benbull

You see them in movies, high school boys with big, broad shoulders and a constant grimace. They stomp around the school, yelling at smaller kids, and grabbing lunch money from the guy shivering in the corner while simultaneously giving two other kids a wedgie. You know, the guy who doesn’t know how to speak quietly, the one who keeps heckling, “retard”, “fat ass”, “loser”, “stupid”, “idiot”, “ugly” at all of the seemingly normal kids surrounding you. Yeah, him. The guy that people are only friends with because they don’t want to end up intimidated, hurt or humiliated by him.  The one that no one ever confronts, except for the principal, who contacts his parents, sends him home for a few days, until the cycle begins again.

You know that girl? The one who always curls her hair perfectly? The one who keeps whispering to her little clique of friends and pointing and laughing at you. The girl who keeps reaching across your desk in math class and poking your stomach with her pencil. Yeah, her. The girl that every other girl wants to be like, only because they feel completely insecure around her and pray for some kind of relief.

These are your stereotypical bullies. As adults they are sometimes our bosses or neighbours, or the guy who just ran us off the road. They are the “in your face, hard ass, straight up, hard core, intimidators”. Everyone knows who they are and most people steer clear.

NOT ALL BULLIES ARE STEREOTYPICAL. Don’t trick yourself into thinking someone isn’t a bully, just because they are nice sometimes or they don’t constantly act tough.

Today is Pink Shirt Day. My 7 year old went to school today proudly wearing his pink shirt. We’ve talked about bullying since he was a toddler. I hate it. I hate to see people being torn down and made to feel so tiny and small. I don’t want him to ever feel that way – but let’s face it, he probably will at some point. When and if that happens, I want him to feel confident, strong and able to pick up for himself without feeling inferior or intimidated. I want him to be the kid who sees a bully picking on another child and stands up to the bully before things escalate.

. albert

It’s time to be strong together… no matter our age, body type, race, sexual orientation, religion. Let’s end this. Let’s not be scared to be called a “tattle tale” or “narc”. Let’s tell someone! Hell, let’s tell everyone! SPEAK UP! STAND UP! Nothing will ever change if we just sit around and watch people get torn down and beaten up!

A very wise man once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. We’re not insane! Let’s step up, step out, accept differences, embrace change and break the chains of bullying! We can do it. Parents, now is your chance to instill the right values in your children.  Teens, I promise you, the way you THINK your peers see you, is most definitely distorted. I was a teenager once and looking back I wish I had stood up in certain situations – when someone needed my help, but I was too concerned with what other people would think of me.

Be good. Do good. Lift each other up. Positivity will make the bullies disappear – and if you’re lucky, maybe even convert them to happiness! Trust me.

DS

meandmysister

It’s been 12 years since I’ve seen you. You were prettier, thinner and a hell of a lot more oblivious. You liked to arm wrestle with the boys in your class and would never leave the house in the morning without hot pink lip gloss and a spritz of perfume (I guess some things never change). By the look of it you also had your own version of the “duck face” before it became popular.

Twelve years ago… wow! A lot has changed! Eleventh grade, lots of friends and the biggest worry was if your hair was going to look greasy the next morning. Oh… how trivial you are, little one.

When you’re young you have this preconceived notion that things will be a certain way when you grow up. You will have a perfect job, perfect husband, be married by such and such a time, have a certain number of kids, never get hurt, never lose a loved one, never have unpaid bills. I guess you could say your future is a fantasy – and the further you go into life, you realize that fantasies are just that. They aren’t real. Here are some things I wish I could have told my 16 year old self:

