Gimme Some Love

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Love is in the air…and on the door!

It’s the season of love so we are gearing up for Valentine’s Day!

This idea has been floating around social media for a few weeks.  I’m not sure of the original source as so many people have shared it and reposted it.  My sincere thanks to whomever the brilliant, innovative person is who thought this up.

Here’s how it works. Starting February 1st, every night while they are sleeping, you tack a heart to your child’s bedroom door professing what you love about them.  Super simple to do and the impact is huge!  Here are some example of what I have written:

You are a really good friend.

You always look after everyone and make sure they’re okay.

We are so proud of you.  Proud of who you are.  Proud of what you do.

You are so artistic!  Your art is amazing!

You are beautiful, inside and out!

My children wake up so excited to see what has been added to their doors.  A little tidbit of love to start their day off on the right foot and fill them with all of my love.  The bonus is that it delays the sibling fighting for all of five minutes! Hahaha!  But seriously, it is a little thing that warms them and reminds them how much we love them.

You could do this for your significant other too!  You could tape hearts full of love on the bathroom mirror for them to read while getting ready in the morning or maybe sneak them into their bag/purse or tape them to the dashboard of their car. That would be such a nice surprise!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?  How do you show your love?

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

It is all a Facade

 

Portrait of a beautiful woman

Look at me.

Really look at me.

What do you see?

You likely see a woman who is put together quite well.  Beautifully styled hair. Flattering make up. Conservative clothing;  perhaps leggings, a designer sweater, high boots and a favourite handbag.

You are probably thinking that I have it all. The house, the car, the wardrobe, the successful husband.

Well, I don’t.

I do not have it all.

It’s all a facade.

Created to trick you into thinking that I have it all.

It masks my internal despair.

For on the inside, I am in a state of emergency.  Always on red alert.  Wildly searching for my sanity.  Terrified that I am going to die or go insane.  Scared to be alone. Trapped in my mind.

Yes, when you see me, I look well put together.  I am a pillar of strength.  A woman who can take on anything, be anything.  A woman thought highly of in the community.  A woman that people can lean on, depend on, confide in.  A woman of unparalleled character.

And yet, I have lost myself.

On the outside, it is all a facade.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.

 

 

Someone Was Here

Inukshuk on the coast in Eastern Passage, Canada

Where were you?

Ah yes, selfishly tucked away somewhere trying to bury the guilt wrestling your soul. Too dependent to leave, not strong enough to stay.

The ultimate battle.

It wasn’t that I asked for help, it wasn’t that I told you I needed you.  That would have been a different story.  In fact, it was you that announced you were coming to help me, wanted to be here for me, support me, love me.  It was you who made phone calls to ensure people knew you were compassionate, caring and ready to take action.

All to save your own face.

The guilt wasn’t that you weren’t here to help me. The guilt was that you were worried people were judging you, questioning your decisions, your loyalty.

The reality, of course, is that you should have been here.

You should have been the one to lead me through the darkness, help me redefine myself and help me to function within the confines of anxiety and panic.

Yes, it should have been you.

But it wasn’t.

It was a select few of my dearest friends and family who guided me through this storm, wiped my tears and gave me the strength to persevere.  It was this small group of warriors who came together to check on me every day, offer their time and calm me in a panic.

Someone was here, but it wasn’t you.

Each day that passes, my mindset improves, my confidence grows.

I should have known you wouldn’t be here. I suppose that’s why I didn’t ask.

Your actions were driven by your need to look good to others; so terribly selfish and yet, not surprising.

Your insecurity is difficult to hide, dependency unparalleled.

As I write this, I can’t help but think what will happen if you read it.

It suddenly occurs to me that I don’t care.

I can sleep at night with the choices I have made.

Can you?

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

Crossroads

Sad wife after divorce holding a wedding ring

Listen.
To my voice.
To my pain.

Look me in the eye.
Glimpse upon my soul.
The struggle is irrefutable.

How can you dismiss it?

How can you blame me for the circumstances?

I don’t know how or why, but you do.
You said it; you put the blame on me without blinking an eye.
It was easy for you.  Too easy.

Perhaps it is your own insecurity bubbling to the surface or your inability to show compassion and loving kindness. Perhaps this scares you, because you do not know how to respond, how to show emotion, how to be supportive, how to be or feel anything.

When did you lose your feelings, the kismet, the love for me; for us?
When did your career become more important than family; marriage?

