All events are up for interpretation.

Need an a-ha moment to get things flowing? Everything in life is a matter of perspective. You come home, make some dinner, sit down on your couch, and all around, there’s silence. Everyone decides for themselves whether that’s loneliness or freedom. 

To put 2020 to rest, I need to accept that it is not only the appearance that matters but the positive things that were born from all the upheaval—and there *are* positive things indeed.

For instance, creative thinking is a by-product of social distance. 

Creativity is a topic that interests me endlessly. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, reveals a startling fact. Cain reports that brainstorming groups create fewer ideas than the same number of solitary people working alone. Now that sounds half-baked, but when I think back to my many marketing milestones, the lion’s share of my creativity often included only myself. 

In retrospect, A Similar Story is an offshoot of the 2020 quarantine. Being holed up in my home pretty much accelerated my creative output. You could say that solitude was my creative boon. Albert Einstein embraced his moments of isolation, too. He once said: “Although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work isn’t going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling. At the same time, I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination.”

Isolation also helped me change the way I think about thinking. 

There’s a secret to manifesting an elephant-sized life. Being attached to nothing but connected to everything. There’s a little-known energy switch inside every single person. And once you discover how to trigger it, you can unblock a stream of abundance that will simply carry you away. And I promise you, it won’t take a trip halfway around the world to see elephants. To discover how to flip this energy switch for yourself, all you have to do is sit in nature for 20 minutes a day. Unless you’re busy. Then you should sit for one hour. 

Still, most people tend to avoid isolation. Research shows that for many people, spending time with themselves is challenging. One interesting study from the University of Virginia indicates that many people prefer giving themselves a painful electric shock to just sitting with their own thoughts for 15 minutes. Loony, right! 

Franz Kafka, one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, offered this advice: “You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen; simply wait, just learn to become quiet, still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

It will roll in ecstasy at your feet. 

Try vibing alone for a bit. You’ll realize a lot. Less mindless hustle. More mindful magic. And the world is absolutely starved for mindful magic. 

When staying sane became a challenge, I challenged myself to write a 6-word isolation story. 

When absolutely nothing was clear or concise, and our governors were creating insane rules, I decided to play with brevity. But I warn you, boiling down the ingredients and simplifying the complicated is not as easy as it sounds. Pulling out only six words is a veritable masterclass in creative focus.

One of my favorite American writers, Janet Burroway, created a 6-word story as an example of concise and creative storytelling. “All those pages in the fire.”  

To say this was an intense activity would give little weight to the experience. At times, I can be quite the lazy storyteller. And when I’m not lazy, it still takes many takes to get it right. But what was challenging about the 6-word story is that it required me to think more deeply. I couldn’t just think about the words that were said, but also those that were left unsaid. After all, with only six words, a lot is left out.

My own hyper-short creation: “Living my best and worst life.”

While there are many other highlights of the year, I’ll wrap this up.

Like I said in the beginning, the world is a reflection of our thinking. Imagine a dark cave that hasn’t been illuminated for a million years. Then one day, someone brings a candle into the cave. Instantaneously the darkness of a million years vanishes. For me, my perspective is a proverbial 7-wick candle. 

I challenge you to look closely and to find the bright side of the God-awful 2020, too. Good moments. Tiny victories. Things that were always there but overlooked. Do you see them now?

My very unedited response to November 6

Amend: Two things: 1) Violence isn’t something I support. 2) The democrats and radical left party had a clear hand in what happened at the Capitol on November 6. They set the fire while the conservatives stoked the fire. You get what you give in this world. If you give the middle finger to someone you can’t be surprised if they give it back.

Washington, D.C., wasn’t designed for an insurrection. No, it wasn’t. In my lifetime, I have never witnessed American citizens rise up in defense of a coup (probably because the coup has never been so blatant before). How despicable. Trump incited this. If we let him get away with it, then all is lost. THIS is what is all over the news and social media.

