Doodled invites for yet another birthday

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Spent this lazy Sunday planning the kid’s upcoming birthday… Doodling her invites and making some homemade decorations, while reminiscing about birthdays past.

She told me her best year was the mermaid party – when she was three! Clearly she didn’t get her memory skills from me.  That year I made her this horrible cake. It was only a month after moving into the house, and we had yet to realize the oven cooked a little hotter than it should. In an attempt to mask the awful unfluffy inside, I covered the outside in blue icing creating peaks to resemble water, which I later realized had too much food colouring and it stained everything it touched. I sprinkled graham crackers on one side to look like a sandy beach, placed gummy fish throughout the water and made crabs out of skittles and licorice shoelaces…. It was not well done. It was like the kid made it herself.

But thankfully her memory was that I created a GLOBE covered in beautiful blue water and wonderful sea creatures… Such a creative rose coloured memory.

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She’s been through a lot, but every bit helped create the beautiful genius she is today. She has her daddy’s mathemetician brain, and that crazy part of me that’s hopeful to no end, and just plain silly. Those who know me know what I’m talking about.

She has all our good qualities and more. She’s my pride and joy … But I do wish time could slow down a little.

In two weeks she will be eleven.. then 13 … Then 16 with a car … Then 19 and moving out … Then 25 with her own family …

Breathe. Just breathe.

My simple wish (because the mother gets one wish for every birthday wish of her child) is that she always stays close. That she never stops talking to me. That she never lets go of her playfulness. That she remains silly and funny and smart, and she never changes anything just because someone else asks her to.

That’s not too much to ask on an eleventh birthday, right?!

Another bully victim takes her own life

There was a girl named Amanda Todd. She was 15. She was tormented by bullies over a really stupid mistake she made with some boys. Unfortunately she couldn’t find enough help to get her through it, and ended her own life. (please read Bully Victim Sends Message to the World – Toronto Sun and watch the video)

One boy stalked her and blackmailed her into doing things that resulted in name calling. Another lied to her, convinced her it was ok to fool around because his girlfriend was out of town, and stood back while his girlfriend then beat her for it. These kids harassed her over her failed attempt to commit suicide, so she tried again.

First, FIFTEEN?? i may have been sheltered as a kid, but there was no way i would even consider showing anyone my special places at freakin 15!! and WOW, how times have changed. When did a taken man (or woman) become fair game to anyone? Don’t people know what it means to be in a relationship anymore? Darn cheaters everywhere. Its like no one really cares anymore, no morals whatsoever … which is perhaps where the bullying issue stems from.

So yes, Amanda was in the wrong for her actions, but im sure she was unbelievably vulnerable at this point. After being stalked and harassed by her tormentors every where she went, there wouldnt have been much left to her. She likely would have believed anything anyone told her.

Second, we are told Amanda had the support of the school and teachers but if this is them helping i’d rather police the school myself and whip the lips off of any kids talking trash to ANYone. I mean, what bully hates you online but is your friend infront of everyone?? yeah – NONE! So they must have been doing something in public too. How did the school sit back on this? Seems the police were involved at some point, but no article really talks about the punishment of the first stalker bully. What happened to setting a precedence – Making the punishment a public scene to deter anyone else from the same crime?

These bullies and their traveling fan party were not from Amanda’s current school so how was their presence – in the middle of the day, in the middle of class – not questioned? When i was in grade 7 ANYone from outside the school was scoped out within seconds of stepping foot on school property, and thus escorted away. Seriously, seconds! Mind you, back then, our issue was child abduction so the teachers were all eyes for strangers. Since bullying is turning into the biggest issue in EVERY school how is it not yet treated with equal attention to strangers stealing kids? Its happening on their OWN school property, with their OWN students causing harm.

I am incredibly thankful that my bullies didn’t take things this far. Perhaps it was simply that things were different back then – Kids weren’t so horribly awful and violent. In my case, kids stood in a stupid circle, saying “do something, do something”. I knew i wasn’t fast enough to avoid a hit, or strong enough to throw the first punch so i took off my glasses and said “ok. go ahead” … but my tormentor did nothing. The name calling and harassment stopped right then and there. So i acted unafraid, and it ended. I dont think bravery would have changed Amanda’s life but maybe it could have helped kill the ego of the horrible girls who were looking for a popularity boost.

I am still stunned that these kids were so bold to first trick a girl into adultery, and then ridicule and beat her for it. Perhaps it’s their lack of maturity that lead them to believe this was an acceptable solution? Or perhaps the way today’s movies create a “cool” bad guy image they wanted to copy. In my opinion though, regardless of whether Amanda wanted to press charges or not, NONE of these kids should get away with what they have done … and how truly evil do you have to be to continue to harassing a kid after they attempted to commit suicide. (and really – how did they get that information anyways?)

Considering bullying is only getting worse, i’m beginning to feel it’s going to “take a community to raise a child”. Yes, we all need to feed our children with positive reinforcement, giving them the strength to protect against the effects of bullies – if you are strong and confident in yourself, no amount of “your stupid” will hurt you. But, we also need to take a stand when inappropriate words are spoken by those who are not our children. If you overheard kids younger than you speaking harshly or rude to one another, would you step in? We are told teachers monitor our children constantly in order to stop inappropriate behavior, but what if they don’t? Do we all just let it slide because its supposed to be their job? I say no. I say lead by example.

This lack of action is actually an issue at my daughter’s school. They say they are working against bullying – trying to stop it from happening, meanwhile kids on the playground speak like filthy adults in a trashy bar. Now, this has never been noted as bully behavior, but i feel we clearly need to look further into the characteristics of a bully to determine where it comes from, and stop it before it starts.

