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Pieces of me

Inspiration for those who warrior on

Thanksgiving turkey

My family and I had a lovely Thanksgiving this past week with one small exception. I decided that I would bake with the children. Now, normally I’d gladly blame the resulting mayhem on my children, because what’s childhood without a good dose of mother guilt thrown in to build character? But no, the problem was that I don’t bake. I don’t like baking, and I’m not good at baking.

I like to cook. Now, for those of you who neither cook nor bake, you may not realize that there is a difference. Well, let me assure you there is. Some people are good at both, but some of us prefer one or the other. I’m a cooking gal.

If I have time and energy, I enjoy cooking a nice soup or casserole or sauce or saute. Anything on top of the stove is fine by me. It’s that damned oven that poses problems. Actually, that’s not true, I can bake meat in an oven just fine.

I think the problem with me and baking is the precision and measurements of it. I much prefer to throw spices together and give it a taste and adjust as needed. That’s cooking! It’s sort of the fun Uncle of the food preparation world, while baking is the nun at your boarding school with the ruler to check the length of your skirt.

But MY mother and her mother were those women who did both, cooking and baking. Of course, Grandma did both; there was not a lot of other options for getting food cooked back in her day. In fact, my grandmother was renown in the small community in Missouri where she raised my mother and her siblings for being an excellent cook and baker. Among her most popular dishes were chicken and dumplings and her pies.

Everyone loved my grandmother’s pies. My mother made lovely pies, and always from scratch, but no one could ever quite master Grandma’s pie crusts. The recipe was no secret. We all baked with her and watched her, but she just knew how much flour and how to roll the dough just right. She just knew….I don’t know what she knew, but she knew it! She knew how to make perfect pie crusts.

I had no illusions that my kids and I would make perfect pie crusts. I simply wanted to give them that experience which was as common to me growing up as it is now foreign to my children born to a baking-deficient mother.

So, I have my ingredients and one child is interested and helping and we cobble together two crusts and put them in the oven to partially bake. We move on to making the fillings. The plan was to make a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie. However, the pumpkin filling ended up filling two pies.

No problem, because my son has now decided he wants in on the pie-baking action. After all, this is a rare sight in this house. My son is far more enthusiastic about rolling out the dough than my daughter. So, while I had quickly convinced my daughter to hand over the rolling pin to me the first time she started getting dough stuck to the table, my son was not so easily displaced from his job.

Now, I did realize at some point that I was being a control freak. Further, I was cognizant of the fact that it would be a more Norman Rockwell experience if I’d stop telling the boy how wrong he was doing it or sighing so loudly when I had to peel the dough off the table AGAIN to restart. But that knowledge just added to my anxiety and growing feelings of maternal inadequacies.

Then, it hit me. I had been telling the children all morning how my grandmother made pies almost every day. How there were always pies in her house, and she always made them perfectly.

Of course she was good at it, she did it every day! A cousin reminded me on my FaceBook post complaining about our pie-making endeavor, that Grandma would say practice makes perfect and a little less mess every time.

It’s like those memes where there’s a picture of how a finished project turned out on Pinterest vs. how it turned out in “real life.” Of course, our first attempts don’t look like the pretty ones that someone who has perfected the project posts!

Pinterest "nailed it" meme

That top cake is not someone’s first attempt at baking a cake!

Look, I have no inclination to become any better at making pies than I currently am, but what I’m taking away from this incident is that I’m going to stop expecting to be good at things I rarely do. Moreover, I need to stop comparing my “practices” to someone else’s “perfects.”

Social media is full of everyone’s best efforts. Their 126th selfie looks divine and you’ll never see all the hideousness that came before! I’m not knocking the fact that we all do that on social media. I’m just knocking myself a little upside the head with the reminder that life is not a string of perfected projects or sultry selfies or perfect pie crusts. Life is the messy behind the cameras part that you can’t compare to social media depictions of it.

You can’t compare your normal, every-day messy attempts at life to those perfected portrayals on social media or to the memories of pies perfected over a life time.

