“Gee, Doc, why don’tcha just put me out of my misery already?”
“It’s only a week of abstinence. Besides, this would not have happened if you had quit that disgusting habit as I told you ages ago.”
McCree’s probably went through several times of no smoking phase because of Angela while he was in Blackwatch. And then he let himself go after leaving. which is why the first thing the good doctor did when she saw him in years was to slap a nicotine patch on his scruffy face after snatching his cigar out of his mouth.
phil seems so genuinely excited about it which makes me excited except also i hate him for even mentioning that he has enough content in the hashtag to turn it into a series bc why did he have to put that thought in my head .. cruel
You're my favorite artist on this site. I absolutely LOVE your art style and swan? best webcomic ever. I'm super excited to see whats going to happen next. But honestly i never know how to tag stuff on your art so i just put "hashtag love it hashtag fav artist" but irl im like THIS IS THE BEST OMG SHE BLESSES MY SOUL SO MUCH WITH HER ART I LOVE HER WITH ALL MY HEART, LOOK AT IT, IS IT AMAZING??? YES OF COURSE IT IS CUS SELENA DID IT
hghdfjkgjdhkdjf anon!!!!!!!!!!!!! Im blushin youre too sweet <3
Any guidelines/rules or tips you could give me for making an OC with DID? I don't want to be stereotypical or offensive, and I want to be as accurate as possible!
I (and we) totally appreciate that! Doing thorough research, especially by reading the many accounts of people who publicly share their stories, will be of great help. Some YouTubers (Autumn Asphodel, Multiplicity and Me) and some blogs (like The We in Me) could be great places to start. You’re also welcome to check out the #DIDchat tag on twitter to read experiences of real people living with DID. It’s a weekly chat, but the hashtag can be viewed at any time!
Also, if you want a good feeling of what it’s like to live with DID, I’d recommend watching the show Sense8. It’s not actually about DID, but it’s basically exactly what living with DID is like lol.
But, let’s see, if I were to help you write this disorder into “a” character, here’s what I’d suggest:
Understand why DID forms: Simply (and subjectively) put, DID forms when a child under the age of nine experiences repeated trauma that they cannot handle. They detach from it (dissociation) and when this dissociation isn’t enough, their brain literally creates a family–more than one person–to handle the trauma. Think of your character not as an individual, but a family or team that was built to handle circumstances an individual couldn’t handle alone. DID is an adaptive and creative disorder.
When writing a character with DID, you’re not just writing one character. People with DID aren’t a person with alters–many of us consider ourselves and our alters to all be equal. One may appear most often, but that doesn’t mean we’re more of a person.
Create complex backstories, worldviews, and motivations for each alter. Alters are full identities, meaning each one sees and experiences the world in a unique way. Essentially, create each alter into a whole individual person (with their innate “role” having to do with the trauma their whole system faced). Just like how a character’s experiences inform their personality, an alter’s experiences do the same. Keep in mind that alters can have different physical abilities and experiences too (i.e. different strengths, one having a mobility condition, one being blind, etc).
Understand when each other will take over. Since they are multiple people, but all share one body, it’s common to fight for time out in the world. For self-expression, to be ourselves, and so on. Think about which characters are comfortable not revealing themselves, and if some feel the need to. Think about when they will take turns being up front (both accidentally and intentionally).
Don’t focus solely on alters. Because people with DID are trauma survivors, we basically all have PTSD (most often Complex PTSD). Look into those symptoms and figure out what each individual alter will have as their most prominent symptoms, which ones distress them the most, and which can they handle well. Also, describe the complexities of dissociation, amnesia, and other symptoms with DID.
Understand the alter’s role, but don’t stereotype them. (And gosh, please no murderous alters! Or if you have a violent one, have them be sympathetic and violent because they needed to in order to survive, since that’s the real story behind violent alters.) I’ll give an example of a stereotype versus reality below.
