Take Control

Yesterday, I got angry. Really, really angry.

I bet you’re wondering why.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t. To set the scene, I was 10 minutes into my cardio routine on the elliptical, listening to the Ellie Goulding station on Pandora and staring at my sweaty self in the mirror, wondering if my face was that red from the workout or if the gym lighting was bringing out a lingering sunburn from falling asleep in the hammock last Saturday. All was well and fine. I’d had the best mojo (moh۰ho) pork of my life at lunch. No work emergency had sent me running for cover beneath my desk. A good friend who I thought had forgotten about my existence texted while I was changing in the locker room. Even the annoying man who usually talks loudly in Spanish on his cell phone in our small office gym was nowhere to be seen. So how come, at minute 10, did I start sprouting green hands and feeling veins bulge from my forehead?

incredible-hulk gif

Save during third trimesters or extended periods of severe exhaustion, no one should feel rage bubble up from within out of nowhere. Ideally, the kind of anger that makes you incapable of drawing steady breaths should come as a very rare occurrence with extremely valid reasoning. [Acceptable triggers: Someone shoots your dog. The Uber driver never shows up. Your friends forget your birthday. The a-hole directly ahead of you at Chipotle orders 12 different meals off of a cell phone screen. Skateboarders.] People who are too easily angered are just exhausting to be around, plus they’re scary…like I was yesterday (internally).

Although I am not prone to regular fits of rage (us winos like to keep our heart rates impressively low with the help of Helen Keplinger and Robert Mondavi), I went from 0 to 60 yesterday in a matter of seconds. I had completed just over a mile on the elliptical with the incline at 10 and resistance at 9, which is generally the point when I mentally decide whether it is going to be a good workout day or a bad workout day (I was already starting to lean towards “bad”) when, all of a sudden, my Pandora station cut off in the middle of my favorite dubstep song (more on my workout music preferences another time). Like tumbling out of the East Australian Current and popping into the empty, quiet Coral Sea [Duuuuuuude. Mr. Turtle is my father.], I found myself abruptly thrust into an unmotivating white room, listening only to the loud screech of my under-oiled cardio machine.

exit buddy gif

The discombobulation rapidly turned to fury when I realized that my new phone case makes it impossible to easily mess with the volume buttons. Continuing to move my legs, I restart my lime green iPhone in hopes that Pandora will get its act together. Meanwhile, all I hear is “Screech…The Oklahoma City…screech…Thunder head coach…screech…was fired yesterday…screech.” I want to punch the TV and also yell at whoever ordered this piece of crap machine. The phone comes back on, but Pandora is loading like dial up internet from the 90s. I give up and get off the machine, heart pounding and fists curled. Right when my feet hit the ground, Pandora pops back on. Of course. I stand there for a few seconds, glaring into the ground, and remind myself that the bridesmaid dress I’m wearing in June won’t fit unless I lose six pounds. I climb back aboard the elliptical. It’s too late to press “Resume.” Ugh.

One minute back into the workout, I realize that Lorde is playing through my earbuds. I hate Lorde. Skip. An advertisement for a bridal shop blasts into my skull. If one more person gets engaged, I swear. The screech of the machine becomes audible through the commercial. Smoke begins billowing out of my ears. My face turns red because of neither fatigue or sunburn. I think of all the reasons I hate people on Facebook. I silently imagine telling off my ex. I wish death upon Kylie Jenner. I never want to speak to another human who isn’t my dad ever again.

Still weakly able to objectively assess the irrationality of my mental state, the little cherubim in white robes who lives inside of my left shoulder begged me to take control of the situation. Moved and impressed by his drowned-out plea, I bounded off of the screechy elliptical without bothering to wipe down the handles (no one was in the room to judge me) and jumped onto a treadmill. The screeching stopped. Natasha Bedingfield started to sing. My arms looked nice in the mirror. I felt the cheribum pry off the clamps around my heart. I ran the final 10 minutes of my workout at a pace .7 mph faster than normal, as if I was running away from whatever just happened in the last 20 minutes. Finally, 30 minutes after I started, the cardio portion of my workout was complete. It wasn’t pretty, but I’d made it.

Oddly enough, I felt proud. Proud because getting off of that maddening elliptical to finish up on the healthy-sounding treadmill meant that, amidst illogical fury, I was able to step back, change my course of action, and continue moving forward. That’s really all we can ask of ourselves in life. Sometimes, negative emotions and circumstances just happen. They creep up on us for no good reason, like fire ants on an innocent-looking stone bench. All of a sudden, we are consumed, unable to grasp rational thoughts. We can either let those emotions and surroundings get the best of us, giving the fire ants the chance to bite us to death (why did I choose this simile?), or we can step back and find the nearest body of water to drown the little suckers.

The important thing is not that you live a life void of mistakes which lead you to unhappy situations or that you never feel anything irrational, but rather that you learn to assess the problem and make things better. Don’t keep doing what you’re doing if it makes you miserable, anxious, or angry. Sometimes the solution is really tough to see through the mental storm clouds, but part of personal development is learning to change your course in order to see the light. Changing the course might feel uncomfortable or even risky (my feet have bad arches, so I’m not supposed to run on treadmills/streets very often), but reaching clarity, levelheadedness, and peace is worth the risk. So whether it’s regulating your emotions, upheaving daily habits, cutting the cord of a relationship, or veering onto a new career path, take control of the direction you’re headed and keep on moving towards the end goal– whatever that might mean for you.

u turn gif

This round of psychotherapy brought to you by EasyStrider 400 and Ravenswood Winery.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reflection

Hey, You! Be Proud.

