Dear Toxic Social Media

Dear Social Media,

I just want to address your toxic side and I know that during COVID so many of us have been using you more. Alone in our houses, sometimes we can get caught up in that toxic side and drown in our feelings of insignificance or lack. It’s the side of you that carries a heaviness and a touch of ‘high school’ popularity contests.

No, it’s not all of you, just certain parts of you and that’s the part that drives us mad. It’s that part that tells me that if I’m not a big success than I am nothing. Well, I don’t buy into that. Your forced comparison seems highly suspicious. It sounds a lot like you are trying to pit us against each other and there is no community in that. There is no joy in that, only pain, comparison and resentment.

I have the advantage of being around before you were an integral part of our lives, so I know that our value runs deeper than what you are preaching.

You are in fact a liar.

A ‘like’ does not equal approval and a ‘follow’ doesn’t equal belonging. Neither does a re-tweet, wink, friend, swipe, share, pin and so on.  These are surface things and although they are nice, they are meaningless when we turn off our devices. I cannot bring any of them into my living room and share a meal. They may make us feel good, but they aren’t there to help us when we face a problem. Let’s just keep you and your madness in it’s proper place.

I will admit, you do bring some joy into my life, of course you do. I get to make connections, see, read and experience things that I never would have without you, but you are not my gauge for someone’s importance or influence. I’ll determine that on my own thanks. The friendships I have made online are because of the people, not because of stats on a screen.

Numbers don’t determine a person’s value and I think that’s where your lies are the most toxic. That is where you start to poison our minds. You tell us that numbers equal value and that numbers mean we count in this world. You try to tell us that only having high numbers means we matter.

I call you out and say nope, that’s not real, my worth is not found on a screen. I won’t buy into that and others don’t have to either. We can use Social Media without the toxic part and that’s what we’ll do.

So thanks for your ideas about being a ‘big hit’ or an ‘influencer’, but I’ll pass thanks.

Love Jess xxoo

PS – Dear Reader, sometimes we just need a reminder 🙂

Sweet Solitude

I can be alone without being lonely.
In fact, those times of solitude are necessary respite for a beleaguered soul,
set upon by the pressures of life.
I need to take whatever moments I can to just be still.

– Steve Goodier

Once a year I like to go away by myself. The extroverts are already confused 🙂 The introverts were on board as soon as they saw ‘by myself’.

When I do personality tests, I often come out as exactly in the middle of extroverted and introverted. I would say that the more kids I have had, the more introverted I have become. Apparently, they take a lot of my energy… who knew kids could do that? 😉

For me, a moment of quiet solitude is rare and precious. Add in a ‘giving profession’ and I find myself constantly looking after or considering others; always giving out. To ensure I don’t burn out, sometimes I have to stop and take a night or two away by myself. For me. it’s like a blissful turbo-charged refresh.

Wandering west in the wild
I pack my bags and my notebook
Heading out on my own
Write some words I can take home

To be able to pack my bags and my notebook…

It is usually what I request for my birthday; a night away. Time away. There are three things that I try to do with the moments by myself and I thought I’d share them with you.


Lamentations 2:19a (NIV)
Arise, cry out in the night,
as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.

The full context of this verse is so powerful (check it out sometime), but what has always captivated me since age 13 is the imagery of water and communing with God; letting Him see our transparent hearts. I love the idea that it should be poured all, all of it, clear and exposed. I have always approached my relationship to God like that. There is nothing I don’t open up to Him and when I go away by myself, I am clearly not really alone as I pour about my thoughts, emotions, fears and hopes.

I do this by journalling, sifting through my thoughts and my heart; asking questions about things I have done and seen while listening for growth areas.


This one is similar to reflection, but it’s more about positioning myself for what’s to come.

Unlike my stunning sister-in-law, I am not the type of person who writes five-year plans, or even five-weeks plans. However, I still look to the future to ensure that my life’s trajectory continues to aligning with my personal values. Sometimes I will uncover dreams and desires when I take time to do this, but more often than not I am looking at core values that I want to live my life by (regardless of where I am or what I’m doing).

To those who have/love/embrace long-term plans, I take my hat off to you and cheer you on.


Slow mornings are my favourite, because when you have small kids there is no such thing. At. All. In fact, there are rarely slow moments in the day. They do happen, but they are not always consistent (you take them when you can). So when I’m by myself I do the things I truly love whenever I want. It is a sweet, sweet luxury.

I sit by the water and write. I eat good healthy food and drink quality coffee. I listen to music, colour-in, enjoy sunshine and salty sea air. I watch the sky change, watch a beloved movie, enjoy deep sleep, maybe a massage if funds allow. It is Bliss. I leave behind the daily routine and enjoy quiet and freedom to do whatever I want.

Even setting aside Australia’s COVID shut-down, I will acknowledge that it’s been some time since I’ve been away by myself. For my family, it takes planning and budgeting, but I will prioritise this as something I want to do this year.

I wonder what you do to help you reflect, realign and refresh? Do you make deliberate plans or do you rely more on chance for it to happen? A psychologist once told me:

it’s not always what we start doing
that negatively impacts our mental health,
it can also be the things we stop doing.

If we stop doing the positive things we enjoy, that can have just as much impact on our health.

Dear reader, your ‘ultimate self-care’ might not be going away by yourself, but I’m sure there is something you have in mind. I would encourage you (and me) to not forget about it. Make some plans if you can or at least add a reminder in your diary to look into it later. In a year that has been full of global fear and turmoil, remember to look after yourself deliberately, purposefully and regularly.

Love Jess xxoo

PS – I want to acknowledge that there are millions of people in the world for whom a holiday is unreachable. For this reason, I call it a luxury. However I live in Australia, in this crazy country and in my privileged socio-economic class. I live my life in the context of my culture and the pressures that it brings… but I don’t take it for granted or forget those who are less fortunate than me. 🙂

Lives that matter: Overseas and at home

I have been debating if I should post something given all that is happening in the USA since the murder of George Floyd. What can and should a white, mid-thirties female in Australia say? Should I say anything at all?

And so now…

I want to make sure that the Black community in the USA feels a global outpouring of love.

We have heard your voice across the sea. To honour and support you, I turn my attention to see where racism lies in my own culture. I will admit that I am often blind to the difficulties others face because of their skin colour or ethnicity. I pledge to learn and educate myself further. It is not enough to say I am not a racist, I need to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the injustices that people face every day.

I have decided to provide links to a few articles, resources and ways to get involved that can help us find our way. These are only a few, but they also point to other places to become educated.

This ABC Hack article. There are many links in this article; I highly, highly recommend it.

Australians Together – Resources for Australian Churches

Common Grace – Resources for Australian Churches

Bridging the Gap Foundation

First Australians (Documentary)

The Little Red Yellow Black Book

Marcia Langton: Welcome to Country (Book)



Lastly, here are details for rallies in Australia on Saturday 6th June 2020. The main concern is social distancing… COVID-19 is still something to consider.

I know within my own community there are many people who have more experience in this area, so please feel free to list other resources in the comments section (either here or via social media).

Stay safe, stay wise, keep learning and keep loving.

Love Jess xxoo

PS – I found this segment by James Corden powerful.