Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tragedy in Ohio

I'm sure by now most have heard about the latest school shootings that took place this week in Chardon, Ohio.  It's unfathomable how this could continue to happen and when it happens near your own community, the unreal aspect of it gets amped up.  I will never understand the mindset that thinks walking into school with a gun and shooting as many kids as you can is ever the right thing to do.  On Monday, TJ Lane thought it was, which right there tells you something is wrong with his mindset.

Three kids are now dead. Two more still in the hospital with injuries and TJ's life is over.  I have nothing but sympathy for all involved.... the terrorized students, the parents and families of the injured and dead children, the parents and family of the shooter, and even some for the shooter himself.  I guess I should really say I have mixed emotions where TJ is involved.  I feel badly that he thought he had no other recourse for his angst.  That is sad.  But on the other hand, I'm glad for once that the shooter didn't turn the gun on himself and leave so many questions behind.  He is alive and now he has to answer for what he did.  He will be tried as an adult, which I think is the right thing to do.  He is 17 years old and old enough to face the music.

Which nicely segues me to something that bothers me about instances such as these. The media.  The media are quick to portray anyone who acts out as a "punk" or a "goth" and this time is no different.  The media has been describing TJ as a loner.  He's not.  Kids at the school have said he has friends.  The media has described TJ as a goth.  Also not true. Articles like this one, from Thomas Fleming of the UK's Daily Mail, boggle my mind.  It's loaded with stereotypes and misrepresentations.  "Victim of bullying" means he's homosexual?  Since when?  Maybe I'm out of touch but there are lots of reasons kids are bullied, it's not exclusive to homosexuality.  True he is quick to say that TJ was not homosexual but why the generalization?

And then there is this quote from the article....
Unfortunately, millions of American kids, at one point or another in their teens, adopt the Goth look, and while it usually means they are taking drugs, playing violent video games, and mutilating their bodies, few of them become killers.  Why school officials and parents permit children to advertise their self-destructive inclinations is another matter, one that goes more nearly to the heart of what has gone so terribly wrong in American life.
There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to begin.  It's unfortunate that kids turn to something that makes them feel better about themselves?  Yes, that's exactly what goth and punk did for me.  I didn't take drugs.  I didn't, nor do I now play violent video games.  I have never mutilated my body or become a killer.  I found kindred spirits, music I could relate to, friends for life.  I found something I had been searching for.  I would like to tell Mr. Fleming that it's not "unfortunate" for kids to be themselves, what is unfortunate it that closed minded assholes like you make it more difficult for them to continue to be themselves and try to live up to a standard that you and others like you seem to put in place.  It's unfortunate that tragedies such as what happened in Chardon end up being a platform for the Thomas Fleming's of the world to put down what they do not and never will understand.

He makes many more ignorant and stereotypical comments in his article, but I'll let you read it for yourself.  Every time I read it and see it again, I get more angry.  Angry because he's stupid and uninformed.  Angry because he, and others like him, make it seem like as long as there are goths in the world, kids in schools aren't safe, hell no one is safe!   Why can't the media just say what it really is... the boy is troubled.  Seriously troubled.  Whether it be a mental condition, because he is bullied, because he comes from a broken home...whatever it is.  He is troubled and he was already a student at a school for "at risk" kids.  So authority figures know that he is troubled.  Did they know he would go on a shooting rampage?  I'm sure not, but if they happened upon his Facebook page, they might have had some idea that his problems run pretty deep.  Maybe instead of focusing on how he looks they should focus on how a 17 year old got a gun in the first place and got into a school with it.  Instead of trying to change all kids into little carbon copies of each other, maybe if ignorant fuckjobs like Mr. Fleming embraced diversity and differences in children, less of them would be bullied for those differences.

Let me make this perfectly clear, I am in no way, shape or form giving TJ Lane a pass for what he did.  You do the crime, you do the time.  I'm just so angered that the media always jumps to the same, often false, conclusions.  My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.  I hope that this will be the last time we ever have to hear about such a senseless tragedy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Laying Low

I've been quiet lately.   Very quiet, which is kind of strange for me really.  I'm sure many have noticed.  I'd notice if I wasn't me.  It's not conscious or purposeful, it just is.  Maybe my mind is so overloaded with things right now that I don't know what to say so instead say nothing?  That could be. 

So much in my life has changed over the past 4 or 5 years and things keep on changing.  Some things are coming full circle, others are growing and evolving, and still others are coming to an end.  It's kind of scary and exciting all rolled into one.  There are days when I am so happy and so excited about what lies ahead that I can't even contain myself.  I burst with joy.  Then there are days when I feel sad about what I'm leaving behind.  Some of my decisions might be wrong, not what someone else would do, or end up being a disappointment to family or friends.  But the thing is, I'm 46 years old and I cannot live my life based on how others will react to what I am doing.  It's not who I am.  I can't live my life for someone else.  I can only live for me.  If that sounds selfish, so be it, but that isn't the intent.  The intent is to make myself happy.  If I can't do that, who will?  No one. 

So often I've felt judged by people, judged on how I write, judged on how I look, judged on a decision I make.  Judged by people I know, love or don't know at all.  And I don't like that feeling.  No one does.  It makes you second guess yourself and if I've learned nothing else in my 4+ decades on this earth, it's to trust my own instincts. 

I've joked to many that I think I'm going through a midlife crisis, but I don't really think that at all.  It's funny to say it, but no.  I don't believe that's it.  I think that so much has happened that I have woken up to the fact that I don't have all the time in the world anymore.  That differences that never used to matter, now seem to.  That even though I never ever imagined I'd be here, that it feels so good and natural and maybe even how it should be.  That the things I want, they matter and no one but me can make them happen.  It might be a bumpy ride, but anything worthwhile is going to be. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Missing My Honey Girl

Honey has been gone for about two months now.  And wow, do I miss her!  I still keep looking for her even though I know I'll never see her outside running around in her backyard again. 

Honey was a gorgeous honey colored Shar-Pei.  We hit it off immediately.  She was my little buddy.  Outside most of the time, when I would go out, I'd always say, "Hi Honey," when I saw her.  And I'd do it again when I came home.  She had the cutest, squishiest face ever.  And her little curled up piggy tail would wag when she saw me.

On days when I had time to kill, I'd head over to her yard with treats and give her some pets, some scratchies and some play time.  She loved to play.  She would grab her toy, come running over to me and drop it at my feet.  If I went to pick it up, she'd growl, but it was just part of her game.  I'd grab it and toss it and she would run and run and run!   She would grab it and then run around in circles, then come running at me and jump on me, dropping the toy again, starting the game all over.  She loved to have a good time, my Honey girl. 

Sometimes when I went to see her she would flop over on her back and give me her belly to rub.  Other times she would burrow her head into my legs, hard, and rub and grunt.  Such a sweet puppy.  She was a rescue, but after a few weeks of having her, my neighbor didn't think she was going to keep her.  She just didn't have the time to dedicate to having a dog.   I thought about taking her and talked to my vet about the possibility of just that.  But he was not really for it, since we already had 3 cats.  He said Shar-Pei's can be unpredictable.  As it turned out, my neighbor couldn't part with her anyway so it didn't matter.  I got all the fun of hanging out with her and none of the responsibility. 

And then this past fall I noticed a very large growth on Honey's leg.  It didn't look good, not at all.  And when I asked about it, my neighbor said the vet was running tests on her, they didn't know if it was cancer or not but were thinking she may have to have her leg amputated.  A few days later, Honey had a big old cone collar (or as I like to call them, satellite dishes) around her head but the tumor and leg were still there.  I was told they wanted to run more tests, because she had now stopped eating.

And then, Honey was gone.  Days went by and I didn't see her sweet face outside anymore.  I kept looking out my kitchen window into her backyard, but she was never there.  My worry was really amping up because once an animal stops eating, things are really bad.  I looked and looked for her, but a week went by and she wasn't out.  I tried to think positive... maybe she did have her leg amputated and was recovering.  Not that that's positive, but it's better than the other thought going through my head. 

Finally one day, I saw my neighbor and went out to talk to her.  My worst fear was realized.  Honey was gone.  She had to be euthanized because not only did she have the big tumor in her leg, but she had several others throughout her body, including one in her throat.  And I cried, cried like she was my own and I'd lost her.  And I still miss her and look out my window for her.  She was only 5 years old. 

Honey, in her yard.  Don't you just want to squeeze her face!