Last Post of the Year

My father passed away 11 months and 14 days ago. The only silver lining on his passing was that I no longer had a censor on social media. It is not that I was afraid of him as a parent. It was that I know he was set in his ways and I did not want him to worry about me. Still, there were times that I posted things that would terrify him.

Imagine my surprise when on December, his birth month, several people I know personally have started making comments on post about what I should and should not say on social media. Ironically, on my daddy’s birthday, I have something to say about this.

1) Do not expect me to conform to your way of seeing the world. The same way that you don’t want people telling you what to do, who to believe or what to believe in, I expect the same consideration. I am who I am. I don’t like using dirty words online and I have no problem saying them in public. I am overweight, overtired and smarter than average. If you don’t like me for who I am, I am sure you have plenty of people around that don’t like you either. You can always unfriend, unfollow or just forget about me. There are seven billion people in this world. I am sure I will make new friends.

2) I don’t care for what corporate America thinks. My father, my sister and most people who work in corporate America, cringe when I say something bad about a particular company. Funny how they don’t notice when I say good things about other corporations. I have a voice, I am going to use it. Most importantly, if there is any doubt around, I am a firm believer in capitalism. I believe in not shopping where I don’t care to shop. I will often criticize what I think is a mistake by any corporation in the hopes that someday they finally learn that the reason why many are going under is because they have made short-term gain a priority and if they don’t look at the long-term, they will end, just like Sports Authority, Comp USA and many others before them. I also believe that if a corporation wants to tell me how to think and what to say, then I have a right to do the same about them. For example, if I decide to go back to corporate America, I would never sign anything that says I can no longer state my opinion online. For one thing, I never post the name of the place I work for unless that chapter of my life is over. Second of all, it is nobody’s business what I have to say about anything. Third, my handle is rarely my name and there are plenty of people in the US with my name. If a CEO of a company can email his employees telling them that they should not vote for X candidate because that candidate wanted to start a universal health plan, therefore influencing his thousands of employees to vote a certain way, then I have every right to say that I don’t like X company because they don’t sell organic products. Let’s keep this straight. The days when companies were loyal to their employees are over so telling us how to think is now harder than ever. And just so we are clear. If any family member of mine is fired or asked to interfere in what I write, what I support or what I do with my life, it will be a thrill to see them in court. I have lived all my life in fear. That part of my life is over as the end is closer than the beginning and I now see that living in fear is such a waste of energy.

3) Politically correct is not the same as abusive, insulting and offensive statements. Having said that, I have never said anything offensive. I have stated my truth to the best of my abilities and for that I will never apologize. Unlike poor Steve Martin, who called Carrie Fisher beautiful and was bashed for it, I will not take anything back, especially when I am not insulting the person I am saying it to. If a third-party feels offended, they need psychological help because they should mind their own business. That does not mean that you cannot state your opinion. You have every right to say how you feel, especially when it is something that was stated publicly. Where this goes south is when people decide to bash, demean or insult the other person. We are now in a society where people confuse opinions with facts, and where we lost respect for other people’s opinions. We need to stop this before nobody can say anything because it will offend someone. And the offended people need to stop being so defensive.

4) We have created an environment where social media is only permissible for good news. If people share their engagements, marriages, children, promotions, etc. it is OK. However, when a person decides to share their struggles, their divorces, their miscarriages, cancer or any other reality of life, we are frowned upon and told that we should not share our private life. The last time I looked, marriage, children, promotions and all the other things were part of private life as well. Life is not all ice cream and chocolate. Believe me, if it was, I would be first in line. The reason why social media studies harp so much on the levels of depression generated by “social media envy” is because people are more interested in being liked than they are in being real. Where is it going to end? The saddest part of this is when you read stories of suicide victims. You have a family showing you their college kid’s profile on social media as they tell you that they had no idea that their kid was going through hell. You listen to coworkers of someone state how this person seemed so normal on Facebook and yet they were so desperate for attention they bought a gun and proceeded to shoot ten of the people they worked with. People are ashamed to tell their truth. We are scared to say when we are scared, sad, depressed, lonely or overwhelmed. We live in a society where “negative” feelings are to be avoided at all cost and medicated whenever possible. I have news for you. It is normal to be sad, it is perfectly OK to feel lonely, and there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed or pathetic every once in a while. Having feelings is not positive or negative, what actions we take based on those feelings can have positive or negative impact. There are people around that will not judge you if you are sad and many will love you in spite of having down days.

