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I was raised to turn the other cheek when people are unkind, speak untruths, insult, demean when it’s directed at me.

I was raised to stand up for others, especially those who don’t have a voice, because it’s the right thing to do.

As an adult I learned to have enough respect for myself to stand up for myself when people are unkind, speak untruths, insult, demean and devalue me as an individual so that the treatment would stop, but I also don’t go around saying, “hey, so and so did this and that and they’re a hateful, awful, disgusting person and you need to treat them like garbage.”

Since getting out of high school I have rarely dealt with “mean girl” situations, and honestly I never dealt with it in school, and I never saw it. Yes, I’ve encountered “mean girls” in various work places, but they were insecure, small people who needed to be mean because they hated themselves so much and were so jealous of the people they were mistreating. Of course too there’s just the abusive personality who thrives on cruelty, and I’ve encountered some of them too.

My journey through life has made me a reader of people. That doesn’t mean I read everyone correctly and Lordy I’ve really misjudged a few people who didn’t deserve my time, energy or attention, but I choose to learn from those interactions and move on. Life has also taught me to cut the toxicity out of my life and move onto greener pastures.

Other than the occasional encounter, and sometimes the unfortunate family squabble, I thought I was moving farther away from the drama days. I really don’t like drama, but clearly I’m a magnet for dramatic people.

Recently I was speaking to a friend after cutting a very toxic individual from my life and she asked me what the common denominator was. I laughed and said of course it’s me, but I really don’t think I’m crazy or dramatic, and so I was trying to figure out why I’m such a magnet. I told her that it was going to sound very egotistical, but after a lot of soul searching I’d concluded that people are drawn to my intelligence, my tenacious spirit, my kindness, and so they relate to me in some way and draw me in. Once inside having tea and biscuits that’s when they show me the closet of severed heads and reveal their true personalities. That’s almost always when I cut and run, and in those situations where I haven’t, trust me, those people taught me to do so from now on.

Those experiences make me not want to trust, not want to let people in, but that’s not the right reaction. That’s a defensive action, but not an open hearted one of someone who wants to live a happy life.

Oddly enough I’ve had more drama in my life since becoming a public advocate. One would think parents rallying passionately around a cause would find kindred spirits and unite together to defeat Goliath, yet that’s not necessarily been the case. In this world I’ve been called the most hateful names, have had subversive actions taken against my efforts and have had total and complete strangers slander my name all on the word of someone else.

I don’t exist in a protective bubble where nothing gets back to me and so I both see and hear these things. I have screen shots, phone calls, text messages, emails, etc. reporting to me the things that are said, shared, texted and done opening my eyes to the egregious behavior taken out against me purely for no other reason than hatred of me. Bear in mind not a single one of these individuals has ever tried to talk though, or even argue through things with me, and since the majority are complete strangers to me, their weak natures make them the gullible pawns of other individuals and they’re too blind to see how weak they are to be so easily played.

It’s almost like they think by being mean to me that I’ll run away and cower in some hole and never show my face again, much less ever utter a sound again. What’s sad is the reason I raise my voice and exist on social media at all is because my child faced an incredible injustice, then I learned how many millions of children worldwide face the same injustice and I could not be quiet about it. By thinking I should cower under the abuse hurled at me by the fire engulfed cannon balls off of trebuchets, that means they think I shouldn’t speak up at all against injustice, and since that is the case then who does that serve? Certainly not the children and families I am trying to serve, certainly not the dyslexia movement, certainly not injustice. And that also begs the question, who gets to sit in judgment of who raises their voice for change?

Since that is the case then what does that say about those people who want to silence me? Don’t we as a movement need all voices? Don’t our children deserve every voice we can find, united in solidarity, to create change?

In five years of being immersed in this world of dyslexia all I’ve said is that this is about the children and we all need to be united, that this needs to be about educating and empowering each other, that this needs to be about each person denied the right to read regardless of any factor whatsoever.

Oh the list of names I could tell you that I’ve been called, the list of accusations hurled at me. My favorites were bitch, c**t, Trump loving POS, unethical, liar, devil, and since I don’t discuss politics or share my political affiliations the Trump loving POS comment was the most amusing.

I don’t judge people based on who they vote for or what they believe. I don’t believe the value of a person exists in their vote, but in their character. I realize that’s a radical notion these days, but I won’t abandon that belief.

So here’s the thing. I grew up loved, secure in that love, surrounded by people who helped me discover who I was at my core and fostered strength of character. I grew up with faith and through faith learned I was a creature of love, loved by God, forgiven for my sins, and that I must strive at all times to be kind, respectful and show others the spirit of Christ through my own actions and heart. Those were my blessings, my gifts, my privilege and it is my duty / responsibility / calling / honor to pay that forward to others.

Am I perfect? No. Do I get it wrong sometimes? Yes. Do I fail? Yup. Am I flawed? Absolutely.

I’m not listening to the naysayers, to those tearing at my flesh. Why? They don’t deserve it. A friend posted this today and it’s so true, “Why would you accept criticism from someone to whom you wouldn’t go to for advice? If you have concerns that their critique is valid, go for a reality check with someone you trust to tell it to you straight but otherwise, let that crap go.”

To the naysayers, I pray for you, but I also don’t care what you say or do. Your actions don’t impact me. Sadly you impact our community and the change we could all create together, because you can’t get out of the way of your own need to tear others down, but you don’t speak for me, for my child, nor for this movement at all. If you really cared about the dyslexia movement then you wouldn’t behave the way you do. When people tell me, show me, what you’ve done I just sigh and say yeah, not surprised, and then I move on. That’s the energy you get out of me, yet you spend endless energy trying to tear me down. It’s pathetic really.

So why did I spend the energy to write this? It’s more for those who hear the bs and ask me about it. It’s for the ones who question, to those to whom I find I need to explain that it doesn’t bother me.

So to those in this for the right reasons, which are the children, I’ll always have your back. United we stand, divided we will fail, and our children deserve better than our collective failure.




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