Anxiety, Be Kind, Being Strong, Change, Compassion, Courage, Empowerment, Insensitivity, Manners, Respect, Sexual Harassment, Support, Uncategorized, Understanding

A New Tomorrow

It seems that every day we are hearing of another famous person (man) being fired and/or accused of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.  Men disrespecting women in the workplace and other areas of life has been happening since the beginning of time, and happens worldwide.  Different countries and cultures have placed women in submissive roles for a very long time.  Thank goodness the tide is turning, and women are finally beginning to have the support to stand up for themselves, and hold these slime ball men accountable for their actions!  But we need to be careful, and make sure to look at each case individually.  This is where things could get cloudy and confusing.

I’m so proud of these women who are able to gather the strength for this battle.  I have been harassed in the work place and other places.  Like these victims, I was afraid to stand up.  I felt embarrassment, shame, and guilt.  Was it something I invited?  I’ve also had co-workers who have acknowledged a nice outfit I’m wearing, or have given me a compliment that I look nice.  I have taken it as just that.  A compliment…..and who doesn’t need a compliment every now and then?  Being able to tell the difference is key, but where do we draw that line?  How do we keep the violators from using that as a defense?  I realize that sexual assault and comments made about anatomy are different than compliments, but some may not as we face this new era of empowerment.  I’ve complimented the appearance of my colleagues.  I work with a friend who has GREAT legs, and looks fantastic in a dress.  I compliment her every time she’s in a dress, because I would love to have her killer legs!  I know she takes it as a compliment, but it would be inappropriate for a man to say the same things I have said.  I know she won’t accuse me of sexual harassment.  She knows that isn’t my intent, and she is level headed enough to know the difference.  Not everyone would get that.

My daughter worked in an environment with a lot of homosexual men for a few years.  A few of them made inappropriate sexual jokes and innuendos made in her presence that made her uncomfortable.  These things weren’t directed at her, but sex talk in the work place is inappropriate.  She was very upset a few times about how they laughed at her when it was brought to the attention of management.  After all, she couldn’t claim they were hitting on her, but she was uncomfortable.  I’m sure she would have had a legal case against them, but didn’t want to lose her job, which is exactly what would have happened.  With all of the awareness and training about sexual harassment in the workplace, they should have known better, even if they weren’t hitting on her.

I live in the South, where calling someone, “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” or “Baby,” isn’t meant in a condescending way.  These are terms of endearment.  They let someone know that they care about you.  Said in another part of the country, however, it could be taken in a completely different way.

I despise what these men have done, and how they have used their power to humiliate and abuse their victims.  My heart aches for the victims, who have had had to endure years of pain and suffering, sometimes sacrificing their careers or personal happiness because of these arrogant birdbrains.  However, I’m also afraid that a few women are going to take it too far, and try to ruin someone over something innocent.  This is the cloudy area I referred to earlier.

We are on a new horizon with all of this.  We don’t really know what to expect, except change.  This is GOOD! However, with change, we need to have guidelines, and use good judgement on all sides.  We all need to mind ourselves and speak and act carefully.  What is funny and acceptable to some may not be funny and acceptable to all.  It comes back to that word I’ve written about quite often……respect.  Respect and understanding for all should always be taken into consideration.  Then……..we may just make it through this.

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Acceptance, Attitude Adjustments, Be Kind, Insensitivity, Kindness, Respect, Shit happens, Taking responsibility, That's life, Uncategorized

Everything Does NOT Happen For a Reason

We’ve all heard the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Do any of you hate that saying as much as I do?  I believe that SOME things happen for a reason, but not “everything.”

Usually, when that statement is made, it’s because we have learned a lesson by the events that have taken place, or the choices we’ve made.  Yet, it’s also a cop out and lame excuse to make in order to justify an outcome, or to make sense of things.  I understand that certain things in life happen in order to teach us something, or for us to make changes for the better.  I understand that the choices we make help us to make better choices in the future, or at least, different choices.  Yet, there is a whole lot of ugliness, hatefulness, selfishness, jealousy, spitefulness, violence, and evil in this world, which causes a lot of misery for others, at no fault of their own.  That statement makes the victim’s pain seem insignificant…..and justified.  That’s wrong.

