Can You Drive Me Home?

I’ve recently finished watching 13 Reasons Why and it scared me. It terrified me.
I’m not sure I’m even in a place to write this blog. I have so many thoughts, opinions, feelings and I’m not sure that I’m able to spit it all out correctly.

If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s about a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who walks you through her decision to kill herself. She recorded 13 tapes, each containing a reason as to what led her to make this terrible choice. She mailed the tapes to someone to pass on to the people that are a ‘reason’ as to why she ended her life.

This show is not nice, it’s not pretty, it’s not relaxing. It’s vulgar, it’s raw, and it’s scary.
I wasn’t going to watch it because I’m easily swayed by a story and I feel for the characters (even if they’re not real) and a show can ruin my whole day. So I read the stats instead. Surely I could read the stats maybe a story or two and save some time. But the stats on suicide will overwhelm you. They will hurt you and break your heart. They will blow your mind and then confuse you. They will make you question what these people have gone through. They make you realize

Hannah Baker is real. You know a Hannah Baker.

My first thoughts were simple.
– Everyone plays a role in suicide, whether it’s helpful and just wasn’t enough or it’s harmful. The choices we make, the things we say, the actions we do will effect someone. If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it at all.
– 
Hannah was desperate for attention. We all are. We all want someone to love and notice us, but killing yourself will not help.
– What kind of world do we live in? Why are drugs, alcohol, self-harm, rape, sexism, and adults who don’t care normal for teens?

Thoughts
When I finished the show I could only think one thing, what are these parents doing? What are they doing! Where are they?
Bryce was left alone for days, weeks, maybe months at a time. Left in a mansion with alcohol everywhere and anywhere.
Justin was abused, kicked out of his home, and abandoned by his mother for a drunk.
Zach had his mother fight his own battles and hold his hand while being told he’s perfect and could never do anything wrong.
Courtney was always pressured to be perfect and nothing less.
Alex and Jessica called their father ‘sir’.
Jessica was also left home alone for weeks.
Tyler had a gun hiding in his room and his parents had no idea.

This show was just proof that children aren’t treated like children anymore. There is no separation and it causes so much confusion among them. I understand that teenagers are older than children, but they aren’t capable of being treated like adults. Because of this, they act “older”. They take on the stress, alcohol, drugs, etc. and feel as if they can do it all by themselves. They think they are indestructible.

It is too much.

What do they do now? Talk to someone? What if no one is there? What if the teachers in our education system say ‘not my kid, not my problem‘. They then are “forced to take the only way out” of this chaotic life that absent parents, disinterested teachers, and over independent selves have created.

Word of advice
Be there for your children, be there for your students, be there for your friends, just please, be there. Be present in their lives, issues, failures, struggles because if you are, you’ll be able to be there for their accomplishments, joys, milestones, and most importantly – the rest of their lives.

The next time someone asks for a drive home, take them up on the offer.
You might save a life.

To: My Teacher that Hurt Instead of Helped

Growing up, I have had my fair share of really good teachers and really bad teachers. I remember going home, and many times I would cry because school had been ‘awful’ that day. I just didn’t get it or I had too much work to do. I felt like I had been through it all. I had to fail to learn. I had to stress to learn how to manage time. I had to step out of comfort zone to expand my knowledge. I pushed through the “Brittany, you’re not sick, you’re going to school.” I pushed through my grades being 60, then 70, then 80, then 90. I got through it because I had my family, but also because in high school you have multiple teachers. If there was one I didn’t like, it usually worked out to having two or three that I loved (shout out to Mrs. Arsenault, Mrs. Steeves, Mr. Dominie, Mrs. Doucet). I started taking things I liked and was interested in and my whole opinion on education and the education system completely changed. School became important.

I went on to college and excelled. I loved every minute of it and “Brittany, you’re not sick, you’re going to school.” turned into “Brittany, you’re too sick, go home.” I wanted to know more, I wanted to be the best I could be in my field. I managed my time, I studied (which was never something I did in high school), I read the given texts, and I learned how to stay focused. That year at college, taking a program I was completely interested in, was my best schooling experience. Another shout out to Mrs. A and Miss Flynn who always made the program interesting and helped us through everything. I graduated with a 92 average and honestly have never felt so proud. I honestly believed in myself after 14 years of education.

As many as you know, time went on and I have moved and experienced a lot. One of which was Fleming College. Many ask why I attended because I already had a diploma in ECE, had many child care jobs, and at the time of attending school was working at a daycare. The simple answer is: I needed an Ontario ECE diploma to get the official ECE title here. I was not offended or felt like my previous education was a waste of time. I was excited to go back to school.

