ADMIN: Social Media, site updates and other stuff FAQ

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Social Media Presence

Scared, but determined to play

That owl hiding in the bush? That’s me when it comes to social media. I usually get scared and turn away, hide, or freeze once the bullying and harassment start. Then I delete all my accounts for a while. Maybe I will sign up again under a different name, but maybe not.

But life changes as we all do. And right now feels like a good time to explore and experiment with social media again.

Lost Connections & New Connections

And to answer some people about reactions to my posts here, at Scent Reflections, and on LinkedIn about racism:

Yes I did lose about 10 connections on LinkedIn and some followers here too. Not sure who they are or how many for this blog, but I accept that this place is not for everyone. And not everyone on a professional site like LinkedIn will want to associate with someone as public with their life challenges as I am there too.

One Price of Being Authentically Me

It’s one price I pay to be authentically me. And if you wonder about pronouns, I use a variety of them depending on who I talk to:

Family, friends, & day job: she/her Because I am predominantly a she/her. And I was born female. I like and appreciate being female even though I accept and value my masculine and non-binary parts too. But being a she/her is a lot easier for my family and long-term people to understand and accept.

Here, Scent Reflections, and medical/mental health: they/them, she/her, and he/him Because some of my alters identify as “she”, others identify as “he”, and the rest prefer “they”. It’s not something I ever really considered until I reflected on everything going on right now. But it makes sense.

Hiding in Plain Sight? Not anymore (:

As I shared over the past few months, Untangled Connections is now part of my business Scent Reflections LLC. There are links in the menu bar that will bring you to Scent Reflections if you want to connect with me by email or make a donation to help support Untangled Connections.

However, you can also use the new social menu at the top of every page to connect with me. I have links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on there.

Facebook: This page gets automatic posts every time I post new content from the Untangled Connections and Scent Reflections blogs. Sometimes I also share photos and news from other sources.

Regular photos and updates will start (I hope) next month once the social calendar gets completed and I have interesting photos and graphics to share. Graphics being quotes and affirmations from different authors and myself.

Find me using @ScentReflectionsLLC

Instagram: Does not get automatic posts from the blog and currently does not have any content yet. Still working on graphics and photos to share here. Plus a regular posting schedule.

Photos are difficult for me to create and share. Whether they are photos I took with a camera or graphics made using design tools, they take time, money and energy. Most of my photos are taken for the business, so if you want to see garden photos, food/cooking photos, and aromatherapy/blending and creation photos, check this out.

Find me using @scentreflections

Twitter: I shared a post last week about Twitter. You can follow or not, but now all posts published here and on the Scent Reflections blog will appear on Twitter too. You might or might not also find Instagram photos on there, but not sure yet. This social media venue was requested by guest comments and will be removed if no one decides to follow the channel.

For now, I am willing to try and make it work. But I also recognize and accept that many guests who write in asking about Twitter and how to donate to this site could be spam bots instead of actual people. So I am giving all of them and myself the benefit of the doubt with this social experiment.

Find me using @untangledconne1

Pinterest: you can find links to my Pinterest page in the resources section of this website. I haven’t moved everything over to the business page yet so those links still work. Like with the rest of social media, this is an experiment. The channels with the most follows/likes, etc. will stay. The others will slowly fade away after a year or so.

Site Updates

Please review the blog rules. As much as I want to reply to every comment, I can’t do that anymore. It takes way too much time.

Premium Content Features

I’ve decided to add Premium Content features to some posts beginning October 2020. Not sure which posts will get this tag, but if you can’t access it for free, that’s because the post requests a small purchase fee to view. As much as I’d like to keep all the content here free (as in no cost and no copyright penalties), I can’t justify doing that anymore.

Hopefully, the 2 month’s advance notice will help you ease into this new idea.

RSS Feed & Subscriptions

I tried to get a subscription email going through Survey Monkey, but it didn’t work. For now, please use the subscribe options on the sidebar.

