Perspective

This post is going to be a bit of a rant, so I’m warning you now! 🙂

Yesterday I had a group project for my Spanish class.  We did our presentation on the Chicago Public School system’s proposal to close 54 schools and 7 programs and then on the actual vote where they decided to close 48 elementary schools and 1 high school program.  These schools are located in low-income, violence plagued areas.

There is one girl in our class who is just a bit cocky, a bit of a know-it-all, but she’s not mean.  She just thinks she knows the majority of things in the world and gets on people’s nerves, but since she isn’t a cruel person, no one dislikes her.  For example, there is one professor that everyone rates with all 5’s on the end of the term evaluation, even students he has failed rate him that high because he is so enthusiastic, funny and just an over all great teacher.  She gives him 3s.

You just have to know the type of person she is to get why this story irks me so much.  After we presented, we were asked our opinions on the topic so my friend Melissa and I, who have very strong opinions on the Mayor of Chicago and these neighborhoods because we actually go there and see these places, answered first.  We both were talking about the corruption in the government, then flaws with the budget because you can never reallocate money because you won’t get it back next year since we have a punitive system and the fact that these areas are discriminated against.

So this other girl says it is also about how the schools are doing, which we mentioned several times in the presentation, and how it’s better if they close because then the kids can get better education elsewhere and if the entire neighborhood is bad, then it won’t make a difference how far they walk.  THEN she justified all of this by stating she worked in Cicero.  All I can say is -_________-

For those of you who don’t know, first of all the Chicago Public School system is literally a joke.  It is so hard to give any of these low-income schools funding and the education provided really gives these kids little to work with in the first place and Cicero is in Cook County so they fall under the same school system.  Cicero is also a lower-income area however it is not in the actually city, just in Cook County and there is a higher crime rate and gang problems there.

However, I would rather stand in the streets of Cicero in the middle of the night with a sign that says “shoot me” then go to some of these city neighborhoods at 5pm.  The crime is so much worse.  When I drive to Humboldt Park, I have to go through the residential part of the neighborhood of East Garfield and I don’t stop my car.   I blow stop signs because the men on the corners who are dealing drugs are terrifying and I’m not stopping near them (as a quick note, not everyone walking around these neighborhoods are drug dealers or gang member obviously, but you can tell a lot of the time by colors and how they act when a car pulls up).  Humboldt Park makes Cicero look like Naperville (for those who don’t know, Naperville is a high income suburb of Chicago.  It’s just beautiful, massive houses and a land of Audi’s, BMW’s, Mercedes and Country Clubs, lol.  I do recommend the downtown if you ever are in the area though.  The River Walk is beautiful).

Not only that, if these kids are going to a higher income school in the city, the will most likely be discriminated against and blamed if something goes wrong in the school.  That happens were I live, in the suburbs and that is for another blog and it will happen in the city as well.  You can even see it in movies such as the Freedom Writers (which I highly recommend).

She was not saying that to be mean and I understand that.  She just does not understand the level of violence these children must withstand.  They are literally fighting for their lives, the soldiers of Chicago.  It is frustrating to me when people speak as if they know these places when they have never been there.  It does matter the distance because that is 1 more block that these kids have to walk before being in a safer place which is their school.  That is one more block where they could be shot, mugged or inducted into a gang.  Also, each block as certain affiliations and if you have a family member in one gang but you are not involved and are forced to cross into the “rival’s” territory, you are a threat that is going to be targeted, or if you wear the wrong colors or are the wrong skin color.  Then there are different rules for different genders.

I’ll tell the story again of my boyfriend who has no affiliations with any gang and only hung out with friends in some of these neighborhoods.  He fell asleep against the window and that pushed his hat to one side and that side was the wrong side so a man on the street tried to kick the door of the car in and this was because his hat was slanted to one side.

Please think about what these kids go through.  In the streets there are gambling dice and needles and pipes for drugs, there are bottles of alcohol and bullet casings.  There are gang members and drugs dealers and dangers around every corner for these kids.  so if you think about your city because these areas exist in them all, please really think about what these kids who never asked for this have to go through just to live every day before you think you understand it.  Just take a minute to change your perspective.

♥ Meggie

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Love Letters to Yourself

Hello everyone!  I cannot wait to graduate college in 2 weeks so I can blog more!  I have a review on an amazing book I read for the WAR Chest Boutique Book Club, so I’ll post that soon.

This post is about a young woman I met through WAR.  She was at the Girl Rising movie event.  Her name is Jillie and she started Love Letters to Yourself.  She was going through a rough time in her life and wanted someone to write a love letter.  After thinking about this, she realized that eventually that letter would only be a temporary fix and she’d just end up wanting more and more letters so she wrote one to herself instead.  She realized the importance of self-love and that she was enough.  From there she started hosting self-love workshops, mostly for women.  Men can join as well, however since she is a woman she feels that she can better relate to women.

Now she has been given an opportunity to go down to Peru and take over a women’s empowerment program in the shanty towns that were decimated by floods over a decade ago.  Domestic and sexual violence are an everyday occurrence for these women.  Jillie is currently making a video for her fundraising!  She is amazing enough to let me help!

I went to one of her workshops and it was really amazing.  We had a small group of women, me and my friend, 2 moms with their daughters (13, 12 and 8) and one of the daughters friends (13).  Then another woman stumbled upon our group and decided to join us.  It was really beautiful and by the end women were crying, positive tears not sad ones. It was an area of no judgement.

I love this so much because to get out of my tough times, I wrote  a love letter to myself so it was meant to be that I met Jillie.  I opened up about my past of self harm and eat problems due to my level of anxiety and stress when I started college and I didn’t feel judged.  I talked about that because I wanted the girls there to know that you need to relax and just take life one step at a time.  I didn’t count my food and starve myself to lose weight, I did it because I could control food easily and I was upset when I started losing weight because I loved the way I looked.  I began self harming to numb the pain I felt.  My parents were always full of love but that didn’t help, so I wanted these girls to hear this from a peer rather than a mom.  All of these women were really amazing.

Another thing Jillie wants to do is create a book of love letters and have it published.  I’m contributing my love letter to her.  Think about what you love about yourself ladies and gentlemen!  Everyone is beautiful and amazing.  If you’d like to write a love letter and have it included in this book, email it to Jillie at loveletterstoyourself@gmail.com.  Don’t know how to write a love letter?  Check out Jillie’s blog by clicking hereYou can visit her Facebook here!

This is a beautiful movement and if you are in the Chicagoland area, we will hopefully have a big summer events soon!  When I say big, I mean massive 😉

I strongly urge everyone to take the time to write a love letter to themselves, even if it’s just for your eyes.  It is so liberating and beautiful.  If you would like, I’ll type up my love letter that I wrote recently and post it as a blog, just let me know in the comments! 🙂

♥,

Meggie

Your Choice

“It’s always easier to believe it’s impossible right? Because if it were possible, it would require complicity.”

This quote is from the movie La Historia Oficial, one I highly recommend.  This movie is about the Dirty War (La Guerra Sucia) of Argentina which happened in 1976.  This coup d’etat over threw Isabel Perón and General Videla took power.  From 1976-1983 over 30,000 people disappeared, vanished, gone.  Some women we taken while they were pregnant and their children were born while in captivity.  The babies were given to various military families, the children never knowing what happened to their birth parents, some of the parents were thrown out of planes into the ocean, tortured, raped and killed in horribly brutal ways, too brutal to even describe.  After the dictator was removed, the grandmothers of these missing children demanded that they receive justice and find their grandchildren.  So far they have located over 80.  This movie details the life of Gaby (a fictional character, but her story is details the events after la guerra), one of the disappeared children and how her mother slowly finds out that the father was part of the military cover up and the true origin of her daughter.  The movie is on Netflix and is subtitled in English so I highly recommend it.

This isn’t quite what today’s blog is about though.  This quote gave me chills when I first heard it.  Sometimes I worry that people, some not all, would rather choose to believe that something doesn’t exist because if it did and they did nothing about it, then they would be a part of it.

No matter how corny this saying is, be the change you want to see in the world!  One person makes a difference!  Look at the 3 young girls who were just rescued in Cleveland after being held captive for 10 years! 10 YEARS!  One man walked by and thought there was a domestic abuse problem and he STILL helped the woman get out.  What if her abuser was still there and attacked him or shot him or something like that?  He did one brave act and saved 3 girls and a baby that were held captive and abused in so many ways for 10 years of their lives!

That act just warms my heart so much!  However, I then read about a few brothels that were busted in Chicago, my home.  They contained trafficked girls, one was 14-year-old girl and men would line up outside of this house to be serviced.  There was a line of men and people were silent and those girls were being terrorized.

Going back to the example in Argentina.  The group of grandmothers gathered every Thursday in the Plaza de Mayo and walked in front of one of the capital building in Buenos Aries.  Several of the founders’ names were added to the list of disappeared people in Argentina.  They kept going and persisted and the group grew and grew.  Now, they have added clauses in the Constitution (I believe articles 7,8, and 11) about the right to know your identity, they have aided in the removal of 2 laws that pardoned the military personnel who were responsible for the Coup and those who committed the acts of torture and stole the children (Ley de Punto Final and Ley de Obediencia Debida) and they also pushed for the Truth Commission which published Nunca Más (No More), a report that is over 500 pages, detailing thousands of cases of torture from ’76-’83.  All of this started with 4 grandmothers walking around the Plaza demanding justice for their children and missing grandchildren.

So in just these examples we have 1 man who saved 3 girls and a baby from years of torture and 4 grandmothers who forced an entire country to never forget and sought justice for their families and others like them.  Then we have a case where no on reported anything and a brothel with trafficked children remain, every day being tortured, forced into sexual slavery.  Wouldn’t you rather be that 1 person making a phone call rather than 1 person that allows that act to happen?

