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Lexi Williams: 'I've been begging for help & no one will help me'
"I'm so sorry that no one listened to you. I'm sorry that you had to suffer through that alone. I wish I could've helped," tweeted @DiamondReally.

"It's heartbreaking to see how you begged for help so obviously and nobody took it seriously. May you rest in peace up there," tweeted @TotallyBia.

These are just a couple tweets out of thousands about Lexi Williams, a North Carolina teen who lost her life to suicide. The 16-year-old Ashbrook High School student died on Nov. 21 after jumping from the Cox Road bridge onto Interstate 85 in Gastonia.

I wish Lexi could have known that she wasn't alone before she died, how many people related to her struggle and how many people wanted desperately to help. Maybe then the outcome would have been different.

But that's the thing. When she was alive, people didn't see all of the signs that filled Lexi's social media account. Lexi was practically screaming for help on her own Twitter, writing things like "When you try to talk to your mom about your stress and mental health issues & she tells you to get over it," and "I've been begging for help & no one will help me."

I think people have become more aware of suicide in the last few years. It used to be that people would try to hide the cause of death. For many media sources, it was their policy that you couldn't even say that someone died from suicide. This public outpouring would never have happened a decade ago.

Today, suicide is talked about at funerals and in news articles, instead of swept under the rug. Now, people aren't afraid to openly mourn victims of suicide. And while I think these steps have been crucial in raising awareness, I think there is still just as much of a stigma against mental illness.

It shouldn't be that way. People should take mental illness seriously — and not just take it seriously when someone dies because of it.

But still, when many of us see someone posting things like Lexi did on social media, we think, "You're just seeking attention" or "Get over it" or "Why are you posting about your problems on social media?" instead of actually helping them.

If you witnessed someone having a seizure, you wouldn't just stand there and watch. You would jump in to try and help; you would call 9-1-1. Yet mental illness can be just as life threatening, and, when someone reaches out for help, whether it's on Facebook, on Twitter, in a text message, or in person, it should never be taken lightly.

Via Yours Truly blogger wrote, "There are many more Lexis out there, with suicidal thoughts. I don’t want her to just be another victim of depression and public neglect. ... I am going to do my part, to make sure her death was not in vain.

"Lexi Williams will make a difference, she mattered, her life mattered, she meant something and you do too. ... You are not alone. ... Without you the world would be completely different, it would be incomplete. You are an important piece to a large puzzle."


http://www.gastongazette.com/news/20161125/vigil-for-teen-who-committed-suicide-reminder-people-do-care


Trump's presidency: The thing that saddens me the most
I'm not one to use my blog to talk about politics. People get that in enough places. But, after everything that happened last night, the thing that saddens me most is seeing how many people want to die.

I stayed up until 1:30 a.m., not watching TV, but instead, talking a friend out of suicide. And it wasn't just a figurative, "I'm so upset I want to die." It was a literal, "I don't want to be alive anymore." And this, for me, was even worse than the results of yesterday's election -- to know that someone I love was seriously considering death because of it.

I have met so many families who have lost a loved one to suicide because they were bullied, felt judged and felt like they didn't belong. And, with all the people who have lost hope, who are terrified of the future and who feel even more marginalized than before, for me, I am most scared that this will cause suicide rates to increase within the next four years.

But as President Obama said in a Buzzfeed video on Election Day, "We've been through tough and divisive elections before and we've always come out stronger for it."

For anyone who is depressed because of the results and who may have lost the will to live, here are some things to remember:

1. Despite everything, there is still hope.
You don't know what will happen tomorrow, so don't give up. You don't know what kind of president Trump will be once he takes office or if Trump being president will actually affect our liberties . So don't give up, don't lose faith, when you just don't know what will happen.

2. Now, more than ever, the world needs you.
For me, the results of the election have given me even more of a reason to live, not less of a reason. America needs people who fight for equality. America needs people who fight for the female, LGBT, Hispanic, black, and Muslim communities. If all the people who believe in the rights of these people were to give up, what kind of America would that be? An even worse one than it is today, I can tell you that. So, instead of giving up, use this life you have, the only life you've got, to take action.

3. You are not alone.
Just look at your social media newsfeed, and you'll know that you are not alone. I have seen so many people say they are no longer proud to be an American because of the election results. But seeing how many of my friends are sad, are taking a stand and are sticking up for others, it gives me hope. It makes me still proud to be an American. There are still more than 59 million people who agree with you.

We are strong. We will make it through, no matter what the future brings. We all just need to unite. We need to fight for each other, instead of against.
Leave My Thumb Out of It

For the last couple of weeks, I've been under a cloud.  That problem I've been having with my thumb has been diagnosed.





No surprises.  Arthritis.  Well, one surprise.  It seems there are grades of arthritis.  I'm in the fourth grade.  How many grades are there?  Four.