If you decide to subscribe by email, your information is safe and confidential. I will not sell your information or use it for marketing purposes without your written permission.

Final Update: I will still be posting once a week, but that day may change due to scheduling changes in my personal and other work calendar. But don’t worry. My alters and I (pronouns used: I/we and she/they and her/theirs) enjoy posting here too much to stop all together.

Other Stuff

Spelling & Grammar Complaints

I feel strange sharing this, but it feels like a blogging milestone. I laughed when the guest comments started telling me that my spelling and grammar need improvement because the errors distract them from reading my posts.

Why laugh? Because I never thought the writing on this blog and website would reach the level of popularity where guests felt comfortable to comment on structure, grammar, syntax, spelling, etc. Then tell me that they will continue to read posts even though the errors annoy them.

And the laughter? It’s not at my guests’ comments. It’s at me and my reaction to their comments – flattered and happy instead of upset and hurt.

Cyber Bullies & Spam? Or genuine comments?

Odd maybe, but the only times I’ve ever seen comments like that are in the comments section of popular writers and authors. They each have their own way of dealing with such comments, but I prefer to acknowledge these guests and show acceptance of different points of view.

Maybe these guests are spammers and cyber bullies. Maybe they are genuine people expressing their opinions. I can’t tell because all comments go to the spam folder. Then I spend hours reading through the comments and publishing the ones that read like they are from real people.

No Response & Comment Not Published

And if I ignore your comment or don’t publish it the first time, it’s probably because many other people asked that question and I considered it spam. Please check the FAQ posts for answers to many of those questions.

Technical Difficulties

I am not tech savvy and depend on WordPress’s customer support to help with technical issues. Thank you all for commenting on them and sharing info with me, but I probably will not be acknowledging any of them for a while.

Why? Because I get the same comments from different guest names even after I put up a post with answers and updates a few days later.

Contact Forms & Communication

Same thing goes for connecting and communicating with guests outside of this blog. If you comment on a post, I will try to respond. If you comment here, I will try to respond. But if you ask me to write back to you personally or share a website, etc. I cannot do that through the WordPress comments. Your identities and mine are protected.

If you really want to reach me, you can use the comment form (connect with me by email) or any of the social media outlets posted above.

Thanks for reading.

Gratitude – Thank you guests for your comments and support & new blog post subscription through MailChimp is in beta

*UPDATE JUNE 19, 2020* – except for the obviously Spam files, all comments have been approved and are visible on the home page now. Unfortunately, I can’t respond to each one individually so am invoking the Blog Rules. As for many questions about blogging, writing, and compatibility or screen issues, please refer to the links below or read through the FAQ post at the top of the Blog page. You can search for other FAQs too in the search bar.

Next post is on Sunday, June 28, 2020. I hope you enjoy Juneteenth holiday and your weekend.

Dear Guests,

Thank you so much for your kind words, feedback and support. The last post has received over 400 amazing comments, most of which have been addressed to the home page.

I started working my way through all of them in my SPAM filter – because yes all comments go to spam or moderation so I can read them and make sure they follow the blog rules – today after an email notification and was overwhelmed by all your kindness and acceptance.

Most of your comments have not been posted here or replied to yet because I need more than a few minutes at a time on break from work to be as kind and thoughtful as you were to me. That is my task for tomorrow evening.

But to answer a few questions here:

  1. I’ve struggled with a contact form that works and feels safe here, so there currently isn’t one available. However, you can visit Scent Reflections LLC, my other website and use that form to contact me. Just add Untangled Connections or UC in the message so I know how to respond.
  2. Your other option – and this is new aka in beta testing – is to subscribe to the new mailing list via MailChimp popup. I just added this to the site tonight and am not sure if it works. If you do use the pop up, I promise you will only receive blog posts from Untangled Connections. But please bear with me while the kinks get worked out.
    1. Also, if you sign up for the subscriber list, you will get my contact information that way too.
  3. I will not be writing more about current events, but I will write more about discrimination, racism, prejudice, etc. and compassionate, assertive, accepting ways to communicate with individuals or groups while feeling safe.
  4. I will share more about Untangled Connections and why I use that site name. Writing the last 3 posts broke a traumatic amnesia barrier in my mind, so I have access to many more memories that were lost.
  5. Finally, I am happy to discuss writing guest blog posts and link exchanges, but cannot reply to emails from WordPress Comments. WordPress security settings protect both of us (admin and commenter) by disguising email addresses and website data.

