Sexual Assault Awareness Month

I have been debating writing this words for weeks, months,….years.

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Nationally the #MeToo and #TimeIsUp movements have become popular and extremely relevant, especially as many celebrities have been accused of being assailants. That includes one of my favorite actors.

A few months ago, a young woman in my life walked away from a conversation to which I was a witness,  when a young man said “Rape is not real, especially with men, like no man would say no to sex, and women probably don’t either.” … when she returned a short time later, I looked at her and said, “Me. Too” and she said “When?” I responded “16” and she said “I was 14.” and I knew it was time to write this, but I have still struggled to do it.

The “Universe/God/My own life interpretation” told me again that it was time when at the Sweeps Pageant in March I was asked why I thought women didn’t report sexual assault.

So, here we go.

I was 16 (2009). I knew him. It ruined me. I only told one person and swore them to never tell. It was 2012 before I spoke about it again.

I told my bible study group and one girl remarked “Wow, how badly did you sin for God to punish you like that?” Shortly after, I started counseling to deal with it. I learned a lot although my counselor wasn’t the best and projected a lot of her own circumstances and feelings on me. I completed my counseling round and planned to transfer schools; mainly because I changed my major but also a new beginning.

I tried to talk to people I trusted about the incident and was appalled at how many times I was asked what I was wearing, if I had led him to believe I wanted him to do that, if I had been with him before, and if I tried to make him stop. I was so severely disillusioned by the way people, especially “Christians,” treated me. It pushed me so far away from the church (If you know, or ever hear, my testimony, this is the first time I thought I wanted to be out of church and wasn’t sure about God.)

I watched a documentary called “Forgiving Dr. Mengele” and Eva Mozes Kor changed my world. I emailed her and told her about my experience and she responded within hours about how forgiveness also shapes our experiences. I still have that email and read it from time to time.

In late 2012 and early 2013, things got really bad. In 2013, I found God for real for the first time. In 2013, I got saved. I found a new church who accepted my past and my story and the testimony from the test.

In 2015, I spoke to a club at the school I teach at, called “Feeling Beautiful” about what it looked like to be an adult who had been a victim of assault. But it isn’t something I frequently speak about. It was hard. The students there watched me cry as I choked out the words of my story. But I felt like I did what I needed to do.

I still don’t frequently speak about it. If it is brought up, not in my classroom of course, I’m willing to talk about it. But it still isn’t easy. I don’t know if it ever will be.

It’s been over 8 years. I have survived over 8 years. I became determined a long time ago to be a survivor and not solely a victim.

I determined to be the flower. I determined to grow despite the ways I had been crushed. I determined to not let his sinful actions define who I am. 

There are times I still cry about it. Sometimes I still have panic attacks. Sometimes I still have survivor guilt that someone I knew was killed by her assailant, and I wasn’t. I will never know the right words to say about it, or how to make someone feel better if it happens to them.

I still get really bitter. I still get really angry. I still feel like I missed the chance for justice. but I also have a hope that the ultimate justice will be paid out by God. I do feel like God accepts the anger and bitterness and also tries to soothe the pain that I still have.

But some days, I don’t think about it at all. I don’t want him and his actions to be what defines me. I don’t want other people to look at me and that be all that they see. But it does largely shape my political opinions, it does largely shape the way I empathize with people, it does largely shape the way I interpret a lot of what is said and done around me and in the public sphere. 

I’m not sure how to wrap this up.

I guess maybe I encourage you to not take part in rape culture. And let me side note my definition of rape culture: blaming a victim, asking what they wore, asking what they did to deserve it, asking about their sexual history and/or preferences, not believing them that they were assaulted. It is also raising our boys to believe that it’s okay to do something without consent or to coerce a woman into consent.

I encourage you to be empathetic and recognize others and the scars they carry.

“Why do women not report sexual assault?” Women and Men are sexually assaulted. Both have problems with reporting because they are afraid and embarrassed. Colleges have an issue with under-reporting sexual assault statistics hoping future students will still want to come to that school. Victim blaming and rape culture is too common in our culture. With movements like #MeToo and #TimeIsUp perhaps more women and men will feel comfortable coming forward as they see it happens to others; but until we allow victims to feel comfortable and not accused when telling their stories then there will continue to be a lack of reporting and pressing charges…until we allow them to become survivors and not just victims this will be cyclical in our society. And a little Sandra Bullock for you here…every culprit of sexual harassment or sexual assault should be charged, tried, convicted, and punished.

