I’ve spent the last two days in virtual isolation. Other than an hour or so out each day, I was cocooned in my own little world with no commitments, no deadlines, no responsibility to anyone but myself. It was cathartic and exhilarating and very much needed.
I had originally scheduled my days of seclusion to last three days, but my plans went sideways when my friend whose house I was using needed to come home from vacation early, but by then I had done what I needed to do. I feel cleansed and refreshed and ready for the new challenges that face me.
I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone in all areas of my life…stretching myself into the me I want and deserve to be.
I’ll be spending this New Year’s eve in with my best friend in the whole world and her little boy, a couple of children (and a dog) belonging to another friend who got called into work and hopefully, if the almost-ex approves, my own boys. I’ve asked, I’m waiting on a text back right now.
Meanwhile, even if I can’t be with my boys tonight, I know there will be tons of time to catch up with them in the New Year.
It’s been a stressful, strange, beautiful, crazy year…the last 6 weeks have been the bumpiest part of the journey so far…as we bring this ride (our marriage) to an end more peacefully and amicably than I ever could have hoped for or imagined. But it’s come with new heights and greater depths in a shorter time than we’ve gone through before. I’ve lost 15 pounds without meaning too and I’ve staggered my way through too many epiphanies to process at once.
In a couple of days the hard work of retooling my life into the reality I envision will begin.
Tonight, I am taking the time to feel the joy of counting the multitude of blessings in my life…family, friends, & faith…knowing that I am ready for whatever comes next because “I love myself today“
I whipped up butter, garlic butter & mashed potatoes.
And two cakes.
Carrot & Chocolate 20×12
Potato Salad, Tossed & Macaroni
Washed, cut and steamed 55 potatoes
then chopped ‘em up for home fries in the morning
Fried fish and fries, chicken fingers & wings
Rolled wraps, made salads and baked stuffed mushrooms
So many lunches today, so many of them grilled cheese
Sliced mushrooms, ham, tomatoes
Tired now, time to stop
Quitting time, indeed.
Perhaps we’ve met before. I have no idea if we have. There’s no way to discern, really, from the screeching howls that come from your house that make me feels so sad for your babies, what your voice might sound like when you’re calm and in control.
I wish I could tell you to stop.
Whatever they may have done, the screams aren’t going to fix it.
And they certainly don’t deserve the legacy you are building within them with every heaving sob that you cause with your ceaseless, stinging words. Eroding their confidence, destroying the trust that they have a basic right to have in their mom.
Just because thousands of children don’t have the blessing of trustworthy parents in their lives, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it.
I get that you may be tired. That they may be getting on your last nerve. That they are up to shenanigans that you just can’t cope with along with all the other stress in your life. None of that is any excuse.
You don’t have to live like that. Your children don’t have to live like that. Kids are going to be exasperating at times. So? Whatever stage they are going through will pass. It’s much easier on you (and them) to pick out the great things that the stage brings. There is always something wonderful mixed in with the rotten.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of reframing things in your mind.
But for God’s sake…for your children’s sake…start thinking before you start yelling.
Your children shouldn’t be heard heaving heavy sobs from down the street after you’ve sworn them into despair.
Do you know how that feels?
Don’t you remember?
Is that what you wanted for your babies when you snuggled them close in the early days when they were all wide eyed with amazement because everything was new?
Well the two or three years since then (it can’t be more than that from some of the things you yell and the pitch of your little one’s cries…and even it is more than that…the fact remains…) everything is still new. Sure they’ve learned a lot, but there’s still so much they don’t know.
And your yelling and screaming so loud that the neighbours down the street can hear you, well that’s not setting them up to learn very well at all.
You’re eroding their foundations before they even get started.
You can’t honestly tell me you want that, do you?
I know you’re not thinking about that in the moment, but I am praying that you will think of it when you’re calm and somehow know that someone is praying for you to start looking at your children with new eyes and a new attitude.
They deserve better…and so do you.
Teenage girls are nightmares, it said.
