Don’t Kill the Messenger: Social Media Is Not Bad, But People Can Be

I would like it if people would stop judging and categorizing certain types of media as bad. In my humble opinion the medium is neutral. It is the conveyance of the message. And like any tool available to human kind, it can be used for amazing good and terrible evil.
I was inspired to write my opinion, argument, if you will, because I got moved to action by another bashing of social media. The claim is that if you use social media, you will become depressed. I don’t believe this is necessarily true. And I think the claim misses the point. It is how you use and interpret the messages received and sent through social media that may reinforce or stimulate depression. It is not the neutral conveyance. We give things and thoughts the meaning. And whether it is good or bad, we judge.
I have to admit that part of my inspiration for expressing this opinion is to defend my ego. I love watching TV and sharing ideas, pictures, jokes and messages on social media. I do these things quite often. But because I prefer to receive my messages and communicate with other human beings through TV and social media, it does not make me “less than” people who prefer receiving messages through reading books or talking to each other on the telephone. Why do people feel the need to blame or glorify the conveyance? Or make one more righteous than another? I think the reason is probably ego and a lack of the assignment of personal responsibility.
I can do amazing things on social media. One thing that comes to mind is that I can continue a friendship with one of my classmates from elementary school. My friend, Stephen, and I went to elementary school in Kansas City, Missouri. And since that moment, a long, long time ago, we have both moved off to different cities. Stephen now lives somewhere in Oregon, and I live on the other side of Missouri in the greater Saint Louis metropolitan area. And if it were not for Facebook, I don’t believe we would communicate at all. But because Facebook exists, we were able to, first, find each other, and second, easily share ideas, our experiences, images of love ones and beautiful places. I am grateful that Facebook exists because without it, my friendship with my former childhood classmate would not exist. But it is Stephen and I that have made this a good experience, not necessarily the medium. If we were different people and shared different messages, this relationship could have become a negative experience. I believe that whether the experience is good or bad is up to us. And the strength and quality of the relationship is also up to us. I also cringe when people say, “but those people online aren’t really your friends.” Just because I communicate with Stephen on Facebook rather than calling him on the phone or talking to him in person does not change the quality of our friendship – it just simply makes it possible.
Sometimes people say terrible and awful things. And yet, there has been no campaign to urge people to stop talking. We have the common sense to not blame talking itself. I think we should use the same common sense with all methods of communication.

Maybe I’ll Do It Tomorrow

I am not my hair

I am not this skin

I am not your expectations, no

I am not my hair

I am not this skin

I am the soul that lives within


Do you over-think things? I do. I’ve been procrastinating. It’s time to color my hair. I’ve been hiding my gray hair for years now. It was really important to me when my son was born. Pregnancy hormones help you have strong feelings, and I was not going to be a gray-haired mom with an infant. I did cut back while he was baking in the oven, because the jury is out on how safe it is. But my OB said that it was OK.

But that is irrelevant now. My son is now six, and the hormonal decree has long expired. But, am I ready to give up the hair dye? I’m on the fence about it. Like India.Arie says, “I am not my hair.” Where is that line between vanity and a healthy practice of taking care of yourself and your appearance? Should I be changing the natural state of my hair? What does coloring my hair say about me and my relationship with my ego?

Am I caught up in believing that a youthful appearance is more beautiful? Not completely. Am I ready to deal with the awkward stages of growing my hair out? Probably not. My husband thinks that long hair is sexy, and he does not want me to cut it short, so that’s not a good solution.

Probably the best thing to do is to stop analyzing it. Just do it, like Nike. Stop wasting energy on this insignificant decision.

Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.

Gratitude and a Happy Ego

I finally started a blog last night.

It’s kind of a big deal for me because one of my goals is to be brave and to speak my truth.  I am still speaking through my writing, but my hope is that it will eventually lead to my actual spoken word, face-to-face with other people, most or all of the time.  That is not to say that I’m going around lying all the time.  I am actually a very honest and truthful person.  But my trick is the things I don’t say – the things that I keep to myself.  I have thoughts, feelings and responses about topics that can be controversial, or spawn judgment from others with strong opinions, that I keep to myself because of my fears of conflict, judgment and rejection.  I love, and I am inspired by the song “Brave,” sung by Sara Bareilles, from her fourth studio album, The Blessed Unrest (2013).  When asked about the song in interviews, Sara shares that she thinks that “there’s so much honor and integrity and beauty in being able to be who you are, [and] it’s important to be brave because by doing that you also give others permission to do the same.”  These are things I want in my life:  honor, integrity, beauty and the people around me (including myself) to feel willing and able to stand up and be and share who they truly are.  In the end, it’s all about love and acceptance.

But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
— Sara Bareilles and Jack Antonoff

Here’s where the gratitude comes in.  My expectation is that I would write and no one would read it.  And, because I am fighting some fear, I was OK with that.  But within hours of my first post, I got my first “Like.”  It was from a blogger named Eddy, whose writing has those courageous qualities I hope to achieve for myself.  And because of this simple form of acceptance, my needy ego is very happy.  I’m so grateful for the positive feedback and the speed in which it was delivered.  This will motivate me to share more.

A thankful shout-out to a brave and kind blogger, Eddy, for my first “Like”: