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.

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties

Writing & Blogging: Writer’s Block, Affirmations, & Reader Comments

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.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. I appreciate your kind words and suggestions. I read all of them just now and tried to at least “like” all of them even if I didn’t reply. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say…

Funny how sharing fear makes it less scary

After I wrote the last post and shared my fears, some of the block disappeared. Still have not written anything yet, but I did find 5 useful articles on PubMed and some interesting references in an aromatherapy chemistry book. Next step, read the articles and start the note taking.

Thanks all of you for reading my post and sharing your stories in the comments. I feel less alone and more connected to a community who can relate to my fears and struggles. That always helps me cope with the fear the crops up whenever I try something different.

Maybe (I hope) it helps you cope with some of your fears too?

Sharing some Affirmations – 2019 reader comments

Back in 2019, I finished a 365 days of Affirmations challenge but didn’t write about it much here. The challenge was a personal one to help me change my perspective about, well, everything going on between 2018 and 2019 when I felt stuck in negativity and trapped. I think maybe 4 posts were dedicated to this challenge and sharing about the “About Page” too, but many guests commented about wanting more posts.

I promised to write more, but not in 2019. The reason? My family of origin came back into my life, and finding balance with them took up most of my available time. Their stories were not something I could share here without permission, and everything I normally would write about was colored by our interactions together.

To make up for that, I’m going to share 5 affirmations from 2018 here. They are yours to borrow and use if you want. Definitely to share too. And, if you’re interested, you can use them as writing prompts.

Writing prompts? Sure. If you want to challenge your skills and your thoughts a lá Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you can use the affirmations as inspiration for journal entries, short essays, stories, poems, your own affirmations, etc.

Perseverance: I open myself up to the universal healing energy that surrounds us.

AlterXpressions

Rainy days give life to plants while making beautiful music.  I welcome all of nature’s symphony into my world.

AlterXpressions

I open my heart to universal unconditional love and compassion.

AlterXpressions

Cooking is an expression of self care and joy.  The combined aroma of cooking food grounds me in the present.  I immerse myself in the sensual pleasure of cooking.

AlterXpressions

I do my best to live within my values no matter what kind of stress fills my inner self.  Self compassion and kindness help me over come my mistakes with people.

AlterXpressions

Guest Comments

Many guests this week asked about my web site theme and Internet browser operating errors. They also asked for some tips about writing and blogging. Since I don’t know what platform you use as a web host, here are some general suggestions:

  1. Check your account’s help sections and resource pages for information. They often have useful articles about how to check for errors on your web site or blog and then fix the errors.
  2. Contact customer service. Sometimes the errors have to do with the platform and not your account. That happened to me a few times in the past.
  3. Review and update your themes at least 1x every other year. More often if you are still working on your design. There are many free themes with customization options to help you create something that fits you.
  4. When choosing themes, look for ones that include mobile browsing options. Both of my sites have the capability to convert their user view to fit a desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices. Not every theme (free and paid) offers this flexibility, so you have to include it in your search criteria.
  5. For Optimization and speed, learn the limits of your account and work within them. Adjust your settings and test them out – by visiting the site yourself or asking others to visit and test the pages/posts for you – and make adjustments. Once you find settings that keep your site/blog safe and allow for optimized loading speeds, etc. you can start pushing those limits.

Honestly, I contact WordPress customer support at least 2x a month with questions when I make changes to either site. In between that, I take the free classes and read the articles to try and figure things out myself first. But I know my limits and the chaos that ensues when I try to fix certain things myself. Lesson learned: know when to ask for help and ask before you make things worse.

If you have suggestions or affirmations you want to share, please write them in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

Writing & Blogging: Writing vs Blogging…and WordPress

The amount of time you put into your goal defines its outcome

Disclaimer 1: I recently joined the WordPress Affiliate program and will not be promoting the use of other blog and website hosting sites from now on. If you choose to click on the affiliate link here or on my site and follow the instructions, I will earn a small percentage for advertising only WordPress products.


Disclaimer 2: WordPress affiliate links feel safe since they and their products are used to keep this site and blog operating. Other than the WordPress affiliate link and future promotional posts of my other business once it gets going, I do not plan to use other affiliate links, sell products, or include third party advertising on this site. 

Writing vs Blogging

Some people will tell you that writing and blogging are basically the same. Blogging is another type of writing like Technical writing or journalism or marketing. I disagree. Writing is involved in a lot of traditional blogging, but some bloggers never write any content at all. Their blogs are based around photogaphy, visual art, videos, music, or other types of sound. And they are incredibly successful bloggers who don’t or seldom include the written word.

