June 24

How To Be The Most Successful Blogger. Ever.

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While the words successful blogger and Punk Rock Papa are not exactly synonymous, I decided to give it a go anyways and write a definitive guide to being a successful blogger. Sure, my ‘stats’ aren’t exactly gaudy, but who cares? I pay hundreds of dollars a year on internet writing so I must know what I am doing. Also, I am sort of published in an anthology, so you know I am the real deal.

There are many things that go into becoming a successful blogger. Do you feel like you don’t have the writing talent to be a successful blogger? Who cares?! Being successful isn’t about being good at anything. I like to call my approach to blogging the  Kardashiyesican Approach.

First and foremost, you have to find yourself an audience. Your audience, at first, can be family and those ride or die friends who always told you how good of a singer you were and how you should totally try out for American Idol. The ones who uploaded the grainy video of you singing to YouTube and then submitted it to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Show those friends your dreams and aspirations.

There are many different kinds of bloggers. Some write lists and some write recipes. Others like to take all their sessions of therapy and condense them into 500 to 1,000 word bursts to spew across the internet in between shares of funny memes and a disgust for the word ‘moist’. These are the successful bloggers, the real MVPs of the blogging world. You want to be one of them.

The Kardashiyesican Approach involves you being completely bare and pretending to be embarrassed about being ‘naked’ in front of strangers. When posting you should use phrases such as;

“This is really important to me.”

“I never thought I would find the courage to share this.”

“This has trigger warnings.”

It is really important to sell to your audience. Sure, the incident required a hundred hours of therapy and happened five years ago but you want to sell it like you are “Not over it but getting there.”

This is how the REAL bloggers do it.

Another good way to build an audience is to accidentally leak your blog at work. Tell Karen, who never keeps her mouth shut, about it. The key is to act super embarrassed.

“Oh, that reminds me of this thing I wrote. I am super embarrassed, I probably shouldn’t show you this. I trust you, Karen. I trust you. Well, I guess since it is on the internet it is there for everyone to see. No, Karen, scroll down. There. Yes, I blog. Don’t tell anyone. I trust you Karen, did you hit subscribe and share?”

A lot of bloggers will advise you to like and share other people’s work as well. That sounds like it requires a whole lot of reading and sharing that you could spend asking people to read your stuff. The best way to get around this is to just drop links to your blog on other people’s blogs. This will show them that not only did you “read” *wink* their work, but related to it so much it reminded you that everyone should be reading your words instead.

Feeling overwhelmed? Building an audience is important, there are many ways to do it. Sure, there may be ways that are more etiquette centric but let’s be honest here, you’re blogging because it is about you. The Kardashiyesican Approach isn’t about doing what is right or wrong, it is about being the most successful blogger you can be.

If you are really having a hard time building an audience, you can always just straight forward attack your peers. This method might even land you TV spots! I like this method, because it cuts out a lot of the social media aspect of successful blogging. Just write some vitriol, write an I’m not sorry post, write an I’m sorry post and then write a post about how you are seeking mental wellness.

Watch the stats stack up.

If you want to go the social media route, there are a variety of social media platforms to play on. I am what is known as a level 3 Facebook Guru. I have a ‘tribe’, a page with thousands of followers and an ability to say I was on Scary Mommy. Having a tribe is really awesome for exposure. You can use your tribe to build this really tight bond with your peers, in case you need to straight forward attack them and call them shit later. Tribes are also filled with really nice people, too.

We aren’t here for friends, we are here to be successful bloggers. This is a really competitive field and if, like me, you aren’t as talented as the rest, you can’t spare time to have friends or anything in your tribe. These are your competition for the trending topic. It is a constant battle of who had a worst childhood and if you want good sites to pick you up, you better start dipping into those repressed memories.

Social media provides a good platform to talk about yourself. I find it really important, in order to be successful, to always be talking about yourself or your family. Sometimes, my kids will want to do something and while it may seem like fun, I know Christine from whatever page has already done that this week so we have to do something else for the precious Facebook likes. Facebook likes equal more people reading your blog, something my children have a hard time comprehending.

