I Don’t Like You, But I Tolerate You!

I don’t like you but I tolerate you. 

In the past 24 hours, I came to a realization that I could be liked and used at the same time. As a matter fact, it’s because I am so likable (and non confrontational) that I’m a likely candidate to be mistreated at the hands of people who seek to exploit my kindness.

Without going into all the details, I will paint a very narrow picture. I was appointed to be the chairperson of the committee for an organization for which I am passionate. That same organization trusted me to be trained, to be efficient, and to be ethical. I did not disappoint.

But when the time came to demonstrate my work product, I was asked specifically by the leadership to be more flexible; to allow them to make changes (in my stead) that would more accurately represent their personal needs. Sadly their needs did not represent the needs (and the diversity) of the organization. I stood my ground. I refused! And for this I was judged. 

Or was I judged? And was it a bad thing to be judged?? Either way, I was angry. 

I was angry because my hard work had been compromised. Our objectives were not aligned. And it would be perceived that I did not do my job because the people who appointed me had an objective that was different than mine.  

But my objectives were the objectives of the organization. My objectives were clearly outlined for me before I accepted the responsibility. There was nothing in those objectives that allowed for the type of flexibility that was being requested. The objectives were changed without my consent.

This did not sit well with me at all. I slowly looked around at the people that I worked with. I asked questions that they thought I should not ask. I carved a wedge of resistance that they did not appreciate. They got nervous because my dissent could cause their embarrassment and expose their biases. 

Because this is a feeling that is not unique to me, I thought that I would share it here so that others may be able to identify. 

What do you do when you’ve been asked to compromise your integrity?  I suppose it bothers me because I’m asked more often than I’d like to be asked. It also bothers me that this does not seem to be a problem for the people who do the asking–people for whom I used to hold in high regard.


Golden Rule

Just as I would prefer not to be held to someone else’s standard. I don’t hold others to my standard. I am simply disappointed in them. I’m angry because I was wrong. I held them to a standard that was higher. I shouldn’t have. 

But I need to say this for my own edification. When I volunteer my own time and my own energy, I expect gratification. It’s not a lofty expectation. And if I cannot earn some type of satisfaction from my hard work, I will not volunteer my time. I already get paid to do a job with ever-changing objectives. I am asked daily to compromise my personal line of decency in exchange for a paycheck. I won’t spend my free time doing the same.

So where do I go from here? Do I quit volunteering? Do I stand up for my “rights”? Do I stand up for the rights of others?? Or do I give ’em hell?!?

I haven’t yet decided how I will proceed. One thing is for certain–I will not go quietly. I will not allow so-called leaders to diminish my worth OR my work product. I will not allow them to think that I will fold to unrealistic demands. I will stand up for myself. And I will represent the people of the organization. This is called “integrity.”

Kick Rocks

Disclaimer:

This may not be about you. But this is FOR you. 

Every one of us knows someone to whom this verse applies. Either you know that person or you ARE that person. 

They warned me about you. And yet I welcomed your ideas. I invited your friendship. I trusted you. I offered my confidence. I gave of myself earnestly.

I listened. I considered your unsolicited advice. I watched you mentor others. I valued you as a professional and as a passionate human being. 

The people you were warning me about were warning me about you! But I waited to see how dynamic you were.  

But I didn’t make excuses for you when you made bad decisions. I didn’t run away either. I waited to see your humility. Your humanity. Your Dignity. Witty charm or false confidence. I wanted to see what you were made of.  
I projected all that I held to be decent and true…into you. And you let me down….because you were you.  
You are not accountable to me. You’re barely accountable to yourself. You are a disappointment to anyone who put more value into you than you are worth. Whereas my own humanity tells me that all people are innately good, somewhere along the way you found experiences to blame for your distemper.  

  

Who are you? You are my mentor. My role model. My supervisor. My principal. My superintendent. My mayor. My freeholder. My assemblyman. My governor.  

You are my lover. My wife. My friend. My sister.   

You’re my mother, my brother, my long lost uncle…

I don’t know you. And yet I’m supposed to trust you?! Everything that I’ve learned about you is from the complaints of others and my limited exposure to your bad mistakes. Were my observations delusional?

