Tag Archives: be kind

The (ELLE UK) Interview – #woman

Well folks, here it is.

A few months ago I received a message that a woman wanted to interview me for a magazine about womanhood, identity and femininity. She had heard the story about my mother and specifically sought me out to see how that shaped my views as I grew into my own woman.
That woman was Lou Stoppard and that magazine was @elleuk .

It is interesting, reading the stories of the other women, and then reading my own. My first thoughts are how uninteresting and unaccomplished and uninspiring I am…..WHY do we do that to ourselves?

Then I really sat back and thought about each of my words, and all of the memories and life lessons attached to them. I have made mistakes, I have failed, but I have grown into a very resilient and independent woman with the most sentimental of hearts.
It has taken years, but I can finally say, that on most days, I feel beautiful and proud.
I hope every person is able to find that feeling within themsleves. It is empowering.
Be honest. BE KIND.  Be healthy. Be confident.  BE YOU.
This is true beauty.

#IamWomanHearMeRoar
#loveyourself #truebeauty #noshame
#BeKind

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Welcome to the Real World, Sugar Cookie.

Listening to:
“Impossible” → Lyla Foy
“Stay Alive” → Jose Gonzalez

Several months ago, I had an “I am Woman, hear me roar!” moment. I finally landed a “big girl” job (which to me, personally means that I was finally out of the Customer Service/Sales circuit and into something within my future career field – English Education). I was hired at an organization as a Support Specialist, which I was initially told is essentially a Teaching Assistant for kids with disabilities and behavioral issues.
I. WAS. ECSTATIC. I was so proud of myself, which is a rare feeling for me. I felt like I was worth something, and other people noticed. I felt accomplished.

After a couple months I began mainly working in the Adult Program, mostly in building and mostly with people with Autism, but also a few community clients with Depression and PTSD. I quickly began to realize this was not the job that was initially described to me.

One client is Non-Verbal and can get instantly upset seemingly out of nowhere. I have been screamed at and slapped in the face several times. It is sometimes hard to remember she is upset and can’t communicate what she wants or needs, which surely causes more frustration, and that the lashing out is not personal, even though it stings physically and emotionally.

Another client has anger issues and in order to work with him one on one, you have to be CPI trained (trained to put him in holds, not if, but when he becomes violent).

Another client, a community person, is homeless and jobless and it is my job to essentially be his life coach and keep him moving forward and on track. Which is very difficult when he wants to drink himself to death.

Several other clients, over the age of 18, some with Autism or MS or both, are quite cognitive and verbal, but cannot toilet themselves. Which is….well….yeah…

And yet another, a young girl entering her Senior year in High School suffering from ADD, PTSD and Anxiety, so naïve, so vulnerable, so sweet.

All I ever wanted to do when applying for and accepting this position, was to teach someone something. To make a difference in at least one person’s life. To be a constant. A mentor. To help shape a life and see it grow and succeed. To learn something myself.

There have been ups and downs, progress and backtracking for all. But after one particular week of several slaps in the face from one, another receiving death threats and needing to be reported for possible suicide watch, another soiling herself at the park and then having to get into my car, and yet another, needing me to report to Child Protective Services for possible in home abuse, I began to go into mental breakdown mode. Was this the rough and tough real world my parents always told me about but I never believed existed?

I felt lost. Like I was a failure. I felt heartbroken for not being able to help and save everyone. I let them all down, I let my supervisor and fellow employees down, and I let myself down.

The stress continued to build and after weeks of debilitating anxiety attacks, severe depression, feeling as if I can’t do a thing right and I am not helping anyone, today that changed.

Upon leaving I had a client (the homeless, jobless, “drink himself to death” client) tell me I “have been a Godsend” and that he “wouldn’t have been able to go on had I not been there to help the way I have.”

Never miss an opportunity to tell someone how you appreciate them. Even the tiniest of compliments can pull someone back to a happy reality. And even if you feel like you aren’t making a difference, if you truly care, then you are.

Do good. Be good. Spread the love.

And that folks, is my lesson of the day.
🙂

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Do Good, Be Good.

Reblog, because it’s necessary.

It shouldn’t be so hard to be kind and do the right thing.
Do Good. Be Good. Spread the love. Pay it forward.

LettersToADove's Blog

“Boy With Autism victim of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Prank”

I read the above article today, and short of eating bad food, nothing has caused such an instantly negative, physical reaction within me. I started crying, I wanted to vomit, and then I wanted to hug the boy and his family. The fact that there are still such cruel and ignorant people out there (when they are imperfect themselves) breaks my heart.

