A Rose, by any other name…

Like any religion, there are a multitude of branches of practice in Witchcraft. Not every Witch you will meet (and trust me, you have met and will meet many, without even realizing it) believes the same things nor practices their Craft the same way. Some are a little elitist in believing their way is the only way, but that would be like saying only Anglicans or Episcopalians or Baptists are true Christians.

Schisms happen in any faith, moments when one faction or group of people come to a new realization and branch away from the original church. If you go to your local bookstore and search for a book about Witchcraft it’s very likely  you will be directed to the “New Age” section. Many of those books will lead you towards Wicca, which is in fact a new religion, albeit based on an old one.

Religions of all sorts are interchangeable, depending on personal experience. The thing that is important is the ability to stay true to yourself. As I write in the future, it’s important to understand that my beliefs and practices are not dogma. They are not the be all and the end all. What works for me may not work for you or any other Witch for that matter. It may not feel comfortable, but the joy is that it is adaptable.

With that being said, I must confess to a little elitist quirk of my own. Although I am an “Hereditary” Witch, I’m skeptical of those who claim the same. I’m not skeptical of their beliefs or their right to practice, I’m just often skeptical that they are truly hereditary. This is mainly based on experience, most of the Witches I have met over the course of my life became Witches at one point or another.

It’s easy to become a Witch, especially these days when religious diversity is a little more accepted than it was within the last millennium. But, it’s very rare to be born a Witch. To become a Witch one just needs to feel a certain “calling”, like any religion, and then do the research to find a place to fit in. A Hereditary Witch is one born to parents who are Witches. And those parents were born of Witches as well, back through endless generations. Chances are, you won’t find the practices of Hereditary lines in any book. Hereditary practices are private and elusive, the secrecy of the Tradition is sacred. My children, if they choose to follow, will be Hereditary Witches, and they will practice what I have taught them, until they find what suites their hearts best…That’s if they follow.

Not every child will follow. One of the biggest practices of the Craft is the right to choose. Unlike other religions, my children are expected to be educated in other faiths. This gives them the freedom to believe what their heart tells them, not just what they are taught. It can be a very bittersweet practice, especially when a child comes home and tells you that you are going to “hell”, that your faith is evil and scary and that you need to be saved. Thankfully for me, I am a very patient woman, and I know that these reactions are normal and natural, I remember shouting them at my own father as a child.

As little as a few hundred years ago, declaring that you were a Witch would get you burned at the stake, hung by the neck or beheaded. In our modern society, for the most part, religious acceptance has changed all that. The misconceptions, however, still exist. And like any other religion, mine still has its persecutors. I was taught as a child that it is human nature to fear what isn’t understood.

There are a million ways to place blame for religious persecution; ignorance, propaganda, media, word of mouth, history, urban legends.  The spreading of misconceptions in any form of media contributes largely to the persecutions felt in any religion. What is the biggest misconception of my faith? What is the one thing I wish I could convince the world is wrong in its thoughts about my beliefs? That I worship the devil.

People see a pentacle hanging from my necklace and instantly think me a devil-worshipper, or a Satanist (which is a religion with its own set of misconceptions to be dealt with) and are scared.  They believe me to be evil, capable of horrible things, someone to be feared and by some, destroyed. I’ll admit, although I’m not able to turn you into a toad, I am able to serve you an infusion, a tisane (tea) that will make you feel bloated and sluggish, look a little green in the cheeks and give you a rasp in your throat, but I truly cannot turn you into a toad. Nor would I want to. That unified connection that I believe in convinces me that if I were to do you harm, it would only make my life miserable. And as for the Devil? Doesn’t exist in my world. Satan, Lucifer, whatever you choose to call it, is a belief created by Christian based religions, primarily Hebrew, to represent the opposite of their God. Since the Craft (even the traditions that have gods) believes in a unity of all things, you’d be hard pressed to find a Witch  willing to give any credit to one single entity such as a devil. So the number one thing I want you to know about me, as a Witch, is that I do not worship the Devil. I do not even believe in its existence.

