All Blogs Must Pass

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To every post (churn, churn, churn)
There is a season (churn, churn, churn)
And a time to every bloggy purpose, under heaven
A time to be write, a time to cry
A time to edit,  a time to die, words, die!
A time to be wracked with self-doubt, a time to heal
A time to alienate your entire family so you can waste precious time to write a post no one will ever read

Hey gang! There is still a gang out there, right? Hellllllllllloooooooooooo?

This year was my blog’s seventh anniversary. I was a spirited 39-year-old when I started She’s a Maineiac and now I’m still 39 so shut the hell up.

It’s been seven frigging years and I still, STILL! feel compelled to post crap at least once a month, much to my own chagrin. I feel like my blog has pretty much died a long slow death.  Or maybe it’s just in a coma and waiting for someone to wake it up so it will have amnesia and start over again with a new personality.  I like that idea! Hey, it worked for Sandra Bullock!
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C’mon, Darla! Wake the f*** up! Also, you look like shit.
Let’s take a groovy-graphy trip down my so-called bloggy life’s past to see how things evolved over time….

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As we all know, everything has a purpose and a season under heaven.  I think it was George Harrison who once said, all things must pass. Or maybe it was Dr. Oz talking about constipation. We all know that life is an endless cycle of life, death, rebirth, and more life and more death and you get the picture.

The cool thing about a cycle is it can start fresh again, it can be reborn! Like my snazzy graph below illustrates….

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So, it appears I’m back to writing for only me again. Yikes. My blog readers have pretty much vanished. Blogs are dead. Disco is dead. Elvis is alive and well in an underground bunker in Albuquerque. This is good and bad. Lately, it seems I have forgotten how to write. I have that thing you get when you….what’s that called again?

But I do love to write for myself. Sure, I’ve started to rehash ideas and tend to do the same post over and over again and maybe I won’t ever get the level of readership I once had years ago. And maybe the grammar police will always be lurking around every dangling particle. And yes, I have no clue what that even means. I don’t care! I’m too old to care anymore! This is my place! I get to do whatever the heck I want here, gosh darnit! If you don’t like my blog, good riddance!

 

But you’ll stick around, right?

If you’re still here, tell me in the comments below about your blogging career. Did you make oodles of money and gain boundless fame? Or just a bigger ass like me?

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It’s the End of the World as I Know It (And I Feel Slightly Uneasy)

As some of you are well aware, there are certain undeniable signs the End Times are near:

  • Oceans turn blood red.
  • Locusts! It’s raining locusts!
  • Leggings are a thing now.
  • Leggings! It’s raining leggings!

But recently I’ve witnessed another sign that it’s time to make peace with my maker.

My mom is on Facebook.

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Just to give you some perspective — she has never used a computer, doesn’t know what the Internet is, and once had a lengthy conversation with a robocaller about her bowel issues.

It all started when my extremely misguided brother bought her a Kindle for Christmas. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he installed the Facebook app and set up her account. Then — here’s what sent chills down my spine — SHE SENT ME A FRIEND REQUEST.

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Darla? ARE YOU THERE, DARLA?! I KNOW YOU’RE THERE! Hurry up! I could die waiting for you to friend me! Do you want me to die friendless, Darla?

My 83-year-old mother. The one who talks my ear off nonstop about gluten and loves Garth Brooks but thinks his wife’s chest is “too chesty and probably full of gluten”.

Now she can see all my stuff on Facebook. (gasp) She might even notice I have a blog. And that I’ve shamelessly used her as blog fodder for a few cheap laughs. Like this post. (ahem)

OH GOOD GOD! It’s like when the two worlds of George collided on Seinfeld. I need to keep things separate, people! Separate! Jeezum crow!

My husband tried to calm me down. “She won’t go on Facebook, trust me. She doesn’t even know how to turn on the Kindle yet!”

That night the phone rang. It was my mom. She wanted me to come over right away and help her “get on that page with all the people on it.”

Later, as I sat in her kitchen looking down at her Kindle, the smell of rice cakes burning in the toaster wafting through the 85-degree air, things got tense right away.

“Oh god! This Facebook is too much for my brain! I just don’t get it! And they keep changing the pictures on me! First there was a dog wearing a tie and now there’s a stupid video on how to make cereal! And they keep showing me a friend of a friend I don’t give a rat’s ass about! I mean, who in the hell IS THIS?! I wish I could get rid of them but I don’t know how!”

Then my mom entered the room.

“Did ya get me on that face thing yet?” she asked, biting into a blackened rice cake.

So this is how it all ends. With my mom leaving messages on my wall for everyone to see.

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slide1The next day I was sitting in my car waiting for my son when it happened. A Facebook notification. My mom had “liked” a photo I put up on my wall years ago. Great — not only is my mom “liking” all my personal stuff — she’s a stalker.

Time to erase my entire blog after this post.

Bloggers Gone (Mildly) Wild

I’ve been lucky to have met several bloggers over the years. As lovely as all of them turned out to be, I admit that I had my doubts.

What if they’re really ax murderers?
What if they think I’m totally uncool?
What if I end up wearing a fake mustache, plaid earmuffs, and yellow yarn on my head in public?

Preparing to blow the hipster restaurant crowd away with our epic dorkiness.
Preparing to blow Portland away with our epic dorkiness.

Ayuh, that’s right. I met up with Jules from Go Jules Go AND Peg from
Peg-o-leg’s Ramblings! I know!! INSANE!! I was delirious from the pure excitement and adrenaline. Or maybe that was because I pounded down a Blueberry Ale in ten seconds.

The Three Amigos: Three Blondes Make Everything Right
Three Wrong Blondes Make Everything Right

The best part was we didn’t even really plan (much) for this to happen — it was like fate, destiny, or pure coincidence. Jules is from New Jersey and just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. Peg is from Illinois and she and her family just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. And it was my birthday! I’m 29 for the 18th time. What a gift it was to chill with some bloggy peeps!!!!! (extra exclamation points absolutely justified)

After bribing Peg’s visiting family with lobster rolls, they graciously allowed me to hobnob with WordPress celebs Peg and Jules (and her adorable dog) on the Portland waterfront.

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Chillin’ with Uncle Jesse.

I tell you I have never been so giddy. Peg is exactly like you’d imagine from her blog times 100. She’s beautiful, bubbly, and hilarious. I’ve already met with Jules a few times, so it goes without saying she’s gorgeous, witty and totally rocks. The three of us had lunch, gabbed about stupid blog stuff, and played with vibrating lobsters

What? The restaurant handed them out to us so we’d know when our lunch was ready! Sheesh!

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Hello, Portland Press Herald? Breaking news — Darla, a born-n-raised Mainah, actually hates lobster.

I’d love to end this post by bragging about how after lunch we jetted off to party on a rented lobster boat while we toured lighthouses and Stephen King’s estate, but that’ll have to wait until next year.

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Bonus footage: Jim Gaffigan tells you exactly why I don’t like “lobstah”

Have you ever met a blogger in real life? Did you get as nervous as I did? Did you also make a complete fool of yourself in public? (Not hard for me to do…) Do tell!

What I didn’t do on my summer vacation

I spent most of the summer reading. Author/spiritual guru/King of Chilltown, Eckhart Tolle, has a simple message: Life is all about balance; there’s an intrinsic ebb and flow. You win some, you lose some. Things come and go. You try to do the tree pose to impress your kids, you fall onto the yoga mat and pull an ass muscle you didn’t know existed.

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Eckhart’s Spiritual Truth #234: Give it up, girl. You’re a klutz.

This summer, I decided to balance my mental state by weeding out the soul-sucking nonsense in my life — social media. What was interesting in this experiment was how little I missed it after a few days. It was very difficult at first. I had the typical withdrawal symptoms: trembling fingers, twitchy eyes, bitchy mood.  I had to uninstall apps on my phone to resist the temptation.

Then I would reinstall them. Then uninstall them. Reinstall. Uninstall.

Balance, dear child.
Balance, dear child.

Then I muted almost everyone on Twitter. Then I unmuted some. Then muted them. Mute. Unmute. Mute. Unmute.

Balance, dear child.
Twitter isn’t real. Nothing is real. It’s all a figment of our collective consciousness. An illusion. Let it go.

Then I scrolled through my Facebook feed, cursing at myself for caving once again.

Facebook is merely a construct that serves the purpose of feeding the ego. We all project a false sense of self, a persona. This is not your authentic essence of your true being.
Facebook is merely a social construct that serves the sole purpose of feeding the ego. It’s a place where we all project a false sense of self; a persona. This is not the authentic essence of your true being. Release yourself from this manmade prison. And let it go, etc…. I mean, I think it really goes without saying…duh.

Finally, I threw my phone in the trash. Then retrieved it. Throw. Retrieve. Throw. Retrieve.

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Ah! For the love of– YOU are an IDIOT! 

Man, that Eckhart Tolle sure gets on my last nerve. But the smug bastard speaks the truth. When you let go of things that don’t serve you well and life is in harmony, a whole new world opens up.

And yes, I’m an idiot.

After a week with less social media, colors seemed brighter, images sharper, my kids’ names clearer. Still, there were doubts. I did miss the social interaction on the interwebz.

How would I survive without knowing how outraged people were with the asinine thing Trump did this week? How would I go on without seeing in my Facebook feed 35 photos of my friend’s cat that all look the same? How would I cope not knowing how everyone else is having more fun and looks ridiculously more attractive than me this summer?

I’m happy to say I curbed my addiction. I stopped doing things I wasn’t truly enjoying anymore. I let negative stuff go. I didn’t blog for two months. (gasp) I didn’t go on Twitter. I came to the stark realization that no one really cares how tasty my omelet looks on Instagram. (For the record, it had feta cheese and spinach and it was AMAZEBALLS!) I discovered that people no longer say ‘amazeballs’. My Facebook page was (mostly) silent.

Guess what? I exist. I’M STILL ALIVE!!

(Barely, but I do feel a faint pulse…)

Thanks, Eckhart. You’ve changed my life, dude.

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Huh? Did you say something? Sorry, (hehe) but I was watching a YouTube video of Chewbacca Mom wrestling Trump in a vat of pudding.  Hilarious! But (ahem) yes….uh….balance. It’s all about letting things go. All that matters is being fully engaged in the present moment. To find out more about how we hold onto material things that don’t matter, be sure to buy my book on Amazon, on sale for only 19.95 plus shipping and handling!

Gloating in my success at banning social media, I watched a YouTube video of Tolle talking about another addiction we all face (after I checked out that hysterical Chewbacca Mom clip). It’s an addiction that’s much larger in scope and more difficult to beat.

Our addiction to thinking. Specifically — overthinking. Or thinking about overthinking. Or thinking about not thinking about overthinking thinking.

I am so screwed. I love to think! It’s what I do best! Or worst. First step to get back on my road to Chilltown: Buy beige sweater vest.

The key to a calm mind? It's all about the vest.
Calm vest, calm mind.

Thankfully, I’ve practiced meditation for nearly 25 years, so I’ve got this nonthinking shit down. I just have to not think about it so much. Easy! I need to breathe in….and breathe out….just…..be….one with my true essence…ahhhhh…

I feel dizzy now, but it’s all good.

Because — like Eckhart has said many times in that soft, mesmerizing, endearing Yoda-like way — we are all simply forms of consciousness, always transforming, manifesting and dissolving into formlessness. This is the true reality of existence. Not worrying about how big my thighs look in my leggings or how in the hell I’m going to survive until our election is finally over.

You hear that, Trump?

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump stands during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
The Donald — fully basking in his true essence.

You are a temporary form of consciousness! Everything has its purpose! It’s OK! (deep inhale) You’re just manifesting! (long exhale)

Sigh. I think I need to meditate again. Om.

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How was your summer?
How long have you gone with no social media?
Do you have any extra beige sweater vests lying around?
Is this election all just a crazy, mixed-up, endless, nightmarish trip I’m having due to that time I accidentally smoked the ganja?

 

 

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

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Remember the good ol’ days when the news was delivered to your door by a snot-nosed Beaver Cleaver punk? Remember the times when we leisurely digested the day’s headlines with a mug of Sanka in our grubby ink-stained fingers?

Nah, me neither.

Then again, I’m not sure if I remembered to put on pants today.

[looks down] Oops.

These days, I don’t get my news from those silly 24/7 cable news channels, or even from my Facebook feed.

Come on over to my newest post on The Nudge Wink Report to find out my top secret source of the latest breaking headlines…

I’ve Got News for You, Millennials!

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And this concludes the regularly scheduled programming of She’s a Maineiac.

I will be on hiatus for the summer. My goal is to ignore all social media completely for 3 months before my brain atrophies into oatmeal.

[looks up] Too late.

But before I go, thanks for reading my blog. I’m fast approaching my 6th anniversary (what?!) and it’s been tons-0-fun all these years. 

Peace out, dudes and dudettes!

 

Whole Lotta Fussin’ Goin’ On

Perhaps you’ve heard about the latest viral controversy that has gripped the entire nation. The curious incident of the fussy toddler versus the fussy restaurant owner versus the fussy parents of toddler. I’m not clear on the details but I take it one tantrum led to another and things escalated so fast people from Tanzania are currently offering their profanity-laced opinions on reddit.

One gloomy Maine day, Darla Neugebauer (no relation to author), owner of Marcy’s Diner in Portland, screamed at a toddler to “shut the hell up” after listening to her cry into her pancakes for nearly an hour in the midst of a packed diner. Darla went on to tell the parents to leave by throwing to-go boxes at them and yelling, “Either she goes or you go.”

Darla Marcy's Diner
Look — I’ve got teeny tiny braids and I’m not afraid to use ’em so back off, buddy!

The shocked parents, who were visiting from that other shining beacon of good manners, New York City, jumped on Facebook to promptly give Marcy’s Diner a bad review. Darla responded with some blunt profanity-filled rants of her own and suddenly people all over the planet were offering their opinions on parenting, public behavior and pancakes. Personally, I like mine with the cute smiley face made out of blueberries.

Since I’m from Maine, my name is also Darla, and I once was a parent of a toddler who made a living throwing epic tantrums, I thought I’d give both sides some unsolicited advice. Because as we all know, that’s the best kind of advice.

To the parents:

  • Next time order scrambled eggs.
  • The second your child starts crying, pick her up and run out the door screaming, “WHY? WHY? WHY?” Then sit in your car with your screaming kid the rest of the meal and watch your husband eat his bacon in peace, the smug bastard.
  • When dining out, always assess the level of noise that is spewing from your toddler’s mouth. Is it a low-level whine? More of a loud blubbering? Or are wine glasses shattering in the next town? Then act accordingly.
  • Always take time into consideration. As parents we are naturally conditioned to endure endless whining and crying that would make most non-parents scratch their own eyes out with a plastic fork. As a general rule, one minute to a parent = eternity for everyone else within earshot.
  • Having a kid means sometimes you can’t do things you once used to enjoy. Like spending a leisurely meal at a restaurant without everyone else glaring at you. Taking an uninterrupted shower. Reading a book. Sitting. Thinking. That little bundle of joy will interfere with your every waking moment whether you like it or not. Don’t worry, this only lasts until you die.
  • When Darla said to you on Facebook, “”You are lucky I didn’t get really f—ing nuts because being physical is not something I cower from,” keep in mind she speaks the ancient dialect of Maineiacese, a crude language born from extensive cabin fever due to the 100 inches of snow we got last winter. What Darla really meant to say was, “Thank you for your patronage, please come again.”

