Stand Up

Stand Up

I have always been an advocate of the underdog.  I have never liked situations that are unfair, or unequal or that are set up to do harm to others deliberately.  Name calling, bullying, unfair treatment of those that don’t have the resources to stand up for themselves.

By “resources”, I am not just talking about money. Some people do no have the physical resources, the intellectual resources, the political resources, or the emotional resources to deal with the life circumstances they find themselves in.

And they are being taken advantage of by the exploitation of countries, politicians, education systems, societal pressures and economic threats that push them to make decisions that are not in their best interests–just to serve the wants of the current power structure.

For those who do not know me, let me describe myself a little.  I am a woman, 4′ 11, 124 lbs.  Not large by any means.  As an empty nester, I have reached the beautiful age of 50, so I am not young, but also not old or infirm.  I am a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, and wife.  I am a teacher, a life long learner, an advocate of others. I am a very proud American of hispanic descent.

Those attributes make me stronger not weaker.  I have been attacked and bullied, mostly verbally, at times, because I do not conform to the waves of thought that go through this country from time to time in regards to women’s rights, education, work place politics, gender and ethnicity roles and the larger rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

What people fail to see in me and more importantly, in themselves, is the power they have in their own opinions.  No one has to believe what they are told if they can see something different with their own eyes.  No one has to take at face value that things are right if they feel in their gut that things are wrong. Yet they do, every day, and then are sorry whey they are manipulated, bullied, and taken advantage of.

Here is a list of examples we should all take a hard look at in our own lives and stand up for what we truly believe–whether you are right or wrong.  Find your compass, listen to your gut–not to the thousands of screaming heads we encounter in our daily lives:

  1. The “me too” mentality–we all encounter some sort of sexism in the world during our lives. All of us, at one time or another, men as well as women.  Pick a side, once and for all.  It is up to you–not to the person using sexism as a weapon or to the people around you that have an opinion about it–you. Decide if you want to be a victim and wallow in self pity, never moving forward in your life or decide if you want to stand up for yourself, own it and put it behind you.
  2. Our education system–our education system is broken, it has been for a long time but at the same time forms the backbone for developing our children’s ability to question, study, research and learn.  We cannot blame the system itself if people–you and me–do not stand up and either change it, or if we cannot, then use it for good.  As parents we have the responsibility and the right to teach our children MORE than what they are learning from their books and curriculums in school.  Decide if you want the current powers that be mold the minds of your children or if you want to take the responsibility of building the minds of your children to be critical thinkers.
  3. The wage disparity among men and women.  It may exist.  I don’t really know because I have been able to find and read research on both sides of this argument that sound credible.  Here is what I know.  We live in a wonderful country that lets us choose our line of work.  If you accept a job at a certain amount of compensation for certain duties then that is your choice.  If you feel that you are not being compensated fairly for your work because of your gender–then you have the choice to CHANGE YOUR JOB.  Decide what you want to do with your life and work hard at it, the money will come.
  4. The immigration issue.  I believe in the rights of the underdog.  I always have and I have often stood up for others that cannot stand up for themselves. But I have also always said and lived the fact that “if you are going to do something, do it right.”  There is always a right and wrong way of doing things.  The current immigration situation in our country is a problem of our own making.  We must take care of ourselves–our citizens–FIRST, before we attempt to help citizens of other countries that want to come here. It is the responsibility of other countries to take care of their people FIRST, if they are not doing that–IT IS NOT OUR FAULT or OUR RESPONSIBILITY to make up for their failures. Decide which side of the issue you are on.  If we ruin this country, we will no longer have the power to help the people of other countries.
  5. Our ethnicity and our responsibilities as Americans.  I am proud to be of hispanic descent. I am proud that I am bilingual.  But I am more proud that I am American–that I live in a country in which many cultures can live together and work towards a common goal:  keeping America a free, safe and prosperous nation. That comes first–ALWAYS–before any other consideration of cultural celebrations and traditions, language rights, or family loyalties from other countries. Decide if you really want to be American, and if you are willing to live up to the responsibilities of what that requires.  We all have a choice here.  Decide if you want to not just live in this country but be a PART of it–if not then decide where you would be happier and go there.

It is time to stand up! It is time to decide what you want for you and your family. There is no right or wrong in this decision. There is power in your thoughts and in how you want to live your life.  It is your choice.  Make it!

Don’t be the underdog, stand up for your convictions. Don’t play the victim, the only person that allows victimhood is yourself.  Don’t stop learning because someone told you this is all there is, there is always more. Don’t accept that others are telling you you don’t get paid what you deserve–work harder, Don’t allow others to call you names because you want to protect your country from the problems of the world, take care of your country and let others take care of theirs. Don’t let people view you as a part of a minority when you are in the majority as an American, you give them your POWER when you let them. The world is a beautiful place–Stand up and find your place in it.

Finding Our True Identity

Finding Our True Identity

This is the year of “finding myself”.  Many would say it is about time. Others might ask: “have you been lost?”  I think the concept of finding yourself is code for defining your true identity–at least for right now.

In the past–it was en vogue to go on an extended trip to Europe or go backpacking on some mountain to “find yourself”.  It has also been said that a person going through a major life change such as a divorce or a mid-life crisis is also “finding themselves.”

What I think is really happening is that we have come to a point in our lives when we make a decision.  A life changing decision that perhaps many around us do not understand, or approve of , and so we hide behind the “finding ourselves” cloak.

We all have a true identity.  The self we recognize that knows our hopes and dreams that we were very connected with as children. We are not lost–but we are buried under layers of expectations, responsibilities, and perceptions of who we should be, what we should do, how we should act and who we should become in relation to everyone else around us.

We have many times given up our true identity in order to fit the identifiers others place on us and define us with: so and so’s daughter, Mr. X’s wife, the children’s mother and the worst one of all– being defined by the job you do.

We can accept that we are all those things based on past decisions we made, but that is not the only definition of who we are. We can behave as responsible individuals while still finding fulfillment in the life we are living.

For example, being a parent is a decision.  Some may argue that the decision was made for them by a situation or circumstance–but it was at the very least a passive decision made by allowing someone else to make it for you.

Once that decision is made–responsibilities follow. It is how we handle those responsibilities that restore the identity you have of what a parent should be and how you see yourself in that role.

If you are true to your identity as a parent–even though you may make mistakes–that portion of your life will be fulfilling. And our identities are always evolving to meet the next challenge before us in that particular situation.

So in this year of finding myself–and if you are finding yourself–it really just means we are evolving. We are changing to meet the needs we identify with. I am sure you realize we are only changing those parts of our lives that are not fulfilling us–the parts that are draining us day by day.

And well we should for our own well being. For some that may be the toxic relationships in our lives. For others it may mean a change in diet and lifestyle. For many it means reevaluating their career choices. It can mean a great many things.

Finding your true identity is being comfortable in your own skin, living up to your values–even if they don’t match the values of those around you.

We must learn to be ourselves, our true selves and stop fighting against the “who” others want us to be. Ultimately it is our life–those that want to support that will be there for you. Those that don’t are probably out finding themselves too!

What I do know as I “find” myself is that it is never too late, each day gives us a renewed chance to make new decisions for ourselves that will lead to a different outcome and help us find our true identity.

What decisions are you currently struggling with that will help your life have more meaning? Where are you on your path to your true identity?

Share your thoughts below–and have fun with your search of your inner self! We have one beautiful, complicated life–LIVE it!