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Friday, December 19, 2014

Be kind and show love - especially to the "unlovable"

Rushing to judgement is not something that I do I like to do.

I had to revamp this a little bit, because I caught myself, yesterday judging a situation I knew NOTHING about based on very few things I was shown or told.  THEN I saw another side.  THEN I thought about how it felt when people judged ME on very little information.

So I decided to repost this from November of 2012.  A little something to think about...
Here is my post as it stood in 2012:

Who the hell am I?  Really?  WHO.THE.HELL.AM.I.??

Let's be clear - I may do good things in my life now and try hard as I may to be on the right path, but this is not always how my life has been.  I've been no saint, which is a huge factor in my non-judgmental attitude.  I've messed up more than I can put into words.  So much so in my life, that I'm positive that there are people from my past that would turn up their noses at the mere mention of my name.  Maybe they'd even recall a not so pleasant memory that I was a part of.  Something I said, something I did. Whatever.

I wasn't always the me that I am now.  I've learned a lot.

It's no secret that I sometimes lack proper social grace.  My mouth runs much more quickly than my brain more often than I can stop it and I sometimes embarrass myself.  You've read all this before.  It's the thing I wish I could change the most about myself and a one of the quirks I've been blessed with.  I'm silly, kind, loving and an absolute bumbling idiot from time to time.  It evens out, I suppose.  It makes me, me.

When I was very young, I wasn't held accountable for my stuff.  Mainly because I was so young and frankly,  it wasn't my "stuff."  It was other people's baggage that I carried.  Back then it made me appear, I don't know - strong and responsible?  I'm not sure.  I know some parents took pity on me & my brothers.  Felt "sorry" for me, for us.  Even back then, I never wanted to be pitied.  In that, I grew to learn how to hide the negativity that surrounded us - so others would have nothing to say.

As I got older, things got easier.  My brothers didn't need as much care & I had more time with my friends - but no supervision.  I was free to roam.  I did what I wanted to do.  No one held me accountable for my actions.  Probably because no one noticed.  I still did what I was supposed to do & then I ran wild.  If I was judged, I never knew it.  I knew how to cover my tracks.  Until I didn't.

In my late teens and 20's - things weren't so easy to hide.  I didn't live home.  I was on my own.  I was accountable to myself, to my job, to my life.  As much as I didn't care, I cared.  People tend to look more closely when you're a young adult.  They see everything.  The things you try to hide are the things they see the best.  Suddenly I was under a huge magnifying glass.

All of my screw ups were right there, in my face.  People talked.  People judged.  No matter how hard I tried to do the right thing, it was wrong & people sure let me know it.

It was awful.

In reality, I didn't know what to do in "life."  I was on auto pilot coasting along.  Tripping at every pass.  I took examples from other friend's parents, older friends - anyone I thought I could learn from.  People still judged.

So much I'd never put in print.  Stuff that I'm horrified over and don't have the nerve to come forward with. Stuff I'd rather have buried forever.

Things I'm sure this mask won't cover.

Everyone has things they hide behind the mask.  People they'd hide from forever if they could.  At least that's what I believe in my world.

Yes, it is true that I was no saint in my old life.  The person I used to be is dead and buried.  I don't know her anymore - but I do love her & wish that this me were around to guide her.  Because this me knows so much more.

So I don't point my finger, because I know - there would be so many more pointing my way.

How many fingers would point your way?

*How would it be for you if someone judged you forever on the worst thing you'd ever done in your life?  No matter how long ago it may have been.*

Think about that.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Be kind and show love.  Especially to that person who may seem unlovable.  You don't know who that person really is, was or will be.

Lots of love,
Jenn

*I'd like to credit Cathy Kobre at Mamapedia.com for being my "muse" for this post.  This line is from an email exchange we had a few months back & is the inspiration for this post.  So thank you, Cathy :)

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Monday, December 8, 2014

12... and bullied to suicide - for being a male cheerleader

Yesterday morning my family and I were on our up at 4, out at 5 am trek to our daughter's first cheer competition of the season.

Per usual, my husband was driving.  He likes to drive and that's fine by me because I'm content to hang out and talk to the girls.
...or not since it was 5 am.  I was not nearly as caffeinated as I prefer to be at 5 am, so I spent the time in quiet browsing my Facebook and daily news feeds.

I came across an article that saddened me on several levels:


(you can click on the headline to read article)

What??  12??  Another 12-year-old??  Because of being bullied??  For being a cheerleader??  My mind first turned to my beautiful 12-year-old daughter (cheerleader) in the back seat.  Then I recalled the bullying case in Florida about a year ago where a young girl threw herself off a water tower for being bullied.  My mind began to swirl.

At twelve, my daughter is just beginning to learn who she is and who she wants to be.  Not quite a little girl, not yet a woman.  She is at the stage of her life where she's discovering herself.  I'll bet this is where this young boy was in his life as well.

I can't even wrap my brain around how sad and tormented this poor child must have been to decide that dying was his only option.

And why the torment??  Just because he was a cheerleader??  Really??

I know there are opinions on male cheerleaders.  Some dads cringe at the thought of their boys becoming cheerleaders, while others are fine with it.  I'm not here to say what's right and what's wrong.

What IS wrong is that young CHILDREN decided that because this 12-YEAR-OLD BOY was a cheerleader that he must, therefore, be gay - and they were so superior to him that they must torment him to the extent that they did.


Sorry - here's where my strong opinions come in...  As far as I'm concerned, people - that level of judgment is LEARNED behavior.  12-year-old children are mostly innocent when it comes to judgment for others being different.  They are still on the cusp of innocence & learning that others differences "make a difference."  This is where parenting comes into play.  This is where parents need teach their children kindness and acceptance of others' differences.