My first semester was great. Everything was okay and I had academic excellence. In my second semester, I really entered the ECE portion of the program (my GenEds were over) and met the teachers for the ECE program. Long story short, I quickly had a great hatred for the education system at Fleming. It’s hard to listen to a teacher who walks in and says “I have never gone over the material for this course so we’ll all have to learn as we go.” The whole semester was like this. I never knew what I was doing, even if I was prepared and had done what they asked me to do. Two out of three teachers weren’t totally unbearable. I had to take the saying “know your teacher” quite literal. I often found myself dumbing down my work for them to understand what I was saying. But the little girl who would do anything to miss school came back as I met my third teacher. She was awful. There is no other way to say it other than her classes were awful, her teaching style was horrendous, and she was the least understanding person I know.

She wouldn’t let me have my phone in class even after I explained my job situation.
All five people in my nanny family expect me to be there when there is a serious problem. I am the emergency contact for four of them. I need and want to be there if any single one of them gets hurt (which is a big probability with a mother who has ALS and one extremely accident prone little girl). But having my phone out, even though I was never on it, hurt my grade big time.

My work was ‘sloppy and unprofessional’.
This one hurt me because I have learned and perfected three different formats for writing papers. My high school English teacher, my college teacher, my university professor, and my comm teacher at Fleming told me I had nothing to worry about when it came to writing papers. But because I didn’t include pictures or a boarder on my title page, I included page numbers, and talked in the third person, my marks were awful on my papers. Who cares about the actual content of the paper though? Not my teacher.

Studying was actually pointless.
I stopped studying because it was a waste of my time and it never led to better marks or an understanding of my class. She would give us reviews to do (which took roughly 4 hours to complete) and, if we were lucky, one of those questions would be on the test. So I started using my own form of studying and studied everything. I went through PowerPoints and the textbook and made notes and studied. I finally felt confident going into a test. I came out with a 60 and never felt more deflated in my life. Studying was stressful because there was so much to go through and in the end gave me worse marks.

I spent thousands of dollars for nothing.
I understand that when you go to school you’re going to lose money. Paying for my tuition wasn’t a problem. It was going out and spending loads of money on craft supplies to make projects really nice to try and prove to this teacher that I cared about my education. After handing in these projects I would still get’feedback’ that ripped my heart out and made me go home and cry. And I would do it all over again the next week. After the Christmas break, I left my job at a daycare because they stated we “wouldn’t be able to work and go to school if we really wanted to succeed in this program”. I tried my hardest after the first couple weeks to really excell in placement (working at a daycare two days a week) so they could see that I am great for this position. I’ll admit, at first I am shy and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes at a daycare. The daycare I was at at the beginning of the school year took me a long time to get comfortable in. It wasn’t the staff or the system because they were all great, but it was the first daycare I worked at in Ontario and I was a little uneasy about it. I didn’t quite feel confident and that’s why I chose not to return. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone in placement. I observed the first day, and jumped right in the next day. I was singing songs to the kids, planning activities off of what they were interested, and almost immediately was put on the supply list. But again, the marks my host educator (the ECE teacher I was working with) gave me, and I’m not kidding when I say this, “must have just given me good marks because they didn’t care enough to mark me correctly. I [my ‘teacher’] have looked at these activities and in no way are they original or helping children learn.” After dealing with all this, I found out I didn’t even need to go to school like they told me I had to. Most provinces are united in their ECE materials and eduction. If I had gone to UNB, I would have been able to work as a RECE (Registered Early Childhood Educator) in a matter of weeks. But the lady I was in contact with, stated because I went to a private college back home, all I have to do is go into the College of ECE’s and write a test. If I pass, I’m a RECE in Ontario. Which I will do if I decide to leave my nanny job and stay in Ontario.

I can’t express the anger I have for Fleming. The whole school is completely unorganized, I constantly owed them money for whatever reason they could come up for, and they really broke my self-esteem after building it up for 14 years. Thankfully, my amazing support system said let it go, you’re better than this. So the one thing I learned from Fleming was:
I refuse to settle for an education system that is beating their students down, rather than helping them up and watching them succeed.

To: Pushy Parents

Something I hear on a regular basis is, “No way, I thought you were only fifteen or sixteen years old.” I am usually in no way offended by this compliment because, as everyone says, “I will be glad when I’m forty.” I have never had an issue with looking younger until I started my job. I am a nanny who looks after three beautiful girls that mean the world to me. I spend at least thirty-five hours a week with the girls and my job is full of pressures and responsibilities. If I mess up my job, I could impact one or all of their lives in a negative way and that is something that I would never be able to bare.

