Category Archives: tolerance

When Religion and Tradition Collide…

I truly believe that most Christians do not have a clue about the origin of their religion. More over, I believe that most of them do not even remotely understand that Christmas has nothing at all to do with the birth of Christ. And Santa? Good old Santa has nothing at all to do with the Christian version of Christmas whatsoever. So, when a conversation like the following takes place, I often try to gently inform and educate while trying to understand that, no matter what I say, someone who has been made to understand one thing since they were a child is not likely to change their opinion regardless of how much sense someone else makes.

I had the following conversation on Facebook the other day and was curious what Blogger would think of it. Apparently, “Person A” was upset because of a recent ruling in Florida stating that all Christmas signs/decorations would not be adorning the toll booths along the highway, as has always been done in the past, because when Halloween decorations were put up this past October, many people complained that they were “offended” by them. They were offended because the decorations pushed the Pagan holiday of Halloween and it was an affront to those who are devout Christians.

NOTE: Names are redacted to protect the idiocy identity of the player involved. Also, random comments that contributed nothing to the main idea of the conversation were deleted in the interest of saving space.

Person A: I’m tired of hearing that people are offended about the word CHRISTMAS & when someone says MERRY CHRISTMAS to them! Well guess what, “TOUGH SHIT”, I don’t hear you complaining when you go on CHRISTMAS break or have OFF from work for this wonderful day. If you are offended–TO FRIGGEN BAD– I have to be sensitive to all your holidays, then be RESPECTFUL of MINE! MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friend of Person A: That’s awesome! You took the words right out of my mouth!

Person A: Thanks (Friend), I can’t take all the credit, my awesome cousin said it first but it is exactly what I was thinking!! Forget political correctness, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

CP: I get that…but then, you have to give equal time to ALL religions. There was no Happy Channukah signs up this past season either. That’s disrespectful to me…if you are going to just do Xmas but not MY holiday. I exist. I pay taxes just like you do…why does my holiday not matter? LOL I’m just kidding. I actually don’t care. People say merry xmas to me all the time and then I usually shoot back with Happy Hannukah to them. It makes people laugh. I put up a tree every year and call it a Hannukah bush. Truthfully, the safest thing to do so as not to offend is to place a sign that says “happy holidays” and leave it at that so whiny bitches don’t get all up in arms over it. However, it seems to me that most find “Happy Holidays” equally as offensive, like there is some secret crusade or conspiracy to eradicate Christmas which is ridiculous and untrue.

The Halloween thing, though…that was another story. And, to clarify, it was Christians and Catholics who did all the complaining! They were angry that a Pagan ritual based “holiday” was being shoved in their faces. So basically, all the people who celebrate xmas sort of shot themselves in the foot now with all the halloween complaining. LOL They did it to themselves.

Person A: I’m personally tired of tip toeing around, all this pc stuff is ridiculous! If I offend you with Merry Christmas then don’t say anything or say Happy whatever back! My holiday, what I grew up with was CHRISTMAS, I’m catholic and believe in the MAGIC of CHRISTMAS!! I have no problem going to the mall and seeing a dreidel or a Menorah and now even the kenorah, it does not offend me so why should a “CHRISTMAS TREE”, Santa or other Christmas symbols offend others, it’s just plain old crap!

CP: But that was my point. I’m a Jew, as you know. I don’t find “Merry Christmas” to be offensive. Not at all. My family has Catholics and Christians in it as well. However, it is important to realize that the people who complained about the Halloween decorations were the people who made it so that Xmas decorations are now offensive to others. Unfortunately, the people who complained about Halloween were devout Catholics and Christians who were angry about a Pagan holiday being shoved in their face. So, you see…if they hadn’t gotten offended over someone ELSE’S holiday, they would have their decorations up now for their own! It wasn’t Jews or Muslims who did this, Hon. It was YOUR OWN PEOPLE! I’m not trying to be offensive here or even attempting to point fingers, but what happened at the toll booths was done by hypocrites (which I am NOT NOT NOT accusing Catholics/Christians of being). What I am saying is that people who did not think about the big picture ended up cutting off their own nose to spite their face. They rallied against someone else’s holiday (Halloween) with such fervor that now their own politics are getting tossed back at them. That’s what happened here in Florida. As for why others find Christmas symbols offensive? I have no idea. But then again, I’m still trying to figure out how Santa has anything at all to do with the birth of Christ. Santa was born out of, coincidentally and oddly enough, Paganism…which makes all this entirely too ironic. LOL

Person A: So you are saying that the people who complained about the Halloween decorations are the reason that we can’t have Christmas (not Xmas please) decorations now? That makes no sense.