My brother is 13. He is also Autistic. And to me, he is perfect. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We were all blessed to have him grow to be very high-functioning, but there were many days during his childhood where we as a family struggled with him. We did fear that he wouldn’t eventually go to school, make friends, get a job, drive, or have any other part in the “American dream”. But even with all of…

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Plain Jane meets the World

My life experiences thus far have shown me that humans, while so different, in many ways are quite alike, and all very interesting. The chance to connect with anyone, even a stranger, for only a minute holds the possibility of being life changing.

Between the years of 2007 and 2011, I followed my boyfriend at the time from Small Town, WI to Sanford, Florida. The beginning of our relationship was a whirlwind. Not too long before we started dating he had broken up with his girlfriend of 3+ years, and I had finally ended a very abusive relationship. We met through my cousin and within a couple weeks of first meeting, around Christmas, we began dating. 

We had only been together a few weeks when he told me that it had been his life-long dream (he was 25, I was 20) to be an airline pilot, but never felt the support of his girlfriend at the time, and had never had enough confidence to just go for it. But now, he was going to do it. I supported it. I was quite excited for him, and while I liked him a lot, our relationship was so new, neither of us were too seriously invested. Our own lives were our priorities. He told me he’d be moving to Florida within a month or so.

About a week or 2 after him breaking the news, we went for a walk around his neighborhood. He asked me to move to Florida with him. He was wonderful, I was young and had never lived outside of Wisconsin, or done anything so….big! So, I said “Why not?!” and we both said if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. By the time we had been dating for 6 weeks, he moved. I stayed behind to work and save money for another 6 weeks. 

While Florida may not seem too far or very different, it was a bit of a culture shock for me. I was used to the small town life, knowing everyone, keeping my doors unlocked…our first night together there he took me for a ride on his motorcycle. My first time. He was one of those men with a compass built into his nose. Navigating his way by the sun and the stars. We were riding along on some back roads in the Ocala National Forest when we saw something amazing in the sky. A shiny metallic object flying higher and higher into the sky. Fire and a huge line of white smoke attached as a tail. We stopped in the parking lot of a gas station to watch our first (of many) Space Shuttle leave our atmosphere. A breathtaking sight. 

As we sat there, taking it all in, smiling and so excited, we are interrupted by a car suddenly pulling up to the front door of the gas station, a guy runs out leaving it running, runs into the store, runs back out with a 6pack of beer, drives off with tires squealing, and the owner running out, yelling, scissors in one hand, a portable phone in the other. This was our first (also of many) time we ever saw a robbery, let alone any crime in general. (We stayed long enough where a retail store I worked for was robbed of clothes on a near-daily basis, where we locked the doors during the day while we were at home without even thinking about it, and when Casey Anthony “lost” her daughter….Florida soon became a place like no other.)

One day, one of my favorite experiences not only of living in Florida but of my entire life thus far, took place at a Publix. Now if you know me, you know I have a severe distaste for grocery shopping. I just don’t like it. But one day, after hearing how great the Publix stores are (seriously, how “great” can a grocery store be??!?! …well….they need those stores everywhere because they. are. wonderful. !! (Although Woodman’s and Festival Foods here in Wisconsin are pretty great too)) we decided to do our shopping there. Now, another thing to know about me is that I rarely have any sense of “stranger danger”. I’m quite comfortable with striking up a conversation with any random person in the vicinity. While we were in the checkout line, I noticed the older gentleman behind me was wearing a Green Bay Packers hat. HELL YES! I am not only PROUD to be from WISCONSIN, I am PROUD to be a PACKER-backer CHEESEHEAD through and through. So, of course, like a giddy little girl I turn to him and say, “Awesome hat! I’m from Wisconsin!” And do you know how that man replied??!? He said to me, “Thanks, I used to play for the Packers”. 

Well my jaw dropped and I somehow became even more giddy (and goofy) than before. “OH MY GOD who are you?!?” I asked while extending my hand for a shake. “Gene Breen” he said, “I played in ’64 with Bart Starr”. After telling him how amazing that was, as if he didn’t know, he told me he’d always consider himself a Packer, and them to be his team. “It’s a great organization and a great state.” It was then that I realized this was THE ONE TIME I had left my camera and phone at home. But even without the physical proof of this memory, this is one I will never forget. I walked out of that store just beaming. The coolest person I had met, hands down. So nice, so humble, so proud of this great thing he was once a part of that he will always feel part of it. ((Later I concluded that due to “A+B=B+C means A=C” transitive property or something (I hate math.), since I shook his hand, he on many occasions shook/high-fived Bart Starr’s hand, I have, therefore, touched Bart Starr’s hand (just let a girl dream her dream).))   And we had a connection. Something so seemingly simple as a logo on a hat turned out to be something so big for both of us. Two strangers, one love. And then we both turned and walked along and moved on with our lives. 