What about Black Magic, you might ask? We’ll get to that…eventually.

*DISCLAIMER: Over the next little while I am going to attempt a series of posts regarding my faith. Some will find what I write to be an offense to their own thoughts, faiths and religions. Please know that I mean none. It is not my intention to convert, nor enlighten, just simply educate those who’ve shown an interest or an understanding. It is not in my nature to judge my beliefs to be more worthy or correct than any other. My apologies if my explanations seem vague and incomplete, I’m going to try to do this without foresaking my own beliefs and Tradition, which still stands by the sense of secrecy for what we do.  On that note, I’m always, always willing to answer any questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. Any honest query is completely welcomed.

All in a day’s…laziness?

Unlike my last unproductive day surfing the weeeb, my ass does not hurt yet. Today, I am smart enough to sit on my big comfy couch instead of the hard wooden chair of old.

I think I deserve this day of random obscurity. Life has been overrun lately with the ails of others, and the endless maintenance of normal life. I’m still in my pajamas, and plan to stay in them all day. I worked my ass off yesterday, trying to get all of today’s chores and responsibilities done so I could have the day “off”. I even made today’s supper yesterday.  I still fed and watered Lilliput and the chickens this morning and I gave the bathroom a wipe down, but other than that, I’ve sat on my butt, clicking to my heart’s content.

First up, I Googled the lyrics to Boomdiada, the catchy song in the Discovery Channel commercials, my earworm du jour. It’s not at all called Boomdiada actually, but goes by a multitude of titles…I Love the Mountains, I Love the Whole World

As as just as many titles, there are just as many versions. A long version, a short version, a Canadian version, American version…phew.

It’s a long song.

I’ve been teaching my little godson Riley a few songs, beyond the typical songs you would teach a 2-1/2 year old kid. Daycare can teach him Twinkle Twinkle and Row Row Row Your Boat.  I teach him things like the Spiderman theme song, Rapper’s Delight and Boomdiada. I’m a cool Auntie.

Then, inspired, I Googled the original lyrics and discovered (HAH!) the old campfire song lyrics.

I love the mountains, 
I love the rolling hills, 
I love the flowers, 
I love the daffodils, 
I love the campfire when all the lights are low… 
Boom de ah da, boom dee ah da

Once the song was firmly lodged in my brain, I feverishly searched for tickets to see Jamie Oliver live in Toronto. I have been thoroughly obsessed with Jamie for more years than I can remember. I actively participate in his Ministry of Food and the “Pass it on” Food Revolution. Tickets are pricey so I’ll really have to ponder my priorities and tickets are limited so there’s a chance I won’t be able to acquire tickets even if I decide to go.

Discouraged, I surfed the WWOOF website for refreshment. No, WWOOF is not a dogwalker’s society, but rather a database of farms who offer working and learning opportunities. It’s strictly volunteer, which is right up my alley. I’m bound and determined to find myself, and maybe the kids, a placement for next summer. My options look good, even if it means it’s time to get the kids passports. I’m mainly focusing on Canadian farms, but would love to spread out into the northern States. The ultimate dream would be to work at an English farm *sigh*.

Much to the shock and chagrin of my family and friends, I am a Jersey Shore wh*re. Really. Sad, I know. Don’t ask, because I can’t explain it. Everyone has their faults and vices. Jersey Shore is mine.  Normally, I think of MTV as the virus that will cause the downfall of humanity, but there’s just something about Pauly D bellowing “It’s T-Shirrrrt time”. So, since Pauly D is a kickass DJ, and I like to club everynowandthen, I thought I’d look for his schedule..Ooooh, Pandora on Hallowe’en, now THAT would be a party! (sorry, I lost the link!) If you make it, take pictures for me ;P

As always when I spend the day cruising the web, I found myself at the Current Events portal at Wikipedia.com where I found a brand new galaxy, read about Typhoon Megi making landfall, and viewed a couple of pics of Expedition 25, which to be honest, I don’t fully understand.

