Monday, April 3, 2017

Stop Judging Others and Let's Work on Making a Better World for Everyone


Many people are fighting their own demons. Instead of judging these people, how about we work on changing the world to be a better place for all. How do we do this? I'm not really sure, but I do have some ideas. Will my answers be correct? Who knows? I fight my own demons every single day of my life so I'm not sure I am the one to answer this question, but I will give you my opinions.

Who am I that I think my opinions will matter? I have no clue - I am a single Mom that has a beautiful daughter that chose to end her life by suicide. I feel the pain of Heather's loss every day of my life. Yes, I still have 2 beautiful daughters that are alive and well, but that doesn't change my love for Heather. I write this blog as my way of keeping her alive. It has changed some people's mind about certain things, and every life that I save, I credit Heather. There are many things I should have changed in my life in the past, and while I can't undo them, I can share my story, and maybe others will wake up. I experienced being molested while I was still in grade school. The only thing I was told was to keep my mouth shut. People will think differently of me. Well, that made me think differently of myself. By junior high, I already thought low of myself, so I guess that opened the door to being raped in 7th grade. Again, same response - don't let anyone know. This is such awful advice and I am here to tell you - don't hold it in. Let someone know and go after the criminals that do this to you.

From there, life continued on a downhill spiral and part of the blame was mine. I thought so lowly of myself, that I expected the worst by that point and my world kept getting worse and worse. By high school, I attempted suicide. I guess I didn't take enough prescription drugs and ended up being found and having my stomach pumped. That was the point that I learned that I hurt my Mom and she was going through enough with her own life. I never wanted to hurt her, so, for me, suicide was off the table. I, in turn, switched to drugs. Something in my corrupted mind told that if I overdosed, it wouldn't hurt my Mom as much so drugs was my answer. Again, by this time, I really didn't hang out with a lot of people so I did a lot of drugs. To this day, I am very surprised that I didn't overdose. It wasn't that I didn't know it was a possibility. I did. I was smart, just really hurt. I think the one thing that did save me was the fact that when I was younger and received allergy shots, a needle broke in my arm. That left a lasting impression of needles with me. So, while I did drugs, I stayed away from heroin because of that fear. Was drugs my answer to surviving in this world? No. Did it offer me escape from the realities of the world? Yes. Was it the right choice? No way.

After I attempted suicide (and leaving home to get away from problems there with my own parents), I was given an option. Either get my act together or the courts would take me away from my family. By this point, I wasn't really close to my sisters anymore. I was a stranger to them. I learned to hide all my pain and if anything bad happened, I learned to hide it. My father was a mean drunk, and while he quit drinking back in 1991, I still never got close to him. I just remember my Mom turning to my room as a safety net to keep him away from her. I begged her to leave him so many times. She wouldn't. She couldn't afford to live without his salary. My own husband used to abuse me mentally all the time. Verbal abuse is more painful that the physical. It destroys from the inside. By the time I was pregnant with Heather, I thought I was in for a life of more and more pain. I didn't think it would ever end. I remember the worst fight. The last time I tried to defend myself in a long time. He was kicking me with work boots and all I could do was try to protect my unborn baby girl. Eventually he stopped and I got myself to the hospital. The hospital wouldn't even treat me until I signed a complaint against him. I didn't think he would hurt my girls, but my mind was really so gone by that time. I was gone. Anyway, I signed the order, he was arrested and they gave me staples in my head and tested and made sure the baby was ok. She was.

