The Strength of Emerging with Your Own Lyrics

As a teenager, music was very important to me. I loved songs that had a meaning, a message. I’d come across some new song and beg my mother and step father to listen to it, certain that they would see what I saw. But they never did. Their taste in music was very different from mine. I would argue with them…“Even if you don’t like the way it sounds, don’t you hear what they’re trying to say?” But they didn’t.

Today I hear the music my kids listen to, the message it is sending to the world. Some of the songs are strong and powerful. They’re songs about loving yourself and reaching goals. My youngest came home one day a couple years ago singing Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya:

Oh, I don’t know what you’ve been told
But this gal right here’s gonna rule the world
Yeah, that is where I’m gonna be because I wanna be
No, I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty
You get off on your nine to five
Dream of picket fences and trophy wives
But no, I’m never gonna be ’cause I don’t wanna be
No, I don’t wanna sit still look pretty

And I loved it immediately. I was enamored with the message it was sending out to all the girls who think they need makeup and fancy clothes to be valuable. I wanted my kids to know they can rule the world, and this song told them it was possible every time they heard it.

Of course my girls think I like these songs because of what it teaches them. I do, but I have always been this way, long before I had kids. I believe that the stories, songs, poems, books, posts, TV shows, movies, art or whatever else is put into the world should make it better. There is so much power in media and it should be used to build people up, not tear them down.

But now that my kids are in middle school they’re being exposed to a lot of things I have a harder time appreciating. Recently my youngest introduced me to Trust Fund Baby by Why Don’t We:

I don’t really want no trust fund baby
I like my women independent
And I say to people, “That’s my lady”
And we don’t need nothing e-e-e-lse
I don’t want no trust fund baby
Save your money, don’t spend it
And I say to people, “That’s my lady”
And we don’t need nothing e-e-e-lse

I struggle with the message this is sending. I don’t want to criticize what my daughter likes, but it’s so difficult when she puts these types of songs on. “That’s my lady?” Really? “Save your money, don’t spend it?” Why? Why does this song appeal to my daughter? I know it’s the music more than the lyrics, but she hears these messages every time she listens to the song.

And yet I can’t prevent it, not entirely. There are certain songs that I will not allow her to listen to when I’m around. I explain why and it’s always because of the lyrics and the message. Sometimes she assumes it’s because there’s a swear word, but my issue isn’t with these words necessarily, it’s the overall message I’m concerned about. I have no problem with the girls hearing “bad” words if the story in the song is powerful and positive. But more often these words are used to shock the listener or for no real reason at all, at least not that I can see.

I can give them my opinion, but they will listen when I’m not around, even though they know I don’t approve. I realize this. As they get older what I’m able to control decreases. I try to be okay with this, even though letting go is difficult.

But it’s time they start writing their own stories, their own lyrics. I am here to help them but I can’t do it for them. They have to choose the message they will bring to the world. They may not choose what I would choose for them, and I have to be okay with that. It’s their turn now.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Song

Broken Silence -Saturday Mix – Double Take, 14 April 2018

A touching tribute for any little girl who has been mistreate, abused, raped….❤️

syncwithdeep

stop-1131143_640I am not dead I am a survivor it's difficult to forget what you did to me because every day I carry the pain! You tied my hand and ripped my pants I begged and pleaded but you never listened you unzipped me so harsh, did I bleed. You forced yourself and once you were done the process repeats again with your friend It hurts like a hell each time you did to me! I screamed to stop but you sadistically laughed. You bite my boobs till my nipples bleed I wonder how did your mom breastfeed! I was there for hours lying motionless, bleeding with pain, I could barely walk or hardly talk. I was brutally raped again and again. Excruciating pain the sheet blood stained I feel numb I feel like a shell I am still alive But a walking dead! Five years passed I see his face…

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Do You See What Anger Does?

Why do some people choose to be miserable, always unhappy even when they get what they say they want? Even though I know their anger is their problem it still depletes my energy. It saps me of my kindness toward them, even though I want to feel empathy for them.

My neighbor is one such person. I feel for her, or at least I usually do. She has no friends; she kicked her boyfriend out of the house; I’ve never seen her grown kids visit, or anyone else for that matter. She had some health problems; she fell; she didn’t leave her house for several months, so I tried to help by mowing her front yard when I mowed mine.

Because of her pain medication, and the alcohol she has been drinking with it, she is unpredictable. On a good day this small act of kindness is appreciated. She has thanked me for this, although while I was doing this I wasn’t sure which version of my neighbor I would get. A different day she criticized the cutting because it spread the weeds.

So I no longer cut her grass.

Today was another such incident and I feel depleted, completely drained by the confrontation. For the past 12 years she has been complaining about a tree in our front yard. It was mostly on my side, but branches and roots extended into hers. Slowly the tree has deteriorated, causing dead branches to fall in the yard. At least 10 years ago she called codes to try to force us to take it down, but the tree was healthy enough then.

But after the tree withstood hurricane Irma last September I decided it was time to take action. I was fortunate that the heavy winds didn’t knock down any of the large, dead branches high above our houses. I waited until the tree companies were done taking care of the damage from the hurricane and I arranged to have it taken down.

I told her when I saw her this was coming. She was sad to see the tree go.

I suppose a good neighbor would have gone over the day before to remind her, but I didn’t. I guess I’ve had other things on my mind. I did’t realize what would be involved in the tree removal, so it never occurred to me they would have equipment in her yard. They bent a yard stake, which I would have happily replaced, except that’s not what she wants.

She wants to have a reason to be angry. Replacing the damaged item wouldn’t have changed anything.

She complained about the damage to her lawn, but there is no permanent damage. There wasn’t much grass to begin with because the tree kept it from growing, and the lack of rain this spring combined with her ruthless pulling of weeds has taken care of the rest. I would have been happy to help her clean up or fix whatever she felt needed to be fixed. But instead of asking for help, or some sort of resolution, she stood outside yelling and cursing at me.

I won’t engage with her anger. I just won’t.

I responded calmly. I apologized. I acknowledged her feelings; I accepted she was unhappy and tried to explain I wasn’t aware they’d be in her yard. But she would have none of that. She doesn’t want this fixed. She wants to be angry. She is choosing to be angry.

And even though her anger depletes my desire to be kind, I will continue to be me. I will not let this make me angry. I will not let her have that control over me. If she wants to fix something then I will discuss that with her, calmly.

This isn’t the post I wanted to write today…perhaps if I have time later I will write something more in line with my normal posts and delete this one…

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Deplete

Choose to be a Delightful Glimmer of Hope

I am a ray of sunshine, a glimmer of hope to friends and family.

At least I try to be. I haven’t always been this way, but it’s getting easier the more I practice. I used to complain about my day, commiserate with my friends about my ex or vent to my sister about the kids. I used to whine about my coworkers, or the traffic, or the heat. I used to give a lot of attention to these things that made me unhappy.

You know what? That didn’t make me happier. To spend my time thinking, talking, and ranting about things that were upsetting me made me more stressed and discontent.

Focusing on issues and problems made it easy to spot new ones everywhere. My life was a mess and I didn’t know how to get myself out of it.

Through a lot of reading, learning, and experimenting I made the decision to change. At first I wasn’t sure it was going to make a difference. Everyone vents. It’s not good to keep your feelings bottled up, right? It’s necessary to let out your emotions so they don’t build up over time.

Except that I found out…you can control your emotions. You don’t have to let them run wild and free. You can choose to become aware of your negative feelings, then use that awareness to change them to be more positive. Instead of locking the gloomy, angry reactions inside, you can acknowledge them, and then choose a different response.

Eventually I shifted my attention from destructive emotional outbursts to something more constructive. I began holding these events up to the light, then turning them slightly until I could see a glimmer of something positive in it; until I could find a lesson, or some value in the experience.

That jerk just cut me off! The nerve! I could have hit him! He had to be in front of me so bad…I’ll show him! (as you get really close to his bumper so he can’t ignore the silent message your’re sending)

—becomes—

Wow, that guy just cut me off! That’s really frustrating! Maybe he didn’t see me there. I’m going to be extra careful in the future so I don’t do the same to someone else. I don’t want to be that guy!

And in doing this, I learned to be more joyful. As I began to be more content with my life and the events that came up, people started to notice the change. I didn’t fault others if they chose to vent. I still listened but when I could, I would try to redirect them, or ask a question that would maybe get them to think about things from a different perspective.

I started sharing this with the people around me, leading by example. People started to feel good when they were around me. They became more positive, and hopefully they will in turn do the same with those they meet.

With my writing, I hope to be that glimmer of hope for you as well! I want to be the drop of water that starts a ripple of positive thinking through the people I am fortunate enough to meet.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Glimmer

On Friends & Friendships

I love this perspective on friendship. She makes so many great points I just had to share!

HappymessHappiness

imagesSocial media has made it possible for people to become friends to anyone around the globe merely through the click of a button. I think it’s generally a good thing. My need for friendship isn’t too much but once I decide to build one, I intend to make it genuine as much as I can. Somehow, maintaining friendships can be hard work but so worth it at the same time because our friendships are one of the most influential and essential parts of our life. Recently, I’ve been pondering quite often about my friends and friendships. The friends worth keeping and friendships worth saving. The fact of the matter is that, my social circle is quite noticeably shrinking. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I actually think I quite understand now what they mean with “less is more” and “quality over quantity.”

images (1)I first arrived in Kuwait on the 1st…

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What Happens When We Disrupt What We Are Doing?

I’ve been trying to write today’s post…but work keeps disrupting my thoughts. Or perhaps my thoughts of today’s post are disrupting my work. I am torn between what I am passionate about, and what is, at least for now, necessary.

When my thoughts are divided this way I’m not giving 100% of myself to either task. But this is how we live our busy lives these days, isn’t it?

I’m trying to get better; to give my full attention to one activity at a time, but with life coming at me from every direction this can be difficult. My daughter will come into the kitchen while I’m making dinner or washing the dishes. I want to listen to her, I really do. But I have to teach myself to either stop what I’m doing so I can look at her and truly hear what she’s saying, or ask her to wait until I’m finished.

How many times has she said something to me, to which I nod or otherwise acknowledge, only to realize after the fact I completely missed what she said?

Her: “Can I go to my friend’s house Friday night?”
Me (after nodding): “Wait, what did you just say?”

I’ve caught myself checking texts, emails, or WordPress notifications while my daughter is practicing gymnastics, too anxious to find out what I’m missing to wait until she’s finished. My daughter sees this, I know she does, and I try not to…but it’s so tempting.

How much of my life am I missing because I’m looking at my phone instead of what’s in front of me?

Her: “Did you see me Mom?”
Me: “No, sorry. I missed it!”

At work I’ll be focusing on an issue, a problem that needs to be solved, when suddenly an email will pop up begging to be read, demanding my immediate attention. And suddenly I’m pulled into some other project, the original task left unfinished, half done until I remember what it was I’d been working on. My boss insists this is necessary, this juggling act in which nothing is completed well, but is at least finished in the end.

How much more would I get done if I could ignore the emails just for a little while, until I’m finished?

Her: “When will this be completed?”
Me: “When I can give it some attention.”

And speaking of work, I have a new problem requiring my attention. Maybe I’ll get back to this later, or maybe this is enough for now…

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Disrupt

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!