social media blues

Let me start by saying I’ve been horrible with this whole blog thing. I wanted to start a blog for a long time but not until I thought I’d be able to commit to blogging¬†at least once a week or every couple weeks. Then, I finally started my blog. Then, I didn’t post for months. To the few subscribers I have, I apologize. I know your worlds haven’t turned in quite the same way since I last posted, and I vow to try harder to post more regularly. ūüėČ

Anyway, social media¬†is bugging me today, and I’m in a mood after a particularly crowded and sweaty metro commute. So, no recipes or cat photos will you find in this post‚ÄĒjust a one-way ticket to rant city.

I like social media for the way it keeps people in each other’s loops. I enjoy seeing photos from people in my life whom I don’t get to see as often as I’d like‚ÄĒsnapshots from their daily lives that include pictures of their faces, their babies, their animals, their food, their travels, their debauchery, their fitness achievements, etc. I like¬†some of the funny articles and videos that are posted¬†(although some of them aren’t funny, and there are¬†never enough cats).

I do not like social media¬†for the ease with which it allows people to ¬†post about politics, religion, etc. because so many people do so without being fully informed.¬†The internet is¬†a fitting¬†outlet¬†for people who feel just passionate enough about their beliefs to type them out on a keyboard but not enough to put them into practice in their own lives. Ouch. So true though. It’s a perfect avenue for people to¬†denounce other people’s beliefs from behind the comfort of a computer screen. It’s all so judge-y, sometimes.

Please note that I am not completely cynical when it comes to people posting articles about hot-button topics¬†on social media. Plenty of people are thoroughly up-to-speed on their issues of interest, and they do not post with the intention of belittling other people. Kudos to them. I think social media can be done well, and it can be an effective and appropriate way to raise funds, awareness, and discussions.¬†But it should be used to raise people up without putting others down, and more often than not, that isn’t the case.

Perhaps my very least favorite type of article¬† is¬†the one that tells¬†me what/how/where I should be at any given age and why. These aren’t controversial by any means, but they just piss me off so much. Countless links to articles and blog posts like these flood my feed daily.¬†So many of them¬†start with “______ why you should ¬†_____” and you can basically fill in the blanks…

  • “20 reasons why you should be single¬†in your 20s”
  • “one million things you have to do before you’re 30 [insert ‘or you are a lame failure’ here]”
  • “10 reasons you should be married already”
  • “10 reasons why your marriage will fail because you’re too young”

These are total examples and not real articles, but you get my drift. I think that some list style articles are totally awesome, but these articles are the ones that suggest books to read, places to travel, things to eat, ways to improve one’s health, or ideas of ways to spend time with loved ones‚ÄĒarticles that don’t simultaneously recommend one way of life while¬†condemning others.

Articles that pick an arbitrary age and decide what any individual should do, be, have, like, accomplish, and/or aspire to before that age are¬†bullshit. And the people that write¬†them have to know that they are, right? Most (not all) of them work for trendy online publications that pander to and patronize the social-media-obsessed, and they are writing these articles to get clicks and page views because they know that these articles provide validation for people whose lives fit their mold‚ÄĒor anxiety for people who are feeling lost and think conforming to the ideals in aforementioned articles will help them find their way.

I’m 26 and married, currently without children. I see articles all the time that say this is right and articles that say this is wrong. Guess what? It is right for me, right now because I’m happy and because my life is the culmination of my decisions and circumstances. I hate that I’ve read articles that say my marriage is doomed because I’m too young, and I hate that any of my friends who¬†aren’t married could read an article about why they should be married by now. You should get married when you meet someone you want to marry and you’re both ready for an enormous, hopefully life-long commitment. If you don’t meet that person, and/or you don’t want to get married, then you shouldn’t get married‚ÄĒand making that decision for yourself shouldn’t be considered abnormal.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s situation is different from everyone else’s.

Also, these articles are unoriginal and over-done, probably a large reason why I find them so annoying. I should have made this a “20 reasons why I hate articles that start with ’20 reasons why…'” type of blog post. Irony. That’ll show them.

I even saw an article today about 10 things you NEED to¬†learn to cook before you’re 30-years-old. I love to cook, but I still thought this was crazy‚ÄĒbut not until after I stressed out for 10 seconds about having not yet perfected hollandaise. I’m 26 and my two hollandaise experiences have failed… I don’t think I’ll bother getting out of bed tomorrow.¬†Then, I realized I am a self-proclaimed amaze-balls cook, and I think a lot of my friends and family would agree. Cooking and entertaining are two of my passions, but this one blog post had me nearly feeling bad about my kitchen¬†skills. *Irritation with this type of article about to boil over* When is this odd judgment day coming during which all will be rewarded or damned based on their culinary prowess by age 30? I fear for my husband who thinks meat sauce burritos are acceptable to make and eat for dinner when I’m out of town. (Just kidding, AB – you’ve turned into quite the cook, but I’ll never let you forget your meat sauce burrito days.)

