Facebook and False Empathy


  Every day our Facebook feeds are inundated with pictures of missing children, wanted criminals and sad stories of people in need. The images tug at our hearts leaving us wanting to feel that we’ve helped so we “share” the post, sending it out to all of our “friends”. The problem is, the second we hit that share button we forget what the faces in the image really looked like. We aren’t out on the streets scanning faces, desperately hoping to help locate lost loved ones. We aren’t gathering donations to send to families in need. We tell ourselves we have done some good but all we’ve really done is flood the newsfeed with yet another image to numb the minds of those that see it and then quickly forget it. I try to always read the story ( the full story) behind these images before I share it. Far too often I find people are sharing hoaxes or images of lost people long since found. If you don’t care enough to find out if this person has been found why are you sharing it? You are only clouding the vision of everyone you share it with and blocking the ones still missing from being found. 

Recently I saw a tweet saying that the local Women and Children’s Shelter was in need of common everyday items for the poor people living there and I thought to myself, ” Perfect, here is a chance to actually do some good!” I posted multiple requests for donations from the list of over 400 people on my friends list, confidant I would get an outpouring of support from all of these wonderful people… I was so wrong. Three people offered to help. Three.
Not a single share or like. I kept reposting, confused as to why no one was stepping up. Did they not see my pleas? Was this a Facebook setting issue? I continued to see posts regarding vacations, drunken weekends, coupon shopping and pedicures but no offers for donations of shampoo, diapers or juice boxes. No one wanted to give up a few dollars to help innocent women and children? How could this be? I began posting funny memes and silly jokes and I noticed the likes and shares rolling in. This is what people care about? This is what gets their attention. Of course, these things require no effort…no empathy. These things were easy, and required no sacrifice- large or small. This is what our society has become…and it breaks my heart.

I am going to share a “missing” post, 

Lost- compassion and empathy! If found please use generously.

Music snobs are missing the point.

I have no patience for music snobs. You know, the ones that snort with derision when they hear Taylor Swift happily be-bopping out of your car speakers and say, ” I only listen to …(insert moody, indie band here). To me music serves many purposes, so why would you limit yourself to one genre, one sound? Pop music can either irritate or up-lift me; if it irritates than I try blues, rock, r&b or country. What ever serves to soothe my frayed nerves. Each time/ each mood, something different is needed. At night, during one of my frequent bouts of insomnia I will listen to classical to soothe my mind but I also turn to classical if I need to be inspired, it can get my creativity flowing. My iPod is jammed full of hair bands, rap, r&b, country, pop…. you name it, it’s there. All except jazz, I just can’t get into jazz. If a song makes you feel good, soothes what’s aching , touches your heart, makes you think, or is just simply a lot of fun – what’s the harm? With so much negativity and violence in our world music should never be the enemy.

Yes, I get that there is a lack of “true music”, out there and we are being inundated with over produced drivel. Blah, blah, blah. Someone must like it, must feel happy listening to it,or else it wouldn’t sell. There is a place for it. I am very aware of the struggle for artists to have control over their own music and to be fairly compensated for their work, so I try to pay attention to who the artist is and their story and I buy independently produced music all the time.

I listen to old-school, new-school, and clearly-never-finished-school. I draw the line at racist, homophobic or misogynistic music, though I have to admit I do have an appreciation for some of Eminem’s work and he has been horrifically guilty of all three offences. I feel that music is a powerful force in our lives and our society, and our preferences are hugely personal and should not be open to ridicule. If hillbilly twang is your thang, if grill wearin’ hip hop thugs get you jumpin’, if scream metal speaks to your inner lonely child…you do you. No judgment needed from anyone else.


