Please don’t be rude.

I’ve been thinking…

There is no reason, rhyme or explanation as to why anyone should be leaving a rude or mean comment on someone’s blog. You can be open, honest and respectful towards someone that you completely disagree with in every sense of your being and maintain a completely cordial discourse, interaction or relationship.

And yes, there is a way of perhaps letting someone know they might be wrong whilst still being polite about it. So if you disagree with someone and would like to share your perspective, be polite. Don’t be an asshole.

Please don’t be an asshole. If you read a blog post and you get the urge to leave a rude comment or to be mean to the person who wrote the post, just move on. Your comment is not going to serve any positive purpose. You’re not going to open any discussion, change any minds or allow them to see another perspective if you’re being an asshole.

Life is like a boomerang

What we give, we get.

That’s something that my uncle used to say. In my last post that I spoke about him I mentioned that he was always someone who believed it was better to give than to receive. Since writing that post, with a little encouragement, my family has begun sharing stories about my uncle through an email chain.

These are largely the type of stories you’d talk about and reminisce about at a memorial service, but since that’s been put on hold, the family has decided to share them digitally.

To preface this, I will say that my dad was one of eight kids. There were seven boys and one girl in his family and his father passed away when he was just four years old. As a result, the family grew up without a lot and largely relied on the help of others to to get through… at least until he and his brothers became teenagers and old enough to work. I attribute this way in which they grew up to be a big reason why my uncle was someone who believed in the power of giving.

When I went to the store today to fetch toilet paper I saw that the store, in wake of Covid-19, is selling girl guide cookies for the girl guides so that they dont risk illness by going door to door. When I saw these cookies it brought back a memory of my uncle, one that I know my brothers and I will remember but one that I am not sure the rest of my extended family knows about. I’m contemplating sharing it with them in the email story chain.

STORY TIME:

When I was a young pip squeak I was a part of Girl Guides for a couple of years. Every year we were required to sell cookies as a part of being a Girl Guide. This didn’t sit well with me because I am largely an introvert and have been my entire life. Approaching strangers to sell them something wasn’t my idea of a good time.

Knowing how uncomfortable I was with selling these cookies after seeing me try for just one day, my uncle actually bought $300 worth of cookies from me so that I could meet my quota and didn’t need to sell any more.

My uncle never liked cookies.

I remember asking him what he was going to do with all of the cookies that he had just bought and I distinctly remember him telling me he wasn’t sure.

The next year that I was in Girl Guides my uncle immediately purchased $300 worth of cookies from me. I remember being baffled by this because I had suddenly realized I didn’t even know what he had done with the cookies from last year.

When I asked him what he was going to do with all of these cookies he told me not to worry and that he could find someone who would enjoy them.

By the next year my family had moved cities and I was no longer a part of Girl Guides. The thought of cookies had dropped from my mind and wouldn’t be picked up again until two years later when my brothers and I went to spend a month at my uncle’s house.

I was about ten at this point. I remember walking in and seeing his kitchen table covered in a giant stack of Girl Guide cookies. I’m sure at this point my brothers and I laughed and said something along the lines of “are you trying to bribe us to be good kids? We can absolutely be bribed with cookies!”

Nope. The cookies were not for us. My uncle actually told us that he had been buying big batches of girl guide cookies every single year since that first year I was in girl guides and thus this wasn’t a special occasion he’d bought cookies for having kids around, no. He had a plan for these.

Again, we asked him why he buys cookies when he doesnt like cookies.

He told us that he bought the cookies because he knows that it helps out the girl guides organization and that he always likes to make sure he supports programs for kids, even if it’s just a few extra dollars. To him, girl guide cookies was an easy way to support kids.

So we asked him what hes been doing with these cookies he had been buying all these years.

I distinctly remember him saying “I’ll show you on Saturday!” Saturday was his day off work and his typically only free day of the week.

That Saturday he loaded us all up in his vehicle and brought out a giant container filled with boxes of cookies. He told us we were going to give them to people in need.

I remember thinking that was ridiculous. I think I probably told him that homeless people dont want cookies, they need a real meal. Nevertheless, he persisted that this was a good idea.

We drove to some lesser developed areas of the city where there are more homeless people who live on the streets and I remember him telling us to stay put and hand him a box of cookies.