All my love,

L

You’ve always had the power

It has been my goal to be able to say “it is well with my soul.” At the end of my journey I want to hear “well done, my good and faithful servant.” But I have been tested recently. I’ve questioned if it was well with my soul and if I was doing well. One incident has reared its ugly head with discontentment over the last week and a half. So here I am to address the elephant in the room of “what went wrong” at the Sweeps pageant on March 17th.

I have laid awake. I have replayed every second of both pageants. I have been asked repeatedly “what went wrong?” I have a list of what I could have done differently, and I have a conclusion as to what happened.

Here’s what I could have done differently. 

I could have practiced my dance more.

I could have done mock interviews even though I felt prepared because I am opinionated and teach therefore talk for most of my week days.

I could have failed to mention my autoimmune disease in my interview.

I could have said that the invention I would want to change the world was world peace, or a cure to cancer, or no more bullying…instead I chose teleportation…because I mean, teleportation…how cool would that be?

I could have said the obstacles I overcame to compete was something simple, not a list of the ways I actually have struggled and fought and come back stronger in the last year.

I could have not made a face when I was asked what was the step to fixing the gender pay gap, but every part of the sarcastic side of me wanted to say “maybe, I don’t know, respect women and not treat them like inferior beings or possessions?”

I could have said the way to fix gun violence in schools was something like anti-bullying or mental health training, not to learn the difference between a gun ban and gun control and to arm more officers who want to protect teachers and students.

I could have come up with a better reason that my least favorite book was “the Sun Also Rises” other than I don’t find Hemingway to be an impressive writer. (but I don’t, and you asked)

I could have gone further into my explanation of rape culture and victim blaming in my OSQ and not gone Sandra Bullock at the end stating how men and women accused of sexual assault should be charged, go to trial, and be convicted…I just have a lot of feelings about the subject because I don’t think we should have to have a #metoo movement, I think I should have been comfortable telling someone, should have pressed charges, and he should be sitting in jail.

I could have spent a lot more money on my swimsuit instead of wearing one that I felt great in that came from target.

I could have not winced during my dance even though I felt like cutting my foot off since it was two times the size it should be from the autoimmune flare I was having.

I could have changed my dance to something more “pageanty” but I really loved the dance that had served me well for years and I hoped it shone through as I performed it.

I could have changed my gown instead of wearing the one that I fell in love with a year ago for fear that it made me look short.

I could have gone to my doctor earlier about my foot, but I had work to go to and students to teach.

I could have taken the pain medication he gave me at regular intervals instead of trying to feel like I was in control of my health.

I could have not prayed for months that if God intended a title for me that He let it be, but if He didn’t He would not open the door and would show me where He wanted me to go instead. I could have asked for my own will to be done over His, and I could have charged forward with my own plans instead of His that will far outweigh mine.

My conclusion:

I was myself. I wasn’t chosen. The judges chose other girls to be part of the Miss North Carolina class of 2018.

I read a devotion this morning, and at the risk of it being prosperity gospel, it told me that the plans God has for me are far more than I can imagine and I believe that. Doors are already opening that I could not have gone through if I had a title. My health needs more attention than I expected it to need at this point, and the opportunity to go back to Miss NC and promote my platform would have been awesome, but now I can decide what I do that will be best for my health and the plan He intends for me.

I don’t need a crown to be a servant. I was created with a servant’s heart and it will be used with a shiny hat or not. Someone told me this weekend exactly what my heart needed to hear to be encouraged: having a crown is not what made me a volunteer or a good volunteer, I had that already. I felt a little like Dorothy being told that what she needed was in her all along, she just had to use the power within her to get where she wanted to be. God built a really wonderful network for me in my time as Miss Capital City, and I know He will continue to use me for the purposes He intended even if it isn’t in the way I originally thought. He has more planned for me than I could begin to imagine and he says “Daughter, is that all you thought I could do? Don’t limit the power I have, child.”

