Tag Archives: Facebook

Women Rock Wednesday: Sacred Text and Chuck Taylors

Today’s Women Rock Wednesday starts with a man.

(Figures. Ugh.)

(Just kidding.)

But seriously, it does start with a man.

I was up north in Minocqua a month or so ago and chatting with a colleague I don’t see terribly often. Somehow, the topic turned to Harry Potter. I’m honesty not sure how. I swear I’d fess up if I recalled steering the conversation that direction, but I really don’t remember doing that. Regardless, we were talking about Harry Potter and the aforementioned colleague, Peter, told me about Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. A weekly podcast that takes you through the Harry Potter series, chapter by chapter, reading and discussing each through the lens of a specific theme and using various traditional spiritual practices to relate the reading and those themes to the world and our own lie.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

I’d actually never listened to a podcast before, but audiobooks have completely changed my running experience, so it seemed like something I could get behind. Two things first…

  1. I had to figure out how to listen to a podcast. It was a little bit of a process that made me feel o-l-d and required that I admit to more than one person that I didn’t even know how to start, but I got there. The little purple Podcast icon is now on my iphone home page and I’ve got all of the Book 1 podcasts loaded.
  2. This felt like something I really didn’t want to do alone, but taking a children’s book that seriously isn’t something you can ask just anyone to do. Fortunately, I knew exactly who I wanted to do it with. Unfortunately… anxiety. And that brings me to the real meat of this story: Nicole. Yes, I did just call my friend meat. And she is a woman. Two strikes against this post already.

Nicole and I were both chemistry majors at Michigan Tech. I can count on one hand (literally) the other female chemistry majors I knew while I was there — Beth, Amanda, Shannon. And because other women were so few and far between in my classes, on campus, in the dorms, there was really something special about the bonds I forged with them while there. There was a familiarity, a safety, a kinship with those women that may or may not have been unique to Michigan Tech, but was definitely unique in my life to that point and I sincerely value those relationships.

I loved (and still love, honesty) those women. But I was desperately shy around Nicole while we were still in Houghton. She had this gorgeous, unruly, curly black hair that she wore with absolute abandon, while I was still busy working my way out of the over-gelled, wet poodle, ramen noodle look. She wore rocker jeans and funky t-shirts and chucks with everything.  I never went anywhere or wore anything without a white, crew neck, men’s t-shirt underneath. She spoke up for what she believed in in class and on campus. I was busy trying to quietly figure out what I even believed in enough to speak up about. I put Nicole on a high pedestal and convinced myself I couldn’t reach her there.

Fortunately, Facebook emerged on the college scene circa 2005 and I was far more comfortable with virtual friendship than I was with the in-person kind. Nicole and I, like many other college classmates, became friends on Facebook and stayed that way after graduation as we went our separate ways — interstate moves, jobs and grad schools, marriages and more new states, quietly noting one another in our evolving Facebook feeds. So many times, though, there was overlap. Overlap in likes and dislikes, feelings about life milestones or political happenings, appreciation for four-legged creatures with fur and science, science, science. Curls and books. David Bowie and JK Rowling. It was too much to ignore, so we didn’t.

Nicole, from her pedestal on high, took the first big step when she sent me her actual phone number — allowing us to step outside of the Facebook world into the real one. And it was up to me to invite her, via that very real phone number, to do Harry Potter and the Sacred Text with me. I took a page out of Nicole’s Big Book of Bravery and did it. She said yes.


The first podcast was a revelation. The two moderators (hosts? what do you call a podcast star???) talked about spirituality and what it meant to view something as a sacred text – to love a work, feel at home with it, and to intentionally spend time with the words and their meaning in the context of our own lives. People have done this with a variety of texts for ages and ages – the bible, for example. So why not Harry Potter?

Why not, indeed?

I was enamored instantly and the week-long conversation that 30 minute podcast and single chapter of reading sparked between Nicole and I fed me in an incredibly profound way over that first week. We talked, also, at length about how quickly we wanted to go. The biggest part of me wanted to RUN, to devour it, take as much in as quickly as I possibly could. But a deeper, more rational part of me, convinced me that to savor it would be better. And as I listened to the second podcast on a walk with my pup in the sunshine this afternoon, I was so grateful for that decision. What I heard again moved my heart. I cannot wait to sit down with my book this evening and really reflect, using a version of  the spiritual practice of lectio divina  to fully engage with the text and my friend.

