Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
There are many reasons as to why a person creates a blog. Some use this forum as a way of updating friends and family from far away about the happenings and goings-on in their lives. Some use it as a way of sharing their experiences of loss and heartache. Some blog so they can feel like they are not alone in this world that makes no sense sometimes. Some share their experiences as a way of healing and grieving, and some to help others save a few pennies and live frugally. I've read blogs about religion, science, and all manner of different topics, all of which are unique in their own right.
Regardless of the reasons why we blog, the time and effort put into making the blog our own personal space is sacred to us. Picking out the background, pictures, and messages are an important part of creating a place for us to share our personality with those who read our posts. We bare our souls to the cyber-world and, to some degree, demand respect from those who read our carefully articulated words.
As much as I know this about myself when I created this blog, I lost sight one time of just how special this little corner of the internet is to those, like me, who section it off for our personal use. You see, I left a comment on a strangers blog that, I'm sure, wasn't received in a positive manner. I left my message anonymously, because I was too chicken to put my name next to my opinionated words. I was a coward. It wasn't until my sister-in-law was violated in a similar fashion on her blog, that I truly realized my error. I too, was appalled at the person leaving an unsolicited comment where it wasn't wanted or even appreciated. It was only then that I realized the gravity of my insensitive comment, on a blog I had no business sharing my opinion on.
I love comments, and sometimes I anxiously wait to see what people may think about what I've written. Of course, I never intend on reading something negative attached to a column I put so much effort into sharing. I can only imagine the disappointment someone else may feel as they turn on their computer, click on their own blog, and find something undesirable in the comment box.
I've learned that although I may feel a specific way about something someone else wrote, there is a certain etiquette in the blogging world, and I have no right leaving an unpleasant comment on a strangers personal blog, because in doing so, I am disregarding the feelings of someone else.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I have always freely admitted that I don't have all the answers, and that I'm willing to hear and learn another persons perspective. I always try to choose my words wisely when expressing my point of view, so as to not offend someone else for their feelings. I make a tremendous effort to communicate and present myself in a way that won't come off narcissistic or accusatory, because to me, respectful communication is key to expressing oneself clearly. How else can a person know how you feel if you don't tell them? However, this doesn't change the fact that I sometimes say things that offend other people, and not because I was rude or insensitive, but because no matter how I present myself, the one receiving my words will take offense regardless of my efforts.
The questions I have are these:
--Do you stop communicating about things that may be uncomfortable just because it may make someone else upset?
--Do you refrain from explaining yourself due to fear that the reaction you may get will be unpleasant?
--Do you allow others to treat you in a way that you wish not to be treated just because you know that if you tell them that you don't like it, they will get mad at you, even though their anger isn't about what you said, but the fact that they don't want to admit that they need to change?
--Or do you go out on a limb, and respectfully say what you need to say for the sake of gaining a stronger, more connected, bond between someone you care about and love, hoping that they will put aside their pride and hear you because they feel the same way about you?
These are questions that I've been asking myself for the last few months. I'm sure the monotony of reading the many posts from this blog that share the same tone is getting old. It's helpful to me to express myself constructively, and to organize the thoughts bouncing around in my head, and this is the reason for the reoccurring theme. I'm sure, with time, my thoughts will be turned to other topics of interest worthy of this blog, but for now, I shall work it all out until I can't work it anymore...or until I come to realize that I can't force someone to react rationally, no matter how hard I try to present myself with the greatest of respect.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Bittenbender's Covered Bridge
Built by Frank Monroe in 1888
Located in Huntington, PA
...A bridge built properly, with a sturdy structure and foundation, can stand the tests of time, through all manner of inclimate weather.
...A bridge can be the link between two pieces of breathtaking countryside, allowing for the ease of travel on a beautiful Sunday drive.
...A bridge can bear the weight of many thousands of pounds, and an extreme amount of pressure.
...If constructed correctly, a bridge can bend and physically expand and contract for the varying temperature and seasonal changes.
Without years of proper care and maintenance, the structure could collapse and become unrepairable, which could result in extensive and expensive repairs or rebuilding. A broken bridge cannot be fixed without the desire, proper know-how and tools to effectively repair the areas in need of drastic attention.
Bridges can be like relationships/friendships...
