Hostile Comment Sections & Why They Make Me Sad

Long time, no see, folks! Here’s the sitch:

I read an article today on USMagazine.com saying that Scooter Braun and Yael Cohen welcomed a new baby boy into the world. I wanted to know more, so I read to find out more details. I made the mistake (which I often do) of reading the comment section. I tried posting a reply twice, but it was instantly deleted. Thinking it might’ve been the person to whom I was replying, I posted it as a general comment. That, too, was deleted.

I’m a bit taken aback, to be honest. What really is free speech if not the freedom to express a new perspective to an issue? Yikes. So, I’m going to post it here. Not simply to be snarky, like, “Well I’ll just post it here, then.” Rather, I want to open this up. If anyone reads this post, I truly want to know your thoughts. Not on Scooter, Yael, or Justin, though you’re welcome to engage in that discussion as well.

I want to know what you think about the deeper point I’m trying to get at. Have a look-see, then let me know in the comments:

“This comment was removed, likely by the person to which I was replying, but I hope to post it here as more of a group topic, anyway. It’s not an attack on anyone, but rather an attack on how easily we stereotype and categorize. I don’t know if anyone will read it, or if it will even matter, but I think truth is important, regardless.

People say Braun is a “dbag” or attack him because of Justin. When, actually, Braun has been heavily involved with what he calls “giving back” to communities. He works very hard to support various charities, especially that of his younger brother, Adam’s, which has built over 250 schools in places with little to no education. He is dedicated to creating a better world and pursuing dreams; he has mentioned he’s had a tough time helping Justin maneuver through his teenage years, but all-in-all, hopes to see him through as a good young man in the end of things. I would hardly call him a dbag. He’s done more for this world than any single person I know personally, whether by encouraging young people to follow their dreams, giving moms and kids free tickets to shows, or helping third-world communities cultivate a voice and self-empowerment via education. If you want to know more, you can go to PencilsofPromise.org to see the charity with which he’s most involved. He really is a great, great man who, I believe, is making history in a good way (which is hard to come by nowadays!).
I wish people could either be excited for this couple as they welcome a new life into the world, or simply not say anything. This is supposed to be a joyful time for two people, just as it should be for you or for me if either of us were welcoming a new life. It deeply saddens me to read the negative, hostile, and cruel comments (which would probably tear us apart if they were about us). I know, I just shouldn’t read them, then. I guess I simply want to check in once in a while to see where we are as an internet community; I usually hope to see improvement. I’m sad I didn’t find much of it here. Hopefully one day we’ll progress to a place in which we look down upon such negativity, even though it will still exist. Anyway, that’s just an opinion of a larger issue triggered from a small article, but I hope to see a day in which more internet pages exude integrity and even encouragement. We need more HONYs around here :)”

#MotivationMonday: Abraham Maslow & Andrea Gibson!

Well hi : )

So, here’s the dealio. Tomorrow I have an installment of my project due that is going to end up being about 100 pages long. Being my not-sure-how-to-prioritize-my-life self, I have only 20 pages done… haha, oops : ) If that doesn’t say “senior in college,” I don’t know what does. Therefore, this #MotivationMonday post is going to have to be nuggetish. You can figure out what that means because I don’t know.

Much like last week, I’d like to share with you a quote that is often in the back, front, and middle of my mind. It goes like this:

“What a man can be, he must be.” –Abraham Maslow

Short and sweet. But the meaning is all of everything squeezed into a sentence. If we have the capacity and the means to be something, we must fight, grow, and learn until we ARE that something. Because if you’re not, who else will? My quiet thoughts ignite into screaming ideas when I think about that. It’s my responsibility to do something, whatever that something is, because I could do it. Personally, I want to write, inspire, and I want to help those who are homeless. That’s my mission, and if I don’t do it, I forfeit it to someone else who might not ever show up. If we all think “Oh, it’s alright, someone else will,” then nothing will ever change. Nothing will ever move.  Where would we be if Martin Luther King, Jr. decided he didn’t want to do something because someone else inevitably would?

Many times when that quote pops into my head, I think of something I once heard Andrea Gibson say at one of her shows. **Sidenote, Andrea Gibson is a wonderful, wonderful poet. You should really check out her stuff. She’s incredible with words. I write poetry, too, as you know, and her material ALWAYS inspires me to choose fresh words and images. You can find her Twitter here and her beautiful website here : )**

I sat in a plastic chair in an open room with high ceilings and next to no lighting, save for the spotlight on Andrea, absorbed in what she had just told us. What she had just told me. She said, in her renowned valorous way, that those with a voice need to speak for those who do not have a voice. I thought about that for a long time.

This is how I see it: if an oppressed person stands up, it is heart-catching; if a person who has no affiliation with that opressed person stands up, it’s heart-catching too, but also full of a different kind of power. It demonstrates a need for external eyes and hands– a need for change. When people not directly involved with an issue begin to see its dangers, it’s unquestionable that the issue is quite serious. Relatedly, those who are not in a vulnerable position need to stand up for those in vulnerable positions. It seems so backwards that a person who is already unsafe must sacrifice their safety to initiate any kind of change. They need someone who is in a safe spot to reach out and speak out for them.

If you can, you must.

If you can be something, go be it. Whether that means speaking up for someone or trying to make it into the NBA.  Why spend your life wondering what you could’ve accomplished? Why spend your life dreaming of the smiles that you could’ve given to people? The world needs YOU. It needs your thoughts, your opinions, your words, your actions. It needs your love. Your strength. Your spirit. Your message. This very day thirsts for your dreams, because it can’t survive without them. Tomorrow can’t advance, improve, shine without them.

