28 December 2013


What does it mean...this word "Character"? We have all heard someone say "Oh he's a real character" what does that mean? What does it mean to have good character, or bad character?

To me (and let's face it, this blog is about me bitches) character is about how you present yourself, the entirety of your personality added into the social constructs you choose to participate in and even includes social constructs you choose NOT to participate in...

Well that was awful wordy and didn't say a thing!

Okay so let's distill it a little bit...

Character is what you show to the world when you're out there doing what it is you do when you do what you do (or do not do).

I try to have good character...integrity, honesty, caring, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, the whole nine. At the same time, I cuss like a trucker, burp like a dude (gender stereotypes free of charge), and think practically everything in my life is hilarious. I don't always succeed. Sometimes I downright fail and sometimes I fail on purpose.

Lately, my character has come into question. Quite frequently. Actually much more frequently than I care to even admit. It has been hard...very hard.

Recently someone came into my life who systematically attempted to destroy it. By destroy it I mean, she attempted to bring me down in ways that are unimaginable. She alienated me from my friends and family, violated my trust, stole from my bank account, lied about everything, and then tried to get me fired from my job.

I'm still recouping. Obviously. In the aftermath of this, I am reminded of how important character is, namely, good character. Even still, I'm being accused of terrible things by a noted liar, thief, and con.

The sad part...

Some of them are true.

So I've cried, I've raged, I've cried some more, and raged some more. I've put her in jail, and attempted to survive the destruction she has left behind. I have picked up, moved on, and attempted to glue back together my shattered life.

While doing this I have attempted to learn what there is to be learned from this. The betrayal, the hurt, the lies, the destroyed trust...there must be meaning in it, and I REFUSE to have that meaning be "don't trust anyone" so what do I need to learn....

What I am choosing to learn from this is how important character is...the knowledge that I am not the person she tried to make me be. That I am not guilty of everything she accused me of...and the desire to make myself not guilty of the things she accused me of that were true.

Each day, I get up, and remember to breathe in, and breathe out. Remember that this too shall pass and that I've been through worse and survived...and then I remember that my integrity is still in tact, my daughter is fine, I am alive, and healthy. I am able to love and be loved in return. I will trust again, and I already have. I will have to strive to be better...every day. Some day I will arrive :)

This is my life. Characters welcome :) (Good characters only please, the part of the evil witch has already been cast, lol)

Also, shout out to Christie :P

27 September 2013

Tell your story

I'm not sure when we learn that telling our story is not allowed...somewhere in between Kindergarten where show and tell is encouraged and graduation where we have learned that only funny or interesting things should be shared but somewhere in the middle of that we learn to hide our pain or suffering and put on a brave face.

I am sure we have all been told at one time or another to put on our big girl panties and suck it up...but that doesn't mean you can't share your experience.

Sharing your story accomplishes several things:

1. It is cathartic. Telling your story allows you to get it out of your system. It is a purge of what hurts and allows you to reframe it, process it, and move on.

2. It reminds you of where you've been. It is helpful to look at what has shaped you. It helps you figure out what is hanging you up and what is adding to your life.

3. It can inspire others. There may be someone going through what you've just been through and your story may give them hope. You may help them feel less alone in their pain. Maybe you are the only one who went through something but in the future someone else may hear your story and it may help them add perspective to their own or make it through when they encounter the same issue.

Either way, telling your story has value...so don't be afraid to tell it.

13 September 2013


I think forgiveness and love walk hand in hand. You can forgive people you don't love, but you cannot love people you don't forgive. I know you're saying "Oh Forgiveness, enough woman...shut up about forgiveness already!!!"

Hear me out now...

There are things out there that are truly unforgivable...and really truly, you are the only person who can determine what those things are. For some people, the "unforgivable" list is longer than others.