So i will watch where our teachers say they can’t, and step in when i see inappropriate behavior. I will reassure my daughter that bullies torment because they saw it in a movie or even worse, someone is doing it to them. I will teach other kids that many peer pressure situations can actually be viewed as bullying, and help them to become better people too. Furthermore, i will stop sharing my opinion of others (or gossiping) infront of my child. I will lead by example.

So, what will you do?

Suffering from the feeling that I lack coolness

I would like to think it’s something everyone goes through, but lately I’m  feeling that I’ve missed my opportunity to become a cool person… To be, you know, the popular kid. The issue first is why do I need to be the cool kid? Because I never was? Why does it suddenly matter so much? The second one is that there are days I know I’m awesome, and I’m super confident and totally motivated… and thanks to good friends those days are getting more often, but gosh those other days… Ugh.

It’s probably all this flu medicine I’ve ingested today, but I noticed this problem while watching that new car commercials where they split screen between an office dude, and a slick stud, and the tag is something like your grown up car is super hot too (at least that’s how I take it) .. and I was jealous. Over a character in a commercial? Over the fact that he had a hot car? He was important in his office? He had lots of friends who were excited when he arrived to the fun party? He’s not even a real person!

Lately I’ve been on this self discover + self improvement journey. Improving my physical and mental health, and it had been going well. But this.. this is a big one. A big issue that is pulling me down from this level I though I was reaching. Whether I’m cool or not is based on the way others see me, how they perceive me — and that shouldn’t matter. It should only matter what I think, how I see me.

Gaw, why is it so hard to change the way we see ourselves?

So here’s another one to add to my list… Don’t concern myself with how others see me – for real…

Discovering my inner strength

It dawned on me recently just how much I’ve changed over this past year, how much I’ve learned about myself, and how much I’ve grown. I used to feel like a little kid, despite my 34 years of experience, waiting for someone else to tell me what to do next rather than stepping up and actually making my own decision.

And, I owe it all to my new friends who I happened to fall upon in a destined kind of way…

I has just started new training which also came with a new early morning shift. I needed a sitter and fast. in a panic I ran to Kijiji just at the very moment a girl, who just moved a few blocks away – with a son my daughter’s age – was looking for kids in her home daycare. It worked out more than perfect because as my life fell apart she was there to hold me (and my daughter) together and .. well change us into new people.

It’s silly, but right around the time the newspapers were reporting those crazy people EATING other people, my imaginative brain started to freak out. I knew zombies we’re not really a concern, or shouldn’t be – but holy moly what if?  But more than that, I worried I couldn’t even protect my loved one’s from a regular person if something we’re to happen. I actually had rather vivid nightmares about it.. most being with me just standing there, occasionally throwing frantic girly punches which only made my attacker laugh in my face. The girl I was 12 month prior would have just stood there in shock, staring like a nerd watching a movie. But this kickstarted something in my brain, something that Sauid “don’t just stand there dummy – react”. Since then I’ve learned how to shoot a long bow, shoot (and load) a gun, take a hit, kick and punch, even throw ninja stars, although that one seriously needs work if I expect it to be effective. That’s right, the ballerina now has a spine; ninja-ballerina rockin the world.

Learning these skills makes me feel stronger physically, but does something mentally too. I don’t let people walk all over me anymore, or tell me what I should + shouldn’t do. I make the plans now, and don’t care if anyone joins me. The best part of this transformation is that my daughter has grown and learned these things too. She too can shoot a bow and her big achievement (in my eyes) she can ride a bike.

Lame things to be proud of? Sure. But I felt like a bad parent not being able to teach her… I’m the worst bike rider ever – no balance, go figure. ballerina can twirl, but replace her legs with wheels and all hope is lost.

Clearly, riding a bike is my next personal goal – especially because now I wanna ride a dirtbike, take jumps, hurt myself but get right back up. Do those kinda things that everyone else did, but I made myself believe we’re too dangerous. I’ve never broken a bone in my body because I never did anything. I played it safe. too safe, creating an overly cautious old lady prude at a really young age. Well, Can’t have that ANYMORE! 

So now I’m physically and mentally stronger against a physical attacker, be it zombies, wild animals or bad people… But now that I’m sitting here watching “the day after tomorrow” I find myself thinking holy moly – I gotta work on my MacGyver skills!!

changing the world

DSCN0207, originally uploaded by UROCK recycled clothing + life.

as busy as this past weekend was — two shows back to back — it was amazing and wonderful, and so much fun.

i spent it with great company, but also had the time to talk to the shoppers around my booth, especially a teacher who wanted to let me know my recycled confidence boosting creations inspired a self awareness lesson in her class — but i was on the verge of tears because my emotions can’t handle good news and i didnt have the chance to ask her anything more. i just stood there nodding — trying not to cry like a baby.

this business was started with the goal of inspiring teens to live their dreams, to tell each and every one of them that they ARE talented enough, and smart enough to do anything they want to do. reach high and one day it will be within your grasp. so this, of course, showed me i am exactly where i wanted to be and i too have to keep reaching higher.

but there’s more…
i keep joking with my daughter that i’m going to become friends with Selena Gomez and hold a benefit concert for teens only, with all the “it’s good to be me” disney popstars like Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus… with a dress up party before the show with funky hair + makeup artists, and a room full of only party clothes (for both boys and girls) …

or bringing stories of triumph through the hard times into schools, talking about how (friends of mine) struggled through neglect and abuse to make something strong and wonderful of themselves. there is hope no matter where you begin.

and if all goes well — run the same events for adults. we all need to be reminded sometimes how awesome we really are. ahhh here come the sappy tear drops again. if im going to do this im going to need to control the waterworks lol.

i accept that my dreams will take time (and a little bit of money too). first step — make U ROCK famous so when i approach Selena to say “hey wanna be friends” she already knows who i am … yeah. first step.