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Looks Like Rain

Disrespect for human life. It's not the subject I'm picking at, that is the political one.  It's deeper.  It's not of a religious conscience. It crosses all boundaries of race, religion, color, creed, genders, well you get the gig here. It is of a truth. A truth everyone says they want. I'm seeing it and have seen it as it's quite converse than what comes from you. Out of your mouths. Your actions.

What does rain have to do with it? It's philosophical.  Follow me if you wish. And when you do, if you have any conscience you will,  even just a little bit find fault with your thoughts of past and/or present. Yet I'm hoping, I affect your future thoughts and actions. Because by writing this I know I can.

How do I know this? My mother told me when I started writing now over fifty years ago. I used to hide my writing. Because I knew it, before she told me so when I was age eight.

Oh yes, I did listen to my mother. And I didn't talk back, at all. I walked away finally at age thirty-two. I walked away, quietly, politely with a letter. I did that out of respect. I knew I might never return. For I reckoned all had lost respect for me. And it's not like I did anything wrong. No, that wasn't it. It was the opposite. I was too kind. I was what they call a 'sucker'.

I'd rather be a 'sucker' than be a cruel human. I know I have the potential to be cruel.  But I also know to hold back, for any moment I could apply it in the correct direction. And I would be condemned. Because I'm no one special.

I will start here by saying, when you criticize, you push people or force people to do what you want them to do. Even though you know they want only peace. But yet, because of your own insecurities you make fun of them. Or you suck your teeth because you think that they try too hard. Or you 'think' they're not worthy of even vying for the same position you want. So you do everything to inhibit their performance,  their confidence, their self-image, exclude them. Then you talk about them behind their backs, making fun of them. And then after you've bullied them for a year, or two or three or maybe even more. Hint here: Yes, I'm speaking to those over the age of eleven. Yes, I said age eleven.

You then ask for their forgiveness and maybe even their friendship. And you blame your actions on feeling different. Well damn you. And I mean that.

I'll explain it. Even if they forgive you. Embrace you. You still effected them. You still stole something from them. Many times it is intangible. So, you the bully truly deserve the desolation and loneliness you've pounced on other people. That is truly how I feel.

Now I'll tell you why. Even if you think you've guessed it. I've begun to realize that all my life I've worked on acquiescence. Acquiescing the bullies. Even what I call the temporary bullies. No I'm not a Saint. I'm a fool. A fool for wanting to believe, if I just was kind enough, charitable enough. Perhaps quiet enough, we could all get along. But I know by my internal nature, that is not the truth.

Oh and by the way:  hurt people don't usually hurt people. You can dress your window for your bullied audience, thank you. But no, it's quite the converse. It's that those people who bully, they are insecure,  spoiled-rotten, and have not a caring attitude for others in the world, that creates the bully. As well, when someone role modeled it for you in anyway...You bought into it. Why? Because it was easier than what I've been trying to do. That's the truth. 

The truth is you lack discipline.  You're lazy.  You don't have the problems you think you have. I've witnessed worse problems.  Stood neck deep in a pile of them. Watched other people crawl out of their pile with a smile like mine. Staying kind, like I have. Why? Because we understand that we live in a parenthesis. And it does matter what we say, what we do, how we act towards others, and whether we care... about others.

I'll go further. When you know someone. Like you have their phone number. You've spoken to them not just once, but a few times. And you live and/or work within a town. You should do the correct thing and call them up to discuss any dilemma you may have with them or someone you both know mutually.

I'll tell you a story. It's not my first story. But its precise. When my oldest was in fourth grade.  Because she was different, she felt uncomfortable.  But she didn't want to tell me. She didn’t want to tell me she was being teased because she was different looking then most of her classmates and smarter than most.  She had no friends in town. For real. I find out one day in school a kid put their hands on her face and made fun of her ethnicity. What did I do? I'll tell you.

I called up the parent of the bully. Why, pray tell? It was diplomacy. It was tact. It was CLASS.  It may have been considered brave.  But it had to be done this way. Why? Many reasons. I knew that the kid, the bully would have been suspended from school.  I knew the mother had to work. And I didn't want to believe this kid got the idea from home. It was an underlying prejudice in our town. Yes. Our town. I decided who was not to be scarred that day.

For a few days the mother and I went back and forth with her kid in denial. I'm quite the patient soul. I pursued and kept quiet about the event.

Before the end of the week, the bully confessed. The mother was so astonished that I did not become angry. Why? Well, at that point in my life... a few people had told me I was viewed as an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. And to me for no reason. Other than I worked hard at multiple jobs, holding two careers, while being a mother and a wife. Since I had been in that position nearly all my life. So I kept a low profile, knowing not to trust anyone.

Why would that be? Because I was different.  They'd heard stories about me, perhaps.  But instead of having an inkling of understanding, I felt the the dirt kicked off their back heels in my direction. And I decided long ago, I would do my best not to do the same on an assumption or a gossip about someone else.

And this would not be the last time I called a parent privately for either of my 'different' looking children. Only once did a parent ever treat me horribly when I did so. A boy had put his hand on my youngest daughter in school. He had also teased her relentlessly for her looks and well, her kindness.  Yep. Truth be told. Unfortunately,  I had to go to the school.  Basically. They did practically nothing because by the time I'd found out what had gone on, it had been the second to last day of school. 

Three years later, I finally saw the man, The father of the boy who had harassed my youngest in fifth grade. Everyone seemed afraid of this man. Or at least my kids implied that he was someone to reckon with.

That day, as I stood in a crowded junior/senior high school cafeteria with my husband.  I then realized who the man was of the boy-bully. The man that had been so rude, dismissive, cruel on the phone that night three years before. Perhaps he was drunk that evening, when I had called to discuss his son's actions.

However,  this man now appeared small. Nothing like what people or my husband had described a few years before. 

I turned to my husband and queried, "That's ...?" My husband responded whispering,  "Yes. But he was so much bigger looking, last time I saw him."  I smiled like the cat that swallowed the canary and replied low toned back to my husband. "He sure is lucky I have a long fuse. What? He weighs like under 168lbs now? And you know I have the training and the ability to pick him up and slam his head into the ground." I remember at that moment my husband said, "Yes you do." I whispered back, "Aren't you glad I have a long fuse?" Oh the look on his face. Husband's raised brow, "He's lucky."

Now moving further into years that followed. There were despicable women who knew me well. A few decided to not be diplomatic. One in particular. She could've called me about something that wasn't true. Yet, she spread rumors on social media. On our town's social media site. And I witnessed others doing the same about other people's family and acquaintances as well. And most were wrong. However, smart men and the women who'd made it out of a sixth grade mentality and were parents.  Basically battled for us on social media. I said nothing.

I did what you do if you are a smart warrior. Actually, a smart Marine. I did the "Art of War". I stood back and watched enemies battle it out.  Hoping they'd show me who they really were.  And I went further.  I canceled the diplomatic line. Why? Because I'd become less of a fool. As they battled and they knew me well enough that my husband was dying. The now former friends and acquaintances stabbed us in the back.  But one thing I knew. That at some point and time they will meet up with Karma. Because I stood back. Annoyed, yes. Kept most thoughts inside. Some my kids heard. Others I waited till after my husband died. It was out of respect.  Oh and by the way, it looks like rain.---Jody-Lynn Reicher 


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