For me, personally, there isn't much I will not forgive. Bump into me, say you're sorry..forgiven. Act like an ass, say you're sorry...forgiven. Eat the last Snickers with almonds... ;)

That being said, I struggle with forgiveness the same as everyone else. Some people in my life have recently pointed out that I am "quick to forgive". I don't know that I am so much quick to forgive as I am anxious to settle issues. I absolutely despise going to bed with issues still brewing out there. They spin around in my head and taunt me with things I shouldn't have said/done and things I should have said/done.

Forgiveness to me is more than being told in Sunday School that we must forgive although that certainly plays a role in my eagerness to forgive.

My true desire to be forgiving stems from my experiences of not being forgiven. I've felt the sting of having an apology laughed at or thrown in my face or ruled to be "insincere". I've anguished over angry words or thrown pepper or various other "unforgivable" things I've done in my past. There was one particular argument I had with my sister that haunted me for years. For years I would lay down at night and replay every word spoken and wish I could take back hurtful things I had said and done to her.

So having walked a "mile" in those shoes, I'd much rather be forgiving than think that my unwillingness to forgive is haunting someone...although it would be nice to think that some jerks out there are laying in bed right now wishing they could take back something they said to me...

The amazing thing to me about forgiveness is when you truly forgive someone, it makes you feel better..like a weight is lifted and you don't have to think about that anymore, it is done and over with.

So along with my desire that everyone out in the world be gentle to each other I would like to request that everyone be forgiving...whatever that looks like for you.

Be Gentle.
Be Forgiving.


04 September 2013

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are...e.e. cummings

The road to who I am has not been easy. I would even go so far out on a limb to say my road has been very difficult. I did not have very many caring people in my life growing up and I certainly did not have anyone open minded enough to encourage me to be myself.

Despite all of this, the biggest step of courage I took was admitting to myself that I was not who I imagined I would be when I was growing up, and move into a place of acceptance that who I actually was is better than I could have imagined anyway. That form of acceptance to me, was the most difficult. Far more difficult than others acceptance of me. I suppose, not knowing what I wanted out of myself, others find it easier to see me for who I am, not who I wanted to be and failed to become.

All of that aside, I recently "came out" to my mom. It did not go well. It saddens and surprises me, really. She had to have seen it coming, but regardless, one would hope that the love one has for their child outweighs any "wrongdoings" they may do. That wasn't the case.

The hardest part of this isn't that my mom doesn't "approve" of my "choices". I expected that. It is the feeling that I wasted so much time. That I could have been happier sooner had I just bit the bullet and been myself a long time ago. If I had known it would cost me my relationship with my mom anyway, I wouldn't have put all of the effort, time, and tears into trying so desperately to living up to a standard I cannot live up to.

I am sad. That my mom doesn't get me and will never get me. That she misses out on meeting my girlfriend because she doesn't like that I have one. Mostly I'm heartbroken that she will never understand how desperately I just want to love her and be loved by her. How I don't want her to change, I just want her to stop being so cruel.

Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but regardless, I am living my life for me now, not someone else and for the first time in my life, I am free.

26 August 2013


Okay far enough out of re-entry that I feel I can post about fest. For those of you who have stumbled upon this blog or don't know me, or know me but live in a vacuum, Michfest is the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival www.michfest.com that occurs every August in Michigan. It is an amazing week of camping, workshops, music, and fun. (I don't attend workshops, don't judge)

So this year, I had what we call festie virgins with me. Two of my friends from Florida who flew up for the chance to experience a piece of heaven for one week. What a blast!!! We had so much fun and got to sit around and chat and be silly and laugh and cry and eat and enjoy music and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Fest this year was relatively drama free. I was able to spend a lot of time with my daughter which was amazing and meet up with friends each night for night stage which was so fun. The politics wasn't as prevalent as it has been in previous years, maybe because this year I chose to sit it out. No T shirts declaring a side, no color choices, no activism, just fest.

Some artists spoke from the stage, some didn't. It didn't make a statement about them if they didn't....and it didn't make a statement about them if they did....why? Because freedom of speech exists even in a private venue.

As to the intention of festival...I am okay with it changing. I don't understand and cannot picture HOW it can change without creating a mess of problems, but if it does change, and LV figures out how to navigate that issue, I will still return to fest.