A strong relationship/friendship, if built on a solid foundation, given the proper care, and valued for its beauty and function, can last many years without caving in around itself. If not, before you know it, you could be standing in a pile of rubble wondering where things went wrong in the construction process. The thing of it is, even when you're standing among boulders of cement, wooden beams and re-bar, a relationship can be rebuilt--it may take a lot of work and a lot of years--but it can be done. It is possible to re-build from the ground up with the proper maintenance and attention...
...if the desire is there.
If not, the only option is to clear away the rubble, plant flowers along the riverbed, and stock the stream with beautiful and exotic fish. If there's no salvaging the bridge, then the space where it once stood needs to be filled with something else. It's a shame because, the connection between the two banks will be lost, and without some sort of structure to bridge the gap, the opposite sides will remain apart.
Hopefully one of the broken bridges in my life can be repaired. If not, I've peacefully come to the conclusion that the place where my bridge once stood, will now be filled with the things I can control--I will happily plant beautiful wildflowers and vegetation. I will visit this spot and dream about building another bridge in it's place, and I won't be sad about the one that was torn down in spite of my efforts.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I have been a horrible friend.
I have treated my friend unkindly for quite some time and I finally decided enough was enough. I had to do something drastic to condition my relationship back to where it belongs. I decided to take drastic measures and cut out everything that split us up in the first place. I knew that once I put a little color back into my relationship with her, I would feel better about it and she would like me again. I knew that I needed to take a little time, sit down and discuss the layers of changes that I needed to make in order to shape our relationship into something manageable.
It only took 3 hours of hacking off all the dead ends in our friendship that was keeping us from being healthy and happy with each other. It was a long time coming, this little intervention of ours, but I think it was worth it for both of us. We decided that in order to keep things going in the right direction, we'd have to sit down like this every couple of months or so, just to keep our issues from getting out of control again. And I promised to never abuse her again by being neglectful of her beauty.
She liked that.
Now my hair and I like each other again.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
all the while,
at a time,
sits on the tip
wasted at a
the beauty of
Friday, September 11, 2009
For quite awhile I haven't felt the drive or energy required to formulate sentences and adequately express all the thoughts and ideas that are continuously flowing through my head. I have felt as though the fire within me had dwindled and without even knowing it, I realized I had been reduced to a small pile of smoldering ash, with only a tiny burning ember keeping me going. The stresses of life, children, school, relationships, money...all of it became so draining that I just wanted to escape it all with the distraction of books, movies, Facebook...I don't know...anything. But I soon realized that no matter how distracted I made myself, those stressed would always be there.
Life is hard and every day it becomes more and more evediant to me just how unfair it is. The world turns on her axis, every day without stopping, while the inhabitants anchored to her floor through the pull of her gravity, walk around seeing only a minute fraction of her beauty. Yet at the same time, witness enough hate, anger and unjust behavior to leave an unhealing paper cut on the soul forever.
I question my humanity, and the humanity of those whom I encounter every day --mostly strangers, but others as well-- and I shake my head in wonder when I see the ignorant, thoughtless interactions between people that not only don't make sense to me, but probably not even to those who have behaved so irrationally. I try live a life of tolerance. But is living this way truly an attainable goal? (just follow me, here) Is there a way to live being tolerant of others belief systems and values while at the same time being intolerant of those who are intolerant of others belief systems and values--because it may very well be a persons belief to be intolerant of those they feel are wrong--therefore can I really say that I'm tolerant of others beliefs if I am intolerant of those who are intolerant? Is there a way to be both intolerant and tolerant? Deep, I know. I have experienced some inconcivable, and irrational behavior of people I know this last week or so, which have sparked these questions of humanity and tolerance.
I'm just trying to define who I am...and right now it's not so clear. I have a few puzzle pieces scattered around me with the words "mother", "wife", "sister", "friend"...(soon one will say "nurse") written on them. But I want so much more. I want my little glowing ember to grow into a flaming fire. I want to be passionate about something important, but at the same time I want to be respectful of those around me--stranger or not--because isn't that where it starts? Thinking of others first? I want to help people see that there is good everywhere, even if it's not evident. I want to put smiles on peoples faces and make their burdens just a little bit lighter, without burdening myself in the meantime. I want to love unconditionally. But most importantly, I want others to see that life is short, and times are hard, but we have to come together and hold hands to work through the hate, anger and unjust actions of the thoughtless.
The time is now. The time is today. It has to start somewhere, and I say it starts here. At this very moment. Right--this--very--second!~ Who's with me?
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Anatomy of the kidney - the most recent of organs I must know inside and out - literally!~
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
So I took a detour.
My running program was delayed for a few days as I did a little slick maneuvering around the events that life had presented as more important than my current travel plans. Sometimes we need to take the scenic route, without looking at the map, to enjoy the journey to our ultimate destination. Just like the Sunday drives I so fondly remember as a child...hours of aimlessly driving down twisty back roads had always seemed to lead us back to the home-front, leaving us feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle life head-on.
Week 7 is back on, after studying for a big test and, more importantly, a 24 hour hiatus to hold a brand new baby. (Holding brand new babies trumps EVERYTHING!) Running 25 minutes straight for all three workouts has proven to take much will-power. The first 3 minutes seem to be a breeze, until the leg burn...oh that burn...then once I get passed 10 minutes...it's a cinch.
So don't be alarmed, I'm back on track after a quick detour, and feeling better than ever!
How could I cover the very thing that defines me?
How could I take away the part of me that makes me unique?
Am I willing to give up the nick-name I have so rightfully earned...Freckle face?
Closing my compact with a firm click, I vowed to proudly display the beautiful brown speckles that I've inherited from generations of red-heads with porcelain skin. I pledge to never glare at the freckle on my lip again...instead I will love the place she chose to make her home, and gloss her over with shiny color to allow her to shimmer and shine.
No I'm not 25 anymore, but does that really matter when there are more important things to do...like counting freckles?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Completing the sixth week of my running program has left me on top of the world, and my endurance abilities have most definitely progressed more than I have hoped. Although I haven't seen a lot of change in my body, I can only assume the inches are melting away because the measuring tape doesn't lie.
When I began the program, I was becoming more and more discouraged because the needle on the scale wasn't moving. I had to remind myself that the numbers may not change right away, because as my body strengthened, my muscles would weigh more. That's when I got out my measuring tape. I figured if I wasn't going to see change standing on a spring loaded scale, I might notice more if the circumference of my body changed. Well, it has. Everywhere. Bust, waist, hips, thighs, arms...all of it. It only makes sense to measure my shape since my goal is to get into shape.
I did, however make my first boo-boo in the course of my workout...I got a little cocky! heehee. One, I decided to listen to different music, and because I HAVE to run to the beat in the song, I messed up my pace by running to different rhythms.
First lesson learned: Don't mess with the pace.
Two, I cranked up my running level...oh boy! (This is where I got cocky). Sure, I can run faster now than I have before, it's just that I can't maintain a much faster pace for the long stretch. So, running faster wore me out quicker and I had to cut one of my running times down by 2 minutes. I realize that 2 minutes isn't that big of a deal, but for me it is. Most of my life I feel like I've cut corners, or just plain given up when things around me got hard. To some degree, I felt a bit disappointed in myself because I didn't want to feel like I was doing it again. Cutting my run short by 2 minutes was tough, but I knew that I had to do it. Instead of quiting, I just walked it off, and picked right back up with a second sequence. That was a small victory for me.
Second Lesson Learned: Slow and steady wins the race.
I have one more workout in this week's regimen, and then I start running 25 minutes without walking for all three workouts of week 7. It's all downhill from here!
Meanwhile, here's what I've run this week:
- Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk
- Jog 5 minutes
- Walk 3 minutes
- Jog 8 minutes
- Walk 3 minutes
- Jog 5 minutes
- 5 minute warm-up walk
- Jog 10 minutes
- Walk 3 minutes
- Jog 10 minutes
- 5 minute warm-up walk
- Jog 25 minutes with no walking!
With a little more than 3 weeks left in my program, I can honestly say that I have loved every sweaty minute as I've inched closer and closer to my goal. I've learned that to stick to a difficult goal, and accomplish more than you set out to, is the way one can truly measure success.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In a previous post , I illustrated the difficulties I'd been having with some neighbors living upstairs from us, in our apartment complex. Aside from dealing with these individuals, our stay here has be fairly pleasant.
Until one day...
I was thrust into an uncomfortable situation where I had to act quickly. I overheard the father upstairs beating his 4 year old son. This was no ordinary spanking...this was heart breaking. I could hear every slap as his fathers hand landed on his little body. I could hear the little boy running from one side of the apartment to the other attempting, at no avail, to escape his father. I could hear the whimpers and pleas coming from this child, begging his daddy to stop.
