Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Freaking Halloween

Tonight's #Write30 topic is: "Your current relationship status; if single, discuss that too."

Terrible half of Duke football + no trick-or-treaters + cheap, cheap wine = misery by candlelight's complicated.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Taste of Despair

There are certain ways I know that I'm getting older. The songs I loved in high school now play on the "classic rock" radio station. I forecast rain by the ache in my right hip. And random, insanely weird hairs pop up overnight on my face.

Seriously, nobody ever tells you that last one, girls. But it does. So when it happens to you, call me. You are not alone.

But probably the saddest thing about getting older is my intolerance of things I used to love. Chief among them? Cereal.

My family loved cereal. Loved it. No matter how many cans of generic brand green beans we had, the one luxury name-brand item we were never without was cereal. My dad would get a giant mixing bowl, fill it with a combination of Sugar Crisp and Frosted Flakes, dump a quart of milk and a chopped banana, and go to town. My mom took her Sugar Crisp straight. My brother: a Honeycomb man. And I... well, I was ride or die for Toucan Sam.

I loved Fruit Loops. I'd let them sit in my bowl just long enough to soften and not slice open the roof of your mouth but not so long to lose all texture in a mushy glop. The sugar shards would slide off the loops into your milk, dissolving slowly and giving it a glistening skin. And while each spoonful of loops was a delight, we all know it was the milk we were after. You'd hold the bowl to your lips and tip it back, guzzling the sweet, sweet ambrosia. I felt powerful and strong. (I assume that the children who could down all their milk in one long pull were the same kids who would later excel at things like keg stands and tequila shots.) You could go all morning off the energy from just a couple of spoonfuls of leftover Fruit Loop milk. In fact, scientists should probably start thinking about it as a fuel alternative.

I dabbled in other cereals occasionally -- Apple Jacks, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, of course -- but there was no real commitment there. When I went away to college, a good 3/4 of my meal allowance was Fruit Loops. Breakfast, lunch, dinner... it did not matter. Avoiding the judge-y gaze of the cafeteria ladies, my suite mates and I would fill Ziploc baggies full of them to smuggle out to class. Should we ever have lost our way from a drunken frat party, chances are we could've found a trail of red, yellow, and orange loops to guide us home again.

I don't know the exact time I stopped eating Fruit Loops. One day, I did, and the next day, I didn't. Like so many of our important choices in life, the whys and hows go unnoticed, unknown. But whatever day it was is the day I guess I grew up.

"Once you're grown up, you can never come back." -- Peter Pan

A few years ago, while working at camp, we changed food distributors. Lo and behold, a mountain of single serving, sugar soaked wonder rained down upon our kids. Being the boring grown-up that I was, I'd grab my Total Raisin Bran, or if I was feeling especially spry -- some Honey Nut Cheerios, to settle in for breakfast. And then one day, I saw a bowl of Fruit Loops, sitting on the cereal bar, lonely and left behind. Suddenly every neuron in my brain was firing with latent childhood thrills.

I pulled back its single-serving lid to gaze upon its wonder.  And what did I find? Purple. Blue. Green.


No matter. I poured my soy milk and began to wait in the anticipation of joy that only reclamation of youth can bring.

I grabbed my spoon. I dug in. I lifted the first spoonful to my mouth and tasted -- and I tasted -- and I tasted... what was this? This sameness?! Where were the vibrant tastes of my  innocence? This cloying sweetness coating my lips, making me feel like I'd just rubbed a powdered sugar-Vaseline compound across my teeth? I couldn't even finish the bowl. It was too painful.

I had tasted despair.

And it tasted exactly like adulthood,

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Every other Thursday night, I visit my girls. We find a restaurant in our beautiful city that none of us have visited. We settle at the table. We eat. We talk. We drink.  And we laugh. My God, we laugh.

Thursdays are my favorite days. I feel most alive, most myself, on Thursdays.

Because on Thursdays, I come home.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Church of Conroy

When I fall into love with a book, I fall all the way. Quick. Deep. Immediate. Books are the only place where I do not use caution. The only time I cannonball instead of tiptoe.

On the other hand, I feel just the same when I find a book that does not wow me. I'm not a believer in "sticking it out" when I open a book and lose interest. Life is too short to trudge through a book you do not love.