Fest is too important to me to leave it behind simply because it changes. We all change. The only constant in life is change. If fest changes, I will still support it.

So that is that...fest was awesome. Re-entry was not :)

Be gentle!

24 July 2013

Be Gentle

It is that time of year...July...almost August. I am so excited for Michfest I can barely focus on anything else. I love Michfest because it is women only. There is just something about female energy that is soothing and healing to the soul...but there is something about female ONLY energy that is magic. Hard to describe.

One of the things I crave about fest is the gentleness. I'm not trying to make a correlation between male energy and violence, I'm simply saying...at fest we have an intentional community. Meaning we all agree with the intention of the festival. (This is not about the trans inclusion intention)

The intention of festival is to create a community built by women for women to share like experiences, learn from each other and heal from the day to day stress of living in a world ruled by male energy.

Whether you believe in that or not, not the point here...

The point is, part of our deliberate intention is to be gentle. To the earth, to each other, to the world around us.

This comes to mind more frequently for me in the months of June and July because I am not the most gentle person on the planet...by far. I am a tiger most of the time. Well meaning, but not gentle.

At fest, I get to be gentle, to others around me. To myself. I get to allow myself the breakdown that inevitably comes and not be ashamed of my tears or my pain or my happiness for that matter.

My life has not been gentle. I don't know what gentle looks like...except at fest. I've never felt gentle hugs of reassurance, gentle strokes of loving kindness, gentle words of encouragement. Except at fest.

I walk through July on the brink of tears and cry at the drop of a hat it drives me crazy...mostly because I am preparing for the journey home, to my magic place of Michigan Music where I can sit and cry and still stand strong.

So today, again..life was not gentle and I was faced with something I really am not prepared for and have no idea how to fix or if it can be fixed or if I even want to fix it. Someone was not gentle to me and I didn't want to reply with gentleness but then I think...I have to be a model of what I expect from others.

So tonight...Be Gentle. Give gentle hugs, gentle strokes, gentle words. Hopefully you can receive the same back.

If not, be gentle anyway. Most of all, be gentle to yourself. It is through your love of yourself that you will show others how to love you.

11 July 2013


Thought I would update a bit on my personal life since I've just been posting rambling things and not really updating anything...

I am a hospice social worker currently. Also in school for my doctorate. I started my dissertation (insert panic attack here)

My dissertation is on gaps in services provided to foster youth emancipating from foster care which is fancy for "how come foster kids are homeless all the time".

Obviously it has personal ties to me and the fact that I was a foster kid and then adopted and I finished high school homeless.

My daughter is doing well, and doesn't seem at all messed up which is amazing because there are a million mistakes I make all the time....ALL THE TIME. She's amazing though.

I am currently living in the same place I've been living in all through grad school etc but looking to move to another state soon(ish). Stay tuned for that right? Who knows it could be another 4 years before I update haha.

So that's me in a nutshell. (and believe me, this shell is nutty)

Hasta luego!

You cannot fix what you will not acknowledge

To me, growing up is about personal accountability. In other words, own your shit. It was when I looked back and realized my behavior was horrible that I realized I had grown up. When I could honestly say to my mom "Sorry for being such a shit" and mean it. When I could look at feedback and criticism and not stomp my feet and throw a fit but listen to it, acknowledge it, and actually be THANKFUL for it. It was the day I realized that at the end of the day, it isn't about what was said to me, done to me, or not done for me...it was about what my response was...it was about owning the role I played in what happened to me.

Now I'm not talking about random horrible things that happen...I'm talking about realizing that choices, decisions, activity or inactivity drive me to whatever destination I arrive at.

In the Air Force we were taught the USAF core values:

1. Integrity
2. Service before self
3. Excellence in all we do

I take that kind of seriously...well actually I do take it seriously and I find myself repeating those to myself throughout my life...just randomly they pop into my head. I try really hard to be honest with everyone. Do I succeed every time? No. Not at all.

