Facebook, at it Again

If we are friends on Facebook, then you probably know two things: 1. I only allow myself 15 minutes a day on that website for my mental health and 2. My husband recently took a “Facebook Break.” You know this because I told y’all about it, not because he did. I made a post the day he decided to deactivate his account. He didn’t delete it, because well, he was struggling with what felt right for him. He stays in contact with a lot of family members on Facebook and groups that he belongs to, like the Charlotte Atheist group that we used to do volunteer work for as a family, but he was really having a hard time with social media as of late. First there were the Covid-19 conspiracy thoerists. He actually had to “unfriend” a family member because she shared one of those bananas theories and she precluded it with, “I don’t know if this is real, but I’m sharing anyway…” See the problem with that is, it’s very easy to find out if it is real, and well, if you aren’t willing to put in the work, then he just can’t.

Anywho, I totally supported his decision to deactivate for however long he needs to, as I support anyone’s right to do that, particularly for a mental health break. So I alerted our mutual friends per my post, and we moved on. Then a couple of days later I had a family member share a little meme about all the “crazy stuff” happening in 2020, especially the “rioting” and “looting,” and she said something like, “I’m about to just delete my Facebook account and watch Netflix for a month!” Basically because she was tired of people saying things like, “Black Lives Matter.” Some of her friends commented that they agreed, yet there they still are on FB. It took all my strength not to comment, “Isn’t that nice. Isn’t that nice that you can just ‘check out’ of FB when things get too rough for you? That’s called White privilege.” But I didn’t, I merely scrolled on by. This is the kind of family member not worth my time because she will never “get it.”

So I was telling Jerimiah about this, and I was explaining that I was having a hard time deciding if that is what he did too. His problem with FB is that there is this “Scroll on by” mentality, and well, he feels like he can’t. He feels like he needs to hold people accountable. That holding people accountable takes a toll on a person, especially when both your families are full of covert racists. So we had a long discussion. We talked and talked about whether he was just getting out when the work got too hard, whether he was using his privilege in the best possible way, or whether we were just overthinking this all. We talked and talked and talked, and we came to a few conclusions. They may not be the conclusions you would come to, they may not make you happy to hear, but they are ours and we are sticking to them.

Conclusion #1: Jerimiah is getting back on Facebook. He misses his groups, his friends, and the community from Charlotte that he stays in contact with. He misses seeing pics of our friends’ babies and dogs. He wants his friends to be able to see what Jackson is doing.

Conclusion #2: Neither Jerimiah nor I will be “scrolling on by” when family and friends post crazy shit on Facebook. Here’s how we are looking at it. When I open up my FB feed and I see someone say, “Hope you all have a great day!” I am happy to see that. I envision that person walking by me on the street, or even walking out of my house having just come for a visit and saying that directly to me, because well, that is how it works. When you post on YOUR page it comes to MY newsfeed which is basically into MY house. It is your way of telling me, and all your other “friends,” how you feel about something. It opens up, whether you want it to or not, a dialogue about what you have just written. Now I’m not sure when this shift happened. When we went from “Listen to what I say and let’s nicely discuss it” to “Listen to what I say and do not share your opinion on it because THIS IS MY PAGE,” but I suspect it happened around the time that half the population became embolden by a racist president, so around 2016. But here’s the thing, if you were to walk into our house and say, “Have a great day!” We would smile and tell you to do the same. If you walk into our house and say, “All lives matter,” we would take that as an opportunity to explain to you how that is a racist statement. We would explain why it is counterintuitive to advocating for the Black community. We would politely explain that you, as a white person, SHOULD be advocating for the Black community right now. We would be, in fact, continuing the discussion that YOU started by walking into OUR house and saying, “All lives matter.” Now, if you are not prepared for that discussion, that is on you. The way I see it you have you have two options: 1. Don’t say it to us (that means don’t let it come into OUR house, that means don’t write it on YOUR page) or 2. Unfriend us.

