Tag Archives: facebook

Trying to answer the question, “What have you been up to?”

Set aside your shopping list, put down the garland, drop the mangled lights from your hands and gather round.  I’m going to let you off the hook. I’m going to allow you an indulgent break where you will feel so accomplished just for thinking about what your annoying Elf on the Shelf is going to do next. I’m going to tell you all what I’ve been up to since I quit my job last March.

Nothing. Not a fucking thing. Sleeping. A lot. Drinking more than occasionally and probably more than anyone should. Feeling guilty about not going to the gym. Reading. Sleeping some more. Subscribing to no less than 10 life coaches for daily uplifting emails. Yes, my husband is ok with all of this. He just wants me to be happy. But mostly, I’ve just been sleeping.

Note: I still have 2 children at home. So it’s not all bon-bons and 6 hours of the Today Show. At least not every day.

This past week was different though. I finally got off the couch and enrolled in a writing seminar. We were given an assignment to write something. Imagine that. Dammit. I thought I’d be able to get away with just taking the seminar and procrastinating and hating myself for being lazy and never writing because I like to sleep all the time.

The assignment was to write something scary. Not Halloween shit scary. Scary as in something I should be afraid to tell the whole world. Not an easy task, I get nervous updating my Facebook status. I started thinking about all the Holiday parties coming up and the inevitable conversational questions of courtesy, “What have you been up to?” That is a scary question.

So, I’m ripping off the scab and being honest. Nothing is more frightening than being completely honest. Maybe I am just a worthless piece of crap? Maybe I take advantage of my husband’s love and just sit on the couch. Maybe I subscribe to those life coaches so I can read uplifting emails to make myself feel better about my laziness. (They “help” me feel good about sleeping all day.) Maybe I’ve traversed this road before.  Maybe I told my parents years ago when I dropped out of college after my first semester, “I’m just trying to find myself. Now how long will you pay my rent?” Maybe I  found myself pregnant soon after but, hey – everyone’s path is different. Maybe now I’m lost. I mean maybe I’m really fucking lost. Maybe I hated a very good therapist for telling me – “You’re not getting any younger, maybe you should find yourself and what you want to do pretty soon.” Maybe I was really angry he would say that. Maybe I thought he was a dick. Maybe I’m a Renaissance woman and I just need benefactors. Maybe I’ve got amazing shit to do.

If I can get off the couch. But it’s so God Damn comfortable. I’m embarrassed to admit it. The floor is cold. The couch is warm and familiar. But I still have nothing better to say at the next holiday party. Maybe next year I will. But first I guess I should try something. Anything. Maybe…

Now go ahead and pick up your shopping lists, string your lights and deck your halls. Arrange your Elf on the Shelf next to your 4th batch of homemade cookies. I know you have things to do. Don’t you feel better about yourself already? You’re welcome. Now if you will excuse me, all this self analyzing has made me very sleepy.

The Bullying Epidemic

Some states of the United States have implemen...

Image via Wikipedia - This is a map showing state laws in schools dealing with bullying.

 

My family moved from sunny Florida to the beautiful Northeast when I was in 6th grade. I was delighted by my new school and the new friends I had made so quickly. But something changed, I’m not sure what happened. These “friends” within one weekend turned on me and made my life a living hell. I was cornered in the stairwell, picked on in gym class and  I was terrified. I locked myself in my room in the morning and cried to my parents about not wanting to go to school. Luckily after a month, my parents’ contract on our new house fell through and we moved to a different town. Somehow in this new school I made life-long friends I am still close to. But I remember…  

The bullying epidemic has always been around. Kids have always been tormentors, bystanders, or the tormented. None of this is new, but now we have a whole new way of humiliating our peers: the internet. Nothing is sacred. We also hear about it more often, too. So the pranks are widespread, as are the damages and the consequences.  

The recent suicide of a Rutger’s student after a web video of him having sexual relations with another man was posted on the internet does not say something horrific about our kids, it says something horrific about our society. I think (or would really, really like to think) most of the time the bullies do not realize the impact they have on their victims. It has been shown most who bully are just insecure about themselves and must attack first, lest they be attacked. Most bullies, it has also been shown, have parents which encourage this behavior either through entitlement, competition or their own actions toward others. It is most often defended by this perceived sense of superiority whether it be cloaked in self-righteousness or complete ignorance about the consequences of their actions.  

Just look at what’s happening in politics right now. The hate is palpable. And rarely do we discuss policy, it is usually just a twisting and reorganizing of the dirt until one party looks absolutely evil and inhuman. This is often what attackers do to their victims. They are blissfully unaware of the pain and make it commonplace where everyone can jump on the bandwagon and not feel guilty about the lies and hate they have spread. (Please note this case: While yes it is free speech, it is written by a person in power and is a great example of bullying.)  

Years ago I was given an assignment in a college class where we had to write an editorial to the local paper about some type of sociology subject. The school I was attending was located in Colorado and the timing happened to be right after the Columbine shootings. Much had been written about the subject, the school, the bullying, the victims, the perpetrators and on and on. However at one point, the principal of Columbine high school actually stated there was no bullying in his school. Studies have shown there was much more to the Columbine Massacre than bullying, but to think your school had no bullying? My opinion piece was so obvious it just simply said, “What? What hole or rock do you live in and under? Do you not remember your days at high school? Are you that out of touch?” It was published in the paper.  

This situation hit home for my family recently when my son was the victim of cyber bullying on Facebook. This was during the summer and when I reached out to his school to make sure the administration was aware and he was not placed in classes with these children, the secretary actually stated, “Well, they shouldn’t be checking their Facebook during school hours.” I was speechless and simply wanted to answer, “Put me on the phone with the person who signs your checks because the intelligence level of this conversation has just hit rock bottom.” Luckily, the administrator was a little more vigilant and made sure my child was placed in classes away from these bullies. When I posed the question asking for help and advice on my Facebook, the response was overwhelming. These are not isolated incidents.  

We have to address this problem. But we need to start at home. Schools and new laws can only do so much. We have to teach our kids  each person, however different they may be, is valuable and has feelings. But we must set the example. We cannot mock other adults or children with our kids and think they don’t learn a lesson. We mustn’t be blind, like a certain principal, and think our kids are angels. We mustn’t have an uncanny need to relive our childhood and ensure our child is the best football player/cheerleader/student body president because that’s the only path to true redemption. There are many paths.  

We must instill in our children the self-confidence to stick up for others being bullied. We must listen to our children and not shrug it off with callous statements like, “It will make you stronger.” “Just walk away and don’t say anything – you’re better than that.” These statements do not work and we must find the ones that do. Remember these tormentors are not adults who are mature enough to respond with reason. We must as a society realize that this is not simply a part of growing up. We must explain to our children that our homes are safe grounds and we as adults, must not be afraid to stick up to the parents of these kids and confront them.  We must, if our kids are younger, monitor their Facebook and question what is going on in their lives. We must somehow give our children the ability to stick up for themselves.  

We cannot stand back and continue to let this happen. While some victims go on and turn their torment into a successful careers, like Jodee Blanco, others do not.  Bullying can leave deep scars which never really heal. Yes, it might make them stronger as adults but that is only if they make it to adulthood, which far too many of our children are not.  

My Precious

Wine, you and I have been friends for a long time. Longer than I’d like to admit. But I really think we need to have some new boundaries in our “relationship”.

There you are my pretty.

First, you must remain by yourself without my connection from Sunday until Friday evening. Yes, I know you always mean well. But sometimes my head does not agree with you the next morning. I won’t broach the subject of my liver…We haven’t been “tight” for years. I saw it on the road the other day with its suitcase. It was a pretty sad sight. But it looked happy and who am I to judge.

Second, you must stop calling my friends. It is especially embarrassing when you leave incoherent messages and start blabbing incessantly. I know you just love my friends, but sometimes they don’t like you. Even if you swear you’ve made a new breakthrough which answers all life questions.

Third, you must never ever get on my Facebook account. Your status updates, though quite witty, use far too many swear words and are rarely neutral. In addition there is no need to comment on everyone else’s statuses, nor is a thumbs up warranted for every friends’ posts. Though you think you’re funny, the next day you’re actually anxiety producing. And then when I must delete your “words” I just make other people look like they’re talking to themselves. So now you’ve embarrassed two people.

Fourth, you must stop tricking me into thinking, “Just one more beer, vodka, heaven forbid tequilla and then you’ll let me sleep.” Once you’re finished with me, there is no need for you to have one of your other friends  jump out and scream, “CHECK.ME.OUT. Shiny and new. Open me up and then we’ll make some calls.”

Now play fair you two.

We’ve been through a lot, you and I. And I’m really only asking for some little things. I’ve been your vessel for too long. No more tricking me with your silly tastings, pairing yourself with great food, cheese and bread and great conversation. So if you could just keep your end of the bargain, I don’t see us breaking up anytime in the near future.

Forever faithfully yours,

Juliet

P.S. We’ll talk about the dancing next time.

Oh what tangled webs we weave.

Oh what tangled webs we weave.