Facebook is wildly important if you want to be successful. If you can be personable online, take other people’s statuses and reshape them so it sounds like an original thought, and get people to think you spend as much time with your family as you say you do online then you will be golden. It’s called balance. While I don’t advocate Munchausen Syndrome, I do advocate using makeup to put fun ‘boo-boos’ on your children. Sympathy likes are super in right now.

Lastly, and this is how you truly reach the pinnacle of success, you have to be angry. Not angry about your life, no, you have to be happy with your life. You need to be angry about something that doesn’t affect you. It could affect a sister’s best friend’s cousin, but not you directly. You have to be really upset though, as if your day-to-day routine of pretending to play with your kids at the park was truly affected by something that happened a million miles away from you. Lose sleep over something.

I like to say, “I know I was upset about that thing last week and can’t remember what cause I was fighting- but this, this truly traumatized me because of the magnitude at how everyone else is upset by it. I mean it, this has awakened my inner activist and I want to do somethi- Oh, wait, nevermind. I am really angry about THIS thing now.”

It is important to remember, the internet is a tough place to gain popularity if you aren’t a cat. I hope you can take the Kardashiyesican Approach and use it to turn childhood woe into viral posts. Because, at the end of the day, might as well do it for the likes.

June 22

Dear Congress, You’ve Failed US

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I moved between sadness and a deepening sense of outrage. Unsure of what I wanted to say, just knowing I felt compelled to say something, I fought the urge to go on Twitter and tweet the words ‘fuck you’ to every single member of Congress.

I hold them all accountable. If 49 families never got to see their loved ones alive again, the least Congress can do is sit in a room until they come up with something. Anything. As I explained my frustration to a coworker, he said this,

“Dude, if they did nothing after a little white child was shot, why would they do anything now? They didn’t care when an all black church was shot up. They don’t care a gay club was shot up. They didn’t even care a little white child was shot.”

I wanted to argue with him but what could I say? Nothing has been done. As I was dwelling on 49 faces flying through my newsfeed, he put it in perspective to me. There are many more than just 49 families out there missing someone.

The sickening reality is this country has a problem. Our newsfeed reads how I imagine a third world country’s would.

Murder.

Violence.

Death.

Brutality.

Nothing from the government.

This is how I imagine unrest to be. This is how I imagine any good dystopian novel begins.

I will try to be as measured and open-minded as possible when writing this. I want a conversation. This country doesn’t need more fighting, it needs people talking. It needs proactive movement towards resolution.

Four gun measures were put forward. Two from the republicans and two from the democrats. All four failed to pass. It reeks of bullshit. Two parties, serving the interest of their party, driving the value of human life down.

This is serving self-interest, not the people. Thoughts, prayers and condolences, culminating into one big message of ‘fuck you, you’re on your own.’

Wall Street received a bail out. When will Congress bail the people out from the growing threat of being riddled with bullet holes?

I am sorry if my language is obscene, senator. To me, it is more obscene to do nothing in the face of catastrophic loss.

I didn’t agree with every measure put forward Monday. The idea of a list the government can add people to lackadaisically without my comprehension scared me. I have seen enough movies, read enough books and caught enough History Channel to know some things have the best intentions and fall into the worst hands.

But strengthening background checks? This doesn’t sound like disarmament to me. This doesn’t sound like the government coming to take anybodies guns. If a stringent background check finds you unfit to carry, maybe that problem is you, not the law. Who is hurt by background checks at gun shows?

I don’t understand and maybe that is my problem. Maybe my issue is I look at my children and know taking them out in public runs the risk of them being shot. And maybe the issue I have is knowing their senseless death wouldn’t matter to anyone but me and my family. This isn’t me trying to appeal to some sort of human emotion, The Senate has made it quite clear, again and again, they do not care.

Four measures and nothing. At my job, when we fail to reach a solution to a problem, people get fired. There isn’t much they can do in terms of lobbying for their job. If you are failing to fulfill your duties, you are removed and someone else is moved in to your place. Someone who will get the job done.

Something. Anything. Your well wishes aren’t keeping us alive.

June 14

Death is Trending

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I want to be funny. I scan through the trending topics on social media, looking for a red cup fiasco or, at the very least, a child falling into an animal pit.

