This is Storm!

A writer, a mother, a self-admitted shopaholic.
I'm just trying to live a life I'm proud of!
Aren't we all?
Check out my secondary blog for short stories and clips about health, beauty, and parenting!



Monday, November 23, 2015

A Freelancer's Guide to Staying Motivated!



“I long so much to make beautiful things.

            But beautiful things require effort

                                                and disappointment

                                                            and perseverance.”

-Vincent Van Gogh.


If you’ve ever managed your own business from home, then you know how unbelievably difficult it is to stay on track, stay motivated, and stay organized! I don't have a superior hovering over my shoulder to make sure that I'm putting in a full day's work. I don't have a specified time that I'm required to punch in or out. Staying motivated is a constant struggle for me, and it always has been. When I began writing full time, I would get those surges of pure inspiration, I'd work my butt off for about a week, and I would fall back into the difficulty of forcing myself to stay grounded. If I was going to have any sort of success in pursuing my dream, something had to change. I had to stay motivated and I had to build enough discipline to keep me chugging along when my motivation faltered. But how?

There are tons of motivational methods, and the success of each depends on the individual. A few of my most effective motivation strategies are:
 


Quotes!
All it takes is a quick Pinterest search and you’ve got thousands of inspirational quotes at your disposal for any topic! Have you ever read a line and been so inspired that you vow to apply it to your life every single day? I do all the time, but to keep that inspiration going, you’re going to need a few reminders. When I come across a quote that has a powerful effect on me, I print it out and frame it, or I type it into one of my motivation pages that I keep in some of my organizational binders. Whenever I’m feeling lazy, I take a moment to read the quotes that I have around my desk and really let them sink in. It works wonders. You can print yourself a copy of my motivation page here!
 

Goals!
I’ve said it countless times before, and I’ll say it a thousand times again: GOALS ARE CRUCIAL. Goals give you direction. They are the reward for your efforts. You should be reminded of your goals every single day, whether it’s through a goal sheet, a sticky note, or a pep talk in the mirror!
One thing to remember is that goals are only as effective as they are realistic. I’ve come to realize that the harder my goals are to reach, the easier I become discouraged. My overall goal is to make a sustainable income with my writing, but when life seemed to pile on an overwhelming amount of tasks, stress, and obstacles, laying eyes on that one massive goal made me cringe. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Take it one step at a time. If I have a giant goal to reach, I break it down into multiple levels of smaller goals and tasks to achieve by using the pyramid method.

 

This pyramid is a step-by-step map to accomplishing my dream, and it puts the dream into a realistic perspective. It gives me direction. Every level that I climb, my confidence in my success increases, and that confidence motivates me to improve! That’s called self-efficacy. That’s a psychological fact! Print a couple goal pyramids and test it for yourself!

 
A Fresh Start!
Even the best of us are bound to get overwhelmed from time to time. The clutter builds up, the to-do list increases, and the time seems to be slipping by. That’s okay. It’s perfectly normal, but don’t let it affect your success! You can avoid the burnout blues by giving yourself a fresh start however often you need it! Every Sunday evening, I reflect on my week and decide how I can improve the following week, I reset my to-do list for the week and the month, I reevaluate my goals, and I “try” to get a good night of rest before I begin my new work week.
At the end of every month, I go through my finances, my income, my accomplishments, and I do the same thing for the bigger picture. By frequently giving yourself a fresh start, you’re able to track and acknowledge your success, stay motivated, and improve!

 
Picture it!
I must admit that my OCD prevents me from displaying a messy, multicolored vision board, but I’m sure they’re incredibly helpful! A vision board is a collage of inspirational and motivational images, quotes, and words! By envisioning your dreams, it’s much easier to find the motivation to work towards them every single day. If you’re ridiculous like me, you can make a smaller version and keep it somewhere that you’ll see it often enough to keep you focused. I’ve created a paper-sized vision board that I keep in my daily log binder!

 
All of the above methods have worked wonders for my levels of motivation and productivity.
Do you have any super-effective methods to staying motivated? I'll take all the help I can get! Happy motivating!
 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life Continued.


I’ve never believed that minds can be changed through social media when it comes to such heavy topics. Trying to change your opinion is the last thing that I’m fighting for (I pinky promise.) With all the buzz of defunding Planned Parenthood comes a whole lot of personal stories and I simply wanted to share mine.
I’ll try to keep a long story short.

I was eighteen years old and engaged to the love of my life. I had big plans to breeze through college, complete and publish my first novel, and continue on a glorious and simple road to my throne as a successful author.
I was in love, I was young, I was a dreamer, and I held the world in my hands.
One day, I walked into my doctor’s office to get on birth control as an extra precaution. My love had sworn up and down that he was sterile, but I figured that it was better to be safe than sorry.
I can’t much recall the walk from my doctor’s office to my car; I just remember feeling like the journey was so impossibly long.  I tried to keep my breathing steady, worrying that I would never make it to my vehicle in time before everyone watched me crumble. Before everyone shook their heads and clicked their tongues at me – the stupid, na├»ve girl who got herself pregnant.

Pregnant.

I sat against the hood of my car and I cried and cried. I let the panic rock me - because I deserved it. I remember touching my stomach and blinking away tears to get a better look, as if the thing that was inside of me might suddenly be visible now that I knew it was in there. As I drove to break the news to my not-so-sterile darling, I racked my brain for a solution. I had no clue what to do. I was only very certain that I was not ready for a child, I could not afford a child, and I had too many dreams and goals that would not wait for a child.


We discussed our options and abortion was mentioned.
It seemed that in that moment my heart, my brain, and every other part of me separated itself from my conscious thoughts. Every piece of who I was stepped back and held its breath.

Because I knew me.

Classroom debates, heated arguments, and careful conversations about my firm stand against the entire concept of abortion drifted through my mind.

But I knew what I wanted for myself.

One simple procedure. That’s all it would take. One simple procedure to resolve the problem and set me back on track to my dreams. I could continue life as a young, care-free, ambitious dreamer. I could keep my money for myself. I could live for myself and nobody else. I didn’t have to give my life away to a child. I didn’t have to sacrifice my body. I didn’t have to spend my hard-earned money on teeny, tiny baby shoes. Or pink ruffled dresses. Or mini baseball caps.
As I imagined all the things that I didn’t have to do, I began to wonder at all the things I would get to do. In an instant, I went from panicking, to wondering what my sweet baby would grow up to be. Would I have a girl or a boy? Would he be a gentlemen? Would she love ballet?

So many believe that in those very early stages, it doesn’t really exactly technically count as a literal, technical, real-ish life.  That’s odd to me – especially now – because I knew right then that there was an entirely separate life inside of me, just waiting to be lived. There was a future. A personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. There was the first steps, the first day of school, the first sporting event. The first win and the first loss. A first kiss. A first love. A first heartbreak. There were dreams and goals and accomplishments just waiting to take place.
But one simple procedure. . .
That’s all it would take to keep an entire life from being lived. One simple procedure would take away the love, the trials, and the impact of one person. I knew immediately that I did not have the right or the authority to make the decision to prevent an entire future. Even more so, I knew that I could never keep my very own child from experiencing the joys and thrills that this world and this life had to offer.
Mere seconds had passed since abortion had been mentioned, but I resurfaced from my thoughts as if I had already spent a lifetime with my sweet little baby. In just seconds, that life had already changed mine. . .
Months later, Melody was born.


 Life continued.

It wasn’t easy – still isn’t! As I stepped into the world of a solo-parent, it became even more difficult. Parenting is stressful and messy and wonderful and unbelievably gratifying. Becoming a parent makes you grow up fast. It gives you no choice but to learn and progress and build a life for you and your little partner in crime. It makes you thank God every single day for giving you a clear mind when you needed it most, those few years ago when you were crying over an unexpected pregnancy.
As I watch my little girl grow into a fireball of a toddler who loves tacos and cries over broken crayons, I’m filled with more love than I ever was, I’m still so young, and I’ve still got big dreams. As she wraps her tiny arms around me and I squeeze her tight, I hold the world in my arms.
 
