I pooped my pants at Safety Town

There have been a few times in my life that I have pooped my pants. I will tell you right now that it was not always as a child. As an adult, my poopy pants stories revolve around “Smooth Move” tea. My advice to you is to NEVER drink it. It is like a laxative that you cannot get out of your system… for days. Anyways, this is not about adult poopy pants. I was young, before elementary school, but I do not remember exactly how old I was. I am sure my sister can remember.

We were at Safety Town with the local Parks District. I do not remember if my sister was there for Safety Town or if she was my chaperone. Regardless, I vaguely remember that she did not want to be there in the least. Generally speaking I got very excited about Safety Town. They turned tennis courts into regular streets and sidewalks. There were stop signs, traffic lights, and bike lanes. We had a mini city all to ourselves from behind the daring excitement of our tricycles. For whatever reason I thought it was the coolest thing. Almost as though my tricycle was a car, and we got to be adults. There were even awards and trophies. Who knows why, but I LOVED Safety Town.

Except for the time when I pooped my pants.

You would have thought it was a regular I-have-to-go-to-the-bathroom moment. Yet, it wasn’t. I pooped my pants from absolute fear. This specific day was when the police, ambulance, and firefighters were coming to visit. They would take us onto the trucks and teach us about the apparatus. Except for me. I was scared shitless. There was always something eerie to me about an ambulance (scariest vehicle) and a fire truck (next scariest). In my mind they were going to help someone who was hurt, sick, or dead, or something was on fire. I did not like thinking about the number of sirens I heard daily and how many people needed help. I also thought that if I went inside the ambulance that I might not be allowed to leave. I have no idea where I got that idea. The Safety Town folks did their best to assure me, as well as my sister, but I was definitely not going into those vehicles. I got so scared, I pooped my pants.

My sister was not thrilled. I do not remember what happened after that and if I got into trouble for my scared-shitless actions. I am almost positive my parents did not ever understand my predicament, or even talk to me about it. I think they just thought I had an accident. Yet, I still remember it so clearly. Regardless, I continued to go to Safety Town and enjoyed the make-believe world of our tricycle town.

And, I still have a moment of pause when I hear an ambulance or firetruck. No, I don’t pee or poop myself, but I do think about those in need of help and hope all is well.

99 Days Without…Facebook?

Are you addicted? Am I? I am not entirely sure. I am a 1-2 times a day Facebook user. I usually check in the morning when I post my blog, and then at night before bed. I will be completely honest that other than posting my blog and a random quote or idea here or there, that I am more of a voyeuristic Facebook user. I like to see photos of friends, connect with folks from my childhood (some… not all), and generally keep up with friends. I am not one to care about whether you made it to the bathroom that day or all the endless rants and crap about your day. I like to find information that adds to my life rather than bores me to death. Pictures help. They help a lot. So if you are posting photos I am generally going to look at them.

So when I came across this Christian Science Monitor article regarding a campaign to not use Facebook for 99 days, I was quasi interested. Could I do it? Probably not. Would it be good for me to disconnect? Most definitely. Do I have the strength in me to do it? Maybe. I am not sure. I like staying connected in my own non-consumed way. So then you might say, “So why would it be hard for you to disengage for 99 days?” I like knowing what is happening. I like seeing the newborn baby pictures of a good friend that lives on the other side of the world. I like being inspired. Yes, there is a lot of junk I want to block and a lot of stuff I couldn’t give a shit about, but could I disconnect for three months? I am not sure.

Is it sad that I feel that way? Maybe. Or maybe I am a slight introvert and a slight extrovert and Facebook allows me to decide HOW I want to engage. How often and in what ways. The initiative is called, “99 Days of Freedom.” I do like the sound of that. I am truly curious about the question in the article: “How do you feel when you don’t use Facebook?” I think there is only one way to tell. Would you like to join me and see, or are you just as much addicted that it will be hard to not log in? The only way I can imagine trying is to delete your account, and remove all history of your online Facebook data. Otherwise, how would you stop yourself from logging in?

It looks like at the time of the article, 17,000 people had signed up for the 99 Days… That is a good amount. Are you going to join them?

 

Consent: No means no

We get to decide who touches us. We get to decide how we allow others to treat us. We get to decide how we allow others to make us feel. Yet, how we are socialized to respond and react to each of these is remarkably different. Not a single person has the same experience in how we were taught to handle our reaction, or how we handle “consent.”

“Consent: giving permission for something to happen.”

