9 Strategies to Win a Facebook Argument that You Need to Know Immediately

I’m a nice person, so I don’t like fighting and avoid is at all costs.  However, sometimes people make me mad on Facebook (when they say things like”vaccines don’t cause autism”, “wealth inequality”, or “climate change”) and I need to be able to stand up for myself and for the truth.

Sometimes people don’t back down that easy, and it turns into an exhausting ordeal where no matter how much I say the same thing over and over again, I can’t get them to agree with me.  I’ve been at it enough, though, that I’ve identified a few key steps that are guaranteed to help you show them how wrong they are.


Talk a lot about real life stories that happened to YOU.  People can be very dismissive of “anecdotal evidence”, but what does the very term imply?  That it’s evidence!  Of course people who disagree with you are going to get mad and tell you that your proof doesn’t “count” since it only happened “once”.

Use intelligent words.  Lol k are you guys ready for my trick?  If nobody knows the word, than nobody will know you’re wrong.  People say words like “extemporaneous”, “depravity”, and “bipartisan” but have you ever met anyone who was actually able to use them in a sentence?  I think I’ve made my point.

Point out the other person’s flaws.  Think about it.    Can your neighbor win an argument about religion if you point out that they didn’t go to church last week?  This is probably one of the easiest ways to make other people look bad, and, more importantly, to make yourself feel better.

Talk about how much of a good parent you are and how well you take care of your babies.  Did your kids get dinner every single day this week?  This is the kind of thing that people need to know about you.  This is what lets them know that you aren’t messing around and that you should be taken seriously.

Use unarguable facts.  Has anyone ever walked away from a conversation where they were told that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and not had their minds blown just a little bit?

Say that you’re done with the conversation but not really be done.  Say “Whatever, I don’t care, I have more important things to worry about, bye Felicia” or something like that.  K but then they will probably say something dumb like “okay, goodbye” and then you can catch them off guard by saying something ELSE.  They’ll never see it coming.

Cite numbers.  This is similar to the intelligent word strategy.  You can use as many statistics as you need to.  It’s bets if you’ve heard them before, but otherwise, your best guess will do.  The cool thing about NOT citing a source is that if you don’t know where the number comes from, nobody can go find out if you’re wrong.

Use caps and exclamation points liberally.  Why do you think the HOLY BIBLE is capitalized?  Because it is THAT important.  What you’re saying is important, too!   Also when have you seen someone have a “mic drop” moment and NOT use like a million exclamation points?  Maybe never.  It shows people how sure you are that you’re right.

That reminds me, end your statements with “Mic Drop!”  This has become the universal code for “what I just said is the best, please don’t talk now.”  However, I think you can add more oomph to your argument by using it following each sentence.

Happy fighting, everyone, and Merry Christmas.


MLMs and Social Media: I’ve Come to Upset You.

Okay, this is a post that is literally years in the making.  It’s been brewing deep down and not so deep down.  But I’ve always held back, because I didn’t want to offend anyone.  So, if I say something that upsets you because it doesn’t apply to you, then know that it doesn’t apply so therefore you shouldn’t be upset.  If it upsets you because it does apply to you, then I don’t think that being upset with me will solve any of your issues.

I don’t know every MLM in existence, and I don’t know every success story or everything good thing that it has ever done for anyone.  I admit this.  I’m sure that there are people who are fulfilling their wildest dreams due to an MLM.

However, I am about to tell you all the things that bother me about MLM-doers, most of which I experience over social media (namely FB and IG).

1. Making me be in your group.  This is just annoying.  I just counted and I am in 20 MLM groups.  I asked to be in zero of them.  Am I free to leave?  Sure.  Free to unfollow?  I already have.  But I don’t like being added.  Especially if we’ve only met like once.

2. “Would you rather give your money to a CEO, or to the stay-at-home mom next door?”  LOL.  The CEO.

Why?  Because the CEO is good at what she does.  Really good.  Her company sells a product that I want at a price I am willing to pay.  It’s probably convenient for me to pick up at a store whenever I want it or to order it quickly online and have it within a week.  She is doing business, and she is doing it well.

Now I’m going to say something that sounds really harsh.  If I buy something from you so that your kid can play soccer, or because you want to be a stay at home mom, or even because you need to pay your bills, we’re are not doing business.  There’s another name for that, and it’s called “charity”.  They are not the same.  Imagine if a group of high school band kids tried to convince you that paying $10 to have them wash their car was a better thing to do than paying $6 to go through a drive through wash at Chevron and tried calling themselves a business.  No.  That is charity.  Is it good?  Yes!  But it isn’t business.