Health Update & The Spoon Theory

When I started this blog a few months ago, I intended to (in part) keep track of my health; I was imagining things were moving towards healing and me feeling better. Unfortunately that has not been the case. You may have seen some posts on social media asking for prayers/good thoughts/good vibes as I’ve been dealing with some health issues, so I wanted to take a few minutes to update everyone as to what’s going on with me right now.

I started a medication that should have helped with both my fibromyalgia and my UCTD, in November. The medicine can take 2-6 months to take effect in the body. Within 3 months I felt like I was seeing a difference, and feeling better, but other symptoms had started. Unsure what was causing these symptoms, I was pulled off the Plaquinil in mid January and told to wait to take anything to treat either the fibro or UCTD until we had a full health picture.

December was when I really started to see the new symptoms causing problems. They were (and still are) affecting my life: work, physical fitness, weight, sleep patterns, ability to fulfill prior commitments. I won’t detail what was going on because it’s a little TMI. But, it was difficult to make it through work most days and I lost about 4 pounds in about 5 weeks- which to some of you sounds great, but for my frame is not normal or healthy. My PCP was not helpful and finally in late January when I saw my rheumatologist I received a referral to another specialist who could help with what I had going on. The GI has run a plethora of tests, none of which has come back conclusive to any one thing causing these ongoing symptoms; we were able to eliminate any cancer in my GI tract though, so at least there’s that. He has put me on two new medications and I’m waiting to follow up on those in April, although I’m not convinced they’ve made much of a difference. He did say he didn’t think the Plaquinil was the issue and allowed me to begin taking that again.

Coming on and off of Plaquinil has messed with my health and emotions quite a bit. I’m hoping it doesn’t take the 2-6 months to take effect because if so it’ll be April or June before I start feeling better. And if you guys don’t understand this when I hurt, then I don’t sleep, and when I don’t sleep, then I hurt more, and then I don’t sleep more, then I hurt more, etc, etc. It’s a really lovely cyclical form of torture.

On top of being unsure what all is going on with my body, I had a really bad flare on the 10th of this month. I let it go for a few days, before seeing my rheumy on the 16th. I woke up on the morning of the 10th and could not walk properly because my left foot was swollen and it hurt to put pressure on it. My assumption was that I had hurt it while working out or had slept on it wrong. I went to work the following week with it wrapped, in a walking boot left from high school, or both, trying to keep pressure off of it, hoping the swelling would go down. I convinced myself based on the area of the pain that I had a stress fracture or a bunion and started buying and using bunion pads and moleskins. When I saw my rheumatologist on Friday morning, he took a look at my foot, and gave me what may not have been great news, but did explain what was happening. I had a flare, which in some people can last weeks; I am used to flares in my back, neck, hips, knees, not my foot; but my foot was experiencing inflammation (seemingly from high levels of stress, and the switch ups on medications, and lots of tests that required prep before hand) and the joints were so inflamed it looked like my toe had slightly come out of the joint. So he pulled it over, stretched it, and gave me some medicines to help fight the inflammation and get the flare to go away… we aren’t quite there yet, and today is Tuesday….so it’s been a long few days.

Before leaving his office, he and my health coach felt the need to talk to me about my stress levels and what it was doing to my body. I was told I need to start operating under the spoon theory. This means each day when I wake up depending on how I feel I have between 5-7 spoons (some days I might have more but for now I need to operate under the assumption of so few spoons) and each activity that uses energy takes away a spoon that I can’t get back for the day. I am not allowed to borrow spoons from the previous day or the next day, not knowing how my body will feel and how many spoons I will receive the next morning when I wake up. Once my spoons are gone for the day, I am not allowed to use energy on other things, I’m done for the day. So I have to learn to prioritize. I have to learn to take care of my body. I have to learn that I cannot do all the things, all the time, for all the people.

Yesterday I tried the spoon theory for the first time. And it was really hard. I got up after not sleeping much the night before and felt like I maybe had 3 spoons, maybe more, but definitely not 7, 10, or 15. I decided to push through my day anyways, try to borrow some spoons I might not have used on Sunday, and maybe steal some from Tuesday. By about 1 pm I was done for the day. I was exhausted. I felt like I couldn’t think straight. But I had more to do. I had another class to teach, I had a class to attend, I had a meeting to play secretary at, I had tests to finish stapling and preparing for today’s test, I had emails to answer, a license renewal application to work on, a PD module to complete, a paper to write, a presentation to prepare, I needed to shower and dry my hair. So I kept borrowing spoons and hoped a quick yoga session would restore me at least one spoon…. Hint….I love yoga and it was great, but it was not enough to replenish my energy storage room of spoons. By the end of last night, I was miserable. I thankfully slept better last night than the night before and woke up feeling like I have a few more spoons today. But I know adjusting to limited amounts of spoons a day will not be easy for me. I am Type A and I want to do all the things for all the people, but I physically cannot at least for the time being.

