Racist? I Think Not

Why I Am Not a Racist or a Bad Person Despite The Fact That You May Think Otherwise

This post comes on the heels of some very charged up conversations that I have had with people as well as witnessed others have with one another.

Just because I don’t follow suit and join in the fight against the police department does not make me racist or bad. I happen to believe that police officers do more good than bad. 

•They save battered woman of all races from abusive husbands 

•They save abused children of all races from horrific parents

•They apprehend very dangerous people from all races who will hurt you and me both if given the opportunity 

•They protect communities of all races from predators of all races 

•They retrieve guns off of the street that are in the hands of the real “bad” people of all races 

•They perform wellness checks on elders and loved ones of all races 

•They recover stolen property and return it to the rightful owners of all races 

•They save countless lives of overdosing drug abusers of all races 

•They are the first responders to emergency calls from all races 

•They provide life saving techniques to those in need of all races 

•They get drugs off of the street and out of the hands of children of all races 

•They deal with the people of all races that we are scared and ill equipped to deal with multiple times a day

•They maintain law and order in our communities for the safety of its civilians of all races. 

They do each and every one of these heroic things while quite often putting their own lives in danger to make your life safer.

So no, I will not join your fight in this movement of defunding the police and no, I will absolutely not subscribe to your theory that All Cops Are Bad. 

This does not make me a racist or a bad person. It makes me a realist and a reasonable person with the ability to see the whole picture, not just the one that is forced upon me by your views and those views of the people with an agenda. If I didn’t educate myself as well as use my own real life experiences as opposed to the cherry picked events framed and highlighted by those with an ulterior motive then that would make me not only bad but dangerous.

To put this in perspective consider this, “on a national level, 120 negative police videos hit the airwaves in a year and we balance it against 900 million police contacts per year, the percentage of negativity is .000013 percent.”* 

If your argument is that the 000013% negativity is towards people of color only, then your argument is wrong. 

Below are the statistics provided by statista. If you don’t trust just one source, as I urge you not to, then please do your research and compile many sources and average them out. Your findings will be the same, if not extremely close. 

It’s important to keep in mind that what you hear on social media is hysteria trickled over from mainstream media. What you hear on mainstream media is from those that hold the power of the media in their hands to do with it what they will in order to serve them and their interests. Know that, if nothing else. 

Remember the words of Communist Socialist Vladimir Lenin “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”  

Partaking or not partaking in peaceful protests on racial matters does not make you a racist or otherwise. However, fighting for something verbally or physically without all of the pertinent information regarding your cause does make  you ignorant. Ignorance is dangerous. 

“Defunding” the police is an uneducated and ignorant suggestion based on sensationalized situations and false statistics which could lead to an even more uncivilized society and anarchy. The appropriate and more intelligent approach or word(s) to be used, which are not being used, is restructuring and retraining. These two words have a more proactively positive connotation that invokes hope of progress not regression. 

With the subject of police matters aside I think it’s important to talk about how if you are a white human being and are not standing with others chanting that “black lives matter”, “defund the police”, screaming “ACAB”, or not putting a sign on your lawn of the like then you must be a racist and/or a bad person. 

Wrong again my friend!

When I look at my life and all the aspects of it I can never, not once, think of a moment where I treated any human being of any ethnicity differently than I would if they were white. 

I have come across all walks of life, and can say with strong conviction that every race has its rapists, scholars, murderers, psychopaths, holy men/women, abusers, peacemakers, racists, etc. The human condition has no color folks. It does not discriminate. There is no perfect race and there never will be. There is also no perfect organization either. There is bad and good in everything and everyone. 

With that said it is my strong belief that everyone deserves respect until they prove otherwise. I will not give you respect or disrespect you based on the color of your skin. I will not give you fair or unfair treatment based on your heritage. I will not think of you as less than or more than, for that matter, because I am told I should based on your complexion. You will not receive my high praises or my negative opinion because you are not the same color as me. 

Special treatment, negative or positive, based on the color of your skin is in my opinion the most basic form of racism there is. Any time color sways how you treat a person in any way you are now doing the exact opposite of what you think you are fighting against. If you are conceding to bad behavior and accepting less than acceptable treatment, standards and/or behavior from someone because you feel as though you will be labeled a “racist” if you point out the wrong doing then guess what, you are a racist. Giving undeserved treatment to an individual based on their color is racist. 

Merriam Webster’s definition of racism is this:

a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

With that definition in place I am absolutely comfortable and confident in how I handle myself, my words, feelings and beliefs. I am confident in my moral compass knowing that if I see you as a friend or a foe I will treat you as such despite what the popular opinion strongly suggests that I do because you look different than me. Your actions will determine how I treat you, not your race. Your race should not afford you more leniency, or less leniency, more praise or less praise. Your race should not determine if you are eligible for a position that you are not qualified for or eliminate you for one that you are. 

To close this piece I think it’s important to note that my message here is that everyone is responsible for themselves. You do not have the right to forcibly push your beliefs on another human being and assume the worst of them if they don’t concur. 

Your actions or reactions shape who you are and how people will see you and treat you. As that should also shape the way you treat others. 

Educate yourself. Keep an open mind. Don’t listen to one side. Hear all sides and then verify. 

You’re racist when color gets in the way of your decisions. You’re racist when you believe a black man isn’t capable of success unless you as a white man are there to hold him up. You are not superior but your “fight” for equality makes you believe that you are. The real enemy isn’t the police, or your perceived notions of racism. The real enemy is your ignorance in thinking that another race needs a white man or woman to rise them up.

S. Brown

Continue reading “Racist? I Think Not”

L.E.A.P. Let Everything Appear Possible

I started my current career back in 2011 to which there was a ten week course that had to be completed before I began working. During this course I met what would not only be a future fellow co-worker, but also a true friend.

It began with an orange. She had sat next to me at the usual cheap rectangular grey tables that they set up in conference rooms. There were twenty two of us in the class but only Cher* and I were at this particular table in the back.

It was around noon and the instructor had gone out for her hourly smoke. Each of us pulled out something to snack on and I looked over at hers. She was eating healthy just like me so I took the opportunity to offer her a slice of my orange, maybe strike up a conversation. She politely declined but a conversation did ensue. Before I knew it that ten weeks were like high school all over again, laughing behind our work books, sharing our lunches, and making fun of our teachers.

After our “graduation” we entered into our careers together remaining close friends, going to concerts, out for drinks, listening to our old school music in the car and laughing and laughing and laughing. This was our thing. We had a mirrored sense of humor and it was what connected us from the beginning.

As the years rolled by we drifted apart and the job took its toll on us. It diverted us in different directions and our schedules were rarely ever the same. We had both gone through divorces and new relationships, I had lost my mom, she had also had some difficult times. So much had gone on in our lives since being there. Her taking another position left us only stumbling upon one another every now and again for a moment of a few laughs, a quick hug and a hurried good bye.

Fast forward almost six years later and I found myself in a peculiar head space one day in the break room. I had been under some stress and was really looking down at my life from an arial view. Realizing that I was truly not happy and I had no real sense of direction. My body was at work everyday but my heart, soul and mind had retired long ago. In fact it felt as if everyday I was forcing them into a cage of lions just by getting into my car and sitting in close to an hour worth of traffic heading off to bring home the bacon.

As I pondered this nagging feeling to just up and leave right in the middle of my shift in walks Cher*, absent of her usual ear to ear smile that could light up any room. We both looked beat (not so much in the physical sense but in the “I used to be so full of life and creativity and now I am a conditioned robot doing the same mindless movements sixty hours a week” sort of way)

We started to talk about it immediately and almost instantly, much like many of our conversations before, I felt connected with our like minded views. She began to explain to me, as if thumbing through the pages of the story book within my head, how she felt out of alignment with her true self. That being here presented her with a conundrum of sorts, the money was decent and steady so the bills were paid but the hours consumed her and the work was just not what she was passionate about. She too had the “body present only” situation going on.

We melded together our thoughts for a few more minutes, but much like our entire career here, she had to rush off to her duties and so did I, cutting an enlightening conversation shorter than it should have been in the interest of the company.

I was left feeling somewhat united, yet still alone in my thoughts. However, I could still hear and feel it in the vibrations of her voice even after she left the room that she was on the verge of something greater and she was going for it. I guess I just didn’t realize how soon it would be.

About a month after our encounter I received a phone call and was informed that she had made the leap! Cher had resigned from her position. She didn’t tell me beforehand but that wasn’t a bother. I remember feeling left behind in a way; almost as if my partner in crime received parole and I was denied, exactly like that in fact. Then a wave of pride for my friend washed over me, a touch of sadness and an explosion of inspiration. So many emotions all in a matter of a minute. She did it! She was brave enough to jump ship knowing that the seas might be rough but the freedom of the open waters would be worth it. She was no longer a slave to this machine every day. She didn’t have to go to work knowing that she wasn’t making a difference other than in the numbers in her bank account. It was sheer liberation and I could see it clearly in her joyous responses to my curious text messages about her departure.

She was finally extricated from the schedule of someone else’s timetable. Free to pursue her artistic side and all her passions.

