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The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

They say when things get tough, that’s when you see people’s true colors.

In each of my trials, I’ve been shown the “true colors” of my friends.  I’m lucky to have so many good friends.  I appreciate all the calls, messages, shows of support, and offers to hang out now that I’m stateside again.  And, I truly appreciate my online friends as much as my in-person friends. 

Blog of many colors

Right now I’m coming to grips with how this atrocity even happened.  I was handling all that Mother Nature was dishing out; no electricity, no running water, violent storms, horrendous heat, Typhoid Fever, with a fair amount of grace I think.  And then without warning, at the end of my weakest state, John Goosen went on an unprovoked ape-shit rampage and decided to fling me around like a rag doll to make me listen to his drunken rant.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  That’s normal.  I write more on my good days, but lately it’s writing about my bad days.  That’s also normal.

I value being able to read through other blogs to see the uplifting and helpful information out there.  Feeling like there is a community of people who understand the process I am going through is so wonderful.  Sometimes it can be difficult for my in-person friends to understand.

And then there is always the hope that through this blog someone else can be helped as I work through everything and keep living the day to day as well.  Life goes on and this is how I’m trying to learn as I go.

All the Colors change

Once something traumatic has happened, you see the world differently.  I see the world differently.  Not better or worse, just different.  Things that were once important aren’t any more.  Things that weren’t important suddenly are.  Everything is colored a little differently.

Different or not, I’m still trying to walk through this world. I’m still trying to learn from this and become a better person for it.  I still see the beauty in the sunrises and sunsets.  I love listening to the birds in the morning and the coyotes in the evenings.  I enjoy conversations, cold beers, painting, reading, laughing.

But behind it all I’m trying to find my voice, give voice to those who don’t have it, and blaze a trail for change.

I pick at and piece through the trash pile that is the ways abusers work.  It is alarming how often I pick up a piece of that trash and think, “Oh, that looks familiar, that must be mine.”  Only to turn it over and see an Abuser’s name on it. It’s a bit disheartening to see how pervasive the blaming/ shaming way we treat victims is. 

For example, we all have heard “there’s a way victim’s walk, or hold their head, or (….) that clues abusers in that they are a good target”.

First,

and I want to scream this at the top of my lungs,

NO ONE SHOULD EVER. BE. A. TARGET. 

It doesn’t flipping matter if PersonX walks around with a real sign that says, “I let people abuse me”, PersonX should not get abused.  PersonX should not be a target.  PersonX should feel and be safe.  End of story.  Even if the sign has shiny flashy lights with arrows.

No one should be a target.

Think about that for a minute.  If PersonX has poor self-esteem, (and that shows through their posture), there are people out there who are compelled to hurt PersonX because of it.  Abusers look for people who already feel inferior, then Abusers humiliate them, isolate them, manipulate their emotions, make them feel crazy, makes others think they’re crazy. 

And instead of denouncing the Abuser, instead of stopping the Abuser from finding and hurting others, the general population looks at PersonX and says, “hold your head up more, walk straighter so abusers won’t target you”.  Everything gets shifted over to PersonX.

Why are people so afraid of Abusers that they can’t stand up to them?  I stood alone in trying to get people to see see John Goosen as an abuser.  The other people in Mozambique were so afraid to stand up to him.  He needed to work. He needed his space.  It wasn’t good what he did, but he’s sorry.  He needs medication.

Not a single person, other than myself, looked at him and called him out.  Not one person actually stood up to him, except me.     

It has been enlightening to say the least, to realize every single person I’ve discussed abusive situations with has given ways to change PersonX.

Ex:   “I’d try to get them alone to tell them I could help them if they leave the abuser.”

“Abuser has a (…) problem.  PersonX needs to be more understanding.  I mean get away, but then they need to worry about themselves, not Abuser.  Good riddance, they can deal with themselves”

“If you just tell them to leave, they say ‘it’s only one time’, or ‘Abuser loves me’.  You have to give them little examples how to leave without really saying they need to.”

“I don’t understand why PersonX would go back after that.  PersonX needs to get their head examined.”

Not a single person suggested that the Abuser needs to change. 

The Abuser straight up thought, “Hey PersonX looks (insert adjective of choice ie, lonely, sad, etc.).  If I make them a little less (adjective) they’ll take any shit I dish out.”  “If you feel bad, I want to make you feel worse.”  “And I’m going to make you and everyone else think it’s your fault.”

And everybody else thinks, “PersonX should’ve made themselves look less like a victim.”

This is what abusers do.  They work the whole scenario from the beginning.  From the initial lure to the end, everything and everyone in their environment is part of the set up to get off scott-free.

