Judgmental or Not?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “judgmental” as: 1. of, relating to, or involving judgment; 2. characterized by a tendency to judge harshly. Obviously, then, being non-judgmental would be the opposite, that is, someone who does not choose judgement or tend to judge harshly.

I’ve always tended to believe – and to say – that I have been non-judgmental for most of my life. Perhaps having empathic abilities and being able to feel what others are feeling makes me less apt to judge them, because I am able to have those feelings for them. Also, growing up with a dad who was very judgmental about other people and two parents who were always worried about how other people judged them, led me to wanting to become the antithesis of all of that.

But recently, I’ve become aware that, while not spoken or shared, I do instinctively make judgments about people, usually first impression ones. And I’m going to challenge you here by daring to say that, in fact, we are all judgmental!

It’s taken me a few days to process, absorb and accept that about myself. I only now realize that how I considered myself to be non-judgmental is really more truly away of stating that I’m a liberal. I am open to accepting various sexual preferences, women’s rights to control their own bodies, different religions, and even different political beliefs.

Here is what the Bible says about casting judgment: Matthew 7:1-5 1 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Luke 6:37 37 says, “Do not judge , and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

But, although we do not share or truly feel judgment against anyone, we all still make instant judgments based on first impressions, most often visual ones. See someone in layers of tattered, dirty clothing and we immediately think ‘homeless’. See a woman in provocative clothing, high heels and heavy makeup walking on the city streets after dark and we immediately think ‘prostitute’. These types of instant judgment are made based on our environment and what we were taught by our elders and people of authority. A young child being raised by two moms or two dads doesn’t see ‘gay’ because they have not been taught that ‘gay’ is a thing! If it was branded into your brain that a couple must consist of a man and a women, you’re likely to be very much less tolerant of their family structure.

I’ve made enough revolutions around the sun to remember when an interracial couple was seriously seen as disgusting and wrong. Dating anyone from a different race was seen as even worse than dating someone from a different religion! Now…. now it’s a common thing and most people don’t even think about it anymore (except for the true racists). Now, people of different races all over the world aren’t shunned or looked down on anymore for choosing a partner from a race different than their own.

But still, still, we make our instantaneous judgments of people every day of our lives! A grumpy cashier is judged to be mean, a person of a different political persuasion is seen as an idiot, pretty much anybody who does or chooses anything different from us is judged in one way or another. What’s truly important, for humanity now and in the future, is that we keep our judgments to ourselves and not let them be reflected to or on anyone else. I think that’s why I’ve always disliked gossipers (though a little part of me likes knowing the latest scoop!), because gossip is closely whispered negativity about some one else. Two neighbors don’t gossip about the fact that the gal across the street who was just elected as a member of the town’s council, because that’s great news that can be shared with anyone! But let that same gal make a mistake of any kind, and the gossipers will be out in droves to talk about it!

Now, I dare each of you who has read this far to take a moment and really ponder where you measure on the judgmental versus non-judgmental scale. I’m going to continue to say that I consider myself non-judgmental because I don’t act or react on my judgments. But yea, sometimes I make them, and I bet you do, too….

Hacks from my Happy Place – XIX

Well, I’m almost done with my yearly ‘nesting’ of filling my freezer with yummy soups and stews that will bring comfort during the cold weather of winter. I still need to make a batch of vegetable soup, but that’s by far one of the easiest to make.

I got a new recipe to add to my repertoire for nesting, and I wanted to share it. There’s a cute story behind it. My bestie, Joanne, doesn’t really like to cook. She’s always taking the easy way out, for example, a jar of spaghetti sauce with frozen meatballs added over cooked spaghetti was enough work for her. With her husband being diagnosed with celiac disease and ordered onto a low sodium diet in the past year, and with a son who is a somewhat picky eater, she’s had to make some major adjustments in her cooking.

When I cook, which I love to do, I often take her a serving for her lunch at work. This year, with my bad shoulder and upper arm, I did make a small batch of my cabbage soup, which she loves and shared with her. Well, recently, she told me she had a new recipe for cabbage soup, and my ears perked right up! She saved a serving to share with me, and I was excited!