I learned in that first week that I am committed to authenticity. But as I think about this week’s theme of loneliness, I understand how terrified I was of authenticity for much of my life. I set myself up for loneliness by spending a lot of energy trying to fit in and worrying that I wouldn’t, rather than engaging others authentically and finding meaning in the relationships that resulted. That started to change in college to some extent, and even more so in graduate school, but only now is it something that I would consider intentional.

Perhaps that’s why now is exactly the right time for me to discover a real relationship with Nicole. Any sooner and I may have felt the need to purchase a pair of chucks, but she’d have seen right through it and I’d have blown everything. Or maybe not. But seriously, this woman rocks and now is definitely a good time!

The things you don’t see on Facebook…

As I write this, I’m sitting on the chaise end of an enormous comfy couch located in a gorgeous penthouse suite at the tippy top of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon Tower in Honolulu, Hawaii. I have a view of Diamondhead Crater and Waikiki Beach through the gauzy balcony curtains. This moment is 100% Facebook-able. Not unlike the large number of other Facebook-able and Instagram-worthy moments I’ve posted since departing the chilly Wisconsin fall in favor of the sandy beaches, aqua ocean, and tropical climes of Oahu early Saturday morning.

intro pic

I posted about the upgrade to first class on the 6+ hour flight en route from Salt Lake City to Honolulu that Seth gifted to me and the mai tai I was offered the second I sat down. It was super sweet of Seth and definitely a cush way to travel, I think I captured that… but I didn’t describe the anxiety the began to plague me the second we left our house on Friday evening. I didn’t describe the panic it turned into before we boarded that plane in SLC. The heartbeat that wouldn’t slow down, the breaths that became increasingly difficult to take, the feeling that something was stuck in my throat and sitting on my chest, the tears that wouldn’t stop coming, over and over again for almost the entire 6+ hours.

This is what anxiety looks like. (On me, in that particular moment.) Not exactly a new profile picture.
This is what anxiety looks like. (On me, in that particular moment.) Not exactly a new profile picture.

We met our friends in the airport — I quickly confessed my unwavering anxiety to Melissa and she rapidly and genuinely assured me that she loves me no matter what. I believed her. Mostly. But not entirely, because anxiety…

But then again, gratitude, you know? And this place, this vacation, these friends — so much gratitude. And we were in Hawaii, and I was wearing a beautiful lei, and I posted a (tired) selfie with the words “Aloha!” and a smattering of super fitting emoji. I posted a snapshot of our view and showed everyone the perfection that surrounded me. And it was good.


Chris came to join us from his hustle bustle, fancy wedding-in-the-mountains lifestyle on Sunday afternoon and he made dinner plans for us at Roy’s Waikiki. (Have you been there? This sentence, how is this my life?) As we piled into the car and headed down the beach, I felt the panic rise again. There were tears burning the back of my eyes and a tightness in my chest I couldn’t swallow away. There was no reason, yet over pre-dinner drinks Halekulani, Seth put a hand on my back and asked me if I was ok and I lost it. Lost it and couldn’t get it back. There was this picture that Chris took, and it’s nice. But I can see the white knuckle grip my fingers have on my own arms, the strained smile, the panic…


Dinner was lovely. I had a perfectly cooked local butterfish in a deliciously complex orange sauce followed by a few bites of chocolate souffle perfection for dessert. That’s all Facebook-worthy, Twitter-perfect… but the moments in the fancy bathroom spent messaging my mental illness guru (<3 <3 <3) and fighting tears and the constriction in my chest at the table… not those. Those (plus Seth’s, shall we say, insistent urging) were enough to convince me to message my psychiatric nurse practitioner about perhaps calling something in for me — a temporary solution to get me through the flights home before I get back to Wisconsin and into the clinic.

I was so hesitant to take the drugs. Depression is my thing. Not anxiety. This is not me. Was not me? And the Hawaiian restrictions on prescriptions for anxiolytic drugs that wouldn’t allow the local pharmacy to fill the Rx faxed in by my provider (I get it though, Hawaii, I really do — and I’m totally not upset) and the necessity to seek out a walk-in clinic and explain my situation all over again nearly did me in. Fortunately, my sweet husband and amazing friends didn’t give up on me and, with their encouragement, I did what I needed to do to get some help. I went to some weird places and walked some strange roads through Honolulu on Tuesday, but met the “helpers” that Mr. Rogers (the elderly, sweater-wearing, shoe-changing variety) tells us about and got the help that I needed for now.

It was on Monday, as I pondered the absolute absurdity of my goings-on that I thought about all that I was showing and all that I wasn’t and how utterly ridiculous it is for me to know with absolute certainty that that is true about myself, but to constantly and consistently doubt the same must-be-fact about others. We don’t post selfies in the lobby of the Japanese-only (except apparently not because they treated me) walk-in clinic we stumble into while in Hawaii. We don’t become facebook friends with the also Japanese MA who hugged me when I told her I had a miscarriage a few weeks ago and then told me about her own journey through IVF with no success; the woman with whom I shared a surprisingly sweet moment of sadness and mutual understanding. We don’t chat about the kind Walgreens clerk who explained Hawaiian prescription laws and then discussed our mutual love of the Packers and cheese with me while waiting for my sketchy almost-in-Japanese-but-from-a-Hawaii-licensed-prescriber prescription for valium to be filled. Nope. We post the leis and the luaus and the sunset and the smiles. Because those are the things that belong on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever the kids are using these days.

But then again… Tuesday night happened too. And while some of it made it to Facebook, the most amazing bits are relegated forever to my memory because, well:

black sky

iPhones, at least in my hands, don’t take pictures of stars. Facebook can’t really capture the beauty of Melissa’s face when she looked up and nearly screamed, completely giddy from altitude and excitement, “is that THE MILK from the Milky Way?!! Am I seeing the milk???” You guys… it was the milk. The faint light of millions and billions of stars in our beautiful and enormous and amazing and mind boggling galaxy. The milk.

But not just that. It was the whole trip. The warm sun and strong breeze on the ground in Kona while we ate lunch overlooking a little harbor. The stop at the little abandoned sheep station for dinner on our way up. The stars, the stars, the stars. I saw Cassiopeia and followed her arrow to the north star. We saw a dusty little nebula, a star cluster that might as well have been fluorescently stained cells in a dish (the feeling that I had seen that before, wow), and even a glimmer of the “nearby” spiral andromeda galaxy.

The next day, we came back to Oahu early and then headed to the Polynesian Cultural Center as Super Ambassadors where our sweet guide Danica took us from island to island where we heard music and helped to make it, watched beautiful dances and shook our hips as best we could when they taught us how. The Maori gave me goosebumps, the Samoans made me laugh hysterically, and the Ha Breath of Life show brought tears to my eyes in a truly good way.

music in fiji

I took pictures in all those places, at all those times. Facebook-worthy, Instagram-perfect pictures — but there’s no way to capture it all. I can show you the pictures, but I can’t show you the best parts. I can’t describe to you how beautiful my friend was when she saw that milk, how happy my husband was to have finally made it to the top of Mauna Kea. There’s no way to adequately explain the feelings, the real meat of the experience.

And that’s really my point I think. I can post things about my miscarriage, my grief over the loss of our first baby, and the consequent (I think) anxiety and panic I’m experiencing. But even if you know, even if you have experienced it yourself, you haven’t had my experience and I haven’t had yours, so there’s a whole depth there, beyond social media and even the words, words, words I share here, that we really can’t cross. Similarly, you have had beautiful experiences — weddings days and amazing vacations, deep and important friendships and tiny perfect moments — and so have I, but again, there’s a depth of experience that make these things so personal, so uniquely our own, that no amount of photo sharing or photo shopping can ever really capture or convey what it meant to be there, to have lived it.

But it can give us a clue — a clue that something is worth digging in over. Several years ago, when a friend of mind posted something hinting at depression, I messaged her. And a couple days ago, when I found myself in that fancy bathroom, we had another nuanced and deep conversation, despite the panic, that was exactly what I needed in that moment. Similarly, Aunt Becky, PhD, saw our pictures of the sunset from Mauna Kea on the Big Island and was reminded of her own sunrise trip to the top of Maui’s Haleakala and shared her own beautiful photos, reminders of another beautiful experience, with me.

Life is so complicated and messy, yet it sets up up for so many moments that are beautiful beyond words. Sometimes we manage to capture some of that beauty and little snapshots of frustration or grief. It’s not the whole truth, though. It can’t be. We can only live what’s real and show the highlight reel. There’s no other way to go about it. And, for me, it’s so important to remember that the beautiful, picture perfect moments are only a very small fraction of the story, but that all of the experience matters.


On Monday night I was in a complete state (as I imagine a genteel southern woman would delicately call the messy ball of anxiety I had become). I went up to our room, took a sleeping pill, and came back down to say goodnight. But my sweet friend Melissa saved me from myself. We went out onto that beautiful penthouse balcony and I sobbed about my miscarriage, the struggle with infertility, the unfairness of it all… the pain, the grief, the self-pity. I unloaded it all. It was not pretty. And then I couldn’t stop apologizing because one of my biggest fears before we left was being the ruiner of vacation — I couldn’t bare the thought of ruining this beautiful trip for people I love so much. Instead, my friend said to me, with the most Melissa-y quiet confidence the likes of which I have never seen in another person, that she was sure we would look back on this trip someday and be grateful for this moment. This moment that felt so ugly and pathetic, yet truly was deepening and strengthening for our friendship. She talked about how well we’ve walked together through the highest of highs (our vacation dossier is ridiculous) and how this was truly our first opportunity to run our friendship through the lowest of lows. She’s right, of course. And those are the things you would never see on Facebook.

Bubble Verdict: Differences of Opinion In, Differences of Heart Out

Yesterday, and for the past couple of days, my gut has felt pretty twisted up about the stuff I mentioned yesterday. And I was for seriously concerned that I had created a bubble in which everyone’s opinion was the same as my own, that I might have been setting myself up for a complete confirmation of my own beliefs with no consideration of any others.

Brene Brown (I’m in love!!) is starting to give me the language I need to talk about these feelings, and what I felt yesterday following first some arguing, then some unfriending, and much more unfollowing, was definitely shame. Throw my little self-created, opinion-lacking bubble on top and I was legit concerned. So I asked you guys what you thought… you did not disappoint.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciated these two comments, from my beautiful and brilliant friends Aimee and Nicole. So so so much that I asked if they’d mind if I reposted and expounded, because they were worth so much longer of a response than a simple comment reply could allow — they helped me to understand and to be ok with what I had done, the bubble, the story, I had created. To let go of the shame. Ahhhh, sweet relief.

Late last night (maybe not so late Alaska time, but late to me), Aimee said:

Just had this exact conversation with my folks yesterday.  I only saw a few “anti-” things and generally I’m against defriending people over politics (though I want to soooo bad!) but they had much much more.  Their friends encompass a different age group than mine AND they’re in West Michigan.

I also have a really hard time even considering the opposite viewpoint from my own.  To me, it’s a civil rights issue and shouldn’t even be up for debate.  I can only hope these people are just really scared of change or whatever they think is going to happen…  and when nothing changes (except MORE LOVE all around!) they’ll come around.  One can hope! 🙂

And then, this afternoon (same afternoon in Tennessee and Wisconsin, for those keeping track) of the timeline, Nicole said:

As a member of the rainbow club, and a scientist, I came to the same conclusion as you – but long ago. The ugliness you saw on Friday is something I experience every single day, in places you would least expect. I ran for Chair of Diversity on the postdoc council at my place of employment, and my entire spiel about being a lesbian was deleted from the ballot, leaving only a generic sentence saying something like ‘I’ll do my best to include everyone.’ Of course I e-mailed the person responsible for putting together the ballots immediately (it was late, and they weren’t in their office) – and I was given a crap apology about them not knowing my public statement was in fact public, etc etc.

But what to do? I like my friends and family because they are diverse and they all have their own points of view. People are so angry and so hateful and when they start throwing words at you, they are turning off their ears and turning off their hearts. Nothing you say or do makes any difference. I can’t live in that sea of hate, so I unfriend those people on social media and distance myself from those people in real life.

When it comes to other disagreements, I try to be more distant. We aren’t voting for the same person for President/etc – that’s a-ok – Elections are supposed to be by secret ballot anyway.

I keep people in my life who can empower me to be a better human, and who enrich me with their points-of-view. There is a huge difference between someone who spews a speech with hate and contempt, and someone who speaks firmly about their beliefs but is willing to listen.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Man, these guys are so… dang… eloquent! And, once again, as Brene Brown would suggest, I’m not the only one. I never am!

Turns out, I did make a bubble, but not quite the bubble I thought. I can handle contrary opinions. Republican rhetoric, gun stuff, anti-abortion arguments, support of big business, anti-GMO sentiments, etc. I don’t dig those ideas myself, but I get that a lot of people do, and so long as those ideas are presented respectfully (i.e. sans hate), I can deal. No big thing. Difference of opinion — a – o – k.

There are several things I cannot tolerate, however… things that as Aimee and Nicole suggest, don’t add value to my life, don’t enrich my point of view.

Namely, and off the top of my head:

1. Victimization of any individual or group via hateful language and/or images (e.g. anti-Caitlyn Jenner memes, confederate flags)

2. Victim blaming (e.g., she deserved it because of what she was wearing/drinking/saying/has-done-in-the-past, use of the word “thug” to describe a young black man)

3. Victim language (e.g., woe is me, the poor, persecuted white/straight/Christian/male-in-America)

Those things, they’re not differences of opinion, they are differences of heart. And those differences do not enrich my life. As such, they do not belong in my bubble.

This is my life now, and I dig it. {Source}
This is my life now, and I dig it. {Source}

Life is tough when words fail me and last night, I simply could not find the words to pull me up and away from a nagging sense of shame. Thank you, Aimee and Nicole, for giving me the words. And, more importantly, thank you so much for being in my bubble — you undoubtedly enrich it in a million and one ways!

Mixed Feelings About My New Facebook Bubble

When I opened up Facebook for the first time on Friday morning, it was this… exactly this:

Image originally posted by George Takei on Facebook.
Image originally posted by George Takei on Facebook.

And it was glorious! I was so happy and so was my newsfeed. Rainbows and celebration. That was all.

But then the other stuff started trickling in. The ugly stuff. The outright ugly and the ugly couched as something else, but ugly nonetheless. I mean, if someone starts a sentence with “I’m not a bigot, but…” it’s generally a bad sign. It made my stomach turn and my skin crawl. And it was from people I know.

I hardly know what to say. Disappointment and disgust and, honestly, hurt. Hurt that people I know honestly believe that their fellow human beings are somehow less worthy of basic human rights than they are. I just cannot fathom that mindset, bible or not. Christian or not.

So I cleaned house. Whenever someone said, “Unfriend me if this offends you,” I unfriended. Otherwise I unfollowed. I just couldn’t stand to see it anymore.

I’m totally obsessive though (ob-sess-ive) and now I can’t stop thinking now about the bubble I may have set up for myself. A bubble free of all opinions contrary to my own. And maybe that’s a super bad thing. I’ve heard about information bias and the notion that we set ourselves up in this loop of positive reinforcement of our own beliefs and therefore it’s impossible to open our minds up to anything else.

But the honest truth is I refuse to entertain the idea that any individual is worth less than anyone else. That anyone should be denied the rights afforded to their neighbor. I refuse — so what’s the point in seeing it? It only turns my stomach.

I love Facebook for a lot of reasons — I like to keep up with people I rarely see, I like to see photos and posts and BuzzFeed lists of ridiculousness. I enjoy getting tagged in Harry Potter-related everything. It’s a great way to see my nieces. But as a place to spew hate (even hate couched in the language of “religious freedom” and whatnot), I simply cannot stand it. So what’s the solution? Hide, hide, hide? Say my piece and get lost in a sea of comments leading to nowhere but more ugliness? Walk away entirely? Goodness knows I’m not any good at just scrolling past and letting things go.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I can’t help but wonder if I’ve made a big mistake by tailoring my environment to reflect my own opinions. I’d honestly like to maybe just stick my head in the sand and stick to Pinterest and the crazy world of crafting for a bit, but I don’t think that’s the solution either. Not when I feel this strongly about something. I don’t know!! What do you think? What do you do?


Here’s what I think: gay people are people and people are afforded equal rights under the law. So it is ordered. Regardless of your religion (and you can have any religion you choose — U! S! A! U! S! A!), it is the law of the land. Thank goodness for that. Goodness and love and rainbows. (Now tell me your thoughts about bubbles. Please and thank you.)

Facebook, Grammar, and Caitlyn Jenner

By yesterday afternoon, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were full of posts about the lovely and courageous Caitlyn Jenner. Mostly using words that mirrored my own thoughts — lovely, courageous, brave, beautiful, strong, etc.