My girls have a hard life and they truck through it the best that they can. Their mother was diagnosed with the awful illness ALS and it takes a toll on her and them every day. Their father has a hard, full-time job an hour away from home and cannot be there within five minutes if he needs to be. Their grandmother is here visiting from Poland and they find it difficult to communicate with her; although, they are picking up on the new language. They have seven to ten people in and out of the house throughout the week who are either family or people to help out the family. Some times they sense craziness or confusion because they, at seven, five, and three years old, need to really step up and explain or help out these people who are so much older than themselves. These children have a hard life and I am proud of them for the way they handle everything so well.

I am twenty-one, living fifteen hours from my friends and family, and figuring out that bills are not always the easiest to pay. I am a big family and friends person and miss the people I grew up with every day. I work my hardest to keep myself busy and to pay for the things we are privileged to have. No matter how hard I try to make life smooth and have no hiccups, there are always surprises. Surprises are not always the easiest (or cheapest) to bounce back from so I work harder. When I cannot find a way to make things work my parents are always gracious to help out and be supportive in any way they can. It’s hard to ask for things whether it is, “Can I borrow some money until my next pay check?” or “Could you please do the dishes again?” when you don’t get to spend the time with them to show how grateful you are for the things they have done for you.

Some days are hardSome days the girls and I don’t connect or like each other all that much. Some days letting them cry it out is exactly what they need. Some days we try our hardest, but don’t succeed. Some days we fail.

I am okay with failure because it is how you learn and it is how you become stronger. What I’m not okay with is people stepping in on how I handle the girls. I can’t count the number of time people have stepped in and said something about what I’m doing. It’s incredibly hurtful to hear, “you really shouldn’t let her do that, what if she falls?” “People that age shouldn’t be having kids, they don’t even know how to make meals at that age anymore.” “You’re not handling this the right way.” “When people have children at your age, they’re not even really sure on what to do so it’s okay that you made a mistake.” It’s so degrading. I know the girls’ limits. I know what they can and cannot do and what they are very close to accomplishing. I know when to step in and I know the right way of doing so. I may not know how to make the best gourmet meal, but I know my girls. My girls and I have a strong relationship. We trust each other, we challenge each other, and we love each other.

What happened to a world where people step in and help instead of judge so quickly? I don’t need another remark on how I’m doing everything wrong because my years of experience with children, two years of ECE education, and year of being with this family will quickly prove you wrong. I don’t even need a compliment (although they are nice and get me through the extremely rude comments), but how about some understanding? What child is perfect 24/7? None, so remember how embarrassed you felt when your child dropped to the floor, screaming because you wouldn’t buy them yet another toy. Remember that feeling when you see a young child throwing a tantrum in public. Instead of thinking “Shame on her, she can’t even control her own kids.” Walk by and say, “You got this. This is only temporary.”

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT

 

I Can Adult

My parents have always taught my brother and I how to be independent. They coached us through things and were always there to help us when we didn’t know what we were doing. There were times we made our parents proud and were hard workers. There were also times we gave up and asked for more help than we needed, but I guess that’s pretty normal for children to do.
After moments like:
– My dad driving to Salisbury to check my car to make sure my lights were working,
– My mother sewing costumes or outfits for me,
– My dad being my safety blanket in Guatemala,
– My mom always going shopping with me an giving me an honest opinion,
– My dad sitting through all my dance/drama productions,
– My mom cleaning my room while I was away at camp,
– Both of them being my GPS until this day.
The thought what would I do without my mom or my dad always popped into my mind.

It popped into my mind so often that I was scared I couldn’t do things on my own. Was I able to figure out if my lights worked on their own? Was I able to fill out forms on my own? Was I able to provide for myself? I was 20 years old and I honestly couldn’t answer these questions. I hate change, but I wanted it. I wanted to know that I could be okay, so I decided to follow a dream that I’ve had for a while. I found a nanny job away from home and I left to see if I could do it. I will admit, there were ups and a lot of downs. There were times where I had no idea what I was doing, there were times I wanted to give up and go home, but there was also times where I didn’t want to change a thing. As crazy as this journey is, it is the experience where I have learned the absolute most.

I learned about my car. No, I’m no where’s near a genius with cars at all, but I know when to change my oil, how to open the hood of my car (I couldn’t figure it out for months because it’s harder than most, I promise.), fill my windshield wiper fluid, how to get my gas tank opened when it’s frozen shut, the whereabouts of a problem in my car, and if I don’t know the issue, I just go with a wheel barring issue because for some reason, I do not have luck with those.