So there's been some boohoo poor me. Oh my thumb!  I hate wearing this thumb support thing on my hand.  Oh the pain.  Oh the suffering.  Poor me.






In times of deep self absorption, it often helps to remember that some have it worse.  Like these guys.  It is, after all, Wild Turkey season.



 
 
 
 
October 6 is National Depression Screening Day
About two-thirds of people with major depression never seek treatment, WebMD reports. It often times goes undiganosed or untreated because people don't address it or recognize the signs.

So, if you've ever thought to yourself, "Am I sad or am I depressed?" I would encourage you to take advantage of National Depression Screening Day today. On the first Thursday of October each year, Mental Health Screening offers large-scale, anonymous and free mood disorder screenings to the public. 

Untreated depression is a serious problem that can last weeks, months and even years. It's not something you can "pull yourself out of." Symptoms may become more severe if left untreated and could even contribute to or worsen other medical problems. Other possible side effects include a higher risk of suicide, increased risk of substance abuse, problems maintaining relationships and problems at work.

With a diagnosis, a doctor can advise you on treatment options, such as medication or psychotherapy, that will help reduce or eliminate your symptoms.  

To find a depression screening near you, visit http://www.helpyourselfhelpothers.org. Locally, Easter Seals Michigan, 2399 E Walton Blvd, Auburn Hills, is providing screenings. Their online screening can be found at screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/eastersealsmi. Upon completing the questionnare, you will be immediately provided with results.

How 'The Wizard of Oz' symbolizes overcoming insecurities and mental illness
(image)When I was a kid, I would watch and re-watch the movie "The Wizard of Oz" over and over again. And, every time, at the end, I would cry. Not because the ending was particularly sad — but because I didn't want it to be over. For as long as I can remember, it's been one of my favorite stories.

To me, so many parts of the movie (and book), symbolize overcoming insecurities and mental illness.

Dorothy strives to return home. Yet, as Glinda the Good Witch tells her, she's had the power all along. All she had to do was click the heels of her ruby slippers together three times.

The Scarecrow wants a brain, the Tin Man a heart, and the Lion courage. Yet the Scarecrow demonstrates that he has a lot of common sense and knowledge, the Lion frequently acts in the face of fear, and the Tin Man is the most kind-hearted character of them all.

(image)Yet, none of the characters have this confidence in themselves and so they miss seeing that they already have what they yearn for.

So many times we compare ourselves to others. And, in doing so, we miss seeing the great qualities we already have.

Maybe you see models in magazines and wish you were beautiful like them, all the while not seeing how beautiful you already are. Maybe you feel so lonely and unwanted that you miss seeing how many people really do love you.

Or maybe when you're in the middle of a panic attack, a bout of depression, etc. you feel weak and wish that you were brave. And so you don't see that getting up every morning and surviving each day feeling the way you're feeling   that is true courage.

Remember, "You've always had the power." You are beautiful (or handsome). You are smart. You are loved. You are brave. You can do anything you set your mind to. All you have to do is believe in  yourself.
A Simple Man

My cousin, Bob died last week.  He was what is often described as a simple man.  Bob wasn't famous.  He didn't have a fancy job title.  He liked to fish and to ride his motorcycle.  He loved his dogs.  He raised his daughter in the same city where he grew up.
 


 


I grew up in that city too.  Aunt Jean's house was a five minute bike ride away.  Bob was several years older than me.  He had a way about him, sort of, hey, you may never need my help but I'm watching out for you.  Chivalrous.






As adults, we saw each other now and then.  Bob always seemed glad to see me, to talk to me.
 





Now living two hours away from that hometown, I made the drive for Bob's funeral.  His wife of  31 years, now a widow, stood at the side of Bob's casket.  I hugged her.  "Roseanne, I'm so sorry."  Words that don't seem adequate.  Many people said those same words.  There really isn't anything else to say.  Still, it matters to say them.






A scene from a movie keeps playing in my mind.  Students at the New York ballet academy are walking down a hallway following the first class of the semester.  One girl who performed badly in class, says, "I swear I'm better than that.  I'm just so nervous."  Another girl says, "don't sweat it.  First day doesn't count, OK?"  Another girl, a veteran of the academy says, "everything counts here."






There were lots of  people at Bob's funeral.  Many of them were weeping.  This simple man touched many lives.  






Everything counts here.







Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?

O Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tent?
    Who shall dwell on thy holy hill?
 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right,
    and speaks truth from his heart;
 who does not slander with his tongue,
    and does no evil to his friend,
   nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
 who does not put out his money at interest,
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
 
- Psalm 15:1-5

Capped Off

The final mow of the year.  For a while at least, no more ducking branches, no more pine needle stab wounds, no more worrying about inadvertently chopping up toads and snakes.   The thistle eating finches have flown south.  Soon the grass will be gray and dormant.




