Me Too, Brave

If you spend any time on social media you’ve most certainly heard of Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment, and the hashtag #metoo. Some of you may feel like you’ve heard enough. Many of us have HAD ENOUGH.

My own #metoo.

I’ve experienced multiple instances. I think most women have to varying degrees. Some we may forget. Some we don’t. I have a pretty good memory. So here’s the first instance that I can clearly remember.

I was about six years old. A strange man tried to get me in his car. As I’m pretty sure he wasn’t enticing me to a game of hopscotch, I’ll venture to guess what might have happened if I actually got in the car.

Teachers and parents warned us kids many times — don’t take candy from strangers and don’t take rides from strangers. We’d seen filmstrips even! This man did not offer me any candy. I was confused. If there was no candy did that mean he was okay? He didn’t fit the mold of child abductor or even seem strange, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to do … except to not get in the car.

Thinking back, what he said to me was clear manipulation. And harassers manipulate. He told me that he knew my dad and that my dad had asked him to give me a ride home that day. (I think he even knew his name.) He told me that my dad would be mad if I didn’t get in the car. Fucker.

I stood staring at the man. I didn’t want to make my dad mad at me. This man looked like any upstanding man or dad in our neighborhood. He was dressed in a suit and drove a nice, four-door sedan.

I didn’t always walk home alone, but I’d stayed at school a little later that day. Having a ride home would be nice. Did my dad know that I was walking alone and send a ride for me?

I froze — neither getting in the car nor running. That small bit of doubt in my head was holding me in place. If the man was telling the truth, then my dad would be mad if I didn’t get in the car. I was always told to tell the truth. I assumed most people told the truth. But I was also faced with all those warnings, “Don’t take a ride from a stranger.” I didn’t know this man.

I stood on the sidewalk several feet away from the car. The man had the passenger-side door open, and he sat in the driver seat. To get me in the car he would have had to have gotten out and grabbed me.

He finally gave up and left saying, “your parents told you not to take rides from strangers, didn’t they?” And I nodded. He told me I was a good girl for listening. (Did that make me bad if I had gotten in the car?)

I walked home as quickly as possible. It stuck with me that being alone made me an easy target.

I wasn’t sure if I should bring it up with my parents. But I actually doubted myself for not getting in the car. Would my dad be mad? I quietly, nonchalantly asked my mom if Dad had sent somebody to give me a ride. She said, “no.”

Afterward, I kept trying to forget. I mean, really, actively trying to get it out of my head because while nothing bad actually happened, the event made me feel creepy and bad. So I’d forget for a while. And then I’d remember again. And sometimes, I was mad at myself for not running away — right away.

And no, that wouldn’t be the last time some man made me feel like that — made me feel bad — not because of something I did but because of something bad they did or tried to do.

Ronan Farrow broke the story about Harvey Weinstein in an article in The New Yorker. Brave job, Ronan Farrow!

When all those women that Harvey Weinstein harassed or raped had a hard time coming forward. I could relate. At six years old, I promise I was not wearing sexy or provocative clothes. So when women are asked what they did to provoke an attack, I have no reason to believe that the women did anything other than be female. Yet when so many of them doubted themselves … wondered if they had done anything wrong to bring it on themselves … I can relate. Those women are brave!

How is it that society has allowed these actions to continue?  How can the Harvey Weinsteins of the world not realize that what they are doing, what they have done, is so wrong? Just because a man is sexually attracted to a women, does not mean that she wants to attract him or have anything sexual to do with him. And manipulating women into those actions through candy, power, or threats is wrong.

Woody Allen called the situation “sad.” He spoke even more words to say, “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.”

How can the Woody Allens of the world worry about a “witch hunt” over the physical safety of women and children?

Witch hunt. Let those words sink in. Instead of saying, “Mr. Weinstein did bad things.” And that maybe people shouldn’t do bad things. Allen brings up images of … of … witches. When many people think of witches, they think of women who practice evil. Nice to know what’s on your mind, Mr. Allen.

