Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hate Free Zone....


Those of you that know me, know I'm a VERY positive person. Lately, however I've been a little disheartened by all the negative stories directed at specific groups or religions. From the minister and church in Kentucky that refused membership to interracial couples, to Lowe's Home Improvement pulling their ads from All American Muslim, to parents throwing their gay children out on the streets, to the hateful comments regarding the interracial article our family was featured in, in USA Today. There's so many more but I think you get the picture. Each one has a running theme...ignorance and hate based on the unknown.

The minister and church denying interracial couples membership? I'm speechless. Did we just go back in time? A church teaching hate? Isn't that an oxymoron? Or are they just morons? Sorry, I normally don't say that about people but in this instance I couldn't resist. I wish the minister and members could spend one week with us so they could see that we are just a family full of love....nothing more, nothing less.

Lowe's Home Improvement removing ads from All American Muslim because a small Christian group complained? Since when does one religion have a say over the other? C'mon Lowe's...have you ever seen the show? The entire point is to open minds and erase assumptions. You just threw that out the window in an instant! Are we living in the dark ages or America? Shame on you Lowe's. 

Parents throwing gay children away like trash? How is this possible? How does a parent stop loving their child because they can't accept their partner? The heart can't help who it falls in love with. Love's funny like that. Trust me, I know.

The hateful comments on USA Today because we are an interracial family? Really? I had to stop reading because the horrible words made my stomach turn. How can someone hate us if they don't even know us?


Why are we hating instead of loving? Why are we erasing instead of embracing? This is supposed to be the season of peace and love no matter what the religion. How can one hate what they don't even know? That is called ignorance.

Does it matter if I'm Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist? Does it matter if I'm black, white, brown or green? Does it matter if I'm gay, straight, or go both ways? No, it doesn't. What matters is...if I have a heart, if I'm kind, if I'm giving and if I'm loving.  
 
The irony in all of this is, religion is supposed to teach love. What is happening here? Why is it okay to love some and hate others? It's not. I can guarantee that whether someone worships in a church, temple, mosque or home, there is NO religion that says it's okay to hate. Only people do. No matter the race, religion, or sexual orientation....open hearts and open minds don't discriminate.  
 
I'm Christian, I'm straight, and I refuse to hate!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Blind Man.....

The other night my hubby and I went to a birthday celebration for one of his friends.  As we were walking into the restaurant, my third hand….I mean my blackberry, lit up, and I received an email from my agent.  She wanted to know if I would be interested in being interviewed about being in an interracial relationship.  She received a query from someone who was writing a “how-to” on how to have a successful interracial relationship. They wanted tips and advice on how to “survive” this type of union.  Of course I said yes, after all, it’s not only my life, it’s what I write about!  After I said yes, it got me to thinking.  How interesting that we need tips and advice on how to “survive” in a mixed race relationship.  After 19 years together, and 18 years of marriage, it’s all so natural to me.  Survival?  Tips and advice?  That just sounds odd.  However, if I look back on all the struggles and trials and tribulations that we have gone through, well then, it makes all sorts of sense.  That’s why I still write about our marriage, because even though we have it down “to a science,” I know there are a lot of couples out there that are wondering, is this really going to work?  They are dealing with family issues, societal issues, and more. Me, this is how I deal with it….if you don’t like us….that’s okay.  We like us and that’s all that matters.

It still boggles my mind that in 2011 this is even an interview topic.  We really need to get over it.  Really.  The funny thing about “us” is, we are just a couple.  We are like all the other couples out there, the only difference….our skin colors.

So let me ask everyone this question….if a blind man met us and we became close friends without ever sharing our “differences” with him, would he know we are a mixed race couple, or would we just be a “regular” couple to him?  Hmm, something to ponder.  If you don’t see the difference, is there one?

Just like everyone else….we start our day together, we live our lives together, we make plans together, we raise a family together, we laugh together, we cry together, and we grow old together.  Read that sentence again….are we an interracial couple, or just a couple?  It’s all so simple yet society still makes it so difficult.  We are in love, we are married, we have been together for many years, yet people still question us.  Why? 