But wait, how many times over the past two months (and from how many mouths) have 74 million people heard the phrases, “the stakes couldn’t be higher,” and “it’s up to the people,” and “everything we know as an American is on the line?”

I’ve heard it no less than 120 million times. From the President. From Senators. From Representatives. From Lawyers. From media. From neighbors. From friends. From family.

Democracy will be over if Biden wins.

Capitalism will be gone if Biden wins.

Our Constitutional Rights will be taken from us if Biden wins.

Socialism will be ushered in, in warp speed, if Biden wins.

Let’s not forget about the Georgia runoffs. We must stop the Democrats from creating a one-party country. All will be lost if ‘we the people’ let this happen.

Our children and grandchildren will be brainwashed if Biden wins. They’ll never learn America’s real history.

These statements are what Conservatives (the ones in charge and in the media and from a bullhorn) have been saying for the past two months (and much longer), so what exactly did everyone think would happen on November 6? I’m asking this question with total frustration and lots of emphatic … emphases.

We watched violence erupt through cities across the country last summer – these were called “peaceful protests” and nothing was done.

We heard testimony by a witness to, and a laptop repairman speak about how the Biden’s are in bed with China.

We’ve been told who among us is essential and who is not, who can work and who will lose it all – by Our. Elected. Leaders. They decided – and our ability to support ourselves, our family, and our ability to help our neighbors went right out the door.

We were told to protest peacefully. We got shot. Literally, people were shot. They were shunned. They were fired. They were “cancelled.”

We were told to vote. That didn’t work either.

We were told to take this to the courts. They didn’t listen. They didn’t even give us a chance to speak and present.

We were told Vice President Mike Pence could throw out the electoral votes that were illegitimately certified. And then he said he wouldn’t.

So what exactly did everyone think was going to happen on November 6? You can’t tell us our lives will be forever changed for the worse if Biden wins and not expect an uprising when all the legal attempts to right the wrong have failed.

That’s not who we are.” 

That’s not who we are?? This is what those people are now telling us. The people that were once telling us that it’s up to us to not let this happen – after all, the government is for the people, by the people, of the people. Now they’re condemning us for storming the castle? A week ago, you were singing a different tune. YOU were inciting us. YOU were painting that picture. WE just followed your lead.

We fight wars in other countries, don’t we? What’s different about fighting in a war abroad vs. fighting a battle in our country? After all, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Two bullets and a dream

The bullets:

  • Whatever I go through, I get through. So when I’m not good, I’m good.
  • Regardless of how it has begun, I am not dismissing 2021. Let’s see how things shake out, shall we.

The dream:

Last night I dreamt that I was dancing with a midget.

He was swinging me around on the floor. Imagine (if you can), whiplash-worthy, legs flailing, boogie-woogie hair swooshing moves performed by a dwarf and me. There were spins and kick-throughs done on a sort of syncopated rhythm. It was odd as heck. The words “overly enthusiastic” don’t quite describe my strange dance partner. He was more, um, animated and euphoric, and while I *was* smiling, I had zero happy-feels. A very peculiar dream …  

The rumors, they’re true. I’m a self-confessed dream junkie that loves all things dream related. Dreaming is the conversation between our conscious mind and our unconscious mind. They let us play out painful or puzzling emotions or experiences in a safe place. So, in case you’re wondering, yes, I consulted my dream dictionary. When analyzing dreams, every detail is essential. Colors. Room. Temperature. But at 4 am, I could only muster one eye open, so I only looked up two components. The biggies. Here’s what it said:

MidgetSee Little Person

Little Person: To see a little person in your dream suggests feeling small or overlooked. Or, when you dream of a little person, it’s a sign that you have a problem to solve. Until you do, it pursues you and results in emotional imbalances in your life. It can also indicate the stunted desires of your life dreams, which you have abandoned or forgotten all about.

Dancing: To dream of dancing implies freedom from any restrictions and limitations. Your life is in balance and in harmony. Dancing also represents frivolity, happiness, and gracefulness. You need to incorporate these qualities into your waking life.

