Hard Truths In The Moon’s Light

I got to see the Mother’s face last night, washed clean, renewed and reborn.  It was lovely.  A brilliant silver disc high in the sky, with clouds drifting swiftly across it. 

This is a picture of the final portion of the eclipse, there was just a fraction of her face that was still covered.  You can’t see it here, my phone didn’t take great photos, but you get the idea.  This was the view from my driveway.  Looking up, at that moonlight, I wanted to lie back in the snow and let it wash everything from the last few days, weeks, months, away.  Instead, I stood, dressed in my jammies, and wrapped in a blanket, under that silver moonlight and prayed. 

I prayed to the Mother that I could let go of the anger and depression that has been plaguing me for so long now.  That I could be revitalized, under her luminous gaze, and renewed of purpose.  That I could take off the mask that I wear most days, my “professional” face, that I show to most everyone now, and just be me.

And I received an answer.

If you want to be renewed, first you have to Let Go.

Let Go.

Two simple words that are nearly impossible to actually do.

Even now, I had to stop writing this, and click over to something else for a minute, to collect my thoughts, and stop when an obstruction clogged my throat.  Fear.  It blurs my vision and stops my thought processes for a moment.

I have to let go of all the pain of the past, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it.  I can’t move forward, grow into what I truly want to be, until I take this step.  And to be honest, hanging onto some of these past pains has kept me going in tough times.  Spurred me to be the opposite of whoever it was that hurt me, kept me from making the same mistakes more than once. 

Pain can be a useful tool.  It keeps your hand out of the fire, shows you why it’s a bad idea to slide down the stairs head-first, and that a spoonful pepper is not like a spoonful of sugar at all.

But it also ties you to the past.

Binds you up in your own chains of memory, and tosses you into a room, locked within yourself, full of all the dark shadows you have created.

I am not responsible for what others hold onto.  Their issues are not my baggage.

I am only responsible for what I have carried with me all these years.

And somehow, some way, I need to learn to break this chain.

Let Go.

Standing on the Fringe

I was not one of the popular kids in school.  On the contrary, I was one of the “fringe” kids.  I didn’t play any sports, which in a small town like the one I grew up in, was almost considered a mortal sin.  I was uncoordinated, awkward, and shy.

Yeah, shy.

At least, till you got to know me, then I was full of sarcasm, jokes, self-deprecating humor, philosophical mumbo-jumbo, and sideways thinking. 

My hometown was really small, as in 300 people small.  It was a blip on the map.  I had moved there with my parents and brother in 1981 from a larger town in Iowa, which, while not being an enormous metropolis, still had about 35,000 people.  It was a big change. And to suddenly not fit in with any of my peers, all 14 of them, was very lonely.

Yeah, I was bullied.  In subtle, behind-your-back ways, mostly.  Comments made on the sly; “all-in-good-fun” teasing that was only fun for them; and once, being set up as the class president, as a joke, because of how shy I was. 

I was lucky in that a new girl moved to town in my 8th grade year, and we were tight friends, best friends, for the last 5 years of high school.  At least I had someone to talk to, share being an outsider with. 

We both had our “outsider” moments, and our issues with the subtle, emotional bullying that happens in a small town.  I had those moments of “What if I ended it all?”

I survived, and it got better.

What I’m getting at here, is this: 

Whatever your way of life, there is no acceptable form of bullying. 

Children are dying because of it.

When I was younger, if I was feeling left out, I could escape, leave town, hang out with different people, ones that didn’t know what was going on in my hometown school.  Kids that didn’t hear the rumors and stories that circulated in my town saw me in a different light, and that was better.

Today, with the advent of cellphones, texting, the internet, Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, and all the other public places that these awful bullying tactics are being practiced, it’s not just found in the hallways of the schools anymore.  There’s no place for the bullied kids to feel safe.

Or, at least, that’s how it feels.  Every time you turn around, there it is, people splashing private things all over, where everyone can see.  It’s rather like having your laundry mounted on a flagpole.

And the bullys win again.

Well, it’s enough.  I think we need to start taking back our children’s self-esteem.  Stand up to the bullies and back them down. 

Teachers, administrators, staff at the schools, watch carefully, and when you see bullying, step in. 

Parents, talk to your kids, let them know that bullying is not allowed, and if they are a victim, they have a place to go, a place to feel safe.  Find the resources in your area for kids to find help with bullying, whether it’s through their school, or religious institutions, or community clubs and organizations.  They need people to help them stand up when they’ve been knocked down, help them find that stability.

Teens, pre-teens, young people of any age – stand up for your friends and stand up for strangers, too.  If you see someone being bullied because they’re different, stand up.  If you work as a group, stand in front of the person being bullied, and stare at the bullies, they’ll back down.  You don’t have to be best friends with someone to defend them, you just have to be a compassionate human being. 

And never forget.

Sladjana Vidovic

Eric Mohat

Meredith Rezak

Jennifer Eyring

Tyler Clementi

Seth Walsh

I have stood on the fringe of what’s considered “normal” most of my life.  I survived the bullies, I was lucky – and I had help. 

And to all you kids out there, suffering through the bullies?

You’re not alone.  And it does get better.

Please, hold on.  Here’s my hand, I’ll help.