To make the guy feel better about having another boy…you know that he should feel lucky that it’s a boy so he can avoid all that teenage drama…
Here’s a news flash. It’s hard raising a teen, period. Heck, it’s hard being a parent.
What bothers me about statements like this, is not only how pervasive that attitude is, but what it says to the teenage girls out there. It’s okay to have a tantrum and be a prima donna and act all oblivious and treat your parents like servants because that’s what society expects.
Maybe if we expected more, we’d see some of the wonderful and amazing things that teen girls are doing…
Like the girls of Pre-Wrap, who are young teen girl athletes who own their own company.
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t half that amazing when I was their age. I’m not entirely sure that I’m half that amazing now, to be honest. I mean I only have the business part of things going on, not the whole athlete and school parts of it too.
And when I read statements like that, I can’t help but wonder…so when does the nightmare end? Because in some groups of thought it doesn’t end. Girls turn into women and all that…
So what are we saying when we repeat the stereotypical outlook? That somehow teen girls are a species unto themselves. What do we hope to achieve by repeatedly voicing this negativity? On the one hand we ask teen girls to not succumb to low self esteem, to resist body image issues and compete in the world as equals as they look to their futures and on the other call them nightmares and bemoan all their foibles and faux pas of youth??
And the thing is…it was an offhand remark.
Nothing was meant by it.
Certainly nothing that I am reading into it.
And that is what makes me want to punch a wall.
Nothing was meant by it.
I was involved in a conversation tonight where I quite adamantly expressed my belief that children are not bad…especially babies. I advised the mom, of a baby boy not yet one full year old, to re-frame the thought of him being bad in her mind.
Of course, I didn’t have time (and it really wasn’t the appropriate venue) to expand on why this re-framing is so important and so effective in reducing the bad behaviour.
You see, language is a truly powerful thing. The words you choose do have a bearing on mood and emotions.
Bad is a charged word.
Avoiding using it to describe your children (and especially your babies) will go a long, long way towards keeping tempers cool (on both sides of the parent-child equation) and makes finding solutions easier.
Because yes, behaviour can be bad (or more specifically it can be inappropriate or harmful or both), but children can’t.
George Thoroughgood’s perceptions aside, no one is “Born to Bad”. It’s a great song, but a bad premise to develop a lifelong relationship with your child. When we apply grown up intentions to natural and instinctive behaviour, we can trigger some pretty strong feelings within ourselves that have little to do with the situation at hand and that do nothing to alleviate the situationb or avoid a similar incident in the future.
Of course, there are some things that little one’s do that can only be solved through time…no matter how you respond. Wouldn’t you prefer that most of their recollections are of the calm mom rather than the angry mom?
And it really does all begin with language. When we talk to ourselves and our children as if they could be bad…then it will, over time, become internalized. That concept of being bad will cause them to feel bad. And people who feel badly behave badly.
I gave the mom my phone number and I do hope she calls. I know for a fact her baby is not bad, and I’d love the opportunity to explain it all to her so he doesn’t grow up with the wrong words in his mind to describe himself.
It seems that a recent article in the Wall Street Journal has caused quite a stir in several of my online circles. The article appalled me because I was raised with very similar rules to what the author’s children have endured. I wasn’t sure if I was more shocked by her behaviour and attitude towards her children or by the fact that she finds no shame in doing so. That somehow the results are worth the genuine emotional agony that her daughters were without a doubt experiencing.
I’ve met very few people who grew up with such treatment healthy on a psychological level. . Lord knows I’m far from it. Though I do put on a pretty good front most of the time. It comes quite naturally when you’ve been wearing a mask long enough.
The truly pathetic thing is that I have no doubt that this woman loves her daughters and that she is doing what she believes is the best for her children.
And it appears on the surface that her rigidity and control have paid off in the results that she desired.
Hip. Hip. Hurray.
