There is always so much to write about. Every time I think I have a clear vision on what to say, something happens and I am off in another direction!
2013 has had a ambiguous beginning. As much as I would LOVE to say it was a start of a new year and new attitude...let's concentrate on being nicer, kinder and more accepting of differences, blah, blah, blah...well, it's just not happened the way I envisioned. The Master Gardener and I have "kinda" joked that we had neglected to take down our 2012 calendar in the bedroom, so our 2012 endless home repairs/costs would continue into 2013 until we did. Take the calendar down-Start a new (hopefully less costly) year.
I just took the calendar down yesterday and, call me crazy, but I am feeling better. We'll see. It's only been a day! :)
When I am writing here I try very hard to keep a positive, optimistic approach to life while at the same time accepting that positive and optimistic is not always going to be possible. It's tough to be positive when you step into the bottom floor of your home and realize it is filled with sewage. It's also tough to be positive when you read that the young boy, Hunter, passed away from his injuries of being hit by a motorist as he was riding his bike. It's also difficult to watch a very respected actress be personal and reveal a part of her that has never been seen on NATIONAL TELEVISION and read the nasty and hateful comments people had/have about it.
There is also a lot of "good" that have come out of these areas. In terms of my home, hey, I got a new carpet and good friends helped me paint (sorely needed in my home) and re-do my bathroom. It's not all done...yet..but it will be...maybe in 2020 :) Another plus, we met a fabulous handyman who has since helped us out of a few situations and we count him as a friend and "Handyman On Call"!!! Do not ever underestimate and good Handyman!! (If you'd like his info-let me know. He's fantastic!)
In terms of Hunter- I do not know the family, however, a few of my students know the family. It was/is devastating. I will not offer my opinion on where the fault for this should lie...that's part of my "privacy" area (which I will discuss below). However, the "good" that will come out of this is that the laws for hitting a pedestrian will be looked at very closely. Did you know if you hit a construction worker you are liable for a $10,000 and up to 14 years in prison? But hitting/causing the death of a pedestrian, the maximum penalty is $1,000 and 300 hours of community service. I think we can do better for our pedestrians.
Now on to the part of this that really set me off. I am talking about Jodie Foster. I have admired her since I was a child. I have seen most of her movies, followed her in the press and watched as she lived her life with as much privacy as she could. Going from a child star to a Yale graduate to an accomplished actress and director was not an easy feat and trying to keep her private life PRIVATE must have been just as hard. So, when she took to the stage at the Golden Globes Sunday night, I was SO looking forward to her speech in acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille award for achievement. Ms. Foster acknowledged her partner, children, friends and the fact that she is a private person and has strived for a normal life in an abnormal environment of show business. Her speech was touching and revealed a side of this woman that most people have never seen.
So, what's the problem, you ask? My problem is with all the people who feel the need to critique her speech. Did she come out or not? Why was she so negative and angry about her privacy issues? Why has it taken so long for her to acknowledge her homosexuality? Why on Earth would she ever count such a "terrible" person as Mel Gibson as a friend?
I have something to say to all of you.
Whether you are straight or LGBT you have no right to question anyone's privacy. Just because someone is in the spotlight there is no law that entitles you to know who the sperm donor was for her children. No one, and I mean NO ONE, has the right to choose anybody's friends for them. The right does not exist for you to force somebody to acknowledge their LGBT/Straight preference just because YOU think it's "good" for all people to come out. And whether you are a celebrity or not you have the right to privacy. (My views change slightly on this when it comes to our politicians because they are the ones making laws etc...so we should know which way they "lean". However, we don't need to know what kinds of vegetables these people like or what kind of medication their spouses are taking etc...But that's a whole other blog...)
I have read through many blogs/articles in the past couple days and it shocks me on how nasty and hateful people are about the whole "coming out" issue. Why should anybody but the specific person announce any kind of "coming out"? In the 1980's I saw so many people, good people, "outed" because of the HIV/Aids hysteria. Such a terrible, frightening time for all of my LGBT friends. At that time it was assumed if you were gay, you either (a) had HIV/Aids or (b) spread HIV/Aids by just "being". HIV/Aids was a "gay disease". And some very misguided people-straight and LGBT- thought (and still think apparently) that it is for the "good" to "out" any LGBT person. Reading the responses to Jodie Foster's speech made me realize that for some people not a lot has changed from the 1980's. If you are LGBT and you have not been afraid to voice this and embrace yourself fully and openly I applaud that. I have many, many people in my life who are gay. EVERYONE of them I value. I openly embrace Marriage Equality and LGBT Rights.
But you know what? That does not give me the right to force this "openness" on anyone else. If you want to keep your private life "private" (Ms. Foster), that is YOUR choice. None of you- gay, straight, out- have the right to criticize that decision. That is a private decision. Up to the individual person...NOT to someone else. So, lay off all the criticism about when she did/did not "come out". That's a private matter. That's someones CHOICE. And the last I checked we live in the United States of America whose very foundation is based on the freedom of choice.
So, where does this lead me in my "quest" for happiness and living a whole, productive and meaningful life? Well, it makes me think more about what is private and what is not. It makes me think about questions I ask people...are these intruding on their privacy? Do I go too far sometimes? I work with children. How do we teach our children about privacy, yet encourage open and honest communication? Some of our children are getting to the age where they are accessing the Internet more. How do we teach them what should be private? And then, how do we deal with people who knowingly (and unknowingly) intrude on our privacy? As an adult, what is the acceptable amount of information that should be "out there" about yourself? And how the information you decide is acceptable to be open and honest about affect other people in your life?
With the age if the internet, we all enjoy information at our fingertips! It's really very fantastic. I love the fact that I could not remember how to spell Cecil B. Demille and could immediately look it up on the internet. I absolutely LOVE that I am contructing my family tree and ancestry.com has TONS of info for me! When I was the age of the kids I teach going to the library was my "internet" (and I still have overdue book fines at the Solvay Public Library!!).
With all this information available through a click, we need to decide where to draw the line and communicate that effectively. And when we communicate that, we need to do that with kindness. I like to think most people do not realize they are being intrusive. I know I am one of those people. I also know a gentle reminder of privacy would be effective with me. You know that getting bees with honey thing :)
I know a lot of people who I know read my blogs. I appreciate that greatly! My blogs will be more frequent this year, as I am trying to prove to a major newspaper that I can blog consistently and acquire a following worthy of them picking up my blog for their publication. When you read this on the Patch, please leave me a comment. It will help me enormously in my quest. If you read this on my website a comment is also welcome. I look forward to posting some challenging and thought provoking pieces this year. I also look forward to keeping you up-to-date on The Quest (my 2013 name for this).
As always thank you for reading! Stay healthy! Eat well and Be happy!!!!