Friday, October 18, 2013

my own personal challenge day

A week ago, I picked the Peanut up from school for a dr. appt. While I was in the office checking her out, I was asked if I'd be a parent volunteer for Challenge Day. Peanut participated last year and enjoyed(?) it. All the kids knew they would cry at Challenge Day. It almost seemed that they hoped they would cry, and if you didn't, well what does that say about you? 

Now, I've taken all the online personality tests... not that I needed them to tell me ... I am an introvert. To the enth degree. I'm energized alone. That's kind of a weird feeling. Crowds make me nervous, and claustrophobic and make me want to cry. It's not in my comfort zone...and I guess it never will be. I'm not a leader, I am not a facilitator, I'm not a public speaker, I'm not an actress. I am most comfortable in a quiet setting. (digress much?)

SO - would I like to volunteer? Meh.... are you strapped for volunteers? Oh, you are? Well, I guess so.... shit! Panic... oh, which day? The day furthest from today - next Thursday. Hopefully I won't have problems taking off work, etc. 


Yesterday was Challenge Day for me. When the parents arrived, we were directed to the gym. Sign in, coffee, juice & donuts if you want and then it was high school all over again. Who to stand by? Who do I talk to? If I cross my arms, am I unapproachable? I have nothing to add to this conversation... Then we get our instructions for the day. Every time they say "let's play a game," we're expected to run into the circle to dance, laugh, jump and be silly. Every. Time. It's 8am and I'm ready to leave. I've already looked at the exits to see which is closer and could I get away without being noticed...Sincerely. I was ready to cry, bolt or pass out from not breathing.

They bring in the kids (approximately 100 7th graders) and we're supposed to be silly all day. It helps them be more comfortable. At one point I flashed back to parties where I DID dance, and I thought - maybe if I had a drink, I could do this? I'm not sure if that's good or bad.....

 

I will say that for the students, Challenge Day is amazing. There is so much good in it, I hope they retain the good and remember the good lessons they learned. Be the change. YES. But I feel like I let them down. I let down 100 7th graders because I can't be silly on command, and I don't like it. 

I stuck it out all day, "for the kids" and because I had committed. At the end of the day, I had to stop into the office to drop off forms for Peanut and I was asked how I enjoyed Challenge Day. My filter was obviously broken because I responded something along the lines of:

"I didn't. It's not for me. I don't like crowds. I am totally introverted. I hated being there, and participating in a large group. That's why I'm content in the back corner of the office at work, by myself. I'm worn slick, mentally exhausted and I'm glad Peanut will be a 9th grader next year so I never have to ever be asked again.....

I mean, what I should have said is Challenge Day is awesome for the kids. I'm just not cut out to be a facilitator. I'm definitely an introvert."


She had no idea. She said I seemed really outgoing and she never would have thought that about me. I went home and laid down on the couch. I ordered pizza for dinner, and hung out with the BF. I was in bed before 9, and I even blew off homework. I have never been so mentally exhausted.

Anyhow, that's that. I don't know the point of this post anymore, except to ramble or get that out on "paper" .... If you want more info on what Challenge Day is, click the link - http://challengeday.org/


If you want more insight or ideas as to how it felt for me yesterday, this blog kind of described it perfectly: http://www.chicagonow.com/i-want-a-dumpster-baby/2013/10/social-anxiety-can-bite-me/

Thanks for reading! 

XOXO

Friday, August 23, 2013

Teaching our Daughters … I’m not a feminazi really ….


*warning for strong language*


But we need to teach our daughters to be more assertive. What do I mean by this? I’ll explain further below.

First of all, do you think there are fundamental differences between women and men; besides the obvious physical appearances? Better yet, do you recognize the differences? Many times there are comparisons between men and women at work. If a man is assertive with his co-workers or buddies or calls them names, it’s accepted and laughed off and the men are still generally collegial to one another. If a woman is assertive at work or with her friends, she is a bitch. Men who choose to sleep with random women are congratulated or revered, while women are put down and called sluts and whores.