Instead I find photographs and stories of senseless murder. I see a country reeling on so many different levels.

I want to write a tell-all of the conference I went to. Be you at BlogU! The people I secretly didn’t like and the people I couldn’t believe I ever thought were anything short of wonderful.

Instead, I find myself reading article after article. Putting faces to forty-nine people who impacted someone’s life and are now impacting my life with their tragic and terrible fate.

I don’t want to be sad or make others sad. I don’t want to get into the never-ending fight.

Over guns.

And politics.

And Islam.

And homosexuality.

And religion.

And and and and and.

There is always another and. Another nasty fight. Faulty wording there for someone to pick apart, because diving into the depth of content is too much work. There are some who might read this and they will take from it I fight about gay political guns that practice Islam, because they are trying to pick something apart to deflect from the saddening sense of defeat we are all feeling.

Where can my children and I go today? Obviously we weren’t planning on going to a gay nightclub, although my wife and friends will go once in a blue moon to the local gay bar, where the woman my kids affectionately call Auntie Morgan helps those dressing in drag do their make up.

I can’t take my kids to school. That became clear on December 14th, 2012. An hour and a half away from where I live, to children only a few years older than my children are now.

I can’t take my kids to the movies. That became clear July 20th, 2012. At a movie I saw in theaters as well, with my wife on a late night.

But, all that happened in 2012, right? It has been four years, surely taking my kids out in public is safer now and I am grasping at straws to paint a history of gun violence.

April 15, 2013, the city of Boston, which happens to be my favorite city on the east coast, became the victim of an attack. The bomb detonating at a spot I have stood at on multiple occasions. I stood there as the Boston Bruins marched the Stanley Cup proudly through the city. I stood there cheering, with a sense of security and safety.

December 2, 2015, The city of San Bernardino, which happens to be where I was born and lived as a small child, became victim to a senseless and violent attack. Guns being drawn blocks away from where I sometimes envision revisiting as an adult.

November 29, 2015, the city of Colorado Springs, where I stayed as we laid my mom to rest. Senseless violence, in the city I told my wife I would like to move to. Where my brother lives the next town over with his wife and son.

These dates are all over the place and I apologize. I only name them as they come to mind and hurt the heart.

I don’t mention color. I don’t mention creed. And why would it matter? If it matters to you, it’s a pretty even spread of angry ranging white to brown. Off the top of my head its White American, White American, White Russian (not the drink, although I am starting to need one), Muslim American, White American. When we add Orlando, June 12th, 2015, the day before my birthday, it adds another Muslim American.

I believe even the Russian was a naturalized citizen. I can’t be sure, my head is beginning to spin at the thought of taking my children out into a world where there are so many different people angry and ready to kill others who are strangers to them and guilty of nothing more than wrong place, wrong time.

I don’t feel safe at the grocery store. Or the mall. I am sure I can find dates for those places being shot up. I am sure there are people out there, still reeling from loss who can remember those days from the moment they woke up to the moment they lost a child.

I don’t claim to know the answer. I don’t want to get into the never-ending fights, with all their ands attached.

I want to be funny. To make fun of trending content.

I want to feel safe when I take my family in public, not just scanning the surrounding area for places to shield my family in case of senseless violence. I want to say hello to a passerby without scanning them for the possibility of a hidden weapon.

I don’t know the answer and maybe that means I should shut up.

I do know I am afraid. The general consensus is so are many others. Because this trend of senseless murder isn’t going away, it’s getting worse.

May 27

What I Wish I Knew Before Having Boys

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I watch my children run around outside, playing together and laughing in the beautiful weather. My heart fills with joy, as they do “boy” things, like play in the dirt and pick up bugs they find. I feel like the luckiest man in the world, blessed with a beautiful, happy, set of sons I get the pleasure of watching grow up. I shuffle them inside, marching them to the bath to clean the fun dirt from behind their ears so we can sit down for a nice lunch together. Family, it is such a beautiful thing. Washing my son gets awkward. His little trooper stands at full attendance, as I wash around his body parts to make sure everything is clean.