Twelve is a tough year.  It's the stage in a child's life where parents should maybe take tighter rein.  Especially in a world of social media where you may completely miss things.

6th Grader - Ronin Shimizu

It's no secret, I monitor my child's social media.  I monitored my older son's as well and I plan to monitor the short one's activity when her time comes.  I don't completely invade their privacy - but I keep an eye out.  I have the passwords and am very clear that I will go in whenever I want to look around to be sure all is OK.  I feel that it's my job.  I've learned from checking around that they are at the stage that the judgment and hate are beginning to surface.  Not completely - but it's starting.  For example, one of my child's friends sent her a text one day asking how she should color her poster to distinguish people of other races - black crayon for people of color and orange for Hispanics, yellow for Asians.  I found that unacceptable and addressed it with my daughter in a way she would understand.  My husband is Hispanic.  I asked my daughter flat out... "Is daddy orange?  Is your grandmother?  How about your aunts & uncles??  I am Dutch/German blonde hair, green eyes.  Why didn't I get a crayon color??"  She was upset, because again, she's still innocent - she didn't understand that what her friend was saying was wrong..  (I'm also being kind with regard to the context of the text.)  I felt it was my place to discuss this with her and tell her why it was wrong and how we shouldn't label anyone because of the way they look.  She got the message.  Acceptance.

This is exactly how I feel about the incident with this poor child.  No one had the right to color that young boy with a "pink crayon."  (not judgement, trying to make a point.)

Being a cheerleader certainly isn't a red flag to say "I'm Gay, I'm Gay."
Maybe he was gay OR maybe he liked one of the girls and wanted to be around them more.  OR maybe THIS was just his sport.  THIS was the thing he was good at.  THIS is the place he shined.
This young boy being a cheerleader doesn't make him any more gay than being a big burly auto mechanic (whatever) makes another straight.  What you do / how you look doesn't define you.
How you treat others is what defines you.

LEAD WITH KINDNESS AND ACCEPTANCE.  PERIOD!

This little boy didn't have to die and I'm so incredibly sad for his family that he died in this way.

Keep in mind that until you are sparkly clean, have no sin and lead the absolute perfect life - you don't get to judge.

When you point a finger, you can expect to have 3 pointing back at you.

This should not have been.


My deepest heartfelt condolences to the family of Ronin Shimizu.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn
 

If you have or know a teen who is struggling with suicidal thoughts - please reach out.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When is it time to let a relationship go?

For certain, the older I get the lower my tolerance level to BS gets.

I used to be the let it all roll off my back type, the one who takes and takes. Just as long as everyone's happy, it's fine.
Then it at some point it stopped being fine.
At some point it became ENOUGH!

I began to realize that some of the people whom I relied on seemed to be the same ones using my back more as a doormat than a place to rest a loving arm of affection. That's when things began to change in me, and I began to wonder if it was time to back off and let some relationships go.

Last year at this time and even a 6 months ago, I wouldn't have been able to write this post.  I was full of anger and hurt from some situations and on high alert in others.  It seemed like so many relationships in so many areas were coming to a head at the same time. Those situations and the anger and hurt that went along with them were the best thing to happened to me, as they brought me back to the place I was before.  I'm not someone who needs to be all in the mix.  I'm content to hang out in the background and take it all in, a home body.  It was actually a relief to be able to close doors and walk away. I could just be me, without having to try so hard.  That "period of enlightenment" brought me to a place of peace and the understanding of what I want in the relationships in my life.

I've learned and grown from those experiences.  I am thankful.  The lessons of that year were good.

If someone wants to be a part of your life, they'll show up.  They will make time, even if it's a text or a 2 minute phone call to say, "Hey - I'm running, but I wanted to let you know I've been thinking of you."


This is by no means a woes me post...
Believe me, I know that I'm no angel.  I may not always handle the things coming at me in the best way possible. I'm not always as easy going as I like to believe I am.  I say exactly what's on my mind when maybe I should keep my mouth shut, but I know I'm honest and I speak from my heart.
Even when things are smooth sailing, I try much harder than I should sometimes, and when it becomes too much work - I completely shut down - close the door and I walk away from it all, sometimes without another word.

Will those doors always stay closed?  I don't know.
I'm content to let life happen as it's meant to.

For certain, relationships shouldn't be SO hard.


For a while I thought, maybe I just think differently.  Maybe it's just me...but it's not just me.

This topic seems to be flying all over the the internet lately in the posts of those tired of feeling less, or tired of trying so hard or deciding if certain relationships in their lives have run their course, or if it's time to let go and move on.

That's not always easy to do.

How does this seem to happen all at once?  Is it a sudden life shift where you finally know who you are and what you are and are not willing to accept in your life?  Do people change so much without notice?  Or do you change?

How can someone be perfect one day and toxic the next?

So when IS it time to let a relationship go?

Why do we hold on so tightly, when we know something is not good for us?

Is it loyalty?  Is it love?  Is it habit?  Is it fear?  What?

And at what point do you decide that you've had enough?  That you can no longer take the grand lead in a relationship?  When does it all come to a head and blow?

And even then?  Should you let go?

And if you go...

Is good bye for now is enough?

Is good bye forever is better?

Is there GOOD in goodbye?

Only time will tell.


As a little after thought edit... and THANK YOU to my friend BW at Teapots and Tiarras for this comment, which is amazing...   "Don't waste a minute on someone who doesn't bring you joy"

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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