CP: Sure it does. The newspaper clearly stated that it was the Catholic Coalition for Keeping Christ in Christmas were the ones that sent the threatening letters to the Florida Highway Patrol regarding the Halloween decor on the toll booths being offensive. So, in order to please everyone, they made the only decision they really could make, which was to opt out of decorations altogether. It seemed like the appropriate decision to me. Kind of like kindergarten mentality. If you all can’t play nicely together, no one gets to play at all. It’s unfortunate but because of the radical behavior of some, no one gets holiday decorations now. Frankly, I don’t understand why there would be a specific holiday put on the toll booths ever. Happy Holidays is more than sufficient and easily runs the gamut of holidays between October and the New Year.

Person A: Ya but this is the Christmas season. Everyone celebrates the Christmas season even if they aren’t religious. Its a tradition thing not a religious thing.

CP: I disagree. There are about 4 other holidays that take place during the month of December that I can think of. There is Hannukah, the Muslim New Year, Kwanzaa, Christmas and probably a few more that I am not even aware of. Merry Christmas does not acknowledge those other religions at all. Second, Christmas decor would consist of Santa, reindeer, elves, etc. which are all steeped in Pagan tradition and originate via Pagan mythology. It was the fact that Florida state chose to use the Pagan originated holiday of Halloween to complain about in the first place. But now that we are discussing Christmas, they want Pagan symbolism to hang freely? That makes very little sense to me. Further, why only Christmas trees, Santas and the specific phrase of “Merry Christmas”? Why not menorah’s and kinara’s as well? Why wasn’t there a big banner across the booths that said “Happy Hannukah” during that week? It’s completely unfair to only acknowledge one religion during a holiday season that consists of more than just that one holiday. This is why a simple “Happy Holidays” banner would have been sufficient. My personal opinion is that NO holiday acknowledgment is warranted due to the fact that there should be separation between church and state. Those toll booths are paid for by MY tax dollars as well as yours. If we are going to reflect one religion, then all should be given equal time…but since the toll booths are run by state and federal government agencies, religious holiday acknowledgment in any form is inappropriate to begin with. So, my initial assessment stands. If the Catholic and Christian organizations who boycotted the toll booths at Halloween had thought about what they were doing…I mean, really thought their actions through, then they would have realized the simple fact that they did, indeed, do this to themselves. State government just opted to take the path of least resistance, which is to do away with the decorations altogether.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is where the conversation ended. I was “defriended” shortly after this. I gave her a few days to cool down and then wrote her a note telling her that I absolutely was not trying to offend her nor be offensive. She accepted my apology (though, I still don’t know exactly why I felt I should apologize. However, she is someone my daughter is associated with and I didn’t want to make things bizarre between she and my daughter) and continued to state that she felt I was mocking her religious beliefs. Now, I could have opened a brand new, fresh can of worms by telling her that the decorations in question have absolutely nothing to do with the religious aspect of what Christmas represents. I suppose that’s another story for another day. I shall save that one for the inevitable Easter vs. Passover debate.

What’s your take on the situation? Are you part of the “Leave Christ in Christmas” brigade that is easily offended when someone writes “Xmas”? Are you a “Happy Holidays” kind of person or do you feel the need to retaliate with a stern “Jesus is the reason for the season” reply to any who say that to you? Do you think that most people understand the origins of Christmas and/or Hannukah well enough to know that what I was saying was not necessarily offensive so much as it was an attempt to educate?

One thing that continues to make sense to me is the fact that after all this time, Jesus still has not come back. I mean, would you want to come back only to answer all these ridiculous theological and religious questions? I know I wouldn’t. He’s probably sitting back on some island somewhere, taking in the sun with a cold beer in one hand and the good book in the other saying “No shit. Really? Did I do that? I don’t remember saying THAT. Who wrote this crap? It had to be Luke. Maybe Matthew. No, wait. Paul. This has Paul written all over it, that damn prankster. When I get my hands on that little bitch, I am going to give him a piece of my mind, Dad dammit.”

Day 6 – Something You Hope You Never Have to Do


(This post brought to you by the word “Middy”, who publicly outed me on Facebook for not finishing up the 30 Days of Truth. Where does it say it has to be 30 CONSECUTIVE days, bitch? LMAO)

There’s a lot of things in my life that I hope I never have to do. Some of them are things I hope to never have to do…AGAIN. Bury a child. Return to drug rehab. Go back to nursing. Re-marry. Those are the things that come to mind immediately.

