Acceptance, Be Happy, Be Kind, Fake People, Get Over Yourself, Photo Shop, Self respect, Uncategorized

Is It You, Or Is It Photoshop?

I recently got a friend request on social media by an old acquaintance.  I recognized the name, but I did not recognize the face.  Now, I do understand that most of us look different than we did twenty or thirty years ago, but it’s because we have a few more wrinkles or gray hair.  This person is older than me, but she looked so photo shopped and filtered, that she didn’t even look like an older version of herself!  Why?  Who was she trying to fool?  Is she that insecure with herself that she can’t admit that she is now thirty years older than the last time I saw her?  Doesn’t she like herself?

This morning on one of the morning shows, they discussed an app to fix your face.  I get it.  It makes sense to get rid of blemishes, or a few wrinkles sometimes.  But when you’ve lengthened your chin, widened your eyes, raised your cheekbones, narrowed your nose, slimmed your thighs, etc, you no longer look like yourself!  The image you are putting out there is fake.  Not only are you putting out a fake physical image of yourself, but it tells me that your personality is also fake, or dishonest because you’re trying to be something you’re not.

I’m not talking about super models and actors being photo shopped and have their cellulite smoothed.  Looking beautiful is their job.  But it does put pressure on “real” people to try to age the same way.  Too much focus is on this, and not on what really counts…..beautiful hearts!

Do I wish I looked younger?  Of course! But I am glad I know what I know about life at this age!  My wrinkles and the 10 extra pounds I’ve gained in twenty years are my scars that represent personal and spiritual growth.  I’ve always had a bit of a problem being a door mat, but as I’ve grown older (and wiser….and more wrinkled), I am better at standing up for myself.  I know I don’t have to take abuse from anyone, and I know I don’t have to kiss anyone’s butt to be liked.  Sure, it hurts when people don’t like me, but I know I can’t do anything about it.  I take pride in the fact that I always try to be nice and understanding.  For the most part, I like me!

I will not be fake.  My personality is not fake, and neither is my face. I’m not so insecure that I feel the need to alter my appearance to where I am unrecognizable. I am me.  I will always be me, even with my wrinkles!  I’m not a super model, nor do I try to look like one (my legs are too short anyway!).  I’d rather be recognized for the good things I do, my sense of humor, generosity, and kindness.  So if you see a picture of me on social media, it’s all the real me.  And….as for the lady who sent me a friend request?  Well, I didn’t accept it.  I don’t know that person.

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Anger, Attitude Adjustments, Bad Attitudes, Be Happy, Be Kind, Bullying, Communication Skills, Compassion, Don't Judge, Egos, Get Over Yourself, Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Insensitivity, Kindness, Loyalty, Manners, Misconceptions, Negativity, Positive Attitudes, Respect, Self respect, Speak Up!, travel, Uncategorized, Understanding, Watch, Listen, and Learn

Sweet Land of Liberty

Well, today I am going to write about something that may make a few people mad.  It’s something that I have been feeling and wanting to write about for awhile now, but I’ve had to approach it in a constructive way.  I already have a few people in the world who can’t stand me for whatever reason, but I just need to vent a bit here.

I’m sick and tired of hearing people constantly criticizing the United States.  I don’t hear the same type of constant criticisms about other countries the way I hear about our country.  I know…..Americans are viewed as arrogant, and I know quite a few arrogant Americans, but I know a lot more Americans who are kind-hearted, and loving.  I know….our government has some major flaws right now, and I for one, cannot stand the man in the White House…..but he does not represent everyone, or what I see as the “American Dream.” I get it. We are a big, powerful country, which makes us a target.  But I’ve had enough.

I recently read a blog about what we do wrong, written by a European, now living in the USA.  First of all, if we are such a horrible country, then why is this person living here?  The criticisms I’ve heard are that we are too friendly, we dress too casually, our restaurant dishes are too big, we have free refills on drinks, we tip, we have “to go” boxes, we ask strangers, “how are you?” in our greetings, we drive too much, our children drive too early, but drink too late, guns, healthcare, and blah, blah, blah.  If I addressed everything he wrote about, I would be writing all night.

So….I love living in a friendly place.  I know people will help me, if I need it, especially if they have presented me with a warm smile.  I’ve received compliments from total strangers in public before…..sometimes a little creepy, but most of the time, I welcome a kind word and someone asking how I am.  I usually respond with, “I’m fine, thank you!  How are you?” Why is this wrong?

