Thursday, April 19, 2018

Old Friends

"Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting."
~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

This last week I buried a friend. A friend that I wish I had reached out to more because she was such a purely golden soul. I never remember once during our childhood being in any way out of sorts with her. In fact, she was someone with which I shared my most precious secrets. I always knew they were sacred and protected. I always knew that above everything else, she was my friend.

As a mid-life adult I look back on my life and of course, there are so many mistakes and regrets. Not keeping up with many of my childhood friends is a major one. Being so wrapped up in my own drama and distancing myself was a huge mistake.

Last week, as I stood in a kitchen containing almost everyone that holds a place in my heart and my memory from such an important time, I was overwhelmed that it took a devastating, gut-wrenching, incomprehensible death to bring us together again.

So we drank, laughed. shared, cried, and exposed ourselves to each other as great as any Breakfast Club ending can withstand. We were back in high school and not. But we were in so many ways the same.

I would say we reconnected but I don't think that is correct for those that have shared the most formidable time of life. There is never a need to reconnect because that connection is already there. You can always pick up where you left off. It just happens.

McCaskey was our meeting ground, our church, our family. It will forever be so. Our memories are so connected we have to stay connected because of them.

So I buried one of my first and best of friends. When I was severely depressed to the point of no return she was one of a few who saved me. I never truly thanked her for that.

But I don't think she needed thanks. I think she just did it because she was made to always be that light for others. She was always that comfort,

She was light, love, and laughter. And she found her equal in an amazing husband who will forever share her legacy with her children and their children. She will never be forgotten.

"Remeber me and smile, for it is better to forget than to remember me and cry."
~Dr. Suess


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Here's Your Sign

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."
~Euripides, The Bach

I had a wonderful night recently with some like-minded friends sharing our stories about, well, dealing with the mentally challenged. I don't mean those with legitimate handicaps, I mean those that can't seem to grasp even a thread of rational reason.

A few examples? I have tons!

I recently stated a fact to someone, and for those who need it explained, a fact is something we know to be true so the opposite of an alternative fact. Because that fact was displeasing it was seen as an attack. Because if facts don't fit into a certain reality how can they be true? Think climate change as an example.

I knew someone who publically claimed that all liberals are idiots. When I suggested that was extreme I was told that it didn't apply to me as I'm not an idiot. I explained that by that person's definition I must be. The logic presented did not compute. In fact, it was seen as an attack. (Yet somehow I am the snowflake.)

Last year when people were disgusted at the appointment of Devos a trend went through social media celebrating if you were a product of public schools. I joined the event as I went through Lancaster School District. I was quickly slammed by a few because my middle son went to private school for one year. Somehow sending my son to try something different totally eradicates my history with being, myself, a product of public schools. You can clearly see the logic, right?

I have many other examples but this is a blog, not a novel. These examples go with the same folks that criticize Obama for not doing more after 9/11, thinking the Parkland students are hired actors and it must be some kind of conspiracy that the shooter chose an entire acting school or that it seems absolutely plausible to pay off a porn star that you never slept with. So just a special group of, well, special.

So, in summary, I think if there is one thing we have learned during this administration is choose wisely when and where you decide to confront topics. Is that person capable of rational thought? I've had some great debates with people on both sides of the proverbial wall. I have friends that are way smarter than me who disagree with me politically. I am in no way lumping any of you in this group. The above examples are the head-slapping, WTF moments when you know logic receptors are faulty and the best thing to do is back away slowly, not making eye contact, and hope they get distracted easily. Maybe yell, "Look, it's Hilary Clinton with a bunch of emails!"

And if you see this as an attack, well...

"Here's your sign."
~Bill Engvall

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe."
~Albert Einstein


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Kids These Days

"And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations.
They are quite aware of what they are going through.
Changes.
~David Bowie

Like many of you, I've seen countless interviews with the Parkland students organizing themselves to stand up to our government demanding change. I'm impressed with their passion, knowledge, and commitment despite the attacks thrown at them by backward and unbelievably small-minded adults.

They are called "stupid kids" who couldn't possibly have their own thoughts and ideas. Those who wish to silence them claim they must be coached by parents. They don't take a moment to actually think about what they went through, survived, and have since processed into a movement.

Gun owners who are easily moved to fear believe these kids are pushing to take away all of their rights to ownership. They watch the entertainment programs on Fox (yes, Fox News is under the guidelines of entertainment, not news) and believe the hype.

Yet there is a large community of thoughtful gun owners who understand that it shouldn't be more difficult to buy cold medicine than to buy a gun. If you are a law-abiding person a stricter process and longer waiting period shouldn't bother you.

I work in a public school. To have that job I had to have four different clearances completed. I didn't mind because I have nothing on my record and I appreciate that we don't want just anyone in charge of our children. That same reasoning should apply to gun ownership.

The people who like to throw comparisons out such as we should also ban __________(insert thing) since they can also be used as a weapon are just those over-reactors who have no idea what the discussion is really about. Rather than take an intelligent look at how stricter gun control could be a benefit they go immediately on the attack, usually with little knowledge in their arguments.

And even though I do absolutely think we need better mental health care in our country that is also just a diversion tactic by many in the Trump/Fox/Breitbart camp.

This administration has unlocked an ugly underbelly of our society who have somehow been granted permission to be racists, hateful, and violent. They have heard loud and clear that minorities are not to be trusted and yet all of the truly horrible violence this year has been accomplished by white males.

So the kids are asking for help. And if we have to look for a bright spot in this horribly destructive administration than the unity and strength for important causes such as this is blinding. This generation is awake, aware, and pissed.

Ah, kids these days...

"What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?"
~John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

"If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?"
~Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Speak Now!


Speak Now!

Our children are dying.
The parents are crying.
Yet the money flows
for buying and lying.