To Darla:

  • Next time try not to slam your hands down on the grill and scream directly at the toddler. Instead take three deep breaths and calmly suggest to the parents through gritted teeth that they eat their cold pancakes out in the rainy parking lot like any good parent would do. Like they always say, you can catch more social media firestorm with vinegar than with pancake syrup.
  • Take a crash course in how social media works. First rule: Do not piss off the NYC parents.
  • Who’s Marcy? Where the hell was she during this whole smack-down?
  • Because you are not a parent yourself, just for the shits and giggles take the nearest fussy, pancake-deprived toddler with a full diaper out to the busiest restaurant in town. Bon appetit!
  • Please keep up your brazenly crass curmudgeon attitude. It’s finally taken the spotlight off our governor.

In conclusion, I believe this squabble will only be resolved when Darla is forced to spend an entire day with the toddler and in return the NYC parents have to spend an entire day flipping pancakes with Darla.

What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy dining out in peace and quiet? Do you think fussy kids have a right to eat a meal too? Do you enjoy flipping pancakes? Would you make me some? Who’s Marcy? Please leave your controversial comments in the section below and I will agree with all of them.

Tales of a Twitter Nothing

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In spite of the fact I’m in my [cough, choke, gasp, defibrillator, deep breath, labored breaths, mild recovery] mid-forties, I’ve been around the social media block a time or two. But three times? Hell no! It’s way too far to schlep, my lower back hurts like a sonofabitch and I forgot to take my GiveAShit pills this morning. I love blogging and I’m capable of tolerating Facebook a few days out of the year, but only in small doses or during those rare times when I’ve drained an entire box of Pinot grigio.

[prolonged slurps through straw, gulps, burps, box crumples] Ah! Hits the spot! Who needs a wine glass?

But as for Twitter?  Harrumph! I have had it with Twitter, dagnabit! I think Twitter is nothing but mindless liking — excuse me, “favoriting” — and clicking and following that only leaves me feeling alone in the social media black hole.  Even more disheartening, I’m actually losing followers. Yes! I’ll gain a few then a day later lose five. And I didn’t tweet anything remotely controversial about feminism!

Believe me, I tried to get the wrong kind of attention but failed miserably.

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Even the crickets didn’t respond. Twitter manages to make me feel more unpopular and rejected than I did when I was a gangly bespectacled zit-riddled hot mess at the junior high dance. Sure, that was just last week when I was chaperoning my son’s dance but it still stings.

But Darla! you say. Twitter is great! You can share links! You can get your brand out there! You can promote other blogs! You can RT! You can zigzag and jibjab and XYZ!

Sorry — still hate Twitter. And not because it’s hip to pretend you don’t need social media attention. I do need it! I’m nothing without it! My life is devoid of all meaning when I continuously fail to go viral. I admit it: I’m a bitter Twitter loser. I opened my account in 2009 and have a grand total of 200 followers. Damn — now it’s 199 … 198… Six solid years throwing up lame tweets I wrote in my sleep and this is my reward? Cruel perpetual rejection? Reminds me of the time I was at the cool kids’ kegger and ended up in the corner nursing a wine cooler and whispering to a ficus plant. Fine, that was last night but it still hurts.

Things I hate about Twitter:

  • The 140 character limit. I need at least 1,000 characters to be lukewarm witty on a good day. Screw being succinct. Let’s just say I’m a “slow-burn” type of writer. Extremely slow. It takes eons for me to get to the punch line. Possibly never.
  • If you don’t instantly and blindly follow someone who just followed you, they will drop you faster than a hot potato grenade stuffed inside a bag of flaming poop.
  • Now every breaking news story features tweets about the news story. Like we need to know what Bella from Omaha thinks about our state of foreign affairs.
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  • Celebrities on Twitter who don’t seem to want to be my friend.
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  • Celebrities who are so beyond cool they have a million followers but only follow two. And one of them is always Patton Oswalt.
  • Patton Oswalt.

I suppose the only good thing about Twitter is my kids haven’t discovered it. Yet.

I shudder for the future.

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So what about you? Really? Get out. You hate it, too? Yeah. It’s really stupid, huh. People on social media are pretty insecure and lame. So needy for attention. Jeez. Pathetic. Hey … why don’t you go over there right now and follow me? You know, in the spirit of anti-social-media-ism.

Planting the Seeds of Change

“An eye for an eye is just wrong, Mom.”

My 12-year-old son was explaining his feelings on law and order from thousands of years ago. His homework was to determine if justice involved cutting off a person’s hand if he were caught stealing food.

“Why is it wrong? Wasn’t he wrong to steal?” I asked him.

“It’s wrong because violence is never the right thing to do.”

Sadly, his opinion would seem to be rare if watching TV is any indication. We live in a world where violence is entertainment.

News channels repeatedly spew out the same horrifically violent videos 24/7. Popular video games and prime time television shows glorify senseless violence. Social media rewards people who commit crimes by posting their images until they go viral.

We sit there glued to our screens like desensitized robots and eat it up, but we never fully digest it. We let it consume our psyches, allowing the anger and fear fester inside of us, eventually planting seeds of overwhelming sadness until we become the news we are watching.

Newsflash: we are each other. Nothing is isolated in this world. Everything and everyone is connected. Every human has a story, his or her own personal tragedies to overcome. How do we break the chain of negativity? How do we grow to become the respectful, loving souls we are all destined to become? Anger and sadness are genuine emotions but it’s how we transform that energy that matters in the end.

Every day we each have to dig deep inside ourselves to make a simple but powerful choice. Love or fear. The truth I know in my heart? Love is the only thing that will save us.

A few years ago, a holistic doctor was helping treat the anxiety and depression I’ve suffered off and on all my life. I’m an emotionally sensitive person so I absorb all energy, the good and bad. Unfortunately, my own mindset began to change to one full of fear. I started to view the world as full of evil, disrespectful, misbehaving people. It’s an eye for an eye, it’s a hellish, cruel world. It’s hopeless.

My doctor offered a simple suggestion that I immediately scoffed at: Stop watching the news. Stop watching the news? But then I wouldn’t know what was going on in the world! I need to know! I can’t be ignorant of the problems people are facing every day, can I?

Now that I’m getting older I’m finding he was right. For me the key is balance.  I do stay informed of things, of course, but I turn off the news more and more. I’m finding I’m less anxious or sad. Now I go out into the world more positive, more accepting, more open to trust. People pick up on my energy and they feel it too.  Small changes make a big impact in your life.

I still know what goes on in this world, I’m not turning a blind eye to injustice.  Of course things need to be brought to light in order for change to occur. But what are you doing in your life to make that change? Simply watching the news is not taking positive action. But how you act toward everyone you meet? That is how you make real change.  It’s not found in buzz phrases or tweets. It’s getting down to the basics of how we treat each other as human beings.

Now I focus on the good things that are happening and I let them feed my soul. I make it a mission to water those seeds. Contrary to what the news tells us, every second of every day people are doing good. They’re loving, helping and respecting each other. They’re listening to each other’s viewpoint without jumping on a bandwagon just to be popular. They’re showing the courage to actually practice what they preach on a daily basis with no fanfare, no immediate reward, no viral story blowing up on the internet.

Why can’t this behavior be the norm on TV? Because these stories don’t get the best ratings.

There are millions of respectful, loving people on this planet. I remind myself the news media is in the business of getting us to watch. They figured out a long time ago, humans are drawn toward violence — we love drama, we crave conflict. News outlets seek it out and they zero in on it. They replay the worst of human behavior for our endless consumption until it slowly poisons us.

Hope is not lost with me because I’m blessed to be able to tap into a deep well of boundless love and positivity. It’s found within my own kids. I raised them to treat everyone they meet fairly, to try not to judge anyone based on differences. To listen. To understand. To empathize. To respect. To accept. To love. These aren’t mere words, these are actual concepts we practice every day. As a parent, I’m cultivating in them the notion of honoring all life.

My son is now my teacher. I watch how he acts and I relearn how to behave myself. He shows me that talk is cheap. He stands up for people that are considered “different” because he is different himself. He is respectful, loving, and compassionate to everyone he meets. Everyone. I know he will be brave enough to do some good in this world. He will make a real change.

He chooses love over fear, so why can’t I?