Don’t make DID too obvious to the people who know the character (presuming they’re not “out”). Although sometimes it’s obvious that a person has more than one identity, it’s often a very subtle disorder. It more often appears as mood swings (like alters who tend to feel different moods more often–though remember that each alter can feel every emotion, they don’t represent single emotions unless they are fragments, but that’s more rare and probably too hard to get into in writing). As well as appearing as memory loss.
Capture the issues people with DID face. Acceptance, stereotypes, stigma, being presumed to be dangerous, not being believed by mental health professionals, not having physical disorders taken seriously, and so on.
Pay attention to the internal relationship dynamics. Communication is key for those of us with DID, we have to get to know each other, understand each other, and support each other if we want to live harmoniously. A good exercise might be to imagine (after writing all the alters’ basic character traits) them all stuck in a room together. How would they treat each other? What relationships would they have?
Don’t forget the embarrassment of suddenly having someone comment on a private thought of yours. Alters, since we all share the same head, will sometimes chime in at really awkward moments. Even though we’re not all present at the same time, we are sometimes present at inopportune times.
And here are some personal examples corresponding to these above points that might help get your creative juices flowing! (All what I’m willing to share, so some might be vague, and heads up for abuse mentions.)
For three of us, here’s how we all sort of formed. I think I, Arien, was around first. I’m generally compassionate, trusting, and try to heal others (even those that hurt me). When I was abused too painfully, more than I could handle, Bael came into being. He’s more sexual (basically adapted to get off on being abused) and he’s masochistic. When we were then asked to do morally questionable things by our abuser, Sion stepped in. He was colder and more detached, and didn’t have the same issues with morality as the rest of us. See how some of us formed to step into a situation the others couldn’t handle, or didn’t have the skills to? (Sense8 btw, gives a really good subjective portrayal of what this feels like.)
Don’t really have anything to add to this point. Though, you might want to write one alter that’s hesitant to realize they are a we. I was initially scared I’d lose my sense of self when I was admitting I wasn’t alone in this body.
Some examples of our differences: Bael is very good at drawing anatomy and understanding lines and angles when drawing. I’m a softer, more curvy, artist. I’m better at coloring. Sion likes overcast, rain, and wintery weather, whereas I get depressed and moody in the winter. Bael doesn’t like Indian food (besides chicken curry) but I LOVE Indian food. I have a mild mobility disability, Bael is very rarely disabled at all (he’s pretty strong, except for when our body as a whole gets sick). Ava is afraid of water, the rest of us love it.
An example of intentionally taking over: Bael wants to talk during therapy, so on our walk there, he turns on his playlist and the music helps him come forward and feel grounded.
An example of accidentally taking over: During past abuse, I’d be abused and it would be intensely painful, then I’d just black out (not pass out, but no longer remember anything). Bael was taking over during that time. Sometimes we accidentally switch without amnesia. Like in therapy I was once talking about Bael and then Bael was like “wait…I think I’m here now” to our therapist.
For context, I remember about 10% or less of my life. And I miss casual things too. Like my apartment is cleaned or messier and I don’t remember doing it. I’m half way to a destination and then realize that I’m halfway there (like not remembering how I got to the half way point). Recently, a friend texted to confirm we were meeting in an hour, and I had no recollection of us ever setting up a time to meet at all (despite it being in texts when I looked back and such). PTSD and other symptoms are things you can look up, I think they’d be easier to write. Also, sometimes we jump when we look in the mirror. Like we don’t recognize ourself (depending on who’s fronting) and it startles us.
Okay! Stereotype versus reality. Sion (tentatively) said I can use him. He’s what’s sometimes called a “persecutor alter,” alters who tend to take after their abuser and sometimes will hurt the system or others. If you were to write a persecutor as a typically abusive, one-dimensional person, it would be stereotyping them. But, if I were to write someone, based on Sion, I’d describe how much he struggled to accept himself because of the immoral things he was forced to do and chose to do to save himself and us. How he felt that was all he was good at. I’d describe how he thought Bael needed to be hurt when he was stressed, because that’s what Bael described wanting. I’d talk about Sion’s complex desire to protect us, yet also being afraid he’d hurt us. There’s a lot more, but that’s all he’s comfortable with me sharing.