They cast blame with ease.
It was the disease.
Mental health is the problem.
Not our weapons, please.

"The Feds dropped the ball.
Friends and neighbors all saw
the signs of his rage
would make children fall."

Anywhere they can find
to shift focus behind
anything but those
trying to keep us blind.

"Our guns, our right,"
they chant in spite
of the blood and the bodies
displayed in plain sight.

They want us to fear
those not born here,
but look in their faces,
the villains are clear.

Make America great
by spreading the hate,
by ignoring the issues
and deaths they create.

Watch mothers destroyed,
overwhelmed by the void,
by the grief and the anger
such hate has deployed.

It is no longer strange,
this deadly exchange
of another mass shooting.
How can it change?

We have to fight!
Protest and write!
Tell them we will
not lose sight of what's right.

When will our country,
in all of it's "glory,"
protect our children?
Create a new story!

"Now is not the time,"
the puppets chime.
Let's wait until
another deadly crime.

Speak now!
Demand now!
Make it clear that deaths
we will not allow.

Speak now!
















Monday, January 1, 2018

The Advice of Oprah

"Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher."
~Oprah Winfrey

Oprah, the sage of millions of women everywhere. My mother buys me a subscription to her magazine every year and I do enjoy it. It is much less fluff and more intelligent, thoughtful and interesting articles than most women's magazines. But for the last six months, I have been holding them, unread, for the beach vacation my family enjoyed between the holidays.

What I found in binge reading is the alternating feeling throughout. As someone who has had a pretty shitty 2017 as far as losing people in my life, I was particularly interested in the idea of keeping negativity in your life versus cutting it out.

One article will tell you to move away from those that don't align with your values and beliefs, while another will push for you to mend broken relationships no matter what the circumstance, to be the forgiving and loving person everyone should be.

It's a limbo of circular arguments.

I also find that in her body acceptance articles. Either love who you are or realize you need to lose weight to be happy. 

I get it. There are always different authors and varying opinions in any monthly magazine and I guess you get from it what you want to hear. Or you just keep on being confused.

Do I need to drop a few?

Am I not accepting of myself?

Should I reach out to those who I cut from my life?

Am I better off without such negativity?

Do I need to be a better wife, mother, friend, daughter, human?

Am I getting enough protein, fiber, whole grains, calcium, coffee, red wine, all natural healing foods that have just been studied and show you are a horrible person without them?

Am I getting too much of any of the above?

It's all so confusing.

But thankfully Oprah is a big advocate of having a life coach. If only I could get her to do a commercial for me.

"You get a life coach. You get a life coach. Everyone gets a life coach!"
~My wishful Oprah quote.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Karma

"If you're really a mean person you're going to come back a fly and eat poop."
~Kurt Cobain

Karma.

Is it a thing?

Is there a power to the universe that brings justice to those who deserve it?

Or is it just that eventually, bad things happen to bad and good people?

I've had moments of what could be thought of as karma in my life. Times when dishonest employers have been discovered and fired or simply could not continue their businesses. Those past moments when a coworker has crossed the line and then you see them in the newspaper for soliciting a prostitute.

And then when an ex-husband who has, on multiple occasions, refused to support his children is found guilty, with his organization, of filtering funds to certain parties that would give them kickbacks in return (according to LNP). The verdict to the tune of four million dollars and a portion of the income received from the kickbacks.

I know. I should not feel happy for another's misfortune. But when that person has been continually negligent towards his children how do you take the higher ground?

No, I'm asking. Seriously, how? It would help me with the whole "better person" thing.

And maybe karma will come for me too. Maybe for being a Democrat who took her daughter to the Woman's March. Oh, wait, Trump is still president, so yeah...

But, in the interim,  I'll be petting kittens, riding my massive horse, loving kindergarteners, coaching, spending time with friends, basking in the sun with my amazing family this week, and trying to be the best person I can be (a promise I made my middle son who believes I was too negative in 2017).

Because I guess if it's karma or not, life deals you a deck of cards and every day you could draw a winning or losing hand. But to help, love and support others might just stack your deck a bit thicker in your own heart.

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well,"
~Ralph Waldo Emerson




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#metoo

"You save yourself or you remain unsaved."
~Alice Sebold

If you are on any social media you have seen the hashtag me too.

Me too. I have shared this before in a blog and for this purpose, the purpose of standing together as a community of women and men who have been victims, I will do it again.

I was raped as a teenager on a date. It may have been our third date but I had decided he wasn't for me. He decided differently.

Details I will spare you but I never told anyone at the time. My parents were away and I wasn't such a good girl as I had had sex with my year-long high school boyfriend who later broke up with me. So was I so innocent?

As things like this tend to manifest, it manifested in a severe eating disorder and depression. I would eat barely enough to stay alive, run, ride my horse, swim, and do everything I could to disappear. Disappear physically and mentally. By exercising I could escape the memories, thoughts, nightmares. I barely slept and when I did it was full of horrors I didn't want. I was slowly trying to kill myself while mentally also thinking of other ways. I was broken.

I recently read a book called Hunger, A Memoir of My Body by Roxane Gay. She was gang-raped at the age of 12. Instead of disappearing by becoming smaller she rationalized that men don't lust after large women so her armor became weight and size. She was broken.

My hero, Maya Angelou, simply stopped speaking for years after her assault. She was broken.

Those that say the words of our President admitting to grabbing women or abusing his power in dressing rooms of women and teenagers as merely "locker-room talk" are equally to blame for the tragic culture we still fight. Where victims are made into criminals, criminals are given a slap on the wrist, or even a comedy career, Hollywood movie awards, sports prestige,  or a presidency.

Our society is broken.

Me too.

"Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death."
~Gavin  de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence