Hi. Long Time No Type.

Hi. Its been a while.

I wish I had some extremely life changing event that would explain why I took time off so early in my attempted blogging “career” (cuz I’m making ZERO dollars from this venture). I wish I had some amazing trip that explained my absence from the blogosphere and provided a wealth of writing material for those who haven’t unfollowed me at this point.

I don’t.

Instead, I have this explanation: Life got in the way and is basically being a bitch at this point.

A lot has been going on, personally, and when life throws curveballs like it did with me, well, you have to take a step back and reevaluate what is more important and then you have to focus. I focused on treading water, as I feel like that is all I have been doing for the past almost two months. My legs and arms are way tired and I am so ready for a break.

And then another curveball was thrown, or what my friend Megan likes to say, I got handed a plot twist. THIS plot twist has put us out of our rental house-water damage from leaky pipes in the wall + summer heat and zero ventilation = MOLD. I found all of this out less than a week ago. Now, we are in the process of packing up our home where we have lived for almost two years, getting items professionally cleaned, and we are moving back in with my parents. Well,my kids and I are, at least. Husband is staying with his family who live close to my parents. There is just not a lot of room and we are trying to make it all fit as best we can. Now I get to try and find a new home for us. And then my kids and school…ugh. Don’t even get me started on that.

It’s slightly overwhelming. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have wanted to throw my hands up and just scream “FUCK IT” and go eat ice cream and watch tv and play on Facebook or get sucked into a reddit hole. I’m playing a game of which I don’t know the rules and when I think I have something figured out, the rules change! But that’s life, right? Right?!?!

I’ve missed writing, though. And I hope to post more regularly after this weekend is through. So wish me luck with the move and I’ll see y’all next week.

Til then, duckies.

 

 

A Country On Fire

#BlackLivesMatterToo

#StopTheHate

#BeAnAlly

#PhilandoCastile

#AltonSterling

#NeverForget

I am in fear.

But not for myself.

I am in fear for my friends of color, fear for my family members of color, fear for all children of color who are being raised to know that, despite all the “progress” in the civil rights movement, there is still SO much further we need to go before their parents can sleep at night knowing their kids, their family members, THEY are safe.

Our country is on fire. We are being consumed by it. The flames of hate and violence are feeding on our fears, feeding on the intolerance, feeding on the blatant racism that is still so prevalent in this country. Yes, I see it. I live in the South. I see the looks my black friends get. I see the differences in treatment in the justice system. I see the differences in treatment by the law enforcement agencies.

I never thought, in my lifetime, I would see this. I never thought my children would have to see this. I have always taught it is not the color of the person’s skin that is important, but what is in their hearts. That we are all equal and that we are better than no other person around us.

I have never felt more naive in ALL MY LIFE.

I am a white woman, living in the South, married to a white man. I have white kids. I have never had to experience racism. I have never had to fear for my life because I am white. I have never had to worry someone would assume my teenage son was a threat and take his life before thinking twice just because he was a male with a certain skin color. I have never lost a family member to violence based upon their skin color. I have never experienced ANY of the atrocities that black people have because I AM WHITE. And that is what makes me naive, that is what makes me ignorant. My white privilege has made me blind to the world around me and this wake up call, this sudden thrusting of the realities of this world and how things really are sickens me. How could I be so naive? How??

HOW?!?!?!

I wish I knew. So, I am apologizing. I am sorry for anything I may have said that was naively racist. I am sorry for any assumptions I may have shared that were blatantly wrong. I am SO SORRY.

I hate this. I hate this violence. I hate that people are dying because they are black. Yes, that is what is happening. People are dying, being KILLED, because they are black. And then the protesting…the peaceful protesting of these terrible acts…shattered by more violence. More deaths. More anger. More protests. More violence. More deaths…..its this terrible vicious cycle that we keep playing out over and over and over again and it is solving NOTHING.

SHOOTING PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE BLACK IS WRONG.

SHOOTING COPS DURING A PEACEFUL PROTEST IS WRONG.

