Category Archives: facebook

I have abandoned Facebook …

cut all ties.

Deactivated my account.

Yes, it is true, and in doing so, I find that I have taken my life back.

I no longer debase myself a dozen (OK, that is conservative) times a day to see what is going on with people I don’t even know.

I no longer look for absolution from those I do.

I don’t look to see who has been checking in with me even as I am checking on them while they are checking on me.

It had become a bit like an out of control spy ring where everyone needed to know everything and I wanted to tell things but didn’t want anyone to know what I wanted to tell.

It was pathetic, really, the importance that I had begun to place on seeing who was where and why.

I can’t remember a specific time when I felt so entirely like my life was my own.

Freedom.

In spades.

I have no-one to impress, nobody to account to or, for that matter, to account for.  When I have something to say, I write it in my journal.

My journal is so happy to have me back as a regular contributor that it has congratulated me.

Delusions of grandeur?  Possibly.

Seriously, though, it has been a freeing experience to find that what I think, like, know and experience is my own to think, like, know and experience.

I don’t need anyone’s approval to think thoughts or hear music.

When I am manic, it is OK, when I am feeling low and depressed, it is OK.

I need no validation or congratulation or adulation or any other “ation” for any of my actions.

They are mine and mine alone and the need to have someone else understand them has passed.

I understand them and what anyone else may think or have to add has become irrelevant.

Glory.

And glory again.

The first couple of days felt awkward, but after a week, when I wasn’t missed, I realized that I had begun to think way too much of myself.

Many of the people on my “friends” list have my phone number and could call or text anytime they felt like it.

They haven’t.

Others on my “friends” list have my email address and could send me a message anytime they felt like it.

They haven’t.

It was important for me to realize how little importance, in the grand scheme of things, I really have.

I was beginning feel something that I have never, not in any space of time in my entire life, felt.

Conceited.

Egotistical.

Self-centered.

That is not who I was, who I am nor who I ever want to be.

It was freeing to realize that nobody really thinks about me on a daily basis.

That would be weird.  Seriously weird, if people thought about me all the time.

I will admit that there are ones those that I think about much more often than is good for me, but I have cut those ties as well.

I am a solitary introvert.  I always have been and pretending to be otherwise did not serve me well.

I know what I want, what I hope for and wish for and nobody, other than myself, need to be privy to such privileged information.

During my facebook run, I trusted some people I shouldn’t have, thought about ones I had no right to and was well on my way to becoming obsessed with being liked.

I don’t care about being liked.

That is old news, teenage stuff, high school drama.

I don’t care if people like me or not.

I  like myself and that, in itself, is quite the accomplishment.

Will I go back to Facebook?

I honestly don’t know.

I feel so good not being a part of something that had the distinct capability to make me feel bad about myself that I doubt, quite seriously, that I will go back.

If I do go back, it won’t be in the same frame of mind that I left.

It will be a more confident, self-assured, know where I’m going because I’ve been where I’ve been mentality.

In the meantime, I’m reveling in realizing who I am, who I can trust, who I thought I could trust but can’t and what my purpose is.

It is an adventure that, although daunting at times, has proven to be the ultimate learning experience.

I am happy even when I’m not.

There is power in that realization.  The knowledge that I am happy simply being myself without any extraneous notions.

I can be happy and cry at the same time.

I have set my Sagittarian spirit free.

Mind-boggling in ways I never imagined.

I. Am. Free.

And I find that I like it that way.

solitude

In order to gain my support from “Big Business” for worthy causes …

I have to sacrifice my own personal social media information and that of those that I choose interact with?

What kind of racket is this?

Businesses pretend to want to help spread news and articles of import; to support schools, sports, academics, Universities and the like, but there is a catch.

A rather large, bloodletting catch.

They want you to support them as they “give back” but before they allow you to give your support or share their stories, they ask for personal information and information on others who may have no desire whatsoever to support their cause.

I find this abysmal.

Oh, I’m sure their “people” could come up with a hundred good reasons why I should give up the information they ask, but if they really and truly wanted to help the entities they say they want to help, to share the stories they find so important, they wouldn’t have to resort to blackmail to do it.

That’s what it is.

In the end, anyway.

Blackmail.

I call a spade a spade.

Their policy is “I will allow you to engage our help in supporting causes important to you, share stories that may benefit your peers and friends and all you have to do is let us have access to your personal information and the personal information of people you know”.

The only thing missing is a baseball bat to the back of my knees.

I won’t do it.

I won’t give in.

I refuse to be coerced to hand over what they ask simply because I want to help.

I can write a check that will do no more than clear the bank and implicate no-one other than myself.

Target and NBC are two of the offenders that I have had personal interactions with.

I was really bummed to have to give up NBC’s news app because it is one of the best I’ve come accross.  As it stands, there are things I see on there I want to share with my peers … understandable, right?  NBC, however,  won’t let me share unless I give them access to my facebook profile and friends list.

And Target, a store I used to respect, won’t support the schools they say they will support unless I “tell all”.

They go on and on about supporting schools, but they require a blood payment.

I think not.

I’m not going to play along.

I’m not going to “give up” my own personal information or that of others in order to support anything through big business when I am perfectly capable of doing my part to support it however I can.

Which I have.

Many times.

I don’t have much money, but what I do have, I am happy to give away to help worthy causes.

I don’t need big  business, conglomerates and super-store powers who are more interested in trying to trick me into giving them what they want than they are in supporting the entities they pretend to be behind.

They call it tit-for-tat … i call it something else entirely.

I refuse to play their game.

Maybe I am cynical in some ways.  I never thought of myself as that way, and now I wonder.

Maybe I am.

Maybe I am the type of person that doesn’t give up everything just because a big name is willing to support the same thing I do.

I have standards and rules that I live by.

They aren’t written in stone, but they are my guidelines.

What these big companies offer is little better than the gang of thugs that offers to “protect” a business and then beats the crap out of the owner if they don’t accept their protection.

I find that reprehensible and if they don’t, they should.

Shame of them.

I won’t be a part of it.

Asking something in payment for giving freely is not, in any shape or form, giving freely.

I hear my drummer calling … I believe I will go march to it.

A kick in the teeth is a kick in the teeth irregardless of the animal.

A kick in the teeth is a kick in the teeth irregardless of the animal.

Seriously?

Seriously?

It has been so long since I have watched TV …

that I have no earthly idea where the remote to the blasted thing is.  I wouldn’t be looking for it now if it weren’t required to set the menu up for a favored DVD that I was wanting to watch.

I don’t watch the news and have no clue, unless it is on facebook or twitter, what is going on in the world.  My journalist peeps keep me informed on the pressing stuff and the “Oprah, Fox, MSNBC and just happened to be surfing the web  crowd” keeps me informed (and entertained) on the rest of the goings on.

I am perfectly happy with that knowledge (or lack of as the case may be) in my isolated, yet mostly serene, little world.

On the occasions that people I know feel the need to fill me in on the seedier things that are happening, I find myself cringing and saying things like “ewww” … “stop … don’t tell me anything else” … “OMG, you’re not serious?”

It is true.  I am so close to hermit status that if I didn’t have to work for a living, I would be completely and happily oblivious with a backpack in tow and some flint in my pocket …

Thank you Dr. Blackwelder, for teaching me to make a fire with flint and a few dry twigs.

I could, I am relatively certain, live off the land, and thrive on apples, peaches and blackberries … and if that didn’t work out perfectly, I could, irregardless of hunger and thirst, photograph it and then write about it.

I might go hungry, but I would be happy while my belly growled.

I have learned a great deal from my dad, who is like the mountain man extraordinaire, who knows something about everything that has to do with nature and he, kindly, passed it along to me.

I paid attention and took notes.

It isn’t that I don’t care about people and things that are happening.  I do.  But most, in my experience, of what is considered “news” is the misfortune of others exploited well beyond what is necessary.

When my husband was living, I was current on all the happenings.  He was a news junkie and found it oh-so-satisfying to fill me in whether I wanted to know or not.

I see, in the day to day happenings in my life, family and job, plenty of drama.  I don’t need to know who has been in rehab, who is having somebody who isn’t their husband’s baby or what the name of the new Prince will be.

In all honesty, I could care less about that.

If there is a wildfire or other disaster, I find out from my journalist friends on facebook and then, can pray or curse, accordingly, as the event warrants.

There was a time when I was much geekier than was good for me.  Of this, I am certain.  I was a facebook, twitter and google plus junkie.

I have weaned myself, however, to be only a part-time junkie and rely mostly on my friends and family to keep me informed of current events.

I am grateful that my Jim cannot see this transformation from Heaven as he would simply shake his head and say, in that deep, sexy voice of his “Gina … you need to know what is going on in the world in order to live in the world”.

Well, I have little clue about what is going on and I live a relatively normal life.

Yes, there are goats that randomly come onto my porch.

Yes, a possum, nearly nightly, filches cat food from my feed pans.

Yes, my brother-in-law brings me, fresh from the chicken, eggs that I will never eat.

I may have eaten them if he hadn’t said to me “be sure to wash them first”.  Ick.  I took them, washed them with Dawn and placed them in my refrigerator where they will remain until I either give them to some unsuspecting person or throw them away but I know, without a doubt, that I will not be eating them.

Not ever.

But all of this has little to do with the fact that I really want to watch Lord of the Dance and cannot find my TV remote so that I can do so.

Maybe tomorrow … or the next day.

Eventually, it will turn up and when it does, I will have forgotten why I was looking for it in the first place.

Such is the nature of my life.

But it is all good, or mostly so, and it is all part of the whole.  I am who I am and will be who I’ll be.

When every day is like opening Pandora’s box, who, might I ask, needs TV?

Until next time, be well, my friends, be well.

My sweet ride for a couple of hours ... even without the horses, the Jeep was magnificent

My sweet ride for a couple of hours … even without the horses, driving the Jeep on the beach and over the dunes was magnificent

He played like a demon angel ... talent in spades

He played like a demon angel … talent in spades

He looked right at me and I felt his power through the lens of my camera.  I was awestruck.

He looked right at me. I felt his power through the lens of my camera. I was awestruck.

If it isn’t going to snow …

and snow BIG, then I am officially done with winter.  I am filled to overflowing with frosty windshields in the early, still dark mornings.  I am finished with the cold wind whistling through trees that have been bare for too long.  Winter weather advisories that never come to fruition and the forecasters who get my hopes up are now on my short list.

snowfall

Since I love lists so much, it is time to make a new one; a warm weather one.  This new and improved list will not include heavy winter coats, gloves or scarves.  It won’t include three layers of clothes or multiple pairs of socks worn under fur-lined boots.  It also won’t include walking home because the ice is too thick to drive in.

basset_snow

I was recently reminded by a friend that boating season is just around the corner.  It took less than two seconds for the image of skimming across the lake with the sun hot on my skin and the wind in my face to fill my warmth starved brain.  I foresee cold drinks and much laughter as we frolic in the lake.  Actually, I suppose I should clarify; I foresee much laughter as THEY frolic in the lake as I’m not really box-ankled about jumping into water that I can’t see through.  I’m more of a “float-on-the-top” kind of gal.

cherokeelake

cherokeelakejumper

I look at my pale, winter skin and think of sunning myself like a lizard and admiring my tan lines (after the redness fades).  I love the sun and, unlike many people I know, don’t mind the 90 plus temperatures of a steamy Appalachian summer.  I long for the thunderstorms that come out of nowhere, bringing with them the stunning display of lightning and sky that only God can provide.

lightning

I look forward to long hikes along shaded trails and wading in the clear, cold pool at the foot of my favorite waterfall; speeding with the top down over curvy mountain roads to get there.  My sister’s pool with the shimmering water and full-sized slide call to me like a siren’s song.  Trips to the ocean and embracing the sunrise in the wee hours then sipping boat drinks at sunset will find their place at the top of my list.

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littlestoney_020913-161

beachday1 542

Yes, I am officially done with winter and realize as I write this post and compose my list that I am going to need more paper.   Now, if I can only get Mother Nature to cooperate, all will be well with the world and I can stop shivering.

gulfbeauty

There is something …

bassoonhand

about hands that has the capacity to make my mouth water.  Tonight, as I sat by a  friend as he played a song on the piano, I was mesmerized; as much by his hands as by the music they made.  They rolled effortlessly across the keys, without thought or direction … simply playing.  I couldn’t look away and wished for my tripod and a light.  I wanted to capture that moment, but I didn’t want it enough to risk losing the magic. I was surrounded by those powerful notes, feeling them touch my skin as they were absorbed into my blood, my bones, my thoughts; that is not something I would risk losing, even for a photograph.

pianoandlighthands

The hands of an artist are mysterious and intriguing.  My art teacher has the ability to practically breathe an image onto a page.  Each time I go to class, I stop and stare at a portrait he drew. The realism of it makes me shudder as it evokes precise images of a very frightening movie.  I fully expect the portrait to come to life and say, in a menacing, crazy-man’s voice, “Heeere’s Johnny!”.  But, I digress.  The hands.  The permanent ink spot on the finger, the darker shade on the pinkie edge, the way one lies flat on the table while the other draws; I sometimes find myself distracted by his hands and forget to pay as close attention as I mean to.  I want to photograph those hands, but it isn’t the time.  There will come a time.  I need to.  And I will.  When it’s time.

The hands that hold the hammer are strong and sure, yet gentle enough to bottle-feed a newborn lamb.  Those hands would belong to my Daddy.  He and I didn’t see eye to eye for way too much of my life.  I was too soft-hearted to hold my own against such a strong personality and sense of self.  I perplexed him, I think, more than anything.  At some point in my adult life, we became close; close the way I always wished it would be.  It was then that I started noticing his hands.  More often than not they were cut and bleeding, the fingers and palms thick with callouses from years of hard work.  I have taken many photographs of his hands, have managed to fade in to the background and work, unnoticed, as he does what he does.  Working, praying, fishing, gardening.  I have hundreds and each time I look at one, I am reminded of the love and strength in them.

fishermanhands                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are others’ I wish to see, to photograph.  Some of them are musicians, others not. I do find, though, that the musicians and artists have a greater pull to me as their hands are a part of what they create.  Just as my eyes are  essential instruments to my photography, so are their hands in the paintings they paint and symphonies they play.

clarinethands

Photographing hands is an ethereal experience for me.  It is sometimes heartbreaking, the emotion that they invoke.  Knowing that I am close enough to that which I seek, to see it clearly through the lens of my camera, is the kind of moment I hope for.  I know, when I no longer notice that there is a body attached to the hands, then it is time.

accordian

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men ~ Romans 12:18

The older I get …

the more I learn how little I really know.  I could stretch it and say that each day is a learning experience, but that would be extremely broad.  During a single day, there are many instances that have the ability to either help me grow or hold me back; many chances to breathe each moment, hold it, understand it and then move on.  I try not to dwell too much on the ones that hold me in limbo or worse, take me back a step.  Of all the things I am or aspire to be, perfect isn’t one of them.  As a matter of fact, it didn’t even make the list.

The first moment comes with awakening from sleep.  That pivotal instant between dreams and wakefulness, when the first thought, whatever it may be, comes to my conscious mind.   That single thought, if I let it, has the power to define my day.  Life events, dreams, daydreams, thoughts, wishes, people, places; they all play a part in that first waking thought.   Being the first learning moment of the day, however, makes it just that.  The first.  If I fail this one, I can either decide that the whole day is wasted and carry a chip on my shoulder or, I can move on.  Live and learn.  Isn’t that what we are all trying to do?

Being an idealist, I pretty much glide through life on a cloud of positive, often turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the negative.   I just take it, good or bad, as it comes.  It can’t though, no matter how much I wish it, all be good.  I try not to over-think things when they, as they sometimes do, go awry.  Since I have already learned this lesson, I know that a long hike with my camera is good for calming such tendencies.   As I make this journey, I continue to grow, learn, imagine and find pieces of myself I didn’t know were there.  Every day has the potential to become an incredibly wonderful adventure.   I have clothes, tripod, first-aid kit and my second favorite pair of boots in the car.   When I head out to work in the mornings, it is always with the hope that today will be the day.  For what?  Who knows?  And furthermore, who cares?   If it doesn’t happen today, there’s a good chance it will happen tomorrow … and so it goes.

honeysuckle

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.   ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

When sleep eludes me …

as it sometimes does, many things fill my head.  One of the purest and most beautiful of all are the words.  They fill my head, my heart, my soul and my spirit.  All kinds of words.  Work-related ones, home related ones; words about family and friends, dreams and possibilities.  Words about art and music, about fantasy, reality and the fine line between the two.  There are words about people, about things and about places I’ve yet to go.  There is something wonderfully relaxing about the music that words make.  And music they do make.  Their own rhythm, sometimes with a passion that transcends generations and makes them timeless.  I have yet to stumble upon the generation transcending string of words, but it is early yet.

I  have mentioned before, I’m fairly sure, that my Mamaw Daphne first inspired my love of words.  She, who believed in the adage touting that “knowledge is power”, forced me to look at words differently.  She made me see them for what they were and started me on the path of word appreciation.  They weren’t simply words to me anymore, but a tangible thing that I could feel, speak and interpret  if I but took the time to listen.  The love of putting words together in poems and journals, thoughts jotted down and life preserved through their magic; that came from my father’s mother, Granny Minton.

My dad once told me, when I was unable to spell the word “beautiful”, that if I was going to use words, I had better know how to spell them and what they meant.  An echo of what I learned early on from my Mother’s mother.  I learned to spell it and all the other words I wanted to use.

The third, and possibly the most encouragingly fulfilling of all of my word experiences came in my Senior year of high school.  I had to have one more English elective and I had already taken all of the available “traditional” English courses.  I looked over my choices and decided on Creative Writing.  When I walked into the room the first day, there was one word on the blackboard (we still used blackboards then).  The teacher, Mrs. Campbell, likely my favorite teacher ever, said to the class “30 minutes.  that’s how much time you have to make a story out of the word”.  I finished mine in fifteen.  The word was “adorned” and I never made less than an A in that class.  After the mid-term, in which the words on the board were “Charlie’s Bar and Grill”, she asked me where I came up with my story that had earned an A+.  I didn’t have the courage to admit that it had come from my own head, my imagination, my secret world … so I lied.  I told her that it was similar to an experience I had been through.  Not true.  I wonder where my life may have led had I believed enough in myself and my imagination to tell her the truth.

At this point, that is neither here nor there.  What is important is that words never left me.  They followed me and surrounded me through the wonderful times as well as the not-so-wonderful times.  There really is no substitute for them … not photography, not music, not art.  The symphony they sing stirs within my heart, mind, spirit and soul before it is played out with letters and punctuation; that, in itself, is priceless beyond description.  I am blessed beyond … well, beyond words.

fiddlestrings