Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Compassion, Coping, Courage, Emotions, Fear, Happiness, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Kindness, Loneliness, Love, Loyalty, Make a Difference, Misconceptions, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Understanding

You Don’t Always Have to Be Strong

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lately.  It’s really heartbreaking for their families, and leaves so many unanswered questions, but it seems that only when something like this happens do we really understand how much pain (emotional or physical) someone may have.  Of course, it’s too late to help them at that point, but how do we help someone who is hiding their pain from those they love? How do we know?  Some people love playing “the victim,” and love getting the attention that goes along with that.  Others of us, however, don’t want to be a burden on those we love.

My daughter had a friend who committed suicide a few years ago.  They were very close in high school, and then this friend ended up pushing away my daughter, along with a lot of other people who had been her friends.  Of course, it makes sense why she pushed everyone away now, but at the time, how could anyone know that she was hurting so much?  She pushed people away with meanness and made them not want to be with her.  I guess in her way, she was trying to protect them from the pain she knew she may eventually put them through.  Even when it happened, my daughter was not mad at her.  She hurt for her.  She still loved her.  She understood then that her friend had needed help, and didn’t know how to ask for it.

We all need help from time to time.

Last summer, I found myself in a dark place.  I was not suicidal, but I was sad.  I was afraid.  I was hurting.  And I was feeling a lot of pressure from so many different places.  I had been diagnosed with a medical condition that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I was alone when I got this diagnosis because my husband was in New York with his family.  I had recently been terribly hurt by some people I really cared about. I had no idea how I was going to handle another year of teaching with this type of medical diagnosis.  I was bogged down with some very difficult, important paperwork that was pushing me to my limit.  I was overwhelmed, alone, confused, sad, and hurting a lot.  I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to disappear for awhile.  I laid down on the kitchen floor, and cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And finally a calmness came over me, and I got up and finished my paperwork that had been frustrating me so much.  I was still upset and alone, mad and frustrated, but I knew I had to pull myself together to keep going.  It didn’t matter what anyone else thought of me, or how anyone was trying to hurt me.  I had to keep at the paperwork, no matter how confusing and difficult it was.  Al would be home in a few days and we could begin exploring our medical options, and he would be home to comfort me.  It would all be okay.  I was entitled to a meltdown for all I was dealing with.  But I had to get up and face these obstacles.  I had to be strong for my husband and my children.  I couldn’t disappear.

Al and I had a discussion earlier tonight about how when either of us is hurting or sick, we try not to let the other one see how much we’re suffering.  We try to protect each other, even through our own pain.  I didn’t tell Al about my major meltdown last summer until recently.  I didn’t want to worry him, or put any added stress on him.  He worries enough about me….why cause him to worry more?  Why cause him added pain?  When he is sick, he tries to conceal how bad he feels so I won’t worry.  It hurts to see your partner hurt.  We are strong for each other, but we also know that sometimes we can’t handle everything alone, whether it’s a physical illness or a giant weight on our shoulders.  We need help from each other.  We don’t have to do it alone, and it has taken me awhile to learn this.  It isn’t something I’ve been used to.

Those people who are in so much pain that they take their own lives, aren’t trying to hurt anyone else.  So many times they have been protecting their loved ones for so long it becomes too heavy of a burden to carry.  They’ve had to be strong for everyone while they hurt.  They’re really quite selfless, even though some will argue just the opposite.  They’re funny, compassionate, and caring, but they have hidden their own feelings in order to protect those they love.  We know to take care of those who ask for help.  But let’s take care of those who seem strong too.  Let’s be there for the ones who always seem to be there for everyone else.  Let’s be there for the ones who start isolating themselves, even if they don’t want us.  Let’s be there for the ones who make us laugh when we want to cry.  Let’s be there for the ones who say, “I’m fine.”  They may be the ones who are suffering the most, and don’t know how to ask for help.  We are all human, and every human needs help at some point in their lives.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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Acceptance, Attention Whores, Be Kind, Bullying, Doing your best, Egos, Get Over Yourself, Kindness, Manipulation, Manners, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Uncategorized

Being the Bigger Person

Do you ever get tired of doing the right thing?  I know people who never do the right thing….ever….and they don’t care.  I don’t always do the right thing (no human does), but I try.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes!  I had parents who had a way of making me feel guilty if I were rude, mean, unkind, disrespectful, or ungrateful…..not being nice……not doing the right thing.  Still, from the grave, they have a way of “guilting” me into doing the right thing! You know, they were good parents, and gave me a conscience!

