Oh friends. I have a wee vent. I’d like to have a lot of words with whoever came up with those “clever” clones of Instagram accounts that show up in the Messenger app with people’s names and photos and say brilliant stuff like, “Hello hope you are doing?” (today’s) or “Hello, how are you doing today?” All these things do are waste the time of the cloned person, because they have to repeatedly let people know that no, it’s not them, it’s some bot.
No, that is not me at right (or below, if you’re reading on the phone). Do you need to check with me to be sure? Nope, not at all. Just look at it.
Is that how my name normally looks? Nope.
Is it from a Facebook account? Nope. (I only message from there.)
Does it have any posts or followers? Nope. (My actual Instagram has my name spelled normally and has a bunch of posts and followers.)
Does it say “New Instagram account?” Yep.
If the answers you get match these answers, then you don’t need to let me (or whoever has “messaged” you) know about it. There’s nothing they can do.
What you can do is block and report the account.
See this message I got back in July from “Anne Hutten?” I knew it wasn’t from her. Name spelled wrong, 0 posts and 0 followers, new Instagram account, and the typical message. I looked at the bottom of the screen. I clicked Block. If I had clicked Report, I would have told them that she was pretending to be Anne and answered a few questions. The message would have disappeared. I was just lazy and didn’t do it, which is good, so I can show you the example.
How can you prevent this?
You can’t, sad to say. These bots just go grab people’s pictures and mess with their names to make a fake account. I’m not even sure what they do if you respond. I could only find endless sets of instructions to report and block the accounts.
I’m to the point where it takes me a few seconds to block and report, then go on my merry way. When I get cloned, I end up spending a lot of time saying that’s not me and giving instructions to people who are trying to help me out by letting me know something I can’t do anything about.
I guess enough people fall for these things and let the cloned account ask for money that it makes it worthwhile for them. That means they’ll keep cloning. So, let’s not panic, just go on with our lives.
Now, if someone hacks your account, it’s a different story. That’s when someone takes your legit account over. That is something you need to report to Facebook, Instagram, or whoever, and work with them to take care of the problem.
To find out if there are extra people pretending to be you, by the way, you can simply search Facebook or Instagram and see if there are “fake you” people out there. (Don’t report actual people with the same name as you – it’s a big world out there!)
OK, hope that helped. Here’s a quiz. Review the images below and see if you think they are fake or real.
Oh yes, I wanted to assure you that I do have an Instagram account that’s legit. Some people even look at it! I have no urge to be an Influencer of Insta-famous, so I am perfectly happy with my numbers.
Note: I realize I am a privileged person who has nice things, food, shelter, and a good education. My family that speaks to me does their best to support me. And I am NOT blaming other people for my perception. That’s on me! As I repeatedly state in my personal blog here, I’m grateful for that. No need to point that out to me when I share that I’m struggling.
I feel like shit. I was feeling okay for a long time, and now I realize it is because, like so many people these days, I had used medication to numb my feelings and help me cope with reality. Reality, today, especially if you’re a woman in Texas, Yee-Haw USA, sucks.
Reality is hard on a personal level as well. One thing that medication did for me was enable me to sort of sit back dispassionately and watch how life goes on at the soap opera known as the Hermits Rest Ranch and not let it get to me. Things happen, people do things, I get stuck in the middle of situations I don’t understand. With medication, I just say, “Oh, that’s just so and so being who they are…no need to internalize the consequences.” So, I am able to deal with the kinds of treatment I normally would be devastated by pretty well. I’m able to forgive and just drop things, knowing that we’re all messed up and doing our best.
The best or worst thing about the medications (depending on how you look at it) is that I am able to resist the urge to stand up for myself or call out behavior, knowing that every time I’ve done so for the past few years, I’ve been gaslighted or been treated to that classic technique of being blamed for causing my own problems. Me standing up for myself tends to go horribly, horribly wrong. And it achieves nothing other than upsetting others. So, I’d rather not stir the pot, since I know I’m no better than anyone else, with my sarcasm and things I say when stuff leaks out that aren’t kind.