I learned about houses. I’m starting to understand real estate and mortgages. I understand there is a crazy amount of things to look into when renting, buying, and selling a house. Again, I’m not a genius when it comes to this, but I actually understand the process of houses and paying bills. Who knew how much the channels you watch cost a month? I didn’t, but I do now.

I learned how to cook. Olive oil is my best friend and gets me out of sticky situations. I have memorized recipes, learned what goes together, and can build a meal without a recipe if need be. I know how to make the weirdest things like milk, salad dressing, fish (it’s only weird because I will never ever eat fish), pickle soup, vegan pancakes, and so much more. There are definitely times that I have called my mother to ask questions about what to do, but overall, I could definitely feed your kids.

And most importantly, I learned about myself. I learned what I believe, and that I’m incredibly lucky that my parents raised me and taught me the things they did. I learned how to stand up for myself. Controversy is my least favourite thing, so it was always easy for me to keep angry inside and let things go. When I went through the ridiculous Fleming experience (more on that later), I couldn’t just walk away. I couldn’t be disrespected and I wasn’t going to let one person ruin my passion. I needed to stand up for myself and what I believed in. The best thing that I learned about myself is that I can overcome my fear of being hurt and truly let someone in. I was never one to date or even look for a guy, but I finally opened that door and met the greatest guy that’s ever walked into my life, and for once, I’m excited to see where this goes.

This journey has been crazy, I have learned and I have loved. It will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m so thankful that I had this experience, but who knows, maybe it’s time for a new journey.

To all my friends and family back home,
Love always,
Britt

Likes

I love:

  • My family because they are always there for me and always will be.
  • My friends because they are all amazing and supportive.
  • Harley, the cutest dog ever.
  • My three favourite girls – Sarah, Allie, and Julie.
  • Music because it’s always been a part of my life and always gotten me through things.
  • Rainy days because I find them the most relaxing days ever.
  • Cyclone popsicles because they remind me of friends and summer.
  • Swedish Berries because who doesn’t like them.
  • Starry skies because they truly amaze me and remind me how big the world is.
  • Just nature in general is pretty cool…..
  • But I love hanging around the house, cuddled up in a blanket, watching my favourite show.
  • Walks with my dog.
  • When Jordan and I go out with Sarah, Allie, and Julie.
  • Going home for vacations.
  • Skating because it reminds me of when Jord stole my heart.
  • Hockey and baseball because who doesn’t?
  • Smoothies, they are absolutely delicious.
  • Kraft Dinner because it reminds me of my childhood.

Dear 5

I was really hoping that you’d turn out to be a taste of sweet love, but I wanted to write you a thank you letter for being such a lesson. Moving here was something impulsive, something scary, and something beautiful. I got to step out on my own and you caught me when I was getting really close to hitting the ground.

My momma always tells me that I see the best in people and you were definitely no exception. When you showed me around, laughed at my dumb blonde moments but answered me anyways, and complimented me you won me over quite easily. It wasn’t long before I liked you and started planning things to do and places to see with you. I wanted you to be by my side through the happy and the sad. I never wanted to leave you behind. Unfortunately, when you make plans and a schedule, it never really works out. I didn’t mean to hurt you or make you second guess our whole relationship. You were, and still are important to me. It breaks my heart that whenever I pass you, the smile you wear on your face, is no longer mine. Even though it hurts to say goodbye, I still thank you for every moment spent together. Please know that I wouldn’t take any of it back if I could.

I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for showing me what a relationship looks like when both people care. Thank you for the long stares that made me feel shy, for holding my hand while we went for drives, for introducing me to your family, and thank you for all the kisses that made every problem disappear. You took away my insecurities and made me a better person. You made me feel comfortable when my life was in total chaos. You made me smile when it really wasn’t easy to. I wish I could have done the same for you, and I wish I could have been just as good to you as you were to me. You made me feel cute and important, but there are much bigger things I would like to thank you for.

