Becoming Free Thinkers In A Society Of Sheeple

 

Zazzle bumper sticker

In a society of Sheeple, we spend more than 90% of our lives doing what we are told. We follow because we are taught to follow, not to lead. No matter what we decide to do with our lives, we will always have someone who is telling us what to do, when to do it, why we need to do it, how to do it, and where we should be doing it.

We are taught from the moment we can talk until we start Kindergarten, that asking questions is the best way to learn about something that we do not know. At some point while we are in school, that awareness changes from it’s ok to ask into shut up, sit down, do as I tell you, and stop asking questions. It becomes the life-long version of; “Because I say so, that’s why.”

 
Every parent dreams of having a unique child, right up until that precise moment when the teacher sits you down and explains that your child just won’t behave like the other children. You are told that your child will never be able to function in a healthy society when they are adults because they cannot seem to follow along like the other children do. You are then advised to get your child checked out by a medical professional to be medicated for the mental defect your child has that keeps them from doing as everyone else does. With or without a medical diagnosis or pharmaceutical medication; your child is now officially labeled as “different”, “unable to follow simple directions”, a “trouble-maker”, “difficult”, “learning impaired”, and “unteachable.”

I know this scenario very well from my own childhood. I could never really follow along with what everyone else was doing. The teachers always said that I had potential but, that I was basically a dreamer. They insisted that I will never accomplish anything worthwhile, because I just couldn’t do what I was told to do. My father’s word for that was, “stupid”. He didn’t realize, much like the teachers who were trying to teach me, that I wasn’t a follower. I couldn’t learn like the others because some of what they were teaching me I knew was bullshit. Some of what was being taught wasn’t advanced enough and I got bored easily because of it. And some of what was going on had to do with the terrorism I was experiencing at home on a daily basis. In other words, for me to be able to succeed in learning I needed to be taught the things I didn’t know by someone who was willing to learn what they didn’t know from me.

 

When I had my own children I did what every other parent does, enrolled them in a public school. My daughter started in Kindergarten and my son started in Pre-school. I was the epitome of school-mom. I drove them to school and picked them up every day, from the exact moment my daughter got bullied on the bus by a much bigger and older girl who wouldn’t be reprimanded by the school or bus driver because well… there was no way the driver could possibly watch the road and see the bullying that was going on, so it never happened. I went up to the school every day at lunch to eat with my children and their friends. I participated in all field trips and events pertaining to the education of my children. I sent snacks for their classes, hand-made snacks… that was allowed in that school, not like in so many others these days. I helped my children with homework every single night before bed. I worked just as hard if not harder in school as my own children did.

It didn’t take long to find out that my daughter had a reading problem because she had a seeing problem. From birth she had an eye that is blind. (Now they know it to be astigmatism, lazy, a congenital cataract, smaller jagged pupil along with the blindness.) Everything she “sees” from that eye is too blurry to really make anything out. So after eye exams, she got glasses. The glasses did nothing to help her reading problem though, so she was enrolled in a special class to help her with reading. Yet, Kindergarten through 2nd grade she struggled to read. Come to find out, right before we moved out of that school district, that her reading teacher was a nasty ogre of a woman who enjoyed bullying children by yelling at them for not being able to read. When I brought this to the attention of the principal and the teacher herself, they decided to go down the road that I was a bad parent because my daughter had missed several days of school that year. Why did she miss several days? Because she had recurrent bouts of tonsillitis which eventually led to the doctor removing her tonsils. Every single absence my children had were excused, since I had the medical documents to prove it. But, when it came down to the wrong doing, the school preferred to blame someone else instead of addressing the real issue, a teacher who doesn’t belong teaching.

This did not deter me though, because I still had faith in the school system. After all, I went to school and I graduated from school. It is what everyone does, right? It wasn’t until we moved to another state and both of my children were diagnosed with disabilities did another issue come up. We were new to the area and new to these illnesses my kids were diagnosed with (just finding out my daughter had Hashimoto’s and my son was moderately/severely deaf) and therefore we needed to have them seen by specialists. Well, needless to say to any parent who has dealt with a disabled child, seeing specialists in a Children’s Hospital is a very time-consuming event. And since these hospital’s see an entire city’s worth if not state’s worth of children, the appointments are limited and you go when they tell you or you don’t get seen period.