 
It will never, ever matter when that fetus can be labeled as a life. What matters is that it WILL be a life. That tiny being has the potential to grow into a beautiful young woman and live out an entire lifetime, affecting every individual she meets, whether her impact is large or small. Her existence could fill the air with ideas and dreams and passion. One person could change our world if we only let life continue, if we don’t put a halt to 60, 80, or even 100 years of greatness.
I am and forever will be eternally grateful for my daughter’s existence. She stomped into my life and continues to teach me responsibility, hard work, patience, and so much more. It baffles me to no end that while thousands of couples wait desperately for an adoption agency to grant them that same gift, our government is providing a way for countless potential lives to be ended, instead of given.

For as long as I live, I will always choose to let life continue. I hope that someday our entire country, our entire planet, will vote for the same. Let's cut the euphemism for an act that doesn't deserve one.

The opposite of life
                  is not choice.


Friday, July 24, 2015

What Does Forbes Think of Trump's Bankruptcies?


It’s difficult to ground yourself politically with all that you see and hear on the web. Every article you read about every political candidate is undoubtedly biased. Because treading political waters seems to be a daunting, confusing, and misleading task, most seem to cast their vote based on the few things they’ve heard or can be sure of. Race, religion, or a noteworthy hair piece may be good enough reason for many in selecting their favorite candidates.
The next election may be the first that I take the time to involve myself in. Not only because I wouldn’t mind seeing that hair piece at the Oval Office desk, but because Trump is making a grand statement. He is demanding my attention – like any expert business man would – and I’m not the only one. After the last few years, is it any surprise that a blaze of passion and a lack of remorse would drop jaws across the nation? Not at all. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you could probably guess that I am all for Trump’s blatant honesty and unapologetic approach. I want to like him, but . . .

What’s with all this talk of bankruptcies?
It seems that in every debate and in every mention, Trump’s 4 bankruptcies are addressed and spoken of as if he had spit on the graves of 5 Marines! When working as a Senior Credit Adviser, I witnessed countless bankruptcies every day and I heard the stories behind them. Some of our clients would call in just to ask what they should do with debt that they could never pay. We explained that because America is such a great country, anyone can rack up millions of dollars in debt, simply claim that they can’t afford to pay it, and the magical debt vanishes into thin air. It’s a relief, really, that this country holds no one accountable for something as small as irresponsible spending.
“Oh don’t worry about it! We’ll just add your debt to our national debt. We’re already in the trillions. What does it matter anymore?” -‘Merica!
I’m sure you can imagine the big grin on my face when I read Trump’s statements on his history of legally tossing his debt out the window.
“Basically I’ve used the laws of the country to my advantage and to other people’s advantage just as Leon Black has, Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis has, just as many, many others on top of the business world have.”
And rightfully so, Trump. Rightfully so.
But are these 4 bankruptcies any indication that Trump should not be considered as a presidential candidate? I don’t see why they would, as his motives involve running for president in a country that offers its citizens the right to file bankruptcy. What’s the issue? There must be something about the matter that I am not well versed in. Something about bankruptcy that I didn’t learn in my weeks of credit repair training. Because the media is so horribly biased, I knew I couldn’t simply ask Google why Trump’s bankruptcies are frowned upon. How could I learn the truth . . ?

Oh, why hello, Forbes Magazine! (A leading global source for reliable business news and financial information.) What do you have to say about Trump’s negative track record?
In an article written in April of 2011 on Forbes.com, before all the rumors and hubbub, Donald Trump’s bankruptcies were addressed. Michael Venditto (a Reed Smith partner) has represented clients in high profile Chapter 11 cases, including airline TWA, and he stated, “To the ordinary person in the street, it may seem surprising, but certainly not to me. Chapter 11 is how you reshape and restructure a company that has problems. It doesn’t even indicate anything nefarious or even bad management.” Venditto also went on to compare Chapter 11 bankruptcy to the likely alternative: liquidation. “What is an empty casino sitting on the Atlantic Boardwalk worth? If it’s operating and it’s got cash flow and income, it may not be able to pay back every cent on the dollar, but the creditors are better off in the long run.”
Icahn Lawyer, Weisfelner, claims that “The purpose of bankruptcy laws is to protect companies, their customers and employees, to give them a second chance and to treat claim holders fairly.”
Atlantic City Lawyer, Viscount, doesn’t think Trump has abused those laws. “Chapter 11, in my view, is the ultimate business transaction forum. It’s the place you go to keep a business alive and well. He’s done nothing inappropriate.”

