Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Didn’t Know it was rape

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I pulled into the parking lot and waited on him to arrive. He was old enough to buy beer, so I’d asked him to meet me and get me some. I was upset. My boyfriend had broken up with me, and at 17, I thought that that merited a drunk night.

“Why don’t you ride with me?” he asked as I went to grab the beer. “I’ll drive while you drink.”

I didn’t want to get a DUI, so I agreed. He was a friend of my boyfriend, so I thought that it would be fine. I hopped in his truck, grabbed a can, and popped it open. He was listening to some sad country music, so I turned the dial to find something more upbeat.

As the alcohol started kicking in, I loosened up and started dancing to the music. I remember glimpses of his Pepsi can fading in and out, and I remember offering him a beer. He refused and said that he needed to drive.

I was passed out when we pulled up to his house. He grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the truck. I mumbled something about what we were doing, but I just remember him pulling me into darkness. Flashes of his sand-paper skin thrashing against me. Waking up to the smell of cigarette smoke.

The next day I got a call from the ex-boyfriend. “You fucking whore. You fucked my best friend?”

I didn’t know what to say. I had.

Afterwords, when he came around, I was still polite. The boyfriend had taken me back, made me pay for my whorish behavior. They were still friends. He came to our house.

Years later, I read a similar story, but the woman was accusing the man of rape. I did not know that this was a possibility. I thought it was my fault. I got into his truck. I drank the beer. I didn’t say no.

Then I replaced myself with someone else in the scenario. What if it had been my daughter? Would I have still felt like it was her fault? No. If she was not in her right mind, she could not consent. Why did I feel so differently when it came to myself? Was it because my boyfriend told me that it was my fault? Was it because no one talked about rape in my town? Was it because women are held responsible for what men do to their bodies?

What if I had gotten pregnant? Did I have the ability to ask him to wear protection? No.

What if I had gotten a disease? Did I have the ability to make sure he wore protection? No.

I physically survived unscathed thankfully. Unfortunately, the mental and emotional scars are deep. I hated myself. I probably made decisions based on this hate. I still feel responsible. I have lost many nights of sleep wishing that I could go back to that night and not get into that truck. I cannot even express the damage that this does to a person. I probably missed opportunities to improve my life because I did not feel that I was worthy. I still battle with my confidence. I also have issues with my body. I want to look nice, but I don’t want to attract the wrong attention. I am not strong in my skin. I have been weakened. It takes a lot to fight. It takes a lot to speak. I could not even name his name in this story because I am still ashamed.

Resumes and Interviewing Skills for Free? Stop Bombing Interviews NOW!

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I used to be terrible at interviews, and since I can’t stand being terrible at things, I decided to do what I do best and research ways to get better. Granted, my wife also helped me because of her experience as a supervisor. With her expertise and some of my solutions development skills, I put together a brief course that can help people master resumes and interviews with REAL knowledge.

When I would interview, I would either “prepare” by Googling information or just wing it. First, Googling information is no longer a feasible means of preparation. Having a plethora of information is overwhelming and useless. Having knowledge is actually understanding the information and being able to apply it. Second, winging it is never a good idea. I would go in, unprepared, and when I would be asked a question that I did not know the answer to, I would laugh. Nervous laughter would come bursting from my gut. It was horribly embarrassing, and it never ended well. I would leave hating myself, and I would not get the job. Why would someone want to hire someone who was obviously unprepared and crazy?

These experiences fueled me to create this course, and to use the information myself to improve my resume writing skills and my interviewing skills. I developed simple formulas for answering questions, and traits to enhance the resume. If you too want to improve these skills, go here to access the free course:

(https://julie-still-rolin.mykajabi.com/products/job-acquisition-skills)

Job Acquisition Skills

Restaurant Review: Sammy Barker’s in North Pensacola, Florida

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Restaurant Review: Sammy Barker’s

If you haven’t already tried out Sammy Barker’s in North Pensacola, you should! I was kind of taken aback by the description of “American Street Food,” but their sign boasting craft beer caught my attention. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed—perfect for meeting friends after work or having a quick bite with kids.

