Archive | May, 2010

Free Your Kids!

31 May

Parents, it’s time…we really must free our kids and allow them to be kids with the understanding that we are raising them to one day become adults. I have often spoken on this blog about the differences in raising elder boy who is now 18 versus his sister mini me who is 4. There is almost 14 years that separates them yet the world of child rearing has changed and I am starting to think not for the better.

Today many of us view raising kids as a calling, that’s cool believe me there are some folks who you know are just meant to be parents but damn it somewhere along the line we lost all sense of perspective. We coddle, we baby and frankly I fear we will have a generation unable to do anything. Already we have kids in my son’s generation (generation y, millennial generation) whose parents are not able to let go, these kids are heading off to college and we are still trying to plan everything for the kids. They get waitlisted from the school of their dreams and we are on the phone with the school.

 I had no idea how bad it was until about a year and a half ago when my son’s best friend who lives an hour or so away in New Hampshire wanted to come to our house and I suggested the kid take the train to our house. No, not a subway, I am talking Amtrak commuter service that ran from close to his house to the town we live in. His Mama said no, she was scared about him taking the train, scared that there might be predators on the train. This boy was 16 at the time and getting his drivers license!!! Call me crazy but I would be a lot more scared about allowing a 16 year old boy to drive a 2000 piece of machinery than I would allowing him to ride on the train.

Since that initial incident, when he turned 17, he was allowed to start taking the train to our house. Um….what magically happens between 16.5 and 17? Now at 18 he will be flying out to the Midwest to see my son before flying back out here with him. I am glad he is now able to travel but the maturity gap between a 16.5 year old versus a newly turned 18 year old while it can be big often is not. No, more that a parent realized oh, time to loosen the apron strings.

Since I stared reading this blog, I have been happy to discover that there are folks who like me realize we are raising individuals who will one day become adults. Lenore Skenazy has caught a great deal of flak since she initially came to the spotlight after allowing her then 9 year old to ride the subway in New York City. Oh my! The horror! Lenore caught a lot of flak but at the same time earned a loyal following, folks like myself who see no problem in not directing every minute of our kids lives. I will also add that as someone who grew up in a large city learning to navigate the transit systems is a valuable life skill that should be taught early.(I know people in my age range who have never taken a public bus or train and get scared at the very idea) At 9, I knew how to take buses and trains and occasionally did so alone!!! Damn, my parents were bad parents. Of course that doesn’t compare to the fact that at 14, I took 1 bus and 2 trains’ roundtrip 5 days a week to get to school and clearly I survived. Hell, I remember once there was a pervert on the train exposing himself, I got up and went to another car on the train.

Reason I am talking about this is because recently Skenazy called for a take our kids to the park and leave em there day. The idea being that for most kids starting at age 7 and up some free play without a parent hovering in the background is a good thing. Well as you can imagine many folks liked her suggestion but many others once again thought she was a bad parent. Funny thing is that many of today’s current parents were raised in the late 60’s through the 1970’s and 80’s when the world was actually a far scarier place than it is now. Crime rates have gone down in many places yet because of our perceptions; we fear the unknown and are effectively creating a generation of kids that are probably going to be anxious. I live in a smallish town (compared to where I was raised) yet I am surprised at how many kids do not walk to school. Hell the parents don’t even walk em when they live in walking distance. (walking builds community folks!) I recently registered the girl child for school and realized the school is about a 15 minute walk from our house yet I have already been asked will we take the school bus. Why? Shit, that walk will be my exercise, it’s convenient and guess what it’s free! You can bet as soon as the girl is old enough she will be walking herself to school too! I was 8 when I started walking to school and let me tell you I enjoyed it. After school I would stop and play, spending way too much time playing and then having to run home, funny thing I had no cell phone to call and say I would be playing, but my parents and I both survived.

Now it seems as soon as they start school we feel the need to give em cell phones, do we really need to be that connected?

For the sake of your sanity and that of your kid’s I say free the kids!

Cowardly New World

27 May

What follows is my most recent column from the Portland Phoenix May 28 issue, enjoy!

I know that the ancient Mayan calendar indicated the world may go and end in 2012, but I doubt it. Instead, let me illustrate how bad it might get, starting in that year.

Tucson, Arizona — April 7, 2012, 7:18 p.m.

 “Excuse me, sir, what’s your name?”

“Carl Alvarado, officer.”

“Yeah, right. Well, Carlos, show me your papers.”

“Papers? I’m a citizen. I live about 12 blocks…”

“Show me your ID, then, Carlos.”

“It’s Carl. I didn’t figure I needed an ID for a walk, sir.”

“Shut your damn mouth, you fucking wetback. You can rethink your story in the immigration service lockup.”

“Officer, we could just go to my house and…”

“Resisting arrest? Cool. We can play it that way.”

“Officer? Shit! Put away the taser, man!”

Dallas, Texas — November 10, 2021

A student of melanin level 8 was expelled from high school today after referring to “slavery” and “the slave trade” several times during a history class discussion, despite repeated warnings from the teacher.

“For 10 years now, we’ve had the mandated term ‘Atlantic triangular trade’ in schools, and for good reason,” said Principal Eric Davis. “It’s been shown time and again that terms like ‘slavery’ and ‘African-American’ and ‘racism’ are divisive and counter-American. I won’t stand for a student of any color throwing the word ‘slavery’ around when we’re trying to intelligently discuss the issue of imposed human resources practices of the past.”

District Superintendent Marge Whitney added, “You let a student get away with that, and the next thing you know, they’ll be bringing back those divisive ethnic studies classes that we in this great state and the state of Arizona have fought so hard to rid ourselves of.”

Washington, D.C. — June 4, 2026

Tea Party members celebrated their biggest victory yet since gaining the White House when President Rand Paul signed into law today the Civil Choice Realignment Act of 2026, giving private businesses the right to deny service to potential patrons, clients, customers or visitors based on religious, ethnic, sexual or philosophical grounds.

In Kentucky, where Mr. Paul had previously served as one of the state’s U.S. senators, Razorback Grill restaurant owner Gil Downey proudly placed up a sign in his front window, minutes after the signing of the law, reading “Whites Only — No Homos” and told reporters, “It’s about damn time we finally got government out of the business of telling us who we have to be around.”

Maybe those vignettes would seem more fanciful, and wouldn’t make my blood run cold writing them, if they weren’t based on recent news stories. Because Arizona’s draconian new laws regarding immigration pretty much give the police the power to demand “papers” from anyone they want to consider suspect in terms of legally being here, any time they have a valid reason to interact with a person on the street.

Because the Texas Board of Education does want to refer to the slave trade as the “Atlantic triangular trade,” a term that makes the act just seem like some simple innocent piece of historical commerce, as if slaves were comfortably stowed on ships along with textile and spices, instead of crammed in like sardines in the hopes that most would survive the journey across the ocean to become chattel and be stripped of all rights and dignity.

Because Rand Paul really does think that the Civil Rights Act really only intended to prevent governmental and “public” forms of discrimination, and that private businesses should be allowed to deny people services based on things like race.

The moves are already being made, and all it takes is enough people to not notice, or not care, or to rabidly support such nonsense, and we begin to have a nation that’s a lot less inclusive, much shorter on the concept of fairness and justice, ripe for more strife and violence, and a whole lot less diverse.

ETA: Just a few days ago in Chicago a Puerto Rican man was almost deported to Mexico since apparently the local cops thought he was here illegally despite the fact his mother showed proof that he was indeed born in Puerto Rico. Thankfully they realized after holding this fellow for several days that Puerto Ricans are indeed US citizens and have been since 1917. In this brave new world sadly I see plenty of Americans possibly being shipped off to countries they have no connection to because they don’t look American, oops make that white.

Saturday in Maine

24 May

Thanks to all my readers who responded to me previous post, I was having an incredibly bad day and thinking that it was time to pull the plug on my blog. While I am not up to resuming my almost daily posts, I have decided to take snapshots of my life in Maine. Right now I am working with a cheapo camera while I save my coins to buy a decent camera, yet here are some shots of a Saturday in Maine.  Saturday’s outing included a trip to the local coffeehouse, time in my yard and a trip to the drive in. There was also a visit to a new Japanese hibachi style restaurant, but I will share those pictures on a later post.

It’s a wrap…maybe

21 May

I guess it happens to the best of us, we start off blogging, it gets good, we build an audience and then one day you find yourself stuck. I have seen it happen to several of my favorite bloggers, some faded away, others took time off and eventually came back, some never come back. I never thought it would happen to me but I must admit, I am there. That place where I am starting to think what’s the point?

In the early days, this blog was meant to be a space for me to kvetch and connect with other people of color, after all being a Black chick in Maine means I have little color in my day-to-day life. Yet in the two years since I started blogging, my audience has grown beyond the target audience. I have actually made connections with folks beyond this little ole blog, I love the fact that I often get emails from folks particularly Black folks interested in visiting or moving to Maine. Glad to know I provide a useful service. Lord know when I moved here 8 years ago and started researching the move there was very little I could find online at the time.

Yet the longer I do this blog, I am convinced that my writing skills are not growing as I find the type of writing that I have fallen into doing for this blog, is not the type I want to be doing. I admit when I have seen a few other blogs that shall remain nameless grow in prestige, there is a small part of me that is sad, I feel stuck. However I think part of the problem is that unlike many blogs, I have no specific focus. This blog is the written version of the many thoughts that are in my head on any given day and due to the lack of structure, well maybe that is part of the reason that I am not growing as a writer. Or frankly as a blogger.

So after much thought dear reader, I am thinking its time for a break while I get back to writing in a way that feels productive to me. I am too young for a bucket list but one of the few goals I do have in life is to write a book, and I keep thinking I have some great ideas yet they are just not coming out. I want to take some time to focus on ideas that translate in to a possible manuscript. In addition to this blog, I do write a monthly column for a local arts and entertainment paper in Portland, Maine called The Portland Phoenix. My column is called Diverse City, if you ever want to look me up feel free to.

So while I am not sure if this will be a wrap completely from this blog, I will say that I will be putting a lot less into it than I have in the past. I would rather turn out one piece of quality writing every week than the 4-5 pieces of shit writing I have been doing for the past two years. I need to find my voice as a writer and stop trying to duplicate the style of others. So while I don’t think this is completely a wrap, after all there is simply too much going on in the world for me to remain completely silent, I think I need to step back.

I would welcome any ideas or thoughts you may have on how I could make this blog more interesting, if I do decide to come back to a regular format with it.

Who is more valued?

17 May

If I were a newcomer to the United States and I started watching the nightly news shows and reading the newspapers, here are a few things I would conclude about the inhabitants of this land. They are a very violent people; they seem to kill each other on a regular basis. The brown folks particularly the brown men seem to be really violent since they are always mentioned on the news. The non brown men seem angry and they like their guns but they don’t kill like those brown men and the pink women seem to always be missing…at least that’s what that Nancy Grace woman says. On the other hand nothing seems to happen to those brown women. None of the news programming mentions much about them.

Clearly this newcomer to the US would be wrong; though the one thing is right we are a violent people. Just in the past few weeks hell you had a college girl with a great future, lacrosse player who it appears was killed by a man she dated. The death of Yeardley Love is tragic and if its proven that the boyfriend did kill her, hope he rots to death in jail. Hell, whoever killed her should rot in jail.

On the other hand I am getting just a tad tired of wondering why when bad shit happens to Black women or children, we never hear about it. Mitrice Richardson, Chioma Gray, Angela Reeder, and Rodnell Burton. What do they all have in common? Why they are all Black and they all went missing but there is a good chance you have never heard of them. Only one I was aware of before I went to Google, that was Mitrice Richardson who’s story has been featured by many Black bloggers. Yet when I turn on the news I am always seeing pictures of cute perky white women who are missing. I don’t begrudge the news coverage paid to missing white women and kids but what I want to know is why Black women and children don’t get equal coverage. Probably because at the end of the day, our lives are simply not valued as much.

