30 January 2018

Dear Kid in the Marines Sweatshirt, Victor Quinonez

Everyone is talking about that video you shot, actually videos. I'm sure you know which ones I'm referring to, but in-case someone in the general public skipped the "trending now" here's the short version...

This kid shows up to class wearing a shirt the teacher doesn't like (it says, Marines). The teacher then chooses to jump up on a soap box about how horrible the military is, how service members lack general intelligence - or are the product of bad parenting. How they lack discipline or ability to complete their mission. The videos, shot in a classroom - are dripping with profanity and general disdain for those who protect and serve - as well as anyone who would support them. Here's a link CLICK HERE

Ok so here is where I can go into a rant about how awesome the military is, and what a belligerent jerk the individual speaking on the video is; I could explain that MOST TEACHERS ARE AMAZING - but I'm not this guy...

Dear Victor

I'm sorry you are so uncomfortable in your SCHOOL that you feel you have to make a secret video in order to bring to light abuse in the classroom... but when a teacher who has been suspended before  just keeps coming back, I can understand why you did.

I'm angry and disappointed that so many of us who stand in the way of tyranny, have spent the better part of two decades fighting oppression in other hemispheres only to have it take root like a malignant tumor to the point students in our high schools are bullied by those who should be encouraging you to follow YOUR dreams - whatever those might be.

I'm sorry I knew this guy's name before yours. You are walking the hard road and are appreciated by countless Veterans and Service Members who BY THIS ACTION ON YOUR PART - have been defended against this individual's slander and lies.

I'm sorry no other adult in that building stood in the way. I'm sure this isn't his first tirade - and I'm sure it isn't a secret. You're a kid. The biggest thing you should have to worry about is getting your homework done, and a prom date, and annoying siblings.

I'm livid, disgusted, and heartbroken that your family's sacrifice and father's service have been disrespected in such a brutal way. The bearing you displayed - to receive that abuse - and NOT take the bait? You're stronger than I am.

I'm encouraged by your actions.  You stepped up. You sought help. You didn't keep silent. I'm going to tell my kids about you. You're a role model.

I'm hopeful there are more kids like you.

To the kid in the Marines Sweatshirt, 

Thank You. 

Jinger A. Brinkley
US Army Veteran

26 January 2018

Won't You Be My Neighbor - Uhhhh No.

So... just about 9 months ago we moved into a beautiful neighborhood. I would describe it to you, but going into a dissertation of suburbia is about as exciting as a root canal/pap smear combo and I really don't see why anyone would want to experience that  so we'll skip it. I trust you can imagine a bunch of pretty houses all lined up on a curvy street? Slap in some doggone palm trees because... Florida... and.... you got it. Good Moving on.

Well, somewhere along the last 12 years of military spouse marriage I forgot that I am an adult and under NO obligation to be friends with EVERYONE I meet. I mean... let me clarify as a military spouse there can be this weird thing when your husband is running around in foreign lands with their husband, you kind of feel this strange sense of loyalty even if you can't STAND the person - but here in this NEW world of civilian suburbia... those uhhhh "rules" didn't apply - BUT THAT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME. I made my merry way through the neighborhood attempting to foster relationships at every turn.

Let me tell you what I learned from that little escapade.

Never - ever - ever - compromise who you are. You WILL find your tribe, but if you manipulate your persona to try to fit in, than you will never really find the people you belong with. Why? Because people won't get to see/know the real you. Having the integrity to show your true colors can be painful and it can be lonely, but please know that the relationships you will eventually foster will be so much more fruitful than the shallow acquaintances you will brush upon if you never let people get to know the real you.

photo credit: pbs.org

Here's the flip side if you show people the REAL you and they "don't like you" then you save yourself the time and energy of investing in someone who DOES NOT WANT a relationship with you. We are grown y'all! If they don't think you are fun to hang out with - don't waste your time. There are way too many awesome people in this world who WILL want to be weird with you.. or laugh loud with you... or watch football with you... or sing in the car with you... or read nerd stuff with you... do NOT try to fit some snot rockets mold - let them find some other snot rocket to hang out with.

In the past few months I've found football friends, antiquing friends, wine a little/ laugh a lot friends, and I've figured out that there are some people in this neighborhood that I don't care if I NEVER speak to EVER in my life. I don't wish them harm or ill will ---- we just do not mix --- and that is OK. I don't have to hang out with them and they don't have to hang out with me. This isn't kindergarten, and I'm not Mr. Rogers.