Tag Archives: Kirschenbaum Productions

My Journey Back to Health

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I have spent the last three years working intensely on a deeply personal film, a story I felt compelled to tell. Many people joined me in this effort in various capacities. Some came on board to help with organizing the massive amount of footage, others with editing, research, web development, social media and many other tasks. Our team ranged from top professionals to interns who were in school or recent graduates.

To launch the project we ran a Kickstarter campaign and raised our first funds from 200 backers. Over the next couple of years we raised additional funds through grants and private backers. We now had many people who supported the film and were eager to see the results.

When I started this film I had already made several documentaries, many for television and a few independent films, and had created and produced many non-fiction TV shows. I moved ahead in my career with passion and confidence, earning awards along the way. My years in television taught me how to work quickly and efficiently and turn around a compelling story in a matter of days.

Something had happened to me. My current film was not moving fast. Granted it was feature length with much more source material but there was something else slowing me down.

As I dug into my past, dug into my childhood diaries, I started to relive it. And all of sudden, I was no longer funny, outgoing, or sociable. Eventually, all of those who were working with me in my studio were done with their jobs. As I sunk emotionally, I welcomed my privacy. I was now the wounded girl from my childhood who was seething with anger. My fuse was short and I had lost my patience. I found myself in war almost everyday — it didn’t matter with whom. It could be the person who accidentally stepped on my heels walking up the stairs in the subway, or the taxi driver who cut me off on the streets, or AT&T over my bills or my mother for another critical comment (which I use to let roll off of me). I was always healthy but soon was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I knew in my heart that this was brought on by my emotional state. I found myself in the hands of western doctors trying to treat it without success.

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My sweet dog, who brought me so much love that I even made a film with her, had already passed away. My boyfriend and I often found ourselves at odds and decided to go our separate ways. And a dear girlfriend of mine for many years dumped me. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that my sweet friend who I always laughed with and loved traveling with was going to end our long relationship over something I said in a moment of pain. I reached out to her with letters and gifts but got no response. I realized she had made her decision and I was now out of her life. What was happening? What happened to the person people used to gravitate to, who they wanted to hang around, who brought people together, and was filled with love and good cheer? I was now so vulnerable that it took little for me to cry. I often found myself walking the streets and crying, hiding behind my dark sunglasses.

I related to every underdog I saw. I wanted to embrace every homeless person and did on occasion. My power drained out and I was now filled with fear and angst. What I never thought would happen, happened — I lost my way, I lost my voice, I lost my confidence and all that was left was a bitter, supersensitive, depressed, raw version of myself. I wondered how I would climb out of the hole I fell in. I had a film to finish and many people were waiting for it.

I hired story consultants and editors. They often challenged my ideas and I was soon convinced they must be right.

I finally had a rough cut, but it still was not feeling right to me. I decided to host a feedback screening and filled the room with 20 top editors, directors and writers. Everyone had an opinion and my head was spinning. The film needed work and I searched for an editor who I hoped would be my savior. With no luck and time passing, I had no one else to turn to but myself. I sat alone for some weeks and worked on the film. I needed to get it done. I was feeling like such a failure. “Finish the goddamn film!” I would hear from my mother. “How is the film coming?” others would often ask. Granted, in my world of documentary filmmaking, two to three years is not a long time to complete a feature documentary. One has to stop and raise money and do many other things to move it ahead. But for the layman it sounded like an outrageous amount of time.

With the encouragement of an advisor, I put aside my anxiety delaying the completion of the film as best I could. And then something happened while working alone and not influenced by others. I allowed my voice to come out — my voice, which I had silenced. I knew then that I had to change the tone of the film, lighten it up and restructure it. It all became clear to me. In a matter of three weeks, with the help of a fellow TV producer, my film had finally reached the place I wanted it to be. There was now humor and a strong message.

I did all it takes to finish the film including the sound mix and was now ready to show it to others. I arranged a couple private screenings. The reaction gave me confidence to go forward. I was most worried about the reactions from my mother and brother, and arranged another screening for nearly 100 people including them. That evening could not have gone better – there was even a standing ovation. It was a huge relief for me to have their blessings. Now I could release the film widely knowing I would not be offending them.

