Sunday, October 9, 2016

So Much Negativity

Have you noticed how negative the vibe on social media is these days?

I often walk away from Facebook and Twitter shaking my head or, in some cases, downright angry.

Whether the viscious presidential campaign in the US is to blame or is just a symptom of it, I'm not sure.  Chicken vs egg anyone?  People are sniping at each other; calling those who don't agree with their worldview morons, idiots or worse.  It's gotten to a point where, if I dare to express my opinion on anything, I can expect somebody to tell me how stupid I am.

It seems that freedom of speech only applies to those who agree with us.

I made a comment on a blog the other day that, while respectful, disagreed with the blogger's point and got slammed by other commenters for it.  I wasn't at all insulting or dismissive.  I even praised the fact that she was seeing progress in her situation.  Imagine if I had been insulting!

I thought that blogs were a place where discussions happened; where opinions could be shared.  If you are not a "yes-man/woman" and give gold stars to the speaker these days, you are the enemy who must be crushed.  It's almost come to a point where I'm afraid to express anything online.

How did we all get so touchy?  How did this toxic climate come into being?

Sometimes, I get the feeling that the anonymity of the internet deserves a big part of the blame.  We sit in front of our computer and type in words without ever seeing the effect those words have.  We'll say things online that we would probably never say to a person's face.  It gives us a boldness that a lot of us would not have in a "live" situation.  Sadly, there are many who use that boldness in the worst possible way.  They have knee-jerk reactions and spew those reactions for all to see before getting the facts or taking the time to ponder the situation.

One example of that is a post on Facebook today.  Somebody I know posted news of a proposed law that she was in favour of being voted down in the House of Commons.  She said that it's "very discouraging to see so many uneducated representatives".  That law was nixed by a vote of 198 votes to 84.  So 198 people who voted against what you wanted (vs 84 who agreed with you) are "uneducated" for not having done what you wanted?  Really?  Here's what I want to know.  Why did they vote against it?  Was there a certain part of it that was disagreeable so they decided to scrap it?  Was it a badly written law that left too many loopholes?  If she had told us why they voted against it and then provided reasoned arguments against their thinking, I would have respected that so much more.  Instead, she just called them "uneducated" and walked away.

Sadly, this has become all too common.  We're all entitled to our own opinions and I would never take that away from anybody but, unfortunately, too many people are expressing themselves in such negative, abusive ways these days that it's getting depressing.

I think that I'll go watch some cat videos on Youtube now.  Maybe that will make me feel better.

What am I thankful for today?  Cat videos, yes, definitely cat videos  ;)


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Writing Letters

I have been following Chantelle of the blog Fat Mum Slim for a little while now.  She posts the most amazing pictures and hosts the Photo a Day Challenge on Instagram. 

She also started something called the Oh So Happy Mail Project which matches people up with pen pals.  This was the most fantastic idea!

I had a friend, as a teenager, who lived on the other side of the country and we wrote back and forth for a number of years.  Since then, though, letter writing has not been a big part of my life.  Sure, there is the occasional email to friends and family but, in this day of instant communication via text, Facebook, etc, even emailed letters don't happen so much anymore.

There were five official rounds (they're taking a break for a while) and I joined in Round 3.  I've had mixed luck with these official rounds but I have also met new people on their web page.  It has been so much fun putting together small (postage-friendly) packages and getting to know new people.  We send letters, post cards, stickers, tea and whatever else tickles our fancy.

I have pen pals in Australia (where Chantelle is based), Scotland, England and the US.  It is so cool to  open my mailbox with anticipation!  Canada Post has actually been getting money from me for the first time in years since I rarely mailed anything before this.  They should send Chantelle a thank you letter  ;)

I ordered a book called Snail Mail by Michelle MacKintosh to get some ideas and found it to be a really interesting book.  It not only gives you letter writing ideas but also talks about the art of letter writing itself.

(bought on Amazon)

What am I thankful for today?  Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving so I have a three day weekend during which I will read, eat, sleep and generally relax.  It is time to treasure.


Friday, October 7, 2016

The Power of Words

I wrote this post late last year and, somehow, never ended up publishing it.  A couple of things it references are out-of-date now but the message is still relevant especially with an American presidential candidate unashamedly running around insulting women for their looks.


I read a story on Scary Mommy about a new thing happening in London.  There is a group of “overweight haters” handing people in the subway cards with fat shaming notes on them before scurrying off.  What the fuck?!!  I don’t use much profanity on my blog to keep it friendly for everyone but it’s totally justified in this case so, again…..

What the fuck?!  Where do I even start?

If you know someone well and are concerned for their health, I can understand sitting down with them and engaging in a caring, respectful dialogue, offering whatever support and assistance they may require in their journey towards health.  I’m not a fan of talking about my health with anyone but I could appreciate such good intentions.  Fat shaming a stranger who you know absolutely nothing about?  Never a good idea.  Mind your own damned business!

The way they are approaching their mission too is particularly heinous.  Instead of having the guts to walk up to someone and look them in the eye as they insult them, they are scurrying past these people and thrusting cards in their laps, not stopping to see the shock, anger and upset that they leave in their wake.  We’re not talking about ten year old schoolyard bullies here; we’re talking about grown-ass adults! 

This brings me to my next point.  As adults, those of us who are overweight know perfectly well that we are overweight.  We don’t need to be told.  Really, we don’t.  Every person who is overweight is that way for a reason.  Perhaps it’s a medical condition, perhaps it’s emotional problems, perhaps it’s bad genes, perhaps it’s bad habits learned over time and perhaps it’s a combination of these things.  There are those who are trying hard to change their situation and there are those who have given up trying.  Each and every one of us has a story and no stranger in the subway can possibly guess at what that story is.

Whether we are trying to change or not, we have every right to love ourselves at whatever stage we find ourselves at.  Each and every one of us – fat, thin or in between – has beauty inside and out.  Nobody…. I repeat…. NOBODY has the right to take that away from us.  I wonder how those assholes in the London subway would feel if someone treated them or their mothers, brothers or cousins with such disrespect. 

The other day, somebody on Facebook made a joke about wanting to tell a woman he knows that her face looks like Adele’s but was worried she might think he was accusing her of being fat.  I blasted him for it (perhaps a tad harshly, I admit) and he came back saying that he didn’t think of her as fat but there are women who do think it.  I replied to him that I recognized that he was trying to be amusing but that repeating such trash-talk only gave it a voice.  It is far better to drown it in silence.  By the next day, he had removed the post.  I don’t know if it’s because he thought this crazy troll bitch (me!) was going to keep on him or if he thought about what I said and agreed.  I kind of hope it’s the latter.  It would mean that one more person has put some thought into this subject.

Amy Schumer posted a (mostly) nude picture of herself this week using the words that so many of us say to ourselves on a regular basis - some negative, some positive - but every one of them powerful.  It rather sums up the struggle that each and every one of us has.
I rarely get up on a soapbox for a rant on this blog since that’s not usually the vibe that I’m going for but this subject is a worthy one.  While repeating trash gives it a voice, the same can be said for repeating a positive message.  

Repetition of a positive message of love and respect – both of self and each other – can only give it power.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Thoughts

Can you believe she just turned 16?!
It has been almost a year since I posted here.

How is that possible?  How can I have stayed away from something that I enjoy so much?

I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  My thoughts?  I seem to do well for a while but then, somehow, I get all blocked up.  Even taking part in workshops where there are prompts don't seem to help much.

In trying to figure out why that happens to me, I have come to the conclusion that I put way too much pressure on myself.  When I publish a post and announce it on my various media platforms, I feel  pressure to entertain, to inform and to please my readers.  Here I am inviting people to come read what I wrote so I better not disappoint them!  This pressure builds up and creates huge anxiety in me.  This continues to the point where I freeze up and the words stop flowing.

The thing is, I truly miss expressing myself this way.  I miss putting words on my screen and flinging them out there.  I miss expressing myself - for better or worse.

The solution?  I'm going to stop putting that pressure on myself.  I'm not going to advertise my posts all over the place and linking up to other sites.  I'm going to come here to express my thoughts and talk about my life as if nobody is watching.

Will this work for me?  Who the heck knows?

Is it worth trying?  Hell yes!

Of course, those who are still subscribed to my blog may just come by for a visit and a big part of me really hopes that they do because I miss that interaction.  The difference now is that, while I hope that they still find me interesting, I am not going to stress over it.  Those who are my tribe will stick around and say hi.  I'm sure that the others have plenty of other places that entertain them more and that's okay.

I also want to practice a bit of conscious gratefullness to keep myself in a positive place so I will start right now:

What am I thankful for today?  I am grateful to have the freedom and ability to express myself in the way that suits me best.  There are so many who don't have that.