The violence and abuse directed at children, innocent women in an abusive relationship, animal abuse, hate crimes against a person of color or someone “different” than them, and murder of completely innocent people happen FOR NO REASON.  Why do we say that a child being tortured and murdered “happens for a reason?” How cruel is that for the child’s parents to hear?  It’s ignorant and mean to say this around someone who is hurting.  Is this said to make us feel better about not being able to prevent it?  Is it said as a way to comfort ourselves in the event of tragedy?  There are so many horrible, senseless tragedies that happen in our world to innocent victims.  It’s unfair to treat their pain and suffering as something the rest of us can learn a lesson from.

Stop saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”  It doesn’t.  It’s mean.  It’s stupid.  Just because it makes YOU feel better for saying it, others, who have truly suffered at no fault of their own, find it painful.  Everything does NOT happen for a reason.  Just because you learned a little (or big) lesson on the path of life, does not mean that “everything” happens for a reason.  Life is about learning, and finding who you are.  Learning along the way is normal.  If you don’t learn anything, then something is wrong with you, and you will continue to make the same mistakes along the way.

If events in your life were different, and if you made different choices, you would still learn something.  You would still meet significant people along the way.  You would still have goals and aspirations.  Timing would still be important to what happens, and where you would end up.  There would still be difficult people along the way.  If you said then, that “everything happens for a reason,” then wouldn’t that contradict the life you have actually led?  We don’t know how different things would be if certain events didn’t happen along the way.  We don’t know what it would be like if we met different people, chose different careers, made different choices.  We don’t know.

Every time I hear someone say, “Well, everything happens for a reason,” I want to tell them that I feel sorry for them.  They obviously don’t have any faith in their own decision making, or confidence that they can make changes in their life.  I also pity them for going through life having no compassion or empathy for anyone who has suffered.  Do NOT say, “Everything happens for a reason” to someone who is hurting.  Actually, just stop saying it altogether. Things happen.  Life happens.  We obtain goals.  Dreams come true.  Terrible events occur………lift each other up, support each other, and stop making the lame excuse of “everything happens for a reason.” It just happens.

Acceptance, Anxiety, Bad Attitudes, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Don't Judge, Doormat, Happiness, Kindness, Manners, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Acceptance vs. Rejection

Acceptance.  We all want/need/crave it throughout our lives.  We first need it from our parents, siblings, and extended family.  Some people aren’t fortunate enough to ever feel that.  Then we need acceptance from friends, teachers, and coaches, employers, co-workers, our adult peers, and even our spouses and own children.

Why do we need acceptance?  Why is it so important for us to feel loved?  Besides the basic needs of life…..food/water, shelter, and warmth, we also NEED love and acceptance. Humans are socially wired, and need each other.  I know there are some people who really don’t care if they are accepted or liked, and I will admit, that I don’t care if I am liked by certain people.  Life is too short to waste our time on negativity or hate. However, if you’ve done your best to be kind, considerate, honest, generous, helpful, and truly nice to someone, why wouldn’t they like or accept you?  Why would they reject your sincere efforts to be a good person?  Rejection is painful.

As a child, I was fairly well liked by my teachers.  I was quiet and did my work, so that helped.  I did have a teacher or two in high school who just really didn’t like me though. It was a miserable experience!  I hated jumping through hoops for them, only to always be shot down, or criticized, no matter what I did.  It was a hard lesson to learn about the human spirit, and how mean people can be.  My husband had the same experiences with a few coaches along the way.  No matter what type of effort he put in at practices, games, etc. the coach was never satisfied. I think everyone can relate to similar experiences.