He used to threaten to take my girls far away so that I would never see them again. He used to tell me that his family only wanted him to stay away from me and that they were just waiting for the word to get him and them out of the country where I would never find them. This threat used to scare the daylights out of me. I loved them with all my heart and the thought that he could take them away was frightening. So, yes, like an idiot, I took him back. Things escalated then, I spent many nights being choked while he raped me. He would tell me I loved it and just keep hurting me. To this day, I don't think I could ever trust another person in my life not to hurt me like that. So, yes, I am single and I will stay that way. I have 2 great daughters that I talk with all the time and love with all my heart, a grandson that I watch every day so that my daughter can go to work. Yes, I still talk to Heather all the time, but it's also hard because I can't pick up a phone, I can't check her social media and see what is going on. Anyway, what was the turning point for me? We were on another vacation, that we really couldn't afford, and on the way home, he hit me again while I was driving. I heard one of my girls in the back seat saying "Here we go again." OMG - my girls were thinking it was normal to be treated this way! That was the turning point. I wanted them to know that this wasn't normal, at least I hoped with everything in me, that this wasn't the case.

Anyway, what can we do to make this a better world. Drugs is not the answer. Suicide is not the answer. Living in your own world is not the answer. I think the answer is education. I am not talking about a simple class saying don't do drugs. Don't take your own life. Don't let anyone rape or molest you. Don't let anyone bully you or belittle you. We need to educate our children while they are still young. I have read stories on those as young as 11 ending their own lives. There are many causes but the main cause, is lack of self-esteem. It seems, to me, that the main cause is that we don't teach our children how to even survive in this world. I'm not talking about teaching them this in high school, I am talking about teaching them in the early years. We need to teach them about life while they are still in grade school and junior high.

When I was younger, I went to public schools so we didn't have a uniform to wear, but we were limited on our choices. It wasn't until junior high that, as a girl, I could wear slacks to school. Until then, we had to wear dresses every single day. No, we didn't have riots and start fights, we had a sit-in. Yes, a peaceful sit-in. You know what the result was? We could wear slacks to school. They still had to be "appropriate". You couldn't wear ripped and frayed jeans. No, you couldn't have your underwear hanging out. You still had to look respectful of the others around you. Yes, by high school, that relaxed some and you could wear jeans, but today, I see young girls wearing enough make-up and outfits that, well, if these young kids were in a club, they would be getting the attention and looking like they were saying "yes" to all the propositions.

So, what do we do? We educate our children in those early years to respect themselves and to choose their clothes accordingly. We teach them to respect their elders and their classmates and friends, however, if that respect is abused, we also have to let them know that there is a consequence and to take action in their defense. As parents, it is our job to enforce those rules. Do you have a child that is being bullied or being a bully? Don't encourage that - teach them that it is wrong.

Are your children learning anything that will help them down the road? I watch the schools cut out music classes and physical education. I see home economics classes and shop classes being cut from budgets. We need to offer our children more classes that teach them about life. Many argue that these classes should be taught at home and it's not the schools responsibility. Really? Yes, some parents are able to be at home more, but some are working 2 or 3 jobs just to be able to put food in their kids mouths and a roof over their heads. We need to teach our children how to survive in this world. By high school, they should know more about what they want in life and what they want to do, but only if we gave them all the tools that we could for them to make those decisions.

What about those that have already gotten involved in drugs? Do you really want to support the pharmaceutical companies that encourage methadone treatments? Oh, yeah, great idea. Let's take the ones that are addicted to a deadly drug and give them another one that is actually more addictive? Methadone is not the answer. It's expensive and not a cure. There are other methods and putting them on methadone is just helping the pharmaceutical companies increase their bottom line. It's not helping the addicts. It's helping corporate greed.

What about those that are in high school and college already that have spent their lives without knowing much that they need to survive in this world? What about the ones that don't know how to sew, how to cook, how to balance a budget, how to change a tire, etc? We need to offer classes in the communities and offer these.

This post is getting long but I want to say one more thing about education and teachers. There are many great teachers and yes, I believe they should be paid top dollar. There are also many other teachers that just do it for the paycheck. Tenure is something that needs to go away. Yes, I know many will disagree with this, but why should the students suffer when the teacher has just given up. I think most start as a teacher wanting to help shape the minds. I also believe that many have given up on that and it just becomes a job. Those teachers should not keep getting raises because a union says so. They need to be held accountable also. We must teach our children well. Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Life Skills. Make the courses fun and interesting, and we could see a new generation that actually cares.