Dressing casually….well, why not?  And what is considered casual?  I don’t approve of the pajamas at Walmart, but I don’t like shopping at Walmart anyway!  But we can dress up when we want to, and most of us do.  My father wore a suit and tie to work every day, and seldom wore jeans or sneakers.  I live in a beach community.  It’s 90+ degrees every day with extreme humidity, making it feel like a 110 degree sauna.  I wear sun dresses or jeans with a nice shirt, cute shoes (always!), and jewelry to work every day…..is that too casual?  Why wear a suit in this weather?  You’ll MELT! And really, why does anyone else care? It’s not like I’m going to a wedding in a bikini!

Al and I went to lunch today, and we spent less than $50 (including dessert and tip).  Yes, the portions were large, but we didn’t eat them all (some Americans aren’t obese either).  I brought home enough leftovers for at least 2 more meals! This is extremely cost effective, common, and smart!  And our service was excellent, because our wait person was working for a tip!  The better the service, the better the tip, so she probably makes more than I do as a teacher! I’ve been to some countries where the customer service is crap, and I wish they were working for tips….maybe they would be more attentive! Oh yeah, and we also got free refills in “to go” cups for our tea because as our waitress said, “It’s about 130 degrees out there!  You’ll need something cold to take with you!” See how that works?  Reasonably priced meal, great service, leftovers, and a nice dining experience.  How is that wrong?

Driving….well, if you live in a city, you are more likely to have access to public transportation.  Let’s face it, this country is HUGE, and we are very spread out.  We like the space!  In order to get places, we do drive, but we also love road trips, and exploring our country, and you can’t get that in a taxi or a subway.  We don’t all drive gas guzzling vehicles, and enjoy learning about the diversity and history of our country.  Our children drive young (not something I necessarily agree with) because this country was built on family farms.  Farmers had a lot of children to help, and they needed to drive trucks and farm vehicles to help.  My father started driving at 12 years old (in 1936) from necessity.  So licenses at 16 or 17 (after a period of restriction) isn’t all that strange to us.

Alcohol….this one I have to agree with.  If our young men and women are able to fight for our country, and our boys are required to register for the draft, then yes….they should be able to have a beer!  I remember when the drinking age jumped to 21 nationwide.  Before that, the states had their own age limitations.  In Kansas and Oklahoma, you could buy low point beer at 18, but liquor at 21.  In Iowa, it was 19 for everything.  The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers were behind this, if I remember right.  They wanted to keep it out of the hands of high school students, which I understand, and can sympathize with too.  But if the kids want it, they will get it.  I thought 19 was a good compromise. And I have read that teenage drinking has dropped in recent years.

Guns and healthcare….well, we do have a problem.  I will not argue with this.  But some of us want solutions, or at least compromises, to these issues, and some of us don’t.  Please don’t lump all of us in to being part of the problem.  It’s a real concern for many.

A few weeks ago, I met some people on the beach from a European country (I won’t say which one, because I don’t believe in doing that to anyone….just like us, they do not all think and act alike).  They had flown to Washington DC, drove south to Miami, and were now on their way to New Orleans, stopping in our little community for a day or two to rest. Now, how many European countries can you travel that distance and still be in the same country?  Like I said before, our country is vast, and I think they were surprised by that, but how cool!  But they had nothing nice to say about us or our country!  I was really annoyed.  Here they were, sitting next to a total stranger, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (free admission and free parking), complaining about everything, and saying we had no freedom.  And by the way, this American was more than happy to take their picture with the water in the background, and watch the lady’s purse while they went for a stroll on the beach, but you couldn’t do that in every country. They complained about where they stayed, thinking it was ON the beach.  It was on the Sound, and just over the bridge to the beach.  They complained that they had to drive to the beach.  I told them they could have walked over the bridge…a lot of people do.  They were afraid of the traffic….there is a walking/bike path.  Americans eat too much and are fat….these folks weren’t particularly skinny!  Black people shouldn’t be on the beach….I really had to hold my tongue with this one…..but then they complained about the racism we have.  I told them that my husband and I are teachers, and what we teach.  When I said that my husband works with students in the behavior unit, they assumed they were just “brats.”  I had to inform them that the majority of them suffer from some level of autism, and can’t help it.  Believe me, by the time I was finished talking with these rude tourists, I wanted to ask them why they bothered coming here if everything is so horrible!