I am a confirmed believer in the Church of Pat Conroy. I worship at the altar of his salt-soaked images and Southern charms. He is a mystic, a natural wonder, a sinner, a saint. He is a man who has been broken, and it is within his books that he searches for his cure. Each sentence is a blood-letting -- obscene and beautiful and raw. Each ending -- a prayer for his truth to be done.

My first visit with Conroy was The Prince of Tides. Although I've read it now at least a dozen times, there are moments I cannot help but hold my breath. Moments I cannot walk through all at once. Moments I cannot look away.

And while I loved this effort, it is his book, Beach Music, that I find myself carrying through my life. It is elegant and haunting in its unfolding. It is a love letter to forgiveness, both that which try to give to others and that which we withhold from ourselves. It's been a few years since I've read it, partly because I give each of my copies away before I can finish. 

I'm a firm believer in the idea that a writer writes what he knows, and Pat Conroy is no different. his personal demons appear in all of his stories. After studying his life and reading some of his interviews, this much is clear. Pain is the ink within his pen, and it has yet to run out. But there have been moments that it feels as it might.

“American men are allotted just as many tears as American women. But because we are forbidden to shed them, we die long before women do, with our hearts exploding or our blood pressure rising or our livers eaten away by alcohol because that lake of grief inside us has no outlet. We, men, die because our faces were not watered enough.”  -- Pat Conroy, Beach Music

Before the release of his last novel, South of Broad, I had read an entry whereupon Conroy talked often of both his failing health and his desire to write a few more novels. It was of little surprise that what came next was the only book of his that I did not love. In fact, I quit it on several occasions. It felt desperate in its connections. His villains more hateful. His heroes to heroic. It felt rushed and hollow. It was as if every terrible thing that could ever happen could be wished away by magic, and this is the antithesis of everything presented before.  It was a jumble of knots and crossed paths forced into a straight line, and straight lines simply will not do.

“No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws.” 

I did eventually finish South of Broad, and I have read it once more since. But the same copy I rushed out to buy on its publication date is the same that still sits upon my shelf. 

The only member of its church who has never ventured out of its own pew.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


I hate needles. I'm a big ol' wuss when it comes to the idea of them. It's not so much the pain although I, admittedly, am a pretty big wimp about that too.

Actually, it makes me a little nauseated to think of a needle piercing my skin. There will be blood. There will be pain. Then there will be vomit. And if there's anything I like even less than needles, it might be vomiting.

So it should be pretty obvious that my body is tattoo-free. Because tattoos = needles which = vomit.

I feel sick just talking about it.

But the weird thing is that I'm completely enthralled by those tattoo shows like Inkmaster and Miami Ink. It might be similar to the fact that I constantly watch the Food Network even though I don't cook or that I obsess about Project Runway although my most favorite outfit is pajama pants and a t-shirt. I totally dig people who have talents that are worlds away from my own.

I'm also fascinated by other people's tattoos. Maybe it's just good artwork that attracts my attention, but it's probably more their story. Tattoos, like scars, always come with a pretty good story. I love to investigate other people's stories, unearthing who they are, piece by piece.

And how do you choose? Knowing that this will be on your body forever. That it will change and shift -- in both form and meaning -- as your life changes. How do you stay in love with something like that?  What happens when you don't? You can have it removed, but is it ever really gone?

Some people don't care. The experience is the experience, and whether it's good or bad, they are fine.

I am not these people.

Some people hem and haw and change their minds a million times, but in the end, they understand that if they don't like it, they can transform it.

I am not these people.

Still others wander through a store, picking things up, putting them in their cart, and deciding that maybe you don't really need it after all. Then they wander away only to return, pick it back up, and wander around some more. Rinse. Repeat.

These are my people.

Even if I could get drunk enough muster the courage to get into the chair and risk vomiting on a total stranger, I don't know that I could ever choose a design.

I window shop though. I click on a picture. I stare for a while, turning it over and over in my mind, wondering if could go through with it, only to put it back down and wander some more.

But these are a few I pick up often. They are, of course, all book-inspired because I think there's something beautiful about loving a line so much that you carry it with you always. And there's poetry in taking the ink from a page and printing it upon your skin. Mainly, though, it's because I'm a nerd.

But I'd be a nerd with a cool-ass tattoo. And maybe a little vomit on my shirt.

simple but powerful

From The Tempest 

<b>Tattoo</b> Tuesday - <b>John</b> <b>Green</b>
"If people were rain, I was a drizzle and she was a hurricane."
One of my favorite descriptions ever.

