You Don’t Know Me: An Open Letter To Everyone That Tells Me I Voted Wrong

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I waited until things cooled down regarding this election before speaking about it. I let people grieve, celebrate, speak their feelings, be confused, or remain indifferent. But in the process I have been stereotyped, ridiculed, judged, and verbally attacked based on who I voted for. Now before I continue, I want everyone reading this to understand that I’m not looking for arguments, hate, or any of this “my candidate is better than yours” nonsense. I’m simply defending myself, as I feel compelled to; and hopefully sharing a new perspective on this election as a whole, and on the people who voted as I did.

I gave you your time, now it’s my turn. This is my time.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always been into politics. When I turned eighteen I was overjoyed at the fact that I could register to vote and have a say. At one point I even wanted to be New York Senator (but then I took a politics class in college and realized that maybe direct politics wasn’t for me and I was better off being a journalist and promoting change through other means; but that’s a whole other story for a whole other post). Some of the inspiration for that goal at the time came from Hillary Clinton. The idea of her running for president one day was something I couldn’t wait for. And yet, my vote in this past election was proudly for Mr. Donald J. Trump (plot twist, right?).

I believe in equality for all people, of all races, gender, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and backgrounds. So even though I’m a registered Democrat, I don’t restrict myself to only vote for Democratic candidates or side solely with a Democratic stance on issues. Because of the values and morals I have, I honestly vote for whoever I think is the better choice given the circumstances present at the time. So yes, I chose to stand with someone who wants to make America great again.

When I first found out that Trump was running for president, I had similar thoughts to all those who strongly dislike or hate him, though I didn’t have anything to go on other than what I thought I knew about him. I thought there was no way this man could have any inkling of the American people and their struggles. When I found out Hillary Clinton was running, originally I was very excited. However, as more news came about last fall regarding the deletion of emails, the careless mistakes, and most importantly Benghazi, I started researching more about her. I came to my own conclusions taking what the media said with a grain of salt; and I was not so gong-ho about her winning anymore. So as the election process began, I started paying attention.

As I said, just because I’m a Democrat I don’t restrict myself to only giving Democrats a chance. Therefore, I listened and followed the debates for both the Republicans and Democrats. I paid attention, gave each candidate the benefit of the doubt, and formed my own opinions. Truth be told, from the very first Republican debate I was leaning toward Donald Trump. It was the second they were all asked if they would run as Independent candidates if they didn’t receive the Republican nomination. Trump proudly raised his hand that he could not promise that. It was that moment that I thought well here’s a guy who isn’t going to follow the crowd, and for me that settles very well.

In the beginning of the election process, before the nominations for each party were even selected, I paid attention to everyone’s response on the issues that I feel strongly about, one of them being women’s equality. I kept waiting for Hillary to say something that would make me gasp with excitement and make me secure a vote for her. Unfortunately she kept coming up short. I’m a huge feminist (which I make very clear), and I so badly wanted to vote for her because she was a woman.   If I did that though, that would have been the only reason I voted for her. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you want women to be superior, it means you want them to be equal; so if I voted just to have a woman be in a superior role rather than the right candidate in a superior role – I would go against my own values and that’s something I won’t ever do.

I know what you’re thinking, “How are you a feminist if you voted for Trump.” Well, that’s a question turned attack I’ve gotten a lot and as I stated, I won’t vote for a woman just because she’s a woman. I know, “Trump said all those disgusting things about women though.” Well, while he may have said things, and by no means is he perfect, it was words. I’m human enough to know that men and women alike say things sometimes that are out of line but mean nothing by it. Actions speak louder than words. Hillary Clinton is married to a man she has stuck by, who has acted in ways that are demoralizing, disgusting, embarrassing, and simply wrong to women. If she was truly a feminist, she would have made a statement and left him; a fact about her that I realized as I got older and learned more about relationships; a fact that kept coming back in my head whenever she spoke about women’s rights throughout the election. Yes, her husband wasn’t the one running – but you are who you surround yourself with and the bond of matrimony makes them a unit. If she stood by him after those acts, she inadvertently supports him and thinks it’s okay. And let’s not forget the fact that she defended a 42-year-old man who raped a 13-year-old girl back in the day. “She was just doing her job.” Okay, you can say that – but did her job include having to laugh about it on audiotapes years later admitting that she knew he was guilty? I don’t think that’s in the job description. And shaming all of the women who your husband cheated on you with, that’s not in the job description of former first lady either. Please explain to me how exactly this all makes her a role model for females?

