Surprise! Bonnie has something to add…

If you know me at all, you had to know this was coming. It’s election year.  I have things to say.
You know, I like to report and discuss the news and stories that interest me. The presidential election is one of those things. I have varying positions on the course of events that lead up to a new leader being put in place, but I try to remain neutral until the bitter end. I appreciate fairness and I seek only the truth. While my opinion is my own like anyone’s, and I do defend the conclusions I come to, I also desire other views. And so I open the floor.
I have recently been asked where I stand on so many topics surrounding this always critical event. I could not really say just then with all aforethought. While I do not yet know which way I will go in the “end,” I can tell you for sure some things I do know to be true for me.
Keep in mind, I only claim to state my opinions at this point and I have no adversity to discussion on an intelligent, informed, genuine level. Please feel VERY free to state your position. I will however only engage when I feel I have something to offer. So shall I begin? Yes.
Alright, I’m aware of the potential “recourse” of this, and I have my suspicions about from whom they will come. This is not because I think ill of you, but because I am observant and a listener (and hearer) and I care to understand you. Still, I am informed, secure, and prepared to speak on this now. Please understand my motivations before you continue to read on. If you have a doubt, you should ask me, rather than assume or judge. If you do not, I am not responsible for your assumptions anymore than you are responsible for mine.
I know that we will not all agree. Few of us will, for sure. This is the premise behind majority, and decision making, and all of that beauty. But where are we if we cannot debate and discuss as informed people? How can we find the truth if we rely merely on our own judgments? And so I state mine and ask for yours. I speak only to share my views and am prepared to back them with my thoughts. I realize yours may differ, and I am OK with that. Do us (you and me, directly) a favor and be OK with mine.
I welcome any discussion and am open to “challenges” to my views. However, I will NOT tolerate attacks, insults on my opinions, or those of any of my friends, even if theirs differ from mine. Mind you, I say attacks, not challenges. Be a questioner of me. Be different from me. I am happy with who you are. But I will not accept any aggressive horseplay. 🙂 Know now that if you engage in this behavior, I will not accept it. You have a choice. Be mature and engage or do not, it is YOUR decision.
So here it is:
Donald Trump appeals to my sense of urgency to correct some major issues I can see posing problems for America as a whole. He has some big ideas that may, in fact, shut down some significant problems that are sure to continue to grow and cause major havoc for our “control” in the world.
Hillary Clinton has led a life of politics and her literal business in life is ruling the country.
I have always been a fan of switching parties from time to time. I am a swing voter. I claim no loyalty to a party, and never intend to do so. However, it’s no secret that I “lean left.” This is not a handicap, nor is it so to “lean right” or have no lean at all. We all have a place to be free in our thoughts and THIS is what American TRULY is about. I support that freedom adamantly. For every person, whether they share my view or not. I am just. (That is a statement, not an incomplete sentence).
I am fearful that many are being persuaded by their own sense of urgency for change in a way that could prove detrimental to our great nation. And yes, I think it is CURRENTLY great. We have to keep on our “game” but we are not failures here. As a nation, as a business, an entity, we are still the superpower. I don’t love that term, but in my opinion, it is true.
Donald Trump is not someone for whom I will cast my vote.
Hillary Clinton is not someone for whom I will cast my vote.
Never have I felt so torn in politics.
I recognize something bigger in the face of this dilemma.
Imagine your mom asks, “do you want grilled cheese or ramen?” And imagine that the mere idea of either one makes you want to burst with intense senses of imploding.
The irony.
But what are you going to do, starve? She isn’t asking you, “what do you want to eat?” with a smile on her face. She is asking you which of her two choices  you hate the least. This is happening to many people. Maybe not you, but maybe so. Maybe you are one of those who is like, ” oh HELL no. I will never see _______ in office, so I will vote for ______ to make sure that doesn’t happen!” It could be you. Maybe not. Whatever.
I’m not calling you stupid. I’m just saying that this is a classic trick of the trade. Smart people go for it. It’s not about intelligence, it’s about belief that you can change it. You want your vote to count so you go out there and cast it for the one you think is best for your purposes in the main race. Maybe that’s not you. Maybe it is.
Lots of people are struggling with this issue. There’s no shame in speculating that these two people may both suck. BIG TIME. Potentially. Maybe not.
Is this who we are? Grilled cheese or ramen?
I don’t know the answer because I am just one person. But I am not one person who is afraid to say what she feels and believes. Are you? Are you informed? Do you know what you want? Are you going to buy that used car you don’t love? Are you ramen? Are you grilled cheese? I feel like a Pufferfish. Careful now! 😉 (4,800 points if you detect the relevance of that last phrase to my current ramblings).
Don’t be #sheeple, that’s all I urge. I’m not going to judge your choice. Just make it with information based not on some personal trigger or someone else’s sales pitch. Please.
All I’m asking you to do is go out there and inform yourself. Don’t pick a well-known, leaning informant to tell you what’s wrong with the candidate they don’t support. There is a truckload of corruption and price tag drama going on out there. Do yourself a favor. Do your kids a favor. If you don’t have kids, do a dog a favor. Or a cat. Do your REAL part and put your bias aside. Don’t pick one unless they TRULY represent everything you believe in.
To detract but hopefully reinforce, this reminds me of another blog of mine. My first, in fact. It’s about how government works in this country and it’s called The Business of Pretending to be Friends (aka Politics) And I mean that — business.
I’m not saying neglect to vote. Do not do that.
Just go out there. Go and find the most negative stories (FACTS) about each candidate. Because it’s not about promises, it’s about reality.
Find out what they really support. Find out who they are. Who are they married to? Who is their vice-presidential nominee? What is their main premise? Do you REALLY agree with that? Make sure before you go out spouting off about why so and so is the bomb.
Make sure.
Remember, it’s not just about that person SAYING they care about something that they know damn well that you care about. They have researchers, they have advisers. They are marketers and salesmen. Look. LOOK at who they have been before this race. Ask yourself if you would marry them or be them. That’s the commitment we’re talking about here. It’s not just “cast your vote and run.” This is a contract, a life and death contract. It’s a statement of who YOU are.
It’s not just what they say they will do. It’s not what they swear they believe in. It’s also, and so much more importantly, what else they have done, and predictably will do. Can you trust this person to speak and act for you? Love their policy statements, but can you get past these other things? If so, then GO FOR IT. Support your candidate if you are decided. This IS America and the majority is supposed to rule. The majority can only be represented if it makes itself known. I may or may not be part of the majority, but I respect and value that system. I want it. I speak out for it now.
Know who you are and where you stand. Know the issues. Know your OWN position. The chips will fall into place. Do your dog a favor.
So that’s it for now. Thanks for hanging in there you handful of folks 🙂 Go:

Head Start, minus the start?

“The purpose of this subchapter is to encourage the development of special programs by which the residents of urban and rural low-income areas may, through self-help and mobilization of the community at large, with appropriate Federal assistance, improve the quality of their economic and social participation in community life in such a way as to contribute to the elimination of poverty and the establishment of permanent economic and social benefits.”

Head Start is a public, government-funded, early education program.  Nearly every county in America has a Head Start program, with exception given to those where funding has been cut, has expired, or other, varied reasons.

In Front Royal, Virginia, (approximately 14,440 folks), there is one such program.  Generally, in an area with this level of population, there are only one, or two centers, to service the entire county.  And, they are usually attached to, or within, an elementary school.  In this case, one Head Start center occupies two trailers (four rooms, one used as the office), outside of the main elementary school building.  The governing agency for this area is also serving five other counties.

Head Start is free, and there is a stringent qualification process, in order to be admitted.  Like applying for any resource through government programs, (i.e. SNAP, Medicaid), there is a requirement to demonstrate eligibility and need, before you are considered to have applied.  Once all verifications are submitted with application, a qualified child will be either, enrolled for the upcoming year, or placed on a waiting list.  My daughter has been wait-listed since Summer, 2015.

Recently I was contacted with the good news that she will be enrolled for next year’s program.  This means she will start school in the Fall, when her sisters return to their grade-school classes. There is one catch- The Warren County Head Start program does not offer transportation.  Why?  According to several individuals working for the center, they “lost transportation a couple of years ago.” Donations are accepted, but the stated distribution of such funds does not include transportation.  I decided to look into that.

I had a lengthy phone call with Simon Fiscus, the local Head Start Director.  According to Mr. Fiscus, the Head Start program, itself, made the decision to cut the transportation.  Why?  Lack of other funding.  He explained that this program applied for funding 26 years ago.  Oddly, the government does not give increases in the grants given to Head Start programs, and as a result, they are now receiving 19% LESS funded, than they were at the time of application.  Additionally, due to The Sequester, Head Start programs across the nation saw a decrease in funding of 5.26%.  That may not sound like much, let’s look at it:  If you have $100, we are talking about $5.26.  If you have $1,250,653, then you are talking about $65,784.35 gone.  This, by the way, is the estimated expenditure for the group responsible for Head Start in six counties, as well as many other community outreach programs.  This is not the amount allotted exclusively for Head Start.

Around the same time, the educators of Head Start were newly required to posess college degrees.  Given that they receive approximately 50% of the wages of a public school instructor, this posed a problem, as well.  As a result of these points, the local program decision makers, coupled with the parents of students in the program, concluded it was better to drop transportation and reallocate the funding to sustain the classroom environments and capabilities.

They should not have had to make this choice.

I asked Mr. Fiscus if he was aware of any options for families without transportation.  He told me that he was not, but that some parents carpool.  He also mentioned that the public school system in the county can occasionally offer their preschool program to a student who cannot make it to the center.  However, this comes with a laundry list of necessary steps, and is by no means, guaranteed.  The public preschool program is not state-mandated, but is funded by the public school system budget, and does enjoy the benefit of their bus transportation and facilities.  Children who are admitted, are generally determined to be in need of additional preparation before entering into the elementary-level grades, and must not be served by Head Start.  There are multiple tests, verifications, and requirements to be enrolled, and they also do not accept children who are under four years old.  Head Start will accept children who are three.  There is also Early Head Start, which serves families with children between six months and two years of age, however, I have not located any information on an Early Head Start program in this community.

Conversely, Mr. Fiscus also pointed to the previously unforeseen benefits that have arisen from the program’s decision to drop transportation.  One such benefit is the relationship that has grown between the classroom and the home.  With parents coming to the center morning and afternoon, each day, there is a much greater involvement on the family/classroom level.  He would be sorry to see that diminish.

I am not the first to be concerned with this issue, yet, it has not changed.  It would not be so simple as getting a bus for the center.  Mr. Fiscus detailed the many actions that would be required to reinstate transportation.  A single bus will cost between 60 and 80 thousand dollars, (or more to offer extras, like assistance accessories for those in need).  Then, there are such things as insurance, driver(s), maintenance, even gas, that must be available for an extended time.  “It has to be sustainable,” he said.  He pointed to the fact that it would be very challenging for someone like you or me would be able to make this happen- bake sales will not suffice.  Maybe if Pepsi, for example, offered a commitment to fund the transportation program over the next several years, that would be something worth considering, he suggested.