I pulled into the garage, wondering if the area over the septic tank may need just one more trim before putting the snow shovel on the tractor.  I dismounted, brushed the pine needles from my butt and noticed the gaping hole where the gas cap ought to be.






Uh oh.




The cap has come off before, presumably the vibrations of the tractor unscrew it.  It has always remained with the tractor though, hanging from a black plastic tether.   This time:  no gas cap, no tether.





Let's see, how to find the missing gas cap.  Retrace the cutting path...but what if the cap, when free of its tether, was flung into a non cut area?  Chances of finding it then, seem awfully bleak.





For three days I looked for the gas cap.  No luck.  Though resigned to having to purchase a new one, I determined to look for it just one more day, then another.  My persistence was rewarded, for the gas cap appeared smack in the middle of a mowed area.  How I could have missed it, I'll never know.



 
 
I suspect my nemesis, the fisher, placed it there for reasons nefarious.
Don't Spook the Deer

The line to vote began at the door and coiled over and over many times before entering the roped section.  Serpentine.  It reminded me of an enjoyable figure skating drill.  Gliding across the ice, crossing one foot over the other, opposite edges of the blade back and forth.  This voting serpentine was slower without ice, needless to add.




It was strangely pleasant packed in that way in this small town, small building.  Strangers and neighbors calmly sardined in line to fulfill a civic duty. 




When the election results came in, Trump won.  "That's not fair!  He didn't win the popular vote!"   Must we review the electoral system for whiny disappointed voters every time they lose?




Now it's time to be sure the PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO HUNTING,  KEEP OUT signs are in place.  Deer hunters are making ready.  When Mabel was alive I used to worry that some over enthusiastic hunter would mistake her for a deer.





I have no delusions that I can protect the deer around here but I sure don't want some lout tromping around my back yard- that includes the neighbors with whom we share a tree line.




One particularly unpleasant tree line neighbor believes that if you fire a gun close to the start of deer season, it will spook the deer.  Yeah.  Sure.  The deer who live around here hear gunfire everyday.  Of course they will be spooked by gunfire in November. 




Never argue with a crazy person.  Our guns are silent.





Bugged II

After picking some tomatoes, the gardener headed toward the house.





Suddenly, out of nowhere.  A hit to the wrist!  A hit to the ankle!





Lily, a witness at the scene said, "it was bizarre.  Totally unprovoked.  A coordinated attack.  Dastardly.  The gardener didn't have a chance. "





"Later",  Lily continued, "I heard the gardener cursing.  It seems that calamine lotion has limited effectiveness on the swelling and itching, especially when spilled on the bathroom rug."






This local resident remarked that some bugs go a little crazy this time of year.
Bugged 1

Lots of grasshoppers at large lately, here at the homestead.  Also, surely not coincidentally, there has been lots of heavy webbage.





 Grasshoppers travelling willy-nilly often end up entangled.  Pictures of such occurrences are just too graphic to show.





Suffice it to say, spiders catch their prey and process them, as spiders do.






Good thing there are lots of grasshoppers because the resident ducks enjoy them too.








Other bugs have also been active lately, some of them of the stinging variety.  More on that after the swelling goes down.
Stephen King: 'Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us.'
Anyone who has ever suffered from a mental illness can especially relate to what author Stephen King says — "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."

Sometimes mental disorders do feel like a monster living inside of our heads, trying to overtake us.  And, when someone loses their life to suicide, that's when the monster wins.

For the longest time, I couldn't watch scary movies or read horror novels because they felt too real and would make my anxiety spin out of control.

While some kids thought a monster was living under their beds, for me, it felt like a monster was following me around everywhere I went. This monster manifested in night terrors, an irrational fear of death, the walls closing in on me, and a racing heart.

I couldn't comprehend what was happening. So, in my 6-year-old mind, I thought that it was a monster, a demon or a ghost that was with me, causing me to feel that way.

Cut to today, where my favorite TV shows are "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story" and I'm halfway through reading "It" by Stephen King. Now that I have my anxiety under control and now that I understand what it is, horror stories don't scare me anymore.

Treatment became my wooden stake and my silver bullets. It gave me the tools I needed to overcome my monster. Now I know that I am stronger than the monster in my head. It didn't kill me, and I believe that I am a better person today for having battled it.

If you are struggling with mental illness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness' website for more information on finding a mental health professional. For those living in Michigan, call the nonprofit Common Ground at 800-231-1127 for a referral.

You are not alone. You don't have to lay down and let the monster win. There are so many options available and so many people who are willing to help if you just ask.
Winona Ryder: Being sensitive isn't a bad thing

I started watching Netflix’s “Stranger Things” this week. (I know, I know, most of you probably finished the whole season a month ago. So no spoilers, please!)

In the show, Winona Ryder’s character Joyce Byers is treated like she’s crazy and like she has to be handled with care or she’ll break. All because she’s emotional about the disappearance of her youngest son.

