Thursday, October 29, 2015

Unwarranted Assault & Praise

 And now the rebuttal to this one-sided article.
Today I read an article that made me wonder about the humanity of the American people. You should read it before coming back to read my rebuttal. 

And now my rebuttal. 

Here's the crazy thing, I never once looked at this as a race issue but as an adult to kid issue. But as I read this article twice, the writer only referred to the young girl's race and never once the officer's. So are officers white by default? Clearly not so. But what makes her race relevant but not his? This kind of tactic is subliminal. As a former English teacher who studied rhetorical devices for a living, it's clear what the writer is doing. Fear-mongering at its most subtle. By talking about the girl's race as her descriptor and tying it to entitled and mouthy teens, the author has stoked the flames of the black female stereotype. 

We have no idea what the empty word "disruptive" means. Having worked in a classroom for a decade, I know that what some of my colleagues call disruptive is just poor classroom management. But now, according to this article, black entitled teens will make people not want to be a police officer. Couldn't have anything to do with the lousy salary, poor action of peers, and the current state of people today in general. And most officers find it an insult to be assigned to a school anyway. And some of them are absolute dicks to students. I've seen it myself.

Yes there still are "Officer Friendly"s around but there are also lots of "Officer Powertrip"s too. People fail to realize the role being human plays in the way people behave in the world. These same people want you to know that how your kids behave in front of you is not often how they behave out of sight. And this is 100% true. But the same goes for these officers. They can be so sweet and loving at the dinner table and have jerk moments on the street. This is also 100% true as evidenced by those who got caught planting drugs or weapons on people, those who severed a young man's spine, and those who are caught on video tape beating another human like an animal. And those caught dishragging 14 year old girls (remember this isn't the first caught on tape this year).

I watched frame by frame as was asked. I watched number out times. Yea she hit the officer. But in the seconds preceding that, he had his arm around her neck. So you know what, I'm not going to fault her for what was a reaction to someone threatening her, no matter what they're wearing. I'm not going to apologize for not believing an officer is infallible. As far as I know, there's only one God (could be multiple but none wear a police uniform). Nor will I believe that teenagers are always in the wrong or that a verbal response warrants a physical one. I don't know if the problem is racism, ageism, or police-ism but there is a problem. I'm not talking about a racial problem but a human one. But I will say, as evidenced by this article, Black Americans aren't the only ones throwing race cards.

Some things worth noting in this case:

*The officer was nicknamed Officer Slam by the school community prior to this event
*The student lost her mother in January
*Subsequently she was placed in foster care
*Every student on video had a laptop in that class; she either didn't have one or didn't take it out (possibly left it); I know there were many times I allowed my students to use their phones for research with monitoring.
*The website where this article was published is a very paranoid website (anti liberal, Obama, Muslims, immigrants, etc).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wanting to Be Like My Daughter

The twins turned two today. Their birthday was celebrated without much fanfare, just a couple of cupcakes with candles, a celebration that was just right for now. No gifts as they have plenty of toys to play with as leftovers from Christmas. But today I was the one to receive the gift.

Earlier this evening, I took the twins to the park to play for just a few minutes which ended up being half an hour. We went from swing to swing-- my daughter adores them. Watching her swing is like watching childhood manifest. She grips the chains and throws her head back, just lost in the awesome flying sensation. Her contagious smile ever present and the air punctuated with her giggles. To watch her swing is to remember childhood.

But that's not where the gift came in. The playground equipment wasn't made for toddlers but for bigger kids. I know that but my children do not, especially my daughter. There is a jungle gym of sorts that is definitely designed with the bigger kids in mind. And my daughter loves to climb up the first few rungs and then try to touch the higher ones. Tonight was no different. She excitedly climbed up and I watched her, gaze affixed on the next rung, stretch her hand towards it, determined. I stepped into the gap and she timidly placed her foot on my chest. Excitement shone from her eyes when her hand connected to the next rung. She didn't stop there and instead waited with her arms stretched towards the next rung. I stepped into the next gap. This time she didn't hesitate to use the help I offered and quickly went to the next rung. We repeated this process until the very last rung. Triumph and pride radiated from her being. She scrambled down from my arms and raced back to the beginning to start the process again. This happened three times before I guided her to something else.
So what was the gift? In that moment I was supremely proud of her. She was fearless, tenacious, and determined. But later on, standing in the bathroom as I was about to enter the shower, that moment replayed in my head and so did all the emotions I felt watching her. Where I felt fear, she felt anticipation. Where I felt hopelessness, she felt determination. When I felt weary, she felt energized. When I thought we were done, she had only just begun. And standing in that bathroom, looking into the mirror, tears brimming in my eyes, I wanted to be like her. I want to look at life the way she looked at that jungle gym, with excitement in the face of obstacles to overcome, to experience, and to learn from as I climbed over towards the next chapter. 