For now, I am going to take a few roads and see what I can do to work on this situation.  Can I get the government to pay for this?  Can I get someone to volunteer to transport the children in need, on a private-offering basis? (Head Start can not offer this service, but there’s no reason I can’t create a free carpool for whoever is interested, right?)  How will that get funded?  Lots to think about.

What do you think?  Leave your comments or resources for me! Please feel free to share this and link back.

Thanks! Enjoy your education, today!

~3B

 

 

“It is not in t…

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.” -William Shakespeare

Remember when I used to dance?: How chronic pain became more than a commercial to me

Skrillex–that was my vice. I remember when it all changed. It was February 17, 2015 and we had gone to the mall. It was a special occasion–my Valentine’s day gift from the husband (he knew I suffered in the way of bra selection). We packed up the family under the guise of going out to dinner, but really, we were going to get me a new bra. Yep, it was a big deal. So I spent 40 minutes in that place, getting measured and observed by this trained lady who was so kind and non-verbally-judgmental, while Tony entertained the multiple children elsewhere. I walked out a happy camper with a 2 for 1 deal. My life was gonna change! (More than I knew).

We trekked on through the mall, our kids were joyfully causing a disturbance while we blissfully didn’t mind. They sucked away all of our quarters for the worthless, yet fulfilling, toy police car rides and gumball machines. We decided we’d head over to the local buffet, being the Americans that we are. While we are enjoying our sloppy, overloaded plates of fatty goodness, the second-youngest child tells me she is going to throw up. Off we go to the bathroom to see what happens.

She does. She really does. She is a little thing and so dainty and of course, I am squatted beside the loo while she perches on my lap as a makeshift hammock. The poor little thing carries on losing her cookies for a good 15 minutes before we decide she can now handle the 35-minute ride home. We rinse her up and proceed back to the table. Now it’s a shuffle to the van–none of the other children are feeling sympathetic, as they have yet to devour the cotton candy they’ve had their eyes on the whole time. After much ado and lots of convincing and guilt trips, we escape with 4 sticky children and little time to spare.

The ride home is a precarious one. Little girl is fretting the whole way, holding her free-to-keep cup from the restaurant up to her quivering little birdie lips (just in case). About half the way there, I start feeling reallly uncomfortable… my hips or something, I can’t really pinpoint it. It gradually and annoyingly gets more persistent over the ride home. By the time we arrive, little girl is doing ok and seems to have dealt with the bulk of the issue (we decided later, she indulged in the soft, rich pretzels a little too much while I was away trying on the braziers). My attention diverted to my own, unforeseen issue.

Finally, we are situated in the lot atop our townhouse complex. Everyone piles out, even little girl is feeling fine now. I get out as usual but NO–something has gone very wrong. I cannot walk! I mean, I can, but hell no I can not. Of course, I do. I hobble, waddle if you will, along and proclaim that something is going horribly wrong in my body. What the hell? What has happened? There has been no injury that I am aware of, I am baffled. Even on the ride, I was uncomfortable, but I had no idea what was brewing–waiting to steal my life away, and the lives of everyone around me.

Well, it doesn’t get better. Not at ALL. In fact, it gets terribly worse. Being the type of woman and die-hard mother that I am, I persisted. However, eventually there was no hiding it. I was in excrutiating pain with each step of each step. My mother detects the seriousness by phone and is unimpressed with my martyrdom. Regardless of lack of insurance, she insists that I go to the emergency room. *Side note- My mother suffers a disorder regarding a hereditary narrowing of the spinal column and degeneration of discs. I have also been diagnosed with the condition and degeneration of vertebrae. She obviously believes the situation is related to the family plague (I now believe, rightly so) as there is no clear incident to blame.*

The doctor is unsympathetic. You see, she happens to suffer from “legitimate sciatica,” as she put it. As I do not display the typical signs of this, she dismisses me with non-narcotic pain killers, per my request (I cannot afford to be knocked out with so many little wanderers in the house). I go home. The treatment does me a little bit of good (mind you, I was given a shot in the back while I was there and that was a lifesaver. I was able to walk back to my van and go home somewhat comfy). After a few days I start to thank my lucky stars and go about life as before. One of the things I choose to do is assist in constructing two bunk beds. Poor choice. While pulling one into place, I feel a no-no pain. It is mild, but it is there… when I wake up the next day, it is in charge of me. At this time, my mother decides to come to my house and take over. That happens. I go back to the hospital.

This time–I will admit–I embellished the truth a little. I knew I would receive the same treatment and attention as before and I also knew that would not be the cure. I told the doctor I injured myself (which was true!). He knew I was being scandalous in this way, but also probably detected my extreme guilt for bending the truth and went with it. He did an x-ray (which of course, was fine) and then told me that an MRI was almost never an emergent procedure. He said he was doing the x-ray because IF he was able to get me a referral to come back and get an MRI on an outpatient basis, they would want the x-ray first and this way it was done. He also gave me that shot again. Hooray! He was not able to get me an MRI appointment and totally seemed bummed about it. Rules are rules, I get that.

So he convinces me (as did my mother who was offering to be me while I did this) that I needed to take a little break from reality. He tells me that if I want to feel better, I have to be still for like, 3 or 6 days (ARE YOU JOKING?!). I shutter at the idea; having the kids in school and so many things to think about. My mother says to forget it and I better damnwell do what I’m told. So I concede (lest I get grounded). I accept the multiple prescriptions and leave again.

I spent the next about 5 days in a stupor. Damn, I had no idea how exhausted I was until I was forced to rest, btw. I felt better, alas, it would be temporary. It remained.. it remained like a single spore in a decontamination tent, a single louse on a grade school child’s favorite stuffed animal. It remained.