Dear 16 year old self,

  1. See that kid you just made fun of, with your friends? Well, you didn’t outright make fun of her (but you laughed at a mean joke one of your friends made about her in passing – it  still counts as being mean). She will grow up to be a more successful, happy person, than you will ever be. She will be a likable businesswoman who does good to others, because she was hurt so many times by snide remarks from teenagers like you. You think you know it all, but you have no idea. Even if you think that you’re not a bully, laughing while other people bully – is still bullying. You need to learn how to step it up and reach out to these people – not join in the laughter while others tear them down. I am ashamed of you.
  2. You know that boys hand that you’re holding now? The one you think you will never let go of? The one you think you will be with forever? When you finish high school, you will decide to go on and do some sort of post secondary education –  and you will never see him again. Get used to the idea now, because it’s going to happen. High school relationships rarely succeed. You will find someone new – don’t worry. (PS. Just going to throw this in there… your best friend will marry her high school sweetheart, don’t be mad, she is an exception.)
  3. Remember that “cool” city that you can’t wait to move to? You will move there (YAY!!!) –  and it will get boring pretty fast (BOOOO!!!). By the time you’re 26 you will spend your evenings sitting alone on the couch watching reruns of Girls. Please take advantage of your social butterfly status now, while you’re young. You will miss it when you get older. The big city may be fun for a little while, but you’ll soon realize it has its downfalls. It’s nothing like that safe little town you live in now. There are mean, evil people there. Sometimes people get killed, sometimes vehicles are broken into, sometimes children are taken away from their parents. Please be careful and heed the advice your parents taught you at a young age. “Don’t talk to strangers”. I know it sounds dumb, because you will soon be an adult, but you won’t be living at home anymore and you don’t know every person who crosses your path. Keep on walking.
  4. Take advantage of time spent with your family, please! I beg you. In a few years your dad and sister will live on the other side of the country and your mom on the other side of the province. Yes there is a lot of fighting between your parents, between you and your parents, between you and your sister, but soon things will change. Your parents will divorce when you’re in your 20’s and the whole meaning of family will change completely for you. You will have to divide holidays between everyone, you will have to accept new people into your family and you will have to forgive the ones you love the most for taking away that special sense of security. You will be mad, you will hate your parents for awhile, but you will get over it.  You will regret all of the fights, all of the times you could have sat and chatted nicely instead of wanting to punch each other out. Please soak up all of the special moments while you have them, they will soon be gone. Like the saying goes, “you don’t know what you got, till it’s gone”! I’d trade anything right now to be back at age 16 living in a chaotic household, just to know I have people who love me – no matter what. Your whole idea of the word “family” will change immensely – just warning you.
  5. You know that lower abdomen pouch that you constantly obsess over… the one that sticks out so far because you’re so obese at 140 lbs? (Puhhhhlease!) Someday you will have 2 csections, GAIN 140 lbs, lose 100 lbs again and let me tell you, that little stomach that you once had, will be the least of your worries. You may even have to buy a wheelbarrow to drag that thing around after it’s all said and done. Wear that bikini! It’s the only chance you’ll have.
  6. You will likely never have a member of N’SYNC or the Backstreet Boys fall head over heels in love with you (I know, right??? How is that even possible?)  – you will however fall in love with a musician. Please don’t be sad. You will not marry Chris Daughtry, but you will end up with a guy who looks eerily similar and plays the guitar. I got your back – don’t worry.
  7. You don’t know it yet, but you will lose people who mean the world to you. Some without warning, some you’ll see suffer for a very long time – all will change you. Please hold on to the memories. You will feel grief, pain and immense sadness. The only way to get through will be to focus on the good times. One persons passing will make you look at life differently. You will even name your daughter after her. You will miss her everyday and her death will come like a blow to the head. She is still watching you everyday, keep making her proud.
  8. You will fail at many relationships.  You know how you think you’re so tough? Like nothing can hurt you? You need to lose that attitude. You will deal with abuse, pain, deception, lies, unfaithfulness, neglect and anger. Boy, will you cry. Like a baby. Sometimes for days on end. It’s okay! This doesn’t mean you aren’t strong! It means you do what you have to do to make life the best for you. You will hold yourself high enough to be with someone who treats you the way you want to be treated and you won’t settle until you achieve your goal. Don’t let manipulation fool you. Don’t believe everything you hear. Not everyone is genuine.
  9. Be quiet. Stop chat, chat, chatting. You know how you love to have your 2 cents thrown into every conversation? People will get sick of your opinion. If you don’t listen to what other people are saying, you will most likely miss out on a lot of things in life. Some of the wisest people around are those who listen – not those who speak.
  10. Last but not least, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Instead of wasting time and energy on being someone you’re not – just be you. Sure, there’s always room for improvement, don’t get me wrong (and heaven knows you will DEFINITELY need to work on that in the future) just make sure to always be true to yourself. Don’t lose who you are. Don’t forget your morals and how good it feels to help someone in need. Don’t let all of the hurt and anger of your past broken relationships and families consume you. Turn that frown upside down and on a daily basis make the world a better place, even if it’s just opening the door for an elderly woman who is 30 feet behind you at the bank. Life is about helping and caring for others  – you will quickly learn this.