Now is my life horrible? No. There’s great stuff in my life and right here at the Hermits’ Rest. I was generalizing about difficult experiences that aren’t constant but that, if I’m being honest with myself, are hard on me. Of course, knowing what a hard person I am to be around, I know I’m very taxing on everyone who has to be around me! My only point is that the medication made it easier for me, and that I’m having trouble now that I am feeling things harder. I don’t want to subject the people around me to un-squelched Suna!
Would I like to be my authentic self in my own home? Yes. I could probably relax more. Is it a good idea? No. This is not a safe place to share feelings about the state of the world or my inner dysfunction. I crave peace and love. So, sometimes I have to sacrifice to get one or the other. Don’t we all? Perhaps.
I’d love to share some of the challenges I face here in my personal blog, because I think it’s good to present a balanced picture of life, which is imperfect and not always easy. But there is a long list of things I’ve been requested to not mention. That makes my sharing of my life sound often like I’m living in a paradise of privilege with no problems. But that’s not true. There are health issues with everyone in this family but me (and obviously I have a mental health issue). We have a business that is struggling, I think. Not really sure. I sometimes feel unsafe in my own home, since I’ve given up a lot of my firmly held beliefs so that others can do what makes them feel comfortable. And those vague generalities are as far as I can go. Holding things in can make them leak out in weird ways when you’re unmedicated, though.
For example, there are dreams. Oh my gosh, I have been having horrible dreams about people from my past berating me for all the mistakes I have ever made. That’s quite the parade, let me tell you. My estranged son, his father, numerous people I dated, my father (always my father, who is the reason I am so afraid of being yelled at), friends from high school (including the one I did not have a baby with when I was 17), ex bosses. Whew. I wake up and read bland news items about nature to get the dreams out of my head. They keep coming. I would like to re-squelch them.
It’s overwhelming. I am not coping well.
If you’re my friend in real life, reach out to me sometimes. I suck at reaching out. I hate to intrude. But I realize that vaguely saying I’m not feeling well isn’t too useful either. These are hard times. Many of us are struggling. I’m not alone in having a genuine meltdown and personal crisis. But I want to admit it and say that I’ll listen to YOU if you want to talk.
And I love every single imperfect person in my life. That’s why I’m still here rather than checking out, which is mighty tempting right now. Well, that and the horses. I can’t leave the horses, too. And dogs.
Things I Want to Say (some borrowed from my spouse)
Anyone who has managed to read through my mental health drivel now gets to read genuine opinions by uncensored me. If I piss you off, unsubscribe, block me, or stop speaking to me. You won’t be the first. But people like me keeping quiet, I think, has helped the world get to where it is.
It is every-so ironic that the woman-hating judge Clarence Thomas claims to be an “originalist” and that every word in the God-given US Constitution must be taken literally is not even a PERSON in the original constitution. He is a black guy! FFS!
It is every-so ironic that all the gun worshippers who also claim to worship the God-given US Constitution don’t realize that if we really went by it in its original and perfect state, as delivered by God from Mount Vernon (or wherever it came from) don’t seem to realize that if they are too poor to own the property on which their homes have been set, they would not get to vote. Only land-owners who are also genuine 100% man-humans got to vote in the version handed down by the Blessed Forefathers.
By the way, I read in a book (I know, I’m one of those doomed intellectuals who use those as sources of facts) that the MEN who wrote the US Constitution were, in fact, people, not deities. They drank, swore, cheated on their chattel…err…wives, owned slaves, and made numerous errors, like humans do. Not gods. Not perfect. Not able to predict the future.
And didn’t the God in the Bible used by most Christians say to not have any other gods before HIM? Wait a minute. Guns? Constitutions? Trump? Aren’t those not Jehovah?
DO NOT TELL ME TO VOTE. I VOTE IN EVERY PODUNK ELECTION IN THIS PLACE. I EVEN HELPED ONE PERSON WIN, ONCE. EVERY OTHER REASONABLE CANDIDATE, I DID NOT HELP.
Besides, the people or entities who are creating the society we live in today have nothing whatsoever to do with this illusion that we are voting for who represents us or that those people represent anything other than money and power.
Another thing they used to say in La Leche League was that we preferred to give information rather than advice. I’ve talked about this before, but I have feelings about it. So here I am again.