I know people who don’t give a damn if they don’t give someone the time of day.  In fact, they’re so selfish, spoiled, and narcissistic, that they don’t understand why everyone isn’t falling all over them.  They love being adored, and it doesn’t matter who they step on to get that adoration.  If I knew that I was hurting someone by being unfair or unkind, I would feel horrible!  I teach my little 1st graders to be nice, and I am notorious for saying, “Hey guys, we don’t treat each other that way.”  When I see adults being petty, selfish, jealous, judgmental, and hurtful, I’m taken back to my adolescent days with mean girls.  Even men can have those “mean girl” moments!  They become masters of manipulation to get others to fall into their games.  It’s a selfishness really, and a fear of not being the center of attention.  I guess I’m not like that because I’m secure enough that I don’t feel the need to be the center of attention!  So….is their meanness and selfishness really a sign of insecurity?  A fear of not being popular?  Or is it a fear of not having control over situations and other people?

I’ve worked with people who have passed me in the hallways as if I’m invisible.  It’s an odd feeling, and I always think to myself that they are so incredibly full of themselves that they are too good to even nod, smile, or say, “hello.”  This is America, and Americans pride themselves on being friendly and helpful, so why are they so rude?  Depending on my mood, I might smile and say loudly in their direction, “HI!  HOW ARE YOU?” This usually startles them, makes them feel a little embarrassed, and they’ll respond to me.  Other times, they’ll look at me like I’ve lost my mind, and ignore me anyway.  That’s actually kind of fun sometimes…….scaring them with friendliness!  But I guess that’s just my twisted sense of humor…….I just tell myself I did the right thing.  I made the effort to be friendly and nice.  Once, when I was at a new school, I had a teacher from a different grade level tell me she would have been nicer to me if she had realized I was a fellow teacher!  So….she didn’t have to be nice or respectful to me if I were a paraprofessional? A custodian?  Or a substitute?  Or a parent?  One thing I will not be accused of is being a snob!  I will treat everyone with the same respect.

Sometimes it just gets old.  Sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person.  Sometimes no matter how kind or generous you are to someone, they will never like you or give you the time of day, or reciprocate your kindness.  Ever.  But don’t let their insecurities and selfishness overcome your kindness and spirit of generosity.  If you are rejected repeatedly, you don’t have to keep being the bigger person.  It’s exhausting, and can be detrimental to your self esteem and your heart (if it’s someone you care about).  There’s a saying that goes, “When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.”  There are people who don’t deserve an ounce of kindness from you if they are cruel or mean to you.  You don’t have to always be the bigger person.  This is something I am getting better at.  I can be polite, but I don’t always have to be the one to risk the rejection of cold hearted people who don’t care about me anyway!  Although, it’s still sometimes fun to startle them, with friendliness when they aren’t expecting it!  Hehe.

Be Happy, Be Kind, Kindness, Love, Loyalty, Married to My Best Friend, Relationships, Togetherness, Uncategorized, Weddings

My Royal Wedding

Watching the wedding of Harry and Meghan this weekend really made me think about weddings and relationships.  I’ve never been a fan of big weddings because I feel like it takes away from what the true meaning should be. It shouldn’t be a production or a show, but sweet and personal.  Big weddings are usually beautiful and all, but it just isn’t my thing.

My own wedding to Al two and a half years ago was perfect…..for us.  We had both been through some pretty dark times with our health and other relationships.  The combination of the two of us going through so much separately, and then facing some rough times together, showed us that we are much stronger together, and that it really is a great thing to go through life with your best friend.  There we were in a park in New Orleans, with a minister, his wife, a few squirrels, and the beauty of nature all around us.  No, not in a church, but it felt pretty heavenly in that setting!  My emotions were in full swing!  Yes, I cried through the whole thing!  Happy tears!  Tears of joy!  I was so happy, and feeling every vow we spoke, coming straight from our hearts.  No choir, no family, no bridesmaids, groomsmen, no flower girls, no ring bearers, no friends, and no added stress.  It was all about us, and making our promises to each other…..no other fuss.  We even got a little laugh in when the minister asked if anyone had any objections….”speak now, or forever hold your peace,”……….no, not even the squirrels could deny us this happiness!  Neither of us were a bit nervous.  We knew we were doing the right thing, and the timing was finally right for us.

