Insert Controversial Political Title Here

I’m tired of hearing about the election. It ended. It’s done. Hilary lost, unfortunately that ended up meaning Trump won, and that’s the end of it. (Before I get “liberal snowflake” commentary, I welcome you to read my posts about the election where I was against both of the major party candidates. I did vote 3rd party and I’m not ashamed of that.) Do I want to hear about it being rehashed all of the time? Nope. There are certainly more important things that should be addressed in the media.

Instead, we have to listen to election stuff. Stuff that happened a year ago. Now, I’m not even going to touch the Russia thing here. If something illegal did happen, then I would hope that justice would take place. My issue is listening to news articles every day about “How Hilary Lost?”/”Why Did Hilary Lose?” I really don’t want to hear her rehash everything with excuses of why she lost. “I should have been more aggressive with Trump.” “Russia did it and I should have been president.”

The fact is that Hilary only got as many votes as she did because she was the Democratic candidate. That is a reality. I don’t think it had to do with women voting. It was a party line that people didn’t want to cross, especially not for Trump. “She was the qualified one.” Qualified means nothing when it comes down to making the American people decide. Just look at all of the past winners on reality television shows. Most of the time the most talented one doesn’t even win.

I can tell you exactly why she lost, as someone who has pretty much voted for every political party at one point or another. It had nothing to do with the fact that she was a woman. There may have been a bit of sexism but not enough to make her lose by that much. She lost because she ended up being a less likable candidate than a reality star that turns different shades of Cheeto. She lost because she seemed to act like she was entitled to the White House. She lost because she definitely did shady things with her emails and perhaps even shady dealings with her foundation. She lost because she thought the celebrities she had on her side were going to be enough to carry her to the win. She lost because she didn’t appeal to the everyperson. She lost for so many different reasons that you can’t even pinpoint exactly one that did it.

Do I think that Russia interfered with the election? I don’t know. I don’t know all of the facts and unlike some people, I refuse to make a judgement without knowing everything. They probably did, but they probably did 10000 times before and not just in America. Does it make it right? Absolutely not. The bigger question is “Did Russia interfere enough in the election to make her lose?” Maybe instead of getting mad at Russia for revealing the shady behind the scenes disaster that was the DNC, maybe you shouldn’t have rigged the election to put a losing candidate on the ticket. Maybe they thought the Clinton name would make the election a sure thing. Maybe they thought they would win because “Look at us, we’re the progressive party that put a woman on the ticket”. The 3rd parties have been doing that for a while, you’re not the special for doing it. Would the election have gone a different way if Bernie had one? I think so, but I’m just a writer spewing opinions rather than a political pundit that lives and breathes political theory.

So instead of complaining about the million reasons that you lost the election, do something else to create change. Volunteer at soup kitchens. Do backpack drives for kids who need school supplies. Support the arts in schools. Raise awareness of genocides, the need for vaccines and medical treatments across the globe. Do something instead of whining about what you could have done differently. Prove all of the doubters, including myself, that you would have been the better choice. (Though to be fair, I did think both major party candidates were awful choices.)

 

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My Not-So Little Boy Started High School

Sure, this is a few days late, but the beginning of the school year is always a busy time of year especially when you are simultaneously prepping for a birthday party. Milestones are aplenty in the LaRochelle household these days, with the “baby” going to kindergarten later this week. (On Thursday, so I can cover the inevitable tears over the moment.) But Freshman year is a milestone all its own. This is the beginning of essentially the end of childhood. This is where you decide on colleges, possible career choices, first dates, long(ish) relationships. High school is a big milestone.

… And my oldest baby just got there.

I expected tears. I expected being a nervous wreck. It didn’t happen. I made him cinnamon rolls, listened to his concerns, congratulated him on his achievements, and let him know that I knew he was going to do great things in high school and beyond. He nodded and smiled that smile that only people who know him could truly appreciate. That smile let me know that he was going to be okay. Or at least as okay as any teenager who had trouble falling asleep and woke up at 4 AM could be. When he came home, he expressed how much he liked his teachers, how he had friends in every class and had lunch with one of his “baseball bros”, and then passed out for 5 hours. I did say that he was up at 4 AM, right?

