Standing Up and Speaking Out

It’s been a while…..

 

Standing firm with what you believe in is hard to do. It’s not hard because you’re unsure, I think it’s often hard because we are so worried what others will think of us. I am often so amazed by people who don’t care what others think of them. These are the people who will do and say what they want and pay no mind to the cares of others. Now, there are times when they are socially inappropriate, but I wonder what it would be like to not worry about what others think!

 

With eating disorders it’s hard to stand for what we believe because we have a hard time just finding our voice. Being able to say what we want is hard enough, let alone advocate for ourselves! What I am finding is one of the most rewarding things is standing up for yourself. Maya Angelou once said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Each of us must care enough for ourselves, that we can be ready and able to come to our own defense when and wherever needed.” One day I will get there. It’s hard, but I will get there.

I stood in front of a school board the other night to speak out about the fact that the process of furloughing teachers has been misleading and unfair. This is something that was very hard to do, but after I did it, I felt like it was the best thing I could have done. Leading into this moment, I felt like I couldn’t do it. I was worried about what others would think and I was concerned that people would disagree with me, or disapprove of my movement. As I thought longer and longer I realized that you can’t please everyone in the world. The only person you can truly please is your own self. When I leave this place I want to know that I did what I could to make myself happy, and I want to know that I did what I could to help others.

 

As I was weighing if I should stand up and speak I thought of Rosa Parks (by no means am I comparing myself to her!). She was tired and wasn’t ready to make a stand, but she did it. She stood for what she believed wasn’t right and she spoke out even when everyone was not ready to hear her (even when she wasn’t ready to stand either). That is where I stand today, and I think that is where many people often stand. We are too afraid to speak out (big or small), because we think people aren’t ready to hear us. American was ready to hear her, and whether or not people are ready to hear me, they are going to.

I’m standing up for rights for furloughed teachers because my Union won’t do it. They had the opportunity to sign a document giving equal rights to all teachers who were let go, but the Union refused to sign it. They claim that they are protecting us all, but they are not.  I wasn’t ready to stand up and fight this fight, but somebody had to do it. I will not gain anything out of this, not even my job, really… but hopefully this will start a movement of Unions telling the truth to their members and looking out for what is best.

 

All in all, I won’t get call back spot for this (super confusing), but it will be a fair call back process for everyone else. I’ll still get a chance to be called back, but not in the order I deserve. Although I stand here feeling like nothing came out of this, I know that a few things did – I spoke up for myself and 73 other teachers who were let go. I spoke out against a Union that was being unfair to us, and I made the entire community aware that they really don’t care about us as members or teachers and they are not out for the best interest of the students when they write to me in an email:

“Do we defend our contract at the expense of our members? In this case, unfortunately, yes. If we continue to take pay freezes to save everyone’s job, we will eventually destroy the benefits and pay we all enjoy, and, ultimately, the Union.”

 

I might feel like I lost the battle, but I was able to speak out for myself and people, and sometimes, that is just enough. Sometimes we can’t always change the every event. It’s hard to accept that… but we truly don’t control everything in the world. Often, I have to remember the Serenity Prayer:

 

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

 

I would be a liar if I said that this whole process didn’t affect my eating and that I didn’t make poor choices. I did, and I hate that I did. I’m still trying to get back on track. When I felt like I lost it all, Ed was there to pick me up with some great support. He is always so supportive when you need it the most… constantly in my head:

“Don’t worry, Rach, it’s all going to be okay… just skip breakfast and things will work out”

 

“Great job for skipping breakfast… things are already feeling better. They will get better…. Now that lunch is here… avoid putting those calories in your body and you will feel stronger… things will work out.”

 

“It’s all going to be okay… you’ve managed to skip everything so far today… you’re in control and nobody can take that from you. You’re okay, Rachel… calm down… just figure out a way to skip dinner and things will feel okay. You can do this and you’re okay.”

 

To you, this seems ludicrous… to me, this feels like support to help me deal with the awful feeling of the job loss and the fact that I can’t do what I love …. teach English in the school that I love. Pulling away from this support talk is very hard. It feels so supportive, but it’s not. I know it’s not and I’m working to break the cycle.

 

If I can stand up and speak out against a Union… I think I can do the same against Ed.

 

These little guys are some great support when I’m home alone! 🙂

 

Can you think of a time you’ve had to take a stand that was tough?  

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