De-escalating Volatile Discussions on Social Media

I stumbled across an excellent resource with guidelines for social workers needing to de-escalate volatile situations. It strikes me as relevant to anyone participating in heated discussions relevant to current events, or working in their communities to foster positive change. These tips can be found here: http://www.naswma.org/?page520

While there are some very useful tips for in-the-flesh interactions, I’ve decided to adapt section C, regarding the de-escalation discussion, for social media. Because we all have something valuable to contribute to the conversation, and the angriest among us have a right to be heard, no matter which side of the fence we all stand on. The goal is to tear down the fence and bring everyone together.

It’s important for me to state that I have no qualifications, other than being a human being that craves connection, and life experiences have taught me the power of de-escalation, both as a means of self-preservation and fostering real growth & change. If this resonates with you, please save it, share it, talk about it.

myna

DE-ESCALATING VOLATILE DISCUSSIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  • 1. Remember, no matter the original content posted, there is no content to the present discussion, except trying to calmly bring the level of arousal down to baseline.
  • 2. Do not get “loud” (all caps) or try to interrupt a person in the middle of a rant. Wait until they are done typing (if they’re making successive comments, give them a few minutes to be sure they’re done), then type your response. Use calm words without exclamation points and emphatic text, avoid sarcasm, say exactly what you mean. And remember that the more concise you are, the less room there is left to misinterpret your tone or what you’ve said.
  • 3. Respond selectively; answer all informational questions, no matter how rudely asked, (eg, “Why did they make their announcement when they did?”). DO NOT answer abusive questions, (ie, “Why do black people always have to be destructive?” or “Why are white people so ignorant?”). This sort of question should get no response whatsoever.
  • 4. You may decide to have a “code of conduct” for conversations that happen on your own posts, in which name-calling and inflammatory, abusive language is not acceptable. If so, explain limits and rules in an authoritative, firm, but always respectful “tone”. This is sometimes hard to do on the internet; avoiding dramatic language and emphatic type (ie: all capitals, exclamation points, *asterisks denoting boldface*, etc) helps. Give choices where possible in which both options are safe ones (eg, “Would you like to continue this discussion calmly, or would you like to stop now and come back to this thread later when things can be more relaxed?”).
  • 5. Empathize with feelings, but not with behavior (eg, “I understand that you have every right to feel angry, but it is not okay for you to insult me or others in this conversation.”).
  • 6. Do not solicit how a person is feeling or interpret feelings in an analytic way (eg, “Are you angry? I bet __________ really pisses you off.”).
  • 7. Do not argue or try to convince.
  • 8. Wherever possible, tap into your discussion partner’s cognitive mode. DO NOT ask, “Can you tell me how you feel?” but instead, “Help me understand what you are saying to me.” People are not attacking you while they are teaching you what you want to know.
  • kitten mitten9. Suggest alternative behaviors where appropriate. This is where the internet’s love affair with catshappy-baby-hippo-big and baby animals is really helpful. “Here, would you like to look at a baby hippo? Or perhaps this kitten in mittens?”
  • 10. Give consequences of inappropriate behavior without threats or anger (eg, “If you continue to post racist language, I will have to delete your comments and/or block you from my feed.”).
  • 11. Depersonalize outside influences. Regardless of how you feel about the status quo or responses to it, remove your feelings from the conversation and stick to factual information. (Eg, avoid saying, “The police in this situation have responded poorly,” stick to the facts by saying, “There is decades-old tension between the police and this community.”
  • 12. Trust your instincts. If you assess or feel that de-escalation is not working, STOP! Disengage. You will know within 15 minutes if it’s beginning to work. Tell the person to leave the thread, delete inflammatory or hurtful comments, and remove them from your friends list or block them if needed. If this person is someone you’re connected to IRL and/or you feel physically unsafe (eg if they have threatened you or your family), take a screenshot of the threat, report it through the proper channels for the social medium you’re using, and if necessary, call on your circle for support and/or call the police.

—Hopefully, with these guidelines, we can open up and continue to develop channels for healthy discussion that lead to growth and healing for ALL people.

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About Chelsea (A True Fiction)

I’ve been writing for #NaNoWriMo.  Chelsea’s not a character in my novel, but she’s who made an appearance in my writing today. I don’t normally do this, but something tells me today, I should make an exception.  I present to you….

