Honesty is the Best Policy…

I’ve often been accused of being too opinionated or “negative” in my comments to others, and yet my own deep-rooted values, morals, and faith prevent me from sugar-coating any truth or fabricating any type of “feel-good” response that benefits neither myself nor the recipient of the response.  This tends to portray me as a bitter, prickly-pear cactus on many occasions, and sometimes results in hurt feelings rather than understanding of the origination of my comment.

I find it extremely difficult to demonstrate tolerance or bite my tongue regarding behavior and/or comments that are clearly put forth without any reflection on common sense.  The “ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by (“common to”) nearly all people” and then “reasonably expect this behavior of nearly all people without any need for debate” has become as rare as the heavens raining fish and clearly headed towards a meeting with the Dodo Bird in the land of extinction.  Holding my tongue becomes even more difficult when stupidity permeates the actions of society in incidents ranging from a father KICKING his son down a skateboard ramp in an effort to teach him how to skateboard to Sharlene Simon, a 42-year-old woman, suing the family of a 16-year-old boy (Brandon Majewski) she “mowed down” in her SUV while he was riding home on his bicycle!  Her claim?  She “sustained serious and permanent injuries to important physical, mental, and psychological functions” and yet Brandon is DEAD!

When did it become acceptable by ANY measure to put aside common sense and so readily conform to the evils and wrongdoings of society?  When did we so eagerly choose to wipe “human” out of “humanity” and allow circumstances to push us along like a leaf caught in the current?  At what juncture did honesty become the exception to the rule, instead of the rule?  At what point did we, as a society, unanimously agree that honesty, integrity, accountability, and responsibility, ALL properties upon which our nation was founded, suddenly ceased to matter in our daily relationships with others?

As I gain wisdom with age, I often reflect back on my years as a teenager and can see how exasperated my parents were in their efforts to balance the upbringing of a cohesive family with the immorality of society.  I see their struggles through much wiser eyes and, intermixed with my own experiences of raising my children, realize that for all of the rules and structure that were placed upon the household, I would not have had it any other way.  The strict upbringing, in conjunction with the shunning of societal behaviors that were clearly detrimental then and continue to be detrimental now, positively formed the foundation of honesty and integrity through which I have succeeded.

In the end, when the chapters of my life come to a close, I will rest peacefully upon the knowledge that “honesty was always my best policy.”

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And What’s Wrong With That?

I’m often criticized for being too opinionated.  In my estimation, after 40+ years of life experience and lessons learned through trial and error, i believe I have earned the right to express my opinion.

I was raised in a large, blended, Mormon family and we led a relatively sheltered life.  Although not as extreme as the Mormon communities established in the southeastern United States, there were great expectations on the girls and being the oldest, that meant me.  While my brothers were expected to participate in learning the art of running the family machine shop or encouraged to engage in male-oriented school activities and clubs, I had very few friends (only two to be precise) and was rarely allowed to engage in sleepovers or pajama parties.  The outside world was strictly prohibited from entering the walls of my world, and I strongly rebelled against the structure through a series of run-away attempts by the time I was 13.  Eventually, I went to live with my Aunt Mary where I matured extremely fast given my new found freedom.  From that point in my life onward, I repeatedly found myself in situations rarely experienced by a teenager, much less an adult.

I was a teenage pregnancy statistic at 15; quit school and moved to “Sin City” (Las Vegas, Nevada) at 17; lived a real life “seedy underworld” existence for nearly a year; limped my way back home at 18; and gradually began to put the pieces of myself back together beginning with the completion of my GED in 1980.   Along the path to success, I have at one point or another been abandoned, betrayed, beaten and abused, used and then cast aside as garbage, and eventually valued and loved.

There are many emotional scars that were gained through the sacrifice of my childhood and at the expense of my innocence, and yet I have four beautiful children, my oldest daughter and I having been reunited through an online database for birth parents seeking their adopted children.  I successfully completed my education while working full-time and raising a family; I established my own business and became a respected source of information offering valuable services; I have a beautiful, modest home; and I am happily married.

I have survived life, earned my Badge of Courage and Medal of Honor, and established my right to express my opinion.  I have LIVED the topics on which I offer advice and speak from firsthand experience.  And like the Little Engine that Could,  “I can’t” are not words that exist in my vocabulary.  I perform repairs on vehicles, change tires, frame walls, hang drywall, paint, and undertake ANY other project for which I have a need to know.  I am a mother, an intelligent business woman, a professional, and yet on many occasions you will find me crocheting an afghan, drawing a picture, photographing nature, or watching a move with my family while surrounded by the pets I love dearly

I am opinionated.  And what’s wrong with that?  To be anything other than who I am, the individual into which life has molded me, would be dishonest and deceitful to those who know me and an absolute betrayal to the woman I am.