All screen captures from FB -- names removed for privacy when necessary.
All screen captures from FB — names removed for privacy when necessary.

But there were a couple that did not. A couple that were derogatory, bigoted, hateful.

(Those I will absolutely not repeat nor re-post. Not here. Not anywhere else.)

Besides the general attitude of the posts, I noticed another difference that really stuck out to me — the grammar. The grammar was 100% better 100% of the time in the positive posts.

Is my feed biased? Oh, totes ma-goats. It’s bound to be chock-full of over-educated, grammar-enthused, open-minded nerds. It’s normal to cluster amongst like-minded people, I think. It was just something interesting that I noticed. That somehow misuse of their/they’re/there and its/it’s and except/accept, etc, tended to cluster with the posts full of anger and disgust and a basic disrespect for the humanity of one very famous woman who has made a brave and difficult choice to show the public who she really is.

I get that’s it’s Facebook. And I get that even on my own blog, my own feed, my own space, I am rarely grammatically perfect. But the one thing I strive to never be, in any of these spaces, is close-minded. And why is that? Why do I have that going for me? Should I be thanking my parents? My education? My privilege in general?

I don’t know. Kind of a big question. And as much as I’d love to explore it, I’m not really sure where to go. Or how best to respond to instances in which I note disrespect, injustice, and the like.

So I fall back on something I latched onto a while ago: Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.

I love open-mindedness. Acceptance. The freedom of individuals to express their gender anywhere on the continuum, without conforming to the societal dichotomy of male (rawr!) and female (meow…)

I love celebration of courage and bravery. I love when people share their stories, their struggles. I love watching a family love and accept each other no matter their differences.

I love that we live in a time and place that allows a transgender woman like Caitlyn Jenner to be open and honest. Where a show like Transparent can be not just aired, but also adored. (Have you seen it? A-ma-zing.) Where this powerful message of courage and hope can be transmitted times a million via news media and social media and word of mouth to thousands and millions of other transgender individuals that currently live in fear or confusion. And perhaps even more importantly, to their friends and families who really just want to love them, for the person they are, male, female, or anywhere in between.


Yes, this world is a hard place too. There is fear and hate and anger. There are bad things. Bad things that happen to good people and some genuinely bad apples looking for trouble. But, you guys, what I saw yesterday… so… much… love! And so much progress! Even just in my relatively short lifetime. (I said relatively!) It’s a good, good thing. It’s hard not to be moved by the type of courage Caitlyn Jenner has shown us all. Or Jeffrey Tambor. Or even sweet Leelah Alcorn, rest her soul. Each in their own way.


PS: One of the best things I read yesterday was an article in which GLAAD provided tips for the media on transgender terminology — it was so enlightening and definitely worth the read. (I was definitely misusing the -ed ending!!) If you happen to notices any mistakes in the language I used above, please rest assured that 1) it is not intentional and 2) if you point it out to me, I will gladly change it. Or should I say GLAADly???

Oy. Bad pun. Can’t help myself.

What Hatha Yoga with Rudra Taught Me About the “Like” Button

A friend of mine from back in the day (Y-town for LIFE) recently posted an interesting entry on her blog and it got me thinking for days. It just kept popping back and back and back into my head. I loved what she said, but I also had a million alternative thoughts about the topic floating around and kind of wanted to write a rebuttal. It’s one thing to just come out here to this space and point-by-point rebut someone like Matt Walsh whose goal in life seems to be to get people riled up (and is he ever good at it!), but it’s different when it’s the musings of a friend… so I asked her what she thought.

I hemmed and hawed about it for a while because I didn’t want her to think I was some sort of jerk, but I just felt like I had so much to say and I wanted to discuss… here… with you… I finally got up the courage to send her a message while I sat on the runway in Lacrosse waiting to be re-fueled and re-flight planned and was just about out of things to do so I messaged Kacey. Her response was so excellent! She was totally cool with me running with her topic du jour (she’s kind of just cool like that in general) and so here we go! (Let’s check real quick on the jerk thing… Kacey? Or perhaps we should wait until the end…)


Kacey’s basic premise, and please forgive me if I’m misinterpreting, was that social media platforms like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, tend to be self-centered and focused on a culture of “look at me!” … that the desire for shares and likes and comments and such is really a desperate need to be acknowledged. And that that’s why many of us do it– to get the like or the comment or the share, to be acknowledged.

