How to Survive “Like” Culture

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Social media exerts two pressures upon your soul:

  1. Broadcast every second of your life, and
  2. Do it with perfection.

The message is pretty simple: be liked.

Only it’s hard on our frail human psychology. In fact, it can be downright depressing.

As a blogger, this infectious self-doubting is unavoidable. Every time I write, I stand to be judged.

In July, I finally listened to the pleadings of my heart and did what some would consider marketing suicide for an aspiring writer.

I disappeared from Facebook and Twitter…without warning.

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How We Can Prevent Suicide

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Is there a Millennial who survived teenage angst without Linkin Park?

The world is currently mourning the loss of the talented Chester Bennington. I am, too. And, ironically, last week I completed suicide prevention training.

The question feels as urgent as ever: How can we prevent suicide?

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Portraits of Courage, Hope

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How do we honor the fallen? It’s a question that’s been rattling around in my mind for some time.

I teach veterans. I am friends with veterans. I once loved a veteran.

But, the truth is, very few of us know the stories of those who died protecting every freedom we hold dear. What were their final thoughts? What insights would they have wanted the world to know?

I think Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush gets close. Beyond the incredible paintings, Bush penetrates the gaping vulnerabilities left in wounded veterans.

In many ways, it offers a rare glimpse into the painful inside of war.

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What If I Die Today?

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It’s a question I ponder every time I part with my children. I teach in the college classroom, and I lived through a mass shooting.

But my kids don’t experience these emotions when they hug my neck and wave goodbye. They truly believe I will return.

And all the way to the office, I pray that they are right.

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The Ugly Years

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Just before I graduated high school, I got this amazing idea: chop off all of your hair (think Mandy Moore c. 2003). Ashamedly, I did not have Locks of Love in mind. No, I was entirely selfish.

I wanted a new start.

You see, hair has always been my calling card. I have never dyed or treated my hair and somehow – by the blessing of God – I maintained golden locks for the first three decades of my life.

My mother’s experience, however, would foreshadow my own: blonde until babies. And, right on time, I gradually lost my sun-kissed signature hair in the years following childbirth.

But it was impossible for me to predict the other changes that were simultaneously emerging – the widening hips, the spider veins, and the wrinkles.

The ugly years, without my consent, had arrived.

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Happy Trails

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The week after my freshman year of college, my first love broke my heart. He ripped it out, used it as target practice, and urinated on the tiny fragments of my innocence.

So I agreed to an overnight camping adventure with my childhood friends. Tears were shed, alcohol was consumed, and a battle of the sexes resulted in toilet paper and Pop-Tarts being burned beyond recognition. I needed to remember how to laugh again.

Most vivid, however, was my endless night in a poorly pitched tent. I tossed. I turned. Despite my best efforts, I could not escape a jagged rock beneath the nylon.

Yet, somehow, I found healing in the midst of my life’s first mental crisis. And – just before sunrise – the mountains closed their arms around me.

You are home.

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Deep Waters

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It all began with a phone call. The climax, that is.

Unsurprisingly, my husband and I had forgotten to re-enroll ourselves in a health insurance plan for the upcoming year. It was approximately 4:48 p.m. this past Friday when my husband desperately took action to beat the deadline. He called me with an urgent tone to obtain our daughter’s social security number in order to complete the process.

For the average person, such a request seems minor; to the mother on the verge of an emotional breakdown, however, this is enough to wage a war.

Where is her card? Oh, no, I can’t find her card…

[Cue wailing newborn and insert curious, no-personal-space toddler here]

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