When we were helping women with their babies, we’d let them know what we knew, what the current research says, and what our friends had experienced with their babies. Women would listen to all the information, then make up their own minds about what would work for their families. We had run into so many mother-baby pairs that we knew what is best for one might not be the best for another.
And you know, people seemed to like that approach. Lecturing and saying “you should” often makes people shut right down. People tend to dislike hearing that they are wrong, and often spend a lot of time justifying their own actions rather than taking in new ideas and considering them.
I’ve chosen to take that approach and apply it to potential “arguments” and conversations. Ooh, and I also apply it to exchanges on social media. I find my own self shutting down when I mention an issue I’m having only to find half the world telling me what I should do. It feels like people are ordering me around, even though I know perfectly well that, in their minds, they are giving suggestions! Thus, I try to answer anyone’s questions to make it clear that I’m just giving one data point, not my authoritative expert declaration.
As I recently read, the older you get the more you realize you aren’t an expert at anything! You know you have more to learn. The more you know the more you realize you don’t know, or something like that.
I got to thinking about this when I was reading a book (Getting along with Horses: an Evolution in Understanding) by Crissy McDonald, the spouse of Mark Rashid. She talked about mentioning sharing a photo of a horse that was hobbled (a way to keep them from wandering off when you don’t have a fence). Now, she knew what she was doing, the horse had been trained to be comfortable with the hobbles, etc. But people on social media just started yelling at her that she was abusing animals…before asking her pertinent things like what the horse’s experience with this was, how was she using the technique, etc. There was no effort to be curious about what she shared.
Sigh. Been there myself! Seen it happen to others so many times. I know that there are people who increase their self esteem by putting others down to build themselves up. I know there are people who honestly believe they are experts on most things. There are folks who just love to argue/debate. There are people who just don’t know much social etiquette. Like Crissy, I do my best to send good thoughts to people like that and simply not engage. You’re not going to teach these “experts” anything. They don’t want YOUR lecture any more than you want theirs, right?
So, treasure those around you who are willing to pass out information and let you decide for yourself how to use that information in your unique situation.
Consider, after reading all my information, using the techniques of just offering up things you know, experiences you’ve had, or opinions, not getting all invested in whether your input is acted on. Perhaps the other person has something going on that makes your information inapplicable, and that’s no reflection on you (or me).
Well, I got that off my chest. Two rants in a row. Whew.
I’ve been thinking about this saying we always used to bring up when my kids were little and I spent a lot of time with women who chose a pared-down lifestyle so they could stay home while their kids were young.
It was important for us to let our children know we valued them more than fancy homes, cars, clothing, etc. I still feel that way.
To me, my family and friends are my greatest treasures (along with my horse and dog children). I value them way more than my house, my swimming pool, my turquoise jewelry, or she sheds. I guess I thought most people were that way. But no, I’m finding out otherwise.
A Personal Story of the Problem with Things
Here’s what’s been blowing my mind recently. Remember the book club I was in with my neighbors at the Bobcat house? To me, the books were secondary to the people in the group, who always treated each other kindly and accepted each other for who they were, as different as everyone was.
Now, I never lived there full time like Anita did, so I only saw a couple of minor judgmental things said about some of the women. I mostly heard stories of fun gatherings, music, and laughter. Anita was included and I was usually invited.
Then, a “thing” got in the way, combined with misunderstandings and lack of communication. That’s always a deadly combination. Apparently a lost item of clothing was more important than friendships. This hit me like a ton of bricks. People thought Anita had stolen a denim jacket and given it to me. When I wore it to the last book club I attended, someone tried to take it, and acted like they didn’t believe it was mine.
I ended up feeling guilty, like I’d done something wrong, but had no idea what. When Anita and I were pointedly not invited to the next two book clubs, I realized my “friends” had put their need to blame Anita (and me, by association) for a lost object above their years of friendship. Wow. And no one would talk to us about it. I did ask for someone to tell me what was going on. Crickets.
Of course none of our actual friends wanted to get involved. Who could blame them? They have to live there. They need to be cordial! And they only hear one side of the story, about how important the jacket was and how awful we must be to take it and “rub it in their faces.” And I, myself, knew I’d only heard one side of the story (and little of that, since it wasn’t a topic of conversation in Cameron, where we were dealing with getting a house finished). I figured I’d never know what other issues there were, and just wrote it off.