What would you tell your 16 year old self, if given the opportunity? Please feel free to discuss in the comments section!

DS

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“I can’t believe your 15 month old still drinks milk from a bottle.”

“Oh my god! You didn’t even TRY to breast feed your children? What a shame. They have missed out on one of life’s most precious gifts.”

“I never use baby powder on my child. I don’t want him to suffocate.”

“I can’t believe you’re forward facing you child. She isn’t even 2 yet! What if you get in a car accident?”

“You let your child have a cookie as a treat sometimes? She will definitely be a diabetic.”

Listen…  entitled mom… Go to hell!

I am a good mom and my children are happy and healthy. Leave me alone. Why must you judge? What makes you so special and so important that you can bash every mother who doesn’t do things by the book, or the way YOU do things? What are you trying to prove?

I will not apologize to you, for not taking your advice. I will not feel bad for not doing things the way you do them, because I am not you, and I never want to be you! I never want to make other moms feel inferior or bad for not being the most up to date mom around.  I will never make snide remarks if I hear a mother say she sometimes bribes her kids with food, just for a moments peace, after a long day!

I don’t fit your standards of perfection. I will never be perfect. I never want to be perfect. Sometimes I make decisions – knowing they AREN’T perfect, just to make other moms feel like it’s alright to NOT follow the norm! I’m sick and tired of seeing moms judge each other – constantly (I’m sure some dads are judgemental assholes, as well.. but today we’re talking about the moms).

What gives you the right to look at another woman and tell her she’s wrong, and make her feel like the worst mom alive, just because she uses a blanket to cover her baby at night, instead of the new and trendy sleep sack (which apparently significantly decreases the chances of a baby dying of SIDS. How am I even here? How did my mom survive as a baby? How did her mom survive? The blankets didn’t kill them… *gasp*).

Guess what? I’m not perfect.. did you hear that the first time I said it? No mother is perfect. A lot of us try.. and as long as our kids are safe and cared for, what’s the problem? Why waste energy worrying about all of the things you’re doing wrong when you could be rolling around on the floor with your two year old, having the time of your life? Who makes you feel like a bad mom? I’m pretty sure it’s not you.. it’s the people around you, trying to influence the way you do things.

I’m writing this on behalf of all of the moms who feel unconfident. The moms who cry at the end of the day, because they feel like a failure. This is for the moms who constantly feel pressure to be the stereotypical mom, but feel like they can’t get it right. I’m writing this for all of the moms who try so hard to be the best mom they can possibly be, only to end up being beat down, every day  by another woman who thinks she is God.

I personally DO NOT give a rats ass what anyone thinks of MY parenting skills, but I know some moms really struggle. Always remember – no one knows your situation. No one knows the in’s and out’s of your life, on a daily basis. Only you can make the decisions that are right for you and your family! Keep it up! You’re doing a great job!

We should be raising each other up, not putting each other down! Being a mom is a hell of a hard job – especially the first time around (let me tell you, I remember having a my first child, like it was yesterday, and it wasn’t easy).

I’m not trying to bully “entitled moms” but I’m also not afraid to take a stand against them. What happens in your home when no ones watching, all knowing mother? Did you just give your child a cookie? I bet most entitled moms are far from perfect. Who knows why they NEED to constantly point out our “faults”.

As hard as it may be, we just need to ignore these women. Some people will never change and never know how to properly treat other people. I’m pretty sure all of the psychologists offices across the world would be filled on the daily if all of these women had to seek help for their mass of insecurities.
Please just keep being the awesome mom that you are. Never let anyone belittle you. We all struggle as mothers from time to time and the pressures of society only intensify things.

Never give up!

I want to apologize for the frankness of this post, but I just can’t bring myself to do so. It is what it is, and it is my opinion. We’re all in this together!
Don’t forget to share this if you think it’s time for change!

