If You Want To Change The World…

Dear Kids,

You are growing up in a crazy world. Sometimes it’s crazy beautiful and sometimes it’s just plain crazy. The difference is really all in your perspective. You will grow up hearing words  & phrases like “feminism,” “women’s rights,” “human rights,” “climate change,” “back the blue,” “black lives matter,” “all lives matter,” & proclamations of “let’s make America great again!” These things will mean something different to each person who says them. I won’t dive into all of that today, but there are a few things I want you to know about a few of these words which will permeate this part of your life & profoundly affect the way you experience & perceive the world around you.

ct-womens-march-national-pg-20170121Recently, there have been a series of marches and protests happening around the country, all for one cause or another, some peaceful and some not. You may have heard about it. Your kids – should you choose to have them –  may learn about it in school one day; this is your history in the making. For the rest of this post I’m just going to assume you’ll one day have a family of your own. If you decide not to, that’s okay, but to drive home my point, I’m totally going to use my future grandchildren. 😉 (If the word “children” doesn’t apply to you, maybe substitute nieces and nephews? I know how literal you 3 can be. *sigh*)

One day you will be faced with the responsibility that every generation before you has faced; the responsibility to enact positive change for the next generation. It might sound irrelevant to you when you consider how fortunate you already are and how much you already have. It might sound like a pretty big deal. It may sound almost unachievable for one person. So, how do you do it?

Do you make signs and march? Protest? Riot, rally in anger, preach in righteousness, fight…? Maybe you’ll feel like your voice is best heard in a group because how can just one person – or even two people – make a positive impact on any part of the world?

images-3I just want you to know you can & I’m going to tell you how. I don’t personally believe that real, effective change is brought about in crowds yelling, inciting anger, violence, fear, & hate. Or yet in silent, peaceful crowds carrying signs about love. It makes a statement, sure…but what kind of statement? Some people are just really good at making speeches or signs and can make you buy what they’re selling regardless of your own convictions. If you don’t do anything else I ever tell you, at least do this: know that you are only responsible for yourself. Learn what you can from history & verify it for yourself rather than taking other people at their word just because they can make it sound good. Evaluate the words and actions of others for yourself. Study. Watch. Listen. Get your own facts, your own references. Just as you take responsibility for yourself, let the ones around you take responsibility for themselves. Do not ever let another person dictate your beliefs for you. Make choices you can be proud of.

You can’t make anyone do anything. You cannot make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time so you need to be able to live with the choices you make. You probably won’t cause huge cooperations or groups of people to change their beliefs, or their approach no matter how many people you rally, especially if their main concern is the money they’re making. This is because real change is a personal responsibility rather than a global one. It starts small & ripples out slowly over time, affecting one person at a time beginning with yourself.

Change starts with you. It has a ripple effect in regard to what you teach your children; if you want to change the world, start with your world.

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Feminism is simply a belief in equality, yet our society has bastardized it and given it some incredibly negative connotations. What are women really saying when they walk around with their shirts off yelling about being ‘nasty women?’ How does this help? Are they really ‘taking back the power?’ Really think about that. What does that even mean? How does excluding certain women send the message ‘we are all equal.’ That, in my opinion, certainly doesn’t communicate anything reminiscent of equality. It is a contradiction to everything they claim to stand for. Your time would be better spent at home teaching your children the value of kindness, chivalry, self-respect; teaching them to set standards & boundaries for themselves so that they can make positive choices in their own lives, thus eventually rippling into the hearts and minds of others.

“Black Lives Matter.” Of course they do. “All Lives Matter.” Unequivocally. I find it abhorrent that after everything we’ve been through in this country, after everything generations before us have fought for, we still live in a time where this distinction is necessary. How can you change this? Not by blaming or segregating, but by teaching your children to choose their friends based on the content of their character and nothing else.

Climate Change. I believe it’s a thing; some do not. Your beliefs regarding its validity make little to no difference when you consider that there are things we could be doing to help preserve and protect our environment whether you believe in the effects of climate change or not. If we all recycled, used less energy or more solar energy, turned the water off while brushing our teeth, unplugged appliances we aren’t actively using, turned off the lights and the TV when we left the house (your dog doesn’t care about The View, I promise), put our trash in the trash can or a recycling bin instead of tossing it on the ground, etc. not only would you see a decrease in your bills, but you’d be helping to ensure the future of our planet. These small choices we make daily have the biggest impact. Teach your children to respect and care for their environment and your beliefs about climate change become irrelevant; you’re doing your part for the world you want your kids to inherit & you’re teaching them to do theirs. That’s all there is.

