coaching, Love, Motivation, parenting, women

I don’t want to be smart!

“I don’t want to be smart!”

My six year old son yelled this at me last night, and it confused me. He is a smart little boy. He always has been. He loved playing math games as a toddler and reading books is one of his favorite hobbies. Now that he is in first grade his whole mindset has changed. He doesn’t want to be smart.

I didn’t understand. This was something that he was always proud of. He would so something we would consider brilliant.. just normal kid stuff, but we’re his family so everything he did was brilliant and we would commend him on being “so smart”. When he started kindergarten he was having a lot of trouble sitting down and doing his work. It was understandable. He was a 5 year old boy. Sitting was not his specialty.

Now that he is in first grade I talked to him about how this was the year that actual grades started and how his work was important. He always loved coming to work with me so I told him that it was “job” to go to school and do his work. I let him know that he was a smart little boy so if he just did the work his grades would be just fine and he didn’t have to worry about that.. just do the work. I wasn’t trying to put the emphasis on the grades. I was trying to help him understand that it was his “trying” that mattered.

Two weeks before he started first grade his father died. Because of this my sweet little boy has a lot of anger and anxiety. This is completely normal.. but very disruptive. We have decided to turn off all electronics in the house because of this. I only use my phone and computer when he is at school.. or for “important” things (like doctor’s appointments, checking in with teachers or activities.. etc.) This has been an extremely emotional time and we are both looking for as much quality time together, even if it’s just snuggling on the couch reading books, as we can.

At school he has been having some outbursts. He has been boycotting his classwork, and even a test. He has been getting into fights with kids who are “being mean to him”. I know these kids.. they’re not being mean, but he is on high alert because of his high stress and everything is upsetting him.

About a week ago he asked if he could home school. I asked him if he understood what that meant. He said, “yeah.. then I could just stay home all day with you”. I explained that he would still have to do all of the work, but that he wouldn’t have any of his friends there to play with at all.. and that.. if I am honest, I am not the most patient at teaching things like maths… I don’t even understand half his homework already. He agreed home school was not for us.

He had a few good days after that conversation and I was hoping that we had turned a corner. Then yesterday he was held back in the classroom at the end of the day so the guidance councilor could speak with me.  She told me that he had thrown papers at a friend and his teacher.. squealed.. and hid under his desk. I brought him home and asked him about what had transpired.. there was some story about the other kid throwing it first.. it not being his fault.. the usual. He told me that he tried to do his breathing but he was just so mad.

Then he told me, “I wish I wasn’t smart”. I was completely taken aback. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said that he was so tired and so angry all the time. That he didn’t want to do any of his work because of it. That if he wasn’t smart that no one would care if he did his work or not and they would just leave him alone.

I’m not going to lie.. that confused me. I couldn’t see where he got this or why he felt this way. I knew that I had said that he just had to do his work and because he was smart the grades would follow.. but that didn’t mean that he didn’t have to do the work if he wasn’t smart.. but then I thought about my own childhood. My brother was always “the smart one”.  He was in all the extra special classed for “smart” kids, and I always had anything better to do than my homework. So I didn’t, and my dad wasn’t great at checking on me. When the teachers would say to me, “you’re so smart if you just do the work….” I would shut down. I’m not smart. My brother is smart.. you’re just projecting. I didn’t want to be smart.. because I didn’t want to do the work.

We always get the threat from our parents that someday we are going to have kids “just like you”, and then we do. And then we say the same things to our kids that was said to us. So from now on, I’m not going to tell my son how smart he is.. I’m going to tell him how proud I am for his effort. Because let’s be honest.. ability is nothing without fortitude. My son is smart, but he doesn’t know everything. Two weeks before school started he lost his father and his whole understanding of life was changed. I can’t expect him to comprehend everything, but I can encourage him to try.

 

Addiction, coaching, Giving, Love, Mental Health, Motivation, parenting, Wellness

The correct way to grieve

There is no correct way to grieve and I have done it all.  Grief is different for everyone. It’s also different for each person at different stages of their lives. I was reading some fan posts about a show I watch in which one of the fans was not happy with how the main character reacted to the death of her husband compared to when she had thought her father had died. This fan felt that because the characters reaction wasn’t a breakdown into tears her love wasn’t as real.

I can tell you that I have had a handful of significant deaths in my life, and I have reacted to them differently every time. Some of the differences are based on their relationship to me, some of them have been because of my age. Some of the differences are just because the more loss you have; the more you get used to it.

My first major loss was my grandmother. She had dementia for many years and when she died I was very sad, but I also had felt like I’d been losing her for a long time. I was in my 20s and that death was more about facing my own mortality. She was the first member of my family that I really knew that died. It was the first time that death really hit home. I went a little nutty about how my life was not going anywhere and I wasn’t married with babies.. and the whole deal. I ended up running off to Vegas and marrying the guy that I had been dating for about a year. Don’t get me wrong, he was a great guy, but we should not have gotten married and after a couple of years and the grief passing we faced that truth and divorced.

My next major death was my mother. One would think this would have been the worst, but it wasn’t. I hadn’t seen my mom since I was a kid. She was schizophrenic and her being in my life was just too hazardous. She had moved to Georgia when I was about 12 and I had very little contact with her while she was there. A few years later she moved back, off her meds, and causing problems. I decided at that point that a mother should not be hurting her children, and that if she were in her right mind that she would agree with me. I never saw her again.

My father googled her every once in a while just to keep me updated. One day, in my mid 30s, I came home to him telling me that he found her obituary. She had died the year before… and I missed it. That was tough. Growing up without a mother was always hard. She didn’t help me pick out my prom dress. She wasn’t there to give me advice on dating, or tell me not to get married. She had never been a part of my life, but I always knew that she was out there, and that gave me a little peace. Maybe someday she’d get herself on track and look me up… but that day never came, and now it never would… and with that I just closed a chapter.

A few years later, 2015, was the worst year of my life. I woke up one morning to find my father dead in his bed. He had been sick for years, which is why I had moved home, but I wasn’t expecting that. His death crushed me. I found him and tears, screaming, horror. It was the worst experience of my life. It was exactly something that you would expect. My son was only 2 at the time, and I had to put on a brave face around him, but there was a lot from that year that I don’t remember. I was on auto-pilot. I had to clear out my dad’s stuff, take over his business, put in order all of his life.. and I did.. because I had to.. but I don’t know how I did it. And I don’t remember most of it.

In that same year my dad’s longtime girlfriend died.. on  my birthday. She was older and had been sick for a while, but that didn’t make it any easier. Losing her was like losing another parent. She was a link to my father. To my childhood.. Hell, she was the one who knew everything about everything. She was my go to in life when I had real questions… now, who was going to be there for me?

A little over a month later and right before Christmas my dog ran out of my front door and was hit by a car right in front of me. And not just hit.. hit, knocked to the other side of the street.. ran over.. then ran over again and dragged away. Some people don’t understand the impact of losing a dog, but for me this was like the proverbial straw… I had to choose. It was either going to destroy me, or I was going to use it to strengthen me. It was 2 days before Christmas and I had a 2 year old sitting in the house waiting for me. I held my breath, cleared up my tears, and did everything that I could to give him the best Christmas that he could ever have.

That was almost 4 years ago, and for a long time the worst of it was over. I was getting on with my life. I could only do what I could do and I was learning everything that I could about helping other people. To me, helping others made me feel better.

A few weeks ago a new phone call came in. This time it was my son’s father. He had been an addict. He had been clean for almost 2 years… he was my best friend.. on his sober days… and August 14, 2019… he was dead. My face went white with that call, but I did not shed a tear in that moment. I looked at my, now 6 year old, who was playing with a friend and I thought, “I need to be as strong as I can… for him”.

I have broken down a few times. My son has seen me cry, and knows how sad I am about Da being dead.. but I am holding it together. Not because I didn’t love my son’s father, but because I still love my son.. and I still love me, and I know that the best way for me to work through my grief is to help others. I have been writing about my experience with death, with addiction.. with loss. I have been helping out with my son’s school, and extra-curriculars. I have been attending to my son’s father’s final estate.. I am going to attend a wedding this weekend.

