There’s a reason why it took me so long to join social media. I believe in the human touch and real interaction and genuine feelings and compassion, and feared that all of that would go away if I entered into the new world. I take things too personally for what I fear today’s social interaction has become. But then I joined… it was scary at first, but I realized there are so many wonderful gifts to be received from it. I’ve managed to make new friends… friends who, despite our never have met, I genuinely care and root for.
But it’s recently come to my attention that the issue of bullying and more specifically the issue of ‘mean girls’ is still something we’re having to deal with as adults. I understand that the internet and social media provide a comfortable environment for us to sit anonymously behind a computer or phone screen and feel the false freedom to say or do whatever we wish without the thought of consequence. It’s easy. It’s quick. We can type out something, or push a button to make them go away and that’s that. We can move on to the next thing and never give it a second thought. But those words you type out, that button you push that says ‘I don’t like this image, this image isn’t appropriate, this image needs to be reported, this image needs to be taken down’ actually has an effect on the person. There’s a human on the other side of those words, of that button. And I feel we’ve become too caught up with what we feel is ‘right’ or what we’re supposed to ‘like’, to see another’s perspective. We’ve lost the ability to see another, and different, side of things.
We’ve lost the ability to think before we act.
And I, by no means, want to imply that I’m perfect or have a large enough platform to even make a difference here, but I do feel it necessary to speak up about something I’m passionate about.
Because once we stop speaking up about the things we feel in our hearts to be important and true, the world stops changing.
When did we, as women, begin to choose jealousy-driven hate as our first reaction? When did seeing a photo of a beautiful and strong and confident woman make us cringe and judge instead of applaud and appreciate? Sometimes the image is just provocative enough to cause us to pause and consider its appropriateness. But that’s how we stretch ourselves, isn’t it? If we stay safe and stagnant, then we don’t grow! We need provocative. We need a little edge. We need change and excitement.
When did we become a society that can’t view a woman in a bathing suit or tasteful undergarment without thinking awful things? Men are shirtless at every turn, on every fitness magazine, every billboard. And the second we see a woman wearing something slightly revealing, we think horrible things about her.
I have so many amazingly talented and beautiful female friends- in real life and cyber- and I enjoy so much seeing them thrive and show off their strength and beauty- both inner and out. It makes me feel amazing to know that I can surround myself with such creatures. They inspire me to grow and share, and, in turn, I hope I do the same for them.
And I can only hope that the daughter I’m raising will live in a world where she too can feel the same. I’m raising her to love all that is good and to never judge. Never bash. But to instead love and appreciate, and know that everyone has their own struggles. She will never hear the word ‘fat’ or ‘skinny’ from me, she will never be ashamed to wear a bathing suit, or anything for that matter. She will continue to have the freedom to be who she wants and treat herself and others with respect. She will never hear me spout jealous or hateful words towards another person, in the real world or otherwise.
If there is anything I wish for you today, and every day you’re lucky to be on this beautiful earth, it is to take a second and think about your actions and your words- typed or spoken- before you make a move. Choose to love rather than hate. Choose acceptance over dismissal.
And take a moment to realize and remember that you are worthy of the same. Love and accept yourself as who you are and who you are trying hard to become, because that’s the first step in learning to do it to others.
I always think of the Jewel song, “I’m Sensitive” at times like these… When I think that maybe there’s something wrong with me and I should just adapt to this new world and learn to not let these things bother me. The words were written in the early 90’s but are still relevant.
‘It doesn’t take a talent to be mean, your words can crush things that are unseen.
So please be careful with me. I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way…
I have this theory that if we’re told we’re bad, then that’s the only idea we’ll ever have.
But maybe if we are surrounded in beauty, someday we will become what we see.
Cause anyone can start a conflict, it’s harder yet to disregard it.
I’d rather see the world from another angle- we are everyday angels.
Be careful with me cause I’d like to stay that way.’
Give yourself a big ole hug today. And then reach out and hug someone else. Do it through touch or through words. But just do it, dammit.