My Divorce from Facebook

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I know, dramatic right?  But if you think about it, divorce is a good way to look at it.

Think about your relationship with Facebook.  When you first met him, you were excited, giddy.

Look at all these people you could find!  So & so from high school?!  Wow look at how much he aged!  Friend request!  Oh, and look at her!  Of course she married a doctor.  I never really liked her.  Friend request!  Oh boy.  Look at joe schmoe requesting me as a friend, like I don’t remember all the drama that he caused in high school.  Accept!  Omg, look at her!  I am so happy she found me!  Accept!  I wonder if she is still friends with that one; let me scroll her friends to see.  Wow, she IS!  Friend request!  I totally forgot about him too!  Friend request!

Remember how that went?

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Then, look at all you could do on Facebook!  You mean to tell me that I can play games WITH these ‘friends’?!  Sign me up!  I can grow virtual produce and have that farm I always wanted?  Yes, please!  I can ‘like’ Justin Beiber, Ellen Degeneres, Kanye West and Oprah Winfrey!?  Sounds great!  Do you think they will respond to me?

All of that excitement, like a relationship, is like the honeymoon phase of a relationship.  After a while you have 100+ ‘friends’, and you are sharing quips and memories of high school, college, or the old days.  You catch up with people, and laugh at their e-card posts, and cat videos.  What a way to relax at the end of a work day.

Then, and it is a different time period for everyone, you find yourself on Facebook, looking at all the posts made by your ‘friends’, and they all start to look the same.  You are getting annoyed at joe schmoe’s political posts now; you had no idea he leaned so far to the right!  You begin to wish there was a way to block his posts without offending him.  Then, you find out how and, whew, thank goodness that is over!  Whoa, when did so & so become so racist?  We went to the same high school and hung out together all the time.  How could this happen?  Delete.  Over and over you see posts that annoy you, but you still keep scrolling.  For what?  You wouldn’t take someone talking to you like that in person, why would you accept it on Facebook?  But you ignore and keep scrolling.

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Soon, you find that you are only communicating religiously with a few people, and the rest of your ‘friends’ really don’t care.  Or, out of the 100+ friends you have, some are just trolling your posts; virtual peeping toms watching your every move, but then still asking how life is when you speak to them.  You wouldn’t let someone peep into your window in real life, would you?

At the end stages of my personal relationship with Facebook, I found myself clicking ‘like’ on mediocre things, and only commenting on a handful of people’s posts.  I was wasting time scrolling and refreshing; television shows were the soundtrack to my loafing on the couch as I did.  I read articles about deleting Facebook in the past, but I didn’t think I would take them seriously.  I remember pinning on Pinterest a link to the steps to deleting Facebook for good, just in case.  Last week, I called for my divorce.

I messaged people I wanted to make sure knew I was gone, giving them my cell number and email address.  What is funny is the people I gave that information to, had it pre-Facebook anyhow.  Think about it.  Who on your Facebook ‘friends’ list would you, sincerely, want to give your personal information to?  It’s worth pondering!  Anyhow, I then began the process of deletion.  It was scary, but I did it.

On February 12, 2015, my emancipation from Facebook was complete.

What happened after I deleted was amazing.  People could not believe I did it!  Questions like, “How does it feel?”, “How was your first Facebook-free weekend?”, “So, why no more Facebook?” began to flood in.  My answer to all these questions were simple: I feel fine.  It went fine.  It was a distraction.  It is amazing to me how difficult that simple answer is for people to accept.  How could someone NOT want to be on Facebook?!  Here is what I learned in my brief time free of Facebook:

  1. Facebook offers people a false sense of community.  Sure, you have 100+ friends, but when you are feeling low, or need someone, how many of those ‘friends’ are there for you?  This includes ‘family-as-friends’.  The same ones you would call off of Facebook are the same ones that are there for you on Facebook.  Nothing changes.  All those ‘likes’, and comments only assist you for a small amount of time.  Then, you are there with the same problem, calling the same people.  Facebook has done nothing to help you, has it?
  2. Facebook deals you drama that you wouldn’t normally accept in your life; just because it is on a computer screen doesn’t make it any different.  If you are democrat, pro-life, pro-equality, posts by your ‘friends’ and ‘family-as-friends’, are only going to annoy you if you share different views.  Often times, you don’t realize that these people have such rigid views.  Then, when you see them offline, you are supposed to pretend that you never read anything they wrote?  If you don’t accept something offline, don’t accept it online.
  3. Facebook only causes problems with the people you have offline relationships with.  How many times have you heard, “didn’t you see my post?”, “how come you didn’t ‘like’ it?”  It has become a platform for passive-aggressiveness all around.  I will admit, I used Facebook to release venom I had stored up in me as well at points in time, but it did nothing to solve my problems.  It exacerbated them.  What ever happened to having discussions with people?  Now people are throwing ‘friends’ and ‘family-as-friends’ shade online, and then expecting life to be wine and roses when you meet up at the annual barbecue.  Life doesn’t work that way, but Facebook has allowed people to think that it does.  Hell, that post got forty-three likes!
  4. Facebook makes you feel bad about your life.  Or, it makes you judge how you are living it.  Have you scrolled through someone’s vacation pictures thinking, “I make more money than they do.  Why can I not afford to take vacations like this?”  Or, “She is such a good mom.  Why didn’t I think to do that with my kids?”  I could go on and on with the comparisons we make, but it would take up the rest of this post.  Facebook makes us critically look at our lives and judge ourselves against other people’s lives.  There is that one ‘friend’ who posts that you always say, “Wow so & so, you really have your life together!”, or secretly loathe them for their successes.  Facebook certainly does nothing to boast your self-esteem.
  5. Facebook is a time sucker.  Days before my divorce, I was talking to a co-worker, and I asked her, “How do you find so much time to read with your crazy life?”  She volunteers for a dog rescue, has nine dogs in her home (some are fosters), has personal issues, attends regular college basketball games and is always busy with work.  She said she has much more quiet time than I do, even with all of those things happening in her life.  So, I assessed my time and what I did when I come home from work.  I have a million books I want to read, and I needed to find out why I had no time to do so.  After watching my hours go by, there it was.  Facebook.  Scrolling, reading, catching up on things with my ‘friends’ that I missed since I logged in that morning.  Then, logging in to see what I missed after that.  My laptop was open all the time, and when it wasn’t, I was on my cell phone.  Think about how often you are attached to electronics for no reason.  You will see how much time you have in life that is being wasted!

Now, I know the many advantages to social media, and I am not condemning social media as a whole.  I know that people are missing people are found, and lives are saved using Facebook.  I applaud Facebook for those one-in-a-million incidents.  Thank God for it!  But, on a daily basis, it does nothing for me.  So, on February 12, 2015, I signed my divorce document to leave Facebook.

In the six days I have been gone, I have finished a book, and half of another one.  Life is good.

Here is the link to the steps to take to leave Facebook.  If you feel a divorce is in your future, be sure to read it:

How To Delete Facebook

 

10 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 4

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This is one of the most difficult of Sharon’s Book Nook 10 Day Blogging Challenge.  I love all of my posts, so to choose seven is difficult.  But, I did it!  I give to you:

Day 4: 7 Favorite Blog Posts from My Blog

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A Very Pinterest Housewarming Party

I had such a blast planning and entertaining for the first time in my new home, I had to choose this as one of my favorites!  There are great links to quick and easy recipes that can be used for up and coming holiday parties!

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New Poem! Silence

As of this post, I had not written a new poem in a couple of years.  To write one and then share it is a big deal.  This is definitely one of my favorite posts!

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Casting Off My Shackles

Depression is a bitch.

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Pinned It, Did It Wednesday – Coffee Station

This, by far, is my favorite Pinned It, Did It!  I love my coffee station!

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Battle At The Family Reunion

I took the Blogging University, Blogging 101 class, and in this post I had to post original work using dialogue.  I am uncomfortable with it, but I think I did a pretty good job here!

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My Love Affair With Writing

This post reminds me why I love to write, and why I need to continue!

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My Hometown

Any time I can write about my home town is a good post.  This is my love letter to Buffalo.