I love my country, even though we are really in the midst of some awful things right now.  It was a safe place to grow up and raise children, and my parents encouraged all five of their children to go to college. We aren’t tacky, stupid, rude, or lazy.  Obviously, I have manners for not criticizing these individuals, or their countries.  We have a lot of freedoms here that many of us take for granted, and we should always protect.  But one thing that I will not stand for is someone telling me how we are “wrong” because we have a different culture.  This is OUR culture….like it or don’t.  There are a lot of things we do right, and some things we need to work on.  We are not everything you see in the news and on television.  As much as I struggle at times to understand what is happening in our country, it’s still MY country, and if it isn’t something you like, or can appreciate, or say something nice about, then go away…..you need to learn some manners!

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.

Attention Whores, Get Over Yourself, Growing up, Let kids be kids, Lies, Making life interesting, Manipulation, Self respect, Storytelling, Teaching Responsibility, Uncategorized

Big Little Liars

I have students who tell outrageous stories (lies), and manipulate situations to get what they want.  Of course, part of it is that they have active imaginations, and they are only 6 and 7 years old.  As entertaining as the stories may be, they do need to start realizing that their words/stories will have consequences.  Just this year alone, I have been told that a student’s mother wakes her up in the morning by putting snakes in her bed, a child claimed she had gone to Disney World the day before…..Disney is 7 hours from us, and she hadn’t missed a day of school, “I got braces yesterday, but the dentist took them off again,” etc, etc, etc…….  So many times I just have to tune out the stories, but they can be very entertaining!

These are funny coming from children, but when adults lie, make up stories, embellish, or manipulate, it isn’t cute anymore.  There comes a time when we have to grow up and tell the truth.  We all want to sound more interesting than we probably are.  I have always thought I’ve lived a pretty boring life, until I talk to other people, and realize that through moving a lot, having a large family, and traveling, I’ve been able to experience some pretty awesome things, and my life has been very full and interesting.  Maybe those who haven’t led particularly interesting lives feel the need to gain attention by lying or manipulating events and people.  You know them…..attention whores.

I’ve known adults who thrive on drama, and with the drama, usually comes some sort of embellishment of the stories they’re relaying.  I mean, I get it….they need to make it as interesting as possible to hold someone else’s attention.  The longer they can hold an audience, the more likely they can gain sympathy, and let’s face it, they soak up any kind of admiration, no matter how they have to get it.

I guess my comparisons here have to do with maturity.  It’s fairly common, and sometimes cute, for children to tell (and sometimes believe) big stories/fabrications.  But there comes a time when everyone should outgrow this.  We slowly start correcting them, and helping them to understand that they can’t keep telling falsehoods for attention, or to hurt someone else….these are the first ones in my class who accuse others of doing something that hurts them.  These are the children who are busy talking, and when you call them out on it, they deny it’s them.  You see it with your eyes, and you hear it with your ears, but they’re looking right at you, denying it’s them.  I know we can try to channel this imagination into some type of creative writing, because they DO have great imaginations!  It would be a shame to completely waste it as they grow up.  However, some adults never reach that level of maturity, where they care about the consequences of their statements, or who they might hurt.  I hear it nearly every day in the political world, and even those claiming to be of some religious faith, manipulating scripture to fit their agenda.

Everyone wants to have their way.  Everyone wants to impress someone.  Everyone wants and needs a certain amount of attention.  But let’s try to do it honestly, without having to make up stories, manipulate, or embellish to satisfy our cravings for attention and sympathy.  Be fair, objective, diplomatic, compassionate, cooperative, and honest!  Leave the big entertaining stories for a novel or blockbuster movie, or just let the kids entertain us.

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Coping, Courage, Egos, Emotions, Get Over Yourself, Happiness, Laughter, Laughter is the best medicine, Making life interesting, Passion for Living, Shit happens, Thankfulness, That's life, The Unexpected, Uncategorized

Life Happens…..Make the Best Of It!

Strange things happen to me.  It’s always been like that, especially as an adult.  No matter how odd, I try to always see the humor in it, and make fun of myself.  As I write this, I have a splint on my left arm, breaking my wrist after falling in my bedroom a few nights ago.  Excuse any typos, if I miss them.  It’s taking me forever to type this!

