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The Mouse: Proving that things are not always how they look…

March 14, 2013 by Deb Landry

Just coming off a week or two of extensive pageant preparation, I have to say I was very tired. Producing three shows in two days can be very stressful even with a wonderful production staff and incredibly talented young people, who I so appreciate.

With that said, the weeks leading up to the event, the events and the aftermath can leave a dedicated volunteer ready to throw their hands up in the air and say, I’ve had enough. I am sure there have been times you too have felt this way. You help someone and you are the first person they lash out at or blame you for their outcome. Any added stress or drama can take someone over the top very quickly leading to such things as losing your temper, over stepping the boundaries, destroying and manipulating relationships, destroying or tarnishing the status within a group, destroying reputations, humiliation, embarrassment, intimidation, gossiping, spreading nasty or malicious rumors, telling lies, using negative body language, taunting, and insulting remarks.

Knowing that this will happen whenever two or more people engage in a union, I try hard to set up the scene so everyone is informed and aware of rules, events and outcomes. I mean that’s what I do, teach awareness right? However, it doesn’t always work that way and reminds me of the saying, if you want to make God laugh then tell him your plans.

Yesterday I got up at 4:00 a.m. to leave for Bangor to speak with a group of team leaders and teachers from Eastern and Northern Maine. Very tired after the weekend, I was hoping I had enough energy to empower the audience seeing this was a paying job. I wasn’t so hopeful when I couldn’t decide which new outfit to wear, my capris or a dress. I finally decided on the capris and ventured out. Coffee didn’t seem to help on the ride up nor did leaving the windows down to keep me awake. I spent the time mulling over what I could have done differently to make the weekend better for some people and trying to focus on my talk.

Should I give statistics and use my “official” bullying awareness speech, a motivational speech or a combination. I settled on a combination. Not bad, it was three hours into my day and I made two hopefully good decisions. The outfit was fine, the talk went well, the audience was wonderful, but I still felt stressed and tired and not looking forward to another three hour drive. I decided to put the top down on my Mercedes, get an ice-cold water and enjoy the trip back home. So lookin’ mighty fine in my little red convertible, brand new jewelry from my friend Michele, new outfit, successful talk, there was a big smile on my face! Heading home I phoned a friend. I needed that extra support for the weekend, her point of view was something I cherished and she kept me alert and awake. As we were talking I felt something crawling up my capris, (here’s where this decision was confirmed as the right one). I thought it was a spider but when I looked down there was a mouse standing on my knee playing with my key chain.

Remember, I am driving 65 miles an hour down the turnpike with the top down. My choices, freak out and get in an accident, scream, or act instead of react. In two seconds I made my decision, to act, sort of. I batted the mouse off my knee and on to the floor, told my friend, whose remark was “and you are this calm”, hung up and pulled over, but I couldn’t find the mouse anywhere. I told myself that it was a little mouse and it was not going to hurt me. They always seem to take me off guard, but I’m not afraid of them. Got back in the car and kept on driving. A couple minutes later I reached for my water in the cup holder and the mouse had his paws wrapped around the bottle trying to climb up. This time I said I would grab his tail and throw him out of the car, but he was too fast for me and retreated into the dashboard. Here is where the cool car comes in. It’s really 14 years old and I put it up every winter, so I’m sure there are a few mice nest under the hood or in the seats. When I got home my son tried to find the mouse without luck. He and his girl friend think they are the mouse whisperers, (because my cat brings mice into the house, loses them and they have to capture the mouse again and release it.) My husband tried as well, by setting a trap but I we were all out smarted by a 2-ounce field mouse. So what does the mouse, an outfit, car and team of mice experts have to do with anything?

Here is the moral to my story: Lookin Good: Things are not always what they seem. Just because the lady has nice clothes, a little red convertible and snappy jewelry doesn’t mean that all is cool. Underneath the hood, the lady has feels too. She worked hard giving by personal time and energy to make things happen for other people.

Respect others peoples efforts.

I may let you run up my leg in capris but if my legs were bare, you have infiltrated my boundaries so back off. Do not TEXT and drive. Is there a similar rule for mice crawling on you when you drive? Phone a Friend: Look and ask for help when you need it and don’t lash out at people who are the first to step up and help you, well don’t lash out at anyone. Stand up for yourself and your beliefs with integrity. Surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Lesson learned: There is a lesson in everything we do, win or lose, capris or dresses! Don’t make snap decisions, stop look and listen. You may learn something. Take care of yourself, eat right, exercise and get plenty of rest, I got 12 hours last night and the world is much better today. My eyes are bright and I’m spirit has been lifted. Some by the reminder that I have no control over certain situations and I do my best by putting my best foot forward each day. I have love, integrity, respect and gratitude for everyone in my life. I know when to draw the lines or set my boundaries. This is why we do the things we do: I woke up to an incredible email from our new Miss Maine that brought tears to my eyes. I then received a thank you from another girl that competed for the first time and an announcement that Miss Maine Teen had already captured one of her major sponsors less than 12 hours after her crowning. Their gratitude and excitement reminded me of why I volunteer.

Now about the Mouse: The littlest of issue and things can be a tremendous nuisance. Self and mutual respect is the only way we can successful and happily coexist. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Hold your composure, open your eyes to your outcomes and let it be a lesson to you, if not, those pesky things will keep happening to you, so take the hint. Open your hearts to be caring compassionate and grateful to the wonderful lives you have. Everything happens in it own time and for a reason. Not all mice are pest or even a nuisance and they can be a force to be reckoned with, a good, funny, hilarious experience and gift.

Rules to live by when bullied or seeing someone be bullied. Know the warning signs and don’t be a bully, teach tolerance: Direct Bullying Behaviors Physical Bullying (a few examples) • Hitting, slapping, elbowing, shouldering (slamming someone with your shoulder) • Shoving in a hurtful or embarrassing way • Kicking • Taking, stealing, damaging or defacing belongings or other property • Restraining • Pinching • Flushing someone’s head in the toilet • Cramming someone into his or her lock • Attacking with spit wads or food Verbal Bullying (a few examples) • Name-calling • Insulting remarks and put-downs • Repeated teasing • Racist remarks or other harassment •Character Attacks- Threats and intimidation • Whispering behind someone’s back Indirect Bullying Behaviors Social/Relational (a few examples) • Destroying and manipulating relationships (turning your best friend against you) • Destroying status within a peer group • Destroying reputations • Humiliation and embarrassment • Intimidation • Gossiping, spreading nasty and malicious rumors and lies about someone • Hurtful graffiti • Excluding someone from a group (social rejection or isolation) • Stealing boyfriends or girlfriends to hurt someone • Negative body language (facial expressions, turning your back to someone) • Threatening gestures, taunting, pestering, insulting remarks and gestures • Glares and dirty looks, nasty jokes, notes passed around, anonymous notes • Hate petitions (promising to hate someone) Other Bullying Behaviors • Cyber bullying: negative text messages on cell phones, e-mail, or voice-mail messages, Web pages, and so on Direct and indirect forms of bullying often occur together. All of these behaviors can be interrelated. Think before you talk, the life you could be saving is your own.

Be Kind and Be Courageous.

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