Positivity Rules!

Life in itself is one big challenge, testing us daily to see how we fare. The results of which moulds us over time into whom we are and for some who we do not want to become.

It is up to us, as and when to introspect, seeing the errors of our ways if any, to tackle and improve on these traits. It is also up to us how we deal with these daily challenges. Do we react instinctively or take a step back and contemplate? The latter is not so hard to do.

More often than not, reacting instinctively leads to destruction, sending one into a negative state of despair. Almost certainly sending you on a downwards spiral towards a quagmire, which can be a very dark place to be? Once that point of “trying to stay afloat” is reached, be it by another’s hand or words, it is time to review the situation why, who or what got you there in the first place and nip it in the bud. Find the negativity and turn it a positive because even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

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“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

― Abraham Lincoln.

In order to get the best that we deserve, we need to give and do our best otherwise; one will get what they give. To react constructively comes, positivity in the knowledge and confidence that we have tried our best whilst remaining dignified in the face of justice. Only then, can we reflect and feel positively rewarded.

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I always say, “Keep on smiling – it is free and does wonders” so take the first step in being positive by smiling. To strangers, to your friends and families – in smiling, you are instinctively changing your outlook, your moods and the glow on your face. By smiling, you could be helping someone else – without even realising it. It takes an extremely special someone to rise above giving what he or she got, in order to be kinder on themselves and others. You too can be this person. Carpe diem.

Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules! Because it rocks.

Wishing each and every one of you best wishes for the new year – wherever you may be.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

 

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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.

I Long To Be….

There are barriers that our deafness prevents us from fulfilling certain aspects of life so I set dwellers a task to finish this sentence according to our own interpretations and dreams for in dreams are seeds planted of reality.

“I long to be….”

For in dreams are seeds planted of reality.

“For in dreams are seeds planted of reality.”

 I long to be free as a bird.

I long to be confident.

I long to be loved for being me.

I long to have stress free conversations, access to services where everyone is aware of our needs.

I long to be a performer on the stage where I warm people’s hearts and put a smile on their faces for days weeks and even years later.

I long to be able to give my daughter the best possible future without having to constantly chase education and medical professionals.

I long to work for education authorities who understand that a deaf child is not going to “get better” next year, and yes, they will need continued support.

I long to be someone who can make a difference and inspire others too.

I long to be given more access to services without having to constantly struggle with basic things like shopping, ordering food in a restaurant, or travelling.

I long to work somewhere I feel I belong, where I don’t feel socially isolated, and where colleagues are deaf aware, or willing to learn deaf awareness.

I long for access but the crafty part of me would like to continue crafty conversations where not everyone understands!

I long to be understood.

I long for a world where web live chat is a common alternative to phone calls!

I long for the day when hearing people no longer frown at me and say ‘I telephoned “Joe Bloggs” [whose deaf] yesterday but they didn’t answer the phone??!’

I long to see the technology we REALLY need to communicate (as deaf people) SPEED UP …and coming up to speed!

I long to see society take responsibility for excluding us in developments, new services, buildings etc.

I long for people to understand that Hearing Aids are great, but do not “solve” my “problem”.

I long to know if I’m meant to feel complimented or insulted when people say to me ”you’re deaf, really? Wow don’t you do well’

I long for hearing people to simply accept us as one of them.

I long to see an approved national independent governing body for all deaf issues.

I long to see people no longer dictating and undermining others.

I long to be a classroom teacher still, a job I have done for 30 years.

I long to be understood by the hearing community (of which I am part) and not have them say when I say I work with deaf people stupid things like ‘oh, you must know Braille’.

I long to read people’s minds… so I don’t have to make attempts at listening to them.

I long to be awarded a life-long exemption certificate from the hassles of having to prove I have not miraculously become hearing due to the inefficiency of the government and their services.

I long to be able to sing along with everyone else as I can hear the words of a song or even just be able to know what the song is and who the artist is.

I long for people to stop hanging up on type talk calls!!

I long to be taken seriously by all. Too often are my views brushed aside or disregarded simply because I won’t always be as confident in voicing my views as a deaf person in a mass of hearing people, and also some disregard because I am still young.

I long for labels to be dropped – at the end of the day we are all human, we all live on one planet and we all have the right to be ourselves – throw the labels away.