(My dream is telling me to buck up and lighten up. Noted.)

My growth game is strong.

2020 showed me that nothing I planned for came to fruition, but that in a brilliant way, everything that did come into fruition was what I should have planned for in the first place.

When I vibe alone for a bit, I realize a lot. The most significant pivot I did – in hindsight – was to stop talking about making changes and start acting on them. For example, I stopped following the crowd. They seemed to be lost. Also, I realized rest is essential. I mean, even magical belles need a break, too. Another excellent realization I had is to never be hurt if people don’t like me. Most people barely like themselves.

Here’s where I am. I’m moving into 2021 like this:

Beneath every behavior, there is a feeling. And beneath each feeling is a need. And when I meet that need rather than focus on the behavior, I begin to deal with the cause, not the symptom.

It has zero to do with my dream, and it has even less to do with the bullet points above, but it sounds like something I want to work on. I’ll decipher it as I go. In the meantime, I have big plans for 2021.

For starters, I’m writing a book that I think I might finally finish this year. It is also time to level up this blog. I’ll start by creating a solid content strategy and an organized blogging schedule. It will help to know what you all like to read, so please drop me a message with some topics. If not, buckle up. You might read about more oddball dreams of tiny dancing people. Or maybe strange inventions like robots that feed you tomatoes. Of course, there are always those short stories of me at my most awkward moments. Total entertainment, granted, but nothing save-worthy to anyone’s library of faves.

To wrap this up, although 2020 was a beast of a year, there’s hope for 2021. If Sleepy Joe can scoop up 80 million votes, anything is possible. You just gotta be OK with the idea that sometimes it might just be you and your coffee against the world. I promise you, though, if you vibe alone for a bit, you, too, will realize a lot.

So take a breath and carry on. I’m in your corner. Hope you’ll be in mine.

A boring life and 5-star bourbon balls. Both a fantastic experience.

My life is boring.

I have been trying to sex up that sentence for the last 20 minutes. I tried a thesaurus, Grammarly editor, AND The Big Book of Words You Should Know to Sound Smart: A Guide for Aspiring Intellectuals, by Robert W. Bly. Yet, all I’ve got is “my life is boring” (and the word “apoplectic” which I will be using at some point because, boy, that word has a heartbeat).

My life is boring, but I love every unexciting detail about it. I know I love it because I’m neurotic when it comes to protecting it. Opposite to what you might be thinking, I’m not talking about guarding it against the looming threat of a socialist America. Or an imminent Harris-presidency that seems to be on the horizon. Or the emerging danger of one-party rule… No. I’m talking about my life in general.

(I snuck in my political viewpoint in an, oh yeah, very subtle way because it’s my blog and I wanted to.)

Everything I’ve wanted (and everything I haven’t) have been set in the same Eden, flourishing into a damn fine, intensely practical, dull existence.

I am: a woman of many interests, moods, quirks, and passions. I thrive in the madness of a crisis, and if there isn’t a legitimate one, I make one. I’m incredibly intolerant and aggressively protective. I am.

The bourbon ball.

Bourbon balls. I know no creative segue, but I have to tell you the story of the bourbon balls. 

A few years ago, I worked with a woman – let’s call her Adele (because that’s her name). It was Christmastime, and Adele handed me a baggie with homemade bourbon balls. I was getting in my car and driving to a meeting when I ate all of them before reaching the first stop sign. I thought bourbon balls were made with some sort of bourbon-flavored extract. Well. They are made with real bourbon—five out of five stars. I had a very happy meeting. Now every year during the week leading up to Christmas, I ask Adele for bourbon balls. 

Bourbon balls make me very happy. They delight me, and they don’t come with all sorts of instructions. I don’t have to heat them or chill them; they don’t need to be thawed or baked or wrapped or unwrapped. They don’t need to be handled with special utensils. Sheesh, all I have to do is take one out of the bag when I want one. And I can have one when I feel like having one —not a minute sooner, and I don’t have to keep them around any minute longer than I want—bourbon balls on my terms.

