The Wayward Daughter’s Official #LeaveItIn2018 List

It’s that time of year again! The time when we reflect on the previous 11.99 months and vow to change our behavior for the better so that the coming 12 months won’t be the same shitfest© we perceived the previous 12 to be. With that in mind, I’d like to offer my own commentary on the things we’ve been doing that need to go on glory when the clock strikes midnight.

  1. Wraps, waist trainers, and tea that makes you shit uncontrollably. It’s 2018. No wrap or girdle…er…”waist trainer” is going to make your size 16 body look like you’re a size 10. Believe it or not, you cannot shit your way to a 27” waist unless your waist was 27.05” when you sat your ass down on the toilet. We’ve come too far in human history to still believe that any of these tactics are a feasible solution to the extra pounds and inches that so easily beset us. I absolve you now from feeling like you need to buy (or sell) overpriced Saran wrap, organ-stifling girdles, and liquid laxatives to live your best life *taps you on the forehead with Pope Wayward’s sword.* Go in peace and breathe, my child.

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4. Celebrity beef. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of (usually undeservedly) rich people arguing on social media over whose song is the worst best or whose g-string is less flammable. If you can’t tell, I dislike many, many, many people. There are even several I can’t fucking stand. There are a handful that make me wish I was a Marvel character that could make them disappear for the 5-10 minutes I must be around them. Yet, you’ll likely never hear about me engaging in full-scale verbal or physical warfare with any of these people because I know how to dislike someone without holding up my life to Tweet and FB about it 3 hours/day. In fact, most of us regular degular people who don’t get paid 7-figures to pop our pelvis while singing about anything from ill-advised sexual encounters to shopping sprees we may not have taken manage to hate others silently. I doubt an actual celebrity will read this but in case they do, let me, Pope Wayward, settle it for you. You both suck.

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3. Stunting for social media. I have been both blessed and cursed to know the tea. I have friends whose tea I know that they don’t know I know. I have friends whose tea I know that don’t even know their own tea. That’s one of the benefits of extreme introversion; nobody thinks you’re paying attention or care so they get careless in front of you and you become the proprietor of your own Teavana. With that said, I’ve decided that the new rule for 2019 is to tell the truth or shut the fuck up. No need to lie about how “carefree” you are while posting pics of the first decent meal you’ve had in months because you swiped right on that gruesomely ugly man’s Tinder profile due to hunger. We really don’t need you to tell us about how you get ‘dat money with a fan of one 100 dollar bill and twenty 1 dollar bills. Talking about imaginary boyfriends/girlfriends or bragging about your spouse who can’t keep the utilities on may get you some attention but at the end of the day, what’s it all worth? We all lie sometimes but why add to your lifetime lie tally when nobody asked you and you could just be quiet? To the most severe offenders, Pope Wayward commands you to confess and give $0.75 to Saint Zip The Lip and you shall then be forgiven.

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2. Not reading the fine print. It happened a few times in 2018 but has increasingly happened ever since FB and Twitter made people think they are the 2nd coming of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Ghandi. John/Jane Doe finds themselves in a situation. They take to social media to get the outrage rollercoaster spinning. It spins. We’re bombarded with articles about John/Jane Doe’s plight. A week later, we find out that John/Jane Doe exaggerated the whole thing or it was John/Jane Doe’s own actions that got them in trouble in the first place (see Meek Mill). I’m not a Freedom Fighter but if I were going to be a Freedom Fighter, I’d only fight for the people who actually deserve to be free. Rage makes you die more quickly so why be outraged on behalf of someone whose actions merit being exactly where the fuck they are? Pope Wayward requests that in lieu of “Free My Nigga….” t-shirts and posts, alms and letters of encouragement be sent to women like Cyntoia Brown and Bresha Meadows.

