The Truth About Raising Boys During The “#Timesup” & “#MeToo” Era

img_8284May is sexual assault awareness month. Here are some of my thoughts.

This is more than just a women’s issue. Women don’t come forward with sexual assaults or harassments because it’s just easier not to. We risk being completely vilified, shamed, blamed and judged by the clothes we wear, the alcohol we drink, by a flirtatious conversation we had or a bad choice we made in the past.

What we can do besides shout or angrily express our thoughts on the injustice is use this as an opportunity to start open and ongoing communication with our children about boundaries. It’s not enough just to educate our daughters not to get themselves into situations alone, to watch their drinks when they’re out at a party or club and why society would blame them for wearing a certain outfit etc. We also have to teach our son’s. As a mother of two boys I know this is important. I also know they receive mixed messages from girls. I’ve read their texts and messages myself. Some are aggressive and read like a paragraph from an adult magazine. Regardless, my boys are responsible for their behavior and choices.

Therefore, it’s not just one conversation we need to have. It starts when they are really young. When they’re in the playground interacting with the girls on the swings or in the sandbox. It continues with how the boys behave at recess, in gym class and at lunchtime, in high school, online, at the mall etc. I like to think I’ve been somewhat successful in this matter. As my boys were growing up every opportunity I had and still have I discuss with them boundaries and consent and what that meant and means at certain times in their life. From not getting physical when you want the toy she has, not snapping her preteen bra strap and not taking advantage of a girl who may have had too much to drink just to name a few examples. I’ve gone over countless scenarios to ask what they would do and what they should and shouldn’t do. I’ve also made sure they are very aware of what consent is. Maybe, sometimes in great, uncomfortable detail. Sometimes they’re embarrassed. And sometimes they don’t want to hear it.

As a woman I feel the need for them to be taught respect for these boundaries in a loving and detailed, specific manner continually and it’s my responsibility to do so. They know they can ask me anything too. As a mother I’m also educating them and protecting them from any situation they may find themselves in so they make the right choice to treat another human being kindly and respectfully. And of course, so they don’t end up facing a wrath of a court room or worse, the wrath of their mother. We need to educate our sons because this is not just a woman’s issue.

Mondays? Yeah or Nay?

Monday

And here I lay on a Sunday night anticipating another Monday. Another beginning. That’s what Monday’s represent to me. Fresh, new, exciting beginnings!

When you’re ready for a new adventure, you feel it deep down to your core! I’ve reached one of those milestone ages where most others are ready to slow down, Ready to retire but this new journey I’ve started has so many potential new chapters. It fills me with an indescribable feeling! I’m ecstatic and excited, I’m nervous yet strangely calm.

 They say everything happens for a reason. Maybe this time the reason was to push me to that something more I didn’t even know I needed! This is what’s thrusting me forward to pursue my dreams! This new outlook has actually caught me off guard! I wasn’t expecting to have these feelings! And just like that it’s time to start something new!!

I’m going to embrace this Monday coming to see what unchartered path lays before me and experience the magical ride this new beginning has in store! You’re never too old to start something new!!

Warning- Sensitive Truths Divulged!

I’ve actually been writing as long as I can remember and I saved most things I wrote. It sounds contradictory but even though I share a lot of my life on various social media platforms I am a private person. I will try to keep this brief. The below pic is a letter I wrote in 11th grade before my third and last failed suicide attempt. Only a few people know about this. I’m writing this blog today in hopes that it saves at least one person who reads this!

We’ve seen this week in the news strong, beautiful people with everything going for them take their lives. I’ve seen people react with shock and also sometimes with negative comments. Why would people with seemingly perfect lives who have all available resources to get help do this? You won’t understand unless you’ve been in their shoes. I have. What I can tell you is what people show you about themselves is only what they choose to show you. All of it is a mask, a facade, a character they cling to make it through the day.

The people in your life view you as strong. Able to survive the worse life can throw at you because to them it seems you have. You seem this way while feeling empty inside except for pain. It’s hard to explain and I’ll try my best but the pain is not just relentless and torturous in your mind but is also actual physical pain in your stomach, chest and throat. A heavy, crushing, suffocating ache. It’s as if you’re outside of yourself watching life happen to someone else. The torment is exhausting. It’s all you can do to get out of bed in the morning. But you do. You get up and get through each day until you can’t anymore. And that’s when you make that final choice.

Luckily, for me, this was another thing I was not good at.  I was young and didn’t really know what I was doing. That’s why my attempts failed. The last one in particular had me feeling even worse because I felt couldn’t even succeed at ending it! When I knew the house would be empty one night I took a bunch of sleeping pills and filled the bathtub up and got in. After I drifted off my toes linked up on the chain of the stopper and nudged it out enough that all the water eventually drained out. Hours later I woke up freezing, sick to my stomach with a pounding head ache. Something or some divine being was always making sure I was not successful. And with this crushing realization I knew that this was my life and I had to find a way to deal with the pain.  I know now of course, how fortunate I was.

Later the only time I mentioned this again to my mother was in a principal’s office while at a meeting to determine whether they’d allow me to switch high schools. I basically and as a matter-of-fact stated unemotionally “I can’t take it anymore, If I stay here I will kill myself”. And with that I started at a new school not knowing anyone there. And this was pivotal for me. Within the first few days I met a girl who would become a very important person in my life. I credit her for saving mine. That’s really all it took. One person reaching out to me, handing me that life line that started me on my journey of healing. It didn’t happen overnight. The pain manifested itself in different ways over the years with an eating disorder, drinking and some dabbling with drugs. Also, to be honest, sometimes even now my mind and voice will get those moments again but with wisdom and life experience I’ve been able to conquer that voice.

All these years later as I’m here writing this blog I’m listening to the beautiful sounds of my boys, the barking of my dog at the birds chirping on my window sill, feeling the cool rush of air from my vents and enjoying this warm sip of tea! It may not be perfect but I embrace every moment of life now and know how lucky I am!

We really don’t know what some people are going through. I know we all get busy with our own lives but Please every once in a while check up on your strong friends and family.

And if you’re reading this and are in pain, use me as an example. Please reach out to someone. It gets better. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER. I promise you!

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