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iSmashed it!

I have managed to do something terrible.  Something utterly unacceptable.  Something completely horrible.

I dropped my phone and smashed my screen.

It may take a while to get over it!

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Wading in!

I’ve never been a spectator…not really.  I’ve always had an opinion and more often than not, I opened my mouth to express it and I have, on occasion inserted my foot in my mouth.  It hasn’t stopped me from expressing my opinion though.

In the process, I’ve hurt feelings and lost friendships that I valued.  I thought I’d learn from the mistakes and keep my opinions to myself, let other people say what I wanted to say.  It was only recently that I’ve allowed myself to step back, or hold my tongue and keep schtumm.  But last night, I couldn’t keep quiet.

One of my pet peeves is people taking credit for something that they didn’t do.  I’ve always tried to credit people when they’ve done something clever or if they’ve helped me do something clever.  I’ve always tried to say thank you.

Last night, Alan’s photo was grabbed by someone, posted on their Instagram feed without acknowledging that it was Alan’s photo. I posted a couple of stories to protest the injustice.  Once that was done, and we saw that the “borrowed” photos started disappearing from the account’s feed.

I woke up to find the comments section of the photo I posted before 8:30 last night turned into a chatroom for Instagram bot accounts.  I would laugh if it wasn’t frustrating.  To top it all off, a few people who follow me on Instagram were messaging that the account that grabbed Alan’s photo was claiming that they took the original photo of the look-down view of the rollercoaster in Winter Wonderland that I posted.

I took to Instagram stories again to just get things off my chest.  I told my story, and shared my thoughts.

It is certainly a sad commentary on our times when people think it’s acceptable to take other people’s work and pass it off as their own to gain followers and popularity on social media.

I know that I took the photo they’re claiming is theirs.  I have the original.  I posted it hours before they did and putting a banner of their instagram name across the photo doesn’t prove ownership.

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I am thankful

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not!

I am thankful for so many things – the joys, the blessings, the sorrows and the pain.  All these experiences have helped me further learn who I am and how strong I can be.

I am thankful for everyone in my life, family, whether immediate and nuclear or extended and several times removed – you are the steel in my backbone that allows me to conquer the challenges I face daily;  and friends – old, new, near, far, faithful and fairweather – your presence in my life, whether permanent or fleeting, have helped me learn what my boundaries are, what my limits are and how much of my heart I am actually able to give – for that I am truly grateful.  This is not some flippant remark.  For all the experiences, for everyone who has been in my life, I am thankful for you.  TRULY.

I am thankful for the esoteric and the banal things in my life. Because without all of these my life wouldn’t be rich and varied and oh-so-colourful.  There is so much to be thankful for.  If you sit down and start listing things, from the smallest to the most fantastical of things, you wouldn’t be able to stop.  I remember Sarah Ban Breathnach saying that if you concentrate on being grateful every single day, you wouldn’t recognise yourself only two weeks into the exercise.

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Instagram-Schminstagram

Once, several months ago, an instagram acquaintance posted a comment about a photographer that I follow about how they didn’t think this photographer was an instagrammer.

It made me think.  It’s made me wonder where the comment was coming from.  Because I, very clearly, thought the photographer I followed WAS an instagrammer.  What was this person’s definition of the word “instagrammer”?  Was I an Instagrammer in this person’s eyes?

How does one become an instagrammer?  What’s the criteria?  Is it based on the frequency of your posts?  The number of followers?  The number of features you get from instagram hubs?  The number of likes your posts get?

I googled instagrammer and these were some of the definitions:  According to MacMillanDictionary.com, an instagrammer is a user of the Instagram social network. Slangit.com says that an Instagrammer posts images and videos on Instagram and may even comment on other people’s posts. According to the urbandictionary.com an instagrammer simply means a person who gets on Instagram. Better used for a person who gets on often or is obsessive over Instagram.

I posted a question on Instagram and I got the consensus that an instagrammer, as defined by people who have Instagram accounts, is someone who has an instagram account and uses Instagram.

I listen to Sara Tasker’s wonderful podcast Hashtag Authentic (I may have waxed lyrical about how amazing this podcast is in a blog entry) and her podcast on 25 October where she has a conversation with Tara Swiger.  One thing they discussed resonated with me so much.  Tara said that the numbers about your engagement on social media platforms does not necessarily reflect the value that you provide to the people who follow you for the right reasons. A big audience or following does not necessarily mean expertise or value.  It may reflect on the reason why you’re on the social media platform: whether you’re on it to offer a service (which means your provide expertise) or if you’re on it to receive some kind of validation (which relates to the need to pay attention to your stats) or if it’s another reason which is an amalgamation of the two.

So whether you have 100,000 followers or 100 on Instagram or Twitter, or any other social media platform, it does not matter as it doesn’t devalue the material that you post on social media.  It doesn’t make you any less of an Instagrammer if you only have a handful of followers, it just makes you less of a player of the Instafame game; as long as you use the platform you are a whatever-er (an Instagrammer, a person who Tweets, a blogger..you get the idea!).

Having said all that, it is important to remember that people’s personal definitions of ideas or concepts is completely subjective and is completely defined by their experiences.  So there isn’t really a correct or incorrect definition of what an instagrammer really is.  Our personal definitions are based on our experiences, our interactions and our motivations for being on social media.  I think what we need to remember is that we need to have is an awareness that our instinctive reactions, i.e. knee-jerk, are based on our personal experiences, definitions and biases.  If we remember this, then we avoid making sweeping generalisations and/or saying them out loud.  Brilliant, I think, for avoiding foot-in-mouth situations!

