Rumour Has It…

That I have had a breakdown. Hmmm, I must admit that when I heard that, I just had to laugh. Granted, for those of you concerned enough, it was not at all funny but alarming enough for you to actually approach me and find out the truth, for yourselves. I would like to applause those of you for having enough respect for me, to come to me, rather than conforming to the peer pressure of Chinese whispers amongst yourselves.

gossiping

“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.”

As for the “breakdown” – it is absolutely and utterly untrue. IF there ever were one, it would have been before I founded the Tree House. There was a time when I was kicked whilst I was down but those who did not dare to look down on me – whilst I was down helped me back up again. After the Tree House was founded, there was another time when a good portion of my previous admin team tried to undermine, overpower me but I stood my ground, stood up (much to their horror hoping that I would stand by) and removed their flaws from damaging me, relatively the Tree House further. (A survival of the fittest of course) They still and will always try their best to damage it but that is their problem, therefore their waste of (negative) energy. These people are behind me, and so it should be the case, for you too.

I have now reached the stage where I do not need social media in my life – any longer. Social media has become quite the tool for sociopaths. It sucks people in, makes them mindless of others and sadly, the preciousness of face-to-face values is lost on most. If anything, the Tree House has been a lifeline to me for the past two years. I am oftentimes (albeit surprisingly) reminded that people can still be humane, respectful, kind, considerate, honest and genuine.

I do appreciate social media in the sense that it has reconnected me in the past, to long lost family and friends, for introducing me to some newfound friends that have brought laughter and tears to my heart. For reminding me, who not to be, who to steer clear of and just how twisted and bitter some people can be. That is not the way I wish to use my second chance at life – most people only get one chance and if they could turn back time and change certain aspects of their lives, they would. Thus, why, I am because I can. I have once again found the balance in my life in order for me to cherish life and social media is not part of that equation.

Look to the person next to you, to the cashier in the shops, to the stranger opposite you on public transport. Consider how they may be feeling or what they may be going through. They would love a friendly smile just as much as you do. Smell the freshly cut grass, cherish chocolate even – as a treat mind you! Strive to be righteous, honest and the best one can be. Find a way to being happy from within because being happy for a reason is dangerous since that reason can be taken away from you.

There is certainly no need for me to broadcast why I have taken a step back, a sabbatical, especially when it is for very personal reasons that only my family and a selected few friends deserve to know. They have after all, always been there for me.

Please trust in me that when I say, I am more than fine, I am actually anticipating all the joy the future has in store, for me, and my children.

For… “What is coming is better than what has gone.”

Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules! 😉 😉

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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The Truth Always Prevails

treeofhonesty

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Oftentimes I am reminded of the challenging positions of past that I was subjected to on different occasions by those who let their negativity and jealousy get the better of them, by those who had one rule for themselves and another for others, by those who conspired to overtake my role as founder and owner of The Tree House. There were also those who dared to manipulate (others) in order to engineer situations for their own gains, only, for it to be all in vain.

Only a select few has stood the test of time, remaining by my side throughout, giving continuous support and respect and so, it is they who deserve to be applauded for their courage to do right by others. Their moral values are both honourable and admirable.

Inevitably, there came a time when I became extremely deflated, of all the triviality and nastiness out there, so much so that I was determined not to close down The Tree House, in defiance of those who then chose to exploit and/or bully me, for being who I am. For being different, for being honest and for standing on my own two feet. For not following the (m)asses.

Fortunately, I soon realised all the unsavouriness was still dictating the quality of my time, which, to me, is very precious knowing how short life can be. My beloved children consequently became my first, second and last reason, hence the decision to take a sabbatical.

All I ever wished for was a space (for people) to speak freely with the greatest of respect, without fear of being judged. This is actually possible but only as long as people remain respectful and open minded of one another, willing to improve and learn, even from one’s (their own) mistakes. Except, there is yet much to absorb and practise regarding patience and relatively, respect. Everyone is different and there will always be those from all walks of life, who will teach us who not to be.

Even, those who may choose to knowingly associate themselves with the likes of the unsavouriness still, after having witnessing events or having seen evidence of the events, after allowing “them” to manipulate them into choosing a side – “they” are now, their problem. Their conscience.

To get by in the world of politics, one has to lie, be cunning, devious, manipulate and hold no or very little regard for others. It is all a game of ego and greed for power. Whereas a honest and genuine person trying to do their best by the people, for the people, will unfortunately be singled out and descended upon by a baying pack of wolves, those who are in fact afraid of having their true colours exposed, fearing the truth and subsequently, being embarrassed of their own flaws.

summedup

There are those of us who may (appear to) stand alone for speaking the truth and telling it like it is. However, that is okay because our conscience is clear.

Now would be an ideal time to remind you of one of my posts titled “Positivity rules!

There is no shame in being introspective, in being honest albeit respectfully, in seeking further knowledge, for it will all help you to become a better person. It is courageous at best since it is all about the survival of the fittest in our test of a lifetime.

On that note, do look forwards – not backwards as any impurities, which have been filtered out and left behind, are behind us for valid reasons.

Thus, why, I have decided to move on from such experiences. I have learnt so much more about people and their ways, the deaf world and how it functions. I can only hope you will appreciate this level of honesty, as I believe people deserve to know the truth since the truth always prevails.

We all have our own lives to mind and so, I wish you all the best in yours.

A token of gratitude and a tip of the hat please, for Andrew, Paul, Mervyn and all our readers / contributors simply, for being you.

More than you realise… 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Let ’em Go by Paul Leonard

Whilst out and about enjoying the Christmas cheer, a friend came up with an idea and asked for my technical know how in making this possible. How could I possibly turn down the challenge?! So in true Tree House spirit, the day was well and truly seized albeit adding my own twist!

This video we hope will help to lift everyone’s spirits and make you smile for “a smile is free and does wonders” – to quote the founder, Sara.

On behalf of The Tree House, we would like to present our parody of “Let it go” from the film, Frozen; “Let ’em go”

Enjoy!

Please help The Tree House to stamp out any form of online abuse by not condoning it in any sense. Many thanks.

“Let ’em go” because The Tree House is positively moving onwards and upwards.

~PAL

Stop Online Abuse.

Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.

There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.

When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.

The World Wide Web.

The World Wide Web.

However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.

To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.

Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publically naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.

I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.

To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!

Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).

◾Depression

◾Shame

◾Low self-esteem

◾Sadness

◾Difficulty trusting others

◾Anger

◾Anxiety

◾Frustration

◾Fear

The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.

Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.

It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.

Thank you, for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Some useful links for your reference:

Internet Safety

Bully Online

Crown Prosecution Service

Taking action about Harassment.

Harassment Act 1997

and last but not least,

I would like to applaud Dr Taylor.

Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.

Cyberbullies & Trolls.

A member of the Tree House shared a link with us as she knew some of us had been having difficulties in the past and at present. This video left her speechless and it certainly stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to share with you, the very same video in the hope that you too, will appreciate Shane Koyczan’s work as a spoken poet.

This video also has captions (Yay!) making it accessible to deaf people.

Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

I will never forget how people have made me feel over the past few years with their words, assumptions and insults. I have on occasion gone to the police who gave the other bully a warning, who as a result had me looking over my shoulder for quite a long time. That has now passed but new ones inevitably came along. One broke my heart terribly and subsequently others have broken my trust in people. Several openly bullied me online (I hope they are ashamed of themselves) while several tried behind closed doors then searching me out with fake profiles to continue their trail of bitterness.

Nowadays I do not know who I can trust but I do know my conscience is clear having done my best to do right by everyone whilst being true to myself except it is now time for me to stop being at the forefront of it all because people are once again minding what I do or say.

Dr Seuss’ quote “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind do not matter and those who matter, do not mind” is one of my all time favourites as one should never change for anyone else.

I contemplated giving up, simply because I had enough of all the ill feelings being inflicted upon and how people seemed to keep coming back for more. A friend once told me that I was a fighter not a quitter and I know once he reads this he will smile., knowing he is being remembered.

Apologies but you will not take another ounce of my strength, my positivity and my spirit which planted the seed of this wondrous Tree House. The dwellers from within will continue to nurture it regardless, helping it to bloom and grow with all its goodness while the bad apples left are outside, to rot.

A bad apple

A bad apple.

Thank you to all of those who have supported and kept me going lately. I know some of you will continue to do so, come what may. Love you all – so much. You are not getting rid of me just yet! 😛

Positivity rules! Onwards and upwards…..

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Credit And Respect Where It Is Due – Please.

How should one feel after numerous times of making suggestions and coming up with ideas only for someone else to make it their own?

This website and group is not for other people to make gains from and it would be nice if respect and credit is paid where it is due – please.

Because next time, we will kick ass. 🙂

So please, pay credit where the content first originated and respect the people who came up with or wrote it.

Thank you.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t

I have decided to seize the day in order to try to end the on-going issues from last week’s chain of events. It is time for everyone else to put it to bed and move on. Respect all around x

“Hello Everyone,

Last week was a bad week for me and I’m sure it was the same for other people too.

