United Against Bullying

#unityday2015

I’m sorry if your opinion of me was influenced by others and I didn’t step in to stick up for myself. I have mentioned that I have a major fear of offending people. This often gets me left behind in life. I have been bullied for many many years and it has made it difficult for me to stand up for myself. I often try to keep people close to me by not letting them know when they offend me, out of fear of offending them. So far this hasn’t worked out in my favor, but I have taken notice now and I am working on fixing this within myself. I also have far too good of a memory. I remember all the details of the most unpleasant moments in life. 

Memories of my childhood begin when I was just 3 years old. I can remember being upset in nursery school with one of my friends. We had round tables that were surrounded by chairs and I pulled out a chair so I could hide under the table. I clearly remember making snacks in the kitchen of the church with my mom. I remember the day we made pictures to turn into plastic plates. My Gran sat across from me showing me how to write my name. I saw it upside down and made the J upside down just as it was. I remember bouncing a ball on the parachute outside after class. 

My first memories of bullying started in the first grade. We moved from urban lower middle class Detroit to a wealthy suburb called Grosse Pointe Park. I didn’t fit in. I was the new kid. I was from somewhere else and my teacher was awful to me. As a child, I had no idea why. I just knew I didn’t belong there. It wasn’t long before I was refusing to walk the 3 blocks home and instead went to the far side of the school to hide behind the bushes until my mom picked me up. The bullying continued throughout my entire elementary school experience. 

When I went into middle school the bullying gained momentum. More kids were added to the group of bullies. It turned physical. Boys pinned me against my locker. Screamed in my face. Threw food at me. One time I stuck up for myself and poured a Coke all over a boy’s head because he hit me in the face with a piece of food while I ate my lunch. I was scolded by the assistant principal. 

Then came high school, where even more bullies were added to the group. I was pushed and shoved often. The name calling, relentless. One day I was walking with headphones on in the hall and two boys started screaming in my face. I can’t remember their exact words, but they were meant to be hurtful. I do remember that one was saying something about “Marilyn Manson”. I said “actually I’m listening to a Christian band”. I was listening to the Insyderz. But it didn’t really matter to them what I was listening to. I went to class and after came back to hateful things written on my locker in black permanent marker. They had also written on my best friend’s locker next to mine. I went to my counselor. Her son was friends with these boys. She told me there was nothing she could do. She scolded me. I was told I should dress more normal. I was sort of on the punk side, with a pixie haircut. The boys weren’t even punished for defacing school property. 

So, you see, there are times in my life where I have tried to stick up for myself and it has backfired. This has also been a trend in my friendships. Bullying carried into my adulthood with coworker and friends. It’s one of those cases where people will do what only you allow them to do and I have let people talk bad about me. Walk all over me. I have let friends tell other people what my opinion is or how I would act in a certain situation, when none of it was true. All because I didn’t want to offend the person who was talking about me to someone else?! I know, it sounds crazy. It kind of is. But, I never really knew how to stand up for myself. I never thought I could say “Hey, wait! That’s not true. I wouldn’t act that way. Don’t talk about me. I’m right here! I can speak for myself!” Instead, I would just cock my head to the side and maybe have a bewildered look on my face. 

So, that is why I am sorry if you have a poor opinion of me. I ask that you give me another chance. A chance to speak for myself. A chance to get to know me through me and not through what someone else is saying about me. I have a voice that I believe is worth sharing and my heart is always open. 

How has bullying changed your life as an adult? What do you do now when you face bullying? I would love to here from you!

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United Against Bullying

“Did I say that the wrong way?”

The other day I stumbled across an article in the Huffington Post titled “10 Thoughts Anxious People Have Throughout The Day”  Here is the link in case you are interested: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/560ac062e4b0af3706de02f5

I don’t usually think of myself as an anxious person, but I have occasional anxiety and I know a few other people in my life suffer from it, so what a great article to come across, is what I was thinking.

Then, I read #1 and holy hell did it ever ring true to ME!