No day of random obscurity would be complete without some time spent clicking the Random Article link at Wiki. My first click took me to North Shore, Ontario, which was boring because I’ve been there, actually been there, a bazillion times. I went to more soaring heights with a Gondola Lift, which brought back shaky memories of travelling up Sulfur Mountain in Banff. I then found the title of my next film noir,  B-movie purchase, starring Boris Karloff.

All in all, a day well spent. Not quite as educating as last time, but fun nonetheless. And lest like last time, one might think I’m going to get off my ass and get productive, you’re sadly mistaken. I’ve just found my way to WordPress and have some blogs to catch up on!

First Base

*DISCLAIMER: Over the next little while I am going to attempt a series of posts regarding my faith. Some will find what I write to be an offense to their own thoughts, faiths and religions. Please know that I mean none. It is not my intention to convert, nor enlighten, just simply educate those who’ve shown an interest or an understanding. It is not in my nature to judge my beliefs to be more worthy or correct than any other. My apologies if my explanations seem vague and incomplete, I’m going to try to do this without forsaking my own beliefs and Tradition, which still stands by the sense of secrecy for what we do.  On that note, I’m always, always willing to answer any questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. Any honest query is completely welcomed.

For Lisa, who continues to press play.

And Willow, who likes to get a little “witchy” every now and then.

And those of you who practice according to your own beliefs.

I am a Witch. But I am so far removed from the stereotypical idea of what a Witch is that even other Witches have argued against my right to practice. In umbrella terms I am a Solitary Eclectic Hereditary (this is the common name for my Tradition)  I say umbrella terms because unlike most Witches, who call themselves Dianic, Gardinarian, Wiccan etc., I don’t actually believe in religion of any type. What I do is called Witchcraft,  because that is the only word in the English language that comes remotely close to describing what I do. My beliefs are considered a religion by others, because often those others cannot wrap their heads around the ideas without there being a word to define them.

So for clarity, I do not consider myself a part of any religion, but for ease of understanding I’ll use the word. Some will call me a Pagan, some will call me a Druid, some will even call me a Heretic. Some will say I have Buddhist beliefs, still others will find Hindu traits, Muslim traits, Catholic traits. I would be tempted to tell you that those religions found their traits in mine, hundreds of years ago, and made them their own, but really, it’s not important. My tradition has been around so long, that it really doesn’t matter what umbrella terms others need to give it.

Unlike most religions, Wicca included, my beliefs are void of a God. I do not worship a god or goddess as a great creator or “higher” power. I do use the words Gaia and Mother Earth to represent those things which I  “worship” but in essence, they do not represent an individual entity in my world.

The base belief is that we are all connected, everything in existence is connected in one degree or another to every other thing in existence. You are directly connected at this very moment to several thousand other people whom you will never meet. How you ask? By the computer you are reading my blog on.

Sit for a moment and wonder how many other hands touched your computer during its manufacture. Think beyond its fabrication to the hands that manufactured the products that were used to build your computer. Don’t forget to considered the hands that manufactured the machines used. Go even further back, to the compounds that were created, the plastics, the metals that were used to manufacture the products that were used to fabricate your computer. Don’t forget to consider the hands that built the machines that processed the compounds that went into fabricating your computer. Follow it all the way down to the Earth, from where the petroleum used in the plastics and the ore used in the metals were retrieved. You, by virtue of viewing this weblog, are connected to the Earth and all of the people involved in putting this very moment together. Not only the people, but the Sun, the Moon, the Waters and everything in between. Without any single one of them, you would not be experiencing this moment exactly as it is happening right now. This is the core of my beliefs. We are all connected, we are all a piece of the whole, we are unified. This is what I worship. In a nutshell.

For me, Nature (the Nature of things, not just leaves and bees and wildlife ) is the be all and the end all, there is nothing greater.

The “how” is another story, for another day.

