#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 3

Saturday, March 7th, 2020 8:37pm – Bernie Bro Conversation Surprise.

The best thing that happened today was something small but rather unexpected: I got into a Twitter conversation with a Bernie supporter — a man no less, yes, a White man — and… wait for it…I didn’t actually lose my mind! In all fairness, to those of you who don’t follow politics or understand what a “Bernie Bro” consist of, suffice it to say that in this context, generally speaking a “Bernie Bro” would be someone who gets real nasty and negative if you dare say one bad thing about the candidate, Bernie Sanders. I tend to stay away from people who support the Senator for so many reasons but this was a little different and I’m glad I interacted.

I am “into” politics. Always have been. But I tend to lean more to the middle – left a center just a tad, but mostly middle-of-the-road. I think most people actually are – more in the middle – but our polarized politics makes it hard not to be extreme — especially since technology has made it so easy to spew negativity from behind a keyboard, most times coming across as cruel and mean just to make a point. Bernie Sanders has never been of any interest to me and I hate him. Yup, I said it. I hate him. People throw the word “love” around like no big deal, I have no qualms using the word “hate”. There are so many reason why I dislike this man and honestly, not the point of this post — but if I have to vote for him because he becomes the Democratic nominee, then so be it. I’ll be first in line to vote Trump out of office anyways in November. I can’t wait.

But, today, a Twitter follower – Bernie Supporter – responded to one of my tweets and dialogue began. We’re both on different sides of who to vote for – hes’ a fan of Bernie, I’m voting for Biden and the conversation revolved around all of that. It was kind, cordial, educational and pretty fair. No one changed sides or anything, but it was a good Twitter exchange for as long as it lasted. And I have to say, it’s been a long time since that’s happened at all.

That’s definitely a good thing that happened today. It may seem small, but in our toxic social media world, it really is rather rare and surprising, at least for me. And I feel like there’s hope for all of us on social media. If we can learn how to “speak” to each other in tweets, understand that tone matters and not over-react to anything and everything someone says in a few words, maybe, just maybe there’s hope for all of us yet. At the very least, I had a good morning. And that set up the rest of the day pretty brilliantly. No complaints for today. It was a good day.

#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 2

Friday, March 6, 2020 – 9:00pm – Random, TikTok, Client Advice

I’m already annoyed. Does anyone actually READ people’s blog post? I rarely comment on people’s post because I don’t want to say something mean, if I can’t say something nice.  But I’m shocked most days by how many people ‘like’ a blog post when the content is…well, NOT “likable” enough – and I’m just trying to be nice about saying it that way.  Wow. 

On Twitter today, I reminded people that social media isn’t real life [[[IT’S NOT PEOPLE]]]. I encouraged people to really find a way to talk to REAL people in REAL life because honestly, social media – especially Twitter is toxic as all hell most days. Social media needs to find its place in our lives and I’m afraid it’s finding the worst in all of us. The part of us that just wants to bitch and moan and complain and find fault in everyone but ourselves.  Wow. Horrible. People really need to focus on trying to be kind. Having joy. Seriously. I’m shocked by how much people thrive on being cruel to other people — most times, for no real reason. Sad.

Today was a tough day. Actually the entire week was hard. I had a great conversation with a client out on the East Coast today and somehow, I found some joy in that. She’s in the midst of making some hard choices, but today it felt so good to walk her through it.  It’s such a natural thing right?  When you have perspective, based on experience and you watch someone in the midst of that struggle — you want to assure them somehow that it will be okay, but it doesn’t matter what you say – it’s just something they’re going to have to feel and get through.  But I have this line I say – which is an absolute TRUTH – which always makes people feel better: I don’t talk about what I don’t know.  And I asked her; have I ever lied to you or been wrong about anything?  And the answer is inevitably NO – because again, I don’t talk about what I don’t know, period. End Stop.  So when I talk to a client about their business or project or whatever and I tell them – “A” is going to happen and then “B” will follow – I’m 100% positive.  Yeah, it sounds cocky, but it’s the damn truth so you know… whatever.  Anyways, that was my light this week. That made today a good day, even though it’s been a tough week.