1. Saying something that could offend someone. “Did I say that the wrong way? Did trying so hard not to offend that person actually make it more offensive?”

This is literally the story of my life. And if I didn’t say it wrong to that person and offend them, then I probably recounted it later to someone else and offended that person. Oy!

A wonderful example of my self inflicted misfortune has happened recently when a friend of mine told me that she was going to try to get pregnant with baby #2 starting the following month. I think since then I have asked her no less than 3 times if she is pregnant. Oh my goodness, mortifying. Why do I do such things?! How does that come out of my mouth?? I have mentioned before that it took me 4 years to get pregnant with my daughter. 4 excruciating years of people asking “When is there going to be a baby?” “Why aren’t you pregnant yet?” “Is there a Greene baby in the works?” It was pure torture! So, how can I be so cruel? Excitement. That’s the only way I can describe it. It some how was alluded to in conversation that she may be and I took her words the wrong way and got excited and blurted these absurdities out. I was sticking my foot in my mouth because I wasn’t thinking. I should know better than to say something that could be so offensive. Maybe she thought it would be a breeze to have baby #2 and it isn’t working out that way. Maybe she changed her mind. It’s really none of my business and I’m sure she would tell me what she wants to tell me on her own terms and in her own time. Friend, if you are reading this, I am so sorry for being so insensitive. 

Another thing that I do, that goes along with this, is not saying anything at all. I have this major fear of offending someone or hurting their feelings. So, if someone is saying something that I know is wrong or rude or hurtful or just downright mean, I freeze. I know in my head that it isn’t right, whatever it is that they are saying, but I can’t bring myself to say something right then and there. I have no idea why. I can think about it later (I often cannot stop thinking of these things) and kick myself for not sticking up for whoever it is that person may be offending. 

One huge reason why this bothers me is because a lot of the time I am the person being offended or mistreated and I wish someone would stick up for me. So, why can’t I do that for others?! Or myself, for that matter. I am a work in progress. It’s my new mantra, I swear. I grew up being bullied from 1st grade through 11th (when I changed schools) and even a little as an adult. I’ll try to write more on that in the future. But, for now, I want others to know that the last thing I want to do is offend them. I want people to feel like I am their advocate and I will stick up against any bullying I come across. I hope you can have the courage to do the same. 

“Did I say that the wrong way?”

Listen to the whispers.

Shout out to the days when I was younger and NOT easily influenced. Like that time in middle school when all of my friends got drunk and then decided to go on a walk and got arrested. I decided to walk to see my mom at the hair salon instead. But, this wasn’t always the case. Even though I was raised to make good choices and I most often did, I was also unknowingly being taught by society that sometimes I didn’t have a choice or a voice. 

I like to think I had a really good head on my shoulders as a kid and young adult, but in many cases I was very easily influenced and not much of a leader, so I didn’t know how to stick up for myself and make those smart choices. Or, I thought I didn’t have a choice because people were telling me that I didn’t. 

This played into my life a lot when people would tell me what I had to put up with, especially as a young adult.

I was in a long term relationship from the age of 16 until I was 23. Somewhere along that road we grew in different ways and things got rough. I was 22 years old and had just moved across the country with my then boyfriend to start our life together. Marriage was in the talks. We had been together for so long, it just seemed like we had to do all of these things as the next steps in our lives.

I clearly remember his mom driving me around one day when she was visiting and telling me about the things I would have to put up with if I married her son. Things like, sometimes he may want to go get a massage and be offered a “happy ending” and that should be ok. Or, sometimes he may want to go out with co-workers to a strip club after work and that should be ok. After this relationship obviously failed, I was in another relationship with a heavy drinker (can you say rebound?). A co-worker would tell me that her husband drank a lot and would do ridiculously unacceptable things (in my opinion) and that should be ok. I have had friends tell me that I have to let my significant other watch pornography. That I’m the one in the wrong for thinking pornography isn’t good. I’ve had friends upon friends talk so much garbage about each other and bully each other so bad and they all would tell me (you got it), that should be ok. I have been told in the work place that I should be ok with sexual harassment, or that what was happening wasn’t sexual harassment, even though it sure felt like it. That’s just how things are and it should be ok! It always amazes me as a young woman what we are told we should put up with. My list could go on and on. 