Obviously, with my sarcastic remarks and blatant view on the matter of bankruptcy, it goes without saying that I agree with all Forbes Magazine and its sources had to say. The B word has such an ugly reputation, but why? As far as I can tell, the leading global magazine for financial and business information isn’t frowning upon Trump’s actions. And I’m almost. . . 143% positive that the professionals running Forbes know far more on the subject than we do. I think I’ll take their side on this one.

With all of that being said, I would like to ask you something:
Why do you believe that Donald Trump’s bankruptcies are so telling of an inadequate candidate for president? As always, I’d love to read what you have to say about it.


Happy 24th!!

-Storm.
P.S. Read the full Forbes article here!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Liar, Liar, World on Fire.



I spent a good few years of my life with a liar that I believe to be pathological. (For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him Joe.) If you’ve ever spent much time with a liar of such a magnitude, you know that the experience can be confusing, infuriating, and draining, to say they very least. During my time with this individual, I tried to correct the dishonesty and build a sense of integrity. Unfortunately, no matter what I did, the honesty never improved for long at all before I was uncovering yet another harmful lie. 
 
When I officially distanced myself from Joe, I did some minimal research on the topic of lying. Not only were my findings shocking, but they shed some much needed light on my perspective.
 
 
Everybody lies. Every person on this planet has or will make an untrue statement for one reason or another. That's just a simple fact and it’s old news. In some cases, a lie can be a safe benefit for everyone involved. We fib for a wide range of reasons, from avoiding offense to personal gain.

     “Yes, I did like your blog post.”

     “Dinner was great, Mom.”

     “That shirt does not look like the underside of a pig’s belly.”
 

But what about those who lie for absolutely no reason at all? What about the people who are consistently dishonest? I don't know about you, but dishonesty has and always will be one of my biggest pet peeves. In fact, to label it as a pet peeve is an understatement. Not only is a blatant lack of integrity frustrating, but it's incredibly confusing as well. Have you ever thought to yourself,

“Why would anyone lie about something so meaningless?”

I'm sure we all have, and it's a very good question.
One of the telltale signs of a pathological liar is lying without motive or reason. Lying has become so incredibly habitual for them that they find discomfort in speaking the vulnerable truth. Often times, pathological liars will speak without even realizing their dishonesty. Even when stone cold proof is laid out right before their eyes, they will still deny having lied. Notice their refined acting skills in the form of shock, confusion, or innocence. Why do they seem so perplexed when they’re caught in a fib so obvious?
Because they are perplexed. Because the accuser is speaking against their reality – or lack thereof. 

It is an incredible phenomena to know someone who lives in their very own reality, isn’t it? To a pathological liar, they are nothing short of honest. They are whatever they pretend to be, and that’s that. When you confront them about a lie that they told, you’re painting them in such a way that makes no sense. They truly believe that they would never be so dishonest. They are trustworthy, admirable, respectable people with concrete integrity.
 

How Dare You.
A glorified and jaded concept of oneself is exactly why pathological liars react so vehemently when confronted. They are quick to snap when someone accuses them of lying, especially if they are perfectly aware of having done it. They are likely to retaliate with anger, insults, and may even try to blame you for their behavior.
And can you blame them? They’ve put so much work and energy into weaving an impressive, gleaming web of dishonesty and here YOU are, walking right into it and trying to smack it away. Not only is that totally rude, but it’s very likely that you’re exemplifying the very person that has caused them to build a false reality. Who’s responsible for leaving behind such mental wreckage, you ask?

 

Daddy Issues?
Researchers have been studying this idea for over a century ever since the German physician, Anton Delbruck, noticed that some of his patients told lies that were so abnormal and meaningless, they deserved their very own category. Even so, nobody can point a finger of blame with any credible confidence. How could they? How can anyone study this illness when the subjects will lie about anything, from their favorite color to their father? We’ll have to base our personal studies on the pathological liars that we know.