About Chelsea

It’s been years since she last felt this convergence of hope and despair. Her passion, her fervent belief in the goodness of people and her hope, directly at odds with the hulking shadows of cynicism and disappointment lurking just outside.

Chelsea has a light that shines; it radiates from her core, not unlike the paintings of Hindu deities and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The light is so bold, so bright, when people look at her, they see an angel.

She’ll deny this. She’ll tell you angels are cliché, and even so, she’s far too human.

The people around her admire her; the observation probably goes without saying. But for all their admiration, they do everything they can to dull her light: with soot and ash, they cover her in gloom as with a blanket over a noisy bird at night. They love her optimism, they say, but they can’t afford to let her light shine on them. They can’t afford to hope.

Now, Chelsea could see this as a problem. She could stand on her pedestal and shout over the caterwauling cynics. She could scream, “Don’t you see? This is your choice! You’re doing this to yourselves! Every time you say, ‘I can’t afford hope,’ you give room to the darkness!”

She could. But, with light comes enlightenment (another charge she’ll deny), and she’s enlightened enough to know – though no one would blame her, and many would thank her – she’d be dimming her own heart’s lamp, just a little. And she can’t afford that. She needs that hope.

It’s been years since Chelsea last succumbed to the darkness. She doesn’t miss those days, but she doesn’t regret them, either. “For without the darkness, one can never truly see the light.” Or something like that.

These days, Chelsea is on a mission to live fully, laugh heartily, love completely, and grow without abandon. She’s not concerned with being a great influence, a teacher or leader. She is content just to Be. Because there was a time when “just Being” seemed so far out of reach.

The funny thing about Chelsea, despite her intentions, is her influence. She is humble and witty. She doesn’t preach. Her light radiates from her eyes and she really does glow. She seems not to be “from here”. Everyone loves her, because of who she is.

But Chelsea is no saint. Many times the effort to keep her candle lit exhausts her. So much so, she lays her head on her pillow some nights, and wakes in the morning to find it wet with her tears. She is full of doubt of her own worthiness: as a mother, wife, friend, neighbor. As a human. The hulking shadows around her close in. And the fear of losing her light, that radiance that keeps her alive, is sometimes so intense, her glow is only an ember.

For Chelsea, all it takes to keep the shadows at bay is to breathe long enough to keep that ember glowing, long enough for someone to stoke her fire.

When you see Chelsea, don’t tell her she’s a saint, she’s an angel. Don’t tell her you wish the world was made up of more people like her, you wish you could be more like her. Every time you say these words, you throw ashes on her fire.

When you see Chelsea, reach out with a small piece of tinder. Light it at both ends. Break it in half – leave her one piece, and put the other in your pocket. Because she’ll need it later, and you need it now.

“For a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” And it’s been years since we were all aglow with flame.

©Abby Angryowl

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The Real Reason Why I Never Update My Blog Anymore

Let’s talk about Facebook. Specifically, my relationship with Facebook.

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I’ve found it’s a great tool for keeping in contact with friends far away. It’s a fantastic medium for sharing against-the-grain ideas and ways of seeing the world. But here’s the deal.

Facebook also makes me a shitty friend. Facebook distracts me from my intuitive work, and therefore from actual, real growth. Facebook busies my fingers with writing short anecdotes and meaningful rants that … well, without proper context, lose a lot of meaning. Facebook makes me lazy.

I have a lot of excuses. I’m deaf, so phone calls really suck for me. If I had a cell phone, I could text, but I don’t – partly by choice (which I’m reconsidering), and partly by circumstance. But even that circumstance is also choice. I say we have no expendable income, but what I really mean to say is that our extra moneys go to things like eating out with the kids or packs of cigarettes that we guiltily smoke because being of limited financial means is stressful, and we know we are smoking our dollars, and that stresses us out more and it’s a stupid vicious cycle. So as long as I’m being honest about what sorts of excuses I make, I’ll just leave that there.

Facebook has made it really easy for me to communicate with my friends near and far, without having to adjust the phone against my hearing aid fifty billion ways until I finally decide to put them on speaker phone. Sorry guys. I hate doing it. It’s funny though – when I was a kid twenty years ago, you couldn’t pry the phone away from my ear. My hearing hasn’t changed that drastically. The truth is, I think somewhere along the line, I forgot how to talk on the phone.