10 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 1 (For Me)

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I have been very behind in posting lately, and that is simply because I am not taking the time to do it.  But, I am hoping by taking part in the challenge that Sharon’s Book Nook put out a few days ago kicks me in the butt and gets me going!  I am starting this challenge a couple of days behind, but better late than never, I say!  So, I give to you:

DAY 1: 10 THINGS ABOUT ME

  1. I love to read and write. – Lately, it seems as though I enjoy the idea of these things more than partaking in them, but they are a part of me regardless.  They always have been.  I still have steno notebooks full of poems, beginnings of short stories, and ideas just waiting for cultivation.  My GoodReads account has more books listed that I want to read than I have years left in my life, and I love it.  It is just making these things that are such a big desire for me, a part of my every day routine.  I am getting there!
  2. I am more comfortable in my own skin as I approach 40 yrs old than I have ever been. – You hear women talk about finding that sweet spot in life; that age when you accept yourself, flaws and all, regardless of trends or popular opinion.  I notice that I am comfortable with myself, even though I am over weight and not aesthetically pleasing to most.  I don’t care.  I love me, quirks, rolls and all, and no one can tell me to believe otherwise.  There is a sense of calmness in my inner voice now, even though the thought of hitting 40 still is terrifying.
  3. I am at peace with relationships with people who did not live up to my expectations. – Isn’t that the one thing that can ruin a relationship?  You expect people to act a certain way (because you do), and choose to do certain things (because, who does anything else?!).  Holding people to your own expectation of what is “right” is a sure-fire way to kill any friendship or relationship.  I learned that I should enjoy the differences in people, and let people make their own mistakes and live how they choose, without me placing judgement on them for not doing things how I would.  Believe me, this is an ongoing lesson I am learning, but the major relationships in my life are more peaceful to me now.  I may have let some of these relationships go for my own sanity, but I am at peace and still respect and love those people for who they are.
  4. I love to cook. – In fact, when I began this blog, I would post recipes and those would get the largest viewings for that particular week.  I still may post recipes, but not as regularly.  I love cooking for large groups and my small family.  I am always on the hunt for new things to try!
  5. I am a passionate person. – When I feel something, I feel it BIG and, sometimes, my reactions are just as large.  So, if I am angry, happy, silly – I can be larger than life.  I am off-putting to some because they do not know how to take me, and that is all right.  There are those that cannot handle me, and there are those that would not have me any other way.  That is just fine with me.  It took me a while to learn that I do not have to adjust who I am to suit other people.  I figure, I am respectful of people around me,  so there.  I do have a tendency to speak without filter, and I have hurt some people I love in the process, but that is how I learned to dial it back a little bit to be respectful.  Once cannot be a 10 all the time!
  6. I am a recovering reality tv-aholic – Housewives of New Jersey, Atlanta and New York – I loved them all!  The crazy, the drama, the lavishness.  I would watch marathons and wait with much anticipation for the winner of the latest verbal altercation.  I decided to give up on reality tv for a New Year’s resolution.  This has got to be the one and only resolution I am following through with!  Now that I am distancing myself from these programs, I notice just how ridiculous they are.  These are people, regular people, setting up drama in their lives for the sake of a pay check.  Life is way too short for that, and my time is too precious to spend it watching women act like bullies toward one another, instead of helping one another up.  Those shows are fiction in spite of their “reality” title.  Just look at the issues some are having with the law.  That is about as real as it gets.
  7. I am completely, 100% in love with my husband. – He is my rock and my best friend.  He is the only person on this earth who knows every inch of me, inside and out, and loves me no matter what.  We have been friends for 25 years (more than half our lives!), together for 17 years, and married for 15 years.  Highs, lows, laughter, tears – we have seen them all, learned from them and moved on.  Without a doubt, he is one of the most important people in my life.  He is my #1.
  8. My #2 is my son. – My soon-to-be 14yr old ball of hormones and attitude.  I have learned so much about life from him.  When I was blessed with him in November of 2000, I thought I had our lives planned to the letter.  My boy showed me not to plan, and take things one step at a time.  Even though he did not partake in the life I planned for us, he took me down a road of discovery, understanding and taught me patience.  My son has helped make me a better person.  And you think that YOU are doing the teaching as a parent; not the case.  He is my heart.
  9. I love doing things for others. – I love to make others smile.  Sometimes I take it too far (see #5), but when I love, I love big.  Never underestimate that one small gesture that can change a persons day!
  10. I am not perfect. – I may speak about my ideals and argue points about certain topics, but please do not take me as someone who thinks she is on a pedestal looking down on everyone.  All of my beliefs boil down to one simple truth: treat people how you want to be treated.  The golden rule.  I get angry for others.  I get angry for the lack of common sense in this world.  But in no way does that mean I feel as though I am better than anyone else.  I am a person, flawed, just like you.

