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It Starts With Us: Parents Talking to Their Children to Stop Bullying

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“You’re not thin enough”, “You look weird”, “Why are you even here? You should die”, these phrases are just a few of the phrases that are being thrown around in the schoolyards, in the classrooms, and I kid you not, at work as well. And believe it or not, there are even some worse phrases that will not be mentioned in this post. Why? Because they are horrifying and should never be said to another human being, or any being for that matter.

Now, I am not a parent, well, I am a fur-mama, but I do not have any human children at the moment. However, I do have nieces and nephews, and they are the light of my world, and right now they are very young, very impressionable, and can sense when things are not right. And I know that they are the perfect target for bullying. Hell, every child, teenager, and adult is a perfect target for being bullied. I know this. I’ve lived through most of my life of being bullied. Bullied by classmates, by teachers (yes, that does happen), and even bullied by co-workers, and it is not something I would want another person to endure.

Recently, I found out that a friend of mine’s son was bullied. Bullied to the point that he was sent to the hospital with a broken nose, several broken ribs, and bruises all up and down his body. Do you know how angry this made his father feel? How his mother felt? Hell, when I heard what happened I got so mad to the point that I nearly broke a counter. Yes, I got that mad. But where does this anger get placed? On the school system? Absolutely, the school is responsible for the children while they are at school, and under their supervision. On the children themselves? Of course, they are supposed to know what is right from wrong. On ourselves? Yes, a million times yes it is, the anger should weigh heavily on us adults. Why should we be angry with ourselves? Because we are the adults here, we are supposed to show our children how to behave, how to treat one another and to show them that they are not supposed to bully and assault others. As the adults we are supposed to set an example for them, to show them that two beings can be in the same room without violating the other. We are not supposed to set a bad example to them about how to start a fight, how to mistreat a girl or a boy. We are the adults here, it is our job.

Yes, there are pep rallies every year in most schools that bring awareness to the subject at hand, but do they really make an impact? No, not really. Growing up I went to several of those rallies, and do you know what still occurred. The bullying still occurred. Don’t get me wrong, I think the rallies are great, but they do not actually do much help when it comes to telling children to stop bullying, to stop assaulting their classmates, or anyone they meet in life.

It all starts at home, with the parents. As parents, we are supposed to set examples, good examples of how to treat others, and it is the way you mistreat others, say unkind and horrible things about another person is what the children are seeing more of. I know this to be true. I know a lady who is in her early 40’s and she treats others like crap, she mistreats them, bullies them, steals their energy, and makes others feel like garbage. And time and time again her children have witnessed this, and time and time again I have to remind her that they are watching her every move, every word that she says, and they are more than likely going to mimic her as they grow up. And that is what happens. Children mimic their parents, they mimic the way we talk to each other, how we treat each other. And if they are seeing that we are mistreating each other, then they are going to assume that it is completely normal, that it is okay to bully and assault each other.

So, parents this on us. We need to be setting a good example for the children, and show them how two human beings can get along, and show them how to treat others. Have a long conversation, or two, or three. It doesn’t matter how many conversations you have with your children, the only thing that does matter is that you talk with them and that you set yourself as a good example. Because if we don’t do anything about this, then more and more boys and girls will end up in hospitals due to broken ribs, led to anorexia or bulimia, or even led to the final blow of a gun from being bullied.

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Why I’m a Feminist

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I am a feminist because I want to end unrealistic expectations for both men and women, there should not be some expectation to look like someone else to feel appreciated, to feel loved, to feel like we belong in some sort of “group”, this is not high school where they are focused on cliques, this is the real world that we live in, no two people look alike.

I am a feminist because I am tired of hearing, “Cool story, now go make me a sandwich” or “Real men don’t cry”, because these stereotypes are harmful to everyone around the world. Real men do cry, they have emotions just like the rest of us. And no one is your personal maid or slave, they are not obligated to make you a ‘sandwich’, you can go make it yourself.

I am a feminist because I want to end this horrible rape culture that we live in. Both men and women get raped, it is a proven fact. The problem is that not everyone realizes that men are also the victims to such abuse just like any other woman out there who gets raped and abused, they are terrified just like everyone else who endures physical, emotional, and mental abuse. To say that they don’t, is just down right ignorant.

I am a feminist because I want to end gender roles. In the past, roles to each gender were assigned, for men, they had to play with trucks, play in the dirt, get “manly” jobs, for women, they were told to play with dolls and have an easy bake oven, while dressing up in dresses and looking pretty. Young girls are allowed to play with toy trucks, and young boys are allowed to play with dolls that they find fun. There should be no roles assigned to anyone. If you like something, then by all means, do that hobby or get that outfit, just be you. I know several women who are welders, and they are badasses at their jobs, proving that they can do anything. I know a man who is a manicurist and he is phenomenal at his job, he chose that job because he loves it, he isn’t at a job that doesn’t love.

I am a feminist because I am sick and tired of people judging women based on their clothing, yet they gawk at a woman who wears a mini skirt and tank top, then catcall her. One, women are not objects to stare at, they are hardworking, intelligent, compassionate people, just like you. They are not meant to be stared down and made to feel inferior. Second, you have no say over what a woman wears, she wears what she wants to wear. It is her body, and you have no say over what she wears on her body. If she wants to wear a hijab, don’t you dare try to take it off to offend her. If she wants to wear a mini skirt, then let her wear that mini skirt. She wears articles of clothing because she is drawn to them and likes them. Same goes for men as well, if a man wants to wear a pink shirt, then don’t criticize him for it. If a man wears his pants saggy, let him, it is his body and he can wear whatever he wants just like women can.

I am a feminist because I am sick and tired of people comparing everyone to others and degrading others. Stop with the signs and memes that roam around Pinterest, Google, and other parts of the internet that say, “In a World of Kardashians, be a …..”.  Honestly, I don’t know much about the Kardashians, but to degrade them like that is wrong on many levels, you may not agree with their lifestyle, fashion sense, or moral compass, however you shouldn’t be degrading them and trying to raise another person up. Degrading others to feel better about yourself is just plain wrong and it shouldn’t be happening whatsoever. Comparing one person to another also needs to be put to an end, due to the fact that no two people are alike, it is nearly impossible, even twins are not alike on many levels.

I am a feminist because I believe in equal pay between men and women, based on education and experience, not based on what is between your legs. It shouldn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, it should matter on your education and experience. If a man and a woman both have a bachelor’s degree and also have ten years of experience, then they should get paid equally. Currently, women get paid $.75 to a man who gets paid $1.00.

I am a feminist because my feminine needs are not a luxury. Every woman since the dawn of time has had their premenstrual cycles, and they bleed for 5 to 7 days every 28 days. Tampons, pads, cups, whatever else is used out there, is viewed as a luxury. It is not a luxury. Stop hiking the percentage price to %40 tax.

I am a feminist because I want to protect all of those who are being forced to become child’s brides as 10 years old. I don’t believe in becoming a bride at such a young age. Back in the 1500’s men and women were betrothed at the age of birth, and were made to get married at once they were to be perceived as a man or woman. We live in the 21st century, and things need to change today.

This is just the icing on the cake as to why I am a feminist. This is extremely important to me, and should be important to everyone around the world. Why are you a feminist?

 

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The War on Our Bodies

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About seven years ago, I sat myself on my bed and decided that I was going to have a conversation with myself about myself, to finally heal. I grabbed my journal, a pen, and turned on some music. No one was home at the time, so this was a great time for me to do this. As soon as the pen touched the paper, a letter to myself began to take form. There were moments where I cried and there were moments where I laughed out loud. I just kept writing, it didn’t matter how long this entry was, and it didn’t matter how long it was taking, it had become highly therapeutic for me. I was finally having that conversation that I truly needed, the one that I had put off for years due to other commitments, but I had realized that this was something that needed to be done. This is was the conversation that I need to have to heal my mind, body, and soul.

Why? That was one of the questions that I had asked myself, why was I so hard on myself, and on my appearance. Why was I constantly picked on growing up for looking different from others? I was puzzled for awhile after I had asked myself this question. Then I realized, it was because of society and the media. They had been trying to brainwash me into thinking that since I didn’t look like a Victoria Angel’s model, that there was something terribly wrong with me. They had been trying to make me think that every inch of my skin was deformed. Once I had realized this, that was when I knew that the media and society was truly messed up. Placing the pen down and looking at the journal, I had realized a lot of things, one that everyone on this planet is so impressionable, regardless of age or gender. Another one was that everyone on this planet is unique and different, no two people are going to look alike, not even twins (granted that I already knew this, it had just appeared to me on another level). After that, I had decided to wage what you would call a war on the media and at society for brainwashing everyone into believing that they need to look a certain way to feel attractive. Not only that, I had decided that I wanted help others build better and healthier relationships with their bodies and finally feel comfortable with themselves and feel attractive. That was when I had created a ritual type of list for everyone to participate in, and today, I will share with you that list (in no particular order):

Stand in front of the mirror – After getting out of the shower, stand in front of the mirror, butt naked. While you stand there, I want you to look at every inch of your body and notice everything. After that, I want you to list 5 things that you love about yourself. These can be qualities that you already have, personality traits, physical attributes that you have that you think look amazing. Do this every day, and by the time it is the end of the year, your relationship with your body has become healthier.

Stretch to the sky – I am a certified Pilates Instructor and enjoy both yoga and Pilates, they help the body stretch and let the muscles relax after a long day at work. Participating in yoga or Pilates will help you connect with your body on a deeper level. You will see that you and your body are no longer at war with each other anymore.

Embrace your flaws – Everyone has flaws, and I mean everyone. Even the models that walk the runway to the prince’s and princesses of the world have flaws. Everyone has stretch marks and cellulite, that is what happens when you go through puberty, when you are pregnant, when you go through life in general; it is natural and nothing to freak out about.

Shut out the media/society- Let’s be honest, the media doesn’t know anything, their metaphorical head is shoved so far up their metaphorical rear end, that they cannot see that they are doing damage to each person in this society that we live in. They do not realize that they are part of the source of the problem that is consuming each person when it comes to body shaming someone. Turn away from the side of the world, and come over to the side of the world where you are accepted, where your body is accepted the way it is, and where you will not be judged. That is where you belong.

Accept your body the way it is – Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way, and that means you too. In the end, you don’t need to be a certain way or look a certain way to be yourself.

Remember that the scale is inaccurate – That scale that you have in your bathroom, it is completely inaccurate. It does not take into consideration your organs, your time of the month (ladies), bone density. Also, there is one thing that the scale cannot tell you…. your worth. You are worth more than a number on a scale and some waist measurement that anyone gives you. You are worth more than all of that. In fact, your worth is so priceless that it would be hard to buy it from you. Remember that.

For all of those who want a bikini body – For all of you who wish to have the “perfect bikini body”, there is only one thing that I need to say to you. Put on that bikini and rock it.

Don’t listen to the body shamers – No matter how far we get in this life, with making an impact on stopping body shaming, there will always be those who feel the need to body shame others just because they are insecure with themselves and feel like they are justified with being able to make fun of others. Don’t listen to them and don’t let their rude comments on any of your social media accounts or in person destroy your beautiful aura. They are not worth your time. I would like to bring this up in this section, if you are going to take down a body shamer, do not body shame them – you will lower yourself to their level, and that’s not what you want to do. Keep this in mind, you are the only that decides your worth; not the scale in your bathroom, and certainly no body shamer that roams about in cyberspace.

Every body is beautiful – No matter what, there is always going to be those people who have decided to say that “bones are for dogs, meat is for men” or “people don’t like fat cows”. And honestly whenever I read something like that, I throw up in my mouth. There is no one body type that is more beautiful than the other. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is beautiful.

Never be ashamed of your body, for your body is beautiful. There is nothing wrong with it, and don’t let anyone ever try to tear down your worth or strip you of your beauty that glows from the inside to  the outside.

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Just Be You

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In this day and age everyone is trying so hard to fit and try to be just like everyone else. What they do not realize is that by doing this, they are hiding the real them away in the basement of their minds and hearts. At some point, everyone wants to fit in so badly with society, to be accepted, and to be loved that they will do just about anything and say anything. Fitting in should not be a priority for anyone to be honest, instead standing out in the crowd is much better and healthier too.

Look at it this way, if you were trying to fit into the mold that society has created, then you become just like everyone else…a sheep. Do you want to be a sheep? Do you want to spend the rest of your life following the rest of the world, and not be your true self? Do you want to have someone control the way you think, you talk, the way you dress, and act? No? Then stop trying to fit into society and follow your mind and your heart.

Following your heart and mind ultimately leads you to happiness. Yes, you will hit a few bumps along the way, but you are supposed to. The path that you are supposed to be following (that is designed for you, and only you) is to lead you to your own enlightenment, your own happiness, and to your own growth. Trying to be someone that you are not, will steer you completely off your path and that will destroy you. Not all at once, but slowly.

Society has this messed up so-called vision of what everyone needs to look like, act like, think like, and be into, in order to be “hip and cool”. Trust me, being either hip or cool is not the greatest thing in the world, nor should it be a top priority in life. Follow your own path, reach your enlightenment and your milestones, find your own personal legend, and follow your passions and dreams…. just be you and no one else.

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The Cunning Race: The Ignorant Side of the Political Race on Social Media

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Here we are in the year 2016. This is the last year for President Barack Obama to be the President of the United States of America. And right now at this very moment is the race to the white house. We have several candidates who are running for presidency, yet the two main runners are representing the Republican (Donald Trump) and Democrat (Hillary Clinton) parties.

I am not a political person, I do vote and I do have an opinion, however I do not wish to talk politics with others due to the fact that all it does is start wars that should never be started. However, I would like to preface that I will not be voting for either Trump or Clinton, that is just my opinion on this whole matter (voting for another person). Rarely will I even get into the political side of the social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), however I do see the posts that my family, friends, and followers put up. And time after time again, it is always the two major political parties going into a feeding frenzy over their views. Which quite honestly, I find a bit ridiculous and a waste of time.

What I find even more a waste of time, name calling. Name calling over someone’s own opinion and view on the subject at hand. Let me give you an example, one of my cousins recently posted about his wife getting name called over her view of Donald Trump (her presidential choice) and it had been taken too far. Let me ask you all this, aren’t you a little too old to be name calling someone? A little too old to be trying to tear someone down for having their own opinion, their own view, their own beliefs? I believe so.

Freedom of Expression is listed in the Constitution under the Bill of Rights, declaring everyone the right to express themselves, that includes political views. Just because someone’s view doesn’t line up with yours, doesn’t mean that you have every right to trash talk them and tear them down for having a mind of their own. Yes, a good old debate where things can be somewhat civilized is a great way to see both views out on the table and let others see things from a different perspective. Sadly, there are people out there who decide to resort to cyber bullying someone just because they have a different mindset and a different political opinion.

Yes, we all have our own views, our own beliefs, and we belong to our chosen political parties. No one is the same, even in the political aspects of life. It is just impossible for everyone to believe in the same thing. If every person thought the same way, believe in the same thing, and “stayed in the line” so to speak (conform), then we would all be mindless robots under the rule of a tyrannical dictator and live horrible miserable lives. Does that sound like heaven to you? Personally, I think that would be hell on earth, I don’t plan living there. I wouldn’t even want to live in this time period either, but I digress.

Everyone’s views on this whole race to the white house differ from each person, that is just how it is. Resorting to cyber bullying is one of the lowest things any person could do on the internet, and quite honestly it is not worth it. Remember, you have your own view and not everyone will agree with you. Getting upset just because no one is going to conform to your way of thinking is not going to help you out in the end.

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Prayer for the Lost Ones (Poem)

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The lights were flashing,
The music was thumping throughout the club,
You were having the time of your life.
Smiles placed on your faces,
Hearts beating faster as you danced with your loved ones.
Then in a flash you were gone,
You had fallen to the floor.
Mortally wounded by a man who was troubled,
You had escaped into the night sky to enter a new life.
A life that you will live in complete freedom,
Freedom from hate,
Freedom from violence.
Your souls will play tango with one another in the stars.
It is almost a new month,
But you will never be forgotten.
You will forever be in our hearts,
You will forever be in our minds,
You will forever be in our prayers.

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Forgiveness

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Forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the main things a person must do in order to finally be content, to be able to feel lifted, to be able to live their lives without fearing judgment not only from others but from themselves. It can be hard. Forgiving someone who has wronged you, who has hurt you in the most vile way possible can be the most hardest thing in the word. You fear that if you do forgive someone, you will be seen as in denial, weak and incompetent. But alas, you will not be seen as weak, you will be seen as a strong person who has decided to not have hate harbor your heart, mind and soul.

Harboring hate inside ones soul is a nuisance, it is not something that should be there. Love, gentleness, peace; those are things that should be residing in your heart, mind and soul. They are the ones that make you strong. They are the ones that give you the ability to trudge forward and be the person you are meant to be. Yes, there are people who have wronged you. Yes, there are people who have hurt you in some unmentionable ways. But to harbor such hate for them, is to harbor hate for yourself. You may feel like you could never forgive such vile acts, but you are not one to judge their actions. They are to be judged by their actions by whomever they believe in, whether it be God, Allah, Buddha, or any other spiritual leader. It is your duty to not judge, but to forgive. You can be weary all you want, be on your guard, as you should be. But forgiveness is what will set you free from hurting yourself internally and externally. For if you harbor such an emotion, you will be unable to love yourself, you will be unable to heal properly. Hate and judgment are two emotions that are natural inside a person’s mind and heart, because they are emotions that all feel. Yet, if you truly think about it. Once you have decided to forgive them, once you have decided to not pass judgment on them, you will be free. They will receive their judgment from their deities and receive whatever punishment awaits them in whatever spiritual realm they believe in. As I said before, it is not your place to harbor hate, anger or judgment in your heart, mind or soul. It is your place to harbor compassion, strength, and generosity in your heart.

It will be hard to forgive those who have wronged you, but slowly work on it. For the longest time I was angry for those who had wronged me, who had hurt me, who had cheated. But then, one day, I began to forgive them, one by one. I knew in my heart that for me to harbor such a raw, powerful, and terrifying emotion, it would make me bitter and I would someday turn against all those who I had wished to help and love. Forgiving is the first step to healing, healing the problem at hand, healing the past, and overall healing you.