The franchise has a cool back story—the theme is circus, and “barkers” are those guys who did the marketing for the show—the ones who would attract customers by yelling announcements at the crowd. This theme ties into the entire experience. The “street food” is not your typical hot dog. In fact, none of the food is typical. I’ve had the tacos, which are a unique combination of pork and toppings ranging from jalapenos to slaw. I’ve also had the burgers—perfectly seasoned and cooked with flavorful combinations from sautéed onions with bleu cheese to jalapenos and chipotle sauce. My favorite is the dog—the one with bacon jam. It is like no other hot dog I’ve had, and I’ve had my fair share of dogs—one of my favorite spots is Dat Dawg in NOLA. I like to pair this with a nice batch of homemade fries with ranch sauce. This meal may not follow my diet, but it is worth the cheat! Another great addition is the selection of beer and wine. They do not hold back on their offerings, and on this side of town, pickings are sometimes slim. Altogether, the circus that is Sammy Barker’s is a great experience that you can have any lunch or dinner of the week.

I Published My First eBook

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So, I’ve been writing for years and have not published, so I decided to jump on the self-publishing bandwagon and give it a go. I know that there are a lot of mixed feelings about this (some people say it’s not a “real” book, etc.), but in my self help journey, I’ve discovered two major realizations that helped me decide: 1. I don’t care what other people say 2. See number 1.

Several factors influenced my desire to self-publish. First, I wanted to do it fast! I didn’t want to wait around for someone to accept my work (or not) and then do the publishing on their time. Second, I wanted to do it for free. Amazon’s ebook publishing did not cost me one cent. Third, I wanted to be in control of my content. I am an excellent writer and editor. I’ve been doing it for YEARS, so I didn’t want someone to tell me what to do. Finally, I wanted the experience. I am the type of learner that has to DO something in order to actually learn it. So, I wanted the experience of formatting, editing, AND marketing my own work. Because I knew all of this, I was confident in my decision.

Here’s a breakdown of my experience:

I started with a small work that I’ve been half-ass writing for a while and is focused on my consulting/solutions development startup. It’s about Sexual Harassment and how training sucks.

*It took me about 2 weeks to write the book because I’m still working part-time, raising kids, and being an awesome wife, plus I’ve had a shitty cold virus. I downloaded the Kindle ebook add-in for Microsoft Word which does all the formatting for you!!! It was amazing! Sometimes I had to play with it a bit, but overall, it was great. START WITH THIS STEP.

*While I was writing, I did some pre-publish marketing: I started trying to find a target audience and regularly posting about the upcoming work. This was not very productive, so I’m going to research how to improve it.

*Once I finished, I went through the steps for Amazon publishing ebook. I did not enroll in KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) just to see how it goes alone.

* I shared my ass off on social media, and I did set up an ad campaign on Amazon for $5/day for 4 days. I figured I could drop $20 just to see how it goes.

*So, I’m two days in and haven’t gotten a sale, but I’m going to keep going on this marketing trail and see where it takes me.

Oh, and here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0762M884C

Just in case you want to buy a copy for $2.99!!!

PLEASE COMMENT ANY FEEDBACK!!!

Unsung Hero

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Unsung Hero

This weekend I was awoken by the dreadful sound of a cellphone ringing at 3:30 in the morning. You know those calls…they’re never good. My heart stopped as I jumped out of bed to retrieve it. It was my stepson calling my wife. First of all, our story is complicated, as many people know. We joke about it because of the stereotypical nature of us being from the South–implicit jokes about inbreeding and such nonsense. But, the truth is that we are just two souls linked together in unusual circumstances. We are a blended family. My stepson is also my wife’s stepson, but she raised him like her real son. So, he has basically become our son. At first, he was reluctant to cross over into my dark side of culture. I was an alien with my record player blaring anything from Louis Armstrong to David Bowie and my sauteed vegetables and my refusal to fry anything. It took us both a while to adjust to each other, but now he is family. So, when he called to say he’d been in a wreck, I too jumped up, dressed, and tried to suppress my fear.