No one ever told me about this. They told me about colic and how to deal with a blow-out. I learned, from the parenting books, what was best to pack, the good and bad of crying it out. I learned fun games to help my sons grow cognitively and how important balanced meals were. I must have missed a chapter.

No one told me about the baby boner and now I am left to feel like a worker at a seedy massage parlor when I wash or change my son’s diapers. I think Viagra should rebrand it’s self.

“It will get you up like you were a baby!” 

I only speak of the baby stiffs because literally had no idea a baby could do that until my twins were born. Pull the diaper back and HELLO, THIS ISN’T THAT TYPE OF PARTY, YOUNG MAN!

I found out a baby boner supposedly means the kid is about to pee. Which, completely confuses me from my own personal experiences with erections. It makes me wonder why my children always are about to pee during Princess Sophia.

They don’t have to pee, they are perverts.

The twins, recently potty trained (hallelujah), have taken to pulling their underwear to the side and flicking their little boy toys while saying “Daddy, look! Pee Pee!” I have zero interest in looking at my son magically make his balloon animal grow, which I am quite vocal about.

It means they are about to pee, said the female expert. Have you ever had a boner, lady? Peeing with an erect..erm…member is like trying to convince your child to finish their vegetables. It ain’t happening, professional baby boner chick.

There is a lot you deal with when you become a parent. I didn’t sign up for dealing with hard-ons. I will wipe a butt and give a bath with a smile. I did not sign up for dicks dicks dicks all in my face.

You think they could have covered that in health class? I mean, I feel it would have deterred me from parenting.

“Let’s make a baby, baby!”

“Uh, what if we get a boy, babe?”

“We can name him after you. He can be Junior. Oh, please, my love, let’s make a baby!”

“Uh, I ain’t dealing with baby boners you better pass that box of condoms and pop your birth control or I am gonna go back to Netflix and Chilling without you.”

#Sorrynotsorry

I am here to expose this issue like my son exposes himself. Inappropriately. I can get by with school not teaching me how to file my taxes or do a mortgage but I will stand up against the lack of education about willy wonders of the toddler world.

Why didn’t anyone give me a heads up. Oh my god, I am gonna be sick.

May 19

Am I A Mommy Blogger?

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I was super excited recently because I decided it was time for me to take down mommy blogging. Then someone beat me to it. With like, a bajillion words more than the seven hundred I probably would have dedicated to the subject. Seriously, it was like the blog equivalent to War and Peace.

Mommy blogging has provided me with an existential crisis. Unsure of what I am in the big blogosphere, I must go on a vision quest to find my true identity.

Am I *gasp* a mommy blogger?

Outward appearance would say no. I am a dad. I have this penis, making me giggle like a twelve year old for using the word penis. But, I pal around with the mommy babble crew.

Are there dad bloggers? Yes, there are. Yet, I feel I identify more so with the mommies than dads.

I will pause briefly for you to insert as many trans- jokes you can. Extra five points for a joke about Target bathrooms AND trans.

I will also briefly pause for those who feel I crossed a line. I guess you don’t read much of me.

I identify with and hang out with the mommy crew. For most of my bloggy career, I have been supported almost a hundred percent by women. During the time I was and participated in a group of dad bloggers, I still found my blog and page being supported almost entirely by women.

Now, were these just lonely housewives and I was their cabana boy?

*Wink* *fetches ice cold refreshments*

Whatever the reason, I made a lot of friends that were, for a lack of a cooler term, mommy bloggers. Is the community oversaturated with females writing about their experiences in motherhood?

Well, if I said yes, it would make a constant theme of my writing null and void. I have always held fast to the belief everyone has a voice and their voice should be heard. So, if a ton of women want to be heard, who am I to say it is saturation?

Is this industry rife with sell outs who would make Gene Simmons proud? Sure. But, who cares? The amazing thing about the internet is the ability to literally walk away from it. Literally.

You can’t see, but after the second literally, I stepped away from my laptop to prove a point. So, like, imagine that. 

Am I a mom blogger? I don’t know. 

Do I meme so hard motherfuckers want to take my word pictures and take my name off them.

Check. 

Do I get unreasonably upset about things that don’t affect me and go on long tirades about them?

Uh…Check. 