<b>tattoo</b> <b>to kill a mockingbird</b> <b>to kill a mockingbird</b> <b>tattoo</b> <b>to kill</b> a ...
And, of course, a little Atticus Finch

Monday, October 26, 2015

It Might Still Be a Little Tiger Beat-ish.

I am fascinated by human behavior. There's nothing I love to do more than just watch people and try to decide who they are by how they behave. And I'm not talking "hang out at an airport and make random stories about strangers" (although that's fun, too). I'm talking about whatever you do throughout the day, whatever you say, I'm storing it away in my brain in a little file marked, "YOU". Actually, my brain files are marked with your names, but the file folders are all bent and piled up randomly and the names on the tags have probably been marked through a couple of times because sometimes people don't get to stay in my brain, but I believe in recycling.

Yes, I am watching. Yes, I am judging and questioning and filing for future connections. I'm like the NSA but less secretive about it. Or more secretive. Or whatever. (Hi, NSA! *waves gratuitously*)

Anyway, I watch because you're fascinating.

So to choose just one person as the person I'm fascinated by is dang near impossible. There are many beautiful and kind people in my own everyday life I could write about (and probably already have on here). There are a few celebrities that I adore, but I don't really have any personal connection with them. And that feels just a little to Tiger Beat for my taste.

So maybe there's someone somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Someone famous enough to give me a little thrill when she retweeted me on Twitter but still seems like someone who's not so uppity that we couldn't split a Reese's and hang out at an airport watching weirdos and making up stories.

I've been a fan of Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) for a long, long time. I cannot remember where I first found her writing, but whomever it was that pointed me to her should probably get several dollars a month from me. A "Thank You for Being Awesome" fee, if you will.

There are several things about Jenny that I love, but the fact that she and I barely missed each other at a tiny little state school in Central Texas always makes me feel like we could've been actual, real-life friends. Granted, I would've had to have been brave enough to talk to strangers first, but maybe it could have happened. If we were in the right class or had I run over her foot with my car.

I love that she swears unapologetically because swear words and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are my two most favorite vices. I love that she gives all of her animals, both real and taxidermied, clever and completely appropriate names. (I'm a big Hunter S. Thomcat fan.)

She's delightfully odd with a penchant for dead animals in costume. Even creepy-as-shit dead animals. I love that she hails from a delightfully odd family who adore her in all forms.

Jenny is kind and thoughtful, even when it's only by accident. And she spreads that kindness somehow with just a few words and the feeling that it's just the right thing to do because someone needs to do it.

She takes on challenges even when she's unsure. She finds a way even when she has to build it herself. Even when that challenge is just getting Wil Wheaton to send her a picture of himself collating paper.

And now they're FRIENDS, by God.

She fights back with 15 foot tall metal chickens. Who does that? Badasses. Badasses fight the good fight with chickens named Beyonce.

But more than anything, Jenny fights, period. She fights for the voiceless. She fights for those that cannot get out of bed. She fights for those who would rather hide under their desk than stand on stage. She fights for anyone who is coming apart at the seams. And then she rallies the troops to help sew them back together.

She fights for them because she is one of them. And she's not ashamed of it.

Because the most fascinating thing about Jenny Lawson is that she is just Jenny-fucking-Lawson. Warts and all. I consider myself to be honest, but, in truth, most of my life, I've been what I've now deemed, "Dinner Party Honest".  You know, just honest enough to be respected, but not so honest that people aren't "WTF?" when you sit next to them at a dinner party. I'm still not that honest, but I'm on the road.

I'm a people-pleaser at the deepest core of myself, and what pleases others most of all is for you to be happy -- to be good -- to be even-keeled. So, for most of my life, I tried to be happy and good and even-keeled, even when I felt like I was cartwheeling down the side of a mountain and then hauling myself back up by my fingernails.

Reading Jenny's work told me a couple of things: A) I wasn't alone and 2) There can be joy and laughter in even the most absurdly awful moments. And it's okay -- more than okay -- to grab that joy by the throat and squeeze the Hell out of it. Give it a Copernicus-level strangle.

But more than anything, it told me that being whole isn't about hiding your cracks from others; it's about letting them show and treasuring those who helped pick up the pieces. Because none of us pick those pieces by ourselves. None of us. Nor should we.