Lessons Learned From A Tale Of Two Blood Cells

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog about this or not, but in some way I thought my experience could help someone else in some way, so here I am about to blab about personal things!

A few weeks ago, I went to visit a new doctor.  We went over my medical history and started discussing medication.  I am a person who lives with anxiety and depression.  Around this time, I was feeling very anxious and sad, and I knew that my current medication was not cutting it, so we tweaked it.  My doctor wanted to draw some blood before I left to make sure that there wasn’t anything else happening along with this, so off to be pricked I went!

A few days later, my doctor called me back and said there were abnormalities in my blood work and she wanted to talk to me about them.  Upon meeting with her, I learned that I am extremely anemic and my white blood cell count was high.  She immediately started me on Iron supplements and prescribed me an antibiotic, in case of a UTI.  Being diagnosed anemic made a lot of sense to me.  As of late, I have been very easily tired, not wanting to finish anything I start.  Also, I have been chewing ice cubes like it is my job.  Pica, a disorder that causes you to eat things compulsively that are not food, is a symptom of anemia.  I would actually crave ice to chew!  I was happy there was a reason for it.  She scheduled a follow-up appointment with me to re-draw blood to recheck my red and white levels for two weeks later.

Two weeks go by, my blood is drawn and another phone call is made to me about my levels.  My white count went up after a round of antibiotics, and my red count is creeping up ever so slowly.  This is the part where I started to get scared.  She referred me to a hematologist out of a local cancer hospital to have him review my blood work and see me.  As much as the doctor said, “don’t focus too much on the word ‘cancer’, you focus heavily on the word ‘cancer’.  It is like telling someone “Don’t look down!”; they will absolutely look down, especially after you told them not to.  I was fine up until this morning, which was the day of the appointment.  The friends and family that knew seemed so worried, but I wasn’t, until we pulled in front of the hospital;  my stomach flipped like a gymnast.

 

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Nothing can prepare you for the sight you see when walking into a waiting room for cancer doctors.  I immediately felt sad and horrified all at the same time.  Yes, there were sick patients.  I knew there would be.  But seeing them is a completely different thing.  After I signed in and sat to wait for my turn, I started questioning my reality.  Was this really happening to ME?  I am only 39 years old.  I stopped smoking almost thirteen years ago so that I wouldn’t be in this position.  Things really are out of your control sometimes, aren’t they?  I was paralyzed with fear inside.  I could tell my husband was equally as fearful by his serious stare into space.

After a half hour of waiting to see the doc, he finally comes into the room.  We review my history, he does an exam and we talk about the issues.  He doubled my iron pills and believes that my white count is leveling off, but he wants me to come back in three months to have my blood re-drawn to test my levels.  Whew!  A smile spread across my face and I immediately felt tired.  I was so bottled up with anticipation and worry that when I released it, I released all the energy I had for the time being.  But relief, that was the sweetest thing.

 

lessons learned

So, I said in sharing this I hoped to help someone, but with what exactly?  Here are a few things I hope you learn from my situation:

(1) Visit your doctor regularly. – Yeah, yeah, yeah….blah, blah, blah, right?  Seriously, do it.  For about two months before all this occurred, I was being so hard on myself, thinking I was being lazy for not having the energy to get up and go!  I would be all ready to paint a room in my new home, get back from Home Depot and completely care less if I did anything with it.  I could fall asleep at the drop of a dime on the couch.  I never put any of these things together as being an issue until it was brought to my attention.  If I would have made my appointment sooner, paid attention to my body and its signs, I would not have gotten so bad.  Also, I immediately started blaming myself for feeling the way I did, instead of thinking that there really could be something wrong with me!  Don’t allow yourself to be on the whipping post for every single thing that happens in your life.  Most of it is out of your hands!!

