reality

Why I stay on social media

(In case you needed another person's opinion about this...)

I'm relieved that more and more people I respect and admire are calling out the BULLSHIT that is social media. 

But I'm not quitting and here's why. Because I have a business that depends on people being able to see and access me for coaching support, I don't have the privilege to just put my head in the sand and pretend I don't approve of or like what I see happening out in the world. I mean, I DO have that privilege but I'm not exercising it. People need me (or at least I like to think or hope they do) and they can't find me to get help if I'm hiding in my transman cave with a sign hanging outside that says, "I just couldn't. Even."

It doesn't mean that I don't feel that way but if I can't even then why am I in the business of helping move society along another notch on the evolution spectrum? That's why I'm here and that's the work I've chosen (do we really choose it if it's a calling?) so I can't stand in integrity and simultaneously bury my head in the sand.

Social media is just our reality reflected back to us and if we can't face it that's the real problem to address. Acknowledging what we like or dislike about what we see is the real work of life. It's called adulting. It's called maturity.

What's even better? Acknowledging we don't like something while also realizing and respecting that the world doesn't revolve around our likes and dislikes. And even better than that?? Realizing that our likes and dislikes are all just our attempt to feel more control so we can avoid feeling like crap so we don't have to be responsible for doing anything to change.

Still with me?

I'm also here because I don't see many people like me around. There are a lot of heterosexual, cisgender, white, upper-middleclass, able-bodied people sharing their opinions and perspectives right now. They have done the hard work of writing books or getting themselves and their work out there and they are doing a lot of good.

After spending more time than I'd like to admit being jealous of their privilege compared to the hand I've been dealt, I've chosen to overcome that way of being and just do me. There is a lot to say about that and I don't wax (too) philosophic here, but suffice it to say that there are many ways to inspire people and off of us deserve a place and we are all invited to the table to share our gifts with the world. But we need to accept the invitation and overcome whatever is blocking us. And that will be different for each of us. And that's called l-i-f-e. OK, more on that later.

Listen, there are plenty of reasons why I tried (more than once) to turn and run from social media. I wasn't raised with this shit and struggle to manage the adjustment to the tsunami of information. Most of what I see makes me question the lease I signed to belong to the human race. But not wanting to face or deal with it doesn't change it from existing. It also doesn't change the reality that it's all been going on for centuries. 

It sucks to realize that we won't fix it in this generation or the next. There's no app for that.

But what if we used social media and all it offers us to focus on how we feel about what we see and what we want to do about it. What if we courageously faced the black mirror and chose to deal with it in better ways? What if we decided to be the change we want to see in the world and didn't post a goddamn meme about it but actually LIVED OUR LIVES from that place? I stay on social media for that reason. It reminds me how far I've come and how far I still have to go. It reminds me to stay humble. It reminds me that my bubble is small and the world is wide and my pinprick of significance matters to mostly no one but it does matter.

Yes, like my pal Paul Jarvis, the positivity/inspiration memes drive me a little nuts. I still post them, despite, because my clients and followers "like" them and I try to think that a few nice words help them through a challenging moment. But I worry that they too often live vicariously through my inspiration and don't take action to change anything in their lives. 

And action, my friends, is what creates change. But sometimes feeling positive and inspired is what precedes action, and so I keep posting those memes. I post and hope that more people will take action so we can stop wanting the world to change and start seeing and experiencing it ourselves.

And, I mean, come on. Some of the shit people make is funny. 

 

I feel a sense of obligation to stay on social because I like to think my presence matters especially because I stand for two things that society continues to struggle with: health and self-acceptance. If my visibility helps one person make a move in one of those two areas, then it's worth it. Best-case scenario is we all use our presence to make each others' lives better but we can all see from comment threads and trolls just how far we are from that goal. One day at a time. 

For better or worse, society has evolved in this way and it's teaching us a lot about ourselves--more than we were learning before the Pony Express and then telegraphy and then chat rooms and so on.

Like I said, I have the privilege to delete my apps and accounts in a fit of "I quit this place" but it would really mean I'm trying to quit the reality of life as it is. And that's not an option for me, despite the thoughts that tempt me from time to time. And it's the smiling faces of my friends and those goddamn inspiring memes that positively override the negative thoughts and I try to pass that inspiration along as best I can.

Dealing with life, becoming more patient and tolerant and trying to make a difference are some reasons why I stay on social. What about you?

Why Your Imperfection is a Gift

NEWSFLASH: you are imperfect.Yep, it's true. So am I. It's a gift to be imperfect and know it. I'll tell you why.

I didn't think I had an issue with perfectionism until recently. I thought I was pretty present with my imperfection and had been on top of it. This past semester, while talking with my professor about my paper she said, "um, I think you're a bit of a perfectionist". I might have protested a bit and my jaw may have hit the floor. I didn't think I was, but apparently it's more obvious to others. I call those things, "blind spots".

 blind spot: something you don't see in yourself that others see in technicolor. With glitter.

That's another bummer about perfectionism, it fools us into thinking we can actually ace it. Like, with enough work, we can totally be/do it. I had a colleague once who was definitely driven by perfectionism. It made me sad, really, because he was so sure he was totally on top of everything. He crossed every t and dotted every i in his work. He wore a tie, every day, in a business casual work environment. He worked relentlessly to produce impeccable results, and he often did! The problem was, he was bound to mess up at some point. He sometimes did or said things that left people with a bad experience. This isn't bad or wrong, we are all imperfect after all, but the problem was that he didn't think he was doing that. He was pretty convinced he was perfect. In reality, he left others with exactly the opposite of what he thought he was doing.

When we are driven by perfectionism sometimes we forget that someone, somewhere, at some point will not perceive us as being perfect at all. It is completely, undeniably impossible to be perfect to all people and all things at all times. Even when we meet our own standards of being perfect, it probably means someone is seeing all those things as the opposite of perfection.

I just saved you a lot of time and energy. You're off the hook. No need to stress anymore.

Instead of trying to be perfect, I want to encourage you to ace imperfection. I want you to really settle into this and embrace it. I figure, if we are all going to fall short of our own personal ideals, and those of others, we might as well f^*&$(g rock at it.

Acing imperfection starts with basic self-awareness. The next step, after seeing the ways you aren't perfect, is to accept them. Every single one. Accept and embrace them, because they are what make you, you. The sooner you're cool with that, the sooner you stop hanging out in the Land of Denial. And that works better for everyone in your life--mostly you.

Your awareness of your own imperfection is a gift because when you know the ways you're imperfect, it makes you that much more grateful when someone loves you, anyway. When you can lean into the things that aren't so savory about you, and accept yourself for those things, the love other people have for you means so much more. They see the things that you know about or don't even see yourself and they still consider you precious.

We all want to feel ok. We want self-confidence and self-esteem. These sometimes feel so far out of reach and that's why it's so much easier to love and be around someone who is ok with being imperfect than someone who is tirelessly (and unsuccessfully) trying to be perfect. It helps when we all embrace each others' imperfection.

Lead the way and give up perfectionism. Ace imperfection, instead.

read  The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown.

photo courtesy of Google images