Why?  What gives someone the satisfaction of rejecting people?  Is it a power play? Is it fun having control over someone’s future or feelings?  Or does it make them feel good to hurt someone? Are they miserable people who only feel good when they are hating and disrespecting someone else?  Does it make them happy to criticize everything someone does, even when that person is doing their best?  Is it jealousy?  Are they rejecting you for the way you look?  The way you talk?  The way you dress?  The career you chose?  Your social status?  Where you come from?  Who you marry?  Misunderstandings, miscommunication, and grudges can also be a source of contention for us…..and it’s very unhealthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  As a wife, mother, and educator, I can’t imagine ever treating someone so unfairly.  I want to be an example of how to treat people.

A friend recently told me about her 2 year old granddaughter getting scratched by another child. Not only was her granddaughter physically hurt, but she was confused as to why this other child would intentionally hurt her.  We do what we can to protect our loved ones, but sometimes we can’t protect them from everything and everyone. Teaching kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, and love is far better than teaching them to be jealous, spiteful, or resentful.  Teaching them to stand up for themselves and walking away from negativity and meanness is much harder.  They still need love and acceptance.

I guess this is all a part of life, and learning how to deal with difficult people. I have learned that there are people in this world who I can never make happy.  I can’t control their thoughts, their actions, or what is influencing them.  I can only continue to be myself……trying to be the best version of myself, and how my parents raised me.  I can never be cold to someone who has done nothing to hurt me.  In fact, sometimes, I find myself being nice to people who have been unkind or unfair to me, and really don’t deserve my niceness!  I get annoyed with myself for doing that at times, but I just can’t help it!  I don’t want to go through life making anyone feel rejected or hurt.  I can’t.  I have to keep telling myself though, that when I encounter rejection, especially when I have only been kind….it is not my problem.  When a person intentionally rejects you in order to hurt you, you are not the problem.  As hard and hurtful and mean as it is….as long as you continue to be the bigger person, it is not you.

Choose kindness, not hate.  Choose acceptance, not rejection.  Wouldn’t you rather be known for your kindness and acceptance instead of someone who intentionally hurt another by rejecting them?  Don’t be so caught up in yourself that you hurt someone else with rejection.  Remember…..acceptance is a human need.  Be kind.

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Married to My Best Friend, Negativity, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Protecting and Defending Your Relationship

I have written about the struggle I’ve had standing up for myself….being a doormat.  I’ve carried a lot of hurt through life because of it.  I’m very sensitive, and I have felt that it is my biggest weakness.  However, I’ve also discovered that being sensitive is a strength!  I have compassion and empathy for others because I can understand the feelings of pain and of being disrespected, that someone can feel at the hands of mean people.  I am not afraid to stand up for those I love and care about.  Number one in this situation would be with my marriage.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine confided to me that her husband’s friends were coming between them, and they didn’t like the amount of time he was spending with her.  They felt that she had changed him, and they were trying to discredit her to him.  I felt sad for her, and wondered why her husband didn’t stand up for her.  Not that his friends aren’t important to him, but how much do they really care about him if they are disrespecting his wife and their marriage this way?  It’s petty and selfish.

A few years ago, I worked at a really horrible place, and dealt with some co-workers who disrespected Al, and my relationship with him.  While they may have just been trying to “protect” me, or explain to me what they might see as logic, my relationship with him was not their business. One person told me it would be over and done with in 6 months, without even having met him. Another questioned whether I knew him well enough to know what he likes to eat…..seems a bit trivial to me, but I did know what he liked to eat, among a lot of other things!  I really saw their “advice” and “concern” as nothing more than petty jealousy, because I would have less time to socialize with them.  But I would not allow them, or anyone else, to disrespect him, or our relationship.  I didn’t understand why they just couldn’t be happy for us. I made sure to let them know that I would not tolerate anyone disrespecting him. If they really cared for me, they would not do that.  Not only did they disrespect Al and our relationship, but they also disrespected me, by questioning my decisions, and my feelings for him.  Thank goodness I no longer work there, or with those horrible people! Once Al did get here, they weren’t very nice to him at all.  Glad I moved on! Since then, Al and I have both been told that we look and act happier and more at ease than they’ve seen us in a long time.  I knew that those people were jealous of our happiness, and couldn’t believe that anyone could be that happy.  Why should we have to prove it to them?  Why was our happiness a threat to them or anyone else? Why did we have to defend our happiness?