Since this nation’s turbulent founding, the fact is white women have been put on pedestals and valued where Black woman and now other women of color are simply tolerated. I am convinced that one of the reasons Black women and White women can’t even come together on issues that impact us as women is because most white women refuse to recognize the inherent privilege that they have simply by being white women.

Perhaps its this unspoken privilege that is so deeply embedded in our culture; is why this morning I read about Yeardley Love’s old lacrosse team playing its first game since her death in the NY Times. But had to hear about 7 yo Aiyana Jones who was killed by the Detroit Police Dept on a Black blog.

Aiyana Jones’s was sleeping with her favorite Disney blanket on when the Detroit Police Dept came in (no busted in) her house searching for someone, as best as I understand the cops threw a grenade in, came in and somehow a mistake was made and the cop fired on little Aiyana killing her. Look, I am not going to down the cops for doing their job but I wonder would they have been randomly firing on someone sleeping with a Disney blanket had they been looking for a white suspect? Call me crazy, but I suspect that had this been Gross Pointe (affluent suburb of Detroit) that the cops would have been a whole lot more cautious before randomly firing the guns. 

Yes, violence is at epidemic levels in some Black communities and that is an issue that needs to be addressed, without a doubt. But we have to also address the fact that deep down it seems no one values Black life particularly that of the women and kids. I wish I had some answers but I don’t.

ETA: After reading a commenter, I wanted to add that I am aware that there are plenty of white women who go missing that we never hear about. After all the common demoninator in the cases we do here about is usually the missing gal is solidly middle class, and attractive. It still bothers me that regardless of class or cuteness, missing Black women just don’t seem to exist as far as the media is concerned.

Say no and parent your kid

14 May

Dear Fellow Gen X parents,

Ours is a pretty cool ass generation, I must say. After all we know that we won’t ever have as much money as our Boomer parents, we pretty much know the man is full of shit. That’s why so many of us even as we start to hit the 40’s threshold are still freelancers and consultants. We may not have nearly as much financial comforts as our folks but damn it we have time to chill and time to raise our kids. So many of us were latch key kids that as we started having babies we totally embraced parenthood in a way that our Boomer parents truly cannot understand.

Fueled by the internet, we love to research any and everything especially when it comes to our kids. Many of us if our resources allow want nothing but the best for our kids, best car seats, best food (no Wonder bread and bologna for our kids, tofu pups baby!). Now I know I may seem like I am making fun of my fellow Gen X parents but I really am not, hell I am just as guilty as this. I also am married to a guy who still rocks out in his t-shirts and Chuck Taylor’s and he is 42. Seriously today’s 40 year old parent never looked so good, as a friend told me recently when I alluded to being almost 40 and middle aged, she said we are not middle aged, late 30’s is the new 20’s. See we take this staying young and being cool thing really seriously.

However I think it also goes too far especially when it comes to raising our kids. Most college educated Gen X folks would never dream of disciplining and treating their kids the way most of us were raised. No one except the most uneducated will ever fess up to smacking a child, and if you do, you can fully expect to be shunned. We are the generation that strives to be consensual, to be gentle, hell we want to be cool with our kids. Harsh words exchanged between us and our kids are almost more upsetting to us than to our kids. Little Janey dear, lets see if we can find a way that works for both of us. How many times have I heard these words or some variation in many of the parenting books that were recommended when the kidlet was born. See when elder boy was born he was raised in a style similar to how I was raised except that there was little in terms of physical discipline and he was always allowed a voice. I couldn’t always accommodate his desires but he was heard.

The thing is though we are living in a different world, a world where kid’s especially little girls are being sexualized so much earlier than our generation and previous generations. Yes, we had Barbie with her unrealistic body but no one and I mean no one I ever knew walked around before the age of oh say 18 with words like “Juicy” and “Sexy” displayed on any of their clothing. Yet these days take a trip to any Middle America shopping emporium and take a look at the clothes that are marketed on size 6X and up. Most of it looks a lot like mini versions of what adult women wear. Hell, it can actually take some serious effort to find clothes that looks like something a little girl should be wearing. Just a couple of weekends ago, I went to get the kidlet some sandals, a pretty easy one stop shopping trip I figured. Oh no, turns out Famous Footwear has all sorts of thong sandals and heeled sandals but no good sturdy play sandals. Mind you the kidlet is in preschool!! Why would a child between 4-6 need a pair of one inch heeled sandals?

Yet at the kidlet’s preschool and dance class which has a fair share of middle income Americans these are the clothes her peers wear. People have commented that my kidlet dresses more old fashioned with an emphasis on dresses that fall below the knee. Um…maybe it’s because I think a kid should be dressed age appropriate and not merely in what is cool.

Which brings me to this video, take a minute and watch it. In case you can’t watch it, you basically have 6-7 year old girls dressed provocatively while dancing to a Beyonce song. Six and Seven year old girls!! One question, where are the parents? I lied I have another question, why didn’t anyone say hell no to this idea? My girl takes dance class and you can best believe that if provocative dances were being taught she would be pulled out and next I would be making others aware of what the dance school was teaching.

It’s easy to lay blame about the sexualization of girls at the feet of the media, but the fact is as parents we are the folks in charge and responsible for our kids. Turn off the TV, don’t buy the clothes, and say no you will not be in the dance recital. At times it feels as if my generation is so stuck on being cool and hip that we have carried that attitude and view into our parenting. I figure while I want my kids to like me, it’s my job to raise em and hopefully do so in a way that they will be dynamic adults. What kind of messages do we send our kids when we cannot be parents instead choosing to be their pal? Truthfully there are times in parenting when you may have to play the heavy, it sucks but parenting like any other relationship has those moments. What are we saying when we cannot bear to stand for something? Instead allowing our kids to be shaped by forces beyond us.

Seriously there are times when as painful as it is you just have to say no.

Happy Black Girl Day

12 May

I was on Twitter this morning and stumbled across the blog of a younger sista, proudly proclaiming that today is Happy Black Girl Day. Now at first I wanted to laugh, after all do we really need a Happy Black Girl Day? However as I thought about the media portrayals of Black women, we are hoes, jezebels, mammy’s, bad Mamas, walking vectors of sexually transmitted diseases, and the list of negatives go on.

Yes! We need a Happy Black Girl Day, a time when our lives are nor dissected for the masses. We need a day that can celebrate the joy in being a Black Girl. (no matter what your age for the purposes of this well-meaning day, its girl, but not as a pejorative). A day where we celebrate all that is good and positive with us and we share that joy with the world. Hell if you have a Black Girl in your life, you can celebrate too by being positive.

Happy Black Girl Day is to be celebrated the second Wed of every month, I think the traditional hump day is a great time to celebrate. After all if Wednesdays feel sucky to the average Joe/Jane, how the hell do you think it feels when you are a Black woman? So enough with negativity and let us enjoy a beautiful day.

Happy Black Girl Day! Tell me what you are doing and thinking that will make this a happy day for you.

The best thing

11 May

Excuse the bouts of silence here on the blog, it seems I have pushed myself too much post surgery and my body has pushed back. The result being I have another six weeks to take it easy, damn, there it is again. Take it easy. In a world that goes 24/7 and warp speed, taking it easy is one of those cliché sounding things. Its easier said than done. Yet as I have learned, we live our lives bitching and kvetching about shit, in many cases absolute bullshit. How many times do we focus on what we don’t have rather than paying attention to what we do have?