So, live your full-messy, not Facebook-worthy life! Post your wins, but embrace the rest of it too, because there’s a lot of good stuff to be had in the mess and imperfection.

Pie making mess

Our pie-making mess!

 

 

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In 2003, I married my husband and moved from Miami to work in a more rural Florida town. I was still practicing law, at the time, but was looking for employment that felt more rewarding. I thought I had found it working for a small firm which practiced ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) law.

The firm was so small, it didn’t offer health insurance. Nonetheless, I took the job offer, because my new husband (an ex-marine) had coverage through the VA, and I was healthy and could afford to buy insurance on my own….or so I thought. See, this was back when insurance companies could deny coverage for preexisting conditions. I knew that, of course. What I didn’t know was that as a recovered bulimic, I would be considered as having a preexisting condition. I thought a preexisting condition was something current and on-going like Type I diabetes. It never occurred to me that I could be denied coverage for something in the past.

I don’t remember how many applications I submitted. I know, however, that the number of rejections I received was equal to the number of applications I completed. They were all rejected because of my past treatment for bulimia.

Yes, I had a full-time position as an attorney. I was completely healthy and recovered from bulimia and willing to pay the outrageous premiums that I was quoted, but I could not get a single insurance company to write me coverage. I went two years without coverage, before I was back with an employer-sponsored plan.

On the eve of this important midterm election, I wanted to share how important it is that we not go back to the days when coverage could be denied for preexisting conditions. I now have two children with preexisting conditions that they are never going to “recover” from. One of my children has ADHD and the other is on the autism spectrum.

In fact, it was due to a conversation with my autistic child about preexisting conditions that I decided to write this blog. I’m a political junkie, and the closer an election gets the more my kids overhear political jargon. I was listening to a political rally via Twitter when I picked up my daughter from school Friday. The speaker was discussing the importance of protecting our current preexisting conditions law. My daughter asked what they were talking about, and thus, the obvious analogy was to her. So, with a lump in my throat, I looked my beautiful, highly intelligent, physically healthy daughter in the eye and broke the news to her that some would deny her the ability to purchase health insurance because she is autistic.

I always vote. I have never missed an opportunity to vote. My son was born 21 minutes before an election day. I voted early that year. My husband did not, so he left me and his newborn son in the hospital to go vote. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I don’t understand people who don’t vote, quite frankly, but if you are one, I encourage you to rethink.

My son with his daddy's "I voted" sticker.

My son with his daddy’s “I voted” sticker.

I know a lot of people don’t get off on watching C-Span like I do. I know politics is as off-putting for many as it is exciting for me. But voting isn’t just for political junkies like me. Voting isn’t just for the law nerds or wing nuts.

Voting isn’t just about politics!

It’s about real people like my daughter who just needs a bit more help navigating a world that is often overwhelming for her brain. It’s about a young, professional who had an eating disorder in college, but who was healthy and trying to start her adult life.

Even if you are still unconvinced that the law should protect those of us with preexisting conditions, go vote! Even if health insurance coverage isn’t what you most care about, go vote! Even if you think your vote won’t matter, go vote.

Like I said, I have never missed an opportunity to vote, and you know what? Nothing bad has ever come from it. No, my candidates haven’t always won. I haven’t always understood those wordy amendment proposals, and I certainly don’t always know who to vote for for mosquito control. Yes, that’s a thing in Florida! But nothing bad has ever happened to me from showing up to vote.

This is no down side. Go VOTE!

I ran out to a small store near my neighborhood this morning. I just needed a few items to finish up my daughter’s Halloween costume. As I was checking out, two middle-aged men got in line behind me. One of them reached around me to grab a Chapstick out of the display. I started to do what we women normally do, move out of his way and apologize for being in “his” way, but I didn’t.

No, I decided I wouldn’t be pushed out. I stayed in my spot, but that didn’t stop this guy. He stayed in his now way-too-close position. I couldn’t move for fear I’d brush up against him. He was standing over me, and I could feel his breath.

