Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Facebook Philosophy and Bad Advice

I like to include graphics in my blog posts. They add to both the content and meaning of my writing. Back in school, I learned that a good article should have more to it than a solid block of text. It’s best to supplement your words with something that illustrates your point. Graphics help the reader digest the information. I look for images to both inspire and reinforce my ideas. These often take the form of quotes or quips printed over a stock photograph.

I will find quotes from my favorite writers and philosophers, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, or Tina Fey. I also look for pictures that illustrate my thoughts or ones that make me (and hopefully you) laugh.

When I am going through something life changing, heart crushing, and brain eating--all at the same time--I am drawn to the words of someone who can eloquently state the feelings that are just a swirling nebula in me.

I’ve been dealing with a ton of shit in the last two months. The last two years really. So, I am seeking some truth, some reason, and some comfort.

When I browse through images looking for something to add to my posts, some capture my imagination. But, I’ve also been seeing a lot of McAdvice and fast food philosophy.

For example:
I am going to start with a grandly over-sweeping generalization. But I tend to believe it is a fairly accurate assessment. It is mostly women and girls that are seeking out these make-me-feel-better images. I am basing this on my informal observations of the soul suck known as Facebook. (Love you Facebook! Keep buying my company’s product so I have a job!)

To over-simplify, men post graphics of football, keg stands, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.  Women go for baby animals (including humans), weddings (and other declarations that they are relationship-worthy), and pop-psychology meant to make themselves less sad.

Having said that, I have to acknowledge that I am analyzing these images through a female lens. I am testing these messages against this: Do I want my nieces to believe this? Or is it total horseshit?

So… do I want my three girls to smile no matter how much it hurts? No one should shove true feelings down through an artificial smile. Show the world your true feelings. It takes a great deal of bravery to let people into your life far enough to see that you are hurting. It shows a great vulnerability. And yes, some people will exploit that. But showing your true feelings is only way to live with any honesty. And it is the only way people will be sincere with you.

I think that watermelon graphic is particularly disturbing. That bloody watermelon knife is only one stop on the psychosis train to this:

Then there is this:

It is important to acknowledge—if only to yourself—that it IS too late for some things. It is too late for me to attend the Naval Academy. It is too late for me to have another baby (thank god), it is too late for me to be an Olympic snowboarder.

I understand the sentiment here. But I think it is misguided. I think the message needs to be: Never use where you are now as an excuse to not move towards where you want to be.

I will never be on the US National Derby team. Not because I am unable to gain the skills, but because I am only one injury away from ending my derby career. And that is ok. It is too late to use my previous 25-year-old bones and pre-MS body to elevate my derby career. And that is just fine.

It is too late for some things. Extract the life lessons and move on to whatever is next.

Unless you want to discover penicillin or Post-It notes.

Under-thinking leads to negative results. Every single time. Don’t obsess, but think things through.  

Knowing when to quit is vital to your life’s happiness. I am still working on this one. I know I should end relationships the minute trust is lost. Being persistent is of no good in that situation.

Forgetting will ensure you make the same mistakes over and over again.

Jack Dempsey was hit in the head. A lot.

Fuck that. Until you realize you are Someone without anyone, you are nothing with everyone. Your value does not depend on your being part of someone else. And never, ever agree to be a person’s something. Never think that being a part of a couple will get you everything.

Seriously? Supreme confidence is another way to say arrogance. And I can think of thousands of better accessories, including honesty, trustworthiness, kindness. And a Coach purse.

Ignore what is said in anger. When someone is angry, they are on the attack. They are acting like a 6-year-old. Maybe that explains the graphic. No, the truth comes out when they are drunk. That is when Earthquake told me I was overweight, that he would rather be watching baseball than get a blow job, and that he will never date another single mom. Pay close attention to how someone treats you when they are drunk, when they are around their family, and when they are sick. This will be an amazing insight into their soul. Also, watch how they treat restaurant staff. If they are mean to the waiter, run. And if they flirt with the waitress, run faster.

Really? Strong is the opposite of miserable? And the effort is nowhere near the same. It takes a lot of work to become physically and psychologically strong. It is painful and time consuming. Misery cannot be controlled once you let someone else hold your heart. The risk of misery is the price of admission to any relationship.

Fear keeps us alive. That is why humans have the evolutionary trait of being scared of snakes and spiders. Science, bitch!

Aside--If you are going to create a pretentious faux-philosophic JPEG, double check your spelling and grammar. 

Uh, no. Just no, no, no. I want to hip check her right off that bed.

Again, I understand the sentiment here. But it isn’t expressed well. Limits can be a great thing. I think the key for every woman is to set firm limits and never make an exception. Going beyond your limits will never end well for you.

I grew up with this poster on our kitchen wall:

And that kitchen helped generate three strong women with advanced degrees and exceptional kids. It helped develop three women that know what they will compromise on and what they won’t. The only way for a girl to do anything is for that girl to know her limits and enforce her own boundaries.

We all need to move carefully through this journey towards happiness. Don’t step in any horseshit.

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