In my own experience, I had one friend who had met a few of us alters and she kept a journal about it. But she thought maybe it was something spiritual. More commonly, I would just have confused friends (before my dx, when I didn’t have an explanation) be angry that I didn’t remember promising or telling something, accuse me of manipulating them. Whereas I literally just wasn’t the identity that had promised something or given a different opinion earlier. A friend also described me changing opinions mid-dialogue. Like “ah, I’ll totally commit to this lease, I feel great about it!” and then “there’s no way I’m going to commit. It’s a bad choice for all these reasons.” It wasn’t me doubting myself (it was multiple selves), but that’s how it looked like to others.
There is SO much stigma around DID (one reason I’m happy to type all this out! To help dismantle that). Look into movies that bug those of us living with it, slurs and microaggressions (”yeah, it was like she had multiple personalities, she was so emotional!!”). How we’re treated as monsters rather than survivors. The fear we face whenever we see a new doctor or go to the hospital and have to decide if we want to say we have DID or not. How we’re left out of conversations about mental illness, abuse, and childhood trauma.
This point’s more on your character development! But, I can say, us alters argue, support each other, comment on each other’s actions, I narrate what we’re doing sometimes (lol). Also, sometimes we’ll get tired of the others being in pain. It takes a lot of energy to always, in the back of your mind, know someone is hurting. (Like our Little will sometimes cry for a day or two and we can all hear it.)
Oh gosh, point ten happens so much! Like I’ll be fantasizing about something then someone will comment on the thought and I’ll be like “auhhlsiudhfliushd” *blushes* xD. It’s even worse if one us fantasizes about another alter LOL. This can also happen with other private thoughts (not so funny ones) like suicide ideation, shame, watching one alter act on an addiction, etc. Also, us alters do feel some of each other’s emotions (like we’re affected by it), although it doesn’t feel like our emotions.
I really hope this helps you and many others write and understand DID! More questions are totally fine, and this post is okay to reblog!
To be human is to domesticate. To take the places that we live in and the things that we use and stamp them with the badge of human compatibility. Including stories.
A domesticated story is not necessarily nice (or too nice), although niceness is sometimes a side-effect of domestication. Rather, a domesticated story, like a domesticated anything, is one that is optimized to facilitate humans being human in an object-level sort of way. Stories that tell you what is cool. Stories that tell you what is good. Stories that tell you facts. Stories meant to physically and emotionally soothe. Stories meant to hang out in rather than to abstract something.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I like hanging out with imaginary people in imaginary places. I like comfort and familiarity. But it can be hard to notice when an artwork is addressing object-level problems instead of something else. Because we exist as physical, object-level people, of course we’re going to find object-level problems that concern us interesting in the basic sense of “holding our interest.” A bear attack may not be abstractly interesting in the sense of “complex” or “novel”, but if a bear is attacking me I’ll hardly be bored. That bear will have 100% of my attention. Similarly, a friend’s gossip or a facebook post or a lurid article are absorbing because they’re giving me information about my social context. Watching a TV show because an actor is cute has nothing to do with the TV show and everything to do with sexual attraction.
What do domesticated stories look like? Sitcoms, often. Maybe prototypically. Sitcoms are meant to be good to sit in, day after day, like a narrative living room. Sitcom characters are meant to be endearing and sitcom jokes are meant not just to be funny, but tell us what is normalto find funny. In Friends it’s funny that Ross’s wife is gay. In Sex and the City it’s funny that anyone would even possibly find watersports hot. It’s funny that characters eat melting ice cream from a giant container when they’re sad. The implications being that 1) having a gay wife is kind of shameful, 2) liking piss is kind of shameful, 3) being sad in other ways is kind of shameful. These things aren’t overt, but why else would the writers assume that you would laugh?