Weather, without a doubt, affects my mood. This weekend was full of sunshine, and so was my soul. I wasn’t feeling great on Saturday, but even sickness couldn’t stop me from feeling the joy of falling asleep in my roommate’s hammock while reading Lena Dunham’s book (cue controversy) and staring at a squirrel eating a nut for 15 minutes straight. The sun must have healed my sickness—it is a burning ball of happiness and vitamin D, after all—because the next morning I woke up feeling like Princess Anna on Coronation Day. I went straight to the gym after springing out of bed, followed by a long afternoon of horseback riding and meeting a handsome but evil prince named Hans. It was glorious.

coronation day gif

With my newfound sense of optimism and the windows rolled down, Sam Hunt blasting on my drive to the barn where I ride [horses not cowboys], I began thinking about when I was Miss New York. Usually, when I think about being Miss New York, I view it as a very neat experience, but feel a slight twinge of embarrassment. I didn’t do anything outstanding to become Miss New York. I was not chosen based on my stage presence or killer interview or looks. I was not chosen at all. I was the default, handed the opportunity of a lifetime on a platter because I happened to be in the right place at the right time during the year that Miss America judges [finally] chose an edgy, game-changing New Yorker to become Miss America 2013. I often feel like I’m presenting myself to be something I’m not when I talk about my time as Miss New York, as though I accomplished some great feat by landing that title. People assume that a panel of distinguished judges picked me out of an incredibly good-looking, smart, and talented pool of contestants. But that’s not what happened. The closest I came to winning a state pageant was finishing in 4th place at Miss Virginia. In New York, I was 7th. I won talent almost every time I competed, which was great, but that was about it. (CLICK HERE for more on how I became Miss New York.)

In Pageant World, I was never the impressive or pretty one. (This will not come as a shock to anyone who has ever seen what I look like first thing in the morning or after a bottle and a half of red wine.) I’ve read comments on super awesome anonymous message boards saying I look like a horse or that people “just don’t get my appeal.” Honestly, that’s fair. People inevitably look like their pets, and I owned a horse growing up. I happen to think horses are really beautiful/adorable, though, so that comment didn’t really have the negative effect its author was going for. Beeeeeeeep. Please try again. All of this is just to say that I tend to dumb down the fact that I was Miss New York, along with other experiences or accomplishments in my life, because I think of myself as that person with a lot of potential who has never actually amounted to anything more than 4th, 7th, or 1,000th best.

Now do you see why I needed sunshine in my life so badly? The wambulance was too busy taking care of people who didn’t land any of the Lilly Pulitzer collection at Target to come pick me up.

sunshine

For some reason (sun), I was able to see Miss New York, this blog, my singing, heck—even my dating appeal—in a different light when driving to the barn yesterday, all the while trying to forget that I am a target for cops since my license plate tags have been expired since October. (Dad, I’m sorry for failing as an adult. It only took me being pulled over twice to order new ones. But I got out of the second ticket by showing the cop my first ticket! Little victories.) When I became Miss New York, I felt proud because A.) I had placed high enough among a group of women that included two future Miss Americas, a future Miss Connecticut, a future Miss International, a former Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, and–still possibly–additional Miss New Yorks, to even have the opportunity to take over the crown; and B.) I knew that my mom had gone to Heaven four months earlier and pulled strings to make it happen. She believed in me. And she wasn’t alone. So many people came out of the woodwork to say that they had always believed I would become a state titleholder someday. Random pageant moms. Facebook stalkers who said flattering words about “following my journey,” but who I still refused to friend (thank you and sorry). My cousins. The star of my high school football team who I kissed once during Thanksgiving break from college. A group of socially underdeveloped men who I once spoke to as a panelist for a dating seminar (the things I get roped into…). Sorority sisters a few years older than me. My puppy-eyed ex-boyfriend. It was a motley crew, but by golly, they had always believed in me!

Once I became Miss New York, many others boarded the Shannon train, as well. The little girls at school assemblies who said they wanted to be me when they grow up (may they never read this blog). My Business Manager who booked outrageously high profile and high-paying appearances by making people believe I was the second coming of Idina Menzel (Deana, you’re an angel on earth and a marketing genius). The fine people of Manhattan who baked delicious, assorted cheesecakes that I judged to raise money for AIDS research (I did this appearance for free, obviously, because why wouldn’t I). None of these people cared how I became Miss New York. All they cared about was that I had the sparkly goods to prove it, plus that I made them feel special, inspired, or—in my Business Manager’s case—like a licensed therapist making a real difference in the life of a somewhat emotional, at times scatterbrained, princess.

Memories of all of the love I felt, and still feel, from the people who saw me as the #1 Miss New York came flooding back to me on that breezy drive to ride horses in a class full of 11-year-olds. I became consumed by excitement to see what other curveballs and successes life will throw at my face or lay at my feet. I felt inspired to write for Generation grannY despite only being the 400,000th most popular blogger in the U.S., because to my dad and about six other people, I am the #1 most popular blogger in the U.S.  I felt motivated to go to the gym because even though my body will never look like Peta Murgatroyd’s, my future husband (identification still pending) and possibly my sleazy neighbor think I am Aphrodite cloaked in modern apparel. I felt focused on my future, where I might become Mindy Kaling’s best friend and write a book that becomes a movie of my life and then get famous enough to turn into a popstar who eventually morphs into the new Oprah, or perhaps where I write an e-book that a few hundred people read and their lives, hearts, and abs are better for it. And where maybe I’ll get some bar gigs to sing songs that put strangers in a great mood after a long day at work.

The moral of the story is to make sure that I am exposed to warm weather every 4-6 weeks. Also, that finding pride in your life is all about the lens through which you choose to view it. Especially for twenty or thirty-somethings, it’s easy to choose the self-deprecating “what will/have I actually ever accomplish(ed)” lens, but get your butt outside, feel the warmth on your face, and think: You are alive. You are like no one else. If you have shown love to even one other human being, then you have already done something to be proud of. Your inherent uniqueness combined with your experiences and accomplishments makes you extraordinary. Pair that with some hard work and positive lenses, and your future will hold even more to smile about on sunny afternoon drives. Maybe even on sleety, dark, winter afternoon drives, too. (That might be overshooting.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Pageantry, Reflection

B.A.E. of the Week: Claire B.

Update about B.A.E. of the Week: For fear of my blog turning into one big B.A.E. catalog, I’ll probably post profiles of awesome baes just once every few weeks instead of weekly. Now you’ll be required to read my weird lists and granny viewpoints in between scouting out new best friends or playing matchmaker for your coworker. Not even a little bit sorry.

