Tracee Ellis Ross Empowers Women to Live Life According to Their Own Rules

Source: Essence

While Tracee Ellis Ross plays the mother of five on ABC’s Black-ish, the actress herself lives an entirely different life.

“It’s really interesting to be a woman and to get to 45 and not be married and not have kids,” Ross said as she began her now viral speech at Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit last week. “Especially when you’ve just pushed out your fifth kid on TV.”

During her 11-minute speech, Ross detailed how society treats women who remain single and childless, and how cultural expectations diminish our gender for not conforming. Drawing from personal experience, Ross explored how ambition doesn’t always align with the so-called norm.

“I grew up planning a wedding… But I also dreamed of winning an Oscar and being on the cover of magazines and making a difference in the world — helping women find our voices. And from that dreaming, I have built an incredible life. I have become a woman that I am proud to be,” she said.

“And then someone tells me about their friend who adopted a child at 52 and how ‘it’s never too late for your life to have meaning,’ and my worth gets diminished as I am reminded that I have ‘failed’ on the marriage and carriage counts. Me! This bold, liberated, independent woman,” she said. “I’m killing it! So, why? Why do I get snagged this way? As if all that I have done and who I am doesn’t matter.”

She explained that society constantly tells young girls and women that “being chosen and having kids” are the end goals for anyone who wishes to lead a meaningful life. In her words, “husband plus child equals woman.” We aren’t complete unless someone deems us worthy of their love and progeny.

Source: Good Housekeeping

But with four simple words, Ross realized that, despite her success, she was still being sucked in by societal influence.

“I’m sitting there free writing, maybe conversing with my inner child, and I write down: MY LIFE IS MINE. My life is mine,” she said. “Those words stopped me in my tracks and honestly brought so many tears to my eyes. Seems so obvious, but obviously it wasn’t. Because I have NOT been living my life as if it was my own… I have to put myself first and not be looking for permission to do so.”

Ross continued by explaining that, when women speak out or stand up, they’re condemned for being themselves. Women are regularly persecuted for stepping outside the accepted bubble of womanhood because the patriarchy feels threatened by those who don’t follow the “rules” their forefathers set in place. But, as Ross said, she’s going to have to break an agreement that she never officially agreed to in the first place.

“That agreement says: We are here to be of service to others, that our destiny is to live in the shadow of men. That we are simply objects of desire, and that we are willing to live with having our voices stifled again and again by the misogyny of our culture.”

Instead, Ross promised to her reality and her dreams and let those elements be her guide as she navigates her individual life. In the same breath, she invited the women in the crowd to do the same.

“Join me for a moment and imagine: What would it be like for women to completely own our own power, to have agency over our own glory and our sexuality, not in order to create a product or to sell it, or to feel worthy of love, or use it as a tool for safety, but instead as a WAY OF BEING?” she asked the audience.

Women need to stop thinking of themselves in respect to others around them. We must focus on who we are inside in order to understand who we are to the outside world. We were not put on this earth to please anyone but ourselves. We owe the men of the world nothing and, with Ross’s words echoing among us, we must recognize that we have countless allies who believe we’re worthwhile because of who we are, not who we love.

There’s nothing wrong with following the traditional path — the one paved long ago that says we should make stops only to pursue marriage and family. But we cannot chastise those who choose to forge their own road through the fields and forests that line the way.

Life isn’t linear. We’re all meandering along in some way or another. You zig. I’ll zag. If we meet again along the way, at least we will do so knowing that we were our brave selves, as Ross said. Our whole selves. The complete, real, true people we were always meant to be.

Read Ross’s full speech here or watch the entire presentation below:

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

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Dear Republicans, Define “Pro-Life”

Source: Suhyeon Choi/Unsplash

Middle-aged white men love to tell women what to do.

Sure, that statement sounds like an exaggeration, but when you consider the age and race of your average Republican official, it’s not unfounded or untrue—especially when the U.S. House passes legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy mere days after 58 concertgoers were gunned down during the country’s largest mass shooting in history.

Despite the fact that most Republicans run for office atop their pro-life soapbox, their post-election actions toward anyone existing outside some woman’s womb convey an entirely different narrative.

From healthcare and disaster relief, to immigration and gun control, Republican policy only seems to prioritize white, male lives (and the lives of those who have yet to pass through the birth canal, of course). Skin color and circumstance don’t matter until you’re born. After that? The law can’t (read: probably won’t) save you. Lawmakers will dictate what you can or cannot do, but they will not enact measures that serve anyone but themselves.

