C’mon Universal Translators!!!

A response to the responses regarding Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh…


In Star Trek, universal translators are devices that people could put on, so they could understand what someone was trying to convey in another language.

I think of the story of the farmer and the birds in the winter.  The birds were living in the barn.  They weren’t coming out for food.  So the farmer would go in and throw seed on the ground.  But the birds would fly to the rafters because they were afraid of the farmer, and the mice would come eat the seed.  The farmer wished he could be a bird and let the other birds know it was safe to come and eat the seed…

If only we could take the form of something that does not cause fear in others…

A more human example:  I was a member of CPARB (Citizen Police Advisory Review Board) for several years.  I did not know the vocabulary commonly used in the meetings, and one member would constantly roll their eyes and say: “I don’t understand.”  Another member was able to rephrase my statements so the eye-roller would understand (and say:  “Why doesn’t she just say that?” (I didn’t because I didn’t know the language.) But after three years of serving on the Board, I became the Chair, and was able to push for ways to help the Board be more relevant to the community.

Do you remember Remington Steele?

Third example, my response at the Sustainability Forum at Changemaker, when I sang part of a song as my response.  To me, as a teacher, it made sense…. to demonstrate my passion for water.  Some people got it.  Most didn’t.  And those who didn’t spoke out and said I was crazy.  Why?  Because we as humans are afraid of things we do not understand.  We have implicit biases and egos that do not allow us to acknowledge that we do not know what we do not know.

Implicit bias shapes our perspectives and clouds our vision.

In the case of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, people’s implicit biases are clouding their sight and understanding that both have memories and fears, and are doing the best that they can to verbalize them.

I think it is good that it is a public hearing.  I think that the media has the ability to provide the facts widespread, and to also pose questions to help our community #Think.

We should remember to reflect, adjust, and go again.

And yes, I know that is not “the way things work”, so perhaps it is time to change “the way we have been doing things”. It can be a slight degree, and that slight degree will lead us to a very different future point.  One that is healthier for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs.  Where we all have liberty and justice.


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.   Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.

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You Want The Truth? It’s Right Before Your Eyes

Ego Trumps Empathy: Safety Should Not Need To Be “Requested”


Several years ago, I started working on adding coercive control as a crime to Arizona statutes. I keep getting push-back or non-interest.

What “they” say:

  • “It already exists in another section” (when I looked, and we discussed, the clarifying statement was “family law lawyers know where to look”);
  • “Law enforcement CAN make an arrest”.

Here’s the reality:

  • I am still over 13k in debt to my family law lawyer who was 100% UNsuccessful in making things better;
  • The wrong people have been arrested (due to fear and gaslighting);
  • My boys and I have all engaged in self-harm practices to cope for many years; and just when we think things are getting better, it starts up again.

The Bill:

  • The draft is at http://www.feliciachew.com/dvssadvocacy;
  • Perpetrators and victims have reviewed the Bill;
  • Family law attorneys and attorneys for the defense have reviewed the Bill;
  • The Bill went up to the State Legislature, but there was not enough time to lobby for the bill, especially because this “route” does not fit with the “route” that the Coalition is taking.

Seeing a Pattern

  • People in control want to stay in control;
  • People are rock-brained, not flexible-brained;
  • People cannot look past their echo chambers;
  • People cannot suspend disbelief;
  • People would rather presume the guilty to be innocent, and the innocent to be lying about the alleged.

The strategies have been identified. Overt threats and intimidation are on the books as illegal.

  • Blackmail (with evidence);
  • Bruises, cuts, abrasions;
  • Other things that we can SEE.

The problem is that the UNseen strategies are hidden just beneath the surface, and no one wants to look there.

  • “Invasion of privacy”;
  • “Anyone can accuse anyone of a crime!”

Yes, those are all true.  And they have been true.  Look back historically:

  • The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
  • The Japanese internment camp
  • The murder of Vincent Chin

There are more, but people don’t want to see the truth.  They don’t want to get their hands dirty.  They want to shame and blame those who ask for reasonable requests — like safety in a courtroom.