However, something I really hope I never have to do again is deal with my son being bullied in school. This blog post dropped off a couple of weeks ago after an incident at my sons school brought my flow as a writer to a crashing halt. In light of all the anti-bullying campaigns going on, I found myself smack in the middle of the controversy.

Apparently, my son was approached by a young lady in his school about smoking pot with her. He told her that he didn’t do that, told her that he thinks people who do are losers and left it at that. Should he have said that? Maybe not. No sense in making people feel bad about their personal decisions, but I was nevertheless proud to know that is his take on drug users. This in turn incensed the young lady.

Sometime around noon, she tapped my son on the shoulder. He had his back to her and when he turned to see who was tapping him, she proceeded to strike him, close fisted, right across his face. She left large, red welts across his cheek. As he was always taught, he did not retaliate with violence, but rather with a “What the Fuck, Lindsay?” She stormed off. He was sent to the clinic for some Tylenol and an ice pack for his face. At approximately 4pm, I received a call from the school telling me what happened. All the administrator said was that my son was involved in an altercation. She was not forthright with the details immediately, so I was incensed. The details were not coming out as fast and furiously as I wanted them to. Is he okay? Is he hurt? Is he safe? Where is he now? And…the all important, if this happened at lunch, WHY THE FUCK AM I FIRST HEARING ABOUT IT NOW??? To say I was livid is putting it in graciously mild terms.

The admin told me that the girl will be suspended, however, my sons “involvement” in the incident was going to be investigated. My sons involvement? He never touched her. Never laid a finger on her. What the HELL are you investigating my son for?? This girl is obviously a bully. According to my son, this isn’t the first time she has hit a boy in school, simply because “she can”. She knows they won’t retaliate.

Her reply to me was “We don’t understand how we can qualify this young lady who assaulted Nick as a bully. She’s in all honors classes!” *ROFL* Really? Because if you are a piece of shit who assaults other people, you can’t possibly be smart too? Well, hell…there goes my entire High School career! LOL

The first night it happened, I was enraged. I was literally pacing the floors wondering how I can get this girls address so I can beat her father to a pulp and claim “Well, I’m a girl. I can do what I want and get away with it.” I was so angry. Someone struck MY baby. My little boy. The child who I nursed back to health after open heart surgery and a time there that we weren’t sure he was going to make it back into the safety of my arms. MY baby. Who the FUCK are you to touch MY child? To make him feel unsafe? To harm him in any way whatsoever, simply because he opted not to conform to your drug use? Seething. I was literally seething. And what would be the aftermath? I told the administration that I intended to press charges of assault against the girl. When I told my son of my intentions, he begged me not to.

“It would ruin me in school, Mom,” he said. “Please don’t do it. It will ruin me.”

So here I am, caught between needing to do what is right to protect my son and my sons comfort and safety in the days that would follow thereafter. It was a confusing time for me, especially as I watched his facebook page, posting video after video of angry songs about kids being bullied. This obviously was affecting him deeper than he was letting on. And all I can think of was how angry I was. I am so angry. And Alone. And I want to hit something. I want to hit it so damn hard over and over again until it hurts as much as I do.

What to do next? What do you do?

I go to the girls facebook page and find that she has written in her “info” that she has bipolar disorder and anger management issues and that if you “fuck with her” expect to get “fucked with right back”. But, my son never did anything to her. He was a victim of abuse. For any of you who have read my blog for any length of time, you know I was the victim of abuse at the hands of a man who beat me relentlessly for years before I finally got away. I don’t tolerate it in my life any longer and I sure as fuck will not be standing for it in my childs life. Further, since when is bipolar disorder an acceptable excuse for bad behavior? Obviously this child does not have her parents involved in her life or they would see her facebook page, as I did, and be appalled by most of what was written there. I did print out a copy of her page and send it up to the school to show them what their precious “honor student” was capable of when left to her own devices.

Eventually, Nick was completely exonerated of any wrong doing at all. Opted not to press charges against this little piece of shit, but did let her parents know that I have six months in which to change my mind about that and a police report in my pocket. So, hopefully, they will keep their little mongrel on a leash from now on.

I hope, in the rest of my lifetime, I don’t have to do this again with my son. I hope that the rest of his school career is safe and nurturing. I never want to see that look of pain in his eyes ever again, nor do I ever want my level of anger to rise so high that I do something stupid in retaliation for a wrongdoing directed at any of my children or grandchildren.