Opening the lid to the container, I could see it was tomato-based and had some meat in it (I assumed it was browned hamburger meat). My first spoonful procured me some meat and also some white beans of some kind. My first taste led me to thinking about Italian sausage, and I thought she’d did a good job with her spicing (this is a serious weakness for me). Eventually, I did see a little curl or two of cabbage and a few thin carrot strips. It was good, thoroughly enjoyed. I wrote an email to thank her and to describe my experience trying the soup. I teased her about calling it “cabbage soup” because, if she hadn’t told me it had cabbage in it, I’m not sure I’d have known it was in there

She then admitted that it was called “Italian Sausage and Bean Soup’ and then shared the recipe with me. It’s really easy! One pound of loose Italian sausage (the recipe called for hot Italian, but she swapped it for sweet Italian and I concurred), browned and drained. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce, two cans of drained and rinsed Northern beans (she only used one can), a package of coleslaw and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Of course, I had to adapt this recipe and make it my own! I had a jar of spaghetti sauce that was about 2/3 full (I needed a little bit of it as a topping for another recipe), so I decided I’d treat the recipe accordingly to make 1-1/2 batches. However, being the cabbage lover that I am, I added a large bag (16 oz.) plus a small bag (8 oz.) of coleslaw. Trust me, there’s no questioning that there is cabbage in my soup! I had to cook it longer to get that much cabbage tender, and add some extra water as it evaporated in steam, but in the end, it’s worthy of being called “Italian sausage with beans and cabbage soup”! And, of course, I’ve saved her a serving to try!

Yes, Brad, you’ll be getting some, too!

I also saw a post on social media from a high-school peer that I wanted to share with you, something I’m going to try. The post suggested that, instead of pouring grease from browning/cooking meat down the drain, save it until it’s slightly solid and add some rolled oats to it, making a bar or patty out of the mixture and put it out for the winter birds. My next door neighbor has a pine tree in his yard that is taller than his three-story house and he has feeders out all year long. I figured I’d try to make some of these and attach them to the fence that separates our properties. I don’t think he’ll object!

I don’t know if that’s actually a “kitchen hack” but it involves two things you find in a kitchen, so I thought I’d share it!

I hope, with COVID on the upsurge again all across the world, that you’ll consider doing some ‘nesting’ of your own in case of tighter lock-downs where you are. This soup recipe is a hearty meal to make and freeze!

No means No – Or Does It?

I’d like to tell you a hypothetical story based on facts from what I’ve seen and heard countless times in the last 20 or so years of my life.

Suburban family – mom, dad, three children. Kelsey as 13, Billy is 7, and Maddie is 5. Mom and Dad both work outside the home, with mom being able to arrange her work schedule to be home when Maddie is not in morning kindergarten. Four bedroom house, so each child has his/her own bedroom. Rules are that each child is responsible for keeping their bedroom neat; Mom is helping Billy and Maddie learn how to dust and vacuum their rooms and change their bed linens while Kelsey is self-sufficient. The kids also help with chores around the house, such as clearing the table after dinner, taking their pile of clean clothes to their room and putting them away, etc.

Kelsey is content to spend time quietly in her room, doing homework or reading. Maddie is mommy’s little helper and likes to follow mommy around whatever she’s doing. Billy, however, is a rather sulking and sometimes aggressive child – people would say he’s “all boy”. He has no respect for his sisters’ belongings, taking things from their rooms and often breaking them in the process of playing with them. He is quick to stomp and slam doors when he doesn’t get his way. He sasses and talks back to his parents, who have adopted the decision to just ignore him when he does.

I’ll stop the story there, hoping you’ve gotten my intent. I’m sure you’ve seen it happen in public places – stores and restaurants – with other children. At some point, parents get frustrated and/or embarrassed and end up acquiescing to their child’s demands, regardless of how many times they have said “No!”.