What is it in our genetic DNA as WOMEN that causes us to be silent? Granted not all women are this way, but so, so many are and it saddens me. (further elaboration to come – I promise)  I’ve been faced with a few situations recently that have put it right in my face and I’m angry. I’m partly angry at myself, because as the mother of a girl, maybe I haven’t done enough to teach my daughter to be more assertive. I’ve told her to respect herself, respect her body, and not to tolerate bad friends. I haven’t taught her what to do if someone crosses those lines, breeches those walls. What should she do then? Should she remain silent? HELL NO. 

Women in abusive relationships…keep quiet…because why? WHY? They don’t want to rock the boat? WHY THE HELL NOT? Because they’re afraid? Afraid of what? Afraid of the aftermath? Afraid of judgment? Afraid someone will think they deserved it, or it was their fault? Many women who have been molested or violated in a sexual manner as children don’t speak up. Why not? Are they afraid of being blamed? Afraid no one will believe them? WHY do they not speak up? We need to find out, and we need to fix this!

These thoughts have been swirling in my head for a few weeks or so now, in their own little vortex of word vomit, never completely coming to fruition. It started as a blog post about teaching our girls and young women and older women too, that we don’t need a man to be happy. We need to be happy with ourselves. When I got divorced, one of the things I started to do was living “as if” … as IF everything was ok, what would I do if I could just do it? Jump out of a plane? Maybe. Start skating? Perhaps. Break out of my shell and do things for me, things that made me happy. I was not identified as Mrs. XYZ any longer, I was April. WHO is April and what does she represent? Having been in a relationship since I was insanely too young, I needed to find who I was. 

I dated a few people after my divorce, people who were definitely not right for me. But I learned something from them. And I learned more about me. I’m dating a really wonderful man right now, and he makes me extremely happy. Even so, he doesn’t define who I am. I don’t know if realizing this is something that comes with age or what? 

So back to our girls and what we need to be teaching them… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my Peanut that NO ONE has a right to touch her in any way, shape or form that she isn’t comfortable with. I’m not completely na├»ve and I know that she will date a boy long before I’m really ready for her to. But I’ve always said to her that NO ONE has a right to touch her in any inappropriate and unwelcome way. I never taught her what to do if someone DID though. I failed my daughter. I never taught her that she was perfectly within her rights as a person to bitch slap that son of a bitch if he put his hands on her in any unwelcome way.  Or that sometimes, consequences be damned, you defend yourself against wrongs.  

How many rapes go unreported because women were scared to come forward? How many children are repeatedly abused because they’re scared to tell their parents? How many children have been touched inappropriately by another adult, and were scared to tell their parents? How is it that women feel they will be blamed because of how they handle a situation or that somehow they’re at fault for allowing it to happen to them? 

We need to change this perception that girls shouldn’t stick up for themselves because they might get in trouble. We want our girls to be perfect little angels, and while good behavior is what I desire, I’d much rather back my child up for defending herself against something wrong … than have her put up with things and just “deal” because someone overstepped a line, and she didn’t want to rock the boat or get in trouble. We need to stop associating shame with these things – abuse, rape, unwelcome touching or groping. These young women need to know they’re well within their rights to defend their bodies, and that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell someone if they have been violated.



Monday, May 6, 2013

What in the world?

Sometimes y'all, I just don't get people. I suppose we're not supposed to, but I'm not all that complicated or complex. At least I don't think so.

I'm a mother. I'm a woman. I'm sure there's more, but those are my top two for now ... till I write more. ;)
(I like long walks on the beach, I long for a vacation, I long for a clean house, I like too many kinds of crafty projects ... )

So as a mother - I have goals and ambitions - for my Peanut. I want to see her grow into a responsible young woman. I want her to be strong, independent, empathetic, kind, considerate, compassionate, loving, responsible, and smart. I'm sure there are more things I want for her but that's a good list to start with right? I feel like that's my job - to teach her those things. To correct her when she missteps but to help her see the why of the correction, and how the changes will affect her or others around her.