(2)  Take things one step at a time. – For the most part, I did that in this case.  When I walked into the hospital, that is when I lost it inside.  Try not to allow your mind to go from A to Z so quickly.  Projecting a problem where there is none is a waste of energy.  You may need it later!

(3)  Just because someone is sick, doesn’t mean they are dead.  Share in their laughter and smiles. – Sitting in the waiting room, there was a woman who was waiting to be called back for her round of chemo.  She was very frail, bulked up only by the sweatshirt that she wore and the blanket on her lap.  When the nurse came out and called someone else back for their turn, she cracked a joke to the nurse that she better be next!  They laughed.  She said, “You know, messing with him and petting these therapy dogs are the best thing about coming here”.  I saw her genuine smile, and noticed that she had make-up on and seemed positive overall.  We laughed together and talked a bit, and when she was finally called, we laughed again.  Before my exam, I had to use the lady’s room, which was located in that treatment room.  I saw her connected to her treatment and she had her eyes closed and her blanket on her lap.  I smiled for her.   Walking out of the hospital with the news I had, I prayed for her.  This time, I know what it’s like to walk out of there with good news.  I hope she, too, gets that news someday.

You could say that this was a life-changing experience, and you would be partially right.  This was an enlightening experience that I will never take for granted.  I learned throughout these three weeks to treat myself better, mentally and physically, don’t take things that are going on with my body for granted, and always be aware that my time here on earth is limited.  I am grateful for each and every day, and will pray for those that have to live with the bad news.  I still have to fight my own fight with my iron, but I will get there.

Be thankful for each day.  Smile and laugh with a stranger.  Treat yourself well.

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It’s Time.

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It’s time.  Time to stop procrastinating.  Time to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Time to stop the excuses.  Time to finish what I started.

When my family and I relocated over a year and a half ago, I was only two semesters away from obtaining my Bachelors degree in Secondary English Education.  Aside from moving my son away from his educational program and uprooting him from his friends, that was the toughest thing for me to handle.  I was 38 years old and already going into the field late in life; this setback could really take a lot more time with transferring credits and different degree obligations.

As I suspected, it did not go well when I tried to pick up where I left off in my home state.  I did get accepted into a college in my new state, and most of my credits transferred, but financing was the road block that made me wait an additional year.  Because I was not in my new state for an entire year, I had to pay out-of-state tuition costs, which were monstrous.  As a result, I ended up having to wait out the year until I was considered a resident.

In that year, I decided to get a full-time job.  My job is fantastic!  I work in a charter school that teachers children with low-incidence disabilities, albeit in the school office, but still close to the action.  I can participate in some activities and learn a lot from the teachers and my co-workers here.  This job and its paycheck has afforded my family the opportunity to purchase a new home, and for that I am happy.  So, do I go back to school AND work my full-time job simultaneously?  Could I do it?  For a while, I thought no.

 

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Have you ever had a goal or something so much a part of who you are that you simply had to accomplish it, or else you would not be who you were meant to be?  That is what teaching is to me.  I feel like this was a calling that I was to do a long time ago, and I allowed circumstances and influences guide me off my path early in life, and it continued as I got older.  When I finally went back to school in my home state, I felt alive and eager to learn and get achieve my goals.  This last setback almost derailed my want for all of it.

I have had some growing pain with my relocation, and still do.  But this summer, I hit a fork in the road;  either I make changes, or live a life of mediocrity.  Granted, I am absolutely happy with my job, house, husband, son and life.  I have absolutely nothing to complain about, not at all.  I am very blessed!  But this goal is MINE and is very personal.  It is who I am meant to be.  So, I chose to begin making the changes.

It is going to be difficult working full-time and attending school, but I am not the first, nor the last person to take this road.  I turn forty in April, and I want to be able to say that I am doing what I am supposed to, instead of being complacent.

 

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It’s time for me.  Is it time for you?  What have you put on the back burner that you can make a reality?