I’m waiting for him to back up and fighting the urge to move “out of his way.” I know one wrong move and his body is touching mine, and that thought makes my skin crawl. My heart is pounding; this is way outside of the bounds of appropriate social space. When it was clear that he was not going to move, I realized I was going to have to say something. He was plainly content being that close to me, but I was not.

So, I did it. Something I’ve never done. I asked, “Would you back up? You’re in my personal space.” I didn’t talk myself out of it by telling myself that I was being silly to feel uncomfortable. I stood up to this strange man who was being wholly inappropriate.

I’m so glad I did. His reaction said it all. His reaction made it clear that he wasn’t clueless or mistaken about what he was doing. While he did back up a step, he went on to joke and laugh with his friend about the “girl” needing her personal space. How silly and funny of me, huh?

“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter.” – Christine Blasey Ford

The female clerk, on the other hand, gave me a nod of approval and understanding. I’m very proud of myself, even if I do still want to scald the feeling of his breath off my skin. It wasn’t all right. His behavior was not okay, and any man who wasn’t an ass when confronted wouldn’t have compounded the situation with jokes and laughter. He would have never done that to a man. He would have never done that if my husband had been there. Neither he nor anyone else gets to make me feel small and unsafe at the freaking dollar store!

Back up! I apologize to myself, my fellow women, and most of all my daughter, for never before saying “back up” to the stranger who thinks it’s acceptable to physically intimidate me or try to brush against me or whatever the hell he thought he was doing. Enough is enough. If you don’t know how to treat me, then I will tell you. Back up!

Because, you see, it’s not about that dude and whatever the heck is wrong with him. It’s about me. I exist and have these voices that we all have that say, this is not safe, this is not ok with me, I’m uncomfortable with this situation. Too often, I ignore that voice for fear of being rude, but that’s not an acceptable way to treat myself.

Several months ago, I found myself in a nonphysical situation where I was tempted, like this morning, to not respect my own discomfort in a situation. A married man started texting me. The conversation itself was benign, but for various reasons, I was not interested in having this conversation via text with this person. My gut kept shouting to stop, but “I didn’t want to be rude.”

I’m laughing a bit as I admit the following. I texted my older sister to tell her what was happening and essentially get her permission to end the conversation. Yes, I’m 42 years old and I needed my sister’s help to stop texting someone I didn’t want to text. I’m a little ashamed, but thankful I have women in my life to give me permission when I don’t feel like a warrior woman.

So, in case any of my readers (women or men) need it. I give you permission to listen to your gut. I give you permission to take up space. I give you permission to protect your sense of well being when you are in public. I give you permission to end an awkward conversation. I give you permission to say, “back up!”

I am your store clerk smiling and nodding at you telling you, don’t listen to their laughter, you did the right thing. I am your sister saying, you’re right, you can stop texting him. I am your fellow warrior who isn’t always strong enough to recognize her own self-worth who will understand you when fail to listen to your gut or use your voice.

We aren’t warriors because we’ve conquered all our foes. We are warriors because we are still fighting.

 “I see a woman may be made a fool, If she had not a spirit to resist.” ― William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

I thought I would be better at this parenting thing. It’s not that it is harder than I thought. I’m not naive; I knew it would be hard! The issue is I thought I’d be better at dealing with the difficulties.

I’m a highly educated woman. I can read and google. I thought that anything that came up, I could research or ask around and figure it out.

Also, I had a lot of experience with kids. Babysitting in high school and college. My undergrad degree was child development. I had two nephews and four nieces. I was even a nanny one summer. I had been around a lot of small humans.

Ahh, but that was care giving. That was the what and how to keep children alive. The rub is the why. It’s all the decisions that you’re making consciously or unconsciously.

Not long ago, I made that introductory statement, I thought I would be better at parenting, to a friend. She’s recently rejoined the workforce and her kids are not adjusting to the new schedule as well as hoped. As she told me what was going on, I sat there nibbling on my gyro, nodding, listening, thinking, “I got nothing for her” in terms of advice. Nothing other than, yeah, why aren’t we better at this?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. The rules keep changing.

