Title here (not a typo, that is the title of this one)

It seems like sometimes the title is the only thing keeping me from writing or publishing a blog post.  I’m afraid if I title it wrong, people won’t want to read it or they’ll mistake the subject matter.  I mainly write for my own enjoyment.  Often, something will happen in my everyday life that I think I should blog about later, only to forget until it seems much less important by the time I get around to putting it into words.  

I write my title line before I write my post in an attempt to keep myself on target regarding what I was planning to post about.  I rarely do more than glance over the final product before I publish.  It isn’t that I don’t care.  Its that if I let myself get into it, I’ll whittle away at it and change it until it doesn’t resemble my initial idea.  Even worse, I’ll read through and decide it isn’t worth publishing and delete it all.  My own criticism is probably worse than anyone else could offer.  

I’ve read many blog posts by many different people.  I’ve been working up the courage to discuss the things I want to without fear of judgement from people I know and people I don’t.  I have depression and anxiety.  They’re both very real to me, but I know there are people out there who believe its only a mind over matter issue.  Sometimes, that opinion of it makes me think I might be suffering because I’m too weak to fight back against it.  The people who roll their eyes at those of us who know that these are illnesses, are the people who have been fortunate enough not to suffer from it.  I want to write about it so maybe I can get through to people who do suffer that we are not imagining this, we are not weak because of it, and that we are not alone in our fight.  

So, I don’t want to title my posts because fear that the label might not be sufficient to describe the content.  Labeling myself as someone who suffers from depression and anxiety shouldn’t be something that categorizes who I am.  You might not know by looking at me when I’m having a particularly bad episode with either or both.  You might not care.  I’m not here for the people who can’t accept mental illnesses as real.  I’m not here to convince anyone to believe.  I just want to ensure people that there is someone just as weird, if not more weird than, they think they are.  

So, while my posts will always have a title, they might not capture all of the content.  Very few labels do.

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Teens (still) Bullying

I don’t know if this is just the norm now.  Perhaps it was in my day and I was oblivious to it.  I’m talking about the way I hear about teens interacting with each other and behave so carelessly and violently.

My daughter and her friend Ally were eating lunch at school recently when a larger, older student approached their table and told the friend to get up so she could fight her.  Ally didn’t want to fight and had been told by her mother not to.  So she sat there until the bigger girl pulled her back and started punching her.  The girl started repeatedly using the heel of her hand to try to break Ally’s nose.  I heard about this when my daughter got home, and then I saw it for myself on a video posted on Facebook.  Ally’s mom called me at home that night and we spoke for an hour about the chain of events leading to this “fight”.  I used quotes around fight because it was really just an attack.

Ally had been suspended for one week along with her aggressor for two weeks because she told the girl in a Facebook message that she wouldn’t fight her.  Somehow, this was interpreted by the school administration as Ally initiating the fight.  Her mom had been in contact with the school prior to the attack about her concerns regarding lly.  She was being hassled online by this girl.  According to the mom, the school told her that they could not use social networking to punish a student.  I checked the school’s handbook and it states that students are liable for social networking comments that involve physical threats regardless of the time or place the comments were made.  I let the mom know that she needs to complain to the school board.  When I read the facebook page of the aggressor, she was proud that she was suspended for 2 weeks.  Another friend of hers commented that she was ready for round 2.  I checked the school handbook again, saw that making videos or photos at the school was also against their policies.  I made copies of what I saw on the website and emailed it to the school along with copy and paste paragraphs from the handbook citing which rules had been violated.  The school ensured that the safety concern I had for my daughter would be addressed.

The next day that my daughter had school, she went directly to the office as the guidance counselor I was in contact with recommended.  The girls were brought to the school office and spoken to.  They were advised that any further threats would result in punishment.  My daughter was afraid to sit out in the open in the lunchroom, so she used a lunch pod, which is used for lunch detentions.  Someone approached her during the lunch and asked if she was in trouble.  When she told this person that she wasn’t in trouble, he proceeded to tell everyone that she was sitting there because she was scared of a friend of the girl that attacked Ally.  My daughter was upset that people thought she was afraid of the girl.  It is almost impossible to describe to someone that avoiding a physical altercation is not cowardly.  I wouldn’t walk into a dark alley in the middle of the night because someone might be there.  Its just smart.

Most importantly, I need to know why these kids feel they need to physically harm someone to validate themselves?  Where are their parents and why don’t they know what their kids are doing online?  I realize its a pain in the ass to go through all possible social networks, but it is necessary.  I can’t imagine discovering that my child was making another one too sad or scared to go on about her daily life.  I would be hurt and angry and I would want to do something about it.  I would want her to make amends.  I can’t understand the mindset that someone would have in order to be cruel to someone else for any reason.

