Monday, April 22, 2013

I have a Job, Motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day

All my life I have made choices.  I live with the consequences and accept that they were my choices.  I am responsible for my life and my choices.  I have started to come to terms with the fact that some people only see the negative.  That it does not matter what I do or say it will never be enough or the right thing in their eyes.  To them I am and always have been the “problem”.  This is one of the reasons I chose not to have any communications with some people.

I am a good person, I like me and will not accept responsibility for other people’s views or opinions.  They are not my opinions so I don’t have to make changes to make other people happy.  I only need to make changes for me and my children.  I am not going to let other people make me feel bad about myself or put me down because I don’t live the life they expect me to have.  I am also not going to take responsibility for things outside of my control, like being laid off because the company I worked for does not have any work for me.

I have never had any problem accepting the fact that I need to work hard in life.  I don’t have my hand out or expect others to “take care of me”.  I don’t go around asking for things, though when help has been offered I have accepted it with gratitude and appreciation.

I know that once my daughter is a year old I will start looking for work again.  I expect that it will be difficult to find a good job again, one that I love to do.  I know I will probably have to take whatever job I can get to pay bills and live on, even with my college education and work ethics.  Maybe one day I will have a job I love again, but probably not.  The fact that I am unemployed (with lots of other people in the same boat) does not make me a bad person or mean that I don’t want a job. 

I live in reality, not in a dream world of how it should be, or used to be.  Once you could go to college, get a job and stay there until you wanted to leave or retired.  My reality is that no job is guaranteed even if you are a great employee, or work really hard.  The world my Grandparents, and my parents lived in is not the one I live in.  Their expectations do not fit within the current job market where I live. 

I look forward to having a full time job again that lets me pay my bills and take care of my family.  I know that whatever job I get will not fit within some people’s expectations of me.  I am just going to work hard at the job I do get to pay the bills and do the best at the job I will always have, that of a Mother.

My most important job is being the best Mother I can be.  Part of being a good Mother, for me, is getting a job that will help me take care of my family.  My identity and worth is not tied into a job, but who I am as a person and how I treat other people, especially my children.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Star Wars the Old Republic Guild Turns to Cyber bullying

For almost a year a father and his 9 year old son played on the Star Wars the Old Republic with a great guild.  A few weeks before the new Star Wars the Old Republic expansion started the guild turned nasty.  Suddenly what used to be a fun MMORPG became an ordeal of cyber bulling.

It started in sly comments.  It quickly moved up to nasty in game messages, anonymous posting full of swear words, insults and comments like “you are this and this and should quite the game” but not in so nice words.  Insert any combination of swear words, insults with thinly veiled threats and you get the idea. 

The last straw was when an anonymous posting went on the guild page attacking four players, Suddenly what was just annoying and somewhat childish behaviour became a full out attack.  The guild leader let the posting stay up on the guild page.  This showed that she supported the cyber bulling behaviour of one guild member.  Please note that the bully did not have the guts to put their name on their poison pen posting.  As a result all four members decided independently that they did not want to play in a guild where they were expected to put up with someone treating them like crap.

Not one of the players being cyber bullied had done anything to earn the abuse.  Two were new players, who did not have much experience.  They were in the process of learning the game and building up their levels.  One was a father, with a new born, who played when he could but put his family first.  The fourth was in the US military serving overseas.  He is fighting for his country, with all his time scheduled for him.  Not to mention putting his life on the line every day.  Why would any of these people want to deal with abuse every time they logged onto Star Wars the Old Republic?

Now it is one thing to have someone be nasty on Star Wars the Old Republic, you simply block them.  It is something different to be cyber bullied by someone in your own guild.  Especially when the cyber bully hides who they are, it taints the whole guild.  You don’t know who is doing it.  It is like getting nasty letters in your locker at high school, the bully wants to make their life hell but is not “man” enough to put their name on it.

Oh, and Mr. Anonymous was not so anonymous after all.  The person was creating alternative characters not in the guild so they could cyber bully “anonymously”.  But all four people figured out who it was when they compared notes. 

The cyber bully had recently joined the guild.  He was a new “friend” of the guild leader and was given extra special treatment at the expense of the other guild members.  He was given an officers position right away, even though everyone else had to work their way up the guild and prove themselves.  He was going after the guild members he felt threatened by. 

The ex-guild members felt betrayed by their guild leader, that she would allow such abusive behaviour.  None of the attacked players engage the bully.  It was not worth their time.  They play Star Wars the Old Republic to have fun. 

The funny part is that the cyber bully did not even notice they had left the guild.  He stepped up the attacks after they had already left.  He started posting anonymous abusive messages in the guilds message of the day for everyone to see.  He called them names, put them down and kept saying they should be kicked out of the guild.

At first the guild leader was upset that the guild members quite and asked them back.  That changed within a day.  Suddenly she was being abusive to them as well.  Somehow they were in the wrong for taking offence to the extremely abusive attacks.  She expected them to just put up with it.

Just to be safe the Father decided to log onto his 9 year old sons account and pull him out of the guild.  What did he find, in retaliation for the father leaving the guild leader kicked his son out.  The cyber bully sent the 9 year old a very abusive, bulling message along the same lines as what he had posted to the other guild members.  It was full of swear words and was just plain nasty to say to anyone, let alone a 9 year old.

