Friday, June 29, 2012

The Airing of Grievances.

"I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're gonna hear about it!"
photo credit

We've all seen it. It's plastered on Facebook and Twitter daily, hourly, secondly.

The airing of grievances. 

"Well, my baby daddy told me he was comin' to get dis child, and he neva showed up, he a loser, I don't know why I screw wit dudes like him, he worthless, said he was in a car wreck, that looser* betta hope he wrecked, cuz imma send my new boyfriend afta his sorry butt." 

or

"If you got something to say to me, why don't you say it to my face? I'm not going to mention your name here because that would be too obvious, instead I want to keep this anonymous so that maybe you feel like it's your fault even though it's not your fault." 

When did social media become a sounding board for every disconsolate single mom, frustrated spouse, discontent family member, and opinionated TapOut wearing muscle head? 

Before we continue, I understand that there are ways to ignore these people, and not see any of the content they post. I know that. But that's not addressing the problem. 

Also, I really don't mind the political bashing, or bashing of Christians or atheists or pro-lifer or pro-choicers. As Christians, I don't think we need to let folks know that they're all going to hell, but in the same token, if you aren't singling someone out, let your opinions fly. Free speech and all that. I'm really focused more on specific individual bashing, friends, family, or otherwise.

A few nights ago, I got into a fight with one of my brothers. Imagine that. Fighting with a brother. About midway through the argument, I picked up my phone and another brother looked at me and said, "Are you about to Facebook this right now?" 

I just stared at him. 

"Absolutely not. Why would I do that?" 

Up until mentioning it here, no one knew that I had a fight with my brother except the other brothers and my wife. That's how I choose to run my life. I don't feel the need to express to the masses that I'm upset with someone, or that people in my family sometimes annoy the bejesus out of me. I think that's a given. If you've known me for more than ten minutes, you've probably seen me argue with one of my brothers. 

On the other hand, I want to share the good times with you. I want you to know that my daughter got saved, or that I'm happy to be celebrating nine years with The Missus, or that our son caught an enormous fish. 

So why the good and not the bad? 

I like to think you have enough of your own problems without seeing mine too. And while I love attention MORE than the next guy, I don't want that attention to be focused on the negative aspects of my life. And believe it or not, this costs me. 

I got a message a few weeks ago from someone telling me that they had honestly never liked me because I seemed stuck up and "better than everyone else." Then, upon reading "The Road," they realized that I had problems like everyone else, and their opinion of me turned around. 

I could not have been happier. I apologized to the person for my aloof attitude, and assured them that I had my fair share of issues. If you're reading this and you'd like to know a few of them, here you go. 

The Missus and I fight about money. I like to spend it, and she has to be the bad guy and tell me not to. I struggle with the fact that our kids don't like me very much because I come off as a stern disciplinarian and don't spend as much time with them as I think I need to. I've struggled with internet pornography for years, and just in the last few years have I gotten it semi-controlled. I'm narcissistic and cynical, but I believe in the basic good of people. I love Jesus, but sometimes I cuss a little. I'm currently paying someone to take a college class for me. I can't stand eating dinner at the table with my family, I like to watch TV when I eat. I'm selfish. I'm a very jealous person. I can be just a touch misogynistic in my words and actions. I struggle with my tolerance for certain things that I was raised to not tolerate. I struggle with control issues. I used to be mean to animals. And I can't stand your driving. 

There. If you thought for one second I don't have problems, there. 

"After all, we all live in Hyde Park. We all have our dragons."**

But Travis, isn't airing them here the same as telling Facebook and Twitter about them? 

Well, let me ask you this. Do you enjoy engaging with me on the social platform? If so, ask yourself why. Is it because 99% of my statuses are lighthearted and joking? I'm going to step out on a limb and say that hopefully you answered yes to those questions. 

On the blog however, you have to digest the good with bad, and it's not a three second glance over 140 characters and a quick dismissal or press of the "Like" button. You've committed to reading all of this, or most of it, and so it's less of a constant barrage of negative streaming onto your cell phone or computer screen. Also, I'll usually warn you that a blog is a "thinker," and not a normal, funny, make you laugh so hard you spit coffee on your keyboard and then pee your pants blog. 