I've said it before and I will say it again....nobody is born a bigot.  Racism is taught….let’s stop teaching it.  The blind man only "sees" our hearts….what can we learn from him?  How about loving this life together…..one heart, one mind, one love. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

USA Today Comments.......



Last week our family had the honor of being featured in USA Today. I was interviewed for the piece and then a photographer came out and did a photo shoot of our family. We had such a great time with the photographer he actually ended up joining us for dinner after we were done taking pictures. The article came out a couple of weeks after the interview and it was such a thrill to have our family be the face of interracial marriage in USA Today. It truly touched me because so much of my writing is about this very subject.

I have been writing about interracial marriage for years now and the one thing that I have never had to deal with when it comes to writing about our family, whether on my blog or on guest sites, is racist comments. Even if there has been a difference of opinion the comments have always been very respectful. When the article came out in USA Today I was saddened to see so many racist and hateful comments in the comment section. Thankfully there were many more positive comments than negative ones but it saddened me none the less. Because USA Today reaches so many people I should not have been surprised, but I was. I'm not going to go into specifics about what was said and luckily the paper pulled the really horrible comments, but it still shocks me to see how closed minded and ignorant people can be when it comes to race in America in 2011. I actually had to stop reading the comments because they made my stomach turn. They also made me realize how much work we still need to do when it comes to educating people about race and interracial relationships. 

The one thing that I want people to know that don't seem to understand or approve of our family is we are truly no different than any other family out there today. I don't wake up in the morning and look at my husband and think, "I'm so in love with my black husband," he's just my husband. I don't look at my daughter and think, "My biracial daughter is my heart and soul," she's just my daughter. Yes my husband is black, yes I'm white and yes our daughter is biracial.....those are the facts, but the truth of the matter is, we are three people that make up a family filled with love. It really is that simple. I didn't steal a black man from the hood, Jamie didn't set out to meet a white woman, and we didn't say let's have a mixed child. We married each other because we fell in love and we had a child because we wanted a family. Color has never had anything to do with our choices when it comes to our relationship and family. Color only comes into play when society continues to make an issue of it. We are about love and love only. Isn't that why anyone gets married and starts a family? 

I've said it before and I will say it again. Tatiana gets the best of both worlds. We embrace my culture and we embrace Jamie's culture. She gets double the fun, double the food, double the history, double everything!  Talk about an open mind. America is all about people that originally came from some place else. Our country is really just one big melting pot of the world, so trying to be around one race and one race only is quite unrealistic. I feel sorry for people that aren't open to other races, cultures and backgrounds. They are truly missing out on so many wonderful experiences. It's quite sad.   

So in the end, to those that had such negative things to say about our family....all I can say is, my heart breaks for the hate that you carry. I hope that you can one day realize we are just a family that happens to have multiple shades of skin colors and lots and LOTS of LOVE!       

Thank you USA Today for such a wonderful experience!           

Monday, October 31, 2011

Shame on You.....


Life, it’s pretty much a rollercoaster ride for all of us at some point.  My particular rollercoaster needs to be named, and I think I will call it infinity, because truly, it never seems to end.  As you all know we are STILL dealing with the lawsuit against the Otay Water Department, Eastlake Development, et al. Yes, still.  I know….four and half years later and it continues to go on and on!  Even though we won in a jury trial over seven months ago, here we are today dealing with appeals, cross complaints, cross lawsuits and a big fat MESS, otherwise known as our “justice” system.