So, here we are now. Six months later and what seemed so emergent at its onset is now a little daily fact of life. I can’t run. I can’t clean my house properly. I take ibuprofen almost every day when I wake up so that I can do stuff (surely destroying my liver or my ovaries or something in the process). I have SERIOUS and sudden pain every single time I rise from sitting or sleeping. I no longer sleep in my bedroom on my bed–I started to wake up every night (aka morning) at 3:30am in terrible pain. I’m talking about can’t-even-roll-myself-out-of-the-bed-without-crying, at times. So, I gave up and started sleeping in the recliner downstairs.

Side note: before this, I had this OTHER pain in my back. I woke up every night and had pain, the same way, but in a different place. That pain is gone! But this pain has taken its place. This bodes well for my mother’s theory that I am simply deteriorating. I happen to think it is all due to a botched epidural. We shall see… for sure.

So now, I deal with chronic, daily, extreme (at times) pain. I can’t do things now. I can’t go on nature walks. I can’t volunteer as a chaperone and go to freaking Monticello with my twins. I can’t go on the hike to the stinkin’ waterfalls with the family. And the worst? They don’t want to go without me. So now, no one goes. No one goes or does anything.

What to do? No pills will do the trick and they are also not welcome in my life because I have too many responsibilities (and let’s not kid, I am likely to love them). I am not in my bed. I am not physical (and not thin anymore also, dammit). I’m sure not trying these fun little drugs on TV that tell me how awesome it will be to get rid of my pain while I struggle with incontinence, cancer, high blood pressure and death. What to do? I just want to hula hoop to Skrillex and go to the stupid museum. Is that too much to ask?

Do you have chronic pain? What is your story?

10 Tips for Starting a Lifestyle Change

Here are some great tips from someone who really walks the walk!

The Art Of Being Still

The art of being still. Unlike many other forms of art, there are multiple masters of this and they seem to be mostly unaware of their great gift. This blog is a simple presentation of some ways these masters demonstrate their skills and ideas about why I am not one of them. Of course, we ALL do it. It’s knowing when to take a step instead of going down with the falling branch, that I’m talking about.

It is something we are taught since childhood: “If you get lost, stay where you are.” or “if you get lost, go back to xyz location and wait.” For a lost child, this is sound advice, but where do you draw the line and teach the child that there is a time when action may be favorable over inaction? And if you teach them, will they know when to apply it?

I'm so tired of waiting for this job...

I’m so tired of waiting for this job…

Inaction is such a normal human behavior that it is timeless. It has a purpose. Sometimes, we must pause to reflect on our options, lessons and goals.

I'd better consider my options.

I’d better consider my options.

But for some, inaction becomes the “safe” thing to do. In this case, doing nothing is still doing something. “Hey Susie, what are you doing today?” “Nothing.” And then in reverse, we have also developed the illusion that we are making progress when we are actually going nowhere.

Sorry, I can't go today, I am going to be biking all afteroon

“I rode my bike six miles yesterday!”                                   “Oh! Where did you go?”                                                         “Nowhere.”

Why do we do this? The illusion of safety. We tell ourselves, “well, if I stay right here, nothing can go wrong.” Well, I have news for you, nothing will go right, either! Yes, likely things will appear to stay the same, but there is a problem. The world and society and time go on with or without you. Eventually, you will go out of style, you will fall behind the times, your friends and family will go on with life and where will you be? Still where you were.. “safe.” There they go, your stupid friends went on dates and got their hearts broken. Your old high school buddies went through tons of crap jobs before they found what they wanted. That girlfriend you used to have? She’s got all those kids now and some tattoos and spends all her time running her stupid etsy store. But not you, nooooo sir. You never had to endure any of that nonsense. You did the smart thing. You are a winner.

I have been still longer than anyone.

I have been still longer than anyone.

So, fine. Some people want to be still and there is merit to that. I am not talking about commitment, I’m talking about fear of the unknown. The pain is real and it is paralyzing. Some are never taught, some are but do not wish to take risks. Some have come to believe that they are “happy enough” where they are and there’s no sense in making a change that could lead to, you know, something else.

Just because you like where you are doesn’t mean there can be no better or equal place in the world. I do not understand the mentality of standing still. I understand pausing, I understand reflecting, giving thought to your future. I do not understand making a defined plan to never change. Is it a matter of confidence? Is it that you know in your heart that you are just where you belong? Perhaps I have yet to discover that. Perhaps I have a problem with wanting to check things out before I can get cozy where I am. Maybe I can’t commit to a decision. Perhaps we should ask my six children, or some of my professors from my last 7 years of school, or my husband who I’ve known for 17 years. Maybe those folks can shed light on my lack of ability to stick to something.

In summary I say, do not lie still. Still waters may run deep, but they also never change. Change may be a scary, without guarantees, and often leads to places you never expected, but it always results in something new. If that is something that you are afraid of or have no desire in, so be it. I enjoy pausing for a photo or a thought, or even a season. But the decision to stop, to never be curious, to never explore everything this life has to offer, that decision will be made for me by the universe, not at my own hand. I have yet to master the art of being still.

Know your home, but don’t be afraid to go out the front door.

Freedom is in the soul as strongly as is opression.

Stop Controlling Me With Your Brain Control

The puppet masters of emotion. Who are they? Pretty much everyone except those who claim they are being controlled- these are the puppets. Most of us have felt like puppets at times, but some people take this on as a character trait, victimizing themselves through life.

Example: “We had to riot! It’s not our fault, it’s because xyz.”

