About My New Facebook, Part 2

EDIT: I’ve updated this blog. I forgot to finish it or something.

Having a new Facebook account shouldn’t be an emotional process, but in some ways, it is; something noteworthy is how our Facebooks take on a life of their own and become something that is seemingly beyond our control.

Anyway, there’s a story I have to tell about this newest adventure, so here we go.

The blog prior to this explains my initial reasons for deciding to leave the old Facebook account, not the least of which is that Facebook is a poor place to attempt political debate and discourse. I’ve had that other account for a decade down to the month (I signed up in July of 2007), and a decade seemed long enough.

But let’s get to the interesting part. I made a new account and started adding people, then Facebook randomly locked my account about six hours after creation and asked for a photo ID of me. Well, I think they just said photo, but I had my Facebook in Japanese and was tired and maybe had misread what was written.

From that point on, I couldn’t log into Facebook. All I get is a message that says, “Thank you for the photo. We’ll email you as soon as we review it.”

I expected that account to be locked for maybe 24 hours, but no- it’s been a few days, and no email from Facebook.

There’s that possibility…but let’s back up and go to the beginning of registering a new account…Facebook wouldn’t take the email address I entered. I tried several times over, and Facebook continued to tell me the email wasn’t valid or the information wasn’t valid or something like that. So I used my phone number.

That was probably a mistake, because I got a message on my other account saying the phone number had been removed, so…it’s possible Facebook thought I was spam for that reason.

Needless to say, my phone number’s not going on the new account.

My friend, Canova, told me that maybe the universe was telling me to clear out the clutter instead of running from it. Her minimalist wisdom inspired me, and so I began to try to unlike all the pages that were clogging my feed and such.

WELL. The first time I went through, I unliked over 200 pages…and Facebook didn’t register that I had unliked any of them. I tried again…and I would click the boxes of 10 pages, and maybe two would be unfollowed.

Facebook doesn’t usually have an easy way to unlike groups and pages, but I managed to Google and find ways to work around the issue.

So that, I think, may have been the universe telling to make a clean break and burn it all down, which I’m glad I did.

Ultimately, I was forced to create a new email account- this time one that Facebook randomly and magically accepted- and go from there. My plan is to focus on art and making the world a better place in the way that I can.

The reality is that in the resistence, if you’re not ready for the battle, if you’re in the way, you have to stand back. On Twitter, someone made this point- they said, “This isn’t your fight.” People with anxiety disorders and so on- not our fight, not our place to be on the frontlines. We’ll get hurt and then be a burden on the other people who know what they’re doing.

But what some of us CAN do is be the healer. We can be the peacekeepers on our side, the emotional healers, the people who nurse our warriors back to health. A lot of this is metaphorical, but I hope you understand.

Most of my political statements will probably be posted on here. Most of my political perspectives will probably be blogged and not Facebook-posted because Facebook statuses are a horribly ineffective place to do post politics. Just sayin’.

Anyway, that’s all.

S.

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In Case You’re Wondering about My New Facebook Account…

Yes, I’ve created a new Facebook account; the last one was created over ten years ago, and time for a change was upon me.

The landscape of Facebook has changed over the years; what were once endearing pages to like and follow have accrued to mostly clogging my feed and being generally too numerous to delete individually. Sometimes even I’m surprised by pages I’ve liked in the past.

Facebook is, of course, neither good nor bad in and of itself; as with most tools, the virtue and vice are relative to its use.

So much has changed in the past year for me that I needed a fresh start. I need a place to show my art, to post about philosophy, to bring the best of myself to the world, to make my small corner of the world better.

Unfortunately, after the U.S. election of 2016 and its result, I lost my inner equilibrium; I plunged into despair and had to confront any number of issues within myself and the world around me. I lost friends and family, but I don’t mourn them; instead, I celebrate the open space for new connections and relationships!

It’s taken months for me to regain my muse and my will to go on; the inner resistance has arisen, and it’s time for me to make my contribution by inspiring and stabilizing the people near me.

So the new Facebook won’t have arguments on it about politics and religion. I have my views; I’m willing to sit down and discuss them with anyone that’s game. But I’m not going to talk about it on Facebook posts anymore.

If it’s any consolation, I’m no longer on Twitter for the same reason. It was a constant barrage of people upset over the political landscape of the USA; what I do miss are the people who were able to accurately diagnose the problems (sucha s white supremacy), but I don’t miss the people so caught up in their ideology that they don’t take time to realize some practical realities that are right in front of them.

Look forward to my art. Encourage me. Buy some of it. That really encouraged me. (Thanks, Michelle.)

