Lazy Day

Intrepidatiously exploring through waves and boats,  wind and rocks! LOL.

       Would somebody please tell me what a “lazy day” is? Because my son has been yelling for one all day. We’re on vacation from school this week and it seems today, because his friend isn’t available to hang-out, he wants me to be okay with his devoting an entire day to lounging in bed playing video games. We have stuff to get done, errands to run, shopping to do but he’d rather stay at home and play video games. I’ve discussed my relationship with his video games before. I’ve actually grown fond of them. But when the weather is a BEAUTIFUL 75 degrees, cool breeze rustling the new buds on the blooming trees, sunshine lending a yellow hue to all below and cotton candy clouds are floating in the sky, Am I ridiculous to insist the little shit head get outside and play? I don’t think so. Take a walk, a hike, meander through the woods of a park with Shelby and I. Seriously. It’s not a far fetched request. We spent yesterday kayaking L.I. sound with Shelby on board. So cute. She was terrified but heck, she belongs with us so I wasn’t going to leave her home.

Baby girl 🙂 She’s all soggy and ch

These days leaving Shelby home alone means returning to garbage ripped up and littered everywhere and sometimes poop in the living room and pee on the beds. She’s come down with separation anxiety and I understand why. For years of Shelby’s life I worked as a waitress/bartender at night with my mother watching Douglas while I was at work. Shelby was never alone. Now, with the change in our schedules Shelby has to, for the first time in her life, at a very advanced stage in her life ( she’s 13 years old- just turned on April 14th!), she is being asked to be alone for eight hours a day, five days a week and it doesn’t suit her. Some days she’s okay. Douglas and I have developed a “lock-down” routine before leaving the house each day: We make sure Shelby is comfy in her kitchen nook, close our bedroom doors so she can’t get in, close the bathroom door so she can’t get in, move the foot stool away from the day bed in the living room so she can’t get up, and Douglas (brilliant) has even taken to putting the kitchen garbage can in his bedroom before he closes it

After we arrived on one of the many islands in our local L.I. archipelago



up so that Shelby won’t pounce on it while we’re gone and leave us the landfill like messes we’ve been coming home to. Phew! That’s a lot to think about. But this separation anxiety has gotten it’s ugly claws into my baby girl and it hasn’t eased up. The office downstairs from our apartment says they can hear her howl during the day as well. Funny because when we’re home with her all she does is sleep. She’s really not happy being without us. At this stage in her life it’s a lot to ask of her. How many ninety-one years old do you know who can make adjustments quickly? That’s her age in dog years,  91. And she looks damn good. But it is what it is and will be what it will be. For now, we take her everywhere she’s allowed to go with us and until the summer season starts we’ll be taking her kayaking with us. She’s adorable on the Islands. Douglas enjoys himself too. So, on a day like today, he can suck it up and go hiking, or something today? Who says you can’t be lazy outside? Hang out in the yard, chill in the sun, do something where the wind can tap your skin and the sun can kiss your cheeks. C’mon! But boy am I lucky to have these problems now, compared to where I was this time last year. Absolutely Blessed, I’ve gotta say 🙂

19 (Dear Cassie)