I am doing all of this because I love my grandmother, and my mom, and my dad, and my Mary, and my dog, and my son’s father… and my son, and my life… and the best way to make all of life worth the pain that comes with it is to keep loving and keep living. I live for all of those that I love that can’t anymore. I am teaching my son to do the same so that one day he will live for me when I’m gone… in the way way future. Because I plan to live and love and help others as much as I can for as long as I can.

Motivation, parenting, Politics, Prayer, Veterans

Remember

I have been writing a lot in the past few weeks about the loss to my family, but today is not the day for that. Today is the day to think about the loss of thousands of people who did nothing wrong and had no way of knowing that it was coming. Today is the day to think about those mothers and babies who lost their mothers and babies to an act of hate.

I was 25 years old when the planes hit the towers. I was on my way to a journalism class and as of the moment that I entered the classroom I thought that there had been a horrible accident and a plane had lost control and crashed. Upon leaving my class I headed to the student union where the TV was on and there was probably a hundred people staring at a TV screen. I watched as the second plane hit the tower. I gasped in horror at the scene. At first feeling confusion and denial that there was a mistake and that it couldn’t possibly have happened again. Then realizing that it wasn’t a mistake. That this was an actual act of terror.

I could talk about the feeling in the US after this event. I could talk about our freedoms and our fears.. but I don’t want to. That is not what is important about that day. That day thousands of people died. Real people. Real mothers, real fathers, real children, real sons, real daughters, real brothers, real sisters, real husbands, real wives.. grandmothers.. grandfathers.. aunts.. uncles.. friends. REAL.

Most of us have seen the movies made about this tragedy. Some of them dramas, some conspiracy theories, some just plain news series… most of them talk about what our nation was going through, but I don’t want to talk about that.

I was working for a newspaper company when the towers fell, and that day the phones were silent. The office was silent except for the radios that were playing the updated information of what was being seen and discovered. I was listening to the radio when I heard about the plane hitting the pentagon and then the plane going down in that Pennsylvania field. I was living in Boston when I saw that the planes that destroyed so many lives left my city.

I don’t want to talk about how our policies changed, or how everyone suddenly wore the flag proudly. I want to talk about my old boss’s wife who was on one of those planes. I didn’t know her well. I wasn’t at that job long, but I remember her. I still remember her. She was always pleasant and friendly, and very stylish. My boss was a sweet man who basically paid me to read books and watch the phone and the door… he always came in with a smile.. and always left well after the rest of us. He lost his wife that day. A lot of people did.

I was lucky. That was as close as I got to losing someone in that disaster. I was lucky, my father had gone to Boston that day for work, but he came home. My friends had flown to other destinations, but they all made it back. At 24 years old I had no idea about true loss. I thought of that calamity as a national loss… now that I’m older. Now that I’m more aware, all I can think of is those kids who never saw their parents again… and those mothers and fathers who watched the building that their babies worked collapse. Those husbands and wives who received that last phone call knowing their love was never coming home.

Today we all see the police, fire, and military presence memorializing those lost, and a great deal of them were armed forces and emergency services, but a lot of them were just everyday people who smiled at the front desk girl every morning. Today is about them and their families.

Addiction, coaching, Health, Healthcare, Love, Mental Health, Motivation, parenting, Wellness

My relationship with an addict

Relationships are complicated. That’s nothing new, Facebook has a prompt for that. Add to it any outside influences and they become dizzying. When my son’s father was alive he was my best friend. He was also my Kryptonite and my biggest antagonist, depending on the day.

He was absolutely the sweetest man that you could ever meet. When we were together we could practically read each other’s mind. We were completely simpatico. When other people were around us they saw us as a great couple and couldn’t understand why we had such issues. He was my rock. The person that I knew that I could depend on forever.

