Gabriel Horn takes on the Many Kinds of Bullies in MOTHERLESS

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How do you teach a child to combat bullying? How do you teach a child to even identify and understand it? Native American author has experienced his share of bullying – obviously as a Native American he fights for the timeless identity of his people – but as a conservationist and defender of Mother nature. Here are his thoughts on bullies – seen and unseen.

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THE BULLIES OF MOTHERLESS

By Gabriel Horn
White Deer of Autumn

Bully: overbearing. Intimidate; domineer. Cruel. A man hired to do violence. One who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. To be loudly arrogant…. Terrorize, tyrannize.

In MOTHERLESS, bullies come in different forms. The shadow men in the cover of darkness who dumped toxic waste into a creek, killing indiscriminately, and crushing the hearts of a little girl, and a bus driver from Jamaica. “Ain’t notten’ gonna bring God’s little creature back,” he said. “It’s dead. It got stuck tryin` to hop itself outta dat –” and he couldn’t think of a word that wasn’t swearing to describe what he was seeing and smelling in that ditch. “Wi don’t know why sum’ady done dat…. Oh Mon, I am so sick ah dis. Now, come on, Sweet child, it ain’t good wi breedin’ dis shit.”

Bullies can be kids.

The school day began with an assault at the bus stop, not a physical assault, like somebody punching and kicking another human being, or hurting an animal for no good reason, but the kind of assault that uses words to hurt you personally. Words to demean and belittle you. Words shot into your brain that can never come out….

“You’re only part Indian, not a real Indian,” declared Terrance Walcott, standing on the highest point on the sandy shoulder of the two-lane road. He was an eighth grader, who some say should have been left behind in seventh like he was in third.

“Look at your skin,” he said, and pointed with his fat finger at the sixth grade girl. “It ain’t even red.”

With her fists clenching, her lips pressed together, Rainy raised her dark brown eyes and looked up at Terrance. Though she appeared more than angry at the ugliness of what he had said, the betrayal felt worse, as did the embarrassment. Bullies.

They can be parents.

“And why the hell would you care about Indians, Chubby? You’re not sweet on that little half breed squaw I heard you talkin’ to your mom about?” Terrance smirked and shook his head vehemently. “No,” he said.

His stepfather reached into his pocket and held a wad of bills. Slipping a ten out, he gave it to Terrance. “Now here. Go by some war paint or somethin’. Get yourself some burgers.” He snickered. “I hear squaws like their burgers like they like their men.”

Terrance stared at the money. Couldn’t make sense of his stepfather’s gibbering. “Thanks,” he said, wide-eyed with possibilities.

“Now, bring me another tall one before you head out and do something stupid.”

Bullies. They can be school administrators and principals….

“I told Rainy about genocide, Dr. Lawson…. But I didn’t tell her all of it.” Dr. Lawson’s face flushed red, like she could’ve blended in with the stripes on the miniature flag near the phone on her desk, and she cleared her throat. “Yes, Mr. Peek, but Rainy is not a full Indian, only part, am I correct? You did legally change her last name?” She sorted through some related papers on her desk: memos, school records, and letters.

“Yes, the idea was to make it easier for her in school.”

“Of course, Mr. Peek. We realize she has no parents.” She lifted one page from the shuffle. “A question of negligence apparently came up when she was in fourth grade.

I understand there was an incident.”

He stared at her. “Yes, there was an incident, but I never heard of a complaint against me.”

“Well, it was probably something over that age old discussion of whether grandparents were capable of raising small children, and you being a single grandparent….”

Bullies. They can be teachers.

“No, Sir, indeed,” he said, standing upright, like a big bellied soldier at attention, holding a textbook instead of a gun, the dark frames hiding his bushy grey eyebrows, the shiny bald head reflecting the light from the ceiling. His thin lips tightened, so that it appeared he didn’t have any, and his head nodded agreeably. In his mind, he had reestablished his dominance….

Disturbed at what she was doing, the Colonel had stepped in front of her desk and leaned over so close to her face she could smell his creamed coffee-stale breath.