In the near future : Round and Round and Round We Go, The Cycles of My Life (or something along those lines)

Fabulous Fall Fungi

Mushrooms and fungi are members of one of my favorite kingdoms in nature. They’re a world all their own, unlike plants, animals and humans. The cellular structure of fungi is individual from other kingdoms and is fascinating all on its own. There are about 100,000 species of fungi, some edible and some poisonous enough to kill with a single bite. I took my camera on a walk around the property with Sara this morning and we found some really great fungi. It would be nice to learn more about them, to be able to identify them and harvest them for food, but it can be a really dangerous endeavour so we’ll leave it to the professionals for now.

Mother may I?

In the circle of life, you end up back with your Mother. At least that was how I was raised. We’re borne to a mother, we live, we die, we return to a mother.

Chances are, one or two of us return to that mother more than once before it’s permanent. No, I’m not speaking of near death experiences, although one or two of my readers has had one or two of those, I’m talking about moving home.

October is my favorite month of the year. October is when the greatest celebration of my faith occurs. I don’t usually discuss my faith on this blog, and I’m not really focusing on my faith, but rather on the cycle one takes from mother to mother.

From the time of the Autumn Equinox until the grand celebration of Samhain, the focus is on balancing life and death, participating in the cycle of life, death and rebirth. It seems a fitting time to return to Mom.

I’m really just sitting in my own little world, reflecting on the poetic irony of the time and the events currently in cycle in my life.

It seems fitting then, that my brother should return to his mother, and my son should choose to as well.

Last weekend I spent with my mother, in her endeavours to come to terms with her oldest child, my brother, returning home. I sat with her while she took inventory of all of the burdens being placed in her basket as a result of her child moving in, jobless, penniless, hopeless. I felt for her, and I grieved with her, for the loss of her freedom, her personal intimacy and for the responsibility as “healer” that was placed on her shoulders.

Yesterday, being October 1st, I dressed the house in preparation for the month’s celebrations. Treats were laid out for guests, candles and concoctions at the ready and my girls giddy with excitement, giggling like harvest maidens. This shall be the best Samhain yet.

Then  today I brought home my own son, brought him home to his mother, jobless, penniless, hopeless. And I share in my mother’s sense of grief, for my freedom, my personal intimacy and the responsibility as “healer” that has been placed on my shoulders.

 Both my mother and I hope we can encourage our sons to come to terms with their darkness, to find gratitude in the lessons they stand to learn and to prepare them for a new beginning as the darkness passes. But we’d also both be remiss if we were not honest with our sons regarding the burdens that are now ours to carry. Neither of us wish to spend our days sorting through the stresses and anxieties our boys have created for themselves, but, being mothers, neither of us wish to turn them away.

I’m a little anxious having my son return home ahead of schedule; I’m anxious of the upheaval it causes within my household, and I’m anxious that his return will interfere with the comfort of things. And I am most anxious that he feels too forlorn to see the opportunities placed before him, to re-group, re-build and move on.

And although I don’t usually post about my beliefs in this blog, I’m inspired by the clarity of the season. This time in my faith, Harvest to Samhain is about balance…life and death, light and dark, freedom and surrender. At a time in my life when I had thought this month would be full of merriment and celebration, the greatest yet, I am awakened to the notion that there must be some sorrow, some grief, to balance my excitement. It’s a fitting time for me, a realization unlike one I’ve ever had before and I’m both leery and welcoming of the experience.

Perhaps it will truly be the best Samhain yet.

Randomness

Just some random photos from the summer, in no particular order of importance…

An angry Thing One, flapping and squawking because I shooed her off the deck

Sunset at the lake.

Storm clouds bringing in three days of rain.

If you're caught running around in nothing but your Wellies, you might be a redneck. This is my 2 year old Godson, Riley.

Hubby builds a new twig fence, to keep the chickens out of the front yard.

At this time of year, the gardens are covered in Monarchs.

A rather spooky fog rolls into the marsh across from our house.

It almost looked more like a bed of snow.

The escape artists get a treat.