The Salem Witch Trials — where women were falsely accused of evil that resulted in trials that lead to the deaths of innocent women, men, and children … and Woody Allen worries that winking might get men into trouble because of the Harvey Weinstein situation —  Harvey Weinstein, a man who is not innocent, has admitted guilt, and is guilty of some pretty nasty things. Maybe Mr. Allen should blame Harvey Weinstein for any negative fallout from Harvey Weinstein’s actions. Instead Mr. Allen seems mad about the publicity and article.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t nice, good men out there. Thank god! There are nice men! Men who know boundaries. Men who can find a woman attractive, but who don’t assume that their own attraction automatically gives them license to touch or force women into actions. 

Trust me. Most of us women know when a wink is just a wink. (And really, maybe, winks are best left out of the workplace anyway.)

If you aren’t sure how to act in a way that will ensure that you don’t get accused of sexual harassment, then you might be interested in The Rock Test: A Hack for Men Who Don’t Want To Be Accused of Sexual Harassment. Feel free to share it. The Rock himself even endorsed it on Twitter. (Makes me kind of love the 3D, 7-11, souvenir Slurpee cup featuring The Rock that I’ve been using to water some of my plants.)

Women don’t want the nice stuff to go away! We even like sexy stuff too (under the right circumstances). But if a person must be coerced into something sexual that they don’t want to do, then that person is being sexually harassed or worse. We will usually be happy to tell you if we do or don’t like something. Amazingly, we have brains, and we’re interactive too.

Unfortunately, sexual predators are a lot like terrorists. Most people are not terrorists. Most people don’t want to hurt others. But it only takes that one terrorist to cause a lot of damage to many people. One of the biggest problems with sexual predators is that people don’t seem to like to bring the instances to light. Women who do are often more punished than the man who commented the act. 

Brave women and men who come forward to clear away the terror and stop predators are heroes.

 #metoo

Aside from sharing actual experiences and opinions, this was also written as a response to the WordPress: Daily Post’s Daily Prompt, Brave.

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(Balcony) Garden Variety Magic

The WordPress Daily Post’s photo challenge for this week is Magic.

When sunlight kisses green leaves… There is no other logical explanation for the resulting glow. Magic.

Water, air, sunlight, and living soil. Seeds. Combined, green stems push through and leaves burst forth. Flowers follow. Then a bulge of fruit swells and ripens.

The magic of mother nature, God, and living things and sunlight.

I had a balcony garden again this summer.

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The glowing leaves. The tasty peppers.

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Sun Gold, Orange cherry tomatoes and powerful strawberries.

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It’s not dead yet even with last night’s frost. The balcony stays a bit warmer. Though most plants are limping. They’ve reached the end of the marathon still bearing a few small fruits across the finish line. Some plants tripped and fell on mites. They didn’t fair so well.

Dragonflies visited again this year. They are always welcome to perch and rest. I get to see their wings sparkle. An insect that looked like a leaf was here too. He was new this year.

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It’s a leaf. It’s a bug. It’s leaf bug. Greetings friend. (At least he seemed friendly.)



A squirrel with more gusto than his pals made the giant leap from a nearby tree to our balcony. We scared each other. He leapt back to the tree nearly missing his branch. And the sway nearly launched him back. It’s not an easy leap. I’m glad he didn’t eat many of the tomatoes. One year they ate them all. Every single one.

Somebody visited again recently. A squirrel? A bird? I only saw evidence. Not the critter. A pumpkin had been nibbled.

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Nibbled pie pumpkin and winter squash. (I didn’t grow these, but I like them.)

This post was also for NaBloPoMo Day 21.

 
NaBloPoMo November 2016

The Sleeping Fishes

The WordPress, Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Fish.

This works out almost perfectly since I was just thinking about our pet fish. 

We have quite a few guppies. All of them are descendants of fish we got many years ago at my daughter’s after-school-care program.