My daughter will never know how much she affects me, how much she makes me want to be better, to be someone she would one day hope to be like. I feel so honored to have been chosen to be her mother. And, until now, I wasn't sure that I was worthy of that honor. But seeing the person she is becoming, I know that I am the right person for the job. And now I feel a great sense of responsibility to protect who she is and who she's becoming. I don't ever want her to have her light almost extinguished as mine was.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Worthy of It All

I struggle with feeling worthy.

Worthy of love.
Worthy of attention.
Worthy of my dreams.
Worthy of my talents.
Worthy of success.

Gonna have a Sophia moment but life has truly been like one of her most famous lines in The Color Purple: "All my life I've had to fight". And to be perfectly honest, I'm getting tired of fighting. I used to thrive on adversity. Negative energy used to be the food I ate for breakfast, to fuel me forward. But somewhere around the mid-30s, I began rejecting the negative energy; there was just too much of it around me. That protective shell I kept over myself cracked open and I got to peek at the vulnerability I held inside.

I've always known I had talents, that God gifted me with a voice for speaking and writing. And I've always had a case of the "if onlys": "If only I lived in LA then I could act in roles that weren't as limited as those in Miami"; "If only I had time to write then I could finish my book"; "If only I had the money to finish my MFA program then I could have a completed screenplay ready for production"; "If only I knew how to cook then I could eat better and get control over my weight"; "If only I hadn't been molested then I would not have gained weight in the first place"; "If only I hadn't been raped then I wouldn't have had to put my dreams on hold"; "If only I didn't have kids so early then I could have gone off and realized my dreams and real love before having to truly settle into adulthood"; "If only I had been more proactive in high school then I wouldn't have chosen Education as my major"; "If only..."

I think you can see I have quuuuuiiiiiite a few of these regrets weighing on me, holding me back. If I have a foot cemented in yesterday how can I move forward? Letting yesterday hold me hostage is comfortable; letting it throw up barricades to realizing my potential means that I don't have to do anything about today because yesterday proved my efforts would be for naught.

While I may not be a biblical guru, there is a story in the Bible that stuck with me through the years because it spoke loudly to me. This story talks about a man entrusting his servants with money known as talents. My summary is not going to do this story justice so you can find it here. The short of it is that each servant was supposed to do something with the talents, to use them. But one servant was afraid and hid his. When his boss returned and found out, he was so angry that he had him stripped of his talents. I don't want that to happen to me; I don't want God to determine that since I am not using my writing, speaking, acting talents for good, essentially drawing attention to how good God has been to me and giving Him glory, I don't deserve them.

I have to realize that I was chosen to carry these gifts and given the great responsibility of using them to help people. My stories, my yesterday are to help people through their todays, to turn them into yesterdays, to help people get their own feet unstuck in the uselessness of regret.

There's no more time for "weeping and gnashing of teeth". I've got too much work to do. When the time comes for me to quit this Earth, I need Him to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant". So it's time to break that cement and trudge forward until all the weight of yesterday is eradicated by the promise of today and the possibilities of tomorrow.

And that begins with realizing that I am worthy of it all.

Worthy of success.
Worthy of my talents.
Worthy of my dreams.
Worthy of attention.
Worthy of love.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Life: An Update

Life with twins, a teenager, and a college boy is a heckuva lot busier than I anticipated. So finding time for myself and for writing hasn't been my main priorities. Making sure everyone else is straight has been more important. In addition, I've started working in Direct Sales this summer as an Independent Consultant for Jamberry. It's a growing business for me and I'll enjoy that. I'll save that for another post. What I want to talk about in this post is how important it is to live a full life.

A couple of weeks ago, my second son
was only days from damaging a major artery and bleeding to death (this I'm not going to explain). Then last week I was just a day away from a really messy situation with my appendix. According to the surgeon, I had come to the emergency in time to keep the surgery a clean and simple operation.

I'd been living a life of servitude since returning to work after my maternity leave. I've been a slave to my paychecks, checks that were never enough to cover the financial hurt caused by having to go on unpaid bed rest then maternity leave. I don't understand a system that gives a mother 12 weeks maternity leave but provides only 8 weeks disability pay at 60% of the average income. Mind you, the disability only begins AFTER 30 days of not being at work. So I faced an eviction this February, had been served a 24 hour notice. I begged the courts to stop it on a technicality but I still had all. that. money. to pay in rent-- over $6000. That's where my paychecks and tax refund went.

But, still I owed another $1000 so every month I had to pay another $275 OVER the rent. Which

meant, of course, everything else took a back seat. My car payment fell further and further behind. Every month I had a final notice for my electricity. I lost the cable and internet in my house. My mother was a godsend because she watched my children for free while I was at work. Daycare alone was $1000 for two a month. On a teacher's salary, it became IMPOSSIBLE to take care of my family with a quality of life that wasn't constantly threatened. And so I lived with this cloud of stress. I lived a life that wasn't living.

And last week I was this close to maybe not living at all. When I was younger, my dreams of now were waaaaaay different than what I'm living. Never did I imagine being in so much debt, being so dissatisfied with life, being so far away from my dreams, dreams that I still have. But over the course of life, I've gotten so used to not reaching, to just going with the flow, I don't really now how to begin putting those dreams back on track. Oh I desire it, sure. But talk is talk. I've got to DO. See I've come to realize in that hospital that IF I had died I wouldn't have left behind a legacy I'm proud of.

