Continue to Rest In Peace Grandma

Tomorrow will mark 28 years since my grandmother’s passing. I was known as “grandma’s girl”. She was essentially my rock and stability growing up.

She had been sick for awhile before her passing. Diagnosed with Empyema and lung cancer. When we heard that she was in the hospital, we were about a 5 hour drive deep. My mother made us pack up (again) and leave. We did just that and made it back to live next to my grandparents.

At one point before she died, I went to visit her at the hospital. I wish I hadn’t. My last memory of her was laying in a hospital bed, on a vent. Not speaking or even looking at us.

The morning of October 29, 1987-my grandfather came over to our place early. About 5:30am. At this time, he knew we would be up getting ready for school. When he came in, you could tell that something was not right but, at the age of 9, I didn’t know what it could be.

He sat down in the chair. I came out to say “hi”. He looked at mom and said “she died in her sleep last night.” All I remember was that he got up and left. Not saying much after that.

I didn’t grasp what it all really meant. My grandmother was the first person in my life to die. Eventually I got it that she wasn’t coming back and in all honesty, at that time in my life, I wanted to go with her.

Speed Dating

I went speed dating last week with no real expectations. Just a evening out for something different and fun to do.

For those that have never done this or seen this (sometimes it’s shown on lengthy news shows- Today, GMA). You sign up on a website. Usually the website has it set up where you are able to choose your age. Some other speed dating events are set up if you’re hetero or homosexual. After all, if you’re a homosexual male-why would you want to attend an event that pairs you up with females? It makes sense.

You arrive at the establishment about 20-30 minutes early. This is a chance to get to mingle, grab a drink or appetizers.

When the event starts, we are usually given a number and the woman sit down. After 5, 6, or 8 minutes (I’ve done one of each event), the host rings a bell and there is a switch. Usually the men get up and rotate. Depending on how large the even it, there could be an intermission of sorts.

So last week, I attended my third one in three different states. I went with my age group (which is probably a hindrance for me, because everyone just assumes I’m younger than I am and I wonder if the men took me seriously). There were 10 “dates” (real names are not being used):

  1. Mike-not religious but spiritual. Interesting. He’s going away on vacation for a few weeks and is planning on meeting a world renowned meditation/spiritualist/miracle worker. I’m agnostic. I’m not religious. I am spiritual but I would not necessarily seek out someone. Overall I found him attractive, interesting. Probably not my type dating wise but I wanted to know more.
  2. Steven-travels but wasn’t able to tell me what he does. He immediately sat down and started talking about other events that had to circle around dating. I thought that was odd and I thought maybe he was friends with the host & was there to do advertising? I was not attracted to him.
  3. Greg-I left it blank…I suppose that should mean something
  4. Scott-Teacher, close with his kids. I liked the fact that he was close with his kids. That he spent a lot of time with his kids. To me that means a lot and says a lot. On first glance (ie 6 minutes) I was attracted to him.
  5. Dan- “not much”…clearly there wasn’t much that I remembered
  6. Mark- in the family entertainment business. I was not attracted to him and I felt he was a little cocky for his type.
  7. Stan- same area, came with friends. Nice. Attractive somewhat.
  8. Manuel- works in the public sector. Actually said “nurses have a good assessments and can figure people out within a short matter of time.” He kinda fished around for my thoughts on him.
  9. Jack- collects arcade games. Interesting even if it’s just to play Pac Man, back in the day, style. I think he was surprised that I knew about the cocktail setups. 🙂
  10. Derrek- works for government. No real connection there.

After the speed dating, I went to the bar because I knew they were having trivia. I sat down at the bar and ordered a appetizer and a drink. A guy, very handsome, was eating as well and was playing the trivia. They were handing out sheets for photo stills of an actor in movies. I asked the gentleman if I could see the photos. CRAP-it was Brad Pitt. I’m not much of a Brad Pitt fan but recognized a few. The guy was nice. Dark hair, office geek type with a suit but no tie. It was causal conversation. He only popped in for food & a drink because he was finished with a meeting at a local hotel. He has a girlfriend. But it took me out of my comfort zone, striking up a conversation with a man.

All in all, it was fun. I would do it for a 4th time. You never know who or when you’ll meet someone.

Did You Know…Bullying

Did you know that October is National Bully Prevention Month (among other things)? I did not know that until the other day when I was on facebook. A group that I am in tends to do “Today is….”

In particular, according to STOMP Out Bullying,:

  • October 5th-Blue Shirt Day
  • Week of October 12th-Make friends with someone you don’t know
  • Week of October 19th- Stand up for others
  • Week of October 26th- information on how students can participate.

Although I think it’s very important to discuss bullying (being a victim myself)-I also think it’s important that awareness occurs EVERY day of EVERY month. I also think it’s important to extend this to not just students or youth.

Every day, someone-somewhere is a victim of bullying. Either by verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. Targeted for any reasons…you’re black, you’re white, you’re skinny, you’re fat-honestly there is no bounds for not being bullied. It is also targeted to any age, gender, or personality. I mean look at facebook and twitter. People randomly want to spewout hatful things to people that they do not know. Recently.. the basketball player Odom. I was on twitter the other night and people on gossip, even Kardashian and the like-random people would make jokes, poke fun, and ridicule someone. Someone that they do not really know. Either be it directly or indirectly say hurtful things. I read someone post “Well, that should make people realize that you shouldn’t make connections with the Kardashian.”

Ummm-what? Now I’m no fan of the Kardashian. I really only see their likeness on news clips but this is implying that the Kardashian helped Odom spiral. Don’t you think that’s hurtful to the Kardashian family?

Here you have someone who is fighting for their life because of the actions of THEMSELVES and their ADDICTIONS and placing blame on the person and/or any and all connections that they had in their lifetime. As a nurse, I know addictions are a very serious ordeal. It’s a disease, like cancer. Some people still do not get this and even some do and still get their kicks from essentially bullying Odom, Kardashians, the Brothel, basketball, his family.

I just think “if this was you, how would you like to read this about yourself? about your loved ones?”

And does them being “celebrities”-does that make them open season to target? No, I don’t think so. This goes to the woman who sued “her nephew”. The mentally handicapped person who is being laughed at on a youtube video. The list can go on.

I was bullied in my day an age. It is NOT okay. There have been a few times where it was significant…the time when I was physically assaulted on the bus-I went to class that day and eventually was suspended based on my behavior later in the day. I’m not sure I would have had the behavior/attitude if I wasn’t assaulted on the bus.

Or the time I was physically abused in 7th period English class WHILE the teacher was in the room-she did nothing, then proceeded to make an excuse for him.

This brings me to a problem that we have in society. We excuse or ignore the behavior of the bully. The other day, on the local radio, a wife wanted the husband to bring the girls to school because there are issues on the bus. The wife wants this because she doesn’t want her kids to endure senseless words. The husband thinks they should ride the bus and just deal with it.

Neither of this address the root of the problem…the bully. Let’s just ignore. Let’s just work around it. How does this solve the problem? of bullying? There is no consequences put down to the bully. The girls shouldn’t stop riding the bus…the bully should be suspended or expelled from the bus. The bully should be held accountable.

The situation in the 7th period English class-after the physical abuse endured by my bully. I eventually stopped crying, got up, flipped my desk over, stormed out, and before slamming the door-I looked at everyone (including the teacher) and said “Fuck you all”. I didn’t bother going to the office because like the parents mentioned above-nothing would have happened to the bully. Instead I went and sat at the end of the hall. The teacher followed me out, sat next to me and said “David has had a rough life…”

I stopped listening. I understand she was trying to put his behavior in prospective but it is essentially not only excusing his behavior but excusing her neglect to. What about his rough life? What about MY rough life? My mother was self medicated alcoholic, who moved us around a lot, who eventually married my step father. Who was also a self medicated alcohol who choked my mother which lead us to stay at the local Woman’s & Children’s shelter for a few months. Just to be woken up at 2:30 am, pack a bag and run to catch a greyhound to my step-father’s reservation in the next state. My step-father had 4 boys. One was inappropriate with my sister. Another son sexually assaulted me when I was 7 (he was about 17/18). All this happened before my 7th grade English class. So yes…tell me again how much of a rough life David has had?!?

So because of my rough life-that should give me a ticket to treat others like crap? NO. Stop excusing and giving them a free ride to do what they want. Not only does it hurt the victim, but it hurts them!

I eventually dropped out of high school, eventually got my GED, eventually moved 1300 miles without a job and perm place to live, eventually went to college and graduated as a nurse. I’m not sure where David went after middle school. I know at one point he was in jail/prison. Am I, was I happy about that? NOPE, not at all. Seeing other people happy about that? NO. Seeing other people suffer is not my goal in life-even if it’s my bully. I want them to get HELP. I want them to make themselves a better person.

Bottom line-STOMP out the bullying by not excusing the behavior!

Dating…More Like Speed Dating

I decided to sign up for speed dating again. It will be this coming Tuesday. This will be my 3rd event in two different parts of the country. I’m always nervous.

I keep going back/forth about whether or not I should go and why am I going?

I have been single for awhile. I dated a few years back but it was nothing special. I think it was nothing special because it’s difficult for my to get close to people. I am attracted to guys but I have never been outgoing to approach. It probably has a lot to do with my history in general. I was always an outsider. I was always teased as a child. The list goes on.

Not to mention, I have not seen the healthiest examples of loving relationships. My mother was married & divorced 3 times. My grandparent’s relationship was not all that well off either. Nor was my sister’s relationships. Thus it has put me off in a negative way.

I am also very independent due to the above situations. I do not want to have to answer to someone. I carry my own weight. I do not need someone to contact my every hour, every afternoon, nor every day.

I question if there is something wrong with me? I question if I am normal?

I suppose given my history, I probably am. But I often think about my friends and their relationships. Whether or not they are in them, want them, are happy with them. And, of course, them asking if I am dating, when I am dating, if I am interested in anyone.

Then I think of the future. Yes I have my sister and four nephews, though I am not close with them. Yes I have my best friend and her family, who are more like family than my own. I think about the future. If I were to get old and sick, who would and could I rely on? Who do I really have?

I go back and forth. I’m content being solo.

Maybe it’s fear of being rejected? Fear of being judged? Fear of being vulnerable.

I don’t know…

A Song That Sparks a Memory.

I am driving in the car and when a certain song comes on I am always taking back in time. I am sure I am not the only one that does this. There are three particular songs that brings me back to a time when my mother owned a bar. They are Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You”. Following by Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”. And finally “Footloose” theme song. Among others.

Everytime I hear “Dancing in the Dark” I think about playing arcade games. My mother had 2 plus a pinball machine. There was usually Donkey Kong and Pac Man. My favorite was Pac Man but I played both. Always for “free”. I either got quarters from the cash register or they opened the coin compartment. I always had to stand on a stool to reach the buttons.

I took so many quarters that my mother always joked and said that I was going to run the bar dry. 🙂

We lived above the bar. It was a small apartment. I remember the kitchen being yellow. I recall, my sister and I were out with my grandfather and we came home to my mother sitting at the kitchen table, smoking a cigarette. Sitting in the dark. Then we heard the flapping of wings sound. There was a bat. She had the window open so it could fly out and it eventually did. I was impressed that she just sat there, patiently.

Another time, my sister was “playing pool”. And Frank joked around with her. They placed bets on who would win. It was a $1 bet. My sister lost and ended up paying. She handed him a $1 food stamp. 🙂

I would always go into the bar and sit at the counter (when I wasn’t playing video game) and do my homework. One day I went there though because mom was behind the bar. I have a thick, green, pus filled thumb. She suggested that I soak it in warm salt water. And I did. I sat there and whenever someone sat next to me, I was excited to show them my ill thumb. It probably occurred because I always bit my fingernails (still do).

We ended up losing the bar. My mother always gave away the beer to “friend’s”. The last day there was scary though. We were quietly in the bar, packing things up. She must have known they were coming eventually. All of a sudden we hear knocking. My mother tells me “be very quiet and go to the cellar.” And we did just that. I remember crouching. I remember her looking out the windows. Eventually whoever was knocking left. When we left the premise, I saw a large sign on the door. At this time, I didn’t know what it was. Looking back, of course I knew what it was.

Overall, it was a good experience. Granted probably not a place you’d want a child but in the mid 1980s; it wasn’t uncommon.

~~~~~

At the beginning of the year, I’m volunteering on a medical mission trip. Click this link >HERE< if you wish to donate any money. It’s completely volunteer and will cost me at least $3600 (not including the money that I will not be earning for those two months). Any amount is appreciated.

One Thing Most People Are Surprised To Learn About Me

I am currently a nurse. I carry myself in an educated manor (though I act younger than my age). People are taken back to learn that I am a high school drop out.

There were many things that factor into why I dropped out of high school. First, and foremost, I was not a part of the “in crowd” growing up. I was physically different until I was about 14. I had a speech impediment. I was an easy target for stares, teasing, even physical abuse from peers. I was bullied. That always leads a distaste in someone’s thought process.

My mother was also a self-described gypsy. She moved a lot. She could not stay in one place. That lead to 4 different elementary schools from K-part of 3rd. In 3rd grade we stayed in one place but then moved between home and my step-fathers reservation. I was held back in the 3rd grade, twice (as in the SAME year). We moved back and forth about 4-5 times in one school year. The school at home said that I was missing too much, though I wasn’t-I went on my step-father reservation. And the teacher on the reservation said that she could not understand me. I stayed in the same elementary school for the 2nd year of 3rd grade until 5th grade.

Sixth grade, I went onto Middle School and stayed there all three years. Though in the 6th and 7th grade, I was barely there. I often skipped school because I did not want to deal with the teasing. I mean, I was physically assaulted in class, while the teacher was in the room. This is why I didn’t and don’t have too much faith in school, teachers, authorities within schools. They did nothing to protect me.

In the city that I grew up in, we have about 7 public high schools. I went to one for a week, then transferred to another and remained for the year. This is where I interacted with my English teacher. He was the first one to suggest to me that I should write about my life.

Tenth grade..eh, I just was not feeling it. We ended up moving to the burbs. Then we moved to the country. Then we moved back to the burbs (all within a couple of months). Coming back to the burbs, I just was not feeling it. I felt that I would do better than public school life. So I literally stopped going.

Eventually, a school counselor came knocking on the door and we chatted. Of course, I had to “remain” in school until I was ?16? So I was “forced” to go back. But in reality, I did not. I mean, I missed more than I was there.

When it was official, I dropped out. Soon after I took the GED.

I knew I wanted to go to college when I dropped out. At that time, I wasn’t sure for what but I wanted college.

I eventually moved away from my home state. Eventually I entered college and though it took me awhile, I finally graduated Nursing School.
~~~~~~~
For anyone that cares to donate to help fund me- I am going on a two month medical mission trip to Africa with Mercy Ships. I will serve as an Adult Ward Nurse. It is completely volunteer and will cost me about $1400 for room/board/3 meals a day, plus about $2000 for the round trip flight. Anything that you’re able to part with will be greatly appreciated. You can send it directly to Mercy Ships. My direct link is :http://mercyships-us.donorpages.com/crewmates/PaulaAdams/

Social Media’s Downfall

Do you find that social media is making the world worse? Or better? It seems like we are more divided than ever and I wonder if social media has something to do with it? We are able to connect to like minded people and thus we share like minded statements, beliefs, and most of all propaganda. It makes me question whether or not it’s helping or hindering us as humans?

More and more I see people just continuing to spout off at what they believe is right without indicating that no one is really right?

It seems like it’s always one sided. As in an “us” vs “them” attitude. When it’s not one sided. This could be blacks vs whites, whites vs blacks, Christians vs Muslims, Muslims vs Christians. Legals vs illegal, illegal vs legal. The list goes on and on.

The more I think about social media, the more I’m leaning towards it dividing us.

When I first came onto the WWW, back when AOL was mainstream, when you were only able to use the telephone line and no one else can use it, when you hear the funny dial up tone-that sometimes kicks you off.

When I first came onto the WWW-my sole purpose was to connect with other Michael Jackson fans. This was back in the 1990s. Everyone around me, knew I loved MJ (knew I was a happier person listening to MJ) but no one had that same bond. I went on to find that same connection. This particular connection was of understanding, spreading love, and just connecting with like minded people that went far beyond his music. I found a place where I fit. But it was for GOOD, it was not for hate (and even now, that’s become muted–with statements like “those kids are not his”, “I liked him back when he was black.”, “I like him by why did he have to have so much plastic surgery?”.)

Now on facebook, on Twitter, maybe even on random blogs-it seems like people want to connect to separate-if that makes sense? That people feel the need to have an us vs them attitude when it should be about WE, US, TOGETHER, UNITED.

We have to remember that hatefulness walks in ALL forms of human life…Christian, Muslim, black, white, non immigrant, immigrant, rich, poor, democrat, republican. There are extremists. There will always be extremists. But they do not have to conquer the social media. They do not have to rule the airwaves. We do not have to BOOST but “how come it’s ruled as a hate crime when it’s against blacks but not Christians, etc.” When in the end, does it REALLY matter? It’s all the same. Hatefulness is hatefulness. Love is Love. We can only bring tolerance to others when we want to open up and learn about others and yes you can have a happy balance.

I am not religious, but I have religious friends & patients who I respect and admirer. I’m going on a religious medical mission (almost all medical missions seem to have a religious feel to it-I’m okay with it as long as it accomplishes what I want to accomplish) because I want to HELP others. Who are like me. Who are not like me. I do not care.

We can all be different, we do not have to continue to spread the hatefulness though. We should mend. It’s not a perfect world. It’s not going to be a perfect world. There will always be extremist. There will always be mental illness. There will always be murder. There will always be mass killings. How do we use these times to CONNECT and not separate ourselves?

I just don’t know. I just don’t understand it. I will never be able to wrap my head around it.

Take for example, recently a facebook friend posting a degrading comment about President Obama voters. My response was “I’m a very educated registered nurse who voted for Obama…so what’s your point?” His comment was “there are always exceptions.”

YES-so why continue with the blanket statement that wants to paint everyone the same color?

After Obama won 2nd term. A handful of my friends posted “how can people be so ignorant and stupid and uneducated….” Umm-excuse you? If this is how you feel about me, why are you my friend? I question your integrity to be honest. To which the response is always “well I don’t mean YOU…directly.” Ummm-your statement says you do, I proudly voted for Obama and thus I must be 1) stupid 2) ignorant 3) uneducated. I am, none of the above. I may not hold the same views as you-but that does not make you more right and I, more wrong. Nor does it make me more right and you more wrong. We have differences.

When people are heated, they certainly do not choose their words very wisely and they end up hurting the common thread of humans, than helping. We are all different, we do not all have to be hateful and degrading.

It’s all for L.O.V.E.!

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