But it was really bothering Anita. She is my friend. I place her before things. So, I went to the store where I bought my jacket and got the receipt. They keep a record of everything there! I wanted to be sure everyone knew I owned my jacket, since it was so important to the group in Austin. I didn’t tell only the people who seemed to be so angry, because I wouldn’t put it past them to not share the info in order to maintain their version of events. people do that to protect themselves.
I’m under no illusion that proving I paid for my own clothing made any difference. From the earful I got from someone I’d really valued as a friend before, it became clear that Anita and I were back to being the unpopular kids, just like back in high school. All sorts of things had been misinterpreted and negative motives assigned to words and actions. Heck, I’d hate us if I’d done all the things I found out Anita and I’d supposedly said or done.
In high school I’d have tried and tried to get back in with the cool girls. Today I am just sad to lose friendships over things. It reminds me of what Lee keeps telling me, which is I can get myself into emotional trouble when I assume people mean well and like me for who I am.
Still. I actually still care about my former friends and have fond memories of them. I can see their point of view given their perception. I empathize with the people from that group who remain my friends. I’m so sorry I put them in an awkward situation over an inexpensive piece of clothing. Their friendship is more important than any things. I like them, just as they are.
My hope is that there are people who can forgive me of my less than ideal jokes, accept my cluelessness about situations I’m not a part of, and can deal with my oddness. If you are one of them, I’ll return the grace to you.
Life is too short to waste on judgment. I’m surprised this stuff has festered in me for so long. Time to forgive, forget, and let go.
Today I’ve been feeling sick. I’m not a gun lover in the first place, and now I feel like we are all just waiting for our turns to be someone’s target. The cynic in me feels that the people who run the US care only about themselves, their families, babies (up to the moment of birth, at which point they are worthless), and guns.
[Some of you may want to stop reading now and go enjoy some Fox News.]
What has sucked the wind out of my sails the most is how I’ve seen regular folks reacting to the endless shootings of people who just happened to be living their lives in the wrong places.
It’s not just the sincerely uttered “thoughts and prayers,” because I know that’s what people in a certain social group say when they just don’t have anything else to say. No, it’s people who say the ONLY thing you can do to help dead children, teachers, grocery shoppers, and such is to pray.
“My tradition teaches that prayer without action is just noise.”
Rabbi Jack Moline
As my friend Lynn pointed out to me, you don’t hear many ministers saying that. You hear them calling for change. At least the ministers I’ve heard. Rabbi Moline is one of them. Another quote from him:
There is no tradition that, at its core, would justify the massacre of children at school, grandparents at the grocery store, or congregants in a house of worship. And there should be no faith leader that sits idly by while the people we have dedicated our lives to ministering to are slaughtered. Prayer works only when it softens the hardened heart and opens it to the message of healing and justice that flows through every tradition’s scripture. Prayer works only if it leads to confession, contrition and repentance. Prayer works only if it is not an excuse for inaction.
NOTHING PREVENTS THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN A BULLET
Worse than this, I’ve seen people post that it’s not so bad all these people are dying, because that way they get to go meet Jesus and hang out with their deceased relatives sooner rather than later. I’m sorry, but WTF. It’s hard for me to imagine their pacifist god-figure wanting people do die early in a massacre just to hang out with him. Um, I hope they draw comfort from that.
I got so upset that I ran to my trusted sources for words of comfort, words to help me remember who I am, and words to steer ME via my beliefs. My Christian spiritual leader, Jim Rigby reminded me of these words by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
And then Jim talked about having the courage to be gentle and find hope as I respond to the hurt I am feeling right now. He is right, of course:
Greek culture had a word for “gentleness” (praus) that actually could meant “power under control.” It was sometimes used for a powerful animal that had been tamed. Today “gentleness” might refer to finding the courage not to use violence to solve all of our problems. Before we can tackle the problem of gun violence we must first ask ourselves an important question: Does our nation have the courage to be gentle?
Guns are no replacement for the civic virtue of courage. This nation cannot be saved by military grade weapons in the hands of cowardly spirits. Human decency requires the bravery to steer by our hopes not our fears.