My outgoing son who had been in preschool for 3 years and never flinched about leaving me had to be physically drug out of my car every morning for the first month of Kindergarten. Why? Every day at pick-up, he was happy and reported having a great day. His teacher was amazing, and we keep in touch with her to this day. Nonetheless, he went through these fits for what felt like forever when he started kindergarten.

On the other hand, my daughter who quit a music lesson last year simply because she was terrified to be on a promotional video, signed up to be a news anchor at her school this year. I was flabbergasted, asking if she understood that that included being video tapped? She didn’t appreciate the sarcasm.

My point is, every time I think I have something about how this is all supposed to play out, these little turds change the rules on me!

Parenting is a freaking moving target! And now, my little targets are starting to have hormones, you know, the bad teenagery ones. The ones that made my daughter storm off to her room last night and when I went to talk to her about it, made her declare, it’s no big deal.

Ones that make my son impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I resorted to finding the Army bugle call on loop and playing it until he got out of bed recently. He still made us late getting out the door though, by deciding to change shoes at the last minute.

The rules change by child. The rules change by age. The rules change by the phases of the moon. I don’t know why some of the rules change. I just know I keep looking for rules, and I’m getting dizzy!

  1. On a lot of issues, there’s information on both sides.

Trying to research to find an answer is not at all helpful. There’s information on both sides of every parental decision coin. Unless, you are asking should I abuse my child or not, there’s rarely any shortage of information supporting something.

The care giving you can learn and figure out. It’s the parenting that’s hard. In care giving, I learned you promptly change a poopy diaper or the baby gets a rash, but how many extracurricular activities are too many or not enough. There’s no answer for that. It “depends on the child!” That’s the only answer, and what kind of an answer is that? I already said my kids like to change the rules on me!

  1. There’s a terrible shortage of down time in this parenting game.

Workdays and weeks come to ends, but not parenting. Oh, sure they go to sleep, but you never know when they’re going to have a nightmare or a sudden fever.

It’s all so exhausting physically and mentally, and I want to do it so well, and that just makes it feel harder.

I found this study in The Economist, which says parents spend twice as much time with their kids these days than 50 years ago. I would analyse what that means for us, but I’m exhausted. I’ll just say, I’m trying to let those stats relieve some Mommy guilt.

  1. Too many decisions.

Personally, I’ve decided it all boils down to this one. Parenting, as opposed to care giving, just involves an inordinate amount of decision making.

Moreover, we’ve made it harder for ourselves. 100 years ago whether or not you co-slept depended on whether or not you could afford a separate bedroom or whether you all needed to sleep together in the winter for warmth.

Now, we have so many gadgets to hold an infant, people have a couple in every room in the house. We have all these gadgets and now you must decide which ones are good, and hold long the baby can be in the damn thing, and can I put the thing on the counter without the baby falling off (no, the answer’s no, ding dong!).

Once you decide you want a gadget, then which brand? No wonder Ma and Pa Ingalls were so perfect, they never had to decide between a Bumbo or a bouncy seat or how much screen time a 10 year old should have!

We’re spending half our mental energy making decisions about what things to use, what events to go to, how much stimulation should the child get. It makes an already exhausting job harder.

I’ve heard that Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day because he had so many decisions to make that he wanted to cut out the “what to wear” decision. I want to figure out what the “Steve Jobs turtleneck” of parenting is. How can I streamline all these decisions that I have to make? And look, I’ve already quit deciding what to wear, it’s a tank top and leggings or shorts. But that’s a personal decision I’ve cut out. I want one less parenting decision!

Perhaps, the answer is the adage of “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but I can’t decide.

We’re ALL a work in progress. That includes all your role models, all the influencers you follow, and everyone you look up to. No one has it all figured out. Take the pressure off yourself and just focus on moving forward. – Mel Robbins

Lately, my mental health has gotten away from me. I’ve written quite a bit about things that I do to keep the wolves of depression and anxiety at bay like planning my weeks, exercise/nutrition, meditation (or naps, sometimes it turns into a nap, and I’m ok with that), etc.

