My moms the kind of lady who when I told her about my childhood abuse she responded by taking training classes at this fantastic non profit Darkness to Light and teaching classes around the County where I grew up to people who work around or might be near children to know the signs, however slight, that say, child protective services or a doctor or a psychiatrist know to look for in children who are being sexually abused.
Prevent; my mom says. Dont wait for it happen and to have a post plan. Never let it happen.
My mom was close to death.
She wrote a speech.
Please, if you’re on my blog, you must have an interest or reason to be here, so please know, out of anything, read this.
Thank you so much. You’ll read a lot of Inspire.
My mother Shira’s name, in Hebrew, means song, My mother, before she is my mother, is a melody—her own melody. My mom is my hero, because of who she is and what she believes in unrelated to anyone else.
I am very honored to speak in front of you all tonight. I know so many of the good works you do in quiet anonymity. I know the good lives you lead. You have been a part of my world and made it better. It is also a big responsibility to speak on September 11th. The day our country was brutally attacked and many lives were lost. The message I want to bring tonight is about making our world better by starting with ourselves. I would to help others suffer less by bringing them to the YMCA. A place like this church that has made my own life much better.
In the middle of one day I became confused. My life was in chaos. I was so sick I couldn’t open the door to my bedroom. I couldn’t squeeze a tube of toothpaste to brush my teeth. Even standing on the tube with my foot, took effort for my foot. The physical pain was so strong, I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t tell what was good or bad. Then I thought to myself: positive is good, negative is bad.
Then I thought about something Tom said every Sunday. God is love. Jesus Christ is Lord. For those who claim they live in the light but their life is in the dark, their life is a lie. I needed to change.
My body was telling me something was wrong while my mind was telling me everything was ok. In the end, my body won and finally convinced my mind I needed to make changes. I made many changes including cutting myself some slack and being kind to myself.
I went to the doctor and he helped me with medicine and regime. I had exercised throughout my life but with my job working 70 hours a week and 4 kids and lots of other responsibilities my own life had fallen by the wayside. Then I went to the YMCA. I went to the desk and paid my membership fees which I had taken from my bank account.
I started with an exercise class. The music was happy music. My instructor was cute and had a big smile every day. My classmates included a Steuben County judge in shorts, who had very hairy legs and very little hair as well as an older couple, a woman whose husband was within days of death, young girls, a mother who looked like a movie star and had a handicapped son and many other upbeat people who encouraged me and made me feel welcome. As clumsy as I was, they worked with me to learn the steps and ignored me when I fumbled.
From there I started swimming every day. The water was clean and warm. There was a lifeguard who watched over me. There was even Tom Davis sitting in a chair near the pool watching over with me with a wise crack or two! I worked up to an hour a day, back and forth. I prayed for 20 minutes, I said affirmations for 20 minutes and I thought of my goals for 20 minutes. At the end of my 60 minutes, I took a hot shower in the clean dressing rooms. I brought nice shampoo and good smelling soap and lotions as my reward for exercising every day. I even bought a two new bathing suits. My first new bathing suits in 15 years.
I got better and better. I realized some things I want to share with you.
Emotions are good if we keep them in balance and listen to them. They tell us to pay attention. If we are anxious before company comes in one hour and we haven’t started dinner. Our emotions are telling us we need to get on the stick. That anxiety reaches us before our intellect. Anxiety, worry, fear seemed to dissolve in the water and flow right out the bottom of my feet.
We all face problems. Some of these problems become so big we can’t think straight. Some of these problems are such big challenges we can’t think or feel what we should do. From exercising at the YMCA daily, I learned to handle my emotions through exercise and when I was done the answers seemed obvious. I followed a simple rule. If it was positive it was good, if it was negative it was bad.
I made a pact with myself to strive to find solutions. The YMCA was the solution for my health and well-being. Then I heard the mission of the YMCA and it was in keeping with what I found worked for me and it was simple.
Healthy Living: Improving the health and well-being of the community
Youth Development: Nurturing the potential of every child
Social responsibility: Giving back and proving support for our neighbors.
There was no politics in this. No hurricane Harvey’s or Irma’s. No gossip. No bad evening news. It was all about making our section of the world here in Steuben County better. I decided that a key to life was just like the YMCA working on making myself healthier, the community healthier, helping kids and watching out for my neighbors.
The YMCA was in the light.
I want to talk to you about our programs.
Healthy living means all our exercise programs for silver sneakers, pool, wooden sauna, whirlpool, yoga, pilates, biking, running programs, walking programs and just about anything you can think of. We have a diabetes prevention program, a program called Live Strong that starts in January to help those in cancer treatment and recovering to get healthy and a soon to be program for Parkinson’s patients. There are also Zumba and weight rooms with instructors (did I say eye candy!)
