“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.

This post is a little different

If you’ve never met my mom, she’s pretty cool. She drives me crazy, but she’s also my best friend, as it should be. She goes by many names including: mom, Mumsy, mama, mooooooom, capt reg, Regina, aunt Gina, Gigi, aye girl, regggggg, Reggie….I think I got them all, if not sorry, reg.

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My mom does a lot for us. Like a lot. She runs the world basically. She works all day, takes care of us, takes care of her coworkers, does her job well, takes care of her mom, works out, has an amazing ability to sleep in a chair while HGTV is on the tv, works in our church nursery, helps out my brother with homework and sports stuff, really likes pageants, picks really good wine, listens to me complain or brag about work, likes Facebook and to text, loves Jesus, speaks truth unapologetically, has handled missing my sister after her move with an impressive peace that I wouldn’t have, and she’s just cool. Oh, and she also finds time to take part of yearly traditions with me even when life is crazy. She also makes a really awesome chicken pot pie that is life giving.

So today, I read a devotion, and it asked how they could pray for the women reading it. Typically I would’ve thought about the hectic beautiful hard mess that is my life, but instead I thought of my mom. And I posted the following comment…

“Normally after reading these I think of the prayer that I need to deal with the tough situations of my life. Today, I was moved to ask for prayer for my mother. She is a mother of three, her name is Regina. She works serving others as a social worker who trains those who want to be foster parents. She is not an only child, but she is the only one who lives near her aging mother and takes steps to care for her that have to be done by someone close by. In August, my dad/ her husband, had a heart attack and quadruple bypass a month before my sisters wedding. My mom took off work then worked from home to care for him and make sure he fully recovered- which praise be, he did. My mom helped plan and pay for my sisters big day. My mom helped prepare me for a pageant and to begin grad school as I work. My mom doesn’t miss a game that my little brother plays in, and helps raise money for his teams. On Sunday, my mom’s best friend Mandy, had a stroke and had hemorrhaging on her brain from the stroke. They have been best friends for over 40 years. They share life. They share memories. They share love. A lot of people are praying for Mandy to come off the ventilator she is on, and to have healing for her body, and peace for her family- which is beautiful and wonderful, and I praise god for those prayers. My mom has been relentless in her prayer for her friend and has spent many hours in the hospital waiting for news, waiting for Mandy to wake up, supporting mandy’s Husband and daughters, before coming home to still take care of her own family and go to work the next morning. This morning I want to lift my mother up in prayer. For her peace. For her sanity in overwhelming circumstances. For her to felt taken care of. For her to feel loved. For her to be restored and rested. For me to be the daughter she needs. To hear her laugh more like she was able to do yesterday while we enjoyed a snow day. Please think of her. Please pray for her. Help me pray for her to be covered in love and peace.”

So today’s post is different. Today’s post is to say my mom rocks. Today’s post is to say if you have a minute lift up my mom in prayer today. Today’s post is to say call your mom, or give her a hug, or send a prayer or good vibe her way. Moms are cool….they wiped your butt for a long time, and cleaned up your puke, and made you spaghettios, and cheered you on through what you were doing, and now that you’re grown enough to be reading this maybe she’s the one who needs a hug today.

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“Write hard and clear about what hurts” – Hemingway

I tried to come up with a witty title for this post, yet, none really seemed to capture what I’m feeling in this moment…The best I can come up with is “write hard and clear about what hurts,” thanks Hemingway. One of my favorite pins also reminded me that I own every thing that has happened to me – and it is my story to tell, because if someone wanted me to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.

I am absolutely positive that there are some people who could write negative things about me. I have not always been the best person. I know there will be times that I fall short and will not be the best or nicest me that I can be. I understand that human nature means we hurt each other, because we mess up from time to time. I will not always behave as my best self, whomever you are reading this, neither will you.

However, today my heart hurts. It sincerely hurts. I physically feel ill about what I am writing about.

I don’t live for the approval of others, but it also bothers me when I don’t know what I did to hurt someone and they don’t like me for said unknown reason. Today I can think of two people who this applies to in the last week. These two people cut me off in the last week, (or it has become apparent in the last week), and I legitimately have gone over and over interactions with them and have no idea what I did to them to make them dislike me. And it bothers me. If I hurt these individuals I would like to apologize for what I did…or at least defend myself.