I have read about people like her, people who had just up and left a six figure job to travel the world, make a hobby into a lifestyle, spend time with their family and just live. I have always admired these people who were only in books, and now I knew one in real life. I was amazed. I finally felt like what I really wanted to do wasn’t just a pipe dream, but a possibility.

Cher showed me that you don’t always have to stay stuck in a situation that you are unhappy with. Her leaving made me realize that money isn’t everything, and that when you feel it in your gut that it’s time to move on, you should.

I’m sure she was nervous leaving a guaranteed paycheck and a steady job, but she dug a little deeper and envisioned further down the road. She didn’t allow the almighty dollar to dictate her life, but imagined that her true path would make her rich in happiness. She took that leap that I so desperately want to take and she Let Everything Appear Possible!

Someday it will be my turn to release myself back into the world to become the Shannon I was meant to be.

UPDATE: Since posting this about a month ago I was recently made aware of another fellow friend and employee “J” who also took this leap. Listening to him talk the other day was just another fresh reminder of all the possibilities afforded to us if we just have the courage to be a little uncomfortable, feel just a bit unsure and learn to trust in the power of change. If we do this we can discover that life is more than just what we have chosen in the past , but what we continue to choose in the present.

I commend both of these wonderful individuals on there courageousness, visions and strength!

*names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual

My Own Memorial Day

June 23rd marked the second anniversary of my mothers passing this year. On that morning I woke up just like I do everyday, ready to start my daily rituals and then set off to work.

I had my breakfast, the most important part of my day, went to the gym (the dreaded but second most important part) and came home to shower.

As I was ironing my uniform I stood for a moment at the board and thought about my mother. I thought about how many times I didn’t answer her calls because I was just too “busy”, or how sometimes I didn’t return them when she would leave me a message that ran right through to the allotted time you have on a voicemail (she was famous for telling me every single thing she was going to talk to me about when I called her back, so much so that I didn’t even need to call her because I knew what she was going to say!)

I thought about the loneliness she must have felt and the possible disregard by her loved ones (she lived alone and loved to talk on the phone with everyone in the family). Yet we were all so “busy” and we just didn’t have the time.  I wondered if she felt unloved, hurt and unappreciated everytime she heard the automated voice tell her to “please leave a message”. Then I started to cry.

I realized that I didn’t want to go to work that day. I just wanted to be around the ones I loved, and if I couldn’t be with them then I at least wanted them to know that I cared about them and was grateful for their presence in my life.

I decided right then and there that from now on, in the memory of my mother, I would treat this day as my own personal Memorial Day and remember her, while also showing great regard to those that were still apart of me.

So I called out of work, set up camp on my back porch and proceeded to make phone calls, send text messages and emails to all of the important people in my life. Each message was personalized depending on what place that person held in my heart and mind. Not everyone was an everyday fixture, some were just people that were there for me through my divorce, others life long friends, some new friends that have shown me so much and also there was family. Family in the sense of those that were closest to me in my heart, not necessarily blood relatives (though they were in there too).

The responses to my messages started to come in through the day and were all so amazing. I felt so happy. I then decided, after reaching out to everyone, to spend the rest of my day with my #1 love….my daughter. We went about the day doing things we like to do, all the while I was still receiving wonderful replies to my outreaches.

I felt good and whole and then I felt completely saddened by the response from the cell phone of my old landlord who played a pretty significant role in a very trying time in my life. His grandson Timmy replied explaining that Bob was in the hospital and they had set up hospice to come in a few days.

I had just spoken with Bob maybe 2-3 weeks prior just to say “hi” and check in with him. I remember that day that I called him I was feeling particularly frantic, a bit down and just overall overwhelmed by life in general. I knew that calling him would slow down the pace for me a bit. (If you’ve ever had an older friend or family member, say in or around their 80’s, you know that they have a certain pace and sense of peace about them) I needed that at that moment. So I called and we talked about nothing of great urgency, and that was wonderful. We talked about his great grandchildren, and that was joyous. We talked about his life living in the Midwest, how different it was from the city he was living in when he rented me my apartment many years ago, and that brought me peace. We just talked slowly and methodically about everything not related to the busy and crazy lifestyle I live, and that was calming. It was just what I needed.

So to hear his grandson tell me that he was in this position was very upsetting to me. Bob always represented, since I met him, a sort of grandfather figure to me. I never really had one since both of mine passed away when I was very young and he was just an extremely caring individual that treated me just like family, leaving his front door open of the triple decker that we lived in always letting me know that no matter what I needed he was there.

Timmy told me that he would read my text message to Bob that night when he went to visit him and that made me feel good that he would be able to hear that.

