March 12, 2017

A week without Facebook

Last weekend I decided to take a break from Facebook.  The thought had been brewing for some time, then I saw a post from a friend that sent me over the edge, and in that moment of hurt, anger, and confusion, I was done.  

Deactivated.

I thought for sure that I'd wake up the next morning and need to look at it, but I didn't.  Didn't even think about it.  I figured as the week went on that I'd start to be curious about what's up with people or what's happening in the world.  That I'd want to share a picture or two.  Or that I'd feel compelled to comment on some injustice somewhere.

Nope. 

I've often said social media is the devil, and I believe it.  The devil certainly uses it to facilitate all kinds of wrong doing and invoke hostility.

Over the years I've gone through bouts where I needed to unplug and therefore deactivated for a while.  This time though, was different.  I REALLY had felt myself letting so much get to me.  Unfollowing people or pages wasn't enough.  I was consumed with frustration and bewilderment and had nowhere to go with it.  I felt myself becoming bitter and sad, and hence, taking it out on my family.  I could no longer take the negativity, impropriety, lack of integrity.  Or the hubris, pretension, hypocrisy, ambiguity, and all the sanctimonious bull sh!t I was seeing.  Then throw in politics, fake news, alternative facts, buzz words, tit for tat.  And "like if you agree," memes, causes, hashtags, soliciting, pop culture and O. M. G. my head was spinning after a two minute scroll!

I felt like I was living in an alternative universe.  

And I kinda was.

I don't know why I'm ever surprised at what I see or read, I mean, when you put hundreds of personalities together in an impersonal environment, what is to be expected?  Madness.

During my week long experiment I learned a few things.

  • I was reminded Facebook and other social media is merely a tool - beyond that it is sure to suck the life out of you and spit you out through the portals of hell it provides.  Social media is great for communication, business, information, education, news, or keeping in touch, but it's hardly a lifestyle. 
  • I had more time in my day.  With four kids, schooling 2 1/2 of them, 473 activities a week, making meals no one likes, chores I don't keep up with, changing diapers, cleaning up apple juice 84 times off the floor, and calling poison control - I'M BUSY!  You'd think I wouldn't have time to pick up my phone and check FB, but somehow I did.  It's called needing a break and vegging while the kids rot their brains in front of the TV or sneak a snack or bite their baby brother.  Instead, this week, I took those five minute moments and did other things to satisfy my much needed break.
  • I was in a better mood.  All the stuff that was bringing me down every day was no longer invading my brain.  I can't control my own little world half the time, so I don't know why I let the great big world around me get the best of me.  People have gone batshit crazy, and there's nothing I can do about it - can't control anyone's thoughts, feelings, values, views, opinions, beliefs, lifestyles, or decisions.  This week was a lesson in living IDGAF to its fullest.  
  • I was a better mom.  I'm with my kids 24/7, but that doesn't mean I'm always attentive.  Even without FB no one in my house gets my undivided attention every moment, and they don't always get the best of me either - I'm human.  But I had really been lacking in attentiveness lately. By the end of the day I was feeling guilty.  Praising another Minnie Mouse coloring page and watching another flip on the trampoline can get mundane, but those things are important to them - I never want them to stop being excited to share their lives with me.
  • I lived.  I live with or without FB - what I mean is I did my own thing and lived without comparing or expectation.  Those are two of the fastest ways to kill a person emotionally.  I didn't worry about how I homeschool or what recipe I should be making for optimum health.  I didn't care about the latest and greatest or what's bigger, better, and faster.  And I wasn't bothered by the constant reminder that some people suck - and that includes the people I thought mattered.
  • Friends, an invention of FB, is a thing.  My 500+ *friends* aren't all really friends - we're not all invested in one another, and that's ok.  It's still nice to stay acquainted through FB, and it's great to interact on chance encounters, get together now and then, and hang out at events.  I certainly have those I consider friends without seeing regularly, but I'm talking about deep, meaningful friendships - those with whom relationships survive without FB...those are friends.
  • People are whatever.  I say that because I don't know what all inclusive adjective to use, and because it's true.  Family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, strangers - it doesn't matter.  People lie, embellish, flaunt, antagonize.  It was nice not to see all the drama whether in a status or comments.  The negativity was gone, and the weight of all that is wrong with the world lifted. 
Although only a week, not a Lenten sacrifice, a boycott, or a yearlong sabbatical, I needed this break, and it needed to be more than well-intended will power.  "I just won't get on" wasn't going to cut it. I needed no access - to know I was "deactivated."  I'm guessing we've all been there at some point during our stint with social media, especially Facebook.  Many of us have personal rules about what we post, comment, and share, but others don't.  Obviously, some people have no filter, and some are completely ridiculous for various reasons and just need to stop.  There are a few perfect people out there (which is why FB needs an eye roll button), and let's not forget the unrelenting, always right, overly sententious people.  And some just need an etiquette refresher.  

Seriously, you've all thought the same thing so don't judge my judging.

Really, social media is about us as individuals - we know our limits and what we can tolerate, and we know what we need to do to stay sane.  

We can let stuff go or be baited.
Be respectful or hateful.
Scroll or troll.
Sincerely ask or willfully incite.
Debate or argue.

This was effective if only for a week, and it was a reminder that I need to go back to what social media is for me - a tool.  I need to set the example for my kids, not get consumed with the particulars of headlines and opinions, and invest my energy, time, and devotion where it belongs.

Virtual life isn't living.



