What I Wore

What I Wore Sunday, December 8, 2013 — and a Note on Selfies

What I Wore Sunday, December 8, 2013

The backlash against “selfies,” once called self-portraits back in the day, makes me sad. Instead of seeing people — not just women, mind you — celebrating everything from the everyday mundane — a good hair day — to the hard-earned accomplishment — a marathon finish — we point fingers and tell them they’re wrong. Wrong for celebrating the little things, the big things. Wrong for making this face or that. Wrong for focusing on self. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Internet remains very good at telling people they’re doing it wrong, but struggles to do what is right in and of itself.

Beyond that, the baseless attempt of calling all selfies a “cry for help” gave me pause.

Because… what if a selfie is a cry for help?

If someone came up to you, in person, and asked for help, would you turn them away? Would you mutter and snicker about their “cry for help” and point out how weak they are? What if they didn’t use verbal forms of communication to let you know that they needed help? Would you roll your eyes and walk away? What if someone you loved dearly walked into your home and looked unlike themselves, despondent and beyond sad? Would you ignore it?

Meditation Necklace

What if the girl who just posted a selfie of a good hair day is looking for just one good thing in her otherwise bad week, month, or life? What if the teenage boy who just shared a picture of himself playing the guitar just wants someone to ask him one thing — anything — about the feelings behind the chords? What if the mom who posts a picture of her toned body after delivery just wants one person to acknowledge that she’s still a human being, not just an incubator? What if the athlete just wants someone to say, “Good job,” instead of, “No one cares about your run.” (Note: I care.) What if that sad, puppy dog face that looks fake isn’t fake and the person behind the big, sad eyes needs someone — another human being — to care?

What if the smile on her face is plastered there? What if she’s trying to make everyone think everything is okay? What if she wouldn’t know what to say if you asked her if she was okay? What if it’s the hardest week of her year and she’s just trying to make it through without doing something stupid?

And instead of simply liking the photo or, you know, scrolling on by, you write a whiny comment or a vaguetweet or a Facebook post or a lengthy, self-righteous blog post about how you’re so sick and tired of selfies. Instead of reaching out, you push her away. Instead of offering a shoulder, you kick him while he’s down. Instead of involving yourself in that person’s life — really connecting via social media — you continue to perpetuate the false belief that online friendships aren’t real, that they don’t matter to those involved, that they can be tossed easily aside without feelings or repercussions.

You, then, are the source of the problem, not the selfie, cry for help or celebration or narcissism or everyday mundane nothingness or anything in between. You. Because if you see affirming other human beings that someone cares as a bad thing, you need someone to come into your life and offer you some affirmation that life isn’t as bad as you think it is.

I’m not claiming that every selfie is a cry for help. I don’t see the world that easily. I see the humans who post selfies as complex individuals that choose to share bits and pieces of their lives for any number of reasons. To connect, to reach out, to have a face to face moment in a faceless world, to breathe bits of life into an anonymous world, to celebrate, to cry out, to be real.

I Like Your Selfies

I want to see your selfies, when you need a pat on the back or a hug or a kick in the pants. I want to celebrate with you, I want to cry with you. I want you to know that even when you think that no one cares, someone does. Especially then.

Living Life Politics

I Have Quit Facebook Until After the Election

Last week, we were kind of off the grid. I say kind of because I was still working with a minimal and slow connection. Since work was a priority, “fun things” like Facebook, and I use those words together loosely, were knocked down the priority ladder. I hopped on to update people about my back procedure, but mainly, I was off of Facebook.

It felt good.

I didn’t have to watch a flame war develop in the comments of someone simply sharing a photo. I didn’t know what the latest mommyblogger drama was at the time. I didn’t know what the most recent hot button parenting news story was about, nor did I care. And the clincher, I avoided angsty, self-righteous, negative, nasty political commentary from all sides. Oh, sweet political silence.

I know we all have opinions. In fact, I love a good political debate. What I have seen on Facebook in the past few months does not qualify as political debate. It’s angry people spewing angry words. It’s hatred. It’s harmful. It’s a lot of dishonesty. It’s scary. It’s discouraging. It’s heartbreaking. It’s everything we stand for in this country — the ability to say whatever you want whenever you want to whomever you want — taken to the absolute worst extreme. It is sad.

A week without it made me realize how much I dreaded loading Facebook every day. Why? Why was I loading something I dreaded?

The answer, of course, is because I like the cute pictures you post of your children. I like to support you when you ask for prayers or kind thoughts. But I too fell victim to kvetching too much, maybe not about politics, but about things that don’t need permanent, public records of said kvetching. That’s what a husband is for, to listen to my unprompted rants about weather and heat and how noisy the boys are and why I can’t ever find the ingredients I need in this area of Ohio and on and on and on. I’m not a negative person, but I sometimes seem like one on Facebook. I don’t like it.

So, I’m done. Not forever. But through the election. Mainly because I want to keep being your friend. You? You are allowed to believe whatever it is that you believe politically speaking or otherwise. I want you to believe — and to believe so deeply that you would get in a fight about it with random strangers that are of no consequence in your life. I want the people I love to have strong convictions and stand by them. I just don’t want to lose respect for them because of how they go about talking about said convictions, when they slip into name-calling and nastiness. I want to believe that they respect my beliefs as much as I respect theirs, that there is room in this world for us all to breathe and move and love and feel and believe. That our differences bring us closer rather than push us apart. That our unique beliefs make us stronger.

I know. My mom called me an idealist last week. I see rainbows on the cloudiest day. It is one of my many flaws; I see the good to a fault.

But more than wanting to keep respecting my Facebook friends and their beliefs, I want my friends to respect me. I want to be the kind of person online who I am offline. I want to be positive, to be cheerful, to be encouraging. Somewhere along the line it became less about sharing and connecting and more about complaining and being right. I’m not okay with that; it’s not me.

I want us to still be friends after this election is over. I also want to get back to the me who sees the good in everyone and everything. And so, no Facebook, my friends. I may update the blog pages (Stop, Drop & Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land), but probably not regularly. I have turned off notifications. I have logged out of the site. I removed the link from my bookmark bar. I have removed the app from my phone. I am, for now, done.

Hopefully we can still be friends on the morning of Wednesday, November 7, 2012. The world will be slightly different by then, no matter the outcome.

Me, Natural

I hope I am too.