But, in that situation, what mother wouldn’t be? What’s so bad about being emotional?

In an interview with New York Magazine, Ryder said, “There’s a line in the show where someone says (of her character), ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh, you know, she’s crazy.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.’ Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?

I remember, when I was taking a course in Women’s Studies at Oakland University, our professor wrote down a list of adjectives that were stereotypically male or female. Some words associated with men were adventurous, ambitious, assertive, confident and strong. Women had words like affectionate, anxious, emotional, meek and needy. When asked which column seemed more positive, everyone in class said, “The male adjectives.”

Our teacher said, “Whether you’re male or female, you need traits from both of these columns to be a well-rounded person.”

It makes me sad that, when a man or woman is called “emotional” or “sensitive,” it’s usually an insult. But, in her interview, Ryder proudly stands up and, like her “Stranger Things” character, describes herself as “sensitive.”

“I am supersensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing,” said Ryder, who has publicly talked about her depression in the past.

She said that, instead, being emotional is a sign of the sophisticated processing of an intelligent, mature adult, according to New York Magazine.

I, too, consider myself "sensitive" (although I'm also strong and ambitious as well). And, my share of times, I've been criticized for being this way.

But I think being sensitive also makes me empathetic, a deep thinker, more creative, sincere, forgiving and a good friend. And these are things I wouldn't change for the world. So, next time someone calls you "sensitive" or "emotional," take it as a compliment. Like Winona Ryder says, it's not a bad thing.

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 49

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Today's question takes us to Cape Cod.  They are wrapping up their annual Yarmouth Summer Celebration.  Part of the fun includes 41 sand sculptures placed all around town.



One sculpture on display in front of a popular restaurant has spawned outrage.  The main complaint is that the sculpture is offensive.
What is this offensive sculpture?
Molly?



 
Jesus?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.

Bryan?






Satan?
 
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 


Buddha?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.  OK.  It's not an offensive religious thing.

Cyndi?





Benjamin Franklin?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect. 
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 
Ulyssies S Grant?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Bryan?
 
 
 
 
Plymouth Rock?
 
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.  OK.  It has nothing to do with offensive American history.
Molly?

 
 
 
 
A squirrel?
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Bryan?

 
 
 

A sand dollar?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect. 
Cyndi?


 
 
 
A Black Lives Matter protester?
 
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Fluffy?




A police officer?
 



Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Must I give you a hint?!


 
 
 
Let's just go eat.
 

 
 
 
First, let's just go to the beach and
 build an offensive sand sculpture
 of Hostmaster.
 
 
 
 
 
 

I need a potty break.

 
 
Hostmaster:  sigh.  It was a buxom mermaid.  Her large breasts shocked some folks.




 
This is just another example of objectifying women.

 
 
 
 
Mermaids are mythical creatures, not women.


 
 
 
It makes sense that mermaids
have big boobs for buoyancy.


 
 
 
Where do mermaids go to the bathroom?
 




This round is over. 
Here's the story on Sandy the volumtuous mermaid.
 
 
 
 
Round 49
Fluffy/Molly  21
Bryan/Cyndi   19
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you think you deserve better, then you probably do

For many of us, we have a deep rooted belief that we don't deserve good things.

Whether it's a toxic relationship, a dead-end job, a one-sided friendship, etc., we don't walk away when we know we should, stand up for ourselves, or look for something better or more fulfilling. Even though, in the back of our minds, we know we deserve better, we still don't actually believe it. We let others treat us like we're disposable because that's how we view ourselves.

According to an article in Psychology Today, "Feeling undeserving comes from situations in your past that have influenced your outlook or 'inlook.' ... Feeling undeserving creates resistance to positive change."

But, as author Barrie Davenport says, "Low self-confidence isn't a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered, just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better."

So, how do you change this?


1. Recognize that you have self-esteem issues.

The first step is admitting that you feel undeserving. Sometimes, people don't even realize that they are letting others treat them badly. Like one of my favorite quotes says, "If you aren't being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Maybe you've marked yourself down. It's you who tells people what you're worth. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where they keep the valuables."

Peter Economy writes on Inc, "If you are constantly bashing yourself and saying you're not good enough, aren't attractive enough, aren't smart enough or athletic enough, and on and on, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. ... The next time you hear that negativity in your head, switch it immediately to a positive affirmation and keep it up until it hits the caliber of a self-confidence boost."



2. Identify what made you start feeling undeserving in the first place.

Were you bullied in school? Were you told you weren't good enough? Did you have parents or teachers that didn't support you? Were you in a mentally or physically abusive relationship? It can be painful to look back on but, when you realize what made you start feeling this way, only then can you change it.

3. Have compassion for yourself.

Remind yourself, "Just because I was treated badly in the past, that doesn't mean I deserved it." The past is the past. Stop letting it control your future.