Recently I was accused by a friend of doing something I didn't do. Not only did I not do it, it hadn't even occurred to me to do it. At first I just simply told her "I didn't do it". Then she was still suspicious so I explained to her that I didn't do it and that I didn't even think along those lines with her. Then she accused me again and AGAIN I told her I didn't do it.

I considered explaining to her all of the reasons why I didn't do it...I was too busy to even THINK about doing it. I had no reason to do it or motive to do it. I have been preoccupied with far more important things than doing that. I don't even know HOW to do what it is she thinks I did.

I didn't do that. Why?

Because she isn't worth it. She knows my character and how important her friendship was to me. I told her the truth when I told her I didn't do it. So the last words I said to her was some day the truth will out and you will realize that I have been innocent all along. I have never lied to her. Ever. I have owned and acknowledged my role in everything that has happened throughout our knowing each other, she has no reason to think that I would lie to her now....but she refuses to accept the truth...why?

I think it really comes down to integrity...

In order to have really good integrity, we have to be honest...with ourselves first, then others. Because integrity is really something internal to each of us. We have to decide whether something breaks our moral and ethical principles or not...which means we have to deal with reality. 

The problem is, when you reject the idea of ethical principles, you begin to think that nobody else operates under them either. My friend couldn't believe that I wouldn't have done what she thinks I did because if the role was reversed, SHE would have done it. She CANNOT accept that someone else may have the integrity NOT to do it. Because of her refusal to be honest with herself, she cannot accept that I am being honest with her.

In a similar vein have you ever noticed that people who cheat always think people are cheating on them? This is because people think that everyone would do to them what they would do to other people. They don't want to acknowledge that they are alone in doing to people what they are doing. It is much easier to think that everyone else would do it, or everyone else IS doing it.

One of the basic tenets of therapy is that you cannot fix what you will not acknowledge.

The same applies to life, yes?

You cannot fix what you will not acknowledge.

I can tell you that there is a wall in front of you and that you need to take exactly ten steps and then jump to clear it. If you don't acknowledge that wall, you're not going to make it over it. You're going to hit it every single time. As soon as you acknowledge that wall, and accept ownership of what you have to do to get over it, you're going to hit it every time. Saying to yourself "that wall doesn't exist" doesn't change the wall. Only acknowledging the wall allows you to get over it.

You may be wronged by someone...someone clearly wronged my friend. You may accuse other people..you may destroy a friendship over it...and that may or may not be justified...but You alone can acknowledge the role YOU played in whatever wrong was purposed against you.

In December, I was sexually assaulted by a friend when I traveled to help them out. There were a million things wrong with the situation. I knew going into it, something wasn't right. As soon as I arrived, I knew. Instead, I was worried about hurting this friend's feelings so I stayed and in the end, she assaulted me.

I can look at that situation and say it is her fault, she assaulted me. That is true. She violated every boundary and committed a crime against me. However, I played a role in that. I walked into a situation with every single alarm bell in my head, gut, hands, feet, heart screaming at me to run back home. I chose to stay. That is my role. It wasn't until I acknowledged that role that I played that I was able to stop having nightmares about it and sleep soundly once again.

Accepting your role in things...doesn't change the responsibility of the other person to accept their role, but it allows you to learn, grow, and not make the same mistake again. It frees you up to forgive, forget, move on, heal wounds, release bitterness, accept reality, fix it, own it, change from it.

Once you do that, then you can be free...and freedom is a good thing. 

26 June 2013

Why Gay Marriage isn't a Religious Issue

DOMA got a massive smack in the face today by the Supreme Court. Of course there are three sides to the issue...

1. People who are for DOMA
2. People who are against DOMA
3. Stark raving lunatics who aren't educated on any of the issues, they just spout out what they heard from their husband, boss, coworker, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, Rush Limbaugh...whatever.

