learn something new. You may find that your friendship had turned toxic and now you know which behaviors you want to steer clear of in future relationships. The reason your ghosting could be linked to knowing based on past actions that your ex-friend will not respond well to confrontation. Conclusions like these can help you spot red flags early on, and avoid having to ghost in the future.

DON’T GHOST TO BE PETTY

2019 is the year that self-care gets taken up a notch and we start looking at the toxic behaviors that we perform in our own lives. Have you been manipulative or selfish in a friendship? Have you been the one who has caused many of the issues you’re experiencing? Is there something you need to apologize for? If so, don’t ghost! Get your conscious clear and say what you need to say.

Ghosting should be done in your best interest, not as your go-to move for when you want to get back at someone and avoid responsibility for your actions. You don’t want to cut off conversations and attempts at reconciliation because you don’t like what you’re hearing or the outcome of the situation. You also don’t want to ghost and then spread rumors or wrongfully “expose” someone. As Dita Von Teese once said:
“Keep your dignity at all times.”

DO KNOW THAT IT’S OKAY TO GHOST SOMETIMES

Some people stand by the idea that ghosting is never okay and there’s never a good reason for it. We’re going to have to disagree. Ending all communication with a person for the sake of your mental health and well being, your safety, your valuable time is a hard but sometimes necessary decision. If you’re making this decision for you, feel okay about it. You don’t have to be ashamed or feel guilty about putting yourself first.

You should think about the role you played in the downfall of the relationship while also knowing that you can’t change another person. You can only change yourself based on what’s best for you.

DON’T MAKE GHOSTING A HABIT

As convenient as ghosting can be, there is a benefit to having hard conversations. This past year was the first time I had to tell a person close to me that we couldn’t be friends anymore. Actually saying those words hurt. However, I learned a lot from that situation and was able to say, “we push each other’s boundaries in unhealthy ways. Maybe we’ll be able to rekindle this sometime in the future, but not now.”

I also had someone tell me they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. Being on the other end of the break up is just as painful. It sucked, but I was able to see her point of view. Our values just didn’t align and they hadn’t for a while. It was time to part ways. It hurts, and I wish I could be everything for everyone and vice versa, but that’s never going to happen. I have closure and learned a lot from both situations: something I never would have gotten if I’d ghosted or been ghosted. Hard conversations can be worth it.

In an ideal world, no one would have to ghost anyone. We would all be on the same page and have similar communication styles. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, but it is where we should strive to be. Put yourself first, keep your dignity, and do what you need to find some good old fashioned peace. If that means deleting a phone number or blocking a social media account now and again, now you know how to do it.

Swipe through Hey! VINA to find your next gal pal that you’d never want to ghost.