Monthly Archives: October 2014

Dear Diary, It’s A Vlog!

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It’s pretty self explanatory. I love crafting, Martha Stewart and all things sparkly. I am just really, really bad at it. I grew up in the 80’s which was the crafting decade. We latch hooked and cross stitched and barrette braided and friendship pinned and shrinky dinked our childhoods away. Some of us were better at it than others. I am one of the others but I have never accepted defeat. In the land before Joann Fabrics and Michaels and A.C.Moore, crafting was a real treat. Now it has become a way to make a living for many…or in my case, a way to keep myself entertained. Enjoy my incompetence!!!!

 

A Little Ditty About Domestic Violence…

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abuseIt’s Domestic Violence Awareness month so allow me to Aware you. So many people think of DV as some scummy dude beating the crap out of his girlfriend in some shack. When they think of a woman who “allows” herself to be in that sort of relationship they think of a weak, unwashed, poor, overwhelmed, ignorant woman who was probably born into poverty. I’m here to tell you that those perceptions couldn’t be farther from the truth.  DV is NOT just about being hit. It encompasses emotional. mental, sexual and financial abuse. Abuse is about control. One person wants to control another. When they can’t control, they get very angry. They take their anger out on the victim. It’s not right, it is not the way “normal” people go about having their needs met, but an abuser is not “normal”.

Abusers are not just men and they are not just “bad boys”. Most abusers appear to the rest of society as normal, upstanding citizens. It can’t be said enough, abuse is about control (or the illusion of control). The abuser wants TOTAL control over their partner. It stems from a personality disorder which may or may not be connected to a mental illness or an addiction. It has some to do with their upbringing, possibly a trauma, possibly their environment, but definitely a “screw up” in the wiring of their brain. As far as the person who becomes involved with an abuser, sometimes it is a person who’s own upbringing, environment or personal mental health/addiction issues make being with an abuser feel comfortable and familiar. It is a complicated issue. And not one easily remedied.

Statistics show that an abuser, with professional help, has about a 5% chance of changing and those that DO show signs of change actually only change abuse tactics. They might go from being overt to covert, they might stop physical abuse but switch to emotional abuse, or stop sexually abusing their partner only to financially abuse their partner. Most of the abusers I know ARE “nice guys”. Young people need to be taught, both boys AND girls, how to treat others. They need to see it modeled by ALL the adults in their life. Their parents, school officials, church, coaches, medical professionals, every single adult. Controlling another human being is basically impossible. We all have choices. Sometimes we need help to make the best choice for ourselves. Support and education are going to help…but not just for the person in the abusive relationship, for ALL of society.

I have heard recently that I don’t look like someone who would have been in an abusive relationship. That I don’t seem like the type who would have “allowed” that. Yes, well, I’m not sure how to take that. I know it is meant as a compliment or because the person telling me that sees me as “strong” or not that “type”. This is further evidence that there is no “type” of person who becomes a victim of an abuser. It can and does happen to anyone. There are only two outcomes to being in an abusive relationship : freedom or death. We always have a choice. Always. The choice might be between life or death, it may be between homelessness or warmth, it may be between poverty or comfortability. I’m not saying they are easy choices by any means. That is where we, as a society, can step up and help and support. We can ease the transitions, we can support the choices that will lead to lives being free from abuse.

The most dangerous time for a person in an abusive relationship is when they are trying to leave. On average, it takes a person 8 attempts before they finally break free. That might look like the victim leaving, demanding change from their partner, seeing some change, going back, having the abuse start again, leaving, demanding change, seeing change, going back, having the abuse start again…it looks like insanity to the rest of us. But make no mistake, a person involved with an abuser is invested in the relationship. The abuser truly is a powerful person in the life of the person they are abusing. No victim wants to be abused. They don’t. They don’t ask for it. They want what we all want. To be respected, loved, treated with kindness, trusted. An abuser knows that. And an abuser uses that to their advantage to stay in control of the relationship and ultimately the victim. 70% of DV murders occur when the victim is leaving or has left the relationship. Many of those murders are committed by a partner who had NO history of physical violence against the victim. He may never have hit her, but as soon as he knows he has lost all control over her, he has nothing left to lose.

Some people leave after the first punch. Some people leave after the first rage. Some people leave after hearing rumors. Those people are not better than those who stay. They are just less invested. They are not stronger or smarter than those who stay. They just have a different path. I hope that those people who have had a brush with DV would be able to be compassionate and kind rather than condescending and that they would use their experience to really look inside themselves and find a way to help those who need it. Never underestimate the power of isolation. But never underestimate the power of support. We are only as sick as our secrets. DV is a dangerous thing. For the victim, the family, the friends and for all of society. We can change. We do have the power, it lies within our choices. We are not weak, we are not helpless, we are brave and we can do this, together.

Enough With The Toddlerhood Blues

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Sparkling By The Way's Blog

I can't even. I can’t even.