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a sitcom, but someone forgot to tell me that I’m the star!  When I was about 6 months pregnant with my oldest daughter, I fainted at the grocery store.  I happened to be in the baby aisle, and had just picked up a package of diapers (always planning ahead).  The next thing I knew, I was on my back, looking up, with store employees looking down at me, offering to call someone.  My feet were propped up on the diapers I had just picked up!  I was really embarrassed, but could laugh about it then and now!

A year or so after that, I went to the store, and because I lived in a cold climate, I had to walk through two sets of automatic double doors to get into the store.  I walked through the first set, completely expecting the next set to open.  They didn’t.  I stopped and waited.  The first set of doors closed behind me.  I pushed on the next doors, and they wouldn’t open.  I tried to go back out, and those doors wouldn’t open either.  I was stuck in the little entryway, between the two sets of doors!  I knocked on the doors to get someone’s attention, and some boys came over to help…..but they didn’t know what to do.  The doors were stuck.  I was stuck.  Other customers were trying to get in.  I told them I couldn’t open the doors.  Some of them acted annoyed with me, as I paced in the entryway, like a zoo animal!  The store employees told the other customers to go around to the other doors, while they got a manager to figure out what to do.  They ended up getting an electrician, and it all turned out okay…..except, I left without getting the items I went in to get in the first place because I was too embarrassed to stay!  But now I laugh….

Another time I walked to my car in a parking lot, and found a bird sitting on my gear shift…inside my car!  I left my sun roof open, and I guess he decided he needed to take a little rest in my car for a few minutes.  The dancing and screaming that followed, while I opened all the doors and tried to shoo him out must have been comical to other people in the parking lot, but I was ready to have a nervous breakdown!  Now I can laugh…..

I’ve had lizards land on my windshield while I’m driving, frogs land on my feet, bugs crawl in my cleavage while I’m at lunch with my mother in-law, stepped on mice, climbed a tree to rescue a stuck ball, but couldn’t get back down, got my finger stuck in a Coke bottle, and the list goes on and on and on!

Now I’m dealing with things that cause other weird things to happen.  Recently, I had a seizure in a crowded restaurant.  That was embarrassing, but I’m able to laugh about it….my kids are having fun teasing me about it, and what triggers them, even though it’s scary.  When I fell in the middle of the night last weekend, I think I may have had a seizure because I felt disoriented and confused.  It was dark, and I lost my balance.  I knew it hurt, but I was tired, and wanted to go back to bed!  So I did.  When I woke up later, I realized I really was hurt, and my wedding ring was stuck on my finger.  Oops!  Well, I still say that sleep is more important than getting x-rays.  I haven’t slept well since, so maybe getting that extra couple of hours wasn’t such a dumb idea after all.  My balance is off, so I bump into things.  I laughed at myself when I bumped into the wall at work yesterday.  I know I must look like the town drunk at times, but it’s just me!

Things happen.  Funny things, weird things, happy things, sad things, scary things…..just make the best of it.  Laugh at yourself.  Have a sense of humor.  Don’t be so full of yourself or vain that you can’t make the best of every situation.  My sisters and I even managed to laugh our way through a funeral once…..I’m not proud of that, but it made it memorable, and I’m pretty sure our deceased loved one would have understood the circumstances.  Try to make the best of every situation.

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor,”  Charles Dickens

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Compassion, Courage, Egos, Emotions, Get Over Yourself, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Insensitivity, Kindness, Love, Manners, Negativity, Relationships, Respect, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Understanding

The Season of Giving……Year Round!

‘Tis the season of giving…….actually, I think giving is healthy year round, especially if you are giving of your time, support, sentiments, prayers, etc.  I have people in my life who I would do anything for.  I don’t give to them for recognition, or because it’s expected.  I do it because it’s the right thing to do.  I do it because I care.  Sadly, I have learned that others just don’t care as much.  I may be limited on finances, and sometimes my health hinders how much I can do, but I still try.  There are other ways of giving.  There are some people who never give, and I actually don’t understand how they can live with themselves.  There are some who give because it’s expected of them.  There are some who take advantages of others’ generosity.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “tis better to give than to receive,” which is from the Bible, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35).  I don’t want to get preachy here, but it’s something that can and should apply to all of us, even if you don’t follow Christianity.  Unfortunately, some people just don’t know how to give, or be gracious when receiving.