I have often in my life let things go too far when people are telling me it should be ok and deep down within myself I clearly know these things are NOT OK! It’s a culture that our society has made and it is unacceptable to teach our daughters that they should put up with anything that they are not ok with. I hope I can instill in my daughter that she does have a voice and it is perfectly ok to use it, especially at her first instinct that something isn’t quite right. So, pay attention to your inner voice. Stick up for yourself and what you know is right. I am a work in progress in this matter. 

And with all that said, I leave you with a quote from Oprah because I know I need to pay attention to the whispers. 

“I say the Universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers.

And a whisper in your life usually feels likeā€¦
“Hmm, that’s odd.”

Or, “hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.”

Or, “hmm, is that right?”
It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder.
I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head.

If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head.

You don’t pay attention to that, the brick wall falls down.
That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives.”
– Oprah

Listen to the whispers.

Your passion doesn’t have to be pretty.

As I cleaned today I reflected upon the opportunities provided to me and how grateful I am for them. 

It wasn’t too long ago that we had some financial set backs that we didn’t foresee and we are still trying to climb out of. These set backs went beyond our emergency fund that we had set in place. Hubby tried for a second job delivering pizzas to get us back on track, but the money was minimal, the hours ridiculous, and the risk of his safety was just too much. What could I do? I have felt very out of place since I quit my career over 3 years ago to limit stress and go through fertility treatments. I had always been a financially independent adult and to have someone else take care of me in that way felt odd. I have had a yearning ever since to contribute financially to our family, but how? I still want to be a stay at home mom and it is really the best choice right now for my daughter with all of her food allergies. Most babysitters, let alone daycares, are not equipped to handle her needs. 

I had scoured the internet, talked with friends, read books, researched as much as I could, and I still wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Everyone blogs about these glamorous “side hustles”. Knitting, crocheting, having some sort of food business, selling art, making baby items, becoming a salesperson, or even things like being a virtual assistant, or taking customer service calls from your home. Dear God, please do not ever make me take another customer service call in my life. I’ve done my time!! I have dabbled in many of these things at different times in my life. I’m a TERRIBLE salesperson. I even went to an art college at one point, but I just couldn’t see how any of these things could bring in a steady income, or how I could do them all the time. I like to dabble in art, do it when I want to. I quit art school because it was taking the fun and joy away from it.

So, there we were. Left with a need and I had a huge urge to fill that need. I also have felt the need to get out of my house! (See previous post for more on this). For the better part of my adult life I have enjoyed cleaning and organizing. It was around the time that I met my husband 7+ years ago that I really started to become more eco-conscious and thinking about living a more minimalist and simplistic life. I started to purge my belongings and I haven’t looked back since. A clean, well organized, simple space for me, means a clear mind. I am constantly purging our belongings. The less I have to take care of, the more I get to relax and enjoy my family.

I’ve always talked about starting my own business to help others keep their spaces clean and organized, but then fear walks in and all over me. With the help of a friend also going through a financial rough patch, we started talking about what we could do. How could we help our situations? Then she said to me “have you ever thought about having your own cleaning/organizing business?” Why yes, yes I have! And there was the answer. Staring me in the face. I sat on it for awhile longer, but then a mom in a parenting group I’m in said she needed a recommendation for someone to clean her house because she was too busy with a new baby and a toddler. Me me!! I said it! I really did. Then, she hired me! It took me a few more weeks to get up the gumption to make a price list and put it out there, but I’m so glad I did. 