The fact is I have done everything that I could to prepare him for this. I have tried to give him the confidence he needed to take on the world. I tried to give him the compassion to be an amazing person. I tried to instill charity, love, and kindness. At this point, we will find out if I gave him enough. Essentially my time of teaching him is over. Now, I just have to hope that the foundation he was given was strong enough to see him through.

That’s the hardest part of high school as a parent. Hoping that you gave him the strength he needs to face the cruel world and the kindness to come out on the other side. It is his time to make decisions, hopefully inspired by everything he has been taught. I am here to give him advice, hugs, and cookies. Ultimately, that is all I am here for now. He will make his own decisions, forging his own path. Unfortunately, this also means being okay when he inevitably falls. Because at the end of the day, we can only pick them up afterwards and hope that they learned from the fall.

High school is an emotionally tiring journey for both the kids and parents. We have to be okay with that and trust that we did everything that we possibly could to give them what they needed to succeed.

Changing Course Doesn’t Mean Giving Up

I look around at all of the things that I can do. My skills (writing, crafting, anything in the realm of “artistic” except photography. I’m terrible at photography.) are seemingly unmarketable in an industry that has so many other people who are just as skilled or better in these areas. In fact, I would argue that the difference is their ability to market and network themselves. As much as I try to learn, I just have not mastered that skill yet. It’s easy to just give up, but I’m not really one for quitting.

Instead, now there is a struggle of finding an actual better paying job that gives me the freedom to continue to create rather than just spend all of my time working and not get the time to spend with my family or my art. I think that I have found the path I need to be on, I just need an extra push to get me there. Changing course with a potential job that is actually pretty exciting for me, that doesn’t mean I am giving up. Sometimes you just need to change your course for a while so that you can achieve your dreams. That’s okay.

There are goals that I have. I intend to expand this site for other endeavors, such as branching out into individual blogs/articles (such as a gaming/geek culture link for my local area) and adding an e-commerce site to sell those little crafty things that I make without bothering with other sites taking a cut. I will continue to work on my books, including the 2 I am currently working on. Eventually, I will go back to school to get my MA in Creative Writing. From there, what will I do? There is no real end game. I just want options. I want to stay at a job because I like it, not because I have to. These are my goals and those who know me know one thing: I am annoyingly stubborn. What I lack in entrepreneurial spirit, I make up for in grit.

The lesson here is quite simple: you can change the course that you are currently on a bit to achieve whatever goals that you may have. If something isn’t working out for you, try a new way of doing it. As long as you end up where you wanted to be from the start, you have succeeded. Some people are lucky enough to have this right away. Others may wait a lifetime. However, giving up is never the option.

To Everyone, Thank You

There was an outpouring of support from my last post, which meant a lot to me. The fact that I even touched 1 person with my story fills me with tremendous joy. I cannot even adequately express what that means to me. Thank you all for your support and your input.

One of the biggest struggles of a writer is sharing. Are you sharing too much of yourself? Are you not sharing enough? There is a careful balance that needs to happen between being cold and being too open. There is a certain level of mystery that is necessary in pretty much every aspect of your life, especially as a writer.

To a lesser extent, there is some care to not upset readers. Getting so personal, especially on a topic like suicide, could attract a lot of attention that is both negative and positive. Fortunately in this case, there was an overwhelming amount of support. I am strong enough to know that this won’t always be the case. But on Tuesday it was and it gave me a bit more confidence that my words can mean something. And that is a powerful feeling.

With all these projects and potential changes coming up, this is confidence I admittedly could absolutely use right now. Thank you for reading.