So, let me say it again:

Change starts with you. It has a ripple effect in regard to what you teach your children; if you want to change the world, start with your world.

16194956_1240064922755969_8824124583631119672_nNo amount of sign-holding, marching, yelling, fear-mongering or hate-speech will ever effect the kind of positive change people talk about wanting to see in the world. Nor do I  personally believe that tolerating and accepting everything & everyone is the appropriate response. I don’t tolerate racism, rapists, abusers or manipulators. I don’t tolerate people who would treat me as less than simply because of the color of my skin or my gender. I don’t tolerate people who mistreat my family and friends. Does that mean I’m going to go blow up a prison, get a group together to beat up someone I don’t like, or put on a mask and become a vigilante? Of course not (I’m not nearly as good a shot as the Green Arrow anyway). I won’t be burning down buildings because I don’t believe in the politics or ethics of that business or group of people; I’ll simply stop buying their product. I’ll never walk around topless yelling about my lack of rights and if I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t do it in America where I HAVE RIGHTS (but that’s a different post). You’ll never find me disrupting traffic & stopping people from going to work just because I’m angry & want the people around me to feel angry, too.

you-teach-people-how-to-treat-you-quoteWhat I will do is make choices to ensure these types of people are as far removed from myself and my family as is within my power, & I will do my best to teach you – my children – what it means to be people of character & integrity.  I will teach you to walk away from people & situations which make you feel inferior. I will teach you to choose your friends wisely, to sit with the lonely kids at lunch, to offer help to those in need, to get outside your comfort zone & not to place ridiculous standards or restrictions on yourself. I will teach you about humility. I will teach you about respect, both for yourself and others. I will teach you to apologize when you should & how to recognize when there is nothing to apologize for. I will teach you to work hard, to earn rather than expect. I will teach you to lead by example, & even, sometimes, to follow. I will teach you to share, to give freely, to speak kindly, & love fiercely.

You are not sheeple & you do not have to flow with the status quo; you always have a choice. You have a miraculous gift, both common to all people & still uniquely individual: it’s called a brain. Use it.

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Not to sound like a cliche’ or anything, but…

Love,

Mom – xoxo

 

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Hey, Assbutt!

The challenge for today, Day 3, is to write about my favorite quote. Again, I’m finding myself in a pickle because I don’t have a favorite quote. If you really know me you probably expect me to be able to pull something right off the top of my head from Harry Potter or Supernatural or any number of other books and series’ which I love. I can pull something off the top of my head, but I don’t know that I would single any one of them out as being my favorite. Favorite things change as rapidly as the people themselves & their circumstances do. Even so…if I were forced at gunpoint to pick something I believe is important, inspiring or powerful and call it “my favorite” at this current moment I think I’d have to go with a Dumbledore quote.

Searching the inter-webs for a picture of one yielded many and as a result I have a little collection for you:

Which one is my favorite? It depends on the day. On days when I’m feeling hopeless (i.e being attacked by dementors) I would say my favorite is “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” When I find myself focusing far too much on what I wish I had than the abundant & amazing things I DO have, Dumbledore’s voice reminds me that ‘it does not do to dwell on dreams & forget to live.’ Okay, well…maybe it’s not Dumbledore’s voice – that would be a little schizo – but you get the point. On the other side of the same coin, sometimes strange things happen in my head. They could be dreams or daydreams or just quick random thoughts. None of it is real…but what if it is, in a sense? Everyone’s reality and perception is a little different & in those cases I really like that Dumbledore says, essentially, that even if something is only happening inside your head it doesn’t make it less real. That nightmare I had about a demon sitting on my back was pretty friggin’ real to me, okay?! (I haven’t told you guys about that, but I will if you’re interested. It was a pretty wicked dream.)

“We are only as strong as we are united; as weak as we are divided.” That seems quite apropos for our current societal/economic/political issues. Dumbledore for president!”Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic…” yup, I definitely identify with that one. My words are pretty inexhaustible; I’m still working on the magic part. I could continue, but I think you get my point. My favorite quotes are ones which can be applied; not the ones that just sound smart or pretty – I like the ones you can use in everyday life.