I have met narcissistic people, who care about nothing but themselves.  They don’t understand or care about the pain they cause by not appreciating everything others are willing to do for them, and aren’t considerate of others’ feelings.  They just don’t care.  Maybe they were spoiled as children, and they aren’t capable of appreciating the little things in life.  They always put themselves first, justifying this by saying they “deserve” to do that, or they’ve earned it.  There is nothing wrong with rewarding or treating yourself, but when that becomes your focus, over what you can do for others, then maybe you aren’t a very nice person.  People like this take advantage of those who love them, and don’t think about how it hurts.  But then…..I guess they don’t care.  They’re very selfish and Ebenezer Scrooge-like!

Don’t be a Scrooge.  Give something…..and give it year round!  Give kindness.  Give manners.  Give politeness.  Give compassion.  Give a smile.  Give understanding.  Give patience.  Give gratitude.  Give communication.  Give humor.  Give of yourself, and don’t take advantage of those willing to give so much to you.  Someday, they may not be there anymore.  Leave your egos at the door, and try to do something for someone else for a change, appreciating what others are willing to do for you.  However, if someone continually rejects your acts of kindness, or shows they don’t appreciate you or care about you, you certainly don’t have to continue giving to that person!  Protect yourself in this process!  Feeling rejection is painful, and damaging to your well-being.  Don’t be unkind, but make sure you focus where the need is.  It doesn’t mean you can’t still offer a smile or politeness to that person.

With our current political and social climate, we are seeing enough egos, negativity, narcissism, and arrogance.  There are enough Ebenezer Scrooges in the world. If we expect things to change, or we want a nicer place to live, then we need to be getting along with each other, and be the givers. Stop putting ourselves first, and think about what a difference we can make in someone else’s life just by giving a small act of kindness or compassion.  And do it year round…….make the season of giving a year round habit.

Egos, Get Over Yourself, Laughter, Making life interesting, Selfie Sickness, Selfies, Uncategorized

Selfie Sickness

In recent years, we have seen the surge of security cameras and cell phone cameras EVERYWHERE.  Thank goodness these devices have not been around my entire life!  I’ve had my share of hair and fashion disasters over the years!  Oh my gravy!  I can’t even imagine taking daily “selfies” like some people do today!  There are enough bad pics of me from the past that have haunted me…..it makes me wonder how today’s youth (and some adults) will feel in a few years. Some of them have thousands of selfies and videos of themselves out there.  Bad haircuts, clothing, makeup…..styles change……it WILL come back to haunt you!  I promise.

I have never been one to like pictures of myself because I’m very critical of my looks.  So the camera and I have stayed in the “just friends” zone.  Being the youngest of 5 children, there are hardly any pictures of me…..let’s face it, my parents were tired of kids by the time I came along! I was not a novelty! I am in very few pics with my children because I was usually the one behind the camera.  You will NEVER find me taking selfies with pouting/kissing/duck lips!  I’m either not in love with myself that much, or I’m not that insecure.  I’m not sure what drives people who do that.  Either grow up, or get over yourselves.  Just smile nicely and move on.

Pictures and videos are used for entertainment purposes.  I get that.  I enjoy looking at pictures, and seeing what people are up to.  I like seeing vacation pics.  I like seeing milestones being celebrated.  I like seeing happy couples and families.  I like seeing class and family reunion pictures.  I even like the wild and embarrassing blasts from the past!  It’s fun.  But put the phones down, and stop making kissing faces at yourself!  We’ve seen it.  Believe me……you still look the same as you did 10 minutes ago.

With all of the security cameras everywhere we turn, aren’t we being photographed enough?  Don’t we want some privacy?  I don’t think the Kardashians are going to be calling any of us to join their “talented” (cough! cough!) show!  If you want people to find your pics interesting, how about taking pics of yourself doing something good for humanity?  There are plenty of photo ops you could take while volunteering at a school or animal shelter, or helping your church or community.  Take a nature walk/hike, go fishing, create some art work, or show us your favorite hobby……sorry, but selfie taking doesn’t count!

Use the cameras for GOOD, not to satisfy your egos!  Hollywood is NOT calling!  Sheesh, people!  Is there such as thing as rehab for selfie sickness?????