That’s. my. life.

My very boring life.

I have a daughter whom I see a few times a week.

I have a granddaughter whom I see a few times a week.

I have a gym.

I have my job.

I have a friend that makes the best bourbon balls this side of Kentucky.

I have three favorite foods.

I have a routine.

I have slight shifts in life.

I steadily exist in one spot.

Every few days (or sometimes every few hours, if I’m feeling apoplectic), I tune everyone out. The baby chick comes out of the shell when it is ready; the fruit falls from the tree when it is ripe, and we transform into Spirit when the time is right… don’t push the river. Let it be… 

Allotting myself responsibility for what grows in my life is a powerful and fantastic feeling. Call it self-maintenance or whatever. I will disappear at times. I will check out, dip, abandon, flee, retreat, vamoose, go south, be gone. Don’t panic. I am precisely in the place I need to be. And don’t take it personally. Being cautious about who has access to me is not out of arrogance; it’s about protecting my space and my energy. This is how I am. I won’t be gone for any length of time — just long enough to pop in a bourbon ball (which will not get me Oliver Reed-strength drunk, even if I eat four at a time). In no way will I leave multitudes of die-hard admirers with nothing, except maybe uncontrollable fits of laughter. (Throngs of die-hard admirers. Ha. Ha. Ha.). Rhyme, reason, and rationale might be totally invisible to those who know me. Still, I promise you there is no chaos—only calculated moments of defense for my grossly boring life.

I know you are just as neurotic as I am when it comes to defending your life for good or ill—as you should be. I mean, we all know the challenges of 2020 are spilling out into 2021, and none of us really knows the extent of how our lives will be influenced with everything still to come, right? So, eat bourbon balls and go off the grid. Up your levels of self-care. Protect your energy. It’s OK to make this next chapter of your life invite-only.

Boring lives and bourbon balls. Both a fantastic experience. (Lush bath bombs and $20 face masks, also up there.)

Where are all the angry people?

Sometimes a person just needs to scream!

I watch video after video of small business owners pissed off and screaming about losing their livelihoods.

Video after video of hard-working American’s pissed off over the government taking away our inalienable rights—right in front of us.

Video after video of pissed off citizens watching the election being stolen—right in front of us.

I watch video after video, one scandal after another showing corruption, crime, malfeasance, fraud, demoralization, profiteering, shady deals.

What are we doing about it—besides making videos that are being banned and censored??

Why are we not standing up by the millions? There arrrrrre millions of us! What the eff?

  • 58.9 million people are employed by small businesses – that’s 47.5% of the US workforce
  • 30.2 million small businesses make up 99.9% of all US businesses – holy shit
  • The number of small businesses that are open decreased by 28.8% from January 2020 to November 2020 – that’s more than a quarter of small businesses

If y’all think Trump is a real-life superhero and he’s going to rescue us, you’re due for a reality check. Trump is a man. A truly hated man by some very powerful and rich people. Trump can’t save us. WE have to save ourselves. WE HAVE TO SAVE OURSELVES. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US.






When we dance, we dance.

An old college writing instructor of mine once said, “Your goal is to express, not to impress.” He was referring to those writers who unleash—with great regularity—big words in stories.

He went on to explain that whether or not people indeed judge you on the words you use, and whether or not you can command an expanded vocabulary enabling you to debate philosophical precepts or lock academic horns with the clerisy, if you possess an extensive vocabulary, you should use it sparingly.

I read something yesterday. It was from a lecture: “The whole point of the dance is to dance.”

The whole point of the dance is to dance—what an excellent metaphor expressed in such simple words.

No, I haven’t been hitting the sauce. Dance is a metaphor for life. So if the whole point of the dance is to dance, then the entire purpose of living is to live.

I’m on the dance floor, folks.

You should see me. Never underestimate my fancy footwork. And step back because now and then, I wave my arms and toss my head. Lookin’ good, Mr. Kotter! comes to mind!

The whole point of the dance is to dance. I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off what it is I want to say in this story, but Ima try. No big words will be used.

