1. Fancy or casual? 2. Closet or dresser? 3. Hot or cold? 4. Meat or veggies? 5. 1 pillow or multiple? 6. 1 blanket or multiple? 7. Organized or messy? 8. Games or books? 9. Hide and watch or stand up and fight? 10. Shy or social? 11. Soda or juice? 12. Handheld or console? 13. Light or dark? 14. Scary or Happy? 15. Movies or restaurant? 16. Car or bus? 17. Carpet or tile? 18. Love or wealth? 19. Markers or colored pencils? 20. Independent or dependent? 21. Hat or necklace? 22. Poster or calendar? 23. Pain or death? 24. Science or math? 25. Shower or bath? 26. Socks or slippers? 27. Chips or crisps? 28. Secretive or open? 29. Friendship or romance? 30. Talent or skill?
The people I follow and talk with on Tumblr tend to be either younger than me (high school and college) or older (thirties and up). The generational differences are fascinating, and I think commentators talk too much about technological generation gaps and not enough about social changes.
But maybe that’s because I have similar technological experiences to younger people, but similar social experiences to older ones.
I’ve used a computer since before elementary school, (primitive) mobile phones and the internet since elementary school, video games since middle school, and blogs since high school. I was free to walk and bike around my neighborhood any time without supervision, but beyond that, my parents scheduled and drove me. I didn’t grow up with tablets or smartphones, but smoothly integrated them into my life in college. Any differences in technology and freedom of movement from today’s high school and college students seem like more of a matter of degree than kind.
On the other hand, I comparatively grew up in the dark ages regarding disability, gender, and sexuality.
The first minority gender or sexuality I ever heard of was being gay or lesbian, and that’s when I was about ten. My parents, although accepting of LGBT people, seemed to see it as “something that happens to other people.” They assumed that when I grew up, I would marry a man and have children.
As a child, I never met other people with allergies, sensory sensitivities, or motor delays–let alone ADHD or autism. ADHD was just gaining popularity as a diagnosis, and people, including my parents, worried that it was being used as an excuse to medicate kids who didn’t fit in and caused too much trouble. Autism spectrum diagnoses wouldn’t hit it big for about another decade, and childhood bipolar disorder even later. I knew one child who got therapy–child psychology and psychiatry hadn’t become a booming business yet.
Basically, neurodivergence was invisible–either you were so disabled you lived at home under lock and key or in an institution, or you passed well enough to be just an eccentric.
The local public schools were ideologically unwilling to support gifted students, and had never heard of twice exceptionality.
We had no legal trouble with homeschooling, but were ostracized by the neighborhood and most of the people we knew. Perhaps for good reason: all the homeschoolers we met (through local homeschool groups) were doing so because of religious beliefs or strict health food/supplementation regimens. They were trying to shelter their children from a sinful or unhealthy world, not provide for educational needs that public schools couldn’t meet. We did finally meet someone who started a gifted homeschooling group; that was the first family we met who homeschooled for educational reasons. Now, homeschoolers are everywhere, and the percentage not on the “lunatic fringe” is growing.
Compounding the narrowness, I spent a lot of my childhood in an overwhelmingly white, Christian suburb, full of what the Myers-Briggs Typology refers to as “Sensing-Judging” types. You didn’t have to be that different to be different there.
I grew up as “the only kid who ___” and “the weird one” in many ways. Sometimes I felt proud, sometimes embarrassed, sometimes lonely. I still don’t know what it’s like to feel normal, or to take for granted when entering a new group that I will “fit in.” The range of ways to be a “normal person” was breathtakingly narrow–especially in terms of neurotype, gender, and sexuality.
I grew up without the conceptual tools to understand myself, my family, or most of the people using Tumblr today. I had to find or invent these. Now, people can read blogs and see themselves reflected back. They can learn new concepts to understand themselves, and language to explain themselves others. Disability blogs like this were just taking off when I was in college, on sites like Blogspot and Livejournal. People older than me, like Mel Baggs or Kassiane, talk about a time when there were only message boards. Now, disability blogs are everywhere.
