Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Thoughts...Interrupted

I had Thursday Thoughts all laid out and scheduled like usual. A bit of good, a bit of bad, a bit of snark, and an ecard to top it off. Yesterday as I was standing in line on my lunch hour, I thought fuck it. There is too much bad to proceed as usual. And here we are. If you're not in the mood for serious, just close out of here and come back tomorrow to read about face products.

For the past two weeks, the news has been the news. Bleak and bullshit everywhere with some humanitarian good peppered in. I can usually just compartmentalize the bad and move on with my day. Not this time. The reaction of people to recent events - both people I know and people I don't know in comments I've read under articles or under the statuses of those I do know on facebook - has just sort of devastated me. Who are these people? Are we all part of the same community?

The Ferguson Situation: I'm waiting to pass judgement on either the cop or Michael Brown since, you know, I wasn't there. Automatically assuming either party is right or wrong because of  position or skin color is dangerous. There are things out there in the media that make the cop look bad and things that make Brown look bad. That's why we don't try cases in the media. Oh wait, yes we do. 

In the aftermath, I am most concerned about people lumping vandals in with those peacefully protesting against what they believe to be abuse and misuse of authority. Everyone in America has the right to peacefully assemble against what they feel is unjust. This community has the right to gather, grieve, and have their voices heard. The assholes in the community do not have the right to loot, vandalize, or attack police who are on the scene to diffuse the situation but those of us watching should not allow them the spotlight and attention. Anyone who thinks the peaceful and the assholes are all the same is an idiot. Main stream media is feeding you what they want you to see. 

The media is setting this up so anyone who thinks it could have been excessive is anti-cop. Let me tell you - I am not anti-cop. I am not a cop, will never be a cop, and will never know what it's like to have to make a split second decision with my life possibly on the line. I am grateful for the service and protection of cops and I know some really good ones. Does that mean every cop has a pure heart and service on his mind? No. 

Can we stop pretending racism and white privilege don't exist? I'm white and I will tell you things have been easier for me. I'm a woman and I will tell you things have been harder for me than they've been for my male counterparts. I am sick of people dismissing these feelings, as if to tell me oh no, that's not right dear - everyone has the same opportunities. Bullshit! Can we stop acting like black men aren't treated differently than white men?  Look into your heart and be really honest with yourself about this. Who among us of any color has not said and thought things we shouldn't have based on gross generalizations and preconceived notions? Most of us won't admit it because it's shameful. We know better than to generalize. 

Racially charged situations still erupt like they did in the 1960s, and we all have a part in fixing that. All of us, white or black.

My Pollyanna wishes...I don't want to point the finger at black or white people for perpetuating anything. I want everyone to stop having such hate in their heart that's been passed down through generations and is based on fear. I want people to stop judging an entire race based on a few encounters or what they see on the news. I want us to approach each other as individuals and if the time comes I want us to be judged as individuals. I want little kids growing up right now to not hear flippant racist remarks that are only "jokes." I don't want anyone of any color to fear mistreatment from police. There are good and bad black people. There are good and bad white people. There are good and bad police officers. There is racism on all sides. 

Ferguson needs some peace and some answers. I hope they get some. I hope everyone gets some. I have a lump in my throat when I think about this. I keep thinking things should not be this way. I feel despair like this will just keep blowing up and never stop and we'll be so busy pointing the finger and drawing race lines that we forget that we're all responsible to repair this community.  

Ice Bucket Challenge: I don't care if you love or hate the ice bucket challenge for ALS (actually I do, but moving on)...the numbers (both the amount raised and the number of new donors) are absolutely incredible. From the ALS website As of Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association. People are shaming each other for doing it the challenge and shaming each other for not doing it. I myself shamed both group of shamers. No one can win. Except ALS who's taking that money all the way to the research rooms. 

Suicide: I'm still sick over the ignorant comments about suicide and depression in the aftermath of Robin William's death. I pray to God people who have so much wisdom to impart on how to pull yourself up from this never have a child or loved one who is so depressed that they kill themselves because then they'll have to eat their words. 

I'm not even going to go into ISIS beheading or anything else related to the Middle East. We don't have all day here. 

Some days I can't decide if I want to be on any social media site and I don't often feel that way. Being in marketing, I know these sites are a huge part of how we communicate and I'm not one to cut myself off from communication but seeing the derisive commentary on all three topics has made my heart actually hurt in my chest. What people are saying, good God! The vitriol and hate on all sides. There is so much fucking hate out there right now. So much arrogance and expertism and know it all-ness. So much talking at and very little talking amongst or talking to. 

Since when did we make such a thing about which side we're on? We love to tell each other how wrong we are. We care more about making our point, criticizing the hell out of everyone and everything, and being right than we do about having important conversations and talking things through. Discourse and idea sharing are what changes the world. We can't do that if we've stopped talking to each other. It's normal for our views to expand and change as we grow as people. We can't grow if we're stubbornly holding on to what we've always thought and thought we've known.

I've said very little about any of these things on my blog. Why is that? Am I afraid to offend people who are cops/black/ice bucket challengers/ice bucket challenge haters/think depression is something you get over after a few days? Do I want to avoid overburdening people who like happy little blog posts with lots of pictures and little text? 

None of the above. I've not written anything because I simply don't know what to say. I don't know how to put what I'm seeing, thinking, and feeling about all of these things in writing. I don't know how to connect the dots, to make a point concisely, to hit it home. To do my part to help people stop spewing hate. To look inside myself and see what unfounded fears I may have conditioned into me. To see where I'm speaking or acting from a place of fear and to work on that. 

I don't like to write from a place of hurt because my thoughts come too quickly and when translated to print tend to be repetitive, circular, and contain mistakes. I'm not editing this because I don't want to overthink. I also don't like to write from a negative place because once you put it out there, you can't get it back. I wish people would not write statuses or tweets from a negative place. That would be something, huh? 

The real world feels heavy and ill fitting right now, like it's too tight on my skin. I don't want to stick my head in the sand over it or go on like it's not happening. I don't want to avoid talking about things that matter because they're too hard to confront. 

If you saw this through, thanks. I just had to put it out there. Keeping it in felt untrue to myself. Tomorrow: face products. Come on now, I wouldn't bring you down two days in a row.

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Linking up with Kristin for Stuff & Things





52 comments:

  1. An amazing piece of writing. Well done! I wish I had more to contribute but it is 4:00 a.m.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading. I know it was a long one.

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  2. It is always so hard when the world is going through so much because I want to be on social to connect, to understand, to make sense of the world around me but then other times it bothers me when people speak without thought or facts. Those speaking out about the National Guard when they were called in because the situation was out of control then criticizing them. Really?! People who have never dealt with depression giving advice? Keep it to yourselves. Why not just say "I have no idea what he went through, but I will always remember him" why try to judge rather than educate.

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  3. I am so thankful how far the human race has come and also dismayed at how we haven't even come close to where we should be.

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  4. This may be why I'm staying off of social media these days…it's either videos of people dumping ice or comments directed at the masses about the fact that THEY know best when it comes to racism, suicide, or depression.
    I'm slightly embarrassed to say I had no idea the Ferguson situation was even happening until a few days ago because I don't watch the news anymore. This is mainly because it's not news, it's just people giving opinions. Very few news outlets give facts anymore. Watching Today is almost like watching a Twitter feed…

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  5. I think it's really good that you touched on these topics, unhappy though they may be. I don't usually pay much attention to news, but I finally started reading about Ferguson and watched the John Oliver episode that covered it and it is really scary! And everyone is really quick to judge and tell you who's at fault, and how would they know? They're not there. And when is anything ever one-sided?

    I haven't actually seen anything other than positive or supportive remarks on depression. But I've seen a couple people mention the negative ones. Maybe I'm in an internet bubble (scary thought - the internet is bad enough without this being the "safe haven"). Hopefully writing and getting it out makes you feel better! It usually works for me.

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  6. I think it's great you just put all that out there today. The Ferguson case is why I stopped watching the news three years ago. It's so slewed to one side depending on the network. The Huffington Post has been overloading with the shooting and I find myself not clicking on any of the articles and just avoiding the news of late. The color of your skin and whether or not you wear are bra does make a difference on how you are treated in life. The fact peple deny this is just ridiculous. I'm glad the ice challenge has raised money, I just wish people would donate to non-profits without needing a pat on the back. However, if it helps research, fine The South Texas girl in me cringes when I think of all the wastefulness of water, since we are in an extreme drought-- but it has raised awareness of the disease. I have been fortunate that I did not have anyone in my social media news feeds speak negatively of suicide. I've always thought a person who takes that drastic step must have been in such a low point, and I wish I could have helped. Anyways, it is goes to just let it all on your blog, we all need an outlet to articulate our thoughts. Have a good Wednesday.

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  7. straight up, the world is wack. too much hate, too much finger-pointing, too much stupidity. it's why i never watch the news as it skews everything and mainly focuses on the bad; it's why i no longer pay much attention to social media and i almost want to raise kayla in a bubble, away from all this shit because like you, i'm appalled at what the majority of our population has become/turned into :(

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  8. Seriously. The "news" wears me out. I like to be an informed person, but there's a point at which you're no longer being informed, you're being evangelized to. No thanks.

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  9. The ISIS beheading literally took my breath away when I saw the CNN breaking news on it. I just can't comprehend the hate that takes.

    The Ferguson situation also hurts my heart. I hate that the opportunists have traveled to the community to loot the area just adding to the pain.

    I also have to hate on some above commenters a little bit. I don't think the answer is to stop watching the news and remain ignorant... It's good that these events are being publicized to spark debate and become a teaching moment.

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    1. I TOTALLY agree, Heather! Now is not the time to hide our heads in the sand. Unfortunately, tuning out really does more harm than good. My white privilege gives me the opportunity to just turn off the tv and forget about Ferguson. It sucks, but it's so important to fight that and stay engaged.

      I'm Getting There

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    2. I feel the same. I find the news hard to watch, but then I think I should shut up because I'm finding it hard to watch? People are living it.

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  10. I can't even watch the news anymore it's so depressing. It's hard to read comments about things that are going on because everyone is so negative about EVERYTHING!

    I'm loving the ice bucket challenge. The only thing that annoys me is when I get something on my feed that says check out this ice bucket challenge it's different....umm they are still pouring ice water over their heads not different lol

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  11. The entire world is full of people who hate and think their opinion is the only right way to think. It's disheartening and disgusting, all of it. Social media has given hate a voice, once those people hid because they didn't know how to connect with like minded assholes. Now like minded assholes are just a computer away.

    I'm so glad that my 4 year old mixed race daughter is still to young to pay attention to the news about Ferguson. I know we'll have to have the conversation about how her skin color makes her different someday (how disgusting is that?), I'm just glad it's not now.

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  12. Great post, thank you for sharing it. It's nice to hear someone step back and not take sides in any situation, and try to provide an unbiased opinion.

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  13. Thanks for your honesty, Steph. I am with you on shaming the shamers, as well as shaming the people making judgments before we know facts.

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  14. everyone to stop having such hate in their heart - this, a thousand times, this. racism makes me so sad, i'm from a very 'multicultural' country and we talk about not being racist like we think americans are (thanks to movies and tv shows and what not, not a fact of course) but there is racism everywhere. it makes me so sad. when i was younger, i was the only blonde in my entire family. everyone else was brunette (like everyone all the way back, my mum had no idea how i was blonde). one day i came home and made fun of a kid i'd seen at school and my mum (after smacking my bum reaaallly hard) said to me - you have different hair colour than all of us. shall we treat you differently? and i was so upset about the thought of being excluded from my family and it just really hit home for me. i was like 5, but still. racism hurts my heart.
    moving on.
    I don't know how to put what I'm seeing, thinking, and feeling about all of these things in writing. - i think you are fabulous and putting what you are thinking into writing, of course i dont know what you are thinking all the time, but you seem like a super intelligent person and i love reading your blog because it really helps me sometimes see what i am thinking as well - like it makes sense once i see it on your blog. that probably doesnt even make sense.
    ok i'm gonna stop writing the longestcommentevverrrr now.

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  15. So it's been a rough week and I turned to blogland today for total fluff. I almost clicked the x (thanks for the warning) but because you always have great things to say, I decided to see if I could handle a skim without thinking too hard. I saw the second to last paragraph and it was just such an accurate description that I read the whole thing (some parts twice). I too have had to turn away from media this week as it's just - a lot to process. So many sides to every story. And I am really interested in your point on talking to people about issues, but reserving judgement. I think so many people have their guards constantly up these days that they take any disagreement as an attack. How can you express your opinion if everyone is on the defensive? It's hard. Hoping for understanding for all involved so that this craziness stops... I'm with you on your Pollyanna wishes.

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  16. i don't have much to contribute because you said it all and in a way that i couldn't articulate. thank you for this post and glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm sharing this and hope other people read this today, really this is the only post needed today. thank you for this.

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  17. Well said! I've wanted to write about these things too, but haven't been able to put it eloquently enough. The vitriol that each side (of each matter!) puts out there has really been depressing me lately... I made the mistake of reading the comments on a really great article about Ferguson and was just disgusted by what I saw. All that is to say, thanks for writing this today!

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  18. I understand exactly where you are coming from.
    The Ferguson thing, ISIS, Ice Bucket Challenge... Robin Williams & Suicide... I just don't know what to say sometimes.

    I did make comments about Suicide - not pertaining to his death - but in general... and I got crucified.
    My opinion is not sugar coated, and comes from a personal and hurtful place. It's an opinion, and I cannot believe how charged people got about it.

    But - the other subjects - sometimes the right words just don't form.

    Good for you for expressing your opinions honestly and without filter.

    :) Happy Thursday.

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  19. I honestly don't see the point in the ALS shaming. People can put their money where they want. Do it, don't do it, whatever. I mean, I sort of understand the point of the drought thing in Cali/other places because it's getting serious/dangerous but I don't know enough about buckets of ice water and weather to comment on whether or not it has an affect. I got a C- in environmental science my freshman year of college. And that was pure luck.

    Anyone who says racial lines don't exist has never been to Chicago. Or, apparently, Ferguson. You're deluding yourself if you think everything is equal. I can tell you the exact geographical coordinates in chicago where it changes from 'white' to 'black' to 'mexican' to 'chinese' and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. It's very very distinct and obvious. Yes, the south side of Chicago is an extremely dangerous place for me, little white girl, to be. It's dangerous for anyone to be, and that's sad. And you should see the looks my (black) friend Marcus gets when we go out in bars in Wrigleyville! 'Whoaa black guy! And he's not the bouncer!' It's pretty fucking ridiculous.

    I'm sad about Robin Williams. He bought me a cupcake once, at a restaurant in the Contemporary hotel in Disney world cause I was like 10 and went all 'omg Mrs. Doubtfire!' crazy on him. Amazing guy. I've never lost anyone to suicide (my cousin tried but using tylenol so that was an attention thing) so I can't make any comments other than to say that it's sad when someone clearly feels that that was their only option. I can't put myself in their shoes and make judgment calls. It's a terrible situation and no one can understand depression unless they've been there, and I just know I'm very lucky to haven't been there myself.

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    1. I just came to read this post and saw your comment and had to read it because I love you. I want to say HOW FREAKING AWESOME it is that Robin Williams bought you a cupcake. That's all.

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  20. This post made me have all the feels, and then it just ended with tears. Because yes. I kind of feel like I want to put my head in the sand and pretend I don't see any of it--because I don't like how it's making me feel. The issues at hand are heavy enough to bear, but add in everyone's thoughts and opinions which are so readily available thanks to social media--and it's just too much. I hate how much hate there is. I appreciate this post, love--and I appreciate you for writing it. The world is a dark place right now.

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  21. I too have had a very heavy heart lately. It makes me so sad to watch the news from everywhere and see people so filled with hate. You words echo my feelings perfectly. I will end this on a positive note......GO Mountain Ridge!!! Our boys won the Little League game last night and are on to the next step. Las Vegas is not usually talked about for our great sports teams. :) Now that is happy news!!!!

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    1. Your team beat Taney from Philly! Little League provided a lot of levity last week. Much needed.

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  22. I'm sitting at my computer applauding you. I swear, I am, Linky Cat is looking at me like I'm crazy. Your words are valid and articulate. I'm all about having an opinion (and lord know I can be judgmental) but why does there need to be so much fucking hate an animosity? Preach on, woman!

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    1. Yep, what she said. Slow clap. I did the ice bucket challenge myself yesterday and donated to ALS and then to a clean water project - now no one can hate. Boom. Thank you for being so incredibly honest.

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  23. Seriously - there's a lot of ish going on in the world.. The terrorism, the fear, the hatred - It's just too much to bear right now. I saw the image of Foley with his executioner and I cried for like 20 minutes in the shower.. It's awful; so much hate amongst a group of people - what's scary is that WE'RE so hated and the potential ripple of that hate is terrifying. As for Ferguson, they just need to be patient as details come out, it's never easy but the people whom it's really hard for is his family. He was supposed to start college.. Then there's Williams, just another wave of saddness for the world.. The funniest person alive, took his own life - humor and comedy is a mask for many and he was no exception. It's just sad no one was able to help him.. Take Care Stephanie! -Iva

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  24. So much of this!!!!!!!! Anyone who think there is no white/black divide existing is frankly delusional ... it sadly does exist. I wont impart blame to any one side but I will say both sides need to work to fix it. Ferguson situation saddens me. There is no value for human life anymore and that disturbs me. On the other side of it, the violent protesters are furthering the stereotype they wish to displace and is equally as sad. Ill say no more on this.

    As for the ALS thing. I dont get the shaming at all. But I will say that I hope that all those who do the challenge are actively donating to the cause and arent doing it to purely further their own gains. I am glad this challenge exists and I hope more is done for medical research as it is so needed.

    You did well on this post Steph. Thanks for a good read :)

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  25. This is all so well said and yes, it has been so difficult to find words and wrap my head around any of this. I can't stop reading/stalking twitter about Ferguson. We only turn the news on when something seems to be going down on Twitter but its really just a bunch of talking heads. Absolutely heartbreaking.

    The mental illness stuff...gahhhhhhh this hurts me so badly. Awareness is helpful but awareness from those who don't understand it is not helpful and has been triggering my anxiety and all of this discussion will disappear again soon like these things do.

    Thank you for writing this. You are a good human, you really are <3

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  26. Ugh, there is just so much wrong in the world! I vacillate between wanting to be informed and wanting to put my head in the sand like a happy little ostrich.

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  27. As I watch the news I find myself thinking "is this really happening? HERE?" It's just devastating sometimes. I think Lori's comment is perfect: we've come so far but not far enough. Great post.

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  28. Thank you for speaking up on the Ferguson case. I wrote about it a few days ago and now I am having a hard time writing anything at all... Regardless of what anyone believes. Human life should be more valued. Period.

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  29. Oh this post. I basically agree with every last thing you said. I have not been on social media near as much this week as I usually do because it just angers me. It angers me so much. I just feel like sometimes people want to argue and hate on others for the simple fact that they like to stir up shit. If you don't like the ALS challenge videos, then simply don't watch them. If it is bringing joy and happiness to other people and makes them feel like they are contributing then leave it alone. That is their business, not yours. Bottom line, ALS is banking in some money and that is only a good thing!

    If you aren't a witness to an incident or crime, how can you speculate with out actual facts? I mean, I could sit here and tell you 25 different ways something went down, and none of it can be right. Instead of spewing hate, racial comments and the works....why can't we just say that it is sad that an incident escalated in the death of a person. Give the family time to mourn and the cop time to figure out exactly what happened? Would the media pay so much attention to it if a black cop shot an unarmed white person? Or what about a black cop that shot a black unarmed person or a white cop that shot another white unarmed person? I am thinking probably not.

    The thing with the news is, I don't want to stick my head in the sand and see the world in rose colored glasses, however, everyone should realize by now that the media has their own agenda and you have to take what they report with a grain of sand. Sure, this event happened, but what channel are you watching? A republican station is going to tell it one way, and a liberal station another. You have to sort through the bullshit, form your own opinion...then shut the hell up and stop hating on everyone! Annnnd my comment is basically a novel.

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  30. Continued Goddess speed to you, my brilliant, beautiful, articulate daughter. I try to put only good stuff out there. We do not all feel the same. What a weird world that would be. What does not belong anywhere is negativity/hatred/supremacy. Turn on your love lights, everyone and let them shine on this planet!
    Love, Your very Proud Momma








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  31. Everyone is so quick to judge and have an opinion on things when they don't know the whole story, or haven't bothered to try to understand. Reading social media is just sad lately. :-\

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  32. It is soooo true! It is difficult to say anything without fear of offending another person. I certainly never intend to offend anybody but opinions will always offend someone. I have always said that once we become a melting pot of races - all one happy race- there will be something else that we find to judge about.

    For example, I remember being in high school and the rivalry from one school to another always ended up in fist fights and sometimes gun shots. For what? Because we did not attend their school. Or because our school was better than their school. What about clothes, hair styles, groups of people we associated with? All those things are judged as well. I envision, one day, that all of us will let go of the racial aspect of things but I fear there will still be the above mentioned judgments.

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    1. The human race has always and will always find something to tear itself apart over, I think. Humans hold too much ego and desire to much power and have too much greed in our hearts.

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  33. Great, great post Steph!! I just had to take a deep breath after this...I said some of the exact same things last night talking to P about this after I read something on Facebook in regard to Ferguson. The news gets so overwhelming sometimes and it really does make you feel heavy. It brings up a lot of feelings of helplessness.

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  34. Oh I am with you. It's sad that I actually dread looking at the news now. I used to love waking up and seeing if anything cool happened over night... not anymore.

    I am like you. I try not to pass judgement - but when it comes to the looters...I can't. It frustrates me, and I feel so bad for the peaceful protesters. The ones trying to make a difference. Trying to get the truth. They are being over shadowed and lumped in with the losers. Argh. So frustrating.

    I am so happy that ALS is getting some support. I hope that all those challenged actually donate. I hope they find at least something to help with the symptoms of that horrible disease.

    Middle East.... I am with you. Nothing to say. Nothing makes sense. Tragic for all involved.

    I sit here and look at my child - and I do wonder what the world will be like in 15 years for her. I wish I could make more of a difference for her. Right now the world sucks. We need a big change. ALL over!

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  35. There is never a day that goes by that I don't wonder what is wrong with our society

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  36. And just like that Stephanie shuts the blog world down. This is a great, well thought post and everything you said, I found myself shaking my head in agreement with. I am actually writing about the ice bucket challenge on Saturday so I can't wait to read your opinion. Love you girl.

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  37. PS: I died "come back tomorrow for face products".

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  38. My state had 4 fireman get critically injured helping with an ice bucket challenge. In my hometown there was a cop who knocked on a door to serve a warrant, but he got the wrong house. When the owners great dane ran outside, he shot it several times in the street. I know its not the same as shooting a person (except I like dogs better than a lot of people) but it still shows that some cops are power hungry ass holes. No one is perfect, but I think in a position of power you need to be as close as possible.

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  39. I love this post. I'm tired of people bitching about the ice bucket challenge. ALS has seen so much awareness and that's what matters. So what if people don't exactly get what they're donating to, at least they're donating.

    As for Ferguson, I live in Missouri. Not anywhere close to Ferguson, but still this is my home. I don't know what happened and I don't have a side to choose. I just want people to stop looting communities in the name of "justice". I don't know who they think they are giving justice to. If the media would go away, I'm sure some of the vandalism, if not all, would stop. As a country that's so focused on social media and watching this play out on tv we keep on perpetuating the situation.

    I don't know if that made any sense but I'm done writing my novel now.

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  40. I think it's important to put stuff like this out there. You hit the nail on the head when you said that racism is on all sides... it's not even just a black/white thing - it feels like EVERYONE hates each other these days and that's just ridiculous to me. I don't want to bury my head either, but, when I think about things like this I just get so irritated... because it makes no sense to me! I don't understand how people can be so ignorant and hateful.

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  41. This is such a great post!!! I touched on this a little in my post on Saturday, but couldn't articulate it as well as you did without going on and on and getting judgmental. Ha! "We care more about making our point, criticizing the hell out of everyone and everything, and being right than we do about having important conversations and talking things through" That is the worst thing about social media for me right now. I had to take a step back and utilize that mute function for a few days.

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  42. Preach it, sista!! Amen! Awareness is the only good thing about Social Media, and even that's debatable. I was a little miffed about all the water wasting, but I really do think that the ALS challenge was genius. I just donated instead of wasting the water and even had friends donate to water conservation. Awareness all around!

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  43. Unfortunately, ALS isn't taking all the money to the research rooms, as you said it. My hubs looked it up and they're only using about 20% of it toward research. Sad.

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