Conclusion #3: We expect to be held accountable by our BIPOC friends when and if we say something that is not correct, we are learning. If you don’t know what the acronym BIPOC means, please get with the program. It means Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Please stop calling BIPOC people “Colored” and please stop referring to yourself as “Non-colored” it’s MFing 2020, y’all. You are white, with a lower case “w” and your Black friends are Black with a capital “B” (or whatever they desire to be called, asking them is the best way to find out). Get it? Got it? Good.

Conclusion #4: We will no longer be “unfollowing” or “snoozing” people. And this is a one strike and you’re out rule when it comes to blatant racism. But for the rest, we will strive to hold you accountable. For example, if you decide to partake in white centering (this is when you take the Black Lives Matter narrative and turn it into how that one time you were discriminated against and you are just so upset about it) we will be calling you out for it, holding you accountable. Or if you say something like, “I just don’t understand the rioting,” we will try to help you understand. But if at any time you become hostile toward the Black Lives Matter movement, or the Black community, or anyone in general, we will be unfriending you because you are mean, and we don’t like mean people. We have given so much grace over the last two weeks with friends and family, but we can’t anymore. You should know better by now.

Conclusion #5: If you still support Trump and you still plan to vote for him in November, in our book you are propagating a racial divide. That’s means you are a racist. Now it might be covert, most likely is, but that still means you a racist and you are doing nothing to remedy that. Matter fact, you haven’t even admitted that you are racist. WE have! We have been screaming it from rooftops. We understand that we are racist because we were raised white in a culture of white supremacy and that is how society made us because that is how our American culture was made to work, to oppress minorities. We are actively unlearning all this bullshit and if were too, you would no longer support the current administration. SO please don’t get offended if we have to unfriend you for your political stance. Remember, it’s personal. But if you are still a Trump supporter, here is what we want you to do. We want you to declare your love for Trump. We want you to push your chest out, say it with pride, I mean really amplify your voice when you say it. Say, “I am a racist!” Say it, say it loud and proud, so we know who to unfriend. And just so we are clear, saying you support Trump because you are a “fiscal conservative” or “love guns” or “only vote Republican” is not an excuse. Chest out. Pride in your voice, “I am a racist!” Say it! Stand up for what you believe in, y’all, that’s what we are doing. Lest I remind you our friendship is not nearly as important as all of us standing up for what we believe in.

Conclusion #6: The “unfriend” button goes both ways and trust us when we say this, WE WILL NOT BE OFFENDED IF YOU UNFRIEND US! Because the thing is, if we are real friends of family, the real kind, we will be able to respectively converse on social media, even if we do disagree. You will be open to our world views, and us to you (with the exception of Trump, per my last email). And we will see each other in real life again and we can talk then. You don’t even need to explain yourself. I won’t be explaining myself. Jerimiah won’t be explaining himself. There’s no need to explain why you do what you do. There just isn’t. We will assume you had to unfriend us because you are a racist who is not actively working to get better, or because you can’t handle truth, or because you are afraid to be held accountable for your actions, or because you think we are “mean.” Either way, we don’t care. We wish you all the best, mostly we wish you better mental health, and more love and compassion in your heart for others.

Whew. This has been a long, but necessary post. I will refer back to it many times from this point forward, I will even share it on your comments if I have to hold you accountable and you wanna fly off the handle all crazy and such. And for the people who we love, our close friends and family members, please know that we are not “coming for you,” but that you will not be receiving a pass either. We might, for example, choose to message you about your covert racism, rather than call you out publicly, but we are watching, in fact, the whole world is watching now. If I were you, I’d recognize how important words are, and fast. Choose them wisely. And if you don’t feel comfortable getting into the conversation, then just don’t. Simple as that.

Lastly, let’s all welcome Jerimiah back! The real work starts today.