Do I incessantly post about my children and the little things they do all day?

Check, and brb got to hit up my Instagram with some photos from dinnertime. 

Do I review products and tell people how they must have them?

Have you seen Multiples Illuminated is available NOW on Amazon!!!!! Also, Check. 

Have I pushed a baby out of my body?

Ch—Challenging this question due to the fact that there are mommies with adopted children. Boom. 

So, if you look at it, Punk Rock Papa ain’t nothin but a sucky mom blogger too. Aw, shucks. Maybe I am not purebred mommy blogger. I am, at the very least,  like the little brother they are forced to bring to their friend’s house.

“Why is he here? I can’t believe they always make you bring him! Let’s peer pressure him into wearing makeup.”

FYI- Purple totally makes my brown eyes POP. I know this, from being the younger sibling forced along on my older niece’s hangouts with her friends.

What you write doesn’t define you. If you use your blog as a source of income, it doesn’t define you. I don’t identify as a forklift driver because I do that at my job five times a week.

What defines you is how you treat those around you. How you lift those people up along the journey. So, if I am a mommy blogger, I hope it stands for encouraging. Proud. Nurturing. Loving. Attentive. Kick ass at writing lists about what to do with your day off. A devoted parent.

That’s something I can live with.

May 16

Teenage Angst

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“Look, I found one.”  he said, holding up a half smoked cigarette to me. Lighting it, I took a huge draw before handing it back. We each got two puffs of stale tobacco before the cigarette was gone and the search for another half-smoked discarded cigarette renewed.

The air was warm and humid. Humid enough that you felt a slight weight as it clung to your shirt. Here we were, searching through discarded smokes, trying to sate our nicotine urges.

It had been a long, blurry night. At about eight o’ clock the party arrived. While I didn’t have a job, I had something most didn’t. I had a place to party. The two bedroom apartment with connecting kitchen and living room was strewn with the clutter of broken furniture and stains of people who couldn’t make it to the toilet to throw up after a night of drinking. People would come over to drink and do whatever drugs and would share their booze or narcotics. It was a fair trade off. The urge to party sometimes runs headfirst into the problem of not having a place to rage.

I provided the space, people provided the party. My stomach, along with my cabinets, hadn’t digested anything but cheap beer or even cheaper vodka for the whole week. It was only Thursday.

It wasn’t always this way. I was six months removed from a decent job, a family and a respectable living arrangement. My life had done something I was all too familiar with.

It had fallen apart.

That was the summer I almost lost everything, including my life. The appetite for destruction couldn’t be sated and there wasn’t a drug that went through that apartment I didn’t personally test.

Sifting through cigarette butts, we found two more that were good for a drag or so. What do you do when you’ve got nothing to do?

Our friendship was about as new as my latest spiral out of control. It worked, because our spirals somehow aligned.

How the fuck did I get here?

I wasn’t a terrible bad kid. I was a bad kid, I wouldn’t say I was a terrible one. School and I never agreed on a subject. I was an honor student. It wasn’t that I didn’t like school, I wasn’t a class skipper. The problem was more so the amount of time I spent in class waiting for the teacher to move on. The regular courses came so easy to me that I found myself sitting there; bored and restless. In the time I spent waiting for the teacher to make sure no child was left behind, I daydreamed. Since a young age, the studies were easy and I found myself having to look busy. You know the tortoise and the hare? I was the hare; too fast for my own good. So, while my peers struggled to understand the complexities of the multiplication table, I would sit there, furiously scribbling on a blank piece of paper seeing who would win out; the paper or the ink in the pen. My notebooks were filled with pages saturated in nothing but ink as I scribbled and scribbled to see if the pen would run out of ink before the page became a black hole.

So, as kids slowly progressed, I filled notebooks with nothing. Throughout elementary school and middle school, my class notes were nothing more than pages black and torn from extreme pen abuse.

By the time I hit high school, my two talents were getting under people’s skin and hitting people who got under mine. In my eyes, all my fights were justified. The principal had my parents on speed dial. Maybe it was the feeling that I wasn’t noticed unless I was in trouble that drove me.

That’s what any number of psychologists might tell you. The truth? I was bored and the only way I could find interest was pushing into the unknown.

