Facebook Fyre Fests: Potato Head & Seuss

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Facebook Fiends have risen with the latest travesty that is responsible for tearing America apart… I think the title of the article says precisely which radical changes I’m referring to…

But if you’ve been living under a rock, or perhaps aren’t friends on social media with some bored bigots from high school, let’s do a quick recon of these changes:

  • Mr. Potato Head has changed their brand name to just Potato Head. That’s it. Just a simple rebrand, a drop of the Mr. which instantly makes it a bit more inclusive and creates more opportunities for the brand to just do more with itself. You can still buy Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head just fine. But this drop in the “Mr.” has everyone up in arms because, for the love of God what will be the next to change in the world? Why change a good thing? “What’s next?!” the bigots cry, “Will Betty White have to change her last name?!”
  • Then for the Seuss, get your Kleenex for this one, six of his books will stop being published because of ‘racist and insensitive imagery.’ Are you ready for the titles of these books, and these books alone, that are no longer going to be published? Here we go:
    • “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (never heard of it? same)
    • “If I Ran the Zoo” (never heard of it? same)
    • “McElligot’s Pool” (never heard of it? same)
    • “On Beyond Zebra!” (never heard of it? same)
    • “Scrambled Eggs Super!” (never heard of it? same)
    • “The Cat’s Quizzer” (never heard of it? same)

What’s so radical about all of these avid Facebook Fyre Starters, is that they are offended… that other people are offended…

Spin that logic to make it make sense, I won’t wait.

It’s when people get so upset over the changes like the aforementioned, that I find myself so confused as to how there is a complete lack of empathy and even ability to research the facts. Everyone was upset about Mr. Potato Head because they thought they were taking away his gender… but news-breaker, even if that was the case, potatoes don’t typically have genders anyway?? Don’t get so heated, Lisa. And Seuss? We literally don’t need those books; they cater to a dead narrative. Why would you want to read your children books that contain subliminal messages of hate?

Another Facebook Fyre I had seen recently, was uproar over changing the term of “breastfeeding” to “chestfeeding” – which admittedly I found a bit bizarre myself. But instead of coaxing a fire that was already blazing, I hopped onto Google to see why the change was happening, or being proposed – and overall I found that the change is happening because some non-binary people with the ability to reproduce are more comfortable with the term, amongst many other reasons. Okay, so it makes other people more at ease, there’s nothing wrong with that. Language changes all the time, medical terms develop all the time, this is just the latest terminology that could be used. Case closed.

Interesting how a little research, a little education, can be a path towards enlightenment. After all, ignorance is only bliss if the ignorance benefits your narrative 🙂

I think maybe the most hurtful and unnecessary comment that is tossed in these Facebook Fyres is the whole, “If you don’t like how we do things in America, just leave then.” Like… homie, you’re the one that doesn’t like what’s happening in America. The change is happening, evolution of a culture is inevitable. We are evolving, you are resisting… do you know who Charles Darwin is?

We are all entitled to freedom of speech, we all have that right, but maybe think about the big picture before sharing information that is false or hateful. What’s the point? What do you get from that? What is the benefit?

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Sharing false information makes you look stupid, and sharing hateful memes makes you a bigot.

You don’t get to decide what is true, nor do you get to decide how other people feel. That’s not the way this whole, “being a decent human” thing works.

“Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.”

Bernard Meltzer

Finding Claire(ity)

I normally hate talking about myself but I’m on a path of self-love and acceptance, so I suppose writing about myself in a positive light is a step forward in the right direction. 

Instagram @claire.marie.photo

Typically when one reads about someone’s journey to discovering their love for photography, you see a small child being gifted a camera by one of the grandparents who lived in the countryside, where the scenery and the love for the family just really inspired them to pursue their passion for photography.

This is not that story. But truthfully, I don’t think every story has to be packaged with a pretty bow on top: it just has to be real.

Instagram @claire.marie.photo

While my interest in photography did start at a young age, it wasn’t that whole, “I held a camera for the first time and I knew this was my passion” moment.

I grew up in the time of disposable cameras and, for those lucky enough, reusable film cameras. Growing up my mom, like I’m sure most moms in the 90’s, was the one always trying to capture every moment of her children’s life. Whether that be a fun family vacation at the beach or simply playing outside with the dogs, she was always there following us around with a camera.

Seeing her in action definitely inspired me to pick up the disposable cameras and capture moments; granted my moments were less significant than hers.