Big weddings, small weddings,  weddings in a church, on a cruise ship, a wheat field, a judge’s office, a forest, a castle……it doesn’t matter.  Whatever works for you, and how you want to handle it, is all that matters.  What happens afterwards is really where it counts!  My children have accepted Al, and love him for how happy he makes me.  He loves my children, and I love his too.  As long as we are happy, and are there for each other “in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer,” protecting and defending each other through anything and everything, then it can work, no matter what obstacles.  There are days when I actually think back about those vows, and how I meant every word of them.  My marriage and my loyalty and love for Al mean more every day.  I try to spoil him as much as I can because I always want him to know that he deserves the best I have to give.  And he’s pretty good about returning that, by spoiling me too.

We may not have a castle, or a lot of money, but we have each other, and we are blessed to have that. Love, laughter, selflessness, sincerity, and true friendship……that is what really matters…..til death do us part.

Acceptance, Be Kind, Egos, Insensitivity, Karma, Kindness, Lies, Manipulation, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, That's life, Uncategorized

Here Comes the Karma Bus!

I’ve always been a believer in karma.  Some people don’t believe in it, and that’s okay for them, but I’ve seen it too many times to dispute it in my life.  If you do good things, good things will come back to you.  Just as, if you lie, cheat, and steal, it will come back to you. Sometimes we have to go through some very rough times before we feel the effects of karma, but it’s usually quite satisfying when we finally see it pan out!

I’ve known people who have had their hearts broken, and they claim they did all the right things.  They treated their former partner with respect, spoiled them, doted on them, etc.  Now usually, a breakup is a two way street, but occasionally, it is true that one person gives more, and gets taken advantage of.  They can’t understand why things didn’t work out when they were doing all the right things.  Well, of course, it’s a life lesson, but the “karma bus” will most definitely catch up to the one who did the hurting!  It may take time, but I believe it will happen.  And, the one who got hurt usually ends up with someone a lot more suited for their personality and needs….someone who treats them with respect and reciprocates the good care they have given.  Soooooo….karma has come back to them in a positive way.  It works both ways.

If someone has been a liar and cheat for most of their lives, it’s not usually an easily broken habit.  They get away with it for as long as they can, and when it catches up to them, they still don’t take responsibility for their dishonesty.  In their minds, it will always be someone else’s fault.  There are people in this world who make a living cheating others….their spouses, neighbors, family, customers, the government….  They’re greedy, arrogant, lying cheaters.  Instead of compromise, they tend to bully their way through life, using money to get their way.  And when called out and proven that they’re in the wrong, they still refuse to admit it…..didn’t happen….fake news……  They’re somehow above the rest of us who have tried to do the right things, and they continue their shady ways.  Don’t worry…..karma will catch up to them.

I try to always be nice and understanding to people.  I make mistakes, just like everyone else, but I try to remedy it in my actions every day.  I’ve always believed that if you are kind and nice, warm and friendly, generous and compassionate, you will get that in return.  Not everyone treats me the way I’ve treated them, and it really does hurt.  That’s when I tell myself that I have to step back and try not to care about their poor treatment.  Their karma will get them just as mine will reward me.  I’ve made a point to “be the bigger person” so many times.  It sometimes sucks (a lot!), and I admit, I get tired of it.  I have done things for people who I know will never treat me with the same kindness and respect.  Sometimes I have to protect myself and just walk away…..no hate or anger….just self preservation.  Karma can take care of that too!

Be good to people.  Be good to those who are good to you.  To the liars, cheaters, arrogant people and meanies….sit back, rev up the engine on the karma bus, and watch what happens.  Let karma take care of it.

Be Happy, Be Kind, Comfort, Family, Kindness, Mother, Mother's Day, Relationships, Uncategorized

Celebrating Our Mothers

Mother’s Day….that bittersweet day for those of us who no longer have a mother here on Earth.  It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate our mothers….even if they are no longer with us.  There are also mother figures we can celebrate.  No one can ever take the place of our mothers, but we should consider ourselves blessed to have female friends who are there to love, guide, and protect us.

