Monday, September 28, 2015

Is this our new normal?

I love Fall for many reasons, one being, that on a chilly evening, I can build a roaring fire on my patio, sit in my sweats, and write whats on my mind. Another main reason I love Fall, is the new tv shows that air. I get very excited to DVR all the new shows that I find interesting. I take the time to go through every new show and see what great show I might fall in love with. I can't wait to find another gem among them, such as Scandal, The Middle, How to Get Away With Murder and many others. This year, I decided that a show called "Scream Queens" might be a show that Melissa and I would finally watch together. We don't usually watch the same shows and I know how much Melissa loved Glee, and being that this show was written by the same people, I thought just maybe with a little mystery and some humor, we could find one that we both enjoyed.

So the day comes and we sit down with pure excitement to watch our new show that we will possibly both love together....that Tuesday night when we will look forward to cuddling on the couch and watching "Scream Queens". Boy, was I WAY wrong! We made it about a half hour. It was appaling. Melissa said it was depressing. Depressing, because of the message this show is sending our youth at 8 P.M. on a Tuesday night.

For those of you that don't know the premise of the show, its about a sorority that has a President who is named Chanel. She has little minions, who don't have identities, but names such as Chanel 1, Chanel 2, etc.  In the opening minutes, Chanel berates the maid of the sorority. "That obese speciman of filth scrubbing bulemia vomit out of the carpet is Ms. Bean. I call her 'white mammy' because she's essentially a house slave." That's what we want our youth hearing? Not only hearing, but thinking its appropriate to say about someone? Of course, the rich, popular Chanel, who everyone strives to become lives on cruelty towards others to benefit herself and all people who she feels are worthy.
The President of the college demands that Chanel open her sorority house to everyone, even the fatties and ethnics. Seriously?

Its been a few weeks since I sat through the longest half hour of my life and I still can't seem to get over it. I can't for the life of me figure out why as a society we think that this type of behavior is "normal" and appropriate. Its Homecoming time around this area for High Schools. So many young kids getting ready for a big dance, being voted onto court,  and all the various activities that go along with it, but yet, there are those kids out there, that are still made to feel like they aren't cool enough, or have the right bodies.  They are still standing on the sidelines wondering why their lives aren't different. They have been beat down so often, that they feel their only way out is to retaliate. So they make a bomb, or bring a gun to school, because they want payback, they want the others to know they exist.  This happens all too often. It happened the other day, just this week at North Royalton HS. There was a bomb scare. The whole school evacuates and sits in the bleachers. Parents, teachers, students all frightened, wondering if today is the day their life is going to change. It does change, no one was hurt, no bomb went off ..... today.....  but homecoming activities were cancelled. Was this bomb scare because someone didn't make homecoming court and they are mad? Did they get what they wanted by this scare?  Is this what we send our kids off to school to live through?

There are a world of teachers out there working our asses off to teach children to be respectful, kind, and loving. We work hard every moment to teach our youth that hate is unacceptable. We do the best we can to stop bullying and  to help every child to be their best selves. Yet, they go home and are taught something the opposite. They watch shows like Scream Queens and they think that's what you do to people to get what you want. Humiliation and hate become their world. What they need to be taught instead is compassion, acceptance and love. We need to work together, media, parents and teachers to help the youth become better than those before them.  If we don't do something soon, together, hate, humiliation and violence will become our new normal, if it hasn't already. It will become acceptable and normal to have bomb scares at school and to humiliate those around you to better yourself in the world. I don't want to live in that world or teach in that school. I don't want that life to be normal.....Do you?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Worth the Fight


Fighting to be accepted by people, who are supposed to be fighting FOR YOU.  

 Fighting for every inch of what I know I deserve, what every human deserves. LOVE.

Fighting for that little piece of acknowledgment, the moment where you know you are noticed in someone’s eyes.

Fighting for happiness, because everywhere I turn it feels like someone is trying to take mine away.

Fighting for respect, the kind of respect where everything about you is respected by someone.  


It’s exhausting. 

Basic human rights that everyone should feel, is exhausting. Yet, I keep pushing forward and fighting every moment that comes my way, because I know it’s important. I know that I am  laying the ground work for the future generations of souls that shouldn't have to fight, shouldn't have to feel the sadness when someone tells you that you are not equal.