I don’t know why people feel the need to be mean, rude, or disrespectful, or why they would try to sow seeds of division in your relationship or marriage.  I try to respect the decisions of my loved ones.  I’ve learned that I won’t agree with everything my family, friends, or co-workers do, but I am still able to have compassion, respect, and understanding for them.  Their life is theirs, and not for me to interfere (as long as they are safe…..abuse would be a different story).  I still support them, and their quest for happiness and acceptance.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Don’t we all deserve that?

In our marriage vows, we promised to love, honor, cherish, and protect each other. Actually I remember saying we would be each other’s “biggest protector.”  That did not just mean physical protection.  It also meant that we would defend each other’s character, honor, and dignity.  My husband and the support I get from him in our marriage make me strong….strong enough to stand up and defend it (and him).

If you are married, or in a committed relationship, protect it!  Protect each other.  Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you, your significant other, or your commitment to each other.  Like I’ve said in other posts, there are so many mean people and unhappy things in this world.  Lean on each other because then you’ll know that at least you will always have one person who has your back!  If you don’t, your partner will feel it, and know that your commitment isn’t genuine.  And if you are one of those individuals who feel the need to try to place doubt or uncertainty, or are just simply unkind……stop.  It’s not your place.  It’s not your business.  It’s incredibly selfish.  Let others be happy.  Let others live their lives.  Be happy for them.  And if you can’t be happy for them, leave them alone.

 

 

Be Kind, Bleeding Kansas, Chicken Annie's, Coping, Growing up, Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Kindness, Passion for Living, Respect, Uncategorized, You can't go back again

Thankful for Small Town Roots

Last week I learned of the death of another childhood classmate from my hometown in Kansas.  It seems like there’s been so many…..I’ve actually lost count.  For a small class, it’s been a lot.  These are the people I grew up with, and even though I moved away before graduating with them, they still mean a lot to me, and we share so many of the same experiences of growing up in a small town.

There is so much anger and hatred in our world right now. and the loss of this classmate has made me yearn for a simpler time, and a time when things seemed easier.  Growing up in a small town in the Midwest had it’s pros and cons, but I hold so many wonderful memories from that time.

My hometown, at one time, truly did feel like Mayberry.  It was an historic old railroad town in Southeast Kansas, about an hour from Kansas City, and an hour from Joplin.  It was divided down the middle of town by a highway and railroad tracks….the division having racially motivated reasons dating back to the 1800’s, and the time of “Bleeding Kansas” and the John Brown raids.  It had a dark history of racism (for more on this, look up the author/poet/photographer/director Gordon Parks, and the movie “The Learning Tree”). Yet, in the 70’s, I wasn’t aware of that dark past so much.  I had both black and white friends.  They were restoring the Fort from the 1840’s, had beautiful old Victorian homes, brick streets, and a quaint downtown.  It still has one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever seen, Gunn Park.  It had two elementary schools (one on the east side, one on the west), a junior high, which sat prominently in the middle of town, and a big old high school, which is now gone.

The town was a bit run down in some areas, had it’s nicer neighborhoods, but it was safe just about everywhere you went.  It was safe to ride our bikes, go for walks, and explore. One of my friends and I used to walk to the end of our street, which was a dead end, and we would climb down the embankment to play at the river banks while our parents were at work.  I could walk to my father’s office at the church where he was a minister, only a few blocks away.  My mother’s office was a block from his office.  I could walk downtown to the library, to stores, and to the movies.  On Saturdays, another friend and I would meet at a certain corner, and we would walk to the library, then go buy a lot of candy with our little bit of allowances we had. In the summer, I would walk or ride my bike to the swimming pool.

The people in our church were wonderful.  Because my father was the minister, we were invited to so many homes for Sunday dinner, on trips to Kansas City, or to our favorite chicken restaurant, Chicken Annie’s (Southeast Kansas is known for it’s chicken restaurants!).  My sisters and I had babysitting jobs for many families in our church.  Our doctor and dentist both went to our church.  My piano teacher was our organist. Everyone knew everyone, or had some sort of connection to them.