You see, when you call someone up whose voice you haven’t heard in a long time, no matter how fluently you chat with one another online and no matter how much you absolutely love one another, there will be awkward long pauses where each of you tries to remember what you know about the other, what’s relevant to one another. This is how conversations are made. And in this fast paced society, those long awkward pauses just got even more awkward. awk turtleAnd I don’t know about you, but awkwardness makes me feel…. awkward. And I’ve kind of forgotten why that’s a good experience to have.

It is, though. Because it’s in awkwardness that we remember that we are humans and not machines. In those awkward pauses, we discover untapped reserves of grace and poise – and sometimes, even, cleverness. Awkwardness helps us grow.

In fact – everything that causes us discomfort is a signal that we are trying to grow. As I recently overheard (“oversaw”? It was on Facebook, after all) another friend quip, “I’m busting out of whatever shell I have left.” Dude. Busting out of our shells.

Facebook is keeping me from busting out of my shell. I’ve become comfortable. Any time I have an intuitive insight, instead of pulling out my cards and candles and sitting quietly and reflecting, I find myself pulling up the old book of faces instead. I might message a friend to share my insight. More likely, I’ll be sidetracked by another “important”, but worldly issue that really doesn’t pertain to me directly at all. And it reinforces my shell.

I can preach love all the day long, and I can preach social justice, and I can preach, and I can preach, and I can PREACH, SISTER, PREACH – but what difference does it make if I am spending ALL of my time on Facebook, preaching? If I’m not stepping out in my neighborhood and taking in the faces and names of the real people around me, and looking children and elders in the eye and silently saying, “I see you”; if I’m not getting out of my comfortable bubble and into strange places where I am a minority; if I can’t answer my child’s very thoughtful question because I’m mentally composing the next status update based on what they’ve just asked; if I can’t stop by my mother’s house five blocks away or meet my old hometown friend and fellow transplant for a glass of wine because I’ve exhausted all my energy on internet debates; if I can’t just sit and be with my partner without the distraction of Facebook games, then really. What difference does it make what I preach?

I’m not a hypocrite. I’m just lazy. I practice what I preach – when it’s convenient to me. And Facebook has become a huge consumer of convenience.

And here’s the deal. I have hundreds of friends. The overwhelming majority of whom I know personally, made strong connections with IRL (that’s “in real life”, just thought I’d drive that point home a little extra, give it some oomph). I have a few who follow me because they appreciate my insights and perspectives and the fact that I do view the world differently from most. I love all of my friends – then again, I love everyone, as anyone who has seen me a few martinis deep can attest.

And I make it my business to make my friends happy. And when they say they love to read my stories about my kids and they love to read the way I spin the world on an axis it seems no one else knows, and they love this and they love that I am happy to oblige with more. And by “I”, I mean “My Ego”. My ego LOVES that shit. Eats it up. Struts around feeling important, clucking like a brood hen.

And yeah, I get that I’m important. No, no, really, my kids think I’m important, my dogs think I’m important, my cats tolerate me, and my fiance(e) just loves me, regardless of whether I’m important or tolerable or not. But – heh. Reality check! I’m not that important, Ego. In the great scheme of things, very little of anything has to do with me. I’m not effecting great change … on Facebook. You know. Preaching. I’m collecting “likes” and feeding them to you, Ego. And isn’t that a little ironic? Dontcha think? In reality, I’m so very unimportant, I wouldn’t even dare to compare myself to the butterfly that flaps her wings in Cape Canaveral, setting in motion a hurricane half the world away.

I’m not being self-deprecating. I’m not feeling down on myself. I’m not even practicing the application of humility as a value. I’m just being real. In somewhere between 7 and 9 billion humans, if what I have to say is so damned important, it will be heard, whether Facebook is in on it or not. And I’m doing myself no favors by typing a bunch of letters into a box that asks me “What’s on your mind?” and calling myself a writer.

To clarify, I don’t call myself a writer because of what I put on Facebook, I call myself a writer because, on occasion, I like put long strings of words together in a way that makes sense to me, and it seems like people enjoy reading them and I’m actually halfway decent at it. I call myself a writer because I have always written. But these last couple of years, I’ve been taking a hell of a shortcut by way of Facebook, which gives me instant feedback on every word I vomit forth and strokes my ego, and stunts my growth. As a person and as a writer.

And the irony here… these words I’m vomiting forth right this moment? Sigh. Yep. They’re going on Facebook, too.