Yes, I have said repeatedly one of my goals of 2018 is to be more savage and be able to cut people off without a second thought when they hurt me… But, I am really really bad at that, like really awful. I don’t want to hurt people, I actually despise it. I’m the one left laying awake at 3 am wondering what I did. At my core, I am a peacemaker. I actually cried over unfriending someone on Facebook a few weeks ago, and I had chosen to do so because they expressed opinions that supported rape culture…  it just really bothers me to upset someone. I can act really hard, it’s part of my reputation, it’s part of what I need to do to handle 16 year olds on a daily basis, but I’m actually just a big softy who’s heart is way bigger than it should be. I’m basically the grinch.

So, if I have done things to offend you, if I have ever hurt you, if I have ever made you want to cut me off, if you think at my core I want to revel in someone’s pain (legit someone said this to me about two weeks ago !!?!?), Please know I’m sorry…please know that isn’t me. I want it to be me. I want to look out for my own good, yet it isn’t me yet….

  LOL probably never will be….SOS.               college/savage me come back …

I guess my conclusion to this is, if you’re one of those people, I’m sorry, I would appreciate knowing what happened so I don’t repeat that action to someone else. Or don’t, I’ll probably still be awake at 3 am overthinking the situation, it’s fine. (That May be passive aggressive)

i also would like to note, that these two individuals were two of the people I mentioned in my blog a few weeks back, yet I wanted so badly to forgive them and still be their friend, I guess I should’ve believed them when they showed me who they were.

To those of you who still have my back and still love me, then please push me to be more savage and look out for myself, maybe give me a hug because my heart is hurt right now, encourage me to be better, I promise I’ll always be there for you and that I’ll write warmly about you because you behaved well.

 

Accomplishments in 2017

A few days ago I sat down and typed up my goals (not resolutions) for the year of 2018. I reflected on the fact that in 2015 I also made a list for myself of 15 things I had accomplished for the year. So today, I want to write about (at least) 17 things that I accomplished in 2017.

  1. I won the Kate Peacock Teaching Fellow Scholarship. I poured my heart into my application with vulnerability about what it means to me to teach where I do and with the style that I do. A committee read through multiple applications and chose mine to win a scholarship for what I have done and hope to do. It was one of the most humbling moments of my life as I ran, ugly crying, across the stage to hug Miss North Carolina 2014 Kate Peacock and accept the scholarship with her namesake then to bring it home to my students and school.
  2. I got into grad school. I have wanted to apply for years but wanted to pay off some of my undergraduate loans before doing so, the scholarship gave me more confidence, and I applied and was accepted. I cannot wait to start classes next week.
  3. I survived, not one, but two, surgeries. I have always been really scared of the word surgery. Like that sounds horrifying to me. I had a septoplasty to correct some issues with my sinuses in March, and it was as terrible as it sounds. Then I had to have one of my tendons cut open and released in November to resolve a trigger digit, and it was even worse than the septoplasty, but here I am typing and living through it.
  4. I put on a brave face when I was terrified of losing my dad. My dad had a heart attack and quadruple bypass in August, and I can admit, it was really super-duper scary. But, a month later my daddy walked my sister down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams. Then a month after that he walked around uptown Charlotte with me in the suicide prevention walk that I was extremely passionate about. He now is the proud owner of a treadmill, graduated cardiac rehab, has lost weight, occasionally orders bbq chicken instead of beef at carolina bbq, and is back at work….oh, and has the ability to run around the living room when UGA wins the Rose Bowl. Go dawgs!
  5. I decided to #treatyoself and mark something off my bucket list, and bought tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra the one night they were in town. I even took a day off work the next day so I could sleep in. by the way, 10/10 recommend going to one of their shows at some point in your life.
  6. I also decided to road trip to Chicago to see Hamilton live in action. Also 10/10 recommend it. While we were there we TILTed out of a building 94 floors up, so I was just super adventurous this year, I guess.
  7. Along with the adventurous note, I held a snake…actually more than one…for the first time, and I didn’t cry or throw up or anything. I actually had a really great time, also held a tarantula, and fell in love with the sweetest Argentinian Tegu named Jabba, and learned that reptiles who aren’t turtles aren’t that scary. Thanks, Eastern Exotics.
  8. I was in my first wedding as an adult. I’ve been a flower girl and junior bridesmaid. But I had the privilege of being my sister’s Maid of Honor and was able to stand beside her as she got married.
  9. I met the author of my favorite book. Thirteen Reasons Why has become popular for other reasons, but it will forever be my favorite book. I read it months after it came out, long before it hit the mainstream, and I fell in love. Jay Asher, the author, visited my local library and I got to meet with him before he went out to talk. We talked about my platform and the way his quote in the book “Everything affects everything” helped shape my role in serving others. He even noted that I had a cover on the book that is no longer in print. It was amaaaaaazing.
  10. I served with 12 different organizations as Miss Capital City!!!! I worked with STEM demonstrations at Community Day at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, I served the low-income and homeless of Gaston County at Convoy of Hope, I donated over $600 of supplies to Urban Ministry Center, I volunteered with the 5k event of Stop Soldier Suicide, with the Queen City Harry Potter Alliance of Charlotte at the Geek Gala’s Muggle Market we collected 754 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank Metrolina, at Levine’s inaugural Kids Helping Kids day I helped make cards and blankets for patients, at Activate Good’s Craft for a Cause I made cards for soldiers/goodie bags for first responders/and capes for superhero ill children, I cheered on athletes at Charlotte’s Special Olympics Fall tournament, I donated to Lucky’s Bar and Arcades first Toys for Tokens, my students donated 53 cards to State Farm’s Neighborhood of Good campaign to be taken to local nursing homes then they sent another 50+ with me to a nursing home where some family members work, and at the Warm Hands Project’s christmas party I made Christmas crafts with kids and read christmas stories.
  11. I went to Miss North Carolina. I competed along 43 other beautiful and talented women who are each volunteering with something their heart is passionate about. It was an honor.
  12. I went on my first ghost tour. Charlotte’s History and Haunts tour indulged both my inner history nerd and my inner Wednesday Addams.
  13. I went to my first fraternity beach weekend and survived. I also painted a cooler for it and it was decent.
  14. I was a big girl and asked a man to date me for the first time in my life. He said yes, by the way.
  15. I was nominated for new teacher of the year. I didn’t win, but I was one of only five names on the list, so not too shabby.
  16. I legitimately got into yoga. I’ve liked it for a while but never made it the concentration of my work outs, until this year. I actually got a yoga mat. I completed a 30 day yoga challenge, and I’ve made it a regular part of my life.
  17. I found a doctor who could diagnose what was wrong with me. After 8 years, I finally was diagnosed by a rheumatologist, and felt comforted that my health problems had a name. I have started exploring what works best for me to treat fibromyalgia and UCTD.
  18. I learned to eat salad and like it. It’s like my go to order at zaxby’s now…
  19. I found my niche with my students. I finally am comfortable with my students and my material and have a good time with two of my three classes. They have a sense of community that i have busted my butt to cultivate and I will be sad to see those classes go in a few days.
  20. I paid another one of my loans. Two down, two to go.
  21. I became an alumna of Kappa Delta sorority, which made my heart smile.
  22. I prayed through a singular devotion for the course of lent. I prayed over what it means to be a godly woman, and I hope I became a little closer to being like Jesus in 2017 because of it. Maybe in 2018 I’ll do even better.