I’ve been working hard — at planning my life and preparing for my future. Not always, but mostly. And I have been paying a hefty price in doing so. Turns out, I am using valuable time living *in a time* that is not actually here. Let me try again: I am using my time today *to live in a tomorrow*…

Profound, yet plain and obvious and simple. Not.

I am using my time today *to live in a tomorrow*

All my working, living, planning, and saving are being done to guarantee a good time coming tomorrow (and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…). This explains all the rock piling anxiety about ‘time.’ 

“I don’t have a lot of time.” “I can’t waste time.” “My time could be up anytime.”

So what am I doing? Sounds like my planning for the future is devouring my present. 

The lecture I listened to described this as a ladder that we all begin to climb starting in kindergarten.

If we are good enough in kindergarten, we can move up to first grade.

And that’s our goal. Get to first grade. If we learn particular skills and master what we need to in first grade, we can climb up to second grade. And so we work at second grade. And then the third grade. And so on. We’re always working to get to the next step because the next step is when it will all get good.

Eventually, we get to high school, and if we learn those courses and get those passing grades, we can move on to college. And in college, we take more courses and pass more classes to move on to graduate school. And from graduate school, if we get those grades, we can move out into the world and get that job that we studied for. And when we get that job and spend 10 or 15 years at it, we can one day be vice president. And once we become vice president, we only have to work another 10 years so that we can retire. We’re always living today for that place in tomorrow. See?

This ladder makes it quite clear that if I’m always living for somewhere that I’m not… If I’m always living to get to the next grade (a.k.a. future) I won’t be there once I get there. I’ll just be living in some other future that hasn’t yet arrived. That’s madness.

So I’ve been on this dance floor – a hard wooden, noisy, dark, and sweaty dance floor. And my heartbeat has been growing steadily. And I’m dancing but the song isn’t ending.

To wrap this up, it’s time to stop rushing around in great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond what my role in life today is. The song has no ending.

P.S. For those that are thinking, “Oh, stop and smell the roses? Is that what this chick is trying to say? Or, live every day like it’s your last?”

Well, no.

Live every day like it’s your first. (Whoa, was that an excellent metaphor expressed in simple words? I think it was.)

Who else is wondering why life is such a mess?

We all change eventually. I used to wear Vans and had bangs. I ate carbs, slept till noon on Saturdays, and collected things. I lived for years in a constant search of being relevant and cool. But I grew up, threw out those old notions of coolness and relevance, grew out my bangs and started collecting experiences

I also used to be a practicing Catholic.

The Catholic church is somewhat like a person who wants to be cool and accepted by those around her. Back in the day, it was effortless being a Catholic. You go to church, learn a few things, live an average comfortable life, and don’t make waves. The goal was to be “involved” some, but not a saint. No. Never a saint.

But the fact is, the Catholic church isn’t relevant or cool, and that is a good thing — both for the church and for the culture that surrounds us. Being cool is nothing more than a phenomenon that really doesn’t define who we are, what we care about or how we live our lives.

In my opinion, believing in Jesus should NEVER be cool. 

Being a Christian (or a practicing Catholic) should be radically different. The problem is, not enough modern-day Catholics live radical enough lives. It’s as if we have allowed the culture to affect us more than we affect it. No doubt the church has been absorbed by the secular culture of our country.

Growing up, there was this general belief that the nation was a “Christian” nation. This idea was deceiving, at best. We had many “cultural Christians” and “cultural Catholics,” but far too few Christians lived a radical life. For the most part, they went through the motions — on Sunday mornings. 

The 10 Commandments are a marker that should influence. 

Agree? They should be revered as the prescription for a healthy and moral society. Instead, we allow Christianity to take on other labels: political, social or partisan labels. 

The first commandment says, “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.” This commandment forbids glorifying false Gods, yet we do. And what’s worse is that these false Gods no longer take the form of golden calves and wooden images. They’ve taken the form of Hollywood celebrity and pro-athlete. 