Not only are we still being bullied by the big guys, I mean, Otay Water and Eastlake Development, but now more bullies want to join in on the fun.  Wells Fargo Bank, who carries the loan on our long ago closed store decided that they weren’t making enough money off the rest of the world, so not only did they sue us a couple of years ago for a loan on our store that was destroyed by Otay Water’s negligence, but now they have put liens against my home and my business partner’s home because the lawsuit continues to take too long.  Yes, you heard me….first they sued us for the loan and then they said to themselves, “Hmm, since we haven’t gotten the money from these people yet and even though we know they are still in the middle of a lawsuit, let’s put liens on their homes and crush the victims even more.”  Okay, they might not have said those exact words, but it sure feels like it!  I even wrote to the CEO of Wells Fargo back when they first sued us and explained the entire lawsuit.  I told him we had every intention of paying our loan when this was over and by no means were we trying to get out of any of our responsibilities.  They just needed to wait in line with everyone else until the suit was over.  The well is dry and the turnip has no blood left.  I guess the CEO needed some fast cash, because he didn’t want to hear it.  The response back was from his attorney to my attorney. Instead of having the human decency to contact me, he had his attorney do his dirty work.  How sad, how typical, how expected. I was hoping for more.  I was hoping for change.  Alas, the banks continue on with their greed even when the victim is being victimized.  Pitiful and just plain wrong!

There is no job title, position, or amount of money that makes it okay to destroy people’s lives.  I hope one day that companies find compassion, and people stop doing what they are told, and instead start doing what is right.  Shame on you- Otay Water, Eastlake Development, and Wells Fargo- for losing your soul’s to the system.  Will it be worth it in the end?  I wonder?

In the meantime, while we continue to fight the good fight, I refuse to let any of them get in the way of my dreams.  My husband told me that he married me because I’m one of the strongest women he knows.  So, that being said, I’m going to continue to grow stronger every day no matter how many hurdles continue to get thrown my way.

I am proud to say, not only am I writing my book, This is Me….Coming Out of the Darkness, while also working on a movie based on the same book, (thank you my dear friend Amy Ferris for the Director introduction), I’m also writing for the Shame Prom anthology AND I just signed a book contract to write the book; Divorce, Dance, or Dare.  It doesn’t end there.  Recently I was asked to be a partner….yes, a partner, in an amazing new company called Decision Point.  This is going to be a company that helps people during the biggest decision points of their lives. It’s what I live and breathe for.  It’s going to be incredible and life changing for so many, and I’m honored to be a part of it!

I’m pinching myself at how even during the darkest of times- with faith, family, friends, support and LOTS of hard work- dreams not only come true again, but they can be even more fantastic the second time around!

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Oh, You're Together?"

It's funny, when my husband and I are together, whether in a restaurant, standing in line somewhere, even at a hospital, people aren't quite sure if we are a couple.  A while back I was in the emergency room (that's another crazy story for another day) and we were waiting for the doctor.  When he finally came in and introduced himself, he shook my hand and then looked at Jamie, shook his hand and said, "You are?".......long pause.......I finally finished his sentence and said, "Husband."  He said, "Oh, well, you just never know these days." Yeah right!  We all know if Jamie had been white the doctor would have automatically assumed he was my husband, but since he was black he just didn't go there.  Funny don't you think!?  I’m so used to it at this point it hardly even gets to me, well, maybe just a little.  The same thing happens to us in restaurants when we are waiting for a table.  Unless we are holding hands or wrapped around each other, which we try not to do in public, it's always, "Oh, you're together?"  Really?  Are “we” such a shock?  This is southern California for goodness sake and last I checked it is 2011.  Isn't it?

One of the more comical "Oh, you're together moments,” was when I was having surgery years ago.  I woke up post surgery and asked for my husband.  I wanted him by my side, AND he also had my glasses so I couldn't see a darn thing!  No contact lenses allowed during surgery.  I was blind as a bat!  The nurse said she checked the family waiting room and he wasn't there.  I knew he was, because he would make sure he was there when I woke up.  That is just the kind of guy he is.  I asked her to check again.  She did, and she then went on to describe who was in the room and once again she was determined that he was not there. Well guess what "nurse ratchet," (I only say that because she got irritated with me) the black man you just described in the waiting room, is my husband!  She didn't even ask him if he was with me.  Imagine?  I kindly told her the big black man was my husband and after turning a few shades of red, she went back to the waiting room one last time, but this time she brought my hubby back with her.  I finally had him back by my side AND I could see again!  Hopefully, the nurse’s vision became just a little clearer that day too. 