Since Donald Trump took office, for instance, Republicans have made multiple, albeit futile, attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—the ultimate pipe dream in the GOP’s ongoing war against everyone. Authors of the bill have made it their primary mission to ensure that each version eliminates mandatory coverage for preventative care, including prenatal care, which contradicts every pro-life speech they’ve ever spewed throughout their careers.

Caring for the fetus must mean you care about the mother, too, right? Apparently not.

(A Hippocratic oath for the hypocrites might be in order.)

Source: Tim Bish/Unsplash

But, dear child, if you do emerge with your health intact, your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will likely perish the moment you crown, especially if you’re not male, white, or wealthy.

Because black lives don’t matter unless you can distort their peaceful protests into fodder for the white nationalist pyromaniacs among us. Immigrant lives don’t matter, either, unless you can ship their children off to homes unknown and pretend it’s for the economic benefit of those who are descendants of immigrants themselves. And Puerto Rican lives certainly don’t matter unless you can tweet insults at their capitol’s mayor while she wades through waist-deep waters to save the people of her city.

Judging from GOP rationale, women are nothing more than vessels for future life. Despite the progress we’ve made toward achieving gender equality, we are still treated like second-class citizens in the eyes of lawmakers who think they can control our medical decisions even though none of the lives involved are their own. Perhaps they don’t understand that being part of this governing body does not mean they have the authority to govern bodies.

But you cannot force us to bear children when you won’t protect them from the unstable psychopaths that steal their innocence and their lives as they learn the ABCs.

You cannot tell us what to do with our bodies as those of our fellow brothers and sisters fall lifeless at the venue where they were once living life to its fullest.

You cannot make us adhere to your religious justifications while you dole out “thoughts and prayers” in lieu of laws that could save countless lives.

When domestic terrorists can amass an arsenal without raising eyebrows, but innocent citizens cannot access life-saving medical treatment, you can’t help but wonder where the root of this “pure evil” lies. Perhaps it lies in Republicans’ continued refusal to label Stephen Paddock—and Adam Lanza, and Dylann Roof, etc.—as terrorists. Perhaps it lies within the inherent “white privilege” these killers maintain even in the aftermath. Or maybe it lies in the simple fact that GOP leaders consistently fail to admit that white men, themselves included, represent the greatest threat to our nation’s safety to date.

Source: Antonio Grosz/Unsplash

Data from Mother Jones demonstrates that, since 1982, white men were responsible for 54 percent of the mass shootings on record. Couple that with the seemingly white nationalist measures enacted or proposed since Trump’s inauguration and you have a nation in crisis.

While there are exceptions to every rule, most modern Republicans appear to have little to no regard for life whatsoever. The fact that people are probably nodding in agreement as they read that sentence should embarrass the GOP to no end. But instead of proving the public wrong, those at fault will continue to transfer the blame to the helpless and hopeless.

After all, it’s increasingly difficult to believe that any member of the GOP operates with their constituents’ best interests at heart. Not when they sit idly by while the antagonizer-in-chief pokes and prods North Korea to the brink of nuclear war.

Sticks and stones might break some bones, but words could lead to mass destruction.

Yet Republicans do nothing.

Democrats—and late-night talk show hosts—condemn the wrongs of the world at every turn, but only Republicans have the majority power make change happen. However, it’s in their inaction that they reiterate what their actions have already expressed: aside from their pro-life stance with regard to reproduction, American lives are the least of the concerns.

Back to Action: 12 “Morphinomenal” Lessons Remembered During My ‘Power Rangers’ Binge

Most people don’t believe that I was old enough to watch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers during its original run. Heck, most people don’t believe I was born prior to the turn of this century. But, alas, I have proof! Right over there: >>>

When Power Rangers premiered 24 years ago—August 28, 1993—I was on the cusp of turning six. Now, as I approach 30, I’ve seemingly reverted back to my elementary school days and, thanks to Netflix, I’m reliving my first childhood obsession. While it’s been more than two decades since we first met the Rangers, to me, it feels like yesterday. Here are just some of the lessons learned (and remembered) thus far during my binge in honor of the show’s anniversary:

  1. Billy the Blue Ranger was basically the glue that held the team together…

Jason might’ve been the ideal leader, but Billy was the brains behind the operation. He created the team’s essential gadgets, including the communicators that also allowed them to teleport in times of need. He designed the machine that ultimately transposed his brain with Kimberly’s, and he repaired the entire command center after the Evil Green Ranger sabotaged both Alpha 5 and Zordon. He could cure Alpha of any virus, and he could develop devices that’d rid the world of Rita’s monsters in his private lab. I think it’s safe to say that, if Billy were an actual person, he’d be more successful than Elon Musk by now.