I swear, whoever gets out first opens the gate for the rest.

Riley paints a masterpiece...

...On the inside of the chicken coop door, with a corn broom and the mud in the wheelbarrow.

Drew learns to recover the "Topper"

The boys give Sara the lowdown on how to be a working sailor.

The kids take their first independent voyage aboard "The Mandy Patinkin".

Riley and Sara pick blackberries...enough for 16 pints of jam!

One for the mouse, one for the crow. One to plant, one to grow. And one for the chipmunk. They like blackberries too.

The newest member of the family. We deliberated for about a month between a Tundra and a Chevy Camaro. Sensibility won out. But we've promised each other to have a mid life crisis in a few years, and THEN buy the Camaro!

See you later? Thanks for the warning.

There are hazards to being a stay at home mom. But none so great as the inevitable “always available” stigma. This is the belief that develops within all of the people around you, friends, family, neighbours, even the local shopkeepers. It’s the belief that you are always available for whatever needs to be done. It’s the idea that you’re home all day, and would welcome an interruption, could use a visit from a well-meaning friend or relative, to brighten your day and take away the monotony.

What many of those well-meaning friends and relatives fail to realize is that there is ALWAYS something to be done. A good stay at home mother is not sitting on her ass watching TV all day, just wishing for some shining hero to save her from the boredom of having nothing to do. I’ve posted before the busyness of my average day. When I planned my career as a stay at home mom, I knew what it entailed. After 20 years as a stay at home mom, I’m extremely good at my job.

But, as I’m sure you’ve discovered. I have one major problem with being a stay at home mom. The assumption that people have that I have “nothing better to do” with my time than entertain them/make things for them/do things for them.

Now, I normally don’t bitch about my lot in life. I’m generally quite comfortable with the way things are all around, but today, today I’m frustrated.

 For quite some time now, I’ve found myself interrupted on more occasions than I can count. My day, as I plan it in the morning, or perhaps the night before, doesn’t pan out. This leaves me feeling as though I’ve done a lot, without accomplishing anything.

Monday is a typical day for me to do laundry, and we all know how much I truly love to do laundry. Doing laundry is a great time to multi-task. I can get so many other things done while spending the day with my washing machine. While doing laundry, my time flows like a well-built clock…unless an unexpected guest decides to grace me with their presence. In that case, the clock grinds to a halt, and the pendulum stops swinging.

Notice that I wrote an “unexpected” guest.

There’s that assumption that I have nothing to do today. There’s that assumption that I am always available. There’s the source of my frustration.

Instead of assuming that I’m free for the day to entertain/host lunch/brew coffee, I’d like to find a way to convince the world that a phone call to see what I’m up to would just add to the productivity of the day.

Even on days like today, when, while doing laundry (someone ELSE’s by the way) I steal a moment to write a blog post, I am STILL doing something. It would be nice to receive a phone call/message to know of an impending visitor. The stigma of being a stay at home mom gives others the idea that I am always willing to drop whatever it is I am doing, with immediacy, to answer the need to be entertained.

 I have ONE friend who honors this courtesy. Only one. He never, never shows up unexpected. His visits are always announced days ahead, granting me the opportunity to clear my day of responsibilities, leaving it free to spend in the garden discussing the varied aspects of life.

 Because you see, regardless of the interruption, the chore/task/responsibility still needs to be completed. All the unannounced visit means to me is that now I have to fit that chore/task/responsibility into another time, which is invariably already slated for another chore/task/responsibility. So, the laundry I was going to wash today, still needs to be washed, it doesn’t miraculously disappear when that unexpected guest arrives, but now I have to wash it tomorrow, when I had planned on overhauling the vegetable garden to ready it for fall plantings. When that one friend phones to arrange a time to visit, he always asks when I’m available. He has the good grace to take my day into consideration. Why can’t they all be like that?

You may suggest that I explain this to the many friends, family members, neighbours, shopkeepers who insist on assuming I’m always available. But, I will tell you it has zero effect.

