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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This whole bullying thing needs to stop....What makes a bully a bully?

Who here has encountered a bully?

I'm not saying that you have been bullied, but have you been around one?  Were you one?

I've been seeing and reading so much about bullying online and in the papers and it really makes me sad - for all involved.  It really is something that touches everyone on some level.

I'm not talking about the modern day "buzz word" bullying.  I'm talking about real, actual bullying that is intentionally directed to hurt or tear someone down.

Personally, I don't deal with it.  I'm no one's victim.  If someone is trying to do something to me/against me, I WILL take my stand and then I step out of the situation.  I can't be bothered with the nonsense.  I'm not 12 and I'm not playing the game.  No matter how it ends up.  I know who I am.  If other's don't, that's their problem not mine.

I believe that to be the problem with the bullies of the world.  They don't know who they are.  If they do, they don't feel comfortable in their own skin - so they tear others down to bring people to their level.  I've seen it over and over again.

Let me ask you...  If you continually call people trash and other mean things for over a year, trying to bring them down, and then work to be top dog in that crowd - what does that make you?  Doesn't that make you top of the trash heap that you've created?  What does that really say?  As I see it, it says that "you" feel so low and like such trash that the only place you belong is in the trash pile you've created yourself.

I'm super hung up on that bullying incident in Florida where the 12 year old little girl committed suicide after being bullied by her peers, other young teens.  How could someone feel so low about themselves (or superior / entitled) at 12 and 14 to be so incredibly mean and hurtful that someone would take their life?  What are these kids being taught by their parents?  Isn't anyone building these kids up to believe that they are good?  That they deserve love?  I don't know.  I just don't understand it.

Is this what makes a bully a bully?

I'm not a bully.  I've never been a bully.  I'm the person who sits back, watches and defends the people being bullied - because it's the right thing to do.  Again, I know who I am.  I'm not afraid to stand up for what's real.

I believe bullying on the gossip (and now internet) level to be worse around girls and women.

As I see it, men and boys mostly slug it out and get over it, (though when it comes to kids - all bets are off).  Girls / women are emotional - it cuts deep.  So deep in the incident in Florida that a little girl was pushed so far that she jumped off a water tower to her death.  This is truly heart breaking and so unnecessary.

As a woman, I've always believed that we should build our friends up - not tear them down.  If someone is feeling badly about themselves, even if you agree that things really suck for them - tell them how pretty their hair looks or what nice shoes they have.  ANYTHING.

I teach my children to stand by their friends, as I do.  Be loyal.  Stand by what's right.  If someone is feeling sad or lost, tell them how great they are.  Don't be mean and don't tolerate others being mean to you.  Ignore it and find your own happy.

If you can't be happy with yourself -
you'll never truly be happy.  You will always look in the mirror and see that fat, frizzy haired kid who was picked on in high school.

Only you can change that.

Tearing someone else down repeatedly doesn't make you any better.  It also doesn't truly say anything about them or their character - it says something about you and your character.  Eventually the smoke will clear.  People will see things as they really are.  You will not be known as the popular one, or the fantastic one.  You will be known as the bully.  The mean and nasty one.  Is that what you really want?

This bullying thing NEEDS to stop!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Facebook is the devil.....

There, I said it...

Facebook is the devil.

In my teachings growing up, I was taught that Satan/the devil doesn't come into your life appearing scary and evil.

If it did, people wouldn't be so quick to follow.  They'd be scared, not intrigued or easily tempted.

It instead comes to you wrapped as a pretty package tied with a great big beautiful bow, promising friends, fun, happiness and renewed friendships - maybe even love.  It all seems fabulous.  The attraction is irresistible.  Until the box opens...

I've noticeably been spending less and less time interacting on my personal Facebook page.  More than once I've gotten zapped by other's interpretations of posts or comments I've made or jokes I've shared.  I'll post something or share something I saw on another page, and someone somewhere will see the post, internalize it and somehow decide it's about them.  It's just not worth it.

If it's real, I own it.  If not - that's your problem not mine.  Check your conscience...

See?  Facebook IS the devil. It takes innocuous little comments that could mean a million things in one person's life - and another person will take the post as a personal attack.

This devil takes many forms...

The most recent form of evil I'm referring to is Internet bullying and the case in Florida where 12 and 14 year old girls, and as many as 15 others bullied a 12 year old girl to the point where she couldn't take anymore.  She so sadly took her own life.  Bullying in itself is its own issue.  The ease and reach of the Internet compounds the issue, making it so wide spread the poor girl couldn't escape from it.  To the victim, this little girl, it appeared that EVERYONE knew and believed EVERYTHING that was being said.  She felt 12 years old.  Just a year older than my little girl.

A sad example of how numbing the Internet has become.
It's such a routine part of life that sometimes parents don't even take it seriously - as in this case, and worse the young girls didn't even care.  The one girl posted, "Yes ik [I know] I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a (expletive)]"
(quote taken from USA Today post October 16, 2013)

...and the parents refuse to believe that their "good girl" would do such a thing.