Now, ‘little’ Billy is 19 years old and is on trial for rape of a minor girl. The facts unfold between the prosecution and the defense’s witnesses, and Billy is called to the stand. When it is the opposing prosecution’s turn to cross-examine the witness, Billy is asked if the girl said “No” to what he was doing to her. She has already testified that she’d said “No” multiple times but he didn’t stop. He agrees that she had said “No” more than once. When asked why he didn’t stop when she said “No” because, after all, “No” means “No”, Billy tries to explain but is cut off by the prosecution’s attorney. The defense attorney asks to again question his witness, and his attorney then asks him why he didn’t stop when the girl kept saying, “No”. Billy then explained that he knew that “No” didn’t always mean “No”, that sometimes it meant you needed to work harder to get a “Yes”, so he kept going, past every “No”, believing she’d eventually give in and say, “Yes”.

But no means no, doesn’t it? Where would he have gotten that belief from????

The Old Homestead

My apartment building is separated by a tenant parking lot from the garage at the other end of the parking lot. It’s a small garage, one bay. There is no advertising or signage posted signifying that it is a business. Whomever is renting that space, however, works on antique and classic cars, and you often see one or more of them parked in front or beside it. Because it is a garage, there are often loud revs of an engine throughout the day, and it sounds like it’s coming from a vehicle having no muffler. Like living near a firehouse or an airport, you eventually get used to the occasional sound that breaks the silence.

For some reason, there has been a car they’ve been working on for the last week or so, and it must be a bugger to fix. Every day, at least twice a day, the quiet is broken by the multiple revs of the engine, a knocking sound as soon as they stop, some additional revs and again the knocking, then either the car stalls out or they turn off the engine. It is beyond loud and last long enough to be unable to ignore it. It’s really been bothering me the past few days, and it got me to thinking about how my ideal home would be set somewhere where it’s quiet, back away from the road and with no businesses directly nearby. I saw one recently, set back off the street, surrounded by trees on three sides and immediately thought to myself, “Yes, like that!” The house, however, had a very dark exterior, and on the gray and gloomy day that I drove by it, a little bit of imagination could make one wonder if the place was haunted.

Well, that got me thinking about the house I grew up in, which had a much brighter exterior. It was brick, the brick color a kind of light mustard sand look, a big window that was framed with shutters and a window box underneath. There is a fond memory of my mother choosing the shade she wanted on the shutters and window box to change it from a kind of olive green it was originally painted in, came back, because she chose the color elderberry. Oh, how many times, when she was giving new visitors directions to our house, she would say, ‘Look for the one with the purple shutters and window box!”

The house was brand new when it was purchased in 1966, a big investment back in those days of over $20,000. At the time, it had the most modern appliances available, and hardwood floors and even a driveway. It was the first time I’d ever seen a bathtub that didn’t have claw feet (and to be honest, I was a little afraid of it at first!). Then my mind took me on a virtual tour of the old homestead, with all of the improvements that had been made over the 30 years my parents owned it. Visually, I entered the front door (seldom used except by “special” visitors and to check for mail). Room by room, my mind visited each square foot of the place I called home. Some rooms had even served different purposes throughout those years – for example, my dad’s office in the lowest level became my bedroom when my grandmother moved in with us, and later became the first room my mom used when she started teaching ceramics. I can still vividly recall the dark paneling that covered our family room walls, with windows at ground level. I thought about each room first from a memorable place, and then went back and looked at it as an interior designer or new home seeker would see it. By today’s standards, it would qualify as a “starter home” for a first-time buyer, but it served our family of five for 30+ years. Today, I can see how small each of the three bedrooms actually was, how I might design the kitchen differently, etc. I can see how small the second bathroom my dad installed in a small room off the family room really was. Even when the driveway first had a carport installed and much later, was turned into an interior room, large and full of windows, where my mom’s growing ceramic business moved into. While, in the many years we lived there, we never had need to use the bomb shelter that was built into the lowest part of the house for what it was intended, it became a useful place for my mom to fire her ceramic pieces in the kiln.

My mind took a trip outside to the back of the house. At the end of our property, the ground had a bit of a slope, and was turned into what we called “Mom’s Rock Garden”. It stretched side-to-side of the property and covered the entire slope. There were some large rocks strategically placed throughout the area, and mostly mountain laurel grew and spread slowly throughout the dirt. To this day, it still surprises me that my mom actually enjoyed going out there to weed, which she did in sections, which means the by the time she got to the other end, the beginning needed weeding again. If you knew my mom, you’d understand why it would surprise me that she would want to go out and get her hands dirty like that…. but she did!