Another reason is, when I'm on social media like Facebook or Twitter, I genuinely want to make you smile or laugh all the time. Sometimes I want you to think, and sometimes even cry, but I never want you to say, "Wow, I wish Travis would shut up with all that negative talk about his wife." I want something that makes you feel.

Some will accuse me of pandering to people's sentimental and emotional side. I'd ask those people to read my blog. I keep it real here. 

So why do people feel the need to bash their exes, their family, and anything else incessantly on social media? Is it because they aren't getting the attention they feel they need from people in real life? Is it because they get a thrill out of exposing someone for who they really are over the Internet? I really wish I had the answers for that. In fact, at the risk of becoming somewhat Maury-like, if you're a constant basher of people on social media, why don't you anonymously weigh in with a comment here. Tell us what makes you tick. 

As for me, and thankfully for The Missus and my family, we will continue in the tradition of leaving each other alone on Facebook and Twitter. I am proud of that fact, and I hope you'll consider joining me in making your social media feed a bit more positive. Focus on the good people have done for you. If no one has ever done anything good for you, why don't you start by doing something good for someone else? The feeling you'll get might be status worthy. 

In the words of mothers for generations:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." 



*I absolutely misspelled that on purpose. Don't think for one second I don't know the difference between loose and lose. 

** "The Oath" - Frank Peretti



17 comments:

  1. I TRY to do the same, my blog is my space to vent and let it out.. period. My fb is for fun and laughter and good news. Really Travis why would you describe ME and tell people that it's you.. except I don't have an addiction to internet porn, well not like that. I do write erotica, I do read written stuff, not big on pictures or movies. Wow ok seriously thought about deleting that last line but naw I own it.... I even have a blog that is on that side of the blogosphere.. umm yeah..

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  2. You and I are a lot alike in this respect. The only "negative" things I ever post on FB (as you can attest to since we're super-awesome-FB-friends) are gripey statuses about a headache or being tired or something. And I try to limit even those. I'm not annoyed by people who publicize their fights on social media so much as I'm amused ... astounded ... aghast at their lack of maturity and self-restraint.

    I rarely write anything negative or sad on my blog, either. I feel like it's a place where people come expecting a laugh - and even though it's my blog, and I can write what I damn well please, it wouldn't be worth writing if people didn't read it. I can be wallowing in the throes of depression and still crack jokes in a blog post. A few years ago, my grandmother died a very traumatic and suspicious death, and a very close family member was investigated for her murder (which is still officially unsolved). I've never written anything about it. I didn't talk about it on FB. Discussing things, getting people's opinions, generally makes me feel better ... but only when it's relatively trivial stuff, like how to get my kids to poop and pee where they're supposed to.

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    1. I love the fact that all of your posts - serious or not - are woven with the humor that I fell in love with over at your place to begin with. I am very anti "mommy blogging;" however, you are the exception to the rule. Always a joy to read, and your FB and Twitter feeds are too.

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  3. Travis, I love you and Alicia to pieces but I did not need to know about you paying someone to take a college class for you or about your internet porn addiction. I have always known you marched to your own drummer and I admire you for that but which drum you march to, well some details can be left to the imagination. I am proud to call you my friend! Just keep some things under wraps so as not to scar your family for life. Just a little advice from someone that has been on this earth a little longer than you. BTW, I like to watch tv while I eat too.....

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    1. Haha. Jessie, I'm doing it for all of those out there who think I might have a perfect life. Who think I might not struggle with stuff. I struggle daily. Not so much with pornography anymore, but I still put that out there in case someone IS struggling with it. I am proud to call you my friend as well.

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  4. Travis, I agree 100%. Facebook is NOT the place for airing dirty laundry, maligning someone else's character, or saying things to other human beings that you will likely regret. That is precisely why I have only a handful of Facebook friends compared to many who have hundreds or even thousands. I even have a couple of friends--real-life friends at one time who dwindled to FB status due to lack of contact--who I plan to unsubscribe to, simply because of the negative attitudes. I don't need that. Nobody does. And by the way, your rendition of the Baby Mamma was right-on. We hear it every day. Thanks for, once again, saying what many of us are thinking.