Her father and I are not together anymore. I don't agree with some of his parenting styles or ideas, but I choose my battles. As long as my child is safe and being cared for, I don't feel I have a say in what happens at his house. He might not believe it but I really do choose my battles. The things I need to engage on, I do. Otherwise, I let that shit go. Why let it eat me up?  

"For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't get me wrong - because there are some things that PISS ME OFF!!! But I evaluate ... will me saying anything cause any change (normally not) so why waste my energy? One foot in front of the other, keep moving forward...

But some parents can't seem to do this, and I can't understand why. I don't get why parents would choose to play mind games with their children, instead of encouraging them to become better human beings. That saying about wanting more for your children than you have or had - doesn't seem to apply to them. And I don't get it.

Anyone out there get it? Can you splain it to me? Please?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm 35 - so what?

I just turned 35 this month. The "weird" about it is that the number bothered me a little. Not enough to seek psychiatric help or anything, but enough. Then I decided - screw that! Who CARES that I'm halfway to 70?! I should BE so lucky!  After my divorce, I worked a second job at a scrapbook store. Loved that store. I remember waiting on a woman who seemed somewhat bitter and angry. I asked for her ID since she wrote a check. She got all upset and complained because she was 69 (pretty sure that's right) and she looked horrible and yada yada yada. I said well it could be worse. Enjoy that you've made it this far. That sent her further into her crankiness. Then I told her my aunt was in her 40's and in the care of Hospice. *Boom* gratitude for where you are YET? If you haven't heard about *BOOM* and gratitude, you really should check out I Want a Dumpster Baby  because she has the market cornered on gratitude and it's an amazing thing.

As a child 35 sounded so OOOOOOOOOOOLD! But as you get closer to 35 (or turn 35) you realize 35 ain't old yo! "You're only as old as you feel..." Most days I'm still feeling pretty young, although a thicker version of my young self...working on that ... baby steps. Then I think about two very important women in my life who were taken so very young. Check your breasts! And if you feel a lump get it checked out! Don't think it'll go away and don't rely on God alone to heal you. If your faith is centered around God (or a God, or a Goddess) know this - That divine creator you believe in made people SMART ENOUGH to become doctors!


So, in the days leading up to my actual birth DAY (because I celebrate me all month long folks ;) ) I kept saying to myself, "Self, what HAVE you learned in 35 years? Anything useful yet?" And I think I have learned a few useful things...

1. Even though I tell my daughter to choose her friends over boys because her friends will be there longer, I've realized that the friendships I had with most of those friends I was besties with from middle school or high school - are not the same. Friendship does require give and take. Always. I have a few friends that I have known since the 2nd grade. (my daughter is in awe of that, because I am SO OLD to her... Just wait Peanut... Just you wait.)


My own version of "Where Are They Now?" Circa 1984

The friendships that mean the most to me now are the friendships that I can count on. I joke that my true friends are the ones I could call at 2am from jail, knowing they would bail me out. And I would for them too. Hopefully none of us goes to jail but hey, you never know ;) So I'm figuring out (even today) who my seasons, reasons, and lifetimes are. I also hold fast to the Peanut cannot date till she's 30 rule. Ain't nobody got time for that!

2. For reasons some of my close friends know, I've pretty much always had this belief: If I wouldn't want my daughter treated this way, why would I allow it for myself? What's weird though is there are these lessons that we know we will eventually need to teach our girls (or children) but I'm never quite prepared for how soon it creeps up. Example: I want my daughter to be a strong minded, powerful, caring, sensitive young woman who has no fear about expressing herself or standing up for what is right. Enter middle school and alllllllll of this drama! Like holy crows and buzzards, the DRAMA IS UNREAL and I don't remember it being this bad, but in all actuality, it probably was. And we had the added pressures of not wearing gang colors because there are so many gangs in small town LV... and really, if we weren't supposed to wear gang colors, why were our school colors red and black? but I digress! Meanness, and boys that don't know their role. Teach your kids young. Teach them about standing up for themselves - whether it's with a mean girl, or with a boy who feels he has too many rights to her body. Tell them you will support them for standing up. Don't be scared. Take care of YOU. I will be there for you. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. If you feel something is not right, tell someone. If someone is invading your personal space in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell someone. Know that the people you call friends should not be mean and hateful to you - THAT is not a friend.

3.  In 35 years, I have been married, divorced, become a mother, parented an amazing stepson, become an aunt, dated some real winners (where is that sarcasm font?), and am currently dating a pretty amazing guy (no sarcasm font needed). I've been through three divorces in my life (mine and my parents). I've seen how truly shitty people can be when someone dies (and I mean shit-TEEE!), and I've also seen how families can come together during a death. I learned how to drive, had my first accident and totaled my first car, had SEVERAL jobs, started school a few times, lost a gallbladder, lost a job, tried different jobs, push mowed my yard, fixed broken things, started many craft projects, finished almost none, made baby quilts for my friends' babies, gone back to school for real this time (which sucks I'll just say ;) ), and maybe there's more. I mean I'm sure there is. I am a few short years from teaching my own daughter how to drive...and it reminds me of that time in my life. Having done all of that above, I know there's so much more to do. The best thing I can hope to do is to raise a daughter who is strong, independent, capable, caring, considerate and empathetic. Raising teenagers is fun y'all. No lie.

That's right - a homemade hippie-ish dress
and Dr. Martens - because I was awesome!


And finally, I've learned that we have all faced something unpleasant at one time or another. Mine is no worse than yours, I can't judge you on your unpleasant things and try to one up you. I want to live a happy life. If someone is having a bad day, I don't want that to influence my day. Selfish? Maybe. Probably. But I'm not responsible for you. I can't fix what's upsetting you. I can fix me. I can take care of me. I don't want to be down and depressed and angry. When my friend and I went through our divorce, we had an aquaintence who was that way. She would COMPETE with the bad. "Your aunt is dying? Well I hate my job." (an actual quote from the wretchedly unhappy person...) Who wants to BE like that? Not me! 

So what are your goals for the next 35 years? What are you most looking forward to, besides the end of this blog post? :) Thanks for reading!

April

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'd like to request a do-over please?

Seriously? A do-over...for this past day/week/month? The other day I was driving home, and I was thinking about how great it was to be a young adult, living at home, with few responsibilities. Man I used to hate drying the dishes and peeling the potatoes. Potatoes ... AGAIN?

But seriously - peel potatoes, dust & vacuum, and dry dishes and shut your stinking pie-hole, you complaining teen. Just wait...see how life will be once you hit adulthood. Wait till you have a child who depends on you. Wait till that child breaks your heart multiple times, and yet - they still depend on you, and somewhere deep down, I'm sure they still love and admire you?

Some days are just harder than others. Some days I think about going back to bed. This was one of those days. As it turns out, maybe it would've been for the best? I'm the one that many come to with their problems and concerns. I love being that for them. But when I get down, I don't know who I can go to. There are a few people, but I mostly just want to hole up within myself, in my home, and be left alone. I don't want to DO anything for ANYONE.

I just want a break. Please.

Sorry for the moody, melancholy, sad post. Spring needs to hurry.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Deep thoughts…by April



I’m sitting here listening to this: http://tinyurl.com/buuzjz5 and I think I’ve figured out that Jack Handey guy. (If you don’t know who Jack Handey is, click here: http://tinyurl.com/bpj8v3q )


Here in Kansas, we just had over 2 feet of snow dumped on us in less than a week. What fun! Winter has finally arrived and it’s almost March. Wait, what? Tomorrow is March 1st. I spent 4 hours shoveling and cleaning snow off of everything I might need to walk on around my house. That gives you a lot of time to think and pontificate ;)


So what kinds of random thoughts went through my head? Oh, I don’t know – things like:

  • Wow, I have been shoveling snow by myself at this house for six years. That’s right – I’ve been a single mom for 6+ years. Holy snikes. Look at me go!
  • Sometimes it would be nice to be a renter.
  • To the neighbors with no name because they’re asshats ~ your father would NOT be proud of how you’ve taken care of his house (and I still have the picture so suck it!).
  • I’m pretty impressed with how much Peanut has been helping me out today. Look at her go.
  • Maybe I should have left the gloves on after all.
  • Looks like those cute boots weren’t water proof after all.


Tomorrow marks a milestone of sorts for me. Fifteen months smoke free. Holy crow. I can do it.

Thanks for reading – all three of you! :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

You can’t be serious…





Oh but you can, and you are. I’m trying really hard to be patient and nice. It’s generally NOT in my nature to be an overbearing bitch but seriously…after a week of this, I am over being nice.


Peanut was diagnosed in 2nd grade with ADHD. (Before anyone goes spouting off with judgy comments, save them. She was evaluated; I went through other options such as diet, etc. before choosing to try medication for her…save that shit for someone else ok!)

Now… she was on one medication for 3 years with no trouble. Grades were excellent; side effects were minimal to non-existent. She is smaller, but she will most likely be smaller because her dad’s family is short. Then she started to develop a bald patch on her head. We were off to the doctor who pulled up the other not-so-common side effects list and there it is – can cause hair loss. I immediately took her off of the medication. She felt somewhat out of sorts because she depended on it to keep her focused and on track. 


The doctor wanted her off medication for at least one month. I wanted to see how she would do off of it permanently. She was off for three months when it was time for the back-to-school doctor visit. The doctor prescribed a newer medication. I took it to get it filled but was told they couldn’t fill it till the doctor authorized it. (Does anyone else understand why this makes no sense? I’m bringing you a prescription SIGNED by the doctor….)


The doctor’s office said maybe the insurance would fill it if she tried 2-3 other things first, since that medication is newer. Great – guinea pig my kid. No thanks. Fast forward six months – she’s doing great in school, but not so great at home. Let’s see what our options are. We go back to the doctor to discuss options and medications to see if that helps. Here is where it gets fun folks.


I took her on a Friday afternoon. The doctor handed me two slips – one for ADHD medication, one for eczema cream. The upcoming weekend was her dad’s weekend, and he’d be by to get her around 4 (maybe) so I didn’t fill it on Friday. I dropped the prescription off Monday. The pharmacy tech told me he couldn’t fill it without prior authorization from the doctor. So he was going to fax the form to the doctor’s office. Cool. Sweet. I’ll check back. I called on Wednesday. No dice. No prior authorization. They were still waiting on the doctor’s office. I called the doctor’s office. “Someone in our office handles those.”


MMM kay….So I called the pharmacy on Friday. Nothing. Oh and P.S. lady – the eczema cream you wanted – we don’t have it, but we can fill it tomorrow…for $129. $129!? For a TUBE OF CREAM!? No. Isn’t there a generic? Well dear customer, if you want a generic, you’ll have to call your doctor and ask them to prescribe one. (I remember when generic medications were the norm and were given out instead of the name brand…you had to request the name brand…)


So another call to the doctor’s office – who directed me to call the insurance company to find out what generic medications are covered by them (you’ve got to be effing kidding me with this shit right!? Oh you’re not kidding. Well f*** you.)


And it’s now Monday. One week later. Neither medication has been filled but OH have I called people! I called the insurance and spoke to a woman who was so empathetic (sarcasm) … she checked their system re: eczema cream. Oh look – I can order it in my system and it’s only $102, not $129… ONLY $102. Let that one sink in a moment ok. In regard to the other medication, the doctor has to authorize it…she doesn’t show it has been processed by the doctor so I should call them.  Great. I’ll CALL THEM! OK – here’s a number you should have them call to process it. GREAT. THANK YOU!! So I called the doctor and left a message. Then I called the pharmacy to see if the prior authorization had been processed by them. No. GREAT! So I called the someone who processes the requests and left a voicemail…that’s 2 voicemails so far in one hour. The doctor’s office called me back finally to tell me that they never received the fax from the pharmacy. GREAT!! So I called the pharmacy BACK again….and asked them to MAKE sure this is taken care of today.


So……the only thing that has been accomplished besides my raised blood pressure was phone calls. What a fantastic Monday. Who says healthcare needs an overhaul?! It’s absolutely perfect folks.