<<If you already know what B.A.E. of the Week is, you may skip this introduction and head straight to Claire B.’s profile.>>

WHAT IS B.A.E. OF THE WEEK?

B.A.E.= Bachelorettes are Everywhere. Single ladies, you are not alone.

Urban Dictionary definition: Bae– A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

For purposes on Generation grannY, “bae” means the second half of the above definition.

Every few weeks, I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY. I promise– the purpose is not to market these women. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing.

The real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. Nay, you are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome females who haven’t found the right guy yet.

B.A.E. of the Week: Claire B.

claire b 2

Nickname(s): Claire Bear, Buff, ClaireBuff

Age:  28 (29 so soon)

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Ball State University (BFA), Georgetown University (Masters)

What is your current occupation?  Photographer and Marketing Consultant

What is your ultimate career goal?  Theatrical marketing for Broadway and the performing arts – I want to keep helping actors and dancers succeed!

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of?  I’ve owned my own business for 10 years, and this past fall with my roommate Mallory, I started a new – what I thought was going to be a “side” – personal branding business (niche in Miss America prep), and despite the changing landscape of the Miss America Organization, it has been far more successful than we anticipated!! Both of these things allow me to live in NY (the best place on earth) in the lifestyle I desire.

What do you like to do outside of work?  Drink wine with friends. Cook dinner for friends. Drink wine while cooking.

claire b

Claire and I after drinking wine. Proof that one of her hobbies is drinking wine with friends!

Who was your elementary school crush?  Matthew Blevins…3rd Grade…baseball park hahaha

[Editor’s Note: Unclear why a baseball park is mentioned, but the strong laughter at the end really intrigues me]

Did he like you back? He kissed me by the bleachers and then ran away. Unclear.

Do you believe in love at first sight?  I don’t really know…I think at the beginning you have a gut feeling of “THIS” or not. But if that gut feeling is love? I’m not quite sure. Whatever it is, there’s always that first feeling you’ll never forget. Sometimes it’s not a rush of o.m.g. l.o.v.e. But it’s more of ..uhhhh what was that?!?

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Yes.  Thought I’d be engaged at 26, married at 27/28, so I’m a little behind my own expectations, but that’s not a disappointing thing.  I have a pretty cool life and enjoy sharing it with my friends…just ready to share it with someone else too.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? Ehhhh I was on the struggle bus lifting my insanely heavy grocery bags out of the cart at Trader Joe’s yesterday. But luckily in NY, you’re never the most embarrassing person around.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week?  (You can still be considered a bachelorette even if you’re dating right? Just not yet committed? If so this one could apply…)  Got together to watch a movie with a guy and we were wearing matching shirts. Embarrassing? eh not so much, but a little weird? Sure.

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes?  Play out complete hypothetical conversations in my head, verbatim. And then think about all the directions it could go.  (did I just reveal why I’m single?!)

[Editor’s Note: If this is a reason for singledom, then you may have cracked the code for me, as well.]

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it?  Usually casually stand in an area that physics would not even allow a bouquet to reach.

Are you Princess Fiona (Shrek) or Nala (Lion King)?  Nala! I’m in the BCEFA (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids] show on the Lion King Broadway stage on Monday, 4/20, and I’m going to be standing on (or near) Pride Rock in the finale…TOTALLY makes me Nala!

What’s your favorite unhealthy food?  Mac & Cheese (with peas) – and Kraft, Shannon. None of that Velveeta s***.

[Editor’s Note: This is grounds for a reevaluation of our friendship.]

What’s your least favorite kind of workout?  Butt/thighs.  What is my most needed kind of workout? Butt/thighs.

Go-to drink: Red wine. Malbec.

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? Fallon. He’s hilarious and so nice.

[Editor’s Note: Claire is pals with a lot of famous people, including but not limited to Jimmy Fallon, Perez Hilton, and Sutton Foster]

Hugh Jackman or Bradley Cooper? Gahhhhh  Hugh Jackman…but I don’t think we’re playing for the same team….hasn’t stopped me before.

[Editor’s Note: #theatrelife]

Favorite physical feature on yourself:  Potentially contradicting the above [least favorite workout question]…my legs.

One reason you love being single: I love my friends so much and have a tight-knit group. I love being able to devote a lot of time to them. That’s why whomever I date needs the friend approval and needs to be able to hang with the group, naturally, not just because he wants to make me happy.

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

Describe Claire in three words: Compassionate, witty, loyal

Why you think Claire shouldn’t be single: Claire shouldn’t be single because she’s just the best. I know that sounds like BS, but she’s so caring and thoughtful, so  funny and always up for a good time! She is the best listener and the best cook– like, seriously. Also, she’s super hot. Did I mention that she’s an amazing cook and she’s super hot?

Leave a comment

Filed under B.A.E. of the Week

That Was Better In Theory…

Idealistic concepts don’t always play out as we hope. Everyone says that we should treat others how we want to be treated, kill people with kindness, and be honest with how we feel (in a respectful way), but do those thing really make situations better? For the most part, sure. If we all ran around kicking people in the shins and lying about our thoughts, life would be pretty painful and super confusing. However, as with most assertions, there are exceptions to these poster-perfect ideals.

For instance, I enjoy when people give me gigantic hugs— even strangers I barely know. This is because I’m a hugger. So, in theory, if I treated everyone how I want to be treated, I would hug anyone I’m introduced to outside of work. Maybe at work, too. Could be a fun social experiment. But the thing is, not everyone is a hugger. Many people prefer to keep their personal bubble unpopped until we can recall eachother’s names upon a second meeting or, at the very least, become Facebook friends. Along the same lines, I also like being coddled when I’m sick, when people continuously refill my wine glass without asking, and eating alone for at least one meal a day. Therefore, I seem condescending or overbearing when treating people like infants when they’re ill, look like an enabler/alcoholic when drinking with funsuckers people who only want one glass, and come across like a beyotch when I don’t invite my coworkers to lunch. I’m just trying to treat people how I want to be treated! So much for that grand idea.

Moving on to killing people with kindness. It’s definitely better than killing people with swords or poison, no question. It also beats tearing people apart with vicious verbal attacks or slowly drowning them in passive aggression. In general, I’m all about kindness. Big fan. That being said, some people mistake kindness for weakness (back me up Rihanna/Paul McCartney/Kanye). Many times, I’ve found that if I continue to be kind to someone who is actively mean or cuts me down, they only gain more fuel for their behavior. Sometimes you have to shoot them an “I will cut you” face, and they’ll all of a sudden treat you with a little more respect. I’m not saying it’s better to be feared than to be liked, but when people realize that you’re not going to sit back and take abuse, they might be a little more prone to changing their behavior. By all means—please continue to be kind to people. I highly suggest giving kindness a whirl before busting out the Victoria Grayson death stare.

victoria graysonYou don’t watch Revenge? Well, you should. Anyway, in a general sense, kindness always wins. It just doesn’t work 100% of the time in changing people’s attitudes.

Now to address my personal favorite slogan that is often better in theory: Be honest with how you feel.

Raise your hand if this has ever backfired on you.

raise your hand gif

People say that they would rather you tell them what you’re thinking in a respectful and gentle manner than let something build up, be misleading, or vent behind their backs. Maybe being honest is for the best in the long run, but I’ve learned that it’s not always the most beneficial tactic for staying on great terms with someone. Example: I don’t believe in slow fading people you have spent time getting to know in a romantic fashion, but who you don’t ultimately click with. Everyone advises “be upfront about how you feel, because slowly backing off of communication only confuses or frustrates the other person.” Therefore, I’m very frank with men that I’m not interested in. If we’ve gone out once or twice and I’m just not feeling it, I will say so— nicely, of course. In most cases, these guys get really offended or simply never respond (if via text) in a cold shoulder act of defiance. Ideally, they’d respond with “Thanks for your honesty. It was nice getting to know you!” But that has only happened two or three times in my experience. Generally, they’re not so pleased.

Outside of dating relationships, honesty can have the opposite effect of what you’re going for, as well. To protect friendships from annoyance-turned-animosity, we should tell our friends when they do something that bothers us, right? I’m not talking about telling them that the sound of their laugh makes you wish they had a mute button or asking them to stop dancing like a maniac at the club. (Is clubbing still a thing?) Expecting someone to change his or her personality on account of your friendship is probably a sign that you A.) shouldn’t be friends with them to begin with, and B.) are a future bridezilla who will require her bridesmaids to go on a diet. Get a hold of yourself. When it comes to things friends do that potentially hurt your feelings or make your life difficult, however, you should tell them honestly where you’re coming from instead of harboring resentment or gossiping behind their back, correct? This is another situation where the answer is “yes” only some of the time. I don’t think you should ever speak poorly of someone behind their back because that does absolutely no one any good. Neither does harboring resentment. Easier said than done, I know. Even so, sometimes bringing something to someone’s attention will end up creating tension between the two of you rather than ironing out problem. If someone doesn’t respond to your honesty with the reaction you hoped for, it doesn’t make them a bad person, but certainly creates an awkward divide that may or may not ever completely go away. So, as with the other idealistic concepts mentioned, I suggest treading carefully and only bearing your honest feelings if you’re prepared for a less-than-ideal reaction.

Before you get too depressed by my warnings about perfectly wonderful notions, let me pull it all together for a greater, constructive message. The reason you have to be careful when implementing these concepts is because every single person, relationship, and situation is unique. In life, we so easily expect others to be the same as we are, since the way we think and behave is first(?) or second nature. It’s no easy feat to understand someone else’s perspective or wishes. Even with positive intentions—like treating others how you wanted to be treated—you have to remember that what you want isn’t always what other people want. In killing people with kindness, you have to keep in mind that some people respond to kindness or harshness differently, perhaps because of a past experience or different upbringing. Responses to honesty may not be what you expect because people won’t always be able to fully understand where you’re coming from, because—news flash—they’re not extensions of you (and vice versa). And sometimes, it’s just plain hard to hear something negative, like a person you like is no longer interested or a friend is hurt or frustrated. I think it’s normal for some of those reactions to be a few notches short of enthusiastic.

All in all, the message here is quite positive: Acknowledging differences among us will not only help us to challenge our own views, but can alleviate some distress when well-intended implementations of poster-perfect ideals go haywire. We’ll never be able to get it completely right in terms of not ever offending, hurting, or annoying other people, nor will we ever find the smoothest way to manage how other people treat us, but if you stick with truly caring about people and remembering that we’re all different, most things should turn out just fine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reflection, Relationships

B.A.E. of the Week: Nicole G.

Apologies for not writing a post this week other than B.A.E. of the Week…I’ve been very busy doing things like tending to the blisters on my fingers due to my new horseback riding class, catching up on the show Girls (not recommended for anyone 30+ or with any sense of morality), weeding out men who will definitely never be my husband, and perfecting my brie to wheat thin ratio.

<<If you already know what B.A.E. of the Week is, you may skip this introduction and head straight to Nicole G.’s profile.>>

WHAT IS B.A.E. OF THE WEEK?

B.A.E.= Bachelorettes are Everywhere. Single ladies, you are not alone.

Urban Dictionary definition: Bae– A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

For purposes on Generation grannY, “bae” means the second half of the above definition.

Each week, I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY. I promise– the purpose is not to market these women. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing.

The real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. Nay, you are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome females who haven’t found the right guy yet.

B.A.E. of the Week: Nicole G.

nicole g

Name: Nicole G.

Nickname(s): Nikki, Smokey, Nolo, Nicholle (prounounced ni-cho-lee. My coworkers are the worst/best)

Age: 25

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Christopher Newport University, 2011

What is your current occupation? I manage an office and plan events in the internet domain industry. Thrilling stuff!

What is your ultimate career goal?  If I could just get paid to go to concerts and music festivals and talk about all the good music people should be listening to, I’d be completely fulfilled.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of?  I’m proud of all the great friendships I’ve been able to maintain! As a military child I moved every few years and I think that helped me learn how to keep in contact with the people I cherish having in my life. Thankfully social media has made that a lot easier as well.