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  1. Perpetual victimhood. We all have them. That FB friend who seems to always, and I do mean always, find themselves in a crisis. In January, half (just half) of their apartment spontaneously combusted. In March, their pinky finger suddenly fell off. In April, a unicorn actually got spooked and put his horn through the window that’s on the side of their apartment that didn’t spontaneously combust. In August, they had a stroke but then they found out 3 days later it wasn’t really a stroke but a reaction to the 5 Taco Bell MexiMelts they ate. They didn’t post an update status about the findings though, until a week later when they found out there was a group PM asking how they ran a marathon 4 days after a stroke. In October, their right leg actually ghosted them because it felt unappreciated. It didn’t bleed though, so the hospital let them go home. By November, their pinky transplant was complete but then it developed an infection and started to sprout another pinky kind of like mushrooms in the forest. At the end of December, right after getting back from the Bahamas, they discovered they have the Bubonic Plague and are going to have to stay off work for 3 weeks. Of course, all of these come with their own separate fundraising requests.lies

    I get it. Shit happens. But most of us are at the age where it’s time to start guarding against what we can and trying to prepare for the worst that life may throw at us. If that means taking a break from your job as a street corner breakdancer to get a job with benefits that will support your streak of bad luck, that’s what it is. You can spin on your head on the weekends.

    Pope Wayward commands you to open a LinkedIn account (it can be the free one cause not even Pope Wayward is paying for Premium).

 

Happy New Year! Prospero Año!

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True BWE: Rejecting The Need To Seem Perfect

To: Max. May you always get an answer to your “whys.”

Back in June, everyone with taste’s fave, Janet Jackson, wrote an open letter about her failed relationships and her struggles with depression and her self-esteem on her journey to happiness. It was a feature in Essence magazine that I didn’t even know had happened until earlier this week. Though I’ve chided the open letter as a late-stage revenge tool in the past, I was very impressed by the honesty of the letter and felt that it could serve as comfort and/or inspiration for Black women who have dealt or are dealing with the same thing.

However, what I did not like was the several responses from Black women who haven’t achieved one one-hundredth of what Ms. Jackson (if you’re nasty) has. Apparently, it’s not okay to show your scars; even when doing so stands to help hundreds of thousands of women all over the globe. There were allegations of Black women having a need to share their low points for “validation.” There were the, “ugh…why’d she have to let everyone know that bad shit happens to even the rich and famous?!” One pointed out that she wants the image of her favorite stars to be high and mighty. Janet revealing this low-point, in this commenter’s estimation, will take away the sense of obligation of Black women to make “better choices.” Someone even said something to the effect of her needing to keep that to a journal.

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I sat back and shook my head. Most of the women making these comments are a part, at least by extension, of the Black Women’s Empowerment club (called BWE on social media). I can’t help but ask myself how anyone, Black, white, short, tall, able-bodied, or in a Hover Round, can suppose that they are going to “empower” anyone by only showing the romantic and happy parts of their life.

They must have forgotten that Janet Jackson is a human being. To act like she hadn’t had that struggle would have been a lie, an affront to those who helped her escape (even if it was herself), and a grave disservice to the woman, whoever she may be, who needed to hear Janet Jackson’s story so that she could see there is a light at the end of her own self-image tunnel.

Three years before my marriage went to hell, I had the pleasure of meeting an older (yet not old) woman on Facebook. We spoke through messages and she told me that she had been married before but her marriage ended in one of the most horrid ways possible. I admired her because, at the time, I could have not imagined going through the situation she went through. I was in awe at how she managed to bounce back from the immense betrayal and fuckery that her first husband had put her through. I appreciated her sharing something that she could have easily pretended never happened.

Little did I know that three years later, my marriage would end in pretty much the exact same way. When that happened, it was hard; excruciatingly hard. Besides the obvious, you see who is and is not your friend. You realize who the friends and relatives are who will back you eternally and those whose empathy has an expiration date.

But what I knew was that despite the emotional kamikaze I was about to experience, I would make it.

Why did I know I would make it?

Because of the woman who wasn’t too embarrassed or ashamed of what happened to her to share her story with a virtual stranger at the time. She was my rock years before I knew I needed one and I am forever in her debt.