In the time that I've followed Jenny's blog, she's raised thousands of dollars, bought dozens of weird-ass but incredible dead animals, written two best sellers, and empowered hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world.

And she retweeted me once (which is really just like a modern-day grown-up version of taping a Tiger Beat photo to your wall, but I don't give one damn. Tiger Beat Twitter for everyone.)

And it made me furiously happy.

(I've linked all of these within the post above, but I know how lazy some of y'all are about clicking on the link. So I made it easy on you. Enjoy. And if you don't, you're moving to the bottom of my brain files. Maybe.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Deana Doesn't Live Here (And Probably Won't Ever)

All my life, I've been a Texan. I was born in the Panhandle. I spent two years in college in Central Texas. For the past 16 years, I've been here in North Texas.

Texas is big. I could move a dozen more times and still never leave. But I won't because moving's a hassle that I can only manage every decade or so.

As established in my last post, I haven't been all that many places. So the thought of living somewhere I've never visited leaves open, literally, a world of possibility. Therefore, in no particular order, I present the places I think I might live if I ever got up the energy to buy a lottery ticket and then win (so I wouldn't have to worry about getting a job or setting up a new bank account).

1. Italy

Pros: Pasta, vineyards, history
Cons: I don't speak Italian, people seem very loud and dramatic, historic grime, I'm not so church-y.

2. Chicago

Pros: Getting day drunk at Wrigley Field all summer
Cons: Crime, cold weather, all that neon green relish on the hot dogs

3. A tiny village in Ireland, or on a farm, or near a castle

Pros: Pubs, green space everywhere, no language barrier, Irish whiskey
Cons: Potholes, corned beef and cabbage, incessant Irish music, Guinness beer

4. Cape Cod

Pros: The ocean, small town feeling, I like drinking Cape Cods
Cons: I don't know anything about Cape Cod really, but it seems like it would smell very fishy.

5. Seattle

Pros: Creativity, all types of geography, liberal and intellectual atmosphere, Eddie Vedder
Cons: Seasonal Affective Disorder like whoa. Also: hipsters.

6. Charleston, SC

Pros: Food, literature,  all the sweet tea you can swim around in, the sea, finally took that damn flag down.
Cons: It seems... moist. Like all the time.

On second thought, I think I'll just stick to the 817 for a while longer.

* Also, since I've never actually been to any of these places, all of my thoughts about them are what I've seen on television, movies, and the internet. Or maybe, once, I read it in a book.  So forgive me if my dumbass American is showing.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ten Things You Probably Maybe Know About Me. Or Not.

Tonight's #Write30 topic is "Ten Interesting Things About Me". I don't like that topic at all, but as Duke football completely drained all of my energy and ability to form deep thought, I'm going to stick with it.

1. I don't think I'm all that interesting. People tell me that I'm interesting, but I know a great many interesting people, and I'm not like them. So this list feels weird but whatever.

2. I can pinch you with my toes. Seriously, I have monkey-toes. If I were to lose my arms, I think I'd be okay. I don't think I'd be very inspiring as a disabled person, but I could probably still drive and stuff.

3. I have two brothers named "Jimmy". This is not news to anyone who has known me for a while, but other people do find it interesting. And, no, it was not by choice.

4. I've never traveled outside the United States. I've also never been anywhere east of the Mississippi River. I am a traveler who was born to two non-traveling parents, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.

5. I don't like coffee flavor of any kind. I don't drink coffee or eat coffee candy or ice cream. I've never ordered anything more than a hot chocolate at Starbucks. The only time I ever drank a full cup of coffee was during an all-night drive home, and I don't think I blinked for 334 miles.

6. I also don't really like beer. Or Asian food. Both really upset my stomach, and although I've tried a million different kinds, the result is always the same -- typically me, on the bathroom floor, in tears.

7. I've never seen Star Wars or The Godfather all the way through. I don't tell people because I fear their shameful stares and mockery.

8. I was once terrorized by the Horned Frog mascot from TCU at a Texas Tech game in Lubbock. He followed me from the top of Jones Stadium all the way to my seat. I was standing up in the aisle, waiting to go to my seat, and he slapped me on the butt. I was 17 at the time, and everyone around me laughed, so I did too. If I saw that mascot come near me now, I'd probably preemptively knee him in the crotch just for good measure.