My writing has multiple personality disorder


A few months back I started my second blog, The Complexity of Me (wow, I am terrible at titles), and it was my intention to use it to explore my dark times and my battle to get through them. I wanted to keep this blog here a little more…light. No, not light…not as dark, maybe? Does the difference make sense to you? I want to discuss important issues here when need be but maybe not the deep dark ones that lurk in the very depths of my mind. I want to discuss things that rile me up but not the ones that tear me apart. The distinction was/is important to me. I want to have interesting and sometimes funny posts on this blog and not have them feel awkward or out of place following one where I discuss my issues with depression. I need to have my happy moments and my agony riddled moments separate in my writing because, while each is a very true part of who I am, it felt like they would devalue each other if placed together in a blog. I don’t think this comes from a place of denial since I am very open and honest about all facets of my personality. Nor does it come from a desire to write for you as the ones reading my blogs instead of  from the heart. I just need to have a place to be happy when I am, and sad when I can’t help it. I need the distinction in my writing that I can’t always find in my day-to-day life. Oh how nice it would be to say, “Nope sorry, I can’t be sad here; this is my happy place.” It would be nice but it isn’t reality. So I will keep my “Rantings” and my “Complexity” (geez, I really need to work on titles), separate entities that co-exist but work better apart. I shall call them – divorced personalities.

Still Facebook free!

So it has been one week since my vow to break the Facebook habit and I can honestly say it has been fabulous! Much a like an alcoholic I have thought about my little addiction often and been tempted to reactivate my account multiple times but thankfully I recognize my sickness and have pushed through the dt’s and the twitching because after all I am fighting the good fight. The fabulous part comes from all of the other things I have accomplished since kicking my dirty little habit, like actually reading books again. No more gorging on news feeds and timelines, I’m feeding my brain with literature again! I’m also writing – a lot. Here, on my other blogs, in my journal…everywhere but social media. And it feels good! I’m also reading more blogs, ones that I “follow” but had long since neglected and I’m discovering how much I love them and interacting with fellow writers all over again. I have discovered that I have a led a very sheltered life and that many of my thoughts and writing ideas are not terribly unique…but that’s for another post. 😳
I had an enlightening conversation with a friend yesterday, she asked if I had seen a particular post on Facebook and I said no and reminded her of my dramatic break-up. I jokingly said, ” It just goes to show how often you look at my profile since you didn’t realize it was gone.” Her response was, ” Why would I? I talk to you constantly, I see you all the time and if there is something important in either of our lives the other one is instantly involved. I get to spend time with the real you why do I need your Facebook?” She was right. Our lives are entwined in a way that can’t be accomplished through a website. She knows the ins and outs of my ups and downs. I am blessed to have many friends that I can call on for love, laughter and support. I have family that I adore and who always make me feel safe and loved. Why would I ever need more than that? Quite simply – I don’t.
Now, need and want are two totally different things so we’ll see if this break-up lasts. If nothing else I may enter back in to the fray with an all new/ healthier perspective…but not right now.


See, I’m not alone in this.”


I know, I know…New Year’s resolutions are a cliché. People roll their eyes at them and question why people make them only to break them soon after. I say, if you are taking a moment to pause and reflect on who you are and who you want to be than it’s always a good thing. It’s better if you do it all year long, constantly striving to be a good/better person, but if it takes a bright and shiny new year to get you thinking – so be it! It’s much better to try and strive for improvement, even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you wanted, than to never try at all.
So make your resolutions proudly! Maybe even resolve to be more self aware, honest and kind with/to yourself. Admit when you are wrong and change what it is that may be holding you back but cut yourself some slack for not being perfect – no one is.
Happy New Year!

2015 resolutions:

1.Think before I speak
2.Write more
3.Cut the social media addiction
4.Be kinder to myself
5. Enjoy what I have