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For the good that the various BWE movements have done, there remains an underbelly of hateration (inside and outside of the dancerie), hypocrisy, affectation, and to be quite honest, delusion and self-esteem issues that started out funny but is now simply sad. In one thread, someone who hasn’t worked out since they were in 5th-grade gym class will be talking about how fat Black women are and why these fat Black women are often visually represented in certain stories. In another thread, a woman will have the nerve to express her displeasure that another Black woman chose a career path that’s 10-steps ahead of her own and has far more potential. In still another conversation, some woman will be lamenting the fact that a Black female celebrity was seen running errands at the Quik Trip without makeup because, of course, it’s a natural thing to do contouring before you go pick-up a 44oz. frosty drink in a Styrofoam cup.

For all the conversing, article-writing, and analysis, many of the women in the BWE crowd have failed to grasp the concept of humanity, even their own. It’s a sad statement when women who claim to be for the empowerment of other women like themselves can’t be happy to get a glimpse of an award-winning actress because in the photo, she was wearing a jogging suit. Further, it doesn’t bode well when these women can’t recognize the brokenness inside themselves that allows them to fervently bash or critique other women who are on the same level or higher than they are, usually over minutiae.

What you will hear as a rebuttal to this is that since Black people, Black women, in particular, have it harder, we can’t “get away with” the same stuff that white women do…like running to the grocery store without makeup intact. To that, I say, bullshit. I’ve often said that I refuse to carry the totality of Blackness or Black womanhood on my back. I will not be embarrassed by the AAVE and Ebonics-speaking witness to a fire on the local news. I won’t be ashamed by proxy of the young Black woman who is single with 3 children in an article about welfare reform. Why? Because I know who I am. And because I know who I am, I don’t worry about a bunch of people I don’t know pigeonholing me into a character I don’t portray.

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What I wish is that the BWE “movement” was filled with women who aren’t afraid to show their scars as inspiration or motivation for the other women who have or, unbeknownst to them, will go through similar situations.

For it is the showing of scars that sets people free.

I wish that instead of living in a fantasy land of what people think happens in the real world, there were more voices who not only have a following but the experience that merits the crowd.  I wish more of the critiques were of things that matter and steeped in logic and evidence (even anecdotal) instead of the wide-eyed idealism of a 14-year-old who doesn’t know anything but what she’s seen on television dramas. I wish the women barking about what a Black woman should look like, were something to look at. I wish the women lamenting when and who a Black woman chooses to entertain, had, themselves, experienced a relationship that went above and beyond your standard late-teens/early twenties 6-month fling. I wish there were more voices willing to say, “Hey, this is where I fucked up. Don’t do like I did.” Or, “I grew up in a fucked up situation but here’s what I did to make sure it didn’t affect me and hinder my success….”

To me, that’s so much more empowering. To the women who do this, you have my respect.

To those so deep into the BWE-ness that they don’t realize that they’ve fallen victim to the nonsense, I urge you to start paying attention to whether or not the fruit on the messenger’s tree matches the seed that they’ve been planting in you.

“I ‘members that day I was in the store with Miss Millie – I’s feelin’ real down. I’s feelin’ mighty bad. And when I see’d you – I knowed there is a God. I knowed there is a God. And one day I was gonna get to come home.” – Sofia from The Color Purple

 

 

 

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Déjame: The Self-Care That People Seem To Hate

I’m going to let you all into my life a little. I work a day job. I get up and go to work most days of the week. I work long hours most of the time. On my day(s) off, I mostly sleep, do laundry, grocery shop, prepare my lunch for the week, give sassy responses to the men who contacted me on dating apps, and try to catch up on all my shows on the DVR.

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I know that this doesn’t sound too much different from the lives of most adults my age. The thing that’s different is that I’m pretty sure that at least 75% of the people at my job need to be committed long-term (insert cries of ableism). There’s also another large segment who feel the need to be up your ass all.the.time. You can’t pop the top on a Crystal Pepsi without a barrage of questions that are all code for, “can I have some?” or some other way to inject themselves into your time, space and/or business.