  1. …and he’s the most handsome Power Ranger, too.

Don’t agree? Then you’ve obviously never seen this photo: >>>

Plus, when in glasses, Billy exuded that Clark Kent vibe, which—considering he’s his own sort of Superman—seems ever so appropriate (and attractive).

  1. Walter Jones, Zack the Black Ranger, should compete on Dancing with the Stars.

He had the moves back then and, if you check out his Instagram (@walterejones), you’ll see that he still has the moves now. He’d be the perfect contestant! ABC always tries to lure viewers using boy band nostalgia, etc. Why not hit us right in the childhood?

  1. Day of the Disappointment: That time I thought I was going to meet Walter Jones, but didn’t.

My mom took me to our local ice cream shop because “Zack the Black Ranger” was scheduled to make an appearance. We arrived semi-late, but still within the designated time frame, except it didn’t matter. Instead of meeting Walter Jones, we came face-to-face with some puny man in an oversized helmet—think Rick Moranis in Spaceballs. If you’re curious, no, I still haven’t met Walter Jones, but the ice cream shop eventually went out of business, so I guess karma really does come back to bite everyone.

  1. Tommy was destined to become the Green Ranger because he had the necessary wardrobe.

In Angel Grove, if someone wears the same color day after day, they’re probably a Power Ranger. Rita didn’t even need to second-guess herself when she transformed Tommy into the Evil Green Ranger because his clothing coordinated. How the other Rangers didn’t automatically zero in on him from the start I’ll never know. Tommy’s taken on many different colors over the years, though, which must get rather pricey. He must buy new clothes during each transition, after all.

  1. Sorry, Cory and Topanga, but Tommy and Kimberly were the true power couple of our time…

For some reason, 90s kids are still enamored with Cory and Topanga’s love story. Sure, they were cute, but if the writers had been realistic, Topanga would’ve moved away during Season Four, marking the end of their romance. Plenty of my friends moved away throughout the years, but their families didn’t move mountains just because their kid couldn’t bear to leave their friends.

Tommy and Kimberly, however, were truly meant to be. (Shh, don’t tell me what happens when Kimberly leaves the show! I haven’t gotten there yet…) Even the episode where Tommy lost his powers was ultimately happy because he got the girl. Every 6-year-old on the playground wanted to emulate these two—that’s why there were 20 Pink and Green Rangers running about at any given time—and deep down, we’re probably all looking for this sort of love because they ruined us forever and no one’s ever measured up.

  1. …but when it comes down to it, I’m all about that Billy/Trini friendship.

It’s hard to put this bond into words. Trini was always there to translate Billy’s scientific lingo, and she conquered her fear of heights to save him from an onslaught of Putties. Though Thuy Trang might be gone, she’ll never be forgotten… and I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that she was just as kind and smart in real life. That’s quite the legacy, if you ask me.

  1. Oh, and can we talk about Trini and Kimberly’s friendship, too?

Female friendships are often seen as superficial, as they always seem to devolve into competition over some man, or so popular culture would have us believe. But, when it comes to Kimberly and Trini, there’s nothing but love and admiration. Even Lord Zedd’s evil jealousy spell couldn’t tear these two apart. Their example was subtle, yet perfectly attuned to their target audience.

  1. Bloom of Whom: Apparently I used to think Kimberly’s name was Geranium.

My mom claims that, before I started watching the show myself, I thought the Pink Ranger’s name was Geranium. Honestly, I don’t remember this at all, but if my mom’s correct, then I suppose she should just be glad her 6-year-old could even say Geranium in the first place. Once I can finally time travel, I’ll visit my younger self and save her from years of embarrassment.

  1. Every time I rediscover something I’d completely forgotten, I get to relive my childhood.

Some things are hard to forget. For instance, I’ll never forget that I hated “Calamity Kimberly” (S1 E31) because she didn’t deserve to get stuck in that jar/barrel/jug thing. But when I rediscovered the RADBUG, I squealed with delight! I’d also forgotten about Scorpina and the Thunderzords. I can’t wait to see what else I have yet to remember.

  1. Affirmative: I’m tempted to adopt some of the show’s catchphrases and use them in everyday conversation.

While 1995’s Clueless brought us countless catchphrases that we still use, albeit ironically, today, Power Rangers was a 90s gem that was just slightly ahead of its time. Highlights include:

“It looks totally far out and funky down the drain, dude.” –Kimberly, “Clean-Up Club” (S1 E37)

…and, of course, this glorious moment from “A Bad Reflection on You” (S1 E38).

Oh, how I pity today’s youth. Their lingo will never be as “morphinomenal” as this.

  1. Parents who found fault with the show’s “violent” nature clearly never watched an episode in its entirety.

Adults are notorious for blowing things out of proportion. Many thought Power Rangers was “too violent” for young children back in the day. But, if they bothered to watch the show, they would have realized that, from Day One, the Rangers never escalated any fight without cause. (It’s quite literally one of the stipulations that came along with obtaining their powers.) Even when teaching martial arts classes, Jason and Tommy always emphasized the fact that the skills should be used in cases of self-defense only.

Instead, parents should’ve focused on the underlying themes of friendship and teamwork. From the environment to animal welfare, the Rangers strived to bring peace and love to Angel Grove and the world with every breath they took. They fought battles great and small, and they’re still worthy idols today, for their fight—the good fight—rages on. We might not have special powers, but together, we have the power to overcome the monsters that threaten our world right now.

If I Could Save Time in a Capsule

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’re probably aware that I’m currently obsessed with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Somehow, within the last month, I’ve reverted back to my 6-year-old ways and now I cannot get enough of those teenagers with attitude. But, last week, just before reaching the episodes where Tommy regains his powers—one of the most important events of 1994, as you might recall—I came across something that made me hit rewind multiple times.

Source: RangerWiki

During Episode 47, “Reign of the Jellyfish,” the Power Rangers are tasked with burying their class’ time capsule in the park. Rita Repulsa wreaks havoc before they can complete their mission, but the ensuing battle wasn’t what caught my attention. Instead, it was the conversation the five Rangers had at the end of the episode that truly hit home.

Jason: You know, I hope the people who open this time capsule in the future live in a peaceful and friendly world…

Kimberly: …with no hatred…

Billy: …no prejudice…

Trini: …no crime…

Zack: …and no wars.

Then, the following day, chaos broke loose in Charlottesville, VA, amplifying the message behind this episode even louder than before. While the Rangers dreamt of peace and harmony, reality unveiled a present unlike any future they could’ve ever imagined. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists flooded the streets, drowning our nation in the very hatred and prejudice the Rangers denounced nearly 24 years ago.

Unfortunately, the dissonance hasn’t relented. Racists have found validation in Donald Trump’s reluctance to condemn their actions, and protesters find their efforts infinitely more difficult now that the alt-right feels empowered. We’re on the brink of repeating history because those in charge clearly haven’t learned from the mistakes of decades past, and many feel disheartened by the overwhelming anger that permeates almost every facet of our daily lives.

But, when all hope seems lost, it’s the final exchange in this all too relevant episode that inspires optimism.

Kimberly: Think it’ll ever happen?

Jason: If we all do our part, and try to get along with each other, yeah, I do. We’ve just gotta hope for the best.

While this dream world might seem particularly distant to us right now, we have the power to change the future. It’s our love, not their hate, which will win out in the end, but we must not lose sight of this goal. Hatred can only win when there’s a vacuum—when all those fighting for what’s good and right have given up. If we insist upon holding these bigots accountable, including Trump, they will inevitably retreat.

Source: CNN

More than hoping for the best, we must also do our best. We must spread kindness and love wherever we go. If you find yourself in a position of privilege, then you must use your platform to speak for those who have no voice. As Jason said, we must do our part and try to get along with one another. There may be countless people who wish to return to a time defined by hate and cruelty, but we don’t have to look far to see that those who seek understanding and acceptance spread far and wide.

Grand gestures aside, anyone and everyone can make a difference no matter their situation. Simply holding the door for someone can go a long way in a world on edge. Smile at people who appear upset. Start conversations with people who aren’t exactly like you. Support those who feel invisible and unloved in today’s tumultuous world. Small acts add up quickly over time, especially when we all commit to becoming the best we can be. We might not be able to cut these enemies down to size with the wave of the Power Sword, but through kindness and community, we will ultimately eradicate evil every time it rears its ugly head.