3. “I got these new shoes with my commission this month.”  Uh…okay.  But do you realize that most people are buying shoes and all of their other clothes and even paying their bills with their wages?  A business opportunity that lets me buy a new pair of shoes once a month seems pretty abysmal to me.

4. The emojis.  When I see a post filled with emojis, I know what it is and I know I’m not going to like it.  I’m of the opinion that an emoji is like an exclamation point or all caps- they get used when your words are not good enough to stand alone.  They’re not clever.  They’re not informative.   They don’t make me smile or feel connected to you.  They just say “This is an MLM”.  You can do better.

5. “Reconnecting” in order to make a sales pitch.  It’s so obvious and so tacky.  And honestly a little insulting as well.  It automatically diminishes a friendship when you begin to use it that way.  I once even had someone have the nerve to bring God into it and tell me he was “inspired” to share it with me.  Hard pass, buddy.  Hard pass.


Notice that I haven’t mentioned any MLM by name, or said that they are scams that call their customers “employees” and use empowering rhetoric to get them enthused.  I believe that people should do whatever works for them.  If you sell an MLM product because you really enjoy doing it, good.  If you’re getting rich, awesome as well.  These are a few things I hope you consider in the process:


1. Don’t pitch me, but ask me for help.  As your friend, I want you to succeed, but I need for us to be friends first.  That means that I get approached like this: “Hey, I’m trying this thing to make some money.  Just letting you know in case you are interested.”  Not: “HeY LaDy!!!!1!  LoNg Time no C!  You’VE cHanGEd so much since HS! I sAw tHat YoUr LiPs Could Use Some WORk!  I Sell LIPPY-IPPY which EmPoWers GURLS in CounTriEs LikE AfrIca! RiTE nOw YoU Can GET a SPECial deal- Buy 6 Get the 7th FREE!!!!!! Only 19.95$ each plus tax plus s+h.”

2. Don’t be a sob story.  If it’s a business, do business.

3. Keep your work and your personal life separate.  It’s just the classy thing to do.  And to be honest, it will help people take you seriously.

4. Don’t talk about it like it’s the greatest thing ever.  If you ask anyone with a “regular” job if they like it or not, the majority of people will say that sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.  If someone told me that they loved every single day, loved their boss, loved their coworkers, loved each client, planned to do nothing else for the rest of their lives, and had not one negative thing to say about it, I would think that they were being paid to lie.  Can you like your work?  Yes.  Can you love it?  Sure.  Should you think it’s absolutely perfect? No.  This is not believable.  It’s another thing that makes it difficult for people to take you seriously.


The End.


The Problem with Adding Your “2 Cents”

I am seeing a pattern and I am concerned.

Social media is a hot bed of controversy.  Some people jump at the opportunity to promote and/or defend their platform.  Some people shy away and avoid those conversations all together.  Some people are skilled in trolling.  Some people are lurkers who enjoy the discourse but are not active players.

And then there are the “2 cent-ers”.

The 2 cent-ers are the ones who pop in, express a well thought-out opinion in a respectful and civil tone, and then retreat back with the qualifier “that’s just my 2 cents, though.”  Oh, and there’s usually a smiley face after that.

As far as I can remember, I’ve only ever seen women do this.  Men either have an opinion or they don’t- but if they do, they seem to be more willing to defend its legitimacy as one that should be seriously considered and even adopted by others.

But with the women, it’s often a different story.  They make good points about a serious issue, but seem to discount themselves in the very next breath by saying that it’s “just how I feel” or that “I don’t want to fight about it.”  They will also sometimes initiate conversations about hot issues with pleas for people to not argue or become too heated.

While I love controversy, I get very uncomfortable with contention, and therefore appreciate efforts to keep things civil.  But there’s much more to it than that.
Backing away from your statement and saying that it is “just your 2 cents” implies, in my understanding, three false ideas that I take major issue with.

1. Your opinion is less valuable than others’.  Everybody realizes that what you say is your opinion or perspective, and that you hold no super-human authority to proclaim what is true or how people should feel.  This is also true of everybody else.  This is implied.  The “2 cent caveat” implies that because  statement is yours, it shouldn’t be taken as seriously as a statement by another person.

2. Having one’s ideas challenged is essentially confrontational.  Here’s a fact: if I’ve never challenged the veracity of something you’ve said, we aren’t good friends.  Likewise, if you’ve never challenged the veracity of something I’ve said, we aren’t good friends.  This is one of the hallmarks of a strong relationship for me- our bond isn’t altered by whether or not we agree on an issue, and disagreeing openly is actually a sign of closeness rather than dislike or mistrust.  Issues are complicated and require scrutiny.  Receiving input from people with differing viewpoints helps us all to refine our own understanding and conclusions.  This is why I dislike “2 cent caveats”- they seem to try to avoid contention even though, in my opinion, contention is not a natural result of comparing ideas.

