Why Facebook and I are taking a Break

I'm sitting here in my office, watching a sliver of a hazy moon slip behind the crest of Lookout Mountain. The crickets have started their evening serenade. It's beautiful, and peaceful, and so comforting. It's balm to a confused heart, and soothing to a racing mind. The moon is gone now, moving on to throw his silver light on some other tree top and some other soul.

Tonight I made the decision to take a break from my facebook newsfeed, and also to be really honest on my blog (which you will most likely find through a link I post on social media, just call me hypocrite, ok.), which I realize may seem a little counter productive.  But maybe it's not. Honestly, I love social media (I mean, so many CAT videos guys!). I always have. I have it to thank for some of my dearest relationships. It's an amazing tool, and very often has been the source of life, and goodness, and really great and productive interaction. However, lately it has begun to feel like an intellectual and emotional battleground, and I guess I might be one of the casualties.

Let me get this straight right now: this is not about social media, or it's various evils. I'm not about to start telling people to put down their phones, or frowning at you when you discuss facebook or selfies or turning up my nose when I see that picture of your dog on instagram (in fact, I'm pretty appreciative of you letting me live vicariously through you). Hell, I think the internet, and the social interaction that happens within its wide arms will be a HUGE part of our cultural and collective future. In fact, it may BE our future. I don't know. But the point is, this is not about the internet, or social media. It's about me. And maybe a little bit about facebook. But mostly me, although, I don't think I'm alone.

Lately, I have felt bombarded with opinions. And while the first waves felt like some annoying stings, I'm currently cowering in the trenches.

I have always been an issue engager. I remember discussing the virgin birth when I was eight with our family photographer (a progressive who had travelled on several archeological trips to the middle east), and finding it exhilarating. His views excited me, and challenged me, and made me hungry for more...more pushing and delving and disagreeing. It made me feel alive. Not because I enjoyed the conflict (I hate conflict. It took me two years of marriage to stop leaving the apartment every time an argument started), but because I enjoyed the mental and emotional engagement. I enjoyed the challenge. I'm a passionate person, and I care about the things I believe, even if I'm willing to let them shift and change and bend. I still care. And that became a defining feature of who I was, and am.

My whole life, the vast majority of discussions I've had with the people who cross my path have led to more intimacy, not less. We've left the topic with lots of emotions I'm sure, but one of them is not the feeling that enemies share. Rather, I have felt like comrades, two souls wrestling through the deep complexities of this life and the universe it inhabits. Disagreement does not always lead to decay, and sometimes it leads to life.

The entrance of social interactions on the internet have changed the way we do a lot of things, including disagree, and I'm not really sure that we've got it figured out yet. Of course, disagreements have always had potential to be ugly nasty beasts. They literally cary the blood of millions on their heads. Disagreements have murdered kings, and spouses and children and friends. I am not for a minute saying that dissension and pain are not the closest of friends. What I am saying is that social media has created a world where we can feel removed from the people we're disagreeing with, and a world where every disagreement or discussion is essentially a public forum. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I believe it's probably here to stay. But honestly, I don't think I really know how to handle or interact with that world yet. Maybe none of us do.

Opinions are beautiful things. I love the fact that each of us is unique, with a story all our own, and perspective that adds color and texture and depth to humanity. But lately, opinions, and my interaction with them on facebook has led to far more feelings of alienation and pain than connectedness and love. Maybe it's because my opinions have changed. Maybe that hurts and shocks and angers people that I love. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm too unsure and disagreement shakes me. Maybe it's that joe-blow and god-knows-who, who are friends of friends are constantly interacting with everything I have to say and suddenly it feels like the whole world is constantly angry and against each other. Maybe it's one of those things, or all of those things or something else entirely. But for now, I'm backing up. I'm taking a breath and reading a book and engaging with people who's breath I can see and whose voices I can hear and whose eyes I can meet.

Perhaps we'll reach the point where we understand how to use this crazy thing called the internet. Maybe I'll learn to handle the widening world. Maybe we'll all learn to be a little kinder, a little less sure, and begin to feel those fellow beating hearts pounding away our shared life breath through a keyboard.

For now I'm hanging out out here, watching the moon.