Personally, I've always monitored my kids' social media accounts.  Email and all.  Invasion of privacy?  Yeah - I don't care.  Agree or not, I'm mom.  It's my house.  When you move out into your own little world, you can have all the privacy you want.  In my house, I want to know who you're calling "friend", who you're talking to, where you're going and who you're going with.  It's my responsibility as a parent to keep my children safe and teach them to be responsible for their actions.  Period!  I'm not a liberal mom and I don't want to be one.  My children always know they're safe and loved - and they know there is a line they need to respect.  Did my son hate this while he was a teenager?  Yes!  He absolutely did, but ya know what - he didn't "hate me forever" and he's a responsible functioning member of society serving our country.  I couldn't be more proud of him.
My girls' can expect the same.

It is my job as a parent to be sure that the wonderful world of Facebook doesn't turn into a world full of danger, sadness and bullying.  That an internet weirdo isn't trying to lure my kids into a dangerous situation (which happened in my town), or even that my child is being the bully.  It is my job to know and to protect.

No one thinks of these things.  Myself included.  I'm guilty.

It's not until the glass shatters and you realize that the Internet / Facebook can be a cruel and dangerous world;  A place where marriages are destroyed.  A place where people mentioning a vacation could get you robbed.  A place where mean spirited people will intentionally try to hurt you.

Suddenly the world of wonder and surprise - reaching out to new friends all over the globe becomes a liability.  The place where Satan's face is revealed and it becomes a heart breaking evil.

What fun is it to share pictures and witty quotes across the net if they're only going to be held against you?  Why say anything if someone is going to be in a "mood" and decide it's about them?  Why tell your online friends about your vacation - if you may get robbed?  Why share a picture that someone else may see and feel left out, wondering why they weren't included.  Even if the picture was taken a year ago...  You can't tell.  You can't read tone.  You can't read intent - especially if you don't know every single thing that's going on in a person's life.

It's a world completely based on assumption and paranoia.

Wow, what a difference from wonder & surprise.

I do still have Facebook.  I hate it for what it has become, and for what I learn every day - but I keep it for the good things like seeing my family and friends in other states/countries lives.  I get to see pictures of their kids and feel a small part of their lives.

This is why I stay - but my eyes are wide open.  I know that Facebook IS the devil.

But I am aware of the devil and I refuse to let it have any power over me.

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Monday, October 7, 2013


I hope you all read the title of this in the voice of the paperboy in the movie Better Off Dead...

Yeah, I know it's an 80's movie...  You youngins' can click on the word paperboy above :)

Here's the story...
For the past 6 years, through to the beginning of this year we've had the same bus, same bus schedule, every day for the entire school year.
Arrival time...8:14 AM on the nose.  It was a beautiful thing.

I was comfortable in that.
I woke the girls up at 7 am, fed them their breakfast, and got them going on their own.  When it got closer to time to leave, I'd holler out for my time checks to keep myself in order and we all did our thing.  Everything was perfectly scheduled.  My morning routine was a well greased wheel....
"Get the Led out" is on - time to take the dog out for a pee and get her into her crate.  8:10, out the door and to the bus stop.  8:14 bus arrives, kiddies go off to school, I go off to work.  All is right in Jenn Land.

If you don't know - I'm a creature of habit.  I work great on a schedule.  I like to know what to expect.  I can be really annoying in this way.  If I'm in forward motion - don't stop me to ask me for something.  I must complete the task I set forth to do - otherwise it will not only upset my apple cart, but I will probably completely forget about what I was headed to do.


I loved our little bus schedule.  It was something I could count on.  I knew what to expect.  I had my time managed exactly correct so that all flowed smoothly.  No issues.  No ogre mommy yelling at the girls to get moving.  Peace and harmony abound and all that good stuff.

Not anymore.....
Suddenly, after 6 years of peace, harmony and total Kumbaya in my household on school days - the second week of school the transportation department decided to throw a wrench into my well greased wheels.  THIS YEAR we would be getting a new bus - a bigger bus AND a new schedule.  WHAT??

Wait, it gets better...
Not only did we get a new schedule - but the first day of the new schedule, they didn't even bother to tell us that the NEW pick up time would be 8:04 am....  8:04!

Do they not know what the loss of 10 minutes would do to my life???  To my household???

Suddenly the cue of "Get the Led out" no longer meant time to walk the dog... Now it means hurry the hell up - get out the door and to the bus stop before we miss the damn bus!

8:01 is not a smiley happy time for me now.  It's a holy crap - we're late.  I didn't make lunches yet.  The short one didn't brush her teeth.  Why is the dog upstairs?


Is anyone feelin' me here??

Does the transportation department NOT get the importance of 10 minutes in the life of a working mom?  Heck - scratch that... ANY mom/dad/aunt/uncle/grandma/grandpa/caretaker of school age child.

Give It BACK!!  

10 minutes may as well be 3 hours.

You're coming 10 minutes early???  Sorry, no can do...

But we MUST do!  Ugh!

We are a few weeks into this new schedule now.  Do you think that it's working for us yet?  No!  It's not.