I was scared not only for his safety, but my wife’s as well. I know how deeply she cares for him. She never actually birthed any children, but she’s mothered two and is now mothering my two as well. She tells me all the time that she doesn’t have the mother thing, but she just doesn’t realize that she does. Perhaps she has the mother thing more than most birth mothers. She shows it in her unwavering commitment to her children. As much as she wants to be free from the worries, responsibilities, and headaches that come along with mothering, she can’t. The mother thing inside her won’t allow it. She loves her son as if he was her own. She pushed him through high school even though it killed her to fight with him. She just wanted what was best for his future. She bought him a truck even though she was struggling financially at the time. She wanted to teach him responsibility and pride of ownership. She is plain out rude to the girls that he brings home who don’t deserve him. She just wants to make sure he finds a good relationship. She forced him to become responsible and get his own place. She just wanted him to be independent for when she can no longer help him. I’ve watched them fight, and at times that I would have given up, I’ve watched her persevere out of love. Now, I think he is finally seeing what she has done.

When we got to him, it was a relief to see that he was okay. He would be in pain, but he would recover. His truck, not so much, but material things can be replaced. We took him home, and she was the one who helped him when he felt that he could not take the pain. She was the one who insisted he go to the hospital. It wasn’t convenient. It would have been easier to let someone else take him, but she wouldn’t have let that happen.

People like to share their opinions on lesbians having kids. They like to say that kids need a traditional family. They say that kids need a mother and a father. I’ve seen those traditional families. Sometimes they are fantastic. Sometimes, however, they are not so great. I’ve seen the mothers who become addicted to pills because their husbands are abusive. Neither of those parents are good for the kids. I’ve seen the fathers who work 40 hours a week and then complain that they are too tired to spend time with their kids. I’ve seen the mothers who do the same.

People also like to say that kids raised in a homosexual household will end up becoming homosexuals. Homosexuality is biological. Scientists and researchers have proven this time and time again. No one can make anyone gay. Our sons are great examples of this. Both of them like women. And, they have an advantage by being raised by two women: they will know how to treat women.

My wife is an unsung hero to the children that she did not birth. She is the one who makes sure they are taken care of. She is the one who will be there when others walk away. She is the one who will fight for them. She is the one who will sing happy birthday with her guitar even though she can’t play or carry a tune. She is the one who will push them to be better students and parents and lovers and friends and people. And, because they know this, she is the one they will call when they need someone.

Struggles Teach Us Something. Listen to Them.

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Struggle Meme

I was forced out of bed this morning by thoughts of writing. It’s amazing how passion can make us do things. As I was proofreading the second chapter, I decided to share my thoughts on struggle. I have struggled for years, no, decades, with wanting to write, but I have never followed through. I actually finished a book last year, but have not touched it sense. This struggle is one of self-doubt. However, as you’ll find in my book, I do not believe that we struggle for no reason. Our bodies physically try to protect us, so they get confused by our fears. When we fear something, the body turns away from it as a means of protection. Unfortunately, these fears are often irrational and reinforced by a false sense of security. My fear of writing is that I won’t be good enough. It is that someone will read it and think I’m stupid. Or, no one will read it. Why do we fear these things? Because we have struggled with something similar. Someone somewhere has put these thoughts in our heads, whether it is social media, television, friends, enemies, family…But, a cool thing can happen when you realize that this struggle was just meant to be a lesson, not a debilitating reality. This struggle was meant to prepare you for the possibility of rejection. But, this struggle is not permanent. No struggle is. That’s why it’s a struggle. It’s hard, you push through it, and you’re better on the other side. You can appreciate it more. With me, I’ve learned that I don’t care if I’m rejected. I have been there. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m stupid; I know plenty of stupid people. What I care about is finding my voice and letting it out. It’s been screaming at me for decades inside my head. It needs out. SO, if you are struggling with something, take a good step back and try to see what the lesson is within the struggle. Then, push past it. Get on the other side and remember it for future struggles may come, but they too can be lessons rather than realities. Happy Wednesday!

No More Bullshit?

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Image result for no more bullshit

I’ve finally decided to jump in to my dream of writing and stick with it. I’ve always had a writing project in the works, but I’ve never felt so passionate about it as I do this new one. So, I’m going to share some of it with my audience in hopes of finding encouragement to keep up the momentum. I’m 20,000 words in, so I feel pretty confident about it. If you have any opinions, please share.

I’m still playing around with a title, but I like No More Bullshit: Life Lessons because it encompasses the premise of the book, which is ultimately about the changes I’ve made in my life after becoming more enlightened. The book also contains my real voice, which is a potty mouth accompanying my Southern accent and intellectualism. I want people to be aware that this is supposed to be a humorous look at the experiences that prompted me to change. It is not faith-based although I do incorporate some spirituality that has helped me, so I do not want the wrong audience to pick up the book and be offended.