What I am trying to convey with this story, is that other people come in and out of our lives. Sometimes their presence is fleeting, sometimes it becomes permanent. Never be afraid to reach out. Always be kind. Make a connection, be it with a smile, a compliment, or even a proposal for a first date. The world is full of a lot of people. All different, and all alike. You never know the impact a personal encounter can hold…where in the world it can take you, what of the world it can teach you. Humans, can be, beautiful creatures. Let’s not let each other forget it.

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Do Good, Be Good.

“Boy With Autism victim of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Prank”

I read the above article today, and short of eating bad food, nothing has caused such an instantly negative, physical reaction within me. I started crying, I wanted to vomit, and then I wanted to hug the boy and his family. The fact that there are still such cruel and ignorant people out there (when they are imperfect themselves) breaks my heart.

 

My brother is 15. He is also Autistic. And to me, he is perfect. I wouldn’t have him any other way. We were all blessed to have him grow to be very high-functioning, but there were many days during his childhood where we as a family struggled with him. We did fear that he wouldn’t eventually go to school, make friends, get a job, drive, or have any other part in the “American dream”. But even with all of that, through the tantrums and communication barriers we never loved him any less.

 

When he was 5 he knew every state, state capital and state motto. He knows every make and model of any car. He is an expert on trains. He has GPS built into his head. He watches the news and the weather channel. And every day he hugs me and tells me, “You’re a good person, and a great sister.” Sure, not every family is as lucky as we turned out to be. But we had looks. Eye rolls. Stares. Glares. And sometimes, even compassion. Because the good people out there knew he couldn’t help it. Not everything is under the control of the child or the parent. But both the child and the parent deserve love and support. Even from strangers.

 

Everyone born into this world is born innocent. Even the deaf, blind, those with Autism, Downs Syndrome, MS, missing fingers, a multitude of freckles, or crooked teeth, are all worthy of love, and kindness and understanding. People are born the way they are born with no choice in how their DNA is structured. But everyone is born just the way they should be. And they are all beautiful.

 

No one is going to understand everything, and yet even without that understanding the world still turns.

 

What is the meaning of life? I don’t know.

How did we get here? I don’t know.

But what I do know is that one day we won’t be here, so why not make life be the best we can?

 

World peace seems like Miss America’s pipe dream. The biggest cliche. Even still, there is not one reason it shouldn’t be everyone’s dream. There is not one reason it can’t be possible.

Do good.

Be good.

It shouldn’t be so hard.

 

Not everyone needs to be the same, believe the same, or feel the same. We aren’t mass produced robots, nor should we want to be. Why is it that we can appreciate the beauty of every snowflake, each one different from the last, but strain to find anything beautiful and miraculous about each other? Accept the differences. You don’t need to conform, but accept what is.

 

Or don’t. Whether an individual likes it or not, people are still going to be white, black, skinny, fat, Muslim, Christian, gay, straight, or Autistic. It is what it is and it isn’t so bad. Love each other! Or at least be civil.

 

“Mother’s” from days of old sure had it right; “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Disagreeing is normal, our opinions are partly what makes us our unique selves, but there is a distinct difference in definitions between the words “opinion” and “fact”…and many people need to be aware that their opinions are not fact. Those opinions which spread hate, and hurt, and shame and fear are never fact. We may all be unique individuals, but at the exact same time we are all human. We all have skin and bones holding us together, and holding our beating hearts in place. The air I breathe in is the same air you breathe out. A smile means the same thing no matter who is doing the smiling or which continent it may be happening in. And so does a hug.

 

Nothing is without consequence.

No act of love.

No act of hate.

Something always affects someone.

 

It’s funny, how much of the world’s cultures are based on some part of religion. It’s also funny how many wars are being fought due to some religious clashes. Yet most religions, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, those who worship the Golden Rule, have the same fundamental base: Do good. Be good.

So why the hate? I may not read the same book as you, but both of our books tell us to be kind, and to love each other.

Maybe we need to work on our literacy.

 

In life, bad things will happen to you. Someone will leave, someone will die. There will be a tornado, a fire, an accident. The market will crash. You will get sick. Someone will say you look funny. You’ll forget to set your alarm. You will spill your coffee on your white shirt.

 

No matter what bad things happen, it doesn’t mean you have to become bad. It will be hard. It will change you. In life, the good and the bad form you. But you still have the final say in who you are.

Do good.

Be good.

 

Give when you can. Accept help when you have to.

See the beauty in the world.

 

Every act of kindness can prevent one act of hate. The storms will still rage and the coffee will still spill, but the cruel words and acts of violence are completely within our control.

 

“”life, as beautiful as a rose can be as painful as a thorn, but through it comes faith, hope, love and the most memorable and vital lessons learned only through the experiences of it all”

 

Do good.

Be good.

 

Be empowered to spread it.

UPDATE: Ice Bucket Pranksters Identified

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