For someone outside this situation looking in, it may seem like a no-brianer to know what to do at this point. But for the first time, I wasn't sure. I can honestly say that I know how people feel when they claim that they don't want to get involved in situations like this. I knew that if I called the police or CPS, there would be many consequences for this family...one of which would be eviction. I knew first hand that their previous living arrangements was a shelter, and I knew that if they were evicted, they would return there. I also knew that if I called the police, the neighbors would assume that it was me who reported the incident, and therefore I felt like I was setting myself up for future confrontations. It took me all of 10 seconds to realize what I should do.
I called 911.
I realized that no matter the consequences of my phone call, I had an obligation to protect any child that can't defend them self. There has been so much death here in Indiana in the last 9 months, and I couldn't, and wouldn't, be responsible for not reporting this abuse. In 6 months time, 10 children (I believe, I may be off a little bit) have been killed at the hands of their parents. My only question to myself before hitting the "send" button on my cell-phone was, "How could I NOT report this?"
Since then, life has been a little more difficult. As soon as the police left that day, the mom upstairs stomped down to the leasing office to file a complaint against me for calling the authorities. What a joke! Later that day, she was ranting and raving to other neighbors about me calling 911, calling me horrible names, and threatening to beat me up if CPS came knocking at her door. I just had to laugh because, for a waisted 10 seconds, I was worried about her and her family being thrown to the streets. So I filed my own complaints. She's lucky I didn't call the police about her threatening me...I didn't think I had a leg to stand on since she didn't speak to me directly...that's the only reason.
Needless to say, I haven't been the only one to complain about this family, and me filing formal paperwork detailing the events that transpired, was enough to start eviction proceedings. I'm not proud of the fact that I was a part of her being kicked out, but I am not the one who beat my child, threatened a neighbor, allowed my child to pee on her air conditioner, left a loogie on her doorstep, allowed my boyfriend (with a larceny felony) to live with me and therefore commit fraud (their apt. is a government assisted unit), ...etc. I finally came to the conclusion that they evicted themselves.
Life has a way of presenting difficult situations, and I think that it shows the depth of a persons character depending on the way they deal with these dilemmas. By all means, I am not tooting my own horn, I just feel like I've learned something about myself that I didn't know before. My loyalties in life are to my family, my good friends and to those who can't protect themselves. This, I've learned, is not up for debate.
I don't know what will happen to the family upstairs. I don't know if their children will be taken away. I don't know if they will be homeless next month. What I do know, is she put herself in this situation, and although I will still worry about the welfare of the children in her care, I did everything in my power to protect them...it just came down to me protecting my own family, and that was higher on my list of priorities.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Since I can remember, I've loved music. I've loved singing and dancing and writing my own lyrics. I think music is a powerful force that penetrates deeply into our bodies and brings out feelings that would otherwise smolder in the bottom of our soul. The harmony, the beat and the rhyming passages can soothe our countenance or light a fire under our butts. The melodic words can move us in ways that speak only to our hearts as we relate to the sounds vibrating in our ears.
Today I, one by one, fit my ear pods snugly in place, and scrolled to the song I would run to...that's when I realized something. Although the song isn't one that I would have thought would effect me, it turned out to be my driving force as I encourage myself to keep going. The beat itself has been my motivator. It's just the right pace for me to run along with; stepping in time with each pump of the base drum. Radio by Beyonce has been my reason for pushing myself further and further each time I step onto the treadmill. It's funny how even the simplest things can keep our heads afloat when we think we're drowning...or in my case, keep my feet moving, one in front of the other. And believe me...this week I'm gonna need the motivation.
Check out what Beyonce and I are running to this week:
5 minute warm-up.
Jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes
5 minute warm-up
Jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, and jog 8 more.
5 minute warm-up
Jog 20 minutes with no walking!
It's a little nerve wracking to think that by the end of this week I'll be running 20 minutes straight...without stopping...oh boy. No worries though, my girl B and I will be rocking it out together, and honestly, I can't WAIT!~
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I think that was me...the baby crawling everywhere and not getting very far while doing it. Now, I feel like I'm wobbling my way across the room (treadmill), trying to get a grip on my bearings as a runner. I'm not quite "walking" yet, but I think with time I'll get stronger and my feet will pad the street in no time without a second thought. For now, I'm taking baby steps, and slowly working my way up to my ultimate goal...running.