Maybe someday, this will be considered popular behavior. Maybe someday, this will be the news.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Blogging Dead?

Is disco dead?

Is Elvis dead?

These are the pressing questions of our time and sadly, there are no clear answers.

We live in a social media world, where information is condensed, repackaged then regurgitated straight back into our tiny brains. We’re constantly bombarded with buttloads of useless drivel. We have twitter, youtube, GIFs, Justin Bieber. Everything is getting shorter and more obnoxious. In response our attention spans are adjusting. We crave quick blasts of information and grow tired and bored if we’re forced to focus more than two sec–holy crap, I’ve lost you already, haven’t I? What — this paragraph is too long? Not enough pictures to break up the monotony? You’re wondering where the GIF is?

FINE. Well dammit, here it is! Lap it up! Enjoy it! Get those lazy-ass neurons zapping again in that noggin of yours! God, you’re pathetic!comedy animated GIF
Ok — I admit, that’s a pretty cool GIF. Who doesn’t like a good snort of jambalaya?

Still, whatever happened to taking our time? Whatever happened to slowly digesting a good read? Whatever happened to Elvis? Is he really dead? Personally, I think he’s on an island somewhere with Steve Jobs and an iPhone 10 giggling his ass off.

But seriously. Is blogging dead? I’m asking again because I forgot what the point of this post was. The GIF above is distracting me. [jambalaya!] Does anyone really read an entire post anymore? [jambalaya!] Like say, any of my incredibly stupid and pointless posts, like this one?  [jambalaya!]

Don’t answer that.

[jambalaya!]

I like to think I’m not one to be sucked into the latest trend of super-short bite-sized social interaction.  I like to think I am above kowtowing to the masses. I’d like to know what kowtowing means.

So I looked back over my posts from over four years ago and I noticed a startling trend with my blogging (ahem) “career”:

  1. My posts got significantly shorter.
  2. My paragraphs got significantly shorter.
  3. My ass got significantly wider, and okay, shorter.

Apparently, reading anything more than 140 characters is like, so 2010. Libraries are dying. Stephen King is enraged more than usual. What does this all mean?

If blogging/writing/reading/thinking is dead, what will I do with my time now? Talk to my cat Mr. Piddles? Tough luck there. He’s got over 10 million followers on YouTube, the smug bastard. Although, for someone who spends an inordinate amount of time covering up his own feces, I am impressed.

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Aw, isn’t he adorbs? I could get lost in his eyes forever…sigh…huh?…..where was I? Oh yeah!

I think it’s time we take back our minds, America! We need to start reading full sentences again! Start thinking for once! Put an end to paying attention to Justin Bieber! Otherwise, our brains are doomed, people! Doomed!

So in the off chance I haven’t lost most of you readers already, here’s a post all about how social media is ruining our minds. Keep in mind, it was written three years ago and in that time I’ve no doubt most of our minds have been completely ruined beyond repair. Anyway, I actually read the article and found it fascinating. Of course, it helped there were a lot of real purty colorful graphics and short bullet point lists or I would have lost interest after the first sentence.

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Do you think reading is dead? Or Elvis?

Do you like to read long or short posts?

Do you like to read?

Do you know how to read?

Is it because you don’t have time?

Or is it because you really do have time, but you’d rather spend it watching this GIF?

stephen colbert animated GIF

Yeahhhhhh…….that’s the stuff…..

I feel so dirty now.

I am a smartphone addict and the world is going to hell.

 

nomophobia-1

Nomophobia — the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

A drastic change happened in my life this past year. I ditched my trusty old flip phone from the dinosaur age — the one I never texted on and barely used to even make phone calls — for a damn smartphone.

What the hell was I thinking?

Now I’m addicted to this soul-sucking piece of plastic and it feels sad. First sign I had a problem? If a few hours went by without checking it, my hands would sweat, my heart would pound and nothing would ease the subtle yet unnerving feeling I was missing out on something, anything (ohmygodsomethingishappeningIjustknowit!) unless I checked my phone.

The problem is, once you get that fix, you want another hit over and over again just to maintain.

