Archive for the ‘change’ Category

I’m seeing a lot of back to school pictures on Facebook today. Too soon. I remember, when my kids were growing up, being sad when they were getting ready to go back. I really enjoyed having them home all day. It was fun and gave us a chance to explore and do things we couldn’t do during the school year. Staying up late. Drive in movies that didn’t start until 9 pm. Road trips. I loved having them home all day long.

And I’m sad too because the time for my daughter and the kids to move is getting close. I’m not sure how I’ll handle it, at least at the beginning. It’s the end of one phase, and although that means it is the beginning of another one, I’m still sad.

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I’m not the confrontational type. I’m not the loud type. I’m not the “in your face” type.

But there are changes going on inside of me; inside of my mind. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I know time is short. Maybe it’s because I am just fed up with things. Maybe it’s because old feelings and memories that I have suppressed for decades have come tumbling back into my mind. I’m seeing things that I saw before but didn’t face and I’m facing them, at least inside of me. I’m angry at the way things are. The next step? I think I have to start speaking out; start acting. I have to try to help bring about some changes.

What kind of things? Well, I keep seeing, day after day after day, instances where women get blamed for men’s actions and poor decisions. Yesterday, I read about a court case where a Yale student was exonerated of rape charges even after the jury was shown video tape footage of a very drunk girl being dragged to her room, barely conscious. The young woman was asked, in court, by the judge, why she had chosen to wear a close fitting cat costume to the Halloween party where she encountered her assailant. The judge asked her why she hadn’t worn a Cinderella costume or something  “like that.” So the male walks free and the female is left not only with the trauma of waking up after passing out only to find that her clothes are off and the guy is on top of her, but she is also left with the humiliation of having to testify in open court and then called a liar. The jury’s verdict called her a liar. The judge’s questions called her a liar. Yale called her a liar. They failed to stand by a female student in favor of a male student.

Why is it that when a girl gets pregnant she is blamed for it; often she is said to have seduced the guy. Why is it that no one blames the guy? It’s pretty difficult for a girl to force a guy to get her pregnant. Possible but difficult, yet it’s the girl’s fault.

Why is it that when a woman is sexually assaulted, she’s to blame because she wore provocative clothing or smiled at a stranger?

And this one, while unrelated, still gets at the point that women are always blamed. Why is it that when a man cheats on his wife or partner, it’s the woman’s fault? She didn’t pay attention to him. She didn’t dress nice for him. She didn’t wear makeup for him. She didn’t hold his interest. It’s her fault he couldn’t keep his zipper up in the presence of other women.

Yup, time after time, it’s the woman who gets blamed. It’s always our fault.

And this all keeps women down. It keeps us from speaking up and reporting attacks. It keeps us oppressed. In our place.

It won’t end or change significantly in my lifetime but I have daughters and a granddaughter and I pray that they will see this change in their life times. For now, all I can do is express my anger over the way things are and I can support women who have been victimized by the system. I can tell my stories of my experiences; there are more than one. I was blamed. Then I got smart and stopped reporting them because no one would believe me anyway. It’s time to speak up in the hopes that others will benefit.

Changes. Lots of them. The time has come.


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…can make a world of difference.

I often used to think about something my former sister-in-law said to me when my son was about six or seven.  She heard him say that he hated something and she commented that “hate is a very strong word and children shouldn’t be using it”.  It kind of bothered me that she was trying to tell me what I should allow my son to say and what I should not allow him to say.  I even discussed it with my husband and he agreed with me.  I didn’t let it bother me but it did stay on my mind for awhile.  Through the years, I would remember it.

We go through every day life hearing others say the word hate in connection with all sorts of things: foods, places, people, activities, etc.  We, most of us anyway, use it indiscriminately.  About a year and a half ago, I got to thinking about how the word “hate” is overused and abused.  I then made a conscious decision to not use the word if I could help it.  Instead, I learned to say “I really dislike” or “I really don’t like”.  I’d even say “I strongly dislike”.

I cannot tell you what a difference it has made in my every day life and in my outlook.  I am less stressed; slower to anger; and overall happier.  Such a small, small change!  I’m glad I’ve stopped using the word gratuitously.  There are times when it is appropriate but it is such a misused word that I think it’s worth considering our use of it.  I think I have only used the word “hate” once in 2014 and it was in a blog comment where I wrote “I hate cancer.”  Totally true, and totally appropriate.

Anyway, rethinking my usage of the word has really made a difference in my life.  It has created a sense of peace and satisfaction.  I invite each of you reading this to try making the change and see how it effects you and your life.

One small change can do so much!

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I went to the cemetery to visit my brother’s plot the other day. I had never thought of a cemetery as a place of change but when I drove up today, the small street adjacent to the cemetery was now open through to the large main street where the cemetery is located. On the corner was a very new statue with some cherubic figures lounging around a cross next to the words “Calvary Catholic Cemetery.” Beyond the new figures I could see that the high fence that had supposedly prevented people from coming onto the grounds after closing time, had been torn down. Now the whole world could look in from Alum Rock Boulevard and see the cleaned up grounds. (more…)

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