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Another thing about me is that I don’t really make friends at work – ever. I’ve met some cool people at this job and I’ve even met a few that I want to keep in contact with when it’s time for me to move on. One of these people really crossed one of my personal boundaries Friday, however, and now I’m starting to re-think where or if I want her in my life long-term.

The thing is…I don’t like feeling trapped. I don’t like feeling smothered. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I actually fear the thought of being constricted. Friday was already a stressful day. I’m on the verge of PMS and the constant chatter was just irritating me. I put on my sunglasses, popped in my earphones, and worked away. Yet, it seemed that every half hour or so, somebody was trying to get my attention, not for work-related shit, but just because they didn’t feel like working in that moment. I felt like I had been locked up in a cell with a bunch of motormouths and, more than usual, it was a living nightmare.

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Things came to a head when I ordered delivery for lunch. I went outside and got my food (shrimp) and came to my desk. I put my earphones back in, shades back on my face, and continued typing away. I didn’t even open the sack. Like clockwork, one of the people at work that I actually like came a-knocking. I didn’t even look in that direction, shook my head, and kept working.

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Long story short, that lead to some adult form of the silent treatment (which in and of itself is a paradox if you ask me) for the rest of day. I was told I had a “stank attitude” that this person didn’t “have time for.” Let’s be clear, I already knew what was going to happen. This person was going to ask what was in the bag and then eventually if she could have a taste, (though she had already easily eaten 600-800 calories worth of snacks and other foods, before I even ordered my lunch).

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On the drive home, I started to think to myself: why does society have such a problem with people wanting to be left alone? What’s wrong with someone not having something to say and deciding not to talk just to hear their own voice? That’s wrong with people wanting to enjoy the silence (cue Depeche Mode)?

I live in the south. Here, if you don’t walk around like you’re at Disneyland, you’re “cold,” “mean,” “uppity,” and any other word that’s used to try to guilt people into being social. If you’re a Black woman, you can add in the (apparently) obligatory accusation of anger. I’m not talking about the smart-alecky extrovert vs. introvert memes. I’m talking about the lack of understanding that people have a right to their space; and that someone asserting that right should not be considered to have committed a social faux pas. And though it doesn’t rise to the same level of sexual harassment, the irony is not lost on me that people are all-in (at least verbally) on taking consent seriously but still have a problem accepting being denied people’s time, space and emotional/mental energy.

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Just like we accept that annoying people can’t help being annoying and that nosy people can’t help being nosy, we need to collectively make peace with the fact that people who don’t want to spend the bulk of their time unnecessarily interacting can’t help being who they are.

Speaking for myself, I find people exhausting. When I was 16, I had a job that involved heavy interaction with customers and I knew then that I wasn’t cut out for constant interplay with others. I was “shy” as a child but in adulthood, I literally become physically tired by too much interaction at times.

We talk a lot about the importance of self-care these days. What if someone’s self-care is silence and needing others to leave them the fuck alone until they can re-charge? Energy is precious and I will never apologize for trying to preserve mine. If you’re like me, you shouldn’t either.

If you’re one of the bigmouthed offenders, it’s time to stop. Someone wanting you to go be interested in something else but them at any given moment isn’t a personal slight but if you keep transgressing their boundaries, it could become something you can’t bounce back from…

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2017: The Year From Hell For Which I’m Grateful

2017 was probably the hardest year of my life, thus far. It started out okay but when the leaves began to change and the temperature became colder, so did my life.

In 2017, I lost my husband (through separation) and one of my favorite people in the entire world, my grandmother, through death.

Yet, out of what seemed like the worst of times, the best of times also emerged. You see, I’ve always liked learning and 2017 was the teacher that I needed. Being somewhat of a Type A personality, I always thought that I stayed prepared for the worst, but 2017 taught me how to really gird my loins.

2017 taught me a new fighting stance. 2017 taught me how to jump higher, run faster, duck lower. 2017 was the steeplechase that I needed to train me and get me in shape for what is to come. 2017 went in and found all the cracks and leaks that were going to cause me worse problems in the future and went to work on them.