“Miss Peek, is it?”

He knew her name…. just by acting uncertain of who she was, he could make her feel less significant to him. Not empower her. Keep her off balance. His intention did not go unnoticed. His smelly breath, his violation of her space, and his obtrusive cold blue magnified orbs staring from behind the thick glass lenses in black frames, enabled her to already assess the kind of man he was, just as Koda would have done, as wolves (and a lot of dogs) will do with all men they can see, men they can smell, or hear, or sense in any number of ways, the ones not hiding behind a rock or a tree a football field away, downwind against their pale faces, concealing their human scent and malice, their dead eye taking dead aim through a telescopic scope….

“Yes, Sir,” she said, glancing up at his blue gumball eyes….

“You should have better things to do than doodling, Miss Peek,” he said in a low hard voice, his mouth inches from her ear, and pointing to an image on the paper.

“What is that? My Lord, is that… a snake?”

“It’s Kulkulcan, the Feathered Serpent.”

“No matter what you call it, Miss Peek, it is doodling” – if not downright improper and heathen, he was thinking but didn’t say.

Bullies. They can be fat cat politicians on the take.

He had heard it on the local news from the detached anchorwoman before the announcement of the storm …, Influenced by big oil, state legislators push to lift the ban restricting offshore drilling.

When the words first struck him, he closed the Mayan art book in his lap and let out a painful moan, like a person expressing sudden deep grief after learning of a loved one’s death and not wanting to believe its truth. Then he clenched his fists.

“Greedy bastards,” he murmured to himself. “It’s never enough for them. Never enough….”

He spoke in a low primal growl, almost as low as his breath, so that Rainy could not hear above the rolling thunder of the shaking sky. He would step out onto the front porch, as she lay in bed, his heart pounding in his chest the way a heart pounds when something terrible has happened, and he would step down into the front yard and over to that special place where he had found the eagle feather, and where he had made tobacco offerings while speaking to the Great Mystery, and he would collapse to his knees as the weight of his anguish became too much for him to bear, and, embracing the need to be closer to the Earth, he bent further until one side of his face pressed against the sandy ground.

A light rain would begin to fall, his fingers clutching the sand, his tears mixing with the rain, a weeping grief-stricken child that is an old man grasping hold of the Mother that he loved with all his being, and, for the moment, feeling too small to protect her from more of what was coming, and what she had already begun to know of those who didn’t know the Way to live.

Drilling….

Bullies. They can be as cruel as anything on Earth.

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The answer to bullies? Fight with your mind, your body, your life:

“Your rescue of endangered sea turtles, and other marine life, at the risk of your own, was nothing less than heroic.”

The faculty seated in their swivel chairs, and in their sympathetic civility, could not hear the terror in primal voices on that blazing dark night in the Gulf. They could not hear the honking of great herons and egrets, the squealing of the gulls, the terrified panic of pelicans flapping wings too heavy with oil to fly. They could not hear the turtles in their screaming silence burning in water that was on fire.

Coastal fishing and shrimp trawlers had used tubes and buoys to make another burn box, encircling a large area of the water, and trapping the oil. The bird and animal rescue crew shouting back from their smaller vessel that there were birds and dolphins and turtles trapped inside. The BP ship’s captain yelling at the rescue crews to “get out!” and then shouting the orders to the trawlers, “Light it up!”

The faculty could not hear in that horror of flaming darkness, the warnings of the other rescuers and the crew for her not to dive in; “Rainy!” they cried. They could not know what had mysteriously protected her as she rescued the turtles, drawn together desperate for refuge, until a rescue net tossed from the bow of the boat began dragging her own body back as she rolled in near unconsciousness over a dead dolphin towards the desperate and outstretched hands of her anxious sea mates and friends. They could not know why her skin hadn’t charred beneath her wet suit, why her beautiful hair did not singe in the searing water, why her heart remained still beating….

Bullies are the MOTHERLESS.