The world is waiting for you. If you can be something, be it. You must.

Who else will?

#MotivationMonday : Adam Braun and Pencils of Promise

HAPPY #MOTIVATIONMONDAY : )

For today’s motivation, I wanted to share the organization that I am personally really passionate about. Being that I am studying to become a teacher, it might not come as a surprise to you that the organization I care most about has to do with– you guessed it– education!

Ever heard of Pencils of Promise?

If you said yes, then hello and let’s be friends forever. If you said no, I still want to be your friend forever, but be prepared for a quick education about education : ) It’s definitely an organization I would love to be directly involved with!

Quick Sweet Fact: One of the coolest stories from this organization, in my opinion, comes from how the organization was founded. Adam was walking in a developing country and ran into a boy who was begging on the street. He asked the boy what he would ask for if he could have anything in the world, to which the boy replied “a pencil.” What a simple request with such huge implications. Thus, five years ago he gave up everything, invested just $25 in his organization, and has since built over 150 schools in developing countries. How. Incredible.

This video is 1.5 minutes dedicated to telling you exactly what it is that PoP does:

This video is about 2 minutes. There isn’t much said, and it isn’t the most moving video they have, but what you get to see are the conditions some students are forced to learn in; there are classrooms under trees outside. I think you can only imagine what that might be like if the weather didn’t comply. Not to mention that, in this technology-driven world, many students don’t have access to even one computer. Check it out:

The Pencils of Promise YouTube channel has tons more videos if you want to find some other goodies : ) I challenge you guys to go to the PoP website and learn more. There are options for everyone to get involved, including everything from direct donations, to ordering a T-shirt, to becoming an intern. They even have a Twitter! The point is, they’re super accessible and I want to urge you guys to at least check them out. I believe everyone deserves a school to learn in. No one should have to sit outside or in a lousy, falling-apart building each and every day. Every child should have a pencil. Every child should be given the key to a future–education.

OKAY STOP FOR A SECOND. If you’re feeling like, “Hey, you blogger person, I was hoping for a TED talk or something,” which you might be, I’d like to accommodate for you. So, did I mention that this is one of my hero’s organization? And that his brother is my other hero? If you remember me mentioning Adam or Scooter Braun in any one of my earlier posts, this is Adam’s organization. Please ready yourself to meet one of the most inspirational, driven, and kind people I know of. Just listen to the endless amount of wisdom and drive in this man’s voice and TELL me you don’t want to drop everything at this very moment and go conquer the world.

Make it count, folks. Til next time!

I LOVE MONDAYS (not a joke)

HI 🙂

I’ve decided to try something new. Fresh. I want to do it each Monday.

And I might accidentally forget about it, but I solemnly swear I will try to do good. (Grammar and Harry Potter references clearly aren’t meshing well for me today).

DRUM ROLL PLEEEASE… I call it:

#MotivationMondays

I will be posting something that inspires me every Monday, because you know what?

I LOVE MONDAYS.

Yep, I said it– I. LOVE. MONDAYS. Yes, I’m usually exhausted, jello-legged, and holding a gallon of strong coffee, but what is more exciting than a fresh start? A new week full of possibilities? So, without further ado, I give to you Scott Harrison and his #PassionProject to bring clean water to communities without such a basic need. He’s great. He’s so determined and humanistic and all that good stuff.

Go forth and burn with a desire to change the world, friends. But don’t actually burn.

Ideas. Ideas. Ideeeaas.

HELLO GOOD PEOPLE!

I’d like to first preface by saying that my roommates probably think I’m crazy.

Why, you ask?

Because I just got home, ate a container full of macaroni (okay that’s a little irrelevant), dashed up the stairs, lit the candles in my room, turned my lights off, and began spitting out improv slam poetry at my wall.

I hope some of you understand. I love feeling inspired. You do such strange things.

That being said, I’ve had a lot of ideas running through this noggin of mine in the past few hours, and I’d like to share just one. It is a first-draft idea, but hey, that’s how all good things start, right?!

Alright, so as you know if you’ve read my last post, I am in my final year of college and am currently pursuing my degree in English Education. In one of my recent practicum experiences, I’ve been paying attention to which students schools label as “at-risk.” I’ve also been paying close attention to kids who come from low-SES backgrounds (generally, students whose families have low income, may have limited educational experience, may have relational problems in the home, may have health complications, etc.). Many times, low-SES and “at-risk” are intertwined (though, not always). Anyway, I noticed the other day that a student had been wearing the same shirt and shorts for 2 weeks in a row.  Could that be a fashion or self-expression choice? Sure, it could be.

My guess is that it isn’t, though.

If I become a teacher–even if I don’t, really– I would love to set up a before and after school project once a month. I’d call it Closet Free or something. Probably something else. Definitely something else. I would set up an empty room to lay out donated, nice clothes and kids could stop by before or after school and pick some things up if they wanted. I would open it up to used or new shoes, socks, (obviously newly bought packs of underwear), jewelry, shorts, pants, you name it. I want it there.

You’re probably thinking “Yeah, but what if a student comes in who doesn’t really need it but they take it anyway?” It’s definitely a thought that’s ran through my mind, too. The answer is this: I don’t know. I would rather that anyone could take anything they needed. I would rather not have them “qualify” or “be eligible.” I would just like for kids to know that someone gets it— someone cares.

There a million and one details I’d need to iron out. It would have to be a community effort, too; I only have so many too-tight shirts in my closet.

So, Scooter Braun, where you at?! Haha. (Seriously, though).

Or DoSomething.Org (Check them out!!)

Anyway, happy Monday, everyone! I hope you’re drowning in this week’s possibilities. I don’t actually hope you’re drowning.