It’s seems to be popping up a lot. I’ve gotten interested in numerology, numerology-lite if you will, and I can’t help but think God, Angels, the Universe try to talk with me in a way my mind can comprehend through numbers I see everyday. I’ve seen 19 everywhere. I guessed at what it could be. It kept coming up in relation to young girls, 19, getting in over their heads. What is it about 19? Why do people think they’re so grown at this age? I don’t get it, won’t get it I guess, but then I also guess that just makes me an old lady who’s too old to remember  how she felt and thought when she was 19. I know that’s when I started living on my own. Even though it meant I had to roller blade and take the bus everywhere, I moved out of my mother’s apartment when I was 19. Well, I was thrown out actually but I left and never moved back so I think that still counts. It was good for me to be on my own, pay my own bills and be forced to take responsibility for my actions. It was good for me to have to roller blade to work and back until I could save up enough money for my first car, a Nissan Sentra (can’t remember the year but it was old. Cost me $2,000- I got RIPPED OFF)! It was bad for me however to feel so alone at such a young age. I wasn’t strong enough to be as old as I had to act. I was still learning about who I was. What I did I think many young women do. I turned to a man to make me feel better about myself, to make me feel not so lonely. I was 19 years old and was convinced I was in love with a boy named Mike who’d I met down the beach. As luck would have it this boy ended up having a girlfriend and I was quick to quit him. But why was I so lucky? Certainly, I did not feel lucky then. I felt even lonelier then before.
I FELT lonely.
What I was was free and as a 33 year old woman I look back in envy at how free I was, at the limitless possibilities beckoning me from a short distance away. But because of my brain, and I believe the brains in general of human beings this age, I was convinced that my future was fulfilled, that my life was almost over, and I’d grown all I would grow. I was convinced that I knew myself, what I wanted and everything I needed. So I searched for another boy and a year later I found him. He knocked me up and dumped me. The 19 year old mind is a volatile one. It is not fully developed and it is, and this is proven, because of it’s under development, incapable of rationalizing it’s own impulses. In other words, our attention spans are proportional to our outlook on life. At 19 they are VERY limited. So, what 19 year olds REALLY need, despite what they think, is their parents to continue to guide them and intervene. Of course, being over the legal age of consent this gets VERY tricky. And impossible really for parents to do. My mother was upset with me the day she threw me out. She called two weeks later and asked me to come home. I didn’t. I was good on my own. I was living with my friend’s grandmother any how so it wasn’t like I wasn’t still being cared for. I was paying rent, barely, doing my own laundry, working and going to school, but the food in the refrigerator was still prepared for me and the house was always cleaned by someone else. My set up was pretty sweet. My outlook on life was convoluted. I didnt’ know it though. I had no clue. I had no way of knowing I had no clue. So I mucked along the best way I knew how and made many MANY mistakes along the way. Those mistakes, after MUCH pain and suffering, struggling and crying to right them, have made me the strong, proud and intelligent woman I am today. Even though I still struggle, I am proud of who I am and wouldn’t go back and change a thing. But I found myself, in the arrogance of hind-sight, ready to jump on the throat of my amazing little niece, 19 years old, whom I just found out eloped a few days ago.
Yup.
She and her 21 year old boyfriend went to a local justice of the peace and eloped. They were both the age of legal consent and so it was legal. Neither one’s parents knew about it and by law they didn’t have to. And I went ape shit when my mother told me. Because I realized that in my niece I saw my chance to fulfill all the amazing adventures and experiences that my mistakes at 19 kept me from. I wanted her to have what I hadn’t, year long treks through South America or Europe on bicycle, a road trip cross country, going away to college and a REAL spring break, even an internship at a major firm with tons of upward growth, maybe a tour with the peace-core. All those things she could have done, for me. But it isn’t my life she leading. Nor is it my life she has to make up for. She has to make her own decisions and in deciding, make some mistakes. She’ll have to grow the way I did, the way everybody does, by making choices in the moment and finding a way to live through them. My 19 year old niece is married. She’s married and living with her husband. And I wanted to kill her when I heard the news. I’m sure my brother and sister-in-law did too. I certainly had to hold off from calling her and screaming at her for fucking up and being stupid. That wouldn’t have done any good. Because right now she has no way of knowing how stupid she is. Because for right now she isn’t stupid. Her mind tells her she’s grown and she knows what she’s doing and she’ll only realize how stupid she is once she’s lived through her choice. Of course she won’t be 19 then. She’ll be older and have lost however many years it took for her to realize that she could have done better for herself. But by then maybe she’ll have the strength and wisdom to do better for herself. That’s really the difference between the inexperienced mind and the experienced one- the experiences; the wisdom that results from the experiences. At least her husband is young as well. They can experience things together. They’ll both be growing together. I’m sure had it been some thirty or forty year old man my mother would have also delivered the horrible news that my brother had been incarcerated for murder. Thankfully that is not the case. The two of them, my niece and her husband (God it’s as difficult to write as it is to say) are peers and as peers none will rob the other of experiences that they’ll both need in order to become the whole adults they’re destined to be. They are not adults yet. They are both children, playing, even though they don’t know it.  But playing is how young people learn. They commit themselves to play as if it were real, as if what they were playing at were the whole world. Children are designed to do it.  To be convinced of their own play so as to not get into the real-deal until they are ready. That is why marriage scares me so much. Because it is the real deal. And even though the two are still, developmentally, in play mode, they’ve been allowed to make a VERY REAL decision. So play time is over. Sooner then I would have liked for my lovely little niece. We adults who love them do try to extend that play time as long as we possibly can for them. Not only because we know how precious it is, but because we know how safe it is and would love to keep them safe forever. An impossibility I’m afraid. And whatever comes out of this marriage will be very real. And it will be very forever. These years will not be given back to either of these young people. So I hope they make the most out of the lessons they’ve signed themselves up for. It’s the lessons not the time that is really invaluable. Those experiences are what will build the people they will become. May my niece pay close attention, and not waste a minute of her experiences. Play time’s over. School is in. Just remember the world is still wide and I guess it’s possible to take a husband along on a bicycles trip through South America, or a pack-back trek across Europe. You can still taste the wine, just not those sexy foreign boys. Unless of course that’s your kind of marriage.
Oh Lord.
Maybe I’m about to get schooled.
I just hope she takes care of herself. And leaves doors open. Don’t let this be where you stop. Keep traveling. Don’t settle down even though you’ve, well, “settled down”. Take the marriage on the road and around the world. Grow. Together, hopefully.
And do me a favor.
No kids.
Oh God, please no kids.
Not yet….

