In case you're not familiar with it, the "#metoo" or just "Me, too" postings on social media have been popping up all over the place as more and more women post about sexual assault, harassment and unwanted advances from men following numerous allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
As I started to see this, I was proud of all the women having the courage to say "Me, too" and raise awareness of the rampant sexism and, often, harassment or assault, we face.
I also feel bad for all the nice guys out there who would never do such a thing, but have to live with the consequences of their fellow XY-chromosome carriers.
But anyway, I thought about it, and I couldn't think of a time when I was sexually harassed, and certainly I've never been sexually assaulted ...
Then I thought more about it and realized ... me, too. Huh. The thing is, I'd almost forgotten completely about the two incidents that I dredged from the depths of my memories.
There were two or three occasions, involving two different boys. One was three or four years older than I, and the other was my age. Technically, these days, two of the occurrences would be considered sexual assault. One was by a kid who picked on me -- we call it bullying now -- throughout school.
But they were so minor that I honestly do forget about them. I'm not bothered by them, truly.
Of course, that doesn't mean it wasn't wrong. But perhaps it says something about "the times" -- at least women speak up about these things now.
Or do they? So many women have come forward only after initial allegations against Weinstein. He "got away with it" for years. That's sad.
Somehow, though, this train of thought took me in a different direction. Leave it to me to be the odd one out, right?
I guess I'm just sick of the deep river of negativity that we seem to be navigating through these days.
Women victimized by powerful men; a president who falsely accuses previous presidents of not calling the families of fallen service members to console them, bringing politics where it most certainly does not belong; another mass shooting and its ripple effects, including often hateful discussions for or against gun control; folks "taking a knee" during the playing of the National Anthem.
I'm sick of the negativity. I'm tired of people vilifying others right off the bat simply because they disagree on any given topic.
So I'm going to carefully monitor my thinking. I'm going to look for the positive in everything. I'm going to count my blessings instead of railing against things that tick me off.
This applies to things big and small.
I'm grateful for the strong foundation that my mom and dad built for our family. We just had our annual family wiener roast, and everyone always looks forward to it. We've had it for 25 years now.
My three sisters are my best friends. My nieces and nephews have a blast with their cousins. I'm so grateful for that.
I was blessed with a father who worked hard, let us know we were loved, had a great sense of humor and was someone each one of us felt like we could talk to about anything.
I've been blessed with a mother with all the above traits who also remains one of the most fun people I know, and the best conversationalist ever. Not that I'm biased, of course.
I had a great childhood. No, it wasn't perfect (such as the incidents noted above). But I like to think I emerged a hard-working, mostly level-headed, empathetic person ... a solid contributor to the betterment of society. At least, I try. I have my parents to thank for any successes I have in that.
And I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on the table, a little money in the bank and decent health, although I have a lot of improvements to make in that area. I hope they never decide to tax chocolate like they do tobacco and alcohol -- that's all I have to say about that.
I can walk and talk and do things for myself. Some people don't have those privileges. I can write, and most of you can read this all on your own. People with vision problems don't have that privilege -- of being able to read in general, that is; not being able to read my column particularly.
When was the last time you counted your blessings? I don't think any of us can do that too often.
We tend to focus on the negative. That makes some sense, as that is usually where a problem lies that must be solved. But at the beginning and end of every day, we should be thankful for the positives.
I'm thankful for Facebook, because it lets met keep in touch with real friends and avoid not-so-good friends. I even appreciate negative and idiotic posts on Facebook -- those make me glad I'm not that way. Well, most of the time, right?
Even on my short drive to work today, I found ways I can change my thinking. Some lady had parked almost in the middle of the street to apparently talk to another person in a vehicle parked along the street. My vehicle was ignored as it approached.
"Not the brightest bulbs in the bunch, are you?" I thought to myself.
Ah ah ah. That's negative. The correct response is: "I hope nothing is wrong and they are OK."
When a nephew tells me he's flunking most of his classes in high school, the negative response would be to flip out and demand to know what he's thinking, remind him that he can't do anything in life if he doesn't graduate, and stomp at least one foot. That would be the Uncool Aunt response.
The Cool Aunt response is to encourage him to do better, remind him he is smart enough and he can do it, then, internally, remind myself that at least he isn't in jail.
I'd encourage you to try this. For every negative is a positive. Even something as horrific as the mass shooting in Las Vegas teaches us the positive lesson that we must never take life or loved ones for granted. That lesson isn't worth the lives lost, but it is a positive originating from a (horrible, unthinkable) negative.
This positive thinking is working for me. I feel a little lighter. I benefit from my work to better understand my fellow human beings. It helps.
I find I'm counting more and more blessings every day.