The Message is The Reason for the Season, NOT How Many Presents One Gets! Unrelated Memories from Bulling!!! Was this BULLING? What would you have done?

imageOne of the new things I guarantee is that before we know it, even long before we wish for it, Christmas music is played everywhere: In the stores, malls, subways, buses. Not sure they play it on buses but it sure seems this way. It seems like someone implanted a chip in my brain and it plays Here Comes Santa Claus non stop, until I don’t even care if I get presents. Stop IT already!!!
It is hard to believe that as a child, growing up in a communist country, I didn’t hear Christmas carols and wished for them! It is hard to separate the beauty of such Christmas carols and their magical message from the message imposed by the thousands of commercial entities, whose marketing research shows that the sooner they start, the more they sell, and this is the ultimate goal: $$$$$.
This explains in a nutshell my very personal and complex journey from wishing for Christmas celebration, to wishing less, to deciding to hide somewhere in a cave and come out when the bears who hibernate come out, to settling for ear plugs, the cheapest ones! After winding allover the place with my beliefs and what to do, I concluded to stick with the MESSAGE, not the commercialization of it!

Yeah… Holidays are not my favorite time of the year as “pretending” our lives are “perfect” is at an all year high in December, as we struggle to show just how politically correct we are! The truth is that in my humble observation, it has nothing to do with respect for other people’s beliefs, but again, with sales and money!

Also,unless one wishes to be banned off of Earth (that is the part of it which has clean water and food, and heat or air conditioning, DARE state there is a fate, dare say some events in life are sad and not in your total control!

I dare confess that I read and value Bright-Sided -How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Best Seller Nickel and Dimed. I also dare write about a “group of extreme positive thinkers who don’t have to worry about living, as do the humans in Africa and many right here, at home. I’m yet to understand why the “positive thinking” movement seem to belong to those who having a “life,” worry about stress and positive thinking and deny the existence of fate and luck!

To push the sad people on an even darker, hopeless path, because they didn’t THINK POSITIVE ENOUGH, let’s make sure they feel guilty because they didn’t think right! It is their fault, their lives are not perfect! The pressure to be positive is so great, at times I don’t dare “think,” all is not perfect, because, could I be sure someone doesn’t read my mind? So, as a way to ensure survival, we got it into “our heads” that we were happy, and if that illusionary God dared sneak into our brains a different idea, such as negative thinking, please push that useless thought in the basement of your mind! Even better, kick it out, somewhere where no one could see it, because we are at all times, no matter the hardships of life, positive thinkers! We manifest that which we think and why I didn’t win the lottery yet, is a mystery to me.
I took a break and now…
I’m re-reading my own post, and it is confusing. It jumps from one “lane to another,” mostly without a warning, but is’t this how real life “behaves?” amd we have to deal with it as if all is perfect and positive?

The truth is that long before “the positive thinking implant” was carefully installed into my brain, another one was permanently screwed in to make sure no matter the events offered by life, my mind stays “INQUISITIVE!” This quality of my mind” was developed under Communism, when I was a child forbidden to believe in God and ordered to say I see I black sock when in fact I saw a white sock! Those early, survival experiences, taught me that no matter how much I was forbidden to question, the more I should, but NOBODY should guess I did!

The truth is that no matter how overwhelmingly powerful the “positive thinking” trend is, it will never suffocate my good, old inquisitive brain, which is, I’d dare say, part of my “limbic brain,” the oldest and the most powerful because it is responsible for survival. Perhaps not the brightest, but the most useful.
It sure gets me out of trouble and if I have to decide on the spot whether to fight or flight, in the flash of a second I could take a decision and save myself!

Many times, I think of a childhood story, which I see as the possible root of “my style of making decisions.”
This is a true story. Short. At least this is my intention, now. By the end of reading it, perhaps you will make a life-changing decision.

Here’s the story:

When we were children, there was no Amber Alert and Community Watch. At times, perhaps the creepy lonely neighbor was the volunteer who “watched” us, the kids playing, and our parents were grateful, delighted at the kindness of mankind and its selflessness, never doubting! Many times, I wonder what journalists in other countries reported… We, in Romania, only watched and heard news about President/God Ceausescu and His Scientist/Godess, Elena, his wife. The perfection of this couple made the Gods in the Greek Legends pale, look like ridiculous charicatures in fairy tales made to impress five-year olds… may be!

Okay… my story is already winding off the main path. I promised it short. Back to the main path!
Instead of the last two paragraphs, I could have written: “When I was a child, we played outside unsupervised and we survived!

In one of the many days when we played across from our apartment complex, one of my playmates hit me jokingly. How did I know it was “jokingly?” She laughed, and so did the other kids. She hit me again the following day, and again…until there was a bruise at the site of the “crime,” my cheek.

I must have been 9 or 10 years old. I’m now assuming, in my culture, I was considered old enough to take care of such problems of no real significance. The word bulling wasn’t “in” yet, but my black cheek was prove it existed! On the other hand, the entire incident and how it was handled could have been my mother’s personal “mothering style.”

I guess I knew First Aide, because I made a cold compress and applied it on my cheek.
In silence, Mom examined my cheek.
“Mom, Cristina hit me!”
“Who hit first?”
“She did, Mom! I didn’t hit her at all!”
Mom’s eyes pierced my bruised cheek:
“So… Cristina hit you…because you said something to her? A lie?”
“No, Mom, I didn’t say anything! We were playing and she hit me and they all laughed!”

My Mother’s eyes pierced my bruised cheek again and it hurt as much as the laughter of my playmates!

“Why are you telling me this story?” Mom spoke at last.” Cristina hit you for no reason. People laughed at you! They didn’t laugh at me. Solve your own problems if someone attacks you but never start a fight!”

The next day, Cristina hit me again.
Without a word, I made a fist and hit her in her solar plexus. Oh, no, at the time, I had no idea just how dangerous that was!
Cristina leaned against the wall. We stopped playing. She was very pale… more like bluish, as I recall. She and her sister left.
After that scary incident, new, unspoken rules seemed to be in place. The hitting stopped and we found other ways to laugh together.

I hope this post was short enough and didn’t put you to sleep. I also hope my mother had a message for more than just me.
However, even if I was the only beneficiary of her parenting skills, it was a lesson well learned: Never start a fight, solve your own problems. How one decides to solve a problem could start a debate.
If you were the parent, in today’s world, how would you advice your kid?
In the age of bulling and violence, I don’t think that my mother’s response was the best… but what would be?
Please share your thoughts with us. As always, we learn by sharing.
Have a blessed weekend!

Politically “Correct!” Is It Dumb, or… IS It Dumb???

With Thanksgiving  to be celebrated this week and Christmas around the corner, we are faced again with the life shattering question: Do I wish someone Happy Thanksgiving, or even more important, dare I say, “Merry Christmas?” May be, to be on the safe side I replace it all with “Happy Holidays!”

I found myself falling into this trap and buying stamps which illustrate a flower and not Mary and Jesus and buying cards which are either blank inside, so I could write my personal message, or say, ” Happy Holidays!” Well, this year I solved the problem, I’m cutting no more trees, I am NOT sending any cards. The money spend on cards could go to Salvation Army and help the poor regardless of which “holiday” they celebrate

I was already aggravated by the “Happy Holidays” dilemma, when I have noticed another general effort to make our society “politically correct.”

When I dial any commercial company I have the choice to press 1 for Spanish,  which I don’t, because I don’t need the service. Last week I called my health insurance company to compare  health plans. After going through all the computarized Aunt Judy’s of the world who, in a calm voice stated over and over “may be I could help you?” “Did you say…” No, no no please, I scream in a voice that makes Judy stop for a second, ” I NEED to speak to a HUMAN!”

At last I get a human. He is polite. I explain what I need, he responds back and we converse in ENGLISH for at least five minutes,  and I explain to him in detail my complex needs: I need to pay less for my health insurance! As we are in the mist of the conversation, speaking in ENGLISH,  suddenly he probably remembers the company’s training and asks me:  “Do you need a translator, or are you comfortable speaking in English?”

I am speechless! We have  been speaking in English for a while. I stated my needs, he replied. What does this mean, that some people are so brain-washed that they dare not use common sense  to judge:

If this person and I SPOKE in English for a while, clearly she speaks and understands English! If she didn’t, HOW would she even understand my asking, ‘do you need a translator?’ asked in ENGLISH?

As millions other American citizens,  I have an accent because I came to the U.S in my twenties. I also hold a B.A. in English and Romanian and am a translator. I also hold a M.S. in Counseling and Clinical Psychology from an accredited U.S. college, I am a publish author in English… I consider myself bilingual. If I didn’t speak English, I would have pressed ONE for Spanish which is spoken in Spanish by the computer voice at the beginning of the menu.

Why do we assume? I might be comfortable speaking Mandarin…
I am wondering what would he have done if I asked for a translator in  the Mandarin language?

I applaud the idea of politeness, of being aware of everyone’s needs but isn’t it taking it too far? After all we made a choice to be in America, perhaps it would be nice to make an extra effort and learn the language of the land?

Perhaps, if I have a cross as a necklace and I converse with someone in English for a while, “the assumption” could be, this person is a Christian, so wishing “Merry Christmas,” is appropriate, and if she spoke with me in English for ten minutes, it is okay to “assume,” the person does not need a translator.

In conclusion: People use your brains!

Oh! Happy Holidays”:) EVERYONE!