“If they don’t stop their behavior soon, if they don’t stop violating her body and learn to respect her, and they don’t stop taking from her without love, and without gratitude, then the energies of all that they have destroyed will return…. And all their anger; their greed; their violence; their prejudices and intolerances. The carbon. The plastic. The toxins. And the spirits of all the innocent….

“The Ah-nuh must protect the water…. It is what we must do. It is the purpose of our existence.” There was of burst pulse, like another soft squawk, and another whistle ….

“Maybe then they will listen….”

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UFO DISCLOSURE: Heard It All Before

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by Nick Redfern
www.shadowteams.com

There can be no doubt that the issue of so-called “UFO disclosure” is one of the hottest topics within the UFO field. Frankly, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Ever. And I’m utterly tired of people saying something like “It’s coming next year.” And then when next year comes, and nothing happens, it becomes the next year. Then it becomes the year after that. And so on. I wish I could say I find the matter of disclosure awe-inspiring. But no. It’s just yawn-inspiring. Prove to us it’s coming on a specific date or shut the hell up with your ever-changing dates until you do know!

One of the reasons why I doubt disclosure is on the horizon is because we’ve seen and heard all this before. That’s right: for decades people have claimed “the truth is coming,” and you know what? It never, ever does. The problem today is that so many people in Ufology simply aren’t aware that we’ve gone through all this time and again. I could reel of literally a dozen or so examples dating back to the early 1950s. But, for space purposes, I’ll focus on a couple of perfect examples from the 1970s.

To continue reading: http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/08/ufo-disclosure-heard-it-all-before/

Look for Nick’s book this Fall on the most FRIGHTENING of subjects

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The Mystery of a Man Who Shot Himself

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www.shadowteams.com

By Nick Redfern
http://nickredfernfortean.blogspot.com

Back in June of this year I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe titled “The Mystery of the Marconi Deaths.” It began as follows (QUOTE): “To many, it might sound like the ultimate plot-line of the equally ultimate conspiracy-thriller: dozens of scientists and technicians – all working on highly-classified programs, and all linked to one, particular company – dead under highly controversial and unusual circumstances.

“It’s a controversy that ran from the early 1980s to 1991 and remains unresolved to this very day. And it all revolves around the top secret work of a company called Marconi Electronic Systems, but which, today, exists as a part of BAE Systems Electronics Limited. Its work includes the development of futuristic weaponry and spy-satellite technology.” (END OF QUOTE.)

To read the remainder of the article, log on to http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/08/the-mystery-of-a-man-who-shot-himself/

Look for Nick Redfern’s newest book on the Men in Black this Fall.

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VELOCITY: Writing for the On-Demand Generation

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www.shadowteams.com

I currently have a book out for sale. This in itself is an amazing vote of confidence in a dying industry but I have a film company that wants to do a feature. So, the book moves on to it’s next stop: the publisher.

What the movies (and by that I mean any film, tv or on-demand network) wants is action. Of course. Movies are about pictures; books are about thoughts, ideas and sometimes pictures, if the writer if really really good.

But my big problem with most writing is the boredom. The scene takes too long; the interior monologue is predictable and I can rarely see how the insides of these characters act when put in the crucible: That’s why you read.

Men love thrillers and the speed with which they read. Men write them, men read them. (Gone Girl was a wonderful anomaly but once again tied to a cliche idea: my man is cheating on me and I want revenge. How about walking out and getting on with your life, Missy?)

Women write “thrillers” too – Patsy Cornwell, Janet Evanovitch, Kathy Reichs. I will read all three when left in an airplane seat, but would never buy one.

Why? Not hard enough. Not rough enough. Not weird enough. This is an on-demand world where story-telling has a real edge, where action is so fast and the pictures so vivid, it is unforgettable.

That’s what I want for a book: You read it like a shot, an entertainment. You react and then over time, you will respond to it’s deeper ideas.(Yes, thrillers have lots of them.)

In a decline from a publishing company, the young editor said, “It moves so fast I can’t keep it straight.”