3. It’s more important for a woman to be likable than to be anything else.  When you end your statement with the 2-cent caveat (especially if followed by a smiley face), you are essentially saying, “if you don’t like what I said, please ignore it.  I would rather be easy to tolerate than have my thoughts taken seriously.”  Now, I know I’ve argued that discussions of ideas do not need to be contentious, but sometimes others will make them so.  I believe that being kind and respectful to all people should always be our top priority. I also believe that many issues are worth upsetting people over in order to propagate correct ideals.  Take, for instance, my stance on abortion, which doesn’t win me very many friends.  But who would I be if I kept my mouth shut for the sake of being liked?  Being principled is more important than being palatable.

What you have to say is just as important as what anyone else has to say.

Disagreements are not essentially contentious.

There are things that are more important than being nice.


But that’s just my 2 cents.  🙂




The Desire to Be Loved and the 1,000 Ways that Feels

I am a lover.  I love people wholly and truly.

I can be a little bit stingy as far as who I begin to love, but once you’re in, you’re in, and I will be happy every time you walk through the door.  I will miss you when you are gone and I will tell you as much.  I will sing your praises to your face and behind your back.  I will thank you for loving me more than you are probably used to.

I am lucky to be able to love the most incredible people- my family, my classmates, my coworkers, my friends, my mentors, and even some people who would call themselves my acquaintances, but over whom I find myself particularly enthused.

But I still don’t have a lover. A real lover.

Being LDS constrains you to be preoccupied with love and marriage, and, at the same time, be incredibly picky over who you’ll embark on that love and marriage journey with.  I am almost to the end of my 20s- long past my expected window of marrying and family starting.  I’ve been at just about every point on the “How Much Do I Care Spectrum”- from the extreme of crying myself to sleep to the other extreme of seeing freedom and flexibility as preferable to security and stability.

But most of the time, I find ways to deal with being alone.  Not totally alone, but alone in what can feel like the only way the matters.  I set goals, I busy myself, I work hard at things, I try to be outward-focused, I make long-term plans under the assumption that I will be alone forever and get excited about them.  For most of the minutes in a day, being *that* kind of loved doesn’t feel all that imperative.

But sometimes it does.  And it feels so many different ways.

It feels like excitement when he goes out of his way to talk to you or when he asks for your number.

It feels like disappointment when he never calls or texts.

It feels like success when he does.

It feels like hope when you’re getting ready for your date.

It feels like jealousy when you see him talking to another girl.

It feels like surrender when you realize they’re a “thing”.

It feels like despair when you can’t stop from believing that it’s because something is wrong with you.

It feels like a good kind of pain when you catch a glimpse of his arrestingly handsome smile from across the room.

It feels like regret when you realize your mistakes.

It feels like fun when you have a good time together.

It feels like safety when he keeps his word.

It feels like betrayal when he doesn’t.

It feels like peace when he’s there for the good and for the bad.

It feels like guilt when he leaves your home too late at night.

It feels like shame when you see him in church the next day.

It feels like importance when you realize that you’re the one he really wants.

It feels like sorrow when you realize you’re not.

It feels like loss when you are the one who has to end it.

It feels like freedom when you can start looking for someone better.

On many occasions, as I’ve thought myself to be a “strong independent woman who don’t need no man”, I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks to be reminded that while I may not need a man, I want a man.  And I want that more than nearly anything else.  I could give speeches on self-fulfillment and self-actualization and the idea that if you’re not happy without him, you’ll never be happy with him, but I would soon be humbled by some reminder that I’m just a woman, just a human, just a lover.  Those reminders are strong enough to jolt me every time. Every time it feels like I’m waking up to who I really am.

President Boyd K. Packer once referred to “the full blown rapture of young love”.  Rapture is “a feeling of intense pleasure or joy”.  What other experiences are there that we can really call a rapture?  Not many, I submit.

There have been moments of exasperation in which I’ve attempted to throw up my hands and throw in the towel.  Moments when I’ve proclaimed that asexuality was my new life style and that I didn’t “even like boys anymore”.  Well, you can imagine how long that lasts for a lover like me.  The desire to be loved hurts so bad.  But the fulfillment of that desire feels so good.

So good.