Our True Colors

I think we are so entrenched, as a general population, in generations upon generations of dysfunctional families, war torn memories, secrets, and lies that we don’t even know how to see the first red flags anymore.  Abusers have done such a trick on the mainstream psyche that when we finally see the red flags, we all point fingers at the victims.

But how can we stop the abuse from happening if we start at the end?

What do you think? 

As you’ve heard/ read my and other stories, how many times have you asked the ‘questions of change’ to the victim rather than the abuser? 

How can we change that scenario?  How can we really stop abuse if we don’t change it?

 

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Life is about relationships/interactions

The topic, as suggested in a comment,

I think life is all about relationships/interactions , no matter how brief or seeming insignificant they may seem at the moment.

I’m not sure I think life is ALL about relationships and interactions, but I would definitely say 85% of it is.

The other 15% I think has to be completely about self.  Simply and solely about self.  The 85% is about self and others, but, that 15% is really important.  Without it, how we interact with others wouldn’t be the same.

That said, our relationships and interactions are extremely important.  They shape who we are, how we think, and react.  They help us decide how and when to begin acting instead of reacting.  They teach us how to be us.

Every face we see, every action we notice, every person that accidentally brushes us, they all mold us.  How many happy faces do we see each day vs how many angry or sad ones.  How many people do we see sitting quietly or animatedly reciting something to the person next to them.  I think these glimpses into other peoples lives help shape our lives.   We instinctively make decisions and judgments and run scenarios through our heads about it.

Once upon a time a long time ago, some one told me, “Never talk about something you don’t have personal experience about.  If you haven’t been part of an event you can’t really know what it’s about.”   I can’t really remember what spurred it on, but I’m sure I made some hasty decision about something and got called out on it.   I was young, maybe 10 or 11, but that has stuck with me.  HARD.  It made a profound, subconscious effect that I still can’t shake even though it can actually cause problems.

Cause problems you ask?  How can that cause problems?  Quite frankly, people can get thrown off because apparently it can sound as if I only want to talk about myself.   This is really not the case, I’m just thoroughly unable to talk about a subject I haven’t had something to do with in case I get the whole thing wrong.

Now, I have learned how to talk about subjects I have only experienced through reading, watching, etc, so it’s getting better, but the point is that, that one brief moment made a HUGE impact.

I have met so many people along my path, that I have only known briefly, that really have significantly impacted my life, in ways they will never know.

For example, for a short time I was training a couple in their home.  I had some car issues come up and was strapped for cash to get them fixed.  Never ever expecting it, this couple gave me a check to help fix the car problems on their last appointment.  All this happened at a very personally difficult time.  A friend was able to help me fix the car myself, saving hundreds of dollars.  After a singularly difficult evening with the personal issues I had at the time, I made a split second decision to buy a ticket to San Diego and go meditate at my Ocean.

I needed to clear my head, figure out how to get through what was happening, and how to take the next steps.  I needed my ocean to do that.  Living in New Mexico, thousands of miles from ANY ocean, was difficult.  I needed to sit by the ocean and hear the sounds, smell the smells, and let her work her magic on my crazy life.

I never saw that couple again, but, that trip was the pivotal moment in an extremely important time in my life.

I’ve always been a people watcher.  My parents were hardly an example of how to parent.  In fact growing up the best examples I had for parenting were the TV parents.  I began running away early, I knew it wasn’t healthy for me to be there.  Most of my early teen years were spent in several institutions, so really after about 12 or so, I didn’t have any example of parenting.

It has been all the many amazing, terrible, wonderful, average parents out there, that I’ve watched and asked, and read about, that helped me become a good parent.  All the interactions with other parents helped shape the parent I was becoming.  I never shied away from asking or listening to advice.  I would gauge it against what I knew or had seen or had tried already.

Every parent I saw, every where I went, great, terrible, and everything in between, knowingly or oblivious, helped me decide how to act during situations with my children as they came up.  Hells bells I screwed stuff up!  And yet, I know that in spite of their dad’s influence, I raised three really great kids.

I have lived in so many places……  and I have met people who changed my life in every one.  The neighbors in WA that came to look after me when Cori was born.  My old housemates when the ex and I were first married.  The couple we shared Christmas with in CT.  The teacher in NJ.  The many people at the dinners we attended at Princeton.  The other wives from the submarine days.  The dear friends I’ve made that have stayed my friends for so many years, and the momentary friends that helped me understand me and my world better.  The woman who taught me to belly dance in order to avoid being put on bed rest.  The guy who drove me to get my tire fixed.  The guy who told me to “just open the lid and pour it in”.  My classmates in college and university.  My amazing amazing instructors and professors.  The new friends I am making as I go around the world.

The guy who told me I had a nice smile.  The lady who stopped and picked up something I had dropped and gave it back to me.  The girl who moved over on the bus so I could sit down.  The man who politely gave me directions.  The woman who stared in amazement as I asked for directions from two black boys without reservation.  The girl confidently reading a book by herself at a crowded restaurant who still gives me strength to do things by myself even today.

I could go on with this list for HOURS!

These seemingly insignificant interactions shape how I choose to behave.  I try to make sure there is room on the bus.  I try to help people smile.  I return things to their owners.  I share anything I can.  I try to be gracious.  I try to be a good friend.

I know that I can be someone’s example of how to be polite, or unafraid, or unbiased because so many people have been mine.

Every interaction you have affects your life.  Large or small, they affect who you become, they affect how you see the world.  These interactions, no matter how fleeting can later become the thing you look back on and think about the most.

That 15%  of self is important because

You decide if it’s for negative or positive.

You decide if you are going to harp or heed.

You decide if you move backward, stay in limbo, or move forward.

You decide if you are going to blame or learn.

But once those decisions are made:

Life really is about the relationships and interactions you have with the inhabitants of planet Earth.

 

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The Money Blog -In Other News, the Team

This week I had a small “Are you serious?!?” moment in trying to figure out how to pay for all this teacher stuff.

Ordering official transcripts to be sent to NM State Board of Ed    $ 15

Application fee to get license                                                     $125

Background Check                                                                   $ 75

Adding Reading Specialist and TESOL endorsements

         to license                                                                       $ 95 each

Travel Insurance                                                                       $325

Notarized birth certificates                                                         $15 each x 3

Certification of transcripts, diploma and background check           $13 each x 3 (9)

Apostillization of  transcripts, diploma and background check       $10 each x 9

                                                                                               $985

And that is just to get there and finish the school so I can get started…..

So during my “Are you serious?!?” moment, I look at my daughter who is home for the summer (internship at UNM’s medical school) and said, “I know everyone wants me to be really happy right now, I just finished this major accomplishment, I’m headed out in September to begin my ‘change the system’  crusade, I should be really excited, but I feel sort of depressed!”

That amazing daughter of mine just looks at me and says, “Yeah, this is the time when most kids move back in with their parents.”  To which I responded, despondently, “But I am the parent.”  “Yep”, she says, “and that’s why you’re feeling depressed.  Don’t worry about it, it gives you more to write about.”  I really have the smartest kids.

In other news!!

I have entered into an official writing collaboration with another recently graduated teacher.  Jamie also graduated with honors and we took many classes together.  She is even more analytical than I am, which is a tough job, and rounds out my “Let’s go conquer the world right now!” attitude with, “OK, so the goals are 1) get to Prague, 2) Specifically plan the research, 3) look up all necessities for publication, 4) …….  You get the idea.

There is in the process of being assembled a perfect writing combination happening.

Thane – the ultimate editor, nothing gets past this guy, he edits the damn mail; excellent English skills (a Bachelor’s in English); great theatrical skills – which I believe will help with the writing and creating of a project that the public can understand as much as my peers, experts in the field of education and industry leaders.

Me – Enthusiasm for the mission; specific training for teaching; ready to do research until my fingers bleed ink; culturally conscious; determined to make a difference in ESL education – which I believe in turn will create a better overall educational system; and a pretty good writer if I do say so myself,

and introducing

Jamie – also specifically trained; even more analytical than me; just as determined to create positive change for the education of students who are overcoming income/racial/language discrimination; down to earth, a go-getter, my ‘implementer’.

There is a very real end goal now and the who’s, where’s and why’s are starting to find their specific directions for research.   I once read an article in Oprah’s magazine (Jan 2010) by Martha Beck entitled It Takes All Kinds.  The article is all about assembling the perfect team and how those members work together by being different.  She uses Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings to help explain, which personally I found to be FABULOUS.

Each well designed team had a necessary mixture that included the “Quick Start”, “The Fact Finders”, “The Follow Through”, and “The Implementer”.   It is not the only article out there about this subject and not the only one I’ve read, but it did make the best connection from words to real life for me.

I changed the titles for my team to

The overall overseer – the person that has the purpose and end result in mind at all times, the coordinator of the other members to keep the whole team on track

The Starter – the person that has that beginning enthusiasm, the go-get-it-itis to spur the team on, the ‘if I can’t find it, I’ll biuld it’ person.

The Thinker – the person that thinks about all the little details that can be overlooked, creates the organization required to keep the project moving along smoothly, reads the directions.

The Builder – the person that hits the pavement and makes it happen on the ground, the one that can take the ideas, use the thinkers knowledge and work the deal.

The Finisher – the person that needs to finish the job, right, on-time, and better than expected.  The one that methodically pushes through because the accomplishment is the goal.

The three of us hold multiple titles, which I think will make us gel even better.

Oh goodness, it’s been an hour -> I’m off to go get my dance on then see about a part-time summer job in Old Town 🙂

 

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