So, if you have any feedback, I’d really appreciate it. Feel free to comment.

Sexual Harassment Training

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As a consultant, I identify problem areas, research best practices, put my own spin on these practices, and conduct training. With sexual harassment, it’s personal. I have been a victim of sexual harassment all too often. Unfortunately, the online training and video training that I have always been required to participate in has not helped me in any way know how to actually handle sexual harassment in the workplace.

What happens to organizations when sexual harassment training fails?

  • They are at risk of a lawsuit
    • Lawsuits are expensive, duh
    • Lawsuits are time-consuming
    • Lawsuits can be detrimental to an organization’s reputation
  • A hostile work environment is created
    • Even if there is no lawsuit, problems are still created
    • Employees need to feel safe and protected by the organization
    • When employees do not feel safe, they lose their loyalty, their enthusiasm, and their confidence in the organization

The misconception that you are safe if you are not involved is being torn down. If you are a leader and you do not practice due care to prevent sexual harassment, you can be held responsible for someone else’s actions. Look at Penn State. Leaders who had nothing to do with the charges are responsible for the lack of handling the situation.

It’s time to be pro-active and get proper training!

WHY CHOOSE ME?

I understand sexual harassment from the inside. I know that it is not easy to deal with sexual harassment at a job that you have worked hard to obtain. I know that people get backed into corners and file lawsuits out of desperation. But, I believe that lawsuits are not the answer. They do not help the situation. I want to help both victims and organizations avoid lawsuits and end sexual harassment. What has been done is not working, so it’s time to try something new.

My sessions will not only cover the legal and organizational needs, but they will also help to develop stronger employees. I have researched the problems with current training and developed solutions for better training. The sessions are fun and interactive, which means that they will last. I will continue to provide assistance as needed even after training.

OSHA says that online/video training is not sufficient for sexual harassment training. What does this mean? That if this is the only method of sexual harassment training an organization employs, and there is a sexual harassment incident at that organization, the organization can be held liable for not having proper training.

FOR VICTIMS:

Everyone knows what sexual harassment is, and everyone knows that it is illegal. However, you may not know how to deal with sexual harassment when dealing with it threatens your career and your livelihood. You are not alone in this.

For information on how to book my services go to my website: julietsmilesconsulting

 

Why I Will Continue to Support Black Lives Matter Even Though I’m White

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First ofblack-lives-matter all, I shouldn’t have to write “even though I’m white,” but I feel that it is necessary because I’m hoping that this will reach at least one white person who doesn’t think it’s okay to support the Black Lives Matter movement as if it will harm their white privilege in some way. Secondly, I will attempt to refrain my anger and sarcasm as much as possible, but I can’t make any promises. These are my disclaimers.

As a teacher, I have witnessed many forms of oppression in our society, especially against black people. I see that the public school system reinforces many of this oppression. What do I mean? Let’s look at desegregation. When black children were finally allowed to attend “white” schools, how much did the schools change to include their culture? Did the history books change to include positive attributes made by black people? No. Did literature books change to include a fair amount of black writers? No. The only thing that changed was that they were allowed to attend. When I look back on my education, I think about how much I did not know about black people as a child. I didn’t have the pleasure of reading Toni Morrison,  Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, etc. All that I was exposed to was the “norm.” So, looking at this from the perspective of a black child (if I may venture to do so), what would this tell me about my race? As a white child of a racist mother, I learned that white was normal, good, accepted. I was taught that black boys were rapists and violent. I was taught that black women were bitches. And, I was taught that all black people were stupid and did not belong in our society. My mother would say that she wished that black people would be sent back to Africa. I want to add here that I have long since departed from these teachings, but I’m afraid that many people still have this mentality. So, in 2016, has the public school system changed? No. They simply added a month to celebrate Black History–the shortest month of the year. Yes, they have included more black people in history and literature, but the narrative is ultimately the same. EXCLUSION OF BLACK PEOPLE BEGINS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

As a college English teacher, I emphasize the fact that we are all basically bilingual. When I’m at home, I sometimes say things like, “He done started something,” or “She gone get in trouble.” This is our dialect. I know that it is technically incorrect, but I do not dismiss dialect because it brings richness, culture and identity to people’s voices. My black students are not used to this. They are not used to their speech being accepted as a language. They look at me like I’m an alien. EXCLUSION OF BLACK PEOPLE CONTINUES THROUGHOUT HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE.

