Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should.

Alternate Title: Why the Media is trash.

There was a saying that my late husband used to say- just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do it.

I tried explaining that to my daughter when she was two when she told me that she can eat play doh.  She didn’t agree with that statement.

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Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I have been noticed a disturbing trend on media.

I have noticed that certain media outlets (I am looking at you @newscentermaine and @WCVB ) have been publishing people’s recovery stories (which is great) but they are showing photos of the people intubated as the featured image.

Now, one of those stories was a grown man and I would assume that he gave consent to use his photo.  But…then I come back to…just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should.

The second story featured a child, too young to consent.  I usually don’t judge other parents, but I side-eye that.  Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should.

My  late-husband was hooked up to a ventilator for 5 months.

That is not a writing mistake.

Not 5 days.  Not 5 weeks.

5 months.

So before anyone gets all Karen on me, accusing me of being a Karen, I am going to kindly point out that I am sure there is only a very small portion of the population that can fathom what it is like to have a loved one on a ventilator for 5 months.

If you have had a loved one on a ventilator for 5 months and you think I am whining, then feel free to call me out.

I have no pictures of Bryon in that situation.  He was a proud man and I know he would have never wanted a picture of himself in that situation, broadcasted on social media.

The only picture I took in the hospital room was this.  One of Bryon’s best friends and his girlfriend sent this for his room.

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I do wonder about people who do that with their loved ones.  What is the purpose of doing that?  The only thing I can come up with is for attention?  I hope I am wrong because that makes me sad.  Maybe education but you can educate without showing your loved one hooked up to a ventilator.  Maybe they just want to torture themselves in the years to come?  (Seriously, if you took a picture of a loved one hooked up to machines, I’d love to know why.  Because I don’t understand.)

I also didn’t take a picture Bryon like that because I was tormented enough with seeing him like that in real time.  The image will forever be etched in my memory.  So much so that when he was actively dying, I was scared that that was how I was going to remember him.

In the past four years, I have never once thought “I really wish I got a picture of him attached to the ventilator….”

What would I even do with a picture like that?  Put it in my blog for shock value and attention?

I will always feel that putting a picture of someone hooked up to a ventilator on a platform that everyone sees to be in poor taste.

Again…just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should.

It is very insensitive to those who have had to witness a loved one in that situation.

I know that the media’s primary job is sensationlize anything that can to instill fear but to post pictures of people in their most vulnerable state for clicks on Facebook just shows a lack of decency.

I did take a moment to tweet both @newscentermaine and @WCVB letting them know it was in poor taste and insensitive to those who may have PTSD from seeing a loved one in that situation.

I got no response.  Not even a canned “Thanks for bringing it to our attention.”

Classy.

Social Media: Some things are just not worth your energy

I did something was out of character for me.  I blocked someone on Facebook.

Yes, I have blocked people before.  But usually those are people who are in my personal life who don’t deserve to be there anymore.  And in those cases, I struggled with that decision and felt guilty about it.  Why I stressed over removing toxic people in my life probably doesn’t make sense.  Let’s just say that it shows how low my self esteem was.

But I never block anyone.  I rarely defriend people.

Bryon always said that Facebook was the lowest form of friendship.  I tend to agree.  It doesn’t mean I don’t love my Facebook friends.  I have gotten to meet some amazing people  because of Facebook.   But you can be someone’s Facebook friend with very little effort to keep a relationship going.

My Facebook friends list is a diverse group of people.  It is filled with family and friends.  Some friends I have had since childhood, others are recent friends.  I have friends I met in elementary school, high school and college.  I have friends of real life friends on my friends list.  There are parents of my daughters friends and her teachers and coaches.  There are old political friends, old and current coworkers and people I know from the widow tribe.

Or maybe you are more of an 1980’s person…

My friends list would sure make a crazy party.

Except it would break all social distancing laws.

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With a diverse group of friends comes many different opinions.  And that is cool.

We need to have conversations to grow as people and when we grow as people, we help society grow.

I enjoy the conversation and variety of viewpoints…as long as it is civil.

Seriously…you can respect someone’s intelligence even if you don’t agree with them.

Not everything is black and white.  Most people get that but some don’t.

Most of us understand that not everyone is going to agree with you 100% of the time.

Most of us know that there are two sides to every story and debate.

So today I shared something that reflected my viewpoint.

And someone who commented.  It was clear she did not agree with me at all.

But she was pretentious about it.  It was clear she didn’t see the other side and didn’t want to.

She was the proverbial “Karen”.