A year is over. A new one starts. We’ll see what gets accomplished in 2018.

 

 

 

 

18 things in 2018

Every year towards the end of the year I make a to do list for the coming year. Most of it involves things from my bucket list, for example how many books I need to read for the coming year to reach my goal of reading 1,000 books in my lifetime.

This year as I wrote my list I integrated things that I have not accomplished for the past three years. I also looked over the fact that at the end of 2015 I wrote a list of things I had accomplished even if they didn’t match the list of things I set out to do at the beginning of 2015.

Today you get treated to my list of things to do in 2018. I originally planned to write 18 things, i started the trend of a list matching the year, ie 15 in 2015, 16 in 2016, etc. let me just say I have not met every expectation on my list for 2015, 2016, or 2017. Oops. So again I integrated things from those years into my 2018 list and I ended up with more than 18 things.

1) Pay off 3rd loan
2) See between 2-10 new states
3) Complete a full show series (probably mad men, madam secretary, or Peaky Blinders)
4) Watch 10 movies all the way through (my Netflix list is stupidly long )
5) Read 50 books or more to get over 350 read
6) Cut down on calorie counting (I have an addiction to MyFitnessPal)
7) Maintain A or B average in grad school
8) Continue on the journey of minimalism
9) Regular contact with my African parents
10) Try a new workout class (ie hot yoga, Pilates, barre, this will NOT be CrossFit, I refuse)
11) 5 self dates #treatyoself
12) Go to Charlotte’s restaurant week
13) Have at least one salad a month
14) See one of my current or former students go to college (I’m setting hopes on y’all)
15) Say yes to less; give the best yes
16) Save as much money as I spend
17) Work on my Charlotte bucket list (below)
18) Volunteer with habitat for humanity, Salvation Army, or toys for tots
19) Sky dive
20) Go to a college football game

