Category Archives: Family

Guest Post: It’s Time for me to Rejoin the Parade by C. Streetlights


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes

There is a lot of myself that I keep locked away that I usually say is part of my Old Life. It’s not because these things are embarrassing or bad, but my Old Life is filled with all the parts of me that came before I was sexually assaulted and that life was destroyed. It’s the life that was taken away from me and I was forced to redefine.

Sometimes I happen across evidence from my Old Life that I forgot existed. I realize that perhaps I didn’t box up everything as carefully as I thought I did. Like forgotten Christmas ornaments that roll behind the couch, I will find proof of the person I once was – covered in dust and no longer shining.

My 5-year-old daughter asked me this week if we could go to Disneyland and I told her that we could. In fact, I had already started saving up for our trip during Spring Break. I loved watching her excitement at hearing the news and I suddenly felt the stirrings of an old familiar joy that I had buried when it came to Disneyland.

In my Old Life, I made sure our family had annual passes even though we didn’t live in Southern California because we went there at least three times a year. I had an enormous laminated and illustrated map of the theme park for my classroom and my honors English students read Walt Disney’s official biography.

Anyone who knew me in my Old Life (because I cut off ties with most people from my Old Life) would tell you that I loved Disneyland and Walt Disney. That to me, it wasn’t about what Disney, Inc. does currently, it was all about the park and Walt Disney the man. I could walk down Main Street in my Old Life and tell people the story of the names painted on the storefront windows, help people find hidden Mickeys, and why the train is named what it is. My son could find his way around Disneyland from the time he was about 6-years-old, and I cried during the parades.

But really, it was what the park represented to me and who Walt Disney was. I loved and admired the man’s spirit and drive. It didn’t matter how many times Disney faced financial ruin or economic despair, he kept moving forward and I respected that. According to him, the only time he ever contemplated giving up was when Oswald the Rabbit was stolen from him and he had to head home on the train and face uncertainty. Fate intervened in the form of a little mouse scurrying around on the floor and as Walt Disney would say, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started with a mouse.”

paradeWhen I used Walt Disney as an example with my students, I stressed how success didn’t come easy to him. He was a failure in school and bankers refused to fund him for business loans. But he had heart and resiliency. And he worked hard to achieve his own success.

I believed in resiliency and heart in my Old Life until sexual assault taught me that the hard workers don’t deserve success or their dreams coming true. I shoved it all in the attic along with everything else I identified with in my Old Life and began to build a New Life, one that definitely didn’t involve any risk taking that could yield neither success nor failure. My New Life would be beige.

And yet, after telling my daughter that on a whim I began to save money for a Disneyland trip, I’ve been thinking more about how much I once loved it. And I remembered a story Walt Disney would tell his employees that I would also tell my students:

“Remember the boy who wanted to march in the circus parade?  When the show came to town, the bandmaster needed a trombonist, so the boy signed up.  He hadn’t marched a block before the fearful noises from his horn caused two old ladies to faint and a horse to run away.  The bandmaster demanded, ‘Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t play the trombone?’ and the boy said, ‘How did I know? I never tired before!’

“… if I’m no longer young in age, I hope I stay young enough in spirit never to fear failure — young enough still to take a chance and march in the parade.”

I’ve started to reread some of my Walt Disney books again, hoping to revitalize this part of my Old Life again. I want to feel this kind of hope and invincibility again. I want to feel the excitement for life I once felt. All of that was taken from me, not just from the person who assaulted me from all the people around me who should have believed me and didn’t.

While some of my Old Life is gone, never to be a part of my life again, there are other parts that need to come home to me. It’s time for me to join the parade.

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cstreetlightsAfter writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took 20 years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her memoir, Tea and Madness, won honorable mention for memoir in the Los Angeles Book Fair (2016) and is available for purchase on Amazon.

C. Streetlights is represented by Lisa Hagan Books and published by Shadow Teams NYC. For all press interviews and other inquiries, please contact Ms. Hagan directly.

You can connect with C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon Author Central, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

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Filed under Disney, Family, Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, sexual assault, Survivors, Writing

Guest Post: From Size 0 to Size Mom. And Proud of it. By C. Streetlights


I won’t ever be size 0 again, and that’s probably okay. Maybe.