With my newfound interest in this sickness, I’ve often wondered why Joe is the way that he is. It’s a serious conundrum. What in God’s good name happened to you, Joe!? What force has the capability to obstruct a mental well-being so drastically? When I compare Joe to the other assumed pathological liars I know or have heard/read about, there is one blinding similarity that connects all of them:
The way they talk about their fathers. 

They were never good enough. They had to compete for their father’s attention. They never felt that their father loved them.
In two entirely separate cases, alcoholism was a noticeable mention in their upbringing.

It’s hard to deliver this assumption, because it could have very well been formed on false evidence, but it would make sense that the father figure is to blame, as the term Daddy Issues - a stereotypical explanation for unstable behavior - exists for a reason. After a childhood of vying for their father’s love, seeking approval, and trying to impress, it’s understandable that a habit was formed and solidified, like the drying of poured cement. Not only did daddy leave behind a habitually ill mindset, but he also permanently stamped it with his hand print. Who will approve of them, if not their father? Who will love them? Who will they impress?
Image from
 

It’s a very sad concept, especially now that I am a mother. I imagine a young Joe. A sweet, happy, satisfied little boy. He was once like my daughter; untainted and pure. Somewhere along the way, his mind was corrupted.
I think it is important to understand and keep in mind that these individuals cannot control their dishonesty. For them, it’s not just a bad behavior.


It’s a Mental Illness.
If you think that you’re currently dealing with a pathological liar after reading this post, you might be wondering what you can do to help them. Unfortunately, correcting sheer dishonesty is not often accomplished. Just like many other mental illnesses, pathological lying was derived from the weight of trauma. An event or series of events that their brain could not handle. Their mind concocted detrimental coping methods, and that is not easily cured. From what I’ve found on the web, therapy is just about the only effective solution. Even then, the chances of a complete turnaround are slim. 

As I mentioned above, I tried. For too long, I tried, but I didn’t know that I was trying to correct an error in the mind.
In the beginning, I wrote off Joe’s dishonesty as no big deal because it was obvious that he was dealing with a whole lot of insecurities. I made it clear that he didn’t have to spin fantastical tails for people to like him. I spent months attempting to build his self-esteem by coddling his insecurities and his ego, but when there was no noticeable success, the lies began to shock and frustrate me.
I began treating his dishonesty like I would treat a child’s bad behavior. I scolded him, I limited contact, and I expressed my disappointment and my lack of trust in his words. Just like a child placed in time out, Joe would throw a wild fit each time I “disciplined” his unacceptable behavior. He would shout, insult, incorporate more lies to justify his first, and would attempt to turn things around on me. He would tell me he HAD to lie because of something I said or did. He would guilt me for investigating the facts that he told me. He would accuse me of being paranoid, emotional, or crazy.
Near the end, my last resort was therapy, as it was blatantly obvious that Joe’s problem was beyond any help that I tried to offer. After a long exhausting battle, he finally agreed to see a professional together, because he thought I needed to be treated for my “emotional paranoia” just as bad as he needed to be treated for his alleged dishonesty. Despite the conditions, I agreed with delight. Finally. 
After all that you’ve read so far about why they lie, what outcome would you expect from taking a pathological liar to discuss his complete lack of integrity with a professional? Once the door was sealed and you were both seated in big comfortable chairs across the coffee table from an old dude in reading glasses, would you expect honesty? If I would have known then what I know now, I would not have wasted my time. It was truly a jaw-dropping experience, to watch Joe lie to the therapist with an impressive amount of skill and precision. I remember looking from Joe to the professional over and over again, wondering if I really was crazy, emotional, and paranoid after all. I began to second guess my own sanity. Knowing a pathological liar will do that to you. A pathological liar can do a lot to you.


If you are woven into the life of a pathological liar, it’s important to keep in mind that this really is an illness. Their lies are no reflection of their feelings towards you, but are a compilation of their own self-worth. They are not plotting to hurt you. They are sick. They are without a cure, without an explanation, and without a self-awareness. It’s heart-breaking.
Their dishonesty is rarely intentional and just like a child, they are unable to consider the consequences that will undoubtedly come from their tales. They will find themselves in difficult, concerning, harmful situations as a result of their lies. They will be alienated by those who were once good friends. They will cause serious damage to their relationships and build thick barriers between them and their loved ones. Pathological liars can’t help but to live complicated, stressful, upsetting lives.  