That gave me a good laugh. A friend of mine spent an entire flight to Italy reading Harold Robbins and when we landed, she said, “I didn’t get who that Alpha Romeo guy in the book was and more importantly, what was he up to…..”

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

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AMAZON: YOU BETTER HOPE YOU’RE BETTER THAN THE REST

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In a shocking expose in The New York Times, the mega-corporation amazon.com was outed for being a really craven crappy place to work.

So why not just go all the way and adopt the tactics of 15th Century Europe. That’s right. No one expects a Spanish Inquisition!

Image little Jeff Bezos in his jaunty khakis turning the wheel on the rack and screaming “Did you program this in the crapper? Looks like it! Smells like it! Works like it!” as one of his minions is stretched into a 6’7″ cubicle worker.

Mechanical Turk breakdown in Department C3? Jeff is there with the Spanish Donkey and The Saw Torture to sort things out. Once sorted, the CFO calls “Bring out ya dead!” as he trails Jeff, off to HR for fresh flesh.

What goes on at amazon is no different than what goes on at countless corporations in America. Amazon and Jeff are watched a little more closely because of their ham-fisted, We-Won’t-Negotiate-With-Your-Ass mentality. It is a fort where conference rooms are at the front of the building (I don’t know who goes deeper inside but you probably won’t) and many departments will not even talk to a consumer about essential publishing problems. You’ll just get an email in a few days that you may or may not understand.

Our tech team lives on the phone with amazon, often solving problems days before they do. And of course, my tech team being a reflection of me – calls and jeers at them. I encourage it, in fact. Because if you are going to throw your weight around and put your employees in the public stocks for having an idea, you just perpetuated the ethos of every small-minded manager everywhere.

Ugh, amazon. Just UGH.

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INSTAGRAM, BOEING, AND VIRGIN AIR INSPIRE YOUNG ERIN DAVIS TO FLY AROUND GLOBE IN SINGLE ENGINE PLANE

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Everyone at www.shadowteams.com love women who love adventure. When we heard about young Erin Davis and her dream of circumnavigating the Earth in a single engine plane, well, she got our Amelia Earhart and Beryl Markham ringing inside us.

In a world where everything is virtual, we salute a young woman grabbing the realness by the tail and living a life filled with challenge and wonder.

1. How old were you when you started flying? Who taught you?

I first gained my love for flying when I was 7. My uncle (who works for Boeing) had an airplane and the first time we went flying and I was able to take the wheel. In that moment I fell in love. My training started when I was 19 and I switched my major to Aviation Science at Utah Valley University. I got my Private Pilot License with the help of my instructor, Marcos Garcia.

2. Was it love at first flight?

Flying was something that I knew I was meant to do, so when I took my first training flight I was overjoyed. I was also overwhelmed when I found out it was going to be harder than I thought.

3. When did your dream of flying a single engine plane around the world take hold? When did it move from dream to reality?

I came across the Instagram profile of the last woman who achieved this feat while sitting through my brother’s graduation this July. I leaned over to my parents and told them I wanted to beat her record. It instantly became a reality when my parents jumped on board and I decided that I could do it no matter what other people said.

4. Your age group is home playing video games and you are undertaking a real, huge adventure that seems a throw-back to the last century. It’s thrilling. What would you say to more young people about real-time challenges?

I came across the Instagram profile of the last woman who achieved this feat while sitting through my brother’s graduation this July. I leaned over to my parents and told them I wanted to beat her record. It instantly became a reality when my parents jumped on board and I decided that I could do it no matter what other people said.

I would tell the youth of my generation to be passionate about something, something wholesome that will push you to achieve your dreams. Don’t take your goals to the grave with you. Think big, bigger than you have ever thought before! When I decided I wanted to achieve this flight I knew some habits had to change. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. I wake up at 6 and leave my apartment by 7:15. You need to be productive in your day to accomplish your goals.

5. Have you begun to plot your route around the planet? Can you tell us a little about how you plot the route of flying a small plane around the world? Refueling? Staying away from certain geography, no-fly zones, etc?