So come Monday, I have no other choice but to take my ten minutes from some place else.  I will dip into my quiet time, wake the girls up 10 minutes earlier and reprogram my life.  To hope to get out the door on time...


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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pet Peeve.... The Glorification of Suicide on Television

Ya know what I have an issue with??

The glorification of suicide on television.

Does anyone else see this?

Does anyone else notice that there's more and more of this on TV?

Or is it just me?

I know that there are plenty of things people have issues with on television; too much sex, too much violence, too many naughty words - I get it and totally agree with all of it.  It's all just too much.

I don't understand WHY that would be a big review grabber for people that it needs to be shown.

Suicide is a super sensitive subject to me.  I've lost two family members to suicide... my dad and my brother.

I don't want to see it on television.  I don't want to see it in movies.  I don't want to see it.

For me it's a "false memory" that plays out in my mind on a regular basis - reliving what must have been the most awful moments of my brother and father's lives.  The end of their lives, playing out on a TV or movie screen.

Why does this need to be shown?

I don't want or need to see anyone holding a gun to their head or to their throat or anything on that level.

Preventing suicide is a difficult thing.  Depression runs rampant, especially in a day and age where the economy sucks and bullying has become the norm, where many parents don't accept responsibility for the actions of their children & where people feeling lost don't always ask for help.

It's almost as if TV is playing it all out for them...  making it an easy choice.

"Hey, life is hard... let me just go get the gun or the pills or the razor -- I saw it on TV, it doesn't look that hard, and I'M suffering WAY more than that person on TV was...  this is what I need to do."

This is what scares me.  The desensitization.  The acceptance.
The total disregard for human life, across the board.

Maybe I'm over reacting.  Maybe.

But what if I'm not.

It is my very strong opinion that television, movies and the video gaming industry has largely desensitized modern day youth against violence.  For them, it's the norm.  They see it all the time.  It's no big deal.  For the younger, less developed mind - characters get shot or shoot themselves all the time and then they are right back on the show / game / movie the next day.  It's not real.

But it is.

And I have a huge problem with it.

I know my little voice won't mean much in any of this... but it's out there.

Maybe someone will hear it.

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If you are in crisis, call1-800-273-TALK (8255)National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Forever friends.... my touch stones

It's funny the way things work out in life.

I've had some eye opening experiences with regard to friendships over the past year.
Heck over the past few months!

Even though I've always known that everyone who smiles at me isn't necessarily my friend, or someone I can trust, it still catches me off guard when things I don't expect come to light.

It's this type of thing that makes me appreciate my forever friends so much more.

I, in no way, mean to take away from my other close friendships with this post.  I am a person who has many "old" friends, some my very close "forever friends" and a few very close newer friends.  Real friends.  People I trust.  People who have come through my life during different seasons, for different reasons and people I love deeply.

This post, however, is about two very specific friends...  Pam and Jill.

This past weekend, I helped Pam say good bye to her brother.  Alongside me was one of my other forever friends, Jill.

Pam, Jill and I spent quite a bit of time together during our younger years.  Adolescence through teens, to twenty something now.

These women know me.
They know more about me than most anyone else on the planet, even my husband, even my closest family.  The three of us lived through things together that would very possibly leave people's jaws hanging - should we ever tell.  We wouldn't.  We know each other. To the core, well beyond what anyone else sees.  We don't talk to each other every day, every week or every month. We sometimes go years without even seeing each other - but if one of us needs - day or night. We're there for each other.  No questions asked.

Again, I say - I take nothing away from my other very close friends - because I know for a fact that I have this in my other friendships.  These friendships are just different.

There are no walls. There's no insecurity or holding back words, wondering what the other would think if we said what we really thought. We say what we need to say.  Period - and we still love each other.

Jill and I already know the pain of losing a brother.  Even though Jimmy was the "older brother", he was only 51 and he was Pam's brother.  Jill and I understand that feeling of the "hole in your heart and soul" when a sibling dies.  It's just one more thing the three of us have together.  Good or bad, we get each other and now there's that.

I hadn't seen Pam since my brother died, six years ago.  I can't even remember.  We only talk via Facebook - or an occasional phone call.  Jill and recently I just started meeting up once a week, if we are able.  She meets me down the street from where my daughter does cheer - because she knows I'd get lost in a paper bag.  :)

Yet when the three of us got together, even in a really crappy situation - time just melted away.  None of us shut up from the second we sat together until the second we left, as if we'd never been apart.  There was no struggling for what to talk about, no weirdness.

...And it was then that all of the silliness that had been going on in my life melted into the nothing.

It didn't matter at all.

The realization that real friendship defies time and space.  There are no walls.  No tip toeing around each other.  No secrets, no lies - no nonsense.  Just love.

THAT is friendship.  Real, true friendship.  No bullshit - no silliness.  Just love.

In touching back with my friends, I was able to see things more clearly.

Sometimes you need to touch back - to those who know you to your core - to see what things really are.

To realize - that if it's too hard - it's not worth it.  Those who know you, know you.  Those who love you, love you.

No walls, no bullshit, no games, no nonsense...  period, end of story.

The real and true friends you can touch back to - bring you back to you.

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