Scatter Brain

I haven’t updated my blog in a while. The truth is I have lacked inspiration. Many days I have opened up my laptop, ready to make a post and then… nothing. Nada. Zip. Even today as I write, I’m kind of just letting the words fall out where they lay. Safe to say, my thoughts will be very scattered here. My thoughts have been very scattered in general. So many things have been on my mind lately that I haven’t really thought of anything.  That sounds like a contradiction but it’s the best way I can explain my thought process.
Thought. It’s an interesting concept in itself. I was on the bus today and was thinking about what sets us humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. I mean some could say our personalities but I think a valid argument could be made claiming animals have personalities as well. I mean, cats have attitude (I hate them), dogs are like little kids, cheeky but lovable, etc. No, I think what sets us apart is the fact that we are aware. Aware of ourselves, of the world. I’m not talking about the fact that we know we are alive. Animals know that. That’s what sets them (us?) apart from plants and stuff; but humans, we are aware. We think. We think past how to survive, find a mate and reproduce. Past the current situation at hand. We think abstract. We philosophize. We dream.
It’s actually pretty beautiful. Humans are an amazing, remarkable species. The fact that we have this ability tells us that there’s more to life than the laws of physics and biology (there’s chemistry and math too, JK, but you know what I mean). Back to the whole abstract thinking thing, it’s such an overlooked phenomenon that makes us special. Almost perfect.
However, then you turn on the news and see, well, everything. The tears, violence, disease, hunger. Hate. It’s like out special ability has evolved into this grotesque thing that far from what it was intended to me. Our ability to dream has allowed us to discover more ways to hurt. But even despite it all, I think, no, I know that there’s still hope for us.
We are all redeemable. I truly believe that.
This is a really short post. I apologize. I’m not gonna put a song or a quote with it. Just some food for thought:

In this broken world, how can we possibly be redeemable?

Letter to my Middle School Bullies

Hello.

How are you.

I’m good, thank you for asking.

So, here we are. Four years later. Six, from when you started—decided—that it would be fun to tear down the spirits of a twelve year old. I wish six grade me could see me now. Happy. Relatively well liked. Accepted. She dreamed of this day. She hoped that it would happen but each day she walked into Ms. M classroom, she began to believe that it would never come.
She never understood why you treated her the way you did. Why you called her the names you called. What she did to make you… hate her so much. She started the first day in that school a happy-go-lucky child. A—dare I say—confident, chatty person. She was always a social person. She had to be, the constant moving forced her to. She never had trouble making friends. She never had enemies, until you decided to make one out of her.

When looking back at grade 6, all I can remember is sitting in the girl’s washroom, crying. Bearing my soul to the empty tiles of the bathroom floor in the form of sobs.

Staring at the cold mirror, trying to wash the redness out of my eyes so you wouldn’t know just how sad you made me. I think the worst thing was knowing that it wasn’t anything that I had done that made you treat me this way, it was simply who I was. Because I wasn’t pretty enough, cool enough, rich enough…THIN enough, I wasn’t deserving of your… kindness. I wanted to tell someone but I couldn’t because if I did, they would tell my parents and they would pull me out of the school. It was a private school and I knew how much they were struggling to give me the best possible education they could afford, I couldn’t break their hearts by telling them that it was hurting me. So instead, I let my own heart break instead. And crumble it did. Until there was nothing left in me. Until the will to live started to diminish. How bad would I be if I died really? My parents would be relieved the financial burden of raising me. You guys, you would be forced to say nice things about—as is what we do when speaking of the deceased. It would almost be poetic. Somehow, I carried on. I woke up every day and walked into Ms. M class, choked down my lunch in the washroom, rinsed my face and repeat.


Eventually it stopped—you stopped. I wish I could say it was because you matured, but the truth is, it was because you found a new target. I think the worst thing is slowly, I became like you. I was thirteen, scared of you turning back on me so I joined you, but that’s no excuse. It’s one of my biggest regrets. And to the girl we talked about—I’m sorry, I truly am. Even then when you all claimed to be my friend, I knew you weren’t being completely honest. I still heard the unkind nicknames, the mean rumours, snark giggles. The only difference now was that these were done in whispers.


 It hurt more.

It hurt more because this time you were supposed to be my friends, but every time I turned my back to walk away, I saw your knives in my peripheral vision.
Now years have passed and I have moved on. The memories still remain, they always will. They have become a part of who I am and my story. And as I sit this cold February evening, now “officially” and adult, vulnerable, I have just one thing to tell you all:

I forgive you.
Sincerely,
Natalie Stravens
Song of the post: Mean by Taylor Swift

Quote of the Post: Sometimes bullies are your friends and very rarely do bullying prevention tips acknowledge this fact or what to do about it. -Rosalind Wiseman

Re-evaluating Imagination

I don’t think I’m going to do the whole Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy—well, maybe her—with my kids… if I have any. You must be flabbergasted at that statement. Why would I deprive my future kids of their childhood? Well, why would I encourage some fantasy to my kids that I’m just going destroy and devastate them later on in life? I know that sounds weird—like I’m talking in terms of an adult not a kid, but I never believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny. Nobody told me they weren’t real, I just was a logical child about stuff like that. The only one that got me was the tooth fairy because ‘she’ visited me at a friend’s house and it baffled me how even when I wasn’t home, I still got money.
However, I still had a great childhood. In a way, knowing that it was my parents who put those presents under the tree or hid the chocolate eggs at Easter was better. I mean, even when times were hard and I knew my parents were struggling financially, there would still be gifts on the best day of the year. You can’t help but feel loved. I mean if I wanted say—an iPad—for Christmas, but my parents couldn’t afford it but they get me a bunch of clothes and smaller gifts instead, you know how much they care and the gifts mean so much more. If I believed in Santa, I would feel terrible because…c’mon, it’s SANTA, he’s loaded, where’s my iPad? Being a child, I would be so broken hearted, maybe even throw a tantrum. It’s just not worth the supposed ‘magic’ of believing.
Why should I believe in a mythical creature anyway? What is this magic you speak of? So I believe in a fat old man and his little helpers, or a bunny that somehow has loads of eggs to give—where does he even get the eggs from? He’s like some master thief or something—I digress. Is the magic of the holidays what they represent? Christmas and the gift God gave us, Easter and the Sacrifice He made? Why don’t we encourage this part of the holidays? Why isn’t generosity—‘tis better to give than to receive—, love, joy, thankfulness, etc promoted instead?
Anyway, back to my childhood. I was a happy child. I grew up normally. I know I said I was logical and all, but I also had an imagination. Remember pretending the ground was lava—I still do that—or building a fort/cave thingy-ma-bob out of pillows and couch cushions? That was my thing! I remember pretending to be a spy, a princess, a mum, an animal with my friends. I loved the game of make-believe. I need to be LIED to by my parents in order to have a great childhood.
The long and short of it is, I’m pretend Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc are real. I’ll tell them about it, I mean, they still have to watch great movies like The Santa Claus; Elf; Rise of the Guardians, etc, but just for fun, for enjoyment.
Or maybe I’m being overly logical.
Quote of the Post: Imagination is more important than knowledge… Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.—Albert Einstein