The social media cleanse

Not long after its inception I became an avid Facebook user. Since then I have checked it religiously, enjoying the daily updates from friends near and far. I’ve revelled in their adventures and felt their heartbreak. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with childhood friends and getting to know family members I hadn’t grown up with. Largely, my interactions and experiences have been positive, entertaining and often up-lifting. I have felt good about my role in this circle of interactions…until now. Last night someone called me on my condescension and it really hit home. You see, I am the type of person who is constantly assessing and trying to improve myself, or more honestly – judging and criticizing myself. So, when I feel good about one aspect of my person it’s a thrill. To be specific, I love vocabulary. I’m good with words and expressing myself. (My punctuation is a wreck but that’s something I’m working on. ) I enjoy learning about the ins and outs of the English language and I hope to learn 3 new languages in the next decade. It’s something I felt pretty good about…until now. Last night I was confronted on a comment I made on a post and while this person, and then subsequently her family, missed my point entirely and interpreted it somehow as I was disagreeing( in this instance I wasn’t), one of them brought up the point that I use my words as weapons and that I come across as someone who feels superior to others. It was a direct hit to my heart. Simply because I knew she was right. I had allowed my pride in my way-with-words to turn into a way to feel good about myself but sadly at the expense of others. I was judging others on their flaws as a way to feel better about myself. I also realized, in this particular incident, I was using a very passive aggressive method to lash out at someone I am still very angry at over past incidences. Anger I wasn’t even aware that I still carried about issues that were never resolved. Social media is a perfect venue for this type of interaction. You may rant and rave or passive-aggressively take aim at the person you feel has wronged you and then paste a happy face on when you meet in person and act like everything is fine. This is not a healthy way to be and it is definitely not the person I want to become.

My Facebook posts have recently been over-run with political rants and griping about companies. My Twitter, which I use sporadically, became a tool to shame companies I’ve interacted with on poor customer services. I was unleashing negativity by the boatload onto social media and I wasn’t even aware of it…well, not fully. I knew I was doing it but not to the extent that I was. I was allowing my mounting frustrations to spill out in an unhealthy and ugly way. So today I start my cleanse – my social media cleanse. I’m putting down the iPad, clearing my mind of all the negativity, assessing my role in all of it and making changes. I know who I want to be and I know how to get there. I never want to have to face my own words or actions and realize I had caused anyone any self doubt or pain. It isn’t who I am or who I want to become and if going back to simpler times (pre-social media times), is what I need to do than so be it.


Peace, Love and Goodwill to all; Now Quit Your Bitching

The 2014 holiday season is almost behind us and I am constantly hearing people sounding off on what I think is a really silly issue. I am perplexed at all of this outrage over people saying, happy holidays. First off, how full of yourself do you have to be to believe that the holiday you celebrate is the only one being celebrated at any given time of the year. Let’s forget for just a second that the rest of the world isn’t exactly like you, let’s pretend that everyone celebrates Christmas. If that were the case, saying Merry Christmas or happy holidays would both be perfectly fine. The controversy only comes into play because there are other holidays being celebrated at the same time of the year. So basically, when you get all offended because someone said happy holidays you’re offended because not everyone is celebrating the same holiday you celebrate. If someone were to say to me, happy Kwanzaa, I would say thank you. I would return the sentiment or possibly say, Merry Christmas to you. I would not be offended, because what is offensive about wishing someone happiness?
Often comments or complaints are attributed to a specific religion via social media in order to rile people up regarding this issue, yet they always referred to as, a woman/ man somewhere said… There is never any factual proof that these comments or the complaint were actually made. It’s just a vague reference to someone who is of a different religion other than Christian that has complained about the holiday. Often I hear, ” how dare they come to our country and try to change things” which is ridiculous because Canada was built on and thrives due to our multi-culturism. So why should any one religion and its traditions be given a special status? Now, I’m not anti-Christian but I am certainly pro-tolerance and inclusion. Here in Canada we are considered a mosaic which means everyone who lives here is allowed their own individual identity and religion without having to conform to any one norm. We should all be able to celebrate any holiday we like; or not celebrate any holiday at all, and it should be excepted by everyone. If I want to celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza or Festivus it is my own personal choice and no one else should have the right to weigh in on the matter, object or effect my choice in anyway. And if they do decide to weigh in on the matter it should not be something that makes headlines but merely be the opinion of one/some and that’s all. Even the Christian faith has more than just Christmas to celebrate in December. Here is a small sampling of the holidays that are celebrated in the last month of the year;

Ramadan (Muslim)
Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)
Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
Eid’ul-Adha (Muslim)
Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
Hanukkah (Jewish)
Christmas Day (Christian)
Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
Kwanzaa (African American)
Omisoka (Japanese)

So the next time someone wishes you a happy, joyous, blessed or merry-anything, say thank you and feel good that someone cared enough to want to see you happy at the holidays.
Something to remember for 2015.



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