They had both male and female guppies. Only they called them Glowfish. Again with mislabeled items. I think they purchased them someplace that had the wrong fish in the tank or vice versa. But actual Glowfish reproduce by laying eggs. These fish produce live young. Glowfish also glow. These do not glow, not even under special lighting, but they can be colorful.

Along with producing live young and the lack of glow, many parents commented, “oh, they look just like guppies.” 

And, indeed, they are guppies.

With all the live young, the after-school program had a fairly steady supply of fish for the kids to see and also for feeding to a small pet crab (of some sort) that lived in their aquarium too.

They also had extra fish that the kids could take home with them from time to time. So we did. And we got both male and female fishes because somehow I thought that would be such a cool thing.

It was. For a while.

Many, many fish later, I’ve tried to separate the females from the males and put a halt to the fish population (that also bread at least once with a pet-store guppy that gave all the subsequent offspring more color variations). 

So we still have lots and lots of fish. And, what a lot of people may not know is that fish sleep. 

I walked in on them again earlier this evening and got a little weirded out. 

At night when it’s dark, they stop moving and just hover in the water. It can be a little disconcerting to flip on a light and see a whole tank full of fish not move. They seem so lifeless. It can easily feel like we’ve had a mass die-off. But they gradually wake up if I leave the light on for long enough.

During the day when I walk in the fish are ready for food, so they swim all around and back and forth, much like our cats do when it’s dinner time.  It’s like a feeding frenzy. 

Life is a lot like that. We have times we’re so lively and thrashing about and other times when we just need to be still. And sleep. 

Be Daring

 

The WordPress Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is Daring. Ha, that makes sense as a sentence.

WordPress bloggers dare to put it out there. They don’t just say they’re going to blog. They blog. Be like WordPress Daily Prompt bloggers. Be daring! Blog.

And dare to do other stuff too. At our recent back-to-school night, one of the teachers had this single slide up on the screen through the entire presentation for the class.

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Other teachers had PowerPoint presentations that covered lots of stuff. Each was many pages long. Class schedule. Topics covered. Projects. Grades. Contact information.

I took a few photos of information that I thought may be of value. But I liked what this single slide said the most. And it was for a math class no less! The teacher also said that when kids told her that they didn’t know how to do something, she corrected them by saying, “you don’t know how to do it YET.”

I hope the class goes well for my daughter. I’d hate to like the presentation so much only for her to have a bummer of a class experience. But I’m not going to worry for now.

So far, so good. The year is early. I’m sure not everything will be perfect. I’m going to enjoy these ideas while fresh on my mind. And perhaps my daughter may even learn more than just math in this class.

Students learn so many new things every day. I need to bust out of my own comfort zone more often!

I need to try some new ways.

I need to be daring!

 

Of Value

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt is: Value.

I always like adding that a post came from a Daily Prompt and what the prompt was. Sometimes, I read other posts linked from the Daily Prompt pages, and I’m thinking, “wait, where did this come from? Why did they write it.” Some posts tie-in so beautifully. Some, you can find the inspiration easily, but the blogger really took it and ran with his or her own idea. They made something unexpected but really good. Other times I have no idea what a post had to do with the prompt, but the link in there. So, okay.

Value

The idea of value has a lot of variety too. We could be talking money … time … emotion. You could have a valuable car or antique vase. Well made clothes may be a better value than cheaper, poorly made clothing. They last longer.

There’s the value of words. Of lessons. Maybe that’s one of my favorites — learning a valuable lesson. Do we ever learn lessons that aren’t valuable? Maybe, I’ll look at that farther on down this page.

Valuable lessons are often those that are hard earned. “Wow, you really earned a valuable lesson there,” implies that something bad happened first. Then a lesson was learned. The valuable lesson is usually the knowledge needed to prevent oneself from having the bad thing happen again.

Touch a hot stove. Get burned. Know not to do it again. That is something of value.