Today was exhilarating! I ran more than I have ever before, and I got choked up doing it. Even through the pain in my legs and the deep breathing, I managed to stifle my tears as I almost started to weep. I know it sounds silly, but for me it's a victory. Doing something hard, not giving up and feeling a sense of accomplishment in the meantime is a feeling that's becoming addictive. It's like my body is loving me...loving me when I didn't have the strength to love it first. Participating in this program is more than me wanting to get into shape. It's more than me wanting to be just like my little sister. It's much more than that. It's me proving to myself that I can do anything I want. I can run a 5k if I want. I can learn to play the drums if I want. I can be a better mom, wife and woman...if I want. I can even go to school, get straight "A"'s and become a nurse...if I want.
And you know what?
I want. I can. I will.
Here's what my baby steps look like this week:
Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk, then:
- Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
- Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
- Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
- Walk 1/4 mile (or 2 1/2 minutes)
- Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
- Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
- Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This week had proven to test my limits and my motivation for running. What was I thinking? So badly I've wanted to give up and call it a good effort on my part. So badly I've wished I never committed to running this regimen and torturing my body this way.
The thing is, my body likes it.
My heart likes it.
My legs LOVE it!
This is what I'm doing:
Brisk five-minute warm-up walk, followed by two repetitions of the following:
- Jog 200 yards (90 seconds)
- Walk 200 yards (90 seconds)
- Jog 400 yards (3 minutes)
- Walk 400 yards (3 minutes)
Although I've had feelings of regret as my feet are hitting the large circulating tread-belt, it's always a relief when I complete my session with success and without cheating. I've heard it said before, "Nothing that's worthwhile us ever easy. Remember that." - Nicholas Sparks. I know that if I am ever going to accomplish the things I want to achieve, I'm going to HAVE to persevere and run through the pain, because in the end, it's all for my own good.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Photo by: John Moore of Getty Images, Memorial Day May 27, 2007
As I scoured the internet for images I could use to show my appreciation on Memorial Day, I came across this one. It immediatly pricked my heart as I stared at this beautiful woman lying on her fiance's grave, as if she were imagining resting her head next to him. I wondered what she was doing lying there so still. Was she praying? Was she whispering to him benieth the dirt? Or was she merely grieving her loss that she hoped would never happen to her? I may never know. I would imagine that her lying on the ground was her way of being close to him...as close as she'd ever be again.
Happy Memorial Day. May we always remember.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
After completing Week One of the Couch-to-5k Program, I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was tough and it was hard. I realize that plenty of people can complete my week one with the greatest of ease, however for me I wondered if my legs were going to make it. Well they did, and I did.
Starting Week Two was an exciting thing for me. I was eager to move on to the next level of my journey, and feel a sense of accomplishment that accompanies the soreness and exhaustion after my walk/run. I yearn for the feeling of my lungs expanding and my heart pumping, telling me I'm taking care of my body. You can imaging my surprise when noticing after only one week, my jeans fitting a little nicer, and my *ahem* bra not filling out so much. This is proof that my body agrees with this form of healthy living. In fact, if my organs could talk, I'd imagine them cheering and applauding my every step on the treadmill. I even find myself getting a little excited when my schedule dictates that today is the day to darn my sports bra and running shoes...knowing that I am getting that much closer to my goal.
Brisk walk for 5 minutes, then alternate 90 second of jogging and 2 minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes.
So I've stepped it up. 30 more seconds of running and 30 more seconds of walking. It actually hasn't been that bad. I just keep telling myself that if I can give birth to 4 babies, than I can walk/run for 25 minutes, 3x a week. I remind myself of all the hard work that I've put into keeping a 4.0 GPA, and if I can do that, I can huff it out for 25 minutes a day. I also manage to convince myself, when I don't think I can take one more step, that one minute is going to go by whether I'm running in it or not, so I might as well keep going and finish strong!
I've taken the pressure off of myself to loose X amount of weight by a specific time, or feel the urge to fit into a size 6 by summer's end. I think that I had to come to the realization that going slow and strong was they best thing for me to succeed this time. I eat everything I want in moderation. I don't deprive my body of anything, because as soon as I do, I want it. If I limit myself to no brownies...I inevitably want a whole batch to myself. So for me, I'm just focusing on being able to run a 5k in 9 weeks or more. I think it's realistic enough and I just might find that the weight will come off without pressuring my body to look a certain way, right now!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
After hearing about her last run (1/2 marathon), I was in awe at the mere thought of her running and accomplishing such a feat. And of course, as I've always done, I wanted to follow in her footsteps...literally. I just didn't know how to go about getting my butt in shape enough to run longer than 2 minutes together, so she mentioned a program that might help. It's called the "Couch to 5k" program. It's laid out to get anyone running 3 miles straight without stopping, week by week, for 9 weeks. It starts out slow and you gradually work your way up to 30 minutes of huffing and puffing...I mean running freely without a care in the world! I was sceptical at first, even though I desperately wanted to be able to accomplish this. But after starting this week, I can honestly say that it just might be possible...even for this girl who hasn't run anywhere, except after kids, in 14 years!