I kept in contact with Timmy for the next few days and he told me that Bob smiled when he heard my message. He told me that Bob said that he loved me and that made me feel so sad and happy at the same exact time. Timmy was wonderful at keeping me up-to-date but just a few days later Bob had passed.

I was in tears knowing that my oldest friend, the friend who I didn’t talk to often, but always tried to keep in touch with even when he moved halfway across the country, was now no longer on this earth. I was sad knowing that when I needed that calming conversation about nothing at all I wouldn’t have him to call anymore. I would no longer be receiving beautiful on time birthday cards through the email with singing animals and dancing fairies. I would not be downloading pictures of his great-grandchildren in their cutest of moments, nor would I be laughing at the jokes he would find and shoot off to me.

However,  I was was oddly happy that just before he passed he knew that I was thinking about him. He knew that I was grateful that he was in my life for the period of time that he was. He knew I appreciated him and that he was someone special to me.

If I had any doubt about making this particular day a tradition of reminding those that I love that they are in my heart, this solidified that it was the best decision I could have made.

Moral of the story folks, don’t wait to appreciate. You just can’t be sure you will have the opportunity to let that person know how much they mean to you. I didnt wait and for that I am thankful.

Rest In Peace Bob. You imprinted on my life in a very positive way. You started off as a kind faced stranger, who turned into a landlord that trusted in a single young mother working as a waitress. You gave me an opportunity to prove to you that I would be a good tenant, and then you turned out to be a piece of my heart forever. 

     Robert Quinn


On  E

This piece is for all of you “givers” out there; and I suppose all of you “takers” might try sneaking a peek as well. (maybe then you’ll stop siphoning the gas out of the “givers” tanks and leaving them on empty)
It’s not just mothers who give all they have and leave themselves exhausted, broke, discombobulated and depleted of all life. We all can, have, or will succumb to some form of self deprivation in the interest of another person at one time in our lives. Yes it’s true, while doing this you are exemplifying your selflessness and care to this other being, but you must also be conscious of when to draw the proverbial line. 

During the “in the event of an emergency ” briefing when you’re sitting on a plane waiting for departure you will always hear the flight attendants instruct you to place the oxygen mask over your own face first before assisting others in doing so. There’s a simple science behind this and also a metaphor too. (Before you can attempt to save someone else, you yourself must be breathing) It’s common sense that’s not so common when applied in our daily lives.

If you are not at your optimum self how can you care for another being. In order to do the very best for others you have to know what’s best for you too and make sure you give that to yourself without any feelings of guilt or doubt. 

Self love and maintenance are just as important as caring for another yet so many of us often overlook this truth, feeling selfish if we don’t. 

Follow your heart, help others, volunteer, lift someone’s spirits, lend a hand. Do what makes you feel good inside but don’t forget that you are human too. Always place high priority on yourself, then help everyone else with their masks! 

Easy Does It

Today I relearned something that I seemed to have forgotten at some point in my life. However, this time I learned it in the literal sense; and that literal sense made me realize why it holds true for the figurative as well. It’s amazing how if you’re truly in tune with your body and mind, you see, hear and notice profound things at certain moments in your life that others who aren’t, might just overlook. This was one of those moments.

I woke up this morning with the intentions of doing something I had done only once before with my mother at the age of 20 while vacationing in Ireland. I rented a row boat to take my daughter out onto the lake and have a picnic.

We got to the docks around 12 o’clock and the young “instructor” handed me the oars and pointed to the boat without any actual instruction. I looked down at the big aluminum vessel and shrugged, figuring it’s pretty self explanatory. We both climbed in and he gave us a push. Off we went into the open waters with 2 paddles, a thermos of tea, small sandwiches and chowder tucked away in our back pack.

I picked up the oars, attached them to the side of the boat and looked ahead. It was a gloriously cool September day, with the sun playing hide and seek behind a cumulus cloud. I was determined only to go a few hundred feet out, somewhere in the middle so that we could just float about and enjoy some food and conversation. Well, that few hundred feet worked my back like I was in the Regatta Races without any formal training. (I’m in pretty decent shape but I was struggling to say the least). However, with the help of some very friendly wind gusts we got to right about where I wanted to be…..and then with the help of some other big, yet not so friendly wind gusts, we got much further than I wanted to be!

It was fine, the day was beautiful and our on-board picnic was splendid. After lounging about for a while I realized that we had to be back at the docks in 20 min. Remembering the struggle to get out to where I currently was, I decided it best to start rowing……and rowing I did (or maybe that’s not really the term that describes oars going every which way in a frantic frenzy pushing the boat forward and backward at the same time).