Most importantly, in 2017, I learned I’m much stronger than I thought. I learned that the things that I thought would be Mt. Everest experiences for me were really hills that I could easily surmount.

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Nobody can promise us anything. People wish us well and have good intentions when they do so but life, I find, isn’t subject to any of us. Life, for those of us claiming to want to be better and do better, will sometimes serve us dishes that are more bitter than we like with the purpose of training our taste buds, so to speak. It’s up to us to be open to the road that leads us to where we say we want to be or reject the pruning and stay trapped where we are.

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Though I shed many, many, many tears in 2017, I’m grateful that I made it. I’m thankful that I didn’t just make it, but that I came out of it with a new perspective on life and a fresh concept of who I am. I’m not trying to BS you with some new age/shout it to the universe and you’ll get it/think positively balderdash. If anything, I hope you take with you the fact that life can be difficult but, unlike people, when life gets hard, it’s not to harm us but to propel us. Our job is to be attentive students.

Best wishes for 2018.

 

 

 

I Won’t See Ya’ Later: The Importance of Mental Divestment

It’s fall now (well, for most people. I live in Texas and it was 90 today but kudos to the rest of the country). I like fall. I like the fall lines of most of the major nail polish companies. I like the full sweaters with creative necklines and corduroy pants. I like the non-white cups at Starbucks that start in the fall. I like the cooler temperatures that fall brings. I like the fall candle line at Bath & Body Works. I like fall because the leaves change color and start to literally fall onto the ground.

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This week, I want to talk about divestment. Just as the leaves start the process of divesting from their branches, I think it’s important for people to make sound divestments as well. We have all put up with situations and things longer than we should have at one point or another. We stayed at a job too long. We kept a friendship too long. We sat in a relationship for too long. We knew that we were past our expiry, but we held on because we thought walking away would cost us too much.

Little did we know that not walking would cost us much more.

Women, for all of our innate gloriousness, are particularly bad at divestment. We dig in and take on burdens that simply aren’t worth the effort. Of course, the social, familial, religious and other varied pressures that insist we perform the mental and emotional labor of everybody and cause us to hate ourselves when we don’t (or at least don’t want to), are the battery packs that make us keep on keeping on.

We are shamed into thinking that it’s wrong to put ourselves first. We are told that it’s “not nice” to stiff arm people for our own reasons. We are made to believe that we shouldn’t expect a standard of care and ought to be grateful for whatever positivity we do get from the people around us. We are convinced that our most precious gift, our intuition, is just paranoia. We are admonished to “let go” or “not harbor” negative feelings from the past.

I think it’s time for us to stop.

It’s time to stop the advocacy for people who don’t do the same for us.

It’s time to stop jumping into pseudo-philosophical e-arguments to defend people who would sooner throw us to the wolves.

It’s time to stop protecting the very people who physically harm us.

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It’s time to stop entertaining people who have proven day in and day out that they simply are not worth the legwork.

It’s time to stop pretending like our family members are evidence of a pretty picture that doesn’t actually exist.

In that vein, it’s time to stop pretending like our family members aren’t a part of the ugly picture that does exist.

It’s time to stop believing that if you have the 3rd, 12th and 49th heartfelt conversation with people about the same shit, hoping it’ll get better. It won’t. They aren’t that stupid. They know better. They just don’t care.

It’s time to stop not putting people in their place when they fail to honor you or your wishes.

It’s time to stop being nice when it’s not organic to the situation.

It’s time to stop picking up spiritual hitchhikers. They’re on the side of the road with their thumb out for a reason. Leave them there, lest they hop in your back seat and slit your throat while you’re rescuing them.

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You’re getting tired and worn down and wasting time and they are reaping the spoils of your travail; calling you crazy while they eat the cake you made.

And the icing on the cake is that we’re told we need to seek help by the very people who are the reasons we need to seek help.

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Fuck that.

Christmas is coming early. I’m Santita Claus. I’m using this season to make my IDFWU list and check it twice…and keep adding to it as necessary.

Is it wrong to care? No.

Does everybody deserve your care? Hell no.