SHOOTING PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE THEM IS WRONG.

SHOOTING PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE GAY, OR MUSLIM, OR CHRISTIAN, OR WHITE, OR LATINO, OR ANY OTHER REASON IS WRONG.

SHOOTING PEOPLE OUT OF FEAR BECAUSE OF THEIR SKIN COLOR IS WRONG.

SHOOTING COPS IN RETALIATION IS WRONG.

Violence begets violence begets violence. It’s a dance we, as a human civilization, are so very familiar with and we can dance it in perfect rhythm and honestly, it’s a dance I wish we would forget sooner rather than later.

But what I will not forget are those who have lost their lives to this violence, due to the obviously ingrained racism that is so pervasive in law enforcement agencies all over the country. And I will not forget the officers that have also lost their lives to this racial violence-in retaliation or in the line of duty. I have learned something important from this, though. The Civil Rights Movement is FAR from over. FAR FROM IT. In fact, I think we have only begun to scratch the surface.

I am going to try and be a better ally. I am going to try and teach my kids to be better allies. I am going to check MY privilege if I start getting complacent. Because becoming complacent about this is a direct result OF my white privilege. I have that luxury-people of color DO NOT.

So this is me. Checking my privilege.

 

I’m Back! It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

It’s been a while. Two weeks. Two weeks since I posted about Orlando. Within that time frame, there have been shootings after murders after killings and I had to take a mental vacation from all of the violence.

Someone I know died last week. She lost her life to gun violence. It’s been all over the news. Last night I had to turn it from the late news, which I generally fall asleep to, because they did coverage of a vigil. And I just couldn’t anymore. I switched it to House Hunters and passed out, mulling over all of the craziness that has taken place. It’s overwhelming and I had to force myself to go to sleep.

I took some family time. I took some time to heal (I had a terrible cold). We went to Maryland to visit with my sister, we went to Gettysburg, Washington DC, North Carolina. My kids are still with my sister. I am now back home with the husband.

I feel like this nation is coming apart at the seams. All of this violence. All of this hatred. The vilification. Black, white, Muslim, Christian…man. Did everyone forget we are all human beings? I guess we have forgotten. Forgotten our humanity. Our compassion. Our love for our fellow man, regardless of race, religion, or creed.

So I had to take a break. I had to take a step back because my last couple of posts were slightly political and seeing as I am *NOT* a very political person, I had to push the reset button and just chill for a moment. Do some things that helped to replenish my soul, feed my heart, soothe my mind. I still have work to do-my nerves are still on edge. I could cry at the drop of a hat here lately. My emotions are so close to the surface that I am touchy about every damn thing ever.

So this is going to be a short post. I have not given up on my goal of writing…but I had to take some time to heal mentally and emotionally from all of the awfulness that is going on out there. Cuz there is a shit ton of crazy out there right now.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

It All Boils Down To Hate

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”
Maya Angelou

The events of this past weekend were, simply put, a tragedy. I am not going to argue over whether it was a religious thing, a terrorist thing, or a homophobic thing. To me, it was an act of hatred, plain and simple.

Hate.

I don’t know if I have ever felt true hate. I have felt true love and there is an old cliche that says “there is a thin line between love and hate”. I prefer to keep my toes on the love side of the line. I feel as though, however, I am part of a minority in making this choice.

I do not claim to be particularly religious. I do not claim to be a Christian, although I was baptized into the Southern Baptist Church and taught Sunday school to kindergartners for 7 years. I walked away from that church, from that belief system when I could no longer justify the hate, bigotry, and discrimination against fellow human beings coming from people who claimed to love Jesus Christ, a man who supped with tax collectors & thieves, prostitutes & heathens alike. I walked away from religion, organized Western religion, and began my own long path of spirituality. And what I found was amazing: I prefer to walk in love and light than allow the shadow of hate to cover my thoughts, actions, and feelings. My heart finally felt free. But then, I realized I was doing something I had not thought I would ever be able to do: love my fellow man unconditionally.