But you can. 

Just because we ought to be empathetic of this mental illness, does not mean that we have to welcome it into our lives. A close relationship with someone who lies compulsively – romantic or otherwise – is treacherous terrain. My own experience with such an individual left my life in ruins. After I resurfaced from the deep, black waters of loving a pathological liar, I discovered that I was not the only one that struggled to plant my feet on solid land again. I joined my close family members and mutual friends on the shore, where they showed me the new vacancy in their wallets, the cracks in their romantic relationships, and handed me buckets of resentment for bringing such destruction into their lives.  
Pathological Lying is a sickness that hurts everyone involved. Tread carefully and remember that it’s not your fault. Have you had any wild experiences with a pathological liar? Have you formed a different theory on the cause of this illness? I would love to read your comments below. With such a mind-boggling concept, there's so much information to learn and share.
 


 

If you’re interested in learning more, you can access further details about pathological lying in the psychiatric times.
You can also read about relationships with pathological liars and how to handle them.
 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Word to the Warriors, Christians and LGBT Advocates Alike.





Welcome. Come on in and take a seat. Please, I ask that you leave your armor and your weapons at the door; you don't need those. I've invited all of you here because I'm noticing a change, as I'm sure you have as well. We have always been a network of strong-willed, opinionated people, haven't we? There has always been diversity in beliefs, and there always will be, but have you noticed the turbulence that comes with this discussion? Have you paused to listen, before you typed your heated response? If you just take a second, you can hear it below. That muted, distant cracking as the unity of this great country begins to crumble.

You are here because you are either Christian, or you are not. Because you are either for same sex marriage, or opposed.

Before we draw those lines and stamp these labels, I want to tell you a little bit about myself.
My name is Shannon Suitter, but I prefer to go by my middle name, Storm. No, my parents weren't hippies. They just wanted to be sure I'd have an awesome name if ever I acquired super powers or was recruited by the CIA. They gave me the name Shannon to fall back on, if I ever wished to retire early with dozens of cats.
I'm 21 years old. I have been married, divorced, and have experienced the joys of raising a child. I cry like a baby in Pixar movies. I am Team Jacob. I pretend to go to the bathroom just so I can get some time alone. I die a little inside any time I have to wake up early. I am terrified of spiders. Getting myself to the gym is like trying to staple water to a tree. I'm very close with my family and I adore my friends. I doubt my capability to be the best mother possible. I fear for my daughter in this world of bullying, kidnappings, and shootings. I'm a human being. I have dreams and goals. I have emotions. I feel pain and sadness and love and guilt and regret and happiness. I am not better than you. I am not worth more than you are. I know that all of you can relate to at least a few qualities that I shared and I'm sure that if you listed off yours, we might find that we have a few things in common. You and I are not different; we think differently.
 
I am adamantly against abortion. I did not vote for Obama. I do not agree with this country's welfare system. I believe in God. I believe that marriage, sexual acts, and relationships were intended for a man and woman to share, if not by the word of God, then by the natural and unspoken law of reproduction. I am a human being. I have dreams and goals and emotions. I am not better than you because of my opinions, nor are you better than me for your beliefs. You and I are not different; we think differently.

To be quite honest, I don't care about this new change. I am not against the legalization of, nor do I condone it. I am impartial, though so many of you disagree with that stance alone. I am impartial because I know that if I allow myself to be swept away in the ever changing arguments of society, I will lose track of myself and what matters most to me. Yes, I believe the bond between a man and a woman is the natural law of reproduction and the way God intended partners to be, but I am not against those that believe otherwise. It is not my place to tell you that you are wrong. It is not your title to declare who is right. In this lack of authority, you and I are still no different. We think differently. Wouldn't you agree?
 
So then where does all of the animosity stem from? Why does the discussion of same sex marriage and the opinions on the matter cause such riotous behavior?

Personally, I believe we are lacking a mutual understanding.

Over this past week, I have witnessed comments of hatred, posts of accusations, and streams of insults. As an impartial third party, I have watched most of this chaos unfold from two sources: the LGBT advocates, and the Christians. Of course, there are others that don't fall into these prime categories, but we're not talking about them. Like these people, for example.
 