This is why I am an advocate for the victim.  A victim can be the one who is being alleged as a perpetrator of a sex crime.  Take a minute to wrap your mind around that.

Fear is a powerful thing.  So, it is necessary to get out of the feeding frenzy, take a breath, relax your shoulders, jaw, brain… and allow logic to return.

Recognize that we are in low levels of crisis, because we know in our heart of hearts, that ego trumps empathy.  Perception is greater than intent.  And at any moment, we could be the accused.

Embrace the #Truth, and take time to Do the Right Thing.


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

Restorative Practices — You’re Doing It Wrong

http://www.ktva.com/story/39123509/anchorage-man-pleads-guilty-in-choking-sexual-assault-case


What are restorative practices?

Restorative Practices are practices that restore the community.

Practices.  Emphasis on the s. Plural.

A judgment is not restorative practices.

The Judge not taking the time to have detectives find the victim is not restorative practices.

There being no report (or indication) of the perpetrator being remorseful is not restorative practices.

The community feeling unresolved is not restorative practices.


Too often, something that is observed as “successful” becomes “unsuccessful” because the implementation is wrong (not poor — but wrong).

This realization can be perceived as an attack on someone’s ego.

You will know that if they start getting defensive.


Doing It Wrong: Tucson Unified School District #1. 

Things may have changed now, or may be changing now, but when I taught for TUSD from 2015-2017, they were doing it wrong.  I expressed my concerns to Superintendent Sanchez and Asst. Superintendent Morado.

Under the Unitary Status Plan, the District was ordered to be sure that they were not being discriminatory in their treatment of students of color (commonly interpreted as reducing the number of suspensions and expulsions of black male students).

That didn’t mean giving them a free pass.  That also didn’t mean simply transferring the student from one school to another, or suggesting that the school was the wrong school for the student.

However, that it was I witnessed at two sites, with two separate students.  Both students were black males.

Case #1

One student had difficulty, coming from a family who was unfamiliar with the cultural practices (being a recent immigrant).

Case #2

The other student had difficulty with authority, due to seeing his mother mistreated by law enforcement officers.


Explanations, Not Excuses; Root Cause, Not Symptoms

These are not excuses.  These are explanations.

The solutions are not quick and easy.  They involve building relationships, and looking past the symptoms to the root cause.

Case #1

This student was a refugee from the Conga.  He had arrived due to civil war (for lack of a better term).  There was conflict between the groups of people.

Groups.  Plural.

This student was more resistant to learning the English language.

There was another student in the class who spoke the same language.

Unknown to the school (initially), the two students were from opposite groups — the boy’s group had oppressed the girl’s group.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why things escalated, when the girl was directed to help the boy.

A little bit of outreach to those who work more closely with refugees in the community would have allowed for the avoidance of problems that resulted from this situation.

Case #2

The boy had seen his mother pulled from a car by law enforcement.  The reason is unimportant.  The trauma that mother and son experienced is the issue that needed to be addressed.

Did it ever happen?  Maybe there was an apology.  Maybe there was training with law enforcement.  Maybe there was conversation with the mother and son.

But the maybes don’t matter, if the trauma still exists.


Community Responsibility

The responsibility of the community is to provide accessible resources, and processes that provide opportunity for personal responsibility and accountability.


Things to Remember

1. Remember the example from the flock of migrating geese:  Take turns taking on the headwinds. Restorative practices vary in the length of time they take.  Allow different people to take the lead in offering support to the perpetrator, victim, and community.

2. Remember the example of Hem and Haw.  This is the story of two mice going through life, and wanting to make things better.  One moves quickly, while the other doesn’t:  Beware of complacency.

3. Remember the example of the old man and the actor in the church.  An old man and an actor read Psalm 23.  The actor performs a great theatrical reading and receives outward applause.  The old man recites the Psalm and moves others in their hearts: Be genuine.