Trying to make good time ( I really didn’t want to have to pay the extra $75 for being late) I picked up the pace, kind of. I was truly expelling  all of my energy trying to fight against the light, but seemingly stronger than me, current of water; my little one laughing at what could only be the ridiculous faces I must have been making as I pushed and pulled as fast as I could on those two oars.

I could see the dock ahead but no matter how much strength and speed I put into it I didn’t see it getting any closer. I asked her “How are we doing back there?” She was facing the rear of the boat and the island that we had come away from. “Looks like we’re getting closer” (she meant to the island) This was not the plan! I was literally moving backwards somehow, despite the correct motion in which I was propelling the oars. I felt like a cartoon character trying to run yet standing in place with my legs spinning and no forward movement.

What the heck was I doing wrong? Then it hit me. I forgot to breathe. I took a deep breath in, plunged the blades of the oars down into the water, and with my out breath I leaned forward and pulled back on the handles in one smooth, balanced, slow and controlled motion. Then I did it again.

She looked at me and said “There you go Mom”, and there I went. Making headway. Working smarter, not harder. Putting my mind, my breath and my muscles to work all in synchrony to reach my destination without:

a.) looking like a fool

b.) exhausting all of my energy too soon

c.) getting nowhere fast

My body moved in fluid motion, agreeing with the water as we worked in harmony with one another instead of against each other. The water was there, my destination in sight, the oars were my trusty mates and my mind was focused. With my newfound mastery we made it to the docks with time to spare and a calmness about me; no huffing, no puffing and feeling energized instead of exhausted.

This day on the water relates in many ways to every day life. People often resist their situation or react irrationally to it if it is not suiting or requires effort to overcome. Without putting any real thought into how to deal with the circumstance, they just barge ahead, thinking quick or brute force will get them closer to their goal or further away from their “less than ideal” situation.
Stopping or slowing down to take stock of all of the elements of a circumstance and recognizing that a more balanced and calm approach to overcoming an obstacle can be way more productive than just flailing your oars aimlessly and erratically, so to speak.

Resisting the urge to fight everything because not everything needs to be fought, is something to think about as well. Sometimes going with the natural flow of something is the best direction in which to travel. However, if you know in your heart that this particular flow is not heading towards where you need to be don’t go beating it over the head with a paddle. Just accept that it’s there, turn your eyes to your horizon, lower your oars, take a deep breath and move on as calm and collected as you can.

As one of the greatest and wisest men I have ever known used to say to me when I would get overwhelmed ……”Go easy”. I remember just hearing him say this would stop me in my tracks and force me to slow down and be deliberate with my actions or words. It’s a great mantra actually.

So to you, my loyal readers, if you must go against the current, like the well trained and instinctive thoroughbred that is sure to win the race, pace yourself, reserve and distribute your energy as needed and “Go easy”.

You Have A Superpower….Use It!

It’s been a while since I put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard actually) In all truths I just wasn’t inspired enough to write a quality piece and since one of my favorite sayings is ” quality over quantity”, I figured it was best to wait for the inspiration.
So here it is:
I subscribe to a blog that talks about life, much like my own blog, and love to read the authors weekly writings. I receive them through email every Monday and find them to be very informative and inspirational on many levels. Last weeks piece wasn’t any different. If anything, it made me look at the way I conduct my everyday life a little bit differently. 

The author wrote about a story that she was told in a seminar that she had attended. It was a story of a salon owner who had a customer walk through the door for the first time one day and ask for a hair cut and style. The owner asked what the occasion was and the woman replied that there wasn’t any. The owner went on to say that he gave this lady the works; shampoo, head massage, cut, style etc. Basically making her feel like a million dollars. A few weeks later he received a letter from the woman stating that her intentions that night were to commit suicide and wanted her hair to look nice for her services, but because of the way he treated her,so special, she changed her mind and decided to seek help instead.   

How amazingly moving that was to read. How unbelievable it is that one person has the ability to make another human being change their perspective on life just enough to want to continue on with it. It’s so incredibly unthinkable yet entirely possible and it happens all the time! The greatest part about the story was that the stylist was just being a genuinely good person treating another individual with kindness and respect. 

In my profession I deal with thousands of people every single day, so this story really inspired me. Working with the public you get the privilege of crossing paths with all walks of life. Literally. You never know who or what your going to be dealing with on any given day. So, it stands to reason that I too, (along with hundreds of my coworkers) may have come across a woman, a man or a child in the same type of circumstance as the lady mentioned in the story above. 

When you recognize that a simple smile, a short chat, or even an inquiry into how their day is going can turn a persons frown upside down, you start to believe that you are capable of one magnificent thing, making people feel happy. 

Is there any greater gift to give than that of happiness? Honestly, when you think of what you want most out of this life, out of all that you could choose from, happiness is usually at the top of everyone’s list. (I know it is at the top of mine and to know that I can give that away to somebody every day is almost like a super power.)

Can you imagine how rewarding it would be to know that wherever you go people feel happy because of how you treat them? The greatest part of this superpower is that it costs you nothing but the returns are priceless. 

I was sitting on the train the other day looking at a man who clearly had a rough day. His shoes were worn down to the soles and the leather had begun to tear away. His dress pants were a bit too large for him and his shirt had seen better days. 

Instantly I thought of one of my favorite movies, The Pursuit Of Happyness (yes that is how it is spelled in the movie)

In this film Will Smith plays a very poor and struggling single father, trying to make his way through an unpaid internship that holds the promise of a job as a broker. Throughout the movie you see his financial position go from not being able to afford his rundown apartment, getting evicted, living in a motel, to sleeping in the bathroom of the subway with his son. Yet, he gets up every morning, puts on his only suit and tie and shows up to that firm to prove that he is the best candidate for the permanent position. He never stops pursuing his happiness because it is all he wants, all the while never letting on to anyone in the office his real position as a desperate homeless father. 

In the end of the movie, on the last day of the internship (skip this part if you don’t want me to spoil it for you) the boss finally offers him the job that he has been working so hard for in such a nonchalant fashion by saying “Tomorrow’s going to be your first day. If you’d like to work here as a broker.” As (Will’s) eyes start to tear up I could feel all of his happiness rush into me. The boss has no idea how he just turned this man’s life around in just a few words, making him the happiest man alive. 

It was such a powerful moment. It showed that there are things that we can offer people that we think nothing of, but can impact them in such a way that it turns their whole life around. 

Thinking to myself about this comparison I realized this man on my train could also be battling something. I felt my heart go out to him as it had for the character in the movie and smiled as he looked up at me. His pensive look turned animated as he smiled back and surprisingly complimented me on my nails. 

Being the sometimes overly social person that I am, we started chatting about insignificant things. The conversation then led to him explaining about the job interview that he had just went on. He was confident and hopeful that he would get the position. I was feeling the exact same way about it. 

In the short time that we talked I gathered that he was a very intelligent man of good character. He got off the train with what appeared to be a little more buoyancy and a simple “Thank you”. I think he made my day a little better with his optimism. All had to offer him was my time and a little encouragement, but somehow I think our conversation got him out if his head for a bit and brightened his day too. 

We don’t all have the ability to extend job opportunities, provide shelter or hand over money, but we are all capable of kindness. Wherever and whenever you can, try to remember that there are people right in front of you who are struggling (internally or externally). Start with a salutation, offer a compliment, or just give a helping hand. Do good for people and maybe, just maybe you will have given them some sunshine on a day where all they could see was clouds. 

quote to note

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured”

Mark Twain

Anyone who has ever felt anger, which is everyone, knows how it feels inside the body. It is toxic and counterproductive. Let it go. 

Virtual Validation 


WARNING!! Dedicated Facebookers might not appreciate contents below. 

“Did you see Kelly’s new house?” Sandy asked with way too much enthusiasm as we sat down for lunch one rainy afternoon in a quaint little cafe in our hometown. 

“Kelly who?” I didn’t bother looking up from the menu. 

“Kelly Scott” she replied in awe as if this Kelly girl was the leader of the free world. 

“Dont know her” was all I could mumble as my stomach roared and I could feel it starting to ache while I flipped through the glossy pages of the menu. 

“Oh my goodness. Yes you do! We were in third grade with her!”

“Ummm….nope. Haven’t seen her since third grade. So, I’m not sure how I would see her new house. Didn’t even remember who she was until you brought it up. Puffy brown hair and braces, right?” I tried dredging up an image of this Kelly Scott, but that was all I had. 

“Seriously? Will you just get on Facebook please?!” (almost didn’t catch that disapproving eye roll) “Anyway, it’s basically a mansion. She pretty much has the perfect life, cute husband, awesome job, that house and she’s pregnant!” She sounded more jealous than happy for President Kelly. 

“Well there you go! Now, are you ready to order? I’m starving. Put your stupid phone down. I’m definitely getting the Reuben”. My lunch sounded so much more exciting than Kelly’s Facebook life. 

Yes, this was a conversation that I remember having about a year ago with my dear friend “Sandy” (names have been changed to protect the innocent) 

I remember being super excited to do two of my many favorite things that afternoon. Eat and talk with a good friend. I distinctly remember as well, the fact that her cell phone was glued to her hand while she strategically ate the turkey club she ordered while dipping her fries into a mound of ketchup after “checking us in” at the cafe on FB (I’m so glad that neither one of us had a psychotic murderous stalker that we were trying to avoid)

My severe lack of interest in other peoples business always seems to disappoint everyone. Even more than that, my complete absence of intrigue with social media tends to have a similar effect. So needless to say, Sandy’s updates were not even on the list of things I wanted to chat about. Facebook was just going to have to be put on hold until she was in the company of someone who cared enough to “like” a picture of someone’s cat hanging from their ceiling fan. 

Now, on to my confession:

Many, many moons ago I was coerced by a certain Aunt/Fairy Godmother (you know who you are) during Thanksgiving to start a Facebook account so that I could communicate with her and all the cousins, keeping up with the family, and sharing pictures and such. Ok, ok, it sounded harmless enough; even though I wasn’t too keen on the idea of having my own personal information spread out all over the Internet. 

She assured me that as long as I kept a close circle of “family only” contacts that it wouldn’t be a big deal. I believe my sister threw her two cents in there somewhere too, and the cult had gained a new member. 

Later that week I sat down in front of my laptop and created for the first time ever, my very own Facebook account. I remember friend requesting my sister, my aunts, my uncles, and my cousins. Great! Their cheery little faces started to pop up with little bits of information about their lives, pictures of activities that they were partaking in, and miscellaneous things regarding themselves. 

I remember scrolling through the pictures, especially the ones that were posted of my sister, brother and I from when we were little. This was great! These pictures were all lost over the years and it was so nice to finally see them again. 

Then it started. Little pop up numbers somewhere at the top of the page, “friend requests” they called them. All of a sudden all of these people from my past, literally people from first grade (mind you, I was 25 at the time) were requesting my virtual friendship. (I always found the word “friend” on Facebook to be a bit overly exaggerated. What exactly did the maker of Facebook consider the definition of “friend” to be anyway?)

Oh look, there was my 5th grade crush. Still looked the same and had a little family of his own going on from the looks of his profile pic. Cool. My high school music teacher! A little weird but okay. My hairdresser back when I was 18 was looking to be my “friend” as well. One of my first employers at a flower shop that I worked in when I was 14 had, get this, after 11 yrs. of not seeing me once, wanted to be my “friend”.  The girl who sat behind me in Biology, yup her too! Ummmm……Accept? 🤔 Why not? Accepted! Why’d I do it, you ask? I don’t know, but I did it again, and again, and again. 

I never accepted “friends” that I didn’t actually know at one point in my life but the list of “friends” grew unnecessarily longer regardless, and before I knew it I was flooded with miscellaneous pieces of useless information about people I probably wouldn’t even recognize if they came up to me at a school reunion wearing a name tag. 

At first though, I have to admit, it was kind of amusing to see the ugly duckling from second grade that turned into a swan. I guess you could say I was impressed with the accomplishments of the kids that everyone would have voted least likely to succeed. Mostly though I enjoyed seeing how everyone had just grown up (physically at least) and the beautiful children that they had brought into this world. That was the coolest part. 

Shortly thereafter the microscopic allure had begun to diminish after realizing an odd trend on this Facebook thingamajig. People embellished, they lied, downsized, upsized, fantasized, gossiped, bragged, bullied and did a multitude of many other unbecoming acts, all with a few clicks of their mouse and some fingertip pushing. Did I mention these people were adults?

The one thing that was being done that stood out the most though, was the constant act of crying out for validation. It almost seemed as if everyone was doing something everyday just so they could post it and see who would “comment”. It didn’t matter what it was, from “hitting the gym” to “scrubbing the toilet”, it was all documented. 

It was like a giant game of The Sims! These people were falsifying lives they weren’t really living. They were acting to be applauded. From Photoshopping  pictures, to the declaring of relationship statuses, to the 5k they just wrapped up before the rest of the world was even awake, to the newest pair of sneakers they spent half their paycheck on, people were “posting” it. 

There were even people whom I talked to on a regular basis, that would praise they’re significant other in a “status update” with a lovey dovey picture of them captioned “best boyfriend ever” after complaining to me about how their relationship was in turmoil the night before. Then there were those parents claiming that they were having “family time” at the park or the zoo with their kids while the child is pulling on their pant leg for attention as the mother refreshes her page to see who thinks she’s “such an amazing mom!” Or those that I knew couldn’t hold a job to save their life, but were “checking in” at the spa. What on earth?  

I didn’t understand any of it and then it hit me. After sitting back and slowly “defriending” these wolf criers because I had absolutely no reason to read their nonsense, I realized that they were just people who would rather portray themselves as something instead of actually becoming that person that they so obviously wanted to be. They would rather appear to have a great relationship in front of their Facebook audience than to actually put the work into creating an amazing union with their partner in reality. Their Facebook life was more important than their real world life because it provided them with a sense of false accomplishment. It was easier and took no effort at all to pretend than to actually become. (Ahhhh, western societies “easy way out” mentality strikes again!)

Of course not all Facebookers are tall tale tellers. There are the few that really do have it all, but they are less likely to be seeking attention or approval virtually because they are too busy achieving personal successes to be constantly posting. These Facebookers are the ones who you rarely see a “status update” from and probably only keep their profiles open to be reminded of birthdays (the one feature I think is genius! How could I forget my own fathers birthday?)

The bottom line is that Facebook was created for college students and their social affairs and has obviously expanded far beyond its original borders. It can be a wonderful networking tool along with having many other productive facets. It’s just in my opinion that people need to know their boundaries, exercise self discipline and remember that the game of life isn’t played nor is the score being kept on a computer screen.

It took me a little while, but I finally freed myself from this simulated society realizing that I only care to share my real life, in real time with my real friends. 

Account Deactivated


quote to note

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him”

James D. Miles

How true this is. In a world filled with ego driven individuals looking for notoriety it is refreshing to see someone doing good just to do good. 

It’s Ok To Blend


One of our biggest mistake as humans is assuming that people know how we feel, figuring that others can read our minds, or expecting someone to understand us completely. 

We all do it. We are surprised and dispirited when someone doesn’t react to a situation in a way that we expected them to. We feel a little disappointed in those who don’t share in the same opinions as ourselves, or we get upset when the other person can’t see our sadness or our joy as intensely as we feel it.  

I, as of lately, have been very guilty of this and so I think it’s a good time for me to write about it, get it out of my system, and be done with this nasty habit. 

I have found myself in the past few days getting a little more frustrated with a certain someone because their behavior has not in some instances mirrored my expectations. Which, after a little necessary reflection, I have realized is completely unfair. 

My goal with this individual or anyone in my life is not to make myself appear right or make them think they are wrong in any way, yet I can see how this type of behavior can be viewed as if it was. All I truly want is to be genuinely understood and respected. It is for this reason that I must also show the same considerations unto them. I figure that the only way that I can do this is to adapt to their internal habitat the best I can. 

So how I see it, in order to achieve this higher level of consciousness it’s almost as if we must become a chameleon of sorts when dealing with people; blending into their mental environment, so to speak. It’s important that whoever we are interacting with that we regard them as the individual that they are and remember that their thought process is not a reflection of our own.

Allowing them to express how they perceive things is giving you an insight into their psyche. You can now know that this person doesn’t take offense to criticism, and this person feels overjoyed for others accomplishments, while this person doesn’t appreciate when people go out of their way to help him. 

Everyone has their way about them and little idiosyncrasies. We should try to understand that their life is diverse and abundant with their own things going on and remember that everyone’s personality is what makes them react or not react in different ways to certain things. 

By recognizing and accepting everyone as an individual as well as connecting with them on their level you are not changing who you are but becoming a better and more compassionate friend, husband, sister, coworker, etc. You are flexible, understanding and non judgmental. You open the relationship up to better communication. You are allowing this person to be who they truly are without inadvertently trying to manipulate their disposition. 

Let’s face it, when someone feels that they have to behave in a certain way around you, that doesn’t coincide with what they really stand for, they are more than likely and unwillingly disregarding their natural character. Who the heck wants that!?

~Say you are upset with your best friend for not returning your phone call earlier in the week when you desperately needed her advice. It is reasonable to ask her if something might have come up, if she was too busy with work, or if there is something bothering her in regards to you. Yet it is not ok to express your agitation with accusations and assumptions making her feel like she is being attacked just because you feel hurt. She may not have even realized just how important the conversation you wanted to have really was. She quite possibly didn’t hear the urgency in your voicemail~

It’s simple things like the above example that can really eliminate a lot of unnecessary conflict while being productive, and rational at the same time. 

Practicing patience with people’s differences is like practicing patience with anything else. Hard! Yet, doing this one little thing can truly better your valued relationships. 


In the process of appreciating the diversities and convictions of others don’t ever lose your own authenticity. This type of practice should be a mutual thing. Knowing and respecting who someone is and what they are all about is one thing, but allowing their true behavior to continuously be a direct disregard for who you are as a person is a whole different story. If you find yourself walking on egg shells every time you have an encounter with someone, stop walking and start running. 

Allowing people to be themselves around you and be comfortable doing it is serving two purposes. Firstly, you are showing that you are a caring and compassionate human being and secondly, they are either showing you the same or they are not (if they are not, refer to #10 in my Brain Train blog)