To Reiterate: if you want to contact me by email, please either SUBSCRIBE using the pop up window or contact me through Scent Reflections LLC. You can also contact me via Facebook; I post all Untangled Connections and Scent Reflections blog posts there. Twitter will be set up ASAP – which for me means the next free time on my half day at work.

A quick note about media: this blog has always been about the writing first. Photos, graphics, etc. are expensive to create and host here based on this type of WordPress account. If you want to see more graphics and media please use this contribution link or the one in the menu to support upgrades that allow me to create and share more media here.

Thanks for reading and making Untangled Connections such an amazing and incredible community.

Love and Rainbows,

AlterXpressions (TJ)
she/her/hers

ADMIN: Guest Comments – browser issues & racism follow up

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Browser & Loading Issues

Last week, multiple guests commented about some browsing compatibility issues or slow loading issues with the website.

Untangled Connections does not use plug-ins, and both the customer support engineer and I did not encounter loading or compatibility issues using Safari, IE, or Firefox.

To be safe though, I also reduced the number of comments/posts that load at one time to increase loading speed.

If you run into issues, please check your browser for updates or try deleting your cache. That sometimes helps. Also refer to the FAQ sticky post here and information about browser compatibility here.

Racism Follow Up

A few guests asked me if there would be a follow up to my post about racism. I decided not to continue on that topic right now for a lot of reasons.

One, I am not black and don’t want to take away from the importance of that message.

Two, I am an ally for ending racism period. I DO NOT FOLLOW CURRENT EVENTS OR WATCH THE NEWS, POLITICS, ETC so continuing to write about current events and politics here is not useful, supportive or helpful.

Three, I support and promote diversity by writing about many topics associated with discrimination, bullying, and racism here. At the same time, I am not willing to write about something I don’t know or have experienced/researched.

That does a disservice to all of us by spreading misinformation.

What I will do is share a story with you that happened to me 6 years ago. It still affects me now and has been on my mind a lot since people are talking about Pride month and other types of discrimination.

The Story

6 years ago, I was living on the east coast in a relatively safe and clean apartment building near the border of Rhode Island. It was a small city with an old fashioned downtown center with many small or family-owned businesses surrounding the police station and government buildings. I walked a mile from my apartment through the downtown to get to the commuter rail station.

On my walks to and from the apartment, I passed by many restaurants and a grocery store owned by people whose first language wasn’t English. It became a habit to shop locally because the food was excellent and the people were polite. Plus they were closer than the big box grocery stores and restaurants.

We (the store owners/employees and I) became friendly as I became a “regular” customer and always tried to be respectful, if not friendly. The grocery store owners and their family came from a Latino/Spanish speaking background, and not all of them spoke English, but we worked it out over time. I am stating this, not because I have anything against them, but because it’s important to the story. And I don’t know what label to use.

One night, I was shopping on my way home from work and chatting casually with the older man at check out. He looked old enough to be my uncle or grandfather and didn’t speak English, but understood it quite well. The store was mostly quiet and the atmosphere relaxed. The man was careful packing up my groceries, and I appreciated that since I still had almost half a mile to walk before getting home.

As I waited, a young male (between 20 and 30 probably) walked up to us and gestured impatiently. We ignored him since the old man was only half way through the check out. The young man said or did something again, but I didn’t see it since he was standing to my left just inside of my peripheral vision.