I've spent my life wrapped in a bubble of hurt and fear that I'm just as guilty
of being my own dream killer as others who have diverted/delayed my plans. I don't want a life of working to a paycheck. I want a purposeful and passionate life, one that affords me the ability to feed my family while feeding my soul. And that begins with me. I've got to DO. I've got to LIVE. I've got to BREAK out of my shell, FLY out of my comfort zone. And that's. so. scary.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Challenge 365

All these ideas swirling in my head. All these great things I want to do overwhelming my brain. All that I want to be standing before me impatiently waiting for me to do the work and achieve. Yeah, it's time. I've got to push past this procrastination and fear. I am more than I am. I try to be in the present but this is not the present I'm to be in. Time to break this cycle of struggle. The two words I heard in my spirit just before the new year were change and restoration. The last few years have been so hard and I've just reacted. Now it's time to be proactive. To start. Somewhere. Anywhere. Right now. I forgive myself of all the false starts. I release the disappointment. I silence the negative voice in my head that tells me I'll just give up; I won't finish. If I want better for myself (and I do), for my family (again I do), then I've got to do better. Starting now. Starting with this post. No apologies for yesterday because I can change none of that. No regret for what's lost because what's for me will be found again. Eyes forward. I contemplated starting another blog and, honestly, I still think I should for this next endeavor. Yes, I will do just that (I'll duplicate the post) but before I go over to another blog, let me tell you what it will entail. It's going to be a blog dedicated to Challenge 365. For one full year, I will embark on different (safe) challenges I see on the internet. The first one is an ab challenge, the one pictured. I just completed day one. The blog will talk about how I feel undertaking the challenges. Sometimes I'll vlog. That is all for here. On to create that blog.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Somewhere It's Still Sunday

Ok, I've decided to do a Give It 100 challenge-- 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of writing daily for 100 days. Gotta exercise my mental as well as my physical. Guess that means I should add spiritual to the mix. Hmmm...I'll make it a daily prayer before bed since the day's pretty much over. I've been slacking on my prayer so that's a good one. Anyhoo. 30 minutes of cardio-- completed. Writing-- completed but maybe not in the form I was hoping. Prayer-- on my way.

Monday, March 10, 2014


I seriously have been avoiding writing in this blog. I think I'm afraid of confronting myself. I've done absolutely nothing to move forward in any a sect of my life. With my pregnancy, my drive just...died. All my dreams feel like they're perpetually on hold again. I had so many plans for this year. I imagined that, once my son graduates, I would be free to move on. Yes, I'd have the other kid but I knew he'd be open to fresh new experiences. But now I have The Minis and taking risks seems selfish and stupid. I've got to provide. And so my sail feels drawn in just when it was getting ready to billow and catch wind. I feel tethered. I mean, who would watch the babies while I'm at work for a reasonable price? As it is, my mom is kinda sorta watching them for free (not really but close enough). I'm not going to get that striking out there in the world on my own away from family. Gah, I feel so stifled. And then I think about maybe just finding a different job. However, I realized, I don't have the experiences for a different job. I got my masters in Ed Technology but there's nothing outside of ed that I know I can do. I have no idea what my skill set is. I feel trapped in a room surrounded by closed doors. I've been racking my mind for an invention, something that could provide a key to the way out. But I think the stresses blind me. So I'm left wondering what can I do, what can I make, to lift me out of the swirling sea of pity, stress, and debt. I don't want just another job. Yes, I'm part of the spoiled generation that also seeks fulfillment. I want to do what I was purposed to do. And, while I do believe that is to teach and help others, I don't feel that the classroom is my space to do it. There's just one caveat: there's a part of me that cowers in corners, feeling undeserving, unworthy of the life I dream. I mean, who am I to think my story will help people, is worth sharing? Who am I to think my words are special enough to be written and spoken? I'm just a teacher, just a single mother, just a person who barely spends time with other people. Just a socially awkward nerd. I'm a procrastinator. I'm messy. I'm disorganized. I'm a dreamer not a doer. I don't plan. I don't reach my potential. I'm lazy. I have an irrational (maybe rational) fear of failure. I have too many people counting on me, too much responsibility. It's all my fault. I did this to myself. I deserve the life I have, the struggle, the constant fear, the stress. I'm to blame. What if I fail? What if my messages aren't received? What if my scripts are flat? What if no one comes to my symposium? What if my idea is stupid? What if my work doesn't say anything and it's all meaningless. I wonder if that's all of it, all of the internal monologue that's constantly running through my mind. Doesn't feel like I"m through but that "What if I fail" is the biggie. I can't really afford to fail with these 4 month old twins and a kid almost in college and an emotionally needy kid all pulling for me. Yes, now I believe that's all of it. And there it is in black & white. So where do I go from here? How do I reprogram my mind to break past these barriers, to duct tape the critic, to push and keep pushing without quitting? This life stuff is hard.