I have several female friends who I know I can reach out to for advice, a good laugh, a cry, or just to vent, and I love them for that.  They’ve come into my life at different times, when I had different needs, but they’ve remained….as part of my circle of support. They live all over the country, but I know I can pick up the phone right now, and they would be there for me.  We may have sisters, aunts, or cousins who can also be mother figures to us.

What about the single fathers out there who have no partner to help?  They deserve to be recognized as well, for being both mother and father!

While I’ve never met my ex husband’s current wife, and I doubt we would be friends, I am grateful that she seems to love and care about my children.  I know that I am their mother, and no one will ever replace me.  But why would I deny my children the opportunity of receiving more love and friendship?  Just as my husband is a very loving, supportive friend to my children, we are secure enough to know we can’t be replaced.  The more love for them, the better! You can never have enough, and my children deserve that!  But I will always be the only mother they have.

So yes, this holiday is a little rough for me.  I do the best I can, even though there are always a few tears, while I miss my mama.  I will get through it, and I will enjoy hearing from my three “babies” that day.  It’s a day worth celebrating, and showing the women in our lives how much we appreciate them.  Let’s celebrate the women we love (and who love us) this Mother’s Day….our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, step-mothers, friends…..whether they are still with us or not……whether they have children of their own or not.  The nurturing we do for one another is priceless.

To all of my female friends and family…..happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Anger, Be Kind, Being Strong, Bill Cosby, Coping, Egos, Insensitivity, Laughter, Make a Difference, Racism, Respect, Respecting our Educators, sexual assault, Speak Up!, Uncategorized

Bill Cosby’s Sad Legacy

Bill Cosby……Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids……The Huxtables…….the Jello pudding guy…….I Spy……..the Little Bill books……so much a part of my childhood, as well as my children’s.  I’m not here to argue his guilt or innocence….the verdict has been handed down.  It is what it is.  And it’s incredibly sad…..

I remember being upset and disappointed in the downfall of O.J. Simpson.  He had been such a charismatic personality, and the events playing out on television each day became part of our lives.  It was sad, but O.J. had not had the same positive impact on lives as Bill Cosby has.  Bill Cosby depicted African Americans and their families in ways that were positive, and lifted them up, during times when a lot of America was only portraying the negative, perpetuating ethnic stereotypes.  He helped them believe that everyone can make something of themselves with an education and hard work. He contributed to charitable causes such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.  He was a supporter of educators and literacy projects (his son was dyslexic).  The Little Bill books that my son had taught life lessons to early readers in a sweet storybook.  He and his wife have created scholarships for hundreds (maybe thousands) of recipients. And he made ALL of us laugh.  You can’t deny it.  He was funny…..especially when it came to his skits with children.  He brought a lot of good to the world, and yet behind closed doors, had a completely different personality.  All of those good things he did will now be tainted or scarred because of his conviction for sexual assault.  I can’t watch the news because it makes me so sad.  Of course, he wasn’t who we thought he was (what television personality is?), but he was doing a lot of good things…..and unfortunately, bad things.

I have heard a story that Cosby wanted to buy NBC, and there were people who didn’t like this because of his color.  They knew he had these allegations against him by different women, so they used it to bring him down, in order to keep him from buying the network….”we’ll show him!”  Now….this could be an excuse.  It could be his team playing a bit of the race card.  Or, it very well could be true. Whether or not you want to admit it, racism is alive and well!  I’ve seen it more than I want to admit.  There are an awful lot of powerful white men who have been accused of the same type of behavior, and are not facing jail time.  Sure, they may have lost their million dollar jobs and their status in their field, but they’re not facing charges in court……yet.  To be honest with you, I don’t believe every woman who makes these accusations.  I do think that a lot of them are out for their 15 minutes of fame, money, or to ruin a man’s career and/or life.  But each one should be heard until a decision/verdict is made.  The deserve to be heard.  We can’t ignore them.