Remember, you make a choice every day how you impact another person’s life.  You could be the rude person yelling a secretary for no reason other than she was the first person on the phone, making her want to cry.  You could be the negative in this world, the darkness that we see in society, no matter how small that is.  You don’t have to kill someone to make a negative impact in the world, all you have to do is be rude, mean and hurtful to someone you don’t know and in that moment of your anger or ignorance, you have just taken a little piece of that person away, no matter how small.  It doesn’t matter if he/she will be better tomorrow, YOU hurt them today and that is all on you.  Just because you don’t see the hurt, doesn’t mean it isn’t there and you have no idea how badly you hurt that person.

You could also be the positive in the world, the person who tells a stranger you like their shirt and watch their face light up.  The person who smiles at a stranger who looks upset.  The person who asks someone if they need help when they look like they are in trouble.  The person that brings little sparks into this world because if that is the choice we all make, the well will glow and burn eternal for the world to see!  We  will engulf this world in a flame that burns away every inch of blackness, every spot of infection which is the evil in this world.  I have no doubt of that.

This is your choice, so what will it be?

Heartbroken

Update: My boyfriend and I are fine, we just rarely fight and that’s why it’s so upsetting.  We argue as all couples do and we have our own flaws as everyone does.  Together we continue to better ourselves and become a much more cohesive unit where we support each other and grow together, loving each each other without fault.  Thank you to all of you who were so sweet and supportive. ♥

It’s so late right now but I just cannot sleep.  My boyfriend and I just had a massive fight and I honestly don’t know what to do right now.  I’m lost for thoughts I guess you could say, I just don’t know what to do.

We had an argument like normal couples do and it branched of to different topics and then we got on to the subject of his father.  We sometimes think about the future and marriage and children, nothing definite but we talk about it and his father is always one thing that worries me.   He has told me that his father has beaten him and his mother, that is one reason my boyfriend moved out when he was 12.  When he moved back in, he told me he would have to protect his mother from his father.  One time when his father went to physically assault my boyfriend and my boyfriend defended himself, his father call the police and my boyfriend was arrested.  Not only that, when his mother got very ill, so ill she was unable to go to work, his father was nowhere to be seen and my boyfriend had to take care of her and pay bills and do that all on his own.  When I first started dating him, he father didn’t even live with his mom, he would just come to raid the fridge sometime and I saw his father once and I have honestly never been more scared by any human being in my life.  His eyes were so cold and full of hate and rage, I have never seen anything like it before.  It’s also interesting, just a few days before my boyfriend was deported, his father suddenly comes back and give his little sister a puppy and moves back in and wants to make amends.  That is fishy and manipulative if you ask me.

We ended up talking about this and I said I don’t want him as a part of my life and if we have kids he won’t be allowed around them because if he can beat his own children, what’s going to stop him from beating ours?  and my boyfriend was furious!  He called me crazy and said I had mental issues for thinking like this.  Then he tried to compare what his father did to my family.  I have an aunt who has abused prescription meds in the past and literally all she did was sleep, she just slept through her 3 son’s lives.  One of her sons started doing pot, which I know people argue isn’t that bad, but I personally don’t agree with it.  My mom tried to help my aunt, but since nothing worked our family separated from theirs and I refused any contact with my cousin until he was clean, which was 5 years ago.

I did separate myself from my family because I saw the stress and hurt my own mom was feeling and some people you can’t help because they don’t want it.  I was so angry at how that affected my mother.  However, they never willingly tried to hurt someone! They never beat each other or anyone else.  They slept and I  know drug addiction is an awful thing, but most times (obviously unless you are operating vehicles or something like that) you just hurt yourself which is what my family did.  They never did anything physical or violent or verbally abuse to each other or anyone else.

I tried to explain, I tried to say why are you defending the man who beat your mother? Who beat you? Who threw you in jail, his own son!?  He just kept calling me crazy and signed offline and that was the last I heard from him.

I honestly don’t know what to do.  I understand it is his father and people, no matter what their family does, they don’t want to get rid of a family member, especially a mother or father, but I can’t knowingly put my children (if I ever have kids in the future) at risk by having them be around a man like that, not only that, I really don’t want to be around him myself because of how terrifying he was when I first saw him!  He just stood there, glaring at me and said nothing and I have never seen eyes that cold in my life.

The other part of this is why am I to accept a man who beat my boyfriend, a man I love with all of my heart!  It breaks my heart to know that he defends this man, the man who beat him and I don’t understand why, why would you defend someone who treated you like less than human?   My boyfriend is an INCREDIBLE man and never, no matter what he has done, deserves any such treatment and I cannot stand his father, not only for fear of my safety but for the fact that he hurt my boyfriend.

I don’t know what to do, I don’t even know if my boyfriend is ever going to talk to me again.  It’s scary knowing that he defends this though and I know that is because it’s his father, but he has no justification for it.  He just gets furious and calls me crazy or says I have mental issues and that really hurts me.  It’s not like we’re getting married any time in the near future, but the fact is that he almost condones this action of his father and that scares me almost more than his father.  I know he would never hurt me, but his idea of right and wrong is so different from mine because of the way he grew up, it’s concerning with this situation.

I don’t think I’m overreacting with my decision to not involve his father in my life because of his violence.  I just don’t know what to do, I really don’t.