The Cult of External Validation - A Deep Dive into the Psychology of 'Likes'
A few days ago, while testing a new feature, Instagram accidentally removed the ability to view likes for a large portion of its users. Unsurprisingly, a widespread social media freakout ensued, with many people turning to Twitter to vent their frustrations about the change. Various news outlets were also reporting on the earth-shattering news. Below are a few of my favourite reactions to the situation:
The Strength of the Wolf
Anna's eyes locked on the opponents up ahead as they ran into a room the size of a football field. She stumbled but quickly regained her composure, raised her paint gun and fired off a round of paint pellets, hitting one of three faceless attackers in the chest. John and Tyler easily picked off the other two. They laid their paint guns down in defeat and backed away. She could vaguely hear the sounds of paint wars raging in the distance. Explosions of paint pellets striking targets merged with the screams and groans of the victorious and the recently-defeated, playing out against the backdrop of the sounds of the night. Vibrant, multi-coloured paint splatters from their skirmish peppered the otherwise unremarkable, grey warehouse walls, appearing as disjointed and uninspired as some first grader's art project. Wooden crates lined the floor, illuminated by the spattering of moonlight seeping through the broken windows and dilapidated ceiling, giving the room an eerie appearance. The scent of sweat and industrial chemicals wafted through the air, stifling the senses.
- First Place in In the Stars Challenge
Shakespeare Was Right About The Stars
My mom gave birth to me at 17 on 1st October 1998 at 2:38 AM. According to Astrosofa.com, this means I'm a zodiac sign Libra with a Leo Ascendant and a moon sign of Aquarius. I have no idea what any of this means.
Honouring Blackness in Yoga Spaces - 4 Essential Black Yogis
Yoga has been an important part of my lived experience for the past three years. Through my practice, I have been able to confront issues relating to my anxiety, self-esteem, body confidence and self-compassion. Rolling out my battered and sweat-stained mat is the first thing I do every morning and the last thing I do every night. Recently, as with every other avenue of my life, I have made the conscious decision to expand and diversify. Diversify my hobbies. Diversify the content that I consume. Diversify the books that I read and the music that I listen to. For the most part, this has been immensely beneficial to my mental health and has further enriched my experience as a black twenty-something.
The Avatar Has Returned - 7 Must-Have Elements of the Expansion of the Avatarverse
Avatar The Last Airbender (ATLA) is one of the best animated series ever created. This is the hill I'm willing to die on. Its sequel, The Legend of Korra (LOK), is also incredible. As a child born in '98 that grew up on Nickelodeon, I had the pleasure of watching both of these shows while they were on air, and I can't explain the angst, horror and pure nervous tension that would swell in my chest having to wait an entire week to watch new episodes. I have revisited both shows many times in my 22 years of life, and they have stood the test of time. They are just as good, if not better, than I remember them. I even own all the graphic novels and supplementary works that were released following the end of both shows. Because of my love for the franchise, I was in cinema on that tragic night when that nightmare of a live-action movie premiered: M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. A collective fever dream the fandom has chosen to forget.
5 Opportunities I Missed Because of My Anxiety
My anxiety is a weird creature. Humongous and loud but also nuanced and subtle. It operates within a realm of constant contradiction, trapped between unending longing for more than the present and inescapable fear of what the future may bring. It serves as a springboard for inertia, fomenting my inability and unwillingness to effect meaningful change in my life. I recently began coming to terms with just how much this impacts my experience. Often, in the dead of night, when everyone else dreams beautiful dreams, I mull over all of the opportunities that have fallen through because my anxious mind and chronic overthinking made me a prisoner. I think, what would have been the outcomes of these circumstances if I had stopped for one second and believed in myself? Always one for self-reflection, I made a list of the top five things I've foregone because I convinced myself I wasn't good enough.
Nicki Minaj and All Her Sons
Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, on December 8, 1982. The rest is history. I'm drafting this post because it has become apparent, at least to me, that the more female rap continues to evolve, it's becoming less and less acceptable to spotlight Nicki Minaj. Lately, speaking on her music is often met with irritation, shade and attempts to downplay her various music industry accomplishments. Admittedly, I'm not a barb (fan name for Nicki's fans), but I am an avid music consumer who values talent, longevity and impact. At least 20% of my love for Nicki Minaj can also be attributed to the fact that she is Trinidadian, and as a fellow Trini, my heart swells with pride thinking about all that she has achieved. The genre of rap, scratch that, the music industry as a whole, has been transformed by her artistry, advocacy and pen game. She is the queen of rap. This statement may draw controversy, but, in my opinion, there are multiple queens of rap. A plethora of queendoms. Different hypothetical countries ruled over by mistresses of their own craft, experts in distinct styles of rap. This particular story is just focused on the generous queen, Nicki Minaj.
Seeing Green - Coping With Writer Envy
We all experience jealousy at some point in our lives. It's a normal and healthy part of the varied spectrum of human emotions. Sometimes, it's even useful. People often use the terms 'jealousy' and 'envy' interchangeably. The key difference between a momentary experience of jealousy and envy, I think, is positionality and intent. For a split second when confronted with the accomplishments of another, the jealous mind says "Damn, I wish that was me." The envious mind, however, begrudges the success of the other person, wishing instead that it was not them and experiencing deep longing to hold those accomplishments. This morally ambiguous realm of being is one filled with self-loathing, constant comparisons and ill-wishing.