Like A Spirit in the Night

When I was eight years old I saved up enough money to buy my first horse. I remember working so, so hard. I obsessed over the ledger that I kept, ticking off each little drop in the bucket as I neared my goal. When my horse finally arrived on my parents farm I felt like my future was stepping off the back of that trailer. That. Big. Of. A. Deal. For me, my horse became my freedom. I was a raging, longing little kid, who just ached to be big, and wild, and free. My horse was all of those things, and for a few hours he could just sweep me away to a world where grass waved in the wind like a sea of emerald green and his hooves didn't pound the ground so much as they nearly flew. We were a funny couple, he and I. Me, with my gangly, late blooming body and inability to shut up, ever, even to him. And he with his kind of arabian, quarter horsy grade look and stumpy legs. But we were best friends. I had to put him down when I was seventeen. I stayed with the vet and held his head through the whole process. There's a part of me that wishes I hadn't. I had watched a lot of animals die (I grew up on a farm guys. It happens), but I had never watched something that had a piece of my heart leave this world. Afterwards, I stood in the shower, cried a bit, and basically never mentioned it again. I only told a few, and barely admitted that I was upset. It's life. This shit happens.

I mentioned in my last post that this has been an emotional month. I've seen and experienced so much loss, and so much joy, that I feel as if my heart will explode at times. Something I've realized through it, and it's been nagging in the back of my mind for a while, is that I don't think I really know how to handle loss. I don't know if that's a cultural thing, or if it's just me, but the following are a few thoughts I've had as I've processed, and I really don't have enough motivation to put them into a cohesive post.

- I experience the world in a deeply emotional, spiritual way. It's just who I am. I recount my life as series of incredibly detailed memories, because those memories are like tiny treasures holding my past. Unlocking them, browsing through them, and sometimes healing them, is important to me, because for me, the past is not in the past. I carry a part of it with me all of the time. When a good friend of mine left this world last year I longed to go back and unlock his memories. To share them with people who carried pieces of him too. To ache together that a piece of the vivid patchwork of our lives was no longer there, and could no longer enter our lives again and make us something other than we were before. That was the first time I began to realize that culturally, or perhaps just personally, there was very little space for that.

- Death sucks. It just does. It doesn't matter if a person dies in the womb, or at the end of 95 years, someone still aches for their departure from this world. It doesn't matter if you believe in a afterlife, or Jesus, or heaven or hell, you will still ache. It will still hurt. And it should.

- Death also makes me thankful. I look at my loved ones more often, and want to make a conscious effort to remember them well. I guess one of the things that connects us all in our sorrow, is that if we're close enough to see someone else's, it doesn't take a far stretch of the imagination to realize that "that could be me." To realize, just for a moment, that their pain could be our own, and how then can we keep from mourning with them?

- Why them, and not us? That thought plagues me. Why did your baby stop breathing and never recover and mine was resuscitated and sits with me now? I weep because my joy and your loss are so similar and yet so far apart, and so unfair.

- Life is also beautiful. It holds so much. So much vibrance, and love, and beauty. Those memories I hold, those are worth keeping close to my heart. They remind me of the immense power of even a short life, and I wouldn't give anything for them.

I'm going to leave it there. I believe in honesty, and openness, and while I try to be real in this little piece of the internet I haven't often shared my questions or my aches. Bear with me.


Crazy, lovely, mess

I love boxy tees with a small passion...and if it's boxy and silky it's just a double win. I find that my summer go-to tends to be dresses and cut offs with some sort of styled up basic top. I love pieces of statement jewelry and building a basic palette allows the detail to shine. Wearing a top from t.j. maxx, Gap jeans that I cut off, my beloved Wolverine 1k Samantha Pleet  boots, vintage cuff that was a gift, and Ayala Bar earrings that I have on a simi-permanent loan from my mom.

I know I've been more than a little MIA this last week or so. I've found that while writing brings my soul rest, going through the process of photographing and posting a blog sometimes does not. The last two weeks have held more emotion than my heart can hold and sometimes solitude is what my busy mind needs. I lost a dear cousin to a tragic car accident, celebrated four years of marriage with my guy (a couple weeks early), and simultaneously had one of those weeks where you look at your spouse and think "what the heck are we even DOING??" Life is messy, and crazy, and beautiful and good.

Confict in Action: Dresses and Pants

I've always loved the dress/slip over pants look, but I've never felt like I could pull it off. I've tried a couple of times, and I feel like it always just ends up looking like a bag-over-pants version. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this, but I was into it today. I love the strappy details and flowing whites. There's something so romantic about it, without losing a bit of an edgy appeal.

Wearing Forever 21 slip and bra, American Eagle jeggings that I cut off and distressed, and Jeffrey Campbell Hells.