It isn’t easy. And yes, I dislike a great many people. But that does not stop my heart from feeling pain for their sorrows and misfortunes. That does not stop the tears from falling from my eyes when I see people hurt, harmed, or wronged. Because I believe that all of humanity deserves love, regardless of what kind of people they are and all of humanity deserves compassion for the private pain they may not reveal and all of humanity needs kindness to help heal the hurts inflicted by others.

I love my fellow man. I LOVE my fellow man so much that I could never bring myself to harm one, despite whatever difference of opinion or beliefs we may have. And so, these horrible events, these mass shootings, bombings, acts of terror…they are acts of hate. And despite the fact they are acts of hate, despite the fact that they have caused pain and suffering, my heart will still grieve for those who have committed these atrocities just as they grieve for those who are the victims. Because they were committed by men, fellow members of the human race, however, I will still hold love for them and ask the Universe to help their souls find peace. I will love these terrible people who hold hate in their hearts and souls for those who oppose their views and beliefs. I will love them and hope that, one day, others will walk the same rocky path that I am committed to following. For it is only when we come together and love each other unconditionally, without prejudices, without motives, without expectations, that we will be able to move past these terrible, hateful acts that have torn another whole into the fabric of our lives. May our willingness be the needle and our unconditional love the string to mend our ripped and torn souls so we can heal.

“Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What Stanford Taught Me

The man who thought it was okay to grope a woman he didn’t know at the bar, simply because he felt he had the right. He bought that drink for her. He should get something for it. Right?

The teenage boy who untied the cute girls’ bikini top at the neighborhood pool. Come on, it was just for fun. No one saw anything. Well…at least that is what he told her as his friends sneaked pictures of her naked breasts as she hurriedly tried to cover herself, ashamed.

The father who, while in front of his sons and daughters, made comments about how women who dress a certain way might deserve harassment. They drew attention to themselves with that outfit. Maybe next time they will think twice. That what happened to them is their fault.

The guy who takes advantage of an intoxicated woman. Sure, she is drunk. Yeah, her inhibitions are lowered. Does that mean she wants you to touch her breasts? Does that mean you have her permission to put your hands down her panties? Did she say yes? Did she say no? She’s too drunk to talk? She isn’t saying anything at all?  Hrmmm…that’s quite a dilemma, that is.

SHAME. ON. YOU.

Shame on you. In a day and age where everyone is so up in arms about consent, everyone is so damned PC that even SOUTHPARK has been joking about it with the PC Principal and his “pussy-crushing” frat boys who administer social justice everywhere-ironically whether there is consent or not. Shame on you, offenders, for perpetuating what is known as #rapeculture.

Buying someone a drink, and them accepting it, does NOT automatically give anyone consent to put their hands on someone simply because they bought the drink. And just because that kid was a teenage boy, still a minor, still a juvenile, does not excuse his behavior at the pool. “Boys will be boys”  and “they were just having fun” is a way for society to remove culpability from who is actually at fault: THE BOYS WHO WERE OFFENSIVE. This is a terrible way to raise our children. Do you shrug your shoulders at a dog who randomly attacks people at will, with the excuse of “dogs will be dogs” and “they were just having fun”? Of course not! If a dog attacks, there are always consequences! And hey there, judgmental dad of sons AND daughters out there. Do you want your daughters to grow up with the knowledge that, even if it isn’t their fault, YOU still believe they deserved it because they wore a skirt? Or high heeled shoes? Or a bathing suit? Or even, oh, I dunno, CLOTHES? Because what you are doing is so damaging. You are teaching your daughters that if they wear something that even ONE PERSON believes is provocative, then they MUST be at fault because if they dressed properly, this never would have happened. You are teaching your son’s that it is okay to objectify, slut shame, and harass women who wear clothes. Yep, I said clothes. Because no matter the length of the skirt or the tightness of the pants, NO ONE deserves to be sexually harassed or assaulted at all, least of all based on their clothing choices. That is such a jacked up way to teach your daughter about her self worth and a jacked up way to teach your son about how to treat others. Period. And hey dude at the party/bar/social function with alcohol: IF SHE CAN’T SAY YES IT AUTOMATICALLY MEANS NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t stress this enough. If she (or he) can’t say yes, keep doing this or yes, please touch me, or yes, I WANT THIS, PLEASE PUT YOUR (insert noun of choice here) IN MY(insert noun of choice) then DO NOT ATTEMPT SEXUAL ANYTHING WITH HER/HIM!!!