4. Remember the example of the farmer and the birds.  In the winter, the farmer tries to feed the birds in the barn where they have sought refuge.  But every time he enters, they fly away, and the mice eat all of the seed he leaves.  People, like the birds, are afraid and do not trust those who might look different from them: Be humble.

5. Remember the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.  In the end, no one stayed to help him: Teach consequences.

6. Remember the fable by Arnold Lobel of the student and the thumbtacks.   He left them on all the seats.  The teacher went to visit the home, and there were thumbtacks all over the furniture!  Be empathetic.


Restorative practices have a history of being implemented wrong.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water; restorative practices work when they are implemented properly.


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

http://www.feliciachew.com

Co-Parenting with a Controlling Ex-Partner

There are many different ways to be when involved with someone who abuses control. The trick is to identify how to work with those individuals.

We instinctively and defensively do not want to work with them, and that is when we need to look ahead.


“Generational Sins”

Abusers make life really difficult for their victims.  If we looked back generationally, we might see patterns, and see that it is a generational problem.

We have to ask ourselves if we want our children to get caught in the generational cycle of abuse. They are watching and learning.

Our children should be aware of the wrongs that are going on, and we should teach our children right from wrong.

But in the end, we need to learn to co-exist, even with those who abuse power and control.


Learning to Cope

We need to be flexible brained.  We also need to have a process for when someone is abusing a process, or a person.

When someone is abusing their power it becomes necessary for someone to intervene.

All people are capable of change. It takes time. If individuals cannot safely do something, they should not be allowed to engage, until they can do it safely, and without taking away someone else’s liberties.

The system is a mess right now. It is necessary to identify the problems, and identify how we can live in the system, and potentially influence change, and to let go of what we cannot control, and what we cannot influence.


Coming to Terms

We cannot control our abusers. We can influence the Court. The Court can influence our abusers.   At this point, that is the best we can do.

Agreeing to conditions with our children’s other parent is difficult to swallow. We have to watch painfully as we see our children hurting. But until the system changes, the best we can do is put up processes to protect them, and to empower them.

It can take a long time.  For example, a parent refused to take the child to sports practices for  six years. Finally, after many years of building up the child, the child was able to speak up and the parent was able to agree to allow the child to participate in the sports practices.


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

“Pie, Felicia” Safe Space Project Proposal

Hello!

My name is Felicia Chew, and I am the owner of Felicia Chew Community Projects, located in Tucson, Arizona.  As a young woman, I was interested in operating a small business, just as my mother owned and operated her small business in Mountain View, California (Gini’s Beauty Salon).  I was Corresponding Secretary, Vice President, and member of Homestead High School’s Future Business Leaders of America.

However, I became a teacher, rather than a small business owner, and now after having a story to tell about my adventures of being a political candidate, a mom, a survivor of domestic violence, and an educator living in California, New Mexico, on the Zuni Indian Reservation, and in Arizona, I am back to my original dream of being a business leader in the community, with the ability to help our community have opportunity for success for all of our members.

I believe that each of us should be personally and socially responsible.  I have consciously chosen to operate as a for-profit business (giving back most of our revenue to community projects).  The business currently operates as a sole proprietorship, but we  recently began working with a Business Advisor at with the SBDC at Pima Community College, and learned about a new type of corporation (which we will be exploring with our Advisor).

I have a small team of community members who have been working (for free) to help our community.  As the owner of Felicia Chew Community Projects, I am working on the next step — having an income revenue to truly be able to employ community members.

To that end, I am seeking sponsors for “Pie, Felicia : Safe Space Project”, to help end systemic domestic violence. The project proposal is available at:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jQUz2M9gzs2dRQRAlGDuyC1qlL8WRbPUxy_UkbtufLU/edit?usp=drivesdk

We are currently seeking sponsors for covering the start-up costs of leasing the diner (located at 4520 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson, Arizona), and initial costs associated with operating the diner (utilities and maintenance).

Could you share this request with your family, friends, and colleagues, and commit to monthly contributions of $5 or more to help end systemic domestic violence?