Facebook makes me lazy. Facebook, in its clever ruse of “bringing together” separates me, cages me inside the walls of my home as well as firewalls that keep me from looking into the actual human eyes of people around me.

I’m not completely sure what the solution is. I won’t deactivate. Not yet. My family and I have close friends and family all over the world, and this really is the best way to keep in touch with all of them. But it’s definitely time to pull back and reconnect with the real world. To shift the energy I invest from digital life to real life.

To pick up the phone and call a friend who needs me. And by “me” I mean “not my ego,” I mean “someone who can just sit quietly and not worry about being right.”

look up

I’m working on it.

The Prodigal Blogger Returns!

It’s been 7 months since I started tweaking my page and last logged in.  This blog is so foreign to me now, I’ve considered scrapping it altogether and just starting over from scratch.  Considered, but won’t.  I don’t think.  There’s too much history, you know?  And the readers and followers.  I mean, I kind of like you.  And you are already accustomed to my sporadic nature.  I don’t want to have to go out and explain myself all over again.  So I think we’ll stick with this.  But it’s probably going to be different.

All that said, I came here for one reason, and honestly, I’m sorry to say, it’s not you.  I have words tumbling around in my head, trying to figure out how to escape, and they told me to get back on wordpress again.  So, sorry…. we’ll have to chat another time. 😉
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The following is a letter to my fiancee…..

As I closed my eyes last night and waited for sleep to waltz me away, feeling the rise & fall of your breath and creepily inhaling the smell of your skin — I know.  I know.  You hate that.  But I can’t help it.  You smell like patchouli and fresh air.  So it happens, and we’re just gonna have to move on, ok?

So I’m lying there, waiting for sleep, smelling you, doing that weird thing that people do when they’re in love and intoxicated for it.  Scene set?  Scene set.

As I closed my eyes, visions of my sugarplum danced in my head.  Not that you were dancing, I know you don’t really do that, unless you’re, like, really happy, but you were all over the place behind my eyelids.  And I liked it.  I smiled a lot.  And not just because I was drunk off your smells.

Wow.  That really is creepy, isn’t it?

I thought about the fight-that-wasn’t earlier in the day, and how my heart races every time you come home.  I thought about the way my skin tingles when you touch me, and the way my belly flip-flops into a flurry of flutters with an unexpected hug or kiss from you.  I thought about how much things have changed in the last few years, and how much we’ve grown, and I thought about how, of all the things that have changed, the one thing that hasn’t is the way I feel when we’re together.

Marvelous.

I don’t mean that in the generic, “Oh, wow, that’s so amazing!”  I mean, holy shit.  What we have is truly a marvel.  It’s marvelous.

I know I said yesterday that maybe I don’t tell you about how I’m owning my shit when things do go wrong, and that I wondered if maybe that made you feel like I was blaming you for everything when things do go wrong.  It was such an awkward thing to say, but I think you got it.  I hope you got it.  I hope you understand, I’m never blaming you for anything, ever.  Even when something you’ve done or said hurts me, I’m not blaming you.  I’m saying it hurt.  And yeah, if you hadn’t done/said it, it wouldn’t hurt.  But here’s the other half of that, divided into two more halves: a) That hurt is mine.  I own it.  I’m responsible for it.  I can choose how it affects me.  b) That hurt means growth.  Hurt isn’t always a bad thing.  Sometimes you have to fall to learn how to balance, you know?

Obviously we’re not talking about anything extreme here, like abusive language and manipulation and truly harmful dynamics.  We’re talking about normal couples’ spats, lover’s quarrels, relationship hills and valleys where we try to figure out how to combine our two lives under one roof.  I say “our two lives,” but it’s more complicated than that, isn’t it?  With the kids and all those animals.  All.  Those. Freaking. Animals.

That cat.  That DOG!

But I digress.  The point is…. I feel like we’re figuring it out.  At lightning speed, compared to how it was just a couple years ago.  And now I know to tell you … I have my shit.  I’m working through it.  And you’re helping me so much.  I’ve learned a lot from you.  I’ve learned that, hmm, maaaaaybeeee I can be pushy, like a steamroller sometimes.  Maybe I get ideas and I get carried away with my dreams and plans of execution and I forget to listen to other people sometimes.  Maybe.