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    1. Betsy, I am thankful that you continue to read and support my blog. You've obviously moved past the fact that I was a hateful little snot of a teenager, and I am proud to be associated with you and your family. Each one of you holds a special place in my heart. You, Mike, Brendan, Bethany, Katie, and that doll of hers are in my thoughts and prayers often. Thank you.

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  5. Very well put Travis!! I have at times wanted to vent my frustrations on Facebook but always find that after I have written them... I feel better so I just delete the whole thing before posting!! Nobody really wants to listen to someone whine all the time over social media! It's great for needing to pass useful information on some unfortunate happenings by why do we want to know that ur mad at ur co-worker for flicking their boogers on the trash can?!!! Not something I want to know about unles u write a blog about it and make it a story!!! LOL

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    1. Thank you, Uncle Chip! I couldn't agree more.

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  6. After years of wading through the various types of social media, I've come up with my own personal rules about facebook, twitter, and the like. Since we are FB friends, you can see I keep it pretty clean on there... happy fun stuff, and definitely not "I'm mad at you, you know who you are" bull. And then Twitter I felt like I was somewhat anonymous and always said "twitter is where you let your ass hang out". Of course you don't constantly go and bring your whining and complaints there--that's what spouses are for, or BFFs, and frankly if you're always focusing on the negativity then that's only what you'll get in your life. But if you just need to grumble to the Universe, Twitter is relatively safe within reason.

    So my overall view of Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr whatever... how likely is it that someone who knows you in real life, and therefore matter's to your real life, is to access that social media.

    That was a very long explanation.

    Really, all I need to say to your brother about him asking if you were going to FB it is, "WTF, does Travis look like he's a 13 year old girl?"

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    1. Kate, my brother would ABSOLUTELY say yes to that last question, because he is a turd. As for the rest of your comment, I completely concur that if you HAVE to be nasty, Twitter is the best place for it. I've said some truly terrible things about the University of North Carolina on Twitter.

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  7. Some people use fb as a way to vent because they may not have somebody to talk to. Yes fb is surely not the place to "air dirty laundry" but hey, whose it hurting. Sometimes things are easier to put on a post in words real quick than to deal with the crap that would come along with it if it were actually said outloud. I personally use fb as my soapbox so that my points are made, I can get it out of my system without fighting about it with the spouse, sibling, whatever...and just cause I can basically. I do agree with yours as well as others points of view on it and I think its awesome that you guys have such control over certain things but thats just my opinion. I use my fb to get things off my chest so that I dont cause problems that may lead to very serious actions :) I have always been a "if you dont like it dont read it" type of person but I have come around and tried to stay a lil more postive than usual and although I'm posting anonymous I am saying THANKS FOR NOT DELETING ME! lol

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  8. We all have our bad habits/qualities. Those who act like they don't usually have the most. BUT not everyone wants to kow our bad stuff. I am a avid face book diary writer. I post things and get them off my chest. And alot more so when my friends dont answer their phone or are out of state. Im human just like every one else have have my faults. Great read travis!

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  9. i agree 100% with trav nobody want to read negative post everyday it just brings people down but i will say that it more annoying when someone post over and over how there mother-in-laws ex baby daddy's on e eyed uncle is so awful over and over. everyone has they're flaws you, me, and your mother-in-laws ex baby daddy's on e eyed uncle whether its his meth addiction or my god awful grammar bless miss clarks she tried her best... but its why the missus fell for you god is still the only one who knows why jk trav. on the upside to everything at least i got an unrepairable flat on payday right!! just another day in paradise

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  10. I try my damnedest to not put my negative stuff up on FB, though I'll admit to having allowed myself to be drawn into drama on occasion. I don't post it because I hate reading everyone else's "oh, poor me, my life sucks" crap and realize that no one wants to hear mine.

    Great post :)

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  11. Great stuff. Nothing starts a nasty family fight quicker than a subtle FB status, eh?

    And I *finally* found you. For some reason, NOTHING linked back to your blog when I tried to click over from comment/email. GAH.

    Nice to meet you.

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