Thanks for your time,

Felicia ❤
———–
Felicia Chew, Founder of Felicia Chew Community Projects

Call/Text 520.909.3888
www.feliciachew.com


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life; without each of us, our picture is incomplete. “

   

Republican? Asian? A woman?


Stop The Division Caused By Stereotypes :  Change The Way We Describe Others And Ourselves 


Advertisement emails that really bother me sound like:  “Republican leadership is putting our local parks on the chopping block.” I may get criticism from the PCDP for this post, but I think it is important to recognize the hate that this language perpetuates…

What if it said: “Chinese leadership is putting our local parks on the chopping block“, or “Female leadership is putting our local parks…” (I can hear the argument that “they” are not, and I understand that — keep reading…)

The statement above is from an email plea for donations, and the second paragraph in the email describes Mr. Trump’s decisions regarding some environmental issues.  The language of the email leads the reader to believe (subconsciously and implicitly) that ALL Republicans are against Parks.  My point in replacing the word “Republican” with other “identifying” people terms is that Mr. Trump does not represent ALL Republicans.

I understand that *some* members of the Democratic Party believe that the mission is to further *only* Democratic candidates; however, that is short-sighted. Today, more than ever, it is important to learn to be focused on issues, not party lines.


Snowballing and Systemic Failures

We cannot ignore, nor forget, the distress caused by domestic violence in 1 out of 4 women’s and 1 out of 7 men’s lives — violence that is witnessed by children, resulting in the children acting out — at home where the family is already stressed, and at schools where the teachers are already stressed.

The snowball effect compounded by the continued cycle of violence — and coupled with the current systems which address the symptoms more than the causes — result in more problems.

1280px-Cycle_of_Abuse


Local Solutions

How can we break the cycle?

  1. We can make a difference in our communities by getting to know our neighbors.  Say hello in the morning and say: “How are you?” After a while, the trust will build, and a conversation will begin.
  2. We can change the way we describe others. Instead of describing a neighbor as “the Asian lady who ran for City Council”, try saying “my neighbor with the two new kittens.” Yes, that means you need to know your neighbor, and that is my point!
  3. We can participate in neighborhood events (or we can host a neighborhood event!)

Event Listings

There are many sources that list local events.  Do a Google search of “local free events”, check Meet-Up and Craigslist.  Sign up for your city newsletter (contact your City Clerk’s office for more information).

Let’s get connected! Let’s build trust (safely and responsibly) in our communities.

NOTE: To build trust safely and responsibly, it requires conversation and courage:

  • Ask questions mindfully.  Remember that there is no shame in asking questions.  If someone tries to shame you for asking a question, simply say: “If I don’t ask, I don’t know.”
  • Listen to yourself.   If your “Spider Sense” is tingling, take a break.  Set your boundaries, and keep them.  There is no shame in keepimg boundaries.   If someone presses you on an issue, simply say: “No thanks.  I have to go.  I hope you have a good day.”
  • Be respectful, be kind.  Observation shows that people become upset when they feel like they have been disrespected.  Be respectful and kind.  For more tips on being kind, visit http://www.bensbells.org

Read more at http://www.feliciachew.com/blog and http://www.feliciachew.com/journey


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

Hope for Our Future

Friends,

This post is my hope for our future, and my concession to the fight to keep my name on the ballot for the Amphitheater School Board.  We are simply out of time, and out of money to continue the appeal process.  I write this post, in the same fashion that I encourage my students – to ask ourselves if what we say is Truthful, Honest, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind.

During my campaign, I worked to change current policy (a “common interpretation” of a State statute), process (trust in community demonstrated by collecting only an excess of 10% for margin of error), and the budget (spending less than $1000 on the campaign).  Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in the effort to change our systemically inequitable policies, processes, and use of budget to something more equitable:

The “common interpretation” and acceptance of the policy, processes, and use of budget proved to be stronger than Constitutional rights to liberty and justice for all.