Celebrities and athletes are setting our standard for beauty, fashion, culture. We give them God-like stature. What are we doing? We’re not worshipping them for how they help humanity. We’re worshipping glamour.  

I read the other nine commandments today. Our society disobeys and violates divine law on the regular. Our morality is colored. The commandments have been replaced with rhetoric and spin.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

“Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.”

“Honor thy father and mother.”

“Thou shalt not kill.”

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

“Thou shalt not steal.”

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”

The honest truth is, we need to return to our evangelical roots. 

The church knows this. Can you imagine if Christians were to rise up and begin to really live out the Lord’s word, serve the poor, forgive others, not judge, love as He loved us, welcome the stranger, etc.? Christians would actually be transformative agents in the world!

We say we love our neighbors but don’t know our literal neighbors enough to talk about faith.

We say we believe in salvation and grace but never care sufficient to evangelize others.

We talk about community but fail to reach out to form strong friendships of meaning.

We make sex a big issue but fail to live out the commands of Jesus about sexuality.

Following Jesus isn’t about you or me. It is about those around us. I’m embarrassed it took me so long to figure this out.

When we live lives that reflect love, character, honesty, mercy, and courage, we can’t help but look like strangers and freaks to modern culture… culture that longs for truth, beauty and goodness but doesn’t know where to find it. This is a good thing. But, we will also be attractive to the individuals searching for something more. This is what we need to aim for — being interesting, curious and appealing to those who want more out of life. This is why we should rejoice at not being relevant. It is an opportunity to live as we ought to.

Of course we can’t hold others to a standard we aren’t willing to live out ourselves…

And this could be why life is such a mess.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13: 34-35

How the 1 percent have been controlling the 99 percent.

The mainstream liberal media has tried their best to depict America’s crisis as a struggle for racial equality — it is not. The unrest that surged through our cities after the death of George Floyd was more predicated on socialist dogma than racial justice. Listening to the “protestors” or reading Antifa and Black Lives Matter’s agendas demonstrate this. It is not a race war; it is about economics and class.

In early August, downtown Chicago descended into anarchy. Countless nights of lawlessness, rioting, and looting led to shootings, battery against police, and several arrests. Ariel Atkins, a Black Lives Matter organizer, said, “I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes … That’s reparations. That is reparations. Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance. They’re going to get their money back. My people aren’t getting anything.”

This statement sounds like class warfare to me, not racial justice (or even social justice for that matter). There are plenty of other examples depicting frightful destruction in other cities like New York City and Portland.  

And, if you need more confirmation that America is indeed on the verge of a massive class war, take a look at the Democratic Party’s platform. It includes class warfare rhetoric and chock-full-of socialist policies that would make Karl Marx warm and fuzzy.

How long has this been festering?

Today, it was the George Floyd protests (2020). The Ferguson unrest happened in 2014. But the answer goes back to 1970 when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University, a predominantly white college. Four students were killed in less than a minute of gunfire, nine were wounded, including one permanently paralyzed student. The outrage resulted in a national walkout of 4 million students and the closing of more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors rallied in Washington, D.C., psyched up to end racism within the political establishment.

Ten days after the Kent State shootings were the Jackson State shootings. The police killed two black students (one high school senior and the other a father of an 18-month old baby) and wounded 12 others. There was no outcry by the community and no mobilization to protest the shootings. 

The media immediately focused on the racial aspect, turning the conversation toward discrimination and police gunning down black Americans. The liberal media narrative was pretty straightforward: we are in a black-against-white racism war. Or would you call this a white-against-black racism war?

Back to present day, and we’re disputing whether or not the police themselves are a minority, also discriminated against based on their color—blue. (Yes, they are.)

But the racial agenda distracts society from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on being poor. Being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is real, even among the poor. And that’s how the status quo wants it.

According to the 2019 U.S. Census Report, 34 million people live in poverty. Imagine if 34 million people banded together in an organized effort to pursue economic equality! That would be huge! And that’s why the wealthiest one percent must keep the poor distracted with emotional issues like racism, abortion, gun control…

Worse, certain left-wing politicians conspire to keep the poor just as they are. 