And the three lilac bushes that bordered the bottom side of the garden. One in white, one in lavender, one in dark purple. Oh, how I miss those – miss sticking my face up against them and inhaling deeply while the blossoms covered the stems. To this very day, and because of those bushes, my favorite scent is lilac…

Of course, dad’s shed was up against the back of the house, and we gave it its own address by adding 1/2 to our house number and having that address carved into a wooden sign that he hung on the door. My dad could fix and repair a lot of things, and he enjoyed the opportunity to tinker in his shop.

Once I’d covered all of the area, I imagined myself going back to my vehicle, climbing in and just sitting there looking at the front. I chose to ignore that the front wasn’t as pristine as when we lived there and that my mother’s holly bush, the only greenery besides the grass and the shrubbery planted against the house, was gone. That made me sad.

My mind then processed that, although this house will always represent “home” to me in my memories, it can never be home again. Whomever has lived in the house since my parents sold it has changed the vibes inside the walls of that house, and they can never be duplicated or replaced.

Finally getting that for the first time has brought me some peace in finally being okay with letting go. I don’t want to drive by it ever again out of a need to see it, to feel close to it somehow. I understand now that I may never be able to physically go home again, but I can feel what “home” was to me in my heart.

And no, I am not going to give the people revving engines a thank you for the insight!

Dear Mr. President

I heard this song for the first time on Election Day . It was a “live learn” request in one of my favorite music streams. There is no specific president’s name mentioned, though there is a line or two that hints to things that have happened in very recent years. I’m not sharing this to start political drama or turmoil. I’m sharing this because, in my soul, this accurately expresses how I see our nation right now. I’m sharing it to say that all of the things alluded to in the lyrics make my heart sad. Again, I’m sharing it NOT to cause more political turmoil in our world. I’m sharing it as a way of reaching out to others who feel that same sadness and don’t know how to express it, much less how to begin to change it. This song was recorded by Pink and released in 2017.

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me.
Let’s pretend we’re just two people and
You’re not better than me.
I’d like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why?

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We’re not dumb and we’re not blind.
They’re all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don’t know nothing ’bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
Oh

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You’d never take a walk with me.
Would you?

Songwriters: Billy Mann, Alecia Moore

Reflection

I mentioned a little bit ago that I’ve been spending more time in the music world. Having been around music in various forms all of my life, I’ve recently been a little shocked to discover how many songs I’ve missed hearing until now that I wish I’d have heard before. As always, lyrics that speak to ME always become powerful, whether they are happy or sad. This song relates to an article I wrote and gave to my parents on my 40th birthday, as well as a ‘birthday card’ to them to announce that, that year, I was, in a sense, being born again and was going to start living my life as it was meant to be lived. Once you read the lyrics, you’ll get the point I was hoping to make. The song is called “Reflection” and it’s from the Disney animated movie Mulan.

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride, or a perfect daughter
Can it be
I’m not meant to play this part
Now I see, that if I were truly to be myself
I would break my family’s heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me
Why is my reflection someone I don’t know
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am, though I’ve tried
When will my reflection show, who I am, inside

How I pray, that a time will come
I can free myself and meet their expectations
On that day, I’ll discover someway to be myself
And to make my family proud

They want a docile lamb
No-one knows who I am
Must there be a secret me
I’m forced to hide
Must I pretend that I am someone else for all time
When will my reflection show, who I am inside
When will my reflection show, who I am inside

The “Final” Countdown

In about a week’s time, the opportunity for US residents to vote in the 2020 election will be over. My first thought is how happy I will be when the political calls and texts stop blowing up my phone. I’ve pretty much accepted that, whatever the final outcome, I will learn to survive with what comes with the final declared outcome.