I have news for you: It IS your fault. Whether xyz is valid, or not, you made the choice to riot. And by the way, in doing so, you completely overwhelm and virtually destroy the very reason you say you are out there. When we look at the news and see massive hoards of citizens burning their own town to the ground, we are not thinking, “my heavens, that initial thing that happened was so wrong, look what it caused!” No, we’re thinking: “Look at those misguided fools. Why are they out there anyway? I don’t know the story, the only thing on the news is this.”

Additionally, when riots occur, it attracts a new element to the equation: piggybackers. These are folks who are siked up to go out there and just damn the world. They see it as a smokescreen for their faces and an opportunity to join in the anarchist behavior without just cause or accountability.

Everyone, get out some markers, let's do this!

Everyone, get out some markers, let’s do this!

To their great happiness, this is just how it ends up going. Not only do they get support and have top officials excuse them and teach them how to blame all of their behavior on others, but they also do not suffer any pains for their choices.

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But wait.. don’t forget about the contagion effect. When one baby sees another baby draw on the wall and nothing happens, what do you think the other baby does?

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And this is how we breed the irresponsibility of a species.

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Seriously? We are praising people now who go out in the street and beat other people up to make their point? Oh, that’s right, we are. Of course people are praising the woman who beat her son in the street, in fact, inside that post, one official said that more parents need to take control of their children. Then that was a new meme. These “kids” were out of control, but where are the parents? Why aren’t they beating them into submission? It must be the parents’ fault. If only we could figure out why those children thought going out in the street and smacking, beating, otherwise taunting others is what you do when you’re angry.. hmm..

I am all for controlling your children, don’t get me wrong. Personally, I don’t take the whack them repeatedly in the head route, but I can’t speak for everyone’s child-rearing decisions. What would have been the outcome if that woman smacking her “child” (who by the way appears to be a full-grown person), was caught on a hidden camera doing the same? Would she be praised then?

Sure, the rioters are out of line and out of control. But what of the officials? The police, governing bodies and individuals, parents.. they’re all responsible folk who get out there and make it all better. Oh, drat… foot in my mouth again. This is a HUMAN behavior crisis, it’s not selective with gender, race, position of authority, intelligence or economic diversity. It is rampant in every corner. Fortunately, the same rules apply to them. When they do something wrong, nothing happens. Because after all, fair is fair!

So many double-standards. So often applying judgment liberally, but only when suiting to our needs.

Why do we think this is OK? Because we make it OK. For example, what if there was a top official- the very person who is in charge of containing this mess- and that person goes out to set an example for the masses with a speech. Then perhaps someone decides, “hey, what you just said was crappy and we are going to make a fuss about that.” What would that person do? Apologize? Clarify? Of course! Because that is their responsibility to the budding youth and the citizens they are meant to protect and serve. Or, we might see something like a flat out denial. Who knows?

https://www.facebook.com/TheKellyFile/videos/1651136871767838/?pnref=story

But don’t worry, people learn from their mistakes. It’s better to go back and say that you did do it but you didn’t mean it so it doesn’t count. Also, it’s certainly not your fault you said it at all.

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This post has focused thus far on rioters and officials but there are also other ways to dodge all responsibility for your unacceptable actions. Let’s say you are on Twitter and you choose to post a very sad statement about how you are in terrible pain and hate a certain type of person and you blame everyone like them. Then, lo and behold, some gaslighter bursts into your life and says that was not nice. What is the proper response? You should immediately blame them for your pain, of course. Tell them all about how if it weren’t for people like them, you wouldn’t even be so messed up emotionally and then warn them that this is just the sort of comment that just might make you go over the edge. Boom! Now it’s that person’s fault that you feel this way! Success for you. Except, no.

What about the fact that the person was defending their position that you initially assaulted? Something that is not even their doing such as their race or gender. Is it possible that you are the instigator? Maybe it was your words that upset them? Is it fair to turn around after saying “all men should burn in hell I hate men, men are scum,” and respond to the person who says back, “I am a man and I’m not scum.” with something like, “you see! another example of a MAN attacking a woman. #hater #proof #allmensuck”

Who wouldn’t like a little sympathy from time to time? Personally, I am more than happy to offer up plenty of it, as a rule. However, I will not accept responsibility for your situation. In fact, to do so would be a great injustice to you. It’s called enabling. But you can only teach as long as someone is willing and able to learn. Pain is real, and everyone goes through it, right? Wrong! – everyone encounters it but only some go through it. Trust me when I tell you that if attention is what you’re after, you’ll get much more from being triumphant in the face of pain than you will from publicly victimizing yourself. Plus, it feels so much nicer ^-^

Some people are very confused about responsibility, well, many are. Even when we know better, any of us can make a snappy decision to do less than our best. But really, at least admit to it. Try harder next time. Apologize, even?

People of the world, GET A GRIP. Stop putting yourself out there then blaming others for your behavior. As I explained to one such person yesterday, emotions are involuntary. Triggers happen. Behavior on the other hand, is voluntary. You may have something putting a fire under you, but to throw that fire around and stomp your feet like a 2-year old is a choice.  Nothing will ever change without the acceptance that it can be changed, and only you can make it happen.

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“Be excellent to each other.” ~Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bonnie, Bonnie, where have you been?

I know this isn’t the first time you’ve asked yourself this question if you know me at all IRL. Well, yes, the last 18 months or so of my life have been a sweeping blur in many ways. Finally, I find myself on the other side of the rainbow where life is no longer black and white. So where have I been? Oz. Never, never land. Raccoon City. Whatever you think is probably close to accurate. Reshaping my entire existence, basically. All of my adventures are too extensive to attempt to catch up, lest I blog many hours of each day to come for months.