I could truly care less if my children bring home straight A’s. It’s not exactly hard to do even if you aren’t paying attention much of the time. It means nothing if you don’t want to learn. It goes in one ear and out the other as soon as the exams are done with. If you even have to write them. There were a few years in junior high where exams are waived if you get over a certain percentage for the class grade. The point is, I know from experience how false the grading experience can be in measuring anything of importance in life.
And to me, being a classical musician looks like a crapload of work and tons of travel to places you can’t enjoy because of all the practice and performances involved. I can’t see pushing my kids into something like that unless they were passionate about it. What is the point of it otherwise? I can’t see it being a source of pride to be able to play at world class level if you’ve been made to feel so worthless along the way. Simple psychology tells us that.
It blows my mind that a college professor could possibly think that any of this kind of pushing could be a truly good thing.
She has to have seen amongst her peers how many times it has failed before. For every shining star that buckles under the pressure and performs to expectations, there are also suicides, addictions and broken families with members they pretend are dead.
It takes years to come to any semblance of balance and normal after a childhood of that sort of treatment. There’s no hope for healthy coming out of that sort of environment.
She says her methods produce inner confidence.
They do everything but.
Especially when paired up with the words “garbage” and “worthless” rattling around in the psyches. Do you ever think they’ll stop hearing those words, even long after you’ve stopped saying them? Do you not think those words will sit and fester in the bottom of their hearts tainting the way they see the world, including you and everyone else in it?
How do such things produce confidence that seeps below the surface?
Masks. They’re such a marvelous way to cover all manners of emotions.
Skills can be taught and do work habits really matter if the job gets done on time and to specifications?
But teaching a person they are loveable when they’ve spent a lifetime hearing, feeling and experiencing a world that doesn’t find them loveable in the least?
Now that is nearly impossible.
Not completely, or there would be no success stories with hideous beginnings and horrible odds that had to be overcome. But to purposely put those sort of barriers into your child’s life when you have the ability, brains and resources not to. That’s pretty much unconscionable.
Superiour, my ass.
This article just shows her to be a self absorbed status seeker who puts her own ego ahead of her children’s health and happiness and sadly doesn’t even use a scorecard that measures any of the important things in life.
First of all, media is not the number one force in fueling anything!
It’s not as if these things don’t happen in real life. It does not always immediately follow that because the police were involved the suspect must have been doing something that warranted the police response and behaviour. That is not always the case. It’s not as if there was never an officer who stepped outside the boundaries of what is fair and decent or let emotion get away with them?
I have no idea what story you may be referring to here, so I have no idea what the motivation and background might be. But I do know there are two sides to every story. And that sometimes racism is a grim reality.
And I know that every journalist I’ve ever dealt with to be professional and interested in covering the facts of cases as fairly as possible.
It’s not racist to describe people for what they are.
It’s a minor pet peeve of mine that people seem to think that being accepting means pretending to be culture blind.
Add to that the only legislation I know of as a business owner pertains to not being allowed to use certain things as qualifiers or disqualifiers for a position. Never have I seen anything that beings to suggest that a certain number of positions must be filled by minorities of any type. Certainly I have seen incentives to hire certain types of people for certain jobs, like the recent pushes and promotions to involve more women in the construction and industry trades.
That’s not to say I haven’t felt the sting of some of what you express, my husband is unemployed at the moment. But the truth of the matter is the jobs which are held by minorities in abundance, are not ones that he would particularly want.
I can sympathize with the issue that Jenn went through with the landlord situation. That was wrong. As wrong as it is to discriminate for anything else. But I don’t think it’s quite the same as being discriminated against for what you are versus what you have chosen to have done to you.
Anyone who gets a tattoo knows that it is branding them. They know some people will have an averse reaction to them no matter what they’re like on the inside. They know that sometimes some people won’t give them a chance. Unfortunately, some of those people are going to be landlords.
Both of these post seemed to imply that racism (and not just discrimination) and the people who practice it have been obliterated or somehow silenced and impotent. To think that there are no assholes out there who do treat people differently and do bully and demean those they deem less than.
It’s still out there.
