The man stared coldly toward the stage as an audience runner made his way to him with a microphone. Social media gives us a gateway to hate and division, but it also provides access to people, just like you and me, who are banging the drum, marching to their own beat, and showing the authentic reality of how life is for other people. It affords the chance to widen our knowledge and awareness, to stop operating in a vacuum, and to open our eyes. It can be powerful, liberating, and change-making. Here are just a few examples of incredible everyday people who are standing up, loudly, proudly, and resoundingly, for what they believe in. Twelve short years is the time frame we've been given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change within which we need to reduce our CO2 emissions by 50 percent and make considerable changes to our existing systems to prevent the irreversible outcome that we're heading toward. Activist Greta Thunberg has been shining the spotlight on climate change by urging us to understand that our house--the planet--is on fire. And just as we'd panic and take immediate action if the roof over our head was on fire, she's encouraging us to panic and take immediate action to alter the course our planet is on. By the age of sixteen, she's spoken at the World Economic Forum, to parliaments across the world, to masses of media outlets. I had been stripped of any sense of power or control over my life by her, and she was enjoying the results of her torture. My withdrawal from her only solidified her characterization of me, however. I was so disgusted by the sight of my brother and mother that I didn't even want to eat dinner at the table with them at night. I knew this would be a sticking point with my father, because seeing us all around the table somehow made him feel like everything was cohesive in our home. The night my mother read my journal, she painted a gruesome picture of my reaction to my dad. I was permitted to skip dinner that night, but tomorrow would be a different story. Ornery, and still suffering the sting of an emotional rape, I remember refusing to come down to dinner on that second night. I remember hearing the door to my father's van shut, and my mother calling up to me, Lisa, get down here. You're gonna piss him off if you don't come down here now. Do you really, honestly believe technology has had a positive impact on humanity? I think that we should use technology to make people's lives better.

Do you really think technology is making the world a better place? The security guard started to move in the direction of the man. The situation was escalating quickly, though I still hadn't quite figured out what was upsetting him so much. She's inspired hundreds of thousands of young people to protest. If you ever doubt whether one person can evoke change, here's the evidence to show that one person can do just that. When it comes to politics, we often feel unrepresented and powerless. We might not think our vote matters, but when it comes to elections, a huge amount of people don't vote--enough to totally sway the outcomes. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is an example of a shining beacon of how grassroot communities can influence the political landscape. AOC is the congresswoman from New York's 14th district, and her campaign was largely funded by grassroot donations averaging $22. From the start, it didn't seem likely that she'd win the primary, but she did and has gone on to become the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress. When it comes to advocating, she's for progression: Medicare for all, free public college and trade school, a 70 percent marginal tax rate for incomes above $10 million. And she's constantly challenging the motivations of politicians who have been backed by corporate funding. My parents exchanged their usual pecks on the lips hello, as he entered through the back door of our kitchen, and then I heard my father ask, Where's Lisa? Gently, my mother responded, She's upstairs, babe. I don't know what's wrong with her, she replied to my father, once again lying, denying, invalidating -- and worse, insinuating, as if there were something inappropriate about my not wanting to be around her. At once I heard my father yell loudly and with a commanding tone, Lisa, get your ass down here and have dinner with us - now! When you are eleven years old, and the adults in your life can't -- or worse, refuse to -- see what you see, how are you supposed to feel? The pink elephants filled the kitchen, and I was tired of being stampeded by them. I certainly think technology should make people's lives better, I said. As a futurist, that's always been the bar I use for success.

Are we using technology to make people happier or healthier or at least more productive. I couldn't tell if he was agreeing with me or if my words were confirming the very thing that was enraging him. The security guard reached his row and the man held up his hands. The man took a sharp breath and pulled a first-generation iPhone out of his pocket. AOC is so impactful because she talks about politics and policies in layman's terms, furthering access to and education about politics. There are times when we feel as though we're backed into a corner and we need an action plan, pronto. Here are some boundary-related actions for those boundary-related Argh, I can't think moments. No is a complete sentence, but sometimes it doesn't feel emphatic enough, and other times it feels too blunt. Here are some alternative ways to express your no. You might feel awkward doing this, but a good exercise is to repeat these aloud in front of a mirror so that you get used to saying the words and won't feel so awkward when the opportunity presents itself to assert your no. I wondered what the hell was wrong with my mother? Why couldn't she just tell him it was okay to let me stay in my room for a few days? I am not hungry, I courageously challenged my irritated father. My father's voice was slow, steady, and dripping with fire. Don't you see the harm they're doing to our children? My daughters can't even carry on a conversation anymore. I finally understood the man's question, or maybe it's more accurate to say I understood the question behind the question. He felt that technology was harming his daughters and robbing them of their future. In his mind at that moment I, as a futurist, was responsible for stealing his daughters' future, for stealing his daughters from him. So you think that this technology is harming you daughters?

I'm not taking on any more commitments at the moment. Perhaps next time, when things have quieted down for me. I'm not currently in a position to help with this. All eyes on me, the characters in my life would wait patiently for me to crack under the weight of the toxic waste that hung in the air in our kitchen. Afraid to turn my family completely inside out, I made my way down the staircase and plopped myself under the enormous pink elephant that was sitting in my seat at the table. Mom scurried around the kitchen, quiet and on her best behavior, doing her best to perform well for my dad. It made me want to vomit, watching her avoid eye contact with me. I was to stuff what I was feeling as I was to stuff the dinner he worked hard for and she slaved over. I was to smile although I was broken, and laugh when Daddy tried to make a funny joke. The packed audience was on the edge of their seats. Their heads moved back and forth from my position on the stage to the back of the room and the angry man with the phone. They weren't sure if they should get out of there quickly or hang back to hear my answer. You are upset because you believe that this technology is harming your family. I'm making an effort to not overcommit myself like I have in the past, so it's a no this time. Thank you for thinking of me, but it's not something I have the capacity for. I can't help with this, but I can put you in touch with someone who might be able to. I'd have loved to, but my schedule is looking pretty crammed at the moment. Everything's feeling a little messy for me right now so I'm in a subtracting, not adding, stage. I'm going to have to pass on this occasion, but please keep me in mind for next time. Our tolerance is changeable because it's dependent on so many factors.

I was to say please and please pass the bread and thank you, too. I was to sit in acid and pretend not to feel a thing. The dynamics shifted into high gear when Daddy was home. We all knew my mother didn't want to upset him, and we all knew she expected us to pretend to be happy for his sake. On this night, the knot in my stomach was so big that I wondered if it was going to project out of my mouth. As with Lucey Ann, Mom expected me to make her look good in front of Dad. But if I refused to pretend and wore my emotions on my sleeve, and perhaps told my father how angry I was at his bride, she would only retreat, act taken by surprise, and point out to my father how crazy I was. The added emotional mind fuck was that I had my own individual need to make my father happy, as well. We need more parents who are passionate about their children's welfare and future. The man relaxed, the tension melting from his shoulders. The arm that was holding the phone high in the air slowly fell to his side. But let's talk about this technology, I continued. Smartphones are still pretty new, and I would say that we don't know yet what's good or bad about them. But the thing we always have to remember is that we are in charge. We get to decide what we do with any new technology. The man might have been less distraught, but he wasn't buying what I was saying. We might feel pushed to the end of our tether by something one day that, on any other day, would have been like water off a duck's back. Or perhaps we have the patience of a saint and we've put up and shut up for longer than has been healthy for us. Being at the end of our tether is especially difficult if communication isn't our strong point, and also because, when we're at that point, all kinds of emotions can bubble up, momentarily clouding our judgment. If life's problems have built up and are drowning you, please ask for help.