In any event, one of my new goals is to blog more regularly. I shall pour out my thoughts and beliefs and my non-bias all in this little, baby space. I hope you will be along for the funness and bring some of your comrades and minions with you. Please, please, leave me comments (even hate mail is currently welcome!) and feel free to share anything I write with anyone, as long as you give me credit. Except the NSA and such, as ain’t nobody got time for that sort of thing. Although, having typed that, I have probably already done myself in. Ahh, sigh.

Carry on! I love you! 🙂

On ending the shutdown:

The government is shutdown (well- the ‘non-essential’ parts?) and America is suffering. After 10 LONG days, many people are undergoing major threats to their existence, while others sit seemingly unaware.

We know that when this happens, it is because a budget has not been passed for the upcoming (now current) fiscal year. The Senate, Congress, and the President must all come to terms of agreement for the budget to pass and with split representation- Democratic Senate vs Republican Congress- we are at an apparent impass.

There is much speculation about why this is happening, really, and we probably won’t ever know the truth behind it. Some say the Republicans are purposefully delaying the passage of a budget that includes funding for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I have several theories of my own, but that is another story.

Now, I am asking myself, as are many others, how long will this go on? Without the budget in place, many American workers are furloughed. This means they are basically on a temporary layoff. They cannot go to work, get paid, or do their jobs. They have been deemed “non-essential” to what, I cannot imagine. I mean, if they are non-essential, why do they have the jobs in the first place? To me, every job is essential. For example, when we hear that “federal workers” are having to stay at home without pay, some people may have a little snicker inside, associating that term to some lawmaker they have bitterness about. Well, do you know who else is a federal worker? The person who sweeps up at the zoo- closed zoo. The person who monitors Skyline drive in Virginia and takes tickets from the cars who come to the place like a Mecca every year to see the seasonal change of leaves- federal worker- Skyline drive closed (at the peak of the season, when the majority of people would be patronizing the park). Your friend who works on the beaches, keeping them safe and happy?- non-essential. YOUR OWN FRIEND, not a “man in black” not an IRS agent, but your friend. Sitting at home now, worrying way more than you are about whether our “lawmakers” will wake up and put forth every waking moment today to fixing this problem!

I mentioned, and let me tell you it’s true, if my children were arguing about something and it was going on for more than a few minutes, I would be stepping in, guiding them into conversation and making SURE they resolved it. Can you imagine if they went on arguing about something day in and day out for 10 days? Not happening, not in my house. Where is the adult in Washington, D.C.?

Do you remember when we “almost” had a shutdown in 2012, or every year? Well, 2012 was the first time I was personally aware of this issue and what could happen if we truly did shut down. Well, it seemed pretty darn serious to me, and I was worried! When it didn’t go badly, I was relieved. Then… I found out why. How did the great Obama solve this threat? Well, I’ll tell you, he signed the NDAA. However, he included a “signing statement.” Here it is:

“Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.

The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.”

"The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean that I agree with everything in it."

“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean that I agree with everything in it.”

(picture from http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/03/obama-seeks-to-end-political-gridlock-in-weekly-address/)

So, Obama went ahead and signed, you know, cause he didn’t want a shutdown and all, so to spare the public of that he authorized indefinite detention and essentially allowed martial law. Sure, there are specifications, but the language used makes it terminally simple to be able to swoop in and detain anyone, for any reason, forever. Without a trial. Ever.

But don’t worry- he doesn’t plan to use it…

Now anyway, let’s say this shutdown continues. More Americans are affected, people are already losing their homes, unable to get passports taken care of, we really are on hold as a Nation. Won’t it become critical to pass SOMETHING to get things off the ground? Since Obama has the authority to do this, are you concerned we’ll see another little signing statement on the end of some scary shit? I’m a little worried about it.

And have you ever heard of something called the Shock Doctrine? You can get more information about this further down my blog site. For now I will sum up the principle: Crisis happens, government takes over for our own protection, we lose civil rights for our own good. This is starting to seem a bit “shocky” to me. I’m thinking there may have to be some dramatic action to get us out of it, and if it keeps up, how long do you think before people will start doing great depression maneuvers, mixed with current day standing up moves? What do we have then? People charging lawmakers, physical demonstrations of intolerance, lack of support for the government, anarchy in the streets, suicides from economic destruction, martial law. I mean, sure, it’s reaching, but under even these circumstances, it’s totally plausible.

Will you be affected by the shutdown then? Are you being affected now? Do you know anyone who is? Are you surrrre???

Love is not Love.

Can you say you love someone? I sure can. In fact, that’s the problem- I love a lot of people. But, do they love me? They seem to.. but they have fears- fear I am too far away, fear I am too adventurous, fear I am too married (long story), fear I am too mothery, fear I am too crazy, too reasonable, too smart, too doofy, and whatever else. Am I really “too” anything? Maybe so, maybe no. So I asked myself, “what is love, anyway?” We’ve all asked ourselves that at some time, but this time, I was really planning to figure it out, and it wasn’t really difficult. So, I thought I’d tell you what I came up with:

First of all, it’s not what you think. We are taught to think of flowers and candy and endless summer nights. Sure, those things can come into play, but it’s not the things themselves- it’s the motivation behind them that is the love part. We are given the impression that receiving gifts and having these beautiful, perfectly executed, experiences are the things to reach for and judge by. This is just BS, and a real recipe for disaster. In fact, it’s a guarantee that you will never find love at all.