When my father was sick he was there for me on more than one occasion to clean up the mess while I helped my dad. When my car broke down he handed me the keys to his and told me he’d take the bus till mine was fixed. If anything needed moving or repairs I knew that I could call him and he wouldn’t think twice about doing what was best for me and our son. Two weeks before he died he asked me to pull into the local car wash and proceeded to vacuum, scrub, and shine my truck up. He was a Godsend… until he wasn’t.

My son’s father was an addict. When he was clean he was the best person that I knew. When he relapsed he was a danger to himself and others. He assaulted my father. He assaulted his mother. He kicked the dog. He punched holes in the wall. He never laid a hand on my son or me, but that was mostly because I made sure that we stayed out of the way until he was sober enough and then I would tell him that he had to leave.

When I talk about my son’s father people can’t understand that he was both people. 20161119_193651.jpgThey can’t understand how that sweet man that they met could do such horrific things and they can’t understand why I would ever let him back. the problem was that he was both people. He was like Jekyll and Hyde. His illness.. and yes, it was an illness.. caused him to lose himself. Once he relapsed he became the drug. Sometimes this was convenient. When he overtook his suboxine he became a fun, playful, cleaning machine. My house was spotless. He’d run around and play chase games with our son.. things weren’t actually that bad. At times I would overlook it. I knew that he wasn’t capable of  making good choices in that state and never left our son alone with him, but it was like a buzzed parent at a family cookout.. it was fine once in a while.. until it wasn’t.

Unfortunately with addicts once they got the taste the use changed from once in a while to get a buzz.. to constantly booming and zooming. I would always have the conversation with him after the first relapse, after a while I learned his mindset. If he admitted to the lapse there was a good chance he’d hop back on the wagon and we could continue as planned. If he denied it, then I knew we were headed for trouble. Regrettably it took way too long for me to figure this out. We had years of back and forth. Years of him promising to stay sober. Years of him being amazing only to bottom out eventually.

The more conversations that we had the more I realized that he had no real intention of changing his ways. I have been studying, learning about, and working in the field of behavior therapy for years now. I started to help understand myself, then to help others. I understand that we are who we believe ourselves to be. We are our thoughts. We are who we surround ourselves with. If we believe that we are screw ups.. we will be screw ups. My son’s father was a drug user. He believed himself to be a drug user. He surrounded himself with other drug users. His thoughts, humor, and beliefs revolved around using drugs. He often told me that he didn’t believe in the AA reasoning that once an addict you could never use again. He believed that he just had to figure out a way to control his use.

Two years ago I finally said enough was enough. He was out of my house for the third 20160824_1621336336102776872690226.jpgtime, and back in jail for assaulting his mom when I told him that he had to go to re rehab. Not a 2 week or 30 day dry out, but a real program that really worked on the heart of his issues. He refused. His mother agreed that as long as he had dried out and promised to stay sober that was all that mattered. I knew that one of these days things were going to go to far and I didn’t want my son or me anywhere near it.

I talked to a friend of mine who handled family law and asked him to start the process of setting up monitored visitations. I told him that as much as I loved him and wanted our son to know the good parts of him I couldn’t risk him harming us as he had other. At first he agreed.. then he didn’t. It was a long battle with many court sessions. I did my best to work with him and he did his best to keep his drug screening information out of my hands.

During that time I had to concentrate on every bad thing he ever did. It was the only way that I could keep from caving. I knew that he was living in a sober house. I knew that he was doing well at school and at work. I knew that he was acting like the man that I loved, but I also knew that it was temporary. It was always temporary.

Two weeks after we signed the final court papers my son’s father overdosed. People don’t know how to talk to me about his death. They don’t know if I’m relieved or if I’m sad, and to be honest I’m both. It sounds horrible, but I know that he was never going to be clean. After he died his father cleaned out his car and found a bottle of supplements people use to get high that don’t show up in a drug screen. No one knows how long he was using them, but the bottle was almost empty so it wasn’t something new.

I never wanted my son’s father to die. I loved him with everything that I am, and my son worshiped him.  Losing him has cut a piece of our heart out that will never be repaired. But he overdosed twice in two days. The first time he crashed his car putting not only his life in danger but everyone on the street with him as well. The next night he overdosed in his room in the sober house all by himself. Had I let him back in. Had I given in to our love for him and his love for us our son could have been in that car.. or could have been the one that found him overdosed.. dead…

I was the one who found my father when he died. He was 65, and died from complications from diabetes, and I was 39.. but that’s a visual I will never get out of my head. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.. especially a small child.