It’s All in Your Head (Unless it’s in Your Ovaries)

I’m sitting on my unmade bed, surrounded by folded piles of clothes that just dream of being lucky enough to make it into and actual drawer.  My flaky  mud mask was due to come off about 20 minutes ago.  I need to get ready for church AND a trip out of state tonight AND a trip to Disneyland tomorrow morning.  But instead I am writing this, because, it is all of a sudden feeling urgent:

A year and a half ago I had a horrible thing happen to me.  It’s something that I’ve been private about until now.

Somebody sung happy birthday to me.  Well, actually, a group of somebodies- a whole cultural hall full of them.

The only additional context you are getting is that it was as well-intentioned as “Happy Birthday to you”‘s usually are, but that it was extremely embarrassing to me.  I had pleaded with the initiator not to announce that it was my birthday, but he ignored my request.  This is understandable, since most people resist these kinds of things even if they really want them.  I on the other hand, am very good at saying exactly what I do and do not want. At the conclusion of the sining, I gave him the dirtiest look I could imagine, gave the group a slightly less dirty look, turned around, walked to my car, and left.  Oh, and I started crying before I made it out the door.

From there, the night devolved into an emotional crisis.  I felt embarrassed and depressed, and then felt upset with myself that I felt so embarrassed and depressed.  I was inconsolable, and experienced just about every negative emotion one could imagine within the space of about two hours. I would think that I had soothed myself, just to spontaneously break down a few minutes later.  I knew that what happened was not a big deal…actually, a “normal” person would have felt happy to be recognized.  So what the f*** was wrong with me?  And why couldn’t I let it go? Also, it should be known that these emotions had not been nearing the surface as a result of some previous experience- they all stemmed from the singing episode.

I happily joke about the incident to this day- it’s funny, isn’t it?  Or ironic at least?  That someone would fall apart like that over something that was supposed to be positive?

This event, of course, is not significant in and of itself, but I began to notice a pattern.  Every once in a while, turmoil would arise in me out of seemingly little more than thin air.  It would usually start with feeling hurt or offended, then depressed, then hopeless, then angry, then mean, then suicidal.  I would start researching the “highest bridges in Arizona” over things like not getting invited to a party…whose host I hardly knew and probably honestly wouldn’t even mind if I showed up.  I never sought any kind of professional help because I knew that by the time I accessed this help, I would likely already be feeling better.  I also don’t trust therapists, but that’s for a different blog.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “wow, I didn’t know Juliet was quite this crazy,” (which I hope you are, to be honest), you are probably in good company.  I’m not usually falling apart, after all- at least, not falling apart like this.  I, of course, experience disappointment and discouragement as much as the next person, but there is a very distinct nonsensical nature about these kinds of episodes.  They have triggers, but there is no predicting what the trigger will be.

About a year ago I figured that it was about once a month or so that I would have one of these “freak outs”, and they lasted anywhere from a few hours to a few days.  I then began to realize that it wasn’t about one a month- it was exactly once a month, and that I couldn’t remember it ever happening while I was on my period.  And then the lightbulb went off:

I had horrible, terrible PMS.

I had always thought that PMS meant that you were a passive-aggressive b!tch who didn’t want to be accountable for her own words or actions.  I had never even considered  the possibility that I had PMS, because I was always nice to the people in my life.  Truly, my angst always goes inward.

Well, I was wrong, and it’s not just PMS, it’s PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which is basically a severe form of PMS, often marked by extreme episodes of moodiness.

This is what I have, and I’m grateful to know that there is a cause of perceived as just losing my mind.  It’s a real, physical problem, linked to the onset of an objectively observable bodily function.

I’ve written about mental and emotional health in the past, and I’ve always attempted to distance my personal experience from my ideas.  To be bland, I didn’t want people thinking I was mentally ill, even in writing about removing the stigma of mental illness.  Hi, my name is Juliet Miller and I’m a hypocrite.

But writing about this disorder doesn’t instill the same fear in me.  Why would I be ashamed of having arthritis, or the flu?  My condition is just as real and non-chosen as those things are.  There is a predictable beginning and end to it, and, as mentioned above, it is linked to objective physical events.  Because of these facts, I see it as being more similar to breaking your foot than to having other mental illnesses, as far as how willing I am to talk about it.

But this is wrong.

Mental illnesses with no or less obvious physical traits are just as real, valid, and deserving of care and understanding as any illness that manifest entirely or partially in the body.  This experience has revealed an important bias to myself:  I still have a hard time distinguishing the illness from the person.  I sometimes discredit a person’s claims to having a mental illness because, honestly, I don’t think they’re terribly competent.  I have thought to myself, “it makes sense that she’s depressed” or “her anxiety really just makes her more annoying.”  I’m so embarrassed to be admitting this.  I struggle to shake the idea that mental illness is a personality flaw, regardless of how many times I’ve told myself and others that this isn’t the case.  I have several people who are close to me who struggle with mental illnesses of all kinds, but I see them as the anomalies, and not as adhering to the rules of what it means to be depressed or anxious or obsessive compulsive or bulimic.