Here's what I'm doing this week:
Three times a week:
Brisk five-minute warm-up walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. For a total of 20 minutes.
Sounds easy enough. It actually kicked my butt!...and I loved it! By the time I was done I was sweaty, stinky, and sore...three things I hate. I also breathed in a little deeper, held my head up a little higher and slept like a baby. So bring it on, "Couch to 5k"! Bring it on, cause this chick is running!
My 9 week regimen ends the first week of July, and the plan is to be running in a Warm-up 5k for a 1/2 marathon in August. I thought it was funny to learn that Marathon runners run in a 5k warm-up run before running 13+miles. Not me, I'll be going at it slow and runnin' the Warm-up. That should do...for now.
Stay tuned for Week 2!
Friday, May 8, 2009
With Mother's Day around the corner, I felt drawn to these photos more than usual. It's a beautiful sight for me to see our mother's in their 20's as they traveled through life in a time when raising babies was their main focus. I love to look at these women and know that the concentration of their thoughts were on diapers, baby powder, burping, and toys. It's comforting to know that their thoughts were similar to mine as we each experienced the joys of raising babies. Even though I still have children to raise, I feel a connection to these special women, because I am a mother myself. I love to sit and lovingly gaze at these pictures and see them in a time in their lives where I have been myself.
So as I pulled out these photos from a special place I keep close to my heart, I thought it only fitting to express my sentiment for these worn images and my love for the mothers in them. For every diaper changed, runny nose wiped, dirty load of laundry washed and boo boo kissed....I love them. I love them not only for being our moms, but especially knowing the love I have for my own children is the same love they have for us. It's a love that can only be known through the experience of personally baring a child, and it's a love that would never be known otherwise.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom and Eileen! We love you!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
As a woman I am no different than the girl next door, the mother in the supermarket, the fashion model or the female CEO of a successful company. I have self-esteem and self worth issues. Every woman is their own worst critic and can undoubtedly find SOMETHING about themselves that they hate or dislike. It's no secret that I struggle with my weight, depression, anxiety, and a myrid of self-esteem issues. Needless to say, I don't feel like I'm any different than anyone else on this earth. I have problems and I deal with them. But sometimes something happens that makes you doubt yourself. Just when you think you have a handle on the unwelcome self-critisims, someone says something to you that erases everything you have worked so hard to achieve.
A few months ago my brother got me hooked on Facebook. I hadn't even heard of Facebook until a long-time friend was looking for me. She found him and gave him specific instructions for me to get my bootie signed up so we could catch up. I did, and the last few months have been a fun journey as I've tried to locate childhood friends, old roommates and reconnect with family. Up until 2 days ago it has been a fairly positive experience.
In the facebook world your "friends" are only acquired through the acceptance of an invitation. You invite someone you know to be your friend, and if they so choose, they can accept or decline your request. Once you are friends with someone you can view their profile of personal information and any pictures they post for viewing. If after you have agreed to be someones FB friend and you don't want to anymore, you can choose to remove them from your list at anytime you wish. Doing this is a personal decision that some FB users don't see as a big deal. But what happens when you are deleted by a person you didn't expect to remove you from their list. It's impossible not to take it personally when you start to wonder why the person X-ed you. "Did I say something to offend?" "Was it just a mistake, and they really meant to cross off a different name, and had inadvertently clicked on my name instead?" These are questions you might ask yourself if this happens to you. "Is it really a big deal? It IS JUST facebook."
I asked myself these exact questions 2 days ago when I learned that I had been de-friended by someone I didn't expect. This was someone that I had a good and positive relationship with and never said or did anything to be hurtful or rude. I wondered to myself if this person had meant to "say" something without saying it by booting me off his/her proverbial FB island. I then concluded that it surely must have been a mistake, and sought out to make sure.
So I sent a friendly message...
I noticed today that you have taken me off your FB friends list and I was just curious why. I hope that I didn't say anything to offend you, and if I have, please accept my apology. I would hope that if I had, indeed, said something that offended you, you would tell me. I thought we were actual friends and not just FB friends, and this is why I'm puzzled.
