Trying to Make a Difference

Hello, blog family. I can call you family, right? I feel like if you’ve come this far on this very strange, very new journey with me, I have the right to call you family. You can call me Mom. (Just kidding. Don’t. That’s awkward.)

Anyway, as I have promised before, this is where I spew out ideas about nothing in particular. Or something extremely particular. (Like socks. I’ve talked about socks before and that’s pretty particular.) I’ve been wracking my brain for something pithy to write here, since I’m taking a digital media class right now and it’s making my blogging skills feel inadequate. I don’t post enough media (like podcasts, pictures, etc.) I just post the same, boring longform every time. Which I guess is okay for all fourteen of you who follow this blog.

(Speaking of that class, I have started a new blog about redemptive art. Check it out if you’d like. That’s the first and the last time I’ll shamelessly plug myself. That’s a lie.)

Anyhow, back to spilling my brains. (Gross.) I have noticed something brewing in society at large lately. *Sits back pensively and takes a sip of tea* That sounds a lot more sophisticated than it is. It’s literally just something I’m noticing on Facebook primarily.

What I mean is, people are Avoiding. I could give you a comprehensive list of things going on in the world right now that people aren’t talking about. Things that need to be addressed.

It’s kind of like we’re all in a house, and that house is on fire, but we’re all in the living room pretending everything is okay, showing each other funny cat pictures on our phones.

I think most people agree that 2016 has been a rough year – just look at the memes it’s generated. People have come to a point in this year where they think it’s simpler to lay down and die.

But that’s not what we should do. We need to step up now more than ever.

“But Audrey,” you say, “Have you seen the way people act on the Internet?”

Yes, I have. People are incredibly rude on the Internet. They say things that they would never say in public (or at least I hope not.) They insult people’s intelligence when they disagree with them. That dreaded Comments Section.

“So Audrey,” you say, “It would just be better not to spout off on the Internet, right?”

Well, yes. I would not advise you to go trolling a comments section, unless you enjoy casual strolls through the outer circles of Hell (and bad grammar…and Caps Lock). But at the same time, don’t Avoid.

Engage.

Believe me, I’ve been struggling with this the past few weeks, especially with all of the drama surrounding the presidential race in the US. Everyone has an opinion, but somehow everyone manages to disagree with everyone else. If you vote for one of them, you’re labeled as unintelligent, anti-feminist, anti-gay, and anti-pretty much everything else. If you vote for the other, you’re labeled as a traitor, a liar, a baby-killer, and so on.

Both of them are telling you, “This is the right answer! If you vote for the other one, you’re an (insert colorful insult).” Still others are telling you that both candidates are stupid (which, at this point, I’m rather inclined to agree with) and you should vote for a third party candidate. “This is the right answer! Just look at all of this biased information I found about the Other Guy!”

You probably feel like giving up at this point, right? I certainly do. I cringe whenever I see a political post on Facebook – “here we go again. I’m just going to get criticized for my beliefs or see someone else’s beliefs get criticized.”

A lot of people are content to simply disappear into their Netflix accounts, checking social media only to see the latest memes or engagement announcements.

I’m not going to stand on a pedestal and preach at you, because I do this too. I get so fed up with the mudslinging that I just want to hide. I don’t want to tell anyone what my opinions are because I feel like it won’t matter, it’ll just be more Noise. The other day I was talking to my mom about how I wanted to stand on a soapbox high enough for everyone to see me and shout “Calm down!

To which she replied, “You are the new media, darling…step up.”

Think about that. You are the new media. Small though you may feel, you can make a difference just by stepping up. I’ve been thinking about that ever since my mom texted that to me.

You do know you can take control of your life, right? There is not one single person on this earth who can tell you what to do if you don’t want them to. If someone tells you one way is right and you disagree, that’s okay. They might call you stupid, especially if they’re in a comments section. They might insult your intelligence. But they are not in control of your life. 

No news syndicate, celebrity, presidential candidate, or grizzly bear has the right to tell you who to believe, why to believe it, and, in this case, who to vote for. Remember that the next time a blaring headline comes across your computer screen.

You’ve got a great brain that discerns millions of things every day. Discern for yourself. Don’t let someone else do it for you.

I’ll put it this way: If you say something, it will change something. If you don’t, nothing ever will.

 

 

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