To my opponents Mr. Kopec, Mr. Rabago, and Mr. Jurkowitz, well played.  Your understanding and use of the common interpretation of policies (the statutes that kept 105 individuals from having their signatures deemed valid), process (challenging an opponent’s signatures), and use of budget (over $3500 of private donations, and a cost to County taxpayers equal to Mr. Roads working overtime and at least two days of Mr. Jurkowitz’s worktime) were well played, and leading to your success.

To the 458 individuals who signed my nominating petitions (including myself and Mr. Kopec), my hope is that we will be able to go forth with the understanding that:

  1. Moving with vision and courage is difficult in our community;
  2. The work for making things better for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs is limited by the status quo; and
  3. We must continue to be like water, working towards smoothing the rough edges of policies and processes, while finding creative ways to finance projects in order to promote the blessings of liberty for each of us and all of us — for ourselves and our posterity.

I will continue to work, with the Projects of my small business, and venues in the community. The Vision for Equity for each of us and all of us continues.  I hope you will continue to believe. To learn more (and offer support), visit my website at http://www.feliciachew.com/enddv.

Viva! (la revolucion),
Felicia ❤ 🙂

Mama Bears and Systemic Inequity

I filed an appeal in the Arizona Supreme Court.  Kopec V Chew.  Case #CV-18-0248-AP/EL.  You can check it out at http://www.turbocourt.com (btw, I think it is pretty great that we can file online…. and I wonder when we will be able to sign City Council and School Board nominating petitions online?  Because that would balance out our inequitable system… of course, then we would need some better internet services in some areas of town — like mine — with a speed of “1”. And yes, people who have the “upperhand” would be against such “improvements”, because we would be leveling the playing field… helping to end systemic inequity, and from their viewpoint “taking away their power and control).

I am pretty sure I was given the short end of the stick, by going for it (filing with the Supreme Court), without an attorney (Note: I could have had an attorney in Superior Court… for $5000… which is two months’ pay for me, but a drop in the bucket for others). In fact, according to the document, it looks like Mr. Jurkowitz is my attorney — which could not be further from the truth, because he is arguing that the Superior Court’s judgment should be upheld.

Let’s dig a little deeper.  Mr. Jurkowitz is just doing his job.  At the top of the page is another name — Barbara LaWall.  I have spoken with Ms. LaWall on three occasions… riding down the elevator in the Legal Services Building, at an Arizona List meeting, on the sidewalk in front of the LSB… two were nothing more than a hello, but one was a conversation about how a young man was being held in jail for protecting his mother and young sister from his abusive father.  Her comment was something like that the young man had broken the law, so he should have to face the law.  While I agree, legalistically, and as my “lawful good” 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons character, I cannot help but think about the more human part of that comment.

I cannot help but think about how restorative practices and alternate methods for “handling” situations like the young man’s are necessary.  I cannot help but think of the day that I held a gun at one of my abusers.  I did not pull the trigger, but that was my tipping point.  The moment when I realized that I would no longer sit by idly while the abuse continued.

Friends, community members… we are facing systemic injustices daily — in crimes, in domestic violence, in schools, at work.

When 20% of our population struggles with making ends meet, then we have a problem.   Our public education systems should be empowering our community to be able to advocate for themselves, and support themselves.  Taking away the co-dependency on the current government structure is necessary… because the current structure is full of gaps, and works to protect the outdated job descriptions.

Times are changing, and policies should change.  Instead of banning cell phones from classrooms, we should be teaching our youth how to approrpiately use this technology.

Instead of silencing our youth, we should be listening to their creative ideas.

“Progress is slow,” they tell me and you.

I see people digging their heels in, because they are afraid.  And when they are afraid, they enter crisis.  They enter survival mode.  They respond with fight, flight, or freeze.

I get it.  I was there for a long time, and with my PTSD (self-diagnosed based on the description of PTSD, and mindful reflection on ny behaviors), I find myself faced with responding while in crisis… and not always coming across as being kind.  I am hypervigilant. I have a sense of urgency that others might not have.