There are strong supporters standing behind both the Republican and the Democratic nominee for the position of President of the United States (POTUS for you not in the USA). My vote has been cast and my ballot reported as being received, so I’ve done my part. I am not ashamed to state how I voted, but because there is such a deep chasm between supporters of both parties, I tend not to discuss it with people other than my brother and a few close friends. Because of social media, I have discovered that people whom I assumed would be for the Republican party are supporting the Democratic candidate for election. And people whom I thought would be strong leaners towards the Democratic party are, instead, voicing strong Republican words.

This will be the fourth Presidential election in which I have chosen not who is the best candidate but whom I feel is “the lesser of two evils”. I have crossed my own party lines in order to follow that decision and won’t hesitate to do so again if necessary.

I wrote a blog post a while ago explaining that I live in a “small world”, that is, what matters most to me is what happens in and around my own ‘backyard’. I know very little about what’s going on around the world in the political realm, other than scanning a few headlines as they come up on the Internet. I am totally focused on what we can do for the people of our own country, for our citizens on all walks of life, for the front-line workers during this ongoing pandemic, and for our armed services who remain ready to serve their country at a moment’s notice.

There are various sites stating when the votes have all been tallied and a result can be shared. Different sites, of course, offer different theories and different people spread those different theories. I’m not certain that even the smartest math genius can calculate that to a finite date. I think it will take days, and possibly weeks, to say that all votes have been tallied. What matters more to me than how quickly the votes are counted is that each and every vote GETS counted!

I have to admit that I tend to shake my head when strong supporters of the Republican party are stating with a sense of assurance that Trump will win the election and another term. I hadn’t realized that there were so many psychics who could predict the future!

It’s all up in the air (and it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings, after all) and what will be, will be. I’ve accepted that, and now, I just want it to be all over and the calls and texts to stop!!!!

Where I’ve Been – Where I’m Going

For years and years now, I’ve suffered from S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). Since discovering it had both a name and a diagnosis, I’m keenly aware of its possibility beginning in late September. By preparing for that possibility, I’ve been able to train my mind that it may cause some low swings in mood but is combatable with extra sun, a mild depressant and just kindness and tolerance towards myself when (if) it happens.

I’ve also struggled with depression over the years, which has a large effect on my mood and can send me into a very “F it all” place if it gets bad enough. Again, having suffered from those attacks, I’m usually aware of their onset and quickly reach out to loved ones to let them know I’m headed there, more to forewarn them that I may disappear from my activity in their lives than for any other reason,

Well, this year – yesterday, to be exact – I’ve learned that depression can manifest itself in physical symptoms. For several months now, I’ve been suffering from serious fatigue and exhaustion, sleep patterns that are worse than what is “normal” for me ( which aren’t good patterns) and a loss of appetite. I’ve been tired mentally as well. I’ve been chalking it up to this crappy aging process and just accepting of it being what it is without much thought. When you’re overweight and diabetic, you tend to look at loss of appetite as a positive, right???!!! Less sugar plus less calories equals lower blood sugar levels and burning fat for energy, right???!!!

Well, apparently, all of these symptoms are also classified as being physically depressed. I didn’t even know there WAS such a thing! I am always keenly aware of my mental and emotional changes, and honestly, was actually pleased that, with the crappy year we’ve all been going through, I’ve remained in positive spirits except for the frustration of being always fatigued and yet, not able to sleep well enough to erase the fatigue. Now, according to my doctor and some additional research on the Internet (what did we do before we had access to information on anything available at our fingertips?), these physical symptoms all point to depression.

On one hand, that finding eases my concerns a bit – knowing that I’m suffering through something and it’s not just aging that’s causing it. On the other hand, I am uncomfortable with the thought that I’m apparently depressed nonetheless. It is apparently more common in people in my age bracket, and women more than men, so it helps to know I’m not alone in the experience. Exacerbators to the onset are both less sunlight and the fact that, due to wearing masks, our bodies take in less oxygen whenever we are forced to don one.

But while I’m accepting of all of these facts, I’m still working through physical therapy for my shoulder, the last little bit of the problem with it seems impossible to conquer, and I have exercises to help that I just don’t have the energy to do. I’m finding myself having to really push myself to accomplish basic chores, and some of them get pushed down the priority list more than they should. When you start choosing what to wear based on what’s in the clean clothes basket because you haven’t found the energy to hang up or put the clothing away properly, when the stench of your trash finally forces you to tie up the bag and put it outside to be taken to the bin, when you let dirty dishes pile up in your sink for more than three days, when you can’t even read more than a few pages of a book because your eyelids are tired, well, that’s a problem!