When I see people attacking others for their word choice or self-descriptions on Tumblr, I’m reminded that people now are growing up very differently. I think many take for granted the existence of language, communities, and even general awareness that their type of person exists. People who make choices that seem reactionary today were stumbling around in the dark without support trying to understand the most complex things imaginable–human minds, bodies, and relationships. Of course they got some things wrong. They also may have experienced being whatever neurotype, gender, or sexuality they were differently, because they lived in such a different world and understood themselves so differently. I imagine those born ten years after the current Tumblr teenagers will think today’s teenagers got important things wrong, too. They should feel that way. That’s what happens with social progress.
I think the best way to accelerate social change is to work together. It only hurts all of us when we splinter into tiny groups that fight each other instead of society’s ignorance and prejudice. I’d like to see older people adopting useful concepts and language younger generations develop, and younger people treating older generations as allies. Honestly, a lot of old fogies just want others to grow up in a better world than we did. (…OK, some of us like to complain, too).
Payne posted an unnamed excerpt of his new solo material on Instagram Oct. 29, showing off a decidedly raunchier side compared to his tamer boy band days, crooning about making love to a woman. Fans ate it up, with Payne garnering 5.5 million Instagram reactions in the tracking week ending Oct. 30, according to Next Big Sound. Little else is known about the clip of music, though Payne tagged Bibi Bourelly, a singer-songwriter who’s worked with Rihanna and Usher (while releasing her own material), as well as producers Danny Boy Styles and Ben Billions (Beyonce, The Weeknd).
Though Payne’s Social 50 debut is lower than the starts of former One Direction member Zayn (No. 3; Feb. 13) and current bandmate Niall Horan (No. 1; Oct. 15), his fellow One Directioners past and present had full-length new music to promote upon their debuts, unlike Payne, whose current output remains the Instagram-teased music and nothing more.
(One of these days I’ll actually get them done on time. One day)
“You want to do what?” Nursey asked.
“Change our status on facebook,” Dex repeated.
“Like, our relationship status?”
“Yes Derek, our relationship status. I thought you wanted to tell people.” Dex rolled his eyes at his boyfriend.
“Uh, I do, but you don’t. And you hate facebook relationship statuses.” Nursey stared at Dex. “Did you get bodysnatched or something?”
“No, I just - it seemed practical. The fastest way to tell everyone.” To anyone watching them, it would have looked like Dex was looking at Nursey, but Nursey could tell Dex was focused on a spot just over his shoulder.
“A little impersonal though, right, your words?” Nursey couldn’t help poking at the issue.
“Okay fine, if you don’t want to, we don’t have to.” Dex huffed and crossed his arms.
“No, Dex, I want to,” Nursey reaches across the table to take Dex’s hand. “I’m just confused about why you’ve suddenly changed your mind.”
Dex takes a deep breath. “It’s going to sound stupid.”
“Hey, you can tell me. No judgement zone.” Nursey said soothingly, stroking his thumb across the back of Dex’s hand.
“That would be a first,” Dex snorted. “It’s just, ugh, every time I call home someone is asking me when I’m going to get a girlfriend. Like, when I said I was bisexual, apparently none of them registered the fact that I like guys. Or that I’m dating a guy, because I literally talked about you the entire time I was home at Christmas. So I just… I just want them to see that I’m happy.”
“I make you happy?” Nursey asked, a soft smile on his face.
“Ew Nurse, don’t get sappy,” Dex wrinkled his face in disgust. “I like you, don’t make a big deal about it.”
“I am sappy though,” Nursey declared, dropping a kiss on the back of his hand.
“Ugh,” Dex pulled his hand away from Nursey and wiped it on his pants. “Nurse, we’re like… in public.”
“We’re at the haus, we’re not in public.”
“Sorry,” Nursey apologized. “I’ll keep the sappy to a minimum.”
“Not-” Dex tilted his head, thinking. “Not a minimum, just like, in private? I like it, I just… like when it’s just us.”
“I can do that.”
“Thanks. So, facebook status?”
“Sure, whenever you want. How about you change it and I can just confirm it or whatever?” Nursey suggested.
“Hey,” Nursey bumped him with his shoulder. “You make me happy too.”