Time Magazine Chooses….. ME TOO!!!

Time Magazine Chooses….. ME TOO!!!

Time Magazine just chose their “person of the year”. Out of several interesting choices, and a few controversial and unpopular candidates, they have chosen the women of the #MeToo movement!

What a statement that makes to the victims, the perpetrators, and to the whole world! That although most of us felt so powerless, even though we may have considered ourselves strong women, we found a voice that has been heard!

Although we may have been chastised for not “speaking up” at the time of our assaults or harassment incidents, we found a whisper. And even when we may have again been reminded of the hurt and pain each incident left with us, we were able to struggle past those scars and declare “me too”!

Shortly after my declaration of “me too” here in my blog writing, I saw something quite disturbing on social media. I noted that some individuals who may have been questioning the victims of sexual assault and/or harassment, progressed from just the occasional one-line unsupportive sentence on their Facebook page or whatever platform they fancied that day, to writing explicit, detailed opinions and their basic disrespect for women in the “me too” movement.

They were critical of their timing, accusing them of “jumping on the band wagon for attention”, and even questioning the legitimacy of their claims. I even saw that one woman on my own “friends” list said that women working with men should have known what could have happened to them because it was like going into the woods knowing there could be a bear. That there is a lot of “grey area” when it comes to male behavior. And if you were offended by any talk, pictures, or physical contact, then you were working in the wrong place.

WHAT?!?!

Then there were the women and men who claimed that if you didn’t come forward with your story within a “reasonable time” then you shouldn’t be able to make an allegations of any assault or harassment later. The time frames thrown around by these ignorant folks ranged from 30 days to 12 months.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Are we to believe since we know that some men out there are going to sexually assault you, harass you, grab you, talk to you in a disgusting sexually explicit way, that it is OUR FAULT if we choose to work with or be around all men because we should know better?!?!?

I really couldn’t believe what I was reading. Personally, I took great offensive to what these people were writing. Victim shaming all over again.

I’ve worked in mostly male dominated occupations. I wasn’t offended by most of their locker room talk, and yes, I assumed working in fields that had a higher number of men than women I was going to encounter some of the “male behavior” our society has become accustomed to. We know it, we tolerate it, and we deal with it the best we can. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it is.

BUT, when the line is crossed whether it be by male or female, and someone is groped, fondled, raped, talked to in an intentional vulgar way, or continually harassed, then there are no “grey areas”!

So, kudos to you Time Magazine! Congratulations on your choice of your “Person of The Year”. Thank you for not choosing a football player.

Thank you for NOT choosing one of the biggest pu**y grabbers in our nation!

 

 

 

Thank you from all the #MeToo people out there who deserve to be heard, deserve respect, and deserve NOT to be shamed for being a victim. And for recognizing us for making our OWN decisions on when or if we want to say anything, and what we want to say if we do.

Even if it was with #MeToo. 

 

The Life Of A Blogger With Internet Issues…

The Life Of A Blogger With Internet Issues…

Yes, the life of a blogger can be wonderfully rewarding as you get to help create stimulating conversations between folks and hopefully cause some reflection in them to assist in whatever way needed for that particular day. Blogging is also very rewarding for the writer. We get to meet new people, hear about their hopes and dreams, and also receive personal encouragement and inspiration from our readers. It’s a fantastic experience!

 

What ISN’T fantastic is when we as bloggers are faced with internet challenges! Being in the middle of an article and having your internet connection go down due to weather, the internet provider or whatever the cause is at that moment, can be very frustrating.

 

But, we remain calm (most of the time), continue to attempt to upload the precise picture we’ve been struggling to place on our blog for the past 45 mins and top off our mimosa if desired. 😊

Thank you again for being here and participating in the great growing community of bloggers and readers. I am both a blogger and a reader of other blogger’s material. Keep it up writers!

And may you have a great connection today… both figuratively and technically.  

Attitude, Gratitude and…Popcorn?

Attitude, Gratitude and…Popcorn?

What makes us grateful? What determines our daily attitude? Is it our own mood as an individual? Is that influenced by others or our environment? I would say yes to all of the above.

Recently, I’ve been pondering gratitude and attitude, but also with a little bit of popcorn on the side. Popcorn you say? Why popcorn?

Well, most of us prefer our popcorn in a specific way. Lots of butter, no butter, a little salt, dump it on, etc. But what if we are sharing that said popcorn with someone? Someone we care about. Are we willing to forgo our slathering application of liquid gold to the contained corn in order to allow the other persons own taste bud desires to be fulfilled? I would hope so. As individuals, showing our gratitude for those in our lives is extremely important, but forgotten all too often.

When we are faced with loss, death, grief, and even excitement, happiness and joy. We reflect back to those who have contributed to all of the emotions we feel, whether they are positive or challenging. They’ve helped make us who we are and we must stop at some point and alter our attitude if needed, show our gratitude, and be willing to share our popcorn.

As time with our loved ones becomes limited due to our busy lives, longevity or logistics, it becomes more and more clear to us what is really important. It’s not materialistic belongings. It’s not who was right or wrong about whatever topic, and it certainly isn’t worth potential emotional damage to anyone.

Never taking others for granted. Never losing sight of what you are grateful for and the life you are privileged to have.  And never being afraid to say you’d prefer no butter on your popcorn, but know when to compromise with a little less salt for those we love.

 Hugs to all!     

Thank You For “Me Too” Support!

Thank You….

Thank you so much for all your wonderfully supportive messages. It was so great to read all your kind words you sent me on Facebook and email about my “Me Too” article.

Some women shared personal messages about their experiences, and some without going into any detail to me, just wanted to let me know that they too had similar situations. Perhaps, like me, they just wanted to get it out. Just wanted to finally be able to say “me too” without having to explain anything.

That is what this is all about. To be there for anyone who wants to talk about it, or not talk about it. But just to know that they are not alone.

It’s an unnecessary heavy burden. But if we can all help each other carry some of it by being supportive, it just might get a little lighter for us individually.

 

Hugs to all… ♥

#Me Too…

#Me Too…

Two simple little words that didn’t really mean much to most people just a short time ago. It was a way to be part of a club, a group, a trip to the market or an expression of agreement. Me too!

Now it has become an unfortunate way for so many women who have been hiding in the shadows with their shameful experiences of sexual abuse, assault and/or harassment to finally have a voice. Even if it’s a restrained whisper of two little words.

With the recent declaration and strength of so many women standing up to join the “me too” movement, I found myself drawn to their courage. To their compassion for each other when one woman after another placed the hashtag and words “me too” on their social media pages. It wasn’t and isn’t a fad. It’s not a joke, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. When we put “me too” out there for the world to see we weren’t looking for sympathy. Unknowingly, we were looking for a community, and unfortunately, we found it.

I say we, because yes, #me too. Multiple times actually. I had some encounters in high school with harassment etc, but it wasn’t until I joined the Army as a confident, bright eyed 18-year-old girl looking to conquer the world that it really escalated for me.

For me personally after the first time I was a victim of one of the above listed incidents, I told someone. I thought I was doing the right thing. I was strong. A military squad leader. I would be listened to. Right?

I thought he would be held accountable, and that I wouldn’t feel what I felt anymore. I was wrong. I was belittled, told that I must have done something to invite such an “event”, and nothing happened to him. I can still remember the smirk on his face as he looked at me while I stood in formation at my basic training graduation

At that time, in a male dominated military culture, women were seen as the secretaries and nurses, not as soldiers and doctors. Even if we held one of those positions, we were a joke. If we excelled or by passed the men in marksmanship, academics or rank, we were considered a pushy bitch. Ambition was not an encouraged characteristic. Not much different from the outside world, but in the military if you were a victim of any type of sexual harassment or worse, it typically fell on deaf ears.

So, the naïve, but strong 18-year-old started to learn that things were going to happen, they were going to involve creepy men, and nothing was going to happen to the perpetrator. During the next couple of years, I had other times where I was a victim. I didn’t tell anyone. Why bother. Did I really want to temp my reputation as one of “those girls” who reported and got a bad name? I witnessed what happened to those girls. They weren’t taken seriously, most of them didn’t advance in their military careers, and their professional and personal reputations were tarnished.

After a certain incident where I was a victim, I told my mother. I finally had someone convince me it was not okay. It wasn’t to be tolerated, and should be reported. So, I did. I finally got the courage to report the latest occurrence. I took a chance and hoped for the best. And what happened when I finally went to my captain and told him about how my superior had made repeat uninvited and aggressive advances towards me? And that I repeatedly told him I was not interested and how he made threats to me if I refused his “affections”?

I was told I had misunderstood him, told he was having marital problems, told that I should have more sympathy for him and his children. And I was asked if I really wanted to damage the reputation of such a high ranking fellow soldier. I was shamed into silence. My report ended there that day, as did my faith that I would ever again tell anyone.

Many years passed, and as most women do, I fended off more creepy men with their uninvited advances. Then I joined the ranks of one of the most male dominated occupations out there. Law Enforcement. You would think that perhaps the “good ole boy” system had been retired by then, and men wearing badges were mostly of higher caliber than those who I had encountered over the years. Well, they were… Mostly…

My most notable incident of sexual harassment was from a higher-ranking officer. He was creepy, graphic, and I hated being alone with him. But I was new to the job, new to the organization, and I was on probation. I had recently heard of another girl who had a similar situation in a nearby office. She had reported it, and now was considered the “snitch”. Other cops didn’t want to work with her. They didn’t believe her, and her reputation as a serious police officer was forever tainted. I knew I didn’t want to be like that, but I couldn’t continue with officer creepy. I told someone “off the record”. He wasn’t surprised, and he believed me. But he did agree that if I took it further I would probably be altering my career. I didn’t tell anyone else at the office.

But I did tell someone. I did tell my mother. She had been a probation officer, and completely understood the level of harassment I had endured. She had been a “me too” as well. I told her every time I had to deal with more advances, more snide distasteful remarks, and more insinuations from officer creepy.

Then a day came when my husband was nearly killed in a car crash. It was life altering for him and everyone in our family. He was bed ridden for months and months and I put my work on hold and took care of him. During that time period my mother got sick. She got sicker and sicker and eventually passed away. I was a crumpled mess on the inside, but still had a family to raise. I took care of my husband, took care of my children, and ensured my father was okay.

 

A few weeks later I had to return to work. Back to the uncomfortable work environment I tolerated. I’m not sure if it was my grief, my exhaustion, or just the failure of my level of tolerance for this “boys will be boys” junk I was experiencing. But I put my guard down and told someone at work about officer creepy. The word got out fast. I couldn’t be trusted, I was lying, and was just another “female” looking for a quick lawsuit to win. Then the wolves really began to circle. I was accused of lying about a case I was involved in. And even with the facts in my favor, no one would believe me, no one would back me, and even the union representative told me it would be best if I just quit because even if I won, would I really want to work there? He had heard about officer creepy as well. The scoffing expression on his face said so much.

After nearly losing my husband, and actually losing my mother, my main support system throughout my life, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Officer creepy and his gang of bullies had won. I quit. I knew I was walking away without defending my reputation. I knew there were several other officers who I respected and considered friends who would now have a different opinion of me. I knew if I challenged my accusers I would win and the real truth would come out. But then what? I just didn’t have it in me.

We all have those times where we wish we could turn back time. I wish I could go back to that first abuser and we had a system in place where women were believed and supported. I wish the next time and the time after that I would have had support and human beings around me to show me that I was not at fault for being a victim. I wish at such a young and naive age I would have had someone say to the perpetrators, NO, you can’t do that. I wish that I would have felt comfortable enough to tell someone and that my job wouldn’t be affected negatively. I wish we lived in a world where the locker room talk and “boys will be boy’s” mentality didn’t allow college men to rape girls behind dumpsters and serve only 3 months of jail time. I wish we didn’t have a culture of males who consider women an entitlement for them to do with as they please.

But this is our reality. And what can we do about it?

 

Stop the culture of victim shaming! Teach our daughters that they DO have the support now. That they will be believed. That they can and should report inappropriate behavior. But also, be grateful for the men who DON’T think it’s ok. For the men who DO stop the assaults. For the men and women who DO raise their sons to respect women and girls.

Even though I didn’t have that support system in place throughout my dealings with aggressors, my hope is that my daughters and sons and others like them learn from my experiences. There wasn’t much talk about how to “prevent” female victims other than what appropriate clothing to wear, self defense etc. Our discussions were about how to deal with victims after the fact. There definitely wasn’t and still isn’t much talk about how to prevent female victims by teaching males that the behavior is not okay!

There are so many decent men in our world who don’t think the behavior that led up to “me too” is okay. Two of those men still work at that office I left. They both have daughters. It is with them and others like them, who have sons and daughters of their own, that we place our hope that they will help overshadow the creeps and support the women and girls to help make the “me too” movement unnecessary.

I do not tell my tale for sympathy. My hope is that those who are now shaming the “me too” women coming forward will know that everyone has their own story. Everyone had their reasons for not coming forward at a certain time. And everyone will hopefully get to their own level of comfort to express and share their tale if they want to. Even if it’s with those two simple words…

#ME TOO…

A Day Of Remembrance…

A Day Of Remembrance…

I was unsure how I would write this blog, or even if I ever would at some point. My mother died. It’s still hard to say that after so many years. She left behind an extremely loving husband (my father), myself and 9 of my siblings, (along with 31 grandchildren). Yes, 10 children. That’s a whole other story I’ll tell you about on a different day. But she was the strongest and most inspirational person I’ve known.

Yesterday was her birthday. She loved having her birthday in the fall, because, like me, we shared a love for autumn, Halloween, and everything about the coming of the holidays. A time to cherish your loved ones and be grateful for everything and everyone in your life. She taught me that, and I continue to carry on that belief and instill it in my children.

Typically, on her birthday I like to be by myself. I usually need to be because it’s still so hard for me to realize that she’s not coming back. I don’t know if any of you have ever thought that way? If you’ve lost a loved one, and even though you know in reality they won’t be returning, there are just some days when it’s almost like you expect them to return and you wonder what is delaying them. Like you expect to see them that day. I suppose it depends on what you believe. I know some people think days like that can be a sign your loved one is with you in spirit and making a connection with you. I like to believe that is true.

So yesterday, October 25th, was her birthday. I went on a long hike.

Just me and my cherished dog, Freesia.
The morning started off a bit cold with an extremely dense fog creeping through the town and up into the mountains where we went.
As we started our trek the fog was beginning to burn off just a little as it’s competition the sun crowded its way in.
I was able to get a few shots of the change in scenery as we climbed up to the top of the trail.

 

A nice little trail
I could definitely feel my mother with us as we made our way through the forest. ♥

 

It seemed as though the birds were following us at times.

 

Freesia’s getting a bit tired

 

Once at the top, the view was amazing! The fog still hovered over the little town and the surrounding fields, but at the top it was blue skies and warm sun that greeted us!

 

Such a wonderful hike to clear my mind of all the daily life chaos and just reflect on her.

Happy Birthday Mama