Arrogance Breeds Contempt #cockygate #ByeFaleena

If there’s one thing in the world I hate, it’s bullies and mean people.

This is a big world. And it’s hard. There is NO reason or excuse for being nasty or hurtful.

Having said that, I just had to speak out when I saw all the crap going down in the romance world.

Imagine the arrogance it must take for a person to copyright an everyday word and claim it for “branding” purposes. Imagine said author using the apparent inability of her fans to distinguish her works over other authors because they use the same word in the title. Then imagine this same author choosing to go after other authors with the word in their titles and basically serving them with cease and desist orders and threatening litigation.

Seriously?

And if you are/were her fan, how are you not offended? I mean:

  1. She basically called you stupid.
  2. She’s saying you can’t read well enough to recognize her name.
  3. She doesn’t think you’re capable of returning a book once you realize you’ve downloaded the wrong one.

All this, and you’re still willing to be her little monsters running around giving other people 1 star reviews because they have that word in their title or they have books whose characters share names with some of hers? Or if they’ve used the same stock photos in their book covers?

Seriously?

Put on your big girl panties and grow the eff up. You want to be big in this business? Do it by writing amazing books people can’t put down! Do it with class and respect for your peers. Don’t try to shut everyone else down in the hopes that you’ll be the only one left standing, and therefore “succeeding” by default. That’s just crappy.

And if you haven’t heard about this or you don’t know the word? Let Kid Rock educate you….

Yup!

In her ideal world, no one else is allowed to use “Cocky.”

Whew! She must be relieved Kid hadn’t already beat her to it, huh?

And you know what breaks my heart? Some hard working, classy authors have already changed their titles thanks to her strong arm tactics. Even though they have every right to the word.

This is one of those times when readers and writers need to band together to show that this behavior of hers is unacceptable. That trying to undermine other people’s careers and livelihoods is not ok and has not gone unnoticed. That these lesser known authors have our support!

Here’s a LINK to a petition to cancel the Cocky trademark.

One blog, Ana’s Attic Book Blog has already found a bunch of authors that could use a little Love via book buys. Check out her post here on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fanasatticbookblog%2Fposts%2F975579679266933&width=500

And like her page while you’re at it.

If you want to better understand the situation and how utterly effed up it really is? Check out this very well done Article.

Biotch! You’ve gone too far.

You’re arrogant, not cocky.

Why?

Because, as Kid Rock says, “It ain’t braggin’, mother fucker, if you back it up.” And people who can back it up don’t need the down and dirty tricks that you pulled, chick.

Need proof? Here’s how talent backs it up.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fchantel.seabrook%2Fposts%2F10216215325158677&width=500

That’s class.

What I feel for this stunt?

Contempt.

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments. I’m randomly picking 5 people to give whichever Cocky book listed on Ana’s page that you’d like. Again, all you have to do is share your thoughts….whatever they may be.

Courage, Choices, and Change

I’ve learned several important lessons over the years.

First, not everyone is kind. There are a lot of people out there who are afraid of anything and anyone who might be different. There’s not always a good reason for it.

Second, bullying and hurtful words doesn’t stop with age. Many of you who know me are very familiar with my rather exuberant, outgoing side. I’m one of the fortunate rare few who are pretty comfortable with who I am both inside and out. But that hasn’t always been the case. Even I’ve had my dark period, but I was fortunate to have a support system around me to push through.

I rebuilt myself stronger than ever and with a clear purpose/message; to help build self esteem in others. In fact, it was only a few years later when I got the opportunity to put my actions where my values were.

I worked in a private religious facility in my early 20’s. My department was a predominantly female one, and unfortunately, I’ve found women are sometimes the cruelest to one another. That particular day, one of our newer employees was working the information desk. She was probably in her early 50’s, and was working alongside another woman about 10 years her senior. As happens with all humans and most new employees, she made a mistake. It enraged the other woman. Furious, she grabbed the other, smaller woman by the elbow and yanked her from the desk, through the busy lobby, and down the back hallway toward one of the management offices in the back. She was chastising her quite vocally the entire way.

My eyes widened in shocked disbelief. By the time I stepped to the back, the older woman had released her and went back to her station, leaving the other woman in tears and upset.

