A Quarter Life Breakthrough
So, last night was mad. In a good way.
In my opinion, the Internet is responsible for a lot of brilliant things that just seem to…crop up. Of course they don’t actually just “crop up” out of thin air; what actually happens is that our individual Internet Worlds collide daily through invisible little wires that link us all together. Sparks fly through the air every time we retweet something we love. We put stuff out there into the universe and things boomerang back towards us. The golden rule of social media is You Get What You Give. Or you’re more likely to. The Internet brings like-minded people together. It brings debate and passion. It brings unlikely friendships. Algorithms and organic searches connect us. We vibrate off each other and things influence us without us really knowing at the time. We end up doing things we would never have done if we were just wondering down one street, in one town. Online, we are global. We are connected to hundreds of thousands of people everyday. Even if you don’t see a visual “like” or a “comment” a lot of people have seen you. Come across you. The Internet can add to and enhance our everyday experiences: if we let it.
URL INTO IRL
First of all, I met my friend Katie Oldham (writer of blog Scarphelia) via Twitter. We blog, but we find it difficult for some reason to identify as ~bloggers~ and after a few messages back and forth it was clear that we were going to get on. When Katie and I meet up we don’t talk about the weather, we go straight into the Deep Stuff without realising. Straight into the stuff that makes our blood boil, chests clench or as she’d say “atoms vibrate”. To the table sitting behind us they probably are thinking: what the fuck are those two on. I think that’s the magic of it. And people are so quick to slam down what’s wrong with the Internet; how many trolls live there; and how it affects our emotions negatively – but actually I don’t like to perpetuate that sort of myth. The largest proportion of my Internet experience is totally unbelievable magic. The shit stuff can SEEM like it’s taking over. We can bang on and on and on about How Twitter Has CHANGED; It’s Not What It Was Back in 2009!!! But actually no: the users have changed. But you are what you tolerate. I don’t tolerate bullshit so I don’t allow it in.
The reason we were there is because we were tagged in a tweet – in response to the below:
Is there a woman you admire and would love to hear speak? Or something you wanna perform or showcase at our next Salon? GET IN TOUCH ! x QC
— The Quarter Club (@TheQuarterClub) November 6, 2015
The Quarter Club tweeted about their upcoming event, their 1st birthday and the theme was “satisfaction”. A quick Google and look at their Twitter bio and it’s safe to say that I was IN TO IT. On Facebook they described themselves as: “a new network for ambitious women managing portfolio and/
I wondered if the ‘”quarter” was a nod towards being in your twenties AKA a quarter(ish) of the way through your life. Lo and behold a quick Google led me to this Huffington Post piece about the Quarter Club: “Meet The 20-Somethings Helping Women Wave The ‘Quarter-Life Crisis’ Goodbye”.
Saskia Roddick and Jo Duncombe founded the club, both in their twenties, both in creative careers (film and acting). Saskia greeted us at the door and gave us a drinks token, we dropped our bags on the sofa and we felt instantly chilled. Because, look, it’s not always like that. Sometimes these sorts of events can be intimidating. When an event is aimed at “ambitious” people, you could have accidentally signed yourself up to be in a Room Of Floating Egos for the night. But this wasn’t like that. People were nibbling on cheese straws, cackling over red wine and I bonded with someone as I dipped a piece of ham in the hummous and said “don’t judge me.”
Later into the night, a lovely person called Farrah tapped us on the shoulder. “Hey are you Emma and Katie? I was the one who tagged you into the tweet.”
Let’s always give time to listen to other people’s stories.
The talks on stage were brilliant and diverse. First up was Emma Parker from Playful Promises and she went straight in on the subject of sex. “Why do most magazines often make us feel like women are performing seals when it comes to the bedroom?” Do this..do that..spice up your bedroom etc. Her message loud and clear was “do whatever the fuck you want to do!!!”
Next up was Nancy Honey, who on first glance, looked like an brilliantly magical character out of Harry Potter. She is an incredible photographer, celebrated for her project “100 Leading Ladies”. This Guardian article sums up her work beautifully.
Mallika Basu who is a food columnist and cook book author who spoke about the difference between clean-eating VS NOURISHING YOUR BODY. Her talk was all about being satisfied and happy through food, not punishing yourself. OH I LOVED IT.
Then Jo Cruse – OH MY GOD JO CRUSE. What. A. Woman. This talk really hit home to me with how vulnerable she was – and if anyone’s ever read a Brené Brown book- you’ll know that vulnerability equals strength. She admitted on stage to Not Having The Perfect Life, the words behind her on the screen, read: “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Her marriage, job and health fell apart all at once, right before hitting 30. Nothing was what she thought it’d be. Is it ever? Here were her lessons:
1) Heartbreak teaches you how to hustle.
2) There is no golden door to adulthood.
3) be scared and do it anyway
4) we don’t know what we’re doing and that’s fine
5) we need to say it more to each other
6) invest in your relationships
7) you are enough as you are.
I caught up with Jo afterwards and there was an “omg this is weird” moment as she said she’d been scrolling through my blog a few days before.
So, what do you have to say?
Another really fun part of this event was the Speak Easy room at the back. You just had to sign up on a piece of paper sellotaped to the wall. You could put down an idea to talk about for 5 minutes.
Katie and I just stood there, staring at the sheet of paper. What could we talk about for 5 minutes? I know what I could talk about for 20 minutes, half an hour, 3 hours. But 5 minutes? We were stumped. What an earth could be condensed down into 5 minutes?
Is it because of the VAST NEVER-ENDING VACUUM of the Internet that we can’t try and boil anything down to a 5 minute talk?
Katie was saying she went to a panel recently and some guy was saying that millennials are becoming so scared of face-to-face interaction they will do anything to avoid it. Tweet someone next to them, reject phone calls, Snapchat from their sofa instead of going out etc. There are some truths in this of course – the Internet has the potential to make anyone a bit more lazy. Who wouldn’t rather order food online than go traipsing down the supermarket aisles?
But, we decided we WEREN’T OK with the bad labels being stuck on the Millennial Generation. We do love doing things In Real Life. Of course we do. We’re not all turning into robots.
So we did a talk. Totally impromptu. And we LOVED IT.
“5 minutes is not enough, but we will try”
by Emma Gannon and Katie Oldham
(PS. THIS PARAGRAPH WAS WRITTEN BY KATIE AND DM’D TO ME EARLIER.)
“We’re being raised to believe that the internet has undone us all. That social media is the end of humanity. And do you know why? Because we were born with the power to change the world at our very fingertips, poised above a keyboard. Because we are finally the ones with the power to change the way we run our societies, the way we treat our planet, the way we treat each other. Because we have the power to give audience to unheard voices, to broadcast a new kind of humanity. And that is terrifying to those who have known this broken world the same for so many centuries.
So I ask this to you, are you really going to believe we are destined to be a generation of nothing more than Instagram celebs and social media managers?”
Follow The Quarter Club here.
Follow Katie’s blog SCARPHELIA here.
How I Grew Up Online
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic