The Power of A Voice – and Why I Write

If you haven’t explored the blog, or seen value in it yet, I’m ok with that – blogs aren’t for everyone, and I’m not for everyone 🙂 but I wanted to open up a little more to allow you to see the heart I pour into every piece I write, and why I write. I realized recently that my blog contains no gossip or bad-mouthing and, I think, has just enough substance to warrant writing. That epiphany made me proud, and I plan to continue writing with integrity. Reading is just as important to me as writing, so I can continue to keep an open mind about the world and learn from the experiences of others.

I have read, most recently and famously in a tweet from Ellen, that love is stronger than hate. And I believe that with all my heart – it’s one of the things that keeps me going when it seems like the world is falling apart. But despite all that love, there’s a lot of anger out there today. On social media there are graphic and violent videos, harsh and swift accusations, and a lot of judgment – people are furious, and we should be! The news has been full of violence and shocking hatred, and I am glad we all have found our voices, because each voice holds a lot of power.

One of the beautiful concepts about America is our freedom. Thanks to the people who fight to protect it, nationally and around the globe – including the finally-acknowledged final letter of the LGBT community – we live much more safely than many other citizens around the world. So I certainly don’t think open dialogue is a bad thing, I think it makes us who we are.

But I do think it’s a problem when people who (like me) are usually thoughtful and constructive begin to be swayed by the tide of judgment and truculence. To be clear – let’s keep having the conversation! We absolutely need to USE our voices – but let’s be intentional about how we do that. Are we trying to create volumes of violence and pithy negativity? Let us reacts to another careless murder of a black man by a white police officer with kindness and compassion, and beyond that, let our actions reflect and convey our voices.

I have seen two starkly different types of social media reactions to last week’s flood of global violence. One person reacted by sharing a news story with a tragic, accurate headline, and added her thoughts – as a child, she remembers her parents advising her to seek help from a police officer if she felt scared. She reflected on how different it must be for black parents, knowing that telling a child to seek the presence of a police officer, if they move too quickly, may mean death.
Many others have responded harshly, casting accusations and generalizing (the irony isn’t lost on me that this is a generalization, but I’ll call this irony a writing tool :)) about the reactions of others around them – what is an acceptable hashtag and what isn’t – which prompted me to reflect on my voice and how I want to use it.

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Our voices, especially today, are incredibly powerful – between social media and other constant-contact technology, brilliant people working together, plus the presence of more money as millennials grow in the workforce, and easier access to weapons – makes these generations today highly responsible for the human era of the now.

All of the clichĂ©s have been said. What seems to remain is a lot of anger. And again – be angry! We should be angry and horrified at the state of our planet. A good friend of mine shared a meme on Facebook that says “I can’t keep calm, I have a black son.” And I couldn’t choose which Facebook-branded response was the most appropriate – a like, a love, a crying face, an angry face – there isn’t an adequate response. And frankly, even if I could find the right words, as a white woman with no children, to respond (with what, even? comfort? solace? agreement? support?) to a black woman with three children, what would that even mean?

Clearly, as a writer, I believe in the power of our voices. But actions speak louder than words – another clichĂ©, yes, but one of my favorites. I believe that our voices have the power to assemble like-minded people to make a difference. With the advent and prevalence of social media, we have two primary responsibilities as adults:

  1. Read with integrity. Take opinions for what they are (not facts) and take news with a grain of salt unless provided by a reputable source. I like itv – be careful of news sources that only provide one side of the story, or read from one source on each side. It’s amazing to see the Jerusalem Post reports that never appear on CNN or the New York Times. Politics is a great arena within which to practice reading with intention and integrity. Deflect the rumors started by candidates or their social media followers. Read a reputable news source to confirm a story, then read a different one and see if the story changes. Resist the temptation to be swayed by debates! At least until you read the fact-checked version afterwards. This election in particular is going to be a very important one for the freedom of many in our country, and one thing I’ve noticed is how easy it is to stand against our female candidate. Many claim criminality (false), she is in the pocket of the big banks (friends, that’s how you play the game – I work for a big bank and I have a soul most days – plus, you can change a system much better from the inside, but you have to win to get there), and that she’s just not likeable (and that impacts her ability to run a country how?). You’ll make your own decision, and I don’t want this blog to be political, but when we talk about power and taking action, a vote and who we help to become elected will make history this year, one way or another.

2. Write with integrity. Remember when our parents cautioned us to stop taking selfies with a beer, or scantily clad? The same logic applies with our voices on social media. You never know who will see our writing – and if we rant without a thought about the consequence, then what? Our angry rant may stoke the fire in others who might have been waiting for any excuse to act. Intention and integrity are critical to spreading peace – and peace and love are the ONLY way to end hate. Facebook is not a journal, and neither is my blog. I have drafts of posts saved, which will never see the light of day, because they’re my unfettered feelings and were not written to be shared. If I post something on social media, it’s because I’m intentionally sharing it with the world – that’s why I share so much positivity and love, and uplifting stories about humanity and the planet – we need more love in the world. I applaud intentional discussions about important topics, but when they disintegrate into petty name-calling, or end at the discussion itself, we’re not making any progress. Use your voice and actions to improve the world, and if you won’t, ask yourself why not.

I’m grateful every day for this blog. It’s my outlet, and my forum to share happiness and peace with as many people as I can reach. And I recognize that, with great power (34 Twitter followers and counting!! :)) comes great responsibility. In all seriousness, as a white woman in today’s society, I have a long way to go, and a responsibility to be an advocate and a voice against hate and violence – towards anyone: people of color and the LGBT community especially still face unthinkable, and dangerous, obstacles.

So that’s why I write. Please join me in the conversation, or bring me into yours, so we can keep spreading love, and tamp down the hate.


Happy Wife, Creative Life

Happy Wife, Creative Life

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