Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sometimes We Shouldn't Just Be Ourselves

Not long ago I posted a photo on Facebook with the caption 'Just be yourself, because the people who mind don't matter, and the people who matter don't mind.'

But I take it all back.

I've been thinking about this. And what I've concluded is that you really shouldn't just be yourself if yourself is a cruel, mean and hopelessly disgruntled, arrogant person. Because you know what? It's just not nice to go around grousing at people who've never done you any harm, under the guise of just being yourself. 

If you are angry, take it out on some cause that needs helping, or some rock that needs kicking. But don't take it out on the people who love you and are just trying to get through the day like you. 

If you have been hurt, either tell the one(s) who hurt you, or get therapy. But don't take it out on people who didn't hurt you, on the innocents. Don't take it out on children, or animals, or people standing in line at the grocery store. Don't be that person who goes through the world like a bull in a china shop, emotionally knocking people out of the way. If that is you, then please, for the love of the world, don't 'just be yourself.'  Take yourself on a hike, take up skydiving, contemplate your navel, whatever it takes to not be that person when other people are around. 

If we didn't hurt you, we don't deserve to be hurt by you. 

Don't expect people to love you as you are if what you are is un-lovable. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Unexplained Freefall into Virtual Nonexistence

Google, it seems, has stolen my identity. Well, that’s a bit harsh – they didn’t exactly steal it. That implies something nefarious. But they did, in effect, take it from me. Or, more precisely, they’ve denied it to me. They refuse to accept that I am who I say I am. In fact, the message reads: “We have determined that your name does not comply with the Google + names policy.” 
It all began – this descent into obscurity - with an email from my brother inviting me to join Google Circles, which is a social networking site managed by Google +, an extension of Google. Now, I’ve had an account with Google for some time, under my given name, which is Bonnie Council. And while I realize that Bonnie Council is not exactly glamorous or catchy or even memorable, it is still my name. The only name I’ve ever used, except for during two failed marriages, after the second of which I happily re-claimed it, vowing to never again relinquish that one tenuous hold to my solitary identity. 

But Google + doesn’t think it is my real name. The question remains, and for some reason remains unanswered, in spite of numerous – well, three, anyway – requests to the folks at the Google + feedback site, which is, what in heaven’s name is it about my name that makes it noncompliant with their so-called “names policy?”

Here’s the thing. They tell you on the site that you can use nicknames, of which I have none, and that you can change your name up to three times in two years. They also say you can’t use a company name or even a group name, like for example Jones Family. However, if your legal name is Charles Jones, Jr. but you normally go by Chuck Jones, or even Junior Jones, then you can use that name. So with that sort of flexibility, it would seem they would be at least a little forgiving of the fact that even though my name  sounds sort of official, it is still my real name. They want the name your friends, family and co-workers know you by. That, for me, is Bonnie Council.

The really strange part of this whole time consuming imbroglio is that they even have an appeals process whereby, if they’ve determined that your name doesn’t comply with their policy and you disagree with that decision, you can send more information, like for example a web address or even copies of legal documentation, such as a driver’s license, to assure them you are who you say you are. So, dutifully I sent them my web address ( after which I was shocked to receive my second rejection. After another few days of metaphorically crying in my beer I then not too eagerly gave in and sent them a copy of my drivers’ license. Followed by an unceremonious third rejection.

Fine, I figured. Who needs them? 

Turns out, I do. After explaining the whole perplexing saga to my brother and then politely telling Google to kiss my keister, I promptly forgot all about it. Until I attempted to access a new feature on Picasa, the photo editing site I’ve used exclusively for the past several months. Seems Picasa is a feature of Google + and because Google + thinks I do not exist, Picasa, by default, does the same. Basically I’ve been barred from the sandbox. 

I feel as if they’ve decided that I’m not a nice person, the equivalent of a playground pervert, something “other.” Someone undeserving of even a reasonable explanation of why they don’t believe I am who I say I am, and why my name does not comply with their names policy. In spite of the fact that my brother, with the same last name, was accepted without issue.

Now it’s become more than just annoying. It’s actually a little humiliating, this “rejection,” and the fact that there is no one I can even communicate with about it. So I’ve decided to go public.  My hope being that perhaps some reasonable soul at Google will actually see this post. And then maybe someone will finally decide I’m real after all. 

Because I am. I really, really am.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Excuse Me Ann, But Where's The Beef?

From the very get-go, the idea that a wife has to get up on a podium and talk about what a loving man her husband of forty-something years is in order to “humanize” him was, to me, just creepy. Doesn’t it seem a teeny bit Stepford wife-ish? 

In the first place, the speech – well, did she write it, or did Mitt’s speech writer? I’m going for the latter. But in the second place – what did she tell us? Really. What did she say that was new, or relevant, or that would make a single solitary one of us who might not already have our minds made up suddenly decide, well, gee whiz, Mr. Romney is such a nice man, and Mrs. Romney speaks so earnestly about all of the rest of us mothers, wives, daughters and sisters whom she so totally identifies with (really?) that I guess I’ll just vote for him to be president of the country. 

Her job, or her speech’s job, as I understand it, in addition to humanizing her husband, was to make him appeal to women voters. Call me a cynic, but it’s kind of like the wife of the car dealer coming up to me after I’ve walked away from his spiel to tell me what a great guy he is and that’s why I should buy the car from him. I mean, really – what’s wrong with this picture? Since when do women need another woman to sell her husband to them?  Women are intuitive by nature. We listen to our instincts. So believe me when I say, I did not need Ann Romney to tell me all the reasons I should or should not like her husband.

In spite of the fact that the Republicans seem to think the women of this country don’t have the ability to make up their own minds, my thinking is, if we aren’t already in love with Mr. Romney, there’s probably a good reason.  A few of them, in fact.

And I have to tell you, I don’t need to listen to too many pablum-flavored speeches like the one Ann Romney made to recognize when issues that matter to me are not being addressed. And she said not a single word about issues that matter to me. She didn’t mention health care and her husband’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She didn’t mention women’s reproductive rights.  Not one word was said about Romney’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood, or about his stance on abortion (or, even more frightening, Paul Ryan’s stance). She never mentioned his plans to slash such programs as Head Start and Pell Grants. She didn’t apologize for her husband’s egregious and false assertion that the Obama administration removed the work requirement for Welfare. And she didn’t address the still unanswered questions of whether or not he supports equal pay for women. 

So, I’m still waiting, Ann. Give me a reason, just one good reason, why I should want your husband to be president of this country. Because I haven’t heard it yet.