Me: Are you okay?
Her: Not really. I know I screwed up, but I’m trying to learn as fast as I can. I’m so embarrassed. Everyone saw and heard the way she talked to me. I don’t know what to do.
Me: The way she talked to you was not okay. If you need to talk to the boss about how you were treated, you will have my support.

Once I knew she was calm, I let her go back to work and thought nothing of it….until, a few days later, I was called into our manager’s office along with the woman, we’ll call her Ms. X,¬†who’d man handled the new hire.

Boss: I heard from the new hire that you told her she should talk to me about Ms. X reprimanding her.
Me: Not exactly. I had no problem with Ms. X (who was sitting in the room smirking at me) reprimanding her for her mistake. I did, however, take issue with the way she went about it.
Boss: You might not be aware, but this was not the first time that this discussion has happened.
Me: Again, my issue was not with the actual correction, but rather the method with which it took place. I had a problem with her bodily grabbing her and yanking her through an entire department in front of both staff and customers and yelling at her publicly. She humiliated her in front of customers and her peers. Regardless of what she may have done, that behavior was completely unprofessional.

Unfortunately, at that moment, the boss got an urgent call that she had to answer, so she let me go, warning me that in the future, it’s probably better to leave it up to my co-workers to work their differences out because apparently, my fearful peer had used my name as the reason she’d come to the boss, rather than her treatment.

As the boss focused on her phone call and I stepped out of the room, Ms. X put her hand on my forearm and stopped me. I looked down at her arm, then directly into her face.

Ms. X: (with a slight squeeze to my arm) Don’t worry, Kitt, I’ll warn you before I bite.
Me: (placing my hand atop hers, and smiling) Oh, don’t you worry, Ms. X. I bite back.

The older woman quickly removed her hand and backed away. Messaged received. She’d think twice before pushing anyone around in my presence.

That was the first time I realized that growing up did not stop bullying. But there was a difference in how I handled it. I’d become stronger.

Third, not everyone is as strong as you, so if you are the stronger one, be brave. Speak out. Maybe that’s why I love the Hunter Hayes song so much. He knows. He gets it. And he’s sending the message that he’s been there, too. If you haven’t heard it, here it is.

Fourth, the one think you will always have control of in this life is YOU. Your response to trials, your choice in allowing negative things to impact you. In fact, this young lady’s response to bullying warmed my heart and changed an entire community.

Fifth, good or bad, you are an example and you never know who’s watching. Bullying is a learned behavior. Don’t think you’ve ever bullied anyone? Consider how you might be handling people who might not share your point of view.

This world can be a challenge. Living is not for wimps. We all need a little help sometimes. Who has helped or inspired you? I’d love to hear about it.

The Funny, the Empowering, the Lifesaving…

The last couple weeks, even smiley ol’ me needed some help finding things to laugh about. Fortunately, my friends and Facebook came through…

A fellow coffee lover posted this hilariousness….

I also saw this awesomeness that spoke to my inner music lover…

And my hilarious and awesome buddy, Anna, from Herding Cats and Burning Soup posted this to our Kinkery group…(so you know it’s going to be both hilarious and naughty)

And this morning, I saw this particular review shared on facebook regarding Veet Mens Hair Removal….I laughed so hard I cried. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while on here know just how seriously I take Manscaping. ūüėÄ

So thanks! Ya’ll didn’t know how much your posts brightened an otherwise tough week for me.

And then there were some truly sweet and empowering things that people shared.

My friend, author Kristy K. James, shared this story about Taylor Swift and her going out of her way to send a special message to a fan who was being bullied. It moved me to tears.

Another friend posted the video for the new Colbie Caillat song, Try. Talk about powerful and empowering. A message reminding us to be ourselves! We’re beautiful just the way we are. I know that this message is near and dear to my friend, August McLaughlin’s heart.

And then there’s the lifesaving….

Lately we’ve talked about how technology has changed the world, and often not in a good way. But there have also been some amazing things that have come from the tech world. Did you see how an App saved a baby’s life?

Check out this story about the Pulse Point app…. How cool is that?

So, despite all the ups and downs, there has been a lot of “cool” thrown in there, too. What about you guys? What things have made you laugh, touched your heart, or simply made you want to share? And if you have a smart phone, what apps have you found that make a difference in your life (or maybe someone else’s)?