SILENCE DOES NOT EQUAL CONSENT!!!

Why is that so hard?? Why is it so hard to NOT violate someone? Why is it so hard to treat strangers and loved ones and friends with the respect and dignity they deserve??? Why is it so hard?

The case in Stanford is what prompted this, yes. Today, I read the statement the victim read to her attacker. I refuse to read the letter the father of the accused wrote, although I have seen blurbs and I believe the “20 minutes of action” phrase needs to be changed to “the 20 minutes my son took to violate the unconscious woman’s body without her consent”. But, the world isn’t perfect. And what really scares me is I have a teenage son. He is 4 years younger than the kid who did this. 4 years isn’t a lot of time. I am afraid that I don’t have enough time to continue to instill in my son that his fellow human beings are precious, that they are to be treated with respect no matter what, that it is never okay to hurt someone, that it is never okay to force himself or his actions upon another person. Is 4 years enough time to make sure he understands that he needs to be responsible with his decisions? With his actions? That one wrong decision can ruin the rest of his life and that of others as well? I wonder these things because through all the news reports, all of the media coverage, not once did I see where the father took a little responsibility for his son’s wrong choice. Instead, he worried about the damage to his son’s life, career, education… even his ability to eat. I’m sorry, sir, but did you ever stop to think about the irreparable harm your son caused to another living human being? HE RAPED AN UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN. Do you even care about that? About how SHE will live now? Everything that I have read points to the word, “NO.” I’m sorry, but in the world I grew up in, if you made a bad choice you had to live with the consequences of your choice, regardless of how much you didn’t think you deserved them. In my mind, the father is no better than the son.

No…this woman did not deserve this. She didn’t deserve to be victimized, violated, shamed. No one deserves to be victimized, violated, and then shamed. No one deserves to have their assault used as a weapon to further victimize them. No one deserves to have their consent taken from them. No one.

I am sorry to all the people out there that have been violated. I am sorry to all of the families who have had to help pick up the pieces when their family member’s life was shattered like that. I am sorry to the teenage girls having to endure the harassment and judgment and torment brought on by those who don’t understand respect for their fellow human being. I am sorry to the teenage boys who are groped by older women or men. I am sorry to the drunk girl/guy having to fend off unwanted advances because their date doesn’t understand no means no! I am sorry there is a lack of respect for humanity. I am sorry that we live in a world where these apologies have to even be made.

So where is the lesson in all of this? I don’t know. I don’t know how to teach someone to NOT rape, not violate another persons consent like that. I don’t know how to make the point any more than I already have. But the lesson I have taken away from the Stanford ruling is that the judge believed this guy’s future was more important than what he did and how it will continue to affect his victims future. The judge taught me that he placed more value on this guy’s life than that of the victim. And that is a hard, and scary, lesson to learn.

 

That Is NOT Networking

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

I am an office manager. I have had a LinkedIn for years. And I use it for “networking”. I keep in contact with past co-workers, keep up with industry news and information, update my skills and basically use it as a live resume in combination with the networking function.

What I don’t use it for is business solicitation. I don’t use it to try and sell my business, to garner new clients. Because in my mind, business solicitation is different than networking. In business solicitation, you are attempting to solicit business from someone with the intentions of making money. In networking, you meet new people, talk shop, send out feelers for possible new employees and collaborations. Networking isn’t cold-calling or cold-emailing. At least, in my mind it isn’t.

