No More Mean Jeannine: How My Husband Convinced Me To Be Nicer (On the Internet)

My husband called me “mean” the other day.  I had been scrolling through Facebook and came upon one of those “hey look at me at the gym!” pictures, and I just couldn’t resist rolling my eyes and muttering “no one gives a crap how many squats you did today” to myself.

Normally when he calls me out on being a raging beotch,  which he tends to do often, I then remind him that a)I was this way when he met me (if not much, much worse, since having children can be pretty taming); and b)I’m often merely pointing out what the rest of the world is thinking.

I mean, come ON.  I’m sure your trainer over at Crossfit and the chick who sold you that skin-tight sleeveless tank top are TOTALLY interested in how much you can bench press.  But the rest of us?  Notsomuch.

But then Big M did something he normally is unsuccessful at doing: he made me feel bad.  He forced me to be empathetic for once.  He got me to agree that I WAS being kind of a bitch.  And moreover, that it was uncalled for.

Yuck.  Uncalled for.  I hate those words.  When you’re doing something uncalled for, then you’re being an asshole.  And everyone who knows me knows that I hate assholes.  I NEVER want to be one of them.

So how did he perform such a feat, you ask?  Let me explain. And who knows?  Maybe you will realize you’ve been a bit of an asshole too.

First, he reminded me that I post pictures of our kids ALL THE TIME on Instagram, and I talk about them nonstop on Facebook.  Hell, I even write a blog that’s mostly about the kids.

So I’m all like “yea, whatever.  Our kids are fucking adorable.  Who wouldn’t want to look at them?  But no one cares what that guy looks like doing pushups.  He really doesn’t need to post four videos PER DAY.”

And then he made the following eye-opening statement.  “That’s where you’re wrong.  There are plenty of people who don’t give a shit how cute our kids are, people who maybe work out often and find pushups more entertaining than our son’s lost tooth.  And that guy you’re rolling your eyes at probably has like fifty other workout fanatics on his Facebook page, people who cheer him on and keep him motivated.  Or maybe he’s just as proud of his squats as you are when the kids go five minutes without trying to kill each other. Either way, the dude has a right to post whatever he wants—whether you like it or not.”

Oh, Big M.  How on earth did we end up together?

But he really had a great point.  Social Media connects people, brings them together.  It’s a virtual space for people with common interests to join forces and share their experiences.  And I hadn’t really ever thought of it that way before.  I was too busy being annoyed by the constant stupidity I see in my Facebook news feed to ever put it that way.

The very reason I write this blog is to share my experiences with other people who are going through all of the very same shit as I am.  Who the hell am I to criticize someone else for sharing their own life experiences, whatever those might be?

So today, I’m turning over a new leaf.  I will no longer roll my eyes and shout “no one cares!” into my phone or laptop whenever I see ANY of the following obnoxious kinds of posts/pictures:

“I’m having the BEST NIGHT EVER!  45 pictures of my extremely drunk ass to follow!”

“Look at what I made on Pinterest!  I’m SUPER CRAFTY!” (I am 100% guilty of this one)

“Isn’t my dog/cat/bird/hamster/child SO adorbs? Look at how awesomely he scampers through the snow!”  (Guilty of this one too)

“This is what I ate for breakfast.  Stay tuned for my lunch, dinner, dessert, and all drinks in between.”

“Check out this kale/broccoli/spinach/carrot/ginger vomit juice I just made in my Vitamix while reading this list of 45,000 things you will definitely die sooner from eating.”

“HAHA! I’m on vacation somewhere TROPICAL and you’re stuck in a BLIZZARD!!  Now gaze upon my feet with the ocean in the background, you poor bastards!”

“I love guns! And ‘Murica! And Duck Dynasty! F U OBAMA!”

“I take 25 pictures of my children per day, and I want you to see at least 24 of them.”

“This is a meme with a blatant grammatical error.  I posted it anyway.  Wait, what error?”

“I hate Mondays.  How is it only Tuesday? Is it Friday yet? HUMP DAYYY!  It’s almost Friday.  WOOHOO it’s finally Friday!  Ugh, the weekend goes by so fast…. Annnd I hate Mondays.  And my job.  And my life. Please kill me.“

Okay.  So it’s in my nature to come off a little bitchy.  Baby steps.

But the point I’m trying to make is that I will no longer react negatively to anything I see on a social media site.  It’s officially ALL GOOD with me.  It’s your life, and your internet.  Who the hell am I to judge?  I mean I just posted a video of my daughter knocking down homemade bowling pins on Instagram AND Facebook (seriously though, that shit was cute). So….the hypocrisy ends today.  I am a changed woman.

However!  I want to mention a couple of exceptions:

People who post disturbing things.  If you are posting something kinda messed up and you know full well that it will cause someone to lose their lunch and/or have nightmares for three weeks, then just don’t do it.  It isn’t nice. People need sleep.  And lunch.

Selfies.  I will always loathe anyone who posts an overabundance of selfies.   Once in a while, it’s totally fine.  It’s even encouraged.  I’m honestly more curious to see what kind of a train wreck or supermodel you’re looking like these days than how your dog or child looks in a Santa suit.  But nobody, NOBODY, needs to see your bathroom mirror duckface six times a day.  Kindly get over yourself and maybe get a hobby or two.

For those of you not fitting in either of those deplorable categories, please go ahead and let us all know how many crunches you did today or what your dog is having for dinner.  I’m all ears.  Really, I am.

At least, I’m trying to be.

Social Media: Maybe Not So Sucky After All

I have a real love/hate relationship with social media.  Facebook is my poison, mostly. 

Almost like a nervous tic, I find myself checking Facebook often.  I don’t honestly care about 90% of the crap that pops up in my newsfeed, but for some strange reason, looking down at my iPhone and mindlessly checking Facebook, Instagram, and my email inbox has become as second nature to my fingers as dining with a fork and knife.

It’s probably shameful how much time I spend scrolling through seemingly endless pages of unfunny memes, unconvincing statistics, untrue stories, and the unbelievably obnoxious ramblings of people I will probably never even cross paths with again in my real life.

Occasionally, I get angry at things I see.  I was raised to avoid the topics of politics and religion whenever possible, and I adhere to that rule strongly because I like to keep my blood pressure down and my fists unclenched and out of harm’s way (i.e. someone’s face).  But, for some reason, social media sites are overrun by political and religious rants every second of every day.  I avoid these posts like the damn bubonic plague, but once in a rare while it’s very, very hard to resist the urge to get downright snippy with people. 

Last week someone reacted negatively to a blog I posted, wherein I spoke of wishing I could afford to provide better for my family, by taking to Facebook to convey that I need to “stop running {my} mouth and go get a job!”  I ignored her ugliness and chose not to childishly engage her in a bitter, public social media battle of heated opinions and curse words.  Still, I went to bed hating Facebook a little more that night for giving her a platform upon which to openly spew her ignorance.

But alas, I cannot say I hate social media altogether.  99% of the people reading this right now wouldn’t even know this blog existed if not for Facebook.  And where else would I turn to let the world know every time I have a particularly witty thought, or at the very least, when one of kids has done something extremely hilarious?  Sometimes, social media is kind of awesome.  Sometimes it’s amusing, adorable, even informative.  But only occasionally.  Not nearly often enough to warrant this addiction with checking it obsessively.

So here I am, with all these mixed feelings: humor, rage, frustration, annoyance, curiosity.  Sometimes I get to the point where I want to just delete the bullshit from my life altogether.  Sometimes I’m like, jeez, let’s just rewind back a few years to when the internet was merely a place to avoid meeting total wackos, when you didn’t have to send someone an electronic request to be their friend, and when you hadn’t yet realized that at least a quarter of the people you know are totally batshit crazy and quite possible illiterate.

But then I hear a story like this.

I’ll summarize it for you: a little boy, just five years old, battling leukemia for most of his life, had his wish granted by the wonderful Make A Wish Foundation to become Batman today.  Downtown San Francisco was turned into Gotham City, and over 13,000 people showed up and flooded the streets to cheer him on as he rescued a damsel in distress, took on the Penguin and the Riddler, thwarted a bank robbery, rode in the Batmobile, and received the key to the city from the mayor of San Francisco himself.

And yes, you read that correctly– 13,000 people showed up.

They had all heard about this little boy’s wish from social media sites. 

I cried my eyes out listening to this story on the news today.  It’s so hard to imagine any sweet little angel having to endure the pain and suffering inflicted by a terrifying, life-threatening illness–and the fact that so many people turned out to support this brave little guy merely because of something they read while scrolling mindlessly through their phones over their morning coffee… Well, that’s just plain amazing.

Social media is really sucky most of the time, but not this time.  This time, it made a sick little boy’s dreams come true. 

Go social media.

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