By high school, a mix of sports and an ability to choose harder classes had leveled me out. Honor courses gave me less time to fill sheets with empty blackness.

if there was something I enjoyed more than pushing into the unknown to see what would happen, it was proving people wrong. By the time high school had arrived, my main goal in life wasn’t to fill notebooks with nothing, it was to prove people wrong. When my guidance counselor looked at the tome of a file on me, she adamantly refused to put me in honor classes. I would be a high school drop out before sixteen, she said. The only classes I ever excelled in were the ones she told me I would fail in.

My parents began a countdown to when they could get rid of their troubled child my senior year. To say I had teenage angst would be an understatement.

I fucking was teenage angst.

Halfway through my senior year, I moved out. Taking a bag of everything I felt I needed, I shacked up with a friend who had already graduated. My parents assumed that was it, I was finally proving everyone right and dropping out.

Quite the contrary.

As I took the stage at graduation, it was hard not to raise a middle finger to the bleachers. Just a nice fuck you one last time. I had no intention of ever talking to them again and I am sure with the burden of me lifted they would be just fine in their day to day.

How did I get from stage walking to sifting through the cigarette butts?

I was broke. I was bored. I was filling the nothing with blackness, just like through grade school.

The summer had begun to reach a tipping point. As more and more drugs and alcohol made their way through my apartment (and my body) my spiral only quickened.

By spiraled, I mean I began to just smash unapologetically into oblivion.

That’s what can happen when you just don’t care. I mean, fuck, no one cared. If anyone did, they certainly weren’t showing it. Nights were spent inhaling anything we could get our hands on.

The substance was the substances.

We gathered empty beer cans from around the house, making our way to exchange them for any change we could get. The change wouldn’t go towards food, but a black and mild to tide over until the party began to show up again.

These were my days and I thought I was living.

The party came. The alcohol flowed. The drugs popped. The party went. I found myself in a room of broken furniture and spilled drinks, looking for meaning in the form of a late night visitor.

When the alcohol and drugs are gone, sex or violence are good substitutes to continue filling with blackness. I didn’t care who she was, I just needed her there. Some semblance of relationship till dawn. A pretty little thing, enabling in a crop top.

Maybe everyone saw how much I didn’t seem to care about my well-being, so neither did they. Maybe, they had enough of their own shit to deal with to worry about the problems of others. We were all young and fucked up, angry with our parents and the world; looking to lash out with sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Walking cliches. Young, dumb and full of cum.

I told you the spiral began to transform into true, pure, destruction. Right?

By Sunday, I was threatening to kill myself if I didn’t get my late night fix of human connection. Did I want to off myself? Well, being alive didn’t really seem all that great. Besides, at nineteen, I felt invincible anyways.

When the cops showed up at my house, asking me why I wanted to kill myself, I laughed. I couldn’t kill myself with so much to live for I told them, hysterically laughing as they shook their heads and made their way to go do whatever cops do after they feel their time is wasted.

Did I want to die?

Yes. Absolutely. I wouldn’t off myself though. For all the self-loathing and destruction, I knew my story didn’t end in some shithole apartment.

No, there had to be more to life.

May 5

Trendy Activism

Do people still care about bathrooms? I mean, not just the people affected, but other people. The other people, who saw something on their newsfeed everyone was talking about and took it upon themselves to weigh in with their opinion. And why not? It is Facebook, also known as the Athens of the internet, where people can get all philosophical and show their progressiveness.

This isn’t about bathrooms.

I remember Starbucks red cups. The anger over boycotting Starbucks. It is always all those religious folk, trying to keep the world backwards. Recently, I purchased an expensive coffee from Starbucks. The Sulawesi, Single Origin, Dark Roast. It is delicious. I would drink it out of a cup that said 666 on it or some sort of Fascist quote. The coffee is moral compass erring good. But everyone was mad at people being mad about the PC or something. I didn’t really understand red cup fever to be honest.

This isn’t about red cups.

What other trends have swept the blogging world’s Parthenon (Read: Facebook) into a heated frenzy?

Well, we could talk about the Me-ternity sensation sweeping the blogging nation. Holy crap, want to piss off mothers in your vicinity? Announce you need a me-ternity.