I’m not saying protests like the ones we saw in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. But with each of these shootings/chokehold deaths/stand-your-ground atrocities, police are seen as the enemy, gunning for black Americans. Anger rises. Riots ensue. The media assign blame.

Then what? 

What will it take to mobilize 34 million (in peaceful protest) to excite actual change, oust crooked politicians, boycott exploitative businesses, and pass legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity? 

What a year this week has been!

I need to apologize to the media. Not a full-on, hips-squared, arms-around-the-shoulders, tight-hug-apology. A side hug.

I’ve been quick to judge (IMO) what is an apparent political bias by MSM. Something that has gotten louder since the election of President Trump in 2016. I’ve gone on rants about the manipulation and the source of fake news that shows unjustified favoritism by liberal journalists when, in fact, they’re just giving people what they want to hear.

Here’s the thing.

Imagine you’re out to dinner with friends. You order French fries, and your friend orders sweet potato fries. He (or she) (or Him/Her in case you’re a pronoun) starts to tell you about the benefits of the sweet potato over the white potato. She lists the nutrients and starts in about fiber and glycemic index, making her case like an infographic you’d see on the Food Network.

You go home, do a little of your own research, and before you know it, you’re not just eating sweet potatoes. You’re sprinkling cinnamon on your food to increase your HDL level (not to mention it makes you smile and melts you with the sentiment). You sign up for a meal prep service that focuses on macros. And you join the local gym so that you can work out just like the 4,000 InstaFit folks you are now following on social media. (Or you buy 20 kettlebells.)

You go out to dinner with another friend, and she/him/her orders French fries. You order sweet potato fries.  

As a new carb-o-phobe, you start a food fight: the sweet potato versus the white potato. Your friend stands her ground – white potatoes are lower in fat and sugar. You stand your ground – sweet potatoes are lower in carbs and calories. You don’t want to hear what she has to say because you have an army (4,000 strong) that tells you anytime you ask that sweet potatoes are better for you.

While it is possible to find a website that gives you a list of health benefits on both potatoes (and all on one page), this isn’t helpful. It’s confusing. Which damn potato is better? Pick a side.

This might be an imperfect analogy, but the last three words in the above paragraph are all that matter: pick a side. Once you choose your side, you can find swaths of people that back up that same side, empowering you in such a way that you sleep like a baby at night, swaddled in righteousness.

Media bias is the tool that backs up your political side.

I follow Fox News on social media, and I read comments. Yes. I lurk; I read; then I seethe.

I’ve noticed a large portion of Fox-followers leaving comments like, “Fox is acting like another CNN” and “Fox is now FNNX” and “What’s happened to Fox News.” These comments come off the backs of posts like this one:

Madame Tussauds in Berlin loaded its effigy of President Donald Trump into a dumpster on Friday, a move apparently intended to reflect its expectations ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election. “Today’s activity is rather a symbolic character ahead of the elections in the United States,” said the museum’s marketing manager Orkide Yalcindag. 

One commenter went on to say (regarding the post mentioned above) that “Fox used to be credible. Now 50 plus percent is liberal crap.”

Fox is one of the few stations I’ve found with on-air correspondents that lean both very left and right – think: Chris Wallace and Sean Hannity. And all the other correspondents fall pretty much in between Wallace and Hannity.

If all I want is right-wing news, I will stick with Hannity. No doubt, he has a colossal portrait of President Trump hanging above his mantle.

If all I want is left-wing news, I’ll watch, well, anyone on CNN.

I’ll admit I tend to lean right, but I also lean left on issues. That’s where Fox comes in. They report what’s happening, regardless of which political party is causing the ruckus. But I suddenly notice most people only want to see what backs up their position. If something else is being shown, well, then they’re no longer ‘credible.’