I give those people their own special spot because of this sweetheart I ran into at Wal-Mart today. I turned to my daughter and said "DOMA died today" and of course she had no idea what I was talking about. 1. She's 13 2. She's 13. So I explained to her what it was and what the Supreme Court had to say about it. This woman in front of me turned and said "So the Supreme Court upheld DOMA?" (Hopeful look) and I said "No, they killed it". Her face fell and she said "So states have no power huh?"


This is why I made a special category for people who are clueless and just spew whatever party line they were handed by whomever in their life gives a crap about this issue (because clearly they don't).

This leads me to my blog post for today: Why Gay Marriage isn't a Religious Issue.

1. Our country, when it was founded, attempted to separate itself from rule by the church. This is because traditionally, England was ruled by whatever rules governed the church at the time. England if it was catholic followed the rulings of the pope, and if it was Anglican followed the rulings of the head of the Anglican church which was usually the king. These puritans (God bless their witch burning souls) didn't want to be told what to believe and what church to worship at, so they said "Let us hasten awayeth and maketh unto ourselves a new country" and off they went into the wild blue yonder and our sweet little country was born (after we slaughtered a bunch of Indians and pretended we were the first to arrive here). So one of the rules that was important to this little group of religious zealots was that they not be forced to follow any religion so they instituted this idea of "separation of church and state" which, QUITE simply (because I am a simple girl) means that the church will not make laws that everyone has to follow. If one wants to follow the church, one can, and if they don't, they can be burned at the stake...(but that's another story)

2. We assign rights and privileges to married couples that allows for certain benefits, namely tax benefits, health benefits and inheritance benefits to be passed among married couples that do not exist for single people (gay or otherwise). So if you choose to say "I do", you get breaks and benefits and protections that are offered ONLY to married people.

So herein lies the problem.

1. Not everyone is Christian.
2. The church cannot govern the laws of the people.

IF marriage was ONLY a religious institution. That is, if it was only a religious ceremony performed in a church in front of your church family...such as baptism, dedications, etc. Then I would say "Sure you have the right to deny gay people the right to marry since your religious beliefs say gay is bad". Just like someone can walk into a baptist church and be denied baptism because they don't believe the tenets of that faith. Or you can walk into a catholic church and be denied communion for not being catholic. If you walk into a Christian church with a rainbow wig on, they have the right to tell you that they will not marry you.


When the Federal government assigns rights to that institution, it now becomes a civil rights issue and not a religious issue. If the federal government afforded tax breaks to people who are baptized...it would become a similar issue.

Since people are allowed to get married regardless of faith (even those who have no faith at all!) then you have to allow marriage for people who are involved in a relationship you may think is sinful. Since your idea of "sin" is not necessarily their idea of "sin" and you are not allowed to enforce your personal religious beliefs on other people. I'm sorry, you're not.

This doesn't destroy the "moral fabric" of our society anymore than prostitution and porn and gambling and adultery do.

When you look two people in the face and you tell them "Because I personally believe what you're doing is a sin, you shouldn't get the same rights I do" you are being an asshole. Would you like it if someone was able to come up to you and remove your rights because you don't believe the same thing they do?? This goes directly against the whole reason why America was formed in the first place....for the right to gather practice their religion without the government taking away their rights.

Don't even get me started on the notion of "traditional marriage" anyway. Traditional according to what?

Feeling Special

I was asked recently if I just wanted to see my name on something to "feel special". Considering I was running on 46 minutes of sleep at the time, it wasn't a fair statement to make to me, but it made me think.

What is wrong with wanting to feel special?

I think we can all agree that it is okay to feel special once in awhile. We've all enjoyed our name in lights at one time or another...but more than that, appreciation (or at the very least validation) can go a long way to soothing someone's hurt feelings and make them feel better.

Is it hard to say to someone "Thank you"?

Now if you want to feel special all the time, there can be an issue there, but to be appreciated once in awhile, especially after a long and exhausting day, perfectly okay.

One thing I've struggled with in my childhood and adulthood has been trying hard not to act like I think I am special. I will hold back on good news or hold back a comment and even sometimes dumb myself down just so that people don't think I have an ego I don't have. I will jokingly say I'm kind of a big deal or whatever, but in reality, I need appreciation and approval as much as the next person.