I might feel crazy for a few hours to a few days every month, but that defines me as much as having allergies defines a person.  And even if I felt crazy 28-31 days every month, that still is not defining to me, or to anyone else.  It can be hard to distinguish mental illness from normal “ups and downs” in ourselves and in others, but there is a difference, and it usually just takes the tiniest amount of kindness and openness to separate the person from the condition.

And I hope you don’t define me by the 1st-4th of the month.


Hillary, Feminism, and What I’ll Tell My Granddaughters

Making the decision of who to vote for in this presidential election cycle has not been easy.  I’ve considered every known option- including not voting for POTUS at all.  I had serious misgivings about every option.  I didn’t want to stand behind the potential catastrophes of any candidate, nor did I feel that abstaining would make me rightfully absolved of blame altogether.

I weighed my options more and more intensely as Election Day neared- and even as the hour neared.  I was willing to put money on a win for Hillary Clinton- in my mind, she was the presumed winner.  Nobody else ever stood a chance.  She was going to make history that day- taking a jackhammer to the roof of the glass-ceiling skyscraper and launching all of us women into outer space.

Regardless of the fact that I live in Arizona is a swing state, I didn’t think my vote mattered at all for consequential purposes- its only real purpose was to take a stand for something, and simultaneously against some other things.  She was going to win, and I was  simply deciding whether or not I would check the box of the winning team.

As I exited my car at the polling location, I had a vision: Fifty years from now I’m sitting with my granddaughters, telling them about Hillary Clinton- the first female leader of the free world (and bonafide badass), who decided once and for all that little girls (like them) could truly be anything and do anything and go anywhere they aspired to.  I pictured myself bragging to them about how their very own grandma got to vote in that very election where we chose our very first lady president.

I then asked myself: “Will I be able to bear telling those little girls that I didn’t vote for her?  That I chose not to?  That I stood on the sideline and watched as history was made?”  I don’t find her perfect, but she’s a woman, and I swoon over the idea of a woman president.

But, here’s the thing:

In all of the potential for regret that comes with choosing a presidential candidate, I see the most potential for regret with her.   Now, before you confuse me for some conservative  email-obsesser, let me assure you that I don’t think Hillary is awful.  I find her compromised, but not a criminal.   I find her smart, hard-working, and confident.  I see her caring about people who are different from her, and even with people who dislike her.  She’s amazing- a giant, in my eyes.

But there is one issue that matters more than any other to me.  I am not sharing what that issue is, as my objective is not to speak poorly of her.  However, I cannot in good consience but my vote behind her.  I felt a little bit ill about it, but I walked away from the polling both hoping that God would have mercy on my soul, and trying to accept that I was not going to be on the victorious side of civil liberties that day.

And what am I going to tell my granddaughters?  I am going to tell them that I respected Hillary enough to vote based on her choices, and not on her gender.  Being female should not disqualify her from anything- nor should it qualify her.  Her values and her virtues are more important to me than her vagina. I am going to tell them that we are big girls playing a big girl game, where being a girl isn’t enough to win.  Hillary has played a good, long game, but she’s not my MVP.

As it turns out, I was wrong- so very wrong- in my predictions.  I wouldn’t have been about to brag about the first female president even if I had voted for her.

But you better believe that I am going to tell my granddaughters about the first female president, it is the most earnest desire of my soul that I will be able to claim that candidate as my own.  I dream of the competent, rule-breaking, renegade of a woman who is going to be the star of my stories.

Thanks for being our giant, Hillary.  We will need your shoulders.




The Thing About the Woods

Last Monday at 3:45 am I woke up in a “teepee” made of logs.  Somehow my headlamp had ended up in my shelter mate’s sleeping bag and “turned itself on”, startling her into waking up, which startled me into waking up.  Our conversation began with the expression of minor annoyance with the situation, and ended up a peaceful and easy discourse on some of the most “uncomfortable” topics.  Having lots of hard conversations is the price you pay to get the kind of relationship where nothing feels hard to talk about any more- where you can mention heavy and serious things in passing because you both know the rest of the story, and where you can let your sentences trail off because you’ve visited the   topic before, and you know you’ll be visiting the topic again.