February 28, 2017

Mean People Suck

“Mean people suck.”  Remember that quote from back in the day?  Still true today. 

Some people suck.

There’s no other way to put it.  They just do. 



A little disclaimer:  We all have been on the receiving end of “you suck!”  From time to time, it’s understandable.  We’re human.  We go through stuff.  At times we’re unlovable.  But it’s fleeting, and we’re back to normal.

But for some, “you suck,” is a way of life.  Or some morph into a permanent state of “you suck.”  And then there are those who are shifty and misleading.  They are an irritating, and often dangerous, brand of “you suck.”

So –

If “you suck” is a way of life, listen up.  No one likes you.  Well, that’s not true.  But don’t be fooled by people giving you any time or attention.  It’s most likely because they:
A.    feel obligated because you are “family”
B.     they feel sorry for you because of your circumstances
C.     they are afraid of you
D.    they are too nice and always try to find the decency somewhere        within your deep, dark soul
E.     they suck just as bad as you

Unless you change your crappy attitude, you are doomed to a lifetime of misery.  The “you suck” lifestyle will ultimately catch up to you.  You will realize all that you have missed out on.  And all those loyalists you had tiptoeing around you will finally have their fill and dump you.  “It’s never too late” sometimes is.

*****

Is the “you suck” life sneaking up on you?  Or have you made the leap?  If so, there’s hope!  

Those who have been watching the transformation are pulling for you.  They know you can come back from the dark side because they know the real you.  They understand that you have had a lapse in clarity due to:
A.    a situation that has changed you
B.     a person who has had immense influence over you
C.     the stresses of life
D.    some sort of fear lurking about
E.     profound contemplation that has made you question yourself, others,    or the universe

Look, people care for you.  There’s nothing wrong with change or evolving or new relationships or new experiences or finding yourself, but there is something wrong with your complete change of character.  If you’ve become snippy, distant, angry, or indifferent, perhaps you should check yourself.  It’s not very becoming, and those closest to you are confused, hurt, and sad.  Pull yourself out of whatever self-absorbed funk you’re in, take a bite of humble pie, and atone. 

We know there’s a hold on you, and we want to help.  If you’re perfectly content trying to convince yourself that this is who you are now, then well, “you suck.”

******

You are charming, helpful, understanding.  HA!  Right.  You are fooling no one.  Except, actually, you are.  Just not everyone.  Those with a keen eye and intuitive sense of caution, yeah, we know what you’re really about, and your kind of “you suck” is the worst.  While you’re busy proclaiming sincerity, really you:
A.    just prey on the weak who are sure to worship you
B.     collect accolades for self-fulfillment
C.     practice opportunism
D.    unassumingly create drama and watch it unfold
E.     are pretentious and fake humility well

It’s painful.  Narcissism at its best.  Those who patiently observe can clearly see past the BS, but unfortunately, many will fall for the act.  You don’t realize that “you suck” – most people in this category believe their own smack, so it’s not until the consequences come that they realize the error of their ways.  Oh, and it will come.  And it will suck!

*****

Everyone has a bad day now and then.  Sometimes a bad month, even a bad year.  There is always that moment, that temporary “you suck.”

People lose touch.  Or have irreconcilable differences.  Personalities may not mesh.  But, people can generally be civil and get along without “you suck” status. 

That’s not what this about.  So please use a little common sense and decipher the difference.  Now go...evaluate, and by all means, don't suck!



October 15, 2016

Miscarriage: The hurt remains


Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and as I sit here and reflect, I can tell you the pain never really goes away.

I think of my babies I lost every day.  All four of them.  I remember the day they were lost and the day they were due into this world. 

Who would they look like?  Would they have hair?  Would they too, hate to swaddle?  Would I finally get a good sleeper? 

I can’t speak for every woman who has lost a baby, and yes, I say baby because for me, they were babies.  For me, the stage of pregnancy, the trimester, is irrelevant.  Whether that baby could breathe on her own outside of my womb, or whether he was fully developed does not matter.  There was life.  For me, my babies’ lives were taken too soon, and I mourn.

I mourn what was to be.  Who they would become.  The void in our family.

I have made sense out of my losses.  Sort of.  I've found peace and accepted that God took them for a reason.

There are so many misconceptions about miscarriage, and people can be cruel.  I’ve experienced it myself.  I have been questioned, ridiculed, and judged for trying again and having a desire to want “another” baby.  Well, it’s my life, and my husband and I will decide when we’re done.  I’ve been called ungrateful for the children I do have.  I’m abundantly grateful for what God has given me.  Why do people think because one wishes for more of something, then they aren’t grateful or satisfied?  Life is a very short time of existence in which we innately long to fill with love, joy, and experiences.  I’ve heard it’s not a big loss because some were not too far along.  Doesn’t matter.  New life is a gift, and it’s devastating when it’s gone.  I was even told “no one cares about your f____ miscarriages.”  I can’t even dignify that with a response.  That hateful comment speaks for itself – a lack of compassion and character.

Let me clarify something.  Heartbreak is personal.  Pain is pain.  I may feel it differently and handle it differently than the next mom, but it’s mine and mine to experience.  Circumstances of course are not all the same, but unimaginable in their own way.  Loss may be early on, midway, or close to birth.  Loss may be at birth or after a few short breaths.  And loss may be just days, weeks, or months after giving birth. 

Regardless, no one should ever minimize a woman’s grief, pain, or emptiness, because no matter when a mama loses her sweet angel, she was already in love…

There’s no scale of hurt, no reason to compare.  

There's always longing.  



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