What do you like to do outside of work? I sing in an all-female semi-pro a cappella group, I try to go to at least 3 concerts a month (I’m real big on new year’s resolutions), I’m obsessed with boxing and I like to frequent trivia nights with friends.

Who was your elementary school crush? One of my older brother’s friends I can’t remember the name of.

Did he like you back? Despite my attempts to woo him during vacation bible school (he was a teacher), he sadly did not return my affection. =(

Do you believe in love at first sight? I think it’s possible.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Probably not right away.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? My coworkers made me sing karaoke songs of their choosing at a company party.

[Editor’s note: Nicole has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. She is also my roommate, so sometimes when she is singing in her room, I pretend not to be home so that she keeps going and I can listen in awe.]

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? Agree to singing at said party without more liquid courage.

[Editor’s note: She is the most humble person on the planet about her voice, while also being confident at the same time. I don’t know how she walks the line so perfectly, but we’ll chalk it up to her just being a really wonderful human.]

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I read magazines backwards. I’ve been doing it for years…I have no explanation.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? I participate, but I’m definitely not in the front trying to tackle anyone for it.

Are you Pocahontas or Mulan? Mulan for sure.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food? I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in America buying this:

salad

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? Hiking. I’m just not a fan. Please do not invite me to go hiking. Wait, everyone else is going? Absolutely everyone? And there’s a waterfall at the end of the hike? Fine. Fine. I’m in. You’ve convinced me.

Go-to drink: Rye and grapefruit

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? I’m going to go with Fallon, but this was really tough for me.

Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth? Joe Manganiello. I can do that right?

[Editor’s note: No,  you can’t do that, but I’ll let it slide.]

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I’ve grown to appreciate my cheeks.

[Editor’s note (yet again): We can assume that she’s talking about all four of her cheeks here, since– as her roommate– I can attest that all four are really fantastic.]

One reason you love being single: It makes concert planning season a whole lot easier. I love going to concerts alone. Also, nothing beats being able to sleep diagonally in my bed.

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

Describe Nicole in three words: Gorgeous, personable, witty

Why you think Nicole shouldn’t be single: Nicole should not be single because she has more to offer in a relationship than just a notch in your bedpost. She has the biggest heart and is the funniest person to be around. The person would be enriched with so much love from her. She is the best and deserves the best!

Leave a comment

Filed under B.A.E. of the Week

B.A.E. of the Week: Amy H.

<<If you already know what B.A.E. of the Week is, you may skip this introduction and head straight to Amy H.’s profile.>>

WHAT IS B.A.E. OF THE WEEK?

B.A.E.= Bachelorettes are Everywhere. Single ladies, you are not alone.

Urban Dictionary definition: Bae– A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

For purposes on Generation grannY, “bae” means the second half of the above definition.

Each week, I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY. I promise– the purpose is not to market these women. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing.

The real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. Nay, you are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome females who haven’t found the right guy yet.

B.A.E. of the Week: Amy H.

Amy H. BAE

Name: Amy H.

Nickname(s): Lamey, Bunky, Flutus

Age: 25

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Christopher Newport University

What is your current occupation?  I work for my dad’s small investment firm, so I do lots of random things around our office: asset allocation, portfolio rebalancing, mutual fund trading, lots of different administrative tasks, and chatting with clients on the phone.

What is your ultimate career goal?  I would really like to become a nutritionist someday. Nutrition is my passion, and I’d love to share that with other people who may be struggling with their health.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of? During my junior year of college I walked onto the varsity lacrosse team.  I knew that I’d never be a starter, but I really missed playing the best sport ever (I’m from Maryland, lax is life).  It was one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I’ve ever done, but it was worth it.  My coaches and teammates were so welcoming and wonderful, and at the end of the year, to my surprise, my coaches awarded me with the All-Conference Sportsmanship Team Award (I like to call it the Best Benchwarmer Ever Award).  But in all seriousness, being recognized for working hard and trying my best was one of the proudest moments of my life.  (Also, fun/embarrassing fact, my dad was so excited that I made the team, he used to arrive early to home games to video tape the warm-ups.)

What do you like to do outside of work?  I love to cook and bake (weird allergy friendly/paleo foods),  and I love hanging out with my friends. I am very close with my family, so I spend a lot of time with them.  I also love doing anything athletic, and I take tap dancing classes.  I take singing lessons as well, and I’m about to audition for a community theater musical.

Who was your elementary school crush? Haha I have to pick just one? I was a boy crazy little kid! My first crush was Brian Burke.

Did he like you back? I think so, he used to kiss me on the cheek at recess in second grade (that was quite scandalous for Catholic school).

Do you believe in love at first sight? Nope. I believe that true love takes time and patience.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one?  I think so.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week?  I got caught practicing some tap dancing steps in our office kitchen (this actually happens about once a week).  It’s really hard to brush that off and pretend like you were doing something other than dancing, so I just laughed it off. Life is too short to stand still while waiting for the microwave.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week?   I was hanging out at my parents’ house last weekend and the weather was really nice, so I decided to clean out my car.  It was extremely messy because I am a car slob, and I also had tons of junk in there from moving.  So I kept pulling out more and more stuff, and filling trash bag upon trash bag with crap.  I honestly could have hosted a yard sale from the things I found (a food processor, throw pillows, 12 umbrellas, cleaning supplies, boots, shampoo, etc.).  So the whole time I was cleaning, people kept walking by and commenting on the state of my car/ the pile of junk on the sidewalk.  One of our family friends even told me that she was proud of me.  Needless to say my car is now spotless, and I will never be a car hoarder again.

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I have started saying “yodel” instead of “hello” as a greeting to my friends and family. I really love making up words/ generally being silly. But a lot of my friends say it now too, so I don’t feel as weird as I should.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? I always hide! Despite my love of playing catch, grabbing the bouquet at weddings makes me feel squirmy.  I think it’s an outdated tradition that needs to end.

Are you Rapunzel or Snow White? Rapunzel all the way.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food?  Potato chips and chocolate.

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? Sprints.

Go-to drink: Water, green tea, or kombucha.

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? Jimmy Fallon

Robert Pattinson or Joseph Gordon-Levitt? JGL! He’s handsome, charming, and he can sing.

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I love my hair color! I love being blonde. I have never dyed my hair, and I never will! I have my Polish/German genes to thank for that.

One reason you love being single: I really enjoy the freedom that comes with being single.  I can do things on my terms and on my time.

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

(I actually texted two of Amy’s BFFs, so she gets two rounds of answers!)

Describe Amy in three words:

BFF #1: Genuine, selfless, flawless

BFF #2: Genuine, silly, vivacious

^^ Note: Amy is extra genuine. BFF #1 and BFF #2 did not copy each other or even know that they were both taking part in this.

Why you think Amy shouldn’t be single:

BFF #1: Any boy would be lucky to have Amy! She makes me a better person and brings so much laughter and joy into my life. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

BFF #2: Amy shouldn’t be single because she has a lot of love to give and her boobs are too great to be wasted on being single.

^^Props to BFF #2 for calling it how it is.

Leave a comment

Filed under B.A.E. of the Week

10 Ways to Avoid Accidentally Taking a Life

I almost died about 17 times today at the hands of my fellow humans. Most of them had no idea that they’d just put my life at stake, a few realized it a few seconds later and felt bad, and a couple were completely aware and gave zero flips. Rude. As I lay my head on my pillow, grateful to have made it safely into my bed for another night of dreams nightmares about Chris Soules being gay, I feel compelled to point out ways that all of you can help extend the lives of those around you my life.

1. Don’t speed in parking lots

On almost a daily basis, my life is threatened by the people who use a parking garage as their NASCAR training track. I am just a poor little pedestrian soul trying to make it to the stairway without being sideswiped by someone who is late to work! Just because you’re making constant left turns does not mean your name is Arie Luyendyk Jr. [Arie is the only race-car driver whose name I know, only because he was a contestant on The Bachelorette. Also, I don’t even think he races cars…I believe he races karts. As in, he is a professional go-kart driver. As in, he is my soulmate.]

2. Check your blind spot

While we’re on the subject of using your motor vehicle as a weapon, please use your mirrors, eyes, and other tools that provide you the ability to see that there is not room for you in my lane.

3. Don’t make me laugh while I’m eating

Laughing involves exhaling in a forceful manner. And what goes out must come in. That’s wrong. It’s “what goes up must come down.” But you get the picture. My forceful exhales are followed by powerful inhales, which means that a piece of rice from my Chipotle burrito bowl will go flying down into my throat and block my windpipe. I appreciate your humor, but more so, I appreciate my life.

4. Announce yourself

Sneaking up on me while I’m gchatting so that I only notice you when it’s too late to click into a different screen gives me heart palpitations. If you don’t want to say “Hey, Shannon!”, then at least jingle your keys or give me some sort of notice that I need to snap out of my little world. Otherwise, there’s a good chance I’m going to jump out of my skin and possibly end up in the E.R.

scared gif

5. Tell me the subject of impending conversations

Speaking of heart palpitations, don’t ever tell me that “we need to talk,” then not clue me in on the subject. I will assume that you hate me, which will give me the nervous sweats until the time comes for our conversation, and by that point I will have lost 70% of my body’s water content and the ability to breathe normally.

6. Pick up your crap

Do not leave your weights on the ground at the gym. Do not leave your cardboard boxes on the sidewalk. Do not leave your shoes all over the place. (I’m actually making a self-note with that one.) I will trip over them. I will nearly face plant. I will fall and possibly land the wrong way and no longer be alive.

7. Don’t blow your cigarette smoke in my face

I won’t tell you to stop smoking because you already know that it makes you smell gross and will give you cancer and makes you look 20 years older than you are. Have fun with those things. However, just because you are down with liver cancer does not mean that I am down with liver cancer. Stop waving your cig around like it’s a magic wand and suffocating me with cloud puffs that smell like an industrial wasteland. Even if the second hand smoke doesn’t kill me, the incessant coughing that I’m trying to suppress in order to accommodate your feelings just might.

8. Force me to save your number in my phone

I don’t know if dying of embarrassment is a real thing, but I’ve really tested that theory lately. On Sunday, I had two unsaved numbers in my phone: 1) My friend Jen, 2) The hot guy I met at a bar on Saturday night. Sunday night, after dinner with Jen and 3 other girls, I tried to group text all of them a picture of my leg. You see, I’d gone horseback riding for the first time in nine years earlier that day, and had welts on my calves as a result. I also had razor burn, am currently whiter than provolone cheese, and angled my leg in a way that looked like I weigh 345 lbs. Anyway, the girls knew my legs hurt, so when I got home, I took the unflattering picture and sent it to them just to be funny/prove that I wasn’t just being dramatic. Along with the picture, the text said “Please ignore my white, spikey, meaty legs. Also, correct, I’m not wearing any pants.” Yes, I used the word “meaty.” GUESS WHO I SENT IT TO. You guessed correctly. The group text included the hot guy from the bar instead of Jen. I might not have physically died, but something inside me definitely died in that moment. Make me save your number. Please.

no gif

9. Don’t walk with scissors

Safety 101. Just because you feel in control does not mean that I won’t round the corner in a spastic flurry and end up with a life-threatening puncture wound.

10. Share the sidewalk

About every other time I go on a run, a group of teenagers or tourists or some other annoying sect of the population decides they need to walk on the sidewalk in a kick line like they’re the freaking Rockettes. In order to get around them, I have to bound off the path and into the street. One of these days, it’s not going to end well.

rockettes

 

If you can please respect my life by doing these things, I might make it to my 27th (gulp) birthday in June.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Lists

Bachelorettes Are Everywhere (B.A.E.)

As my friends and family wish they didn’t know, I’ve dated a lot since entering young adulthood. I like to say that my approach is to “cast a wide net.” Jury’s still out on if that tactic works. Anyway, that being the case, I’m pretty much a black belt in predicting behavior of someone I’m seeing. When I said earlier this week that my new boo, Spring, was going to ghost us all because I couldn’t help but overwhelm it with my love, boy was I right. Sorry to everyone who was affected by my lack of self-control in smothering Spring with my affection.