This isn’t about you-ternity or whatever that is.

What about the presidential election. Puff Daddy or P Diddy or Diddy or whatever he goes by now must be pouring tears of joy as his VOTE OR DIE campaign finally is a success. Everyone is into politics now. I mean, it is trending.

This isn’t about politics.

Facebook has allowed us to care, somewhat, about current affairs as they ebb and flow through our newsfeed. It has given platform to our opinions that people should use whatever bathroom they fancy. Drink from any cup they wish. Not compare maternity with vacation. Vote.

The problem is, do we genuinely care? When topics no longer are trending, we move on to campaign other causes.

Well, yeah, we don’t want to beat that week old drum longer than any of our peers. Besides, if we took the time to continue to care about topics trending down, how would we make time for the topics trending up?

I will be the first to admit to getting caught up in feeling like I was a part of a movement, only to realize a week later I didn’t care as much as I thought I did in my mobbed up moment.

I cared about Syrian Refugees, but I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I wanted a difference to be made, I contributed to that difference being made, with my many Facebook fights and blog post(s). Hadn’t I given my everything to the cause? Besides, no one really cared about Syrian Refugee Crisis anymore. My readers certainly didn’t.

Well, maybe the refugees still actually care…

What happens to these causes, when they no longer decorate your newsfeed? Have they been solved?

I don’t know, since no one is continuing to talk about them. If they are still talking about them, the words have been lost as the next battle in social justice wages on for it’s week. If it’s lucky, people might care beyond a week. Hell, it might rage on for a long, weary, two weeks.

But, why are we talking? Are we talking because we are empathetic to a situation or are we *gasp* speaking from our soapbox in an effort to maintain a sense of relevancy. Maybe grab some likes, with our forward thinking and unique approach to the situation everyone is talking and reading about.

The problem is, when the time in the spotlight is up, we toss issues affecting real people to the wayside. This isn’t activism.

“Are they protesting? Well, they will get bored in a week and go protest elsewhere.”

Kids these days ain’t chaining themselves to trees no more.

It makes me sad to think, maybe, we aren’t as empathetic and understanding as purported to be.

I won’t hold my breath for anyone to come forward and admit, maybe, they did it for the likes and shares and views and to show they are progressive or relevant. That they rode the coattails of a trend to Facebook page likes or a small paycheck from a submission based site.

Maybe people do truly connect to every cause that seems to sweep the book of face into frenzy. They truly connect, on an empathetic level, and feel these causes to their very core. I could just be a cynic, or worse, an ass.

Next time you get caught up in something. A few weeks later, as you fight a different social justice battle, think back.

Did you really care as much as you said you did? Did the problem get solved? If not, why are you no longer fighting for something you felt so deeply about?

Hi, I am Briton Underwood and I am addicted to social justice. It’s been two weeks since my last Facebook fight over an issue I never heard about before that day or talked about after.

April 27

What if One Of The Kids Is Gay?

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“What if one of the kids is gay?”

The question echoes in a quiet living room. Toys litter the floor, but the weighted question, about the possibility of one of our children being homosexual, fills the room. Our kids are still in diapers, they don’t know a thing about love, attraction or relationships yet. They hold their cousins’ hands and give kisses freely as signs of affection. It’s far too early to wonder about the sexual preference our children may or may not choose. But, as we sit there after a long day, the question arises. What if one of the kids grow up and are gay?

“Well, I guess we won’t be doing sleepovers.” I say, laughing off the question.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t know. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s to acknowledge my lack of answers for most questions. Before parenting I had an answer for every scenario from tantrums in Target to getting my children to eat their vegetables. After years as a parent, I find more often than not I am eating the promises of perfection I made before my children were born.

I can’t handle a tantrum at the grocery store with the grace I purported I would.

My kids throw their food on the floor far more often than I care to admit.

What if one of my children is gay? How would I react?

I like to think I won’t be judgmental. I hope to sit there, caring and understanding; as a pillar of support for my child. Well, I hope my kids are comfortable enough with our relationship to come to me about their sexual preference and trust in me to support them. Would them not being heterosexual be a culture shock? Yeah, absolutely.