I loved my son’s father and I will miss him forever. A huge part of my life is over now. But I am so grateful that my son is safe from the damage that he unleashed with every bad decision that he made. Relationships are complicated, but when you love an addict, if you’re not careful.. they could be deadly.

Addiction, coaching, Health, Healthcare, Love, Mental Health, Motivation, parenting, Wellness

I am an opiate widow

I was not actually married to my son’s father. We were planning to get married. Before our son was born we talked about it. We were saving for a wedding, but we decided that at my age (36 at the time) having a baby was more of a priority than a ceremony.

Neil and I had been together for 3 years when our son was born and we had been happy. I mean we had issues as every other couple did.. some more some less, but we had been through it all together and we were in it for the long haul. God, I was so in love with that man. He was absolutely the sweetest guy you could ever meet, and it’s not just me. Everyone who knew him agreed.

He was, however, an addict. I knew this about him. He had been very upfront about his past. I had met him through friends and had even dated him briefly a few years earlier when his drug use was very prevalent, but that life wasn’t for me. When we reconnected we were both very clear that the drugs had to stay in his past.

After I got pregnant his anxiety started to go haywire. He had real trouble adjusting to the idea of being a father. It’s not that he didn’t want to be. He was also very excited about the “idea” of it. It was just the reality of it that scared the crap out of him. He had never really had a great role model as a parent in general and had no idea how he was going to manage the responsibility of being a dad, work, school.. all of it.

He started to have slip ups when I was pregnant. They weren’t often and he always promised that it wouldn’t happen again. He wasn’t using opiates, but he would mismanage his anxiety medication which gave him a different kind of high. When our son was born via c-section I made it clear to the nurses that I did not want any pain killers and that I was perfectly content with Motrin. They were not.

Without my knowledge they slipped my son’s father a script for Vicodin “just in case she needs it”. Well, I didn’t need it. I never saw that script, until I found the empty bottle in the trash. He filled it without my knowledge, and ran through the bottle like candy.

We spent years going back and forth about his drug use. He was mostly sober more than he was actively using, but he just wasn’t capable of ever really staying away. He was in and out of the house depending on his use and it really hurt and confused our son. It was about 2 years ago when I had to put my foot down. Up until this point I’d only ever seen him use pills. I didn’t know how far it had gone and how bad he had gotten. He dropped a needle out of his pocket in front of our son and when I pointed it out he acted as if it were no big deal.

I had to tell him that he was no longer welcome in my house, not even for a visit. I couldn’t risk him bringing that garbage into my house, and I definitely couldn’t risk my son being the one who found him ODed in the bathroom. I ended up taking him to court over visitation and telling him that if he wasn’t going to go to rehab… I mean a real rehab, not a 2 week or 30 day dry out.. that he needed to have a monitor assigned to make sure that our son was safe around him. That I just couldn’t do it anymore. He was pissed.. and devastated.. and heart broken. We all were, but I had to do what was best for our son.

We went back and forth about lawyers. He wasn’t willing to do anything. He moved into a sober house and would occasionally call our son to check in, but for the most part he told me that anything more was none of my business and he wasn’t going to pay to see his kid. After 6 months his lawyer finally got him to agree to the monitoring and was able to see our son, now 5, again every other week for an hour. It wasn’t much but I was happy he was willing to work with me and our kid was thrilled to have his Da back.

It would be almost another 6 months, so a year in total, before we made it into court. I agreed to let him do an  outside court appointed monitor instead of the monitoring building and he agreed to do 2 hours a week. We proceeded to go back every 3 months to renegotiate the terms and as he proved he was sober longer I agreed to allowing more and more privileges.