I know I have been guilty of that more times than I care to reveal. Up until this surgery, sadly there are folks I connect with yet I finish being in their presence and feel like I am less of a person. Why? I don’t have a house as nice as theirs, don’t earn as much money, etc. You might be laughing but I suspect many of us are like this; caught up in the what we don’t have, what we want, and just ignoring that many of us have the best item anyone could hope to have. Guess what? When you are in good health, you are truly rich. Prior to this surgery I have never known true sickness, never truly been in a place where I cannot take care of myself, can’t just get up and go for a walk. Pain, so bad that all you can do is cry.

No, as I slowly make the trek back to full health, I am determined to stay focused on the fact that when you have good health, you have a fullness of life. Sadly most of us don’t recognize that fullness until it is gone. Good health is far better than riches, there are no substitutes for good health. A healthy poor person may not like eating beans and cornbread but at the end of the day it does the same thing as a gourmet $500 meal. No, it may not excite the senses in the same way but beans will fill you up.

So I say to you if you are in good health, never been unhealthy, stop and take a minute to reflect on what a marvelous thing that is. Cherish it.

The motherless mother

8 May

It’s the eve of Mother’s Day, a day that I have very mixed feelings about. On the one hand it feels very commercial and superficial yet when you have no mother it feels even more mixed. After all there is one to buy a cheesy card for and take out to dinner.Just reminders everywhere you go for what you no longer have, or maybe never even had in the first place.  For me there is the added burden that it was on a Mother’s Day that I broke my mother’s heart. It took years to repair the damage but now that she is no longer here even a sappy Hallmark infested day sends me into a quivering mess.

When my Mom first passed away, I was at an age where there were no other members in this new club that I found myself in; after all when you are barely 30 and your Mom is barely 50,the expectation is  that your Mom will be around. The early years were hard because I literally knew no other women in my age group who were motherless. Oh, I knew women who had rocky relationships with their Mom, hell they may have even wished their Mom was dead but in most cases unless there is serious dysfunction, most do like having dear ole Mom around.

Now as I start to dance towards 40 I have started to meet a few more women in this club, it’s a strange place to be. I think even more so when you have your own kids and see part of the life circle no longer in existence. Folks always ask  me or rather say “Well you have kids” as if somehow having my own kids takes away the pain and emptiness of no longer having a mother. Just as my kids are kids, in my mind’s eye I am still someone’s child except that one half of the duo that made my very life possible is no longer here and no matter what there will always be pain around the subject. Especially where I feel her life was cut short, after all 50 is too fucking young to die when no one prepared us instead we were led to believe she would be healed. So perhaps the reason I feel pain is because I never got closure on my terms.

So as I prepare to be treated well by my loved ones on Mother’s Day this post is for all the Moms who no longer have their babies and the babies (no matter their age) who no longer have their Mom’s. May you find peace on a day that sometimes feels like it’s all about cards and gifts yet the absence of the key players that make it Mother’s Day have you wanting to hide in the closet until Monday.

Social media has got a hold on us

6 May

It’s no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with social media especially sites like Facebook which I admit while they can be useful for keeping in touch or reconnecting, are also huge time sucks. I only know 2-3 folks who can take it or leave it, for Lent the Spousal Unit actually took a month long break from all social media and now only checks in with such sites on a sporadic basis. Then there are my two closest and dearest friends, one who has no Facebook, Twitter, or any other type of social media accounts. Funny thing is, his real life job  is a DJ at a medium size radio station in Chicago, the type of gig where you think one might want to occasionally dip a toe in the world of social media. My other best friend uses sites like facebook on a really sporadic basis. She will go months, and I am talking literal months without logging on then she has a week where she is hot and heavy and then she fades away. She recently told me she did that because she knew if she logged on daily she could easily see herself getting caught up and she just did not want to deal with that in her life. I admire the hell out these three because they recognize that while these sites can be valuable they can also be dangerous.