One example of this is my grades and education. I am proud of my accomplishments and I will share them on my facebook or whatever, but I don't make a big deal of it. I don't think I've ever thrown a party for my accomplishments. I've gone out to dinner with friends and I've had a cookout..okay maybe that's a slight party. I kind of feel all the time that I have to say "No its no big deal really" when it kind of is. When I was younger, my sisters struggled educationally so I would downplay my A as not a big deal to my own detriment.

My sisters think school and education has always come easy to me. They haven't seen me skip lunch to study and sneaking out to the living room after my parents went to sleep to study my math one last time before a test. They've not seen me delete entire paragraphs of writing and start it over. Why? Because in an effort to make it look like it didn't matter, I hid how hard I worked for it. So that I could shrug and say No big deal.

Regardless of how hard I worked for it, it would have been okay to feel just a little bit special for getting an A.

So, wherever you are, show your appreciation for people and be genuine. It is okay to make someone feel special once in awhile. It is okay to say Thank you.

Most importantly...it is okay to feel special once in awhile. Celebrate you. You are the only you there is :)

24 June 2013


Honesty has been a concept that has been rearing its head quite frequently in my life the past few weeks. Not a personal requirement to be honest, more of a concept of honesty. What is the definition of honesty?

Since honesty is an ethical decision, it is important to consider ones ethics when considering honesty. Everybody has a different definition of honesty. Sure, we all agree that walking up to someone and telling them a bold face lie is a violation of honesty, but is omission a violation of honesty? 

In ethics, we discuss the concept of happiness, greater good, and ethical dilemmas such as honesty, integrity, etc. 

To me, my personal definition of honesty, I think absolutely omission is a violation of honesty. 

Let me give you some examples:

1. I walk up to you and ask you "Did the Indians win?" You say "Yes" I find out later, they did not win last night, they lost. Did you lie? 

One thought is yes, you did lie. I asked you a question and you did not give an honest answer. But did you? I didn't say Did the Indians win last night...I said did the Indians win...so...I could have been asking have the Indians ever won a game. So you didn't lie. However, it can be assumed that you knew I was asking about last night...so then you did lie. But what if they were winning when you went to bed and you didn't check the score. Are you wrong for saying Yes when you genuinely thought they won? Did you lie then?

And so begins the idea that honesty is defined by the two parties involved in the conversation. 

What happens when the two parties involved in the conversation have two very different ideas of what constitutes honesty?

For example, someone close to me states that if I don't ask them a direct question, they aren't lying. I maintain that lying by omission is still a lie. Who is right?

For me, personally, I strive to be honest in everything I do. I am not 100% honest, I would argue that nobody is, but I try my best to be as honest as possible. Why? So I can sleep at night. I never replay a conversation wondering if that person knew I was lying, because I'm not.

However, 100% honesty doesn't come without a price. Many people know a lot of dirt on me that they may or may not choose to use at any given time. To me, that doesn't matter, but it has led to embarrassment more than once. The other side of the coin is that people suspect me all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. People think I have some sort of motivation or game I'm playing when in fact, I'm just being (I like to think refreshingly) honest.

In reality I am honest because I cannot stand lying. I cannot stand being lied to, and I frankly don't have enough time in my day to keep lies straight. Not to mention the utter betrayal and insult when I find out that someone has lied to me. My favorite is when people will stand in front of me and lie repeatedly to my face. Sometimes I want to reach out and smack them and say "I'm not that stupid, try again".

I would like to challenge all of my readers (even if it is only one reader, haha) to try honesty on for size. When someone asks you a question, say what comes to mind. Don't think about what is "acceptable" or "expected" speak the truth. Be Brave.

There is a song out right now that I love (isn't it odd how songs are released sometimes RIGHT at the RIGHT time?) This one is by Sara Bareilles..."Brave"

The chorus is:
Say what you want to say, let the words fall out
I want to see you be brave.