But for the past month or more, I’ve dropped the ball. I gained back a lot of the weight that I dropped in 2017, and while I’ve continued (until this month) my exercise routine, the setback on the scale has deteriorated my mental game.

The chase

I keep trying to get back to the things that work for me, but I feel like I’m chasing a ball downhill. Every time I catch up to it, I stumble on a rock, and once again, it rolls on out of reach. I get tired of the chase and just sit and watch it get further and further out of reach. Having caught my breathe, I now have twice as hard to run to try to grab it, stomp on it with my foot, kick it back in the direction I want to go, anything other than this unproductive, out-of-control decline.

I recently ran across a quote that used the term recalibrate in reference to getting one’s mental focus in alignment with their purpose. Being a writer, words are my medium and I can get caught up on a word. ….or maybe that’s just a weird me thing.

Nonetheless, I started googling different definitions and synonyms for recalibrate to further sink into this idea. Obviously, some of the definitions focused on the term’s mechanical meaning. One such definition that seemed to be what I was searching for was on https://dictionary.cambridge.org, which defines recalibrate, in part, as “to make small changes to an instrument so that it measures accurately.”

Small changes

I needed the “small changes” part of this definition. It was an important reminder that elephants are eaten one small bite at a time.

This week, I decided to just focus on two things. Two manageable things:

  1. Get to bed by 10 p.m. Yup, that’s it. Just turn off wine time early and get to bed. I may not fall asleep, but I’ll not be snacking, and my body will be in a relaxed posture.
  2. Drink my water. Specifically, the goal is half my body weight in oz.

Two, healthy small changes. I didn’t meet the bedtime goal Monday night, but I did last night. I’m choosing to let myself be proud of that small change even if the ball isn’t fully under control yet.

I met a goal, and when the negative talk has come around to sit its fat ass on my mood, today, I’ve brushed it away with that reminder. I did that! I did that for me, and if I can do that, I am making choices to help and not hurt me.

Choices to recalibrate the parts that have gone askew.

I know you’ve been doubting your progress, regretting your choices, putting yourself down. Please remember that you are doing just fine. Remind yourself right now that no matter what it looks like, you are doing the best you can. Always encourage, support and believe in yourself. – @LivPsy


Friends,

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve been wrestling with my depression, and like so many of us sexual assault survivors, I’ve been struggling with those memories and stirred up emotions. I’ve written about it, but am not ready to share yet.

Today, however, is a good day, and I have something most exciting to share. I’ve just had an article published on one of my personal favorite sites, tinybuddha.com.

Here’s the link to the article: CLICK!

A brief background, though. In July, I made it my goal to submit some blog articles to other sites and get published outside of my little pieces-of-me blog. I did that. This is the third article that has been published on another site, now.

This one, however, had a rocky start. I submitted it to three other websites, which all turned it down. After each submission, I rewrote it, tweaked it, and thought about posting it here for my audience rather than put it out there to be rejected again.

The topic of beauty in brokenness just wouldn’t leave me alone, and I felt like it was the kind of topic to which a broader audience could connect. So, I stuck with it. After the third rejection and rewrite, I was convinced that it was good now. Like really good. I not only decided to submit it once more, but to an even bigger and broader-based blog site than the other three had been. Tinybuddha.com!

The process behind getting this article to light of day has itself been a story of brokenness to beauty.

I’d love to hear what you think of the final product.

 

October 11, 2018

Here I am again being a writer who doesn’t write. Picking up the pen and then dropping it before its energy singes my fingers. Picking up the pen and tapping the unusable end on the paper, because that’s safe enough.

There are words in my head, mind you. Always so many words. Some even congregate enough to create full thoughts. They swirl around my brain like the laundry I decide should be done before putting them down on paper.

These swirling thoughts feel dangerous. One day it’s a release to let it out on paper, but not today. Not now, have you seen what’s going on out there?

I have, and I have these hot, searing thoughts about it all, because how can you not? But write it down? I don’t know. I don’t know if it will be healing. I don’t know if it will be helpful. I don’t know if these thoughts are safe out there.