What was the point of cyber bulling a child?  The kid was already kicked out of the guild.  Why send a child you don’t know an abusive message?  Simple, because he could.  He knew his guild leader will support his cyber bullying of long standing and new guild members.  Why would she have an issue with him attacking a child in the same manner?  He was so confident that he did not even bother to do it anonymously!  This just confirmed the suspicions about who was doing it.

Well he was right.  When this was brought to the guild leader’s attention her response was, she was the one who kicked the child out of the guild and what was the problem with the messages.  After all it was all just a joke.  Extreme abusive cyber bullying for two weeks a joke!  Right.  Who is she kidding?  Most people will not accept this treatment any time, so why should anyone accept it on a MMORPG. 

With the number of kids killing themselves over cyber bulling she still thinks it’s ok for her new friend to do this to a child who has never done anything to anyone.  I guess she is not the good person people thought she was.  Who wants to be in a guild that you have to put up with abuse to play in?  What gets me the most though is, how could anyone think it is ok for an adult to cyber bully a child!  It is not ok for anyone to cyber bully a child.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pay it Forward or a Helping Hand in Real Life

I keep finding postings about positive people helping out people in need.  I know many of them are fakes, but still make you think and are a good read.  However, I can tell a real story about unexpected help we have received in the last 6 months.  It may not be as well written as the stories usually posted, but at least they are real.

Our newborn was underweight and losing weight every day.  If she did not put on weight she had to go back to the hospital.  We had to put her onto formula, something we had not budgeted for.  She had nipple confusion and would not take the breast.  I talked about it on Facebook, I was very worried about having to put her onto formula and upset that I was not doing my job as a mom and breastfeeding her.  One lady in our area had a huge bag of formula that her baby was unable to eat.  Her family gave us the unopened cans of formula.  My daughter could eat it and put on weight.  There was enough formula that it got us to when we had money again.  Their kindness made a big impact on the life of my family. 

With a new born Christmas was very tight, but we expected that and made plans and budgeted for it.  We let our kids know that they would not be getting very much and they needed to pick one special toy they wanted for Christmas.  On the day we were told we had to put our newborn on formula we used our budgeted Christmas money to buy bottles, formula and a breast pump.  At the time I felt like a huge failure because I could not breast feed my baby and that took away the special toys our kids had asked for Christmas.  Just before Christmas a Christmas card showed up in my mail with a prepaid credit card with $50 on it.  This really helped us out.  We used it to buy the toys special to our kids.  It also let our kids buy a gift for each other, something they really wanted to do.  A small gesture made a big impact.  I don’t know how much the $50 meant to the person who gave it to us; I just know how big of a difference it made to us.

For my daughter’s birthday we told her no party this year and we would have to wait a couple of weeks to do something as a family.  Our daughter understood, and I never told anyone, not even family, about the difficulty we were having.  Out of the blue a few days before my daughter’s birthday a gift arrived, $50.  It gave us what we needed to do what she wanted on her birthday, to eat out at a specific restaurant, and still buy groceries for the next two weeks.  Again someone made a huge difference to our lives just because they wanted to.  It may seem like a small thing, being able to take our daughter out on her birthday, but it was a huge thing for her.  It made her feel important and loved.  With a new baby in the house she needs all the reminders we can give her that she is still valued, important and loved.

I never asked for help.  I don’t sit around with my hand out waiting for someone to make my life better.  But I am willing to accept kindness for my children.  I have no pride when it comes to my kids, if my pride has to go so my children can have what they need, so be it.  They always come first.

I do see this as what goes around comes around.  In the past I was able to pay it forward, or be that helping hand many times.  I have been told that I can be a soft touch, and have a hard time seeing people in need.  There were many times when money found its way into the hands of those in need, family, friends and strangers.  Many invites for lunch or dinner were given with lots of leftovers when we knew someone was running low on food.  Sometimes it was as simple as paying for the meal of the family behind us in line at a fast food place.  When we had our business we would often suddenly need “staff” when people really needed some real money.  They would work the weekend with us and would have the money they needed without feeling they were taking charity (and they actually did do work for us).
When we lost the business and moved into this complex we would to buy hotdogs when they went on sale, and fill our freezer with them.  It was not uncommon all summer long for the kids in our neighbourhood to show up whenever we turned on the BBQ.  They knew we would put on several packages of hotdogs, and they could eat.  For some of the kids it was the only food they would get during the day.  We knew that, and made sure they ate.  Heck we even bought a deep fryer because a bag of potatoes was cheap and make a lot of French-fry’s.  It is not something our family talks about, we just did it because we could.  Sometimes they would show up for dinner too.  Those kids don’t live here anymore, but we helped them out when they did.  It was nice to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.  I never expected to be on the other side, but I am grateful that I was.

Times are getting harder, more families are in need.  I see requests on Freecycle for food, and formula, clothing and more all the time.  It makes me sad that so many people are in need.  I hope to be able to repay the unexpected gifts of money one day when things change and I am working again.  Hopefully when it is need the most. 

I grew up poor.  I am poor now.  I expect to die poor.  But at least I am in good company!