Going back there today is different.  My parents and almost all of their friends are now gone.  The church is closed.  It isn’t safe in a lot of areas.  The old homes are in disrepair.  The brick streets are not in great shape.  The downtown is empty and sad.  Most of the manufacturers are gone.  Walmart is the biggest store in town…….

Even though I know we can’t live in the past, and I’m glad I don’t live there today, I do miss a lot of that innocence today.  People really cared about each other.  Small towns are not for me at this point in my life, and I’m glad my parents showed me that there was a world out there through travel and books, but growing up in a small town in the 1970’s was special.  I didn’t realize then what a wonderful thing it was.  I raised my own children there too, but it was already changing, and it wasn’t the same.

Life was easier then.  Times were easier, or seemed to be.  Maybe it was just easier for parents to protect their children from the cruel world without the influences of 24 hour news and social media.  Sometimes I really miss the days when I had no worries, plenty of friends, my parents, a kinder, safer world…….  We can’t go back, and we can’t bring back those we’ve lost.  We can only be more appreciative of each other, treat each other with respect,  be kind to each other, and not take anyone or anything for granted.  Life is too short to not appreciate who and what we have in front of us.  It might not be there tomorrow.

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Fear, Happiness, Kindness, Negativity, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Accomplishing the “Impossible”

I accomplished something yesterday that I never thought I could.  I have wanted to attempt a career in real estate for many years.  I have bought and sold my own homes, after fixing them up, several times.  Now, don’t get me wrong….teaching is where my heart is, and always will be, but teaching is just not making ends meet these days.  I have to have at least a side hustle, or a plan to supplement our income.  If it turns into something full time, that will be great!  I will keep teaching until I feel the need to walk away.

I used to toss around the idea of real estate occasionally, and was met by the same comments from negative people, or people who felt the need to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough……..”Yeah, but it’s commission only,” “The test is really hard….are you sure you’re smart enough?” “There’s a lot of realtors out there!”  “It’s not possible.  You don’t have time!”  I know it’s commission only, but with any business where you work for yourself, it’s basically based on how much you sell…..commission only!  Yet, plenty of business owners and contractors do quite well. Yes, the test is hard, and I didn’t know if I was smart enough or not, but if I didn’t try, how would I ever know?  And yes, there are a lot of realtors out there, so the competition is tough, and some people aren’t cut out for it. But again, if I didn’t try, how would I ever know?  And, it would be possible if I made the time, and that’s what I did.

I finally decided last summer to start taking a class.  It was tough!  It was online, so I had to pace myself, and be disciplined to read and study every day.  My husband was very supportive, and cheered me on, keeping my spirits up, even when I felt defeated. I spent my whole summer focused on it, and finally took the test yesterday…….

When I went into the test center, I was very nervous.  I didn’t sleep well the night before.  I had heard that the there was about a 50/50 chance of passing it.  I went through all of the security procedures to make sure I am who I said I am, they checked my jacket pockets for cheating devices, looked at my calculator to make sure it didn’t have any way of typing letters or words, gave me the directions, took my photo, and then led me into the testing room.  As I read through the questions, I was telling myself that I should probably try to memorize a few, because I was counting on failing it.  I thought I would be back in 30 days to retake it.  That’s what happens to you when you are worn down by those who doubt you, question your character, intelligence, or motives, or are constantly pessimistic or negative.  Even though I try to always be positive and encouraging toward others, I have let those feelings of doubt and negativity wear down my own self esteem. Going through life not feeling good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough is tough.  I’ve never wanted to be the cause of making someone else feel that way……..

When I finished the test, and walked out of the testing room, the proctor smiled and said, “Congratulations!”  I was shocked!  I said, “I PASSED????”  She said I did, showed me the verification she had printed out, and asked how many times I had taken it.  I said this was the first time.  She said, “Oh baby, didn’t your instructor tell you that nobody passes it the first time?  We have people come in 4, 5, and 6 times to take it!  You did great!”  I was shaking!  All of that hard work had paid off! Here I am, at 52 years old, taking on something completely new……oh, and with a brain tumor too!  I did it!