Proof that Spring wasn’t ready for a relationship: It’s snowing on the first official day of the season. This is the weather equivalent of being stood up at the altar. I feel unprepared, disappointed, and like wearing white lace looks really desperate. Somebody please go with me on a sympathy honeymoon to a tropical destination and buy me a piña colada, stat.

All of this talk about dating/ghosting/weather(?) got me thinking. I am pretty normal– besides the fact that I have a bizarre obsession with watching killer whale attacks on YouTube, actively window shop for cheese to avoid actually consuming the calories, and am somewhat attracted to Josh Groban. Those things aside, the only reason I’m single is because the right guy hasn’t come along. Or if he has, I was too busy brushing my ha…nope, nope. Definitely would’ve noticed. If that’s the case in my life, then I know it is the case in the lives of lots of single ladies out there.

So I’ve decided to implement a new series on Generation grannY: The “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series. Or the B.A.E. of the Week.

Urban Dictionary Definition: Bae– A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

I fully expected to find only the second part of that definition, but the first part was way too good to omit. Wow. Laughing really hard. Aaaaannnd we continue…

The way this will work is that each week (maybe less if I’m lazy and/or no one wants to participate), I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY…though if that does happen, and if any featured bachelorettes find their soulmate that way, I am automatically granted 2 bottles of wine of my choosing and the opportunity to make a speech at the wedding (probably after drinking aforementioned wine).

…As I was saying, the purpose is not to pimp out these women. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing. Whatever works. Truly, the real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. You are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome girls who haven’t found the right guy yet. I hope the profiles make you laugh and give you lots of good feels.

I’m going to kick off the B.A.E. series with myself, since maybe I’m a narcissist..? No, it’s just because I haven’t had anyone fill out my questionnaire yet. Plus, if I’m going to subject my friends and friends of friends to exposing weird things about themselves, I think I’m required to do it first. Not that I don’t already do that on a regular basis on this blog.

B.A.E. of the Week: Shannon O.

tess me

I’m on the left, my best friend on the right (with the purple hair). She’s the one who I paid to say the nice things about me at the end of this post.

Name: Shannon O.

Nickname(s): Shanny, Shanny the Granny, Sholiver, Shollie, Shannanigans

Age: 26

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Christopher Newport University, 2010

How do you make money to pay rent? Managing an office full of mostly alpha males.

What is your ultimate career goal? To make money writing– preferably enough to buy nice things.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of? I’m proud of becoming a Diversity Awareness Educator and using the platform of Miss New York 2012 to talk to thousands of kids about breaking stereotypes and showing kindness to everyone, despite differences.

What do you like to do outside of work? Sing, hang out with my friends, write this blog, horseback ride.

Who was your elementary school crush? Myles Shipp

Did he like you back? For about a week, but then he moved on to someone else, if I remember correctly.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Nope.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Yes.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? The same USPS guy delivers mail to my office every day, so I sometimes feel like we are friends. On Monday, we were getting on the elevator at the same time and I thought he was giving me a high five, so I went in for the kill, but turned out he was just trying to hold the door for me. I didn’t recover well.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? I wanted to pick up horseback riding again since I haven’t ridden regularly for about nine years, so I found a barn near me and signed up for lessons. The lady on the phone warned me that most of the girls in the class would be teenagers, plus one very talented 9-year-old. I told her that was fine. No shame. The real issue was that when registering, they force you to create a “Kid Profile” and “Parent Profile.” So I had to sign up “Shannon Oliver” as the parent and as the child. It was pretty embarrassing/humbling, and I had to really evaluate if I’m too old for this sort of thing.

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I tend to put my underwear on inside out by accident and don’t realize it until the end of the day.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? Hide in a big way.

Are you Anna or Elsa? Anna. Hands down.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food? Velveeta Shells & Cheese with hot dogs cut up and mixed in.

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? I’ve finally concluded that I don’t like classes. Working out is “me time.”

Go-to drink? Red wine or gin and tonic.

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? Fallon.

Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth? I’m good with either, but Hemsworth if I have to choose.

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I like my ears.

One reason you love being single: I really enjoy being single because it allows me to invest more in my friendships. I have a lot of super close friends, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

Describe Shannon in three words: Outgoing, intelligent, approachable.

Why you think Shannon shouldn’t be single: [Shannon is] a smart, motivated, and loving individual. She’s easy to get along with and it doesn’t hurt that she’s a beaut with a bangin’ body. [I paid her to say these things.]

———-

Next week you’ll get a real B.A.E. of the Week, not me! Hurrah!

Leave a comment

Filed under B.A.E. of the Week, Relationships

3 Crucial Preparations for Spring

flowers

Attention, everyone! I believe Spring* has arrived! That’s right, the eagle has landed. I repeat, the eagle has landed.

[Knocks on wood.]

I’m not sure how long the sunny and 60s weather plans on staying, but if we play hard to get [see last week’s blog post], maybe it’ll stick around for a while. I’m not very good at playing it hard to get, though, so I’ll probably wear pastel chiffon every day and roll down my windows at every opportunity. You can blame me if Spring ends up running the other direction and ghosting us all because it’s too overwhelmed by my love. #life

Since the birth of Generation grannY last January, I’ve written about every season except for spring. (See Never/Always: Winter Edition, The 3 Stages of Summer for the Average White Girl, and Being Basic: 3 Realizations During Fall.) The time has come to give Spring the attention it deserves—but not too much, obviously. Although she (Spring is definitely a “she”) has seemingly touched down, she doesn’t formally arrive until 3/20/15, so let’s talk about how to prepare for her grand entrance.