But my writing is always me. It’s always the most me I can present to people. So, if these thoughts aren’t safe, perhaps it’s just once again the fear that it’s not safe to be me.

Still not safe. Some days I warrior forward, today, I hide and peak out wondering when.

Shut up little girl, no one wants to hear that. Let the other women warrior on, you’re not up to it. Let the other women test the waters, it’s not safe. It’s not safe out there yet.

Out there is still not ready. Or I’m not ready for out there.


September 24, 2018

Recovery is a dance between old habits and new intentions. Choose which leads wisely.


September 13, 2018

I just signed up for this free online “Self Discovery” workshop with Deepak Chopra and thought it might be something my readers would be interested in.

From their ad:

“Deepak’s going to be showing us how to:

Get rid of negative thought patterns and experiences
Really find ourselves and our life’s purpose
Attract abundance and new opportunities (hello dream life!)
Tune into our higher wisdom

Deepak will also be teaching us what “SynchroDestiny is and how we can tap into it.”

If you’re interested, here’s the link to register: https://chopra.com/self-discovery-deepak

Picture of Facebook icon

I found the following post on Facebook this weekend, and it got me thinking about burning bridges.

“Your Facebook activism probably won’t change the world or even anyone’s mind, but it very well might make or break a relationship. You might very well solidify your position as someone’s friend or someone’s enemy. So, before you share your outrage about whatever issue might come up today, you might want to ask yourself this question, am I building bridges or burning them?” – Wes McAdams, blogger at radicallyChristian.com

While we all hate seeing opposing political positions on social media, when I read this I was overcome with the question, what’s so wrong with burning bridges?

I agree that posting inflammatory, often false or at the least misleading memes doesn’t change anyone’s mind. That’s not what I’m talking about.

Stick with cute animals, funny quotes, or motivational memes! The world will thank you!

I mean sharing events and articles and info that I care about. It’s my Facebook page! Its purpose is for me to share the things I care about. If those things are so contradictory to a “friend’s” principles that the relationship cannot stand if it is out in the open, then perhaps that relationship should end.

Look, I don’t know Wes McAdams. I briefly looked at his blog, which seemed like typical Church of Christ preacher stuff. Have I ever mentioned I was a Church of Christ preacher’s kid? Yeah, well, before I get off on that tangent, let me be clear that I don’t have anything for or against Mr. McAdams.

Moreover, I’m not even knocking this quote. To the extent he is saying think about controversial content before you spouting off on social media, I agree that’s solid advice.

However, to the extent that one might be tempted to temper the content they share for the sake of not ruffling feathers, I have to say, some bridges should be burned. We women, especially, have been taught that we must act or look a certain way to be acceptable to others, and I say fuck that.

As a woman who is still trying to unlearn the lessons that said, be this so people like you, I want to stand up for burning bridges. If what sets my soul on fire is too much or too little or too liberal or too opinionated or too feminist for you to handle, here’s a match.

I don’t have to be your type of person, but for my peace and mental wellness, I do need to be me.   If something that’s important to me sours the relationship, that’s ok. We needn’t try to pretend we are something we aren’t in order to keep people happy.

Likewise, if what you are all about is unacceptable to me and not just something I can scroll past or hide, then we aren’t meant for each other’s lives. And that’s ok.

youre-not-everyones-cup-of-tea

Everyone is not your cup of tea, and you are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m passionate about this water crisis going on in my backyard (read about it here), if you can’t handle that, here’s the match.

Moreover, there’s the old adage, you can’t please every one all of the time. Someone is going to not like something you post even if you never share your political leanings or favorite sports team. You’re going to post too many selfies or not enough animal rescues or your kid will be at a party to which theirs wasn’t invited or you won’t share their blog post *cough* *hint* *hint*!

No matter how delicately you try to walk on the social media eggshells, you’re going to piss someone off at some point. Some of us are just a bit better at it than others.

food healthy yellow broken eggs

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One that I’ve been told pisses people off is my gym check-ins. Guess what, though? I love my gym, my trainers, and posting silly hashtags about my workouts. If you can’t take one more of my check-ins, here’s the match.