I don’t necessarily disagree, exactly, my rebuttal is more the notion that, at least in my mind, that all of that is ok. It’s ok to ask people to acknowledge you. (Hence the large number of times I’ve actually used the phrase “ACKNOWLEDGE MEEEEE!” both in this space and in real life… it’s like Kacey was speaking directly to me!)

It was so interesting to me that Kacey and I could do the same thing (blog) and use the same types of social media and ultimately take away such a different message from it. I was fascinated by that and I kept turning the notion of WHY that was over and over and over in my head until I think I finally stumbled upon something when I received an email reply from my long lost friend Lotisha who is Pauly-Shore-style in the army now. Literally.

Lotisha and I were labmates back in DC and I just adore her. She’s the tiniest person with the biggest attitude and after I got over being terrified of her I realized that I actually looooved her. And one of the things Lotisha and I loved to do together (besides give mice gonorrhea) was take fitness classes. Mostly through Montgomery County. And it was with Lotisha that I took my first ever yoga class. Hatha Yoga with Rudra.

I went into yoga class expecting a workout with emphasis on strength and flexibility. Rurda, however, was a sweatpants-wearing, afro-haired, Costa-Rica-yoga-retreat-bound man who was way into yoga as a practice, not just as an exercise, and during our first class he taught us what the word namaste meant.

According to Rudra, saying namaste to someone else or even to yourself was equivalent to saying “I salute the inner light within you.” I of course looked it up after that and it’s hard to say if that’s true exactly, except that it is widely acknowledged as a respectful greeting or goodbye. Regardless, I like what Rudra said. A lot. (Now. Then I was all “oh snap, this is weird, I don’t think I like it,” but I was wrong as I so often find myself to be.) And I think, to me, the “like” button is really more of a namaste button– a way to acknowledge the “inner light” of another person’s activity, selfie, food choice, witty quip, photo-of-babies-doing-baby-stuff, whatever. The thing about it, whatever it is, that resonates with me.


Of course like any other living, breathing human, Facebook also infuriates me at times. It incites major jealousy, constantly feeding my little green monster (30-ish? on Facebook? there’s LOTS of babies, of which I can have none). And, although this may surprise you, this big square head of mine doesn’t often photograph very well and the pictures I do end up posting tend to be the very best chin down, tongue-to-roof-of-mouth, least squinty eyed, minimal frizz, good angle photos that happen. When given the opportunity to paint yourself, why not paint your best self… the self you feel most comfortable with? Leave the dirty laundry for the old blog.

The important thing, for me anyway, is the attitude I choose to approach it with. I can’t possibly be the only one painting my best face out there… which means other people probably aren’t always as gorgeous/happy/un-double-chinned as they appear. Right? (Although I suspect the babies are for the most part real. The monster! So green!) The thing is, I see these perfect posts, these lovely brush strokes on social media because I choose to and because I enjoy it. I am apparently totally cool with voyeurism and I love to see what people are up to. I also love that it keeps me connected with people I otherwise wouldn’t be connected to. Like Kacey! And her blog!

Even amongst the perfect pictures and the happy statuses though, we do still catch glimpses of the truth. And when we recognize those things, those little winks that were meant just for us, we can acknowledge them in another way altogether– it’s the behind-the-scenes connections that might be a little more meaningful.

Because of Facebook, I re-connected with Dawn. Erika recognized my hurt and cheers me on day after day. Kacey and I are blog buddies. Nicole and I became friends, like real friends, long after college.

Because of Twitter, I got a couple blog posts re-tweeted by the Chris Lema and traffic, traffic, traffic on account. It let me keep up with my friend Dr. Kanth on his interview journey.

Because of Instagram, I get to keep up with #ohellabella and to see a #dailydoseofaddisyn. I also get sneak peaks into Mindy Kaling‘s life (yessss!).

And because of this blog, regardless of whether you like it, read it, share it, comment on it… or not… I have an outlet. I can share my words with anyone who happens to stumble across them. I share my ideas with people who are free to agree or disagree. Read on or roll their eyes. Whatevs.


That’s the beauty of the internet. It’s let’s us connect.

Or not.



Or keep scrolling.


You choose.


End rebuttal.


How about now, Kacey? Not a jerk, right? Just more rambling along the same lines. We’re all friends here 🙂