So for now, I work on using my spoons wisely, I prioritize, and I stop when I can’t handle anymore. And for each person who has asked “what’s next” after Saturday did not end the way I expected, I don’t have the answer for you yet, right now I’m working on counting spoons….but I promise as soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know, but I want to make sure it’s worthy of spoons before I do it.

Miss Capital City Farewell

I know many of my friends and family do not live in the Raleigh area and were unable to make it to the Miss Capital City/Miss Clayton/Miss Cleveland Pageant on Saturday evening. Therefore, I would like to share my farewell as Miss Capital City with you all here. 

Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017, spoke the truth to “Compete for yourself, but Serve for others.” As Miss Capital City I aimed to model my year after the verse Isaiah 6:8 “Here I am, Lord, send me.” My community service platform is “Volunteerism” because I wanted to do the most good, in the most places.

I stand before you tonight hoping you agree with me that my year has been marked by service to others. I served with 16 nonprofit organizations. That included raising $1100 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, collecting 754 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank Metrolina, and donating over $600 of goods to Urban Ministry Center of Charlotte.

I want to spend my last moments giving thanks.

Mom, you’ve been my greatest supporter and my road trip warrior, thank you for being the biggest part of this journey.

Dad, thank you for walking alongside me at the suicide prevention walk two months after your quadruple bypass.

Alexandria and Cameron, thank you for being my sounding board for the year and for always making me laugh.

Grace Ann, you were the best roommate. Thank you for prayers and daily devotions. I am beyond lucky to call you friend.

Caleb, you have been there from day one of this journey, you have jumped into this adventure and have taken steps to get me in contact with nonprofits I wanted to work with. There are not enough words to express my gratitude, and there’s nobody that could’ve been better to have beside me on this journey.

My Miss NC sisters, your beauty and strengths are astonishing. You have built me up, you have prayed for me, you took care of me when I was sick. I love you all and I am thankful for your sisterhood. You filled my bucket, and I carry that with me everywhere I go.

The Wildes, I couldn’t have asked for a better Princess’ family. You guys have been there for everything. You have become family and friends, and I am beyond grateful. You went so far as to hold tarantulas and snakes with me as we worked with Eastern Exotics to preserve wildlife. You will forever be part of my family and I love you eternally.

The Miss North Carolina Organization:  Thank you for running this scholarship organization that women like me can compete, make friendships, and serve. Thank you for teaching us to “fill buckets” and to be a titleholder who gives back.

Kate Peacock and the Kate Peacock Teaching Fellow Scholarship Committee, thank you for choosing me from all of the applications you read. I poured my heart into my application, using the vulnerability I often find difficult to show, and you honored me in a way that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

The Nonprofits and Service Events: (Carolinas Aviation Museum, Convoy of Hope, Urban Ministry Center Charlotte, Stop Soldier Suicide, Charlotte Geek Gala & Muggles Market, Queen City Harry Potter Alliance, Second Harvest Food Bank, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Charlotte, Levine’s Children’s Hospital, Activate Good, Charlotte Special Olympics, Lucky’s Toys for Tokens, State Farm Neighborhood of Good, Warm Hands Project, Eastern Exotics Wildlife Preservation, Make a Wish, National History Day) : To each organization that opened their doors to me, thank you a million times over for allowing me to serve alongside you. You are the change I want to see in the world, and I am blessed to have been a part of your work.

My sister queens and committee:  Thank you for your help and friendship this year, I will forever be a Capital City girl.

My students and coworkers:  Thank you for donating cards to be distributed at nursing homes, asking about Miss North Carolina, donating to causes I was working with, and for celebrating with me when I brought home the Teaching Fellow Scholarship. You have taught me daily over the last three years what it means to serve. You are forever my Husky Family, and I am grateful you were all along for this ride.

