Yes, You.

This is in response to a select few friends who picked up on the BBC article “Using Facebook made my anxiety worse” with Paul Allen, written by Zara Morgan.

Source.

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I saw very early on how certain people would only show us, what they wanted us to see. How people used and still use, social media as a tool, to manipulate and engineer illusions. Negativity I could sometimes let pass but not when it gave cause for concern and having been able to be there for others gave me reason to remain. I know how and what some of you are experiencing… for I do see YOU. 💖

YOU have been the only reason why, I am still on social media. Sure, I have my own frustrations and my own ghosts to deal with but they’re mine and not anyone else’s to bear. I find myself having to sit on my hands sometimes, bite my lips whenever I witness one of the many forms of injustice… Sometimes I just cannot resist! 😝 I dislike being a bystander to it, for fear of inviting it. Some people find me intimidating but that’s their problem. Some people choose to ignore me, that’s once again their problem. Some people choose to be angry… let them waste their time being so. They and my ghosts should not, and do not, dictate me or my precious time. Don’t let them dictate yours.

I choose to focus on my kids because who knows where we will be, this time tomorrow. It is only those who have knocked on deaths door who understands where I truly come from, only those who have personally experienced the quagmires of depression who can relate. Why I am, who I am.

Everyone is different and are at different stages in their lives. How you choose to proceed or react, is up to YOU entirely. Let nothing influence or manipulate YOU.

If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. God willing.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

The Truth Always Prevails

treeofhonesty
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Oftentimes I am reminded of the challenging positions of past that I was subjected to on different occasions by those who let their negativity and jealousy get the better of them, by those who had one rule for themselves and another for others, by those who conspired to overtake my role as founder and owner of The Tree House. There were also those who dared to manipulate (others) in order to engineer situations for their own gains, only, for it to be all in vain.

Only a select few has stood the test of time, remaining by my side throughout, giving continuous support and respect and so, it is they who deserve to be applauded for their courage to do right by others. Their moral values are both honourable and admirable.

Inevitably, there came a time when I became extremely deflated, of all the triviality and nastiness out there, so much so that I was determined not to close down The Tree House, in defiance of those who then chose to exploit and/or bully me, for being who I am. For being different, for being honest and for standing on my own two feet. For not following the (m)asses.

Fortunately, I soon realised all the unsavouriness was still dictating the quality of my time, which, to me, is very precious knowing how short life can be. My beloved children consequently became my first, second and last reason, hence the decision to take a sabbatical.

All I ever wished for was a space (for people) to speak freely with the greatest of respect, without fear of being judged. This is actually possible but only as long as people remain respectful and open minded of one another, willing to improve and learn, even from one’s (their own) mistakes. Except, there is yet much to absorb and practise regarding patience and relatively, respect. Everyone is different and there will always be those from all walks of life, who will teach us who not to be.

Even, those who may choose to knowingly associate themselves with the likes of the unsavouriness still, after having witnessing events or having seen evidence of the events, after allowing “them” to manipulate them into choosing “their” side – “they” are now, their problem. Their conscience.

To get by in the world of politics, one has to lie, be cunning, devious, manipulate and hold no or very little regard for others. It is all a game of ego and greed for power. Whereas a honest and genuine person trying to do their best by the people, for the people, will unfortunately be singled out and descended upon by a baying pack of wolves, those who are in fact afraid of having their true colours exposed, fearing the truth and subsequently, being embarrassed of their own flaws.

summedup

There are those of us who may (appear to) stand alone for speaking the truth and telling it like it is. However, that is okay because our conscience is clear.

Now would be an ideal time to remind you of one of my posts titled “Positivity rules!

There is no shame in being introspective, in being honest albeit respectfully, in seeking further knowledge, for it will all help you to become a better person. It is courageous at best since it is all about the survival of the fittest in our test of a lifetime.

On that note, do look forwards – not backwards as any impurities, which have been filtered out and left behind, are behind us for valid reasons.

Thus, why, I have decided to move on from such experiences. I have learnt so much more about people and their ways, the deaf world and how it functions. I can only hope you will appreciate this level of honesty, as I believe people deserve to know the truth since the truth always prevails.

We all have our own lives to mind and so, I wish you all the best in yours.

A token of gratitude and a tip of the hat please, for Andrew, Paul, Mervyn and all our readers / contributors simply, for being you.

More than you realise… 🙂

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Online Sticks & Stones by Paul Leonard

The Internet is littered with forums, social media platforms, chat rooms etc. where they should be a place you can feel safe and unthreatened and just be able to be yourself. Say what you think, have your own opinions on whatever and not feel ashamed to say or express them. Well, that is the theory… but we all know that theories are all great but when “the rubber hits the road” it can be, and often is, a very different story.

There are people out there, grown adults no less (!), who think it is acceptable behaviour to verbally bully and manipulate others because:

•Differing beliefs or points of view

•Not understanding a point made

•Because they feel their victim is siding with someone’s view and not their own

Let us be straight about this for a second, it is not ok, it is not right, not now, not ever! It just makes me wonder, how were these people dragged brought up in the first place? If either of my kids turns out to be a bully, whether physical or in this way, I will feel, I have failed in my position as a father and role model. There is a proverb in the Bible:

I am trying to talk about this, to bring all this rubbish to the surface and try and be rid of this baggage myself. And also, so other people out there who are suffering, or indeed have suffered in this way, know that it is ok to speak out against these bullies.

If you are indeed suffering and not sure where to turn, consider getting help. Maybe by speaking with a friend, (“A problem shared is a problem halved”. Remember?!), The Samaritans maybe or a quick Google search reveals there is organisations out there that deal with this sort of thing. It may even be worth a trip to your local GP to discuss counselling if you feel that is what is needed.

What is important though, is to speak out – do not let these animals, these scumbags win! I know it can be hard to speak out about bullying, I know that from my school days, but it is important to speak to at least, one person.

~ PAL, who can also be found rambling away on *here.

This (very much appreciated) post was inspired by and written in relation to SJ’s post called “Stop Online Abuse“.

Let ’em Go by Paul Leonard

Whilst out and about enjoying the Christmas cheer, a friend came up with an idea and asked for my technical know how in making this possible. How could I possibly turn down the challenge?! So in true Tree House spirit, the day was well and truly seized albeit adding my own twist!

This video we hope will help to lift everyone’s spirits and make you smile for “A smile is free and does wonders” – to quote the founder, Sara.

On behalf of The Tree House, we would like to present our parody of “Let it go” from the film, Frozen; “Let ’em go”

Enjoy!

Please help The Tree House to stamp out any form of online abuse by not condoning it in any sense. Many thanks.

“Let ’em go” because The Tree House is positively moving onwards and upwards.

~PAL

Stop The Online Abuse.

Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.

There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.

When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.

The World Wide Web.
The World Wide Web.

However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world-wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.

To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.

Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publicly naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.

I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.

To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!

Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).

◾Depression

◾Shame

◾Low self-esteem

◾Sadness

◾Difficulty trusting others

◾Anger

◾Anxiety

◾Frustration

◾Fear

The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.

Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.

It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.

Thank you, for your time and patience.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Some useful links for your reference:

Internet Safety

Bully Online

Crown Prosecution Service

Taking action about Harassment.

Harassment Act 1997

and last but not least,

I would like to applaud Dr Taylor.

Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.

Never Look Down on Someone Unless You Are Helping Them Up.

The moment I read Teresa Garraty’s article on Limping Chicken “Is it time for deaf people to be a little less angry?” I knowingly smiled. I felt she made her point which in my eyes, from my own more than fair share of experience, was justified.

Her article very bravely made light of the facts around us because: “it is relatively true and reminds people not to take things so seriously. Not to be so immersed and concentrated. Not to be fighting all the time. It is not directed at people who campaign tirelessly but at the attitude within societies that give off those vibes of us not being a welcoming and positive community which is in turn misleading them?” As I gave my response on the back of it amongst other rather emotive feedback and watched some bitterness simmering which once again only confirmed Teresa’s whole point?

I concluded, “I just think if we come across as “angry” we won’t be heard but seen as just that. I can see her points from being on other teams and since I left those I can see those attributes which I have shrugged off as I do not want to be seen as demanding or “angry” but as welcoming and positive. Which would make inroads more? Being welcoming or being “angry” which is how hearing society is perceiving us? Hence why I said it’s misleading them because we aren’t angry. Some only appear angry. Most do react as though they are angry.’”

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.” – Confucius

With actions comes consequences: relatively soon after her initial supposedly “controversial” article, Teresa followed up with what she meant by her angry deaf people article to explain in depth, apologising to those she did not intend to cause any offence to, which I thought was admirable of her because members of the public chose to take offence? I was very concerned to learn that she was bullied as a result of her tongue in cheek article. This was sadly inevitable knowing how society behaves, yet it could have been avoided if people within the deaf community had their sense of humour about them. But perhaps their true colours were exposed instead? Who knows. I personally think Teresa should have been warned of potential back-lash from the more experienced writers and contributors but there is only so much people can help others with. Out of a negative, comes a positive. Teresa, in my eyes, is now wiser and more experienced regarding people’s ways.

Nowadays when someone reacts angrily, I am instantly reminded of Teresa’s article and once again smile. I know for a fact a friend of mine is on guard with the article ready to present before the offending party. That is who he is but for me, I so just know it is going to wind them up even more. ‘Tis best to let things be. Why? Because we can. There is no point in dwelling over an iota of bitterness because that iota is only going to grow into an ounce, which in time will weigh tons; becoming overbearing and diseasing your mind along with your soul. Paranoia will also creep in which one will eventually pass onto those around them. Deal with it.

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help and what they cannot.” – Plato

Lone campaigners have the passion and desire to see change out of frustration, due to the pace or finances others impose. This is highly admirable because it is a voluntary action which means sacrificing valuable personal time and sweat for a cause they believe in – I pay respect to each and every one who find it in themselves to be subjected to intense passion and genuine interest from the bottom of their hearts. It frustrates me still, to see “friends” patting each other’s backs behind the scenes. It is happening everywhere, the most blindingly obvious has to be the government who more or less went to school with one another.

We have seen several hardened and angry members enter the Tree House who over time have mellowed wonderfully and stayed on, with their sense of humour, trying to resist the urge to come out and joke along. Naturally there will always be one or two who lose their footing along the way but since people know how it feels to be bullied, isolated, singled out, put down and how it hurts to be kicked whilst down after so long, it has automatically become second nature to us to help them up on their way again. It is what you, the people are making it.

It is always healthy to exercise our free speech as nature intended, within reason and respect, in order to teach others. In the past I have been dictated to, to not say this, to not post that, to delete this, to remove that especially when what I said or had done in the first place was justified. How else will people learn, reflect upon, see things and others for what/who they truly are? There is always a balance and only a wise, experienced person will know when to control themselves.

“Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up”

– is another favourite quote of mine.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)