It’s understandable to me that people feel so strongly about having sitcoms or sitcom-like shows about their demographic. Why did The Cosby Show or Fresh Prince feel important? Switched at Birth? Fresh Off The Boat? These kinds of shows don’t simply put unknown faces on TV, they again, make them normal. Hell, Modern Family did it explicitly. “Update your concept of family” that title says. When I see characters in show like Parks and Recreation being bumbling or depressed, I think: okay, I’ve gotten a message about which ways of being incompetent are cute now. I think: If I posted a gif of that scene with a hashtag that said “#me” then other people would say “#same”. People like Barney Stinson and Tom Haverford are deeply unpleasant in real life, but sitcoms domesticate them. They give them a place in our social model of the world.
And this is all fine. Good, often. But it’s a fundamentally social, object-level purpose.
The problem with object-level purposes is that unless your entire audience is also being attacked by a bear, they will find your art about how to survive a bear attack boring. Unless your entire audience is also obsessed with Kirk/Spock they will probably find your Star Trek fic boring. You often stop finding teen media interesting when you stop being a teen not necessarily because that media is less mature but because you no longer need to survive the bear attack of knowing what teenagers find cool.
This is not to say that specificity is boring. If you’re telling a story about the emotion of a traumatic circumstance, or how you dealt with the conflicting pressures it put you under, of course you need to be specific. If you’re telling a story set during the War of 1812, it will probably help if you know some things about the War of 1812. Similarly, this is not to say that modeling people is boring, or archetypes are boring. What makes archetypal modeling and artistic detail more narratively “feral” is the fact that they are starting points rather than ending points. Archetypes are skeletons and details are brushstrokes. Whereas Liz Lemon is a complete slice of pizza from the social role smorgasbord.
Sitcoms are an extreme of domestication. So is political or propagandistic art. But I originally started writing this post because I watched the first X-Men movie and I asked myself: why did this feel so much better than the forced wit of present day Marvel? Why don’t I like Steven Universe? Why do I get uncomfortable when people watch movies solely to have in-jokes about the fact that they’re bad? Because when I asked myself “is this thing solving an artistic problem or is it solving people problem?” the answer was mostly the latter. (The difference can be hard to pin down, sometimes: Is an artist subverting a trope to be impressive or are they subverting a trope because they’re interested in how tropes work?)
I realize all the ways that this kind of talk makes me sound terribly unfun. My point is not really to deride domestication. I’m more interested in the fact that people like feral narrative as much as, if not more, than domesticated narrative. Much like pornographic scenarios are fantasies inspired by real-life events, domestication is something like social porn of real-life behavior. It solves an immediate problem. Porn is the fetishization and real-life is the fetish object. Hangingoutness is the fetishization and stories are the fetish object. But although the hyperstimulus of pornographic things is satisfying and safe, it depends on the existence of original stimulus for its fuel. The irony is that it is often the very distance of things from fetish that creates such an ache to fetishize them. Things like The Lord of the Rings are oil lamps of fandom that have burned for half a century, but they were hardly designed to be that way. The point is not that burning oil is bad, but that eventually it runs out.
In response to the current hate towards Lana Parrilla
I usually don’t make serious posts like this but I felt like I had to make this.
@ all haters- please read this before you continue to poison everyone’s feeds with annoying bs.
I don’t care what you say, Lana does not deserve this crap. Here are some reasons as to why:
1. Lana was giving her opinion in terms of her character and how her character felt about Hook. She never said that she personally hated CS or Hook (though that doesn’t seem to be the main issue I’m seeing, I just wanted to make this clear) EDIT: (I have now seen a lot more of this, it’s only that at that point in time I hadn’t seen much of this from Twitter, where I got a lot of my info)
2. She did not kill SQ so shut up. She said that Hook makes Emma happy, she did not say that she had anything against SQ (in fact she’s shown a lot of support for it in the past) or even mention the SQ romantic relationship so your point is invalid (I’m also seeing people hating on SQers and can I just say- if you’re one of the few shitty SQers then you should shut up too, but if you’re not, if you’re not problematic or horrible then the majority of the fandom like you and respect you, it’s just the arseholes who spread so much hate towards you and your ship)
3. Lana said that stuff bc her “fans” were being downright RUDE. They asked her a question, she answered and she had people shouting in the crowd at her?? That’s not okay- she was asked a question, respect her answer or if you feel the desperate need to scream then please wait until they’ve finished speaking??