Badasses and Bullies

Getting up at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning would be considered criminal in some circles. Ah, well, sometimes, when you’ve got something important to do, it’s a necessary evil. Cheering on your peeps counts as one of those good causes. Besides, I have to give respect to anyone who takes on this motto…even if it’s just for a day.

The Tough Mudder Motto

The Tough Mudder Motto

Yup! Once again, hubby and a few friends put their bodies on the line and participated in Tough Mudder. This time I had the opportunity to cheer him on live. It was awesome to see the indomitable human spirit in action. I watched people try obstacles, fail (or fall down), get themselves back together and try again until they overcame their challenges. There was a woman in her late 40’s to early 50’s that tried to run up the ramp they called “Everest” numerous times, only to slide back down. Did she get discouraged? Nope! Instead, she got her mean on and said, “I’m not¬†moving on¬†until I get over this fucking thing!” And she didn’t. On her 5th or 6th try, she finally managed to grab one of the helpers waiting at the top and get pulled over. I couldn’t help but think…”She’s kinda badass!”

Tough Mudder also raises funds for the Wounded Warrior Project; a very admirable cause. As a military brat, I find this to be such an important cause. I’m sure you can imagine how choked up I got when I saw what looked to be a college ROTC group of men and women running the course together, carrying a flag pole with the US flag and the Wounded Warrior flag. Even more awesome was how they picked whomever was best at each obstacle to take the flag through the obstacles. This was especially challenging when watching them run up Everest, but they never faltered and that flag never touched the ground. Tears filled my eyes.

So to kick off this Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful that we arrived to the event safely and that everyone got through the event unharmed.

Before and After (Note the weather change and mud)

Before and After (Note the weather change and mud)

Normally, I’d probably end this post right about now, but not today. I want to share something I heard on Sunday morning that really bothered me and would love you guys to weigh in.

I was watching the NFL Network’s pre-game show when I heard Marshall Faulk say something that really bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, Marshall is such a Cowboy hater that he often bothers me, but this was different. He was talking with the rest of the cast about Jonathan Martin. For those of you who don’t know who he is…he’s the guy from the Miami Dolphins who was being bullied. At that time, the teammate who had been harassing him was not yet known, so it was basic bully talk.

Marshall said something¬†to the effect of having always associated bullying¬†as a child thing. He never thought an adult could be bullied. Don’t get me wrong…I completely¬†understand the misconception…especially amongst professional athletes.¬†Michael Irvin¬†and Warren Sapp pointed out that there’s usually a brotherhood and camaraderie amongst professional athletes who battle in the trenches with you. With those kinds of relationships it can be shocking that someone could betray that trust by bullying.

But you know what? As I’ve been sitting here thinking, I’ve realized… Marshall’s misconception is not that uncommon. Somehow we think adulthood comes with a magic pill that makes the problems of youth disappear. Not true. Think about it….

How many people willingly talk politics these days? Not me. Why? Because you never know when you’ll be subjected to bullying simply for not sharing the same point of view as the person with whom you’re speaking. A close friend of mine was once told “I hope you get AIDS and die” simply because he was a gay man and a republican. So that’s a bit extreme, but how many of you have seen memes that basically say you’re stupid or dumb simply because your political views don’t align with someone else’s political agenda?

What about Westboro Baptist Church? Isn’t what they do bullying? They don’t tack an age limit to their actions or behaviors.

These are just a couple of obvious examples… and I’m sure they’re not the only ones. We need to really sit up and pay attention to what’s going on around us as well as our words and actions. No one deserves to be treated like less than human simply for not sharing your beliefs or point of view.

Have you experienced bullying? Have you seen adult bullying? Were you the victim? Have you had to step in to defend someone else? What was the circumstance?

The only way to overcome this epidemic is to open the lines of communication, get talking, and let folks know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

As more of the NFL story breaks, I’ve been glad to hear guys like Ron Jaworski say that there had to be more than the general hazing that comes with rookie-hood. It was great hearing Keyshawn Johnson talking about how racial slander and slurs, regardless of what race they’re pointed at, have no place in this world. I even shocked myself by nearly giving Cris Carter (who I can’t stand) a standing ovation when he pointed out that any death threats made by an NFL player is scary and should be taken seriously….and cited the player who’s currently on trial for murder (possibly more than one).

Yes, there were one or two who said that this player should have confronted his bully head on rather than going to leadership, but overall, he’s been receiving a ton of support. I’ve got a feeling that Jaws is right and there’s a lot more to this story than we’ve found out so far.

Healing Wounds and Helping Hands

Circa 1990

Me, Circa 1990

I’m a lucky woman. I have people in my life who are passionate about the things that matter to them. In fact, they are so passionate that they know, to the depths of their souls, that they can change the world one person at a time. And I believe they’ll do it. How could I not? Recently I had the opportunity to be at August McLaughlin’s Facebook party where she candidly discussed her eating disorder and the ties to self esteem. She shared two powerful videos. One was about her journey to healing and the other centered on education and insight on a parent’s impact on their child. Check it out!

Another great friend is Ande Lyons from Bring Back Desire. Her mission to help educate women on the beauty and joy of accepting yourself. She is a huge proponent of exploring your sexuality and discovering your inner diva. She believes that self discovery is the key to personal happiness and lasting relationships. She’s creating a safe environment where women are welcome to go for tips, pointers and to ask the questions they may be too afraid or intimidated to ask elsewhere. She understands the struggle on a very personal level, and through hard work, love and dedication has managed to keep her love with her darling alive. In fact, they just celebrated their 25th anniversary!

They’re not the only ones, either. I’m extremely fortunate to be surrounded online by people who have such strong senses of self. People who’ve taken the things that have personally impacted their lives and converted them from areas of weaknesses into platforms of strength. It’s great to know I’m not alone.

Most of you know that self esteem and words are near and dear to my heart. Today I thought I’d share with you a bit about how I chose the causes that most impacted my life. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until recently that I connected what happened to me my first two years of high school with bullying. The below is the story of how it impacted me.

Many of you know that my brother died right before my freshman year in high school. What you may not know is that after my brother died, I transferred schools and our family moved. It was too painful living so close to the site of my brother’s accident and there were just too many ghosts (memories, not literal) in our apartment. Fortunately, the hospital my mom worked at offered employee housing at a discount in a great neighborhood. Our church also approached my mom about giving my sister and I scholarships to go to their private school. They thought our faith and positive attitudes might be a good influence and would allow us to continue education in a “Christian” environment.

A couple of itsy, bitsy problems with their plan. That particular private school went from preschool through 10th grade, then the kids went on to boarding school. What did that mean? These kids all grew up together in a very sheltered environment. Many of them grew up in neighborhoods surrounded by people of the same religion, went to church school, then off to private colleges within that denomination. Once they graduated some would go into the secular world, but most would work either in teaching in that denomination, working in hospitals of that denomination…and a spare few would venture out into the “real” world. The other problem? As if their being sheltered wasn’t problem enough, my coming in from the outside made me “fresh meat”.

On my first day of school there were a total of 2 new students in my class. Pretty much all the girls within my general age range hated me on sight because they knew that a new girl coming in was going to draw male attention. Oddly enough, I understood that and wasn’t overly bothered. It only took a couple of weeks for most of the guys to follow suit.

This had never happened to me before. Raised by a mother who told me I could do and be whomever I wanted to be, I was a very confident young lady. In fact, the above picture of me was during this time. After hearing how ugly, stupid and untalented I was over and over again, cracks began to appear. Within one month of starting at this school I was told by a kid I’d gone to church with since I’d moved to this country that he’d heard I’d already been through about 20 boyfriends. Apparently I was also the biggest slut in the school despite the fact that I was “ugly”. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t really dated anyone because I was too busy grieving my kid brother’s loss (we were best of friends despite the 4 year age difference). When I did choose to date, I selected guys I knew from my old world…in public schools. I still remember hearing my schoolmates tell me that I was lying about my boyfriends because there was no way a “public school boy” would be interested in someone like me.

One thing to know about me? Even then I had pride in spades. I realized two things pretty quickly. First, though my instinct was to fight (and yes, I’d done it before…heck, I’m part Spanish and Chinese–pretty much guarantees a temper). I quickly realized this would not be a viable option. Not only could I not afford to get into trouble, my mother did not need more stress. Second, there was no way in heck I would let these people see the body blows their words were causing.