Sorry. Had to get that out of me.

I love you bye the way. I’m sure I should have started out with that but… well… I would have come back around to it anyway 🙂 (I still think you’re crazy though).

Here’s a little insight into what I was talking about earlier (From an Article by the Society for Neuroscience):

During adolescence, brain connections and signaling mechanisms selectively change over time to meet the needs of the environment. Overall, gray matter volume increases at earlier ages, followed by sustained loss and thinning starting around puberty, which correlates with advancing cognitive abilities. Scientists think this process reflects greater organization of the brain as it prunes redundant connections, and increases in myelin, which enhance transmission of brain messages.
Other parts of the brain also undergo refinement during the teen years. Areas associated with more basic functions, including the motor and sensory areas, mature early. Areas involved in planning and decision-making, including the prefrontal cortex — the cognitive or reasoning area of the brain important for controlling impulses and emotions — appear not to have yet reached adult dimension during the early twenties. The brain’s reward center, the ventral striatum, also is more active during adolescence than in adulthood, and the adolescent brain still is strengthening connections between its reasoning- and emotion-related regions.
Scientists believe these collective findings may indicate that cognitive control over high-risk behaviors is still maturing during adolescence, making teens more apt to engage in risky behaviors. Also, with the brain’s emotion-related areas and connections still maturing, adolescents may be more vulnerable to psychological disorders.
Current research is looking at the manifestations of psychological disorders in adolescents, particularly schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Large imaging studies have shown that brain changes associated with schizophrenia typically begin in adolescence when the brain undergoes the normal pruning sequence of myelination growth spurts and gray matter loss. It appears that a larger and more severe wave of gray matter loss occurs in the brains of adolescents developing schizophrenia, which eventually engulfs much of the cortex after a period of five years.
Scientists believe that the natural teenage process of pruning may be accelerated or otherwise altered in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
This research is leading to treatment implications, including a newer antipsychotic medication that, if administered early, may prevent or slow the severe wave of gray matter loss in schizophrenia and keep the disorder from progressing. Scientists also are exploring the use of low doses of medication to prevent the functional alterations in brain cells in bipolar disorder.


The above composite MRI brain images show top views of the sequence of gray matter maturation over the surface of the brain. Researchers found that, overall, gray matter volume increased at earlier ages, followed by sustained loss and thinning starting around puberty, which correlates with advancing cognitive abilities. Scientists think this process reflects greater organization of the brain as it prunes redundant connections, and increases in myelin, which enhance transmission of brain messages.


