I’ve been mulling this conversation over in my head for the past year. And what a year it’s been. But the subjects are building and if I wait any longer, it will turn into a novel and nobody will want to read it.
I’m reading so many posts anti-Trump/anti-Obama, women’s march/anti-women’s march, politically correct/anti-politically correct. I can go on. The subjects are endless and it seems like people are searching for anything to argue about. The one thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve sat back (well, most of the time) is that these subjects are black and white, defined lines. Nothing is monochrome or blurry. Is that accurate or true? I’m here to say in my opinion that I don’t think it is.
My entire life when I have encountered a person who has done a kindness on another, I have always told them, “Bless your heart.” And I’ve meant it. I have wished miracles and blessings upon them and their heart because they were so kind to another. As I’ve found out recently, that term doesn’t mean the same to me as it does to others. For awhile I struggled with not saying it because I didn’t want to offend anyone. Then I realized that how I say and mean it makes a huge difference. I say it with love, kindness and sincerity. It is never misconstrued as an insult. So I am back to blessing a kind person’s heart and soul. It feels good and right to me. But I never post it in a text or social media because without hearing the words, it could easily be twisted and taken completely out of context.
This presidential thing. Oy vey, are we in a mess. Again, black or white. I’d like to point out the monochrome I mentioned earlier. As a human being, I respect Obama and absolutely adore Michelle. She is graceful and classy. As a president, no, I didn’t like Obama. I didn’t respect the decisions he made as a president that affected the town I lived in, my husband’s job and healthcare. We lived in fear for eight years, wondering when we were going to lose everything.
I also don’t believe that everyone should enjoy the same benefits in life. My entire working life, which started at a very young life, I have struggled. I’ve put in 14-16 hour days, sometimes two or three jobs to get where I am at today. I’m still not where I want to be but I’m getting there. Why should I help pay someone else’s way, who is not my family, to live a lifestyle similar to mine while they choose to stay at home and do nothing? If you want cell phones, cars, eating at restaurants, a nice roof over your head then work for it. If you physically can’t (legitimately, not some excuse) then there are programs out there but they shouldn’t be paying for your Escalade, cell phones and designer sunglasses.
While Trump scares the bejimminies out of me, I also agree that there needs to be a change. We were not all created equal, hard work is a reality, life isn’t fair is truth. Things happen. Destroying property that isn’t your own shows how far the pendulum has swung in the direction of immaturity. Our laws have become so slack that you can break the law and not worry about being punished. Heck, with the right attorney you won’t even get a slap on the wrist. What happened to being held accountable for your actions? Those who are breaking the law are blaming their actions on others. I didn’t realize we had raised a bunch of puppets. I have no problem with protesting. It’s how things get done, attention brought to the wrongs in our society. But when it’s done with hatred, violence and disrespect for others, I won’t participate. Even if I agree with you. Respect used to be earned, now it’s expected. If you can’t respect another person’s point of view and beliefs, how can they respect yours? You expect me to listen to your pain, your hurt but you won’t listen to mine? Life doesn’t work that way.
Which brings me to the latest women’s march. This was a tough one for me and I’ll admit, I didn’t handle it the best on my social media page. I “shared” a post which I mostly agreed with but I didn’t change it to share my tone/personality. This morning I saw another post attacking the post I and many other women had shared. I saw this woman’s point of view because she “spoke” with some respect. I deleted my post but I haven’t changed my opinion on the march. Since this is my blog, I can take the time to remove the emotion from my “voice” and try to explain my position respectfully.
Why I didn’t support the march. This other blogger summarized that the reason “I” (generalizing women who didn’t support this movement) is because we didn’t grow up with hardships, we didn’t struggle or suffer so we needed to be put in our place and have compassion for those who have. That is the post that at first, infuriated me but instead of lashing out on my social media page, I decided it was time to stop, calm myself and post on my own blog.
I am the epitome of everything this woman was talking about in her blog. I grew up in a household where verbal and physical abuse occurred. Money was a very precious commodity. Just yesterday I came across a letter from the Governor of Colorado and the Colorado Ambassadors of Music congratulating me on being chosen as a participant in an All-Colorado performance tour of Europe. My band teacher, Ms. Stork, had recommended me to the board and I had been chosen. 25 days traveling Europe and I couldn’t go because my parents couldn’t afford the airfare. This letter was dated Sept. 16, 1985. That’s how much I wanted to go and how painful it was that I couldn’t. I was so proud of myself.