Time to be happy.

Steve

On Who We Are

In life, I take for granted the journey I’ve made inside of myself- I take for granted that at age 15, I had the cataclysmic loss of my fundamentalist religion, the shake and break of any sort of inner certainty about life and the way the world works. That’s all gone, forever.

I take for granted my exposure to a wide array of perspectives and philosophies from the time I was 15 right into the present. I take for granted that I’ve seen the world as an atheist, an agnostic, a monotheist, a pantheist, a monist, and a polytheist.

I take for granted that I had to experience the coming out process in the middle of the possibly most socially conservative state in the USA, and that years later, I had to finish the process of coming out to myself.

I take for granted that at an early age, I realized my parents were wrong about pretty much everything they ever told me about the world and the way life works. That was a fun one, of course- everyone around me chalked it up to teenaged angst. The newsflash here, of course, is that it wasn’t.

I take for granted that the person I’ve become has been, in part, a conscious process, and that I’ve willingly exposed myself to different viewpoints and that I’ve changed partially because our biology dictates that we change as we get older and partially because I’ve learned new things.

I also take for granted running smack dab into our biological constraints- so much of who we are is outside our scope of influence. That’s reality.

So yes. I take so much for granted, but maybe I can learn to not do that.

Steve

 

The State of the Stevo Address

Catchy title, huh?

Noteworthy is that each time I open WordPress on my computer, there seems to be an update available.

Having the app available on my computer makes me a happy camper, though. When I first started blogging on WordPress years ago, the WordPress app for Mac didn’t exist, so I had to use crappy third-party apps that enjoyed destroying formatting or not uploading photos.

Progress in technology is a welcome thing.

Here in Florida, a Tropical Depression is causing a great deal of rain to fall and flood our lawn. The good news is that it’s cooled things down; the bad news is that I don’t like being cold. Of course, it isn’t that cold. It’s Florida, and we didn’t have a real winter this past year. But I have to say, it’s summer now, and I love summer. I feel more alive right now than I have in ages.

The real question is, why?

I’ve felt healthier and more energetic, not at 100%, mind you, but I feel generally better than I have in ages. I’m happier with my life right now than I’ve probably ever been, nevermind the bizarre moments of nostalgia for eras that saw me with a greater deal of distress.

I’ve more recently been joining the local Pagan community for their rituals. In addition, I joined the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship I’ve attended for years. Maybe I mentioned all this in another blog, but that’s how long it’s been since I’ve written.

So I’ve wondered if community has had anything to do with my health and happiness; in fact, I think it may be part of the key. I’m making my way through the internal barriers, crossing the borders that I’ve built up over the years because time and again when I let people into my life, I let people get to know me, I allowed myself to love and trust someone, they stabbed me right in my fragile heart.

Turns out, many people in the past were only interested in hurting me and not in being my friend.

Maybe it’s too soon to tell, or maybe I’ve simply been able to find that the boundaries that exist for me aren’t all on one front or the same- healthy boundaries are selectively permeable and are adjusted according to time, place, and person.

When you go from a world full of Republican-voting Christians who hate you for existing to a world full of Democrat-voting (mostly) non-Christians who love you for existing, it takes time for your self-esteem to catch up. That may be a generalization, but it’s an approximation that’s damned near close to accurate.

As it turns out, in times past, I may not have been struggling with low self-esteem so much as I was just surrounded by assholes (as the meme goes).

Well, those assholes can go fuck themselves.

I welcome this new world of growing self-esteem and happiness.

Steve

Of Brains and Warm Cloths

Sometimes, my mind is sharp and ready for an argument; sometimes, the gears turn, the neurons fire, the logic floods at blinding speeds, and I can disarm another person and justify my position without ever blinking.

Other times, my brain feels like there’s a nice, warm blanket wrapped around it, and I can’t process things, I can’t think clearly even if I wanted to. My brain actively decides to become mush, and that’s that.

The thing is the Mushy Brain phases aren’t terribly unpleasant- they feel good, especially to someone used to experiencing anxiety and something called minority stress.

The trouble is that the Mushy Brain phases are dangerous. They’re a false sense of security and affect my critical thinking skils. Suddenly survival becomes based more in instinct and emotion and reactions.

Sometimes, I’m just tired. I spent the weekend dealing with stomach cramps that came out of nowhere one night and threatened to destroy my intestines. What does it feel like to have 30 demons clawing viciously inside of your abdomen? Well, it’s unpleasant. And it tires you out. Monday arrives, and here I am, and I just want to sleep even though I have things that I need to accomplish; yes, I’ve got shit to do.