Hopefully.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Progress.....

Sculpture Garden SFSU

It's all about college tours at the Wise house right now.  We just returned from San Francisco State University, which is Tatiana's first choice for college.  She chose SFSU for many reasons;  The first being their dance program which is her major, the second because she loves the city, and the third because of the culture and diversity that SFSU offers. 

Prior to going to San Fran we visited a couple of other campuses.  One of the recent campus tours we went on was a total bust, and originally it was her second choice!  From the very first moment we drove into the parking lot Tatiana said, "I'm not feeling this campus at all."  The entire day went that way.  It was just a vibe that she had, or actually lack thereof.  Then we went to SFSU and her reaction was the polar opposite!  Tatiana stepped onto campus and instantaneously smiled from ear to ear.  She was home.  Jamie even said, "I can totally see you going to school and living here.  This is you."  At this point we had only been there for, oh, about five minutes!  It was like the campus had a heartbeat of its own.  It was full of life, color, music, laughter, beautiful architecture, people from all over and so much more!  Jamie and I were ready to go back in time and attend school with her.  She would be horrified and would quickly veto us, but it sure sounded like a good idea, at least to us!

One of the things that is not only important to Tatiana but important to us as parents of a mixed race child, is that she goes to a university that is filled with diversity.  To say that SFSU is diverse would be an understatement.  It lives and breathes diversity!  The students that attend SFSU are from every race and religion you can imagine.  We got a very clear picture of that when we walked to the heart of the campus which is called Malcom X Plaza. The plaza is filled with music and festivities and also houses the Cesar Chavez Student Center.  The more we walked and the more we saw, the more we fell in love with the campus and all it had to offer.  Notice I keep saying we.  We truly fell in love with SFSU right along with her and for her.  It is such an exciting time in her life!  The diversity clincher was when we were on the tour and the guide told us about the College of Ethnic Studies.  This is the only program of its kind in the nation and SFSU offers it.  Hello diversity!  

Needless to say by the time we were done with the tour and our day spent on campus, Tatiana was ready to move in.  Instead she did the next best thing.  She applied.  The applications for Fall 2012 opened up the following day, so she jumped online, filled out the application, went over it with a fine tooth comb and hit submit!  While she was filling out her info., this time I had a smile from ear to ear, not only because I was so excited for her, but also because I saw that she was able to choose two or more races/ethnicity's as her race on the application.  I was thrilled!  Back in the day when Tat was entering kindergarten I had to choose one race and one race only.  I will never forget how that made me feel.  Now, not only was there an option for two races, but when she got to the gender section the options were male, female, transgender, or non-gender specific.  How cool is that!?  I had never seen that on any application before. My how times have changed.  I love it!  Equality all the way around. 

That, my friends, is progress. 

Just as it should be. 

Thank you San Fran!            

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy 17th Birthday Tatiana!!

When Jamie and I got married in 1993, we knew that we wanted to have children right away.  We both love our families and we wanted to start our own soon after our wedding, so we did!  Tatiana Chantal Wise came into this world 17 years ago, on September 20th, 1994.  From day one Tatiana had a mind of her own, a huge heart, a giant smile and a laugh that just never quit.  She screamed a lot too!  Just for fun.  Fun for her, not so much for us!  The neighbors still laugh about how loud she was. =)  Oh ya, one more thing, she had lots and lots of hair!  She was literally born with an afro.  I'm not kidding, she really was.  Oh the hair!   

 
I'm still amazed that she has gone from diapers, to dancing, to girl scouts, to teen (help us please!) to a high school graduate at 16, and now here she is today......SEVENTEEN years old!!  How did it happen so fast? It's been an amazing, wild, 17 year rollercoaster.  Tatiana has come in to her own and we are so proud of the young woman she is today.  She has excelled, she has made mistakes, and she continues to learn and grow.  That's what life's all about and she is certainly living it!  Her free spirit is inspiring!