 
I hate to even add such a terrible sight to my own blog, but this is a part of the reality we're facing.
I'm not sure where these awful people are located, as I'm surrounded by religion and I've never seen any. I'm assuming they live under bridges or out in the wilderness, but they are entirely irrelevant because they are all but fictitious on the social media battleground that I am discussing, and in the eyes of the Christian community, those individuals are lost. They are passing judgment, they are speaking for God without the authority to do so, and they are spreading hatred. Please put those nut jobs in their own category. If you come across a “Christian” who detests the LGBT community and declares such through protest and rage . . . well, they're not really Christian, now are they? They are monsters.
Before we continue, I need you to separate those sick people from the Christians that you see every day. From the Christians you are friends with, on and offline. If you remove this wicked stereotype from your head, then I can assure you that you will find many more loving and tolerable Christians than you thought possible.

To the LGBT advocates,
I think the most prevalent issue is that of the Christians' response to the long-awaited legalization of same sex marriage. Why can't they be happy for the LGBT community? Why can't they accept the fact that two men can be madly in love with one another? Why can't they be supportive of a universal truth such as love? Those are all good questions, and I hope you'll open your heart and your mind to understand their good and just answers.
 
The Christians believe their religious text – like the Bible – to be truth. Because a single soul has yet to debunk the Bible OR prove its validity with concrete facts, it is impossible for one to argue that the bible is not truth, or even that it is. The Christians believe the scriptures to be the true word of God, and they base that belief on faith. Their faith is firm, their testimonies are strong, and they have studied the works that they believe in. These words of God clearly state, time and time again, that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. You can't deny that. Those words are in the scriptures. In the eyes of those who follow God's word, this is a fact, this is truth, and it has been declared so blatantly obvious, that they refuse to ignore it. They will not praise and delight in a decision that defies the very words of their God. Why should they? Tell me why a mass religion should toss their rule book out the window to cater to the needs of the world around them. I want that answer. I want to hear how one can justify that request.
 
Is it because they need to be accepting of all? Because they need to “love their neighbors, no matter their decisions, because we are all God's children.”
That is an awfully righteous statement coming from those who do not accept one Christian belief. Practice what you preach, because it's very good advice. Accept all types of people from all walks of life. Accept those who's beliefs do not mesh with yours. Love your neighbor, because the two of you are not different; you think differently. And that's okay. That is the beauty of diversity. Believe me when I tell you that the majority of Christians do not hate gays. They do not detest the LGBT community, nor do they think less of its supporters. They simply do not agree with an action against the words of their God. Are you scoffing? Try this:
 
Set down your weapons of defense the next time you scroll through your social media, and focus on those religious posts that are filling your feed. Pay close attention. Are those Christians posting slurs of insults to the LGBT community? Are they telling the gays that they are going to Hell for their sins? Are they lashing out with words of hate or anger?
Or are their posts remorseful? Do they seem saddened by this change? Do they seem scared or concerned? It's because they are. While some may have difficulty expressing those feelings accurately, this is what they're feeling. One nation under God, is ignoring God's laws. Of course they're going to tweet about it. Of course they'll post those feelings on Facebook. They ARE sad. Because they believe the scriptures to be the truth. They believe you and everyone else to be their sisters and brothers, and they're upset that their sisters and brothers are not living by the unmistakable word of their Father. You can understand that, can't you?

Do you still disagree with the Christian's opinion on this matter? That's completely fine! But do you understand why they feel the way that they do? Can you slip into their shoes and accept their belief in the words of their God?
 
Or do you think I'm blowing smoke up your butt? Do you still think that the Christian's are absolutely wrong to believe what they do? That they are terrible for not welcoming the LBGT community into their homes of worship with open arms? Do you still find them selfish, intolerant, closed-minded, terrible people who aren't accepting of this new kind of love? That's fine as well, because this type of thinking is to be expected. It's why the word, BIGOT exists. For people like you.

By definition, a bigot is a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. Yes, you could argue that the Christians are the real bigots here, but there is a massive difference between a differing opinion and utter intolerance. There are individual bigots within religion, just as there are outside of it.
 