The route will depend on the international clearances that I receive. The ideal route is starting in Provo Utah; Florida; N/E Brasil; Africa (the country depends on the clearances), Africa is where the clearances get tough and avoiding certain geography starts. After I get through Africa I will be “island hopping” through the Pacific Islands; Hawaii; California; and back to Provo.

6. Are you afraid of being lonely or scared during the flight?

During this flight I will be able to have a navigator with me (hopefully my uncle, or another pilot that I know), so I won’t be too lonely. My biggest worry for the flight is mental and physical fatigue. The average day will consist of eight hours of flying which can take a toll on your body. My plan to fight this fatigue is exercising, training in longer flights, and having food readily available during the flight.

7. Who are your favorite authors who write about flying? James Salter, Beryl Markham, Antoine de St-Exupery, Richard Bach, etc. Do you have favorite movies about flying?

My favorite author is Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin companies. I have been motivated by his determination in starting his businesses, which include the Virgin Airlines. He taught me that even though you may be small or young, you can accomplish great things if you set your mind to it and work hard enough.

8. What do you hope your trip does for young women when they read about it? Create more explorers? Dream bigger? Grab the world by the tail????

Through my flight I want to bring attention to how few women are in aviation, but most importantly I want to inspire the youth to get out and dream. They don’t have to dream about being a pilot (although I would love that), they just need to think big. They don’t need to fit into a mold these days. If they want to break a record, go for it. If there isn’t already a record, who is stopping them from creating one? I want youth to be their own person and to be the best they can. My goal is to inspire those who never thought they could achieve something great because they feel average. My message to them is to look in the mirror, realize that you are not average, tell yourself that you don’t have to be what others make of you, and go out and be great. Find something every day that you like about yourself or something that you are accomplishing, and let others see that in you.

TO FLY WITH ERIN:
Facebook page is Erin Davis, Aviator (www.facebook.com/ErinDavisAviator)
Instagram is emdavisaviator (www.instagram.com/emdavisaviator)
Twitter is @EDavis_Aviator (www.twitter.com/EDavis_Aviator)
Website is davisaviator.wix.com/erindavisaviator

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Elusive Streetlights Confronts her Rape by a Student and the Road to Reclaiming Life in Tea and Madness

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http://www.shadowteams.com
Q&A with C. Streetlights, author of Tea and Madness
(Click on the title to buy the book.)

1.The idea of “know thyself” has existed since the ancient Greeks and here you are in 2015 telling us there is no real, authentic life without knowing yourself. Can you explain?

We live in a time with information readily accessible to us and yet we are no wiser for it. We are information rich but knowledge poor with no real ability to gain the wisdom needed in order to truly authenticate our own existence. I don’t fault anyone for this; in fact, I think it is part of the natural process for us to seek outward influences when shaping who we are. I’ve seen this as I’ve birthed and raised my children – as babies they sought out my voice to find peace, as toddlers they mimicked my actions and phrases. And yet, somehow as we age and move beyond these early childhood development stages, we can’t seem to disregard entirely the need to find other voices or actions to mimic. Instead of finding peace from a mother’s voice, we feel stressed because Google returns over 2.67 billion hits in .44 seconds on the search “How to be real”. Instead of evolving into higher level introspects, we are instead becoming more reliant on outside sources to tell us who and what we should become. The answer to being real and authentic won’t be found in any digital form; the answer is always found when you honestly evaluating yourself and becoming your soul’s best friend.

Until you’re able to hear a stranger’s footsteps in the hallway at night and finally recognize them as your own spirit’s, then you won’t be able to discern who or what is influencing your life’s path.

