Guest Post: One Youth’s Thoughts on Acceptance and Inclusion

Great post!

I am proud to share this post, which has been written my daughter. It is comprised of a series of paragraphs she wrote for her English class. She is a teenager and presents her perspectives on how we sometimes view kids who behave unexpectedly, as well as how we “do” inclusion. I believe her voice is important, and I wonder, when we are asking our youth their thoughts on education, are we remembering to ask their thoughts on inclusion? Because their answers just might surprise us. 


Author: Courtney Copeland

Fictional scenario

The room full of children screeching and yelling was deathly loud. Sadie sat still and emotionless. She could not focus. Her tiny legs started to bounce up and down as her eyes trailed around the black and white room. A room that was once full of colour. While her thoughts wandered from topic to topic, the prickling sensation in the…

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What Motivates Us?

When we discuss motivation, we usually express hurrying towards something that we desire. Maybe money motivates you. Perhaps it is fear or friendship. Security, pleasure, thrill, religion, passion…the list continues on endlessly.

However, most people think that more rewards will urge people to work harder. Strangely enough, that is not always the case. This fascinating video shows that.

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Forgiving the Unforgivable

Through my recovery, I have uncovered great anger and hurt at people throughout my life, even those that I love and trust. Addressing this has been important as has standing up for myself. Finally acknowledging the pain starts the healing process.

However, a new problem has set in as I have struggled to forgive. In my heart, I know that it would be the right choice and long to do it. The pain and anger continues to throb inside, however, as I still hold onto a seed of bitterness.

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What I Am, What I Am Not, What I Could Be

Ruth and me

My friend and me at her wedding

Today, my mother and I went to the baby shower of my best friend through high school. Since then, we have remained close at heart but taken very different paths. She did two years of mission work, finished college two Mays ago, married last November, and is now pregnant with a little girl. That is miles away from anything that I have experienced.

Going to Oxford proved to myself that I could accomplish great things. Now, I am more confident about my future. Although nothing is easy, the strength to go far and be a bright light is inside of me.

Balancing what I am, what I am not, and what I could be one day is difficult. Sometimes I wish that I was different and had a life more like my friend. Thus, this post is mostly a coping skill for me to practice learning to accept where I am and press forward with hope.

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No One has the Power to Break You

As you learn who you are, you can better surround yourself with friends who make you a better person, and that sometimes only happens when you disassemble old relationships. - Maggie Stiefvater

As you learn who you are, you can better surround yourself with friends who make you a better person, and that sometimes only happens when you disassemble old relationships. – Maggie Stiefvater

Agony fills me when I look back on some of the people in my past. Adults who shamed, girls who whispered just loud enough for me to hear, boys who snickered, and many other memories still haunt me. Mostly I blame myself for the unkind comments and thoughtless abandonment. After all, people only treated me how I deserved, right? The shy, naive, awkward girl had it coming to her because she had no idea how to survive in the real world.

However, traces of anger and bitterness reside deep inside of me, nearly invisible but poisoning everything they touch. The more that I ignore these feelings, the stronger they become. Guilt then  begins to set in which only adds to this toxicity.

For years, I stuffed down these emotions. Finally my therapy has allowed me to open up a bit about them and start to voice them aloud. The seemingly simple practice of announcing my hurt to others makes me feel like shackles are removed from my wrists. However, allowing the words to leave my mouth or even process in my brain throws me into the front lines of a war. When people say call themselves recovery warriors, they are not kidding!

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Can You Feel Beautiful and Have an Eating Disorder?

Can You Feel Beautiful and Have an Eating DisorderLately, thoughts have popped into my heads that fill me with confusion and guilt.  Just admitting to them here fills me with fear.  However, I am hoping that these moments are normal parts of recovery.  Hopefully being honest about them will help others with eating disorders and low self-esteem.

These thoughts focus on how I look.  Now that is a normal occurrence.  What makes these stand out is their more positive nature.  Instead of beating myself up for my weight or appearance, I find myself admiring or at least accepting how I look.  For a few moments, peace with my body fills me.  

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Becoming OK With Imperfection and Eating at Culvers

Little boy licking lips and thinking "I came, I conquered, I ate, I liked it!"

I came, I conquered, I ate, I enjoyed it!

If anything came out of the speech tournament yesterday, it was that I learned what not to do.  Next time, I will practice more and certainly not enter with a speech that is 12 minutes when you need to be under 10.  Also my speech on EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified) fit more into the informative category than the persuasive one.  My family and classmates tried to help me make the speech better, but I did not want to change what the speech team professor liked.  Now I realize that I should have listened to others as well as him.

Yet, despite going over on time and not doing very well, I am feeling ok about the tournament as a whole.  This was my first one, and I did not use a script.  Plus, just talking about such a difficult subject in front of strangers was a huge challenge.  Overall, I did fairly well if not perfect.

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Erasing Judgement

No Longer Special

We are all special causes. Albert Camus

Many times in my life, I have been judged.  Only wearing dresses and skirts made me too girly.  Being overweight proved that i lacked self-control.  Struggling socially shows that I only care about myself.  Answering questions in class makes me the teacher’s pet while struggling to take tests makes me an idiot.  Losing weight means that I am suddenly healthy.

All of these judgements, even positive ones, are hurtful.  I am sure that you can relate.  Everyone hates being judged.

But why then do we all do it?  No of us are exempt from it.  No matter how hard we try, preconceptions and labels are formed in our minds when we meet people.

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Surrendering a Dream

Surrendering a Dream

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. – Erma Bombeck

After sleeping less than six hours but spending that much time in classes, I dragged myself home yesterday and promptly spent the evening finishing homework.  I needed to get at least a week ahead of all of my classes.  That way I could handle my jobs, Toastmasters, editing the student newspaper, blogging daily, cooking weekly, walking at least once a day, and practicing for the show.  Normal college students juggle even more activities than me so I just needed to stop being a wimp and do it all.

Well, I have already reached my breaking point.  All of these activities along with being a full-time student who is determined to get As, commuting each day 1 1/2 hours, at least two weekly medical appointments, and being able to breathe proved to be too much.  So, I looked at all of my hopes for this semester once again.  My family and friends have all been telling me that I needed to let go of something.  Finally, I accepted this depressing fact and surrendered one of my dreams.

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Recovery in Media. #10. Penelope

Recovery in Media. #10. Penelope

Although cutesy, Penelope has important and uplifting messages about self-love, true beauty, and recovery.

10. Penelope 

I’ll admit it.  Every once in a while, I enjoy watching a sweet chick-flick.  Growing up reading fairy tales, I enjoy true love triumphing against all the odds.  Thus, Penelope seemed at first like just another cute movie.  However, there was more depth and healing in this heartwarming film than I had expected.  As I looked through my movie collection, I stopped at this one realizing that I should write about it for Media Monday.

Synopsis:  Confined to her house, Penelope interviews multiple aristocratic gentlemen in hopes for a husband.  However, once they see her, the potential spouses take off running.  Due to a curse placed on her family, Penelope has a pig nose and ears until someone from her own class loves her.  This routine continues on for years but her mother refuses to give up.  One day, however, a unique man named Max turns up.  Slowly the two of them form a bond.  Yet, after he sees her (and does not run away), he states that he cannot marry her.  Miserable, the young woman decides to run away and find her own future much to the horror of her controlling mother.  Both Penelope and Max learn to grow, heal, and find themselves.

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