I also posted on TikTok.  Ha!  Honestly, I feel bad being a voyeur on the app, so I have to start posting more regularly. But let me tell you, adults are going to ruin that app just like they’ve ruined every other app. Right now, the app is fun. Dancing, people expressing themselves – magic tricks, sheer silliness and sure, there are serious folk on there too – but the point of TikTok, once called “music.ly” was initially (I believe) to lipsync and dance to music.  You can do these little 15 sec or 60 sec clips. So much fun.  Now people are on there doing all types of things – it’s a mash of bad and good advice, silliness, serious dancing, videos on “how to” and…just everything.  It’s still fun. But of course, celebs are now on there – because it’s a great advertising and surely it’s interesting to watch so clearly a social media app about to change…from fun to not so much fun. I think it’s the legacy of most social media. Clearly Twitter is a mess…. I mean, it’s toxic as all hell. Crazy!  And I really do loathe FB and…eeh, Instagram is also kind of a chore… Oh well. 

So, the week is over. I’m so glad. It was a tough week – but I got so much done regardless. I wish I had finished my list, but there’s no doubt my lack of sleep this week, my stress level and just feeling generally under-the-weather, made it a bad week. But tomorrow’s another day. I’m looking forward to it. 

I did walk today. It was hard though.  I wasn’t feeling it at all.  And I did Centr6, but so half-assed it was kind of pathetic.  I hurt my knees… but, glad I got through it. I hope I feel better tomorrow. I have so much to do this week!!  Honestly.  Maybe that’s why I’m also feeling a little out of it. Do you ever feel like you have so much to do, but it’s really nothing you WANT to do?  I have like 5 of those things to get through this weekend and next week. I’m so bummed. Seriously, if anyone should win the lottery, it really should be me. I’m sure of it!  Hahahaha! 

Well, hasta manana.

Carmen    

Bagel Boss Incident – Oh Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter having conversations with people about this whole “Bagel Boss” incident. If you don’t know what it is, simply, a man had a complete freak breakdown in a bagel shop, someone recorded it and posted it on Twitter and the Twitter-verse did it’s thing and mocked him, bullied him further and… well it just went down the rabbit hole from there… 

Now, in all fairness, he did freak out in a public place. Regardless of how it started, he screamed about how he had a difficult time dating because he’s short and he seemed hell-bent on saying how “all women” were the same and mean. He thought the women there were secretly hating on him, though they did seem to be just going about their business. 

I watched it and winced the entire time. At one point, someone – maybe a manager – tackled him to the ground.  I’m no lawyer or law enforcement, but it seemed appropriate. He was full of rage and pretty explosive.  But what happened next, is difficult to wrap my head around.

Someone recorded it, of course, and posted it on Twitter. And then Twitter went to town mocking him, bullying him – making fun of him.  I called a few people out  – people I actually respect on Twitter for reposting the recording and they diligently justified, without skipping a beat, why they thought it was fine to repost it, mock and bully him. 

Ugghhh. 

Here’s the point I’ve been making all night:   when someone gets a bunch of guns and walks into a school and kills people — we’re all stunned. We’re saddened and “tweeting” for something more than “thoughts and prayers” to be done.  By then though, it’s too late.

Mental Illness always comes up.

“Why didn’t anyone help him?”

“How could no-one have noticed he was so upset?”

The Twitter-verse is then filled with all the compassionate people who would have known if it was their neighbor, their family member, if their friend was in trouble. 

But, here in this moment, in full display is clearly a man in pain. He’s suffering.  And what do all the people in the store and everyone online do?  Bully him further.

Surely, he was out-of-line and absolutely inappropriate.  He did get kicked out of the store and rightfully so.  But what happens when this man, clearly distraught goes home and sees he’s being mocked on Twitter? What happens when a fragile human being who clearly hasn’t dealt with some issues notices his own outburst on his Twitter feed and reads what everyone is saying?