In December of last year we finally had a conversation. A real conversation about what was happening.  No lawyers just us. He blamed me for fighting him on everything, and I reminded him that the only thing that I had asked was for him to prove his sobriety. That he and his lawyer were the ones that wouldn’t even sit down and have a talk with me and my lawyer. That I just wanted us to get to a place where we could be amicable, and have visits go back to how they were, but I needed to know that we were actually safe. He wouldn’t give us that.

He was shocked. He had no idea that my lawyer and I were trying to set up actual conversations.. his lawyer kept all that from him so we would keep going to court and she would keep getting paid. He told me that everything he had done. The sober house. The drug tests. The therapy. It was all for me and our son, and that he just wanted his family back. I knew he was telling the truth. I knew that he loved us as much as we loved him. I also knew that I didn’t believe that he had really cleaned up. I knew that he was still hiding things and not understanding my point of view.

He always told me that he didn’t believe in the AA theory that an addict could never use again, and that he just had to figure out a way to use recreationally. When we first got together I didn’t understand what it meant to be an addict. After 10 years I’ve come to realize that there is no middle ground. I told him that he couldn’t come back to us the way that he wanted to. I told him that we love him, but that he wasn’t safe the way he was, and I wasn’t going to risk our child on his promises. He didn’t like it, but he respected it.

We both moved on.. for the most part.. we both started seeing other people, but we were both clear with the other people that we saw that we already had a family. That we were each other’s life, love.. and everything. I think we both hoped someday we could make it work. After a year and a half I finally agreed to letting go of the court appointed monitoring as long as I was there to make sure he was ok at the start of the visit. He was now allowed to drive him, and take him on certain activities on his own. He didn’t. He wanted me there. He wanted his family together. Our son wanted his parents back together and would often ask when Da was moving home… and bring our hands together in an effort to make us hold hands. It was very sweet, and very innocent.. and no one fought it, but no one encouraged it. He and I both knew we were a long way off, if ever.

I don’t know what would have happened if he’d stayed sober. No one will ever know. His demons won out in the end. On August 14, 2019, 2 weeks after we signed the final custody papers I got the call that he ODed in his bed overnight. One of his roommates at the sober house found him the next day. He was gone.

I was never married to Neil. I wasn’t even with him at the time of his death, but I was his family. I was his person.. and I was his widow long before the last hit killed him. Opiates stole his life. They stole him from us. I am an opiate widow, because opiates killed my family.

 

Addiction, coaching, Health, Healthcare, Love, Mental Health, Motivation, parenting, Politics

The phone call I always dreaded

Wednesday August 14, 2019, it was a day like any other. I had taken my 6 year old little boy to work with me, because Summer vacation was still in full swing. We went to a friends’ house after to play in their pool. We were having a lovely time. Except the fact that I was starting to get worried about his father.

FB_IMG_1566082913929.jpg     I was sitting pool side with my friend as we watched our kids splash about. My son was so proud to be in the deep end. He had just learned to swim without his floaties this year and he could finally keep up with the big kids. One of his favourite things was retrieving the rings from the bottom of the pool. We were all laughing as they were doing cannonballs and chasing each other about.

Then my text message came through. It was my lawyer. My son’s father and I had just finished a pretty lengthy custody… I don’t want to say battle, because we never really fought.. I’ll just say agreement session. I looked down to see. “Katrina!” confused I just responded with “yes?”. The next text struck me hard, “I just heard about Neil”….. “What about him?!?!?!”. Then he told me that he’d call me.

I asked my friend to watch the kids and apparently the look on my face was enoughFB_IMG_1537914287913.jpg for her to not even question me. I’m not sure that I took a breath between that text and answering the phone call that came through. “I got a call from his lawyer. The people at Neil’s house found him in his room at about 3pm… I’m so sorry. He passed away.”.

I couldn’t grasp it. My eyes welled with tears. I was in shock. Disbelief. Angry. Heartbroken.. all of it. I knew something was wrong.. I didn’t know it was this.

My son’s father was an addict.

We had been through 10 years together. The first 3 were amazing. The next 4 were challenging.. and the last 2 were mostly through the courts. He had been sober for 22 months. We had just signed the final court papers 2 weeks before. We were friends again. We were looking forward to working on our family together. We had the brightest future that we had in years.. and now he was gone.