DS

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Remember being ten years old, and thinking you could be Wonder Woman? Some day you would finish school, and magically fly to some super hero school, countries away, to learn how to master awesome super powers, and be schooled in dressing like the most kick ass woman alive. You didn’t know where this country was, nor were you really sure what the word country meant. It could have meant walking to the next town or taking a 5 year long trip in a rocket ship to mars… either way – you were going there. You wanted to be her and you would do whatever it took to be her!

As a child, posters of this amazing woman were plastered across your walls. She stood on your shelf in the form of an action figure and was locked in your heart as a strong woman who could always save the day. You wanted more than anything to be just like her.

As you grew older, you watched the boys in your class get picked on for still admiring super heroes, so you sadly replaced her with other women. Strong women. Women who grabbed life by the horns and never looked back.

By your mid teens your new role model was Angelina Jolie, a woman reminiscent to Wonder Woman, and just as ballsy as her popular movie character Lara Croft. She wasn’t really Wonder Woman but she would do for now.

High school was slowly coming to an end. This meant you would need to make a decision – fast. You were now well aware that your fantasy Super Hero Academy didn’t exist, and you would have to move on to other endeavours. This scared you. Your whole life you wanted to be this amazing woman and now you had to pick a career. Any career. It was life. You had no choice, it was time to leave your family and grow up.

Years went by. You tried different careers (none of which made you feel whole), hoping to find happiness. They didn’t allow you to be the woman you were – deep down inside. Where was your lasso of truth hiding? How could you find justice for all? What could you do to teach the world of love, peace and sexual equality.

You studied Criminology, thinking you would finish as a Wonder Woman replica, one who wore a police officer uniform. You weren’t a right fit. You were too soft. Physically and emotionally. You didn’t train yourself well enough in previous years. How could you be an amazing, strong woman if you didn’t know how to be one? You had failed.

Then one night, as you held your crying toddler, you became flooded with happiness and realization. Every day of your life you show your children love. You show your kids how important it is to always tell the truth – no matter the situation. You watch as your 6 year old runs up to you as fast as he can and apologizes for telling a white lie – without any coaxing. These little humans have given you the gift you have always wanted. They have allowed you to be a super hero. They know how to be honest, because of the lessons you have taught them. They know how to love whole heartedly because they have felt your undying love. They flourish in a home that is safe and caring, because you have made it your priority to keep them cared for and unafraid. They stand up for the underdog, because you taught them that no one should stand alone.

All of these years I’ve (yes, I said I’ve.. SURPRISE!) tried so hard to be this amazing, strong, super hero type of person. I couldn’t wait to wear the blue, red and yellow uniform and save the day whenever I was faced with a dangerous or compromising situation. I achieved my dream…

…I am Wonder Woman! I may not be the Wonder Woman I imagined I’d be, but I am a super hero to my children. I don’t need a crown, to be a role model. I don’t need to have super powers to change the world. No one does. Anyone can be a super hero. All it takes is a caring heart and drive to make the world a better place.

For now, I will keep dying my hair black and teaching my kids right from wrong. This super hero has a big job ahead – teaching future super heroes how to save the world!

Perception really is an amazing thing. Life is wonderful – don’t ever let anything hold you back from being who you’re meant to be!

DS

This will be my first ever blog post (if livejournal posts from 10 years ago doesn’t count).

A few things about me before we get started:

  • I have been obsessed with writing since a young child.
  • I wrote my first and last book in the third grade. It was about a friendly giant that visited our town. My classmates drew the illustrations.
  • Because of the above statement I am now a pro writer.
  • I can’t lie (I am not a pro, and I will never be a pro).
  • I have an opinion on almost everything, but not in the judgmental “oh-my-God-I-hate-you-for-thinking-that-way-because-your-opinion-differs-from-mine” kind of way.

My posts will be real. I will not sugar coat anything – ever. Unless, of course, it has to do with cute furry animals or squishy babies. They are exceptions.

I love to see things from different perspectives and seeing the silver lining in the worst of situations. Stay tuned for fun reads, angry rants, random reviews and taboo topics!

Lots of love,

DS