Finding Kind and IndieFlix

When I started middle school, my best friend from elementary school asked the “cool” girls if she could sit at their table.  They said yes – as long as I didn’t join her.  She couldn’t understand why I was upset when she took them up on their offer.

At a party in eighth grade, a girl I knew only marginally stopped me outside the bathroom and told me that she had a message for me from another girl at the party.  The message – that I had a "horse face" and there was no way that the boy I liked (who I gathered the other girl liked too) actually liked me.  On my way outside, I passed the girl who had sent the message.  She didn’t look at me.

At another party that year, a group of girls berated a girl because of her sexual experiences.  Word had gotten out that she was more sexually advanced than most of the rest of us.  Someone called her a slut.  Another girl made a dramatic run for the bathroom, saying she was so disgusted that she had to throw up.  I don’t remember saying anything mean, but I also don’t remember coming to the berated girl’s aid.

Middle school was a rough time for me – as it is for many kids.  I felt ugly and like I didn’t fit in.  While I only remember a few specific events, I can recall the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and vulnerability in an instant.  Some of them have never left me.  For reasons I can’t quite wrap my head around, the comment about my horse face had lasting effects.  I continue to have negative feelings about my teeth and my smile.

I don’t mean to be melodramatic.  In fact, the opposite.  There’s a normalcy to these experiences.  Most people can call up plenty of times they were hurt by their peers as kids.  And I don’t pretend that I was never the cause of any of these harms.  As I suspect is often the case, I don’t remember them.  What has stayed with me is my own pain.

So while I would never say that I was bullied and wouldn’t cry now about anything that happened to me back then, I could relate to some of the stories shared in the recently-released documentary Finding Kind.  The film addresses girl-on-girl bullying by following its two creators across the country as they talk to girls and women about their experiences with the damage women do to each other. 

I watched the film last weekend with my wife, and we talked for over an hour afterwards about our own experiences in school.  I had mixed feelings about the film.  I felt that it only brushed the surface of a topic that has become increasingly disconcerting with the advent of facebook and twitter.  The film seemed to vacillate between tearful stories about painful incidents and images of flowery, bouncy girls holding hands or hugging.  I wanted to see more thoughtful discourse about why bullying occurs and - if the film's creators' premise is true (that bullying and general meanness is worse between girls) - why it is amplified in the female community.  

All that being said, the film struck me as perfect for a young audience.  I could imagine myself as a middle school student watching it and being both buoyed by the realization that I was not alone and reminded to keep a careful eye on my own behavior so that I would always lean towards kindness.  Of course, it is worth noting that I had lots to say about the topic once the film was over, and I've thought about it fairly consistently since then.  So if the documentary encourages thinking and dialogue about how we can all be kinder in our communities, then it's a good step in my book.

It's worth a watch for young girls, for educators, for parents, and maybe for anyone who still holds onto some pain (even tiny pain) from those years.  I'm not sure whether bullying is worse in the female community or if it's just different.  I think this movie could start a dialogue with boys as well about situations where they've felt bullied or have been a bully themselves.  In the film, whenever they pulled out a group of girls to have these discussions, I hoped that someone was talking to the boys in a different room.  It seems clear to me that, while girl-on-girl bullying might be worse or have its own issues, no child is immune from the pain that can be wrought by the mean words and actions of their peers. 

I'm interested in hearing about your childhood experiences and where you think the line is between "kids being kids" (boys or girls) and bullying.  Did you feel like you were bullied?  Did you bully other kids?  Was it worse with girls?

For those of you who are interested in watching Finding Kind, I have good news.  The film airs until May 24 on IndieFlix*, a subscription service that shares independent films and provides significant revenue back to the filmmakers themselves.  To the first 10 readers that comment on this post, IndieFlix has provided me with codes for a free two-month subscription.  So not only can you watch Finding Kind, you can search their whole library of independent films.  And you don't have to give any credit card information.  If you want to continue with a paid subscription after your two months, you just sign in and pay at that point.  Be sure to leave me an email address so that I can send you the subscription link.

*Disclosure: I received a free three-month subscription to IndieFlix.

TGIF and Giveaway Winner

And the winner of the notecard giveaway is Sarah DC!  I picked the winner using the random number generator and, and I'll be emailing you, Sarah, with images of all the notecard options so you can pick your five!

For everyone else, I've left the ktmade32 discount code on my etsy shop for another few days if you're still hoping to buy some cards. 

In other news, thank goodness it's Friday.  I am completely in awe of anyone who keeps up their blog in the last few weeks before their wedding.  You might have noticed that I've dropped down to posting four days a week instead of five, and I'm just praying I can keep to that for the next two weeks. 

But unless I start writing about to-do lists, that's going to be hard to manage.

I'll be so glad to get back to fully participating in this online space after the wedding and honeymoon.

For now, back to crazytown I go!


Interested in guest posting on ktmade? I'm especially looking for folks who would like to submit posts on creative topics, including food, craft, home decor, writing, and craft/life balance for the weeks of September 10-21. Email me at ktmadeblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

32 and some presents for you

In honor of my 32nd birthday today (and so that I don't spend too much time thinking about how on earth it is that I'm 32 years old and don't feel like a grown-up yet), I'm giving away presents.