I still remember one particularly painful Friday night when one of my male sophomore schoolmates came by my house before our church youth group meeting. That night I learned just how bad my reputation was. As we were walking in he told me, “I don’t believe it now, but I thought you should know. —- told me that if I asked you out on a date I could get laid by the end of it.” I was so furious that though it was snowing and the dead of winter, I stepped outside with no coat on in an attempt to cool off once the guy who told him that (yes, despite it all, I am still choosing not to name him to protect the not so innocent) arrived. I didn’t even feel the cold.

It was my choir and voice teacher that want in, got my coat, put it around me and sat on the step beside me. She wrapped a comforting arm around me and told me this:

“It’s hard to be where you are right now. The problem is you’ve been through too much. Seen too much. So despite the similarity in years, you’re decades older than your classmates. I’ve been where you are. They’re hurtful. Immature. And they have no idea how badly what they’re doing hurts. As unfair as it is, you will find that despite the fact that they pick on you and are mean to you, when the chips are down…you’re the first person they come to for advice. They know you’ve been there. That you know how to cope. Chances are you also won’t date guys your own age. Eventually they catch up. They grow up. Eventually. But hang in there. You’re tougher than they are and they need you.”

Oddly enough, she was right. Even stranger…I didn’t know the full extent of the damage their body blows caused by words had inflicted until springtime. There was one upperclassman guy that I’d become friends with. He had never quite comfortably fit in with his group…and most of his friends, like mine were outside of this small community. He also lived in my old neighborhood, so one day he invited me to come with him after school. I was elated. That’s when I blew myself away and realized that when you hear something often enough you start to believe it. Words can be insidious. I don’t even remember what we were talking about initially…just the explosion.

Me: Well I’m ugly, so what does it matter?
Friend: (Stopped car in the middle of rush hour traffic on busy street, turns and looks at me, shocked.) Excuuuuse me, What did you just say???
Me: You heard me.
Friend: You know that’s not true. The girls only say it because they’re jealous.
Me: (shrugged) Whatever. I could understand if it was just the girls. Most girls haven’t liked me very much anyway, but it’s the guys, too.
Friend: (Stared me in the eye as if willing me to believe him) The guys are just saying it because they’re pissed. Most of them have asked you out and you’ve completely blown them off. Not interested. This is their way of getting even.
Me: Well, it sucks.
Friend: I know. Ignore them. Don’t let it get to you. You know what they’re saying’s not true.
Me: I thought I was. Guess it’s easier said than done.

The funny thing was that I didn’t realize how closely the teaching staff had been paying attention to what had been happening. Back then, it would have been labeled “growing pains” or a part of growing up. People got picked on. The trick was to survive it. The word Bullying in conjunction to what happened to me…well that’s a recent bit of connecting the dots as I’ve watched all these poor young kids going through their heartaches…made that much easier by the internet.

It wasn’t until one of my female classmates who had a tendency to be a bit cruel and gossipy bore the brunt of some teasing that I found out that the teachers had been watching and cheering me on. You see, this young lady was tall, but not at all endowed in the bosom department. She also had the misfortune of having the last name Chestnut. Typical of boys, they began to use the word “Chest Not” rather than her actual last name. Considering she could dish it out, I’m sure you’re not at all shocked to hear that being the target, she didn’t handle it very well at all.

She walked up to our homeroom teacher and whined to him about the fact that the boys were “making fun” of her. His response shocked the heck out of me. Instead of sympathy, here’s what he said:

“You’ve been going through this for a few days. Imagine how it must feel to be some of your classmates. There are people, one person in particular, in your class who have had to deal with you guys treating her like this for over a year and she hasn’t said anything once. Imagine how hurt she must feel.”

That same young lady who’d been whining came looking for me to give me a hug and to apologize for ever making me feel the way she was feeling right then. I thanked her for her apology and dropped the discussion.

When sophomore year ended I begged my mom not to send me to boarding academy and she concurred. That summer I got very sick. In one month’s time I lost over 10 lbs. Considering I only weighed 105 lbs to begin with, my family became concerned. I’d completely lost my appetite. Most foods made me nauseous on sight or by smell. I would get nauseous and shaky at the idea of leaving the house (now I recognize I was probably having anxiety attacks). While at my grandparents that summer there was only one thing I could eat that would not make me sick. Plain cake doughnuts. I only drank Sprite or water and I discovered the healing properties of mint (by way of mint flavored gum). It was the only way to keep me from dry heaving.