Recently, I’ve been gut struck by the story of a fellow alumnus from Harding University, Bothem Shem Jean, who was shot in his home by a police officer (read more here). I will continue to follow the story and post stories about what’s going on because too many people prefer to bury their heads in the sand. If you are incensed by the suggestion that not all cops are good or are good at their jobs, then here’s the match.

Look, if you want to light your shoes on fire because you can’t stand Colin Kaepernick, we can still have a relationship.  But if you think it’s ok for people to be treated differently by law enforcement because of the color of their skin, then we have no business being in any sort of relationship together.

We’re not meant to be in relationship with everyone. There are over 7 billion people in the world, I don’t need to water down who I am to be palatable to one person.

Some things are differences of opinions. Some things are differences in viewpoints or life experiences, and that’s the natural diversity that makes the world go around. That’s the stuff that makes us all unique and interesting and makes life a vibrant bouquet of personality shades.

Some things, however, tap into our core beliefs and are bridge burning worthy. Heck, what’s a deal breaker for me and what’s a deal breaker for you are likely different. And that’s ok!

What’s not ok is me asking you to modify yourself so that I never really know you and am never confronted with an idea contrary to my own. What’s not ok is you expecting me to pretend like I don’t see injustices and feel the sting of them intensely. Because I do, and that’s me. If I have to be milquetoast to be acceptable to you, then here’s the match.

Yes, I think some bridges should be burned. Not because the other person thinks differently or posts obnoxious political memes or, God forbid, likes Tom Brady, but because some relationships aren’t healthy.

Trying to make everyone happy is not healthy.

Being in a relationship with someone who expects you to quiet down who you are so that he doesn’t have to accept you as a unique being is not healthy.

Trying to live as malleable clay that reshapes itself based on the audience is not healthy.

Sure, think before you post. That’s great advice. Do some research before you share something you don’t know to be true is good advice too.

Can I get an amen?

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to be all that you are in real life and on social media. Don’t be afraid that someone’s going to see the real you and not like it. So, what? There are still over 7 billion other people with whom you might click.

Be you, and when people walk away because you are you, say thank you.

Be you, and when people ask that you be a little less you so that they don’t have to walk away, then you walk away.

Be you, and when a bridge is covered in warning signs and caution tape, break out the matches.

How to manage social media without burning bridges

Now, for the other side of the coin: when you’re the audience to someone’s “Facebook activism.” Personally, I try not to burn bridges.

That’s right, I just explained why burning bridges isn’t always bad, but that doesn’t mean I’m quick to ignite everyone who posts something obnoxious to me.

For starters, my FB friends list is composed of a wide variety of relationships. I suspect it’s the same for most of you.

I don’t need to vote the same as the FB friend who is a fellow PTA mom. We can follow each other and help wade through parenting together without sharing much else in common.

Most of us aren’t tight with everyone on our friends list, but rather have one common bond that makes a social media relationship advantageous.

For that reason, I don’t expect to agree with everything people post. It’s not a deal breaker for me, and I would encourage some patience before taking a match to every friend who shares disagreeable content.

I prefer to use the hide, snooze, and unfollow options on FB before the unfriend, which is I guess the FB version of burning a bridge. Just because one topic a person posts about boils my blood doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have a place on my list.

We all have our breaking point, though. We all have our lines in the sand, which require a good bon fire.

Ultimately, I go back to ‘this is my account.’ If content I see is bringing in more negativity than benefit, I need to take action to protect my serenity. Hiding or unfollowing people are my way of protecting myself and nurturing an atmosphere that builds me up rather than tears me down.

It may sound contradictory to say when it comes to content you share, don’t worry if it causes a burning bridge, but when you react to others’ content be slow to burn bridges. However, my underlying goal with both is to make my social media a soul satisfying space as opposed to a soul sucking one.

“You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people.” – Glennon Doyle

 

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