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Before I went to bed at night?  Gotta check Facebook.

First thing after I had my morning coffee? Gotta check my email. And Twitter. Instagram. WordPress.

On my lunch break? Phone.

After the boss walks back into her office? Phone.

On my cigarette break? Phone. (Yes, I smoke the phone.)

While I’m on the phone? Phone.

It’s true, I’m cheating on my phone with another phone and sometimes I use them both at the same time and I don’t even care!

Now my life is a big, fat texting, emailing, messaging, instagraming, tweeting, facebooking hot mess of insanity.

I’m caught between desperately craving this fake pseudo-social interaction bullshit of likes and comments and tweets and twits, and realizing it’s all empty and useless for the most part.

Yes, it is.  Empty. Waste of precious time.

But Darla! you say, It keeps us connected! It’s social! C’monIt brings people together! The internet isn’t all bad! Some of it’s good!

No, it is not. We are all pathetic.

Fine, I’m pathetic. Because I’ve fallen for this crap. I remember when it all started too.

One day last semester I was sitting on a bench outside of class with other students, all of them looking down at their evil little phones. I was waiting for class to start so I did the natural thing we used to do in the olden days: I waited.

After a few minutes of pleasantly sitting there doing nothing, a 21-year-old classmate of mine asked “Darla? What’s wrong?”

“Huh?” I snapped out of my daydream.

“What’s wrong? You’re like…just staring off into space….” she laughed.

Oh my fucking god.

The other night my husband and I were sitting on the living room couch in the dark and both of us were hunched over, looking down at our respective tiny glowing rectangles. After a half hour of silence, we realized the TV wasn’t even on.

The TV wasn’t on! Has the world gone mad?

Last year, we used to pride ourselves on the fact we never texted. Now we’ve actually texted each other while in the same house before. Sure it was about dinner and I was very tired and didn’t want to get up to walk over to the next room to talk with my husband, but still.

We’ve fallen hard and fast for this addiction, and guess what folks, it’s real and it is sucking the life out of all of us.

Social communication has been reduced to bite-sized morsels of superficial bullshit we gobble up and spit out over and over again like monkeys pressing a button for food. Release the treat! Give it to me again! It’s never enough! Buzz! Buzz! BUZZZZ!!!

What have we lost? Eye contact. Long, meaningful conversations. The sense of touch. The ability to connect with another soul without a stupid machine wedged inbetween every interaction.

This summer I worked at a doctor’s office. My favorite parts of the day were the little moments I truly connected with a patient who is sick or dying or just lonely. Sometimes I’d rest my hand on their shoulder or help them up or give them a pat on the back and a smile. I looked into their eyes and I asked them how they were today and I actually wanted to know the answer.

The thing that surprised me most was the response. All people — young, old, women, men — their faces would suddenly soften, like a wall was slowly crumbling. Sometimes they’d start crying or telling me stories from the past or relating their dreams and fears to me. It was like a dam busted open wide. Because I actually took the time to talk to them face to face. Imagine.

And it made me think how little we actually communicate with each other today. Genuine communication about the stuff that goes on deep down inside of all of us. How much we all desperately need to know we’re not alone floating around out there, caught in some vapid interwebular net of flavor-of-the-month popularity.

But all things in moderation, right? So I’m starting to put the stupid phone down. I actually have to tell myself not to check it. I have to resist the urge all day.  I’ll admit, it reminds me of when I quit drinking coffee, it’s that much of an addiction to me.

Last week I went a few days without my phone. (I still texted my husband once though so I did cheat a little).

But I found I didn’t miss it, that hollow feeling of craving something I know is ultimately bad for the soul.

Fine, my soul, not yours. It’s just me. I’m sure you’re not addicted, right? First step is admitting you have a problem. Just resist the urge to tweet about it. Like I’m about to do with this post.

Sigh.

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Are you addicted to your phone? How many times a day do you check it? Be honest. If you’re not addicted, let me know any tips for quitting, like say, putting the phone on a table and smashing it to smithereens with a hammer.