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.

Bad Gone Good

Have you ever had one of those Days/Weeks/Months/Years where if you put everything that happened on paper it would look like the worst year ever? As is common this close to the beginning of the New Year, I began to reflect. I’ve had two years that were truly bad…I lost a sibling in each of those years. Oddly enough, this year…on paper…should probably have been a runner up.

Here’s how this year has looked for me:

  • Short staffed & forced to work 6 day work weeks and at least 2-3 double shifts per week for 3 months
  • Husband diagnosed with appendicitis and rushed by ambulance for an emergency appendectomy (appendix was necrotic)
  • Less than month later husband has second surgery for inguinal hernia repair
  • 6 weeks later hubby has the worst surgery (both for him and me)…a pilonidal cyst surgery
  • Through all this I had an employee constantly making trouble, making excuses for her behavior and calling HR on every perceived slight (mostly imaginary).
  • On the 4th of July, I got fired for the first time in my life.
  • 2 days before my health benefits run out, hubby breaks his hand playing softball
  • Hubby’s favorite uncle becomes very ill very quickly. (They were talking hospice before they even gave the true diagnosis)
  • Hubby goes to Chicago to visit family for a few days (I had tried to get the time approved when I was working, but had been denied and a week before I lost my job he booked the plane ticket…Joke was on us…)
  • Hubby’s uncle dies a week and a half after hubby came back home.
  • A close friend was diagnosed with cancer.
  • My brother-in-law lost his grandmother.
  • Another family member was diagnosed with cancer
  • Yet another family member lost a toe due to some medical things.

Oddly enough, even through all of this, I feel thankful! I was worried sick about hubby with all his surgeries…but I was grateful that they all happened when I still had insurance. Even his broken hand happened within that timeframe. In fact, two of the three surgeries happened when my mom was in town. She dropped everything to rush to the hospital and be by our sides, keeping me company while I waited.

I lost my job…that should’ve sucked. Oddly enough, I wasn’t upset. I have a very solid skill set in a couple of career fields. Even more than that…everyone on my staff with the exception of my troublemaker called me or gave me a hug on my way out the door. They still keep in touch and let me know how much they enjoyed working with me and that they miss me.

The other thing about losing my job…my sister pointed out…my work/life balance sucked while I was there. On my wedding day (which was out of state) I got a call needing help. During the time my assistants were out, little to no help was given unless I pushed for it… I’m sure you’re getting by now that the little I’ve shared is just the tip of the iceberg with how much my life and time was monopolized.

Working there was also a big part of what caused me to stop writing…to rarely be able to attend church…to be unable to sing except around work and at home. Upon losing my job both my sister and my best friend called to tell me that they always felt I should’ve been writing anyway. They were right!

So, this year I’ve also become a member of the Florida Writer’s Association getting my feet back into the writing universe…and becoming active in my local chapter. I also just finished writing my first manuscript and am currently working on editing it…Cross your fingers! I also joined WordPress and found all you wonderful people! You guys have encouraged me, taught me, inspired me and enriched my life.

As for my singing…the day after I lost my job, my pastor called just to check on me. When I told him what had happened, he was empathetic…keeping me in his prayers. But he challenged me, too. He let me know that choir practice was the following day and that now that I had no plans I would probably enjoy checking it out. He pointed out that nothing makes the heart feel lighter than “making a joyful noise.” He was right! Since that day I have been a part of the praise team for the church, singing every Sunday. I think God was sending me a message through him. 🙂

Hubby’s uncle becoming ill…that really sucked. It was sad…and tragic. But the upside is that my husband got to go there…and spend time with him every day of his vacation, giving him a chance to say goodbye. That may not have been quite so readily possible if I’d been with him. They may have felt obligated to entertain me. The unfortunate thing was that he wasn’t able to go to the funeral when he died…but his uncle knew he loved him and that he was there to say goodbye.

As for the rest…it’s in God’s hands. My friend is battling, and I couldn’t be more proud. My family has a firm foundation in love, support and faith. So although on the surface, this year should probably look like it was awful…It wasn’t! I’ve found some very wonderful things to celebrate to go with some of those losses!

The thing I’ve learned? You can’t always control the things that happen to you, but you can control your response…and you can look for the blessings or you can focus on the bad. I choose to see the good and be thankful.

Brave

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Image source Natalinicola.blog

What do you do
When words said
Cut you to the quick
With their forceful
Honesty?