As we mumbled about the dreams we had woken from and I gazed out into the small clearing that surrounded our little shelter.  It seemed that no darker night had ever existed.  I’ve spent plenty of nights in the woods, but I seem to have gotten more than my fair share of full moons and noisy neighbors who left their lanterns on past any Godly hour.  Not only was it dark, but it was quiet.    The windy day had turned into a still night.  We were too high in elevation to hear any coyotes, and too low in elevation to hear any elk.      I could hear the sound of the creek babbling down below our campsite, but it was somewhat in a different sphere than the one I was in.

She dozed off first, and as she did I was struck with a kind of awe about my situation.  Something about the serenity of both the conversation and the physical environment surrounding me left me feeling something like wonder, but different.  I felt a groundedness and connectedness that is difficult to describe.

As I took in the crisp air, the smell of the wood surrounding me, the sight of the shadowing forest that could have gone on forever, I realized that everything in that scene was peaceful and content.  Everything, that is, but me.

One of the few discernable objects in my field of view was my neon yellow hammock, which hung between two trees about 80 feet away from where I was sleeping.  The evening before, as we enjoyed a beautiful sundown in that very hammock, I told her that sometimes, and that that day in particular, I felt like all the universe had to say to me was “f*** you”, and that I had been getting the message loud and clear.

The work, the beauty, and the decision making of the hike that day had distracted me from my contention with the universe.  But I was like a bouncy ball- I could be propelled upwards into an elevated and exciting state of mind, but with each bounce, I was jump lower than the bounce before, until before long, I was sitting still and motionless at the bottom of my despair.

I love being away from the city- mostly because the city is where my problems are.  The mountains have no beef with me.  I have nothing to prove to them, nor they to me.  Many have described that being “in nature” helps them feel calm, peaceful, collected, and confident.

As I laid there, propped on my elbow, experiencing the darkness and the stillness, I thought to myself, “this is when it’s supposed to hit me.  This is when the perspective and wisdom that will solve my problems is supposed to flow into me and make me feel whole and wise and maybe even good again.”  I observed the peace, but I was not it, and it was not me.

I was not enlightened with the solutions to my problems, the antidote to the things that were tormenting me.  I walked out of the woods with the same problems I walked in with.  But I also walked out with something else.  I walked out with the understanding that the mountains, the trees, the creek are peaceful just because they are.  They existed the same way every dark and still night for who knows how many years in the past, and will for how many years to come.  They didn’t become what they were because I, or anybody else, had shown up to observe and label them.

The wilderness just is what it is, independent of me. And I just am what I am, independent of the wilderness.

The wilderness has peace, but only enough for itself.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea of “inner peace”, but I am finding myself wanting to cozy up to it more and more, as I see that, for me, “inner peace” is the only peace.  I don’t know how to get it, maintain it, or magnify it, but I think that to really be at peace is to be able to be so in both nature and the city, in both calmness and in chaos.

I laid down, humbled by my  inability to share the vibration of my surroundings.  As I closed my eyes, I accepted that the woods (or another place I may walk) would not change me, and that bursts of inspiration would not be floating down from the stars.  But the woods, and the stars, and everything else there that night revealed me to myself.  Just as much as I could not change them, they could not change me.

The wilderness just is what it is, and just I am what I am.

But I want to be more like the wilderness.





To the Woman Who Shamed Me About My Swimsuit

I was able to share this weekend with this great woman and the two great guys standing beside her. So grateful she took the time to write about this!

A Thought She Wrote

For almost thirty years, I shamed myself for my body. I rarely felt pretty enough, lean enough, or feminine enough. After living in an abusive marriage where my body was the object of heavy scrutiny daily, that problem was magnified. But over the last couple of years, I have worked hard to heal those painful lies and love myself exactly as I am, regardless of my weight or shape and no matter if I have shaved my legs, curled my hair, or applied my mascara.

So it’s sort of uncool that today, you decided to private message me—even though we don’t know one another—to tell me that you hope the man I posted a picture with (who is one of your old friends), will end up with a cute girl one day. But that essentially, I am not one of them because I thoughtlessly posted a photo of myself in a shear bathing suit that shows everything…

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Lord, it is I, isn’t it?

There are three women who have given me a sizable amount of strife over the last two years.  I am not going to use their names, or even provide general details on the circumstances, in order to protect their identities and good names.  I’ll just call them “she”.

SHE was rude.

SHE was passive aggressive.

SHE was dishonest.

SHE was frivolous.

SHE was out of touch with reality.

SHE had unfair expectations.

SHE was hypocritical.

Sometimes, SHE was even cruel.

I complained about her to my friends- those who knew her and those who didn’t- and boy oh boy did I feel vindicated in my anger.  They told me that I was in the right, that I was the reasonable one, and that I didn’t deserve to be treated in such a way- facts that I was already entirely confident in and couldn’t be shaken from.