My friend saw that my face had gone white and he asked what had happened. I looked at her and mouthed, “He’s gone”. She mouthed back, “dead?”. I nodded. We both looked over at my 6 year old. He was laughing and playing and completely unaware that his whole life was about to change.

68275438_10157512695321602_5199530495649513472_n     I spent the next 2 hours making phone calls. I called Neil’s parents. My son’s therapist. My brother.. my aunt.. anyone.. everyone. I kept saying it out loud. “Neil is dead”. I kept waiting for someone to say, “no.. there was a mistake.. they found him in time. He’s in the hospital, but fine.”. That message never came in.. that call was never made. Neil was dead. Neil is dead. After almost 2 years of sobriety my biggest fear came true, and I had to be the one to tell our sweet little boy that his father was gone forever.

 

bullying, coaching, Motivation, Politics, women

The Little Mermaid is Black

That’s it.. it’s a fact. Halle Baily (Not Halle Berry as some angry online opponents have thought) has been cast in the new “The Little Mermaid” movie. Apparently this is sacrilege. I had no idea that the fate of the world was to be determined by the color of a fictional mermaid’s skin.

Now for those of you who are not aware, The Little Mermaid is based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale in which a young mermaid falls in love with a handsome prince. She, as in the Disney tale, gives up her voice to the sea witch.. as well as her tongue, that’s left out, and given legs that can dance as no one has ever danced before. The catch, as there’s always a catch, is that she will feel piercing stabbing in her legs and her feet will bleed pretty much all the time. Not as adorable as the dinglehopper angle, but there it is.

As in the Disney version the mermaid’s only choice for remaining human and not dying is getting her beloved prince to marry her… ahhh.. happily ever after… only he doesn’t, and she dies. Yup.. that’s the story of the little mermaid.. or it was, until it was remade for film. Actually that particular story has been remade by different studios quite a few times.

In the original story the woman that the prince does end up marrying was being educated at “The Temple”. Given that there is no mention of specific area, there’s a probably chance that the Prince in question and the area involved was Hebrew.. and possibly the Middle East toward the Mediterranean Sea. In later adaptations she was blonde, which makes sense given Anderson was Danish and there is a heavy blonde population there.

Then Disney came out with their feisty red head. That was fun. I was a teenager at the time, but I remember being happy that it wasn’t another blonde, and to be quite honest the red was quite striking against the green and blue back drop of the ocean scenes. I read somewhere that’s why they chose to do it. Either way it worked, and people loved it.

Now there’s a new adaptation. This one is played by a young black girl and happens to be by the same studio who made the animated version that did so well.. and people are OUT OF THEIR MINDS! A lot of people are saying that it’s not a race thing but that the Little Mermaid just has to be a ginger.. because she was last time.. in that one other Disney movie. Funny.. I remember watching “Into the Woods”, another Disney adaptation of a collection of fairy tales and Anna Kendrick was cast as Cinderella… now I don’t know about you, but in my childhood Cinderella was ALWAYS blonde, and Miss Anna is definitely not blonde, nor does she play one on TV. There were no protests and bloggers and online rally cries to Made Cinderella Blonde Again. It was fine.. it was a remake, and the directors were free to cast whomever they chose. Even Disney.

What really surprises me is how many people want to blame children for the outrage. I have seen many people expressing that little ones will be confused by the change. That kids couldn’t possibly understand why they character looks so different this time. Well, I asked my 6 year old what he thought about a “brown” girl playing the part.. his response was, “ok”… that’s it. No clarification needed.. just ok.

Catwoman-KittNo one cared when Laurence Fishburne played Perry White in Man of Steel 2013, or when Eartha Kitt played Catwomen in Batman 1966, or Idris Elba played Heimdel in Thor 2011.. I mean maybe comic book geeks are just not that strict on continuity or cannon.. (sarcasm for those who don’t know any comic book geeks).. or maybe they understand that actors are to be judged not by the color of their skin.. but the content of their character. At any rate… it’s a movie people. Get over it.