Instagram @claire.marie.photo

I took the same energy for photography when I was given my first Polaroid camera; the old school ones that were bulky and printed out square photos. I almost understood the concept that Polaroid film was more expensive to buy, but that didn’t stop me from taking a picture of every cat we owned – and trust me, this was a lot of photos as we had a ton of cats at the time.

When that camera finally ran out, it seemed like my interest ran out too. My mom never gifted me a fancy expensive camera since I accidentally dropped her old film camera in the toilet (don’t ask).

So my passion, along with her fancy camera, went down the toilet. 

Instagram @claire.marie.photo

Fast forward a few years to 2014, the summer before sophomore year of college, fatefully my passion was reignited thanks to a former friend and her camera. This friend of mine was always taking photos and coming up with interesting concepts for photo shoots and I wanted to do that!

In an artistic sense, photography was one of the only ways I could express myself. I can’t draw, paint, or write very well, but capturing moments in time and editing them to fit the picture inside my mind seemed like second nature to me.

Instagram @claire.marie.photo

Although it wasn’t until the following summer when I had finally saved enough money to buy my own professional camera.

And, believe it or not, that’s the very same camera I still use today!

It can paint a picture of every self portrait, all the amazing friends that have allowed me to take photos of them, all the animals that have been my practice models and all my European adventures – which includes breaking my lens in Barcelona and hiding my camera on the plane ride to the French Riviera because I couldn’t fit everything into one bag.

Instagram @claire.marie.photo

Every time I hold that camera up, it’s been like an escape for me, a way to push myself to go outside my comfort zone. And let me tell you, outside of the comfort zone can be a beautiful place; it’s helped me create amazing pieces of myself, my friends, and the landscapes around me.

So, you see, young Claire had an air of simplicity about her, if she wanted to take a picture of something she did. Whether that be a polaroid of her foot or a plate of fries – not lying, I really did take pictures starring plates of fries lol – young Claire was just reflexively taking pictures of whatever caught her eye. I’d like to think that I still have that simplicity now as an adult.

Photography doesn’t need to be overly complicated as a lot of people make it out to be, myself included. Sometimes the best photos are the ones that you take on a whim or by accident. I’ve found that sometimes all you gotta do is just take the picture. So while this isn’t the perfect little story about a girl who grew up with a camera permanently in her hands, it is about a girl who learned that the simplicity in the art of photography is the most beautiful story.

. . .

I’m Scared of My Body

I’m scared of my body

I’m scared of the storm

of pops and cracks that come with nearly every step

but I have come to learn there is power in fear

. . .

I feel the power and fear of taking ownership

which looked like

ignoring the side-eye from a man who stood next to me as we shared a mirror and I

shaved my face.

. . .

I seized the power

of viewing my body as

less of a burden

when I choose to feel its heart in other places

beating besides my chest

like on a February night when I held his hand

and we ran down the street collapsing in laughter

like the kind I was trying to

hold in when he snapped my bra in the school hallway many years earlier.

. . .

I’m scared of my body

I’m scared of the storm

There is fear in the power of the silent aftermath of the tide’s rising

and the tide bringing in my own personal truth

the truth being limitations of what my body can do

putting the tight lid from a jar

on dreams of a delivered truth

I didn’t know I had.

Back and forth beats goes the beat of the heart that is everywhere but in my chest

my eyes soaking in words from a tiny screen

I feel safety in clothing myself in the simple promise that

it is okay to work through whatever it is I need to work through

and I’m wanting nothing more than to touch him

but now there’s a collective fear of losing trust in our bodies to a mysterious presence, and so much of this trust is missing from me,

from you,

from your neighbor down the street

now there is just fear of not knowing

how much our bodies can withstand.

. . .

I’m scared of my body

I’m scared of the storm

there is power in fear

and I fear I am

falling in love

with the notion of acceptance

and gratitude for the fact

it is mine, and I can give it away if I so choose,

It is mine and I think I love it.

It can do this and that and this and that, and it can hold so much.

It’s been wrought with grief

from losing that boy

who became a man who struggled with devastating disease but sometimes still remains alive in my mind’s eye in a snapshot

of a boy

who once giggled as he snapped my bra in the hallway when we were fifteen,

It’s held me down and kept me in the ground as I-

read the words of another man and think to myself,

“How could I possibly be more infatuated with him

or infuriated I can’t feel his touch,

the only thing my bones know for sure

is of his importance.

. . .

I’m scared of my body

I’m scared of the storm

There is little fear in protection

Like when my body said I’m sorry I may hurt you from time to time,

but I’m here.

With roots and dainty fingers whose ring size is just ULTRA tiny

I’m here for you to breathe every morning in the still promise of breathing and understanding you’re still here.

you’re still here you can walk-

Good god, do you have the ability to speak!

Watch what you say about me and my abilities.

I’m here to hold you-

I’m here to house you after every twister.

My Water Journey: An Apology Letter

Dear water,

I’ve been working on not saying “sorry” as much, but I owe you the ultimate apology. I used to hate you, despise you, LOATE YOU, but my heart has changed. Now, I can’t live without you.

We love the drama, no?

A couple of my girlfriends and I took it upon ourselves to track our water intake about a month and a half ago. I knew it would be tough for me because, ashamedly…

I was that girl who used to drink soda for breakfast.

I know you audibly gasped, maybe even puked just then, but it’s true. I was a monster. Since I was a wee lad I would want soda as soon as I woke up. I’d even go as far as waking up in the middle of the night CRAVING the sweet, sweet carbonation of that caffeinated demon.

So we started the journey by downloading Plant Nanny and/or My Water, a couple cute ways to hold ourselves accountable. We even went as far as buying new water bottles for the occasion. After a little bit of research we found that for us, we’d need approximately 12 cups/96 fluid ounces of water a day — it’s different for everyone based on a variety of things.

I was intimidated to say the least. I was already a dehydrated vessel of a woman from my severe lack of water intake, but I don’t even think I was consuming 96 oz. of fluid a day at all. I got busy and forget to drink! Thank god we’re on that #SelfCare train now and are rolling straight into hydration station. *choo choo*

Now, I’m not going to say I am a perfect flower and hit my goal every day, nor have I rid myself of soda forever. If I know I’ll want soda later on in the day, I’ll make sure I hit my goal beforehand so I can indulge later. I’ve also cut my soda consumption down drastically to maybe three a week. And my skinnnnnnnnnnnn honey, omg she is POPPIN’!

But wait, there’s more! Clearer skin isn’t the only benefit water offers.

According to healthline.com:

  • It maximizes physical performance in a multitude of ways. Being dehydrated “can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue. It can also make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally.” Um, no thanks.
  • Staying hydrated affects your energy levels and brain function! “Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function.” That’s flat out scary, y’all. I know it’s spooky season, but damn. Dehydration also leads to poor mood and memory, and we already out here being hormonal AND dealing with ADHD, so I don’t need help in the negative mood/memory department.
  • It may help prevent and treat headaches — something I’ve noticed in myself. “For example, a study in 393 people found that 40% of the participants experienced a headache as a result of dehydration. What’s more, some studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience frequent headaches.” FYI, there’s still more research needed to confirm, but it makes a whole lot of sense to me! So the next time you’re experiencing a headache, consider your hydration levels before automatically popping an ibuprofen.
  • Hydration relieves constipation — another benefit I’ve gained LOL TMI (jk everybody poops and if you’re grossed out please remove yourself from this blog immediately). On a real note, this one shocked me because right after I started drinking more water, I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom and didn’t know why. Little did I know, my body was rejoicing!

I know these are widely known, but helping with hangovers, weight loss, and kidney stones are the last few benefits listed in the article if you’d like to learn more.

BOTTOM LINE: Drink more water. Drink enough water. Hell, maybe cut soda out of your diet altogether because I could write another novel on why it’s so bad for you.

At the end of the day, water, you have been nothing but a blessing to me and I’ll never stop singing your praises. You’re the kween that keeps me a kween.

With love and sexy skin,

Lindsey

Talkin’ to You, Talkin’ to Me

I’m a sucker for cliches that can blanket statement a situation. I find that cliches have the same function as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, except a bit more practical. For instance, something’s happened and you don’t know what to say, just give a sympathetic shrug and throw in, “All that glitters isn’t gold,” “What goes around, comes around,” or “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” But while I dig a good cliche, I also fully acknowledge that some are trash.

Like hold the phone, sticks and stones… I’m sorry, what?

If you ever think about saying “Sticks and stones…” to someone, of any age, just stop. Don’t even think of finishing the sentence. All this stupid sentence does is dismiss the feelings of the person you’re speaking to. I’ll say it right now, words hurt, and they can hurt bad.

Imagine you’re in a situation getting bullied, maybe it’s about something like the size of your nose or ears, your skin color, or maybe even the clothes on your back. Imagine getting bullied relentlessly by shit kids, imagine experiencing this, and the only thing you’re told on how to deal is either, “Oh, they’re just mean because they have a crush on you!” or the god awful cliche mentioned above about stupid sticks and stones.

It’s just wrong, it’s so wrong. Words have power, we should stop gaslighting people into believing otherwise. I wish I was taught at a younger age to call people out when they said hurtful things instead of being taught to just ignore them. Can you imagine what kind of place the world could be if we started calling out the haters earlier on in life?

Oof, gives me chills just thinking about a society that beholds fruitful communication.

Everyone and their brother has said this, but I’ll say it again – communication is so important. It’s vital to understand that when someone tells you that something you said hurt them, don’t fight them on this, just don’t. You cannot control the feelings and emotions of others. All you can do is accept their feelings at face value and try to earnestly understand where they’re coming from.

I’m over this whole, “They’re just words, we were only kidding!” thing, it’s not cute. Dismissing the feelings of others, essentially calling their emotions invalid… it’s not a good look.

When someone confides in you, opens up and tells you that your words hurt… embrace that dialogue. Ask them what exactly was said that hurt, and if after finding out you still don’t understand why it hurt them – be honest and ask them how you can do better. This is good communication, and trust me I get it, deep communication is hard and a lot of people suck at it – myself included!! But when you have the conversation and acknowledge the feelings of others as valid, you’re on a higher path, a higher frequency, of basic human decency.

It can be so groundbreaking once you fully acknowledge that words hold power, they can hurt, and you’re not being too sensitive. In fact, stop putting the word “too” in front of “sensitive”, your feelings are not too much, nor are they too little – they just simply are. What can also be groundbreaking is to not only accept the negative and toxic power of word, but to simultaneously embrace the positive uplifting power it has too. It’s clear that other people’s words can hurt you and that their love and compliments can lift you… but what about your own words? Do you realize that how you talk to yourself also has a great impact your mental health?

In a book I’m currently reading*, the author writes on self-talk and the importance of acknowledging your “inner-child.” This term, inner-child, is rooted deep into psychology and associated with a person’s potential, creativity, and expression – all of which are aspects influenced from their childhood. It’s also the idea that the child version of yourself lives on in your psyche and still has influence over your day to day life within your emotions and where you find your common comforts.

That above passage from the book really hit home, it had me thinking not only how I would talk to my younger self, but in a more tangible sense I thought, “Would I say the things I tell myself to my kid sister?” and before I could even complete that thought, I already knew the answer. The way I talk to myself sometimes can be so intense and so hurtful, not only would I never talk to my little sister that way… I wouldn’t even talk to burnt popcorn that way.

Food for thought: If we wouldn’t talk to others a certain way, why in the world should we talk to ourselves in such a manner?

Just like we need to wear a mask, just like we need to vote… we need to be kind to ourselves. There is only one person we are with at all hours of the day and night, there is only one person we can’t escape from, there is only one person we can’t ever shut out… and that’s ourselves.

So guys, this is a friendly reminder to treat yourself with the love and respect you deserve, it’s your birthright.

*SOURCE: The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Finding Peace

This article is the conclusion to a journey I began years ago. I’ve shared some personal stories about domestic abuse, some destructive coping mechanisms I used, and now it is time to talk about the peace I found after it all. I kept reiterating in my previous articles how we are not the victims forever, and I stand by that to this day. I wouldn’t be where I am without these humbling experiences. I grew my own wings that my gut was trying to tell me to do for years. With the help of my friends and family and self-determination, I was able to be the woman I always knew I was.

Initially, I was scared. I had no money, no motivation, and felt like my career was in the hole, and I had to block out a lot of people in my life. But what was really happening was that I was saving money, building stronger relationships with my close friends, and truly focusing on myself for once. I found myself developing a skin routine and a forming a healthy diet. I planned my future. I went back to college and now am on a path to graduate in a year.

What also became a constant in my life was spirituality. I never had been a religious person and I’m still not. Yet, I found spirituality really explained and helped me with a lot of things that have happened in my life. We all say cliche things like “everything happens for a reason” and “there are no such things as coincidences.“ Heck, I truly believe all that now! I believe people are put into and removed from your life and it’s all apart of the journey. Some people are not meant to be along for the ride and that’s okay. I came to the conclusion that I could find peace in knowing the things I can control vs the things I cannot and should not force. I have everything I need in my life to make the difference I’ve always wanted to make.

I made a vow to not let another person, especially a man, ruin or disrupt my inner peace. Yes, there are days where that was very hard to do, but ultimately, I am happy without the stress and chaos. I truly am blessed to have gotten to know the side of a man that I never thought I’d see again. I had been given a gift in the form a gentle, kind, selfless, respectful human. My boyfriend was put into my life and I have cherished every waking moment with him. He is a significant factor that has played a huge part in my searching for peace. He helped me realize that just because I was a victim and enabler before, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again and that is such a relieving feeling to know I’m still able to love and to be loved.

For the women or men that have walked in these shoes, there is happiness and success resting on the other side of this hill. Peace is found in many forms: a loving friend’s smile, a cup of coffee in the morning, and instead of thinking about your troubling past….you think about your exciting dreams, a week secluded in the woods watching the sunset, connecting with a religion or your spirituality, starting a self care routine, or even writing about your journey and being able to appreciate the things currently around you that you never thought would come from it. We all deserve peace and you will find it.

. . .

If you or someone you know is being affected by abuse and needing support, call 1-800-799-7233, or if you are unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-9474.

You are not alone.

What’s My Love Language?

In 1992, a guy from North Carolina named Gary Chapman published a book titled, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.

He broke it all down.

Gary has concluded that there are five different love languages, and everyone has one language they take more of a liking to.

The different love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

I took Gary’s test, and discovered my primary love language is Acts of Service.

To quote Gary:

Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

5 Love Languages Quiz Result: Acts of Service

All I can say is Gary is spot on about me.

Whenever anyone, in any facet of my life, does anything for me – be it clean the kitchen or when I’m running late to happy hour someone suprise-orders me a drink so it’s already there waiting for me – I’m sincerely always shocked and it’s not uncommon I’m moved to tears in those situations. I’m an easy crier, what can I say?

I have an Atlas Complex real bad, meaning I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, I always have.

So even if it seems like I have things under control, I’m more than likely worrying about 20 other things, most things that don’t even directly concern me – my empathy will be the death of me.

I really, truly always appreciate any and all help. I also never even expect anyone to help me, so it’s always a nice surprise when someone does.

So guys, take the test! Identify your love language so you can both acknowledge your needs and how to explain to those in your life what you need to feel loved.

Once you know your love language, you can refer to the below for some advice on how to approach explaining your needs based upon your love language.

Words of Affirmation

If Words of Affirmation is your love language, below are some ways to explain the type of love you need.

I love it when…

  • you make me playlists of songs that remind you of me.
  • you make a point to compliment me, appreciate me, and encourage me.
  • you share your feelings with me.

I feel neglected when...

  • you don’t vocalize how you feel, it makes me feel anxious and unsure. If I don’t verbally hear you tell me how you feel about me, I question what you truly think of me.
  • you don’t verbally express moments when you are proud of me or appreciate me. It wears me down mentally and emotionally to have to try to assume you feel these things about me, I could be more at peace if you just told me.

Quality Time

If Quality Time is your love language, below are some ways to explain the type of love you need.

I love it when…

  • you are completely present in the moments we spend together, whether those moments are out at dinner or on the couch watching TV, I appreciate when you’re all there and not engrossed in your phone or thoughts.
  • you actively make plans for us to do things together.
  • we have genuine conversations that hold depth to them.

I feel neglected when...

  • you jokingly call me needy or clingy when I ask to spend more time with you.
  • you spend most of our time together absorbed in your phone, or planning other arrangements.

receiving gifts

If Receiving Gifts is your love language, below are some ways to explain the type of love you need.

I love it when…

  • I’m feeling down and you give me small tokens to try to boost my spirits.
  • buy me a thoughtful souvenir whenever you are traveling without me.
  • special occasions are never forgotten and always paired with intentional gifts that have great symbolic value.

I feel neglected when...

  • you forget special occasions.
  • the gifts have no deeper meaning behind them, they’re just given to me out of duty.

Acts of Service

If Acts of Service is your love language, like mine, below are some ways to explain the type of love you need.

I love it when…

  • I can count on you.
  • you make it a point to do whatever you can to help ease stressful situations.
  • you help with chores or errands without even being asked.

I feel neglected when...

  • you drop the ball and forget to do the task you promised.
  • you ignore my requests for help, no matter how loud or silent those requests may be.

Physical touch

If Physical Touch is your love language, below are some ways to explain the type of love you need.

I love it when…

  • I’m not the one always initiating the intimacy.
  • we’re walking and you hold my hand or put your arm around me.
  • you frequently give warm, affectionate hugs.

I feel neglected when…

  • we go long periods without any intimacy at all.
  • you coldly show affection.