Why I Blog and What Social Media Means for Me

I am a part of the way through something I am working on this summer that is causing me to have no time to follow the over 500 Facebook pages whose news appears on my feed on a daily basis that takes, easily, up to 4 hours a day to read through.  Reading everything in my Facebook feed requires me to be on Facebook on my commute to and from work (about 1 hour each way), plus 2 or so hours after I put my daughter to bed each night.  I’m fairly certain that all my Facebook friends–at least those that have NOT hidden me from their feeds–are relieved at not having to see every single time I Like a post with a Global setting (thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for this ridiculousness).  Ha!

A couple of friends recently asked me if I plan to cut back from Facebook on a permanent basis, like I did with Twitter a couple years ago because that became too time consuming (and I was getting tired of the cliquey snark and popularity contests that left a bad taste in my mouth….and I don’t have time for that sh*t), and as a full-time employee with a long commute to/from work each day, I found it impossible to keep up with it.  At this point, I do not know.  I will have to see how it goes.  I must say, though, that it is so freeing not to have to feel like I MUST get through everything in my news feed every single day!  More time to do what I have to do.  Less stress.

A couple of friends also asked me if I planned to keep up blogging, to which I indicated that I will always keep up my blogging and advocacy for maternal mental health and anti-bullying.  They indicated it seems I have reached the end of my journey of documenting and processing my emotions and experiences that occurred before, during and after I had my daughter. But I told them that I will always need an outlet and I will always be passionate and outspoken about these two topics.  And after all, the origin of the word “blog” came from web log:  an online journal or diary, a means to get one’s thoughts and feelings out and at the same time sharing with individuals who can appreciate your posts.

I may not have amassed that large of a following, but what I do know is that I am reaching people on a daily basis who find me via certain key words.  I am content knowing that I continue reaching and helping others feel less alone with their experiences and I continue to spread awareness so fewer new moms will go through what I went through…..the original intent of this blog.

I am not using social media for popularity purposes.  In fact, on Facebook I choose to keep a very small circle of Facebook “friends.”  I limit this small circle to those I know IRL (in real life) or with whom I have corresponded regularly online for a certain length of time and with whom I feel very like-minded.  And if I know the person IRL, I have to have a positive relationship with that person (this is pretty logical, no?).

I’m not blogging strictly to see how many Likes or Shares I can get or friends I can make.  If that were the sole purpose, I would’ve stopped a long time ago.  Despite the fact that I have been blogging for over 5 years and people still haven’t heard of my blog–even in the field of maternal mental health–and certain individuals who used to support my blog but don’t any longer, I am going to keep on doing what I’m doing.

I’ve said this in previous posts that my blogging style (as straightforward, down to earth, genuine, no BS, and “what you see is what you get” as you’ll ever come across….which reflects the kind of person I am IRL) isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.  Everyone is different. I am staying true to myself.

I care about new moms who feel as lost as I did when I first had my baby.

I care about teens who get bullied.

That is all.

Wrecking Ball versus Roar

*** This post was inspired by 2 songs, 2 experiences in the past 2 days (one in-person, one online),
and my dislike for fall.  ***

I HATE THE FALL.

One, since I was a kid, fall meant the end of summer, which meant I had to go back to school.  And I hated school.   The sentiment hasn’t worn out through the years.

Two, I don’t like cold weather and not being able to wear shorts anymore.  Cold weather dries my skin out.  The flu and other cold germs abound during the winter months.

Three, I don’t like short days in which all daylight hours are spent indoors, sitting at a desk at work.  You go to work, it’s dark.  You come home, it’s dark.

Four, I don’t like it when there is nothing green left but the evergreens.  Even the grass turns brown, as all the leaves fall and the trees become forlorn and bare.

Five, I don’t like grey skies.  I love it when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.ISL_autumn_2013

Okay, now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy all things pumpkin — pumpkin picking (and hay rides and corn mazes too) at nearby farms, pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins (you get the picture) — and the fall colors of red, yellow and orange are a sight to behold.  See, I even stopped to take this picture this morning.

