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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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Blooming Into Our True Characters

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From the day we were born we were beginning our journey into our lives on this planet we call home, and throughout each phase of our journey we would hit some bumps in the road, at times they would have us take a detour for a brief period of time, or they would just block us until the road was prepared. These bumps in our journey prepares us and molds us into the characters that we are meant to be, into the people whom we are to become as we get older.

As children we are vulnerable and susceptible to becoming anyone’s clay to be shaped into whomever someone choses, yet as we get into our rebellious teen years (yes, everyone was rebellious to a point) we try to break free from that vulnerable clay and start to mold our own selves. Bit by bit we end up molding ourselves, with the helps of our influences and the Universe, into the people who we are meant to be, into the characters that we are meant to play on this grand stage we call life. Sometimes while we are attempting to mold ourselves we get caught up in the grander scheme of things, and try to mold ourselves into what the media and society tells us to look like, and for awhile we will attempt to do such a thing, then when wake up we realize that it was the stupidest thing to do. So we take ourselves out of the equation and begin to mold ourselves once more, successfully we become the masterpiece that we were meant to be.

However we are not complete, we take ourselves throw the mold into the burner and watch it immortalize us into imperfect perfect molds that we are proud of, and it is truly then when we realize that we have become the character that we were meant to play, the clay mold that took so long to become the object of attention has suddenly become human.

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Wild (Poem)

Curly hair that flows so freely,
as the sun dances upon her skin
kissing it ever so gently
as her soul and heart fly with the wind.

Her heart and soul jump on the waves of the wind
letting it take her where she is needed at that moment in time,
for she is no mere mortal
for she is a daughter of the wind,
daughter of the earth,
daughter of the sea,
she is meant to be wild
not grounded to the pavement with her two feet.

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Three A.M. (Poem)

I found myself in the arms of a woman at three a.m. in the dark,
a thousand times I’ve dreamt of this moment,
wondering what it felt like,
wondering how I would feel
when I see her sleeping next to me,
with the city light outlining her silhouette next to me.

Here I am at three a.m.
wanting to turn on the light,
but not wanting her to wake up,
cause this sight of her makes my heart drop,
for she has stolen my heart,
with just her snuggling up against me and dreaming.

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A True Beauty (Poem)

He had a certain type of beauty to him,
Not the hollywood glitz and glamour,
But a beauty that came through years of torment that resided inside.
Roughed up,
Spit out,
Thrown out on the sidewalks,
With women and men walking by,
Without giving him a shot.
This society we live in is corrupt,
It tells women to be brainless,
Tells men to achieve a hollywood staus.
Who are we kidding,
No amount of twilight sparkle will ever catch my eye.
Give me a man that will speak his mind,
Express raw emotion,
And for God’s sake,
Make sure he doesn’t follow society’s stupid pride.
Photo Model: Henry Rollins 

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Simple Life, Simple You: Middle Eastern Pizza

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Everyone around the world loves pizza, they cannot get enough of it, in fact, all over the world there are Pizza Huts in different countries and in so many airports. A nice dough that has the right amount of crunch to it, a delicious sauce that creates a barrier between the toppings and the dough, and the copious amounts of toppings that are available, what’s not to love about pizza? Although pizza is delicious, in the end however, it is not all that healthy, especially when you look at the region of the world it is coming from. However, you can make the pizza healthier from top to bottom, when you make it from scratch at home.

That being said, this recipe is lighter, healthier, yet at the same time, indulgent. The dough is very easy to make, for it is known in the Middle East as lavash bread, and it only requires three ingredients. The sauce is made from scratch as well, and it consists of very few ingredients as well. This leaves the topping choice to you to make it completely individual and to your liking.

LAVASH MIDDLE EASTERN PIZZA:

Lavash (Dough):
1 1/2 cups flour (I use gluten free)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Olive oil
3/4 cup warm water

Sauce (prepared this a couple of days before, to have on hand):
4 lbs. Tomatoes (ripe)
4 large Garlic cloves
1 bunch of herbs (Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary)
1 Black pepper, Freshly ground
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Olive Oil

Toppings (as seen in photograph):
2 small bell peppers (with the multi-colored ones)
2 tbsp. chopped onion
Grated cheddar cheese (make it as cheesy as you like)
2 tsp. peppered flakes (I like a nice kick)

Making the Dough:

In a medium sized bowl, mix the flour and the salt together first, working it through. Then add the olive oil, then slowly add the water in at first. After mixing for a few seconds, add all of the water into the bowl, continue mixing until formed into a ball. ** If needed, add 4 tbsp. water more in to mix it up more.

Separate the dough into small balls, sprinkle some flour onto a flat surface, then start flattening it out. You can use a rolling pin. Once flattened, put the lavash onto a pan that is laced with parchment, throw it into the oven at 400 degrees, for 15 to 20 minutes, or at until the lavash is golden brown.

** Makes 10

Making the sauce:

Take the four garlic cloves, chop them, and toss them into the pot to sauté. Cut your tomatoes into dices, then toss into the pot(blender is a great alternative for those who wish to make this a little faster), and smash them with the masher. Have the pot on medium heat as you begin, bring to a simmer, adding the herbs on top. Place the salt, black pepper, sugar, and olive into pot, place a lid on top, turn the heat down on low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. **Add onions or pepper flakes if desired.

If not using right away, let the sauce cool, then place into a jar, and place in the refrigerator.

Putting the pizza together:

After the dough and sauce are done, take one of the lavash breads, and put the amount of sauce you want on it, sprinkle some of the cheese, then add the toppings you desire. Before throwing the pizza into the oven, sprinkle some more cheese on top, then put it into the oven at 350 degrees, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Sprinkle some pepper flakes on top, and serve.

 

**Photo Credit: Loni Hoots

 

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Drenching Yourself in Colors: Telling Society to Back off

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We live in a society where it seems that to be your true self is the worst thing a person can do. That if we were to pursue our passions, we could be considered an outcast, that if we wanted to dress the way we want or do whatever we wish to our hair, we would be ostracized. Why? Why should someone feel as though they are an outcast for following their passions and dreams, why should someone be labeled freak, odd, eccentric, for being true to themselves? Why should society dictate how someone thinks, feels, and looks? In all honesty, it shouldn’t.

For thousands and thousands of years, people have constantly felt ostracized for being themselves, for not fitting into the mold that society has created. It seems as though society just wants every man, woman, and child to be the same lifeless robotic shape with no mind of its own and just rely on the opinion of others. However, once someone has stepped away from the social norms that has been dictated all hell breaks loose. Families disown that member of the family for not being “normal”, society shuns that person just as the family did, labels get placed on an individual, leaving an individual all alone and feeling as though they are worthless and at that point they begin to feel the pressure of fitting into the mold that has been created by society.

Not fitting into the mold that has been placed before us by society is invigorating, breathtaking, and it gives us a chance to feel and be free from the social norms. Who wouldn’t want to be free? Free to make your own decisions, to go off and study whatever you want in college or not even go to college at all and just travel the world, or to dye your hair an outrageous color, have a tattoo or piercing that you’ve always wanted.

Let me tell you, to step away from society and do your own thing is the best thing that you could ever do. Saying “screw you” to society will be the best thing you will ever do in your life, for you will finally be in control of yourself and of your life, for you are no mindless robot, you are a human being with a mind, a heart, and a soul that yearns for freedom to be yourself. Isn’t that what you wanted?