I have several clients now. I have a little bit of a steady income coming in to help my family and it has helped beyond measure. I feel good about it. It feels wonderful to contribute in that way again. So, as I cleaned a client’s house today I reflected. I realized that all those glamorous side hustles that others blog about, weren’t for me. Cleaning may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it’s something to be proud of. I get time away from my house, by myself, in silence. Oh, precious silence! Lol. I can think about anything I want to without toddler music in the background. I get to think about how awesome it is to make someone’s bathtub sparkle, so after their long day they can come home and take a relaxing bath without having to think about cleaning it out first. It gives me a place to feel needed outside of my own home. I get an opportunity to show my integrity, my professionalism, that I’m worth more than a big business cleaning service. It’s a place for me to pay attention to detail and show that I care about people and making them happy. Who knew that these would be the things I’d miss about working?! Not me, that’s for sure. I’m so glad to have the opportunity now. Added bonus, it’s a free workout! Score! 

Your passion doesn’t have to be pretty.

I’m back!

Written on: 10/3/2015

A little over two years ago, I had a baby. And boy did it change my world. You may not know this, but I tried for four years to get pregnant with this baby. That part of my life was hard, so surely it couldn’t get any harder, right? She was here! But it did get harder. A lot harder.

I didn’t have much experience of what to expect as a new parent. Sure, my mom had a baby when I was nearly ten years old and I baby sat and played with him, but who remembers all that much about being ten, right? We were the first of our group of friends to have a baby. So, whatever came my way, I thought was normal. Well, mostly.

She came early, at 35 weeks. That was a shock! But the delivery went well (despite my hip dysplasia) thank goodness. It was actually a crazy delivery story, that includes 8 hours of on and off pushing and a doctor’s hand in my vagina turning my baby’s head, but that’s a story for another time. I was just so thrilled that I didn’t have to have a c-section and that she was here! She was alive.

She was tiny. Weighing in at 5lbs 14ozs. We got to stay in a room together. And then she got a little jaundice. They brought in a huge blue light to put her under. It took up our entire hospital room. Hubby had to crawl over my bed just to sit down. It was just jaundice though and we would both go home soon. Or so I thought. But then she started to lose too much weight and her heart started to beat too fast and she had really rapid breathing and it was time for me to be released and they wanted to keep her. I was sent home and my baby wasn’t. I was devastated. I never in a million years imagined walking into my baby’s nursery after having her, without her. I sat in the rocker in her room and I cried. Then, my husband drove me back to the hospital and I sat with her. I sat with her whenever I could. We drove there at 3am, at 4am, at 7am, at noon, at 2pm, and so on. We went a lot. They had a 3ft by 4ft room with one chair, one rocking chair, and enough room to push her cradle in and we sat there with her. She was too tiny to nurse. Her mouth couldn’t do it. When we weren’t there, they had an occupational therapist work with her on how to suck, swallow, and breathe. It’s a strange feeling to know this happened without us there. We asked a million times to meet them, to be there, they never came. One day we walked in and there was a feeding tube in her nose and taped to her face. I had been pumping milk at home and bringing it to the hospital, where the nurses finger fed it to her through a tube, or we did, but this day they said she wouldn’t drink enough. She wasn’t gaining enough. She had a heart monitor on. Her heart was beating too fast. Things got better though. It felt like she was there for a century, but we were lucky and got to bring her home after a week.

When we brought her home, the real craziness began. How do you feed a baby who can’t nurse? Well, I pumped milk while my mom and husband fed her with a plastic syringe and a tiny tube. It took two people to feed her, every 2 hours. Eventually (and I can’t remember exactly when) we got her to nurse. It was not fun. I had to use a nipple shield for 5 excruciating months.