As it is, I’m already not a happy camper (no, I don’t have SAD, or seasonal affective disorder….I just hate this time of year, in general), so right now I’m trying my best not to succumb to the wrecking ball (cue Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball song, the last song that was playing before arriving back at the house after a day full of running errands) that fall is threatening to be to the  Energizer® Bunny’s “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” mode I’ve adopted over the years, particularly ever since I finished my book.

This is where the accumulation of past experiences — low self esteem, dysfunctional relationships at home, moving so freaking much, racism, bullying, mean girls, gossiping, 24 years working for the same company and dealing with a variety of personalities (some of which were far from pleasant) and changing roles and responsibilities,  difficulties starting a family, childbirth complications, postpartum depression — has molded me into the person I am today.   I have come to realize, as a dear friend recently pointed out, that I am an “empath”  As such, I have recently realized how much I like to support others.  If I can help at least one person each day feel less alone in their experience, then it truly makes me happy.

Each day, with the time that I have commuting and before bedtime, I provide support to teens in a closed Facebook group called Stand for the Silent because I never received any support during my own teen years.  I also try to provide support to mothers in a closed Facebook group called Mama’s Comfort Camp because I didn’t receive much support during my postpartum period (and I certainly didn’t get much support during my postpartum depression experience, which is why I wrote my book and why I blog).  And I also provide support to colleagues at work because I’ve never had a mentor and was never fortunate enough to receive much advice/guidance during my career.  Things for me have always been challenging.  I always had to learn things the hard way (via trial by fire, or trial and error).  I truly hate seeing people struggle while growing up, as a mother, and in the workplace.  And I’ve recently vowed to make a difference for others in these situations.

Sometimes, like in the past few weeks, I feel burned out.  Supporting people everyday and having to deal with crap at work and around me, in general, can get tiring when I don’t get enough support myself.  With a full-time job and a daughter with daily homework (3rd grade and Chinese), that leaves very little time for myself, so keeping order in the house is left to be done on weekends.  Work is non-stop and stressful every single day and it doesn’t help that doing the best you can amounts to NOTHING other than personal satisfaction from knowing that you did your absolute best helping people at work and using the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired over the years.  Each day, I make the best out of a crappy situation.  Unfortunately, certain days are made worse  when nasty experiences  threaten to time travel me back to my younger, more naive days with people treating me with disrespect — yelling at me (yes, this happened to me on Thursday) — despite the fact that all I did was reach out to them for guidance.

It’s not just in a a work setting that people don’t play nice.  Life is one gigantic sandbox with grown adults acting like children.  This is where I remind myself that — no matter how nice you are, there will be those who don’t like you JUST BECAUSE….No reason….JUST BECAUSE.  That’s when you need to have enough sense to keep in mind that IT’S THEM, NOT YOU.  You’re not the one with the issue. They’re the one with some deep-rooted issue.  Nothing you do will make a difference, and you know what?  You shouldn’t have to.  This phenomenon traverses all age groups, races, religions, political parties, etc.  It’s a crying shame.  There seems to be one root cause:  jealousy (and a need to make themselves feel better in their actions/words that cause someone else to feel bad).

Anyway, I just whipped up my own e-card via Some ECards of the sign I would want to flash every. single. time someone does not like me for no reason at all….and behaves in a feline (being mean, gossips, excludes, looks down on) fashion.

ISL_someecard_them_not_you

Well, I’m a little too old for this nonsense.  Life is too short.  I realize all too well (and I’ve said this in my blog and my book) that it’s impossible to be friends with everyone.   But just know that there is no reason TO BE MEAN, TO GOSSIP, TO EXCLUDE, AND TO LOOK DOWN ON OTHERS.  Not unless you’re a troll (or just a superficial, mean person at heart), in which case, say hello to karma.  Because I do believe in it.  Also?  You might want to seek some help, cuz if you find satisfaction by making someone else miserable, then you have some serious underlying issues that need to be checked out by a professional, and I’m not kidding.