Think of how refreshing this world would be if people were more honest. There would be no hurt of finding out that someone who was super nice to your face turns out to be a cunt behind your back. You're not going to wonder what someone REALLY thought about your dress, you're going to know...

Sure sometimes the truth hurts, but nothing does as much damage in a life as a lie. Not to mention the real danger...when you start lying to yourself. 

23 June 2013


There is a lot of value placed on education, in our society, by our parents, by ourselves. In my home, education is pretty much assumed. You will graduate high school, you will go to college, you will be educated. What we miss from our education though is the big picture. The way it all fits into our lives and improves our abilities to function in society (or in our families, or online, or in a relationship).

For example, we learn that every action has a equal and opposite reaction. If you push a door, the door also pushes you. Now what we don't realize is we've been applying this law (Newton's 3rd law of motion) our whole lives. We just didn't know we were. For example, we are able to adjust the force we use against a door to push harder if the door is pushing harder against us than we are against it. (Ta da!) So we sit in science or math or whatever class you are learning this in and we work the problems and we scratch our heads and wonder why this even needed to BE a law (unlike gravity, which absolutely must remain a law ;) ) and we don't realize that we prove this law every single time we do something, or every time something else does something, or every time our dog does something.

It would be better if our education was tailored to show just how much it applies to our lives. I would also be better if our education would cover other important topics and not just the three R's (of which one is not an R but an A and can I just say that knowing that fact has been driving me absolutely crazy my whole life. I don't care if it sounds better, the fact is, there are not three R's....ugh...)

Okay so what if we learned more about consequences. What if we had entire classes on these kinds of things (Like ethics??? quiet down you in the back....) starting when we were younger. What if we didn't have to go to college to learn things like ethics.

What if, instead of teaching Timmy that hitting is bad, we explain why. Not just "Hitting is bad because it hurts" but "Hitting is bad because it hurts, and you don't want to be hurt, and neither does Jimmy. Not to mention, you've encroached on his rights and safety and now he doesn't know if you are a stable person or not. He probably won't hang out with you tomorrow because you have shown that you can lose your temper and get violent"...okay now I sound like a pansy.

Either way, consequences. We don't teach them enough. We don't study them enough. We create adults who can't figure out what the hell they are, why they keep creeping up in their lives, and why they have to suffer them when they "don't wanna!!!"

So here is a consequence lesson:

If you make a decision, it has both positive and negative consequences. BOTH. Yes, both. Always. Yes, Always. Always. (Stop trying to think of one that is only positive, there is no such decision).

You can choose to cross the street. The good consequences are: You are now further down the street, you may be closer to your goal, you may have arrived at your destination, you have exercised today, you may be in a safer spot. The bad consequences are: You risked your life to cross the street, you may have been hit by a car, you may be further from your destination, you may have taken a wrong turn, you have increased your fatigue, you may have walked into a dangerous situation.

You can choose to play the lottery. The good consequences are: You won! WOOT You're rich. The bad consequences are: You may have lost and that money was needed for bread,  you may have won and now your relatives want you to finance their lives. Your chances of being robbed have increased.

See? Consequences exist for every decision. No matter what decision you make, you have to decide whether or not the good consequences outweigh or are worth the bad. For some people, winning the lottery outweighs the family drama. For others, it doesn't.

Now I know it will drive my mother nuts that I am basically stating there is no right or wrong (I'm not) but the truth is, only you can know what consequences you're willing to deal with.

For me, going to school was worth the lack of sleep, lack of time with my family, and insane cost of education. For others, not so much. That doesn't make me better than them, that just makes their choice different than mine.

Recently I've had to take a closer look at consequences. Mainly because I wasn't doling them out appropriately. I was trying to avoid forcing people to pay the consequences for their behavior. Much like a parent tries to make decisions for their children because they have the ability to see the bigger picture. I can see if my daughter skips school that she will struggle to find a future that allows her the earning potential she needs to survive. She doesn't see that...

