Individual Tests/Challenges Make Us Stronger

In light of all that is going on in the modern world: Civil War and genocide in a number of countries, starvation and health epidemics in many others, acts of Nature with grand scale destruction and loss of homes and lives right here in America, and the never ending issue of AIDS and other life threatening illness i.e. cancer…all over the world…we still find time to ask, “Why me?” in regard to our individual Child Abuse. I’m pretty sure I know an answer that might make the abused look at his own abuse in a new light.   It is important to remember that during each of our stays here on Earth, we are constantly tested and challenged.  Abuse, of any type, is a test or challenge even though unwelcome.   Childhood abuse is not a disease for which there is no cure.  Rather, it calls for recognition and active participation in healing.  If we continue our own lives in any sort of dysfunction: excessive eating/ drinking or drug abuse, anxiety or depression, abuse of others, in any form…we continue the abuse and our abuser(s) win!   Instead think: “Why not me?”  We are still whole and alive, we are capable of healing and moving forward, we give ourselves honor and integrity, and most importantly… we are not defined by what has been done to us. Rather, we are what we have chosen to do for ourselves. The dysfunction need not be perpetuated to another generation… in any form.  I believe it was meant to stop with us. 

MySpace/ Facebook…when it’s used inappropriately!

     As an adult, I am neither conservative or prudish; that’s a given. Working with, and teaching, teens and college students for two decades has kept me “up” with what’s going on in our culture.   Perhaps, my caring and deep love for young people has given me an even stronger sense of moral and ethical… right and wrong. This is the future of America.  As the youth go and do…our country either prospers and flourishes or fails.   Sadly, many of the things I see put on the Internet by America’s Youth are either morally or ethically… just plain wrong!

     I often wonder how many of us would have become better people or have accomplished more with our lives if we had  “walked away” from things that were unhealthy.  There are so many things that are “unhealthy” for us, that I believe we are not even aware of the long term repercussions, until it’s too late to make corrections.  The Internet provides the new positive as well as the new unhealthy.

     For some of the best years of my life, I have taught young people.  Although it appeared that I was an English teacher/professor…what I really taught was about LIFE!  My message was not subtle; I am not a subtle person.  Life is hard and it requires a steady course to overcome our individual tests and limitations.  As of late, I am so angered and disappointed by what I see posted by so many young people on Facebook and MySpace.  What you put on today, you  own forever. Forever!

     Not only are things being said/done that can never be erased, (once it is on the Internet it can be “recalled” for eternity…I need to repeat that ), but there seems to be great delight in “shocking” the viewers/readers. You know, EVERYONE can see those postings, right?  Family, employers, teachers…everyone.   I see it as a call for help from young America.  It is desperation to be noticed…if only in a negative way.

     When a young person blatantly acts out in words/deeds…they are in trouble and need guidance.  I know this from experience and personal involvement.  Excessive drinking and drugs, posing nearly nude or in suggestive sexual positions, excessive self -mutilation (be it piercing or body art ), and words/deeds that hurt others are…never signs of a healthy young person.  When it is posted for the world to see you open yourself up to all kinds of future liability, criticism, and heartache.  Sadly, you are abusing yourself.  I can’t view it any other way.

     I get that all young people test and act out.  However, excessive testing and acting out and then “posting” it on line for the world to see… has dangerous and long lasting repercussions.  Even if your site is marked “private” one of your less scrupulous contacts has theirs wide-open for the world to see and read.  Your “privacy” is their fodder.  Duh!

     If you are someone with a healthy self-image, you don’t need approval or validation from anyone else as to how “cool” you are.  You give yourself honor and integrity by doing good things for yourself and giving generously to others.  Over drinking/ doing drugs, body parts with excessive art(?),  eating disorders (too much or too little food; it doesn’t matter), or beating up on others physically or verbally are just scabs on the wounds that will never heal. 

     Do something that you can be proud of and then post it on-line.  The world is watching. You will be pleased not only today, but five and ten years from now as well.  If you are in an unhealthy “space” it stops today.  If you need help, ask for it!  You have that choice.  Pretty amazing to be human.  However, do it so you can “face” your choices with pride down the road.

Sue Brown