The homeless individual took the cookies and shook my uncles hand and then tried to give him a hug. My uncle backed off because he hated hugs, but I distinctly remember thinking that it was bizarre of him to be giving cookies to homeless people when what they needed was a real meal. I also thought that no homeless person wanted cookies and that they were likely going to just ask him for money. 10 year old me thought that I was smarter than my uncle and I tried to lecture him when he got back into the vehicle.

Naturally, not having my smartass attitude, he cut me off. What he said was something that has always stuck with me.

“I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, I don’t care what your circumstances are or the hardships you might face in this life, everyone deserves a treat every once in a while. Someone who is homeless is not going to go out of their way to treat themselves, so we are going to treat them for them. It might not be a full meal but food is food and if they need a treat, they’ll appreciate it.”

I remember thinking that was so incredibly kind of him to say and do. But I also remember thinking about money, which my brother ended up asking him.

‘What if they do not want cookies and only want money?” My brother asked.

My uncle pulled out a box of cookies from the bin and showed us the bottom of the box. He had taped a 20 dollar bill to the bottom of each box of cookies.

“Anyone who is in dire straits and need of food will never turn down an offer of food, even if it’s a box of cookies or even a tin of tuna.” He said. “If they don’t want cookies then they don’t need our money. And if they take the cookies and treat themselves, then I hope they take this (pointing to the 20 dollar bill he taped to the bottom of the box) and get themselves a meal, or more, depending on where they go.”

The rest of that day we spent just wandering around in his car, finding homeless people to offer girl guide cookies to.

It was truly one of those life changing days in a person’s life. It sticks out from my childhood memories so vividly in my mind. He had taped $20 to the bottom of probably 70 boxes of cookies and was giving them out to homeless people who would accept them. And he’d been doing it for years without telling any of us before now.

I’m pretty sure he kept on doing it right up until this year, too.

When my siblings and I got a little older he’d let us come with him and actually get out of the car to offer them to people. Only when he thought we were safe to do so. I remember helping him four or five times over the years. My brothers stopped by and helped him a few times over the years as well. It was his “thing”. Sometimes he’d go back to the same neighborhoods two years in a row and the same people would be there. I remember once, when I was probably 18, one homeless man screaming “the cookie man is back” when he saw my uncle and I walking towards him.

That was just the way my uncle was. He was the kind of guy that you could rely on to be a consistent source of good in this crazy world. He didn’t want attention, he didn’t want notoriety or even hugs. He was just happy with a handshake from a stranger and knowing that he’d done a small bit of good for someone’s day when they likely really needed it.

And he always bought as many girl guide cookies as he could… because, though he never had kids of his own, he never missed out on an opportunity to support kids. (Girl guides was just one organization he supported, he donated to all kinds of soccer teams and band programs and summer camps and basically anywhere he felt that his money would positively impact a kid, even if just in the smallest of ways)

My uncle was a consistent ray of light and kindness and giving. He always believed that giving was better than recieving. I guess I must’ve given something really valuable in a past life because growing up with my uncle around and having him as a part of our lives… it was a pretty big gift. Or, if life really is like a boomerang and what we give we get, then I have already had so I should start giving a heck of a mot more. Cheesy? Yeah, but it is true.

I’m reminiscing tonight. Should probably rewrite this a little if I decide to share with my extended family through email. Just so they dont think he took us into dangerous situations as kids. They’ve all been a little on edge lately and I think a nice story like this might make them smile.

Who knows!

Simple things I am grateful for today.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some days are great and some days can feel as though everything in the world is falling into place. Then there are days, oh there are days, where I struggle to stay afloat. These are the days that I try to think of the things I am, and should be, thankful for. Some days it boosts my mood, other days it doesn’t. But every day it reminds me that I still have good things in my life, even when every fiber of my being is trying to tell me otherwise.

  1. I’m alive. It’s hard to be thankful for this when you’re in such a negative headspace all of the time, but truth be told, it’s a real blessing. I’m here, I’m breathing and I’m lucky for that.
  2. I have access to the internet. I use the internet for a lot. Looking for jobs. Pouring my heart out to this blog. Running social media accounts for Knight. Doing some consulting work. Watching copious amounts of Youtube videos and falling down various subject matter rabbit holes (the most recent of which being Mr. Atheist)
  3. The small pleasures in life. The sun, even if it is only up for a few hours each day. The smell of fresh brewed coffee. Hearing my niece and nephew laugh.
  4. The Tesla #CyberTruck is so badass. I want one. I want one sooooo bad. I’m going to get it one day. It will be mine. You just wait and see.
  5. The Cure – Pictures of You. This has been a favourite of mine for years and it’s a song that I go back to whether my mood good or bad. In my opinion, The Cure is music that will transcend generations and could quite possibly still be relevant 100 years from now.
  6. My foam roller. This rickety old body needs all the help it can get. And honestly, owning a foam roller is LIFE CHANGING for your muscles and joints.
  7. That I have a somewhat not-stupid head on my shoulders that keeps me on track. Staying the path of determination and stubbornness isn’t always a lucrative adventure monetarily, but I will get there. Rest assured, I will get there eventually.
  8. For these few minutes of peace I am getting tonight. Everyone’s gone out. I’m not sure if it’ll be 10 minutes, a half hour, an hour or even two. But I’m going to take advantage of this quiet while I’ve got it.
  9. Something Knight said to me on the phone two nights ago. I didn’t really say anything about it when he said it. And I haven’t mentioned it since. But I’ll probably remember it forever.

Sometimes, reminding yourself to be grateful is one of the most positive, and hardest steps you can take to make sure you get on with your day.

What are you grateful for today?

How to not be an asshole.

A list and reminder of how to be a decent human being.

  1. Understand that you can disagree with someone and still respect them.
  2. Understand that everyone on this earth is entitled to their own opinion.
  3. If you feel like insulting someone, don’t.
  4. If you want to talk down to someone, remember that you, too, live in a glass house.
  5. If you dont like someone, for whatever reason, you don’t have to he friends with them. Go be friends with someone else.
  6. Remember that just because “they” say it doesn’t mean that it’s true.
  7. If you consistently get the urge to punch someone, take up kickboxing or karate or some sort of physical activity to help get out your aggression in a positive way.
  8. Try to not judge, wherever possible.
  9. If you disagree with someone’s parenting, unless the child is in danger of severe harm/abuse, butt out(this is a very clear distinction). It’s not your child. Whether the parent has rules about screen time or junk food or lacks curfews or anything of the sort, it’s not your child.
  10. If you do not agree with the choices someone is making keep it to yourself.
  11. If you feel the urge to yell, try waiting until you’ve calmed down to have a conversation like a mature human being.
  12. If you dont like the way someone is leading their life, remind yourself that it’s their life, not yours.
  13. If you find yourself bullying someone and you realize you’re doing it, stop. You can make the choice to change.
  14. Operate based on facts, not personal opinions.
  15. If you dont have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  16. Road rage is not productive. There are bad drivers all over the world. If you feel like swearing or screaming or gesturing, remember they likely won’t hear you or see you. And if you get the urge to do something more drastic, pyerhaps you should worry more about your anger issues rather than their lack of driving skills.
  17. Don’t drive with your high-beams on in traffic at night. Also, don’t tailgate people on the highway.
  18. Do not push your religious beliefs on anyone.
  19. Apologize. Always apologize.

No one in this world can make you feel as bad as you can.

That’s right. I said it.

We’re our own worst critics.

We’re our own worst enemy. Every downfall, every insecurity, every sadness, every frustration, every hardship, we know everything. And we use it against ourselves at the moments in time when we’re most vulnerable.

I think this is one of the things that makes mental illness so debilitating. On a good day, someone not suffering from mental illness can utterly destroy their self-worth with a few thoughts. Imagine that feeling multiplied by 1000 in someone suffering from mental illness.

This was not meant to be a comparison about who feels worse, though. The point I’m trying to make is the importance of being kind – to yourself, to everyone. Be kind. Much like they don’t know your struggles, you don’t know theirs.

Be kind to yourself. Talk yourself up. Make yourself feel better even when you’re not in a bad mood. And, don’t ever miss the opportunity to do this for someone else as well.

Perhaps if we all made more of an effort to force the positives on ourselves, those negative thoughts wouldn’t hold so much power over us when they rear their ugly heads.

On ‘being a good person’.

Of all the things he hasn’t accomplished in his presidency, Donald Trump has most definitely been successful in emboldening hatred, bigotry and misogyny around the world. In my mind, he is the prime and shining example of school-yard bullying at the highest powers of society and the fact that he’s so well known has, in some way, given a voice hatred spewers world-wide.

If you like Donald Trump and you think he’s a good president, that’s your opinion and you’re allowed to believe that. I don’t like him. I don’t like what he stands for. I don’t like what he represents, and most of all, I really don’t like that he’s made it acceptable in 2019 to be a horrible person and have it be socially acceptable.

I don’t want to go backwards. I don’t.

The world that my mom and dad grew up in, the world that my grandparents grew up in, it had a lot of problems. There were a lot of things going on that I thought we’d already passed and left behind us. I’m not saying we don’t have our own problems now, I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be revisiting the past.

Hate is not okay. Bullying is not okay. Bigotry is not okay. Misogyny is not okay. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, all not okay.

I know that it was naive of me to assume to, but I liked to think that all children in this world are raised with manners, and taught tolerance, acceptance and respect. Sadly, 2019 has been teaching me that that is really not the case.

The thing is, no one is born evil. No one is born to hate. That’s why I think it’s so important to teach people when they’re children. Trying to teach adults is a whole different ball game. That being said, it saddens me that so many people in this world are raised being taught to hate and bully.

I consider myself to be a good person. Or at least I try to be. I’m nice to everyone I meet, I use my manners – hold open doors, etc… I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, whether their opinions agree with mine or not. I just wish that everyone would try to do the same, to be the same.

What do you get out of bullying someone? Honestly. What do you get out of treating someone as though they’re less than you? Does it make one happy? I can’t imagine that it makes someone fulfilled. Donald Trump (sorry to use him as an example again, but really) doesn’t seem all that happy, or fulfilled. And, considering I question whether or not he actually has any money, he doesn’t seem like he has much of anything beyond a lot of hatred.

I just want to encourage everyone to be nice. Just be nice. Treat your friends well, treat strangers with kindness. Have hope for the people you don’t know and have understanding for the people you do know. Try to understand the human condition and that we all have good and we all suffer from time to time – some a lot worse than others. Just because we don’t know what someone is going through doesn’t mean that we cannot help.

Kindness is so important. Manners cost nothing. Be a good person. Please.

Of all the legacies you can leave in this world, please try to be a good person. That might be the most important of all.

Pet Peeve: “Don’t be such a girl” and so on and so forth.

It makes me angry when I hear people say things like “don’t be such a girl” or “you fight like a girl” or “you throw like a girl”. As a female it gets thrown your direction so dang much that eventually you just start to believe that being female is a bad thing. You just accept it. You know what it means and you don’t argue with it because arguing would take far too much time and effort on someone who doesn’t want to understand.

I am a girl. I have a short stature, and long hair, curvy hips and small hands. I’m proud to be a girl. I do fight like a girl – because I am a girl. Fighting like a girl doesn’t mean that I’m a bad fighter, or that I’m weak, or that I’m incompetent. I’m extremely competent and if it came down to a physical fight I could hold my own with many men. 

I do throw like a girl. It might not be as far as my male counterparts, but that doesn’t stop me from sinking baskets, or clinching that out at home plate. It doesn’t stop me from hitting the waste basket EVERY…SINGLE…TIME.

Being a girl is not a bad thing. It pisses me off when people throw it around as though it’s an insult. Just because I was born female does not mean that I am slower, dumber, weaker and not as good as a man. I make my own money, I pay my own bills, I work, I work out, I fix broken pipes, change flat tires, lift heavy boxes, and can turn around and put on a dress and heels after it’s all done.

I am not weak. And being who I am is not less than anyone else in this world. 

Being female is not a bad thing. It’s not a weak thing. It’s not something that we should be ashamed of, sad about, or made to feel as though we’re not good enough when a man wants to put down another man. And women do it to, don’t get me wrong. I would say that infuriates me even more – when women say it to one another. I just want to hold a playback button to their ears and ask ‘do you her yourself right now?’

As a gender, we should not be treated as though we’re lesser than because we don’t grow up to play in the NBA. ‘You throw like a girl’ is not an insult and should not be used as such. ‘Don’t be such a pussy’ should never be used as a means to make someone look weak.

Firstly, do you really need to insult this person? Could your efforts be put forth to something more positive? Secondly, if your insulting someone is coming at the cost of degrading or demeaning an entire gender then you need to work on your insults. Tearing other people down is not a way to get your point across.

You know what, save the insults all together. When your girlfriend beats you in an arm wrestle, I hope you’re proud of her. When you’re daughter hits a home-run at bat, I hope you’re extremely proud of her. If you really, genuinely, must make reference to someone you know as being weak, just use the term weak. That’s it. Nothing more. Leave women and girls out of it.

Let us throw how we want to throw and live how we want to live. The world is a much nicer place when we’re not verbally or physically beating up on one another for the gender which we’re born into.