The Kisers and the McCarleys: Thank you for letting me tell your story.

My Savior:  What You intend is good, and you chose to give me the gift of service this year. You opened doors that I could have never imagined possible. You created me with a servant’s heart, ready to be encouraged by serving others, and and giving my whole heart to those things I am passionate about. You gave me strength to work full time and serve on weekends. You gave me initiative, motivation, and confidence to contact each organization asking to serve alongside them, and then had them say “YES!” Thank you for letting me bloom as you planted me this year.

I am walking away from this year with my cup overflowing with blessings. In the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” George Washington sings a song entitled “One Last Time.” This has been my “one last time.” As I become a “forever queen” tonight and crown my successor, it is truly a bittersweet moment. I have been blessed beyond measure by my time as Miss Capital city. Thank you.

“In the Mourning” of yet another high school shooting

Let me begin this post with a few disclaimers. First, I am a high school teacher, but I am not sitting with my students right now, I am home sick, and I will touch later on the fact of how this has broken me this week. Secondly, I am a registered Republican, but according to a few of my friends, I am an extremely “liberal Republican.” Thirdly, this post will not be eloquent by any means, because I am writing with pure emotion, and my heart is broken today. But if you’re sticking with me so far, let’s go.

Today children who are the age of the students I teach are being prepared by a funeral home to be buried. Today teachers, just like me, are being prepared for their funeral and burial. If the news was right, some of the funerals begin today. Not only are these people just like the people I see daily being buried, their families just like my family are mourning them, their work family who are just like my work family is mourning them, these students who are just like my students are mourning them and wondering how they will ever move on with their lives.

I did something I rarely do today, I sat down my cup of coffee, and if you know me my morning cup of coffee is important….I sat down my cup of coffee, so I could cry. I watched two young ladies stand on camera and BEG for their to be change in this country. One said she could not shower, use the bathroom, or sleep alone because she is so distraught in the aftermath of seeing her fellow classmates and teachers gunned down.

Then, mere moments later, the same news outlet silently scrolled the pictures of the victims. There was another thing I wasn’t used to….silence. My coffee cup remained on a coaster, and I wailed into my grandfather’s rocking chair at the lives lost and the hearts broken as a result. The silence, that I so often claim I want, was deafening. It physically hurt me to cry, yet I could not stop. My heart was broken for each of these lives lost, and the people they left behind.

So somebody somewhere is asking in their head: If you’re such a great teacher and you care so much, why are you not at school today?

Great question, somebody somewhere, let me explain. If you are new to this blog or don’t pay attention, I have a chronic pain disorder and an autoimmune disease. On Wednesday, I had more medical testing done to try to diagnose some irksome symptoms I have been having for over two months. I had taken yesterday off to recover, and unfortunately my body is not recovering at the pace I would like it to, so here I am stuck at home for another day. (yes, I’ve cried about that too). It has been hard being away from my kids for three days. It breaks me to know that I just want to hug all of them in the aftermath of this news, and I won’t be able to until next week. So, doing what I could I left them a message on Google Classroom, where they should be doing their work, so I can see it from home. The message read like this:

In light of everything that has happened nationally this week, I just want to remind you, you are each cared about. I am so thankful to teach each and every one of you. All of you have things in you that make you special, and you all have a bright future ahead of you. Strive to achieve those dreams. Be safe over your long weekend. Can’t wait to see you all on Tuesday!

My kids know that every Friday I give what we call the “Friday lecture.” I urge them to make smart choices, and we go through the places I don’t want to visit them: the hospital, jail, or the funeral home. It breaks my heart that today there are students and teachers visiting two of those three places as a result of this tragedy. I have buried one student in my teaching career, and it made me unbelievably sad, so I cannot imagine burying 14, nor do I want to think about it. Burying one still hurts my heart. This week actually marked the one year anniversary and I cried about that, mere hours before the news broke that 14 students had been gunned down when they were trying to head home for the day.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE THE NEW NORMAL FOR OUR CHILDREN. Our children should not have to practice drills to know what to do if someone is trying to murder them while they are at school where they should be safe. Now, does my school do it? yes. Do I hate it? Also yes. I joke with my kids if I look out in the hallway and it’s clear we’re making a run for it. Yet, I also know in my inmost being I would do everything in my power to shelter them in place and fight an armed assailant off and if it meant risking my life I would give my life for theirs.

