What Story Do You Tell Yourself?

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I did a yoga retreat about a year ago and one of the the things we focused on was called bullshit stories. These are the stories we tell ourselves to feed our own narrative or sometimes to make us feel more powerful or even victimized. It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves and I can assure you it’s not an easy question to answer. It takes a ton of courage and a tremendous amount of soul searching to get real enough with yourself to be completely honest.  I have never in my 40+ years seen such a twisting and misinterpretation of events and words as I do today. Bullshit stories are all around us. It is the new fad, the in thing, the new craze. I won’t be a part of them. Honesty is so important to me and to see so much dishonesty is disenchanting at best. I don’t want to be sucked into other people’s drama and when I don’t like the game being played, I simply take myself out of it. I won’t play. I will not be a fuse for anger, contempt, superiority or hate of any kind. It’s all one and the same and there’s not a good enough reason in the world to justify it any other way. The problem isn’t so much leadership but rather the followers. It’s the little people, the everyday interactions, the misconceptions being spread at a record pace. It amazes me that people have such difficulty weighing all the facts and discerning the truth from there. I think part of the problem stems from following people, friends and media that are completely like minded. I think we miss the mark and it seriously damages our society as a whole. The hate groups are alive and well in our country but there are many more than we see reported in the news. People are driven by hate, consumed by it. But yet they think it only resides in everyone else. There is no excuse. No justification.The truth is as simple as this, we only see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. That helps us build the strongest bullshit story we could possibly dream up and we even start to believe it too. What is your BS story? What purpose does it bring into your life? 

What is Your BS Story?

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I was blessed enough to attend a yoga workshop with Jen Pastiloff yesterday. She provided the group with many prompts but one really stood out for me. We were directed to make a list of our very best bullshit stories. These are the stories we tell ourselves that keep us disappointed, hopeless and stuck in the one place we don’t want to be, right here. As I started to get really honest with myself,  I couldn’t deny I had been convincing myself of so many things that just weren’t true. The problem is, the more I repeat these lame excuses to myself, the more apt I am to give myself a pass which enables me to not even try to change a single corcumstance in my life. 

Tell me your biggest bullshit story. Share it so the whole world can hold you accountable and so we can find the courage to not let these ridiculous bs stories control our lives anymore.

Here’s one of mine. I’ve been away from nursing too long to ever go back. It’s too late. Come on call me out. 

My Thoughts on Confessions

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As I watched the segment where the 16 year old boy “confessed” to murder in Making a Murderer, I was brought back to a time when I was 16. 

My mom was very convincing and she knew a lot of people. I was the 3rd of four kids and start to finish, the oldest and youngest are 20 years apart. Needless to say, by the time I came around, she had learned all the tricks.

I remember her questioning me a few times about where I had been and what I had done. The truth is, if she believed I went someplace then no matter what I told her, she was still going to believe I was there. I could tell in the way she questioned me. It went something like this:

“I know you were at that party last night. I have talked to people who saw you there and if you lie to me I will be very disappointed and I won’t be able to trust you anymore so let me ask you this one time and I hope you will be honest with me.”

How in the world do you react when someone in authority is convinced that you did something that you absolutely know you didn’t?  That person in authority tells another person in authority(in my case my father)and before you know it, you have no other option than to lie and admit that you did whatever they have convinced themselves you did.

I had a conversation over the weekend with my seventeen year old daughter and two of her friends. I was telling them about the interrogation and all three told me they have admitted to things they didn’t do because they felt they had no other option. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as much with their parents as it was with their teachers. That’s discouraging and I will tell that story another time.

My point here is this, just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. Even if my car is on a road where a party is taking place and ten other parents see my car on that road, it doesn’t mean I was ever at that party even if the evidence points in that direction. 

Things are not always what they appear and our minds go crazy putting pieces together of a puzzle we may never be able to complete. 

Be open to the fact that what you believe to be true may not be the truth at all. We are only human and we have 100% chance of getting it wrong every single time we think.

The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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Innocent until proven guilty. Not in school.

I received a surprising email from a teacher that Chase had made a mess under his chair in class and was called back to the room to clean it up. 

Everything is not always as it appears to be. Maybe in science it may work, but when it comes to real life, you need to use common sense and read between the lines.