Why bad week?

Because people criticised my choice of what to do. Last week, people didn’t respect the various communication needs and differences.

Last week, people attacked me because people made videos which were divisive, not only one but two, three, four and so on. Through all of them, people criticised.

I feel nervous making videos because never make but last summer I did make videos for one person but that person hurt me a lot. I didn’t feel I could make videos so stopped.

Last week I talked with one person by making videos again. Why? Because I wanted to sort out the problems and I don’t want bad feelings between us. We corresponded by sending video messages – all sorted out. Not easy.

Same other people when I sign I feel concerned about being criticised but now I don’t care because I will do what I feel is right, what is inclusive of all.

Lot of people think if (I) we can sign and speak as well, it is an easy life – no, you’re wrong. We (I) suffer more.

You see last week, what happened? This was out of our control. The BBC decided to make this video of which I did not know there would be other speakers too, I didn’t know but I was happy to see their video showed speakers to show the variety in the end. But when they did the interview, I didn’t know.

The first interview, I tried to sign and speak which no one knows about. People still criticised me. Not my problem but yours. The second interview, I felt like speaking because it was easier (to a hearing person) quicker so we could all leave. Also because the other people that was there all signed. I felt I wanted to show equality as there was signers but no speakers so I braved it and tried my best to speak, the interpreter present knows this and he stayed just in case I changed my mind and wanted to sign instead. I come from deaf parents and my first language is sign of which I know is not perfect but still I braved it.

If I sign, im damned if I do, if I speak, im damned if I do. I cant win.

When I see people using sign language, I feel others should try to sign, add subtitles so those wont be left out. When I see orals or typers I feel like I want to show sign so all is included.

Our Tree House, if people want to put BSL videos on – welcome. I will volunteer to transcribe and I have done so in the past to make sure everyone is included.

This morning I woke up and saw numerous videos on FB with sign language in. It was good and nice to see but still it means I have mixed feelings. Why? Because only signers will understand and the speakers who write cant understand. I feel like I am being torn, can’t win, always stuck in the middle, hurt because want to see everyone being equals. Don’t want signers to be left out, speakers to be left out.

The Tree House is about equality, showing respect no matter what your communication needs are. At the same time, while its good to see signing more in videos but on the other hand it is appeasing the bsl using community to make them feel better because we know they feel “Where is sign language?! “We have to hold onto it!” worrying it will cease. Don’t worry, wont cease.

My view, Facebook is only for social media. Sign language videos will make people become more addicted. It is also not a replacement for real life. In real life, there is a strong community. Facebook is only facebook,

Last week, people spat their dummies, behaving as if everything had to be done “my (their) way!, me me me me” Not everything is about you, have other people with different communication needs, difference schools of thoughts, need to remain calm and not spit their dummy, behave like a baby, throwing toys out of their prams.

Then what happened? People made videos of which some points were not true which is why I stood up for myself (as I was there!) because I am a big believer in the truth, I don’t like lies. Last week, people who made videos, I tried to tell them they were wrong and it was misleading. (People were jumping to conclusions based on assumptions) should have said what was right and I tried to explain. What happened? Their friends blamed me.

People sent me messages which were not very nice, people oppressed me, dictated to me as well as to other people. Hold on, don’t forget, I am from deaf family and I do sign. If you want to judge me, you’re wrong to do so.

This is another form of bullying. If it continues, I will take action.

Sorry about my signing, I feel nervous because I don’t like videos. I worry that people will download them and edit accordingly to portray those as a bad person. This is another reason why I don’t make videos, we have to be careful, for safe guarding.

I hope everyone will carry on respecting the different communication needs and not only sign language or only speakers. There are people who are in the middle. Need to open, have an open mind as well as respecting. We can’t do “My way, me me me” all the time – it won’t work. People (outsiders) will view us and think we are childish.

Just imagine last week, if hearing people saw what happened – they would think “My god! So that’s what the deaf community is like?!”

My conscience is clear, I tried my best, if people want to criticise and bully me – not my problem.

While im signing in this video, I feel mixed up because I know some of my friends wont understand so I have to transcribe also. It’s only fair.

Facebook is only for quick posts, not for life stories or continuous videos, Just quickly contact because it is visual. That’s it. It is not a replacement for life (in general).

Nervous. Thank you for watching and hope you understand me well.

Bye”

I am only telling it like it is as honesty is the best policy – life is too short yet please spare a moment to remember how to prioritise, triviality versus Apartheid? No contest.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Update: Here is another version of last week’s chain of events by Paul titled “Who really cares?”