Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of social media. Mostly, about all the outrage over, well, literally everything that’s on it lately.

There’s no doubt that words have power, and social media can spread that fire like the wind. We can choose our words to be positive, to share our triumphs, and to support one another. Sometimes, life can throw us a curveball, and we occasionally choose to use it to share those struggles. We can use it to inform others of situations they might not otherwise be aware of in the hopes of creating a change for the better, if that’s what we choose to do. Social media has the ability to get the word out in positive ways, but it also has the ability to get the word out in negative ways. At the end of the day, social media is not a requirement to participate in, and certainly doesn’t have to be a place where you feel you need to add your two cents to any given subject on any given day. It’s a social platform and if you aren’t feeling social on subjects being discussed, then you are under no obligation to participate.

I wrote this on Twitter the other day: “Reminder: Social media is an opt-in experience. You don’t owe anyone anything by being here, and you’re free to be on or off it as often as you like.” After I wrote that, I took Twitter off of my phone so I could focus on all the shit I have going on in my own life, and not feel like I could take the easy path of zoning out on my phone by staring at the dumpster fire that is Twitter. I immediately felt better by doing this. I will continue to stay informed occasionally through social media on important issues via my laptop but honestly, who can handle the constant dread of Twitter anymore? Not me. My husband and I share a lot on social media, but we definitely don’t share everything. He took Twitter off his phone months ago and suggested I do the same, but I held on (far too long, in my opinion). The things we have going on within our family are very personal and not for us to share because they are not our stories to tell, but it’s also okay to not share literally every aspect of our lives with the public. I’ve heard from several people who’ve reminded me, in one way or another, that social media is not a diary, and no one is entitled to my thoughts or opinions on anything. Wise words.

Life is too short to spend it holding onto anger, seeking revenge, looking to others for validation, or getting caught up in arguments. While I am aware that having a large social media platform means I reach a lot of people, some have tried to make it a requirement of me that I give my two cents on all kinds of subjects being discussed. I finally caved recently and talked about the kids who were being taken away from their parents and sent to live in camps in other states, and it left me a sobbing mess. Not commenting on something doesn’t mean I don’t care, it just means I’m not up to getting involved because like I said, we’ve got a lot of shit going on. The saying “Put your own oxygen mask on before you help others” is so true. It kills me to see so much of our world falling apart but right now, my oxygen mask isn’t on so trying to get involved in anything extra just isn’t an option.

I believe in lending a helping hand when others truly need a boost up, and speaking when someone feels they do not have the ability to speak for themselves. But if you just don’t have the fight in you right now, sometimes it’s okay to step aside and allow others to fight that fight. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, it just means you aren’t able to take it on, and that’s okay. It’s a shitty position to be in, knowing I have the privilege of taking a step aside when others don’t always have that privilege themselves, but I’m just doing the best I can for me at the moment.

I try my best to live my life with honesty, honor, empathy, and compassion. I’d like to kindly ask that you respect that as I work through my own struggles so that I can get back to fighting the good fight with my oxygen mask firmly in place.

17 thoughts on “Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.

  1. Thank you Anne. Whatever you need to do to look after yourself and to continue to find happiness is absolutely fine and really important.

    1. 1000% to both of you, my dears. Anne, take time for you. We’ll be here when you get back. In the mean time, we got you!

  2. Very wise words, indeed. I have spent this entire week feeling like I’ve been kicked and it finally occurred to me (I’m a bit slow on some things) that I was feeling the effect of so much negative, ugly news. My solution was to find things that make me smile. They are out there – sometimes in places you don’t think of first.

    Sending you and yours some positive thoughts for an uplift and more than a few prayers for all of us.

  3. Thanks, I needed to be reminded, my life is mine.
    Such great thoughts, Anne , you are always a beacon for me.
    Love & HUGSbar

  4. I said on Twitter the other day that I’ve been thinking of you and Wil a lot lately, about all the bad stuff you two have had to deal with (both individually and as a team), and how taking care of yourself is so important. I think your voice online is a great one–telling silly jokes, sharing the terrifying medical experience you went through and helping other women find their voices about their own medical experience, being a light of positivity and kindness and compassion. You help remind me to not let myself get sucked into the negativity, to not let my darker emotions dominate, and I look forward your seeing your tweets. You and Wil are two of the kindest, most generous, encouraging people I’ve met. I hate seeing that goodness poisoned by the toxicity of Twitter. You need to take care of you, you need to live your best life. So…love to you and all my support to whatever you choose to do.