If nothing else, it has only gotten me more involved in The Trevor Project, an organization that is seeking to stop bullying. Their agenda incorporates the bullying of gay teenagers to the point of suicide, but really, any child who is being bullied and threatened in school is encouraged to seek help before opting for the final act of suicide, simply because they just can no longer take the ridicule. Being different, whether it is because you are gay, you are fat, you are tall or you refuse to do drugs with your peers should not make you a pariah. People need to learn to respect that we are all different. We are all unique and everyone has a place in this world.

Bullies are small minded cowards with big mouths. Nothing more.

If you are being bullied in school or are the parent of a child who is being bullied, I encourage you to join in me in my endeavor to get out the word about The Trevor Project so that no more teenagers succumb to suicide due to being bullied in school. If you have an urgent emergency and need help, call The Trevor Project. That number is The Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).

In the interim, I must encourage you to take 15 minutes out of your life and watch the short film “Trevor”, the movie that inspired The Trevor Project. It is 15 minutes that will change your life and make you realize that yes, it DOES get better.

You may watch the movie in full HERE Please encourage your children to watch it as well.

Nine children in the past 6 weeks have killed themselves due to bullying. Those are nine beautiful lives that were full of potential and promise being snuffed out in the springtime of their lives. So much in store for them, so much lying ahead for them and now, they will never know.

We have to do better. We have to.

Day 5: Something You Hope to do With Your Life

This is going to sound so trivial. The answer came as quickly to me as the question did. What I hope to do with my life, I am already doing. In a lifetime, 44 years worth of drama, heartache, pain, suffering, highs and lows, etc., the only thing that I wished to be doing with my life right now is celebrating it.

That is precisely what I am doing.

For the first time in my life, I can look in a mirror and say “I’m happy”. Not just a little happy or happy with certain aspects of my life. No. Truly and legitimately happy with every single portion of my life right now.

Truth be known, I am one lucky bitch. I have a husband who absolutely adores me and lets me know this consistently through not only his words, but his actions as well. He is loyal, a hard worker, dedicated to his wife and kids, generous and above all, he is kind. Kind almost to a fault. He is the kind of man who buys a homeless person a sandwich on the street. He pulls over to give stranded motorists a boost even if he is running late for something. He calls 911 when he sees a car swerving all over the road and follows that car to make sure that no one is harmed until the police arrive and take over. He is a good soul. He makes an effort every single day to do something in the name of God and his family. He is truly a selfless human being and I am utterly honored and blessed to have him as a partner in life. My best friend in every single sense of the word.

My children. They are growing, thriving and are two of the most amazing young adults I have ever seen. My daughter is a fantastic mother, raising her two children under the age of two so adeptly and with such ease and grace. She makes it all look so easy, balancing her children with her responsibilities as a wife and a full time employee. Her husband has proven himself to be a good person and a very doting father. They just celebrated four years of marriage and seem to be happier now than ever before. My son. My son…my little musical prodigy, just began his first year of high school, leaving behind a football for his Les Paul. He is an individual through and through. He doesn’t take shit (like his mama) and he is thriving in school. He is polite, yet sarcastic. He is funny and articulate. And while he tries to act like he gives a shit about nothing (typical teenage boy AND he gets that from his mother as well), he is a caring, noble and honest person.

My grandchildren. Oy, the lights of my life. Sadie will be two years old soon. She drives everyone nuts with her independent attitude and her impatience. She is a diva in the making. Loves to climb, run, jump and do everything all the boys do. She is an absolute angel. Liam, my little chubster. The little man. Bubba Schwaz as we call him, much to my daughters chagrin. The most docile baby you will ever meet. Always happy. Just wants to be held all the time and loves to snuggle. The two of them are absolute blessings in my husband and my life.

My parents. God love ’em both. Esther and Harold. Both alive and kicking, driving each other crazy. They are insane, loud, boisterous, annoying…and I wouldn’t have them any other way. Dad turns 70 years old this year, a huge milestone for someone who was very ill once upon a time. I am grateful to have them in my life and to have them be as supportive as they are. I also am grateful to have Esther 1200 miles away. 😉

My home is large and inviting. My cars run. We have a savings that allows us to vacation once or twice a year. My husband makes a good enough living that it has allowed me to go back to school and work towards my Masters degree in Social Work. I want to work with addicts and also with GLBT and Questioning Youths. I am doing a lot of volunteer work with The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org), an organization that is working with gay and lesbian children and teens in the hopes of protecting them against bullying and taunting. With the recent rash of suicides that have taken place among this particular demographic, it is more important than ever to me to dive into my volunteering head first and make my education really count for something.

My dogs are fine and shit in my kitchen on a daily basis. My cats are wonderful.

Lastly, my friends. I have spent the past year weeding out the poison, carefully cultivating the garden so that only the most voluminous flowers will bloom there. Sure, there were some tricky spots along the way. I pulled a few weeds that were really flowers in disguise. I planted some gorgeous flowers that turned out to be venus fly traps. But now…now I think I’ve got it to where I need it. To where I want it. To where I can be the great big oak tree and be surrounded by the beautiful landscape of my carefully formed and nurtured friendships. This has been a year of surprises for sure. Those I would have never thought I could have trusted in a million years turned out to be ferociously loyal friends. Then, there were the friends that I thought I knew oh so well, who turned out to be nothing more than the fertilizer…the absolute SHIT in my field of beauty.

Regrets along the way for some missteps with a few of them? Certainly. But none so compelling that I feel the need to make further amends than I already did. One managed to surprise me…but what surprised me more was how little I ended up caring in the long run. As long as I have those who know me and love me, flaws and all, I am a-okay in my little world.

So, something I hope to do with my life? I’m doing it. I’m living it. I’m living it happily and I am living it well.

It was a long time coming.

Day 4 – Forgiving Someone Else…

Forgiving someone. Not as hard as forgiving yourself, but a challenge nevertheless. There are a few people I could put under this category. A perfect example would be my own father, who selfishly left my family behind only to succumb to a cocaine induced death back in 1986. I think I have made peace with that. He was a man-child, who never really wanted the ties of marriage to bind him let alone the children that came along with that commitment. I have let that one into my mind back and forth over many years and believe I have long since come to terms with the fact that the man lived the best way he knew how, fast and on the edge, and eventually died the same way. I have a lot of his traits only I feel I am stronger than he was and his death was an example to me of the road I could have taken had I not been more careful.

But, with this being Domestic Violence Awareness month, I carefully thought over the aspect of forgiveness. Some might be horrified by my choice, but for me, this just feels right. The person I am trying to forgive is Tony. If you are a long time reader of this blog, then you will know that Tony is the man I was with for 2 and a half years, who beat me within an inch of my life. It started with a slap in 1989 and ended with my being in the hospital in November of 1991, bleeding in my skull from a brain hemorrhage.

My story about Tony is told here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

For all these years, I couldn’t bring myself to feel anything but hatred for this man. Now, nearly 20 years later, all I can do is feel pity. Pity for him. Pity for the fact that he had such a hard and traumatic childhood that he felt the need to take it out on the flesh and bones of a woman he supposedly loved. When people would ask me “is there anyone in this world that you absolutely hate,” my answer would be Tony. Not even a pause. Not even a thought. It was something I had programmed my mouth to say.

Now I realize that hate is such a wasted emotion. I don’t hate him any longer. When I think of him, it is with sadness. Nothing more. I used to have deep-seated regret stemming from my time with him. Now, I feel he has done me some what of a service. He has made me a much stronger woman, knowing I am capable of living through a situation that others might have died in. He let me know that I am the type of mother who would protect her children at all costs, no matter how horrible the situation might be. He made me an activist, working diligently for rights of women everywhere. He made me rise above, showed me how powerful I actually am and what I am capable of when cornered.

To me, forgiving him is the ultimate. It is like forgiving the person who stole your child from you. He stole a huge portion of my life. Not just the two years that he beat and battered me, but many years to follow. All the years of self-loathing. All the years of physical pain from my various injuries. All the mental and emotional pain that had to be treated by doctors dumping various and sundry drugs down my throat to right my wronged brain.

But now, all that is gone for me. And I think, if I ever encountered him now, I would do so without fear. I would be able to look him in his eyes and where once upon a time I might have asked “why”, I find that that doesn’t really matter any more. I would be able to tell him that I forgive him. He was a child of abuse and neglect. He related to me the only way he knew how, with fists rather than words. It was his only way of having power in his life, the power that was stripped from him as a little boy. I understand that now. I can empathize with him…

and I believe with empathy comes forgiveness. And Tony, I forgive you. My nightmares about you are long gone and I wake up every morning with a huge smile on my face, knowing what an amazing life I have since created for myself. I hope somewhere in the world, you are living the same way and are released of the demons that caused you to brutalize the things you loved best in all the world.

I wish you peace. I hope you have found it.