Now for some of you reading this, if you love these sites and don’t feel they are dangerous time drains, more power to you. Maybe I am just weak and need a bit more of your restraint. I will be the first to tell you I have greatly cut down on my consumption of these sites but it still feels like its not enough and that is what I am desperately working on. Why do I care who writes on my wall? While it’s great I reconnected with Suzy from 4th grade what does it mean in my day to day life when we live 1100 miles away from each other? Why do I feel compelled to click on Sonya’s pictures, when the truth is I barely know her and why the hell did I accept her friend request?

Speaking of friend requests, lately it seems like everyone you have ever met wants to be your damn Facebook friend. We didn’t used to exchange phone numbers and our address with folks we barely knew from the coffeehouse yet we now freely accept friend requests from folks we barely know. In many cases allowing people we hardly know, a clear view into our lives as an upfront stalker under the pretense of friendship yet truthfully I find very little friendship happens on Facebook. Of course there are exceptions but how many of us have “friends” who once we accept that request or they accept our request we never hear from them again? I have about 161 friends at present and out of that about 40 are folks who I regularly communicate with, that means 120 folks out there know way more about me than they need to and we are not really friends.

Yet deleting folks in this brave new world is not such an easy thing because somewhere along the line we started taking this shit really serious. I mean if Winnie at the office realizes you deleted her, it might make for some awkward staff meetings and god forbid you delete your second cousin once removed, it could be war. Family members upset at others because of the shit they post, innocently click that you like a group and all of a sudden people are making value judgments about you complete with FB posses to set you straight. Mind you I am talking about grown folks. In the past several weeks while laid up I have seen friends arguing over unschooling, immigration reform and a multitude of other issues. It’s like Facebook brings out the worst in us not the best. How did a tool that started as a way to connect become a soap box, a way to bully one another? Yes, when we can’t accept that a friend has a different view than us, and we feel the need to correct their thinking we are engaging in a form of bullying. Why does it matter that Jennifer thinks spanking her kids is fine? As long as she is not breaking any laws or spanking my kids, its none of my business.

Then there are the masterminds behind facebook, with each “upgrade” to their program, they are giving away more and more of our privacy. Just yesterday they had a flap where it turned out so called private chats were not private…who here has not engaged in a chat talking a little greasy about someone on your friends list? If you haven’t well good for you. Now we actually have to work hard to keep our private lives private, we can no longer opt in to sharing we must opt out and how many of us remember to do that? I am amazed at the number of folks with private profiles yet all their pictures are public. I doubt they mean for that to happen but unless you take time to make the photos private I can see a lot about you. If you are like me you got on Facebook as a way to connect with folks who are really your friends and perhaps to stay in touch with family that is far away. I know I have a lot of photos posted as it allows my brother and a few others to see how the girl child is growing, yet I damn sure don’t want our family photos available to all. There have been a few reported cases of FB pictures showing up in places outside of the Facebook albums that the owners have put them in.

Thanks to the sheer number of details we give away about ourselves its no wonder we have sites like spokeo.com that can put together fairly complete profiles about us even down to our interests. I recently stumbled on to Spokeo and was stunned; on the other hand I am just giving away a great deal of details about my life. Then we wonder why identity theft is growing….hello, we are making it possible for scumbags to steak our identities! I am no criminal but how do we know that fellow blogger or other we connect with on Facebook are not? The truth is we don’t and lets just say that knowing a few details about someone is a springboard for finding out more information about someone.

Yet as chilling as this is to me when I write this out, it is still hard to walk away. Why? Because we live in a world when many are plugged in, I have quite a few friends who hate talking on the phone. They don’t do it. We make plans to get together and they are all made online, or else they are not made. It’s to the point that not only do folks not return calls or respond to emails, you must catch them on one of these social media sites.  There are folks that when I talk to them on the phone it feels awkward and I am someone who used to love talking on the phone. I still would but no one does it in my inner circle except for 3-4 folks. So it’s either connecting via social media to stay connected or no connection at all. I thrive on human contact so I stay connected despite desperately wanting to pull the plug. Welcome to 2010 and the cult of social media that has us all under its thumb.