4. Take a realistic look at the lives of others you feel are more deserving than you.

"Ask yourself if they are truly innately more deserving of good things than you are. No one has any more value at the time of their birth than anyone else has," an article on WikiHow states. "In fact, a quick look at the news will reveal plenty of people who are materially successful even though they are well-known liars, cheaters, or thieves. If people who are clearly dishonorable can obtain happiness, there is no reason to think that you don't deserve your own happiness."

5. Talk to yourself as if you're talking to your best friend.

Would you ever talk to a loved one the way you talk to yourself? Then why do you talk to yourself that way?

6. Stay away from negativity.

Evaluate your inner circle. Get away from people who degrade you. Surround yourself with people who encourage you and make you feel happy. Cutting out people who put you down is not being selfish.

7. Fake it until you make it.

Smile at people. Make eye contact. Stand up straight. Even if you aren't feeling confident, act like you are and soon, you will begin to believe it too. According to an article on theskooloflife.com, "The mind can be tricked, and you can balance your life on that little hack. ... Even therapists use it all the time for patient’s suffering from depression. Though it might feel artificial and forced in the beginning, soon it will become more natural until you are happier and healthier."

Stop doubting yourself. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself and all the things you are good at. You are smarter than you think and the way you feel matters, no matter what anyone else may tell you. This is the only life you've got -- so trust yourself and look out for yourself once in a while.
Purple Finch

The Purple Finch is not purple. The male has a pink head and chest.  The rest of the feathers are brown and white.  The female (and the juvenile) are brown and white.  A stocky finch, with a melodic though not highly remarkable voice, is fairly common throughout its range.  The Purple Finch is seen year round in the eastern half of the US and in California.  Some travel to Canada in summer.





Purple finches live in coniferous and mixed woodlands, suburbs, orchards, parks.  They gather in large flocks in fall and winter.  In spring, they pair off to mate and raise young.  The female builds a nest of twigs, grasses and animal hair in pine trees, deciduous trees, or tangled vines anywhere from 3 feet to 60 feet off the ground.




Some Purple Finch Facts

- length:  4.7-6.3 inches
- wingspan:  8.7-10.2 inches
- 4-5 eggs, 2 broods per year
- incubation (by female only) 12-14 days
- nestling:   2 weeks
- food:  seeds, bugs, berries, flowers

'Swiss Army Man' teaches that human connection can save your life
The movie "Swiss Army Man," which was released on DVD earlier this month, opens with Hank (Paul Dano) alone on an island, standing on a crate with a noose around his neck.

Then, he notices the dead body of Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) washed up on shore.

And seeing Manny laying there in the sand is, ultimately, what keeps Hank from killing himself. (Note: This isn't really a spoiler considering it happens in the first two minutes of the film)

Like a humanized version of Wilson from "Cast Away," Hank imagines that Manny is actually alive and having conversations with him.

To me, this movie shows that we need other people.

I can personally attest to this. At work, I was the first of my co-workers to move offices. So, for a month, I spent almost everyday alone in the office, sitting in my cubicle with no outside noise. I didn't have the buzz of co-workers talking or typing on their keyboards or people to say "Good morning" to. And I felt like I was going insane.

We need human connection. We cannot do this life alone.

For instance, did you know that studies show that human touch decreases disease and increases overall well being?

In a study of 509 adults, people who were "affection-deprived" were reportedly less happy; more likely to experience mood or anxiety disorders; and, in general, were in worse health, reported Psychology Today. According to the results of a study by the University of North Carolina, "Hugs strengthen the immune system...The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keeps you healthy and disease free.”

One in four Americans report not having anyone to talk to about their personal problems. Social isolation could be tied to longer work days, further commutes, dependence on technology  and lack of societal support to talk about emotions.

But there's nothing wrong with asking for help or talking about how you feel. This doesn't make us weak. On the contrary, I believe it takes true strength to realize you need help and to not be afraid to open yourself up and ask for it.

As Radcliffe's character says in the film, "If my best friend hides his farts from me then what else is he hiding," so should we stop hiding who we really are from the people we care about. Sure, having alone time is great.  But it's also necessary to have a support system. And the world is missing out on a great human being if you don't let anyone see the real you.

If you don't have anyone you feel comfortable talking to, there are 24-hour helplines you can call for help. In Michigan, call Common Ground at 800-231-1127. Nationwide, text "Go" to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.



(video)

How feminism benefits not only women, but also men

I recently had a guy friend tell me, "Life would be easier if I was a woman."

Wow. Let's all take a moment and reread that.

"Life would be easier if I was a woman."

Sure, I've heard plenty of women say that life is easier for men. But did you ever think you would hear of a man (a straight man, mind you) saying something like this?

It's because he believes, if he was a woman, it would be easier to find support for his depression.

With feminism, women are striving to have the same rights as men do. And while we still have a long way to go, my friend taught me that there are many benefits to being female that men don't have either. 