Because of you,
-I know what it’s like to feel important. You always listened to me, even if my problems were stupid and not something to worry about. And even though you wouldn’t do it in person, you took time to answer my questions when we were over. I appreciate the closure.
-I know what it’s like to be introduced to a family. Your family is all so sweet and it was honestly such a big deal that I got to meet them. I didn’t know how to tell you that it meant a lot. You’ve never done that kind of thing before so it made me feel incredibly special.
-I know what it’s like to be able to be silent, but feel comfortable. There were hours where we would just sit and watch a game and there never needed to be any talking.  I miss this the most because those were the times where I felt like we’d be doing this for a long time.
-I know what it’s like to feel like I’ve lost control. Everything was okay the day you decided to drop the bomb that you just didn’t feel the same way anymore, I honestly didn’t see it coming. I knew I was going to lose it all and there was nothing I could do about it.
-I know what it’s like to have a broken heart. This was the worst. I had to accept that we’d never go for McFlurries again, watch another game together, you would never try to convince me that orange was a good colour, we’d never go for car rides, I’d never get to hear you recite all the words to your new favourite song, or I’d never get to watch you light up when you told me how your game went again.
-I know what it’s like when I should be taking the advice I’ve given you all along. A couple days ago it hit me, I should never rely on someone to be my only source of happiness. You were my comfortability, you were always there, you were my memory of home, you were my happiness here. I never should have put that much pressure on you and I’m sorry I didn’t see that until now.
-I know what it’s like to have to pick myself up off the ground and not rely on you. I guess that’s hard to do when I’m in a town where the only things I know remind me of you. But after I realized I leaned on you, I knew I could no longer do that and the making of new memories has become much easier.
And I know what it’s like to move on and someday try again. I was scared to let go of the memories we had, but it’s like that cheesy quote says, “Sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.” So it’s time to say goodbye for now and do my own thing. In the end, I’m the independent girl my momma always taught me to be and the forgiving person my daddy always showed me to be, and I’ll be just fine.

After all this I hope you find someone amazing and I hope she makes you incredibly happy. But even as I write this final letter, and I don’t know if this makes me selfish, I hope that you keep my letters and some of these same thoughts still cross your mind.

Love always,
Britt

P.S. I still miss you

Repeat After Me

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I saw this picture on Twitter awhile ago and I just skipped over it because I “didn’t have time to read it”. It showed up in my newsfeed again the other day and I took the time to read it. At first I didn’t have any thought, I didn’t want some picture from Twitter to make me angry. As soon as I started scrolling passed it, I became frustrated. No one is telling you that you have to go to school, get a job, get married, have children, pay your taxes and bills, watch TV, listen to the news, or obey the law. No one is telling you you have to do any of these things.
-If you want to drop out of high school, heck even middle school, you can.
-If you don’t want to get a job and sleep all day, you can.
-If you don’t want to get married and want to keep to yourself, you can.
-If you and your spouse don’t want kids and want to sleep in until 11 on weekends, you can.
-If you don’t want to watch TV or listen to the news and want to go for a jog, you can.
-If you don’t want to pay your bills or taxes and want to lose everything, you can.
-If you don’t want to obey the law and end up and jail, you can.
If you still don’t think you are free I encourage you to keep reading because I would like to state a few things.

The opposite of being free is being bound, captive, imprisoned, trapped. If you are saying you aren’t free, you are claiming to be enslaved.

Last year 67 million primary-school-age children were denied the right to education. Those children now won’t learn the alphabet, how to count to 10 or higher, how to read, how hygiene can save their lives, or any life skills. We’re mad because we have to wake up at 7 and go to school when they don’t even complain about having to take care of their sick mother and their siblings. Are you still trapped? I could go on and give you stats about each of the topics listed, but you can read them yourself and become educated on your own because you have the ability to open a new tab and read articles.

The country has a way of running. No, not everything is perfect. There are more than 360 million people living in America and Canada, trying to figure out one system to help all 360 million+ people isn’t going to happen on the first try. These countries are still running a lot smoother than the third world countries out there. We were all taught that every action comes with a consequence. So don’t cry, make pictures, blog, or vlog complaining about the consequences that go with the action you chose.
-If you drop out of school, don’t expect a wide field of employment.
-If you don’t work, don’t expect a pay check.
-If you don’t get married, don’t expect to always have the same person waiting for you to get home.
-If you don’t have children, don’t expect to have a bundle of joy that will always fill you with joy.
-If you don’t watch TV or listen to the news, don’t expect to always be caught up on the latest news.
-If you don’t want to pay taxes or bills, don’t expect to have power next month.
-If you don’t obey the law, don’t expect to always have the comfort of your own bed.

Don’t complain that you’re enslaved.
You are not enslaved, you just aren’t aware of the easy life you’ve been given.

Fresh

It seems as though the world is becoming run down, old, and rotten. Things get old fast, nothing gets resolved, and we are constantly being pushed to do or buy something new. When do we slow down? Where do we get to hide away and take a serious look at what we’re doing with our lives? Why don’t we try something new that we like and not care what others think? We can’t and don’t do these things because there is no time or place to do so (or so we’ve been taught). But when we stop just for a minute, 60 seconds, a thought pops into our head. Something we want to do, something that is worth trying, something that’s fresh. When that 60 seconds is over our thought rots away just like the rest of these fresh ideas.

This is my fresh idea.

Writing. Sharing. Reading. Expressing. Becoming comfortable as me.

Love always,
Britt