We’ve lost our ability to be compassionate.  More importantly, we’ve lost our ability to connect the dots.  Someone in that much pain, is about to burst.  Clearly he’s calling out for help.  Instead of instigating the situation, wouldn’t it have been amazing if someone had offered him some help instead? A bit of kindness. 

Now, I’m not saying everyone who has an outburst is going to go grab a gun and kill people – but that’s kind of irrelevant, isn’t it? I mean we don’t really ever understand why people do these things – but regardless, shouldn’t we be better people?  Shouldn’t our humanity keep us from harming someone else even further?  Is there really some sort of joy in watching someone in so much pain? 

I think what I’m most upset about this evening, is all the people who replied to me being upset that I called them out on their own behavior.  Instead of just admitting they might have made a mistake, they then tried to make it about how he deserved to be mocked for acting so badly.  They found ways to justify their bullying.  It was sad actually. 

I believe that our true character, the true test of who we are is not measured when things are going perfectly well.  It doesn’t matter that you have compassion AFTER a massacre – that’s expected. In tragedy, it is expected that people will come together and help each other. That’s how most humans behave, that’s how most humans survive. But the true test of who we are is really measured when things are hard.  How do we behave when it’s not easy?  Do we show courage when no one is looking?  Can we see pain and react accordingly even when everyone else is bullying?  Can we stop being part of the mob-mentality?  Can we even see it happening? 

I hope that guy figures it out. My prayer, my wish for him tonight is that he has a loving family or great friends that saw what happened online and intervened to walk him through.

I just hope he’s not alone. 

And for people on Twitter and social media in general – I pray that we do better – and that we err on the side of compassion. That we find a way to be better than we used to be. 

Old List, New List

I kinda wish 2018 wasn’t over.  I feel like so much is unfinished…

Here’s the list I wrote at the end of 2017:

Michael Roud Photo Shoot 2018
  • Visit home (Boston) for a couple of weeks.
  • Finalize the Book Canela, get published before end of 2018.
  • Clean out my storage area / donate everything.
  • Meet 10 new people who are extraordinary.
  • Rid myself of the 5 toxic people – kindly.
  • Stop “facebooking”.
  • Connect with like-minded creative folk and be inspired.
  • Buy a new car.
  • Find a new apartment / quieter, still close to the beach.
  • See a movie a month at least.
  • Read a book a month at least.

Every year I write a list of at least 10 things I’d like to do, but no more than 20.  All of them tangible and possible.  Here’s how it all panned out:

Visit home

After my book was published in June, I visited most everyone in the book and spent a lot of alone time in my home town of Boston.  It was magical, emotional, inspiring!  I had only been “home” for brief moments over the past 20 years since I moved to Lost Angeles. I’d visit for a funeral or a wedding. Just quick weekend trips where I only saw the airport, freeway, and/or a church. But this past year, I was home for a while.  I got lost in my own neighborhood – that’s how long it’d been and that’s how much things had changed in the city I grew up in.  I saw old friends and fell in love with my childhood all over again.  I saw how far I’d come and I realized how much I loved Boston, but missed Los Angeles. It really was beautiful.  Maybe my favorite part of 2018.  

City of Boston at Night - Taken at the top of the Prudential Building in August 2018 on a clear evening. The glass and lights give it an eery feel.

My Book Canela

I’ve written so much about publishing this book – but let me say this again: if you have the want, the desire to write your story (because everyone has a story to tell) please, do it!  For me, it was cathartic and life learning at every level. The process of writing is one part, editing another – what I didn’t realize was that AFTER you publish it, well…. maybe it’s just me… but this part has been just as incredible and teaching as well. It has changed my life and the way I view it.  Creatively I’ve changed. How I view people’s importance in my life has changed.  And the book has become a very central part of my every-day life in ways I’m just starting to understand.  Tell your story. Preach your story. The world will be a better place because of it.    

Clean out Storage

Done and done.  We all have that STUFF we keep “just in case” we need it.  Uhm, I got rid of all of it.  Period. Just a housekeeping item that I had put off for too many years so… done. 