I might be muddying biased journalism… propaganda… polarization… people that only eat sweet potatoes…

I haven’t figured things out yet. I need a more giant whiteboard and an extra roll of string. But is the media biased when all I want to hear is my side? Or am I biased because I’m only listening to one side? So, MSM, I apologize for yelling at you for not telling me what I want to hear. It won’t happen again.

I just have to add this because I’m warped. You know what is behind the chaos, don’t you?

… wait for it …

The algorithm.

I can’t prove it yet, but it is.

Update: No lie. I just happened to see a social media post that said, “Did you know it’s OK to have a white potato today and a sweet potato tomorrow?” Damn algorithm.

To begin designing the future, enter here

Our culture obsesses overdetermination, grit, tenacity, victory. We are told over and over that hard work pays off, and that quitting is inexcusable. What we don’t hear is that accomplishment isn’t synonymous with happiness and that moving on can be an act of self-preservation.

The first “job” I dreamed of when I was young was a prima ballerina. I didn’t know anything about ballet, but my mother signed me up for dance classes, and I instantly fell in love with my ballet teacher. She was long and graceful—did I say long, I meant, looooonnnggg—and that’s what I wanted to be. Plus, I was a naturally quiet, introverted person, and dance was this revelation. I didn’t have to speak a word to anyone. Well, there’s value in imagination, no? It took no time for me to reconcile the size of my talent and the size of my body and how picking a new job was the smart decision.

I figure I went through a list of 400 different “jobs” that I wanted when I grew up. And then, when I grew up, I went through a list of another 400 (easily). The commonality in every job I’ve held is writing. It infiltrated every role I held in marketing and advertising. It held the top billing when I was a copywriter and a copy editor. As a communications director, writing markedly consumed my day-to-day. Even as an HOA manager, I wrote a great deal. Have you ever lived in a homeowner’s association? In that case, you’ve more than likely received a violation letter for leaving your trash out, or perhaps for your barking dog. 

Fact: I’m not a gifted conversationalist. I’m overly shy and unsure, and I tend to blurt out groan-inducing sentences that make a mockery of the subject I’m speaking on. But when I sit down to write …  and earn my pay … I can sound smart. I think it’s because I think differently when I’m writing. I have time for reverie and rumination. I can feel sections of my brain light up when I write but barely flicker when I talk. I bet if I spoke to you about all this right now, different words and phrases would be coming out, and I’d be boring the pants off you. 

It’s a safe bet I’ll always write. I’ll revel in it as much as grind over it. (If we ever text, you’ll notice full and complete, grammatically correct sentences that may even carry a story arc. What U will nvr C is this.) 

Alas, these days, the only conversations I’m having and the only writing I’m doing is swirling around Covid-related sentiment and the 2020 election. In conversation, as well as in my writing, I know I sound like a certifiable lunatic. I’ve lost politeness. I’ve strayed from being reserved. I don’t go in for small talk. And I chatter on these two topics, pantomiming wildly while making horrible faces.

Again, accomplishment isn’t synonymous with happiness, and moving on can be an act of self-preservation. I had the intention to tell you that after the election, I would be getting back to writing light-heartedly and on every other subject under the sun. But, 500+ words later, I can’t bring myself to say it, much less commit to it. The current narrative has really opened my eyes, and there’s no turning back.

I’m worried about humanity. 

I’m concerned about how technology is designed, controlled, and used. 

I’m frightened of the power of social media. 

I’m worried about schools and what they’re teaching the next generation – my granddaughter’s generation.

I’m saddened over the loss of trustworthy journalism. 

Wildly, I believe one similar story connects each of these. That story is the social dilemma

(See how I played the name of my blog. That right there is what I call perfect ninja-like embroidery!)

What I’m saying is, I can’t let go of any of this. I can’t talk about it because I have a low degree of conversation skills, but I can write about it. And “that” just might be my self-preservation in disguise.  So I hope you like my lunatic. I’m going to be on this topic for a while. In fact, I’ve already registered (FREE) to sit in on a conversation: The Ethics of Technology and Its Impact on Public Health.