Which is why I am still so irritated with an email I received via LinkedIn this past Monday morning at 5:30 am. Yes. He messaged me at 5:30am on Memorial Day…a day when no one is in the office because we are busy honoring those who fought for the many freedoms we enjoy as an American people. This gentleman sent me a message indicating he had sent an advertising request to our dedicated email for advertisers last week and had not received word back and he wanted “someone in the office to reply to the query”. Um…no.

Maybe I am being uptight about this. Maybe I am too staunch in my beliefs on how you conduct yourself professionally, but to me, sending an email at 5:30am on a holiday requesting a reply from someone who has NOTHING to do with what you are asking about is pretty unprofessional. And after doing a bit more digging, I became even more irritated. This man was not requesting to advertise with our company. He was trying to sell us email services.

No…just…just no.

Prior to my research, I refrained from responding to him in the way I wanted to, but after I found he was simply trying to sell my company services under the guise of requesting advertising, all bets were off. Don’t worry-I kept it professional.

“The email that you sent goes to our advertising company, which is not in house, of whom I do not work with, nor do I have access to those emails. And emailing me via LinkedIn at 5:30 in the morning on Memorial Day to request a response is not going to end with successful results. Should you need to contact anyone with (my company), or our advertisers, again, please refrain from contact via LinkedIn. Rather, pursue contact with emails to the appropriate parties.”

I never received a reply, so I am assuming he knows we are neither amused nor interested in his attempts to garner our business. What galls me the most, though, is his lack of honesty. Had he been honest about his intentions, had he simply said “Hey-I have this great email company. We can be bad-asses with your email. Use our service. Let’s set up a meeting.” I would have had so much more respect for him professionally. Granted, the answer still would be no, but at least there would have been an indication of integrity and professionalism in the exchange. As it is, I think he is no better than a crooked car salesman, using all the tricks and being less than honest simply to make a quick buck.

I guess my point in all of this is when soliciting new business, don’t lie. Be honest. Even if it means an automatic no, be honest. Because if I ever meet anyone who mentions this company, I will have zero issue in letting that person know how this “consultant” attempted to use dishonesty to get a foot in our door. Someone who is willing to flat out lie about their business intentions is not someone I would want to associate with professionally.

“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.”  ~ Edward R. Murrow

Hardening the Spirit

“It is the season of your spirit hardening, my dear” He said.

A recent conversation with my father regarding life took place yesterday. Not gonna lie, it was a shit day, yesterday. Nothing hurts more than family turmoil and in the end, I turned to the one rock in my life that I knew would give me a better sense of stability, peace, and calm.

My dad. He is a man who is wiser than he lets on. A man who loves with the gentleness of lamb and the fierceness of a lion. He would kill and be killed for his children and grandchildren, gladly laying down his life if it meant keeping his family safe. My dad. My rock. My hero. His words helped me feel better. Quiet and unyielding support is what he gives, words that help, analogies that only make sense to the both of us.

I’m a daddy’s girl through and through.

But this past year…and the one before that…hell, for the past 3 1/2 years, it’s been hard. I did a LOT of growing up in a short amount of time. Growing up that, perhaps, should have taken place long ago, but was delayed for selfish reasons. A lot of tests, a lot of trials by fire, a lot of blindly stumbling my way through the darkness with only a small pinpoint of light to guide me through safely. (I wrote about my guiding light. My husband is a good man.)  But I remain unbroken, not lost, and still breathing and ready to take on whatever else is thrown my way.

“There has to be a reason for this,” I said to him, “I have to be being prepared for something bigger. There has GOT to be a reason for all of this.”

He responded that it’s probably my season of my spirit hardening. I’m experiencing things I was pretty well shielded from as a child. I have him and my mother to thank for that. I try to shield my children from life’s cruelties… but I am afraid they have experienced some of it and for that I am sorry, but I digress.

So this is my season. My season of hardening. My season to mature my spirit and grow in wisdom. At least, that is what my dad says. And hey…he has a few years on me. He must know what he is talking about, right?