Anyway, I guess the moral of this story is that I hope none of you¬†ever read an article stamped with an age, a list of criteria, and some random blogger’s¬†seal of approval and let it make you¬†feel inferior.

Whether you are happy with your life or not, at any given age, is the result of not only the decisions you’ve made but also the super wonderful or super shitty things that have happened to you by chance/fate/the grace of God/(feel free to¬†insert whatever term works best for your beliefs here). If you are unhappy, try to find ways to make life¬†better by filling more of your time with the things and people you love, if you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do so.

Happiness isn’t a cookie-cutter kind of experience. It means different things for different people, and the¬†articles I’m bitching about don’t ever take that into consideration. By all means, read on‚ÄĒbut take publications like those¬†with a grain of salt, and¬†breathe easier, friends. Chances are, you’re doing just fine.

the first of many

Let me start by explaining the name of this blog. Food, Felines, and Formalities. These are a few of my favorite things (alongside alliteration, clearly). I brainstormed countless titles for this blog since I’ve wanted to start one for a long time. I landed on Food, Felines, and Formalities because of the memorable quality alliteration lends AND because so many of my favorite things about life start with the letter ‘f.’ Food, felines, formalities, family, friends, fashion, Frasier, fall, football… I’ll end the list there in the interest of being polite and keeping things PG.

You’ve stumbled upon my¬†inaugural blog post. Chances are, you already know me since I’m guessing only my husband and a handful of kind friends will read this in its entirety. For your time and interest, I thank you! If this post has seeped out into the blogosphere and is being read by a curious stranger, let me tell you a bit about myself.

My name is Ris. It’s actually Marisa, but Ris¬†started as a nickname used primarily by my mother and since has¬†become the single-syllable representation of friendship and closeness for me since nearly all of the people I love most call me Ris. For my late, great mother, Ris was short for Rissy Roo which was far more embarrassing when I was younger, but it’s a nickname that has lived on through several family members to whom I’ll always be Rissy Roo. For that (and for them), I’m grateful. ¬†Plus, people tend to add an extra ‘s’ to Marisa, and the misspelling of my name as MarisSa irrationally makes me want to punch, kick, scream, slap, etc. despite the fact that I know it is in no way meant to offend.

Ari, my KeeshondI am currently 26-years-young [EDIT: 28 now], and I am married to a handsome, brilliant, and humble man named Alex. I’ll call him AB from here on out. He is joy personified. I could gush, but I genuinely want people to keep reading my blog so I’ll save it for later. We are the proud fur parents of three cats named Bean, Lucy, and Tom. Tom is a girl. Our fourth “child” is a beautiful dog named Ari. I do not know much about dog breeds, but Ari is a Keeshond. Keeshond = fur + smiles. ‚Üí

I grew up in a smallish town called Springfield, Ohio. I lived and loved in that town for 24 years. I went to college in that town and experienced my life’s greatest triumphs and tragedies up to this point there. In the most sentimental of senses, it will always be home. I lost my mom to cancer in 2012 and married AB in 2013. I’m no stranger to ups and downs. AB and I built a beautiful house outside of Dayton, Ohio before the wedding, and we lived there blissfully for a little under two years.

Then, we decided to shake things up, packed up our animals, and moved to a fabulous and cozy apartment in Washington, DC. AB had an incredible career opportunity, and I had a mini-epiphany which gave me the courage to recognize that home is wherever he is. It was a difficult decision accompanied by hundreds of discussions, lots of thinking, and the constant weighing of pros and cons. The fact that DC is only a 7-hour drive back to family in Ohio definitely made it easier (we actually love road trips). Ultimately, we decided we have enough confidence in the lasting quality of the relationships that are most important to us, and we made the move. It’s only been a couple of months, but so far the move has treated us very well, indeed. The city life has been suiting us just fine. I recently obtained a new job here as well. My previous professional experience included about a year with a digital marketing company. I enjoyed my time there and met people I will miss working with for a long time. However, I really wanted to get into editing, and somehow, some way, I landed an editorial job here in the city. Yay!¬†[EDIT: LOVED D.C. and our time there so much, but we are now living in Waynesville, Ohio. We built another house, and this one took about a year to build. I still work for the company I joined while living in D.C. and have since grown professionally. We also made two wonderful friends in D.C. who we’re still blessed to have in our lives. We miss D.C. and still enjoy visiting (and always will), but we missed our loved ones in Ohio so much, and we unfortunately lost AB’s mother while we were living in D.C., so we decided Ohio is where we need, want, and love to be for now.]

So that’s some info about me. My blog posts won’t always be me talking about myself, I promise. Just this first one. For a little bit more about me and this blog, click here. To find out why you should come back and read later, click here. To see one of my all-time favorite cat videos ever, click here. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!