So on Tatiana's 17th....we say happy, happy birthday; to a kind, amazing, talented, beautiful, loving, incredible, smart, rock star of a daughter!  We are so blessed that she is our child and now we look forward to her almost adult future and all the amazingness she is going to create in the years to come!  Happy birthday Tatiana!  We LOVE you! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Guest Blog by: Author and Publisher Joyce Norman


I’ve been enmeshed in the many shades of love all my life. Growing up in Texas, I played with Hispanic children from my school. The African-American woman who sometimes ironed our clothes (that was a different day and time) always brought her two children to play dolls with me. No children lived in my neighborhood so this was a special treat and my mother would often invite them back for playtime. In college I was drawn to the kindness and intelligence of a good-looking young man from Seoul, Korea. Many things separated us – our cultural differences, traditions – certainly not the color of his skin. For me, love has never been a color. It is an emotion.

Therefore, in 1980, when I was seeking to adopt an infant, it was of no consequence to me that the eight-hour old baby boy offered me was Brazilian. When I first held my son in my arms in Rio de Janeiro the only difference I saw was that he had huge black eyes and mine were blue. Dark curly hair, smooth olive skin, a ready smile – wherever we went everyone wanted to hold him.

From the day he learned to walk he didn’t want me to hold his hand and that’s when I saw his first beginnings of confidence in himself. “I do it” was one of his first sentences.

As he grew I was amazed at the ease with which he moved through life.  Although an energetic little boy there was always a calmness about him.

In those early years I began to emerge in ways I could never have dreamed of. When the two of us would go out, almost always, someone would say, “Oh, what a beautiful little boy.” And then, looking at my premature silver hair, would ask, “He must look like his father.”

I will never understand why I felt it necessary to answer, “He’s adopted and he’s Brazilian?” I hate to admit it but I believe I felt the need to give a reason for the difference in the way we looked. Looking back, I felt the strong need to justify us or give info I didn’t have to. I believe I wanted us to be “normal” – whatever that means.

Through the years, regardless of age, my son never once spoke up when someone said, “Look at that dark hair.” At any time he could have said, “I’m Brazilian.” Guess he didn’t feel he had to. However, I always spoke up, “My hair used to be dark like his.” Now I think back with “What did that remark have to do with my son anyway?”

From my son I learned something about myself --- that my confidence was not as secure as his and I discovered the color issue was not as settled in my life as I thought it was. I, personally, just couldn’t accept the questions about the two of us, and felt I had to give a definition.

One day I decided to quit explaining, quit justifying and just let people think what they would. My son has taught me so much and I respect, that to his core, he has always had a depth of maturity that held at bay questions from the outside.

He didn’t need me to define him then.

He doesn’t need me to define him now.


Joyce Norman

Author/Publisher


Monday, September 5, 2011

Am I Being Punk'd?!

“Hello, this is the Oprah Winfrey network calling.” Yes, that was the message that was playing on my answering machine last week as I walked towards my phone in disbelief. The caller went on to say that he was looking to speak with Amy Wise about an article she wrote about tough times don't have to mean no fun. Let me just say when I first heard the words “This is the Oprah Winfrey Network calling,” I thought it was a joke. However, when the caller started talking about a specific article I wrote, I picked up the phone and he introduced himself. He was an associate producer from the OWN Network at the new primetime Suze Orman show. He asked if I would be willing to give him a phone interview so he could get some more information about my article and situation for a possible appearance on the show. At this point I was between thinking, “I just know I’m being punk’d, to, “You have got to be kidding me!” I truly wasn’t sure what to think! So I didn’t think, and instead, I talked. As I started giving him details of how we lost everything due to the crazy water issue, how we fell apart, started over, and created an even more amazing dream and stronger family, I was still thinking, “I’m soooo being punk’d!” When he asked if I was willing to go into detail about just how financially devastated we were, because of course Suze Orman’s entire show is based on finances, I was still thinking, “This can’t be real!” I told him I wasn’t comfortable sharing financial information and asked him if he would send me some credentials via email. You just never know. He promptly sent the credentials and then we proceeded to talk some more. As we talked about my situation he also shared with me that he had read quite a bit of my writing online and really loved what he had read on my blog. He told me that he was in an interracial relationship as well. He said this was the first interracial relationship he had ever been in and it was wonderful to read my blog and see how happy we were after all these years. I said, “No way, of all the producers, they chose you to call me!?” I just thought that was hilarious! By the time we were done talking it felt like we were old friends. In fact, we plan to keep in touch and I’m so looking forward to seeing his relationship progress.

