The Final Chapter

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I’ve been hesitant to share this but I feel the time is finally right. A while back, I filed a discrimination case against the school with The Office of Civil Rights. The school absolutely refused to meet my sons accommodations and after begging and pleading for several years, I realized I had no other option than to go this route. I really thought foolishly that teachers and administrators would bend over backwards to help kids anyway they could. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Just like those NFL players, I took my place in front of them week after week trying to be heard. I tried negotiating, begging, bargaining and anything else I could think of to get him the resources he needed. They pushed back hard. The principal tried to threaten and intimidate me to make me go away. Chase started to see repercussions in a particular class and I had to pull him out and place him with another teacher. Our family was falling apart. I kept fighting because like any mother, I would do anything to get my son the help he needed. I was placed on depression medication and had panic attacks where I couldn’t breathe. The situation was killing me but it wasn’t right to let them get away with this and I never wanted a single kid or family to go through what we had to endure. It was the worst time in my entire life. I was interviewed by OCRs lawyer and told I would hear from them. I did 16 months later. 

In the meantime, my son switched over to high school and slowly but surely life was getting back to normal. There was a day I assumed OCR would never get back to me and I came to the realization that if I remained obsessed with that debilitating experience, I would allow those teachers and that horrible administrator to lock me in that hell that I didn’t want to live in anymore. It was ruining my life. My noble notion to do something good for future kids  along with my need to see these horrible people pay a price was killing me slowly one day at a time. Guess what! No one cares. No one came to rescue me as I was drowning in a pain I never should have owned. The only choice I had was to let it go. By holding onto my obsession to hold these people rightly accountable, I was losing precious days of finding joy and living my life. 

I received a letter from OCR two weeks ago (now 18 months) stating that because the allotted time expired since filing my complaint, my case was being closed and no investigation would take place. Was this fair that due to them dragging their feet to get around to my case that I was being punished? You bet your ass it isn’t but guess what? That’s the way it is and crying and dwelling on it will not change the circumstances anyway. I never had a chance because when there is no enforcement of codes and rules and laws, people can do whatever they want. The wrong people are being protected and like it or not that’s just the way it is. 

I’m happy to report I am off my medication and feel happy and grateful most of the time. Chase is doing fantastic in school and I think our lives are no longer controlled by the school system. 

Life isn’t fair. Period. This chapter is closed and this story is over. It feels so good to put it behind me and really move on. Put down what is too heavy for you to carry. Stop choosing to be a victim of your circumstances. Stop thinking people should care about your problems. Stop trying to punish those who cause you pain. Stop thinking the world owes you a favor or you are entitled to a better outcome. Be your own hero and do everything you can to fix whatever you can and leave the rest behind. Move on, be grateful and focus on what is good in your life. Only then will you truly be free. 

Sorry, Life is Just Unfair

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The world is unfair they say, that’s just the way it is. Everywhere you look, in every day you live, you can find examples lurking around waiting to break your spirit. We convince ourselves it’s part of life because deep down we are afraid there is nothing we can do about it. We justify it by ignoring it and quietly whispering to ourselves, just deal with it.

Well, after giving this an immense amount of thought I came to a conclusion. The world itself is very innocent. It is people who are unfair. Quite a revelation huh? I hear people all the time say that’s just the way it is. It’s something we should learn early in life and we should hold hands with this pattern that will affect us for the rest of our lives. I can’t help but wonder why. When did we start to buy into something so ludicrous and actually believe it to be true? When did we start to stand by and take it like a passive little girl whose candy was being stolen by some great big bully. In a world full of people who don’t want to make waves, in a world full of fear of consequences mixed so eloquently together with a large tribe of butt kissers, we sadly sit by and believe there is no other option.

I am a warrior for what is right. If I am told something will happen one way, I have no reason to believe otherwise. What I have discovered though is someone’s word doesn’t mean much anymore. I have had people look me in the eye and tell me one thing, then turn around and do something entirely different. If only we were as quick to stand up to these people and demand they explain the discrepancy in their words and actions. Recently, I took this task on. It made me uncomfortable because after all, who actually holds anyone accountable for anything? Look around at what people are getting away with and the answer becomes very clear. This particular example was placed on my plate and I was forced to eat it. It happened at school. We were told the boys going out for basketball had a week of open gym followed by a week of try outs. Low and behold, the Friday of open gym, the boys were told what teams they were on. It made no sense and no-one, especially the boys had any idea it was going to happen. These poor kids didn’t even think try outs started. I wanted an explanation on the matter of principle. I wanted to know how an athletic director could stand in front of a group of people and say one thing and the next week show these boys and parents that his word meant nothing. Imagine how these boys felt being placed on a team after a week they believed was there for them to get back in shape. The crazy part? They didn’t even touch a basketball until Wednesday so what criteria did they even base their decision on anyway? It felt so wrong, so much so that it ate me alive. How could something like this happen? How could it go so wrong and so differently than how we were told it would play out? How could I possibly explain this to the child who was standing there confused with pain in his eyes looking to me to make some kind of sense out of it. I was crushed and his pain became my pain until I took some from him and then I carried more. I was mom. Was I going to stand by and take it? Expose myself by standing there in a line where I knew someone with a baseball bat was waiting to bust me in the head? Was I going to wait there foolishly and take what was coming to me even though it didn’t make sense because well, life just isn’t fair? I was stronger than that and I put on my boxing gloves as I stepped out of line. I made a new line outside the athletic directors door and I asked for an explanation. You won’t believe what happened next.

Yesterday I got an email. They opened practice back up to everyone and were going to reevaluate what teams the boys were on. Even though the lists were posted, even though it seemed like a done deal, this man had the courage to make good on his word. The results may stay the same. The boys may be placed right back on the original teams but those boys will also learn that when that man tells them something, they can count on his word. I have a tremendous amount of respect for someone who tries to make something right in the name of principle. It was a small win for humanity and our promise and trust in each other. There is hope, we just need more people brave enough to bring on the revolution. I can’t fight alone.

What Do You Expect?

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So, today’s yoga lesson was about expectations. Have you ever thought about how much or how little you expect from yourself and especially others? I made a mental list today and I admit I was deeply disappointed. I hold everyone including myself to such a high standard that it would be nearly impossible to satisfy my ridiculous expectations. The good thing though, if there is one, is that I don’t let myself off the hook. At least my playing field is even and everyone has the same unfair disadvantage.

Looking deeper into my silly life I see it much clearer now. I am a perfectionist and not only do I expect people to do things meticulously, I expect them to do it exactly the perfect way I would do it myself. As I type the words, believe me, I get how silly I sound. Do what I want, as fast as I want you to and at the exact time I feel it should be done. Geez, can you imagine if I was your boss? People would cheer if I missed a day at work.

Acknowledging the truth about yourself is the first step in changing the things that don’t do you or anyone else any good. I am going to try and be better about being more grateful for the things people do and less judgmental about the way I feel they should be doing it. It is a struggle and one that will take time and patience to bring about even the smallest degree of change. My approach will be making an honest effort to step outside myself and observe every time I have an expectation. I am going to become my own, nicer, more tolerant boss that hopefully in time can extend the same consideration to everyone around me as well. So, please self! Give us all a break and please lower your expectations as much as you are possibly able until one day, just maybe, they will fade away.

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