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My father the superhero

You are my hero, my strength, my inspiration and my guiding light.

I am who I am and where I am because of everything you have done, risked and sacrificed. I will never be able to thank you enough. I am blessed because you love us and have always expressed it in word and deed so that we are never in doubt of it. And though we are not together, and your illness prevents you from being the Aba we know you to be, I see glimpses of the father I adore when you smile when we FaceTime and when you try to say our names and tell us you love us.

Happy birthday Abadabbadooooo. I love you

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When I get there…bygones!

“Wisdom tells us that the best time for silence is when we are mad or upset.”
– John Patrick Hickey, Oops Did I Really Post That?

 

I am working on a very important project.

I am working on ME.  I thought I was over this thing, but like a masochist out for pain, I still needle the emotional scab and allow the pain (and all the negative emotions that go with it: anger, annoyance, impatience, self-doubt, pettiness, you get the idea).  I repeatedly told myself to draw a line.  I told myself that I wasn’t going to let this overtake my life.  But it was still there, like an irritating mosquito buzzing, hovering in the background.

In the end, I came to the conclusion that I was going about this whole thing the wrong way.  I was telling myself that I shouldn’t let myself get angry; I shouldn’t give in to the negativity; that the high road was to let this go.  But in going into denial about how I felt was negating myself.  I was, basically, telling myself I was wrong.  I was invalidating my own opinions.  Granted, it wasn’t the healthiest of situations, and sometimes you just want to just get on with your life.  But I wasn’t moving on.

I have allowed myself to be angry.  I have allowed myself to feel the hurt.  I have actually said to myself, “Well, I didn’t draw first blood, so it’s okay to feel offended and violated!”  I have actually allowed my inner mean girl, my inner Regina George to come to the fore.  I am allowed to lash out.  If only verbally and if only to myself and the bathroom mirror.

I will continue write things out, because I process things better when I write things down.  I think the trick is to allow myself to feel my feelings.  Because they’re mine.  One can immerse in the feelings, but it is important to remember that it’s not healthy to stay submerged in these feelings until one goes emotionally pruney.  I think I’ve been able to express my feelings enough.  Maybe I will try to not talk about it (fat chance of that happening as when I am angry, I keep wanting to talk about it!  Silence and keeping schtumm when angry is still something I need to learn.).

I know one day I will be able to say the immortal words of Richard Fish in Ally McBeal: “Bygones” and mean it.  Until then, I will keep on keeping and keep on healing.

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Forgiving myself

I have deliberately held off writing on the blog for a long time because I was dealing with a personal struggle.  I know myself well enough to know that if I allowed myself to write about the experience before I’d processed it, the entry would become a rant.  That was the last thing I wanted to do because I needed to understand how I was feeling and why I was feeling what I was feeling.  Cryptic enough?

I was going through a period of self-doubt and I was asking myself a lot of questions that demanded a lot of self-honesty, looking at myself in the mirror very critically, a lot of soul-searching and I was praying a lot about a decision that I’d made.  I felt torn between deeply regretting having to act on the decision, and knowing, with absolutely certainty, that what I’d done was the, really, the best course of action.

I’ve never really known how to cut myself off from people who affect me negatively.  I always thought that holding on and not giving up on relationships meant that you cared about the person.  I always thought that if I continued to treat the person in the way I wanted to be treated, it would eventually lead to them doing the same thing.  I was, also, never a quitter.  I never gave up on things, tasks, and most especially people.  I am a Christian, with my faith so steeped in my life and my psyche that it was difficult to switch off the “not giving up on people” because God never gave up on me.  So stepping away was not an option.

Also, I can’t remember where I learned it, whether I heard it from someone or I read it somewhere -that what you despise in others is what you hate in yourself.  I wondered whether in this situation, it was the case?  I had to ask myself that several times.  Was the negativity I was feeling a reflection of how I was feeling about something in my life.

I kept asking myself, what lesson was I supposed to learn from this experience?

After all that thinking, praying, reading and soul-searching, I came to the conclusion that I needed to learn to look at the unhealthy patterns in certain relationships and learn to put a stop to it.  To learn to extricate myself from the situation so that I would be set free – from the negativity, from the unkind thoughts, from the self-doubt, from the annoyance.  My response to this negative situation was eating away at me.  I didn’t like how I was reacting.

I was struggling to find what the Christian response was to this situation.  Then I read something that Debbie McDaniel wrote.  She said: “God’s greatest desire is to set us free…and what propels that change is for some brave soul to be willing to say “Stop, no more.” One who will choose what is better…and set boundaries.”  Because, in the end, if you remove yourself from the situation, the negativity stops, the unchristian thoughts stop.  Because in the end, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind…to everyone, including yourself.

Maybe one day, when the opportunity presents itself, I will tell this person how much their behaviour has affected me.  Because I believe authentic relationships require honesty.

One day, maybe.

Until that day comes, I will tell myself that I did what I could in my position.  And while it is still a challenge, I am going to have to forgive myself for walking away.  Because at the end of the day, I wanted to stop myself from being mean and unkind, if not in deed, it was certainly in thought.  For now, that will have to be enough.