I’ve learned that, when I’m preoccupied with my ideas and my visions and the aforementioned plans of execution, sometimes I can be  terse and make a person feel small.  I never mean to.  I know you know that.  I’m just so self-absorbed – and I do mean absorbed in myself – that it doesn’t even occur to me that other people’s feelings might be involved.

I’ve learned that what seems obvious to me, isn’t necessarily obvious to you.  And vice-versa.  Because we are yin & yang, and sometimes it takes both of our brains to see the whole picture.

I’ve learned that my enthusiasm can easily be mistaken for intimidation, and people sometimes struggle to curb my enthusiasm.  Which is my job to do anyway.

You’ve taught me other things, too.  Because of you, I’ve learned that my patience and determination to find the right way to say things pays off.  When we first got together, you said, “I know we’re going to work out because you know how to communicate.”  You probably don’t remember that.  You’re probably kicking yourself for having said that, because maybe I might overcommunicate, just a little. Maybe.

You’ve taught me that my words are pretty.  Even if I use too many of them.

You’ve reminded me that I’m good company for people who need a sympathetic ear, relief from boredom, good advice or a good laugh.

You’ve taught me that no one else can validate me the way I can.

And balance.  Before you, balance was a pipe dream.   I was juggling everything and dropping balls left and right.  I was a mess and it was impossible to keep up with me.  You taught me to start with one thing, and slowly add in more.  And to check in to make sure I wasn’t in over my head.  And now we’ve finally figured out this team-juggling thing.  When I have too many balls and my arms are getting tired, you’re right there, ready to take over.

My weaknesses are you strengths, and yours mine.  And yet, even while together, we make a complete unit, we are still completely viable, fully functional in our parts.  Like centimeters to a meter.

Marvelous, baby.  Simply marvelous.

Song for my son

I’m deaf, don’t hate. But I recorded this for my son, and I wanted to show it to a friend who is far away, but evidently the only way I could do that was to go on YouTube. (No one said I was super savvy on the internets). And so it’s there, and I’m here, and … why the hell not? You only live once. So … here it is. My tribute to Big Red.

Really the only one who matters is him, and I’m scared to death to sing it for him. Haha, 8 year olds can be harsh critics! 🙂

Disgusting self-promotion

I’m far too busy wondering how the hell I suddenly have a first & third grader, and wondering what I’m going to do with them all summer – can I turn them into marionettes and make them dance for my amusement?  How long will that joy last?  I can’t say I have a so-called “real” post happening right now.

But.

But.  I did want to draw my readers’ attention to a couple of things.  Mostly just one thing.  The url.  It’s changed.  So if you follow the blog through bookmarks, I’m sorry, I should have warned you beforehand that I was going to do this, but I kind of got antsy and started preening and  maybe I went into a little bit of overdrive.  Um.  But the new url is now https://madowldisease.wordpress.com, so update your address books. sirs and madams!

I’m working on getting visibility up – there’ve been a lot of newcomers to the blog lately, and I’m loving the attention, in keeping with my status as an attention-starved writer, yes.  Notice the link in the sidebar to the facebook page, and if you’re facebook-inclined, please give me a like!  If you’ve already liked the blog on facebook, make sure you interact with the page once in a while, caress it and stroke it lovingly, whisper a few creative words, that sort of thing.  That’ll keep the page in your feed.  I’m also on twitter at @ShortSkrtLngJkt if you dig that sort of thang.

Finally, I’m taking recommendations for sites which might be acception blog submissions.  Your suggestions are welcome!

This ends this disgustingly self-promotional post.  It’ll never happen again. I promise. Never.

Until the next time…..

Does it really matter what some 70 year old in teen clothing says?

Trigger warning.  This post talks about some deeply personal shit, including some sexual violence and abuse.  Read with caution.

I’ve found myself in tough conversations with people on this subject. The ask tough questions.  Why are we giving this asshole the time of day?  Obviously he has issues with insecurity and a need to be validated, or he wouldn’t make the comments he did.  Obviously, in talking about it, we are validating him and putting him in the center of attention, where he wants to be.  Why not just keep NOT shopping there, like we’ve done for decades (because we were never the “cool” kids, we were the freaks & geeks) and let him dig his own grave?

“He,” being Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mark Jeffries.  And the things he says being the interview he gave to Salon seven years ago, into which he peppers observations regarding “cool kids,” “fat kids,” and popularity.