MTV Presses the Rewind Button, Brings ‘TRL’ Out of Retirement—but Why?

Source: ABC News

For television executives, future success seems to lie in the past. From sequel series, such as “Raven’s Home”, to reunion reboots, such as “Will & Grace”, many TV networks are turning to old favorites to attract new audiences. Yet, while nostalgia certainly seems to sell these days, MTV’s upcoming “Total Request Live” revival fails to take the passage of time into account.

When “TRL” began its initial run in 1998, life was much different than we’re used to now. YouTube was still about seven years away from its debut, internet connections were primarily of the dial-up variety, and cell phones were bulky, analog devices that belonged to businessmen and… well, Zack Morris. Texting wasn’t possible, but beepers were still popular, and killing time on the “World Wide Web” meant monopolizing your family’s landline. Without music television, video never would’ve killed the radio star.

By the time “TRL” called it quits in 2008, the world had transformed dramatically. Smartphones existed, even if they weren’t yet widespread, social media was on the rise, though it didn’t retain the same level of influence it does today, and nearly every video you could imagine was accessible on-demand thanks to Wi-Fi networks.

Now, nearly 10 years later, MTV’s already fighting an uphill battle before “TRL” even premieres.

First and foremost, the team must tackle the elephant in the studio: social media. For those of us who grew up during Carson Daly’s “TRL” days—the days before DVR and live-streaming—our idea of “sharing” was talking about the latest Britney Spears video the next morning before the first middle school bell rang.

Source: Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Today’s teens and tweens, however, will likely spend more time staring down at their smartphone screen than their TV. Perhaps that’s why the network plans to split hosting duties among five VJs during this go ’round—they need to satisfy this generation’s self-induced ADHD. How they’ll integrate social media remains to be seen, of course, but it’ll likely distract the viewers from the true premise of the show.

MTV will also have to pad the show’s latest incarnation with plenty of appearances and performances by today’s top artists if the network hopes to gain and retain the interest of these fickle viewers. Anyone can watch the hottest music videos of the day via YouTube now—a luxury unavailable to its original audience—so even the countdown alone won’t draw people in, no matter how interested they might be. Plus, anyone who’s ever watched “TRL” knows that they only play videos in their entirety when they premiere and when they retire, so if they stay true to the nature of the show, they’ll need to find a way to alleviate the subsequent disappointment.

While “TRL” was our reason to rush home back in the day, it doesn’t hold much allure for modern audiences, at least not in its original form.

MTV lost its way for years as executives focused on developing reality programming that disregarded the “M” in “music television” entirely—think “Jersey Shore” in all its spray tan glory—but the current leadership hopes to return the network to its lyrical roots. If executives can channel today’s young music lovers’ fascination with social interaction and use these behaviors to enhance the “TRL” experience, they might just attract the audience they seek.

As for us oldies? We will probably take the Carson Daly route and leave well enough alone. If you need us, we’ll be off in the corner relearning the dance moves to “Bye, Bye, Bye” for old times’ sake.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

Playground Politics for the Trump Era

We should’ve seen it coming.

The moment Senate Republicans refused to hear Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination—screaming “La La La” with their fingers jammed inside their ears, no doubt—our democracy transformed into the middle-aged, predominantly male version of Mean Girls.

“You can’t sit with us!”

Republicans were determined to attain ‘Queen Bee’ status no matter who got burned in their wake. Most didn’t seem to care how such actions might undermine democratic tradition, as they were merely out for revenge against President Obama. Garland’s credentials were hardly relevant—his bid floundered before it even had the chance to flourish.

But now, as Senate Republicans once again work to subvert our country’s founding principles by stealing health care from 22 million of Americas most vulnerable citizens behind closed doors, it’s clear to see that these behaviors weren’t the exception, but instead, the new rule.

Melodramatic as it may sound, Donald J. Trump’s fledgling presidency, and the contentious campaign on which it was built, exacerbates this trend toward infantile impulsivity. After all, those drafting the latest version of the health care bill essentially established an offshoot of the boys’ club we all know D.C. to be. At this point, it’s not even far fetched to imagine these 13 men congregating in some makeshift treehouse with a “No Girls Allowed” sign tacked to the door.