Lately, I've been allowing consequences to fall where they will for people in my life (primarily because my therapist kicked my ass until I stopped trying to save people from themselves). It has been hard. Very hard to see someone I love hurting when I could have prevented the situation. I got through it, so did they.

Consequences happen regardless of whether you try to stop them or not. It is hard to watch people struggle with the consequences, but if they don't struggle and get through it, they will never be able to function as adults.

And that is just one of the things they don't teach us in school.

19 June 2013

Still think we don't need feminism?

I openly identify as a feminist, I probably have since I was in my teens and I would rant and rave about my mom listening to Rush Limbaugh when he would go on these insane rants about women in the military as though having a breasts and vagina somehow meant women were incapable of providing the same services men provide in the military. Forget the fact that the military runs their bases like a small town and require doctors, social workers, therapists, chaplains, police, teachers, and various other workers in addition to soldiers, pilots, mechanics, etc.

Anyway, as I've grown into my womanhood and have embraced the fact that I am female (much in part due to Michigan Womyn's Music Festival www.michfest.com) I have become more comfortable being "out" as a feminist.

As a feminist social worker, nothing gets my "panties bunched" faster than the disparity in pay between men and women, especially the well known fact that women are less likely to be in leadership and administration roles even in female dominated fields such as *drumroll* social work.

So, when I saw this clip today and saw the ever feminist Ms. Nene Leakes ask a VERY good question I thought...Finally a woman asks a woman (who wants to be given a platform to speak from) a question involving feminist ideals and asks a question that begs to be answered.

Alas, Miss Utah failed miserably to deliver what could have been an amazing answer from an amazing woman. Instead she stuttered her way through some nonsense statement about bringing it back to "creating education" and "creating jobs" and tried to grin her way through what was a colossal bellyflop.

Yet, people STILL think feminism is not important. Well hell, we wrenched the right to vote from cold dead white men's hands...and we finally get to serve in the military...what else is there to fight for? Will women NEVER be happy? (insert wink wink nudge nudge here)

No. We won't. Not until our gender ceases to be a factor in job offers and promotions. Not until you stop saying things like us working out of the home is depriving our children of good mothering. Not until you stop collecting binders full of women to attempt to look like you're female friendly. Or how about you stop penalizing us for being of child bearing age? (I was once denied a job because I might spontaneously reproduce)

Yes...feminism is still needed. Women the time has come to walk the road paved by the feminist warriors of the past and rise up and demand equal pay and opportunity for advancement. Otherwise...this is our future:


18 June 2013

and so we beat on...boats against the current....borne back ceaselessly into the past...

Anyone who knows me well knows that this is one of the most profound statements written in any literature to date...to me anyway.

I think it speaks a lot to how hard we fight to change the present but in reality we are just products of our past...

OR ARE WE? (Dramatic music!)

I was watching my favorite person the other day (Iyanla Vanzant) and she blew me away with a simple statement. "You don't have to be wounded to be worthy of love".

Think about that... "You don't have to be wounded to be worthy of love"

Now think about it again..."You don't have to be wounded to be worthy of love"

How many of us use our "story" to garner sympathy? or a kind comment? I know I'm guilty of it...definitely. I know for a fact that I have told my story to people sometimes just to get them to lay off of me. Like "Listen I'm already damaged goods, stop kicking my cantaloupes". It has worked just enough times that I have thought that in order to be truly valued in the world my "story" needed to be out there. People NEEDED to know that I've been through enough shit just to be nice to me. In order to be loved, someone had to feel sorry for me.

It has been awhile since I've done that...probably at least 5 or 6 years, but not long enough that Iyanla making that statement wasn't profound for me.

It made me think of people I know (myself included) that will toss out tidbits of what we've gone through (products of our past) in order to get through the present.

But we don't have to...we can be who we are, what we are, worth it. Without it. It doesn't HAVE to be dramatic.

Sometimes...you can just be loved for who you are...all of who you are, good, bad, past, present. Without having to be wounded.

Which brings me to my next favorite quote from an author...

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are..." e. e. cummings.