Migraines are the same way. They last just long enough to break my spirit and take my energy, leaving me to fight to recover the next few days.

So my empathy is out here for people who deal with physical ailments and make it out to wherever they’re going, whether school, work, church, or otherwise.

My empathy is out there for people who have Clear Brains and can think clearly most of the time. I damned sure can’t.

Steve

13 Reasons Why Review

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(Minor spoilers. Read at your own risk.)

Recently, a  new binge-inducing TV series has debuted on Netflix: 13 Reasons Why. My husband and I spent a few days watching it in our spare time, getting an episode or two in when we could.

There are enormous things I like about the series- the freshness of delivering the story through cassette tapes was great, and that soundtrack is probably the best of any TV show I’ve ever watched.

The acting is believable for the most part, the characters coming to life and being painted in a dynamic light. We’re offered a few decent backstories, especially for people who aren’t the true “main”  characters. It’s easy to form emotional attachments to the characters, and I had a few that I liked.

And you’re defnitely there with Hannah, all the way through.

The writers understood the complexities and dynamics of interpersonal relationships; the problems of one set of people would bleed into the problems of others in a way that didn’t come across as forced.

More importantly, that overall message concerning bullying, suicide, and the connection between the two is something that can’t be overstated in this day and age. As a survivor of bullying myself, I felt like I would have a connection with this series.

But I didn’t.

The series is too long. 13 half-hour episodes would’ve been more appropriate than 13 hour-long episodes. Several episodes seemed to drag on, and the justification that appeared in the series is that our protagonist (Clay) was so emotionally traumatized that he couldn’t make it through the tapes in one long listening session.

I didn’t find that realistic or believable at all.

The most unbelievable character is Tony. He doesn’t seem like a teenager or someone who should be in high school, and people across the internet have aptly dubbed him “Plot Device Tony.” His accent is wrong, his speech patterns are wrong, his random appearances are wrong for him to be a teenager. I’m also not sure he was set in the correct era as he seems more like someone you would find in a 1950s.

Then comes the diversity issue. While I’m glad the series added more characters of different backgrounds, they all end up kind of being in the circle of the bad guys or as side characters- the same problem that we see in Riverdale.

Worth of note is that Ross Butler, who plays the asshole jock Zach Dempsey in 13 Reasons Why, also plays the asshole jock Reggie Mantle in Riverdale.

The next issue is the main antagonist doesn’t have a backstory that forces us to consider showing him empathy. He’s just an asshole jock among asshole jocks. He’s easy to hate.

Contrast that with the character Courtney, her story, and why she does what she does- her actions are compelling. They don’t justify her, but we can understand her.

And then there was the lack of any twist or real crescendo. The series fizzles out. We don’t have a real resolution, only Clay finishing listening to the tapes. No justice is seen, no closure is reached. I was really, really waiting for some major plot twist to appear and completely throw the series and make me fawn over the true brilliance so that I could recommend the show to anyone and everyone who would listen, but I was not granted that.

And then there was the lie. The lie my husband and I both picked up on, the lie that was nothing but characters saying and doing things that contributed to the lie. And I can’t forgive the series for that.

Will there be a season 2? It’s wide open for that. But I won’t be watching 13 More Reasons Why.

Steve

 

 

Beauty and the Beast Review

Well, I awaited a good, long while to see this little gem, and the movie thankfully lived up to my expectations!

 

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My childhood! 

 

I had the tiniest apprehension of what Emma Watson’s voice would sound like while singing Belle’s songs; surprisingly, her voice is extremely clear (clear as a bell is too heavy a pun but accurate), and I preferred it to the singer from the cartoon movie.

Visually, the costumes are the most stunning part of the movie; I don’t know how accurate the clothing is for people in that period and region of the world, but the effect is above and beyond.

A huge surprise to me was how well the enchanted objects were designed. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and the rest are all a delight to watch.

Storywise, we have a tightening of the narrative and fixed plot holes; the cartoon movie left us with a few holes and loose ends that deserve to be answered, and this movie does just that.

Belle’s sense of determination and independence is shown more clearly in this version; Emma Watson made her even more likable as a protagonist.

The minor characters received better characterization, and two minor characters (Maurice and LeFou) were both granted dignity as opposed to being bumbling idiots.

Various supporting characters are given a stronger connection to the story and their potential fate.

The controversy surrounding LeFou is unfounded; his character is enjoyable and comical while not being over-the-top, and (MINOR SPOILER) he has a moment of redemption for all his faults. That, in and of itself, made the movie worth it.

So go see Beauty and the Beast, or wait for it to come out- either way, I completely recommend it.