I wondered why she was the way she was, what it was she didn’t like about me, what I had ever done to her, and why all of my efforts to rectify the situation and make peace seemed fruitless. Actually, I thought I knew why they were fruitless- it was because she was a thankless bitch who was dead-set on hating me.  Poor little me who was just trying to get along.


Nearly two years ago I stood in my stand-in closet (because let’s be honest, it wasn’t big enough for actual walking) hanging laundry while listening to the priesthood session of general conference.  I hadn’t been to intent on paying close attention to the speakers (it was priesthood, after all), but had it on in the background as I did some chores.  I mention my location because the moment I received the following teaching is seared into my brain. It was Dieter F. Uchtdorf giving a talk titled “Lord, is it I?“.  These were the words he shared, emphasis mine:

It was our beloved Savior’s final night in mortality, the evening before He would offer Himself a ransom for all mankind. As He broke bread with His disciples, He said something that must have filled their hearts with great alarm and deep sadness. “One of you shall betray me,” He told them.

The disciples didn’t question the truth of what He said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, “Is it him?”

Instead, “they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?”

How humble, and how aware of their weakness before God, these men must have been.  They had given up their lives to follow Jesus- became a homeless wandered like He was in order learn of Him and do His work.  Surely they had proven their devotion.  Surely they would not betray him.

I know that if I sat at a table with Christ and those three women and He told us that one of us was out of line, I would have sat demurely, feigning humility, while thinking to myself, “Oh it’s obviously HER, and man oh man I’m glad He knows how wretched this lady is.”

It must have been difficult for the disciples to believe that THEY would be the ones who would betray our Savior, but they had such love and admiration for their brethren, and such a desire to be perfect in Christ, that they saw themselves a sinner before the man siting next to them.”


Now it would have been nice if that talk had brought me to an immediate knowledge of my unworthiness before God, and I never looked to blame others before myself ever again. But this isn’t the ensign after all, this is my honest and dirty chronicle.

I knew that we should always look for the beam in our own eye before noticing the mote in another’s, but I honestly thought I was 100% certified beam free.

I was the one who was honest and forthright.  I was the one who was kind in spite of being treated poorly day after day.  I was the one who worked hard to meet expectations.  And SHE was everything horrible and foul.  And I had it reconfirmed to me over and over that it really WAS her.  My friends and acquaintances declared with certainty that nobody liked her and that she was jealous of me because I was smarter/prettier/younger/happier/morally superior/generally better.

“Lord, it’s not I.  I’m the smarter/prettier/younger/happier/morally superior/generally better one, after all.” I really had myself convinced that I was blameless.  If I were to recount to you every detail of these relationships, you would probably judge that I was, in fact, in the right (or at least not so much in the wrong as she was).  My mom, my dad, my friends, my church leaders, internet strangers even- EVERYBODY told me it was NOT ME.

“Lord, I know we are supposed to look inward to find fault, but there’s really none there, so please get this awful woman out of my life.”


The circumstances surrounding the revelation escape me, but somehow I realized that it wasn’t her after all.

It was me.

After months of struggling and complaining and thinking about how wrong she was and how right I was it hit me.

It was me.

I saw my errors, the greatest of which being my pride in deciding so early on that SHE was the problem.  I did do things to try to fix the situation and make peace, but it was because she needed the fixing.  I was already in the right.

Well, I was in the wrong.

I was distant.

I was insincere.

I was inconsiderate.

I was gossipy.

I was the one “rejoicing in iniquity”.

I was filled to the brim with pride.

“Lord, it is I, isn’t it?”

I had fallen short of Christ’s charge to love my neighbor, and had therefore fallen short in my love for God.

I still think that even if you could watch a replay of everything happened, you would judge me “the bigger, better person”, but being better than other people, being more right than other people, is totally unimportant and irrelevant in our strive to find happiness in Christ.

What matters is how we compare to Jesus, and we know that we all fall short of His glory.  Every day we fall short.  And what does Jesus do for the billions of people who he is infinitely better than?  He extends his hands and invites all people to come unto him and be perfect like him, through the power of His atonement.  I do not possess in my vocabulary and adjective to describe the magnificence and miracle of that atonement.

Confronting our sins can be a bit paradoxical.  We don’t want to do it because it’s uncomfortable, but having those sins remitted is the most comfortable thing in the world. In order to know Christ, love Christ, and live with joy in His reality, I have found that I need to know Him intimately in the way that He wants me to- as my Savior.

In the words of the hymn “I Stand All Amazed”, I marvel that he would descend form his throne divine, to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.