The moment I got back home my mom made me see a doctor. He asked me if I was pregnant. He didn’t believe me when I told him I was a virgin until he did tests and they came back negative for pregnancy. What he did discover was that I had an “unrealized depression caused by lack of vitamin B-12”.

It took me months of forcing myself to eat, of bringing water and mint gum with me everywhere…of forcing myself to go out, but I began to recover during my junior year. The carefree wild child I used to be was gone forever. She was replaced by someone who became very controlled. Careful with both words and temper….and I realized something else. That “unrealized depression”? Technically, maybe that’s what it was…but in reality it was simply relief. My body and my mind had, for two years, stayed strong for me. Blocked tears and fears and protected me from people out to hurt me. They’d been on the defensive…”Never give them the power of letting them know they’ve hurt you”. Finally, once I knew I wasn’t going back…I was safe. Once my body knew everything would be okay…it gave itself permission to crash, to feel.

For me, the trauma became a physical manifestation, not emotional. In fact, concerned about how the kids were tearing themselves and each other apart…and fully aware of the damage words could inflict, I went back to that school and found my English teacher. I asked her if I could come back and talk to her class about my experience and the damage… maybe prevent someone else from going through what had happened to me. She asked me to speak to 4 classes from 7th grade to 10th grade. I did. Honestly, I don’t know if it did any good, but I had to try. If it made a difference to even one person, it was worth it.

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Since that time building up peoples’ self esteem and helping folks realize the power (both good and bad) that words hold have been passions for me. It comes from a very personal place. I was fortunate. I had a mother who’d already built a core of strength within me by giving me both faith in myself and God. Yes, it was shaken….but my foundation was firm. A little focus and I was back…and stronger than I’d been before. Not everyone has that.

Not everyone has the courage to speak up or speak out. Those of us who do have an obligation to do so. Be the strength for someone else when they run out of their own. Be their belief when they lose sight of themselves. Be the friend to hold them close and build them up when they need it…because as strong as you are…there will be a day you’ll need it, too. I guarantee you, when that day comes…they’ll be there for you as well.

Have you ever been made to feel like less than you are? Do you have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart based on personal experiences? Do you have a poem, quote or thought or song to share that makes you feel strong or confident…or can help build someone up? Please share it… You never know what simple act you may have done that could help strengthen a soul or change a life. Look at those little moments that did it for me!

Were Those Words Worth It?

I’m feeling a bit melancholy today. This election has been tearing at me. I choose not to post about political things. Not on Facebook. Not on Twitter. In fact, I rarely talk about it. People sometimes take my silence to mean I don’t have an opinion. That’s absolutely not true. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have opinions on many things. This is just one of them that I don’t discuss.

Before you go reading anything more into this I need to explain why this election has been tearing at me. Let me clarify…someone once said…hang in there. Whether the person(s) in office is someone you like and respect or not, sooner or later someone else will come along. It’s just a matter of waiting. It’s all cyclical.

But it’s not the politicians that are bothering me. It’s the behavior I’m seeing from people…on both sides…that has been disturbing me. It seems like in the last twelve years people have gotten steadily nastier with their comments, their slogans…and even the memes they choose to use. They have done everything from question people’s intelligence if they chose to vote their way to mocking people as unaware and uneducated and the list goes on and on. (I even know of someone who told a friend of mine who is gay and voted republican that they hoped he got aids and died….really? Another friend voiced her opinion on where she was going to cast her vote and received threats of bodily harm…from a friend of a friend…and they had descriptions of her children, prompting her to call the police and report it. She is a single mom. Her kids safety comes first.)

I have friends who are blocking other friends posts in an effort to be able to simply retain friendships after the election is over. Families have stopped speaking to each other because they’re on opposite sides of a political fence and the comments made were hurtful enough to cause some of the more mature members to back away and stop talkin in the hopes that maybe these fences can be mended once the election is over. It seems in the last twelve years this kind of nastiness during election years has gotten steadily worse…driving stakes into friendships, families…and ultimately into this country I love so much. The taunting and gloating and mud slinging that’s still going on post election…isn’t helping. The end of the election isn’t the end of the world…but it very well may be the end of some relationships, because even now, it hasn’t stopped.