So, where I’ve been is struggling – – and where I’m going is apparently going to be the same place I’ve been. I’ve done some ‘nesting’, not as much as usual, but some. I’m now forcing myself to eat twice a day, no matter how little, simply because some of my medications need food in my stomach in order to work properly. I’m deriving a plan of setting a small amount of chores on my to-do list every day and accomplishing them, no matter how tired I am. I’m pretty much trying to train my body and mind into adapting a survival code and giving myself permission to accept that I’m not going to do all of the things I want to do but adamantly going to damned well do all of the things I need to do. And the biggest one for me is that I’m going to learn to be okay with the fact that what I do may not be enough in other people’s eyes and they can think poorly about me all they like!

My focus is going to be taking care of myself as best as I am able, and being there for others as I can. Putting myself #1 in my life is going to be a challenge, and I know I’ll stumble along the way, but I’m beyond the ability right now to have the energy to worry about anyone who thinks I’m being greedy.

So, readers, forgive me if my blog posts continue to be sporadic.

It is what it is!

When a song fails me….

Most of you know that I inherited a love for music from my mother and have lately, during the pandemic, relied heavily on it as a way to center myself and be “of the moment”. I have had the blessing of hearing songs outside of my preferred genre of which I’ve become fond. Many of them are from video games I’ve never (and will never) played. Some of them are from movies I’ve never seen. My appreciation for the lyrics, the score and the people who have introduced me to them is unending.

In the past week or so, I’ve heard a previously unheard song that has, however, had a very negative effect on me. As an empath and someone who has a greater insight into human psychology than many others, the lyrics left a very bad “taste in my mouth”. Learning that the song is owned by, and was recorded by, the late Johnny Cash has made me uncomfortable as well, since country is my preferred genre and has been for the past 20+ years. On principle, I believe that the beginning lyrics to the song are very persuasive and leading to anyone who is suffering from depression and considering options to escape the pain. They go like this:

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real

The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend?
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end

In my interpretation, those lyrics seem to almost validate that self-mutilation is okay. Maybe I’m over-reaching, but if they impact me that way, I can only imagine how they might impact someone who isn’t yet prepared to deal with healthier ways to handle depression, and who believe that hurting themselves is a way to make sure they can feel.

People who don’t possess those kinds of thoughts are not really able to understand why someone does. They cannot comprehend feeling so numbed by pain that causing themselves pain is a way to release some of the numbness. They don’t understand for some, it’s the only thing in life that someone can feel like they can be in control of. They don’t understand that for some, they hurt themselves because they need to feel punished for something they’ve said, done or simply for who they are. For others, it’s a silent but visual cry out of the fact that they ARE hurting.

My friend’s 11-year old son recently made some very vague comments about suicide and then cut himself (not deeply) with a pair of scissors. The family is deeply embroiled in a custody battle that’s been ongoing, and because this child is quiet by nature, he has trouble using words to express himself. I’m sure he also feels some need not to choose sides, though he is one of them who has a melt-down each time they go to the other parents’ home for visitation. (From what I understand, none of them want to go, but he is the one who can’t deal with it.) I would not want this child to hear the lyrics to this song!

I’ve stated, both times I heard it, in two different music themes, that I am against the song on principle. I mute it, which is all I can do. Believe it or not, I have considered bribing them with cash to remove it from their song lists for requests. Trust me, I haven’t fully let that thought go yet.

But for now, I have to console myself that it is their right to play and sing the song. But when I compare these lyrics to the lyrics from “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, which started a big ruckus, I feel like this is a song I’d fight to have removed from the airwaves.

Am I wrong????

A Soapbox Rant – Again!

