Monday, January 20, 2014

My Bullying Story

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to 
bear." Martin Luther King Jr.

In the second grade I had a school bus bully, two actually. The ride home from school every day was humiliating and sometimes scary. Due to assigned seats and timing I sat across the aisle from two boys in the grade above me who denigrated me every chance they had. The anxiety would start to build up when it was time to line up for the bus. I would beg my teacher to let us leave for the bus a couple of minutes early. If I could just make it earlier than the other two girls, I could sit inside our seat and evade the boys. But we were not allowed to go out of order. So every day of second grade I faced these bullies. But in less than a half hour the bullying was over and I was home. They could no longer reach me. Now it's different, through the internet kids and adults are subjected to bullying twenty four hours a day. 

Alphie checking out the interwebs. 

According to, 58% of kids say that someone has been mean or said something hurtful to them online and bullying victims are 2-9 times more likely to consider committing suicide. Various websites and apps are being used by both adults and teens to anonymously and sometimes not so anonymously bully each other. Some examples are Snapchat (read recent media story about the site here), Fit or Fugly (rate the person's worth based on a photo), Facebook and Twitter. Most adults I know would easily be able to identify bullying between kids. But lately I've run into a trend of people (that often I respect and care about) misnaming adult bullying as free speech.

The first amendment to the constitution protects our freedom of speech. This amendment has a significant role in our identity as a democracy (bias of information available is a topic for another day). I have very liberal views on freedom of speech and censorship. The thought of censorship being imposed on us makes me angry. Access to information is vital. However, to identify something as a freedom of speech issue it must meet the criteria of government intervention.  Anything else is not a freedom of speech issue. Expressing hate for anyone because they are gay, straight, black, brown, disabled, poor, wealthy, have a different body type or religion, slut shaming, and so on, is bullying. And yes, I do think using religion to shame people is a very thin veil. That's still hate my friends.  If you say something hurtful, hateful and denigrating there are consequences. And more often than not the consequences are unseen. Such consequences may be the anxiety, shame and humiliation I felt every day of the second grade. Other consequences may also be experienced by the bully, such as the loss of respect and trust by peers and negative effects on professional and educational careers. 

Personally, I have struggled  maintaining a social media relationship with people I see doing these things. I am conflicted, I want to understand their side of the discussion. But I can't wrap my mind around entitlement to be hateful. As someone that is so easily drawn into the negativity around me, I need to purposely engage in positive relationships and surround myself with those that express love.  I feel stuck. I want to hit delete or unfriend, but also want to understand those different than myself.  I can't and won't write off a whole person as being "bad" because there is a part of them that I don't agree with. For now, I haven't made any changes. 

Have you made changes to your social media exposure? Do you think cutting out people because of their hurtful (to me or you) views means the loss of an opportunity for another view point? 

I'll end with words that always make me feel good: love is love.



Monday, January 13, 2014

2013, A Year of Questions, Anxiety and Love

This past year has had it's ups and downs. And as a result occasionally I've needed some help. Help starting my business. Help managing my anxiety. Help navigating the ups and downs that make up life. I'm sure I've always needed help with these things (truly I know that we all do). But this year, my year, I have been able to recognize it.  And once I did so many people (and animals) have come to be by my side. In response I have tried to give my love openly and freely to those who need it. Just as all of you amazing people have given to me. I know, that's mushy, blah and barf. Regardless of sickening sentiment, I am so grateful.

Here's to 2013, my year. And may 2014 be yours.



Here are some of my favorite moments of 2013. The pictures are from my camera, cellphone, Instagram and Facebook, please excuse the differences!



 I have been saving this turtle face gem. 

Dog bed fail. 

 Asa in the joint.
Asa tastes freedom. 

7/1 Years Anniversary!

Tiny Friend


Alphie and Asa

We grew these! 

Creepy ally way art plus Nick.

Two beauties. 



Joey and Alphie are good buds. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter is for Home

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” -Edith Sitwell

I really dislike the dark, cold days of winter. More times than not I can be found huddled in my home under blankets with at least one dog near by for warmth. But someone said to me recently that winter is a time to hold close what is dear to you. And with that my mind started turning. Winter, even at its harshest provides some opportunity.During this time of year I am always grateful for my home, not just for the shelter, but for the life that exists inside. I cook more often and I cuddle the people and animals I love. A good time is curling up with a great book and warm tea. Inside I am comfortable and happy.  I want to focus on these things, the things I hold dear. Yes, I think winter is a time for home, rest and love. Maybe I do like winter (a teenie, tiny bit).

Here are some recent pictures:

Asa proudly displays his stick.




A good laugh.

Hudson is B.A.

Asa plus stick again. He's just so adorable.