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But I also had a bit of an epiphany.

I had zero connection with this person.  She was the parents of a former classmate of my daughter.  From daycare.  In another state.

She never interacts with my page except to argue.

I don’t need a lot of attention to maintain a “Facebook friendship” and I don’t expect it.  But when all interactions with me are negative, do I really want this person on my friendslist?

This person was clearly not interested in my life and to be honest…I am not interested in her life.

Every actions has the potential to be a positive interaction or a negative interaction.

It reminds of me of that old game, The Sims.  Characters that had positive interactions would get green plus signs and negative interactions got red negative signs.

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No relationship is every going to 100% of positive interactions.  We all have less than desirable traits and we all have times when we reveal these less than desirable traits.  Even the mostly saintly of us get tired and cranky.

We aren’t always the best version of ourselves but those who love us understand that.  Because our positive interactions outweigh our negative interactions.

But if you aren’t interacting with your nearest and dearest, those people aren’t going to overlook when you aren’t being personable.

Maybe this person wasn’t very self aware.  I could have given her a pass.  But I don’t owe her a pass.  I don’t owe her anything.  The same is true to me if I am rude on someone else’s social media page.  Though I tend not to argue on other people’s pages.  I feel that they are free to have their opinion and if I can’t constructively participate, then I don’t.  But other’s don’t see it that way when I post.

So I deleted and blocked this person.  But this time, instead of feeling guilty, I felt free.  Good riddance.  She can find other platforms to preach her pretentiousness.

It’s the Facebook equivalent to the INFJ doorslam…because…why not?

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A few things fell into place with me.

The first is that I don’t have to have the last word.  Not every comment deserves a reply.  And the absence of a reply doesn’t mean that the person has “won” that discussion.

It means I chose peace over being brought into an argument.

This has been a lifelong struggle.  I have a Leo Moon and my Mercury is in Leo.  Some people think I am hot-headed but Leo rules the heart and emotions so I feel it’s more accurate to say I am passionate.

And if you are a commenter on newstories…why?  Are strangers really going to respect your energy.? I have decided that if I am going to subject myself to reader comments, I only like the comments I agree with it and ignore the ones I don’t.  I don’t engage.  I am trying to only put positive energy out there.

The second thing that fell into place for me was that not everyone is worth your energy.

Recently I write about Fear and why’s it’s bad to be in a state of fear.

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It doesn’t do you or your energy any good to be in the lower energy emotions like fear, guilt and anger.

Why would anyone want to interact with someone who is keeping thing in lower level energies?  These people are toxic!

Heck, if someone is trying to shame you on social media…run away.  That person is trying to put you in the lowest level of consciousness.  (I’m looking at you, Karen).

When you are in a lower level energy, you are not being the best version of yourself.  And energy is contagious so it not only lowers your energy, but the energy of those around you.  And it ripples out from there.

We should be striving to be beacons of light and not black holes of energy.  Anyone who has been around an energy vampire knows what I mean.

Here is some Black Hole Sun because I was a 90’s teenager.  RIP Chris Cornell even though you didn’t marry my high school best friend.  Her love for you was unrequited.

So the next time you are on Facebook and someone is bringing negative energy, ask yourself if the energy expended is worth it.  Are they a great person who you disagree with or are they a constant drain of energy?  Don’t be afraid to protect your energy.

And just keep being you.

Public Service Anouncement: A widow’s rant

You have heard that someone has died.

It makes you sad.

You think about some fond memories with the deceased.

You may want to write about these lovely memories on Facebook and add a picture.

But for the love of all that is Holy, don’t post anything on social media until the next of kin has made the death public.

While the post may come with good intentions, it is actually one of the most disrespectful things you can do to a grieving person.

This is like births and engagements.  The ones who are the most affected get to share the news.

The next of kin, which is usually the spouse, parents, child or sibling of the deceased has a lot of do before the death is made public.  They have to notify all the other family members and close friends of the death.  And if someone posts about the death before it is made public, then those family members and close friends may hear about the death first on Facebook.

How would you feel if you found out about your aunts death on Facebook?

So please, please, please, save your social media condolences until after the next of kin has shared the news.

Your post will be appreciated.  I was worried that I was only going to remember Bryon as he was in the ICU.  Once I made his death public, Facebook was showered with memories and pictures of him.  After spending five months sitting beside him in the ICU, I was instantly reminded that he was a man who was full of life and I was relieved that that was how he was remembered.

Your post will be appreciated.

But please.

Wait until the death has been made public.