There's a family in my neighborhood who are, how can I say this nicely...real D-bags. We're talking milking the system, cops there weekly, proven to be linked to criminal activity, loud, street arguing, fist-fighting on the front lawn and disruptive types of people. Those who know me know that I say hello to everyone when I am out for
walks, especially in my own neighborhood. Though I won't go into
details, the adults in this household make it clear that they want
nothing to do with us or anyone else in the neighborhood except the house
across the street from them in which their relatives reside (the other D-bags but
add to the aforementioned list: drug dealers). To each his own but I still say hello, particularly to the kids who are much more receptive to friendly gestures.
In the household, there are three (or four or five depending on the day) children middle school age and under. Over the last year and a half I have witnessed these children start talking and behaving more and more like the adults that surround them. I have witnessed the older one using language that could melt paint off a car. Cursing worse than a truck driver, demeaning the younger ones and ranting with such anger it is heartbreaking. I see glimmers of hope when they are outside simply playing like children. If only they had someone, anyone that would take them under their wing and give them the chance of fostering the growth of that beautiful childlike side of them that still exists.
Yesterday, the middle school boy was outside by himself playing basketball. This poor kid often looks so sad, lonely, and sometimes angry. I had run outside to bring the garbage can out to the curb before the truck got to my street. Still in my pajamas and just focused on my task at hand, I hear an enthusiastic "Hi!" being shouted my way. Looking down the street it was the boy waving with a big smile on his face. I waved back with a "Hi. How are you today?" The boy said he was good and then went back to shooting hoops but now with a slight smile on his face. There was another day that I was working in the front yard and the kids were riding bikes. He went out of his way to bike over and say hi. All I have ever been able to do is say "hello" and "how are you?" with a smile on my face when I see him and the other kids. That little bit of positivity brings out the good in such impressionable children. Sadly, such little gestures are not likely to counteract the negativity that surrounds them, but there is still hope and with proper attention they could turn out okay. I know that the family would not allow me to engage the children any more than I already do but I will continue to show them a friendly smile no matter what. I know that I am planting small seeds of positivity and I want to do that, especially for the boy. I hope that at some level this kid knows I am rooting for him.
(By pray I mean any sort of positive thoughts, vibes or mojo, and by enemy I'm even including people that irritate you or are on your bad side temporarily.)
Why would you want to pray for someone you don't particularly like? Because it is incredibly healing and helps both you and that person. Better karma to boot!
This is a lesson I learned years ago but I admit I often have to remind myself
to do it since it's certainly not always easy and is much easier to ignore. Now, I'm not talking about praying for a flat tire for the person who directed their road rage at you. I
am talking about praying that whatever is triggering their road rage
dissipates so they have no further need to explode and flip people off.
Ironically, I learned this idea from a former coworker who was really irritating. You know the type of person who always "one ups" you? That was her. No matter what someone else talked about, she's done it and it was twenty times more exciting. If you went kayaking on a nice calm river, she kayaked during a typhoon and saved a drowning muskrat in the process. She would steel the spotlight in every conversation. Irritating? Very. One day, she told me how she would pray for the people she liked the least because it was a good thing to do. I thought about it for a while and decided to give it a try. I began including her in my prayers and it surprisingly helped me gain empathy for her. Perhaps she felt inadequate and needed to boost her own ego. Perhaps no one in her family ever let her tell her stories and she jumps on the opportunity to share her life's adventures with people. Perhaps she grew up in a family that didn't teach her good communication skills. Whatever the reason, I prayed she would feel better and learn good conversation manners so others would not be turned off by her. After praying for her a few times (first begrudgingly, then with more ease), her "one up-ing" didn't trigger irritation in me anymore. Nice bonus, right?
Isn't that a much nicer way to live? Praying for positive things to happen to people, friend or foe? Give it a try. It doesn't really take much time or effort and you might be surprised at the outcome.
I'm posting this for all of
us that read the "I can't believe how quickly I've gotten the baby
weight off" posts on message boards and think "sheesh, what the heck is wrong with me and
my jiggly body?" I was overweight pre-getting-knocked-up. I put on
close to 60 pounds during pregnancy. I'm many weeks
postpartum and I still have some of the baby weight on my already fluffy
I'm big. I'm curvy. I'm voluptuous. I have more to hug. I
know it's going to take a lot more time to, not only lose the baby
weight, but to also get my fitness swerve back on and reach my goal
weight again. And that's okay!
I'm also happy. This body put on weight to help grow this beautiful, perfect and healthy child sleeping in my arms. These larger-than-ever breasts nourish her. These jiggly arms cradle her. This close-to-double chin gives her a safe spot to nuzzle. This extra layer of fat keeps her warm when she snuggles up.
The weight will come off and my muscles will have strength and definition again. In
the meantime, I will love every extra inch of this body between now and
goal because it belongs to me and my baby. I am no less of a person
because there is more of me.
Seriously, my life recently got much more awesome. That's right: more awesome... because of her:
Photo and child are mine. No one has permission to reproduce, use, or copy this image. Cloning of this child is also prohibited. She's seriously awesome but she is one of a kind. As much as you might want to, cloning of this kid will not be allowed, no matter how awesome of a scientist the scientific community claims you to be. (I'm so serious about this, I ended a sentence in a preposition and did not correct it.) Okay, you have been warned. Carry on.
Just over a month before the baby's estimated date of arrival. Currently, it totally wants to bust out of my upper stomach alien-style. It is also practicing some serious MMA fighting techniques with my bladder. Pregnancy is certainly interesting.
What people don't realize is how you present yourself to the world affects how the world views you. Sure, other droopy-pants friends think they look just fine, but there are a lot more people in the world viewing you. Of course, people should not judge by appearance alone, but we naturally perceive things first by appearance. That is the first thing we know about a person: how they look/dress/walk/talk. Story after story on the news about kids in thug-wear committing crimes helps you form a subconscious (and often conscious) correlation between thug behavior and thug wear. Then you see someone wearing a hoodie and pants half down their ass, your mind will bring up the conditioned connection. Of course, a person's character and actions are a much better gauge of who they are but we see half their ass first and start to form a preconceived idea from that.
This certainly applies to other forms of dress as well: Dressing like a hooker, wearing dirty work clothes to anywhere other than work, mixing hot pink pants/chartreuse shirt/purple blouse/one plaid/one paisley shoe/three hats/47 bangle bracelets, walking around naked at the park. I just used the hoodie/droopy pants as an example because of current events.
(note: the thug pic above is an actual thug. Surveillance video still of a liquor store robber.)
Though I do believe reading is reading and any reading is good, I am disheartened (and slightly disturbed) that most of the books adults are going crazy about are ones that are written for adolescents and teens.
Harry Potter: age range: 9-11
The Hunger Games: 12-17
Certainly didn't see such enthusiasm of people grabbing copies of Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" or tweeting how every needs to read Jonah Lehrer's "Imagine: How Creativity Works."
Do you think this is a reflection of society?