Depression, Suicide, and You

Another celebrity had killed themselves, causing everyone to debate about suicide. Some went off about the selfishness of his act while others point out that this is evidence that the mental health system in America needs to be better. Some discuss this in anger, “He’s rich and famous, what did he have to be depressed about.” Others fight back: “Money doesn’t solve everything and make you happy.” Then there is the “What about the kids?” I won’t engage in these arguments because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Another person lost their battle with depression and made a deliberate choice to end their life. Depression doesn’t care if you’re rich and famous or poor or a parent.

Mental illness is such a difficult battle that people struggle with. Even the most put together person you know may struggle with this in silence. Your best friend could be struggling with it in silence. The problem is that they struggle in silence. Even today with all of the PSAs and media dedicated to helping people, there is still such a stigma about struggling with any mental illness, whether it’s an anxiety disorder or depression. People who struggle with these things are led to believe that this somehow makes them weak. You’re not weak. In fact, I would argue that every day that you survive with these struggles actually makes you stronger than most. This does not mean that I view suicide as a weakness. I think it’s an end result of a battle that just could not be won.

I have witnessed the effects of suicide twice in my life. I have grappled with my feelings on it, personally feeling the ripples these types of events cause. When I was in high school, my cousin committed suicide. I remember how that event shook me. He had stopped by before it happened under circumstances that later should have occurred didn’t make sense. He used to pick up the soda cans and turn them in for some extra cash. He asked if we had any when I answered the door. I yelled down to my brother, asking if there were any. No. There were none. I wanted to get back to my art project I was working on and I was a dumb teenage girl. He stayed for a moment talking to me, hugged me, and left. Sometimes I remember this moment and he said he loved me. Other times I just remember that unique smile and wave as he left. I stood there waving goodbye. Sometime I think this death broke me. I never cried at a funeral since that one. There, I sobbed uncontrollably. My older brother put his arm around me when I did, trying to console me. There was no consolation. Years later, this is all so fresh in my head. He was an innocent. He was a kind soul and the world is worse off without him in it. He was arguably one of the nicest and coolest people I had ever known. Years later, I stood by as my husband’s family had to handle this same struggle.

You would think that I would believe there’s a heaven where they would be watching down on us. I was raised in CCD classes, in a religion that used to insist that this was a sin. If there were a heaven, sinners would not be in it. Though if there were a God, these two incredible people would still be with us. They should be with us. Our lives are significantly richer life knowing these two men.

I struggled with writing this, I admit. Are these things that I should talk about? What will people think? Do they think I am glorifying suicide? The reality is that my concern about writing this is really the problem. We should talk about it. Raising awareness for an illness like depression is just as important as it is for any other disease. It would be disingenuous to not talk about it, especially when it is something that admittedly haunts me. Simply telling a person who is depressed to get over it or it will get better is a meaningless attempt to fix someone. Spoiler alert: you can’t fix a person with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness. All of the medication and psych visits in the world can’t fix them. You can merely support them, accept them, and do whatever you can to make them feel loved and needed. Be there when they are sad as much as when they are happy. Make sure that they know you are here for them. Do everything in your power, even try to get help for them. However, just remember: Even then, it may not be enough. It is not your fault. Sometimes they just suffer in silence and it just happens. It is not your fault.

The Importance and Trials of Being Patient

When you are a parent, you want to make sure that you are constantly doing the right thing for your child. You really do agonize if every decision you make is the right one. Parenting is not a part-time job and it certainly isn’t for the weak. You are going to make bad decisions and that’s okay because you are also going to make some pretty amazing ones. You can read all of the parenting books and child development/psych books all you want and it still won’t prepare you for what you could potentially face. Even the most trained professionals in the field can screw up their children and the sooner you realize this, you can move on and just do what you need to.

I have made it no secret that my youngest son has certainly come with his own set of challenges. From a minor birth defect that needed surgery to dealing with Early Intervention/IEPs in preschool, it has been seemingly one challenge after another. He has spent a lot of time in evaluations and ended up with a blanket diagnosis of having a sensory integration disorder. While there has been some debate whether or not that is something he actually has, it is something that he will grow out of. We just need to be patient.

He has always had his own quirks. Things need to be a specific way. There needs to be a routine. He needs to know exactly what is going to happen every day and any variation in that could potentially lead to a meltdown. This is something we have grown accustomed to. We love him and if he needs a routine, he gets a routine.

Recently, my husband and I have slowly started to upgrade our home to a “smart home” to try helping with the bills and making our life a little easier. (Especially for me, who has to climb on the couch to turn the light in the living room on.) The problem is, this is a change. My husband was replacing a light fixture in the hallway, and our son lost it. “Our house is falling” is all he would scream as he sobbed and did his run/pace/freakout mode. 2 days later, we are still in “disaster control” mode to remedy this problem. We just need to be patient with him.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that this happened. When we were picking out flooring samples, he also freaked out. He freaked out when I made a joke about winning the lottery and buying a massive house so I can have a dog sanctuary. “Our floor is falling!” “You can’t sell our house!” He does not like change. He does not like surprises. We just need to be patient.

Yelling at a kid when they are like this will only make matters worse. It can seem like the reasonable thing to do, especially if you are in public and everyone is staring while they do it. In these most difficult times, you need to be patient. You won’t always be patient and you know what? That’s OK. You are human. After you lose it, you pick yourself up and can be patient. Patience: it won’t fix everything but it certainly won’t make anything worse.

Loyalty is a Funny Word

What is loyalty? The definition of loyalty is as follows (from dictionary.com):

noun, plural loyalties.
1. the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations.
2. faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
3. an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like:

a man with fierce loyalties.

The concept of loyalty is pretty simple to understand. If you are loyal to someone, you dedicate time and energy to be there for that person. You consider things based on the best interest of the person you are loyal to. A person really is only as good as their loyalty.

What inspired this? President Trump’s Twitter, of course. He tweeted out in one of his latest Twitter fits about Republican loyalty, saying “Some Republicans were loyal”. What is that supposed to mean? It means being loyal to the party, of course. This is the big problem here. Politicians do tend to be loyal to the party, on both sides of the aisle. However, should a politician be loyal to a party or the constituents that put them into office?

They need to be loyal to the American people. They need to not just be loyal to the people that voted them in; they need to consider the needs and wants of all of their constituents. They (We) are your bosses. We determine if you get another term in office. We are the ones that you should be concerned with, not your pockets or your party. So when a Republican stands up against a bill, maybe it’s a terrible bill. Maybe they realize that they are going to hurt more of their constituents than the current option. But by doing what’s best for their people is not being disloyal, they are doing their jobs.

The Republican party really had around 7 years to come up with something great. If they worked together for 7 years to create something amazing, this would not be happening right now. They would pass a bill because they wouldn’t be rushing it. This seems like when you are sitting in class and the teacher says “Don’t forget, you have your 10 page report due in 3 weeks” and you ignore it until they remind you “Don’t forget, your paper is due tomorrow”. Sometimes you get lucky and turn in something passable. Other times, you get the dreaded “See me after class”.

Is Obamacare perfect? Not even close, but name some bill that is. In some places, rates have risen and that’s a fact. In some places, they may not get access to some of the best choices as far as insurance plans go. The idea of mandating insurance seems logical, especially if that money goes back into helping to sustain programs like Medicaid and Medicare. The idea that insurance companies need to offer pediatric dental care in addition to medical care is great because not everyone can afford dental insurance for their kids. Not having to pay co-pays for yearly checkups encourages people to go to the doctor because they don’t have to worry about where the money is coming from. As much as there is that is good about the bill, there are a lot of things that could be a lot better. America deserves better. And this bill is not it.

Politicians really need to learn their place and where their loyalties should be. Democrats are not only creating laws and bills for Democrats and the same goes the other way around. There needs to be compromise and there needs to be collaboration. Without either, this country is only going to continue on this path of divisiveness that is only going to break us.