Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall (Oh, wait…that was me)

ImageI haven’t written in a while, but its not because of a lack of inspiration.  Thanks to climate change, mother nature or simply this horrible winter, I fell on snow and broke a limb.  

I’ve said this for years…Falling humbles real people real fast!  I recall a couple of years ago when my husband (then fiancee) kept forgetting to take out the trash. I’d constantly remind him “don’t forget to take out the trash” and he’d say “I won’t.” Then he’d forget anyway.  

One morning I was already in a bad mood and he left out of the house without taking the trash AGAIN. So I quickly went outside right behind him (trash in hand) and dumped it into the can. When I was walking away, I slipped on ice and fell flat on my behind.  All of my attitude and sassiness left immediately.

I laughed about it later with coworkers sharing my theory that falling (especially in front of someone as an adult takes us down a few notches).  No matter how mad or tough we may be in a situation, tripping and falling will bring you down a few levels.

So this more serious fall that resulted in surgery reeaallyy made me humble. For the first week or so, I couldn’t get around on my own because of the pain and I was just beginning to use the crutches.  I had to depend on others to drive me to doctor’s appointments, get me food, even help me make it to the bathroom.  (I had 3 minor slips after the big one, hey, it was my first time on crutches, you understand).  I never had to rely on anyone like this before.  Frustrating, yet humbling.

So aside from being humbled after dealing with my emotions of sadness and anger because I couldn’t go to work, I’ve gained an appreciation for people with disabilities and anyone dealing with injuries in general.  I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, but then I’d run across people on TV who lost a limb in war or who were in some crazy accident. I thought to myself, hey, I got off easy compared to these folks.  Now, though not fully recovered, I am definitely more inspired and looking forward to blessings to come. 

#ThingsCouldBeWorse #CountingMyBlessings

Commenters & Trolls: Extremism at its Finest

Spreading-Extremism

Photo Credit: Kip Lyall http://bit.ly/1iNTF2Y

I regularly read news articles, blogs and other posts online to catch up on what’s happening on the outside of my little bubble.  This is harmless, right? Well, maybe not so much.  Lately I’ve been increasingly becoming turned off by the comments people make on articles and posts that generally wouldn’t elicit extreme comments.  We’ve all been there though, right? You’re reading a post or a blog about something pretty simple and straightforward and then…BAM, you see the most obnoxious, hateful comment you’ve seen in a while.

So, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I saw a pretty standard post written about Amiri Baraka, former NJ poet laureate who is recently deceased.  The comment says:

Today, Newark’s light is dimmed with the passing of Amiri Baraka. A true son of our city, Amiri was a veteran of the civil rights struggle who left an unforgettable mark on our world. He was a literary icon who wrote essays, plays, poems, and books that will not be forgotten. He was a political icon, setting the stage for the empowerment of those who had been locked out for so long. The history of Newark cannot be written without an account for the life and legacy of Amiri Baraka. We are everlastingly grateful for his service.

You would think, okay this is something typical that I or anyone else would write about a well known influential person who just died.  But then I read one of the comments on this post and I was taken aback.  It read:

I am appalled at those comments, Shavar. Amiri Baraka admitted that he was delighted at the 1967 riots, because he wanted the Jewish and Italian communities to leave town, so that Newark would be left to the black community. Only then did he realize the error of his ways. He said that he thought that the African-American community was totally cohesive and in much better shape than it was. Moreover, he wrote that horrific poem indicating that the Jews engineered 9/11. He has always been an anti-Semite and you should go back into history. Read that poem. Re-evaluate…

This comment set off a whole slew of comments going back and forth spewing hate.  Hmm…I thought to myself.  Now, I know that everyone has done both good and bad things in their lifetime.  I also know that we’ve made some controversial comments here and there (don’t judge me and I won’t judge you).  But, shouldn’t it be acceptable to write some positive comments about a deceased person?   People try to remember the good when loved ones die, not the bad.   I mean damn, the guy literally just died.  I don’t want to get too much into the comment above, but when is enough enough?  When will it be okay for random Facebook user number 1 to post something that isn’t generally polarizing (i.e. “Newark’s light is dimmed with the passing of Amiri Baraka”) and Facebook user 2 to read it, disagree with it (internally) and just keep on scrolling?  Why do people always have to antagonize everything?

I read some other article (I can’t remember the name of it), but it simply read something like “John Doe was killed while taking the trash out of his home”.  I read several comments that said “wow, that’s sad” “RIP” “prayers to the family.”  However, the comment that got the most responses read something like “good, let them all kill each other, there will be less on welfare.”  One of the responses called this “top commenter” a troll. I didn’t know what it meant (apparently I’m not as well read as I thought 😦 again, don’t judge me).  The Urban Dictionary defines it as “One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a news group or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” Now your asking yourself (just like I did)…do people actually do this? Yep, they do.  It’s unfortunate, but yes they do.

Trolls are like the family members you don’t want to sit next to during Thanksgiving dinner. You know the ones who look at you and say “have you gained weight?” or “you look halfway decent today, is that a new outfit?”  I don’t wish any harm to anyone, but I’m calling it. 2014 the end of the troll. The trolls online and the trolls in our real lives.

And that’s my rant for now 😉

What I learned from a 2 year old

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There’s a story that I like to share with friends who are overburdened or overwhelmed.  This can be due to family/work/school responsibilities or a combination of everything.

A few years back my daughter was going through what everyone refers to as the “terrible twos”.  She was strong-willed, wild and did all those things that two year old’s typically do (sticking things in her mouth, pouring salt on the floor, bumping her head while hiding under the coffee table).  You name it, she did it.

I would say to her (in my I’m your mom so you’re going to me voice) “just sit down for a few minutes so I can get my head together” to which she would reply “NO!”  It drove me crazy! No matter what I asked her to do, the answer was “NO.”  After losing my mind a little bit and her becoming (slightly) more calm and easier to handle, the word that she kept saying was stuck in my head. “No”…”No”..”No”

I had been previously guilty of saying “yes” or “I’ll see what I can do” to friends and family who need my help or money for their own situations.  Taking on the problems of others, while having my own responsibilities had taken its toll on me.  I’d realized that I was taking on too many responsibilities. In addition to being a mom, I was working, going to school and dealing with family issues.  I was that overburdened friend who needed to be counseled.

That word “No” started to go through my mind more and more often and guess what?  I started using it! I started saying “No” to requests that were adding extra stress that my body could no longer afford to handle.  I said “No” to requests for money from people who squandered their own.  I said “No” to babysitting other people’s children almost as often as I had to deal with my own.  I said “No” not “I’ll see what I can do” and I felt liberated.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t stop helping family and friends completely.  But, I did ask myself Do I have to help this person? How would they get through this if I wasn’t an option?  I helped, but on my terms and when I felt less stressed.  I got interesting reactions to this new me. They ranged from blank stares to “you’re selfish.”  These reactions were coming from people I constantly helped and were simply not used to hearing me say “no.”

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I felt bad for saying “no,” but I slowly realized that when I was saying “no” to them, I was really saying “yes” to me.  Saying no allowed me to say yes to spending more time with my daughter, reading a book, or simply taking a nap.

I learned one word that liberated me from unnecessary stress. And to think a two year old had to teach it to me. I will never forget that word. It helped me keep my sanity.

#No