But I know you won’t take it personal. After all, thousands of people rely on the decisions that you make. We even trusted you with our votes of good faith. We entrusted you with our hard earned revenue. And more importantly than all of that, we’ve entrusted you with our future.  

Kick Rocks!  

 

#90 Days

A lot can happen in ninety days.  I proclaim that a change will occur in my personal life. This should not be cryptic.  But the idea provoked inquiry and eventual disbelief.  But after writing this, even for me, it will be less vague. I am building faith.  

“Ninety days” is personal to me.  Amidst the raised eyebrows lays a story about how I arrived at my current condition.  My explanation is received with wonder and awe. Although my story will eventually become fodder for a series of short stories, blog posts, and a made-for-television screen play, I enjoy your interest in my journey.  

Imagine, if you will, that I was not supposed to be here. I was supposed to be dead.  My spirit was saved, my body was nurtured, and my mind was strengthened. 

Emotionally I was driven in to depression in my teen years.  But what teen isn’t? Like every teenager, I thought that I was different.  Impervious to the trials my parents warned me about. I resisted peer pressure. I turned my back to drugs and kept alcohol from my lips.  Because it was readily available to me and my peers, a concerted effort needed to be made.  The generational curse to which I was predisposed had nothing on me.

  I was protected!

 Removed from everything that I knew to be right, my twenties weren’t much better. Those whom I loved and trusted turned on me. I had to find myself (again).  I realized how lost I was. I found nothing inside. And they waited for me to end it.  That little bit of faith I had was just enough.  I survived unscathed, restored, and replenished.  

And before my fortieth birthday,  I was offered an opportunity to solidify my spiritual immortality– or so I thought. I evolved.  I grew. I learned to trust again. 

What does this have to do with #90 Days?  Everything!

The truth of the matter is that my soul had already been bought and paid for. Long before I was born, I was destined for greatness! I know this because I’M STILL HERE. My awakening comes on the cusp of my realization (through my experiences) that I am more than the consequences for my decisions.  I am!

Deep, right?  Maybe. 

What I am saying is that each day brings about new challenges. There isn’t anything on any given day that I can’t handle. The joy that comes from making such a statement is that the day that I’m wrong, I will no longer exist. And yet I find myself wrong daily (laughing). 

I suppose there actually is some balance in the universe. In any case, I am here because I am supposed to be. Where will I be tomorrow? In a week? A month?? 3??? 

I am making a 90 day plan!!

Some people set five-year goals. I am setting a 90 day goal. Ninety days from today, I will be in a different place. I will be better. I will be stronger.

I will be…

Tolerate WHAT?!?

White America, no more! 
That race card is a very particular thing. White people don’t like it when black people play the race card because there’s no defense for that. Some people complain that the race card is used too often. 

But the reality is that every time a black person doesn’t get the job (but a white person does get the job because of nepotism, relationships, referrals, or the color of his skin), someone is going to call it racism. However, it cuts both ways. 

Racism was a problem (it still is).  Affirmative action (dubiously referred to as reverse racism) was nothing more than reverse discrimination. Never intended to oppress, affirmative action was implemented to eliminate (not reverse, not reduce) discrimination.  

The people who are most angry with the current state of racism are either the ones who had convinced themselves that it no longer exists OR the people who are tired of being oppressed.  

It never ceases to exist. We, as a nation, just developed a high tolerance for hate, misunderstand, and ignorance. And now we have politicians who are exploiting these facts. Bring America back? Back to what? Ignorance? High tolerance masking low tolerance (for anyone different than the powerful)?

There is a double meaning behind teaching tolerance. Some days we want be tolerant of the things worth tolerating. Other days we just can’t ignore blatant acts of oppression, disrespect or injustice.  

What is your personal level of tolerance?

Do you agree with this perspective?  If so, share.  Engage.  Continue the conversation. 

Dear Future Wife, 

  
Dear future wife…. 
Expect nothing of me and 

I’ll give you everything. 

Compliment me–Not supplement me.
give me all the trust that YOU deserve. 

Want me first and I’ll want you forever.

Need me, and I’ll do everything I can

(and more) to meet those needs
My children… 

My children need a mother, 

and yet they already have another. 