Once again I found myself being harassed and blamed by a school official for my children’s absences. Although there I stood with doctor documentation in my hands, I was still threatened and bullied by someone who I am supposed to trust to teach my children. I had had quite enough of that after only 2 months of them being in school, and considered homeschooling. While in the local library researching the state laws on homeschooling, I ran into a woman who homeschools and wrote a book. It was a sign! After speaking with her, my mind was made up and my children were pulled out of public school the following Monday by certified letter.

It took less than a year for me to find out that my children and I were not the “schooling” kind. And the longer I chose to teach my children in my home, the more my family, who was not living anywhere nearby to us nor knew anything about what we were doing or going through, worried. Why? Not so much because I wasn’t a licensed teacher, although that did come up occasionally, but because it was not the way that the world expects you to do things. I was stepping far outside of the norm and that scared the Hell out of them. However, the more I researched, read, and practiced this “unusual” way of learning; the more I found out that we were not a homeschooling family but actually what is known as an unschooling family. My beliefs about how a person learns, fell into the unschooling category perfectly, unlike the more religious reasons most homeschoolers have. So instead of forcing my children to learn subjects by grade level or solely what I believed in, we starting turning everything in our daily lives into a learning experience.

The more I unschooled my children and myself, the more we thrived in learning and as a family. In aiming to teach my children, I have been taught. We learn everything that we’ve always wanted to learn and we do it together, each one of us interchanging between student and teacher. We don’t believe that you can only learn certain things at a certain age. If we want to know about something, we learn about it. There are no whines, complaints, or not doing of the work because it isn’t work and it isn’t school… it is life, our life, and not one second of it is wasted. Every single moment of every single day spent learning freely without restrictions and timetables. Learning all that the world and life has to offer us by becoming free thinkers in a society of Sheeple.

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Chilling For A Friday Moment

Google Image

A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

After The Storm Passes

Google Image. Vinyl designs by CJ

My last post really had several people concerned. I appreciate the comments and the messages and those of you who basically got a slap in the face wake-up call with that post.

I assure you all though that I am fine, the kids are fine, and my dogs and husband are all fine. No pun intended. Seriously, unlike my last post states we really are fine.

 

This isn’t the first time that some of you have seen me fly off the handle like I did yesterday. In fact, many of you who have known me for some time now, know all too well how hot-tempered I can be. And although I was angry when I wrote the post I assure you, I have had time to calm down and work through those overwhelming feelings and emotions.

 

I also want to say that, unfortunately anger is an emotion that must be expressed on occasion or it will do more damage later on to others and ones own self. It is a very explosive and extremely volatile emotion and as you all know, it had built up like a pressure cooker inside of me. If I hadn’t closed the lid so tightly and let some of the steam escape occasionally, I may have been able to stay calmer and have kept a cooler more level head instead of blowing up like an atom bomb.

 

The post I wrote, wasn’t meant to upset those who really do care and check in on me frequently. It wasn’t aimed at any one person specifically. In a nutshell, it was directed at society as a whole. It was a “Wake the fuck up people you aren’t the only ones struggling!” type of message. Which I admit, I most certainly could have portrayed my feelings in a less demanding and ignorant manner.

 

We have become a society of immensely selfish people. We allow our lives to be entirely consumed with so much trivial bullshit that we cannot possibly think of anyone else and how their lives may be turning out for them. We quickly jump from one thing to the next without stopping and realizing that even though we have moved on from the sadness and empathy we had once felt for a friend, that maybe they were still not over the thing that they had went through. (Example: my sister’s death and my family’s health and financial situation.) We are so quick to forget about our grieving friends feelings and if they don’t constantly remind us about their situation, it slips to the back of our minds. The more time that passes the more we believe they are no longer hurting and it not only shocks us but often time annoys us that they haven’t “moved on” yet. But, that is not how some of us see it and those of us who are on the receiving end often times get angry because our friends have left us stuck in time when they swore they’d always be there. We feel abandoned and neglected. As time continues to pass, we often feel alone because the world just kept on spinning while we stood there dizzy in need of assistance. We don’t want to ask for help because we don’t want to be a bother to anyone and we get angry because no one ever needed to ask us for help we just did it. It becomes a vicious cycle that many don’t break until after they have lost many people from their lives. And even then it may still  continue.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as everyone else. As I was writing my last post I knew exactly what it was I was saying, feeling, and projecting. I also know it came off very childish in a whole temper-tantrum sort of way. I was screaming for attention and oh boy did I get it.

