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Words Hurt

handwritingTo say that people on the internet are annoying me this year is an understatement. I took a Facebook break on my personal page because the judgmental and negative attitudes were too much and took a toll on me. Staying away from that feed has made me a happier person. I was content to stick with being active on Twitter while I work on my manuscript. After the Oscars on Sunday, even the judgmental and negativity reigned from Joe Schmoe to celebrities. I’m guessing everyone missed the Jimmy Kimmel bit before the changeover from the red carpet show to the awards show. Glass houses, people.

When I worked for the YMCA back home, one of the things I had to include in lesson plans was teaching my kids what we called the 7 Be’s: Be Honest, Be Healthy, Be Helpful, Be Caring, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Your Best. What I saw online fit none of those Be’s. Rudeness and outrage was directed at Kim Novak and John Travolta without hesitation in massive amounts. There was also snark for some of the performances.  I just felt like I was watching crabs in a bucket trying to pull everyone down rather than helping each other. You wouldn’t want the same comments directed towards you on social media, would you?

Yes, let’s cruelly mock the eighty-one year old woman who had to conform to Hollywood standards or be ousted from the business. We want women to be natural, but when they are natural, we are taken aback at their gall. There is a constant double standard for women in our society. Be beautiful at any age no matter the cost, but if you become obvious about it we’re throwing you under the bus with a spotlight on you. I think one person put it best on Twitter that we are “morally bankrupt” while another person called it “penalizing women for aging”. Do we see the same comments about the aging male actors who dye their hair black to cover the grey? Would everyone have made the same comments about Kim Novak knowing she’s been through treatment for breast cancer and was in a horse riding accident recently?

Travolta flubbed while introducing Idina Menzel. She wasn’t even done performing and a new Twitter account for Adele Dazeem was up and running. I woke up Monday morning to name generators from big websites on how John Travolta would say your name. I was sickened when one of our local new stations used it on air Tuesday. It’s amazing how many other people flubbed while reading the teleprompter, but everyone glommed onto his flub. Does it really matter that he didn’t get Idina’s name right? I spent over twenty years having my maiden name completely slaughtered by Mainlanders. Even at my high school graduation when the person announcing the names got to practice it during graduation rehearsals. The really scary part is whenever a star flubs or makes no sense during these live awards shows we chalk it up to them being drunk or high. I’ve been guilty of making the same assumption, but I try to keep it to myself or say it in private, not broadcast it to EVERYONE on the internet.

Guess what? Travolta has dyslexia. How do you feel about his flub now?

I really don’t know what is up with the comments about the performances. As a singer, I enjoyed them all and found them much more consistent than the performances on the Grammy’s. I love “Happy” and play it often when I deejay. U2 can do no wrong in my eyes. I never heard of Karen O or heard “The Moon Song” until Sunday. As a musician and deejay, I always keep an open mind when hearing new music. P!nk and Bette Midler brought tears to my eyes with their tributes. Then, Idina Menzel blew me away with her performance. I love listening to all kinds of music, but there is something about a voice trained to perform on stage that grabs hold of me and whisks me around the dance floor.

If it weren’t for the fact that Twitter keeps me connected to other authors and to followers in a better manner than Facebook, I would probably give up social media altogether. You can sit there and say that we should just shake it off because it’s just the internet. It’s an internet where people spend increasingly more time and where there is a very real person behind the words we read on the screen. It’s an internet that gives us the perfect opportunity to connect with the world and make friends, but there is so much fighting, finger pointing, and attacking that the potential is lost. It’s a shame.

I work daily to be caring, respectful, responsible, and my best. I don’t always say the right thing, but I strive to because I truly want a kinder world and Gandhi said to be the change we want to see in the world. I think about what I typed before I send it out. It’s not an editing to make myself look good to the world, but a self-check of is this kindness and/or edification? It’s easy to give to in to the initial reaction without checking it. It’s easy to sit back and make judgments on what we see on TV, read on websites, catch on social media, or witness in real life and comment on on social media. It’s just as easy to keep it to ourselves or to respond with something kind instead of negative.

As a writer, I have to choose my words carefully when writing, editing, and re-writing to make sure everything fits right. Wouldn’t it be great if we all chose our words carefully in a manner that would make others feel better about themselves rather than feeling like they are less than human. The truth is we don’t know the whole story when we make these snarky remarks and yet we make them and hurt others with our words. Remember the saying from childhood, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? It’s wrong. It’s a front to appear strong, to deter our verbal assailant, to will it to be true. Words hurt in the worst way. A bruise fades and a broken bone mends, but the wrong words haunt for eternity.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Patience Is A Virtue Not Being Taught

A butterfly from the Butterflies of Japan exhibit

I was introduced to Krohn Conservatory’s yearly Butterfly Show last year when it was Butterflies of Japan.  Chaz and his chado friends were asked to do tea demos during special night of the exhibit.  I was glad I went in to take pictures when I did because I wound up being recruited to help make the matcha and serve samples during each of the demos.  I didn’t get a chance to just hang out and watch all the butterflies. Nor did I get a chance to take pictures of the demos since I was so busy serving tea and the accompanying sweets.

I’ve found myself with several weekend days off lately to enjoy time with Chaz.  This is very rare that we both

Blue Morpho in flight, the only time you can see their pretty colors.

have a day off together. I asked him on Sunday if he would want to go to the Butterflies of Brazil exhibit at the Conservatory before it ends later this month.  He just kinda hemmed and hawed.  I took that as a no and planned to go on my own.

I saw a bus pulling away and group of kids out front as I drove around back to park. There was another group arriving as I walked around. I thought to myself, “Oh great. I came at the wrongtime.”  One of the volunteers mentioned that there were two school groups and that every weekday they had school groups coming through.  Well, I guess there isn’t a right time.  Crowded on the weekdays and crowded on the weekends when parents are carting their kids

Butterflies were all over people.

around to keep them busy.

I admit, I freaked out walking into the exhibit with a bunch of screaming kids running around. First off, if people are coming in my home (however temporary it may be) I don’t like them screaming.  Secondly, I remember butterflies landing on the ground last year and with kids running around not paying attention to what is on the ground, I feared for their safety.

What I observed other than the screaming and running, was a lot of grabbing and trying to climb into foliage to get to the butterflies.  By the kids andadults. I can understand kids getting caught up in the

This one kept flying around. It finally stayed in one place long enough for me to snap this.

excitement. But, the adults, too?  I even witnessed a grandmother screaming at her grandson to stop screaming. I was more taken aback by her screaming than his. Probably because his blended in with all the other kids screaming.

I had quite a few butterflies landing on me while I was there.  Even though I was taking pictures, I was quiet and still in one place for long periods of time. Quite the opposite of the chaos whirling around me. I even had a kid grab one off my arm and then ask if she could take it. The butterfly wasn’t happy and flew back on my arm and held on tighter. I could feel the pinching. Then, the kid grabbed for it again!  Aiya.

It made me wonder if any of the adults had prepared the children for the exhibit.  How to be still, quiet, and patient. Or even try a little empathy of, “How would you like it if someone came to your home running around, screaming and grabbing at you every 10 seconds?”  I’m pretty sure most of the kids there would have said they wouldn’t like it. They were old enough to process that. In fact, many times I had to control my urges to say just that to the kids running around grabbing at the butterflies around me.  I even wanted to tell them if they’d just be still, be quiet, and be patient, the butterflies would come to them and hang out for a bit.

Patience is just not something you see anymore.  There is no need with our society today.  Fast food.  Cheats on video games.  Microwave meals.  Ready-to-wear clothes.  Call ahead seating.  Instant messages.  FASTPASS at Disney so there is no more waiting in long lines for many of the rides. There really is no incentive to be patient in this culture.  I find that sad.  We lose the joy of actually making things from scratch, be it in the kitchen, garage or craft room and passing our knowledge on to the next generation. We miss out on creating fun moments waiting in lines with friends/family.  We lost respect for others (and other living organisms) because our lack of patience means we put ourselves first.

We forgot that it is okay to be still and be quiet and to teach that to the next generation.

 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Integrity

 

Sakura

 

Integrity is one of those things that is hard to define, hard to grasp, but easy to see when someone has it or not.

My concept of integrity has to do with the bushido code, also known as the seven virtues of the samurai. Duty, Benevolence, Honesty, Loyalty, Courage, Respect, and Honor.  These were things we had to reflect upon while folding our hakama or our sensei’s hakama.  The hakama is the pleated skirt-like pants you see some martial artists wear or you see the samurai wear in movies.  If you look closely, there are seven pleats, one for each virtue.

I know a lot of people with integrity whether they are purposeful about it or not.  I never really thought about being purposeful about it even though I was.  I just didn’t have a handle on the concept of integrity.

Now I make even more conscious decisions before I act.  How will this reflect upon me and my character?  Will this benefit others or just me?  Does this affect someone else negatively?  Will I have to choose between two friends or two sets of friends?  Will I be honoring others when I do this?  Would my grandparents be proud of my choice if they were here with me?  Am I demonstrating respect with this action?  Am I standing frozen in fear or am I moving forward and not letting obstacles get in my way?  Is this the right thing to do?

One of my friends and fellow aikidoka, I’ll call him Exodus, always told me when we were working together that I needed to lower my expectations of others so that when they disappointed me, it didn’t seem so bad.  It’s sound reasoning, but difficult to do.  I have a hard time fathoming how people live life without integrity.  I could put on my psychology hat and come up with explanations according to psychological reasoning.  Even with those answers, I still wouldn’t get it.

Jesus said it best though, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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