Bill Cosby should pay for his actions, as anyone should who commits the same type of acts.  But what about the good things he did?  Do they just get erased?  Are the scholarships now gone?  One of my students was looking at a “Little Bill” book the other day.  Does Bill Cosby’s conviction mean that the lessons in these wonderful books are no longer relevant and helpful?  I know I also learned a lot of lessons from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids every Saturday morning.  And what about the Huxtables…….you know there were a lot of other people involved in the making of that show.  There were other actors, writers, producers, directors, stage hands, etc.  By pulling the show off of television, those other actors also lose their royalties, and they did nothing wrong.  Many of them were children! How about keeping the show on the air (it has been syndicated for many years), and ordering Bill Cosby to give 100% of his royalty shares to programs that help victims of sexual assault? If you don’t want to watch it, then don’t, but at least he would be forced to make amends in some way, and the rest of the cast can receive the money they deserve.

The man obviously has a dark side, but he also had so much to give.  It’s incredibly sad that all of the good he did will now be forgotten.  Yes, his accusers did the right thing.  I fully support them.  But let’s not erase the good things.  In fact, let’s continue some of those good things.  Let’s contribute to charities, literacy programs, help children learn valuable lessons, look past color and stereotypes, and always, always, ALWAYS have a sense of humor.

Now let’s move forward, respecting each other, hearing each other, helping each other, and….making each other laugh.

 

Be Kind, Cliches, Compassion, Doormat, Emotions, Insensitivity, Kindness, Love, Manners, Uncategorized

That’s So Cliche!

Bury the hatchet.  Clear the air.  Look on the bright side. Everything will work itself out.  Beat around the bush.  All’s well that ends well. You’ve all heard those, right?  Cliches!  Some are pointless, and I do not believe what they say.  Others have a lot of truth to them. Does it solve the problem at hand by repeating them, or do we just say them out of habit?

Recently, one of my Facebook friends posted that the saying, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you,” was not true.  I completely agree!  This is not a true statement.  Words (and sometimes a lack of words if you’ve been given the cold shoulder) can be incredibly painful! Even as adults, it can be very hurtful to be on the receiving end of mean words and actions, especially if you would never do that to someone else. I used to know someone who would say, “I won’t let them hurt me. They mean nothing to me, so why should it hurt me?”  It isn’t as easy as all of that for some of us.  Some of us hurt more deeply because we actually care more.  That particular person wasn’t exactly the most sensitive or kind person, and he could really dish out a lot of mean comments, so I’m pretty happy I don’t deal with him anymore.  But those of us who are loving and caring individuals tend to hurt more because we feel more.  We have empathy for others.  We haven’t selfishly made life all about us.  We tend to put up with a lot of crap from other insensitive people, and hurt very much in the process.  I’ve been going through this a bit lately, and it hurts very much.

A saying that I completely agree with is, “Actions speak louder than words.”  I’ve heard a lot of people say “all the right things,” but when it comes to actually “doing the right thing,” they don’t.  I’ve had people make promises to me, or fake concern or interest in me, but then do something incredibly hurtful through their actions, proving their words were just insincere statements or someone being nosy.  Some show a complete lack of manners, or make no effort to show they care, but if you did the same to them, they would be angry.  In that case….”When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.”  I have definitely seen this since my diagnosis of a brain tumor a few months ago.  It has given me some clarity as to who I should devote my time and attention to.  Not that I want it to be “all about me,” but don’t pretend to care “once in a blue moon” just to ignore me when I need support.  I’ve tried to go on as normally as possible, and do not want this to dominate my life, but it has caused me to make changes, and I do suffer.  I’ve had people pass judgement on me over this illness, but unless “they walk a mile in my shoes,” they really will never understand what I go through every day.  I’m not a whiner, and don’t want to have all of the attention on myself, but it is a very serious condition.  Don’t pretend to care if you don’t.  I wish I had a dollar for every, “Let me know if you need anything,” that was coming from some insincere individual who really didn’t care a bit about me.  Maybe they don’t know what to say, but I can tell the difference between those who care and those who don’t.

Cliches…..applied to our lives….does this cheapen our situations and our feelings?  I think in some instances, it does.  Not all of these can be applied to everyone.  If someone was saying unkind things to me, and I was told, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you,” I would feel that I was not entitled to feel pain.  Who can tell us when and how we feel?  That isn’t fair.  Don’t take the right to feel away from someone.  Don’t hurt someone with words or actions, and then decide that they don’t have the right to hurt.

Be careful with throwing out cliches when it comes to someone’s personal feelings or situations.  “Until you’ve walked in their shoes,” you don’t have the right to cheapen their feelings.  Be sincere with your concern.  Allow them to feel on their terms.  Our lives are not built around cliches.