I also like quotes for their comedic value, because they make me smile whether I hear them in or out of context. That’s pretty much where all my Supernatural quotes come in. That show has a lot of heartfelt themes regarding family and love, which is great, but one of my favorite moments is this one:

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“Hey, Assbutt” is even my alert when my husband texts me. I could go for days with these quotes, but I’m going to stop with this one because I have laundry that needs to be folded. Such an exciting life I lead… 🙂 What are your favorite quotes? Are any of the ones I listed also on your list, or are you a rare sort of unicorn who only has one favorite quote?

Too Many Things

Blog Challenge, Day 2: 20 Facts About Me

1.) I don’t expect anyone to be interested in this, but if you read it, I’ll make you healthy, delicious, fat free, calorie free, weight-loss inducing, muscle-building, magical unicorn cookies.

2.) This is pretty much me with new people. e14db6d57a5feb8ec23ff91e16e61d42

3.) Unless we just “click” or I came to the party in a certain super-great mood, or if the room is generating a really comfortable, positive vibe. In any of those cases you might get the top half of that picture. I’m one of those weirdo extroverted introverts. If none of these apply, you’re going to get a purple-haired mouse at your party whose only interaction with you will likely be a few moments of me making borderline inappropriate jokes at exactly the worst time to precisely the worst person before I find an excuse to leave… “Oh I’m sorry, I just remembered – I was scheduled for a colonoscopy today. Bye!”

4.) My husband just asked me what the heck an extroverted introvert is. Basically it just means that I have days where I love being around people & can be just a fun as the average extrovert, but I need a little more down time to recover and recharge my batteries after. I love my people, but I also really value my alone time.

5.) When I said “my people” it felt a little like this:amiraclescienceclaims

6.) I’m the worst at planning ahead. My default is to fly by the seat of my pants so for me to even halfway successfully plan anything it takes a significant effort on my part, and a few other things including, but not limited to: 2 gallons of sweet tea, 67 sheets of paper, 2 pens because I’m going to lose at least one, a calculator, 8 solid hours of pinterest in which I look at everything except planning pins, 2 pounds of confetti, a bottle of rum, absolutely no sleep, & a sorting hat.

7.) Keeping with the previous admission: I fail at birthday parties & yet I just keep throwing them because my kids seem to be under the mistaken impression that I rock at it. What I lack in planning skills I make up for with skills of deception. 😉 Their parties usually end up being some combination of a sparsely decorated kitchen or living room with laundry shoved away in the pantry, epically messy group activities which may not have been thought out quite well enough, a bunch of half-eaten hotdogs & empty chip bags, and a colorful confection of some sort. As long as I don’t forget the cake and the Taylor Swift playlist, my girls are pretty happy. My son just wants knives, bows and arrows, grills…anything he can survive in the wilderness or hurt himself with and he’s there. So, while planning may not be my gift, I at least get some things right.

8.) I am incredibly indecisive. Mostly because I don’t care. Where do I want to eat? I don’t care. What do I want to eat? Don’t care. My kid comes home and tells me their best friend’s mom has a girlfriend…couldn’t care less. When it matters I can make the decision, but sometimes it takes me a while if it’s a big decision. I may suck at planning, but I’m great at pro/con lists!

9.) I often pray multiple times in a day. I don’t drop to my knees, hold up a bible or close my eyes and enter into a prayer posture while my friend is talking to me about her baby goat, but I do have an ongoing internal conversation with The Man at random times throughout the day or week, just whenever the desire strikes me.

10.) I don’t believe prayer in and of itself really solves much, but I do believe it calms the mind, can heal the heart, and give peace to the soul; all things which contribute to being able to think clearly and calmly enough to solve problems, or at the very least, not stress about things which are outside our control. I’m not one of those “just pray about it and it’ll be okay” people; it’s not a magic wand, but I absolutely believe it’s powerful.

11.) I believe miracles occur every day.

12.) I said I pray often, but I have some work to do with listening. Yoga & meditation is for listening.

13.) I am annoyingly inconsistent, even with things which I love and enjoy. Yoga, for instance. I love it. I always feel 1000% better when I do it, yet I still don’t practice everyday. I used to and then for whatever no good reason, I stopped. I plan to work on that this year.

14.) I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. If I decide I want to do something I don’t have to wait until January 1st, or a Monday, or for anything else to happen first: I just do it.

15.) & then I quit 2 days later.