Charlotte bucket list:
• eat at price’s chicken
• go on a date in each of the “neighborhoods”
• see the Charlotte symphony
• eat at the annual mallard creek bbq
• Greek festival
• Charlotte liberty walk
• go to a race
• food truck Friday
• eat at Cabarrus creamery
• restaurant week
• taste of Charlotte
• spend a day wondering around Davidson

So what are the things I’ve missed in the past 3 years
•2015
1) graduate college with honors …curse you UNCC for not giving me that .037
2) quit using myfitnesspal
3) save as much money as I spend
4) learn to make food for every meal course
5) go to a drive in movie
6) finish college to do list – it was a thing
•2016
1) go to a Charlotte baseball game
2) Sky dive
3) quit counting calories
•2017
1) See 5 new states (I only saw one)
2) stop counting calories
3) college football game
4) watch Casablanca, Star Wars, James Bond, and Austin powers
5) try an actual fitness class at a gym
6) 4 single dates
7) take time to spend with a friend once a month

An open letter to my grandfather

Yesterday was 12 years since my grandfather stepped from this world into the next. Today is for him. 

HT,

hey sweetheart. It’s been 4384 days since you left this world. 4384 days since I hugged you. 4384 days since you made me giggle. 4384 since you patterned what a man of God looks like. I still dream about you from time to time, and I want to believe you’re actually visiting me in those dreams, but those dreams are way too long apart- so if you wanted to visit more often, i’d be perfectly fine with that.

You were one of my biggest loses, December 19 still makes me sad. You will always be one of my favorite people. I’m convinced to this day, no man will ever compare to you. Dad is awesome. Cam is awesome. But I love them in different ways than I loved you, it’s a different relationship. You were an awesome grandfather.

Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are with you. You could make me giggle like crazy, and you drove me crazy. You stole my stuffed animals and boxed them and sat on me until I moved out of your seat. You drug me out to the vegetable garden and let me run around in your sunhats. You treasured the veggietales painting I made you to hang in your hospital room at the end. You remembered the smallest details of various parts of my life- including the myriad of careees I vowed to pursue, none of which I actually pursued. You loved my Nanny like crazy, I have always envied yall’s relationship, and every man’s treatment of me will forever be measured by the way you treated her in the time I was privileged to watch you two together. You made me feel beyond valued, you made sure as the youngest who had nobody else my age that I was amused, even if that meant you being my friend for the day. You had the best taste in baseball teams and my allegiance will never change because I pull for your team (#bravesnation). If you changed your voice to discipline us, it was terrifying, mainly because I wanted your approval so badly.

I wonder all the time if I make you proud. Of course I want to make my parents proud, but I really hope that if you’re watching from heaven, and I hope you are, that you’re proud of the things I’m doing. You modeled what a Christian life looked like, you clung to your faith even as your time here ran out. I hope that I’m modeling that as well in my career and volunteerism. You never even had to speak the words, you just lived it, and I want to be like that.

You raised at least one awesome kid. I don’t know how your other kids parent, because I don’t live with them, but dang my dad is cool. I appreciate the skills you taught him and how great you allowed him to be. I hope that our bonding over sports makes you smile. And I have to believe you had some pull with God on him still being here and as healthy as he is, so thank you.

I think there’s definitely some things that you frown on. Mainly the beer in my hand as I type this, and I’m sorry, that is one thing I will disagree with you on. I feel like my depression and anxiety keep me from being all the things I want to be. Sometimes I don’t feel like the best teacher, yesterday included, for reasons we won’t verbalize. I’m definitely not the best daughter, I have a mouth that could use a filter. I don’t blindly trust god, I try to take things into my own hands. I complain about my chronic illnesses pretty much daily, and don’t trust they are for good purposes, I’m not nearly as good of a patient as you were. I just hope that you’re smiling on the things I do do well.

I hope that 60 years from now I’m cool of a grandparent as you were. I want to model a Christian attitude, teach my grandkids lessons, and make them giggle like they’re the happiest ever….and maybe have a really cool singing voice like you did 🐸.

So this is just me missing you. I’m sorry it was today before I made it by to visit. I’m sorry I didn’t stay long. I’m sorry I was semi embarrassed to talk out loud today. I hope you knew what I wanted to say. I hope you were standing there next to me. I hope you went and hugged the people there I asked you too, and just told them I loved them. I hope right now you and Nanny are worshipping together, hand in hand, with that handsome smile on your face. No matter what, you’re always right here in my heart. I love you with all of me, and I’m so proud to call you my pawpaw.