I will be turning 40 at the end of this year and I am slowly accepting the changes in my body that age does to a woman. It’s the age when our bodies turn against us and we come a sort of featured special on the Nature Channel entitled: “When Host Systems Attack.”

I was once one of the girls who other girls longed to be – the type who could eat an entire order of chili cheese fries from Volcano Burger and still want a chocolate shake, not even caring because she knew it would all burn off by dinner time. The horrible trade-off (in my teen-aged mind) was that I was all angles and knees with no boobs. Well, no boobs compared to some others. At that age, or even younger, it was the tale of what we didn’t have compared to what someone else did.

I took my weight for granted during those years. For that matter, I took the entire concept of a healthy lifestyle for granted. Exercise? Hell no; that means sweating. And effort. And probably planning. Eating healthily? Why would I eat fruit and vegetables when God created cheese and the burgers to put it on?

Once I was married, though, my body gave me hints of what was to come. It was like The Christmas Carol but completely different because I’m not Scrooge and this isn’t England. I never gained “The Freshman 15” in college but I definitely gained it as a newlywed thanks to cheap, starchy eating based on our budget and a little special something called the birth control pill. In my young 20-something mind, I thought this was close to the end of the world, bringing my weight from 100 pounds to 115. (I know, I know, don’t yell at me.) But while I was still weighing in at a healthy and normal weight, it still meant no longer fitting in my clothes and that always screws with your head.

exercise-machinesSeveral life events struck me all at once which only added more weight on my body: a busy teaching schedule, a full-time master’s degree, a new baby, and most importantly, my laziness. Sure, I could’ve done something about my weight during any one of these life events, but honestly I just wanted to drink my Dr. Peppers and eat chocolate cream pie. Who wouldn’t? It was bad enough that I had to walk all the way up and down a hill to my car just to get to and from my apartment; why add exercise to that mix? It was a small hill, but still.

However, deep down I knew it was time to drop the weight. My baby entered kindergarten so I couldn’t genuinely call it baby weight anymore. We bought a treadmill with the new house so I mostly enjoyed that. Soon I was running and when I didn’t have to get off of it in order to use the bathroom (all mothers understand this), I could run at pretty good clip.

I can’t run outside. I have sensitive ears. Long story.

When I met my goal weight, the only people excited for me were my family and doctor because the reality is everyone else is a member of a club called the We Hate Success Club. You discover who holds a membership card pretty quickly once you succeed in something you’ve worked hard at and these other people are dicks about it. Soon after, the club president cornered me in her office and accused me of going through a midlife crisis. Because you know, a woman in her early-30s who loses weight is obviously going through some sort of transcendental crisis. The vice president just plainly accused me of having an eating disorder while in the faculty room. Because you know, this is always The Best Tactic to use when exhibiting concern for someone who has an eating disorder.

Actually, it isn’t. Don’t do that. Ever.

In truth, I learned pretty quickly that when it comes to weight your goat is roasted if you gain weight and your goat is roasted if you lose it. No matter what, nobody will be happy with how you look so you might as well be happy for yourself. Overall health should always be the key factor, not the hope that others will be super thrilled for you. Because the dicks from The We Hate Success Club will be at your door, and they won’t bring you a plate of cookies. They only bring sour grapes.

Now that I’ve had my second child – almost 5 years ago – you can bet that I am back at the starting line again. Except this time, I’ve got my age and a bad hip against me. Again, my clothes don’t fit and I face the timeless battle women everywhere face in dressing rooms all over the world: Do I suck it up and go up a size, or do I just go get a Cinnabun and call it a day?

The one activity I did enjoy – running – is no longer an option to me and so now I have no choice but to just sit on my ass all day writing blogs like these and eat the chocolate chips I have hidden in my bedside table. Right? Right.

I won’t ever be a Size 0 anymore. I’m mostly okay with that because for hell’s sake, why are we even producing clothes at that size anyway? But I’m also mostly okay that at my age it just takes more work to get this body to look how I want it to look. I have to fight for every damn pound I lose and be more creative in how I fool myself into exercise. But that’s all okay too because while I won’t ever be a Size 0 anymore, I will always be a Size Mom and my kids need me to be healthy for them.

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CeeStreelightsAfter writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her new memoir, Tea and Madness is now available.