What I’m left with is a burden of responsibility cloaked in a nice sounding attempt to brighten my day. The phone call plays out, something like this….”I’m heading out of town to travel north to the city tomorrow, thought you’d like to take a road trip with me, see the sights, get out of the house for the day, have a little adventure”….”Sure, that would be great!”….”Awesome, I have to do blahblahblahblah, while I’m there and thought maybe you could keep an eye on soandso for me”. There it is. It’s not entirely my company or well being the phonecalling conscientious friend is concerned with. It’s the childcare services I can provide as a passenger in the car, or a stand-byer in the dressmaker’s shop as a fitting goes on. Except that ONE friend, he never requires anything of me outside of my company.

Having burdens of responsibility fed to me in the guise of a fulfilling opportunity sucks more than an unexpected visitor.

And it’s not just the chores that get pushed to the wayside by unexpected guests. It’s the ME time that suffers the most. That time that I slate for myself to feed my own needs. More times than not, I’ll fill that “me” time with all the chores that didn’t get accomplished. This is a problem because I’m one of those stay at home moms who put their own well-being before their kids. I know that if I’m not well, spiritually, mentally, physically, then I can’t possibly raise well adjusted kids. I keep myself healthy and this in turn means I don’t ever resent my kids, nor do I have moments of distress when I can’t ‘handle’ my kids. It’s a theory that I’ve put into practice for more than 20 years, and one that works exceptionally well. Those unexpected visits? They have a rippling effect.

The irony of this all, is that the life I’ve chosen is meant to be free of obligations and burdens. And that is probably why I’m feeling such frustration. When exactly did I lose control of my freedom to choose?

Know what’s worse? That after having re-read this post before clicking “publish” I realize that I sound like a naive woman who doesn’t have a backbone or any individuality. I sound like every other stay at home mom I know, the ones complaining that there’s nothing good on TV from 2 til 4 in the afternoon. The ones who’ll stop by my house this afternoon, because they’re bored, and figure I am too.

All in due time…

Ah, summer is winding down. Perhaps now I will be able to find the time for the calmer things in life, such as blogging.

It’s been well over a month since I was afforded the time to spend a day at my computer reading and writing, there’s a lot to catch up on.

Our summer has been, in a word, busy. It was filled with triumphs and failures, friends, family and fun.

How ’bout a ten-day long family reunion to reaffirm your views on life?

How’bout coming home from said reunion to find that the livestock had not only nibbled at your life’s work, but ate the ENTIRE crop?  Yep, the biggest failure of the summer, by far,  was the fencing for Lilliput and the chickens. It gave way to a smorgasbord of leafy greens and red-wigglers. There isn’t a lettuce head to be found, nor a single worm left in the vermicompost pile. One might think the livestock were left unattended, but no, they’re just very capable escape artists.

On a brighter note, the kids are well on their way to mastering a sailboat, which in this family is a worthy accomplishment, and my studio has been reclaimed. It has been freed of any adult children in residence, been given a fresh coat of paint and some new cabinets, and once again stands available for inspiration. I’m eager to make use of the blank canvases lying in wait, and the bolts of fabrics neatly stacked, and of course, the inks and paints that have not stained my hands in months.

I’m excited about the time ahead. The children will be returning to school in a few short weeks. The heat of summer will abate soon, leaving me free to crank up the oven and although there won’t be much canning/preserving done this fall, I’m still looking forward to the season.

But first, I’ll spend any free time catching up with some treasured folks. You. You’re like that “good book” I’m just itching to get back to. The one waiting patiently on the bedside table for the day to wind down.

A positive in every negative?

If you think back on your life, chances are you can come up with one or more instances of being bullied.

Even if you were a well-rounded individual, or a bully yourself, you can
remember a time when those around you put you in a position of
vulnerability.

I was bullied by my father for sixteen years, but that’s a story for another time.