Don’t get me wrong, black people are strong. I admire them for their perseverance. They have made tremendous strides considering the lack of acceptance in our society. They don’t need my support. It’s the white people who need to know that it’s okay to support them.

In fact, white people could benefit majorly from true inclusion. Look at the school system again. Now tests are the ultimate basis of knowledge. If a student doesn’t pass the test, the student is judged, the teacher is judged, the school is judged. The problem with this is that not all student knowledge can be measured by a test. And, ultimately the tests do not reflect the differences in race. This is a difficult subject because it may sound bad, but hear me out. When black people were allowed to attend white schools, they had basically no education besides the little bit that other black people could teach them. They were not up to white people’s “standards.” So, instead of changing the system and letting the black students catch up, they just kept going in hopes that they would give up. Then, legislature is passed that says that all schools must be performing. These black students who couldn’t catch up were hurting the numbers. What happens? They lower the standards. Now middle and lower class white students are also suffering. And, this is pretty much where the education system is today.

Also, some black people did give up. They recognized that they couldn’t survive this system. This system NEVER really let them in. So, what do they do? Turn to ways to survive that don’t include getting an education.

Another form of oppression is the welfare system. The welfare system was set up initially to help people get back on their feet after the Great Depression. Now, it reinforces a cycle of slavery to poverty. I once overheard a conversation among a couple of black seventh graders (ages 13-14). They were talking about naming their babies. I heard one of them say that she hoped that she would have twins so that her grandmother would get two more checks. When a person only knows one way of life, it is difficult to break out of it. It is the norm. It is a cycle. I’m going out on a limb to say that I’d bet most of our politicians know this, which is why welfare continues. I’m not saying welfare should disappear because I understand its important in helping people in need, but it should be a means to an end, not the end. So many white people disagree with me on this point because they are jealous that the government gives black people money. This is so stupid because 1. white people get welfare too, and 2. a life depending on the government is not a good one. White people say “I wish I could drive a Cadillac and get on welfare,” but that Cadillac does not make up for other hardships, and this is just nasty ass stupid prejudice assumption. Think of it this way: Do I want my daughter at 13 to be thinking about naming her child, the child that she is having so that her grandmother can get another check? Nope.

I could go on and on about the systems of oppression (a.k.a. slavery) that are thriving in our society, but this is supposed to be about Black Lives Matter. I’m writing this in response to white people trying to diminish this movement by using the term Blue Lives Matter as a rebuttal. NO NO NO! This movement was not established as a blow against police officers. It was established as a cry for help. Mothers of victims. Mother of victims. They lost their children. They lost their children to the violence of our society. Our society excluded their children, and they ended up dead at young ages. This is the problem. Stop trying to stifle their voices. Stop ignoring the exclusion. Stop saying that they can’t speak up for themselves without taking away from white people. Do white people need black lives to not matter?

No one said that blue lives don’t matter. No one said that white lives don’t matter. When a police officer shoots a black man sitting in his car unarmed, he is saying that his life doesn’t matter. When a white man shoots a black teenager for wearing a hoody and playing loud music, he is saying that his life doesn’t matter. When a child is gunned down for having a toy gun, it shows that someone believed his life didn’t matter. There are methods for preventing this violence, but they are not exercised. Are all instances of police violence about race? No. Am I saying that police officers should not protect themselves? No. I am saying that racism and oppression exist and cannot be ignored. I am saying that black lives do matter, but that does not have to take away from others’ lives. I am saying that if there are instances where a black person is targeted, then there need to consequences and recognition.

I don’t worry that my son will get shot because of the color of his skin. I don’t worry that my son will be excluded in school because of the color of his skin. I don’t worry that my son will be profiled because of the color of his skin. I enjoy white privilege in this way. I do not want to have to worry, but I want to share those same privileges with my black neighbors. I want my students to feel accepted in my classroom. I want my students to succeed and become productive members of society. I want to live in a society where we stop lying and start fixing the problem. If you want to say ALL LIVES MATTER, fine. THEN ACT LIKE IT! Until then recognize that BLACK LIVES MATTER.