A link to the full article :
http://www.sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=brainBriefings_Adolescent_brain




I’ve also been reminded of one of my favorite episodes from one of my favorite shows, The Cosby Show. So appropriate for this occasion. Enjoy:




Engage

          
        My son has always been a source of inspiration. He will be twelve in June and despite all the hardships he’s faced he continues to grow in an intuitive way that knocks me to my knees. I am raising a great person. His struggles seem to be the source of that greatness. Every time he messes up he seems to stew and mull over his view of himself until he figures out what he wants that view to be. I don’t know where he got that sort of courage but he’s always been my superior. In many ways he forces me to learn lessons that I need to know like LISTEN, BELIEVE, TRUST.
I’m hard on him. I rarely give him breathing room. An on going struggle has been my disapproval of his Xbox “obsession”, as I call it, but over the weekend I learned something about that Xbox. It is not the thing I thought is was. I believed, arrogantly, that is was an inferior form of entertainment, one that required no imagination or invention on the part of my son and for him was a source of escape from the realities he hasn’t wanted to face (everything from homework and chores to loss and financial hardship). What’s most important is I believed it was an escape from me. And so that Xbox became enemy number one. And I stewed and mulled over all the pit falls and listed dangers of it. All the criticisms regarding it’s effect on children I built into my platform for why it wasn’t good for him and why he was selling himself short for not choosing to do something else. Lazy, unimaginative- these were some of the words I used while talking to him. “Go outside and play,” I’d say, “with who?” he’d reply, “choose a sport,” I’d say, “but I’m not into them,” he’d reply. Back and forth we’d go and my frustration with him would grow. Essentially my son became a punching bag for my frustrations, unwarranted frustrations because, had I really been listening closely, I’d have heard, he’d been inviting me to join him all along. “Why do you hate video games Mom?” I always had; just wasn’t into them. They weren’t my thing. My thing was dance class and drama. As a girl I wanted to be involved in those things all the time. And I LOVED school. Such a little geek I know, but I LOVED school. Nobody had to pressure me into high academic achievements, getting a B was a scourge on my ego. My son isn’t like that. So I thought he wasn’t like me. I kept feeling these huge shifts in our relationship that began to look more and more like canyons and the deeper and wider they got the more afraid I became and my ego easily translated that fear into anger. It felt good to yell- in the moment. It felt good to blame him for being lazy, for not being more like me- in the moment. But then I’d look at his face, his resignation, and see the canyon just get deeper and not feel good at all. My son was my punching bag. No, I didn’t hit him- physically. I hit him emotionally. And it was an easy thing to do because he’s an emotional creature- A lot like me. His heart is on his sleeve so it’s easy to aim for. And I have such easy aim because of how much he cares for me. And so I used the best of him against him in order to justify my fears and more importantly my inadequacies. The truth is when I got home from work, a job that doesn’t pay, a job that exhausts me physically and emotionally for being under paid and underappreciated, I’d just want to sleep. So when he’d ask, “do you want to play Sky Rim with me?” or when he’d say “Mom, watch me play” I’d wreck the invitation to pieces by deconstructing the game as some sort of deviant activity that was hurting his life. I was the one hurting his life. The game was a game. So I finally gave in, against my ego, and decided to join my son rather then avoid him, to trust his intuition instead of the critisms I’ve read, to stop making excuses for my laziness and engage in an activity he was interested in. This is what I realized. The game is a game. It’s brilliantly designed and yes, a little violent but no more so then any Cowboys and Indians game of yore. It’s clever but it’s also a little transparent; in other words, despite it’s awesome graphics, it is clearly and indisputable a game, not an alternate reality. More importantly it is now something that I understand so that when he talks to me about it, I’m able to engage in the conversation instead of avoid it. I can be tired after coming home from work and still make him happy just by sitting next him and asking annoying mom questions like, “how can you see which way to go?” He doesn’t mind it. He actually enjoys it. It wasn’t him that was pulling away. It was me. And it doesn’t matter that he’s playing video games instead of playing outside, it matters that he when he invited me into his world I was refusing because I didn’t approve of the format. It was like refusing a dream job because they worked with PCs instead of Macs. It was my snobbery rooted in fear that kept me from seeing- this was the right thing. The vehicle didn’t matter the destination did. My son wanted me to come along and I was refusing because the car wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t the right color, the right make, it burned too much gas, and so I let him drive away alone despite the fact that he was telling me he wasn’t ready to do so. Stupid me. And now I’m addicted to Sky Rim. Yup. I’m not gonna play it because I have NO hand eye coordination but I actually find myself asking him where he is in his quests and “did you kill that dragon yet?” So awesome. You’ve heard it, that little adage that says “You don’t get to pick who your family is but you do get to pick your friends”. It always made friends sound so much more important to me because I had a say in who they were, their color, their make and model, their operating system. My family on the other hand, I would have passed most of them over. What I realized because of my son was it could be the stupidest mistake of my life. What we think we want, what we think we need is so rarely what suits us. My son isn’t a little me, scholastic (and self righteous). He’s better then me in many ways. Even though I’m his parent, I don’t get to choose who he is. My job is to guide the best out of him, not to dictate what that will be. Here I am, lucky enough to have a child that wants me to play his video games with him and I’m critising him for wanting to play video games.
Would he choose me?
If he had the choice would he choose a mom who has Tourrettes and OCD, who doesn’t make good money, who didn’t have a place to live, who repels men and justifies it with feminism (that’s for another blog) and literally avoids spending time with him then turns it around makes it his fault? Why would anyone choose a mom like that? I’ve got to realize he’s more then a God sent lesson for me. He’s not just here for me he’s here for himself, this is his life, his chance in the world and that brief time where our chances at life over lap is when I’m responsible for teaching him things that will increase his chances and improve his life. I can’t do that by avoiding him. My parenting game just stepped up a notch. He needs me even though it’s not as clear as it used to be. He needs me and still welcomes me into his life.
Funny how as soon as I started listening to him about Sky Rim he started talking to me about girls…
He always refused to talk to me, would say things like “I don’t talk to my mom about this stuff” and it would hurt so bad because he felt so comfortable talking to my sister about it. But she’d play video games with him. Now, she’s moved two thousands miles away. Maybe I’m the sloppy second. Or maybe he wasn’t talking to me because all he was hearing was criticisms about the things that interested him and the girl subject was just a little too tender to risk those kind of criticisms about. By telling him I didn’t like what he was interested in I think he just assumed I didn’t like him and no matter how many “I love yous” he heard come out of my mouth I don’t think he believed them. I’m his mom so it is my job to direct him away from things that aren’t good for him but I realized, videos games were not the bad in this situation. My attitude was. And it was all based on my laziness and my fear. I have to own it. It was hurting him and he’s the last person I want to hurt. It’s okay when I nag about him playing the game before he finishes his homework; It’s not okay that I criticize him for liking the game. It’s okay that I require him to do the dishes before he finishes his quest; It’s not okay to turn down an invitation to join those quests just so I can hop on Facebook or Twitter. I gotta get my shit straight. And I am, one mistake at a time. I’ve just gotta stick with it. Not only through the times when he doesn’t want me to but when I don’t want to- which is pretty taboo to admit. There are those shameful times though and denying them only gives them power. Admitting it to myself and feeling the shame that I deserve to feel is a start. Really, was Facebook or Twitter really that important? Was work really that important? Was anything really as important as my connection to my son? Nope. And Sky Rim is cool.

Raising Men- Integrity not optional

Women fail their sons on a regular basis. We raise them to respect us as their mothers but not us as women. They respect therefore what belongs to them; we are their mothers, their property, so they respect us because they respect themselves. But that’s not the point, is it? Should we stop there? I do not believe so. We have to teach our boys to respect women in general, to respect people in general, whether or not they have anything to gain. We teach girls this. We teach our daughters to be caring, kind and thoughtful of not only of the welfare of others but of the feelings of others. Why do we think it’s okay to skip this lesson where our sons are concerned?

It’s fair to say that we are all responsible for our own choices. The way we treat others has NOTHING to do with who they are, it has EVERYTHING to do with who WE are. In terms of our sons and how they treat women this is how that concept translates:

A gentleman is a gentleman regardless of which woman they are interacting with. A true gentleman, or, maybe not even a gentleman because that implies propriety and I never put much stock in propriety. Propriety and integrity are not one in the same. So, let’s say a GOOD man, a good man has integrity and that means that whether or not somebody is looking, whether or not he will get credit for upstanding behavior, he will take that high road. A good man would no sooner open a door for Giselle the super model as he would for a three hundred pound, one toothed, cross eyed, bearded woman, or a sixteen year old single mom with a tattoo on her lower back (you know what those are called), or a Smith school graduate and Harvard law school student. A good man would see only that somebody was coming and hold the door for them. He would not think, does this person deserve my attention or not? How we treat others is about who we are, not who they are. Here is another example:

A bum is lying in the street. Intoxicated and dirty there they are, lying in the middle of the side walk on a Tuesday afternoon while you’re trying to rush off to work. They aren’t working, they’re holding a can in their wrinkled grip, not even putting enough energy into seeing whether or not people are throwing money into it. There are at least three different options of how you can handle your interaction with this “vagrant”-
1.) You can kick the shit out of them making sure to get ’em right in the groin as you trample over them and kick over their tin cash cup. Nobody really cares even if they do see it, it’s only a bum and they were “asking for it” by lying in the middle of a busy sidewalk.
2.) You can step over them, pretending they aren’t there. That’s what most people are doing.
3.) You can bend over and ask them if they’d like some help out of the way of the foot traffic and toss some change in their cup.

There are variations on all of these, but they represent the generals.
Whatever scenario you come up with the bottom line is this, how you behave in the situation tells about who you are, not who the bum is. There is no such thing as “They asked for it”. No, they didn’t. And even if they did, you didn’t have to oblige.
Here is a profound and beautifully demonstrated dramatization of what I mean. It’s from one of my favorite play/movies- A FEW GOOD MEN

I know this is just a movie, but the courage that realization took was profound; for the Marine to admit he was wrong, for any of us to admit that we are wrong. To admit you failed your purpose as a human simply because you failed to be honorable. To hold ourselves accountable. What kind of person after all would kick somebody when they’re down, would show no remorse toward someone who was weaker or weakened? You don’t have to treat them as your equal to understand you undermine yourself by not maintaining your integrity and treating them with decency. And you most certainly do not maintain your integrity when you take advantage of somebody who is injured, sad, weak or hurting. An injured soul is more profound then an injured leg, more so and Because someone does not respect themselves does not mean you have a right to disrespect them.
Bringing me back on point, as a mother I would NEVER teach my son that there are some women who “matter” and others who “don’t”. That’s a sick sort of Miss Havisham mind fuck. You’re infusing them with your prejudices and hatred and in doing so asking them to carry out your crimes on humanity. Don’t you have something better to pass on to your child? Now they may not bring all their dates home to meet you, but if you’ve raised them right the girls/woman you do meet will all have a couple things in common: they respect and care for your son, not what your son can provide for them. Regardless of what family they came from, how much they weigh, what color their skin is, how much money they have or what school they went to, a GOOD woman is one that sees your son for who he is and believes in him for better or worse. She won’t tolerate shit but she won’t sling it either. She does not have to be some prep school lovely from a “good” family. Maybe she was abused as a child. Maybe she has tattoos and maybe she has a child already. None of those things matter if she’s decent and loving toward your son, wanting what is best for him and able to balance that with what is best for herself. If you raise your son to believe that only certain “types” of women are worthy of them, understand that you are playing out your insecurities through your child and you’re setting them up for a life of misery if you teach them these things. Think of Toddlers in Tiaras and the abominations that call themselves mothers on that show. They are constructing their children, boys and girls, to be the doll version of their unfulfilled dreams. That is what you do when you teach your son to respect only “good” girls. Really. Define “good”: Virgin? Nuclear family? No tattoos? College diploma? How far will you go in terms of these social statuses to define “goodness” when in fact goodness has NOTHING to do with ANY of these things. Maybe by “good” you mean “females like you”, reinforcing your hold on your son. But isn’t it our job as mothers, as parents, to let our children go, giving them not just the gift of life, but the gift of their own lives?
If you are a mother who doesn’t teach your son to respect all females instead of only those like you then you mine as well consent to rape and domestic violence. We have to teach our sons to control themselves, not expect women to do the controlling for them. It’s not up to a woman to say “No” she won’t go home with them after a night of drinking at the bar, it’s for him to not ask. And if he does ask and she accepts or she asks and he accepts, she’s not a “slut” while he’s just a lucky bastard. They’re both just people who had fun with each other. And for the record, she may very well be a pretty cool person. Just like he may be. And if they could bare to get over their egos for a minute who knows, maybe just maybe they’ve met a mate. What matters is this: your child takes responsibility for their own actions. Sons tend to get away with more then daughters. We girls are still judged more harshly for our behavior. But maybe if we mothers would raise our sons with more integrity that would not be the case. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world were people lived in the moment and not their heads, or the past, or their projections? What ever the ideal, what is real is our responsibility as mothers to raise our boys to take responsible for their behavior and not make women the scape goat for it. And if they met a girl that isn’t treating themselves so well, they don’t have the right to take advantage. Whether Jackie O or Marilyn, they’re both women and they both deserve respect. Here’s another example:
If you’ve raised your son to believe a woman who would have sex with him on the first date is trashy then what have you raised him to believe about himself? If he loathes the behavior so much as to judge it as “trashy” and the woman a “whore” then what lesson did you skip out on that would have taught him to not engage in such behavior? You can’t teach your child, or allow your child to assume, that they are right for doing something where as somebody else is trash for doing the same thing. It’s a complete and dangerous double standard that has unfortunately lead to MANY woman, not men, being abused or worse. If one night stands are deplorable enough to render the woman a “whore” not worthy of a second date, what does it render your son? Oh… just a guy right? No, I’m sorry moms, this is a rudimentary failure on your part. It’s almost an allowance of sociopathic behavior. Yes. Sociopathic behavior. A person that does not have empathy toward other living creatures, at least not those outside of their own “circles”. I’ve heard the Dahmers are very nice people. Jeffery on the other hand…. it was okay for him to abuse, rape, kill and eat young gay boys because they weren’t people, they were not the acceptable sort… right? No. And the Dahmers turned out to be pretty good people who along with the rest of us held their son accountable for his atrocities. We all have to, or we are not doing our job as parents.
This is of course an OVER the top exaggeration, but follow the thought. You are doing your son an injustice if they remove morality from their own behavior but superimpose it onto that same behavior in someone else. It’s scary and wrong to allow our sons, our daughters, ourselves to believe we are good people despite the fact that we are not perfect but others are bad people because of the fact that they are not perfect. Further more, to imply morality, a sense of “good” people and “bad” people, those who are “deserving” of respect and those who aren’t, is hypocrisy. Don’t throw stones… it’s a powerful lesson.
I can’t imagine if some of these social prejudices were applied to my son. He comes from a broken home. He struggles, usually triumphantly, with his ADHD. He’s been raised by a single mother, we’ve been on welfare, his father is an ex-con. And I would see red if there were any girl who’s parents were horrible enough to deem Douglas not worthy of her because of where he’s come from. I know how amazing my son is. So, turn the tables. What if my son, as an adult, brought home a woman that he’d picked up at a bar one night. She already has three children from two different fathers. Should I kick her out? Should I forbid the match? As a mother I very well may be wanting to throw some stones, to protect my son from this beast! Only, this woman is NOT a hypothetical. She is a real woman whom I happen to admire. These were the “stats” of my sister-in-law when my brother met her over ten years ago. If we’d judged her by her stats we’d of missed the mark. She is a phenomenal wife. She is a phenomenal mother. She has held down the home front for him, faithfully, through his many arduous tours with his military unit. She has helped him through his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has done all these things while living through surgeries and health issues of her own. She is not a perfect person. But she most certainly is a worthy companion.
How many of us have met people like this, people we were happily surprised by? And how many of us have met those who had the opposite affect on us? I very recently was with a man whose “stats” were all lined up. He is an Ivy League graduate. He has money. He’s good looking and from a “good” well-to-do family. And he almost beat me. He is violent and dangerous and on so many drugs I’m surprised he hasn’t had a heart attack yet. His “stats” actually make him more dangerous because we allow his type so much license because of our own stereotypes. I am not the first girl he’s laid hands on. I strongly suspect he brutally abused one of his early girlfriends. And for some reason this man got away with it, most likely his family’s money. And what a horrible job his mother has done in enabling her son’s violent behavior instead of holding him accountable for it. She has failed every woman her son comes into contact with. She has failed her son and she has failed herself. Because I strongly suspect she knows exactly what he is capable of and has chosen to do nothing about it. How horrible. Because had she held him accountable long ago perhaps he would have become the good person she believed in instead of just a projection of it. I know how it feels to believe in your boy. But it is a demonstration of LACK of faith in their goodness when we hide their wrongs instead of allow them to suffer the consequences for them. But how horrible the rest of us are because we do the same thing. It’s okay to kick the bum, but not the officer because there is not consequence for one but there is for the other. It’s okay to incarcerate the hoodlum but not the rock star. When will we hold ourselves accountable for our actions and stop allowing concessions to people simply because of who they are, or where they came from?
Somebody much better with words then me summed it up perfectly-
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth115056.html#ixzz1iPchjaak