When I marvel in God’s goodness, judgement of others no longer even makes sense.  How can I be the recipient of such a great gift of forgiveness and redemption, and simultaneously look to my sister and scorn her for being fallen, just like me?

So, was it all my fault?  I don’t know.  Was it all her fault?  I don’t know.  Equally at fault?  I don’t know.  And I don’t care!  It doesn’t matter!

Being “righter” than others is only important when we forget how much “righter” God is than we are.

That is why it is always I.  An acknowledgment of our weakness and sin before God is always the answer, as that his what brings about his ability to bring peace and resolution to our souls, regardless of how the world rages on around us.

And when that peace and resolution comes, I hope I will always remember to cast my eyes heavenward, and declare,

“Lord, it’s You.”


Why I Choose to be Vulnerable (And Why You Should Too)



I write a lot of really vulnerable blog posts. Usually, and thankfully, they are well recieved.

But it finally happened- I was finally called out for being too open, too vulnerable.  I was told by an acquaintance that people are turned off by vulnerability, and if I remember correctly, no man would ever want to date me that way.

This was only a matter of time- right? My writing- let alone the rest of my life- IS vulnerable.  It’s gritty and exposing and unflattering.  Anybody watching the “highlight reel” that is my Facebook page is able to get a good dose of reality by coming to my blog and cuddling up with this novel of my weakness and failures.

So yes, I am vulnerable- online, in real life, with my friends, and with strangers.  Isn’t this a bad idea though?  Doesn’t it open me up to being hurt?  Yes, it does.  And no, it doesn’t.

When You Choose Vulnerability

I wish I could say that every time you reach out for help, admit your weaknesses, or in some other way display vulnerability your gesture will be universally well received.  It won’t be.

There will be some people who find it off-putting.  Some people will think of you as obnoxious, needy, burdensome, even, perhaps, pathetic.  The account of the acquaintance at the beginning of this post illustrates how this has happened to me.  It will happen to you, too.

These people will distance themselves.  They will begin avoiding you, if they can.  They may say hurtful things.  They may make you will unimportant and small.  All in all, they will communicate that your weakness makes you unworthy.

They will like you less.  They will want to be around you less.  And that is exactly what you want. Think of it as social exfoliation.

Being vulnerable will drive people out of your life who cannot provide for your needs.  It will rid you of those who don’t want to help strengthen and support you.

And who will be left?

The people who are going to make your life awesome are going to be left.

While being vulnerability will likely remove some people from your life, it has the potential to greatly strengthen your relationships with those who stay.

Think about it- have you ever been nervous about telling someone something about yourself, but then found that they took the news way better than you had expected?  How did they make you feel?  If you’re anything like me, it gave you a new level of trust and connectedness to that person.  It may unlocked the gate to a whole new level of emotional intimacy.

Have you ever had someone help you out in a situation that you may have been embarrassed about?  But instead of being judgmental, they were understanding, caring, and helpful?  How did that make you feel about that person, and, more importantly, how did that make you feel about yourself?

Have you ever had someone sit with you during a breakdown?  Lend you money in an emergency?  Deliver a meal to you in a time of tragedy?  Forgive you when resentment seemed justifiable?  Offer to help you work your way out of a bad situation you got yourself into?  Pray for you, without even being asked?  Clean your house, because, let’s face it, you’re a hot mess?

And they did it all out of love?

It is nice to be respected and admired by those who just know the good stuff I like to show off, don’t get me wrong- but, at least for me, this kind of validation is fleeting at best, and pride-invoking at worst.

I don’t think anything makes me feel more important than being accepted- flaws and all.

Going a step further, knowing that people will love me with my failures makes me far less afraid to fail.  And being less afraid to fail makes me less afraid to try.  And that means more trying.  And that means more succeeding.

Also, it is often so much easier to work through problems with help.  And if they’re the tough kind of problem, you need the kind of help that you can be honest with- not the kind where you are only partially honest about the situation because of the fear of being viewed poorly.

Do you get it?

Willingness to be weak makes it easier to be strong.  Letting people know you have failed makes it easier to succeed.

And all the while, you’re relationships will be rich, rewarding, intimate, and fulfilling.


I put off having a blog for a long time.  I wanted to write, but I didn’t feel like I had anything special to write about.  I didn’t cook or craft.  I don’t go on exciting vacations.  I don’t have cute kids.  Then it hit me- I needed to say the things that other people thought, but weren’t willing to say.  I needed to say hard things, and I was probably going to have to say hard things about myself.

The lure of my writing, from what I’ve been told,  is that it is confidently honest about things I’m not confident about.  It is always scary to press the “publish” button, but always worth it.