As I typed that statement, my selfish 20something inside me was like “oh no girl.” I am 24. I am not married. I have no biological children. I am in grad school. I have student loan debt to pay off. I have some awesome best friends. and I have four fur babies that I love to death. And I have a man in my life, whom I would love to marry. But would I stand in front of my children and block them from death, even if it meant that my own life would be cut short? Yes. I tell them from the get go that I prayed over who would end up in my classroom and that I don’t have biological children, so they now have become my children. Once mine, always mine. At the age of 24, I have over 400 children who have come through my classroom and they are all MY CHILDREN. I wish that the adults of this country would realize the responsibility we have to protect these children. My 400 are also your children, they are the future, and they are awesome, and they don’t deserve to be gunned down in their prime.

Oh god, Logan, didn’t you say that you’re a registered Republican? Yes. I registered as a Republican when I turned 18. I am extremely fiscally conservative, yet I am extremely socially liberal. But even registered as a Republican, I realize that something is wrong. There is something wrong when my children have to fear being at school. There is something wrong when someone who has been flagged by the FBI then LEGALLY owns an assault weapon and guns down 17 people and almost makes an escape.

We need gun control. We also need mental health reform. We also need to teach our children AND ADULTS to love and be kind.

The young man who has been arraigned and who is sitting in jail with no bond, because he slayed 17 people, is a young person. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE. He is the age that I would have taught my first year after graduating college.

I have worked in a day homeless shelter. I have a parent who works in the government’s social service field. I have seen those who are flagged “mentally ill.” Mentally ill is not a label that means that you wake up one day and decide to gun down 17 innocent people. In fact, one of my favorite people in the world is “mentally ill” and that person is known to hug me and sing me a song when they see me…    Yes we need mental health reform and perhaps that should be part of the conversation but that does not need to be the whole conversation. We cannot leave gun violence and gun control out of this conversation. If you want to say that the assailant (I refuse to speak his name and make him famous) did this because he was mentally ill then why are you not acknowledging the fact that our government’s gun laws allowed him to legally buy the weapon even though he is quote “mentally ill” and there’s an issue there.

This conversation needs to be had by both sides of the aisle without a government shutdown. Yes, we need mental health reform. yes, we need stricter gun control laws. Yes, we need to teach love more often. Yes, my kids did grow up in a generation where they were given a participation trophy, but that doesn’t mean that they grow up to be violent. Yes, we need to take time to mourn. But finally yes, this is the time for the conversation to be had.

As a reporter said this morning, we mourn the 17 lives lost, but we also need to acknowledge the survivors, they are the ones who are going to make the change.

I believe in this generation. I believe they are going to be the change we want to see in the world. I believe they are just as tired of mourning those we lose, and nothing be done about it.

 

“Immigration,” for my Dreamers.

This will be by far the most controversial blog I have written thus far…potentially the most controversial that I will ever post. Yet, here we go.

As a writer’s note, I started this post on January 31, 2018. I didn’t know when I’d finish it, but I intended to write and review it for at least 24 hours, hoping somehow “23 and me” would return my DNA results this week.

They did…I received my results the morning of February 5th.

The point of this writing is to remind you that every single individual in America is descended from an immigrant, if they are not an immigrant themselves. The lack of understanding of this concept is, in my opinion, one of the largest issues in this country.

Let me repeat my point:

Every person who came to America was an immigrant.

BUT WAIT, LOGAN, WHAT ABOUT THE NATIVE AMERICANS??!!?!?!?!?! you ask…

They were also immigrants, they walked (maybe rode a Mammoth *insert my students fake laughing at corny joke about Mammoth here*) across a land bridge called the Bering Strait during the Ice Age, while following a food source…I promise, look it up. Even North Carolina is liberal enough to teach this to high school students. And I am sorry, not many of you are full-blooded Native American, so the argument is irrelevant for you.

They are so many people terrified of “illegal immigrants” taking their job and land. What do you think white “Americans” did to the Native Americans? Goodness, please let me get you a history book, or verbally teach you a history lesson. It’s pretty bad.