It starts when we’re old enough to remember stuff, and hopefully it keeps happening until we reach a ripe old age. We learn enough to help us to get to that advanced age. Get the tough lessons out of the way when we’re young. That way once we’re old, we can avoid lots of crap and hot stoves. But we may still learn new things too.

Some days, I’m still working on the hot-stove lesson. (Pot holder, Deb, pot holder.)

I took a class in basket weaving one time. When I was a teen that was a running joke among parents, “she’s studying underwater basket weaving in college.” (I wasn’t. It was a community class.) But the sentiment implied that it was a completely useless course of study. No value. The expression could be used to refer to any course of study that was considered to be useless. Film making and art weren’t far behind.

Underwater basket weaving does not require that the weaver should spend time submerged in water (maybe a little part of me was hoping for scuba tanks). The materials are soaked in water. Not sure that this knowledge has much value except that I giggle when I picture people wearing scuba tanks and weaving baskets at the bottom of the sea. I like to laugh.

I’m sure basket weaving is valuable for folks who make a living as artisans who sell fine, handmade baskets at arts & craft shows. 

Lots of people will only give value to something they can measure with money. But the basket weaver (who may also scuba dive, it could happen) probably, hopefully, really enjoys making baskets. So it’s a valuable way for them to spend their time, it makes them happy, and folks might pay a lot for a beautifully handmade basket.

But basket weaving is probably not so valuable for accountates or math majors. Unless, say, the math major loves basket weaving as a form of fun and relaxation. Then it, once again, has value. (And you do have to count in basket weaving, so there’s that. Crochet is the same.)

So value can take a monetary form, be a good use of time, emotionally pleasant, or be the lessons that get us through life. It is what we make of it. I can value that.

 

jump, Jump, JUMP!

Today’s prompt from WordPress Daily Prompts is, Jump!

Just jump right in.

I think I will.

Jump for joy.

Dance a jig.

Avoid the bridge.

Take a leap of faith.

And jump. Jump. Jump!

Stylish?

I thought I’d take another crack at WordPress Daily Prompts. They are now doing single-word daily prompts. Today’s word is “stylish.” 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stylish/

A while back they had prompts that entailed more of a scenario — such as to write about “cats, towels, and soup” or “howl at the moon.” Now blog

I liked those because I’ve always found it to be somewhat of a challenge and inspiration to fit creativity within a set parameter and see what can come of it. 

So maybe I’m overly challenged by a one-word prompt. I guess one word is kind of specific, but it also seems so wide open too. It’s like saying, “write whatever you want, but make sure you are inspired by the word ‘stylish.'”

I almost feel like I could just open a dictionary with my eyes closed and point. So many options then. I’m one of those don’t-give-me-too-many-options people. I’ll have a harder time making up my mind.

Plus I’d probably open my dictionary to “Napierian logarithm.” Just try working that into a blog post. 

I could also go with “napoleon boots” which I saw nearby in the dictionary since I’m typing the letter N and A into a online version. (N and A seemed pretty middle-of-the-road.) Boots can be stylish, right?

Maybe my problem is that I see the word “stylish” and I think of clothes or fashion. I generally feel like I have no style as far as clothing goes. If it fits. If it isn’t inappropriate for where I’m going. If it isn’t uncomfortable. That’s my style (mixed with a few geeky T-shirts on weekends). Okay, done. 

But then my brain kicks in and says,”style doesn’t have to have anything to do with clothing.” There is writing style. Parenting style. Styles of art. Learning style. Styles of baskets. Conversation. Gah!

But the word is Stylish. Can one be a stylish writer? Maybe. There are stylish social trends and trains of thought. A stylish parent? I’m not sure that I’d want to be one of those. I just want to be good. I think.

See, can’t make up my mind. Maybe I should stick with Napoleon boots. They would have been perfect for Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19.

