Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My heart is heavy...

The events of this past week have been heavy on my heart. I cannot say that I have not really begun to think about my teaching career and when moments like this happen, you cannot help but feel the fear of entering into the school building. You cannot help but wonder if something like this would happen to our school? And no matter how prepared you can be, it doesn't stop it.

What is most frustrating to me about this whole thing...whether you are for gun control or a member of the NRA...is the fact that once again people are talking and talking and talking and no one is willing to begin a discussion and discuss options...hell they aren't even willing to compromise...discussion blends away...and then more kiddos die...and we talk and talk and talk and offer up condolences...and then nothing...and then more kiddos die...and I just can't help but think...when will it all be enough?

Many try to blur the lines with mental illness and how it is all about mental illness. NO. Not JUST about mental illness...sane people can access these types of guns and do the same premeditated damage.

Many say it is because every person in this country has a GOD-given right to bear arms. OK. I agree with that. But I would think, and believe many have said, that this is truly not the question, it is the fact that automatic rifles shouldn't be in this MIX. And CERTAINLY not so easily attainable as we are learning from recent disasters. And my thought is that why not be willing to go through just a few more preventative, protective hurdles to see if these awful moments would lessen?

And yet...
God FORBID that OUR RIGHT BE TAKEN AWAY.

And more bloodshed...

Many are trying to raise all the questions about the facts being given...this many shootings in the year 2018...how it is this number...or that number... And this is the sort of discussion that SHOULD NOT BE GOING ON...its ridiculous when I think about it...WHO CARES???

So much bloodshed...

How about we finally begin a discussion on how to rectify this horrific situation?

Shouldn't ONE shooting be enough? God forbid the amount that we are currently at for the last 10 years and STILL nothing has been done??? 

Heck, we are now setting a trend of doing nothing and children are dying left and right or being presented with extremely traumatic, fear-filled, awful circumstances...ones they will remember and experience the remnants of for the rest of their lives. 

And STILL Nada.
So much blood on everybody's hands. 

Both Sides. ALL sides.
All that MONEY being pocketed for SILENCE.

Is everybody OK and complacent with this?

It is becoming common discussion or sending "Thoughts and Prayers" and yet doing
 NOTHING.

BLOODSHED CONTINUES.
And SILENCE

No one is innocent from this if you don't support some sort of correction to this issue...
Or at least being willing to discuss...
to attempt to create a solution and help stop this bloodshed.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Brene Brown

If you have not given this a listen, you really should take a few moments from your busy schedule and just give it a listen. 

SO POWERFUL. 
And IMPORTANT. 
And truth.

And something we all need to hear.

Believe me when I say it opened my eyes to a large number of things I had never thought of before. 
Defining a new vision.
And I am grateful for it.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

That's what he said....

I love this so much. This would be a discussion and an opportunity I would totally jump at...an evening at a table with a group of guys and talk about social norms, society issues, personal thoughts, and how wrong it has all become... SO interesting to me...

Who defined my masculinity in my childhood was always set by my father as well as grandfather. There were numerous discussions on how"sensitive" I was...how feminine I was and how in my later years, my mother told me that she always tried to encourage my father to spend more time with me possibly in an opportunity to provide a stronger male presence and as a role model. He would back away from it, according to her. He would always have other things to do. Was always absent.

Yet, I look back now and realize, perhaps fairly and unfairly, when I was younger and going through it all my father was absent and the moments we spent together with me as a boy are blurry because of all the anger and resentment I felt about my Dad, and towards the military, and towards the divorce...was all HIS fault. That the times he was away for summer camp or every one weekend a month for the military, he would come home and talk about what I took as being a boys weekend filled with drinking and hanging out and time away from his family. And all the choices my family made that lead us towards the divorce predominantly was because of my father. And my grandparents saying hurtful, awful things and a young man cannot forget these things...And drew me closer and closer and closer to my mom and all we had to go through together without him.

This defines my feelings sometimes of the military in regards to my family. And I know that this is an unfair labeling...and yet I struggle.

And yet as I have grown older, I realize the blame needs to be placed on both sides. Both my mom and my dad were to blame for the divorce for different reasons and yet what I cannot shake is the fact that my Dad was absent both physically and emotionally and what do I do with that?

Brene Brown is AMAZING. Her TED talk about SHAME is so powerful. Men feel shame when they feel WEAK. She tells us that vulnerability is NOT weakness as a majority of people believe or choose to believe or struggle with. And yet, a man is not allowed to feel weak and not allowed to show it...throw in the struggle of coming out and all that encompasses and it becomes overwhelming. She states ,"Vulnerability is taking  risk. It is our most accurate measurement of courage. The birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change and how we adapt to it."

When is the moment you are having to "become a MAN" in regards to being forced to grow up? I think my first breakdown was the evening I was called upstairs into the living room and told of my parents' choice to divorce. I was forced to pick between them as to who I wanted to live with. And take in all of the above and the selection was obvious to me and all rolled from there. It was at that moment that I realized, "Oh we are here. This is going to be what defines my life for a bit." Little did I know that it would define my entire life. A moment when I knew there was no going back. I would never experience innocence again and I cannot go back.

