If you can share your life on social media, you can share your story in a space that will value it for more than a few seconds.
We sometimes cross the borders of oversharing and it’s become so common that many of us can no longer draw the line between sharing as a courteous FYI and sharing as a cry for attention. We live in an oversharing culture, where we constantly see life updates on Facebook and curated glimpses into our best moments on Instagram. We live-tweet through popular television shows because we know that we have an audience, and all of that sharing serves a purpose. It connects us with other people. It makes us feel a sense of validation, whether we admit it or not, to know that we are seen, recognized, and cared about in those moments.
When women who are very present on social media tell me that they don’t know what to write about for a piece to share on Feminessay, I tell them to think about the last thing that they shared on social media. Maybe it’s a photo of a family member, a video of yourself at a party, or a status about how happy you are about a life event. No matter what it is that you share online, in your text conversations, or even joking with friends over drinks- there is always a bigger and deeper story behind it.
This weekend, I was sitting with a friend at a Caribbean restaurant in the East Village. We were seated outside because it was a nice day. The sun was out, there was a light breeze, and we could hear the reggae tunes loud and clear from our outdoor table. As we sipped our bottomless rum punches, and excitedly commented on how delicious our meals were, we noticed something. Almost every person walking by on the sidewalk was eating ice cream, and the ice cream looked delicious. There were kids with cones. There were adults and couples tasting each other’s frozen treats. Some people licked from plain vanilla cones. Others held small cups that were drenched in caramel, chocolate syrup, and crushed nuts- but I was intrigued by those adults who had rainbow jimmies. There’s something about rainbow jimmies that add a bit of “fun” to ice cream, and seeing so many people enjoying the fun version of ice cream as they walked the streets of New York made me want a cone for myself.
The next time the waitress returned to refill our drinks, I asked her if there was an ice cream shop nearby. “Yeah, The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop is right across the street.” We finished our food, I sipped the last of my rum punch, paid the bill, and we were on our way. My friend and I entered The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, which was actually quite small, and I ordered vanilla ice cream with a chocolate dip and rainbow jimmies (I remember debating whether to call them “jimmies” or “sprinkles” because I’m pretty sure that “jimmies” are a Boston thing, and I ended up saying “sprinkles”). The best ice cream that I ever had is made on a farm in New Hampshire, but this was definitely a close second. My friend could see the joy on my face as I licked my ice cream while we walked down the street to sit in a park. I suddenly understood why everyone looked so happy walking with their ice cream. It was the perfect treat on a perfect day, and I honestly felt like a kid again as I tasted bits of vanilla, chocolate, and the chalky muted nothingness of rainbow sprinkles in my mouth.
I could go on for days about my ice cream (seriously, it was amazing), but my point is that even the smallest things make for awesome stories when you think about what makes every moment significant. If something becomes a memory no matter how big or how small, it’s because of the story that surrounds that moment. For me, seeing people eating ice cream made me want some for myself, but the colorful toppings also reminded me of my childhood and hot summer days enjoying ice cream with jimmies. It made me remember colloquial differences in my quick thought of whether to say “jimmies” or “sprinkles.” The memory of that day brings me back to so many other things I noticed, like how the waitress was dressed like she came to work straight from the club, and it was refreshing to see that, during a Sunday afternoon brunch, no one cared because she was good at her job and the food was DAMN good. I remember how there was a graduation celebration happening inside the restaurant, and how hopeful it made me feel to see that the graduate wore her doctoral garb to the celebration. So much happened during that sit-down meal and to-go dessert, and I chose to focus on the jimmies for this story.
If you ever feel like you have nothing to write about, bounce off of your last conversation, social media post, meal- anything that has taken place in your day. I guarantee that you will always find something worth thinking and writing about. And just in case that still doesn’t work, feel free to reach out to The Feminessay Team, and we’ll help you out!
— Tiye Naeemah Cort,
Founder + Global Editor-in-Chief