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I am getting my power and humor back, and know I will be stronger than I was before. I can feel the anger leaving and being replaced by love and gratitude. After being treated for my autoimmune disease by many western and eastern doctors and healers with no success, I have learned how to heal myself and my illness is nearly gone. This, to me, is the greatest gift I have received. I am convinced when we fall down and lose our way there is a reason. It is an opportunity for us to grow.

I am now ready to embrace the world and shepherd this film out and turn my attention away from me to others and give all that I have learned. Life is an exciting journey I am so grateful to be on.

Read the original article published on Huffington Post POST50 HERE

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What I Discovered Reading My Childhood Diaries As An Adult

Gayle'sDiary2

The anticipation was great. It had been nearly three years filled with concern and fear. I decided to take a trip down memory lane. It was all going fine. Not too many bumps in the road. Little bumps that I was able to go over with ease. As I began to go further back, I knew in order to be true in my sharing of the past, I needed to find my childhood diaries. That is where I escaped to, writing and drawing in books which I worked so hard to hide — however, not always successfully. More than once, I discovered my diary lying on my bed when I returned from school. I began to question whether I left it there and then soon realized it was not me who placed it there.

I searched for my childhood secrets. Went into my closets, pulling out cartons in hopes of finding them. But each carton I pulled out was filled with other things, from old framed pictures to plaques and awards to pages of storyboards 35 years old when I use to design multimedia shows. Those were the days way before we used computers and artists and designers worked on drawing boards using T-squares, triangles, X-Acto knives, rapidographs, magic markers and charcoal. I remember having accidents with the X-Acto knife and accidentally cutting myself–I still have the scars — and getting charcoal on my hands and clothing. A storyboard then, was a one of kind, an original that if lost would be gone forever, just like my diaries. They were hand written and never duplicated. They were not digital files that were backed up by Time Machine on an external hard drive or put up in the cloud. They existed in one place, the original place they were created.

I continued my search without much luck. I even took out my 12-foot ladder, a necessity when your home has 12-foot ceilings. I opened the highest closets and managed to take down heavy taped and sealed cartons without losing my balance. With my trusty single edge razor left over from the days I did graphics, I opened up the boxes. Still no diaries found. Where could they be? Perhaps when my parents moved to Florida they were thrown away. I did not think so but my memory is probably my weakest link. If someone tells me I did something which I have no recollection of, I invariably believe them. I always think how wonderful it would be to have someone follow me around recording my life so it would not be lost.

It was getting late and I was ready to give up. As I climbed up the ladder again to return one of the cartons, I noticed a box in the back. I reached in and managed to get it, almost dropping it as I carried it down and set it on my table. In black marker, it said on the back “Diaries”. I slit the tape and opened the box. There, inside were all my diaries stacked one on top of the other. I sat down and began reading every page of every diary. I found myself transitioning back to my childhood. My head started to hurt me and I felt my eyes welling up. Soon, I could not stop the tears from falling. I had gone back to a time that I wished had never happened, a time I was happy was in my long ago past. I felt brittle and sad and angry. I knew then that I had found what I needed to share with the world in order for them to experience what I had experienced.

These private diaries–never meant to be seen by anyone, not in my lifetime–were now going to be exposed to the public. The only decision that would have to be made was which entries would I share and where would they appear in the film. I had come so far and there was no turning around now.

Read the original article published on Huffington Post POST50 HERE

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About ME: Anna Chen

My name is Anna Chen. I am an assistant intern to producer at Kirschenbaum Productions. I recently graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison, double majoring in Communication Arts and Economics. I will graduate from college in 3.5 years. This spring, while my classmates are still striving to get high GPA in their final semester and suffering from the Wisconsin extremely cold weather, I “escaped”. I feel very thankful for the opportunity to work at Kirschenbaum Productions. It is my first full time position and a transition point in my life.

Anna_Green hairME: Anna Chen

An internship at Kirschenbaum Productions is an ideal position for me. When I decided my major in college, I thought I would become a filmmaker. However, after two years of studying, I realized that filmmakers are artists, whereas I am an artistic economist. Compare to film aesthetics, I am more interested in film distribution and promotion. In between my undergraduate study and graduate study, I believe that my time working for Kirschenbaum Productions, covering range of duties from social media to assistant in post production, is a perfect fit for me. I would love to dedicate the knowledge and abilities that I learned from school to workplace and hope to gain experience in the industry. Therefore, I really appreciate this opportunity.

To describe myself, I have contradictory personalities. On one hand, I am artistic and creative, but on the other hand, I am rational and good at math. My undergraduate majors that I chose were totally unrelated, that’s why my academic life was very tough. It was very hard to switch from film aesthetic thinking to economic rational thinking, but after three years of studying, I will get used to it. Working in film entertainment industry is my dream, and studying economics was just an accident. I have never thought about getting a bank job. The most interesting part of learning economics is that I have improved my drawing skills. I barely remembered the models and concepts, but I am able to hand-draw straight lines, curves and tangents after these classes. It was an unexpected outcome.

I have various interests. I love painting. I started learning traditional Chinese painting since kindergarten. When my skills became proficient, I dedicated my efforts in drawing bamboos, one of the spiritual plants in China. I believe this was the first moment that kindled my interests in arts. Besides painting, I like music very much. I like not only pop music that most young people like, but also classic music. I have played the flute for 7 years, and I was the flute player in my high school orchestra. However, my love for music just stayed as a hobby, I didn’t attempt to enhance it and turn it to my career. My interests for film started in high school. At that time, short funny clips were very prevalent among my classmates, watching these short online clips everyday. I tried to make one funny clip through Windows MovieMaker, and presented in to my classmates during class presentation, which made all of my classmates and teacher laughed, and I felt proud of it.

Tokyo 2014_AnnaTokyo 2013 Summer

My background and experience allowed me to experience different cultures. I traveled a lot and I love travelling. Travelling not only allows me to experience different cultures, but also motivates me to learn different languages. Learning foreign language is a painful process, that’s why so far, I am still not very confident with my English, since it’s my second language. I have travelled to South Korea to take SAT alone. Because I didn’t know a single word in Korean, I was unable to order foods and almost got lost in Seoul. This experience motivated me to learn a third foreign language: Japanese. Therefore, I have learned three semesters of Japanese and I felt very comfortable when I traveled to Japan last summer. My travel experience led me to rethink the process of learning. Active learning is always more efficient than passive receiving. I can apply this to video production as well. I know the need of what to learn, and I actively seek for the strategies to resolve the problem.

Working at Kirschenbaum Productions covers various range of duties. I, an active learner, will be able to apply different knowledge and abilities to fit this position. I really appreciate Gayle’s passion and persistence on making her movies. These qualities are invaluable for me to absord in order to succeed in my future career.

 

Random facts about me:

  • Favorite film star: Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman
  • Favorite film: Atonement
  • Favorite animation: Pokemon, Doraemon Pikachu
  • Favorite documentary filmmaker: Werner Herzog
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Learn, Forgive, and Let Go

Learn, forgive, and let go… such short words, yet so powerful at the same time.  While working for Gayle and promoting LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!, I’ve been able to learn the true strength behind these words.  Everyone has overcome certain obstacles in life, and these words hold true to helping someone move forward in their lives.

For example, Gayle’s relationship with her mother, which Gayle has highlighted in LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!, did not start off on the right foot at first.  When Gayle was younger, her mother treated her poorly, along with her siblings.  Over the years, Gayle and her mother Mildred have worked hard to rekindle the failed relationship.  Although they are still working out issues, they’re best friends.  Learn, forgive, and now let go. In my opinion, this is exactly what Gayle and her mother went through.

While working for Gayle and managing her social media platforms, I’ve done my fair share of research about various topics, which Gayle covers in her new documentary.  I previously wrote a blog about sibling bullying and different types of relationships.  Tying everything together now, I realize that when we are kids, emotional traumas will always be something that we will hold close to us.  If we don’t heal properly, we will have a burden on our shoulders for the rest of our lives.  It’s best to cope with whatever pain we have as soon as we are ready, that way we can understand what happened and know what to do to make it better. Although series of unfortunate events will still occurred in life, we can view them as a learning experience and let them travel further into the past.  This is what Gayle and her mother did through therapy and healing, and their relationship is now stronger than ever.

Back to learn, forgive, and let go.  Situations, incidences, etc. will happen to us throughout life, it’s not meant to be simple.  The best thing to do is cope with what life throws our way, find inner peace with yourself, find it in your heart to forgive, and let go of the poison that caused the incident in the first place.  Imagine if we hung onto every little or big bad thing that has happened to us…where would we be and what would happen?  Learn from events, forgive whoever inflicted the pain, and let go.  Simply move on.  It will be hard at first, that’s expected.  Life isn’t easy, and we must accept that.  Everything, in the end, will be alright and you’ll feel like this guy, below.

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New Intern on the Block

Greetings!  My name is Carolyn Garavente, and I’m excited to be the new Social Media Intern for Kirschenbaum Productions for the next 4 months.  I’m about to be a senior at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina and am majoring in Communications with a focus in Media and Pop Culture Studies.  This is pretty much scratching the surface about me.

A lot of people have asked me why I took on an internship at Kirschenbaum Productions. I took on this position for a couple reasons, among many.  To start, I really like how Gayle is sharing her story about her and her mother in her upcoming documentary “Look At Us Now, Mother!” and really emphasizing how important her relationship with her mother is.  I have a close, tight knit relationship with my mom (I put a picture of her and I below), so it hits home with me.  Who are we without our mothers, anyway?  Another reason I chose to work here is because I LOVE movies, and I mean it.  If movies were still less than 10 bucks, you’d most likely find me there every weekend watching the new releases.  Every story is fascinating and told in different ways.  My third reason that I will share is because growing social media has always fascinated me since I entered college, and this internship will help me experience it first hand, instead of just studying it.

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(Here’s a picture of my mom [left] and I!)

My first day on the job was a whirlwind, but a blast.  I not only got to meet a couple of the people working for Gayle, I got to meet Gayle herself.  Her passion for her upcoming documentary to be the best it can be is inspiring, and I hope that I one day get to find out what I’m going to be just as passionate about.  For now, you’ll see me using creativity and passion through creating posts on Twitter and Facebook, along with finding some stuff to pin on Pinterest for the company.  I’m really excited to see where this internship takes me!

So, go follow and “like” us.  Goodbye, for now!

https://twitter.com/glkirschenbaum

https://www.facebook.com/kplookatusnowmother?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/KirschenbaumProductions

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Grandparents: Pieces of History

Grandparents are some of the most precious gifts we could ask for. Those of us whose grandparents are still here sometimes forget that we can truly learn so much from them. If you sat down to really talk to them, did you ever wonder how much you could learn about your family, about life, maybe even love?

I just lost my grandfather a few weeks ago. As we said goodbye to Poppy, I realized how fortunate I am that I was able to have this time with him. He taught me so much not just through his many lessons he would tell all of his grandchildren, but through his example. Watching Poppy and how he lived his life has made me realize many things about myself and about others.

Poppy was one of the most passionate people I have ever known. Everything he did, he did it with passion. He was a brilliant musician and sang and played guitar from when he was a little boy until just before he passed. Every time I watched him play, he had nothing but happiness and love in his eyes. Family and music were his life. He got to know all of his children and grandchildren, and we each had a special bond with him.

One of the most important things I have learned from Poppy is that Grandma was his best friend throughout those fifty-four years. I think that sharing a friendship with someone you are going to spend your life with is so important, and my Grandma and Poppy have shown me that.

It feels strange talking about Poppy in the past tense because I feel like he still is here. Someone with a presence like his never really leaves, and anyone who met him seems to have a story about him. He had a big personality and said whatever was on his mind. He was honest, but he was kind. I’ve never really sat down and thought about him before he passed. Looking back I realize that I want to be just like him. I want to be passionate about what I do. I value my family just as he valued his. I will spend my life with someone who I consider my best friend. Poppy has shown me that to truly be happy with your life, you do what you have a passion for and you hold your family close.

Sometimes we take our grandparents for granted. But everyone must realize that no matter what kind of relationship you have with your grandparents, whether you’re as close as my Poppy was with his grandchildren or even if you’re not so close, you can truly learn a great deal from them. They have made all the mistakes we have and will make. They wish they could have done certain things that we still can do. Take their advice. Listen to them. Watch them. Poppy truly touched my life and everyone he met. I learned everything I needed to learn from him. You never know when they can be taken from you. And when they are, don’t look back and wish you could have learned more.

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Mother’s Day Offer

beautiful-tulips-beauty-flowers-pink-tulips-nature-free 2There is truly a great offer going on for this upcoming Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12th! Honor your mother with these special gifts from Kirschenbaum Productions. All you have to do is give a donation. Look At Us Now, Mother! is Emmy Award winning Gayle Kirschenbaum’s upcoming documentary about the fully-charged relationship between her and her mother over the years; a story of how they went from abuse to friendship. HBO writes about Gayle, “You have a great style and are an infectious on-camera presence, and your mother is a force.”

They will accept requests until Mother’s Day, May 12th at midnight or until they run out of spots; whichever happens first.

Thank You, Mom

$150 (20 spots available)

  • They will tweet about your mom.
  • You will receive a signed thank-you card from Gayle and her mother to your mother.

To My Beloved Mother

$500 (20 spots available)

  • They will put your mother’s name in the screen credit.
  • Your mother’s name will be featured on:
  •              -the Look At Us Now, Mother!‘s webpage
  •              -their special Happy Mother’s Day newsletter
  •              -broadcasted out in their social media
  • Signed DVD, free link to movie, and movie poster
  • They will tweet about your mom.
  • You will receive a signed thank-you card from Gayle and her mother to your mother.

To My Dearest Mother

$1000 (10 spots available)

  • They will put your mother’s photograph and name in the screen credit.
  • Your mother’s name and picture will be featured on:
  •           -the Look At Us Now, Mother!‘s webpage
  •           -their special Happy Mother’s Day newsletter
  •           -broadcasted out in their social media
  • 2 VIP tickets to a screening party
  • Signed DVD, free link to movie, and movie poster
  • They will tweet about your mom.
  • You will receive a signed thank-you card from Gayle and her mother to your mother.

First make your donation. You can donate by credit card, or you can write a check to “Kirschenbaum Productions” and mail to:

Kirschenbaum Productions

302A West 12th Street #157

New York, NY 10014

Then e-mail support@lookatusnowmother.com saying how and when you made your donation and the amount. Please include all your contact information and mother’s name, mailing address, e-mail, and photograph (if applicable). Please e-mail a high quality jpeg only.

Donations for this special offer will help Look At Us Now, Mother! be completed and released to the public. There is plenty to look forward to with these gifts and plenty of ways to honor your mother with Mother’s Day coming up.

Happy Mother’s Day!mom2

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Catalysts for Change: The Million March Against Child Abuse

RibbonChildAbuse6Kirschenbaum Productions recently discovered the work of War Against Child Abuse, a strong social media presence who uses Facebook (almost 20k followers) and Twitter (@WarAgainstChildAbuse) to raise child abuse awareness.

A painful topic that too often seems to get ignored is that of childhood abuse. It’s an uncomfortable subject for many, but that’s part of the problem. Without open dialogue, there is no understanding of how to alleviate the problem.

War Against Child Abuse (W.A.C.A.) works to bring individual cases of child abuse, as well as related public policy, into social consciousness. W.A.C.A. enlists followers through their social media outlets to act by offering proactive tools such as votes for a cause, petitions, requests for funding for child abuse prevention, and more.

A recent and very important event is approaching, and W.A.C.A., among many other organizations and individual activists, are gathering to make it a monumental occasion. The month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which was first proclaimed in 1983. The blue ribbon is worn in support of child abuse awareness and prevention. On April 22nd, 2013, this year, there will be many blue ribbons worn because it is the day of the Million March Against Child Abuse. On this day, many people across the nation unite for peaceful demonstrations against child abuse and crimes against children in the U.S. The march will take place in Washington, D.C. and many cities across the US; maybe even your city. If you wish to lead or co-lead a city, send your phone number, complete name, e-mail address, and city to MACACoordinator@gmail.com. You will be given full support, step by step instructions, and items you need. You can check out a list of cities already registered for demonstrations at the following page.