4. I love the show very much but can I just say it’s FICTIONAL FGS!! STOP hating on people because of what they think- this goes for whether it’s someone posting about a ship you don’t ship or whether it’s an actor who’s character you don’t like- I don’t give a crap, if you do this then STOP. It’s a shitty thing to do so please stop spreading hate.
5. Basically, to summarise, if you hate on people because they have different opinions on a TV show to you then please do everyone a favour and shut the hell up bc we don’t want to have to listen to you or your bullshit.
EDIT: I think some people may have been offended by this post and I just want to say that I’m really sorry if you have (I think it’s some SQers (though there may be others too) who feel like I only focussed on them when it was other people too, and I can see now that from their point of view it does look like I might be attacking SQers) I wasn’t trying to focus on them, in fact the section on SQ and how it isn’t dead was made because I saw lots of tweets from other ships (I think mainly CS from what I remember but there may have been others) saying how with saying what she did, Lana had killed SQ and the people who tweeted that seemed pretty happy about that, so I thought I would address that by saying that SQ wasn’t dead and to shut up if it anyone was saying that, though now I can see how this could be seen as me being angry at SQ, which is far from true. I also didn’t mean to imply that only SQers hated Hook, and though I never said it in the text (or even mentioned Hook and SQ in the same section) I apologise again that you felt offended and I hope that you now know that I would never intentionally target a ship or make anyone feel bad, especially ships/ people who don’t deserve it. There was also a question as to why this was in the SQ tag, and I just wanted to reassure you all that I did put this in other ships tags as, again, I would never intentionally single out just one ship/ group of shippers (though I have removed it from all ship’s hashtags as I didn’t want this to happen again) . I also want to make it clear that when I mentioned the “shitty SQers”, I believed at the time that that was an important mention as I was saying for no hate towards any SQers so I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t then excusing any hate Lana did get from (what I’ve come to see, very few) SQers and did not want to make any of you feel like this was trying to pick on the SQ shippers specifically, but if this has offended you I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry that any of you were offended by my post and I honestly did not mean this to come across as attacking SQ (or any other ship), I was simply saying that if you were hating on Lana then to stop, but I do understand how this could be interpreted differently than I originally thought it would be interpreted as and how it could have offended people so for that I am extremely sorry
prompt: how they are with each other the first time- post coitus. #thedayafter #wakingupandjustrememberingwhatyoudidthenightbefore Please! You are the best :)
I don’t know why you put hashtags but okay lmao. This gon be cute.
Warning: INTENSE FLUFFINESS. And nekkidness because HELLO it’s the morning after. This is like T+, borderlineM because of the ending.
He looked peaceful in his sleep, for once. Tranquil and quiet, with lightly parted lips and a smoothed out brow, heart thudding steadily under the palm of her hand.
This was the first time she’d seen him this relaxed in his time of rest—he never slept particularly well. Though her presence did help, he admitted once. She couldn’t imagine how bad it must have been in his time away.
Eyes crinkling lightly, she reached out with a finger to stroke the line of his jaw softly. She wasn’t surprised when his arm tightened around her in response, the touch stirring him from his sweet abyss, and Sakura allowed herself to run a hand through his soft locks as he took a deeper breath and began to wake up.
“Hi,” she whispered, once he’d finally opened his eyes, the warmest smile slipping onto her lips. Her hand glided down to his chin, thumbing it carefully.
His gaze softened instantly at the gesture, arm drawing her closer to his chest and lips finding her forehead affectionately. Her heart melted at the action.
“Morning,” he murmured against her skin, tracing light circles on her back.