While Trump may have said mean things, he also has the most female executives throughout his companies. He also clearly respects his wife, and his two daughters (one of whom Trump supported when she converted to Judaism for her husband, so your arguments that he doesn’t like Jewish people either is also irrelevant). His oldest daughter, Ivanka, is a charismatic, intelligent, hard working, badass female who is highly respected. Trump never said that she couldn’t make her way because she was a woman, he said she could make her way if she worked hard. A true feminist would respect that and agree that it’s about the hustle. Because as much as I don’t want to be rejected for being a woman, I most certainly do not want to be praised and given a pity vote simply because I am a woman. Sure Hillary is a woman so she could say she’s been discriminated against, rejected, and demoralized (possibly by her husband), but she also didn’t do anything but pull the “I have a vagina” card to help women’s rights in her 30 years being in politics. Again, actions speak louder than words.

Another issue that holds very near and dear to me is immigration. My father and my grandparents came to this country legally and became legal American citizens. My father was only a year old and they lived in Canada, where my two aunts were born, waiting to be sponsored so they could do so much as step foot in this nation. They didn’t search for a way to rig the system; they went about everything the right way, respecting what America stood for. They didn’t know English – they had to learn it. There was no “press 3 for German” option. They took their citizenship test, were all called in front of a judge, and were so proud to pass and call themselves Americans. My father always says the one question he remembers the judge asked him was, “If we were at war with Germany, would you fight for Germany or America?” My dad said he didn’t hesitate to say he was American, this is his country, he would defend America. While yes, we still have family in Germany and they all will always have a tie to the country they were born in – they are proud Americans who earned every achievement through pure hard work. America is a melting pot – that’s how our nation formed, but what people forget is that back in the day when America earned the nickname of the melting pot, it was when people were coming here the right way. All of the people who immigrated here in order to make this country the diverse nation that it is – all had different backgrounds, spoke different languages, had different reasons for immigrating; but they all had one thing in common – they wanted to be Americans. They didn’t just want to live here, they wanted to be here – physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes legally. I fully support immigration and this country continuing the diversity – but go about it the right way.

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Hence, this is another reason why I supported Trump. “Build the wall,” a line his supporters would chant, his enemies would mock, and the general public would roll their eyes over – is actually a great idea. What people don’t realize is that him building a wall isn’t him blocking out people from coming into this country and becoming citizens, it’s his way of blocking out people from illegally coming here and taking away jobs, money, housing, and benefits from other legal citizens either born here or who worked hard to get here, like my father. Hillary Clinton wanted to grant amnesty to millions of people who are in this country illegally, just because. Just because what? Because they beat the system long enough and didn’t get caught? I’m sorry but after hearing the stories from my grandmother about how she clung to my dad as a baby on a boat ride where she had to be separated from my grandfather, where people were packed in like sardines in a can, I’m not okay with granting amnesty just because. We must remember that the word illegal is not a racist term.

Small businesses and trade are also things that I pay close attention to and feel strongly about. My parents own a small business, an injection molding company (so it’s a plastic manufacturing company that makes things like displays, the purple hearts for the government to give out, etcetera; an industry that my father has been around all his life since his father owned the same type of business). Everyone thinks that owning your own business is so luxurious, that you can take off whenever you want, go on vacation wherever you want, and that you have money coming in by the load. That’s not how it works. Anyone who owns a business can tell you the amount of stress, hard work, personal investments, and time it takes to run a successful standing business. Not only having my parents as examples, but having also worked for two small businesses throughout high school and college, I became very aware of how America as a whole can seriously impact them specifically. Though Hillary Clinton said she wanted to help small businesses, her plans of doing so would not have done that. The taxes they would have to pay and the raising of minimum wage would make small businesses drown. She also believes in open trade, and while that’s fine and dandy, it’s not good for American manufacturing companies. I don’t think we should be so focused on other countries being so prosperous in business while companies on our home soil are being forced to close down because they can’t make ends meet. Donald Trump wants to keep business in America; he wants to charge a tariff to people who outsource their manufacturing jobs. Not only is this helping those businesses, it’s also creating more jobs. It’s creating opportunities for those who might be one ATM withdrawal away from getting evicted. His focus is on America and the American people thriving; and even though globally we are interdependent on the success of other countries, we shouldn’t be putting them first. Trump wants to fix the problems here, and there are many, before voluntarily helping out everyone else.