I am validated by older women in the community, who have seen the complacency after the suffrage movement.  I am validated by other Asians and other minority groups.

I stand for the “underdog”. Stand WITH me.  Not in front of me.  Not behind me.  Not beside me.  But WITH me.  Stand for equity.  Stand for liberty.  Stand for justice.  Stand for ourselves and our posterity.


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

 

“Chew’s Puzzling Stances”

There was an article written about me, called “Chew’s puzzling stances”.   It is a great pun on my motto: “We are each a piece of the puzzle of life; without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

Interestingly enough, my “stances” are also puzzling in the adjectival sense, probably because of my personal and socio-cultural-economic experiences.

People don’t understand why I root for the underdog.

I root for the underdog because I know what it feels like to be the underdog.  I know what it feels like to be an outsider.  I know what it feels like to be helpless, and surrounded by people.

Personal Experiences : Helpless and Surrounded by People

Scenario One.  We were at a house party and I had an allergic reaction to wine.  I could feel my chest tightening up, I was having difficulty breathing, and no one noticed.

Scenario Two.  We were at a fast food restaurant, and my friend was ordering food.  My sons were chatting away.  I have always been friendly, and said hello to a man who was asking for food.  I shook his hand at the greeting.  He would not let go.  I was afraid to cause a scene.

Growing Up in Silicon Valley

I was born and raised in California, in a city called Sunnyvale, which is now the heart of Silicon Valley.  I took ballet and piano lessons starting at age 5, and was the youngest and only daughter in a family of five.  Mom immigrated when she was in her 20’s, and after marrying Dad, enrolled in English classes, taught at the local Chinese School, got her cosmetology license, owned a beauty salon, and then retired.  Dad immigrated when he was around 7 years old.  Granddad wanted him to take over the family laundry business, but Dad didn’t want to do that.  Dad went to UCBerkeley, became an aerospace engineer, and worked for one of the major aerospace companies, then retired.  My brothers and I were never in want of anything.  Mom volunteered at our elementary school, the whole family went to years of marching band performances, and ballet and piano recitals.  We knew that when we graduated from high school, we would be heading to college.

The Rebel

Stereotypical Chinese girls are quiet and well-behaved.  I was the rebel.  I was told that my mom watched the movie “The Joy Luck Club” (based on the book of the same title by Amy Tan), and when she saw the character of Jing-Mei (June), she exclaimed: “That’s just like Felicia!”

I was not quiet.  I was not well-behaved.  I talked back to my mother, used curse words (until I realized they made me angry and angrier, and some people would refuse to talk with me), and secretly dated boys when I was in high school.

I wanted to go to UCLA.  My parents wanted me to go to UCDavis.  I went to UCDavis.  My parents wanted me to become a pharmacist.   I wanted to become a CEO of a company and I enrolled in Economics.  That changed after I took my Statistics class. I changed to an English major, then eventually to an Individual Major (Asian-American Studies, based on the program at UCBerkeley).

I was pregnant during my last year at the University (secret dating problems), married at age 22 (my parents refused to come to my wedding), and worked a variety of odd jobs with the schools and the City,  before deciding to enroll in the Teaching Certification program at the University.  I became a teacher, and moved steadily into leadership roles, eventually becoming the District’s Alternative Education Interventions Coordinator, working with the students who were in danger of failing, mostly because of lack of skill and interest.  I implemented a series of “Back Door” classes, “tricking” students into learning Math, Reading, and Writing through Art, Music, and Games.

After that, I moved to the Zuni Indian Reservation, where my salary was around $17,000 annually, and included a two-bedroom flat in the teacherage, and meals during the school day.

From there, I moved into the Cibola National Forest, to help build a fortress for the end of days.

And from there, I moved to Tucson, where my current work is ending systemic domestic violence.

The million dollar question is “Why did I rebel?” What did I dislike so much that I had to go against my family’s wishes?

