A sad day for Americans

As I sit in the comfort of my own warm and cozy home, I am reminded of the violence Americans are capable of. A grand jury decided that police officer Darren Wilson was just doing his job when he shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Unhappy and angry people thought it was a good enough reason to loot, set fires, and terrorize innocent citizens in Ferguson, and across the country.

Borrowed from mphprogramslist.com

Borrowed from mphprogramslist.com

Everyone has an opinion of what they consider right or wrong, and that’s their right, not just as Americans, but as individuals. And I suppose being on the outside looking in, I can be more objective than those who happen to be in the thick of it.

For quite a while now, I have made it a habit to tread lightly when it comes to subjects that are difficult to talk about, such as politics, religion, and prejudice. But it’s time to speak up.

No one is perfect. Everyone judges. And everyone is prejudice to a degree. Whether that prejudice is in the form of racism, sexism, or perfectionism, we are creatures of habit and unless we catch ourselves when making a judgment about something to remind ourselves it’s not our job to judge, we will always form an opinion about a “thing.”

“She’s a snob….he’s bald….he’s tall…she’s overweight…he’s black…..she’s asian.”

Let’s face it. We all do it.

It’s an opinion. That’s all. It’s that little voice in our head that is constantly making judgments about the world around us. It is what we base our values on. It’s how we decide who we want to be.

But I think people forget they have the power to control that little voice. For a long time I believed that I was powerless. It was only after I took control of my life and decided that I had the power to become whoever I wanted to be, that I could step outside myself and really look at my beliefs, morals, and values. I guess you could say that I can now judge my judgments. Every day, every moment, I get to make the choice of who I want to be.

I judge. I do. Everyone does. But when I do, I get to choose a positive or a negative.

“She’s not very nice,” becomes, “She is probably having a bad day. I have had bad days. I can relate. I won’t hold it against her. I can forgive her for being rude. I have been rude before.” Not only does it verbalize my judgment about the woman, but it reminds me that I need to be aware of my actions, too.

Watching people riot on TV is sad. I understand the pain Michael Brown’s parents are going through. They lost their son and they believe the police officer was let off too easy. It doesn’t give people the right to become violent and hurt others because they are angry.

Has everyone forgotten that this young man was involved in a crime prior to the shooting? Video shows that he threatened a store owner as he was confronted about shoplifting. He is not an innocent victim as some people would like to believe.

He had the choice to be who he wanted to be. He chose to commit a crime that day He chose to confront the police officer.

We all have the choice to decide how we are going to live. Are we going to live angry, or are we going to learn from this? Do we become violent just because things don’t go our way or do we look at what we need to change?

Because we do have the power to do that.

 

 

 

Political change is inevitable

Everything changes. That’s a given. Sometimes we embrace it; sometimes we fight it to the death. And even though many of us don’t really like change, it’s our choice how we deal with it.

Borrowed from thebainreport.com.

Borrowed from thebainreport.com.

I consider myself an independent voter. Most of the candidates I voted for did not get voted into office, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed.

It was a tough year. The political ads were almost more than I could take, and by the time Nov. 4 came around, I stopped watching television all together.

One of the things that really bothered me this time around was how brutal the candidates were to each other. The ads have always been a bit on the bullying side, but this year’s ads were even more so.

What is this teaching our children? That all is fair in Love,War, and now Politics? I know this “is the way it’s always been done,” but isn’t it time to do something different?

Maybe for the next election, the candidates can focus on what they will do for us instead of what their opponents are doing wrong. One of the reasons I voted for the candidates I did was because their character; I watched how they treated others, including their opponents. Were they mean, spiteful and just plain nasty? If so, I had to ask myself if I could trust this person to do what the people wanted, or if they had their own agenda.

With that being said, I have to believe that this change will be good for our nation. So many are unhappy with the way things are going, maybe by shaking things up a bit, something good will come out of it.

We can only hope.

So, we can fight the change, or we can embrace it. But I think it will most likely be somewhere in the middle.

Halloween is a young person’s holiday

I love Halloween. Or I used to, anyway. It’s still one of my favorite holidays, but as I’ve matured, it’s lost some of its luster.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Going trick or treating and getting my hands on all that candy was probably the biggest thrill, but my older brother is a master story-teller. His rendition of “The Golden Arm” had me shaking and running for the security of mom’s lap.

“Come back,” he’d call from under the makeshift tent in the living room. “I’m not done!”

But I didn’t care. After a while I’d peek around the corner in time to see the flashlight disappear under the sheet and hear Jim moan, “Give me my golden arm…”

I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds,” one Halloween after coming in from Trick or Treating. It scarred me for a very long time.  I think it was because I looked up at the TV, just as the birds were attacking the children, as they ran from the school. The close-ups of their eyes and beaks of the birds as they pecked the children traumatized me, and I had nightmares for weeks.

Even now when I see a flock of birds gathered on the wires or a jungle gym, I tend to quicken my pace. I’m not afraid of birds. There’s just something that’s triggered whenever they begin to gather in enormous numbers.

Other scary movies that I remember growing up include, “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Omen,” “The Exorcist,” “Salem’s Lot,” “Carrie,” and “Poltergeist.”  I usually woke up in the middle of the night and ran to my parent’s bed, where they’d reassure me there was no one after me, and yes, I could sleep with them.

I loved watching “Creature Feature,” too. This late night Fright Fest consisted of a collection of frightening movies that included such classics as “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “The Mummy,” and “The Werewolf.” These movies were old and cheesy, but they still gave me nightmares, too.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but the rush I got from being scared to death was exhilarating, and soon a lack of sleep didn’t faze me a bit.

But then something happened as I grew up. Real life got scary enough that I didn’t need the thrill of made-up ghosts and goblins. And the last Haunted House I went to scared me enough to last a lifetime.

I went to a haunted house with my boyfriend and his little sister the year I graduated high school. Deanna was a little daredevil and ran up ahead of us in the dark hallway. At one point, a man with a fake axe jumped out at us and we screamed and ran into a dark room, with only a faint light showing the way to the other side.

Eerie music surrounded us, and I could hear the screams of people on the second level. Bruce opened the door and went through, but as I followed him, someone pushed me back and the door was shut on me.

I panicked and screamed for Bruce to help me. I struggled to find the doorknob as the lights flickered. My heart started to race and I couldn’t breath. I pounded my fists against the door, still screaming.

Suddenly, the door burst open and there stood Bruce and Deanna,laughing. They had come up with a plan to scare me and were holding the door shut on purpose.

I was so mad I didn’t talk to them the rest of the night. And I haven’t been to a haunted house since.

But that’s all right. I’m content to taking it easy, passing out candy, and watching the neighbor kids enjoy the treats.

Halloween is a young person’s holiday, anyway.