16.) #15 was mostly just funny, but also somewhat accurate. It’s that inconsistency thing again. I have to make very intentional decisions everyday because  – depending on what it is – it’s easy for me to just decide I’m not feeling something one day and give up on it. I hate that about myself so I try not to be that person. Sometimes I fail at that, too. 😛

17.) I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. On the outside, one could perceive me to be the type of person who knows exactly what I want out of my life and big picture-wise, I do. I just haven’t figured out the details in between. You know…like…what I want to be. I have way too many hobbies and interests, but nothing that I feel like is my calling or my purpose. Other than maybe being a mom of course, but I wouldn’t turn down a calling that pays in $20 dollar bills.

18.) Speaking of callings, that’s what I want. I don’t want “just a job, any job, any job will do!” :p I want a purpose; something meaningful and fulfilling. Realistically speaking, I realize that may never happen. Not everyone gets the angel-choir-hallelujah-this-is-what-I-was-meant-to-do epiphany so my biggest goal is just to be fully present wherever I am at whatever moment or phase of life I’m in, & to take it and enjoy it for whatever it is.

19.)  This talking about myself thing is really boring me now. I’m running out of facts, energy & give-a-craps.

20.) If you read to this point comment with a Supernatural or Harry Potter reference and not only will I recognize you as one of my tribe, but you, too, could be the lucky recipient of some of those healthy, delicious, fat free, calorie free, weight-loss inducing, muscle-building, magical unicorn cookies. Did I mention they’re vitamin-rich also? And invisible?

The Bad Blogger

Dear 2017,

As part of a 30 day blog challenge to get me writing again, I’ve decided to talk to you a little bit about the name of my blog & what my goals are this year. I know you and your cousin, 2018, couldn’t possibly care less about my goals or my blog, but I do and since I let 2016 beat me into silence I’m determined not to let the same thing happen with you. So here goes…

I just realized my blog has no name. I have a web address (1badblogger.wordpress.com), but no actual blog name. No tag line explaining what my blog is about. How have I had a blog for years now and managed to not give it a proper name or context?! I guess that happens when you’re a bad blogger. Maybe that should be my name. The Bad Blogger. Erin Motz gets to be the Bad Yogi so I can claim the title of Bag Blogger…assuming no one has claimed it already. *does quick google search* Okay so it’s sort of taken. What I mean by “sort of” is that when “the bad blogger” is typed into google, you get a flickr account of barely dressed Asian chicks, but no actual blog by that name. Regardless, I still like it. Every article I read about blogging tells you to write about what you know, pick a theme and keep your posts generally within that genre. Tutorials, DIY, parenting, humor, photography, advice, art. music, books…etc. but what if I don’t want to stick to one theme? What if I don’t want to be put in a box? What if I want to hop around like an ADHD 6 year old on red dye #5 & coca-cola?

These articles also tell you to write once a week or  more. I’ve tried, but consistency just isn’t my thing. The only thing I’ve ever been consistent with is my husband, my kids, & being inconsistent. I’ve never finished a single challenge I’ve started and I probably won’t finish this one. I want to write when the mood strikes me, when inspiration hits, when I damn well want to, thank you very much. Whether that’s once a week (which I hope it is) or once every decade.

I’ve read countless advice articles on how to gain followers, increase readership and comment interaction, but what if that’s not what is most important to me? I mean – not gonna lie – having more than three active readers who comment would be a dream come true – but that isn’t my main goal. I didn’t start a blog to become internet famous. I started a blog because I like to write, my kids are funny as they can be & my family was missing things due to our Army-life PCSing, & because Facebook used to have limitations on how long one’s status could be; 2014 may have called to warn you, but just in case she didn’t, I’m a little wordy so it was easier to share my long-winded tales of my two year old singing “what the f***” to a My Little Pony toy on my blog than it was to share it to The Book of Faces.

Basically, I break all the rules. I write about whatever I want whenever I want & I write for an audience of one (plus my mom because some things I want to say she’d wash my mouth out for…sorry Mom, just keepin’ it real.) So what do you think? Should I stick with the lame-o “Bethylicious” title which I hastily gave my blog when I couldn’t think of anything else however many years ago, or should 2017 be the year of The Bad Blogger? You tell me.

Sincerely,

A Really Bad Blogger Currently In The Midst Of A Weird Sort Of Internet Identity Crisis Which I Didn’t Realize I Had Until I Began This Blog Challenge