This was the response that came later the same day:
It makes me feel good to know that you consider us more than just FB friends. I would like to attempt to explain why I took you (along with others) off my "friends" list. Since we have been FB friends, I have noticed you are not the same woman that I remember. I had been so impressed with you the first time I met you. You really were so beautiful and I remember your eyes really seemed to shine. I guess from watching you from the FB point of view, it appears to me as though the light that I had seen shining so brightly in you before, has faded quite a bit. It makes me feel sad. It has been hard for me to see the things that you have been doing and saying on FB. Recently I have been through some very trying times and I have had a strong desire to surround myself with everything that is positive. Anything that's not, I try to distance myself. Sadly, for the moment, that has included some family members as well. This is why I have deleted a few of my "friends". I hope that this doesn't make you angry. I am not trying to judge you (even if it sounds that way). You really can do whatever you choose. I just need to make the choice to do what is best for me emotionally and spiritually. Please remember that you did ask and I am just respectfully answering.
Tears filled my eyes as I read those words. I really couldn't believe what I was reading. I felt like an injustice had occured as I fought back the inclination to believe the judgements that had been placed on me. All the insecurities I have felt about myself throughout the years had surfaced without hesitation and I wondered what was wrong with me. I soon realized that nothing was wrong with me, only with the person whom had a problem with me.
The following is my final communication:
Although I am curious as to what you may be referring to regarding the things I am saying and doing on FB, I won't ask because whatever it may be, doesn't matter. I am not ashamed of anything I may have said or done. It is quite puzzling to me though since I have never directed any of my actions toward you. I respect that you may choose to distance yourself with those who may not be "uplifting" in your eyes, and you're right it is sad.
I wonder why when we met you were so impressed with me. Or could it be that you are drawn to those individuals that you have a religious commonality with? and since we don't agree with respect to that, you feel that a "light' has faded in me. Please know that I am not angry in the slightest even though you feel you haven't judged me, when you have. Again, you are free to be FB friends with whomever you wish, it's just sad to me that you would distance yourself from people that care about you just because you don't agree with their choices or beliefs. It is disconcerting to feel like my actions would have such an emotional effect on you that you would feel like you couldn't be a part of my life, even if for the time being is only through FB.
The lesson I learned that day is one I've been trying to teach my children regarding the difficulties they experience with relationships at school. Every time they come home from school with sadness in their eyes because someone was mean to them, I try to help them see that not everyone is going to like them, no matter how hard they try to be their friend. It's not an easy thing for little kids to understand because the pressure to be liked and fit in is so strong. It breaks my heart when I hug them tight and try to make better what occurs when friends say hurtful things to them. It doesn't always comfort them the way they need it to, because regardless of the positive words I offer, they will undoubtedly experience the same thing again throughout their lives.
So, I had to re-teach myself the same lesson. So, someone doesn't like me, or agree with my lifestyle. I can't change their mind unless I change myself in the process. I don't want to change. I don't have to change. I won't change just to please someone that may never be satisfied with my choices. I can't live my life exactly like someone else because then my choices wouldn't be mine. It's a shame that this communication and insight into someones thoughts and ideas of me can't just roll of my back like water on a duck. It's hurtful knowing that in spite of all my other shortcomings and insecurities, I had to doubt my self worth as a woman, and a person for that matter. And it's sad knowing that I allowed the negative opinion someone has of me to bruise my heart. Well, bruises heal and so will my heart, and maybe one day the individual who so harshly judged my character will see how flawed their perception of me really is. Either way, I'm not going to keep from being myself, or allow this situation to make me feel badly anymore. Life is too short to dwell on experiences or people you can't change.
My intention in posting this experience was not to name names or embarass those involved here. I am merely choosing to constructively, and respectfully express my feelings regarding the issue. This is why I have kept the identities private. Although I was hurt and upset with the initial conversation, I am no longer troubled by this experience, and have only used this forum to share how I dealt with this uncomfortable situation.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The officer acted as if I was the most unsafe motorist he’d ever encountered and I was lucky he couldn’t yank my driver’s license away for good, and toss it into the bottomless pit of non seatbelt wearing violators.