I was also legally emancipated by sixteen. At fifteen I had been kicked out of my house and lived a short time with my best friend. I still call her parents Mom and Dad. I didn’t graduate high school. I dropped out four months before graduation because I was not only working full-time, but I was fighting with my mother, bouncing from friend’s house to friend’s house for a roof over my head. I didn’t graduate with my classmates and it’s the reason I refuse to go to class reunions. They earned it, I did not. I got my GED and continued struggling in life.
After working minimum wage jobs for five years, I decided I wanted a better life. I chose automotive. I took out student loans and was accepted into a technical college. What the hell was I thinking? A high school drop-out, a woman, going into a male dominated field. Talk about asking for torture. And I did suffer. I was discriminated from the get-go. And do you know the comment that made me the angriest came from a woman? At graduation after I walked across the stage to accept my diploma, a woman came up to me while I was with my family and stated; “You don’t look like a mechanic.” I turned and smiled sweetly and asked, “Well, what is an automotive mechanic supposed to look like?” The discrimination came from both sides but it hurt the most coming from other women. I dealt with women who wanted to talk to a man because they knew about cars. Of course I had the men who wanted to talk to a man because, well, they knew about engines.
Discrimination came from higher up too. I was told by one dealership owner that I would never become the service manager because I was a woman. He kept me as an assistant service manager for over a year, enjoying the benefits of the customer service awards I won for his dealership. And the ultimate discrimination? How about getting fired for having a baby. It wasn’t sugar coated, glossed over, put nicely. I was told straight up that I was fired because I took maternity leave. And in the state of Colorado, any business with less than twenty employees can let you go for any reason, legally. So yes, I’ve dealt with the discrimination and difference in pay for over fifteen years.
The great thing about America is I can choose a different path, a different life. So I did. I murdered my boss who fired me for taking maternity leave. Well, metaphorically I did. I took all of that anger and hatred and I wrote a book and killed him. Damn, it felt good too. And I decided I wouldn’t work in a repair facility anymore. I taught automotive classes at Colorado State University, gave lectures, wrote newspaper articles. I called out repair shops who tried to take advantage of women. I worked and created the kind of life I wanted to live.
I’ve also experienced rape. A horrific, life-altering experience to be sure. It’s the reason my husband and I make our girls take Tae Kwon Do, why they learned gun safety at a young age and taught to listen to their instincts. You never honestly know what’s in a person’s soul.
Now I could take all of these terrible experiences and blame my childhood, blame society, talk about how awful life is but I will be the last person who will do that. My life is wonderful and I am blessed beyond belief. There are times I break down in tears, grateful for the life I have. I refuse to dwell on the negatives. I look for the window that opens when the door shuts. If I can’t find the window, I break down the wall and make my own escape. I can do anything in this life that I want to because I believe it and I work for it. If I have to put in a twenty-hour day, I will do it. I don’t look outside of myself to make things happen because I know I have the power to do it.
The older I get, the more I realize that those who handle themselves with grace and respect get heard the most. To have an intelligent debate, showing respect for the other person’s experiences and opinions, will have greater weight than words spewed in hate and anger. While I will admit I have “lost it” sometimes on social media, giving into my strong emotions, I will often delete my comments or apologize. I am human, I do make mistakes.
I have worked and fought so hard to be where I am at. I have incredible friends, a husband who honestly respects and honors who I am, daughters who look up to me, ask my opinion, value my teachings. So I refuse to act in a manner that is disrespectful. Putting on vagina hats, spewing hateful words and then trashing the streets with signs and litter is not the way to be heard or taken seriously. My children asked why all of the women were wearing clown hats and because I’m honest with my girls, I explained to them what was happening and what those hats really were. Their words; “that’s stupid.”
So the entire purpose of this protest was lost on many who would’ve taken it seriously, believed in the same cause, experienced the same things. I want to be taken seriously. I did not feel that this was the way to accomplish that.
So to the blogger who tried to label me, tried to box me, I respectfully argue with your position. Life is not black or white. It’s filled with different shades of color. It’s what makes us unique, special. Please don’t speak for me because you haven’t walked my path, nor I you. I won’t tell the world who you are, I won’t paint you black or white. I won’t put a label on you because I have respect for you as a fellow human being. I would appreciate the same respect.