I need you to support their father

loving children are worth the bother
Our home… 

Will be your home. 

Including everything that I’ve shown

Our wealth together will have grown

Love like this we’ve never known
We won’t just walk away
Our past relationships will make our future 

Bolder

Richer

More valuable
My longing

My dedication

My desire

Are for you, the target of my affection
Moving forward together 

Our efforts will be combined

Our goals will be aligned 

Our bodies intertwined
I am passionate about you. 

Not looking for your imperfections…

Instead, treasuring each imperfection

Cherishing the resurrection…
Of our renewed faith in each other

More than just a brother-

More than just a sister-

-in Christ
Your love will be requited

Your smile, always invited

Genuine effort offered despite it

Never insecure, dedicated if
You are sincere in your devotion to me

Excuse me, miss
 

My Worth Has Yet To Be Determined…

I can not speak for you.  I can only speak for myself this morning.  But I am certain that as I scribe what I ponder, you and I may find some common ground.

I am writing this on the Eve of Valentine’s Day 2016.  Once every 7 years V-Day falls on a Sunday.  There’s no doubt that my pastor will offer a lesson tomorrow about how God’s love for us was so great that he offed his only begotten son (John 3:16).  This infrequent event occurs even less frequently than Leap Year, which also occurs this month.

But I am not penning this about love, life, or the Lord.  As I sit at my kitchen table and gaze out the window, I see the thin layer of snow across the field, the bare branches swaying in the wind, and silence of the morning sunrise.  My thoughts are running rampant.  I am inspired by the slightest movement.  Yet I am motivated to do nothing.  I merely reflect.

Last night, I made a spontaneous decision to have coffee with a friend.  The drive was long, and the night was cold and dark.  The snow began to fall, and I had to wonder why.  Why are things happening the way that they are?  Why are things not running in a more practical manner?  Why is common sense not prevailing?  And does good ever truly win? I’d like to think that I know the answer to some of theses inquiries. But I don’t.

I arrived in time to catch my friend fulfill a home furnishing transaction at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I made witty jokes as she pilled things that she didn’t need into the cart.  With each discounted item she’d declare “I don’t really need this, but it’s a great value!” She was buying it just in case.  I momentarily halted my sarcasm.  “Just in case.”

I am no longer planning.  I am no longer waiting.  I am surrendering…all.  For me, there is no “just in case.”

My ears were wide open, not because of an epiphany of how I should change.  No!  I am realizing that I should stay the same.   Forty plus years of experience (although infancy really shouldn’t count) has brought me to this very moment.

And I survived.

I’ve survived playing on the railroad tracks as a kid, not eating my Wheaties, and talking back to elders. I conquered waiting to the last minute to complete dead-lined tasks and NOT studying for tests.  Low SAT scores, and beating the odds!  I proved wrong the stereotypes and graduated despite the statistics.  I married outside my race–to a woman who didn’t even question my race until she met my family.  I’ve raised children through a divorce, and we survived the aftermath.  And now my “I‘s” start to become “we‘s”.

We have…overcome.  We haven’t always enjoyed the journey, and at times we’ve given up the fight.  But many dreams have been fulfilled.  The fact that we are raising up a nation of entitlement is still debatable–because it’s a fluid term subject to interpretation.  The rich believe that they are entitled to be continue gaining wealth.  The poor’s thrive to survive is dependent solely on scrounging for the resources to resume the fight.  And the middle class (working class poor) haven’t quite decided which line to take.

*Sidebar:  There aren’t nearly as many rich republicans as there are poor democrats, but the rich can buy political policy, whereas the poor struggle to meet the residency requirements to vote.

tupac

And so as my mind wakens and I flip up the laptop, brew my tea, and the world wide web begins to glow in front of me, I see a post in my news feed. I read, and begin to climb on my soap box.

Open Letters to political endorsers are nothing new.  However, we now have the ability to approach our leaders virtually as well as directly.  Their handlers will prevent contact, but we have the ability to shame them when they speak out of line.  Interesting times. Freedom of speech amplified and exponentially more effective.  To the targets of such reproach, we are considered bullies.  But we don’t see it that way.  We are finding new ways to get our points across, to be heard, and to demand accountability.

