Alexander Agent | July 15th, 2022
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"The least we can do is to think we can do something." - Robina Courtin
If you would have told me in 2019...
One day, I would be the type of person whose identity and life philosophies have blossomed because of what I’ve learned from Tiktok... I would ask you why dancing and lip-synching were so important to future me. The app has changed its form and improved itself so intensely and dramatically over the past three years, it is now a hardly recognizable shell of its former self.
This week, for example, I learned about linguistics of all things! The Lekses app’s Tiktok account broke down the history of the idiom “spitting image” (from “spit” to “spit and image” and finally to the aforementioned idiom we know and love today). You can see the video here, but the skimmed version is– ironically unlike the meaning of this particular phrase– that idioms change as they are passed down from generation to generation. I guess spit only falls so far from the tree?
Besides generationally, I’ve been thinking a lot about how our identity is constantly in flux throughout each individual lifetime. In fact, I’m planning to introduce a really exciting new project I’ve been working on in the next newsletter (hopefully 🤞) about this very subject. Who you are at your core is difficult to pinpoint when your identity is changing with every moment that goes by. That’s what I’m trying to learn more about, and I’m hoping you will join me!
I’m realizing that identity is less about a big, dramatic statement (“THIS is who I am!”), and more about our tiny and habitual reactions and thoughts. Like, are you the type of person who yells when you stub your toe, or do you silently wince? Do you blame someone for putting the furniture there, or are you the type of person who blames yourself for being oblivious? And perhaps MOST IMPORTANTLY, has your reaction to stubbing your toe changed over time, or are you the type of person who resists change?
It’s that key phrase, “are you the type of person who…” that I can’t get off of my mind. I debate my identity with these (sometimes antagonizing) questions several times every day. With Pride month in the rearview mirror (yes I’m still bringing it up and will continue to until NEXT June, dammit!) and with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I keep asking myself: Am I the type of person who is standing up for the rights of women, trans men, and anyone else with a vagina? Who advocates for (and correctly and intentionally uses) someone’s preferred pronouns? Who wants to make others feel welcome wherever I am? Am I the type of person who cares enough to do something?
“Am I happy?” is the age-old and boat-rocking, heart-wrenching, and life-quaking question whose answers keep capitalism alive and well (“Yes, I’m happy! Let’s celebrate!” or “No, I’m not happy. Let me fill this hole in my heart with a shopping cart.”). Long gone are the days of solely the quarter- and mid-life crises– why limit existential dread to these two milestones when it seems like society and the world are crumbling around us everyday? In a light and as-cheery-as-is-reasonable-without-seeming-psychotic way, this article by Molly Longman sufficiently conveys the gravity of “the circumstances” while simultaneously providing helpful tips on how to ride the waves of these now regularly recurring existential pivots.
Even without the world crumbling, every choice we make, every thought we have, and every action we take are opportunities to account for who we are. Maybe you’re just as in love with Tiktok as I am, maybe you thank the furniture when you stub your toe (weirdo). Maybe you have better coping mechanisms than online shopping to fill your heart’s void (no need to show-off 🙄). The point is: no one knows the type of person you are better than you do!
Has your identity changed or been validated or challenged this week? Let me know by clicking reply below– I love hearing from you and would love to chat more about this with you!
Let's Get It (Together),
P.S. If your life is filled with existential dread, I hope you don’t feel alone in your feelings. There are a lot of us right there with you, and I’m here to chat (and on Social media @paininthealexander) if you ever need to unload or talk through some of the chaos.
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The Gratitudinal (AKA the things I'm loving and recommend)
As someone who loves singing but has never sang the correct lyrics to any song, I was more than ecstatic when Spotify recently released their Lyrics feature. I thought that was enough for me. But THIS?!?! Karaoke?!?! That's next level. Taking a moment to be grateful for the YouTube karaoke accounts that have gotten me this far in life... you walked so Spotify Karaoke could run.
The Morning Show and Ted Lasso and Loot, all on Apple TV+
Okay, this is three recs in one. Loot is new, but I have resisted watching The Morning Show and Ted Lasso for years. A) I didn't have Apple TV+ until last month when T-Mobile gave me a year-long subscription for free as part of my phone plan; and B) I don't typically enjoy shows that champion wealth and encourage the audience to pity to rich and famous. And based on this sampling, it would appear that "rich and pitiable" seems to be Apple's entertainment niche. BUT that being said, I have been pleasantly surprised. The Morning Show is an excellent glimpse into some insane but accurate and honest power dynamics within the entertainment industry, Ted Lasso is an extremely feel-good, silly, and simple show that makes me actually interested in soccer ("football"), and Loot is worth watching solely because Maya Rudolph is a queen and Joel Kim Booster is a sexy and smart inspiration who works insanely hard and deserves all the success and praise he is (finally) getting.