  5. Anne,

    All the best to you Wil and your family, it has been a privilege to follow you and Wil on Twitter. I agree it has gotten so toxic this past year. Thank you for sharing the googly eyes fun and everything else. My best to you all.

  6. Remember when the internet was fun? I used to love it, it was my favourite hobby. I’ve recently taken up painting. Surfing online just gives me this weird frustrated anxiety now. I can’t imagine the toll it’s taking on you, with your social media presence.
    By all means, take all the breather you need 🙂

  7. Well said. There’s a guideline for webcomics artists (and most other artistic expression in general) that should maybe apply to people on social media:

    “If you’re not having fun and not getting paid, it’s time to stop.”

  8. I have thought about this a lot, lately. And I am thinking of abandoning social media out of my life cause of the same reasons you said. You get a lot of negative and positive emotions, that are not really connected with the life you are leading. It is better to lead a real life and care about people around you.
    But..hence the situation with the Trump administration is so weird and America is so deeply divided, it is important to be heard as well. For me(looking from Germany) it was so positive to read especially the Tweets from you and Wil and a few others to get the feeling, that in this world, there are a lot of open minded people with a heart in America left. That is so important, because the public opinion towards America is going down immensely in Germany.
    We have our problems around here, too. But it is important, to speak out, giving humanity a voice . Thank you very much for doing that in the past!

  9. I commented to Wil yesterday, there’s only so many pieces of yourself you can give out before there’s nothing left for you. We like you, is all and enjoy the privilege of peeking behind the curtain, when you allow.

  10. I thoroughly enjoy the parts of your life that you (and Wil) feel comfortable sharing with us, especially the doggos, and now your books! Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place!

  11. Great decision for both you and Will.
    I joined Twitter eons ago and then stopped using it eons-3 year ago. I hated the hate that it spread.

    On Facebook, I have removed “friends” who do nothing but repost hate and fake news as it accomplishes nothing and these friends don’t actually do anything relating to what they “complain” about – other than complain.

    Others might say we are putting our head in the sand but I disagree; better to spend your time taking care of yourself and then the rest of the world directly than just spewing hate.

  12. 100% agree. You owe us (“the public”) nothing!!!

    I personally think your life is interesting and I enjoy following along with what you’re up to. If people feel otherwise, they should move on to things that they enjoy.

    Please don’t give another thought to the haters and please know that you’re appreciated. Don’t pressure yourself into giving more than you really want to.

    A true fan needs to remember that we are all people first, humans beings who need to take care of ourselves. You do you and we’ll be here for you, however you chose to participate or not.

  13. Big hugs, Anne. I’m still using Twitter, but I take breaks from it for the reasons you mentioned, and I tend to only post fun things these days. Not because I don’t care about all the issues going on right now, but because RTs and such just amplify the noise. That doesn’t actually do anything. I try to do what I can, when I can, but this is a long fight we’ve got ahead of us. Taking a break is OK. And I really like your oxygen mask analogy. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

    Also, I took a picture I meant to tweet to you the other day. I think I’ll send it out into the void, as it’s silly and fun and we all need that sometimes.

  14. I hope you don’t mind my asking if you would unblock my account (@ambignostic). I often see Jim Wright and Phil Plait speaking highly of something you posted, but for whatever reason I’m unable to read it. Thanks!

  15. I have great appreciation for the work you do and have enjoyed checking in every once in a while since I first saw you on Table Top. You are an amazing person.

    I am one of those strange people who feels no need whatsoever to share my unsolicited opinions (positive or negative) via the internet to people who do not know me. Earlier today, some friends argued that positive acknowledgement to individuals I think are awesome could be very helpful… so I’m trying a little of that out. If this makes you feel even the tiniest bit better then it shall be worth the typing.

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