With love,

M. and J.

Fifteen Minutes of Fighting

Y’all know I have limited my Facebook access to 15 minutes a day. I started this back in January. It was very helpful then, and has been VERY helpful now. The only problem is that when I decided to do this I made Jerimiah password protect my access so once my 15 minutes are up, I am kicked off Facebook. UNLESS… I beg and plead with him to give me more time (I don’t really have to beg, he gives in easily). WHICH IS THE PROBLEM! Today I got sucked into FB for three hours because I made a post that ruffled some feathers with my “Truth bombs” as my husband likes to call them, and then I had to spend the next two hours explaining to people, in the nicest way possible, how wrong they were. I even had a family member chime in and say that she was “tired” of my posts and thought we needed to talk about the real truth, which is that the “Chinese have been trying to get us for a long time now and this is all their fault.”

Le sigh.

I’m tired of “fighting” on Facebook, y’all. I’m tired of having to correct people (some of them are really intelligent) yet still, I have to give them facts that they could easily find on their own but are too mad or too scared to search for. One could say I am not the “truth police” and you would be right. I don’t NEED to put these people in their place, but if I don’t then who will? Who will stop them from saying shit like, “This is the fault of Chinese people!” Who else will say, “Umm, I think you are reading from Breitbart again. Remember that Breitbart is not considered a ‘factual news source’.” Does it come off as jerky? Yes! Does it come off as uppity? For sure. But I’m not trying to be, I’m trying to make them understand that if they get all their new from InfoWars, they are sorely misguided.

I guess I just need people to remind me that it does no good. I always think, this will be the person. This will be the time they “get it.” The time the see that our president holding up checks to sign his name on them is not a good thing, rather a very bad, very horrible, very “I’m gonna buy your vote, remember I’m the one who saved you, Trump2020” thing. I look over at my exasperated husband and ask the question on all our minds, “What the hell would they have done if Obama would have insisted on signing his name to those stimulus checks?” Dear Lord. We know the answer. And we know he would have never even considered doing it.

All this snowballs, and there I am three hours in and mentally and emotionally drained. How many times can I yell, “OMIGOD what is he trying to say?!” at my dogs, or discuss with my husband whether that mutual friend of ours is trying to be an asshole, or they are just completely dumb to the real world? It’s exhausting.

Today I had people jump all over me because I said I got a stimulus check and was donating to the Biden Campaign. First of all, it was a joke. Ta-da! I already donated all I will (monetarily) to a presidential campaign this year. And it was $50 and it was to Bernie. But I don’t need to explain that to anyone. Look dumb if you want to, which is how that same family member looked when she outright asked on my FB page how much I sent Biden, and if I had the money “diverted” to him? Is that even a thing? How? What? I don’t know you guys, but I’m only giving man hours now, not money, through the Postcard to Voters campaign (shoutout to my friend Jenn for telling me about this). I wish I were making this up cause it would make my family seem less crazy. But you know me and the truth… We didn’t donate to Biden, but we did actually donate money (and you can too) to Hope Atlanta and to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which is helping feed kids in our school district who need fed. But is that anyone’s business? Nah, dawg. Nah. Then I kindly explained to my family member that, “Asking people what they do with their money is rude.” Then other people got mad at me for doing that. “Cause you know Missy, she’s just uppity”. Throws hands up in the air.

To make matters worse, my nerves are shot, I’m not sleeping, and every time someone says something to me I’m taking it personally. Like I assume that they are trying to start a fight with me, even when they maybe aren’t? I just assume that. And if I’m doing that then I know other people must be doing that. Are we doing that, y’all? Are you doing that? I haven’t changed a thing about how I run my life (other than not leaving my house) or how or what I write about in the last month (other than writing about Covid-19 more), but people are coming out of the woodwork to tell me how horrible of a person I am for saying what I say and writing what I write. And all I can think is that they don’t agree with me about my opinions, and because they are also not sleeping, and scared, and angry, they have decided to take it out on me because I routinely put it all out there for everyone to consider.

I bet some of you are feeling like the friend/family scapegoat these days too, and if you are, man, I’m sorry. This will all pass, I promise. And maybe you will have less “friends” on social media when it does, but at least you will know who truly supports you and who doesn’t, right? Silver lining? Something to look forward to. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has been like, “That’s it, I’m deleting my FB account!” But then I have to remind him that if we do a joint account people will think I cheated on him. So he keeps it. But like, should we though?

I dunno you guys. I guess I’m here today to ask for all of us to exercise a bit more grace? I know I need to, and I assume you could manage it too? I think we all could right now. I keep reading Mama Brene’s inspiring words every day thinking, “Jesus, how many iterations did she have to go through to get to that?” Because even Mama Brene isn’t that nice right now. She can’t be. Because being nice takes a lot of work, especially at a time like this, and if we aren’t mindful of it, if we don’t recognize that we aren’t being nice, then we are already two steps behind. I think. Again, I feel like I need to apologize for MY OWN DAMN OPINIONS on MY OWN DAMN WEBSITE. What has this world done to me?!

Let’s make a pact: I will try to ignore haters, and spread some goodness today. You will try to take a deep breathe today when you are feeling reactionary. I will do the same. You will not respond immediately to a source on the internet, until you have fully given it thought and research. I will not pass off indifference for kindness. You will not get too down on yourself. I will look at pictures of llamas. You will look at puppies. We will text each other and say hi. You will send a hug emoji to a friend. I will send flowers to a family member. WE will lift up others and try to show some grace, otherwise, shit is going to go downhill fast.

Remember what Michelle Obama (OUR BELOVED QUEEN) says, “When they go low, we go high!” Let’s go high today, y’all! (Or get weed-high, whatever helps.)

Stay safe and sane.

M.

For you… You can click on picture to take you to website to purchase!

Facebook in a Tight Fifteen

In what seemed like a moment of clarity yesterday, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and asked my husband to log into my phone and ban me from the mobile version as well. I asked him to use the parental block, create a passcode, and block me from accessing Facebook for more than 15 minutes a day (just long enough to see puppy and baby pics, and post my daily blog) on my phone, my MacBook Air, and my Mac since they are all connected by some invisible Apple cloud in the sky. He agreed. He did it. Then I immediately tried to log into the Facebook mobile site.

Damn it.

Okay, here’s my line of thinking.

Facebook has been, and always will be, my biggest time-killer. It’s where I get my news, though there are tons of other ways. It’s where I stay connected to family and friends who live far away, but I can always call and text or (gasp) write letters! And it’s where I sort of document my life, my husband’s life, and my son’s life for posterity. But I can do that here now. So why was I really on Facebook so much? To self-indulge.

I like Facebook to get into political spats with strangers on the comment sections of USA Today.

I like Facebook because there is always someone who seems to be having a shittier day than me and it makes me feel better.

I like Facebook because I can be self-loathing while CNN plays in a small part of my screen, and poodles dance around in another part. I can compare my life to others. I can offer witty banter toward Trump supporters who never really understand I’m making fun of them.

But really what that all says is that I can let Facebook, and the people on there (half the people I am “friends” with I don’t even like in real life, even the ones I’m technically related to) ruin my day. And I let them. A lot you guys. I let them zap my energy. I let them take up my motivation for laundry, and real writing, and calling people I like, and volunteering in my community, and I let them turn that time into hours and hours of meaningless crap.

Like yesterday I called three different people out on their bullshit posts, and what changed? Not a damn thing. I didn’t make them see how horribly wrong they were, like how no, you probably shouldn’t be comparing the plight of the Jewish people in concentration camps in Nazi Germany to crazy, gun advocates. They don’t give a shit about that. They just like to share memes.

Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I feel better.

So, fifteen minutes a day. That’s it. Enough to say I’m alive. Enough to share the link to my daily blog post (cause it’s the only social media site I can’t do it from here), and enough to share pics of Jackson. Fifteen minutes. Okay? Okay. Okay sure. Let’s do this.

Wish me luck.

M.