2. What was the journey you took to self-awareness? Was the book a part of it or a reporting of your journey?

Tea and Madness is a collection of pieces I wrote over approximately 3-5 years. All but I think one or two originally appeared on my blog, Streetlights Imagination when I had no idea or real intention to publish a book. A book had never even crossed my mind! So really, this is a presentation of my life as it unfolded during a time period when my life had fallen apart into unrecognizable pieces and I had to either rebuild or give up. The only life I had known before – a successful and professional teacher, working wife and mother, highly respected in the community – had been completely taken away from me once my sexual assault at the hands of a former student came out. I had no idea who I was anymore. The coping strategies I had created to handle my depression and anxiety disorders disintegrated, my agoraphobia returned, and I was contractually bound by a gag order by my school district. I was forced into living almost a double life that was necessary at the time for survival. I had to not only protect my family from malicious rumors but I also had to protect my reputation from any possible damage if I fell apart outside of my house. Writing gave me freedom, however. I adopted a pen name and the anonymity gave me the security I needed to reclaim my life again.
While I never made a real effort to hide my blog from anyone, I also never expected to promote or publicize it much. Once I opened my Twitter, I hardly ever tweeted a link to anything I had written. I wasn’t ashamed by anything I wrote or even felt insecure. My life at the time was incredibly tumultuous and anxiety-ridden. I didn’t think to share my words. And so I began writing incredibly raw and unfiltered, sometimes feeling desperate to set down a truth I couldn’t share anywhere else. I hesitate to call it “journaling” because I was not recording life events or attempting to play therapist with myself. I was seeking out an understanding of just what the hell had happened to me and most importantly why?

Watching my book come to life was experiencing my voice being heard for the first time. As a rape survivor who never reported this was enormously validating. I could feel a shift in the cosmos as if my planets realigned themselves back to their original course. The district’s gag order had expired some time ago yet due to state school board politics and an unsupportive teacher association, I still have not been permitted to request a hearing for my license to be reinstated. Again, I understood what Lazarus must have felt like the morning after he rose from the dead to have my own voice out in the world for the first time in five years

This book, if anything, is a product of pain and unexpected joy.

3. ‘Know thyself’ seems to speak to the core of taking responsibility for what one thinks and does. How does “know thyself” have ramifications on the larger world?

There seems to be a fear in the world at large to be responsible for spiritual greatness. I don’t mean ‘spiritual greatness’ in terms of an organized religion’s spirituality, but the spirituality of understanding the relationship a person has between herself and the Universe. I remember once being on a highway in Arizona and seeing the Milky Way for the first time. It wasn’t clear or defined but there it was and I was both incredibly insignificant and powerful at the same time. Insignificant because I was nothing compared to something so vast and far-reaching, yet powerful because in all that far-reaching spilt puddle of stars I realized there was only one of Me – no duplication. What was I going to do with the gift of my existence? I truly believe if people recognize that by even existing in relation to the enormity of Universe, and feel in awe of that, there would be such a vibrational shift in society’s effectiveness.

But somehow instead of encouraging each other to take the reigns over their own lives, we have perpetuated a Peter Pan ideology that on our quest to “finding ourselves” it is okay to hurt other people, be reckless with other people’s emotions, or to be reckless period. The opposite is true. We’ve distorted and bastardized the idea of introspection as being inward mobility instead of it actually being outward projection. Thoughtful introspection and reflection shouldn’t move a person to selfishness or even isolation. It should move a person to an understanding of how he or she fits within a more Universal frame and then help that person move forward along a path.

4. If you do not “know thyself,” is love possible? Is happiness possible?

The only real sin is to not be true to who you know you are or can be. According to DMR: Digital Marketing/Stats/Strategy/Gadgets, in 2014, there were an estimated 45 million boards and 176 million pins dedicated to beauty on Pinterest. In the same time frame, there were 4.5 billion pins associated with fashion along with 30 million users who have pinned something fashion related. 94% of all Pinterest activity is by women. I’m not picking on Pinterest because I have an axe to grind; I happen to love Pinterest. I use Pinterest to illustrate the insatiable need we have to fix ourselves when we don’t need fixing. We need to love ourselves; every single ounce of messy shit that happens in our lives is a part of who we are and we don’t need to pin an affirmation to make it true, damn it.

We have to stop being selective in our celebrations of humanity and start recognizing that too much energy is wasted on public packaging.