1. Wash your black tights

I know most of you don’t wash your smelly, kind-of-damp black tights very often in the winter because you’re sticking them in boots anyway, so who cares? First of all, you’re gross. Second, once Spring arrives, it’s time to put those nasty black tights back into hibernation where they belong: the deepest, darkest corner of the bottom drawer of your dresser. You’ll want to wash them before doing so, though, or else you’ll really regret it come November. Trust me. Also trust me when I say that if you wear black tights post-March, you will be labeled a) depressing, b) dumpy, and c) dramatic. A Triple D. Nobody wants to be a Triple D. That just sounds painful. Wait, what am I talking about? Tights. Right.

smelly gif

 

2. Start weaning yourself off of Netflix

I know you and Netflix got real close during winter, but all good things must come to an end. Shhhh, it’ll be okay. There, there. I’m not saying to quit cold turkey, but try one or two episodes at a time. Pull a Nancy Reagan and Just Say No to binge-watching. As with saying goodbye to any unhealthy, addicting relationship, you’ll need to fill your time with other things. Suggestions: the gym, friends, and liquor drinks new hobbies. If you slow fade Netflix, you will be thanking me BIG time by the end of Spring when you’ve A) prepared yourself to wear shorts without scaring off potential suitors and small children; B) raised your social tolerance for when evening engagements pick up due to warm weather and rooftops; and C) participated in some new activity that gave you a personality again. Netflix has stolen your soul. Time to get it back. Spring into action! (See what I did there?)

couch gif

 

3. Get a pedicure

I don’t even want to know how low your grooming standards have fallen by this point, but sometime before 3/20/15, do yourself and the world a favor and get a pedicure, pick up some new razor blades, and apply Aveeno generously. You can’t hide beneath jeggings, Toms, and lightweight peasant blouses forever. Eventually, you’ll need to expose those stubby appendages attached to your feet in happy, spring sandals, paired with a maxi dress that potentially unveils your calf when you cross your legs on a bar stool– so go ahead and get everything taken care of while there’s still time.

prickly gif

 

Remember: Only five days until Spring reveals herself in an official capacity! Here’s to planning, people!

————————-

*For you grammar freaks out there, I purposefully capitalized “Spring” due to a little thing called personification. I know it probably bothered some of you throughout the post since seasons are not supposed to be capitalized, but have a little faith, will you? I know how the English language works.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Lists

Parallel Bible App: A Social, Visual Bible

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The Millennial generation seems to agree. With Instagram precariously close to overthrowing Twitter as the new king of social media, and Snapchat clawing at its heels, digital communication continues to evolve in the direction of simpler, more visual mediums. What started with a Facebook status turned 140-character Twitter post, is now a well-timed photo to creatively capture an emotion, thought or event.

In order for a message to reach the masses, it must be presented in a way the masses are willing to receive — and that way has certainly changed in the last decade. This proves a particularly difficult challenge in religious circles where tradition and sacred texts are honored despite cultural changes over time. If religiously historic ideals and teachings are to reach rising generations, however, the communication medium has to shift.

Though words remain necessary in preserving the accuracy of authors’ intentions, a visual component to ancient script would ensure continued interest and personalized investment from devout followers in an increasingly secular world. Additionally, a social component that would allow these followers to connect with strangers and friends at their fingertips is practically a modern requirement for drawing widespread attention. For Christianity, that’s where Parallel Bible comes in.

2015-03-06-1425680936-976741-parallelbible.jpg

Parallel Bible is the world’s first social, visual Bible, according to co-founders and brothers, Andrew and Chris Breitenberg. “Think Instagram meets scripture,” they say. In short, Parallel Bible is an app that lets people interpret scripture through a less structured lens by connecting personal photos with passages found in the Bible. Users can share photos they’ve already taken, and either tag a scripture that came to mind when taking the picture, or search for a scripture to match what they captured on camera. Over time, much of the Bible will have pictures attached in display of individual and artistic interpretations. Besides scrolling through photo feeds (as seen on Instagram), Parallel Bible also offers the option to read the written text with its Bible Reader function, which includes all tagged images below each corresponding verse.

“We want to change the paradigm from just reading to participating with the text in a way that makes it more real. When the words become more real to people, they become more powerful,” said Chris. “It took Andrew and I a long time to feel comfortable reading the Bible and feeling a sense of ownership of the words and what they hold for our personal lives. It was a journey, and we want to help make that road more exciting and beautiful for other people.”

During his graduate work in Amsterdam, Andrew felt compelled to tackle scriptural analysis from a new angle. “Why is it hard to open sometimes?” “Why is it still rice paper and gilt edges and bound with glue and leather?” “Why, in a visual age, are there no pictures?” “Does it have to stay this way?” Though Andrew’s questions challenged the very nature of the Bible’s historical traditionalism, he knew the scriptures would reach more people if presented in a more contemporary, stimulating, and dynamic fashion.

Led by the hope to create spiritual conversation through artistic measures, Andrew moved to South Africa and began a street art initiative called Selah. His movement addressed the visual poverty of the Bible in its modern day form by working in the streets and slums of South Africa, painting scripture in vivid colors on dilapidated walls and structures. Through collaboration with residents, the projects were such a success in the townships that Andrew knew the next step was to create a social media platform where anyone could contribute to the illumination of a new, digital Bible.

selah

Selah art in South Africa

“The Bible was once an oral tradition and then became a written tradition,” said Andrew. “Our vision is to create the new social, visual tradition of the Bible — an entirely unique way of conceiving and sharing Scripture, putting it into new hands, and ultimately of changing lives.”

Chris came on board shortly after the idea was formed, and the pair eventually took the plunge to develop the app full time, purely out of passion for its potential to positively alter spiritual perspective.

“[Parallel Bible] is to see things in a way that we haven’t seen them before. Through the help of strangers, we might understand something that a pastor, a parent or a close friend could never explain. Maybe a totally random person who posts a picture of her daughter could speak to me in a way that a million sermons never could,” he advocated.

As society shifts into an ever-growing digital age, personal networks, businesses, governments, and even religions must make adjustments to cater to minds that are trained to communicate and absorb information through social media. When it comes to Christianity, the Breitenberg brothers hope this is only the beginning for a new wave of Biblical interpretation and expression.

“It’s not just an old book that’s complicated and esoteric and strange, but something that is alive in our lives and we experience in actions and emotions and pictures,” Chris explained. “We want to give people a connection to the text that is experiential, meaningful, and ultimately transformational.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Reflection