On the drive home, I was fighting back tears, telling myself I didn’t fail, and I’m NOT a failure!  I had planned on keeping it together when I told Al, but as soon as I walked in the door, I burst into tears, saying, “I did it!  I passed!” And you know what?  He was just as happy as I was!  He was proud of me, hugging me, laughing, kissing me, telling me over and over how proud he was of me.  I haven’t had a lot of people tell me that in my life.  It means a LOT to hear it.

It may not seem like such a big endeavor for some of you, but I know of people who have completely given up on this test.  It was a huge deal for me!  I know that with determination, hard work, and a support system, I can accomplish what I want.  We all have our dreams in life.  Let’s support each other in our endeavors.  Let’s not make each other feel like we aren’t good enough…..for ANY reason.  Encouragement goes a long way.  Let’s do that for each other….in a world where negativity, jealousy, divisiveness, spite, anger, resentfulness, and hatred seem to prevail, let’s help build each other up to accomplish our dreams and goals.  It doesn’t take much to give an encouraging word………and wouldn’t you rather be spreading good cheer, and positive vibes, instead of hurting someone because of your own doubts and insecurities?

Tonight, I can finally say, “I did it!”  I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do. What is it that you want to do, and what (or who) is holding you back?  You can do this!

Be Happy, Don't Judge, Happiness, Passion for Living, Respect, Self respect, Uncategorized

Be Yourself!

Yesterday I was putting on my earrings to go on a lunch date with my husband, and decided on some larger silver hoops.  It reminded me of an article I had read recently about what women over 40 should or shouldn’t wear…..as dictated by women in their 20’s and 30’s.  The article was written by a woman who was frustrated by this direction, and I completely agreed! I have read the articles…..”What Women Over 40 Should Never Wear…..” No large hoop earrings, no tattoos, no skirts over the knee, no sleeveless tops, no blue eye shadow, no leggings, etc. etc. etc. I admit, I used to be guilty of these unfair statements too, but thankfully, I have grown, and realized that maybe I wasn’t comfortable with myself then.  I am definitely getting more and more comfortable now, and this has made me less judgmental of others.

My mother’s sister, my Aunt Joy, was a wonderful woman, who marched to the beat of her own drummer.  She was highly intelligent (an English teacher), loved to read, tell stories, and spend time with her family.  She wore clothes that made her feel comfortable……I’m picturing tie-dyed mumus……she drove a moped around Wichita when she was in her 50’s, and at times, her hair may be blue or purple (before it was trendy to do this).  She was always a lot of fun to be around.  I miss her a lot.  One of the reasons I loved and respected her so much was because she did what made her feel good, without hurting anyone else.  Why should anyone else care?

I had a friend who used to be very annoyed and critical of any woman 30 or over who referred to a man as a “boyfriend.”  Why was that her business?  Why should it bother her?  If a woman in her 80’s wants to have a boyfriend, why is it offensive to anyone else?  If a couple feels young and in love, and wants to use the term “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” that’s their choice, no matter how old they are.

It is no one else’s decision (or business) how we dress, or what we call our significant other.  When a woman in her 20’s or 30’s tells me I can’t wear hoop earrings because I’m over 40, it makes me want to wear bigger hoops.  It makes me want to dye my hair blue, wear mumus, and drive a moped.  If a woman is 80 years old and wants to wear a mini-skirt and go-go boots because it makes her feel good, then that is her choice, and I will applaud her for not being afraid to be herself.  It may look crazy.  It may even look a bit inappropriate.  It may not feel comfortable to everyone, but if it is comfortable to that woman, then why should it matter to anyone else?

Be yourself.  Do what makes you comfortable.  As long as you aren’t hurting someone, then it’s okay to be you.  Do you.  So, damnit, wear those hoop earrings!