If only Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King had the power of social media.  It was their public persona that got them killed.   It was the establishment that had them martyred. But martyrdom came at a price. We look back at their struggles and watch their accomplishments rise up from the ashes.  If for one moment you don’t think that the Civil Rights Movement has re-established itself, have a look at the past five years of senseless killings of blacks and the riots that have followed.  The spotlights is on injustice.The governing bodies and it’s officials only attend the funerals to save face and to make statements of HOPE and FAITH, but do nothing to change the direction of our justice system.

We have power beyond our ability to harness it.  We have the ability to create change.  We have SO much ability now that even learning to wield its awesomeness is clumsy and ruthless.  We haven’t even conceived how we will proceed.

And as for me, I haven’t even begun to decide which path I will travel.  The path less traveled is a lonely one, but the path of least resistance has not been infiltrated.  On either side change will occur and it will be a magnificent spectacle.  The next twelve months are going to be game changers.

As my focus shifts from the current events back to the wintery stillness outside my window, my thoughts begin to slow.  I don’t know where I will be tomorrow.  I don’t know for certain my role in all of this.  I am not watching the signs as much as I am waiting on a feeling.  Something doesn’t feel right.  I am listening.  I am watching.  I am waiting.

My worth is yet to be determined…

 

 

You Are My Valentine

  
 You are my Valentine. I will not ask for more. You are a gift to man, and therefore a gift to me. I could not ask for more. I adore you, but not because of what you can do for me, but because of what you’ve done for mankind.  

You are a giver of life. Even before baby’s birth, (and what a fine child you’ve raised), your essence on this earth exudes love. In your happiness, you are love. In your sadness, you are love. With every beat of your heart, there is love.

And this love is for the whole world, even when the world is cold and unforgiving. Your love is overflowing and touches others even beyond your intent. I feel your love.

Thank you for being a woman. Thank you for being you. 

You are already my Valentine.  

The Smudge

2016 is moving about quickly. The next chapter of my narrative has begun. I have forced my own hand which has caused time to morph. Is it standing still? Has it sped up? I’ve lost track of time entirely.

I overlooked the fact that lent had begun.

What sacrifice will I make? Well, what resolutions have I stuck with? It’s the change that I want to see–the person I want to be. Instead of continuously reflecting; instead of diminishing my own selfworth; instead of making it about me, I will value the relationship that I share with you. I thank God for you! When I see you, but especially when I don’t see you, I value you as God’s child. I will be less angry with the world. I will try harder to value each experience and perspective offered to me. I will practice being a better person. So when we see each other in passing in the street, at work, or in church, we will recognize God’s Love in each other.

Today, I reblog this as an example of God’s Love working constantly in our lives.

BeautyBeyondBones

Ash Wednesday is a weird day in New York.

IMG_6507

Because for really the first time during these blistery winter months, you actually look up andsee people.

Now, I know…that sounds bad. Like, what the heck? Who is this girl that she just goes around with her head in the clouds, not seeing people?


But it’s true. In New York, people commute –read: walkon a mission.Especially in the winter. You’re bundled up. Hunkered down. And you’re walking with purpose to get to where you need to go, as fastas possible, so you can get in out of the cold.

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Or when you’re on the subway — You listen to your ear phones, look straight ahead, and try not to get in anyone’s way.

Welcome to New York.

"The Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations By Grumpy Cat" Book Launch Party

But.

Ash Wednesday is a little different.

Because of a smudge of ash on your forehead.

Maybe it’s curiosity or…

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Despitefully Use Me

   
 

I’ve been working in an education mill for 10 years, and I didn’t even realize it. Yes, I said “mill!” I began my career, ironically enough in a place called Millville. A place where all kinds of crafts were milled by Millers. Families sent their children not just to learn a skill or vocation, but to also provide safe, affordable childcare while dad (and mom) were at work.  

I was hired for some of the wrong reasons, but some of the right reasons. Which is which, I can not discern. I was older than the youngest candidates. I was younger than the retirees. I was skilled in social work but had minimal education experience. I was hired because of my potential, but I was let go (several times) because my inability to conform. When I was re-hired in a neighboring school district, it was because of a discrete relationship between my new employer and my former employer. Sadly it wasn’t because of talent, expertise, or dedication. 