I needed to share my experience with other women because I know that if there is something women have in common it is the ability we have to undermine our own joy. Women will either break each other down to strengthen a false sense of validation or they will break themselves down so they won’t feel happy at all. There is no misery award. Nobody wins a prize for who can be the most wretched. If you fall into one of these two categories you need to look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say to yourself, “What the hell is so wrong with me that I can’t let myself or other people be happy? Because frankly I am a bitch.” Until someone truly fixes that for herself she won’t ever give herself permission to experience joy from any kind of sorrow.

5. As a teacher and communicator, what do you teach your kids about self-awareness?

I loved being in the classroom with a passion. I always insisted to my colleagues that students would rise to any expectation we placed before them and my students never failed me. From the first day of school to the last, if they knew failure or missing assignments were not an option than they knew the expectation was to turn in all assignments and to do their best work at all times. It doesn’t mean I never had students who pushed limits or boundaries. I did. But it also meant that my students knew they would have to talk about it. I only ever had a handful of “class rules” to discuss at the start of the year, the primary rule being to “be aware of yourself and others”. They weren’t required to raise their hands because I thought that was childish. I didn’t have to raise my hand when I needed to speak to other people, why should they? However they did need to learn how to be respectful of other people’s boundaries and couldn’t speak over voices. If they wanted to add to the discussion or ask a question they needed to wait until another person was speaking, including me. After a couple days of school they learned.

My kids also knew they would have to work for their grades, not only the assignment but also in how they were graded. Essays were submitted with a reflection sheet telling me what they struggled with in particular while writing that the essay and why they thought it was difficult. They also had to identify two specific areas in the paper they wanted my personalized feedback on and then describe what they plan on doing in the revision process. I wanted most of all to move beyond the mentality of “just fulfill the requirement” and step into the role of introspective learner. For the most part it worked.

Above all, my students knew they always had second chances because I believe in redemption. I always accepted late work, most times without penalty. When I asked them what they felt was and fair and reasonable point deduction, students would be fair with me and with themselves. If the assignment was late due to an illness, they would say, they felt it was fair to have no points deducted. I agreed that was reasonable. One student turned in a large project two months late and when I asked him the same question he very honestly replied he shouldn’t earn more than half of his total score. I felt that was reasonable to. Because my students knew I believed in them they believed in themselves. Slowly.

Many times it came through example. I had a student transfer to my class from another school that was labeled as “trouble”. I’m sure she was at some point but I could also see she was a sad girl. She skipped class constantly, was belligerent to staff and other students. She was hurting. Finally one day she walked past my doorway, blatantly showing her presence but refusing to come to class. I had had it. I was about to lose my temper, which was exactly what she wanted. Instead I calmly took attendance, had everyone leave their backpacks and grab our class novel and told them we were going on a field trip. Students were confused – this was definitely not our normal day. We went down one hall and then down another until we finally found her: sitting against the wall in an alcove where the janitor’s office was. I told her that if she didn’t come to class then I was bringing class to her. We all sat down and I began to lecture and read with my students. This happened about two or three more times until she finally began coming on her own every day, but not before one of the popular kids in my class asked “Why are we doing this for her? If she doesn’t come that’s her problem not hers!” I looked at him and scolded, “No. If one is lost we are all lost. That’s why we do this.”

I miss being in the classroom.

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Cupid in China

Interesting visuals

iLook China

For millennia, Chinese parents and/or matchmakers played cupid and arranged marriages sometimes as early as birth.

However, that is changing. China Daily reports that “Nearly 30 percent of those born after the 1990s admitted that their first ‘puppy love’ happened in primary or junior high school, according to Baihe, a major dating website that recently conducted an Internet survey of more than 50,000 people across the country. Only 3 percent of those born before the 1970s gave the same answer.”

And Sufie, of Sexy Beijing, takes us on a journey to discover what’s happening to matchmaking Cupids in China.

One man Sufie interviews on the street says he was born in the late 70’s, and he has no problem with traditional matchmaking but those born in the 80s and afterwards may not like it.

In this embedded episode of Sexy Beijing, Sufie wants to discover if arranged marriages are still…

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