Why does everything have to be about you?
About your needs, your wants and your time?
What’s the plan, what’s the plan, you shout from the rooftops.

I am an inconvenience, a curveball that has been thrown into your rhythmic life.
Our marriage is an annoyance and frustration that no longer aligns with your interests. It cannot compete with your yearning for financial success and your drive to get to the top of the corporate ladder.

Competing interests, and I am losing; our marriage is losing.

We are standing at a crossroad, you and I.

It is time to make some decisions.  It is time to take responsibility.  It is time to admit our shortcomings, accept our roles in getting to this point and decide whether we are in this together.  We can be a united team or a defeated statistic.

Which path are you going to take?

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.

On Entitlement

School sign on blur traffic road background.

Ah, the kiss & ride.

Could there be a more stressful way to start your day than to participate in your local school’s kiss & ride?  I don’t think so.

It is hell.

All encompassing, rip your hair out, hell on wheels.

And sadly, it is reflective of our society as a whole.

Here’s why.

We are in the age of entitlement.  Unfortunately, it’s not just today’s children that feel they are entitled.  Their parents are proudly paving the path to entitlement.

Somewhere over the last decade, our society has changed.  There has been a dynamic shift in what is acceptable from a behavioural perspective.

Somewhere along the lines, common courtesy and good character have been thrown to the wayside and replaced with rage, annoyance, disrespect and entitlement.

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, entitlement is defined as,

the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something;

the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)

Which brings us back to the kiss & ride;  the proof in our day to day lives that our society has lost its bearings.

There are civil rules, hell, there are laws, in the kiss & ride.  For example,

Do not park in the fire route. Do not leave your car.

Do not leave your car running. Yield to pedestrians.

Use common sense (especially challenging for many people).

This does not happen.  Ever.  Instead, there are cars abandoned everywhere, blocking fire routes and blocking other cars.  Blocking the driveway.  Children don’t know where it is safe to cross so they can be seen dangerously running about traffic searching for their parents.  Crossing guards, bless their souls, are frantically trying to maintain order amidst chaos while being sworn at or ignored altogether.

The message being sent is loud and clear.

I am here for my child.  I do not care why you are here.  The only thing that matters is that I get my child.  I do not care if I have to run yours over to get to mine.  If I have to speed down the street to ensure I am there on time.  If I have to give you the finger, yell at you in the driveway or break the law.  I am entitled to get what I want, when I want it and I want to get my child right now. 

If everyone took a step back, demonstrated patience, showed respect for others, we would all be able to pick our children up from school in a safe and orderly fashion.

When did your sense of entitlement become more important than the safety of all other children?

Why does your rush to get somewhere threaten our entire neighbourhood’s safety?

There is a disturbing parallel.  This age of entitlement coincides with an increase in bullying and behavioural issues in schools.

According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,

1 in 3 adolescents reported being bullied recently.

47% of Canadian parents reported their child has been a victim of bullying.

40% of working Canadians reported being bullied on a weekly basis.

How can we put an end to bullying when adults continue to exhibit such bold disobedience of societal norms and expectations?

We, the adults, are responsible for guiding our children and teaching them that societal norms matter and that disobedience of societal norms and values will not be tolerated.  But this disobedience continues to be tolerated!

Why?

It circles back to this sense of entitlement.

Some 21st century parents have lost their good character, their respect for others, their rational thought.  There is an urgency driven by check lists and extra curriculars; by responsibilities and stress;  by family dynamics that appear to no longer foster respect, patience and tolerance.

These parents will do anything they can to check something off their list, to move onto the next task.  At any cost.  Even at the cost of your child’s safety. There just isn’t time, in their minds, to be cautious or slow;  there is too much to do.

Is that it?  Is it that this world we are living in is so demanding and moving at such a fast pace that there just isn’t time to think of others; to slow down, to show respect for humanity as a whole?  It is the me generation.  Me, me, me.

As a result, our children are growing up in an environment where they are taught to put their needs first and to do so at any cost.  We are creating a generation that will grow up to be dependent, selfish individuals.  No collective reasoning.  No actions to support the greater good (look at vaccinations, don’t get me started).  A worldview that no longer considers the world.  A very narrow view of self and their immediate surroundings.

We have to get off this road to entitlement.

It is critical that our children are taught the societal norms and values that ensure the day to day functioning of our world.

Who is going to do this?

It starts with you.

It starts at home.

It starts in the kiss & ride.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.