I long to able to occasionally be able to take back everything I’ve said, when I’ve answered a question only to find out I misheard and nothing I said makes sense in the conversation.

I long to be able to go about living my life the way I want to without having to adapt to what society insists we do!

I long to be always a Spring Chicken.

I long to open up narrow minded people to the wonderful and diverse world we are a part of as it is they who create barriers and divisions!

I long to see access rights for all the various communication needs and abilities.

I long to be accepted for the intelligent person I am.

I long to be considered as an equal and included as an equal based on justice.

I long to be listened to…..

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Giving & Gratitude

When it comes to kindness, there is absolutely no need to discriminate against any identifiable means because it is about humanity in general and acts of giving without any expectations of receiving in return.

For so long there has been a frustration of sorts building within me seeing the simplest things in life being taken for granted. Be it the roof over your heads, certain (branded) clothes being worn, the hot meals and comfy mattresses you lay upon, the NHS and free medicine being provided for us – the list is endless. The extremely close shave I experienced a couple of years ago taught me to take nothing for granted, now cherishing every little thing and being all around me.

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” – Plato

For this reason, I am now trying my very best to spare a moment to remember those who may have been left outdoors, especially during those cold winter nights. Recently I, via the Tree House, have been able to appease that frustration of helplessness. In true spirit of the Tree House, this has meant this is now starting to catch on with other dwellers through their acts of kindness. So far, we have saved numerous left over meals and received donations of various kinds of cakes with which we approached homeless people and gave.

“Thank you” they gratefully say. And if they have a pet with them, they are more than happy to share with their “best friend” – Without a question.

Nigel and his best friend who enjoyed the leftovers from our Chinese meal.

There are those who had everything and lost it all and there are those who dedicate every minute of their remaining lives to make sure the homeless has a hot drink at least. They are among the unsung heroes of today’s societies. They are trying their very best in being the change they wish to see in the world.

So let us organise café meet ups with CAKE(!) donating to a charity of your choice, perhaps asking cafés to participate in “Suspended Coffee” schemes too. When you have a meal, please save your leftovers and seek out the homeless in order to make their day. Maybe even nominate/challenge your friends to pay it forwards too. Please?

One can only hope this act of compassion and kindness will help to keep them going, to keep the faith and to have hope. That not everyone has a stone cold heart, that they are not oblivious to everyday people. They are still someone’s child who were brought into this world for a reason.

A drop of kindness goes a very long way, much more than you realise.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

 Carpe Diem – every day by being true to yourselves. x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Hungry? By Paul Leonard

Take a look at this picture, do you know where it was taken? What are they waiting for?  Was the photo taken at a bus stop?

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No, this photo was taken outside Covent Garden at around 6pm on Thursday just gone, the day before the newest iPhone from Apple came out.  Speaking with man in the checked shirt, he told me the new phone was due out at 8am the following day and so presumably the line would only get longer … and longer!  (I would of gone back the following day to take a look again, but I wasn’t well enough.)

At this time, there were around 6-8 tents that people had erected to sleep in over night and this queue which stretched the width (and longer) of the front of the Covent Garden Apple Store.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge geek and love all things technological but the site frankly sickened me!  Scores of people waiting to spend at least £600 of their money on a phone.

The very same evening, some of the Admin Team from Tree House met up for a Chinese meal.  Food was great, company was even better, just the staff were the problem (which we may save for a future post.)  The food was very tasty as I say and for 7 of us, the cost was just over £78.  We were all well fed at just over £11 a head, a bargain.  We had left over food and decided to pay for some boxes to take the food out with us.  The purpose, for midnight munchies?  No, to try and find a homeless person and give the food to them.

Just outside Leicester Square tube, we met Nigel, along with his dog.  Here he is with Sarah, Paul and Sara:

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Anyway, Nigel had left over spare ribs, lemon chicken, some rice and noodles and even some prawn crackers.  (He must of thought all his Christmases had come at once!)  We gave him the food and we made him and his dog very very happy!

This got me thinking about the messed up world we live in.  People prepared to spend a fortune on “fluff and stuff”, stuff that will pass away in time and break and yet there are people like Nigel, who in one day, would be lucky to make even 1% of the cost of the phone (£6) and still have to buy food from their begged for money!  Personally, I don’t agree with giving money to homeless people in case it fuels a habit that perhaps shouldn’t be fuelled but giving food and drink, this is the way to do it.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Nigel, this post is dedicated to you and certainly not the guys in Cupertino, California.  As I said to you that night, “Go well – whatever you do, do it well!”