9. I have a deep phobia about clowns and marionette puppets and dumpsters. I have recurring nightmares about finding a dead body in a dumpster. I'm just there, trying to throw away my trash, and then, BOOM, dead body. Probably too many crime shows in my brain. Clowns and marionettes, though, are just regular old, run-of-the-mill creepy.

10. I wanted to be an optometrist when I was a kid. Then I realized how not great I was at math and science and changed my mind. But I still really geek out at my eye exams. Like, I LOVE going to get my eyes checked.

Friday, October 23, 2015

There Is Goodness Here

I am a firm believer in the heart. It has led me my whole life, and I am rarely failed by it. I don't care about your bank account or your home or your career. My eyes deceive me; they are too easily fooled. If you show me your heart, however, my heart will know you.

And this is what it knows: there is goodness here.

A few weeks ago, a young man from my hometown was critically injured in a high school football game. Although I don't know him, I know his family. I know my town. I know its heart. I know when it's broken.

I know when it's healing. And I know when it doesn't heal on its own. From nearly every opponent on its schedule, and from every corner of my Panhandle home, there has been love heaped upon their hearts.

My heart began here. My heart still lingers here. There is goodness here.

Sixteen years ago, I walked into my school. I met my children and my friends. My heart knew that I had come home again. There were days that my eyes deceived me. There were days my ears only heard doubt. But my heart could not be fooled.

I heard what people said about us.

I knew what people thought of us.

I felt what could become of us.

And my children and my friends, they showed me their hearts. And my heart could not be fooled.

Tonight, I watched as those children stood in honor of our dear Maria, who makes our building shine. They had not known who they were giving for -- only that it was needed to give -- and so they gave what they could, even when it meant less for themselves.

There is goodness here.

I watched as my friends handed her a check that may not solve her problems but might ease her soul even if for only a moment. And I felt her arms around me as she walked down the line of faculty members giving bigger and better hugs than any of us are strong enough to give. Monday she will show up again, the same as she has every day since before her diagnosis as well as after, ready to make our building shine.

There is goodness here.

There is goodness where I began. There is goodness where I now am.

My heart sees your heart, and my heart cannot be fooled.

Because there is goodness here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Time moves in circles and swirls, overlapping and entwining within its own coils.  A ribbon upon the breeze or a snake eating its own tail, time and memories can be beautiful and dreamy or  fearful and poised to strike without warning.

I don't know what my first memory is. How do you know the beginning has begun when you are the main character in the story? How can you pick out a moment -- one moment -- and call it first? Some of the first things I remember is the heat of the vinyl seats on my feet in my mother's T-bird and the sound of her voice singing along with the radio, windows down,  my hair flying in the breeze.  But then there are those firsts that I run far from -- boogeymen, real or imagined? Dark corners and bright smiles, one as dangerous as the next.  I'm too old for that ride in the T-bird to be first. I'm too small  for the monsters in my closet. Their order has no bearing or landmark, and my memories free fall through my mind.

Memories are a tricky thing. They unpack themselves slowly, strangely, never fitting back into the bag quite as they should. They twist and stretch and shrink to the shape of the cracks in your heart, leaving you patched but not perfect. Leaving you whole but not full.

First memories flow through every crevice, every cranny, carving and smoothing stone, cutting new paths, new experiences, new life.  They do not stop for such a strange and silly thing like order.

The first time I said goodbye or hello. The first time I saw your face or laughed with you until we cried. The first time I passed a complete stranger wearing my mother's perfume, breaking me apart with longing to be a child again.  The first time I felt your hand brush across mine . First dances, first kisses, first love, first steps, first cries into the world. These are the first memories I collect. The ones I hide away, talismans  to trade with the snake charmer called Time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Social Media is Ruining Us All

Any time something seems to go wrong in the world, you will inevitably hear the rallying cry of "SOCIAL MEDIA IS RUINING US ALL!"

Short attention spans? Social Media.

Kid can't spell? Social media.

No one talks face to face anymore? Social media.

Your boyfriend's talking to his high school prom date and now they might fall in love and run away and get married leaving you all alone to wither and die and have your face chewed off by your housecat? 

Yep. Social media.

There are lots of things wrong with the world, and most of them, I contend, are not the fault of social media. Or at least not totally.

Kids (and adults) don't pay attention in general. Because we're all jackasses who are super-concerned with ourselves. It's the human condition; not Facebook.

Kids can't spell? Take a look at some social media. I took weekly spelling tests with a lot of you fools out there, and some of your posts look like you threw a bunch of scrabble tiles in a Yahtzee cup and just let it fly.

