Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Touching String

Earlier in the year Fox came out with a new series called "Touch", more-or-less about the links/connections between people. How the littlest of things we do that can effect others. Sort of a six degrees of separation thing. The episodes were great, though I am unsure how long the writers can keep that same "greatness".... only time will tell.
This has made me think about some of the things going on in my life and wondering what they mean, and the thought of maybe something "touching" happening, wherever, being related to something I may have done, makes that clich├ęd saying "everything happens for a reason" sit with me a little better.
I don't really need to know of any touching stories that may result from something I have done, but the idea is a nice one, and that idea alone is sometimes what keeps me going. But I do have a story that relates to this touching ripple effect.

Fall 2011 I put together a short story titled "Sweet Child" that I contributed to a Creative Review anthology, a book called Christmas Lites. You can view and purchase a copy here. Christmas Lites was put together to share stories of Christmas in an ebook format for troops overseas along with all sales going toward the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; a very worthy organization.
Creative Reviews is a group of authors and book readers/reviewers that is part of Good Reads. I became involved with this group though a friend I met on Twitter. I caught a tweet about this anthology one day and said that I'd like to get involved. I began following this person initially because she reviews books and I thought "I have a book", but the anthology became a priority instead.
Twitter was a form of Social Media I thought I would never get involved with, but obviously that changed; and it was a former co-worker that pointed me in that direction. The current organization I work for, One Voice Network, saw this individual doing a good majority of the work on her own before I started, including running the Twitter account. Since that time the organization has grown and I run the Twitter account now. When it was handed to me, this person, who has become a good, also suggested that I start my own personal account. As she was someone who lived, and lives, by social media, she showed me the ropes and how to connect with people of similar interests.

I obtained my job at One Voice Network in August of 2010; the first portion of that year I was unemployed after the hotel that I had worked at for seven years had closed down. I'm sure a lot of you can imagine or relate to the fact that being unemployed is a hard stint in life. With some work and the assistance of an Employment Service Provider I ended up getting an interview with the organization I'm at now.... I'm guessing you can all tell that the interview went well.
Being a quiet guy, someone who doesn't always manage to say the right things, and a person who is not considered to be spontaneous with the spoken word, it was in fact surprising that the interview went well. Not because I cannot handle interviews, but because (this is the funny/strange part) I was walking into a room in regards to an entirely different job. I can't tell you exactly what I was thinking before I walked in but I did not think I was going for a full time contracted position for an Administrative Coordinator. And I sure as hell did not know what or who One Voice Network was.

I got a great job, (which I love and want to continue doing) but it is a job I got through a mistake. miscommunication, a resume sent to the wrong place? I don't know, I don't much care. This mistake lead to gainful employment, which lead me to a good friend, which lead me to a great connection, which lead me to a worthy cause. And aside from a profit going toward that cause, who knows what, or who, those stories, or perhaps my story, may have influenced.
There are other things I've done because of this ?????  that I'm proud of, but I think this one is a pretty good illustration of "A Touching String".

Whether the string goes on would be somewhat interesting to learn about, but it doesn't really matter. Part of it went somewhere good. It makes me think that I'm where I belong........ but than again, I suppose if one is confident enough in themselves and happy, you are always where you belong.
I don't think too much about these "connections" or degrees of separation, but the thought of "A Touching String" or ripple effect like this (a blurry misstep leading to something of benefit) is an endearing one...... and we could all use more of those.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blurred Lines

The other day I was reading a story about some kid who got bullied right before he was to give an interview on being the victim of bullying.
At first I thought "what the hell?" During and after reading the story I felt a mix of emotions run through me; of course this was not the first, nor sadly will it most likely be the last, I read or hear of this kind of news. As I mulled things over I became more perplexed and concerned at the way this unfolded, the after effects, and the sad state in which things like this at large seem to be going.

Before I go on, you can read the story and see a video of that which I am referring to. Kid Gets Bullied Prior to TV Interview

So initially I was saddened to hear of yet another story pertaining to bullying. I was also dumbfounded yet again as to how stupid some kids are; doing this in front of a camera. (I'm sure we remember the not-so-bright teens who recorded verbally abusing a school bus monitor and then posting it to You Tube) It is also crazy, I thought, the real lack of caring or concern over the fact that an adult witness was right there.
Questions arose like, how are these kids being raised? and why are the school officials there saying that they will start investing this matter when the victim has been bullied before? or why is the school official smiling and saying casually how this happens at every school?

I know that kids can get out of hand because they are simply being kids, but this attitude of "kids will be kids" is getting out of hand as well I think. I then started wondering if bullying was not just a juvenile label for criminal assault; whether physical or verbal? I mean this reporter was a witness. Why is she not speaking with the Police? Oh that's right, it is a news story. Letting this thing play out in the school system makes for much better coverage. (sorry for being somewhat snarky.... but seriously)

Bullying I think will become worse as time goes on because others will see that there are no real consequences..... I mean, this kid, this victim, got suspended for defending himself. And unless some idiot decides to post his or her actions on You Tube, or a camera woman happens to be around, the problem can remain silent, hidden, disguised.

And this problem of these kinds of incidents being kept in the dark or ignored  or casually dismissed as "kids will be kids" only presents a bigger issue.

As someone with what is referred to as "an invisible disability" I can tell you from personal experience, and from listening to or reading about others, (people with acquired brain injury, bipolar, mental health issues, etc....) that there are quiet a few people who would rather these dark and "invisible" problems or secrets be kept under the carpet. Most often this is because these things are not understood and I think some people would rather them remain unseen or unheard when not understood.

These bullies may in fact have their own issues that need to be dealt with or helped along. Perhaps they have some form of illness or disability. Perhaps there are problems at home that make it hard for them to deal with everyday life. But than again, they could just be uncaring and evil. The point though is that these, or any, "investigations" into bad or odd behavior need to be taken more seriously and handled more efficiently. I am sure that they are sometimes, just not enough.

The days of black and white hats, or good and evil, are gone. The lines have become blurry. There are too many people in positions of power that are fine with the blurriness and that are leading others to not worry about, or focus on, correcting them. And the reason this bothers me so much, is because I have come into contact with and met individuals who are  EXTRA caring! Organizations, a lot of them, that exist with GREAT services! There are people who REALLY do want to make a difference! Yet so many of these dark stories still seem to surface.

Surfacing is great, but they need to properly be looked at and dealt with; not allowed to crawl back into the shadows. There is no reason for anyone, or anything, to be kept in the shadows.