The older man continued to ignore him, but I started to feel uncomfortable with the staring (I could feel the young man’s gaze on me).

So I turned towards the young man as I addressed the older man (to my right) and said it’s okay for him to answer the other person’s question – me being polite. Then I stepped back and went back to my ebook. My body language and attitude expressing disinterest in the conversation.

That changed when I heard this man speak in a lisp with a condescending tone of voice as he slowly and loudly asked the older man where to get a toilet plunger in the store because he couldn’t find it on the shelves. I was shocked and upset on behalf of the older man at this young man’s rudeness.

The older man mumbled something in broken English about waiting until he finished with my purchase. Then turned back to checking out the rest of my groceries. Without careful observation (and yes I was observing because my survival instincts kicked in), you wouldn’t know the older man reacted at all. But his eyes and mouth tightened before he looked down and away from both of us.

The younger man kept repeating himself, so I stepped in and spoke up. I apologized for interrupting and repeated what the older man said. The young man looked down at me, called me “honey” in a dismissive tone and told me it’s okay that I interrupted because I couldn’t help myself being what I was.

Then went back to harassing the older man. I spoke up again and asked him if he understood what the older man and I said. If not, I could explain what the older man said again. The younger man told me that I was confused and didn’t understand the problem. So I agreed I might be confused before repeating the whole conversation almost word for word. Then I asked the younger man to explain where and how I was confused.

A short silence. Then the young man stammered something about having to leave because he just remembered an errand and left. The older man looked at me with surprise and respect. I asked him if he was okay, and he smiled and nodded before finishing my order. On my way home, I had a panic attack and flashbacks. Did not sleep that night.

What upset me most?

The young man was white, obviously wealthy or well-to-do, wearing a fashionable outfit that shouted “I am gay and proud”. As a gay person, he’s probably experience some discrimination and/or racism. But he didn’t even consider it was wrong to treat this older man (and me when I stood up to him) with such disrespect.

Conclusion

I’ve seen black people with dark skin discriminate against other black people with lighter skin because they “aren’t black enough”. I’ve seen latinos and latinas discriminate against each other because they come from different Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries, neighborhoods, etc. I’ve had Chinese people step back from me in disgust and fear because I am bald. I’ve seen Chinese people from China discriminate against American-born Chinese and vice versa. Asians against other Asians and so on.

Where I live now, complete strangers (all white of different ages and genders) have gotten up and walked out of restaurants after staring at me with hostility while I bought food and then sat down at an empty table to eat. White salespeople at Nordstrom have glared at me and followed me around while I was shopping. Even gone so far as to ask other white people if I was bothering them while I shopped because we were looking at the same clothes.

A man of mixed race with a Spanish or Mexican accent stopped me on the street one day and asked me “where are you from?” and “What are you doing here” in a hostile tone of voice. When he asked me “what are you?” I stepped around him and walked away. Black people sometimes call me a “banana” because I like to wear beanies, headscarves, and “street style”outfits. What “street” style is I don’t know. I wear what I like and feel comfortable in all the time.

A young girl was polite the first time she saw me with a hat covering my face. The next time, hat off, she refused to look me in the eye or speak to me other than to take my ticket. She was white too. In a dentist waiting room at a large hospital (teaching clinic), three or four white people in the waiting room turned to stare at me as I sat down. Then started talking about me as if I wasn’t there. When that didn’t bother me, a man walked over and spoke at me. I don’t remember what was said because my alters took over, but he and the others left me alone after that.

Finally, if you’ve read past posts, you know about my past experiences with bullying, discrimination and racism. That position hasn’t changed even if the world has. You also know my feelings and thoughts about politics and religion, about why I stay neutral about politics and only share my views about religious and spiritual practice – inclusive and accepting.

So please understand that I will only write about current events and current politics if they are something I can speak about with acceptance, respect, knowledge, and inclusiveness.

Thanks for reading.