Chases story. He was sitting at a square table with four other kids and was taking a test. One boy pulled out toothpicks and started throwing them across the table. Another boy threw them back. Chase became distracted while watching them do it and was redirected out loud by the teacher to focus on his test. This is how the email read. 

Today during testing Chase struggled in keeping to himself during our Science Test. I provided multiple reminders that he should focus on the test and not interact with others at his table. At one point during the test I witnessed Chase with a half-dozen or so colored tooth picks in his mouth. After class was over I discovered multiple colors toothpicks broken and un-broken under his chair and around his chair…

Chase did pick up a few toothpicks and put them in his mouth. Imagine a kid with ADD picking up something that was sitting on a table in front of him. Hard to believe, don’t you think(Small hint of sarcasm there). He watched the whole thing unfold and looked at his teacher to see if he noticed what was going on. So what exactly did the words struggles to keep to himself. How would you interpret that? He brushed toothpicks out of his way as he tried to finish his test in the midst of distraction. At the end of class the teacher said to to him in front of the class, “Chase, I am sending your parents an email to tell them about the mess you made.” The teacher claims he told him privately. Privately would have been after class, not saying it quietly from behind his desk while Chase was at his own desk. 

This is what came next. 

Another student was responsible for a portion of this mess. I had both students re-called from their class to return and pick up the mess left on the ground. Chase claimed he was not responsible for any of the mess but that contradicts my observations and student reports at his table.

The real truth. He asked one kid, the kid who happened to bring the toothpicks into class so who created the mess. He of course blamed Chase probably because the way the teacher feels about Chase is pretty clear from the tone of the email. Kids pick up on that and it’s unfortunate. So who better to blame? 

Chases name was called over the school loud speaker to report back to the class where he was told he was responsible for the mess and he was to clean it up. Why wouldn’t he just keep him after class to take care of it then? Was it necessary for him to be called back in front of the whole school? He was NEVER asked to give  his side of the story but offered it in his own defense while he cleaned the toothpicks off the floor. There was no other kid there helping clean up the mess. Why did the email say another kid helped? So based on my observation of the situation, I would say the email wasn’t exactly accurate.

A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb

Lucky for me I had a conference with that teacher that night. This was our conversation.

“Did you see my son throw a toothpick?”

“I never insinuated he threw a toothpick. He broke up toothpicks and dropped them underneath his chair” (Because he’s really stupid enough to incriminate himself like that. Makes perfect sense)

Me, pointing my finger at his face and pretty pissed off by now. “Did you see my son break and drop a toothpick on the ground? ”

“I saw a several colored toothpicks in his mouth.”

“Imagine that. How surprising a kid with ADD would pick up a toothpick on a table in front of him and put it in his mouth. (Louder now and saying one word slowly and clearly showing my disgust? “Did you it did you not see Chase break up toothpicks and drop them underneath his chair?

“No, but other kids at the table observed him doing it.”

When I asked why he didn’t approach the the table while it was happening and didn’t seem to be concerned with WHO brought the toothpicks into class, he told me he didn’t want to disturb the rest of the class. The ONLY kid who said Chase did it was obviously the kid who brought them in the first place and he was the ONLY kid who was asked privately after class about the incident. Chase confirmed with the other kids at the table and they stated they were never asked. I then offered to have a meeting with the entire table to get to the bottom of this which he told me would be illegal. I asked, so it would be illegal to walk up to a table during an incident and question all the kids present about what had taken place? Isn’t that how you find the real truth or had you already decided you knew what transpired? His answer was still, I didn’t want to disturb the class.

The truth is he could have kept them all after class but he had made up his mind that Chase was guilty. And the kid that brought the toothpicks, he didn’t pick up a single one.

This is an example of why I try to bring into awareness the unacceptable things that are happening in our schools. Somehow, we usually end up on the receiving end and it doesn’t feel very good. Guess what Mr. Teacher, not complying with a 504 is against the law too but clearly behavior is important and education is not. I can’t help that I have a class of 30 kids, he says to which I respond, I can’t help that I have a kid with ADD.

It’s bad enough I have to be an advocate for his education, now I have to be one for his reputation and self esteem.