Phriday Philosophy 9/17/10

I’ve exhausted my stock of “Fun Facts” for a while, and my desire to post them is waning, so I’m going to change things up a bit.  Today, I’m starting something new.  Phriday Philosophy.  It may be actually thoughtful, or it may be a completely twisted take on something that has been rattling around in my brain.  We’ll see where this goes.

 Heroes, Villains and Sheep

A blogging friend, Laura, over at Fetch My Flying Monkeys raised a thought in my brain this morning.  She talked about an experience she had when she was a young woman, in which she had her faith in human nature and compassion shaken to the core. 

Which begs the question:  Why?

Why are there people that instantly rise to the occasion, doing what needs to be done, taking the hero’s role in the story – the “Everyday Joe – or Joan” that performs a heroic act of compassion?  What makes them dive in at the first hint of chaos, willing to possibly put themselves at risk for another?  Does this make them heroes – or just people doing what any “normal” person would do?

My parents were both Volunteer First Responders for years.  We lived in a rural area where the nearest ambulance and hospitals were 30 minutes away, in either direction; which meant that emergencies could turn to tragedies very quickly.  The First Responders were local people, trained, but not licensed, with big orange medical bags full of advanced first aid, that could get to the farms quickly, call for ambulance and rescue with their radios when phones weren’t available, and help the injured, sick, etc. until the ambulance could reach them.

My parents taught me that people are basically good, but that you shouldn’t rely on it.  Instead, you should rely on yourself, and your knowledge of right and wrong to help you make a decision when confronted with an emergency.  Can you help – or will you only be in the way?  If you’re in the way, do you need to be the one to call for outside assistance?  Is there ANYTHING you can do to help?   There are 3 choices, and all of them have lasting consequences.   For a lot of people, they freeze when confronted with these choices.

Choice 1: Villain-  Some, honestly, really don’t care, as long as it’s not happening to them.  They may not be working to make the emergency situation worse, but they are completely apathetic until dragged, screaming, into the middle of it.  I classify them as villains.  Apathy shouldn’t be tolerated, or it is condoning it.  And of course, they never see themselves in the “villain” light, they’re just “Looking out for Number #1”.  (more like Number#2, if you ask me)   

Choice 2:  Sheep-  Most fall into this category.  Really.  It’s an effect of Mass Hysteria.  People don’t like stepping away from the herd, they like predictability and safety in numbers.  And when that is shaken through tragic events, they freeze like an animal in front of the headlights.  They freeze, panic, and lose all functionality;  their thought processes seem to grind to a complete halt.  They have to be “woken up” out of their shock to respond to outside stimuli.  It’s sad, but it’s a fact of life.  Sheep need to be led.  Or herded.

Choice 3:  Hero-  They are out there, I promise.  You might not see them, or if you do, you probably won’t recognize them without their uniforms.  They could be doctors and nurses (active and retired), EMTs or First Responders, dishwashers, plumbers, furniture salesmen, secretaries, waiters and waitresses, cooks, bakers, candlestick makers.  You won’t know them by their faces, you’ll know them by their actions.  They stand up on the bus for the pregnant lady to sit, they help an elderly person load their groceries in their car, they’ll hold a harried mom’s little one while she writes a check at the  store.   They’ll go to another country to help teach local rescue people how to be heroes too.

They’ll stop whatever they’re doing to save a life.  They’ll push themselves to exhaustion and out the other side, if that’s what it takes to keep someone breathing until help can arrive.  They are the people that, when lightning strikes, they’re off and running towards the fire it leaves behind, ready to put it out, pull people from the flames, or whatever’s necessary to be of service.

And that’s really what’s behind it.  The big questions that decide what type of person they are.

Villain- What service does this do for me?  What do I get out of this?

Sheep- What?  Service?  What’s that mean?  Ooh, look, that’s so bad.  I’m scared of it.  Where’s the service that takes care of this kind of thing?

Hero- How can I be of service today? 

A Villain can be changed into a Hero, but not into a Sheep.  A Sheep can become either, given the right “wake-up” call. And a Hero?  Well, they’ll remain Heroes their whole lives.  Just ask my parents.  A Hero’s work is never done.

Thus ends today’s philosophy session.  Thank you for letting me explore this with you.  Questions?  Comments?  All are welcome.

The Vacation is OVER

Yup.  I’ve had it with children laying around in their jammies all day, smelling of overripe morning breath, and looking like whole flocks of pigeons have made homes in their hair.

I get up every morning and go to work.  I ask the children to do one chore a day.  It might be vacuuming, or mowing, or to load and unload the dishwasher, or to do a load (one load, mind you, don’t want anyone breathing down my neck about Child Labor Laws!) of laundry.

They prefer this:

So – I am revoking their vacation privileges.

There will be no more sleeping in till I come home for lunch.

They will not go back to bed after I leave in the mornings, if I have to call their little cell phones every 5 minutes till I go home for lunch.

There will be more of this:

NO moping.  It is spelled mopping.

If you’re bored enough to flip through the channels twice and to complain that there’s nothing to eat in the house, then you’re bored enough to clean your room!

There are going to be some changes made, my lovely little launderers.

Cause, if Mama ain’t happy, well…

I’ll let you use your imaginations to fill in the rest, shall I?

Now, if I could get one of these…

I think I’d mow the lawn myself -never mind the allergies!