Have you ever thought about how even the littlest of babies have the right to decide (give consent) to whether a stranger touches them? As a parent, are strangers allowed to touch a small baby or do we protect them until they are capable of communicating their consent? What we teach children at an early age matters, because it is the beginning of their education on consent.

Consent in some ways is similar to telling kids there is a Santa, and they believe you, then one day you tell them there is no such thing as Santa. Have we not then taught them a lie? Should they trust us after finding out we have told a fib all those years?

The below video “4 Ways Parents Teach Kids that Consent Doesn’t Matter” really opened my eyes about the topic of consent and shares the following four points:

1. Tickling and Roughhouse Play

2. Contradicting their Feelings

3. Forced Affection

4. Respect your elders

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We teach politeness over feeling comfortable. We make kids hug their elders, or individuals they may not feel comfortable around. We tell them that they cannot think or feel how they feel or think. We do not stop tickling them when they ask us to stop. All of these ideas mentioned in the video are ways we continually teach children not to think for themselves and rather do what they are told. Of course, I am not proposing that kids be rude, but we often force them to do things they do not want to do. We need to listen for when they are not comfortable instead of only when they are just grumpy or do not want to participate or interact with others. There is a balance between being a bratty or disrespectful kid and allowing them to make choices that are most comfortable to them.

Eye opening ideas for me. Teach them that their “no” matters. Teach them to trust their instincts. Teach them to have a voice and to know when to give consent.

#ahamoment

An airplane first

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of talking to my seat mates on an airplane. I am more of the put-on-my-headphones and check-out-of-the-world passenger. Call me snobby, an introvert, or selfish, but I just do not like to engage in dialogue on an airplane. I am fine with the quick “where is your final destination” or other banter that only lasts for a few minutes.

So when I was flying back from Chicago late last week, I had quite the experience on my flight – in a good way. I was in a middle seat, which is my least favorite. I am more of an aisle girl, which gives me more freedom to get up whenever I want, and no one on one side of me. The flight was completely booked, and my ticket did not allow me to select my seat until I checked in. At the time of check-in there were only middle seats left, and I was a bit bummed. It meant being stuck if the individual in the aisle was asleep, etc.

So back to my flight. I settle into my middle seat and look to the man at my left who is in the window seat and is asleep. He looks familiar to me. For awhile I cannot place him, but my intuition tells me that I know him, but just cannot place him yet. I am wiped out after a full week of meetings in Chicago, and know I may sleep most of the flight. I close my eyes for a while as we take off, and eventually my neck hurts based on the horrible seat on the old plane and how I am sitting. The man to the right of me, in the aisle seat, brings his laptop down from the overhead bin, and based on the tag on the bottom of his laptop I knew he worked at my same company. I decided to ask him where he worked within our company, and we ended up talking for the first half of the flight.

I then was able to place the man in the window seat. He is the father of a good friend’s daughter’s husband. I know a few degrees of separation, but I met him about a year ago. We ended up talking until the end of the flight, and near the time of our descent into the Portland area, both of my seat mates began talking to each other about surfing in Oregon, California, and Hawaii.

I remarked to each of them that it was a first for me to sit between two people on a flight that I knew or was connected to in some way (of course other than someone I am specifically traveling with). I told them that I generally try to sit in my own bubble during a flight and not talk to others. They each remarked that our row of three seats were some of their best traveling companions. Such an interesting flight – it went by fast. You never know who might be sitting right next to you!

 

Suppressing feelings

Say what is on your mind. Say it directly. Say exactly what you mean. Do not hold back. What do you lose by saying exactly what you are thinking? Will others judge you? Maybe. Will they laugh at you? Possibly. Does it matter? No. If you want to be completely and utterly yourself, then you have to be you and part of that means saying what is on your mind.

I am direct. I have an opinion and it can come out strongly. Does that mean that I do not want to hear what others have to say? Not in the least. I encourage a healthy debate. Your opinion may sway me. I may learn something new that just may bring an aha moment for me that will create a speedy excitement of new ways of doing things. You never know.

I see it all the time. Individuals that suppress their feelings. They are afraid to say what is really on their mind. When that happens it means they are not really being true to themselves. They are hiding behind what they think others want them to say, do, feel. Why do we do that? Why is it so hard to be unequivocally ourselves? Why do we sometimes sensor ourselves? Or not share what we are really feeling? I constantly go back to ideas that resonated with me from Brene Brown’s book: “Daring Greatly” such as:

“Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.” Page 42

Is that what we are doing when we say what is on our mind? When we have no filter, and do not suppress our thoughts?

I dare you. Do it. Say what is on your mind.