 

But not only in the ways you might imagine. Letting all of that anger and emotion out really helped me to see things in a different light. I realized after writing it that I am not the same person I was before as I thought I was in my post. I’m really not that depressed, weak-minded, angry person anymore. I know you are shaking your head at me, like wtf is she talking about…the post was full of depression, anger and weakness.

 

Yes, it surely was. I thought it was all that built up stuff coming out and once I could calm down enough to reflect I realized how much of the past 7 months were actually anything but anger, depression and weakness on my part. Regardless if I was truly feeling and dealing with the emotions or just flitting back and forth between them, I did have many more happy and content days than I did depressed and angry days.

 

I have gone through a lot in the last year and a half and my writing reflects that. I know I don’t need to tell any of you who have been by my side throughout it all. What I learned in this experience was that I can no longer hold things in and just wait hoping they go away. I also learned that I have a good handful of online people, be it family or friends, who support me more than I was aware of or wanted to admit. Also, that I am a writer and as such I have to write. It doesn’t matter if I am a paid writer or if I am nothing more than a blogger with a never realized dream… I HAVE TO WRITE! So, the best thing for me to do is give you all smaller doses of my mind more frequently, instead of bombarding the world with larger doses all at once like I did yesterday. Not only is it better for all of you it is better for me too.

 

So thank you all for bearing with me through my ups and downs. Thank you for reaching out to me and letting me know you care. And above all, thank you for always allowing me to be who I am, even when I am not on my bestest behavior.  Nothing in this world feels better than the love I have felt in the last couple of days from those of you who prefer me just the way I am. I can now move on with my head held higher just knowing that I do indeed have  several shoulders to lean on if I just reach out for them.

 

Oh and before I end this, I’d like to give a special shoutout to my new readers and followers. Thank you for joining me on what was a very difficult day in my life. I hope you stick around and continue to ride with me on this crazy ride that is my life.

I’m Fine. Really.

One misconception people have of me is that I don’t pull any punches when it comes to verbalizing the way that I feel. I say many things that others wouldn’t say, that is true. But, I do pull punches, I do censor myself, I do internalize a lot of how I feel until it’s been pushed far enough down where I can go out in public again and not be an utterly incomprehensible asshole… so to speak.

 

But, because I do this I end up feeling more stressed out than I should. And right now I am in Stressville eating from the Stress Buffet and praying that nobody says a fucking word to me for fear that I may completely lose my mind, my temper, and my lunch! However, since so many really want to know what is on my mind… let me break it down for you.

 

I’m freaked out. I didn’t expect to fall back into a depression. I didn’t expect to go from being an optimist who helped others rise up into the light, to just rapidly decline back into what it was I had fought so hard to get out of the beginning of last year… a dark abyss of nothingness and despair.

 

Last year; despite everything that happened,  I was optimistic. I was hopeful. I was happy. My happiness hasn’t entirely been depleted yet but my optimism and my hopefulness have just about been sucked right the hell out of me.

 

I had pushed through grieving my sister rapidly, choosing to bury myself in writing instead of dealing with that whole ordeal. Then there was the family and friends I lost. I shook that off and kept on my journey, never looking back. Then in October, there was my breast issue. Again, I picked up the pieces and ran off towards my vision.

 

Despite all I had gone through in a short period of time, my descent didn’t officially begin until the week of New Year’s Eve when I spent 3 days in the hospital with my daughter. She was very ill and it was then when I began to notice how very mentally exhausted I was. It was when I had time to really think about life and death and everything in between. I had a chance to slow down enough to realize what was going on with me. And of course, I was worried out of my mind about losing my daughter.

 

Everything I had went through had all managed to catch up with me and it had multiplied into something that I clearly wasn’t prepared for or capable of handling. And I’m sorry to say it has cracked me in a way that nothing else ever could.

 

I had aspirations, dreams, goals… I thought every post I wrote on Yahoo, Technorati, my blog, and guest posts were leading me to being a paid writer. I seriously believed for a good minute there that I was talented enough to make it. But, talent doesn’t pay bills when there isn’t enough work experience to get you a job. And I just don’t have that experience and now I’m afraid I don’t have that drive anymore either.

 

I cracked beyond repair at the beginning of the year when I got paid for my hard work from Yahoo. They paid me a whole $1.42 for the 8 articles I had written. My friends told me not to let payment determine my worth as a writer. But, as much as I wanted to believe them I couldn’t get past my husband’s laughter about how even Yahoo thought I was a bad writer.

 

I know, I know… I shouldn’t put so much value into words. But I am supposed to be a writer and writers use words and words are supposed to mean something very important, if they didn’t what would we need writers for?

 

The more I focused on those words the more depressed I became and my blog posts dropped off to maybe one or two a month. Because at this point who really cares if I write or if I don’t? I know I surely don’t.

 

I tried to stay strong. I made it through my sister’s deathaversary. But, more and more things began to bother me. My kids had countless doctor appointments going on and those brought up old feelings about why they were disabled. Then my husband ended up in the hospital for heart palpitations because he was completely irresponsible and drank 3 energy drinks in one freaking day. And financial issues kept resurfacing. Not enough money and too many bills, not enough food and too many mouths, not enough work and a vehicle that kept breaking down…

 

And through this all, I smiled and laughed and kept pushing it all further and further down. I kept pretending it was all ok. I kept insisting that I was strong enough to handle it all and everyone else’s problems too. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems but I took on their problems. I didn’t want to fall back into the type of person who feels bad for what is happening in their life when so many have it worse. And I know there are many out there worse off than I. Truth is though… it has been pretty bad for my family too, and the people around me have really pissed me off.

 

I have kept as much of my emotions and feelings to myself as I could throughout this entire year. I looked on the bright side as much as I could. But, all of these people with their bullshit and their “woe is me” and their “oh if only I had this”… They don’t even realize how much better they have it than my family does right now at this moment and how badly I wanted to tell them to their face. But, I didn’t and I haven’t and now I’m becoming one of them by complaining. Uff! But, I don’t care because I need to let it all out so…

 

My car died just about 4 years ago. There are no roadtrips, no vacations, no going out…I only get outside of the house when I grocery shop, which is at night once a month or less, or when the kids go to the doctor, or when one of us ends up in the hospital, or once a summer for the Festival of Nations… oh and last week we got a special trip to the Science Center. Wooo, one extra day this year that we haven’t had in 4 fucking years. My friends have either removed themselves from my life or don’t have time or live too far or don’t care or whatever they have going on. I live in a bad neighborhood. And I do mean bad, so it’s not like my kids and I can just go a-walkin’ outside and enjoy the scenery. Noooo, we get to sit inside and wait… Wait for the day when my husband (who is never home except to sleep a few hours) to have enough money to do things with us or let us go out and do things. Because to him money means power and respect and love, I guess. So because I have none to offer him I am not top priority.

 

Speaking of money, I haven’t been shopping in 4 years. I haven’t had new clothes in 4 years. I am lucky to go out to eat 4 times a year, my kids birthday’s, mine (if my husband feels like being nice to me that day) and my husband’s. (sometimes) Grocery shopping is a nightmare, I never have enough money to buy things I’d like to make, so we stick to simple and cheap recipes. Here’s another little thing that has me on edge. I quit smoking in October and not only do I now have more issues breathing but, I gained 30 pounds as well. Isn’t that great???!!! Who knew that smoking was actually de-stressing me? I guess I do now, huh…

 

Oh and while we are on stressing about weight, here’s something that keeps me awake at night. My son’s doctors are harassing me because my son isn’t at a normal weight for his age. I’ve done all I can to get my son to lose the weight; changed his diet, put him on an exercise plan. But, despite my efforts he just doesn’t understand that if he doesn’t lose the weight the state will take him away from us. How do you like that? My husband who also was told to drop weight, refuses to listen and continues to buy foods that shouldn’t be in the house. And me? Well I can’t do shit about it, short of divorcing him and moving to Alaska, or stay up all night and day guarding the refrigerator. Because lord knows I am already not sleeping anyway so why even bother trying anymore.

 

My husband and I are nothing more than roommates now. He is on the couch and I am in the bed with my daughter who hasn’t left my side since I was in the hospital in Oct. Apparently, the idea of losing me scared her so deeply that she cannot be away for me more than 5 minutes at a time since then. I spent my whole life protecting my children from the scary things in life and my daughter ends up worrying about me. That screws with me more than I can explain.

 

And as if there wasn’t enough going on, my husband had the bright idea to bring home another dog. Only this dog has major issues from being abused when she was a puppy. Now she is over a year old and still paranoid, still barks at my husband who clearly she doesn’t like, she still sleeps near me, lays on me because I am her salvation. She isn’t training at all for me. I’m losing my mind over this dog because I don’t know how to help her. She just won’t leave my side for anything. And clearly I am selfish and an asshole for wanting some space and time alone.

 

So here is the final kicker. My 9 year old pitbull, Rosko has been sick. I’m worried this could be the last of his life. My husband being the person he is may or may not take him to the Vet. And if the Vet suggests a treatment that we can’t afford well I get to sit there again with one of my babies in my arms and watch him die.

 

I am stressed beyond the imagination and meaning of the word. Yet, I get to sign on to my social networks, where I go to get adult conversations (that I don’t get from my husband or anyone else in my day to day offline life) and to clear my mind of all the shit going on in my life for a brief time… and I get to see half of the people on there complaining about how “bad” they have it. OMFG, really???!!!! Ugh. And if I say something about how shitty I feel well then I get to be told how dramatic I am being and bla bla bla… Because if things were so bad for me I’d have posted it so they’d all know, right???

 

So I drop to my knees throw my hands up towards the stars and scream, “WHY ME???” And the answer comes back…Because this is my great fucking life. This is the part of my life I don’t talk about, the part that my enemies love, and my friends ignore. The part that keeps me awake at night in tears. So please, if you would can you tell me once again how bad your life is going for you?  Because I’m fine. Really. Aren’t I always?

My Wedding’s Quinceañera

15 years ago (tomorrow), on my then 22nd birthday; my fiancé decided it would be the right time to get married. Clearly 3 years into a relationship that had already produced a daughter, was the perfect time to tie the noose… err I mean the knot.

It’s not like either one of us didn’t want to be married. Hell, we were already living as husband and wife that entire time anyway. It’s just… there were bills to be paid and a child to feed… If you really want to know the truth, we were doing our part in saving the planet by not creating superfluous paper. Sounds funny I know but, eh, it’s the least we could do for our children’s future, right?!

But seriously though, the reason’s we both had; although looking back I’m not so sure it was a “we” thing, were our reason’s and ours alone. Nobody, no matter how important they thought their opinion was, had the right to tell us when we should get married. Of course, that didn’t stop them. 37 years later in my life and those same people still haven’t stopped trying to manipulate and control me and my life. SMH!

Anyway, back to the day at hand… July 17th, my 37th birthday/wedding’s Quinceañera . Aww, I feel like I should throw it a huge party while wearing a bright multi-colored billowing dress and be surrounded by a bunch of drunken people, that may or may not be my family, and they will be gyrating and partying like it’s 1999. Because if there is one thing my anniversary/birthday is lacking, is the extravagant publicly humiliating celebration of leaving behind the innocence of childhood and diving head first off the deep end straight into the abyss of womanhood. *SIGH*

I have yet to figure out what it was that ran through my husband’s head the day he decided to forever taint my birthday with a wedding anniversary. I’m pretty certain that it was the countless bottles of booze that he ingested on the regular, but that is just too obvious an answer to be the correct one. So it must be something more diabolical; like say…I don’t know, the satisfaction he gets from knowing that I will never have another day for the rest of my life that is totally just about me! That sounds a lot more like the evil drunk I have spent my entire adult life with.

Or it could be that he was just trying to be what every woman dreams of… Prince Charming! Oh hell… now I feel bad for calling him names and being angry every single year for the last 15 years.  Way to go Jen, you fucking Romance Nazi!!!

Copyright InJensMind DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE July 17, 1997 @Shalimar Wedding Chapel Las Vegas, NV