I've been sitting on that phrase for a long time. Do people's words ever ring in your head and just kind of STAY there? I've heard several, heck, one even made a blog post of mine go viral: "A skinny girl like you..." was the winner there. But back to the one that's currently ringing in my mind.
Around Election Day I attempted to stay neutral in some of my responses as far as social media was concerned. But frankly, the closer it got to casting my ballot, the more passionate I got about really wanting to voice my opinion about Donald Trump. For the first time in my adult life, I felt concerned for our country; worried about what would happen if this man stood in front of our country as THE President Elect. Well, we all know how that turned out and we all know that as far as politics are concerned, our voices are like the wind. We share them for each other, but are they going to change major decisions and outcomes like THE President of the United States? Probably not.
However, as much as I know how Facebook works and I know that it is a place for our voices TO be heard, I was SHOCKED at some of the responses I received from friends and family on one of my statuses. I mean heaven FORBID I don't vote straight ticket Republican, right? "Ashley, I'm just shocked that a good Christian girl like you would vote this way," I read.
Did you know that I didn't SAY who I was voting for publicly, I just made it clear that it wasn't Trump? Let me ask those of you reading this, have you and I ever had a REAL conversation? Have we gone in to deep dialogue about my religious beliefs and political opinions? Do you actually know where I stand on abortion, on gay marriage, on healthcare, on student loans and education...or do you just THINK you know based on my Facebook posts? Did you know that Facebook is not ME?
I take pretty pictures. I love to post about my kids, especially so my mom who is six hours away, can see entire albums of what we're up to. I like to stay in touch with friends who have all moved to different states or who live back home. I use Facebook to sell stuff, that's always fun right? Once in a while I'll post a random status or share something of someone's that I could relate to. But you don't know exactly where I stand on worldly issues because of Facebook. Social media is not who I am. And it's not who YOU are.
With social media, you can fine tune your individual feeds to see what you want to see, and what you do NOT want to see. Blocking, unfollowing, reporting, unfriending...But, I try to see and hear everyone. Even those who I do not agree with, even those who I don't understand. And I try to avoid publicly shaming my friends and family because at the end of the day, social media is NOT my relationship; it is not WHOM I love.
We are all SO different. I have friends who do yoga, (I don't really care too much about yoga), I have friends who are UBER passionate about essential oils (I LIKE essential oils, but I can't claim to be passionate about them), I have friends who swing one way politically or the other; super Republican or super Democrat, and I'll tell you I don't agree with things from BOTH of those parties. But I still love you because of YOU. I love you BECAUSE you're family, not because I have to agree with you 100% on every single thing that you are passionate about. I love you because you are uniquely and wonderfully created BY my Creator.
I received a direct message on Instagram relating to one of my stories, a photo of Scrubbing Bubbles. "Don't use that cleaning product! It'll give you cancer!" she said. I almost REALLY quickly replied, "EVERYTHING CAUSES CANCER, don't scold me for the choices that I make for myself and my family," and then I immediately deleted it. That's what social media is, right? A place to voice our opinion, to share the things we are passionate about, to make each other laugh, to use our words and to document our lives. But can't we think before we scold? I mean really, did she think that I would just immediately stop using Scrubbing Bubbles because of a direct message? I don't know, perhaps so. But if you know me, then you know I'm not the type of person to live in fear of cleaning products, foods, beverages, and just lifestyle things in general. Someone once told me that milk caused cancer. Really and truly, HOW are we supposed to live with all the warning labels that exist?! My husband and I eat healthy, we try to also ensure the same for our children, and ultimately, we're doing the best that we can. Aren't we all?
My friend Hannah shared a photo to Facebook recently and with it, captioned this: "...What a beautiful opportunity we have to love others with our words. To have our hearts in a place of worship, so that from our heart flows words of appreciation and thankfulness, that in turn, build others up. What a beautiful place our communities could be, with the help of carefully thought out and graciously delivered words."
Y'all. You do not know my entire values or beliefs from Facebook. And I don't know yours. If you'd LIKE to have a conversation about mine sometime, hey, let's actually talk. I don't think I could meet every single one of you for coffee or dinner, but I'm happy to get to know you. And if there's something that you think I should change or do, start with a gentle tone, not authoritative. I may not agree with you on your political or religious beliefs, but I promise to still love you. And that's not just because I'm a good Christian girl, it's because my parents raised me well and I believe in the good of this world.