Lazily, she slipped her arms around his neck, tilting her chin up so she could look at him. Her mouth met his jaw twice, before he finally tipped his head down and captured her lips in a sweet kiss, his calloused hand moving to cup the base of her neck.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, once their kiss had ended.His thumb brushed the base of her throat gently.
“A bit sore,” she admitted. She giggled. “But otherwise amazing.”
He gave a tiny, adorable smile, before capturing her lips again, moving his mouth sensually over hers. Her hands founds themselves in his hair once more, running through the tangles and pulling lightly, almost as if she was asking for something.
Sasuke smiled languidly against her lips, moving until he was hovering over her, one hand supporting his weight while the other held the back of her head. He kissed her slowly, deliberately, taking his time to caress and explore every inch of her mouth, wanting to convey the longing and the love he so intensely, intensely felt for her.
She was a blushing, breathless mess when he finally pulled back, looking at her with so much tenderness and love that it made her heart pound and her stomach flutter. How long she’d waited to see him look at her like that—how long she’d waited to see him put down his walls and finally, finally allow himself to show her the extent of his true feelings.
Putting a hand on his cheek, she gave him a happy, teary smile. “I love you, Sasuke-kun.”
He hummed in response, putting a hand over her own and leaning into it. “I know,” he said, turning his head so he could grasp her fingers and kiss each of them.
Then, he bent down and laid a heavy, doting kiss on her forehead.
I love you too.
When she got up some time later, buck naked and perusing through their closet, she couldn’t focus. She could feel his eyes tracing every inch of her bare skin.
“Stop staring,” she muttered, grasping her breasts with her hands and flushing a light shade of pink. “You’re making me nervous.”
He quirked a brow, something like a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. He leaned back against the headboard some more, head tilting to side.
“That never bothered you before,” he said, before finally making his way off the bed.
She averted her eyes when he stood, the pretty flush on her face turning a shade deeper, and she tried not to puff out her cheeks when he snorted, evidently amused.
“Yeah, well, last night it was dark and light wasn’t reflecting my body’s imperfections,” she replied quietly, shifting a little on the soles of her feet.
She swallowed when she felt his warm body press against her back, face burying in her neck as his hands ran over her arms tenderly. He gave a reassuring brush to her own hands, encouraging her to stop hiding. The gentleness and affection in his touch prompted her to reluctantly reveal herself, head tipping back against his broad shoulder as he cupped her small chest and stroked the supple skin softly. She bit back a sigh as his thumb rolled over a nipple.
“What imperfections?” he murmured softly, lips brushing her ear.
the story by jonghyun [epilogue] ♡ 151213 (concert i)
for the concerts this time around, jonghyun’s fan union prepared banners like they did the first time around but, unlike last time, they’ve included hashtags with the messages on the banners to help them trend on twitter.
jonghyun: wait, but why do you keep on putting a sharp symbol on your banners? fans: uh…, twitter? hashtag? jonghyun: a twitter hashtag? oh my god, i didn’t know. (source: kimkeyy)
Warning: this one isn’t mainly on the fluff, it’s a life lesson y’all should learn
“This is dumb,” Michael sighed. “Why does this even matter?”
You were currently in a meeting with Michael’s publicist discussing your relationship.
“People love drama; especially your fans. They’ll comfort you, hoping you feel better about your new relationship status. Maybe even trend some hashtag about it,” she informed him, adjusting the glasses perched on the tip of her nose.
Hey, I wanted to ask you a question. Have you discovered a way to relate to teens without sounding cheesy? Our school has all these anti-drug anti-bullying campaigns, and it's always something like misused internet memes on the walls- Sarcastic Willy Wonka with a message that reads "Don't smoke!" Sometimes they just put hashtags in front of everything, or make text message posters, et cetera. Most of the kids ignore it and make jokes about it. I was wondering if you could give me some tips. Thx.
OKAY, so this turned out way longer than I expected it to! But I’m so glad you asked, because apparently this is something I feel very strongly about and did not realize until I started to talk about it. So here goes.