Jim Rigby, Facebook
While all that helped me spiritually, I still am faced with even more blatant 1984-style language and proclamations by civic leaders that my head literally hurts. Why are guns more important than children, I keep wondering? Why is “freedom” more important than protecting the mentally ill and dangerous from themselves and others? I’m not alone. From Richard Stone of Taylor, Texas:
I got in a row on one of the local community pages about arming teachers. Saw this over on Twitter a few minutes ago and now I can’t wrap my head around the cognitive dissonance.
Richard Stone, Facebook
He then quoted someone else who finally put into words what has been causing my hurt:
“I heard this point yesterday and can’t get it out of my mind – TX politicians don’t trust teachers to choose books, but they think arming teachers is a good idea.”
I have a child who is a teacher. He just celebrated five years at Austin ISD and I am proud of him. He was raised in a gun-free household, as was I, and as I have been until things changed around here. I do not want to see him having to protect his students from killers. I want him to teach history and even hide some facts in among the state-mandated stuff. I want him free to care about his students, but also feel free to criticize or discipline appropriately, when necessary, without worrying that kid will come back and shoot him the moment they turn 18. Holy crap that is just plain dystopian. I’m nauseated.
Anyway, I’m not a crazed snowflake who wants to snatch people’s possessions out of their hands. I’m a mother, a spouse, an aunt, a nature lover, and just a regular human who wants to feel free to have opinions, live in safety, and feel free to spread love, kindness, and even lovingkindness, around the land.
But to also speak up. So many folks I know have been afraid to say we need to do something about the gun worship culture here. Why? Because of gun worshippers. Not hunters, not safety officers. People who literally LOVE the things and don’t give a shit how many people have to die because of it.
As so many people I know have been asking, how did we get here? Can we make things better. I want to help.
You know what? I used to think I was free. I used to think more and more people where I live were becoming freer. I used to think the world was becoming a better place.
I can remember feeling especially happy to live in a place where people were free to worship or not worship any faith tradition, where people were free to love whoever they wanted to love, where people could have families or not, where people could live wherever they found beauty, where judges strove to put their personal beliefs aside and be neutral, and where people could have respectful debates over policies. Heck, people could even go to the grocery store and expect the worst thing that would happen would be a long line at checkout.
I felt like “progress” toward equality for all was being made, right during my lifetime. The water fountain labeled “Coloreds Only” was gone from the Alachua County courthouse, in my lifetime. As a woman, I could play any sport I wanted and attend any school I wanted, in my lifetime (I gave up on being a veterinarian because women were not allowed in vet schools). My gay friends got married – legally – in my lifetime. Buildings were made accessible to people who could not climb stairs, in my lifetime. I could live 20 years next to a black family and nothing out-of-the-ordinary occur, in my lifetime. I could live around people who had come to my area from all over the world and it was fine. People could choose whatever identity they cared to present themselves as, even if I got confused…all in my lifetime…and it made me happy.
I could trust that people in politics felt it was their duty to tell the truth and apologized when they made mistakes. I could trust that law enforcement officers respected all citizens and did their best to keep all of us safe. People who joined the military were assigned duties they could be proud of and were respected for what they did.
I didn’t live in fear of my neighbors because I voted for a different Presidential candidate and don’t worship the one they prefer. I didn’t feel in danger because I’m a pacifist, because I don’t like organized religion, and I think no other human is any better or worse than me.
Fuck that. It’s all over. I was so happy when 1984 came and went and Big Brother hadn’t showed up. Oh, Suna. He was just a little late. Lies are now truth. Freedom is a word only for a small subset of the population. Rights are just for old white males. Women are back to being nothing but property for males to use as they please, then are punished for the consequences of what men do to them. Again.
When I’m wrong, I can be really, really wrong. I was wrong all along, too. None of those illusions of mine were real. I gotta go back to reading about how all culture is an illusion that’s just out there to help us feel like life has meaning. I have no clue right now, other than life is suffering. Thanks, Buddha.
I’m not ashamed that I’ve dealt with anxiety most of my life. I’m just wired that way. For the past few years I’ve done a lot of work to manage the stress levels in my life. I’ve:
Cut out volunteer work where people didn’t respect me or weren’t truthful.