The spokespeople for the Million March this year are the band, Linkin Park, nominated for several Grammys and winner of a few Grammys including Best Hard Rock Performance in 2002. They have albums such as Hybrid Theory, Meteora, and their latest Living Things. The lead singer Chester Bennington gives a Public Service Announcement about the Million March and National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month covers the very broad topic of “Child Abuse”. Unfortunately there are many forms of abuse from physical to sexual to psychological. Psychological maltreatment (also known as bullying, or emotional abuse) is often considered more complicated and can go unnoticed, but nevertheless can be just as damaging and painful as physical and sexual abuse.

As a survivor of emotional abuse and bullying, filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum tells her personal story in her upcoming film (and also this blog’s associated site and brand), LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! In this documentary, Gayle delves deep into her highly charged relationship with her mother. We follow her journey as her relationship with her mother transforms from hatred to forgiveness and love, Mommie Dearest to Dear Mom, and from abuse to friendship and love.

Looking from the outside in, without first hand knowledge of emotional abuse, one might see it as a parent who is merely teasing, or just expressing their love and concern by being critical and controlling their child. Due to raised awareness around teen bullying, however, there has been increased understanding of how debilitating words can be. This is not to imply that the label of “abuse” is being applied to anyone that gets their feelings hurt easily or is overly sensitive. Emotional abuse includes ignoring (belittling, shaming, ridiculing), isolating, exploiting or corrupting, verbally assaulting, terrorizing, and neglecting the child. Psychological abuse is also frequently coupled with physical and other forms of abuse as well. The result leaves scares, and statistics show us that emotional abuse needs special attention. A 2011 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found a total of 676, 569 victims of child abuse and neglect across the United States. A total of 118,825 of those victims experienced psychological abuse.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is here, and the team behind LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! and advocates like W.A.C.A would like all of us to be aware of the child abuse that does occur in the United States. Gayle Kirschenbaum, through her seminars and the upcoming LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! film, seeks to be a resource and forum for child abuse awareness and healthy family development.

Please help prevent child abuse or any form of abuse. War Against Child Abuse is a great way to stay knowledgeable of child abuse. Another great foundation is Children Without A Voice USA, whose founder, Lin Seahorn, is a child abuse survivor. Look out for the Million March Against Child Abuse near your city as April 22nd, 2013, approaches. Remember to wear your blue ribbon!

References

“Million March Against Child Abuse April 2013, Washington DC & in Your State – About | Facebook.” Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2013. <https://www.facebook.com/MMACAmarches/info>.

Project Topic: Look At Us Now, Mother! (LAUNM). N.d. Report on child abuse.

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Happiness

Happiness is something everyone desires to achieve, but many have trouble finding it. People can go on for years trying to be happy, believing that they were maybe not meant to be happy or that people in their lives or certain misfortunes prevent them from being happy.  However, according to an article in the Huffington Post, “Happiness Tips: 13 Experts Weigh In On The Pursuit Of Joy,” you don’t have to look too far to find it. There is no specific key to happiness, but there are a few attitudes and mindsets we can have that will lead us there.  Several experts contributed their ideas, secrets, and beliefs to obtaining this desire.

Many of these experts believe that acceptance, forgiveness, and trusting in yourself and others are a large part of reaching happiness.

‘”Trust yourself. If you don’t learn to trust yourself, you will never be happy. You’ll always be deferring your authority to someone or something outside of you.” -Paul Selig, author of I Am the Word: A Guide to the Consciousness of Man’s Self in a Transitioning Time’

Basically, happiness starts internally. You can’t let certain outside situations or people affect how you want to feel. This can tie into another idea that several of these experts believe: happiness is our choice.