I’m super sick of these blogs about how hard it is to be the parent of a toddler. Like sooooo sick of them. Bullet points, numbered lists, grafts, charts…ENOUGH! Yes, having kids is hard. Having babies is oh so difficult and you are really special and relate-able. Babies cry and poop and totally mess up your circadian rhythm and are just like drunk college kids…whatever. I’m going to tell you something that NO ONE tells people who are thinking of becoming parents. Something that no one tells new parents. It. Gets. Worse.

Here’s an inside tip : The baby years (where you go from only caring about yourself to being forced to care for another human being) lead into the toddler years (where you not only have to care for another human being but you have to start teaching that little mess of flesh how to…

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Enough With The Toddlerhood Blues

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I can't even.

I can’t even.

I’m super sick of these blogs about how hard it is to be the parent of a toddler. Like sooooo sick of them. Bullet points, numbered lists, grafts, charts…ENOUGH! Yes, having kids is hard. Having babies is oh so difficult and you are really special and relate-able. Babies cry and poop and totally mess up your circadian rhythm and are just like drunk college kids…whatever. I’m going to tell you something that NO ONE tells people who are thinking of becoming parents. Something that no one tells new parents. It. Gets. Worse.

Here’s an inside tip : The baby years (where you go from only caring about yourself to being forced to care for another human being) lead into the toddler years (where you not only have to care for another human being but you have to start teaching that little mess of flesh how to BE a human) which leads into the school age years (where things might be smooth sailing for a bit, if you don’t run into bullying or obesity or strange habits or learning disabilities) which lead into the Teenage Years which will scar you for life.

Having a teenager is exactly like having a toddler except they are bigger, stronger, louder, smarter and have less of a sense of self preservation. They are far more cunning, baffling and powerful than any drug you might have done back in the 60’s. You will be in shock, your jaw will drop daily and you will be absolutely unprepared to deal with the roller coaster of hormones and emotions and the rage oh Lord the rage! At things, at YOU, at school, at curling irons, at jeans that don’t fit, at siblings, pets, homework, cable tv, sneakers, music, God, bacon, yes bacon. Remember when your 2 year old fell down screaming in the middle of the mall because they wanted to take the carousel home? That x1000 = The Teenage Years.

Nothing will prepare you for The Teenage Years. You may think you are well prepared because you remember what you were like as a teen. And you sort of look forward to bonding with your own teen over rebellion issues. You are an idiot. Maybe you feel like you are doing such a fantastic job with your toddler that you will have this open, loving relationship where your teen is your best friend. You are a real big idiot. Maybe you think I am lying or that my kids are just exceptionally awful and you will use all the tools from all the books you have read cover to cover and YOU will do it right. Idiot.

I know, you think me calling you an idiot is rather harsh and uncalled for. Get used to it. Because as soon as you have a teenager, you are an idiot. You just are. No matter how you go about parenting your teen, I mean how you THINK you will parent your teen, you will wind up being an idiot. And the rest of us who have survived The Teenage Years will welcome you to our club with open arms because that’s what idiots do.

It’s not all a hellish nightmare. There will be moments. Like the moment when you can see the floor in their room because they threw all of the clothes in the laundry. The moment when they help the little old lady across the street because she gave them a 20 dollar bill thinking it was a one dollar bill. That moment when they start a conversation with you which ends up with you handing over your car keys despite the fact that they were supposed to be in Time Out, I mean grounded…ahh those moments are fleeting so enjoy them fully. Time really does speed up once you have children.You will blink and they will be gone…with your credit card and your favorite shoes.

So stop whining that you have a baby or three or a toddler who acts ridiculous and cries really loudly in inappropriate places or a pre schooler who can’t keep his hands out of his pants at church. Enjoy it. Because in a few short years you will be a full blown idiot and all of that parenting crap you worked SO HARD on will be right out the window along with the Ipad that wasn’t downloading fast enough. Parenting is hard work. It is NOT fun, it is not about YOU. It is about raising a productive member of society…so good luck with that. And as hard as you think it is wiping a little tushie or having to leave Sesame Street Live because your kid won’t stop kicking everyone in a 6 foot radius, it gets worse. As much as you love your baby, your toddler, your school age child, you will love your teen more fiercely than at any stage prior. That overwhelming love you feel for them will be balanced with fear and anger and hope and expectation. It’s way messier than 2am feedings and stomach bugs and lice.

No one tells you these things because it’s futile. There is nothing you can do. Once you commit to being a parent, you can’t quit…ask me how I know. You cannot tender your resignation, you can’t walk into their room and in dramatic fashion recite a speech telling them you have found new, better teenagers to raise. You cannot force them to stay in the sweet spot between ages 7 and 10, they will not comply. You just have to do it.

When your sweet little one draws you a picture and gives it to you will all the love in the whole wide world beaming out of their eyes because you are their sun and moon, remember that and imprint it on your heart. Because some day, well, you’ll find out. I wish you patience, luck, wisdom and just enough denial to get you through…

Welcome to the club, Idiot. *eyeroll*