Category Archives: Personal News

Welcome to 2014!

Usually, as part of my year end ritual of looking back on the previous year, I post a slideshow of my favorite photos that I took during the past year. This year, since I started a blog dedicated to just photography, you can find that slideshow over there if you’re interested!

The end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, is always a good time to take stock of yourself. For survivors, it’s always a good time to look back and use this as a guide to help determine whether you are making progress in your healing, or not. It’s very easy to focus in on the small details of our every day struggles and miss out on the big picture of healing, so I’ve always been a big fan of using this time to take a step back and look at healing from childhood abuse, or any trauma. and assess where I am compared to this same time a year ago. Have I learned a new skill, have I improved in my relationships, have I learned to trust a little more, to feel joyful a little more? All of those steps of improvement are evidence of healing, of the work we are putting in having a positive effect, and they should be recognized and cherished. It’s the truth of these accomplishments that gets us through the days where it seems no progress is being made. Continue reading

One Reason I Love the Internet

Light a Candle for me

Last Thursday my grandmother passed away. She had been ill, and was 93 years old so it wasn’t a shock, but it was still a sad occasion, obviously. I was teaching an online course for a client on the West Coast so while I found out during an afternoon break, I wasn’t really done working until close to 8PM my time. So it was a bit later when I got time to return phone messages, after which I turned to Facebook as a way to let some of my friends know what was going on.

When I got there that night, something interesting was in the process of happening. I took a look at the Facebook profiles of a couple of my cousins, and realized that we were all doing the same thing. We spent much of the night looking at Facebook, sharing stories and photos with each other. Even though we are spread all over the place, the technology of Facebook allowed some of us to connect right in that moment and mourn our grandmother, instead of having to wait for all of us to travel to the funeral.

As it turns out, it was also the day that Nelson Mandela passed away, which made it even more interesting. Not only were my cousins, aunts, uncles and I sharing thoughts about my grandmother that night, but much of the rest of the world was also sharing thoughts and stories about Mandela on Facebook and Twitter. I got a really good glimpse at the ability of the internet to connect us during a world event, and to connect a small group over their own event, at the same time.

It was a vivid reminder of why I started a website in the first place and why I still see online social networking as such a powerful force for good in our lives. Sure, it has the potential to be a dangerous place too. Just like any relationship, we have to be careful who we connect with. But it also provides us with a chance to connect with people who share our interests regardless of geography. Whereas in the past when there had been a death in my family, I would find out about it and then spend the evening apart from my family, and only really get to share those stories and memories if I could happen to travel for the funeral, this time all of us could jump on Facebook in different states and across time zones, and connect.

Think about that for a minute. Thanks to the internet, we’ve eliminated the obstacles of distance and finding a mutual time to talk, or the time it would take for mail to get delivered, when it comes to staying in touch. We’ve even eliminated the obstacles of not having someone to share ideas and thoughts with. You’d be hard pressed to find a subject that someone isn’t blogging about, or doesn’t come up on Twitter. When a world event like the passing of Nelson Mandela occurs, we turn to Twitter to see what other people are saying about it, or get more information. When it’s something closer to home, we turn to the same place, where we can communicate with the group all at once.

I’m very glad that Facebook helped me stay in contact with my family at a crucial time, and I’m very glad that being part of the online world has helped me stay in touch with far-flung friends and family. I’m just as glad that being part of this online world has brought people into my life who I wouldn’t have met anywhere else. Both of those things have made all the spam, technical issues, and trolls worth it.

A Much Needed Break

And we’re back…

OK, so I know I’ve been offline for the last couple of weeks, and am just now starting to catch up on emails and other things from around the old Internets. If you’ve been waiting on some comment from me or response to something, it’s coming. The wife and I were off on vacation, cruising in the Mediterranean with no real access to internet while we explored Spain, Italy and a bit of France. I highly recommend all of them.

I also highly recommend getting away yourself, in whatever way you can, every now and again. It was refreshing to be able to simply spend some time away from every day life. The constant routine of our daily lives can get to be sort of soul-crushing when you don’t spend some time occasionally doing something just because you enjoy it. A vacation is a good way to remind yourself of that simple pleasure.

I will be sharing some of the 1700 photos that I took while on vacation. In fact, I’ve already started that process with a short look at the port in Barcelona over at the photo blog. I will continue to add new posts there, with links to my Flickr account as new batches are added. Hope you enjoy them!

Now, what did I miss? ;-)

Random Travel Photo Blog

In my experimenting with Tumblr with a sports blog, a thought occurred to me. I take quite a few photos with my phone while traveling, and some with my camera when I have that with me. Some of them get shared on Flickr, or Instagram or Facebook, but when I want to point people to my photography using the link from here, I don’t really have one link to point them to.

Since Tumblr is really designed for photos and videos, I thought why not take advantage of cross posting abilities and a fe IFTTT recipes, why not make a photo blog where people who don’t want to try and decide whether to follow me on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, can see some of the random photos I’ve been taking while on the road? So I added a second Tumblr blog:

http://mikemacphotos.tumblr.com/

Enjoy!

Traveling

While we all know that I travel quite a bit for work all the time, this week I’m actually headed out of the country, to London, for a few days. So I may be a bit slower than usual to respond to comments, emails, tweets and so forth!

On the other hand, I’m hoping to meet up with my cohost over on the News and Reviews blog while I’m in his home town. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out.

Ya’ll be good to yourselves in the mean time.

A Perfect Example of Why I Won’t Repost

Anyone who spends as much time as I do online, and who is an outspoken survivor, inevitably gets bombarded with lots of requests to share information to their readers. Like most of you, I get a lot of those, and if it’s something that I think survivors might benefit from, I’m more than happy to.

What I won’t do, is sign your petition, voice my support, contact the media or a congressperson on behalf of someone I don’t even know. Here’s a good example of why I don’t so that, a Facebook post that went viral, purporting to name a wanted child molester, who in fact is not wanted and has absolutely no legal issues to speak of.

See, here’s the thing. Baseless accusations ruin people’s lives, and they hurt legitimate abuse survivors. If we want a world where abuse victims are to be believed, we need to be extra outspoken against anyone, anywhere, who makes false accusations. We need to be more skeptical when faced with social network posts claiming to raise awareness of a specific case when there is no evidence beyond an anonymous Twitter or Facebook account.

In this case, not only does this individual have a pretty good civil case against the person who started spreading the post, he has one against every single person who thought they were “doing their part” and shared it. Every one of those people has lost credibility. How many false rumors about potential molesters, or false claims of abuse being used as a child custody tool, before we are simply not believed any more? How soon before we reach a point where every claim of abuse is met with skepticism, because there are just so many false ones.

If we expect society to believe victims, then we have to weed out those who would take advantage of that by making false accusations, not continue to spread “support” when we don’t know anything about the case we are publicizing. False accusations are damaging to the people being accused, and to the survivor community in general. Think before you repost.