Tra for Tuesday: Bananas

One of these days I’m gonna post exactly what what goes down the first time around without fixing the many typos that proliferate from typing in WordPress on my phone’s tiny keypad. 

As it is now, each time I type I feel I have a one-in-three chance of hitting the letter I wanted. 

I’ll bet you’d never guess but this is actually supposed to be a post about tea (and on Tuesday) — Tea for Tuesday. But I made one typo then another and another and, combined with autocorrect, pretty soon the topic completely changed. 

It’s like 100 monkeys in a room with 100 typewriters. Something’s bound to happen but not what I planned. My fingers are the money’s, wait, see … My fingers are the m-o-n-k-e-y-s, monkeys.

Somebody needs to give my them a bandana, no a banana. No, that wouldn’t help either. 

Wait, I know what I want.

Perhaps you’ve seen spikes or horns? Some people have objects surgically implanted under their skin. (Do they find tattoos and piercings too blasé or mainstream?) Either way, useless fluff!

I want a stylus tip implanted in my finger! If that goes well, maybe I’ll do all ten. (Actually, maybe three or four would be good — thumbs and index finger. See, I’ve put some thought into this.)

Release the monkeys!

(I’ll drink more tea and write about it again soon, maybe even on a Tuesday.)

WordPress Strangeness

Along with several other strange things about WordPress lately, I updated the WordPress app on my phone, and now it’s creating alternate universes (not actual universes that I know of but …).

It shows two duplicate listings of my blog and any other blogs I’ve signed up for such as Writing 101 or 201. So there are three listings — two impostors and one actual — of alightningbug and each of the others. The list in “My Sites” is huge. The impostor links don’t work (only give error messages when clicked), so I can’t actually use them.

I feel like I’m on Let’s Make a Deal or in this case, it’s wordier cousin, Let’s Make a Blog. Every time I try to visit my blog from the app on my phone (which is often) Monty Hall asks me which of three identical “doors” to click to find the one that works.

If I accidentally click the wrong link then the order of the links will (invisibly) change. If the third one down worked before I can keep clicking that one, and it will work. But if I choose another “door” by accident, and it’s wrong, the order of all of them will change. I’ll have to get lucky to figure out which one works again. Sheesh. I like games, but not this one.

The app is also having problems when trying to sync my drafts.

I’ve tried quitting the app completely and restarting, but it’s not fixing the problem. Maybe I need to delete the app entirely, and download an all-new copy, but I’m worried it will loose some of my settings or the blogs themselves.

Other WordPress stuff I’ve noticed is that there are blogs I’ve Followed that no longer show me as Following. I’ve actually had to re-Followed blogs that I know I already Followed in the past. Weird.

I don’t know if those blogs changed somehow causing me to be dropped as a Follower, or if it was something else. I’m pretty sure my Blog lost a Follower or two also but don’t know if people just unFollowed me or, again, if something else happened.

On top of all that, WordPress works differently from within my desktop browser. The new version is not playing nice with my browser. Some tools don’t show up. Then they do. Then they go away again. The fun never ends.

Anyway, I’m still a big fan of WordPress! But I could do without these latest problems. If anybody has any solutions, feel free to post a comment.

(This post is also for NaBloPoMo, but I’m behind. We’ll see if I can catch up before December bursts in. If you get a bunch of posts from me today and tomorrow, you’ll know why. Hope folks don’t mind. Multiple posts per day may happen from time to time, but will not be a regular thing from me, aLightningbug. I promise. Thank you!)

In Other News – Three Things

Two Three things of note happened:

That’s right. It’s an empty washer and dryer at the same time!

I didn’t even realize until I opened the washer to put clothes in the dryer, and it was empty. This is a rare thing.

Also, I finally painted my fingernails (which I’ve been wanting to do since July). I know that seems trivial. But I thought it worth mentioning since, well yeah.

I also reached 100 Followers here on WordPress which is even cooler than the washer and dryer being empty at the same time. (Empty didn’t last long anyway.) More

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