Does any of this behavior change anyone’s minds? Rarely. Unless you’re someone who was undecided and became repeatedly victimized by the bashing that’s happened because of some questions you may have had. The negative behavior might have sealed your vote for the opposition of the basher. One of my friends had a meme that said, “I don’t post my comments to change your mind. I post them to speak mine.” Ok. So regardless of whether you voted for either candidate…when you say that if you vote a certain way, you must be stupid…that’s your opinion of your friends? Got it. Good to know.

The thing is…these words…these sayings…these things….they can’t be taken back! Once they’re out of your mouth (or in many cases blasted all over facebook and twitter to assault every person on your friends list), the damage is done. We talk about bullying and how terrible it is. We all agree that it’s a huge epidemic in this country. Where do you think our children learn that behavior from? All this nastiness and insults? Guess what, people! That’s bullying, too.

I had no issue with any post on either side that chose to discuss or debate the election based on salient points pertaining to the actual election. The rest was garbage…and sad. We spout off about family values… From what I’ve seen, it’s important as long as everyone agrees. Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree? Or rational discussion? Yeah…our country is being torn apart from the inside…and we have no one but ourselves and our superiority complexes to blame.

This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s a people issue. People should always come first. Respect. Love. Value. When a cause becomes more important than people…it’s time to think long and hard. I hope we can get past these rifts we’ve managed to create for ourselves.

And for you folks that aren’t in the US…I hope, if you live in a country where you have not only the honor, but the obligation to vote that you remember to love and respect those around you…regardless of who you are voting for. I value my freedoms. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just wish people valued their friends and family with the same fervor they give their politicians.

So here’s my melancholy music for today….

Tears For Angels

A little girl cried out
First for friendship, attention
Then in shame, begging for help
Understanding, forgiveness.
She was greeted
With derision and scorn,
Humiliation and laughter.
Did you see it?
I did.
Too late.

Another brave child,
Across the world
Dares to look for a better life.
Asks for peace and love
And learning.
Speaking out against violent oppressors.
So much stronger than her years.
Lies in a hospital bed
Shot.
For opening her mouth.
Did you hear?
I did.
I pray for her survival
And safety.

A baby,
Not even three
Beaten,
Then glued to a wall
For failing to understand
And follow rules.
She was
Too young to comprehend.
Maimed, disfigured
By the person sworn
To love and protect her.
Did you feel it?
I did.
Anguish.

My heart bleeds
For these precious gifts,
These angels,
Tossed away
Like rubbish.
It’s so tempting to wonder
Where is God?
Then I know…
He’s in the hearts
Of you and me
When we feel
And cry
And grieve…
Wishing we could do more.
It’s time to break silence
To heal hearts.
To love.
Boldly.
Regardless of consequences.
Our words and actions
The gifts he gives
To honor
Damaged hearts and souls.
Speak out!

These last couple of weeks have just been heart rending. On the news, on the internet…stories of yet one more innocent child lost or damaged Like I read on Nick’s Blog and Patricia Sands’ Blog along with so many others. Then I discovered Justine Musk and her blog touting the importance of following our dreams. Overall I felt pretty good, because that’s what I’ve been doing the last few months. I’ve been following my dreams. Writing. I haven’t shared my project with you guys yet because it’s not done yet. In the meantime, I share my writing with you guys through my poetry and work on sharpening my tools and my mind through my blog.

It was actually through the discovery of Justine’s blog that drew me to this time, this blog. I’d recently started following Marcia Richards’ blog after I’d discovered her through our Letter game blogs. In her blog she asked about what we were like at 14. Looking back I remembered I dreamed of being a neurosurgeon (this dream died a rapid death when I got to biology class and became bored 20 minutes into our frog dissection…don’t think that would translate well in brain surgery). I was a tomboy who still played tackle football with the boys in the neighborhood…and a die hard flirt. In fact, I’d been voted class flirt 3 years straight and was also voted most likely to be president. Back then I was madly in love with poetry….and a different guy every other week, LOL! But the thing was, all someone had to do was give me a subject or tell me how they were feeling and I was able to convert it into poetry. Like I said, boys came and went, but not my love for writing and poetry. That’s been an abiding love.

So when Marcia challenged me that with the right words, in the right venue, I could make a difference I thought about those words. I slept on them…and woke up in tears because I knew what I had to say, but didn’t know if I’d have words strong enough to take on this task. All I could do was try. I already had a song that filled my head last night. I knew what I needed to write about. It was practically slapping me in the face!