Truth

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I was inspired to write about truth today by the post I reblogged this morning.  You can read it HERE.

In this blog post, one line stuck out to me:

The thing we have to remember about truth is that we will never have all of it.

We will never have ALL of it.  I suppose this is right in all facets of our lives, isn’t it?  Take a look around you, beginning with yourself.  Are YOU 100% truthful?  I would like to say that I am, however in some cases I guess you could say I am a liar by omission.  If I am asked, I will tell someone the truth, and if I am speaking, you can bet I am telling the truth.  If you ask me about me, or something personal, and I don’t trust you, you may receive lies by omission.  I am a straight-forward person who does not like to pull punches, and I like dealing with people like that in my life.  I think someone who is blunt and honest is more trustworthy to me.  Some may think that people like this are crass and difficult to take.  The truth IS difficult to take, right?  But even with these direct people, are they telling the truth 100% of the time?

We all know that we cannot trust the media 100% of the time.  Politicians, news casters, celebrities, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, etc. – they all cannot be trusted all of the time.  We spend a lot of energy teaching our children to grow up being honest people, but then turn around and tell them that those that they look up to are not trustworthy themselves.  It is a difficult paradigm.

untitled      If you are a lover and user of social media, you are very familiar with the lies and truths that are told on the internet.  Let me paint a picture for you:

You are scrolling Facebook one Sunday morning, sipping your coffee, laughing at posts from the night before, when all of a sudden you glance at a meme about a social issue you feel very strongly about.  You read it, and it is very much against your beliefs, and wonder who in the world would post such a thing?  You glance at whom this ridiculous post belongs to, and see that it is your best friend/brother/sister/father/mother.co-worker (insert other relation here).  You sit, dumbfounded, at what you are looking at.  Does he/she REALLY feel this way?  Well, he/she must if they posted it like that, right?  You shake your head and continue scrolling, with that post in the forefront of your mind.

It seems as though the internet, the biggest mask a person can wear, seems to give permission to people to be both their authentic selves, and people they wish to be as well.  What did you do when you realized that your (insert relation) was a racist/conservative/liberal/welfare recipient/pro-choice/pro-life (insert social label here)?  There is really not much you could do, is there?  Sometimes settling in with the truth about someone who is close to you is a challenge.  I have encountered this with a few people who I thought were so close and shared the same ideals as I did, only to find we were polar opposites.  In some cases, our relationship could not recover from these differences.  Was the truth a good thing to know in these cases?  In a couple, yes; in others, I still mourn the loss of those relationships.

Why is the keyboard and the internet such powerful things?  Why do those wearing disguises of who they really are, feel like they can unveil their personal truths online as opposed to living their truths loud and proud and being their authentic selves?  If those ideals are truly a part of them, why is it so difficult?  The internet is the largest audience one will ever have, and those words/memes/jokes cannot be taken back.  Why is it so easy then?

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Truth is unreliable sometimes because of personal perceptions.  As the quote above states, no one is lying, it is ones understanding of the situation that drives their personal truths.  Remember a recent argument you had and how you recounted it to someone.  Your story is driven by your perceptions of the truth of the situation.  Did you hear the other person’s side of the same story?  They hold a very different account of what happened, didn’t they?  Hanging in the middle is the truth – a little bit of your story and a little but of their’s.  Too many times people get hung up on the details as they see them in a situation and they lack the vision to see the big picture.  That is what makes us individuals, right?  Our own ideals and views?   But it is when one becomes rigid and unbending in their ideals that conflict arises.  As long as we all remember that there is truth in it all, not every disagreement will be a big deal.

When I read that blog post and I read (and re-read) the line about not having the truth 100% of the time, I found it a difficult thing to read.  I will be forty years old soon, and the concept of deception and untruths still baffles me.  I believe the world would be a lot better if people were kind and truthful all the time.  But even as those works trail off my fingertips, I know that can be a destructive thing as well.  Truth, all of the time?  That could cause more fights, widespread panic across the world, riots and, less dramatic – hurt feelings.

Truth vs. lies.  Good vs. evil.  What is your take on that concept?  Are you your authentic self off-line?