For modern Republicans, party “trumps” people, so to speak. Despite the fact that these elected officials were chosen to represent their constituents long before Trump moved into the neighborhood, they seem desperate to remain in the good graces of the curmudgeon-in-chief. Few have had the backbone thus far to speak out against Trump’s polarizing policies, not because they agree with his views necessarily, but because they don’t want to lose their seat at the lunch table.

Most Republicans are so unprepared to defend their actions, in fact, that they’ve actually tried (and failed) to curtail press freedoms within the halls of Congress. Let’s just say, these so-called leaders never would’ve survived my eighth grade history class. Our teacher, Mr. Finn, warned us that, if we crossed paths in the hallway outside our designated class time, we might still be subject to an on-site pop quiz. No one enjoys being caught off guard, but when your grade’s on the line, you’ve got to use any opportunity you can to excel.

Of course, we are talking about the party that used the national debate stage to argue about the implications of male hand size, so perhaps shining in the spotlight isn’t their strong suit.

But at the end of the day, the bell tolls for those who’ve compromised their dignity to appease the man who, judging by the true results of the 2016 election, wasn’t actually the most popular candidate in America. Delaying the vote on a bill that’s more reminiscent of a death sentence cannot and will not absolve this group of the guilt associated with their methods, either. Their colleagues—on both sides of the aisle—must hold them accountable for its content and its creation.

Trump himself deemed the bill “mean” in a private meeting with Senate Republicans—and he’s the Regina George of this entire mess, so that speaks volumes. Yet, even if the bill still isn’t as “kind” as he’d prefer, there’s no doubt that he’d sign it into law if it manages to pass. Like the rest of his cohorts, he’s determined to destroy Obama’s legacy by any means possible.

From climate change to Cuban relations, Trump will scribble his name on any executive order or piece of legislation that undoes Obama’s landmark achievements, even if it means compromising America’s future in the process. He’s all about spectacle, not substance. “Getting things done” means nothing if, in the end, everything’s come undone.

Maybe, if we promise to stick a gold star at the top of each document that crosses his desk, Trump will finally sign something that benefits the greater good.

 

Who Are You to Criticize Someone Else’s Happiness?

Every time tragedy strikes, celebrities and school choirs come together to sing “What the World Needs Now Is Love” in an effort to spread peace. When faced with immense sadness, we do everything in our power to emphasize the good and eliminate the bad. But the moment anyone expresses true happiness, it’s as if every Negative Nancy on the planet unites behind one giant megaphone to tout their disdain—those feelings of euphoria are clearly unfounded and they’re here to tell you why.

Last week, for instance, comedian Patton Oswalt and actress Meredith Salenger took to social media to confirm their engagement. While such announcements usually elicit an outpouring of “likes” and emoji-laced exclamations, Internet enthusiasts took the opportunity to hunker down behind their screens and anonymously expound their unsolicited opinions. You see, Mr. Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, died unexpectedly in April 2016 and, because he’s been so honest and forthcoming about his ensuing grief, these commenters clearly deserve to voice their concerns before these two consenting adults proceed with their impending marriage.

For some reason, the Average Joe seems to think they’re entitled to rain on someone else’s parade just because the people in question happen to be celebrities. (Call me crazy, but living life in the limelight shouldn’t mean you must silently endure such abuse.) In this case, Mr. Oswalt’s critics chastised him for “moving on too quickly” after his wife’s death. Yet I can’t help but wonder—what constitutes “too soon” and who are these naysayers to judge?

There’s no doubt that Mr. Oswalt was crushed by the loss of his wife. His gut-wrenching Facebook posts and subsequent interviews are testament to his undying love for Ms. McNamara. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve this new love he’s found. Loving once doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to love again, timing be damned. His life was torn to shreds with no warning, so why would this man—this man who knows how precious every minute can be—wait for the rest of his life to begin just because complete strangers might not approve?

In this situation, the only other party besides Mr. Oswalt and Ms. Salenger who has any real right to their opinion would be Mr. Oswalt’s 8-year-old daughter, Alice. Judging by Ms. Salenger’s recent Instagram posts, however, she’s definitely onboard. Who are we to deny this young girl another person who loves her? More love doesn’t dilute the love that already exists. Instead, that love grows and expands until it consumes all those touched by its warmth and its light.

If you’re that interested in judging others, purchase a gavel—that way you can whack yourself across the knuckles every time you consider adding your two cents. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. No matter how transparent someone might seem online, you’ll likely never know the full story.

To put it simply, love and let love. After all, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

Images courtesy of Meredith Salenger’s Instagram