You see, I am in transition. Actually, we all should be all the time, but this is the first time I have really made an active, well planned, actual movement. I have spent a long time working on it and even longer planning it. Now I am here, at the end of my big plan- action time. It’s not that I didn’t take action sooner, it’s that all the small things (though they have weighed heavily in nature), have been completed and the pieces are in place- the Queen finally leaves her square and goes out for the win. This is not directed at a person, but at my life as a whole. To be honest, I’ve been very calculated in my seemingly flighty movements- and that was part of the plan. If you’ve been watching me you have likely seen some of the exterior moves. New hair, pierced nose, trips across the country, new music, new friends, new projects, etc. Well, all of this is what has brought me to evaluate the meaning of love and its proper level and place in my life.

Love is a feeling, not an action. Actions are driven by fears and based on assumed outcome. Feelings are uncontrollable and genuine. When you love someone, you just do- you can’t fight it. I know we’ve all tried, but there is NO use in this. The outcome of trying is the deepest pain known to mankind and you all know it. Now that’s interesting- why would we all know this? Why would we all have done this before? (When I say all, I’m making a general rule, but I realize there are exceptions to every rule, or so I was told..). I think it’s a matter of self-preservation. As children we are free in expressing our feelings and desires. It is only as we get older and have negative experiences that we learn to stuff our feelings and even hide them from ourselves, to prevent the possible outcome of pain.

They say it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all, and I FULLY AGREE. Love is a beautiful thing, which is why I’ve returned to the childlike disposition of giving and getting as much of it as I can. So, call me a child if you wish- I will take it as a compliment because it means I have been successful in restoring myself to the natural state of emotional maturity that I was born with- before I was corrupted by influence and fears.

Lana DelRey says in her song Summertime Sadness, “nothing scares me anymore.” I totally associate to this. Obviously things scare me- reasonable things like loss and danger and such. But when it comes to emotional protection, I’ve given it away. I am not afraid to experience love because of the fear that it will end, and I am not afraid to live without it because of the fear that I will have only myself to rely on. This is because I am strong and happy with who I am. As a result, I don’t have to be afraid because the person I am is a good one, someone who cares and loves and gives and enjoys every single fraction of a breath that she is allowed to take. I LOVE life and, to that effect, nothing scares me anymore.

You should know I have been through hell, as I’m sure you would say you have. We have been through different hells, but each our own. I understand that and I have compassion for your personal struggle. I want to walk in your shoes and say I understand, but I cannot. This is something people don’t get. No one will ever really be able to understand another, the way they truly feel, because they have not experienced their whole life up to that point. You can put two identical twins in identical situations and they will perceive them differently. This is because our perceptions dictate our understanding of reality. We really are all living in different worlds from the next person. Because of this, three things are true: 1. You can never truly say you understand, though you can take on the feelings of another and understand the feelings they are experiencing, you can not understand their OWN personal struggle that those feelings are related to. 2. No one can ever truly understand you. 3. You have the power to create a new reality and it will be real.

I have been in limbo for a long time. Many of us are. We are complacent, not yet fed up enough to change, afraid of what people will think or how it will affect others if we change, etc. This is where planning comes into play. There will be sacrifices. For me, it was love. I decided that it had no place in my life for a while. Not family love, but romantic love. As I stated, I don’t believe we can control love, so in order to not have it, I kept away from all the platforms where it could possibly occur. I isolated, avoided, disregarded. But, guess what? It happened anyway. Dammit.

Another problem with love is the fear of rejection. It happened, too. We have no assurances in life- even marriage, a promise to love someone forever, is negotiable now. This is why I have now grown weary of that idea, as well. People, you can NOT promise to love someone forever. Emotions are uncontrollable. What you CAN promise it so “stick it out.” That is what marriage really is. It’s not a promise to love, it’s a promise to stay together even when you don’t feel the love, which is inevitable at times. Ask any couple who has been married for many years, they have had lots of love, and also days they never wanted to see each other again. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not against marriage. I just think in MOST cases, it’s entered into for the wrong reasons, and not respected for what it really is meant to be. It’s socially disposable and has become a platform for confidence, legal benefit, expression of status, business deals, proving points, laying claim, and so much more. Now I’m not knocking all the people who do it for those reasons. They are great reasons if it’s what they want and it gives them what they need. I’m just saying, it’s not for me- wasn’t what I was taught to do it for, and isn’t what I want or need. So I won’t be doing it for any of those causes. Marriage really is a deal- whichever one you choose- not a guarantee of eternal love. This is what I have come to believe about the association between love an marriage- you CAN have one without the other. Though.. you shouldn’t.

So let’s get to the point. What is love if it’s not what we thought? Well, you’re gonna be pissed about this, but I can’t tell you the answer to that. All I know is that love is this:

Image

(note: I totally snatched this photo from the blog found at http://zendictive.wordpress.com/ which is cool and I’m glad I found it. If it’s yours, sorry and thanks and hope you’re not mad!)

So, one thing. What’s that one thing? That’s the problem and why I can’t tell you- it’s different for everyone. Love cannot be defined because it’s subjective to each person’s wants, needs, past, goals, perceptions, and so much more. The odds of finding someone in your lifetime that comes ANYWHERE close to having identical conditions to yours is SO UNLIKELY. That’s whyyyyy you MUST let it be! If you think for one instant that you might love someone, you must allow and investigate that to its fullest! Since we are all ruled by our issues and triggers, it’s reasonable to believe that everyone you encounter is not showing you what they have to show. You’ve gotta catch those mofos off guard to know what you’re really dealing with! The only way to do that is to invest in a friendship. In the end, if there is one, your worst case scenario is finding out that you may or may not still love them later, but you have a friend. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an extreme awesomeness in the world. TRUE friends are indispensable, a gift, a reward, and almost ALWAYS stay around longer than love. If you are REALLY lucky, you will have a friend who you love, and THAT is how you make it happen.