Guilt and shame

I wasn’t always a rebel.  But once I became a rebel, there was no turning back.

I have a long history of guilt and shame.

In Grade Four, I was at a friend’s sleepover.  When it came time to get out our sleeping bags and change, one of the girls made a big deal out of wearing a bra.  I remember asking: “You have to take your bra off when you sleep?” (I was not yet wearing a bra). And she sneered at me, and made a snarky comment.  I felt so embarrassed to have asked an innocent question.  I think it was the same way Stephen King’s Carrie felt when the students laughed at her for using a tampon to blot her lipstick.

In Grade Six, I was at a new school, and I had a huge crush on a boy, who we will call Donald.  Donald was the stereotypical cute boy with blond hair blue eyes and dimples.  He was well-liked.  This was the time when I started to hate myself…. because he was also racist.  He called me names like “Flat face” and asked pointed questions like: “Why are your eyes so slanty?”  I began to hate myself.  I wished I had blond hair, blue eyes,  a cute ski jump nose, and that I was named Linda.

In Grade Seven, I was at a friend’s house and we were hanging out in her parents’ room.  She said: “Oh, you have to leave now, my dad is getting out of the shower, and he’s going to be naked.” I said, “Aren’t you coming too?” She said: “No.  He’s my dad.  I see him naked all the time.”  I think my eyes got wide and I was super embarrassed.  Hindsight being 20/20, maybe she was embarrassed, too? We stopped hanging out a short time after that incident.

In Grade Eight, I invited a boy who I had a crush on to my birthday celebration.  He asked me if there would be cake and ice cream.  (Yes, I had been planning on having cake and ice cream). That was the same year that we sat next to each other in History class, and he would reach over, and grab my vagina, and ask if I had hair on my nipples.

Sex was taboo, and not talked about in my family.

So, when I was in Grade Nine, and a family friend’s son tried to have sex with me, I had a hard time telling my parents.  When I did, my mom decided that we would no longer spend time with that family.  I felt terrible.  I felt like it was my fault because I had “led him on” when he pulled the “I am stretching let me put my arm around you and on your breast” move, and I held his hand so it wouldn’t be on my breast.

And then, while in my senior high of high school, and my first year in college, I felt ashamed because I could not get good grades in my math and science classes.

And in my last year of college, I felt ashamed when my parents did not come to my wedding.

Understanding that “We do the best that we can do”

I was depressed.  I was suicidal.  A friend, and therapy found me.  Therapy helped.

Another friend suggested I take St. John’s wort.  I had been on the birth control pill and it made me feel terrible.  And, I believed there were naturopathic ways (non pill — especially prescription medicines).

I teach others to listen to their bodies.  Ask questions.  Find the root cause.  I have always done that, and continue to do that.

I have learned that pepople do the best that they can do.  They share the solutions that they know about.

“That they know about”.

What we know is limited by our personal experiences and our echo chambers.  This is why I share the information that I share.  I share ALL of it.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I have learned that if we do not prepare others for the bad and the ugly, they may feel as though they are facing the problems and challenges alone.  That is when they go into crisis mode.  And with crisis mode, the response is fight, flight, or freeze.

“Fight, Flight, or Freeze”

This is where I am selfish.  Whether another community member chooses fight, flight, or freeze, that choice will eventually affect me.  And quite frankly, I don’t want myself, my family, or my friends to be a casualty of war, like in Spike Lee’s “Menace to Society” (the image of the tricycle on its side with its wheel spinning after the drive by is ingrained in my memory.”)

“If Not Me, Then Who?”

The question in the 90’s for new teachers was “If not me, then who?” Some teachers have a problem with the question.  Not me.

If we do nothing, we become complacent.  When we become complacent, we become slothful.  When we become slothful, we eventually cease to exist.

Not pessimistic. Realistic.

Puzzled still?  Let’s have a cup of coffee or tea… or contact me through this website for a courageous conversation.

Remember: YOU are beautiful, intelligent, and amazing! #Truth


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”