Only now it’s spread so much that you’ve got reserve discrimination and racism on top of the problems that we started out with. We’ve reduced it in one area (overall people are much more tolerant and open than they were just 30 years ago, let alone a hundred) but increased it in others.
I do get that there are bullies and people who take advantage of the system in every cultuare and there are criminals and degenerates who do fit stereotypes. Maybe there are people who play the system and use affirmative action to get into things they aren’t qualified for.
That still doesn’t mean racism isn’t a very real issue with very real consequences and effects.
For those who don’t know. I’m half East Indian. I grew up in the Millwoods area of Edmonton in a crescent neighbourhood that to the best of my recollection consisted of 10 East Indian Families, one Korean family & one French family. Our family may have been a minority in the broader sense, but not in our own neighborhood.
And for the sake of this blog post, I’m really tuning in to my East Indian side.The part that foreign and different. The minority side that some seem to think have things easy now that all these policies exist to even the playing field or whatever it is that these things are supposed to accomplish.
I will tell you that the only position where race was ever a factor, I was the wrong kind of Indian for the position though I was more qualified than the candidate that landed the position.
In any case, my mom (step, but I never call her step cuz that just seems like a rude and unnecessary descriptor when she raised me as her own for the 9 years I lived with her) was Bollywood gorgeous and brilliant too. In India, she had been a teacher of high school science of some type. Biology I think it might have been. And she’d been an award winning badminton player.
But she spent her working life doing fairly menial retail and service jobs.
After spending time and money going to University while raising two young girls, one that wasn’t even her own to upgrade her education. And this in a very traditional type home routine where she got stuck with all the cooking and cleaning and childcare. Though as I recall, Dad did put in a lot of overtime. But still he could’ve picked up a dishcloth once in a while.
In any case…
She endured all of that. It was seen as the price she had to pay to get to her goal. Which was a good paying job that utilized her brain.
But that didn’t happen. She tried for a while. But after being told she was over-qualified and I odn’t know whether it was just once or a dozen times…but somewhere she gave up on that plan.
Yeah, so it was the 70′s and maybe the peace, love, dope hadn’t quite made it to the legal stages yet and maybe things hadn’t changed enough to make things all nice and easy like they are today.
Not that it is mind you. Nice and easy, that is. Today.
Minorities are still maligned today. Maybe not as much, maybe not as directly. But it still happens. Day in and day out. Whether we choose to see it or not.
No matter how well you do as a visible minority in any field, 9 times out of 10 you are going to find someone who misreads your success as a poster for affirmative action. There will always be someone out there who believes that you got there because of politics instead of talent and ability. That is part of what racism looks like today.
Another part is the snide remarks and little jabs that can come through everyday occurrences. I was just reminded of one such incident today. When the twitter came across my screen that said,
Palin & crew are feeling unjustly blamed for the actions of an extremist. My suggestion: Ask a Muslim for advice.
And suddenly I could see the old man across the checkout counter. I was operating the till a cashier in our local grocery store. We had recently moved to town and freelance writing wasn’t quite helping with the bills and I hadn’t discovered copywriting and publicity yet. It was shortly after 9/11.
“So is Osama, your uncle?”
“Well, you kind of look like one of those A-rabs, so I’d kind of like to know is Osama your uncle?”
Let me tell you, for someone who plays with words for a living and dreams about words at night – I was speechless.
For one minute you have to stop and consider that sometimes the cry of racism is as real as the cry of discrimination for body art and body piercing…and we all ought to be standing together against that sort of thing.
Racism can’t exist where respect reigns.
Why I chose $5000 as my freedom number is quite a complicated matter. It was the number at which our mortgage payment would actually be less than the suggested maximum for debt ratio (or whatever it’s called). You know the percentage that says you’re a mature and responsible human being who doesn’t bite off more than I can chew.
Even though I am and I did.
The only thing I’ve learned from having this strategy blow up in my face before, is how to get up after a crash landing.