Quit being so defensive. Relax. Don't label someone based on what religion they do or do not stand with; label them as individuals who may think differently than you.
 
To the Christians,
I believe the second concern would be the reaction to opinions posted by the Christians. Everyone else gets to plaster social media with their opinions, why can't you, as a Christian, share yours without being bombarded by hate and protest? Why does everyone else get the freedom of speech, but you are persecuted for yours? It doesn't seem fair, does it?
I'm sure you can understand that you are preaching against a popular concept of freedom and love. It's no surprise that for a nation recovering from so much racism and bullying, the youth of this country feel the unparalleled need to accept all types of people, to love the underdogs, and to welcome new cultures and ideas. When they see an unpopular opinion that differs from the norm, they will dutifully stand by it. We can't help it; we were raised this way. This behavior goes back to the very first story of that shy, weird kid at school that had no friends. We were instructed to reach out to that person, to befriend them, to stick up for them against the bullies.
The lesson has stuck with us, and Christians seem to be the only bullies against this underdog that is different from all the other kids at school.
 
When the announcement was made, those who supported the LGBT were elated. A celebration ensued! In their minds, they had been fighting a long, difficult war, and they had finally claimed victory. They felt pride in knowing that this country had overcome the bullies and accepted that shy, weird kid at school. They did it! And they were happy!
Then the Christians posts appeared. Among a grand celebration, the opposing party muffled the cries of joy with bleak negativity. Honestly, I think it ruined the moment for them, and what's worse, you were openly offending an idea.
This generation is so quick to anger, so defensive, because we tread carefully over the sharp remnants of suicides, bullying, hazing, and racism. We whisper cautiously amongst one another, giving praise and encouragement to those brave souls that dare to be different, because we have seen the devastating outcomes that transpire when we do not cater to every tiny plea for attention and acceptance.
You feel threatened and offended that there are suddenly so many standing against you, but you fail to understand that this is how the other side has been programmed since elementary school. Unfortunately, religion is no underdog. For those who don't affiliate or contribute to Christianity, your religion is a type of authority figure. You tell them what they can and can't do. You set rules, bedtimes, and punishments. You're not accepting of the behavior in this world that is fun to partake of. As an organization that does not condone alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex before marriage, booty shorts, tattoos, piercings, and anything else that is cool and dangerous, I'm afraid you're not exactly on the list for upcoming trends.
And your judgments are not helping your case. I don't personally know any Christians that are seeking arguments and spreading hate, but if you're one of them and you're reading this, understand that YOU are bringing persecution upon your people. If you claim to be Christian and you are looking for same sex marriage/equality posts to comment on, to plaster with scripture quotes and belittling advice, just do everyone a favor and stay offline for a while. You might mean well, but you're just stirring the pot. I'm afraid your attempts to convince are in vain, and honestly, that Instagram photo or Facebook post is not the time or the place for unwanted missionary work.
Your counterproductive preaching is beside the point, however, because I'm positive I could lay down scriptures on your lack of authority to judge until my fingers have fallen off and your eyes have dried out. You do not decide. You do not judge. Just as God has declared that marriage is sacred between a man and a woman, he has also declared that he without sin may cast the first stone. Focus on yourself. Concentrate on the spiritual strength of you and your loved ones, and you should have nothing to fear, for you will find exaltation, will you not?
 
Listen warriors,
You've all put up a great fight, but you have a responsibility as a community of outspoken, strong-willed networkers to ease the tension and bridge the gaps. To promote peace instead of controversy. To be understanding and accepting of all. The internet has become incredibly powerful and influential. Let's use it to our advantage.
 
It's easy to get swept up in the chaos, especially when defending a cause that you feel so strongly about, but we need to remember that opinions vary, and that's okay. Beliefs will differ. Whether you wield a rainbow flag or a Bible, you are a human being. Those standing on the opposing side are human beings. They are not evil, they are not hateful, and they are not to be hated. Just like them, we have dreams and goals and emotions. We love our family and our children and we are all . . . Team Jacob (Yes, you are!)
Neither of you are better than the other because of what you believe. Those whose opinions differ from yours are not your enemy. We are all people, in the same country, on the same planet. We are not different; we simply think differently.
Wouldn't you agree?