Where do you hide
When life
Barrels through
You?
Just one more pothole
Along the way…

How do you
Cauterize
The gaping slices
Etched on your
Soul?
Oozing thick, red
Tears
With each beat
Of your battered
Heart.

Where can you run?
To lick your wounds,
Curl up,
Fetal position
To protect.

Deep breath.
Look up
Into eyes that see
Through
The outer facade
To joint and marrow.
Feed on that power,
Regain your strength.
Shoulders back,
Head high.
One more challenge.
The answer…
Is you.

Yesterday…the words people say set me off into a ranting blog. As I thought about it throughout the day I realized…our words? They can carry a lot of meaning. They can have huge impacts on people whether we know it or not. The wrong words can be debilitating…regardless of right or wrong intentions.

I thought back to the things that have hurt most in my life… The inevitable conclusion? It was never anything physical…always mental. So if words can tear down… Don’t we, as writers and bloggers, also have the responsibility to build up? To leave someone a little better off? To encourage?

You never know whose will touch a heart. Or when what you have to say may be the difference maker in a person’s life. The thing that makes everything click…and make sense again.

Really, it’s always up to you, the individual, to choose who you want to be today…victim or survivor. Positive or Negative. Lover or Hater. Encourager or Naysayer.

Today I’m making my choice. Life…it’s full of bumps and bruises. Wounds that sometimes never fully heal. But I control one thing. My outlook….the decision to get up every morning no matter how battered yesterday may have left me…and to find the beauty and purpose in my today. Some may call me a sucker. I’ve been told I’m a glutton for punishment, that people will let me down. But you know what I’ve found? More people prove me right than wrong. I can wake up with a smile on my face. I can still appreciate the little things. I can love my life. Those other people? Well…isn’t it kind of sad that they can’t find a single thing to look forward to…except spreading their misery. Is it any wonder they find themselves alone more often than not…and not by choice?

I really believe you get what you put out in the world. What do you think? When was the last time you made a difference and you weren’t even trying? You guys do that for me all the time! So, let those scars become something that gives you character and join me in embracing life. 🙂

Thank You For Inspiring Me

The 16th of this month marked my 2 two month anniversary with WordPress. I’ve blogged elsewhere before (Livejournal, Blogger), but I’ve never been a part of such a welcoming community as I have since joining here.  Truly, I’ve enjoyed the diversity of people I’ve been following.

I’d like to give special shout outs to people who have really gone out of their way to include and encourage me.

Mae Clair has been wonderful. I stumbled on her purely by accident when she was talking about writing in general and her passion for it in particular. This month her book was published and she’s been busy “blog touring”. I’m so happy for her and the success she’s finding. It couldn’t happen to a nicer lady!

It was through Mae that Sheri DeGrom and I were introduced to one another. With her passion for books and her amazing reviews, not to mention her unique perspectives on things, I became a big fan. Any author should be flattered if Sheri takes the time to write a review on them. She really knows how to intrigue and attract readers. Not only does she write fabulous reviews, but her advocacy for Veterans is heart warming.

Then there’s LJ Kentowski. She recently moved her blog over to the dark side…;-) She was introduced to me when Mae reached out and asked if I’d heard of Triberr. We’ve been fast friends…and sisters of the dirty mind. If you haven’t met her, or you lost track of her with her blog move, you should check her out. She’s warm and friendly, with a sideways sense of humor.  LOL!

When it comes to TV shows, Girl Crushes and music interests, I feel like I found a soul sister in Emma Meade. Then I found out she has a racy side.  Definitely a sister of the heart. Next week I’ll be featuring her “naughty side”. She’s one cool chick! Check her out.

Phil Lanoue and his photography has an amazing way of telling a story through pictures…and really showcasing the beauty of nature. He’s also a very nice guy who always welcomes new people and comments. He always takes the time to respond.

Since then I’ve made some really awesome new friend along the way… Some really cool poets like “V” and “Ye Pirate Gunn” and some inspirational people like Katie who boldly blogs about her weight loss journey with fun and humor.

Anyway, these last two months have been awesome, so I just wanted to thank everyone…for welcoming me and for the encouragement. Hopefully I’ll be able to return the favor and pay it forward. I’m also always looking for new, interesting blogs…so if there is someone you think I should be following…share! I’d love to see who inspires you…to write, to laugh, to get healthy…whatever! Let me know who they are and why they inspire you.  Thanks again for the warm welcome!