What I have found from working with teens is that they do not appreciate being patronized (shocker) and therefore do not respond to it at all. Putting a hashtag in front of something does not make it trendy. Those damn text message posters – while a pretty lame idea to being with – are often made even worse because WHY DOESN’T ANYONE WHO MAKES THOSE KNOW WHICH SIDE TO PUT THE INCOMING ‘TEXT’ ON AND WHICH SIDE TO PUT THE OUTGOING ONE ON?I have never owned an iPhone and even I know which way to do it so the conversation isn’t backwards and nonsensical.
So anyway: yeah, teenagers are going to make fun of that crap…because it’s total crap. And it’s actually little offensive that some adults think they can “get through to those damn kids” by co-opting their culture (I call this kind of stuff “youth culture”…I don’t know if that’s mislabeling it, but I don’t know of a better term to use) and misusing their colloquialisms. I’d be pretty annoyed, too. Especially when the teachers who come up with these brilliant ideas basically fall into one of three categories. They are pretty much always either:
a) completely missing the mark on how absolutely ANY of this stuff works and therefore are only embarrassing themselves and subsequently the students they are trying to reach,
b) unironically trying to “get in with the youth crowd” by using words they think the kids are using (pssst – that never works and they think you’re weird), or
c) purposefully trying to ruin something that teenagers enjoy simply because they do not understand it, and are super bitter humans who apparently can’t let anybody have fun without pitching a fit when they’re not invited to the party.
Think about it – how many times have you heard an adult say something along the lines of “Well I’m just going to use every slang word they use until it isn’t cool anymore, because I, an adulty adult, am using it [probably out of context and with an air of superiority and mocking in my voice every time I do so].”
So on to your actual question – how can we relate to teenagers without patronizing them? I think it’s simple – drop the nonsense. I 100% promise that you can have a conversation with a teenager about an important issue without having to use the word “hashtag” even once. You can talk to them – about real, important things – in a mature, real way.
AND, believe it or not, doing so will get you so much farther than if you hang up a poster where it looks like Jesus is texting me to not do drugs but, lo and behold, the creator of the poster did it backwards so now it just looks like I’M the one trying to talk Jesus out of getting high this weekend. As a teacher, if I wanted to talk to my students about drugs…I just would. It doesn’t have to be prefaced with me trying to rap about anything. It doesn’t have to involve me trying – and inevitably failing – to sound cool. It’s more genuine that way.
So what do I do to ‘connect with the youths’? I don’t try to be one of them. I am not a teenager anymore (thank god). I am an adult who loves a lot of teenagers and wants what’s best for them.
And yes, sometimes I would have long conversations with my teenage students about One Direction…because guess what? I legitimately like One Direction, so our conversations were two-sided and our shared interests were genuine. You know what I DON’T like? Those popular teenage boys who make the Vines and then have people pay money to meet them in a hotel lobby (??) or whatever it is. So you know what I DIDN’T reference in any of my conversations with my students? Those Vine boys. Because I just don’t care about them, and so any attempt of mine to talk about them would put me into one of the three categories listed above.
I’m not saying don’t try to connect with your students. Of course do that. I know about a lot of things that I personally don’t care about. I know about them because my students care about them, and they talk about them, and I listen to them. But there is a difference between listening to someone talk about something that belongs to them – their slang, their friends, their interests – and trying to take that thing and use it to manipulate them.
Your students will know if you’re being authentic. I’ve said it before in a million other contexts, and I’m saying it again now. Be yourself. (Now, definitely do keep up with current slang – I do so I know what the kids are talking about and can intervene if I know what they’re saying is offensive.) But don’t feel like you need to use that slang to connect with your students.
You’re not friends with them. You’re not going to be. Leave the youth culture with the kids and just be yourself. Let them know you care. Find ways to connect with them that don’t involve mocking the way they speak. Even a nine-year-old can see through your bullshit if you try to act like something you aren’t. No need to put on a show to love your students.