Writing

To be a writer, you write. To be a published writer, you are a journalist, author, editor, or freelancer of some kind. Maybe you work in business or marketing as a writer.; in this case you can be a published writer, but not under your own name. Or you teach writing classes. Either way, you focus on writing and let others make decisions (with your input) about the visuals and technical stuff associated with publishing. Becoming a successful writer takes patience, persistence, and practice as you work on your craft.

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Blogging

Blogging is more than writing articles with interesting titles and content. Many of the most popular blogs include photos and videos, get shared on social media channels, and have multiple purposes. Unlike print journalism, communications, creative writing, and technical writing, blogging is about more than writing the best possible content. The differences are in how and what kind of content is shared with the audience through non-traditional media channels. Becoming a successful blogger also takes patience, persistence, and practice as you work on your craft.

Challenges

Visual art and math are my weaknesses when it comes to effective blogging and use of existing software technology. I can sketch and draw, but not with any real talent. Math, HTML, and related topics are essentially foreign languages to me.

Learning new writing software and keeping up with published standards for the main style guides are my main writing weaknesses. I never took formal proofreading and editing classes so feel less than confident about my skills and abilities in those areas as pertains to following Chicago Manual or AP style guides for example.

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Authenticity

But that’s me, not you. Your strengths and skills will be and are different than mine. What you bring to the writing and blogging table is uniquely yours and is what defines your authentic style. And that authentic style (aka writing or blogging voice) differentiates you from everyone else. It’s that voice that will draw your audience in and make them want to return.

Full disclosure: WordPress offered me a chance to become an affiliate and make money promoting or advertising their products on my site. Since WordPress hosts my site and has helped me maintain safety for all guests, I agreed to try this option out. If you click on the WordPress affiliate link here or on the website and follow its instructions, I get paid a small amount of money. The choice to click or not click is yours. Please do what’s best for you always.

WordPress

WordPress offered me exactly what I needed to set up a basic website and blog with minimal technical knowledge and a lot of writing skills. Only after 3 years of blogging with WordPress did I finally decide to invest in a paid account with domain name, more robust technical support, and upgrades for my website. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the money to invest in a site that allows me to embed videos.

What I love about WordPress

  • Free account available
  • Easy set up
  • Free resources – tutorials, knowledge base, community forum, access  to bloggers who write about how to use WordPress, themes
  • Large amount of freedom to customize my chosen website theme and appearance
  • Two-step authentication option and other security measures against viruses, spam, malware, etc. included in the account
  • Free (basic) metrics and tracking available to monitor your website or blog’s traffic
  • 4 levels of paid account options
  • Integration with other affiliate and advertising programs to get paid for advertising on your website
  • Excellent customer support for all types of accounts – chat and email support for paid accounts are excellent
  • Ease of use and manageable learning curve for those of us who are not tech-savvy and want to create a professional or interesting blog

Request: if you like what you’ve learned about WordPress here and want to try it out, please click on my affiliate link.

Thanks for reading

ADMIN: Guest Comments, Evolving FAQ

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dear Guests,

I’ve been receiving some wonderful comments on the “About” and “Home” pages. Thank you for sharing thoughts, compliments, feedback, etc. The purpose of this “Sticky” post is to address some of the frequently asked questions aka FAQs in an easily accessible place. It will evolve and change as the blog does. If the FAQs get to be too long, I will move them to their own page and keep the sticky one here shorter.

Thanks for reading,
AlterXpressions

Read More »

Life Quirks: Technology Troglodyte

*This is for the guests who comment on my Home and About This Site Pages. *

The Trigger:

Technology scares all of the alters in our system.  For us, technology is a means to an end that allows us to avoid depending on paper for organization.

Some technology is also a trigger.  But other technology is useful enough that it’s become an integral part of my life (skip to the end for more on this).

Comment Question Addressed – you can stop here if you want…

Point is: this website, blog, etc. came about because I had to face my fear of technology for work and decided to apply the lessons here to create this website and blog too. Technology and electronics are a big weakness in my knowledge, experience, and lifestyle choices.

I learn what is needed to do my job and make life easier. The rest passes me by faster than cars pass each other on the highway’s fast lane.

Why? Learning is fun and appeases my curiosity. Technology, not so much. So I balance my need to understand technology with the fun of learning to improve this site.

Read More »