Minimized contact with people who put me down or try to manipulate me.
Changed my internal self talk to be more positive.
Made good progress on liking myself even when I can see my unlikeable traits.
Stopped trying to fix things I can’t control, including wars, divisive politics, other people’s beliefs, and other people’s actions.
Spent more time in nature.
Got more exercise. Especially with horses.
Nonetheless, BOOM, anxiety attacked me today. My chest has hurt all day. Badly. My neck has tingled. My mouth feels numb. All the fun stuff.
I think it’s because my boss said yesterday that I interrupt too much. He’s totally right. It’s why I hate talking on the phone or in groups. I have a weird inability to take turns in conversation. That’s got to be annoying to others, since I’m often embarrassed when it happens.
Everyone has issues. But sensitive people like me can take a small comment and leap to conclusions, like that they won’t renew my contract because of it. I know I’m a good writer, though, which helps counter my conversational impairment. I can edit writing. No wonder most of my jobs have been online!
The thing is, I know I shouldn’t beat myself up for things I know are an issue but am working hard on. I’m paying attention and trying once again to be quieter in meetings. Usually my issues rear up when I relax and stop self censoring. I guess the real me is just an over-talking, sarcastic, judgmental bitch. But a lovable one, right?
At this point in my life, it’s going to be easier to just accept myself and enjoy being with people who accept me, warts and all. I’ll certainly return the favor and grant them the grace to be their flawed selves. I should add that to the end of my bullet points above.
Sigh. I was going to destress by riding Apache, but I realized the horses are now all together, which I hadn’t realized was imminent. They all ran far away. Mmm. Grass. I think two horses are going to the Farm this weekend, which will be easier on Drew.
Instead, I really-did my horse playground, since it was taken apart to mow, and a new fence is going to cut some of it off. That was enough exercise!
See, I’m flexible and going with the flow and adapting to change. Gooooooo Suna.
First, I do not have anything contagious; my lunch (which was delicious) disagreed with me. And I felt okay this morning, when I worked on so many different things that it made my head spin.
After a fun time telling a new coworker fun things to do where she lives (one neighborhood over from where the kids grew up in Brushy Creek), I headed out to lunch with Anita for our newly traditional weekly gab-fest. It was so nice to just share our week together like we used to.
By the time I finished getting groceries that Lee had missed when he went out (plus ice cream—why I usually stay home), my stomach was sad. Rather than go to bed and rest, I instead dove into every work project I could think of, including some stuff that hurt my head. Me learning SharePoint is probably like my coworkers trying to learn Planview. It is counterintuitive and won’t let me do what I want to do.
Actually it is probably descended from the bane of my existence when I did websites, the dreaded Microsoft FrontPage, which let you make any website you wanted, as long as it looked just like one of its templates. I digress.
But by golly, I made a thing I find absolutely hideous, but is quite SharePointy and full of big margins, giant useless images, and not enough information to tell you anything. Yay. It did, however, take my mind off my stomach hurting.
I then wrote a bunch of blogs for other organizations, did miscellaneous to-do items, and nearly checked off all the bullets in my bullet journal for the day. So far I only have one bullet for tomorrow. Ah. Horse stuff with Sara!
By the way, I got recertification for another year as a Texas Master Naturalist! I’m enjoying it more this year, since it’s a lot less stressful just being the secretary. And no, I will not take over the website until I retire from paid employment. Boundaries! I have them!
I’m quite proud of my fellow volunteers, though, and so glad I get to see them again. I just had to hug a couple of women I’d missed so much. And I was very sad to learn that Sam, one of our members in the last class, had passed away this week. He was so helpful to our older members and did some good work.
So yes, life’s short. That’s why I spent good time with my horses and Fiona this afternoon. I groomed and loved on them as hard as I could. It was my reward for getting through the afternoon of mental and physical owies. It’s just so peaceful when everyone is in a good mood and crunching away on their dinners.
Whatever you are celebrating this weekend, enjoy it. I’ll enjoy what everyone else is celebrating, with thoughts of peace and kindness to all, even those who want to cause you pain. I’m just not letting it happen!