I think that's why feminism gets a bad wrap sometimes. Because, many times, feminists want to gain all the benefits of being a man, while being unwilling to share the benefits of being a woman with them. To me, that's not true feminism. Feminism means EQUALITY.

For instance, feminism, to me, also means that I don't expect a man to pay for me on a date. It means, if I see a man I think is attractive at the end of the bar, I'll buy him a drink instead of just expecting him to approach me. It means if a single father is the better parent, that courts should recognize this. It means not judging a man for making less money than me. It means letting little boys play with dolls, paint their nails or join ballet class, if they choose, just like little girls aren't judged for choosing a toy truck over Barbies.

And, most importantly, I feel, feminism means fostering previously deemed feminine qualities in boys. It means encouraging them to talk about their feelings and never, ever telling them to "man up" or calling them a "pussy."

That's my favorite part of being a woman — I have a close knit group of female friends who I can talk to about my problems, who will help me feel better and who will let me cry on their shoulders. If I need any emotional help, I have no problem asking for it. And I think this has saved my life on my occasions.

But, for many men like my friend, they don't have this. Instead, they are conditioned to keep their feelings trapped inside. Their male friends want to watch sports, play video games and drink beer, instead of talk about things that are important. And this is not healthy.

No wonder suicide by men is more than three times more prevalent than by women in the United States. It is still not as accepted for men to seek help for their mental illness or any kind of emotional problems. When there's no other way to express their pain, suicide can feel like the only answer. And that's not fair.

Yes, feminism means equal pay for equal work. It means more women being promoted to leadership positions in the workplace. It means not viewing women as sex objects. It means that women are strong and independent and don't need a man to survive. But, when men and women truly are equal, which I hope happens sooner than later, it won't just benefit women. It will benefit everyone.
Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 50

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  The other night there was a televised debate that wasn't really a debate.  The two candidates talked to Matt Lauer separately.  Whatever.



Our question. What's in her ear?

(image)

Cyndi?




It's nothing.  A shadow from light
 on the sound stage.  You haters are
 making  something out of nothing.



Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Molly?




 
Well.  Hillary must get bored easily. 
 I remember her saying snide things about people who
 bake cookies.  Maybe she is learning
 another language or working on a PhD. 



Hostmaster:  you are a perennial optimist. 
Fluffy?





Earwax?
  That might explain her balance problems!
 
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Bryan?





It's an earpiece. 
 Someone is giving her the answers.
  An audio cheat sheet.





Hostmaster:  most likely correct. 







Maybe it's a hearing aid.
  Being under sniper fire can cause hearing loss.
 
 
 
 



Maybe she has ear mites!
Really big ear mites.
 
 
 


You haters are just looking to criticize her. 
 She is an accomplished woman!
 
 
 
 
 
Really?  Name an accomplishment.
 
 
 
 
She was Secretary of State.
 
 
 
 
 
Name one accomplishment during her tenure
 as Secretary of State.
 
 
 
 

She was a senator.
 
 
 
 
 
Name one accomplishment 
as Senator.
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  returning to the thing in her ear.  Any other thoughts?
 
 

 


 
 She wore, she wore she wore a yellow ear piece
 
 
 



She wore it to for the questions,
that were softballs anyway.  
 
 
 
 
 
 So ends another round with no winners.
 
 
 
 
 
Certainly not the American people.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Round 50
Fluffy/Molly  21
Bryan/Cyndi   19
 
 
 
 
 
A Simple Man

My cousin, Bob died last week.  He was what is often described as a simple man.  Bob wasn't famous.  He didn't have a fancy job title.  He liked to fish and to ride his motorcycle.  He loved his dogs.  He raised his daughter in the same city where he grew up.
 


 


I grew up in that city too.  Aunt Jean's house was a five minute bike ride away.  Bob was several years older than me.  He had a way about him, sort of, hey, you may never need my help but I'm watching out for you.  Chivalrous.






As adults, we saw each other now and then.  Bob always seemed glad to see me, to talk to me.
 





Now living two hours away from that hometown, I made the drive for Bob's funeral.  His wife of  31 years, now a widow, stood at the side of Bob's casket.  I hugged her.  "Roseanne, I'm so sorry."  Words that don't seem adequate.  Many people said those same words.  There really isn't anything else to say.  Still, it matters to say them.






A scene from a movie keeps playing in my mind.  Students at the New York ballet academy are walking down a hallway following the first class of the semester.  One girl who performed badly in class, says, "I swear I'm better than that.  I'm just so nervous."  Another girl says, "don't sweat it.  First day doesn't count, OK?"  Another girl, a veteran of the academy says, "everything counts here."






There were lots of  people at Bob's funeral.  Many of them were weeping.  This simple man touched many lives.  






Everything counts here.







Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?

O Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tent?
    Who shall dwell on thy holy hill?
 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right,
    and speaks truth from his heart;
 who does not slander with his tongue,
    and does no evil to his friend,
   nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
 who does not put out his money at interest,
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
 
- Psalm 15:1-5

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 52

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Thanksgiving is next week.  Now, I don't want to hear Cyndi talk about small pox blankets and how Native Americans got screwed.   Let's talk about the meal.


What is the ultimate side dish at Thanksgiving dinner?
Bryan?





 
A shapely little Irish Terrier.  Oh. And stuffing.
 
 

Hostmaster:  hm, a redhead.  I always figured you preferred blonds.
 

 
 
 
That was before I teamed up with a blond.
 


Hostmaster:  ha!  I feel your pain, pal.

 
 
 

What?  Wait.
Hey!!


 
 
 
She's not a real blond.


 
 
 
I am too!
**** you, *****.
 


 

See, she has always felt she was a blond
trapped under a mousey brown head.
Peroxide did the rest.
 



Hostmaster:  inside and out? 
 

 
 

That's bull****. 
 There are much safer lighteners. 
 And I'm not a bulimic, ****** it!
 
 


Hostmaster:  the holidays can be so stressful for some folk.  Oh well.  Back at it.
What's the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish?
Molly?


 
 
 
 
I've only had hearts and gizzards. 
 Can you believe no one else wants them?
 
 
 

Hostmaster:  eating gizzards is something of which no bird can conceive.
 

 
 
 
You eat turkey, don't you?
 
 


Hostmaster:  of course.  Birds have no problem with cannibalism.  And eating the heart of an enemy is a given.  Eating the gizzard, however, is another matter.
Anyway. Ultimate side dish.
Cyndi?
 


 
 
Marshmellow Sweet Potatoes
 



 
 
I'm confused.
  Aren't sweet potatoes sweet enough?
 

 
 
 
 
Personally, I think marshmellows
 are pointless.
 


 
 
 
Bryan, have you never been camping? 
Marshmellows are pointless EXCEPT to make Somemores.
One thing's for sure, marshmellows are very sweet
 and do not belong on vegetables.
 
 

 
 
 
 
Cranberries are sweet.
 



 
 
Cranberries are fruit.  You are on to something
though.  Cranberries are only sweet because
 sugar is added.  Hey!  I know! 
 Let's add marshmellows to cranberries!
 

 
 

Hostmaster:  please pass the glazed carrots.


 
 
 
 
 Thanksgiving dinner is just another
example of women being exploited.
They prepare all the food and after the
meal they do the dishes while the men
watch violent football.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fewer guys are watching football thanks to
all that dissing the flag stuff.
Maybe they could watch those guys who kick and
punch each other instead!
 
 
 
 
 
 
You want violence?  Ever
see the damage canine teeth
 can do to a lib?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Whoa.  She's on your team....
 
 
 
 
 
 
Teachable moment.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If Bryan wasn't a mean dog,
he'd be an alt right wing zealot.
 
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  sure glad I didn't ask about saying Grace.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What I am, is alt indifferent.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Let's end this round.  I'm hungry
for a heart.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bless us O Lord and these
thy gifts which we are
about to receive from thy bounty
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
 
 
 
 
Round 52
Fluffy/Molly  21
Bryan/Cyndi   20
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How horror films can help people suffering from anxiety
In the last couple months, I've watched the movies "Psycho," "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Scream 1," and "Scream 2" for the first time.

I know what you're thinking. "What took you so long to watch these classics?"

I was the little girl who was terrified of Ursula the Sea Witch as a kid. So, honestly, I put off watching these movies because I was scared.

But upon watching them, I realized something I never knew before. That, while watching horror flicks, my anxiety dissipated.

(image)Any thoughts that would normally stress me out would completely vanish and instead, the only thought that would consume my mind was, "Oh my god! Is Johnny Depp's character going to die?" or "Is Norman Bates or his mother the murderer?" And something about this was welcoming, even therapeutic, compared to thinking about real life stressors.

I have since found that this feeling is  common.

As one Reddit user said, "It creates a different anxiety, an anxiety that isn't about me, ya know?"

Researchers have actually found that scary movies can help reduce the anxiety of people who suffer from the disorder.

Psychology Today reports that adrenaline created by an abrupt blast of stress, like by watching scary movies, "sends a flood of oxygen-rich red blood cells through your body, boosts your immune system, and signals your brain to start releasing painkilling dopamine and endorphins."

Abby Moss, writer for Broadly, interviewed Dr. Mathias Clasen from Aarhus University in Denmark, who has been studying the psychological effects of horror movies for 15 years. He told Moss, "Exposure to horror films can be gratifying when the negative emotions caused by the film are manageable. ... We know it's not real. "

"The genre allows us to voluntarily—and under controlled circumstances—get experience with negative emotion."

