The Scarlet Letter

Obviously, most people above the age of fifteen are at least familiar with the phrase “The Scarlet Letter” if not its origin. But they’re certainly familiar with the concept as Hawthorne’s words have returned to roost, comfortably rooted in the speed, ignorance and pervasiveness of social media.

This morning my friend sent me an article by Rachel Garlinghouse, entitled A New Wave of Mom-Shaming: Posting Photos Online (Posted on, July 13, 2015). For some time, we’ve all been watching the train-wreck that is social media among young people. It’s amazing to witness the privilege that young singles seemingly reserve in their penchant for judgment. The trend has gone from responsible social commentary to open shaming and criticism with little information about the actual circumstances.

Dear hipsters, put down your damn phones and help the mom you see struggling. You don’t know her story. In fact, you won’t have any idea how easy you have it until you have children of your own. Life isn’t all about shoes, makeup and the latest bag. It is loving something more than yourself and remember that your mother did that for you. You weren’t any better behaved than that baby losing his mind because the mother can’t find an “acceptable” place to nurse and he feels the PAIN of hunger. That’s right. Nature ensured our survival by making babies feel actual pain when they’re hungry.

You don’t realize it, but you are adding stress to an already stressful situation if that mother has to protect her child from your photographic invasion. That’s right. Protect. You see, there are all kinds of dangerous people who will take that photo and use it in nefarious ways. You are ENDANGERING that mother and her child. Are you really okay with that? Just so you can get a laugh?

If I ever catch my son publicly shaming a mother (or anyone for that matter), he will have hell to pay. I have taught him compassion. He will be a gentleman and helpful. Compassion is slowly leaking out of our society. Someday that mother will be you, and you’ll want people to have compassion for you. Would you be okay with being pilloried by someone you’ve never met and knows nothing about you? Think about that next time you lift your phone.

Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #82 – “Pinterest”

I remember a couple of years ago when I was begging my friends to “invite” me to Pinterest. I’d like to reach back through time and slap myself for my haste in submitting myself to that level of torture.

Oh, it’s a bittersweet form of torture, without doubt. For hours, I can get lost in the sheer brilliance of the millions of creative minds that contribute to the hoards of content. I stare in wonder and my heart breaks a little thinking I’ll never be that good. It drives me absolutely insane.

Why do I keep going back for more???

Well, inspiration, I guess. I see something, many times something really simple, that inspires me to create something else. It seems to me that all art has to be somewhat derivative. Not fully imitated, but inspired by something the artist found appealing.

So, as much as I am inundated, and often overwhelmed with Pinterest, I am always hopeful that the spark hits my eye and my creativity is satisfied for just one more day.

I know I am not alone in this. I know that it is to a well-membered sorority that I belong.

Hello, I am Lisa and it’s been ten minutes since my last pin. Yes. I feel my shame.

Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #83 – “Solitude”

"Solitude"  Copyright Lisa J. Shorts, CPP
Copyright Lisa J. Shorts, CPP
Until I had a child, I had no idea how much I needed solitude. I had always seen myself as social and needing the company of others. I had always sought people I believed were like me, thinking that I’d needed to be part of a group. Turns out, I was wrong and discovering the truth was an interesting revelation. Continue reading

Don’t Call Me “Cougar!”

So, my sister, one of our closest friends and I decide to go out dancing in South Tampa. Yes, yes, I know, we elected to go dancing in the young, singles’ district. Yes, we walked into the trap willing and with full knowledge that the average age would be roughly 25.

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Year of a Hundred Things – Thing #84 – “Green Stuff”

In 1998, I bought a little African Violet for my newly acquired apartment. The only bathroom was tucked away at the top of th stairs, functional and uncomplicated, as they were designed in 1928. The hurricane-proofed, cinder block walls made for a deep window sill in the shower, and here is where I put the 4″ plastic starter pot, overflowing with deep green, velvety leaves and royal purple flowers. 

  African Violets love east/west light. In the right environment, they need little care and they will last years and years. Somehow, I happened upon a plant that is perfectly suited for my pale green thumb. Every time I need to undo some kind of stress, especially that particular type caused by narcissistic, careless humans, I go over to my violets and inspect them. I remove dying leaves. I check the soil to make sure that it is just moist enough. I nervously and reluctantly repot if it is “necked.” And then, when I see them bloom, I breathe deeply a satisfaction that surprises even me. I now have 7 flourishing plants, two of which are the result of my own propagating efforts.

There is a school of thought, a philosophy, even a science called sun gazing. It expresses that idea that we are physiologically connected to the sun and everything that grows from it. It’s a bit new-agey, but to me, it makes sense that we are connected to the planet in a very organic way. That, I surmise, is why tending to and breathing on my violets has such a zen effect on me. Everyone should find some plant with which they connect. It’s good for the soul.

Year of a Hundred Things – Thing #85 – “Speaking in Images”

During his reign, Leopold II had enslaved much of the Congo in order to produce rubber to meet the demand of the newly developed Dunlop tire. Leopold’s overseers were particularly brutal, killing and mutilating even children.

In 1898, young missionary Alice Seely Harris arrived in the Congo Free State – as it was then known – to teach English to the native children. So appalled was she at the corruption and exploitation that she documented it in photographs. For three years, she amassed a collection of imagery that would change policy in the Congo forever. Her photographs were seen all over the world at speaking engagements and in publications. She was the first photographer to harness the power of mass media to promote change.[1]
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WordPress Reader

I want more time to spend with you, thumbing through the rich tapestry of the words, shaped by the fertile, agile minds that make up my Follow list. But alas, time is a reader’s worst enemy. ***insert sad face***

“Hey, mamasita!”

In order to fully communicate this message, I must first describe the circumstances under which I experienced this most titillating compliment. 

My mother parked a quarter mile from the condo, and had not locked the car. Of all the people in the condo that could have made the walk, she asked me, the daughter with the least patience and the sharpest tongue. I balked, but walk I did. 

I was already annoyed because at 10:00 am, on the gulf coast of Florida, you can watch the convection even the shade. I had already walked a hundred yards, sweating and lamenting my choice in footwear, when from the opposite direction, came a aged compact car. It had at one time been black, and sporty, but now, it sputtered and nearly dragged the asphalt as it passed. 

From the open window came a young voice with a thick Latino accent, “Hey, mamasita!” Now, I’m not going to lie and say that as a very-near-fifty year old woman, there wasn’t a small part of me that was flattered. A very small part. 

Of course, it took mere seconds for the “are you freaking kidding me” factor to engage. The obvious offense notwithstanding, I wondered as I often do when cat-called, how many times that method has actually worked. 

Somehow, it does not occur to men that (a) they are traveling at velocity and can barely be seen and (b) they’ve not slayed a dragon in our honor or rescued us from a tower. 

Young men, the only way a “cat-call” might work is if you rode in on a white horse, dragging behind you an enemy who threatened our kingdom. You see, the days of the hunt for a nubile mate by objectifying her are long gone. That girl you just cat-called can take care of herself and a peacocking coed just isn’t yet the man who will turn her head. 

And come to think of it, if you’re going to run your mouth while speeding in a residential area, breaking the morning peace of a beachside stroll, make it something interesting like “Hey. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”