 

~PAL

 

Lost Souls by Angel Sign

From the minute we are born, we begin to search for our destiny, our purpose in life, to find the path that will lead us on our journey to self- satisfaction, a sense of achievement and recognition. Some of us are lucky to realise our goals and dreams early on, finding the path to follow, taking us towards our goal, whilst we strive with every ounce of strength and determination to get there.

For the rest of us there is a longer path to follow which usually then forks off two ways. For some that ‘EUREKA’ moment arrives and the light at the end of the tunnel appears, guiding them to their newfound place.

Those that remain tend to stroll down the other path, dipping their toes here and there, pondering in other areas, and never quite finding their resting place, searching high and low for a reason to be amongst the population of success stories, the missionaries and those that know their purpose in life.

These are the ones I refer to as the ‘LOST SOULS’, the ones who feel they don’t belong, can’t find the shoes to fit or the hat to wear.

Yet these are the people who quietly make the biggest difference of all. For every path they travel and every person they meet, they leave behind a bit of their wisdom, their kindness, their innocence and their soul.

For on their journey searching for what they believe is their destiny, they are already serving their purpose in life. They encourage, they listen, they advise and they support, guiding others along their way.

The ‘LOST SOULS’; the strongest yet the weakest; the loudest yet the shyest; the popular yet the loneliest; often the misunderstood.

I write this article as a generalisation to humanity. This applies to all as one and not just any individual race, religion, gender, disability, age or society, for there are lost souls amongst us everywhere, questioning themselves, searching for their destiny, unaware of the good they are doing each and every day through their journey.

~ Angel Sign.

 

 

Hands Free Driving

I can remember the elation I felt just over 24 years ago when I passed my test. Sitting across from me, the examiner asked the final few questions and I nervously answered them thinking I must have done well so far. A few minutes later he smiled at me and said “Congratulations, you have passed the driving test.”

So 24 years later am I a better driver than when first starting out on the road? That is the good question. I would probably answer ‘Yes’. I am by no means perfect and would not claim to be however my awareness of the potential dangers on the road has developed over the years through my own experiences.

I have had 3 accidents in my lifetime to date and the last one was a good ten years ago. My first accident was as a passenger when our car hit black ice and spun out of control. All who were in the car were lucky to escape with cuts and bruises. My second accident was as a nervous new driver who got stuck in a car park and due to panic hit accelerator instead of the brake whilst going backwards smashing into a brick wall. My third accident was due to distraction within my car causing me to take my eyes off the road for a split second!!!! Luckily in all 3 accidents no one was seriously hurt (Unfortunately 4 cars were harmed).

As I said accident number 3 was a distraction within my car, (child talking to me), causing me to remove my eyes from the road for a split second and therefore have a delayed reaction to braking, ending with bonnet meets rear bumper.

Why tell you all this?

Recently a video, which in all fairness is a good example of signed song duet, has been circulating Facebook. The said couple have a good chemistry singing the famous song from ‘Grease’ and look like they are enjoying signing ‘You’re the one that I want’ to each other. So what has this got to do with my driving history? The said couple are driving whilst sign singing to each other, the man often having to take his hands off the wheel and use his knees to steer.

And this is not their only video of hands free driving.

Another new craze is people taking selfies whilst driving! 33% of Britain’s have admitted to taking selfies whilst driving in a recent survey. Add these two problems to conversations, talking on mobile phones while driving, dinking, DRUID (Driving under the influence of drugs) and you have a cocktail for potential disaster resulting in serious injuries or death.

These dangers are all contributing factors causing delayed reactions.  Another report contributes the figure of 68% accidents are a result of delayed reactions.  35% was down to failure to look properly. Whereas you could argue that some were ignorant to signs, signals and other causes, surely these newer dangers hold a high contributing factor.

So my message is signed songs and selfies are great fun, however doing them whilst driving, I feel is sending out the wrong message to people and urge you to think about the hazards involved. A life is far more valid than a couple of minutes fun that could end up being your last.

The law is very clear on using mobiles when driving  as found here. There is also laws about driving “without due care and attention” which can be found here.

~Anon