‘”My one piece of advice to anyone who is on the pursuit of happiness is to know that you have a choice -we can always choose to be happy. No, I am not talking about some saccharine, superficial ignoring of what is hurting attitude. In every situation we can decide how we regard the circumstances and our perspective then determines how we move forward or not.” – Marilyn Tam, author of The Happiness Choice: The Five Decisions That Will Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be’

Happiness is not about merely ignoring negative situations or people that are hurting us; it’s about not allowing them to hurt you in the first place. How you react to certain situations is completely up to you, and as Marilyn Tam stated, these reactions can help us move forward.

‘”Count your blessings … pray every day … honor God by taking care of your body and mind … remove all negative people from your life … learn to forgive yourself and others … watch as many sun rises and sunsets as you can.” -Richard Simmons, American fitness personality and motivator’

I think that we should take a minute every day and think about how fortunate and blessed we are. There are so many people in this world that are suffering, and we complain when our cellphone breaks or our internet goes out for a day, or our favorite television show gets cancelled. Think about how some people lose their homes in natural disasters, some don’t even have homes or these luxuries that we have to begin with.

We can also prevent these negative situations from happening by removing the negative people, taking care of ourselves physically, and taking a breath to enjoy the smaller and beautiful things around us. We should not dwell on the bad, but we shouldn’t simply ignore it. We should remove it entirely. If we used the energy we used focusing on the bad things, to trusting ourselves, forgiving others, choosing to react to things in a more positive and powerful way, making others happy, and appreciating what we have, we will realize how much happier we can be.

 

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/happiness-tips-pursuit-of-happiness_n_2759073.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living#slide=2158008

 

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Children forced to fight for internet video.

Well, this is just awful.

“A video was recently uploaded to YouTube depicting two young girls being forced to fight each other in a New York City park. The video, now posted on Gothamist, shows two girls being aggressively encouraged to fight by what sounds like a group of older females, one of whom is presumably holding the camera. The two young girls, clad in puffy winter coats, appear no older than ten years old, and reluctant to fight one another.”

From the NY Observer

I doubt I have anything new to say about this specific event itself. Obviously, what they did to those children was horrible and wrong, and I sincerely hope the adults responsible can be identified and dealt with soon. But what I wanted to talk about most was why they would even upload this video to YouTube in the first place. After all, even the most heartless and cruel person in the world would have to understand that uploading a video of themselves abusing children to the Internet can quite easily have repercussions for them. Even if you only care about yourself and no one else, that’s still a good enough reason not to upload it. It just doesn’t make any sort of rational sense.

There’s been a bit of research done on the online disinhibition effect which might help explain this. Essentially, this is the idea that when they’re online, people feel more comfortable behaving and speaking in a way that would normally be too reprehensible in their regular lives. But give them the veil of anonymity and the presence of an audience, and some people can say and do some truly awful things without fear of repercussions. This may be why these women felt comfortable broadcasting this video to the world.

However, that still doesn’t explain why they felt the need to film and upload it in the first place. What were they trying to gain from doing that? Well, obviously I am not one of those women, so I can’t give a definitive answer on that. But I suspect they may have done it for much the same reason anybody else uploads videos; to have it be seen. I suspect they may have been hoping for the video to go viral, or at least to get them some attention. But of course, the difference between this video and something like double rainbow or Friday is that this is a video of child abuse.

But would they be so wrong in thinking this would work as a viral video? After all, videos of little kids go viral all the time. So do videos of people being hurt – after all, just look at failblog. So sadly enough, I can easily see how someone might come to the twisted conclusion that forcing children to hurt each other would somehow be viral video material. Schadenfreude sells on the Internet, it would seem.

Now, the Internet isn’t to blame for what these women did. They are. But they’re still people, and people don’t exist in a vacuum. So I can’t help but wonder; if they didn’t have a public arena to show off what they did, would they have done it? Perhaps they would have, who knows. Perhaps awful people will always do awful things. But I can’t get the question out of my head, what if? On the other hand, if they hadn’t uploaded it, then perhaps the police never would have found out. I don’t know if these people will ever be identified, but if they are they will undoubtedly face charges.

I’m not sure what role the Internet may have played in the decision to do this to those kids and film it. But I have no doubt that it did. What do you think?

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