Yesterday, I stopped off at a convenience store to treat myself to an English Toffee cappuccino. As a diabetic, this is a rare treat for me, but I wanted to treat myself for having an especially good week with my physical therapy appointments. As I was parking, I watched a man get out of his vehicle, dressed in what seemed to be construction-worker attire and enter the building without a mask. I sat and waited, wanting to see him return empty-handed for not following the state mandate. Instead, I watched him return with a soda fountain drink in hand. He reentered his car, got situated and immediately lit up a cigarette before pulling away.

I donned my mask and walked in. I’m at this convenience store often enough that many of the employees recognize my face as a “regular”. I stepped up to the cashier and mentioned how disappointed I was that the man was not refused service because he wasn’t following the mandate, and I was told that they are no longer supposed to ask or question because some people have medical reasons that exclude them from the mandate. I went to the coffee station, and as I was filling my cup, I tangled with this information. I mean, I get it that some people’s health is made worse by wearing a mask. But certainly, if a doctor has deemed a person to be exempt, why can’t the state issue some kind of exemption card to doctors to hand out when appropriate, allowing those people to flash the card when questioned. I mean, we all have to remember to carry our masks with us, so asking them to carry an exemption card doesn’t seem like asking too much. Those who have one can remember to place a handicapped parking placard in a visible space when they park in one of the designated spots. Somehow, I can’t see that it would be a bother! And, it would keep people who think that rules don’t apply to them from slipping under the radar and break them because there is no way to prove their case that they don’t have a medical reason to be exempted.

That got me to thinking about other laws and mandates that have been implemented but have no consequence for not following. The state of PA made it vehicular law that vehicles must have their headlights on when it is raining. Much like the masks, this is a safety measure meant to protect themselves as well as others. Yet, I suspect that there have been ZERO cases in which that law has ever been invoked. I mean, again, I get it – what police officer wants to get out of the vehicle in the rain, walk to a pulled over vehicle in the rain, ask for identification and write a ticket while standing in the rain, then walk back to their vehicle in the rain and get inside the vehicle with clothing stuck to the skin?

Some years ago, the state of PA instituted another vehicular law that said that vehicles which were left running unattended were against the law. As I recall, instituting this law was a step to hopefully prevent the ease with which vehicle theft might occur. And once again, I get it – when it’s cold and you’ve finally gotten your car warm, or hot and you’ve finally gotten your car’s interior cool, who wants to stop and restart a vehicle simply to run into a place for, say, a pack of cigarettes? And yet, it’s another example of a law that has no consequences for breaking it, and it’s often ignored.

We have a law that seat belts are required to be worn. However, you’ll only get fined for it if you are stopped for any reason besides just not wearing your seat belt. I suspect that the drivers of vehicles are not fined for being injured or thrown from their cars during an accident.

And once again, I come back to questioning why we bother spending time and energy to write, debate and governmentally enact laws and mandates that people choose not to follow and which have no consequences for breaking! I remember when motorcyclists had to fight for the right to choose whether or not to wear a helmet when traveling on their bikes. I respect the rights of bikers who choose to go riding without a helmet, not because I don’t think it’s a safe practice, but because theirs in the only body that will be damaged in an accident. I believe that drivers should have the right not to wear a seatbelt, but believe that they should insist that any passengers in their vehicle must wear one. Again, if you choose to risk your health or life by not wearing one, that’s a personal choice for only YOU, but I don’t think you should be allowed to put passengers at risk by not insisting on wearing a seat belt.

Wearing masks and driving with lights on in the rain, however, are both mandates that also think about the safety of others, and that should supersede any individual rights.

Listen, wearing a mask is not on my list of “fun things to do”. I wear it primarily for my own health reasons, but I also believe in protecting others. Because I suffer from chronic sinusitis, I never really know if symptoms are, for example, from a cold or other respiratory bug that can be spread. And there have been times, when wearing my mask indoors someplace, I’ve had to find a corner or place away from anyone else so I can pull down my mask and blow my almost always runny nose. I’m still pretty cognizant of being socially distant from others when in places like the grocery store.

And, I’m also a bit disgruntled about why there are no consequences for people who don’t follow mandates or laws? Then, what’s the purpose of them????

I don’t necessarily feel any less angry about this than I did before writing this post, but sometimes, I just have to let the negative energy out about and express it. Thanks for hearing me out!