A few weeks after she was born we noticed something even more was wrong and that’s when my mom had to fly home. We were on our own. She screamed and cried A LOT. She never slept more than 15-30 minutes at a time and those times were rare. We weren’t sleeping. We were confused. This is how babies are! I started to reach out to people I thought would have the answers. Nursing friends, lactation consultants, parent friends, Internet groups. Is this normal?! What do we do? People told me to keep track with apps. Track her feedings, track her sleep, track her poop. They told me to make sure I got a shower, make sure I ate my meals, make my bed in the morning, it’ll make me feel better. I couldn’t put my baby down though. If I did, she screamed. She screamed in sheer pain. I knew deep down this wasn’t right. We took her to the doctor. She must have colic. Let’s put her on Zantac for reflux. She vomited a lot from this. So, let’s up the dosage. She vomited more. Some babies just scream a lot. His grandson did that for 15 months. 15 months?! I’ll have killed myself by then! I was serious. I thought I had post-partum depression. I thought I had it bad. Everyone I talked to made me feel like babies are hard and I just wasn’t able to handle it. My friends had all but abandoned me at this point. My husband’s paternity leave was over. I was on my own and I felt like I was going to walk into oncoming traffic. I had to get help and I had to get it right now.

I made an appointment with my midwife. I explained what was going on. She told me I was sleep deprived. She looked me straight in the face and said “I think your baby is sick”. Hallelujah! She listened to me. She heard every word. She referred me to a therapist and gave me a number to a new pediatrician. We made the appointments right away. The new pediatrician was a godsend. Your old Doctor didn’t test for blood in her stool?! He tested for blood. It was very positive. We worked on a plan. I had to eliminate dairy, soy, wheat. I did it. I went on a total elimination diet. We were going to find out what the cause was. Why not formula?! Formula costs a lot of money. Money we didn’t have. The doctor was suggesting she had severe food allergies and if we did formula it would be even more expensive formula. We are talking a BMW car payment. Maybe even a mortgage. It wasn’t an option.

Eliminate the foods. There was no question. I eliminated the foods. It took 4 weeks. After 4 weeks I knew what people meant when they said you should put your baby down and eat something, take a shower. I was finally able to. She wasn’t screaming 24/7 in pain anymore. There was still an underlying something going on and we worked with our pediatrician and pediatric allergist to find out that not only was she allergic to dairy and soy, but she was also allergic to eggs. After that we found out she was also allergic to chicken. It took another year for the allergist to call it FPIES (Food protein induced entercolitis syndrome), with an IgE allergy to eggs. I haven’t consumed meat, dairy, soy, or eggs since she was 5 months old. People tell me they couldn’t do it. I assure you, if it was your child, you could and you would. I have nursed far beyond what I ever imagined because her doctors think it was the best thing for her. She is healthy. She is happy. She is smart. She is beautiful. She is thriving. She is mine. I could not be more proud of her.

And with that, I would like to say hello, I am back. Back to the land of the living. Back to being someone outside of taking care of a sick child. I may have lost a lot of people along the way and that’s ok. I have gained many more and they are wonderful people. I am so grateful to the people who stuck by me. Mainly, my mom, my husband, my sister. It has been a really really hard road. I am just now coming up for a breath of fresh air. I am learning the joys of having a “normal” child, even though normal for us probably looks a lot different than normal for most. I am back with a new sense of self, a new perspective, a new love. I am still learning. I still need patience and grace, but I feel as though I can feel safe in the world again. And if anyone wants to come see my amazing daughter, even meet her for the first time since she has been somewhat shielded, please let me know. She is sure to make you laugh.

I’m back!

Hello!

Hello, friends!

Welcome to my new blog!

On August 5th, 2015, I turned 33 years old. It was then that I realized my life was being directed mostly by fear. So, I decided to make a change. I decided to face my fears head on and see where it all took me. First, I went on a hike by myself. That was huge! Then, I started my own small business, whoa. It is slow going, but I quite like it that way. Next, I wanted to start a blog and an Etsy shop. The Etsy shop is in the works, so here we are with the blog!

My inspiration is my sweet Gran. My mother’s mother, who was basically my second mother and a best friend. If my mom would go anywhere out of the room, out for the night, on an errand, I would ask Gran where my mom was and without hesitation, she would always say “She Flew to the Moon!” in the most animated way. Now, flying to the moon means doing the things that inspire me. It means to take flight. It means to live. So, that is what I am going to do and I’m going to share it here, with you. I can’t wait. Please bear with me while I learn as I go.

Hello!