I fully expected my “23 and Me” test results to show multiple European ancestors, potentially some African, and probably some Hispanic…If I was lucky some Native American. In America, it is assumed I am white…and physically I am. But I’m what I like to call a “mutt” made up of many different backgrounds.  I guarantee if you did an ancestral check you would see you are too, no matter your race/social/economic/cultural background.

The answer to my DNA did in fact show my “mutt” background.

99.3% of me was made up of DNA that means at some point, my ancestors came to America from Europe. I was 89.8% Northwestern European (think Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, etc), 5.7% Southern European (think Italy, Iberian Peninsula, etc), 2.0% “Eastern European” (like Poland and former satellite countries, like Bulgaria), and 1.8% “Broadly European” (I take that as “so European” they couldn’t even figure it out). And are you ready for what the other .7% was? WEST AFRICAN and SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN (somebody call my African friends and family from my mission trip because this made me extremely happy). I was not Native American, Asian, or Oceanic, in any way according to my DNA.

Yet, my “23andMe” ancestral results solidly conclude that my ancestors were immigrants.

So, why exactly are people terrified of immigrants? Here’s how to stop that: Work hard for your job, be educated, be kind and loving, annnd stop being a racist. It is not endearing. It is actually offensive.

To my DreamersI love you. I love what you bring to the table. Keep doing what you’re doing. Work hard for what they call “The American Dream.” I believe in you. I cannot wait to see how you prove wrong anyone who does not believe in you. 

Inane subjects

Today I sat in traffic for about a half hour longer than I expected to…and I spent the time in thought. I have attempted to think more in positive vibes and less in angry brain waves…today I failed at that.

There some subject topics that are inane…just, purely, idiotic, inane, stupid, ridiculous, unnecessary (Yes, I know those all fall in the same boat, but I’m not a happy camper right now). Some are acceptable, some are not. This is merely my rant, my personal opinion.

Not Acceptable Inane Topics

  • my health….particularly if I’m not part of the conversation
  • Whether I have the ability to DO MY JOB BASED ON MY HEALTH …. [I wish this was something I made up that someone said, but it’s not]
  • If I can handle GRAD SCHOOL BASED ON MY HEALTH
  • If I’m doing what I should do to take care of my body
  • If I’m on the right medication for my body – if you aren’t my rheumatologist or neurologist, I don’t care about your opinion…
  • If I have the ability to hold my title BASED ON MY HEALTH
  • what kind of workouts I should do based on my health
  • basically any questions about my health/health decisions unless you’re my best friend, one of my specialists, immediate family, boyfriend, or yoga teacher please just hush
  • If I’ve gained/lost weight since Miss NC
  • any questions about what I’m eating…*I Just PHYSICALLY shook my head at this
  • how I use my earned PTO days….they’re to see doctors, but if they weren’t that’s my business, just like your PTO days are your business
  • if I should spend my time/energy/money on volunteerism/philanthropy/donations
  • if one person can handle an MA in history while also working full-time
  • how grad school went for you so it’ll also be hard for me (according to you); yes it is really hard to manage a full-time job, a MAO title, volunteerism, doing what I need to do health wise, grad school, and trying to find the right meds for my pain disorder and autoimmune disorder
  • basically anything negative about me – most of it does make its way back to me…

Acceptable (potentially) Inane Topics

  • Do I need anything/how am I feeling/how can you help
  • how did I feel about Ellen’s Game of Game’s last night (clearly a Wednesday conversation) like how funny was that guy’s dance?
  • What’s the best book I read recently (most recent suggestions “I, Ripper” or “Blood and Salt”….more to come on this *hopefully* soon)
  • Have I seen the new meme trend yet?
  • Am I excited both my College Team and NFL team made it as far as they could #patsnation #dawgs
  • How are my cats? (I guarantee they did something funny recently)
  • Can I show you this cute [baby or adult] elephant picture?
  • Genuine concern about my health/medication/treatment and trying to help
  • Book suggestions of bomb books you’ve read
  • beer suggestions … from me to you or you to me
  • where you had an awesome app/sushi roll/entree/dessert earlier this week and what it is so I can order it
  • what Yoga With Adriene video/series I’m loving right now
  • If I want to go grab coffee…the answer is always yes
  • What show or movie I should watch on my AppleTv next

So…Today’s life lesson, don’t be mean, be nice. I promise I’m nice in response, seriously.