Specifically, I'm giving one of you any five of my original photography notecards of your choice.  There are now more than are in my etsy shop, so I will send the winner pictures of all that are available.

But if you have bad luck with these giveaways, don't fret!

Everyone can get 32% off at my etsy shop using the code KTMADE32 when you check out TODAY.  You'll just hit the link that says "Apply shop coupon code" and enter that code, and hurrah! You've just gotten yourself an awesome deal in honor of my birthday.

To enter the giveaway just leave a comment on this post telling me what makes you feel like a grown-up.

For extra entries, you can:
1.  Become a follower, and leave another comment letting me know you have.
2.  Tweet about this giveaway, and leave another comment letting me know you have.
3.  Make a donation to Partners in Health (the organization that gets 10% of the proceeds from my Rwanda photography sales), and leave another comment letting me know you have.

Thanks for being such an awesome community for me!


Weekend Crafting Projects and Giveaway Winner

On the East Coast, we're gearing up for Hurricane Irene to round out Natural Disaster Week.  Which reminds me, I wanted to apologize for that.  Apparently it was the gays.  Woops!

Crafting during an earthquake is probably rather difficult, but crafting during a hurricane is totally doable so long as (1) you're not yet in duck-and-cover mode and (2) you have some candles. Since we're readying for the possible power-less weekend, I thought I'd round up some weekend projects you could do by candlelight.  No power necessary! And if your weekend will be hurricane-free, then light some candles just for fun.

Make a quick Friday afternoon jaunt to the craft store for supplies, and you could be making:

This sparkly tote bag from Alisa Burke, made from glitter shimmer transfer sheets -  no sewing required!

Quick and instant art from your back yard (you'll probably have your pick of twigs after all that wind blows them off the trees) and an old dictionary page.  This bird silhouette by Vintage After Thoughts is so clever, and you could use the idea for other images - maybe frogs are your thing, or stars, or...really anything else.  The dictionary is a big book.

A doily, some fabric paint, and a craft letter are all you'll need to make this adorable market tote from Just Sew Sassy!

If you're hoping that the lack of power will help you channel your inner pioneer girl, then perhaps you'll want to whip up this rag rug using the tutorial over at Moda Bake Shop.

If you're a mom type and your kids are going a bit stir crazy, you can enlist their help making these hemp string pendant lamps from Crafty Nest.  They'll love getting their hands dirty, and you'll love the instant home decor!

Or if you're a yarn-lover, you can join me in some crocheting as I work to finish my giant granny square blanket.  I even joined the crochet-along at Le monde de sucrette to try put some fire under my butt. 

Giant Granny Square Blanket

Whatever craft you're working on, I hope you have fun doing it - and watch out for drippy wax!

And, no I didn't forget, the winner of the lovely map heart art giveaway is.....drum roll please...

Map Hearts

Novice Wife of the delightful blog Accidentally Yours!  NW,  I'll be emailing you shortly with details!  Thank you so much to everyone who entered and shared their birthday stories!


I Got a Cake With My Name On It Giveaway!

That's right folks.  It's time to celebrate me.

When I was younger, I went to a friend's birthday party that was totally different from any birthday party I'd ever been to before.  We played lots of game, as usual, but her parents didn't let her open any of the presents while her guests were there.  And they let EVERYONE help blow out the candles.  Selfishly, I was quite glad about this because I thought my gift was sort of lame and was glad not to be discovered and because I, like all kids, loved to blow out candles.  Seriously, what's that about?  But I was also thinking what the heck kind of party is this?!  I felt bad for my little friend whose party had been hijacked by her mother and 20 other kids.

Since then, thankfully I've matured a wee bit and learned the pleasure of sharing joyful days with other people.  One of my absolute favorite things in life is giving someone a gift and seeing them love.  (But for the record, giving someone a lame gift and seeing them think it's lame still sucks.)

So, this year, on my birthday, in honor of being thirty-one years old wise, I'm celebrating by giving a not-lame gift to one of you, my readers!

You might have noticed on my wall o' frames a square frame with little hearts in it.

It's a little celebration of mine and Navah's relationship - with hearts cut out of maps to show the places that have been and are special to us.  Atlanta, where I was born and spent much of my life and where home is for me.  Philadelphia, Navah's home town.  Washington, D.C., where we met and fell in love and began our life together (and where we live now!).  And Burlington, Vermont, where our someday dreams are and where we one day hope to be.  I think it's just about the cutest thing ever, if I do say so myself.

And I'm making one of these for one of you!  For you and your special someone or to give as a gift, whatever floats your boat.

There are three ways to enter:
1.  Leave a comment on this post telling me a happy birthday memory.
2.  Become a follower of this blog (it's on the left side of the webpage).
3.  Tweet about this giveaway, linking to the post.

If you do #2 or 3, make sure you come back and leave a comment telling me that you did.  You have until next Wednesday, August 24 to enter.  Then I'll randomly choose one winner!  Hurray for sharing in the birthday joy!