No one talks face-to-face? Maybe you're not that interesting. Just kidding. You're totally interesting. Please don't leave me.

And maybe your boyfriend's just a jerk and you deserve better. And maybe your cat will chew your face off anytime because you're just so dang delicious.

Me? I'm a fan of social media. As an introvert living in an extrovert's world, I adore Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Social media has helped me connect with people all over the world. It gives me a place to fanatically follow my favorite sports teams (sometimes LITERALLY putting me on the road to follow them -- thanks, Shawn). Social media helps me find/comment on/snark about television shows I'm watching. It gives me access and recommendations of painfully exquisite writing that blows my mind and inspires me daily. It lets me reconnect with people who changed my life, like my 4th grade teacher (Hi, Mrs. Gooch! *waves frantically*) or my high school typing teacher (look what I can do, Coach Smith!) and keep up with friends I can't see daily. Social media has helped me create dozens of new friends and colleagues that I would never, ever have met otherwise. And many times, those people can relate to me in ways that just aren't always so relatable over a plate of cheese enchiladas where I have to look you in the eye.

How could anyone hate such a thing?

But we do. Because we're Americans and that's what we do. We use something on and on and on to the point where it makes us sick to even look at it but conveniently catches the blame for all of our inadequacies.

Yay, America.

Also, the point of tonight's topic (on the #Write30 Challenge) is to talk about the "Five Worst Things About Social Media", and I'm a rule follower by nature, so here it goes.

1. Debbie Downers.
There is nothing wrong with posting something that is sad or difficult or might make someone uncomfortable, but -- Sweet Baby Jesus -- I shouldn't have to brace myself or bear-hug my sweet kitty, Maggie Mae, so I can get through your inevitable sky-falling. An occasional cry for help is okay (see my Facebook just last Monday), but some of y'all are shouting at the void.


You're not my mom, so stop telling me what to do, where to shop, and how to eat. You call it "friendly advice". I call it digital tyranny. I don't want your make-up. I don't want your vitamins. I don't want your recipes. Unless you're going to post that recipe for bacon-wrapped tater tots dipped in brown sugar and then baked. Because I'm okay with that one. I don't even have to make them. I'll just watch the video over and over and over again and dream delicious dreams.

3. Politics, religion, and other stuff not meant for the dinner table.

For a long time -- an extraordinarily long time, truthfully -- I managed to keep my mouth shut about politics, religion, and other stuff not meant for the dinner table. It took a great deal of effort to keep my opinions to myself, but I was taught that some things should just not be discussed in mixed company. I've had to work extremely hard at reminding myself that a person's politics don't equal a person's entire being. There are some people out there who differ from me vastly, but I still love them and they still love me, I think. (Hey, y'all.) In fact, I'm always incredibly proud when I see people discuss and debate politely with facts and without name-calling. It's rare but beautiful -- like a unicorn or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that peels away from the paper unscathed. It also leads me to my next point:

4. The MEDIA.

Any idiot with a keyboard and an internet signal can call themselves "media". I'm not talking about actual journalists with actual experience and degrees and all sorts of fanciness. I mean the blow-hard, agenda-promoting, super right/left wing extremists that sometimes fill my social media screen. And what's worse than them is the fact that so many of my social media contacts quote/link/post them as actual news sources. What you see should not always be believed. Or shared. Often you reveal more about yourself than whomever you're trying to cast doubt upon with that 72 page slideshow from IT'S IN THE NAME Y'ALL. YOU DON'T NEED 72 SLIDES TO UNDERSTAND THEIR AGENDA.

5. Its addictive nature.

Social media, as I've stated before (it's right up there at the top for those of you with short attention spans -- thanks social media) can be FANTASTIC. It can, however, completely overwhelm you and hold your life hostage if you let it. You shouldn't count on your Instagram to make you famous or worry about your Twitter follower count or obsess about how many "likes" your latest post got on Facebook. But we do. We all do. It makes us feel good because it makes us part of a community. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that until you're the person knocking on every neighbor's door at 4:00 AM looking for a fix. Then you're just "that" follower/friend, and it might be time to back away from the keyboard and go find a real-live-friend. Grab some cheese enchiladas. Make unnecessarily awkward eye contact. Join a spelling bee.

You know... connect like we used to before the world went to Hell because of social media.