Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Year is This Anyways?

Maybe I am naive.  Maybe my head is up my butt.  Maybe I live my life with blinders on.  But the conversation I had with Arissa on Sunday not only knocked the wind out of me but it brought tears to my eyes and left me shaking for hours.

Back story:  Arissa has a friend (I'll call her Kristy to make things anonymous and simple).  Kristy was in super like with a boy (another friend of hers and I'll call him Tom).  Tom asked Kristy to be his girlfriend and she accepted.  They were adorable together and Arissa was giddy about how cute they were; how much they really liked each other; how she was so happy for 2 great friends of hers.  Now, I should point out that we are talking about middle school here.  As parents we tend to discount middle school relationships but they are a big deal to the kids.  So I listened to Arissa gush about this couple, giggled at the couple name she came up with for them...etc, etc.

Sunday Arissa and I were at Walgreens and she mentioned that Kristy had broken up with Tom.  I asked "what?! why?!  I thought they were all in love and happy?"  She said they were.  But that Kristy's parents made her break up with him.  I asked if she wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend?  Arissa said that no, that wasn't why.  I asked "why then?".  I was in no way prepared for her reply.  The words she said stunned me into silence and instant tears sprang into my eyes.  What was her answer?  "because Tom is black."

I have had many many dealings with Kristy's mom through the years.  Our sons are the same age and have hung out several times; our daughters have cheered together a few times in the past and on the same squad the past 2 years.  The mom has always been super sweet; the type that never had a bad thing to say about people or situations; had her daughter miss cheer events for church activities; always in a cheery mood.   Basically, "good people" that never showed a hint of racism.

The boy, Tom, was Arissa's long time boyfriend.  He and Arissa remain terrific friends...he makes excellent grades, is a terrific athlete, has been chosen several years to speak at the Boys & Girls Club board meeting.  A good kid...respectful and kind.  Steven and I are very picky about who Arissa is allowed to be friends with and "date" and this boy passed all of our requirements with flying colors.

All that to say....this reaction coming from these people is a good part of my shock.  That and the fact that to my face she's always been so kind.  But her reaction to Tom shows how she really feels about us.  My family.  My husband.  My son.  My daughter.  She told Kristy that "those" people have a different "culture" and "customs".  "Those" people?  Are me.  I am outraged.  Outraged that they are teaching their child to be racist; outraged that they broke their own daughters heart by their ignorance; outraged for Tom; outraged for Arissa.

I have not publicly revealed the true identities of these people.  But if you are at a RMS game and see me nose to nose with a lady?  You can bet money that it's me losing my religion on her.  I will not seek her out.  I won't have to.  See, us "cheer moms" usually sit together.   Will I allow this evil woman to sit next to me and pretend everything is okay?  Will I allow this woman to speak to Arissa?  Will I allow this insanity to go unspoken?  Hell no.  I am well aware I will most likely not change her views (you can't fix stupid) but she will be aware just what I think of her.  Because I am one of "those" people...the kind that stands up for what is right.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dancing Queen

I took a hiatus from dance.  Time and money needed to go to other places so I've been out for several months.  Tonight classes resumed from Christmas break and I was there.  I'm back to tap & lyrical.  I was scared about how much I'd missed since being gone but luckily they hadn't started the dances for recital so I was no worse off than anyone else.

I am super super excited for the tap routine.  I love the song.  I love my moment with my Sara.  The costumes sound fun.  Now if I can get my feet to do what they are supposed to do.

I am less excited about the lyrical routine.  I think because a) I don't know the song and b) I haven't seen the costume.  I have zero clue what it looks like and if you know me, you know that what I am going to look like in an outfit is super high on my priority list.  I'm one of those people that if I don't feel like I look good in something then I don't feel good.  No matter who says what; my opinion never changes.

One thing that is different from last year....I will NOT stress out over it.  I will have fun.  I will do my best.  I will fight like hell not to compare myself to others.  I will be the best Anne I can be on that stage.  Something I learned from last year....just showing up is accomplishment enough.  Honestly, a few short years ago I wasn't sure I'd still be around.  And to be dancing?  My how far I've come.

I will tap my heart out.
I will let go and let the music move me through the lyrical routine.
I will dance.
I will have fun.
I will LIVE!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Something to Think About

I recently ran across this article and it struck a chord with me.

The #1 item listed is a phrase I was raised with.  It was often said by my mother, most likely more as a pep-talk to herself dealing with 3 girls and a husband who was out of town working more than he was home.  (I should note that *I* was of no cause for her stress.  It was all my sisters fault.  Me?  I'm the baby and never guilty of anything.  Ever.)

As I got older and life saddled me with a life threatening chronic illness, I tried to lean on the phrase.  It was my mantra for a long time.  Repeated often with every time I got knocked back down.  God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  God doesn't give us more than we can handle.

After a while though, it made me feel like I wasn't supposed to be scared or upset.  That I was supposed to take every punch life threw at me with joy...because it was God showing me I'm strong.  All it did was lead me to resent God.  Because honestly, I didn't want Him thinking I was strong.  I didn't want anymore trials.  I couldn't handle another blow.  I was done.  In more ways then one.

Years later, I learned the truth of this statement.  When I began making my way back to the Lord, a dear friend of mine and I were talking.  She shared with me that it's not God doesn't give us more than we can handle; but that God gives us the strength to get through it.  That He never leaves us.  Her simple words changed my whole outlook on what God is.

God doesn't give cancer because He thinks you are strong enough.  God doesn't cause innocent children to be gunned down in their classroom leaving their parents empty because they "can handle it".  What does God do?  He never leaves your side.  He gives you the strength and courage to wake up every day facing insurmountable odds.  He gives you peace, friends, and His word to carry you through.

My words to those facing crisis (big or small)...I pray for Gods strength to get you through; God will never leave you.  Trust Him.  He will show you the way.