Monday, August 18, 2014

It Doesn't Matter What You Say...

I was an awkward child. I had "lazy eye" and wore an eye patch until the second grade. I couldn't tie my shoes until second grade and I couldn't ride a bike without training wheels until fifth grade. Because of my vision problems, my depth perception was off. I walked funny, my handwriting was messy, and I had to go to physical and occupational therapy. I was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder, which still affects me today.

That's me on the right (the younger sister).

Needless to say, I was teased quite a bit. Even in high school, a lot of people didn't treat me very nicely. I guess they remembered me as a child in grade school and couldn't let that go. And I was still a bit awkward in high school too.

This morning, on the way to school, my daughter kept insisting that kids at school look at her and think mean things about her. I told her that people are usually not thinking what you believe them to be thinking. Even if they are, it doesn't matter. She said that sometimes people do say mean things to her. We all know that kids are mean. They sometimes say things just to see if they can make you mad. I reminded her of this. I also reminded her of the one thing that I ultimately learned through all the teasing and people looking at me funny. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR THINK ABOUT YOU! What really matters is what you think about you. So I reminded her. If someone tells you that you are stupid, or ugly, or anything else that you are not, you just tell them the truth. Tell them, "It doesn't matter what you say because I know that I am smart and pretty and you are wrong." Nothing shuts someone up faster than knowing that you have confidence in yourself. Tell it like it is and move on. Forget the haters. They aren't worth your time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why Robin Williams' Death Matters to Me

Robin Williams' died on Monday at the age of 63. A lot of people may just say, "Another celebrity killed himself. Happens all the time." But to me, it hits so much deeper. It hits close to home.

My father is 63 years old. He has suffered from depression his entire life. When I heard about Robin Williams' death and realized he is the same age as my father, all I could think about was calling him to tell him how much I love him and that I'm thinking about him. I don't know what has gone on with my father at all times. I know that there were probably times that depression had such a grip on him that he contemplated suicide. I am so blessed that my father is still here with me after all these years.

Not everyone is so lucky. I too have suffered from depression. Depression is a monster. It changes your perception of your world. You can have loving friends and family who care so very much about you, but in your mind the world is a dark and cold place. No one cares about you. You are worthless. This is what your mind tells you. People tell you to think positive, but when you are deep in that pit it is so very hard to get out.

There is a lot of talk going on about suicide as a result of Robin Williams' death. There's talk about how suicide is selfish and not considering that Mr. Williams and other depressed people who commit suicide are not thinking about the people that love them so much. The truth is, the depressed mind is selfish. It cannot think about anything about itself, and never in a good way. It is mean. It is unforgiving. It only thinks about itself and sometimes it gets to the point where it only thinks about taking this pain away.

So here's the question. What can you do? Learn about depression. Read about it. Educate yourself. Learn about the signs of suicide, especially if you know someone who suffers from depression. Talk about depression. It is an illness. It hurts the people who suffer from it and their loved ones. I hope that Robin Williams' death will open up people's minds about depression and help to bring about awareness of this condition that affects so many but still has so much stigma behind it.

Above all, tell your friends and family you love them because you never know what they may be going through inside.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Breastfeeding Mothers: Respect One Another!

Last week, Olivia Wilde's Glamour photo shoot created quite a stir. Here in my neck of the woods, a local radio station discussed the photo and breastfeeding in a less than helpful manner. I did not hear the broadcast, but according to friends of mine in a Facebook breastfeeding support group, the host stated that if women need to breast feed in public they need to use a cover, pump and bring bottles, or feed their baby in the bathroom. This upset a lot of women and prompted a nurse-in to be organized in front of the radio station.
This whole thing fueled a lot of debate and the main idea that came across is that no one respects anyone anymore and they all seem to be accusing each other of disrespect.

The radio host was being disrespectful in his remarks, not taking into consideration that there are babies who will not be covered or will not take bottles and that it is disgusting, unsanitary, and uncomfortable to feed your baby in a restroom.

Some of the comments from listeners and Facebook members were along the lines of respect as well. There were non-breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers alike saying that it was disrespectful to others to show your breasts in public. The answer back to this from nursing mothers (like me) who have babies that will not be covered or take bottles was that is was disrespectful to deny a mother her right to feed her child and to also assume that because you may choose to cover when breastfeeding, every other mother must also do so.

This argument will continue for as long as mothers are breastfeeding their children and as long as breasts are seen as a sexual object. So in other words, this argument will always be around. As a breastfeeding mother, I will do my part to respect those who choose not to breastfeed (or cannot breastfeed), those who choose to cover, and those who choose not to cover. All I ask in return is that other nursing mothers respect that it is indeed legal for me to breastfeed in public, covered or uncovered, and I am not a bad person if I choose to do so uncovered. Nursing mothers, if we respect each other then the ignorant people who disrespect us and our right to breastfeed wherever and whenever our child needs will be silenced when we band together instead of adding more fuel to the fire.
Instead, let's be supportive of each other and that we have made a great choice for our babies. Let's help each other succeed instead of fighting amongst ourselves!