You can follow C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Filed under Anxiety, Family, Guest Post, Life, Mental Health, Motherhood, Sarcasm, Writing

Are We Being Good Parents or Merely Enablers?


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Liane Metzler

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Liane Metzler

Recently, I’ve seen a few articles related to parenting – mature decisions that some parents have allowed their immature children (for purposes of this post, “child/ren” refers to those humans who are under the age of 15 – I chose 15, because that’s my son’s age) to make – that disturb me as a parent. So I decided to write a post about it, and I have a feeling this is going to be controversial, but SOMEONE has to ask the hard questions and point out the obvious: Are we doing our jobs as parents or are we being enablers? Read on to see what I mean.

  • If your 6-year-old son or daughter wanted to jump off of a bridge into swiftly rushing rapids, would you let them?
  • If your 13-year-old angel baby girl wanted to get pregnant and have a baby of her own, would you let her?
  • If your 9-year-old son who loves sharks wanted to swim within them in the ocean – without a protective cage – would you let him?
  • If you child decided to eat and drink out of the cat’s bowls, pee and defecate in the cat’s bin, sleep on the cat’s bed and walk around on four limbs without any clothes on, meow and hiss instead of using her words – because she believes herself to be a cat – would you allow her to do this?

If you answered no to any of these questions (and I hope you did), then what would be your answer if I asked you this question:

If your 7-year-old daughter decides that she’s a boy, wants all things boy and nothing to do with girl stuff, or if your 9-year-old son decides he’s a girl and wants nothing to do with boy stuff – up to and including an eventual sex change – would you allow them to make those choices?

These are a few of the articles in question: HERE and HERE.

MaturityIf your answer is yes, then I ask you, why? (Let me add a disclaimer right here: I’m not into hate-mongering – neither the parent(s) nor the child. That’s not what this is about. This is about being a parent and deciding when your child is mature enough to make life-altering decisions.) Why would you allow him or her to make such a life-changing, psyche-altering decision if you wouldn’t allow them to do any of the other life-changing, psyche-altering choices I listed above? What child is mature enough, knowledgeable enough, developed enough to understand the consequences for these actions? If they are mature enough to make these decisions – and live with the resulting consequences (because, make no mistake, there WILL be consequences) – then WHY do they need parents at all?

My son would like to skip school and do nothing but play video games or Minecraft on a daily. But because I value education (and because the law requires it) I make him go to school. Yes, I allow him to game some part of most days (after school & homework & any chores I choose to make him do that day), because I believe it’s beneficial for him to learn technology and strategy and have fun. But I don’t allow him to make this decision on his own. He’s not mature enough to make the right decision. How do I know what’s the RIGHT vs the WRONG decision? I don’t. Not for sure. I have to fall back on my own maturity and knowledge – and prayer…lots and lots of prayer – and experience and insight into the world around us to make the decisions that will help my son become a well-rounded, successful, mature man. And that’s often a daunting task.

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Sarah Graybeal

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Sarah Graybeal

I understand that parenting isn’t an exact science. My son is 15, and I’m STILL learning what decisions to allow him to make on his own and which decisions he needs made for him…for his own good. Yes, children are people, they are individuals, they are born with free will just like the rest of us. But human children ARE NOT born with the species memory and imprint with which animal young are born.

I think this comes down to ethics and morals. One ethics and moralities question posed to a class I attended years ago was this: There’s a hungry rat and a newborn human baby in an

alley. Which – if either – would you choose to defend? That this is an ethics and moralities question says a lot about our society. And it doesn’t say anything good. There should be no question, no hesitation. My answer will ALWAYS be, the baby. Rats can defend and fend for themselves from an early age. Human children on the other hand, are not born with the knowledge and skills needed to defend or fend for themselves. That’s why they’re given parents. We are their primary teachers. We teach them manners, social interactions, ethics, morals, how to set goals and achieve them, how to shower and dress, how to be kind, but wary of strangers….we are the guardians of their innocence, the protectors of their joy and the comfort for their sorrows. Ours is such a large and daunting privilege and responsibility.

There is so much in the world that is harmful for our children. So many people who want to hurt them and lie to them. Please, let’s protect their innocence, their purity, for as long as we possibly can. They’ll lose it soon enough.

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Filed under Family, Life, Musings, Stuff, Writing