There are many different treatments for anxiety. Medication. Exercise. Being outdoors. And even scary movies. There is no wrong way to cope. Just find the therapy works for you.

Bugged 1

Lots of grasshoppers at large lately, here at the homestead.  Also, surely not coincidentally, there has been lots of heavy webbage.





 Grasshoppers travelling willy-nilly often end up entangled.  Pictures of such occurrences are just too graphic to show.





Suffice it to say, spiders catch their prey and process them, as spiders do.






Good thing there are lots of grasshoppers because the resident ducks enjoy them too.








Other bugs have also been active lately, some of them of the stinging variety.  More on that after the swelling goes down.
Fluffy and George and the Little Flower



(image)
St. Therese of Lisieux said, love proves itself by deeds,
 so how am I to show my love?
 Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way
I can prove my love is by scattering flowers,
and these flowers are every little sacrifice,
every glance and word, and the doing of the
least actions for love.




(image)
“Miss no single opportunity of
making some small sacrifice,
here by a smiling look,
there by a kindly word;
always doing the smallest
 right and doing it all for love.”




(image)
The splendor of the rose and the whiteness
 of the lily do not rob the little violet
 of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.
 
 
 
 
 
 If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose,
spring would lose its loveliness.”
5 Reasons You Need to Prevent Work Depression (and How to Do it)
By Emily Johnson
Meant to Live Guest Writer

A work environment is a place where failures often happen. Developing communication with the employee, colleagues, and clients, taking challenging tasks, meeting rough deadlines are just a few reasons how people face the work depression.

Even if you believe that these failures don't play a big role, you'd better take a look at the list of reasons that prove: preventing the work depression is a must.

Top 5 Reasons:

1.The work depression reduces the work performance and you spend more time on doing even simple tasks.
2.It negatively affects your well-being and you feel sad.
3.It causes insomnia which is bad for your health.
4.It provokes poor concentration.
5.It destroys your motivation and it's nearly impossible to achieve success in the career growth.

To stay competitive in your niche, win new clients, increase your income, and keep on moving toward achieving career goals, you need to learn how to prevent the work depression. Once you know how to fight it without making much effort, you can work using your potential.

If you're about to start fighting the work depression, pay attention to the infographic by OmniPapers below:

(image)
(image)

About the Author


Emily Johnson is a writer for OmniPapers and contributor for many sites on health and productivity. You can always find more works of hers on Twitter: @emilyjohnson322.


August Blahs

All the wild raspberries and wild blackberries have been picked.  The rewards for venturing out and sweating like a horse are different than they were a month ago.




August has always been my least favorite month.  As a kid, it was because school would be starting soon.  As an adult, it is because here in southern Michigan, August is the month most likely to offer conditions closely resembling an Amazon Rainforest. 





Still, there are some pleasant things about August.  Remove the bra, wring it out, step into the cool house and from the window, watch a doe and her twin fawns scrounging for apples.





Come to think of it, I haven't had that much moisture under my top since the peak of menopausal hot flashes.  Bah.  Let's return to some nice things about August.






Maybe the Lake Effect goes on vacation in August to rest up before snow time.





Snow is nice. 







Happy August everybody!


 
 
 
Nature walks can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression
 Those suffering from a mental illness shouldn’t have to just grin and bear it. There are many different options for treatment.

Prescriptions, alternative medicine, diet, exercise. Different treatments work for different people, and there is no right or wrong way to survive each day.

One proven (and free) treatment is just to walk outside. Studies have shown that interacting with nature can improve cognition for individuals with depression and that proximity to green space has been associated with lower levels of stress.

This is what Caitlin Renton of West Bloomfield does to combat her anxiety. 

(image)A few years ago, Renton began taking nature walks on a regular basis after she realized it helped her get through her week.

"Taking a stroll through the woods calms my nerves, even on trails I've walked a million times," she said.

Kensington Metropark, 4570 Huron River Parkway, Milford, is one of Renton's favorite getaways.

"It's so big, so there are always new places to explore and I never get sick of it. I love seeing the sandhill cranes that are always there because they're not afraid of people, and the chipmunks will eat right out of your hand," she said. 

"It calms me, being able to peacefully co-exist with the wild animals."

She said that animals, whether wild or pets, are wonderful therapy. 

"When an animal like a duck or goose acknowledges me without being afraid, it puts a smile on my face," she said. "And, when I'm having a bad day, my cats and dog always cheer me up. Without a doubt, they know when I'm upset and they try to make me feel better."

Here are some other health benefits associated with going outside, according to research: 
  • Improved attention span
  • Increased Vitamin D production
  • Lower heart rate
  • Boost in serotonin 
  • Improved sleep
So take a page from Renton's book, and get outside! 

"People who are suffering from anxiety could greatly benefit from taking nature walks because it can satisfy their curiosity and take their mind off things. Instead of nitpicking and obsessing over something that didn't go right, they might actually focus on the now."
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