Among other issues, like healthcare, taxes, and education; I side with Trump because he’s putting America first. He really does have an inkling about the average American and their struggles and he dropped his luxurious lifestyle to try to fix those problems and eliminate those struggles. Regardless of whether or not you like him, you have to be able to see that he didn’t need this position, not for money (he’s not even taking a presidential salary), and not for fame. He took on this task because he wants to make a difference and I think if you’re human you should at least respect that.

It’s also very clear how biased the media was in reporting this election. Trump was a different type of candidate right from the get go; and people either flock to or flee from different. It was very clear that the media was quick to flee their support. Trump said mean things that were rehashed over and over again. Hillary didn’t answer the American embassy when they called 600 times saying they were being attacked and when she was asked about it in court she said “what difference does it make?” but that was only mentioned maybe once throughout the year long election process. There was a target on Trump’s back and media portrayed him to be a type of person that you would know he’s not if you actually gave him a chance and listened. People are calling him a racist. Newsflash – he doesn’t care if you’re white, black, purple, or blue polka dot – if you’re American, he’s on your side. He doesn’t have a problem with the LGBTQ community and has no plans on overturning the same sex marriage law. The media took things he said, took them out of context, and then spiraled them out of control to make him look bad. Not once did they mention the fact that Trump was given the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in celebration of his patriotism, brotherhood, and diversity; or his Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation Commandment’s Leadership award either. He’s got a vision for this country including unity, prosperity, and strength; and he plans to see it through. If you’re an American citizen, you should be willing and ready to have a country with those three qualities, and deserve to give the man who wants to make that happen a fair chance.

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After Trump won, people protested, demanded a recount, threatened Trump and his family, burned the American flag, and said they were leaving the country. Well, aren’t all those people the same people who claimed the world was “stronger together” and that “love trumps hate” and that we need to be more accepting? Where is your acceptance? The silent majority spoke and overruled you, and that’s just how the democracy ball bounces. Instead of being ignorant and saying he’s this and he’s that, listen to what he has to say, give him a chance. Some people are even criticizing him for his slogan of make America great again. People really had the argument that, “We already are great, he’s implying he’s not supporting this country.” Really? This coming from people who didn’t get their way that are pulling other people from their cars and beating them because they have a Trump for President bumper sticker. You’re going to tell me we’re in great shape? I don’t think the most optimistic person on the planet would say so.

For those saying that Trump is not your President and this is not your America, then please see true to that and leave. There are people who are banging on the door to get into this country and become citizens, trust me your spot can be replaced. The man hasn’t done anything yet, and you already hate him? That’s a reflection of your character, not his.

So to everyone who says that I voted for the wrong candidate, that I voted against acceptance, that I voted for hatred – please inform yourself of where he stands on the issues, not with what the media stirs up (even watch his interview on 60 minutes).

Finally, to conclude I will say this:

I didn’t vote against equality for races.

I didn’t vote against LGBTQ.

I didn’t vote against women’s rights.

I didn’t vote against immigration.

I didn’t vote against helping other countries.

…………………………………

I voted for unity within our country.

I voted for the belief of hard work.

I voted for security within our nation.

I voted for the reinforcement of legal immigration.

I voted for helping small businesses.

I voted for the hope of making America great again.

 

So don’t act like you know me because of who I voted for. And as you complain about Trump, about the system, and about the people who didn’t vote the same way as you – please remember that it is the freedom of this country that allows you to do so freely. And President Elect Trump is actually someone who wants to keep those freedoms in tact.

As President Obama said, we are all ultimately on the same team.

 

God Bless America.

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Titles

053397b9700ce5fda7afa756b370d36aIn life we all have many titles.  Whether that be student, employee, friend, child.  Society tends to judge us based on the titles we hold.  If you’re the CEO, it’s assumed you’re living a life where you’re well off and you don’t have a care in the world.  If you have a low income job it’s assumed you didn’t go to college.  If you’re a college athlete, it’s assumed you’re arrogant.  If you’re a supporter of equal rights, it’s assumed you’re homosexual.  If you’re a woman, it’s assumed you’re not and never will be equal to men.  And if you’re a feminist, you automatically hate men.

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, and I’m taking it as a day to express what a feminist really is.  Too many people fear the word feminist, or are afraid to embrace the title.  Women especially are afraid to embrace the title of feminist, because it is known that you will be looked at in a different light.  Although radical feminists feel that in order for women to get equality they must break down the men in the world; that’s not the only form of a feminist.  I associate myself with being a liberal feminist, meaning I think everyone was born equally and deserves the same rights.  I wear many titles in my life, but perhaps the one I wear most proudly is that of a feminist.

So why am I a feminist?  Even though I shouldn’t have to explain, I will.  This patriarchal society is intended to intimidate women and I refuse to be a victim.  Every woman and I deserve the same rights as any man in this world.  So hell yes I am a feminist.  Need more explanation as to why?  Because we all work the same jobs, the same hours, with the same determination and ethic.  Because we all deserve to live a life without fear, a life without worrying about being a part of the statistics.  Because we all deserve to be able to walk to our car in the dark without fear of being attacked, raped, or left for dead.  Because we all deserve to be able to dress nicely and not worry about being hit on or taken advantage of.  Because we all deserve to be respected.

When you wear the title of being a woman, you need to understand that you hold the title of being an underdog.  So use this to your advantage… fight like the underdog, finish like the champion.  Today on International Women’s Day, I urge all women to embrace the titles they hold.  Embrace the strength within each title, especially the one of being a woman.  The power for change is based on how much you’re willing to fight for.  Your title is far stronger than you think.

I am a feminist; I wear the title proudly.  Happy International Women’s Day!


33c88d72e2c3baf54f084b61fc8f6f1dSpecial thank you to all the strong women in my life who encourage me to step up my game; especially to Superwoman – my Mom.

Maya Angelou

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This past Wednesday, Maya Angelou passed away.  As a writer, I feel compelled to have a post about her.

Maya Angelou was a woman who held many titles.  Ranging from poet to author, and even to actress.  Yet the most dignified title was simply the one she carried of her name. 

Angelou had a rough life.  At a young age she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend.  She told her brother, who told the rest of the family.  The man who raped Maya was only in jail for a day, but murdered shortly after.  After the murder, Maya did not speak for five years because she thought her voice killed him.  She felt that because she spoke up, he was killed.

All of the works from Maya reflect the traumas and obstacles she faced as a child.  Whether it be the poem, “Phenomenal Woman,” or “Still I Rise,” Maya makes a point in letting readers know she survived.  Regardless of whether she was talking about issues of race or gender, she made sure everyone knew she was a force to be reckoned with.

As a writer, I appreciate all she has been able to put into words.  As a woman, I appreciate the stands she took through her risks in writing.  She was a truly beautiful soul; who exemplified that we should all trust our struggles, for they are a part of our stories.

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Dents

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We are all extremely impressionable.  Regardless of having thick skin or being very confident, we are all dented from our past; so much so that sometimes we don’t even realize it.  As I’ve gotten older I just started recognizing the ways I’ve been conformed based on certain situations I’ve had to experience.  I’ve also realized that if I don’t work to accept the dents in the mold of who I am, it will be extremely difficult to achieve happiness or progress as an individual.

What kind of dents am I talking about?  Dents based on trust issues, based on being vulnerable, based on any form of heartbreak and disappointment.  The way we handle let downs of any kind from our past directly correlates with our happiness level in the present.  It’s normal to be weary of letting people in your life when you’ve been hurt or screwed over.  It’s also normal to be extremely guarded if you’ve been hurt or screwed over multiple times, by the people you never thought would hurt you.  It becomes an issue however when the walls you put up are keeping good people out of your life; people who are supposed to be in your life.

Everyone has been hurt, some more than others.  I’ve been hurt by people I’ve cared about several times, in several aspects of my life.  Whether that be friendships, relationships, or something in between the two.  There have been certain instances where the level of hurt has been so high that I know my outlook on certain topics have done a complete three sixty.  It’s not even because I’m bitter or jaded anymore, it’s simply a defense mechanism.  A sure way to make sure I never feel hurt ever again.

When you place certain people on pedestals and they let you down, the effects are harder to handle.  Dent.  When you witness the person you placed on that pedestal change first hand because of a relationship, you start to second guess the authenticity of any relationship.  Dent.  And when you idolized the person on that pedestal in such a way that you wanted people to recognize you as being just like them, and they do something wrong, your world gets flipped upside down.  Dent.  The trust you once had in life, in people, in friendships and relationships is altered.  Because after all if the one person in the world couldn’t hold genuine to you, surely no one else could either.  In short, that’s how I became dented.  And that one dent made it easier for other dents to happen.

Up until recently I didn’t notice the effect of past experiences to the extent that they actually are hindering me.  I’m so busy worrying about the outcome of certain situations that I can’t even enjoy myself in the moment that things are happening.  I assume that every good thing is sure to end in a bad way, simply because that’s how it’s been.  I assume that every person has a secret agenda and no one is as genuine as they seem, simply because that’s how it’s been.  I constantly say to treat every situation with a clear slate, yet my view is being obstructed by my past insecurities and defeats.

Well, no more.  One of my resolutions for this year is to learn to go with the flow and live in the moment.  I spend too much valuable time over thinking everything instead of loving every moment of everything.  I fear being vulnerable in life because I’ve been hurt, and I think a lot of people do that.  I finally see that being vulnerable actually shows a lot of strength.  It takes a strong person to accept that things have gone wrong in the past but that their future and present are not tied to the same result.  It takes a strong person to accept their dents and make them work in their favor.  It takes a strong person to be dented and carry on.

Live in the moment, dents and all.

Be Nice

For those who know me, you know that I am outspoken and tend to speak without a filter.  Anyone who simply reads my blogs can probably tell I’m sarcastic and opinionated though.  Well, my parents always kind of hold their breath when they think I’m about to go off on a rant.  My Dad specifically always tells me, “Be nice Kristina.”  Yes Dad.  

But, in all seriousness, I do always keep that line in the back of my head.  I always treat everyone with respect, I know everyone is facing their own battles that we know nothing about.  So truthfully, I am nice, unless you give me a reason not to be.  Respect… I’m all about that.  

So, today, I was walking to class from the parking lot at school.  My last final of the semester!  I’m sure every fellow college student knows that feeling of pure excitement when walking into your last final.  As I’m crossing the parking lot, there’s a line of cars coming, but they seem far enough away for me to safely get to the other side and get out of the cold.  The first car is a red one, which appeared to be slowing down to let me cross.  “How nice,” I’m thinking, as the person who lets everyone cross.  I put up my hand casually to wave a thank you as I cross.  Now, I’m safely across the street and giving myself a pep talk in my head for my final when I hear someone yell, “I was going to run you over and put you out of your misery.”  Wait, what?  

I turned around just in time to see a red car, the license of that car, and the girl in that car roll up her window.  All the other cars behind her had already pulled into rows looking for spots.  Confusion.  That was my first reaction.  I don’t have problems with anyone at school, or none that I know of anyway.  So why is someone yelling that?  I stopped for a second, debating on whether or not I should approach the car and reveal why it is my Dad tells me to “Be nice.”  But realizing the time, I walked off to class instead.  

The words kept running through my head.  “I was going to run you over to put you out of your misery.”  It’s human nature when someone says something mean to you that you go over it in your head a few times.  Why would she say that?  Did she think I was someone else?  Even if she did, why would you say that to anyone?  Especially around the holiday season.  The next thing that entered my thoughts though was about weaker people.  I thought of people I know who are quiet and care deeply about the opinions others have of them.  What if they had heard that?  What if someone who was dealing with their own set of problems reached their breaking point, and then heard that?  That’s all it takes sometimes for a person to collapse, a line that was said – possibly without any truth to it and simply for a power gain, to really make someone fall.  As someone who was severely cyberbullied, I know first hand that words hold more weight than a person thinks.  

A few years ago if someone yelled that at me, I may have taken it to heart.  It may have wrecked my entire day.  I was cyberbullied badly and my outlook on life was not good. But not today.  I’ve come a very long way, as anyone who has overcome obstacles can tell you, your perspective on life changes when you survive them.  A few years ago I may have thought there was something wrong with me to make someone yell that.  Today, with my outlook, I’m able to recognize that the people who say things like that are the ones with something wrong.  What Sally says of Susie says way more about Sally than Susie.  Luckily, that statement was yelled to me, and not someone who is dealing with their own version of Hell right now.  

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t just let stuff like that go.  I mean seriously, if you’re going to play with fire, well you are going to get burned…

I knew the car and the license plate and knew that the driver pulled in around where I parked.  Long behold, after my final walking back to my car, the red car is a few cars down from me.  No, I did not slash a tire or key the side of it.  Instead, I heard my Dad’s famous words echo in my head, “Be nice Kristina.”  I got into my car, backed up out of the spot and was about to go drive home.  “Be nice Kristina.” It echoed again.  And seeing the car, I still didn’t feel that I could let it go, or for the sake of what’s right let it go.  So, I pulled back into the spot, pulled out a piece of looseleaf paper and my pen.  I took the cap off and was so tempted to write a few explicit words.  “Be nice Kristina.”  So, I decided to take the nice route to prove my point…

I went with this:

I’m the girl you yelled at this morning.  When I walked across the street you yelled, “I was gonna run you over and put you out of your misery.”  Well, happy holidays, because clearly you have your own set of issues, and need all the best wishes possible to randomly yell at someone crossing the street.  I’ll pray for you!

Everyone notices when there’s something underneath their front windshield wiper, but it’s a little more annoying when you go to put the car in reverse and there’s a folded piece of paper looking back at you.  So yes, I put it underneath her back windshield wiper, and off I went to start my break.  And how appropriate that as I got back in my car, put my iPod on shuffle, Eminem’s song “Beautiful” started playing (check out those lyrics for some empowerment).  

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My message is to watch your words people.  They hold weight.  What was yelled at me this morning did not wreck my day, my mood, or my outlook; but how could whoever yelled it know that?  What if it wasn’t at me, but someone else?  Then what?  Watch what you say, words linger.  And for crying out loud, it’s the holiday season… be nice.

Cyberbullying

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Anyone who knows me is aware of the cyberbullying I’ve had to deal with throughout junior high and high school.  I didn’t think it would follow me to college.  However, I also didn’t think people would be so immature after high school.  My mistake.

So what happened?  To sum it up there was a group of girls I was friends with, and well,  girls are cruel.  There was a “ring leader” so to speak, that I never bowed down to.  Therefore I became a target.  She didn’t like me, and didn’t want anyone else to either.  She had my group of friends turn against me.  She spread rumors.  It was nonsense.  There were blogs, burn books, fake screennames (remember back when aim instant messaging was a big deal?), and even fake facebooks.

It was an obstacle.  No doubt about it.  It truly tested my confidence and my will power.  Luckily I was able to use my determination as a weapon.  To be honest, it’s something I am most grateful for, because it proved a lot about myself.

Recently, I found out that she made a fake twitter about me.  My name.  My exact bio.  Different picture.  Random tweets.  Nonetheless, my name is on the line, and to me, my name is everything.

I’m not writing this to go on a rant about this girl, but rather to give some insight.  So many people, too many people, have to deal with cyberbullies.  Whether you’re in junior high school, college, or even a grown adult, this problem exists.

I know this girl wanted me to turn to self inflicting harm, and fortunately I was strong enough to choose a different route.  However, after dealing with this Twitter chaos, and having all those memories from junior high and high school flood my brain, I started wondering about the less outgoing victims of bullying.  What are they going to do?  Who are they going to tell?

When I was in junior high cyberbullying was still a rather new thing.  There was a lot I wish someone would have told me.  So I’m writing this blog for readers who may be dealing with a cyberbully.  I know what it feels like to be constantly tormented.  I also know that telling someone about it is not always at the top of your “to do” list.  But, what I didn’t know then, that I know now, is that things get better if you stick it out through tough times.  From someone who has been there, here’s my advice…

Don’t be afraid to be the “outcast.”  In fact, take some comfort in knowing that in a world full of people trying to be the same (especially in those terrible junior high years), you were distinct enough to stand out. 

Embrace your weirdness.  If people are going to make fun of you, let them.  It says way more about them than it ever will about you.  If you embrace who you are, those cyberbullies won’t feel they have any power over you either.  So let your freak flag wave.

Accept your flaws.  Once you do, no one can use them against you.  Ever.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.  Most of the time you will find that you’re standing alone.  Too many “friends” are scared to join forces with you, because they think that they’ll be the next target as well.  It doesn’t always mean they’re bad people, it just means you’re a lot stronger than they are. 

Walk tall, with your head high.  It’s a little thing that I know from experience makes a big difference.  Look the world, and your enemies, in the face.  Let them know that whatever is thrown your way, you will conquer.

Smile.  More than likely if you’re dealing with a cyberbully the last thing you want to do is smile.  Well… fake it!  Because eventually, it will become a sort of muscle memory and a smile is all it takes to throw off people who want to see you down. Eventually it won’t be fake anymore.

Light a fire under yourself (not literally).  Prove them wrong.  Ignite your determination to be better and to do better than anyone thinks.

Change your outlook.  Look at all of this as a stepping stone to something so much better in your future.  And know that you’re being bullied because people are envious of the person you are and the sunshine you add to this world.

Trust life.  Know that your obstacle may be bigger than others, but that if you overcome it, your reward may also be bigger.

But, the biggest thing I can say is to never, ever, by any means stoop to their level. 

Not once, in all the years I was bullied did I ever retaliate.  If I wanted to, I could have.  I could have easily given those girls the same Hell they gave me.  Yet, I never did. I wasn’t raised to do those types of things and as many times as I wished I could shut up the voice in my head, I’m glad it overpowered me; because in retrospect, looking back, not seeking revenge was the biggest assessment of my character. 

At the end of the day I can rest my head on my pillow with a clear conscience, knowing that I was a good friend to those girls, and that I am a good person, despite my right to be bitter.  If you can do that at the end of the day, and have a sort of inner peace, no one can touch you.  

Therefore, I will leave you all with this… If you are doing the bullying – may you find God real quick, because you have your own set of issues.  If you are getting bullied, remember God gives the toughest battles to the strongest soldiers. 

Go show the world what you’re made of!  Along the way, you may even surprise yourself.

Bottle It Up

I have not even started my Christmas shopping yet.  How horrible is that?  Later on today, at a decent hour, I plan on shopping until I’m on the verge of dropping.  May the force be with me.

Every year it’s more difficult to come up with gift ideas for people.  And when people ask me what I want, I’ve been saying for the past five years, “Derek Jeter and world peace.”  Clearly, that’s a little difficult to obtain.  I can dream though, can’t I?

I think I’ve finally figured out why Christmas shopping is becoming so difficult though.  It’s not because you’re not creative anymore.  It’s not because you got them the best gift the year before.  It’s because what people really need, and should be given as a gift, simply cannot be purchased.  

I wish we could find a way to bottle emotion, because those bottles would be the best Christmas gifts.  And, how much easier would coming up with ideas be?  If someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas I could say “Patience,” I mean, I would also say Derek Jeter and world peace too, but at least patience could be reasonable.  

I wish I could bottle up wisdom and give it to people who have yet to see what other people see.  I wish I could bottle up optimism for the negative people who refuse to see a glass half full.  I wish I could bottle up hope for everyone struggling.  I wish I could bottle up strength for those who fear to face the world.  I wish I could bottle up health for those who are afraid this Christmas and holiday season may be their last.  I wish I could bottle up perspective, and give a little to everyone in my life.  Those are the kinds of gifts we need to be giving, and receiving.  Those are the kinds of gifts we need.  

Maybe we can give those gifts without having to worry about bottling them up though.  Could that be possible?  That’s my grown up Christmas list, because I think anything is worth a try.