Youth Development: Kids have lots of energy and they are our future. The Y has summer camps, soccer camps, basketball, swimming and much more. We even have babysitting for mothers. For Free. If a mom just exercised 3 times a week, the free babysitting she gets would pay for her membership. Young people are our future. They are our bright and shining stars. The Y offers a wholesome, safe place to come to, congregate at and creates a place for them to come with family and friends.
Social responsibility: The YMCA nationally has a program called Praesidium which is to prevent child sexual abuse. This is not a pleasant discussion but it is a necessary one since 3 out of every 10 children are abused before 18. So, the YMCA looks to stop this before it starts. We are also looking at taking this message out into the community to protect children in Steuben County through the Darkness to light Programs. Another way we help our community is make the Y available to kids to help them afford the YMCA.
Our annual campaign is trying to raise $150,000 called the Adopt a Child campaign to help bring our message to children. Children and people need to be cared for, live in the light and be healthy so I hope you will first start with yourself and then consider the community by adopting a child.
Thank you for your time.
In my head I call my mom Benton, which is the first name in the pseudonym where she writes. I’m going to write about Benton and share with you a real heroic victory. My mom’s health is back to health.
I grew up in a small village at the crossroads of cornfields, forest, lakes, glacier pits, and trailers. My mom surrounded her kids, all four of them, around art (train art historian at Berkeley prior to becoming the founding executive director of a handful of companies), music, dance, textiles, books — OMG literally books off the shelves in stacks, books books books, radio, exercise, cooking, painting, mosaics -, wood carving, animals, and the space for each of her kids to develop individually into their own person.
I can’t and won’t speak for my siblings, but I can say my mom raised me to have a strong sense of identity and a strong moral compass. What does a moral compass me? What is a strong sense of self? I feel like I was raised by My Mom to care more about having an identity and understanding of oneself because that will matter In the end much more than what that identity and what the moral compass is: which is to say she taught me to first have convictions, then have structure, then have structured convictions, then stick to the sense and learning and growth of the self with perseverance and resilience; and you can do anything you love.
My mom taught me to never mind anyone else’s path. Jealousy is ugly. Be happy for others, be sad for others, but never want to be someone else. She taught me heaven and hell are here on earth; no where else. She taught me to listen to the animals and the trees, because they are communicating with us, not a deity far away, but here, Here.
Because everything we need and everything that is extremely painfully hellish and meaningless happens here, we must have Jumbo Drive to pursue whatever is your interest with passion. For example, my mom never says this stuff. This lady I love instead surprises me with what she pursues.
1. Discover her hundreds* of movie reviews online under pen name.
2. Thinking she was mocking Japanese person, being an asshole to her, because she was reciting some Japanese she learned as a child in Hawaii.
3. Having her watch IT crowd and sending me a grant to look over asking to return to school to study IT. She is now an “IT guy” in training.
4. Having her be so ill i worried she was going to go from this heaven hell plain and instead this woman who was so sick came to see me in Poland on her Birthday. She was so fucking determined to make it to the southern mountains, we actually got to the peak at the border of Slovakia.
5. Thinking she had one company and finding out later their were not 6, but 8.
6. Reading Bentons interview on what it’s like to be her: in a book by some whatever famous author on markets about the worlds top sixteen traders.
7. Sending me videos of her dancing in the mirror to pump up songs when I was sad.
8. Literally saving me from suicide bc manic depression so many times in high school that she gets the rest of my lifetime off from needing to do that anymore.
9. She’s smart. She’s so smart.. she’s scary smart.
She doesn’t give compliments either. Once I asked if she was proud of me and she said I’ll let you know, and then later said she wasn’t. Sounds harsh? It isn’t. She’s basically the Don Judd of Mothering. You and I and We are the future, and we need to be better always.
Also, I stead of yelling, she hand writes letters to explain. Her anger. Because she’s so smart I usually understand logically, not emotionally, her point, and I learn from it.
That being said, my mother has gone through so much w me. She’s gone thru so much in her life. I monopolise her time, because she’s so fascinating, Miss Benton, and we couldn’t be more different in many idealogies and views. That said, she taught me to appreciate the differences for all, not the differences for each.
My mom could have been dead today from her illness, or in excruciating pain, but instead, this hero of mine, is doing OK.
Thank you to my mom for taking care of herself and for having me, because living is so exciting and especially with having mom as my mom. If you are open to supporting the non profit where my mom became healthy, I will match your donation, up to 50$. Please let me know!