I agree 100% with the people who would like to just move on and continue not spending money there.  Why do we need to focus on the fat-shaming and belittling?  Why not just NOT give our money, same as always?

I am personally really glad Mr. Jeffries made his comments out loud.  I find it a little strange that it took 7 years for his words to be heard and understood for what they were, but here we are anyway.  Mr. Jeffries speaking out means that the silence around bullying speech is starting to fall apart.  Crack.

And this is bullying.

He may be a little delusional or narcissistic or out of touch or what-have-you, but it doesn’t matter.  The words he uttered serve the purpose of keeping a group of people feeling unworthy of his product. His attempt to make people feel unworthy is bullying.

So as far as Abercrombie & Fitch and Mark Jeffries go, yes, please, let’s move on.  Plenty of other, better places to get our garb.  And let’s forget Jeffries even exists, or his company.  Because if we don’t, in a couple of months, when he introduces a “plus size” (read: size 10) line of clothing for women, we don’t need to go all nuts celebrating his humanity and letting him think he’s been accountable to the masses.  Better to forget him.

But let’s not forget what’s happening here.

A conversation is being had – a very loud conversation.  People are beginning to wake up.  It’s not ok to make people feel small and unworthy, whether these people are in your house, on the street, or in your stores.  

Telling fat people, poor people, nerdy people that they’re unworthy isn’t a far cry from telling people of color, gay people, people with special needs that they’re unworthy.

None of us is unworthy.

We are not unworthy of the air we breathe, or the clothes we wear.

It is fine to say that certain people are or are not your target market.  And then end your sentence.  It is not fine to say that any group of people is “uncool,” or “unpopular.”  Unworthy.

You know who else does this?  It’s not just marketing execs and CEO’s.

I can think back to my own childhood and remember people who tried to tell me I was unworthy.  I had a teacher who was brutal.  She was supposed to bring out my gifted abilities, and chose to focus on my limitations.  I could never be gifted if I didn’t master advanced probability and statistics in 5th grade.  I left her class in tears twice a week. I had peers and so-called friends who called me “whore” and “slut” because I wasn’t good enough to be friends with the boys they liked.  Yes, it’s usually stupid things that bring out the worst in bullies. 

How about the person who thought I was unworthy of my own dignity and assaulted me in the stairwell at a party before I was rescued by a friend who stole my car keys out of my pocket?  Or the babysitter who thought I was undeserving of my own personal power when he pushed me down on my bed ten years earlier, and put his penis in my mouth?

Let’s talk about the time I was deemed unworthy by a boyfriend, who, when he found out I was not a virgin AND had been sexually abused, deemed me “tarnished, damaged goods,” and spent the entire year we were together trying to “fix me,” whilst writing existential poetry about this damaged goddess with broken wings.  Or the husband who deemed me unworthy of motherhood and tried to rip my at-that-moment-breastfeeding babies away from me, because I asked him for help.  

None of this is to disparage any of the people who’ve hurt me.  They were/are hurting, too.  They’re not off the hook, but it’s a truth I’ve come to terms with: hurting people HURT people.  I hold fast to this, because it allows me to bear the graceful banner of compassion. Without compassion, I would be bitter, damaged, and I would deem myself unworthy.

I am not unworthy.

The woman who walks home from work at night is not unworthy – whether she works in a law office or a strip club.  She is worth the dignity and respect she is accorded, and she has nothing to fear, because she is powerful.

The child left in the care of a trusted adult is not unworthy – whether the caregiver is male or female.  The child is worth the dignity and respect he or she is accorded, and has nothing to fear, because he or she is powerful.

The geek at the lunch table is not unworthy – whether he’s interested in the original Star Trek Series or something much more hip and modern – like Defiance.  He is worth the dignity and respect he is accorded, and has nothing to fear, because he is powerful.

The goddess-in-training with her large body is not unworthy – whether she’s a size 14 or size 28, whether her size is genetic or circumstantial.  She is worth the dignity and respect she is accorded, and has nothing to fear  because she is powerful.

We need to be compassionate towards the Mike Jeffries of the world.  We need to forgive them, because they’re hurting, and then forget them.  

We need to be conscious of the words we use, and how they impact the people in our lives.

And above all, we need to quit giving our power away to 70 year old white men in teenagers’ clothing – or anyone else for that matter.

Because, damn it, we ARE worthy, and we ARE powerful.