Meet New People

I met more than 10 extraordinary people in 2018. My point in writing this in my list (I write it every year by the way) is because I think when you meet new people, you have the opportunity to grow and learn and be “better than you used to be”. If you are constantly around the same people all the time, well…. that’s cool. But for me, it can become pretty stagnant.  Here’s the cool thing about the people I met this past year:  I met so many of them because of my book!!!   Yes!  I have done no publicity, no advertising, just giving it out to friends and yet, others have read it and reached out and it’s been amazing!   I ‘ve learned so much and am excited to get to know these people even more over the next years. 

Rid Toxic People

We all have people in our lives we wish we didn’t have to interact with.  And for most people I get this is a hard thing to do.  For me, eeeh, it’s pretty easy. I’m really great at walking away from people when they are toxic.  Even if I have to work with them or be around them for some reason (creatively). I have a pretty tough barrier that keeps them at distance.  It’s a skill I developed growing up the way I did.  You know “bad” people right away and learn to always keep them at arms-length, while still “dealing” with them as best you can.  This past year I had 3 people I definitely wanted OUT of my life, but there were 2 others I was hoping to also end the “pretend” friendships with. That happened earlier this year.  Wow.  Clearly a great thing!  Rid yourself of people who do NOT lift you up or make you a better person. Seriously, it’s the best thing you can do for your health! 

Stop “Facebooking”

Well, this I could have done better for sure. I do not have messenger and I am not on there often.  I also have Instagram and eeeh, use it sparingly.  I’m a huge fan of Twitter though so I’m not sure any of these are better than the other.  But all are a part of our daily lives now – whether we use them or not.  But the point is to get better at NOT being on social media so much and I’ve accomplished that.  I think social media is finding its equilibrium in our lives in that it’s not a constant way of “talking” to each other.  Many times this year I went out to dinner or was hanging with a friend at the beach and missed so many calls and texts. And it’s simply because I’ve learned to turn off that ring/sound and just enjoy my time with the person I’m with.  It seems like things are calming down for all of us on social media.  Maybe we’re all learning that there really is something to actually (physically), talking to each other and enjoying REAL time with one another.  Maybe.

Connect with Creative People

I found a few groups on MeetUp.com and got inspired for sure.  WritersBlok was a great place to go and finish up the last edits of my book.  I’m really glad I found it.  I also had lunch with up and coming Directors this year, met with other writers, had dinner with a few musicians.  I met with dancers and graphic designers, actors…  being around creative people fuels me and I made an effort this past year to be around those people more often than not!  So glad I did. I’m a better person for it! 

Movies and Books

I did much better this year with Movies and Books but there’s still room for improvement. The movie that surprised me most was clearly Black Panther.  I’m a huge fan of all action movies (Marvel and DC) but Black Panther stunned me. It’s not what I expected at all and I loved it. I loved it when I saw it alone, then again with a few friends, but my favorite was watching it with my 10 year old God-Daughter who’s take on it was exactly how we all want the world to be! 

Black Panther viewing with Julie

Another favorite movie this year was definitely Mary Poppins Returns!  Loved it, loved everything about it. And can I just say, Lin-Manuel Miranda?  I think we’re in the midst of genius with this lovely talented man…I’d love to work with him.  Hmmm. 

As far as Books are concerned, I’m a slow reader and if a book doesn’t grab my attention or is too difficult, I just put it down. It bums me out. I didn’t finish four books this year to make my goal complete, but I did start them…that counts, right?  Ughh. *insert big cheesy half smile emoji here*

In 2019, I’d like to think I have a list as long as former President Barack Obama’s. I’m not sure I’m as interested in his entire list of books, but I’d like to think I’d read as much to even have such a list. #Goals.

Things I didn’t accomplish:

I didn’t buy a new car – and I guess I really don’t need one.  So, you know, there’s that.  I also didn’t move out of my current apartment.  That may still happen next year.  I love my apartment and it’s close enough to the beach (3 miles) but I hate my neighbor upstairs. She has a great kid but it’s just loud all the time. When I was a little girl and lived in an apartment with my mom, we were never allowed to run and jump in the house.  You just didn’t do it.  You were taught to have respect and consideration for the neighbors that lived next to you and below you. If you wanted to run, you went outside.  But not these people. It’s incredible. I don’t blame the little girl. It’s her parents. They are inconsiderate and…goodness, it’s a one bedroom.  They run up there, always have too many guests – every day.  And it’s just incredibly loud and not a great place to live if you like quiet and need to write, to work, to just be. So, it’s still a goal. But, seriously, I keep thinking:  First. World. Problems. Hmmm.   