Here are some signs that you can reasonably rely on to indicate that you either love someone (if you’re doing them) or that someone loves you (if they’re doing them). If you see these signs, do not ignore them. Do NOT be afraid! Dive in and enjoy the moment. If nothing else, you will have an unbreakable friendship with someone who will always support you. I’ll also ask you to realize that you WILL love people of the same gender. This does not mean you want to marry them or have sex, it means you recognize their light and want to be around them. That’s what love involves, not sex and marriage, but experiencing things together, making memories, laughing, being alike or complimentary together. It is a different kind of love that I’m talking about- soul love, not romantic love. For the purpose of these symptoms, I will speak from the female to male nature of romantic love, but I do mean any love.

1. You think about him a LOT. And when you do, you smile, snicker, etc. and really want to see them in person.

2. You think of him randomly. You see red onions and you laugh about a joke he told you. You hear a song and are like, “oh my gosh, I have to put this on his Facebook page!” You watch a video and think, “oh my gosh, he would laugh his ass off at this!”

3. You would endure great struggle to be able to spend 15 minutes with him. No distance is too great, no 6 months of waiting will stand in your way and though you feel impatient and anxious about the waiting, you somehow develop super-human strength in the field of patience.

4. You can predict him. He has standards, patterns, preferences, “will-nevers” and more. You know them, even when he doesn’t. You know the sound of his laugh, you can hear his voice in your head when you read his text messages, you know why he posted that song, you know what his superlongcreatedhashtag means, you know when he will call you because it’s always directly after he posts a string of a certain kind of post on social media, you know how to MAKE HIM LAUGH. And you know HOW to say things to him so that he will take it the way you mean it. You can even tell when he is upset or disinterested or anything else, with no clues.

5. He tells you that he loves you. There are some people out there who throw the word around. But make no mistake, if you are not sleeping with a man, not even seeing him, and he tells you that he loves you, believe him.

6. You don’t need guarantees and reassurances. Sure, they’re always nice- reassurances. In fact, in love, it’s almost impossible not to give them. When you love someone freely, you WANT to tell them. You want to say “oh my gosh, I miss you so much” or “I really love the way you moved your hair that day” or “You are so cute when you act like a child” or “I will always love you, no matter where our lives take us.” THAT kind if guarantee, you can give. You can promise someone that they will always have a place in your heart. You can’t promise you will wake up every day going through life with them and look at them like they are the queen of the universe and all that, but you can guarantee that you have been through so much, and know ALL about each other, and you still love them and will always hold them dear. And you can hold someone dear from afar, forever. It’s not the same as active, romantic love. Don’t confuse those- it can ruin a friendship and create a “great white buffalo.” If you don’t know what that is, be sure to look it up.

In any event, when you are loved genuinely, you know it- there is no “I wonder if he still loves me” going on. If that happens, one of two things is true: 1. You are totally insecure and no one can make you happy no matter how hard they try, until you find a way to love yourself and be confident. OR 2. No, he doesn’t love you.

We can pretend not to love someone (as I mentioned earlier about fear and all that), and it can be believable for a time. We cannot pretend that we DO love someone and do it without flaw. True love comes with the INABILITY to hurt someone on purpose. You can always tell when someone loves you. Just pay attention. When someone does not love you, it will be painfully obvious through repetitive clues that you should not choose to overlook. I have seen enough times to believe as fact (in my own relationships, textbooks, and many other cases), that when a relationship ends and some surface excuse is given- “he just doesn’t know how to communicate” or “he doesn’t show any emotion when I am excited” or whatever you decided to draw the line on, that reason was there ON DAY ONE. Pay attention- people are not projects. Don’t expect that you will be able to make him different with your ever-healing and long-overdue love. Trust me, he has been loved before. Someone else has given it their best shot, too. This IS how he is and more importantly how he WANTS to be. People do not change for each other, contrary to popular belief- even when they are in love. They ONLY change because they have decided that they want to. Some kick habits or work on lessening behaviors for the benefit of the other, but those things will ALWAYS resurface… just wait. Change only happens when someone decides that they are ready for it. It will never be because of you. Although- sometimes you can plant the seeds a person needs that will lead them to come to the conclusion they need to change- in their OWN time.

So that’s it, ladies and gentlemen. Love is subjective, ever-evolving, and causes many things. It is not dependent on behavior, experiences, commitments or anything else but love. Love is love. When you see it, get involved with it! Make friends – give help to the poor – feed the skinny cat – leave a nice comment when you see someone being bludgeoned by trolls – tell people about someone’s tiny cause – hug your kids – apologize to your ex – whatever it takes. Be genuine – be honest – don’t be afraid. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and do make ones you can. Go the extra mile to tell someone how you feel, and be willing to admit it to yourself. Give reassurances when they’re not needed – admire a good deed and do your own and don’t tell anyone about it – praise confidence – have adventures – give hugs – go up to a stranger who looks sad and tell them they are beautiful and walk away – don’t expect anyone to love you if you do not love yourself. BE GRATEFUL – and most of all.. be cautious, but never afraid. If you feel fear creeping in, tell it to get the heck outta town! There’s a reason that bravery is so admirable- it’s tough! But very, very possible and nothing but a simple decision. It’s not an action, it’s just a choice.

Do you want to know what love is? Close your eyes for one minute and see how many people pop in your head. You already know what love is. Now get out there and tell them so you can start living free 🙂

P.S. I love you.

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