And no matter what happens from here on out, I will know that I have achieved this once. If I falter (I don’t plan to, but if it should happen) I know I can get up and do it all again.
So back to this freedom number concept. On May 31st, I took a part time job at a local restaurant. It was humbling because I was on the brink of financial disaster and I was going in circles with my business never expanding beyond the select few clients who believed in me. The previous fall, I’d been publicly (and I believe unjustly and unfairly) insulted by another member of the local business owner at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I was asked to leave the room for what seemed like an eternity and when I returned not a word was said to me. I was later informed they would be writing a letter to somebody and let me know what went on.
I’ve heard through backway channels that a letter was sent and a reply received, but I have never been formally contacted so whatever. The point is that started me towards a deep and dark depression. It was not enough that all three clients who had committed at the beginning of the summer, had backed out due to various seasons. Or that I had recieved a letter from the CRA saying that I owed money because I had miscalculated something on my taxes.
And fall made way to winter and Christmas brought the realization that every single present we bought was useless because they were all for the Wii…and the Wii was broken. And even if we had the money to buy one, there was not one to be found for miles around. But of course we didn’t and we had just opened every single package and therefore rendered them unreturnable.
At least we had food…a lot of food…because our planned guests were unable to make it.
Then New Year’s Day…and waking up frozen…I am sure I blogged about that before.
Putting the happy face on and just willing myself to believe.
And then feeling like I had done it all, I gave up just a little…
Took a job and The Roadhouse and kept working on by business…knowing I had one speking gig booked in September and tons of ideas that I had yet to tap.
And then one day I spilled coffee on my mini.
And I went to the store and bought the cheapest laptop I could find.
And I took the post it notes and wrote $10,000 in business revenue by November 30th.
Because I really wanted $5000 and thought doubling it would make me work twice as hard to achieve it.
I think I was right.
And I’ve discovered there is more magic in this number I chose than I could ever imagine…and I can’t wait until I can get to the what comes after that I failed to really, really account for.
Life is good.
And much as I hate math…I’m a writer, ya know…
There is magic in choosing a freedom number. Pure magic.
God is good. And so faithful and patient…and I hate that I had to learn these lessons in such a hard way…but I can live with it and rest in some sort of asssurance that I never truly felt before that no matter what, things are going to be okay.
And freedom is just the beginning.
It lurks below the surface, disguised as quiet discontent. Growing into self-loathing, fed a daily diet of others’ success and blessings. An uncertain path to madness. Listening to voices in my head.
“I could do that!”
“Like hell you could, you can’t handle what you’ve got and you don’t do what you ought.”
“I try. I try and I perservere.”
“Tell your stories in different ears, you foolish fickle thing. You whine and gnash your teeth, but you really are quite lazy.”
“I have challenges, but I’ll get there.”
“Get where? By the time you pull up your socks and get your ass in gear the opportunity will be lost and you’ll still be behind the winner’s podium, fetching food and drink for the ones who do accomplish.”
“It’s worth a shot. I’ll use this as inspiration, as fuel to work towards my dreams.”
“Pfft! As if your dreams are much to those who would be giants. Step back and take your place, a cog in the machinery of other’s desires.”
“I won’t back down, not this time.”
“You have before, you will again. Yawn, so predictable. Practically a bore.”
“This is where I’d say you were right. If this was sometime before. But not this time. I might fall down, but I’ll get up. I might flounder, sputter and spit. But one day that will be my name that others read. And it will resonate. It will inspire.”
“Ah you’re in one of those moods today. No worries, dear, I’ll be back tomorrow.”
This is the place where words fall when I can’t bear to work another minute, but my fingers still crave the keys. These moments when the house is still and only the hum of power breaks the silence, I can reflect and be grateful for the blessings the day brought. Even bad days have their bright spots, if I just think long enough.
The only problem is I am not as young as I once was…and midnight is well past time for bed. Back then 5:30 wake-ups were never involved.
Perhaps the words that want to escape will wait…perhaps they’ll tumble out in dreams.