Don’t be ignorant and decide to only see this as a comment on racial issues. It is not. Because for a very long while just being the wrong color made you the wrong person to bring home to mom and dad. The only thing we have a right to judge each other on is our choices. And this only in as much as the integrity behind those choices and the consequences of those choices. We all make mistakes. We’ve all been good or bad at one point or another in our lives. But the ultimate “bad” is removal from personal responsibility.  Teach your son, and your daughter, personal responsibility. You can not teach them to respect themselves without it because you do not respect yourself if the only way you get through your day is by lying about who you really are. Integrity. It shouldn’t be an option.

 

Update

I’ve been wanting to come back and blog a little. Many people expressed concern over my last blog even ones I hadn’t expected were reading and for all of you – THANK YOU. Kind words, no matter how few, actually do matter and they helped to change my day. This is what is happening to me:

I am depressed.

Yes. That is clinical. I have extreme lows that threaten my life or its stability. Perhaps it is linked to my OCD and Tourettes, perhaps not. I am not a psychologist so I couldn’t be sure but I’ve talked to enough of them to know what I struggle with and how it affects my life. The results aren’t pretty. I spent most of last week in bed not really caring if I ever walked outside again. My sheets were my only friends and they could care less. And I was glad they could care less. I didn’t care. I wanted to not exist.

I feel extremely fortunate that I have people in my life strong enough to disagree with me regarding my worth. Even more fortunate was I that they made sure to tell me. I don’t give a damn how many self help books I read, connection with other people is key to a balanced and happy existence. It’s when I feel disconnected that I am most sick. I know that. I wish everybody did. Because then maybe the world over, 100% of the human race would acknowledge something that is just plain fact:

How we treat each other makes all the difference.
It can make or break lives.

I’d rather take a person’s left hook to my face then a someones indifference to my person. That is the cruelest sort of treatment. I find it difficult to breath when I’m in the presence of indifference. This has to do with my low self esteem.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. And at first it’s confusing. They don’t care? Like, at all??? And the truth is that some people don’t but they’ll use us anyway. That sort of treatment is what works on destroying another’s soul. To treat another human being as an object and not a living creature is the most irrational and empty sort of behavior on this planet. It would be safe to believe that only psycho/sociopaths were capable of it. I’m sorry to say that’s not true. Many people allow themselves to engage in indifference at one time in our lives or another. I would venture to say its a good/bad scale tipper. Objectification of living creatures is disassociation with one’s own humanity. It’s what makes the world shit. But because of greed or cowardice it happens and when it happens to you it changes the way you look at yourself. They way you feel inside. Now imagine if this was the environment you grew up in. Would you ever be capable of valuing yourself? That’s what I struggle with everyday.

So the past few weeks have been hard for me. And hard on my son. His “tween” attitude of “bugger off mom” and “I don’t want to be around you” certainly hasn’t helped the way I feel for myself. No, my happiness it is not my son’s responsibility but I’m sure that growing up with a parent who suffers from depression is the corner stone of what has become the extreme and beyond-his-years intuition he has developed. My disease is not his responsibility but it is his lesson. And all lessons put before us our our responsibility- to learn from. I just hope that he will grow stronger from what he’s learning. I’m afraid he’s inherited my depressed nature.

For now I’m doing better. This year, as you know, has been rough for us to say the least. And I found the weight of all these months finally breaking last week. I didn’t want to scare anybody but I understand why I did. Still, I’m glad for this blog as sometimes it is the only thing I feel comfortable talking to. The week looks good ahead. It’s been chilly, then warm, then chilly again. Perhaps the weather knows what’s going on inside me. Looking ahead I don’t go beyond a couple of hours from now. I’m finding little steps are helpful now so as to limit any possible disappointment. I’m not really set up for a big disappointment right now so I’m treading lightly. As long as I keep moving forward I should be fine. Douglas will be fine as long as I am. Shelby has been a pillar of strength. One day at a time. And one hour at a time. That’s what I can do right now and I’m content with that.