Growing up, the term gay was tossed around loosely. It wasn’t identified as a derogatory term for a group of people. I didn’t learn gay as a slur until my teenage years. If I didn’t like something, it was gay. There wasn’t this deeper connection to hatred for a whole community of people. As high school came and went, we learned gay and other words had deeper, darker, hateful histories.

As parents we want our children to be accepted, no matter who they are. If my child is gay, I worry about social acceptance. While this is a super progressive era we have the fortune of living in, being gay is still being different. It isn’t that I am scared of my child being different, I am more scared of my child being treated differently.

If my child were gay, will I shrug it off as a phase? Will society?

Would he be embraced for being proud of his orientation or will he hide it out of fear?

The question is weighted and goes beyond the face value of preference. It reminds me of the importance I have in my own household to be open and welcoming. To create an environment of understanding and pride in who you are as a person.

What if one of my children is gay?

We will cross that bridge if we get to it. Hopefully with some grace and understanding.

April 21

If You Don’t Agree With Me, Engage Me

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“If you don’t agree with me just unfriend me please.” Has become my biggest pet peeve. On the adult playground we know as Facebook, you can see it everywhere. People so ready to end friendships because you don’t agree with them. This mentality, I can only assume, came from watching children stuff their fingers in their ears and scream “la la la, I can’t hear you!”. Someone saw their kid do that and thought, ‘How can I do this , but in a real grown up way?” Oh, yeah, on my Facebook safe space.

Trigger Warning : People who deal in absolutes like agree with me or don’t be my friend- I might call you a pussy one or two times. 

I get it, defending the things you believe in can be tough. You have all this space to spew opinion, no time to have your opinion questioned.

If you don’t agree with me, accost me. Engage me. Question me and allow me to question you. Don’t deflect. Don’t end friendships. Engage in thoughtful discussion. You want to mudsling? Do it.

Stand in the face of things you disagree with and voice your opinions loud and clear. Then, defend those very opinions of yours as they are not unquestionable facts.

Let me repeat that-

Your opinion is not a fact. It is open to debate.

Too often nowadays we don’t like hearing we might be wrong. We don’t like to sit there with someone who doesn’t agree with our infallible look at the world.

Is it an absolute sureness in our opinions or a fear our opinions might not be 100% right?

Disagreements used to lead to duels. Now they lead to someone turning into a keyboard samurai, swiftly and deftly dealing that deathblow move; the unfriend.

Change, growth of ideas, thoughtful evolution, does not come at a refusal to address counter beliefs. Now, sure, there are those out there content to not actually discuss their opinions in a thoughtful way. They resort to attacking you directly usually.

I do that. All the time. Pussy. The problem is, when you shut EVERYONE out, from those educated in their beliefs to those who enjoy calling you a pussy, you are closing the door on any sort of critical thinking whatsoever.

You are putting your fingers in your ears and saying, “I’M RIGHT. YOU’RE WRONG. LA LA LA- I AM AN ADULT.”

But, that is the joke. You’re not. The unwillingness to defend your beliefs isn’t valiant or deserving of the coveted Facebook like affirmation. It is a way of saying, ‘I think I am right, that’s good enough for me.’

It’s stating you believe in your opinions but not strongly enough to stand by them in dissertation. In the face of being called a pussy, or worst, an idiot.

Historically speaking, it is shown what happens when people refuse to engage in discussion. When they sit comfortable and fat in their own self- righteousness.

This is when we see bigotry at an all-time high. This is when we see the evolution of backwards thought. And why? Because people chose to sit and ignore adversity. To sit and not argue with differing opinions. Afraid to be wrong or be dragged into a drawn out fight.

If you fear illuminating other minds because someone might be mean to you, then what is the point of even holding your light up and saying you are a beacon of progression?

It isn’t always the person you are arguing with whose opinions and thoughts you are trying to persuade. A presidential debate isn’t for one candidate to convince the other to think their way. It is for the onlookers.

The skeptics.

The thoughtful spectators, looking for a well-formulated thought defended. If you turn your back because you don’t like what the other person is saying, you erode at your own arguments.

And you’re a pussy.