The next time was coming out. And I would NEVER want to go back into the closet and yet the shame I felt by coming out and how ridiculed I felt and how I needed to apologize for being gay and coming out...apologize for dreams that would not be met...apologize for being different and odd in the face of a family who were steeped in religion, traditions, and me always feeling like the odd man out...apologize for who I was at my very core and was just coming to realize...gay people continue to feel this on a daily basis and it is absolutely debilitating...and yet I PUSH forward.

And in the last few years, I think we have ALL been finally given our voice and an opportunity to shake the shame, shake the guilt, and find our voice and strengthen it. Thankful for the leaps and bounds we made in regards to equality and basic freedoms and humanity. Leaps and BOUNDS...yet  now with the tone of the American society taking leaps and bounds backwards, I feel like we are being forced back into the closet and you know what, I refuse to go back. I refuse to apologize for my life. I refuse to apologize for my relationship and marriage with my husband. I REFUSE to apologize for YOUR insecurities.

Being comfortable with being in the process of becoming  a newer version of myself and what it means to be manly...this is self-defined and being comfortable to define it for MYSELF. WOW!

Just some thoughts for the day...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Still here, in my heart


"Still Here" by Jennifer Hudson

For some reason...this has been playing on the track inside my mind for the last couple of months.
I know this is Mom...just coming on through to let me know that she is indeed still here, somehow pushing through and telling me everything will be okay.

For those of you who have lost loved ones,
this song gives me great solace and peace of mind.
It warms my heart and my thoughts.
Its like a hand reaching across the way, 
grabbing hold of yours and squeezing. 
Just seeming to say, "It's going to be okay. 
I am still here. It is just different now. 
Just a little harder to hear at times."

Thank you for the gentle reminders.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Another music moment...



I still get chills listening to this soundtrak.
I know that this is a musical for all of us.
A musical about the human spirit.
The need to begin a dialogue about the importance of finding our true, authentic selves and being willing to share that with others.

Dear Evan Hansen.
I will see you some day SOON.

And I know I will bawl the entire time...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why no one is listening...

Seriously.
Why?
Today's danger is complacency.
 On a day-to-day basis, we turn on the TV to see what was the ridiculous drama today in our nation's government. And let me be clear, what we are witnessing has been a long time evolving. During Obama's presidency, the Republicans point blank REFUSED to accomplish anything "this President" hoped to accomplish. And now we have a Republican President, Republican Congressional leadership asking for and expecting common ground and I do not think that the tone is going to change in our government and our presidential leadership is not strong enough to know how to monitor and assist in common ground. Democrats are pissed and in a tit-for-tat type of mindset. So everything is filled with caustic drama. I don't see how this is going to change until a shock wave of voting take care of the situation in the near future, if even then.
 It has been divisive and toxic and hard to deal with.  
You have Congressmen who are being called day in and day out and are just voting without listening...voting with their own interests in focus...at least that is the case with our own Arkansas Congressmen.

In a world where we are witnessing, drama and turmoil and division, we have to be the change.
We have to STOP and begin to listen to each other.
On a day in and day out basis.
There are reasons we are where we are today.
People voted the way they did for a reason.

Chloe Chong, editor of Lifehack.com, created a list of possible reasons as to why no one is listening these days. The piece was titled, "Why No One Listening?"
1. People are too busy.
2. People are too focused on themselves.
3. People assumed they already know what the others would say.
4. People think that giving advice is more important than showing understanding.
5.People sometimes forget that everyone need to be heard, no matter how mentally strong he/she is.
6. People are mentally preparing what they are going to say in response to what is being said.
7. When we are taught listening skills, it is usually about listening exams, but not about daily conversations.
8. Everyone is so eager to be heard.
9. Listening is not easy at all.
10. Very few people realize that they need to really learn how to listen.
I
The other day, I caught myself thinking this very question...in a world where everyone just wants to be heard why no one is listening and just doing what they want...I think it is important to stop and regroup a bit, reminding ourselves that we need to stop and refocus on the basics. Remind yourself the basic thought of slowing down and really just opening up your ears to actually listen to what is being said. When you are in the middle of a conversation with another, remind yourself to stop interrupting and open up to what is being said, how it is being said, and what is the core of the point your partner is actually making., listening also to what they are not saying, which is just as important. And for crying out loud, don't feel the need to fix or offer suggestions, especially when they are not asked for. And allow silences to be there and not feel the need to interject or jump in. Perhaps not needed.
Let us go back to the very basics.
Remind ourselves of the importance that we must listen to each other.
No one deserves to not be heard.
If we can do this on our own level, to lead by example, we will hopefully get through these dramatic days and emerge better, truer, and more thoughtful.

Control what you can, my friends.
Let go of what you cannot control.
It is out of your control and not worth your energy.
Listen with your heart.
Listen with your ears and eyes open.
Carry on.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love has no labels.


A reminder on this day we celebrate LOVE.
 Thank you Procter & Gamble for pushing the boundaries, pushing the barriers to say what is good and true. To be willing to say what is important and remind us that we all love differently,
and that that is OKAY.

And when you get the chance,
please go to 
www.lovehasnolabels.com 
and learn more about love and bias and realize it is time to put away all of our labels and remember that we are all human beings, we are all virtually the same.

Diversity needs to be embraced and nurtured and valued.
It should not be something that separates us.
It should NOT be something that divides us.
It should be something we embrace, learn more about, and nurture.

As the website states, 
"Let's put aside labels in the name of love"

Amen.