Then I remembered; I had, indeed broken the law. My first reaction led me to think it was a waste of time for this police officer to pull me over, wag his “shame on you” finger and scold me for not being safe. Although I was truly aggravated and embarrassed for being pulled over, I realized that the police officer was right to be so stern with me. It was a serious thing to be unbuckled. Not only could I have caused injury to myself, had I been in an accident, but I could have been killed in the process. This experience has provided me with the opportunity to really think about the seriousness of safety belt use and our current laws regarding them. Ultimately its leading me to firmly believe in the gravity of their use and the importance of having a law in place demanding them to be worn.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I refuse to look at an unfamiliar image in the mirror EVER AGAIN! I long for the day when I peer into the reflective glass and say to myself, "Hi there, stranger. Where've you been?"
Friday, April 3, 2009
From the day we are born and brought home from the hospital, the way we are treated is directly correlated with our gender. In fact, even when we are still in the womb, our gender plays a specific role in the way others behave around us.
A woman learns she's pregnant for the first time, and with this knowledge, she is filled with the emotions that are inevitable, as any new mom wonders what her life will be like with a new baby. There are many questions that arise during this delicate time, and much preparation is needed to welcome in a new addition. The countdown begins as the weeks and months are tallied up to determine the date that will bring a new life into this world. The family and friends are notified of the wonderful news, the doctor's appointments are scheduled, and now it's only a matter of time before colors can be picked out for the nursery.
From week 15, the image can clearly be seen from an ultrasound that will announce the sex of the child. Every parent experiences a great amount of anticipation as they wait for the final word as to the gender of their baby. From the moment the ultrasound brings the image into view, gender role is attached to the idea of what the baby will, or should, be like. For example, from the moment I learned that I was going to give birth to my first daughter, all I could see was pink. Everywhere I went I saw pink; pink dresses, pink baby-dolls, pink night-gowns, pink shoes, pink socks...pink everything. What I didn't realize was the fact that with my knowledge of the sex of my baby, I was assigning a predetermined gender role to her. I, like many others, have this idea about the way a boy or a girl should act. Girls play with dolls and wear dresses, and boys play with trucks and wear over-alls. Why is this the case? Somewhere along the line, the norm was formed as to how each gender should behave.
When I think about all the stories that my parents told me about my birth, I can't help but wonder if my gender was more important than I thought. I was the third child to be born into my family, however I was the first-born daughter. Back in 1974, ultrasounds weren't available to allow parents to plan ahead and pick out swatches for the baby bed linins. So, when I was born my family was surprised, and a bit relieved, to have a sweet little girl instead of another boy. My dad even cried when he informed his parents that Miss Emily Rose was their newest granddaughter. As I'm sure you can imagine, I received a great amount of attention due to the tiny fact that I was a girl. I'm sure it didn't help matters that I was born on Christmas and was sent home from the hospital in a large, red Christmas Stocking. From that moment on, I was treated like a sweet little girl should be treated (although I'm not too sure how different a boy would be treated. Any newborn child would receive much attention).
The way boys and girls are treated when growing up, definitely is due specifically to their gender. It's most often seen within the walls of a little boy's bedroom the many examples as to what is expected of that child. You may see sports trophies, trucks, trains, and bright colored bins filled with action figures and micro-machines. As you walk into a girls room, the walls would most likely be a pastel pink, yellow or purple with a floral border surrounding the edges, with a netted swing hanging in the corner filled with dollies and stuffed animals, and the heart-shaped toy box in the closet is filled with Barbie's and all their accessories. How rare would it be to hear a boy's room described this way? That in and of itself, should say something about the gender role expectations that we place on our children from the moment they are born.
As the years go by and a child grows up, the expectations never seem to change. There are specific unwritten rules as to how a young man and a young woman are to behave. We as parents, feel that there is a certain criteria for the manner in which a boy is to treat a girl, on a first date, for instance. He is expected to be prompt, courteous, and respectful of the precious daughter he will be in charge of. He is expected to pay for the date, open doors, drive safely, and bring her home sober, happy and ON TIME! Although these expectations may seem overwhelming, it's a fact of life for a young boy seeking the approval of a girls parents. This is just another illustration of how a male's gender role is important to uphold.
Although it may not seem fair or right to place gender expectations on a male or a female, the fact that these predetermined ideas can be changed still remains to be seen. It may do society a world of good if there were no specific expectations placed on individuals as to how they should behave, what toys they can play with, what color they can wear (for babies), what job they can have or even the type of birthday party a child can have. I would love to attend a girl birthday party with a GI-Joe theme, or a boys party with a My-Little-Pony Theme. Unfortunately, these occasions never happen because of the role we expect our children to play.
Maybe there will come a day when we, as a society, can step away from the gender role expectations we so unknowingly place on ourselves, and just expect goodness to be within us instead.