 I fight because if I didn't, I would feel worthless, because that’s who I am made to feel. Made to feel less then someone else because of who I love. Your actions imply your love is better than mine.  Those actions are hurtful and causes such deep emotions it alters the way I feel about you, which I struggle to resist feeling. I don’t want to be like you. I don’t want to judge you because of how you judge me, but sometimes, the emotion is so great for a split second, that I do.

Then I begin to fight again. This time I find my opponent to be myself. I fight myself…back and forth…back and forth…Let it go, those words and actions, those hurt so deep, but they don’t know, they don’t understand, it’s not personal, it’s their fears,  let it go. But yet, I let go every day, I love unconditionally, I try being honest of how I feel (which is very difficult for me), yet they don’t listen. So I constantly fight. My huge heart is constantly battling love for others and love for myself.   LIVING the love pouring from my soul and BATTLING the emotions of those I love the most.  

There never seems to be a winner. I always just seem to fight, but I never seem to gain any ground. I think the fight might be making a difference, and then another blow comes from a place I wasn't expecting. The part of the fight that’s the hardest to understand is the opponent doesn't seem to fight very hard, one word, one gesture, one action, can knock me to my knees, and shatter a heart.  I just wish ONCE, in this fight, my opponent was AWARE, of how long it takes for me to stand back up. How it takes a second to break a heart, a million minutes to put it all back together again and what seems like a lifetime to realize once again, that me, Shannon Leigh Julia Bender and who I am and who I love will ALWAYS be worth the fight. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Stop Waiting

"Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now."

How many times a week do we say, I just wish it was Friday? For teachers, I know we say multiple times a year or even a week, when is it going to be summer? I have heard so many times, I will do that when I make more money, or I'll get a divorce when my kids are grown. What are you doing now, in this moment, on this Tuesday? Why can't it be right now?

Grown Kids

We live in the future. We think when all these things happen, life will be happier and we'll be more at peace. There have been so many times in my life when I was hoping and praying for something I really wanted.  I would waste so much energy on the "want." I'd think about it all day, lay awake at night thinking about it, but when I finally got whatever it was that I was wanting, it just seemed really  blah. I had spent so much time dreaming about it and thinking about it, that in my mind, I hyped it up to be so much more than it really was. The worst part, was for all those weeks, sometimes, months of wanting, I was missing out on everything that was happening each day. I wasn't focused on anything I was doing in the moment. I couldn't look back at the week and even remember what happened, where I went, or who I saw. I find that to be incredibly sad. There are times when I realize that my day is over and I have no idea what I accomplished or even if it was a happy day, because I get caught up in my own thoughts, what I want to happen in the future, or even the drama of other's lives.
Basically all the things, that in the grand scheme of life, DO NOT MATTER.

My favorite commercial right now is the new State Farm commercial about all the "NEVER's" in your life. We spend so much time saying, I am never going to get married, but then we find the love of our life and we can't imagine doing anything else. We are never going to have a child because kids are challenging, but then we realize that we have so much love to give, how can we not have a child.  I could go on and on about all the NEVER's I have said in my life, but at some point, ended up doing. The best part about the NEVER's, is that they end up being the BEST blessings.

 State Farm "Never's" commercial:

Maybe instead of focusing on the NEVER's, we start living each moment, each day and enjoying the way life flows. We cannot plan out our lives. We have to LIVE our lives. We have to let life flow and ride the wave. Not only ride the wave, but ENJOY it. Nothing ever turns out like we plan, so why do we focus so much on that part and skip the most important part, which are the everyday moments.

Those everyday moments are where all parts of life exist...

Finding true happiness.

Learning the depths of your soul.

Laughing till your face hurts, and accidentally peeing when you don't mean to.

Taking risks.

Being unconditional love.

Your life matters, right now, this moment. The time is NOW to do whatever you want to do. It's your moment to love, make mistakes, laugh, run wild, to realize anything is possible. It's your moment. Don't wait for Friday, or summer, or when you feel like things will be easier. Those times may never come...then what? What will your excuse be then?