Friday, October 29, 2010

It gets better*

I just had a conversation with my daughter; one of those big, meaningful conversations which I as a parent want so desperately to get just right, yet I have no idea what to say. So I pause, and I think, and I try to remember what it was like to be 9, when everything seemed so HUGE. When I had secrets, and fears, and no one to talk to about them; when I believe that betrayals, and mistakes, and bad feelings were forever. Then I open my mouth, and speak from my heart. Tonight I said something like this:

I remember what it was like to be 9. When you're a kid, or a teenager, everything is so big and every situation feels like it will last forever. Secrets feel huge, like their eating your insides. You feel like you have no one to talk to and that you have to handle everything yourself. Things can be so scary, and you worry about making mistakes all the time. One day you'll be in a situation where someone is doing something, or wants you to do something, that feels wrong, like a knot in your stomach. If that hasn't already happened, it will, many times throughout your life. In that moment you have to decide what to do. Do you go with your friends, or with what you know is right? It's really hard to do the right thing, sometimes it feels impossible, like you don't have any choice at all. But there is something you need to know: the only person you have to live with your whole life is yourself. Even though it feels like the end of the world if a friend is mad at you, or stops being your friend, it's not. It gets better. No bad situation or feeling is forever. I know it's hard, but I'm here to help. I don't want you to ever feel like you have to go it alone.

My daughter's know I was bullied in elementary school. We moved to the city when I was going into 5th grade, and my unpopular, uncool, country bumpkin self was the perfect target of the mean, popular girls. They put mean notes in my desk, pinched me and hit me when the teachers weren't looking, ripped up my jacket and bag in the coat room. They told all the other kids that if anyone played with me, they would be shunned by the popular girls. So pretty much no one did, except for one other girl who was equally unpopular. It was a year of hell, and I never told anyone. Why? I look back now and wonder why I thought I had to take care of it myself. Was I too ashamed to tell my parents? Did I think they would make it worse? Or were they just so distant that I didn't think they would care? I wonder why they didn't notice anything, why they didn't question and pry until the truth came out. Maybe they did and I just don't remember, maybe I just wasn't willing to tell. Whatever the case, it was awful, and I was alone, and I don't want my daughters to ever feel anything like that.

The ramifications of bullying exceed so far beyond the initial hazing. My bullies left off after a year, and I was even accepted into their clique for a little while. I went to sleepovers at their homes, hung out with them at school. Why they let me in I will probably never know, but I know why I went so gladly into my tormentors arms: I wanted friendship and I wanted to be part of the 'in' crowd. But even then I knew I wasn't really a part of the group. I was conditioned to see myself as a loser, a loner, and a freak. I was broken, and it was just the beginning.

I'll skip the teenage angst and melodrama, this is after all a sort-of family blog. Sufficed to say, I was miserable for many, many years during which ending it all seemed like a very attractive proposition. Thank God, I never went that far, and a long time later I began to realize that life had gotten better. I realized that if I had acted on those feelings back then, I would've prevented just as much good from happening as bad. I wouldn't have had all the wonderful experiences I've had; traveling in Europe, meeting my husband, having my children.

It gets better. It ALWAYS gets better. No matter how dark, how painful, or how devastating our experiences are, they always pass. I promise.

*I'm not trying to co-opt anything with this title, I just believe in the message. These three words, this phrase, say it all really. The rest is just filler.

Friday, October 15, 2010

And the winner is...

lucky number 19! Congratulations Alicia, you are the winner of Ellie's beautiful raindrop ring and earring set. I'll be contacting you to get your shipping details and you can expect to receive your gift sometime after Ellie returns from her conference in LA.

Thanks everyone for participating!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Holidays!

What?! She's talking about holidays?! It's October, is she nuts?!

Let me explain...

I had this idea last night while perusing the etsy shop of a friend. It seems like many people I know have been putting their creativity to work over and have opened online shops. So I decided that this year, I am going to do my best to do all my holiday shopping from friends. Granted, I can't fulfill all of my children's wishes this way, but parents, siblings, teachers and friends will be easy to shop for given the creativity and talent these ladies possess. And because I have a feeling their products will be in high demand come November & December, I decided to start early! Besides, the first day of Hanukkah is December 2nd, and that's right around the corner!

Then I thought, wouldn't it be great if we all tried to shop this way? Instead of heading for Walmart, Target or the mall this year, how about we all try to support our friends and loved ones in their creative endeavors? Hence, this post. I'd like to start a list of all the amazing, talented people we know and love. If you or one of your friends has a shop you'd like to share with us, please link to it in the comment section and I'll update this post to add the link here. Let's support each other and make this a unique holiday season!

To get us started, check out these fabulous ladies shops:

Shining Stones
- Gorgeous jewelry designs by Ellie

Poppy and Prue
- Adorable and affordable soy candles by Kate

Sassy Monsters - the cutest baby and kid clothes ever! Sweet, sassy, and well-made, these clothes in Cristina's shop are the bees knees.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Sorry about the spam title, I am just SO EXCITED about this and I couldn't resist! I am hosting my first ever giveaway, courtesy of the amazing Ellie from One Crafty Mother. I honestly can't remember when I discovered Ellie's blog but I know it was in the last year or so and since then it's been my crack. Kidding! Considering that a lot of Ellie's writing concerns her recovery from alcoholism that joke is in pretty bad taste, but in a way it's true. Ellie is a phenomenal writer. Her experiences and insights have so much to offer anyone, no matter what issues they have in their life. I've found a lot of inspiration from her writing, and from her jewelry! At least once a month I go to her store, Shining Stones just to ogle the pretties. So imagine how psyched I was when I received the honor of being able to giveaway TWO of her beautiful pieces right here to one of my lucky friends! See, aren't they gorgeous?!

So now you want to know how to win these pretties right? It's easy, just do one or more of the below to enter! The contest will run until October 15th when I will pick a winner user

1) Leave a comment with your email address below to let me know you'd like to be entered into the contest (use randomname AT provider DOT com to fool the spam bots)

2) Follow me using Google Friend Connect in the upper left hand corner of my blog, then leave a comment to let me know that you did so.

3) Follow Ellie at One Crafty Mother then leave a comment here to let me know that you did so.

4) Follow Ellie on Twitter : @onecraftyellie then leave me a comment to let me know you did so... but don't ask me how to do it cuz I've never been on Twitter.

5) "Like" Ellie's Facebook page One Crafty Mother and leave me a comment that you did.

6) Go to the shop Shining Stones and leave a comment letting me know your favorite piece with a link back to it. For every comment you leave you get another entry into the contest!

Remember not to nest your comments or they won't count! In addition, for the next two weeks until October 15th you can get a discount in Ellie's shop on any item! To take advantage of the 15% discount, go to Ellie's shop here: and select your item(s). At checkout, click on "other" for method of payment, and put the following promotional code in the message to seller: GIVEAWAY15. You will get a message saying "contact seller to arrange payment", but Ellie will contact you to set up a direct bill (at the discounted rate) via paypal, check or money order.

So go click! Shop! Comment! Enjoy!