Wild Child

I’m 33 years old.  I have a lot of memories, lessons, and stories from life.  Still, I actually don’t remember as much as many people do.  There is not a sad story behind it.  I was a bit of a daredevil as a child and had more than my share of injuries  I thought I’d share a couple of those stories.

In my backyard, when I was a kindergartener, I was playing with my friends that were the kids of someone  my mom knew.  It was a warm and sunny day.  One of the older kids put my friend and I into our red wagon and was pulling us around the perimeter of the yard, which was enclosed by a chain link fence.  Suddenly, the wagon went sideways and my friend and I were dumped out toward the fence.  When we both got up, my friend told me the top of my hair was all red.  I touched the top of my head.  It felt weird, so I looked at my hand.  It was covered in blood.  I started crying and ran inside to my mom, who put my head over the bath and poured water over my hair in an attempt to see where the blood was coming from.  I remember my mom telling me I got to sleep in her bed that night and she kept waking me up.

I was probably 7 years old for the next one.  My family was at a friend’s house that had kids.  We were spinning in an office chair in their basement while the adults socialized on the main level of the house.  We were having a blast.  Then, food was ready.  Everyone was called upstairs and we ran for the door.  My older sibling and I somehow wound up at the end of the line with me bringing up the rear.  My sibling, Jamie skipped a few steps, got to the top, and then slammed the door in my face just as I was reaching the top.  I fell backwards about halfway down the steps, then under the bannister onto the concrete floor.  The next thing I remember, I was opening my eyes to people standing around me asking if I was ok.  I was, but I was out long enough for people to come to my aid unnoticed by me.

When I was 8, I was getting really good at riding my bike up and down the hills on either side of my house.  I even learned how to coast downhill while putting my feet on the handlebars.  I was so psyched about this little stunt, I shouted out to my mom to watch me from the neighbor’s front porch.  I was coasting faster than I have ever before.  Suddenly, there was a crack in the sidewalk that made it slightly uneven.  My bike and I flew into the air and flipped over.  I landed on the ground and the bike fell on top of me.  Not only did I bang my head on the concrete, but the pedal dug into my thigh and the hand grips dragged down one of my shoulders.  In school the following week, a well meaning teacher would send me to the school nurse after noticing the bruises and cuts, who would call child services on my parents.  They received a surprise visit from a social worker who talked to me and to them, and then inspected my somewhat mangled bicycle.  Nothing ever came of it.

In my middle school years, there was a family that moved in nearby with kids around my age.  One of our favorite activities was riding our bikes.  The street was a hill on either side and we would race our bikes down one of them all of the time.  I had a yellow ten speed bike named Schwinnifred (awesome, I know).  One race, I got to the bottom of the hill and I stopped next to the part of the street where there was a drainage sewer.  One of the girls tried to warn me that she was going too fast, but it was in vain.   She slammed, full force, into the back tire of my bike.  I was slightly too short for the bike and was on my tip toes holding it steady.  The force and surprise of the collision made me fall straight into the concrete, hitting my chin first into the asphalt.  I was fortunate to miss the sewer opening, but I was dizzy and could barely see or walk.  My friends walked me to my house, where I looked at my mom, started crying, and said “sorry.”  I remember that I had to get gravel cleaned from the wound and stitches on my chin.

Last one I’ll share, I was 16 years old.  I asked my dad if I could go on a drive with my friends to a popular park nearby and he told me to come back in the next 2 hours.  We went to the park and watched the sun set and hung out.  My friend and her boyfriend were apparently sneaking out together for some reason.  We left the park to go home as it started raining.  Traffic suddenly came to a halt and my friends boyfriend, a new driver, stopped too suddenly.  The car hydroplaned and slammed into a commercial van in front of us.  I opened my eyes and there were fireman and police there.  The driver yelled at me “Jenny!  I asked if everyone is ok!”  I was confused and my whole body hurt.  A fireman opened the door to my side and looked at me and said “ew.”  I touched my face.  There was blood and everything felt weird.  I licked the inside of my mouth.  All of my teeth were there.  The fireman asked me if I could walk, then helped me out of the car to the back of an ambulance where an EMT handed us a bottle of water and some type of cloth to wipe my face with.  I called my dad and he told me to take the ambulance and he’d be at the hospital when I got there.  We sat in the waiting room with ice on my face for hours.  When all was said and done, I had a broken nose, concussion, and bruises all over.  I had lifted out of the lap belt, flown forward, and slammed my face on the back of the head rest in front of me.  The belt squeezed and bruised me on top of my thighs.  I still freak out when I think someone is going to rear end another car while I’m riding in it.

So, that was a small collection of the most memorable of my childhood injuries.  There were more.  I’ve had stitches in my mouth, sprained ankles, bruised bones, and even a road rash on my leg and butt.  Maybe another time, I’ll tell more of my daredevil tales.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoyed this.  If so, please share with your friends.

Also, feel free to comment with your own tales of being a wild child.