In stereotypical fashion, I was bullied by a senior in highschool. I was
popular from the moment I walked in the door on my very first day of grade nine, and she was jealous. As a “minor-niner” I was hazed and initiated in the cafeteria, in front of the whole school, in what was considered back then as a rite of passage. My punishment for being a freshie was to stand on a table and sing our national anthem. I did it without pause. I was (and am) a horrible singer, and endeared myself to the students of my school by climbing up on that table and belting out “O, Canada” at the top of my lungs until my persecutors laughed and pulled me down, begging me to stop and congratulating me on my confidence.

At the same time, I was lucky enough to live in a cul-de-sac, where my neighbours on all sides were our city’s star hockey players. The VanRooyen boys on the left, the Bell boys on the right, and the Naylor brothers across the court. The older brother in each family played alongside the Great Gretzky’s little brother Keith on our city’s minor league hockey team, the last step before the NHL and the younger in each played in the level below, waiting for their turn to try out for the minors. They were celebrities in our city, whose heart was a hockey puck.

I was the “little sister” in the cul-de-sac of boys and this afforded me special treatment when I hit highschool. One certain senior took an instant dislike to me, upon hearing my first horrendous note of “O, Canada” and her hate-on grew to violent proportions when she discovered that little me was well accepted amongst the sea of juniors and seniors.

She taunted me for the first couple of weeks, but gradually her comments became nastier and her harassment became physical.

But I was one of the lucky ones. My self-esteem and self-respect was such that I recognized her taunting as a way of making up for something that she lacked. But, we’ll get to that in a minute.

I began to talk. I began to speak up. When she pushed me into a locker, I was extremely loud and vocal about how much it hurt. The attention of the entire hallway of students was drawn to the fact that she was attempting to trample my self-confidence. I was indignant, I reacted as if she had just made a fool of herself, I pointed out to the rest of the world that she was the “loser” for having lowered herself to such a degree, where she wasn’t worthy of anything above ridicule and had resorted to such in an attempt to make herself more popular.

Word got around, and eventually, the girlfriends of my “big brothers” caught wind of my situation. My bully’s reign of terror ended shortly thereafter.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Phoebe Prince, for one. Phoebe hung herself this past January after suffering severe abuse at the hands of her fellow students.

The events surrounding Phoebe’s death, and the consequent charges against her classmates, have inspired countless anti-bullying laws across the continent.

And here is where I go against the grain.

Let’s not focus on the bullies. Face it, every bully you’ve ever known thrived on the attention. Every bully feeds off of causing discomfort. They have no remorse, they have no empathy or compassion for those they torment. In their eyes, involving the “authorities” just reinforces their idea that you are unworthy of existence. Ratting just validates the bully’s reasoning, which is why victims generally hold their tongues in the first place.

So let’s focus on the victims.

My children have been bullied. Most recently due to South Park, and “Kick a Ginger Day”. On November 9th, 2009, bullies, en masse, took it upon themselves to “kick” (read: beat up) children with red hair. Two of those children were mine. What began as a quirky cartoon joke turned into an international bout of violence, which hit very, very close to home.

Again, I was lucky.

My children are strong souls, and although their methods may not be acceptable to some, they were able to get their own points across, loud and clear. My son Drew was swarmed during lunch hour that day. After receiving several boots from his attackers he turned on them, calling them pussies….they laughed. Until he declared, “That’s not how you kick a ginger. THIS is how you kick a ginger”, while roundhousing the biggest kid in the bunch. It got him thrown out of the eatery, and suspended from school for the afternoon, but nobody’s kicked him since.

Confidence. Never mind the anti-bullying laws, how about a pro-confidence campaign?

You see, the world needs bullies. Without bullies, we have no Bill Gates. Many of the world’s most powerful people were bullied as children. Bullying has inspired many of its victims to greatness. Greatness that the bullies would never have had the balls to achieve. Bullying stirs the sense of competition, the need to prove oneself, the desire to be better.
Can you look back on a time you were bullied and recognize what it inspired in you?
We don’t need laws to stop the bullies, we need laws to empower the victims.

Today is the day

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And I’m loving it.

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