Sunday, September 30, 2012

Evolving Bullism

At fifty, I am finding that victims of childhood bullies often find themselves being bullied their whole lives... The difference is, how we are now able to handle it.  Maybe, I needed to be a victim as a child so I could stand up tall as an adult.  Maybe, it was so I could teach and protect others.  Regardless, it is interesting to me to see. a target is a target. It doesn't mean I am weak.  Nor beneath others.  It simply means, unhappy or mean people will continue to pick on those they find that are not cruel by nature.

Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender sexuality, or ability.  The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "target". 

I have written about Bullies before. Here, Here, and Here. But these are more of childhood bullied days.

As a child, my bullies were bigger than me. I was small, weak, and quietly accepting. An easy target.

This photo was taken at age 6. By a man, that molested me. He was my parent's friend.  This photo is intriguing to me.  Holding my hands, a nervous habit. No smile on my face.. a look of a frightened animal caught in her hunters glaze.  I believe the eye make up is because of a dance recital my sister and I were about to perform that evening. Haunting, but beautiful, to me.

 Today, as a middle aged woman, I continued to be pushed and pulled and threatened. This photo is more current (school photo taken last month).  I have learned to be a little more confident and have learned to be more understanding to things that have happened to me.

This week I have been "bullied" by those I love, and those I serve, as well as an over-zealous bill collector of my parents affairs.
My dad, while I know he appreciates all I do, gets frustrated at his situation, feels boxed in, or as he put it... "held up in this damn cell I have him in". He lashes at who he is closest to, which is now me.  {I am beginning to understand some of Mom's frustrations even more, and so wish she had allowed Sis & I to help more}. He was, not exactly kind to me with some rather harsh words.  Dad's behavior followed an argument with my Hubby... so I had already had enough of men in my life, telling me how things need to be.
Later in the week, I had a "friend/co-worker" feel necessary to try and hurt me.
To top it off...this same day,  I had a couple of minors try to bully me and tried to turn others against me, including making accusations that could have cost me much had anyone taken them seriously. This was immaturity at it's finest. A "child" with power struggles that wanted to show her power over authority. (but then again, as John Melloncamp has said..."I find Authority, authority always wins". Thank God!)
Seriously.  I give my heart, time, energy to these kids... To have one or two do something mean and to flat out LIE. Oh my gosh! My heart was broken.  I nearly quit.  But then again... remembering, survival skills and that I must show these young ladies as well as the ones watching... Bullying will not win. Especially with me.  Shoot.  I've had things happen to me that they can't even imagine.  God prepared me for the situations like this.  As well as putting wonderful strong anchor folks in my life that keep me up! I hid while some tears shed, got up some gumption and stood tall.  NEVER LET THEM SEE YOUR FEAR.

Some people go their whole lives without others trying to tear it down, provide pain or scars.  I am so grateful, I know some folks that have been Blessed with this.  They produce a sense of confidence that doesn't get picked into.  I may not have that kind of strength, however, I have a certain sensitivity that understands and perhaps can help others.  If nothing else, maybe I can set an example of admiration to those who get it.

Today, is a new day.  I wasn't destroyed last week.  Maybe torn down a bit, but I survived.  My head is high and I am ready for this new week.  What is it that God has in store for me?  What mountains to climb valleys to descend.  This is what I have been given, so bring it on. I am ready to inspire♥

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Healing Time

My Dad has been living at Crestwood East Assisted Living in Indianapolis for three months now.  While grieving Mom's untimely death, he has been doing extremely well considering.  I had always heard that those frist few months are so crucial to a loved one that has become widowed.

Prior to Mom's death, Dad was not doing well.  His health was declining rapidly and he was feeling a burden to Mom.  She had been his primary caretaker for so many years.  They were in "The Accident" 49 years ago, that robbed my Dad of a normal un-handicapped life. From the minute my Dad woke from his coma, my Mom vowed to take care of him.  And that she did.  Sometimes we'd scold her, as she babied him.  But, then again, he had always been a bit spoiled.  Dad was very demanding.  He had a mean streak in him.  But, he also was a very dear man, that loved her very much.

One year ago, Mom and Dad decided it was time for Dad to live in assisted living.  They were very stubborn and head strong refusing to hear of my Sister & I advice.  My Mom always turned left when I said right. Up when I said down.  It was what it was. For years, we begged her to slow down and lessen her load.  I almost had them convinced to move Pops to Indy, finding a grand place... but at the eleventh hour, Mom pulled the rug and said no.  So, Dad moved into an Assisted Living in their town.  Not one we approved, but nonetheless, a safer environment. Dad enjoyed his stay for five months.  The scariest part was the lack of any type of nursing care, whereas, if Dad fell, (which he does a lot) they can't tend to his needs.  There was also a cost issue... but we needn't go into that.

My parents moved to a "side-by-side senior apartments in April of this year.  Mom was exhausted.  Her health was a mess. She intended on being able to care for Dad here. She wasn't able to do this.  She died three weeks following their move.  Dad was now alone, without any help.
Pops 5/11/2012
This picture was taken of my Dad this past May. He looked scary old and weak. It had become very difficult to understand him.  He was not eating properly, nor was he taking his medications regularly He was on oxygen much of the time.
Pops 9/11/2012
This is my Dad now.  He looks great! He is taking wonderful care of himself now that he has a routine.  His medications have been regulated and he only uses the oxygen when he sleeps.  He LOVES the wonderful home cooked meals and as he has been "forced" to socialize, his speech has greatly improved. He is quite popular and has made friends with everyone there. He has a shower that he can easily get into (something we take for granted) and he enjoys taking pride in his appearances once again. He has changed his beard shape a dozen times, finally choosing this  GQ clean cut look.

He teases me as I am on it... no messing around. I have been a tough cookie when it comes to telling Dad what to do.  BUT... it's paying off. He is HAPPY. He is finally getting the fact that he CAN be happy. I refuse to permit him to sit in his chair and wait to die. I have showed him a taste of life he has forgotten.  We have big plans.  We are going places and doing things. And we are having a wonderful time.

I can't make everyone that promised to visit him come. That is a disappointment. But, we are done waiting, we are getting out, and don't be surprised if we come knocking on your doors to visit. He needs his friendships more now than ever.

Monday, September 10, 2012

...little things

Last night as I brushed my teeth, I was reminded of something my Dad told me recently.

He said, "it's funny because it's the little things that make him miss Mom the most".

He told me over the 50 years he and Mom were married, some things she did just drove him nuts. (I'm quite sure he did her as well). He said, he always tried to get her to squeeze the toothpaste from bottom up.  She always just squeezed it from the middle and he hated that.  He constantly found himself "fixing" the tube, curling the end tightly to get every bit of the paste.  Now that he doesn't have Mom to share the toothpaste with, it makes him sad to see the tube as he left it, and not "messed up".

I thought about all the little things my own Hubby does, that drive me crazy.  And the things I do that drive him "nuts" as well.  One day, we will miss that.

My Dad is doing amazingly well since my Mom died.  He still blames himself.  He knows he was a "burden" and his demanding needs wore her down.  No matter how hard I try to explain it wasn't his fault, I can't change what he feels.

It's funny,  Because he can't convince me either that I wasn't to blame. Mom and I had a strained relationship to say the least.  I do not blame her for that.  Her illness, her mental state, is to blame.  She was sick, and did not mean the things she did.  Still I wonder if only I had done more, forced my presence into their lives, could I have changed the outcome?  Could I have made their lives more comfortable, less stressful?  Could I have convinced her to make different choices? Could I have given her what she needed?

I realize I can't change what happened.  And I can not put myself through the should of, could of, would of's.  Still, no matter how hard I try, I feel the pain of maybe I did not do enough.  I am a strong Christian believer that accepts, only God knows the day, hour, and minute, of our deaths. Our plan is in His hands and no matter what, we must find acceptance of what He has planned for our lives.

As I struggle to move forward and grieve her death, I also have been Blessed to have a second chance with my Father.  He has been put in my hands and I have showed him what I am capable of. He is thrilled with how things are going.  He is healthier than he has been in years.  He is laughing again, and I think he actually is enjoying life again.  He does miss Mom.  But he and I are getting through this together and in the process getting very close as we once were many years ago.  I am proud of him, and I believe he is proud of me.

One thing I have learned through my Mom's death, is not to take the little things for granted.  For these things are grander than we know.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back In The Saddle...again

San Antonio Bi-Centennial Trail Ride 1976
I'm moving forward. 
Life certainly throws some interesting things at us and it isn't always easy to make the right choices.  The thing is you have to make choices and accept the consequences.  In hindsight, would we make the same choice had we known the outcome?  Who knows. 
But we have to trust in ourselves that we are doing the best we can and for me... with a little help from my friends (and family), and a lot of help from God, I am moving forward.

One year ago today, I could not imagine what was to come in the next several months. I feel a bit like a hurricane hit and I am cleaning up the after mass.  You can't expect it to come together quickly.  I have learned that all that praying for patience (my whole life) would come in handy one day.

Several times I have come to my Blog, ready to write... to vent... to heal.  But as the words flowed off the keyboard, I couldn't finish a post.  They are like broken pieces waiting to be fixed. So much to say and yet so much not to share. For the first time in a long time I felt I had to figure this out by myself.  You might say, I am different now.  I would like to say it's a good thing.  But it is also a little sad.

The above picture is a snippet of a very large photograph  taken July 4th 1976.  During one of my treasured summers in Texas, my Grandparents took me along with them on a Bi-centennial Trail Ride.  It took us 3 days to ride horseback from Austin to San Antonio. It was amazing.  If you look close, Grandma circled our faces in this photo, just left of the horse that moved his head.

Just prior to this trip, I was in an accident on my Grandmothers horse, Fancy.  I saddled her up myself.  My Grandparents always told me to knee her chest so she would exhale before strapping the breast strap.  I felt like it was cruel... I wasn't going to"kick" her with my knee.  I felt she was just fine. She wasn't.  30 minutes into my ride, she wanted to go back to the stables.  She was "done" entertaining me.  That's when I realized what my Grandparent was talking about.  She snorted a bit, causing the saddle to loosen.  She started jumping around rearing up and bucking.  The saddle started to slip and some how, my foot tangled between her side and the saddle.  I was dragged a bit, terrified to say the least.  I was so sure she would crush me. My Grandfather caught up with us and calmed her.  I was untangled and pulled to safety.  Once my scrapes were tended and we saw no serious damage.  I was thrown back on her.  Oh My God! The last thing I wanted was to ride!  But, like the wonderful Grands they were, they kept me back on her until my fear subsided and I was back in control.  (Took frickin' forever, but I finally came around... Fancy too, she was pissed!).

Life is that way.
no matter what the fear, the pain, the obstacle... we must find a way to conquer it and move forward.

Much has transpired over the past few months. I have much to share. Hopefully, I will get my comfort back as I jump back onto this saddle.