More Time

Well, if I had more time I guess I’d finish the books I didn’t complete and maybe I’d… 

No, it’s all good. I had enough time for all the things that matter. 2018 is almost over and it’s been a good year personally after-all. There were some missteps along the way, but nothing too damaging or unfamiliar to move through. 

Actually 2018 started out with my sweet sister (Jo-ann) from Boston visiting me in January for my birthday.

The year ended with me hanging out at Christmas time with one of the guys – also from Boston— who helped me go to college (Scot in the book). 

And in-between it all I became an author, traveled, got inspired, did a GREAT photo shoot (with Michael Roud!), saw so many of my dear friends, met new people from all over the world (shout out to Jean-Claude in Luxembourg) and really accomplished so much more than I realized!

Okay 2018. Actually I’m ready to move on. Bring it! I’m starting my 2019 list right now.  🙂

Happy sweet New Year to all of you!  We got this! 

Carmen 

Stop Giving Stupid A Platform

 

The new skill to master:

Learning NOT to respond to people who don’t deserve a platform. 

Everyone talks about “fake news” – specifically trying to figure out  what is legitimate and what isn’t.  Another way to fight the possibility of misinformation is to just STOP responding to all of it in a knee jerk way.  ALL. THE. TIME.  Take a breath. Think. Verify. React, if need be.

Here’s the new skill you have to master:  Just because you’ve read something outrageous on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else doesn’t mean you HAVE to respond to it.  Maybe the new norm should be:  if it sounds outrageous, makes your blood boil, or causes you to gasp, then you need to just assume it’s written to make you feel all those feelings and it should be considered an AUTO BOT until otherwise verified.

Another skill to develop is to do what reporters have done in the past:  find three different legit sources before taking anything seriously and worthy of your precious time.  Whenever I read something on social media, I look for three other sources to validate that information.  And friends or other “friends of friends” don’t count as LEGIT sources!   Even your smartest and best friends fall into this trap – especially those who tend to get all their news from Facebook.  They never question what they read because it’s streaming on their newsfeed.  Wow!

Find three legit sources that you KNOW are reputable.  Whether it be print or television or online – but find three good SOLID sources who have a track record and bookmark them on your devices.  That way, anytime you hear something stunning, you can check easily if this story has surfaced through legit sources.  And “FACEBOOK” and “TWITTER” cannot BE your sources! These are platforms that deliver all types of  information – ANY INFORMATION – they are NOT NEWS SOURCES!!  Please understand the difference.

Stop wasting your time.  Social media is a part of our lives. And it’s an incredible medium that provides such good and wonderful possibilities. But understanding what to react too, what to be bothered with, and how to use your time wisely, is another skill that we just have to learn.  It’s a tough thing for sure – it’s hard to walk away from a headline or tweet that burns through your very core – but once you stop the knee jerk reaction to responding to everything – it gets easier to notice the obvious BOTS and nonsense stories.

And that’s another thing:  this knee jerk reaction to everything needs to stop.  When did everyone become so sensitive? When did everything become so damn important?  And seriously, when did everyone become an expert at everything?  We need to stop reacting emotionally to every story or thought and stop thinking we need to share it in 140 characters or less – not only is it a waste of our time, but 9 times out of 10, it’s also just not our place.  I hate to be so cliché, but yes, everyone has an opinion and opinions are like assholes… or something like that.  Simply, you can have an opinion, but sometimes its appropriate to keep it to yourself!

Let’s stop feeding into the very thing that is making the internet a very dangerous medium.  Instead, let’s start teaching ourselves and our children to investigate, scrutinize, and develop critical thinking skills to use this amazing vehicle in the best way possible.

Let’s stop giving STUPID a platform.