There is so much hurt in the world right now. So many people mistreated. Not accepted. Maybe it’s for the color of their skin. Their beliefs. Their sexual orientation. Past mistakes. Or maybe they’ve done nothing at all. I’m not a preachy person. But how could I not talk about love and not bring up God. Seriously. As I thought about this, I just pictured him looking down on this once perfect world he created and crying. I pictured those poor girls and prayed that he had angels standing on both sides of them, with their wings stretched out…shielding them, protecting them from any more pain or hurt or anguish. I felt like the message he was sending to me was a plea for love and forgiveness and acceptance…and for these poor children to know that they are not alone. We hurt for them. We accept them. We feel their pain and grief and despair. For the one little girl who is gone (along with many more who have not gotten the media coverage that she has)…they are not forgotten.

What about you? What do you believe? What’s been pressing on your heart? As one of my favorite romance authors, Julie Garwood, wrote in her book The Secret “One whisper, added to a thousand others, becomes a roar of discontent‚ÄĚ. You can be the difference you want to see in this world. Are you up to the challenge? Tell me what you think!

I’ll leave you with that thought and this song:

Rising Through The Ashes…

To say this week has been a challenge would be a mild understatement..and it’s just Tuesday.¬† Yesterday I chose to spend time with my husband and didn’t have much to say anyway.

Last week, Julie Glover wrote a blog on movies that defined our generation.¬† For whatever reason, Julie’s blogs always seem to get my own creative juices flowing.¬† I take a few days to¬†soak up¬†her posts, then I write. ¬†Considering that Pump Up The Volume was my all time favorite (Yes, even over The Breakfast Club which is my 2nd fave), it really got me reminiscing…and thinking about what it was that made that movie matter so much to me.

You know, these days you hear so much about bullying and all of it’s causes.¬† This is nothing new.¬† In fact, it doesn’t just stop because you become an adult!¬† I don’t like it.¬† I don’t agree with it.¬† In my youth I’d gotten more than my fair share of it.¬† In Pump Up The Volumethe main character, Harry, played by Christian Slater says that getting through it…surviving it…that’s the point!¬† I think about that line a lot.¬† And I think he’s right.

There’s a scene where Samantha Mathis’ character (his love interest) tells him that he keeps waiting for a voice to tell him what to do or what to believe…then says…you’re the voice you’ve been waiting for!¬† In fact, earlier in the movie she sends his character a letter on red paper with a poem on it…She’s trying to figure out who his radio persona really is.¬† The only thing she knows at this point is that they go to school together and that he speaks to her on a very visceral level.

“You’re the voice
crying out in the wilderness,
you’re the voice that
makes my brain burn and make my guts go gooey.
Yeah you gut me,
my insides spill on
your alter and tell the future,
my steaming gleaming guts spill out your nature.
I know you,
not your name, but your game.
I know the true you,
come to me or I’ll come to you.”

Going through challenges in life, embracing them, allowing them to sink into your soul and strengthen you…it helps to define the person you are.¬† It feeds your passions.¬† As writers, musicians and artists…it really helps you constantly recreate yourself.¬† These are the gritty things that inspire you.¬† They’re the opposites of the good, clean positive feelings that help you to realize, remember and appreciate when the good ones come along!

There’s another not so well known movie from the recent past that starred Lindsey Haun¬† from True Blood & Toby Keith, that really drives that point home.¬† It’s called¬†Broken Bridges. It’s where I¬†discovered Lindsey Haun for the first time.¬†¬†She has an amazing voice.¬† I’d love to hear more of it! ¬†And the lyrics are just so powerful, so filled with emoition.¬† We artsy types really feed on emotion.¬† I know for me, though I can’t always write my grief while it’s happening, give me a couple days of distance and poetry or stories fly…and with a type of depth to them that speaks to real life experience.¬† In this movie, and the above song, Lindsey Haun’s character writes this song and sings her heart.

She found a way to turn her pain into something beautiful.¬† Because, like Christian Slater said…”surviving it’s the point!”¬† What about you?¬† Are there movies that have touched you deeply?¬† Maybe pushed you harder toward your dreams?¬† Maybe helped you get through tough times?¬† Or maybe it was music?¬† What inspires you?¬† Who inspires you?