I’ve long disabused myself of the need to take the moral high road. Letting people transgress your boundaries and acting like it’s okay doesn’t make you righteous, it makes you daft and secretly hating them with a smile on your face is a YUUUUGE waste of energy.

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Save yourself and be willing to rid yourself of anybody who thinks you shouldn’t save yourself.

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Throw your car in gear and peel the hell out.

As for those fallen leaves, they eventually become the nutrients that the soil needs to regenerate more lush plant life and, perhaps more relevant to the topic at hand, help choke out weeds.

While I get that physical divestment isn’t always an option, the one thing you can control is your mind and you can most definitely protect your spirit. You may not be able to control when the city comes to collect the trash but you can sure as hell make sure the stench doesn’t cloud your space and put it on the curb.

Lastly, to the people who will read this blog and whose foolish nature will compel them to try it…..

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Consider The Source: Bloggers As Life Guides

Social media is a great way to develop a following. People who may be introverted off the web can blossom into stars on the internet with the click of a “POST” button. Since the days of the AOL free trial CD, the world wide web has been a place where utter cowards could be emboldened, social outcasts could become the part of the “in-crowd,” and people who thought Caddyshack was deep could become life philosophers.

As romantic as that may sound (or not), I’m afraid that many of these electronic mavens have begun to warp the minds of their followers. What used to be largely for entertainment purposes only has turned into a cult-like bastion of bad advice being passed to the young and/or naïve.

I’m not talking about beauty bloggers who recommend products that are sure to offer a Sammy Sosa finish to brown-skinned ladies everywhere. That’s dreadful, but makeup can be washed off and you can start over. But, there are highly influential writers and bloggers who can often be spotted offering terrible life advice to their (usually) homogeneous reading audience. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but that people are shaping whole ideologies around what they read on blogs and FB pages. Ideologies eventually become behaviors, and then none of us are safe.

So, as a public service, I’ve decided to give you clues as to whether or not you should take the advice/teachings of your social media “faves” seriously.

  1. What is the logical possible outcome of following their advice? If the outcome of following their advice leads to poverty, illness, incarceration or severe emotional upheaval, ignore them. I can guarantee that they will not be contributing to your GFM campaign for bail, rent money, antibiotics, or your “self-care” retreat. You may experience the warm n’ fuzzies reading their account about how their scheme method worked for them but if in the real world, the risk far outweighs the reward, it’s best to skip it.

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  1. Have they or are they doing what they are saying you should do? Anybody who suggests (or even co-signs) that something they would never do is okay is a bullshitter and shouldn’t be trusted. For example, the “pro-hoe” movement that gained popularity last year. The premise is that well…the tenets of “hoeism” should be celebrated and those who participate, given high-five cause…empowerment. Sounds nice and inclusive but then, I noticed that some the biggest endorsers of the “pro-hoe” movement were women who had to preface their applause for “hoeism” with, “although it’s not my choice….” Hmmm…..why would you applaud a philosophy that you spurn?

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  1. What are their credentials? I’m not even talking about degrees and certificates. Picture it, Facebook, 2017. A prominent male SJW telling women how they should feel about bathroom bills. Enough said.

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  1. How has their viewpoint worked for them? What is the fruit of their years of work and discovery? It goes without saying that it makes no sense for anyone to take advice from someone whose own life isn’t a replica of where the advice-seeker wants to be. Would you hire a poor financial adviser or a routinely single or oft divorced relationship expert? Probably not.

Lastly…

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  1. Follow the money. By now, I’m confident that most of us know bad advice when we hear it. Our personal sensitivities may get us to travel to the other side of good sense, but, we know. If the person offering you…um…guidance, can’t say two words without asking for donations for their…um…wisdom, you may want to re-evaluate their platform. While I agree that those who teach deserve a wage, if they were that profound, they’d set up a consulting company instead of asking for money for information that can be easily found on Google.

Follow who you want. “Like” who you want. Read who you want. Just exercise caution before you become an –ite of theirs and find yourself on the opposite side of functional. But, what do I know? I’m just a blogger!

 

 

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