The fall may be coming and may be threatening to wreck my mood, but I’m going to keep on going in my Energizer® Bunny way.   I’m going to end this post with a video of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”  This song is a perfect companion to my motto “Hear me roar,” which is a call for others to join me that I say both at the beginning and end of my book.  I especially like the imagery at about 2:07 to 2:15 in Katy’s video.

Here is  my rendition of the lyrics from the song:

Take that, wrecking ball.
You may have threatened to knock me down,
But I’m going to stay standing,
Shaking the ground with the sound of my roar.

I didn’t come this far in my life to be so easily knocked down.
I’ve experienced enough in life to know that
I’m not going to let someone else dictate how I feel.
I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar!

Sticks and Stones……Words Will Never Hurt Me

Just a quick note as something was weighing heavily on my mind, something that got me quite down today, in fact.  But, I say to myself, I’m NOT going to let those nasty ol’ words someone stooped low enough to say to me today bother me anymore.  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will NEVER hurt me.  They are just words…..even if they were uttered by a family member.  Oops, so the truth snuck out….or part of the truth.  Can’t elaborate any further.  Hey, I have no fear of saying this on the Internet.  It’s not like that person ever paid any attention to my blog, or cared about what I had to say in the least.   Everytime I talk, this person’s attention would clearly drift to la la land.  Always wanting and needing the spotlight.  Always boasting about their accomplishments, while poking fun at the fact that I still have trouble verbalizing what the heck I do at work everyday.  Always expecting everyone else to cater to them, but when someone else  like me needs something, they couldn’t run away faster.  In fact, that’s why they live as far away as they do. 

The spiteful words this person uttered to me makes me wonder how in the world I can be related to them.  I’ve come this far in life, I do not intend to allow these words drag me back to my miserable teenage years, struggling to cope with school and my family life.   I almost did, hiding beneath my covers in tears.  But then, I realized I couldn’t be this way.  I couldn’t be like I was in high school, hiding away in my bedroom for hours at a time.  I now have a family (something this person probably will never have because they still desperately need to be catered to themselves and are so incredibly self-absorbed).  It was my daughter’s “Mommy, can you come downstairs to play with me?” that snapped me back to reality.  I needed to get a grip.  I then  realized that, if I survived postpartum depression, I should be able to survive most anything. 

Words have the power to cripple, but only as far as you’ll let them!

Loss of My Favorite Teacher, My Friend and A True Inspiration

Just a short post from me today.  For the first time, I am straying from the topic of postpartum depression.  I just had to get these thoughts off my chest that are weighing heavy and sad on me at the moment…. 

Today, a Christmas card I had sent to Mr. Roark, my former high school biology teacher (my favorite teacher ever), bounced back (this is the first card that’s ever bounced back in 27 yrs), which gave me a very bad feeling.  Without any info on his next of kin, after some digging around on the Internet, I was finally able to confirm that he’d passed away April 24, 2009. I wanted him to still be around to see my book published…I was going to acknowledge/thank him in the Acknowledgments section of my book.   Of course, I’m still planning to do so, but [as words fail me]…this is just so sad.  :(  

Mr. Roark was my inspiration for taking on such an interest in Biology in high school and college.  He was one of the only friends I had in those six dreaded years in high school where, if you’ve read my previous posts, I didn’t really have any friends at all.  If it weren’t for him, I might never have made it through those years. 

I can’t help but feel regret that I did not keep in closer touch with him.  I tried to, but each time I asked him for his email address and telephone number in the Christmas cards I sent him every year, he didn’t give me that info in the Christmas card that he never failed to send back to me.  I’m glad I had a chance to see him about a decade or so ago, when he was living in Maryland (which is where he moved after he left New Jersey) and before he moved to Newport News, VA.  I’m glad my husband had a chance to meet him then. 

I will miss him dearly.  The memory of him will always stay close to my heart.  I wish I could’ve showed him my book.  I would like to think that he would’ve been so proud.