I wonder how many other educators like me were hired the same way. I’d like to think that I’m the exception to the rule. Is conformity a necessary evil. Or is it a DISqualifier? 

In the end, I have provided years of service to a community that needed it more than it knows. Was I teaching? Not as much as I mentoring, modeling, and molding young citizens to be the generation of thinkers that they MUST be to survive decades of distrust and misallocation. 

  

A new day is upon us.  As fate would have it, it’s just in time for a major shift in the way educators are perceived at the hand of a failing system. No longer considered noble and wise, dedicated and devoted, educators are given the left overs.  And yet we spend time with our civilizations most precious commodity:  the future. 

The sun is rising on an evolution of testing. The night before, corporations met with politicians to craft an elaborate an effective plan to undermine the education system that the government has already been underfunding.  

  
Summers ago I completed a 100 hour professional development sponsored by a regional chamber of commerce and its numerous corporate members. This organization took a noble position by inviting educators to see the problem and develop some conclusive solutions. The purpose was to identify a very specific problem with the high school and college graduates. 

These institutional “graduates” are not employable! If they could submit an actual application, they bombed the interview because of their inability to appropriately socialize in a work environment. They couldn’t make eye contact. They wouldn’t dress appropriately. Their first question in the interview was “how much will I make (instead of how can I help your company)?”  The private sector demands better, and our youth can’t deliver.  At best, their parents may be the last generation of job holders.   

Our schools have been milling entitlement for years! How am I just realizing this NOW??  As I pen this, the theory is dissolving into a solid, tangible fact. If not a plan, an alarming accident that serves corporations far better than the public school students. 

Where is all that public school funding going? It’s being funneled into private interests! Where did the current funding come from? Your tax dollars fuel 100 percent of education funding. 

That’s right!!

  

Taxation without representation is awful. Instead of focusing on how the elected officials have let down the public, let’s focus on another perspective. We’ve allowed the government to tax us without representing ourselves. Those of us who vote are exerting our power over the electorate. But those who do not exercise their rights by voting (or lobbying for themselves) are surrendering their tax dollars without representation. That’s like allowing your bank to withdraw fees from your account without consulting you! Who does that??
  
It’s uncertain if it’s too late to reverse this trend. It’s been going on for a long time. We’re just waking up. It’s the dawn of a new era. This will be an era of Occupy Movements–and laws against them. This will be an era of homelessness–and laws against it. This will be an era of exploitations of public actions (police brutality, water crises, and board of education meetings) and the officials who try to cover it up with more laws.  

  
Our rights don’t need to be taken away. We’ve already surrendered them. It’s what we call in contract negotiations “past practices”. The education system is not neglected. It’s doing exactly what the elite want it to do. It’s the mill for generating a generation of children who lack the critical thinking skills to fight back.
We’ve been fooled. 

We’ve been misused. 

We’ve been bambozzled. 

We’ve been despitefully used. 

Redefining Lent

It is amazing how the Lord finds exciting ways to remind us that He hears our cry. This reflection is timely in my life (and I’m sure in the lives of others). We are all struggling through something right NOW, and we can remember plenty of times that He brought us through.

I am reblogging this so my friends and family can bear witness to the authors trial, and how the Lord helped her overcome her battle. Meanwhile, I take heed that He sacrificed Himself for us so that we don’t have to…

BeautyBeyondBones


Lent.

*sigh*

This is a rather bitter sweet time of year for me personally. Because even though it is leading up to Easter and is such a beautiful and intentional season of reflection, it also brings up a lot of pain for me.

Because you see, Lent of sophomore year in high school, was when my anorexia first began.

I gave up sweets.


Innocent enough. No desserts or sweets for 40 days. I was being a good little Catholic girl — “challenging” myself during this season of lenten fasting and penance.

But what started as that small denial, quickly spiraled into a lifestyle of extreme restriction, and the next thing I know, I had wasted away to 78 pounds, knocking on death’s door as a shell of my former existence – physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

So yeah, I look forward to Lent just about as much as I…

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