The reality is very simple. I know most of the critics love me. But they don’t know me. They think that, because they have been in my life for twenty, thirty or all 50 years, they know me and they know what is best for me. They are wrong. If they were right, they would know that when I tell you that I don’t want your opinion, I really don’t want your opinion. If they really knew me, they would know that at this particular point in my life, I would rather declare bankruptcy than go back to a corporate job. Nothing wrong with people who want to work at a job. Me? I feel like I gave up who I was to try to conform for twenty years, mainly to make my dad happy and help put food on the table. I’m done with that. I am now following my truth. Will it be hard? YES. The funny thing is that because I am 50, finding a job in corporate America right now would be harder than succeeding by myself, so I might as well give ME a chance.

Live your truth people. If you don’t, one day, you will meet your end and you will find yourself crying for everything you did not get to do. I have no intention of doing that.

Day 13: Slow Burn Social Media

It is an irony that the one thing that keeps me connected to what is going on in the world is also slowly burning me.  It is social media.  It is not the way you think.

Today I woke up to an HP update (yes, I still use a desktop and yes, it is an HP, don’t judge me).  This particular update created a situation where all my screens were too big, like it was for somebody with eyesight issues.  I then went to settings to bring it back to normal size with no luck.

I have a small business that I am building right now and use social media a lot.  I also like to keep family and friends updated through that method.  Well, that was not going to happen because the letters were so light that I could not read them.

I wasted the entire day working on my computer to see if I could fix it and nothing changed.  In the end, after restarting two times, I finally got to a happy medium I can live with.  I’m not happy right now.  The truth is I’m burned out and I feel this whole situation caused me to slowly burn on social media.  Oh, did I tell you my cell phone is acting funny too?

I noticed how horrible my day went and I decided I needed a break to recoup, regroup, create new content and build my business properly.  I made an announcement on FB that I was going to be unavailable for the next eight days.  I hope that is enough.  I will keep the blog going because this is an outlet to the love, frustration, learning and beauty that is our journey through Alzheimer’s.  There is so much learning to be done, so many things to be figured out and I just need a break.

I don’t know why we all feel we have to be connected 24-7.  Whether it is watching the news, uploading content, commenting on other’s content, it seems that we are not happy if we are not consuming.  We should stop this.  I think, I am going to create a rule in my house.  One day a week, I will choose to carry no devices and work on nothing social media related.  It is easy to do.  All you have to do is program posts or do it on a day like Saturday when most people don’t pay attention to social media.

I think we all need to unplug every once in a while.  What do you think?  Leave your comment below.

Who Are You, Honestly?

I was chatting with an old friend last night through Facebook and I discovered she was facing some dramatic situations in her life.  She mentioned that people always thought she had the perfect life and had no idea what she was going through.  That made me think about the personas we chose to publish on social media and inspired the question:  Who are you, honestly?

We all want to put our best foot forward.  We don’t want to let reality disrupt the brand we are creating online.  And yet, we all have challenges.  Those challenges usually make us better people.  If nothing else, the challenges are what makes us.

There is a difference between posting positive thoughts and just covering a situation.  I love posting positive videos, positive messages and hoping that the things I share go viral.  They are not my creations, usually they are videos or reports of other people doing remarkable things.  What I want to create is a world where we tell the media that what we want is more positive and less negative things.  This is my way of contributing to this ideal.

I don’t usually say anything about my personal life online.  That begs the question what am I covering up?  I’m not covering anything.  If you read my blog, you know I struggle with my weight and my health, I have five novels in several stages of writing but have not finished any of them, I like my job and I want more out of my life.  More importantly, I want to help women between the ages of 40 and 60 to put themselves first and accomplish all their dreams.

I have a blog and I am brutally honest about my life here.  So to me, my social media accounts are to share other people’s triumphs, and sometimes my blog posts.  What do we know about you?  You have beautiful pictures with great smiling faces, always having a good time.  What do we really know about you?

I wish we could be honest.  The main reason is obvious.  I love to help people.  I can’t help you if I don’t know you need help.  I can’t be a support if I don’t know what is going on.  Now don’t take me wrong.  I don’t want to see a bunch of whiners on my feed now.  What I am saying is that I want to see the real you, the person that had a great day yesterday and today lost an opportunity, the person that won a tennis match two days ago and today got a flat tire.  I want reality.

What do you think?  Do you want more honesty in social media?  Do you want to feel the freedom of being you?  Leave your comment below.