Okay, back to the OWN Network call. First, let me say that I’m not the type of person that gets star struck by anyone. I have lived a very blessed life that has exposed me to everything from embassy parties filled with dignitaries, princes, and military elite, to, media, literary and sports figures. We have always taught Tatiana that no matter what type of job you have, it’s just a job. When someone is in the spotlight it has nothing to do with who they are as a person, it’s simply their career. We have made sure to teach her that nobody is better than anybody else no matter what they do or how much money they make. So, that being said, I have to say when The Oprah Winfrey Network called, I will admit, I was blown away! Yes, I admit it. Not because it was her network, but because she has been through it all and is the queen of inspiration! You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got that call. It meant the world to me because my mission and my passion is to always pay it forward. I mean every single day! Whether it’s opening a door, donating, volunteering, lending a hand…whatever the help might be….that's what I’m all about! Over the last four years we have had support and help from so many and I’m determined to forever pay that forward. Forever. That is what the call represented to me. It’s about inspiring others and being there for each other and the OWN Network and everyone involved in that network is all about inspiration and helping! I literally cried when I got off the phone because I knew the call meant that I was on the right path and doing the right things after all the madness and mayhem we have lived these last four plus years.

I have talked to the network a couple of times since the initial call and regardless of what happens down the road I will always treasure the fact that our story was, and is, inspirational to others dealing with difficult life issues.

Mind you, we are still in the middle of dealing with our case, appeals, and the insanity of the “justice” system, but we have created a new life and we no longer let the old life control our future. We control it. After all, who says we can only have one dream!? We have created new dreams and my heart literally sings when I sit back and look at how far we have come. We have been through so much and have worked so hard as a family to not only keep it together after losing everything and having to totally start over, but to make sure that we are stronger than ever before. Jamie has been our steady rock and will be starting his own business, Tatiana graduated high school one year early and is starting her new future, and I have an amazing career as a writer. We fell hard, but we slowly and methodically got back up because we were surrounded by support, love, and faith. It’s really quite amazing!

In the end, the calls from the OWN Network will always hold a special place in my heart, but more importantly the calls reiterated that dreams CAN come true, not once, but as many times as you want them to. So for everyone out there….go for it…your dreams are waiting. Now it’s your turn!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy 18th Anniversary to Us!!!

Then....August 21st, 1993
 Now....
Who knew on a fateful day 19 years ago while driving up the 805 freeway in San Diego, my life would change forever?!  http://themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-heck-did-you-two-meet-i-mean-she.html  That was the day I "met" my hubby, and our future was set in motion.  The story still blows my mind!   

Now, flash forward to today...August 21st, 2011...our 18th wedding anniversary.  It's hard to believe that so much time has gone by since that first day we saw each other on the freeway.  We have been through so much together and have come so far, and neither one of us would have ever imagined that we would be where we are today.  We are best friends, shoulders for each other, lovers, parents, partners, soulmates, and so much more.  There are days when we laugh, there are days when we cry, and there are days when we want to "strangle" each other, but there is never, ever a day that goes by that we don't love each other completely.  We don't take each other for granted and we realize how lucky and blessed we are to have each other. 

Time has changed circumstances, but time has not changed us.  We are more in love today than the day we got married.  There is a deepness to that love that only time, heartache, life, happiness, and challenges can bring.  It's the "getting through" and the "making it out" of the dark times that has truly allowed us to embrace the "bright times" with joy. 

I love my husband not just with all my heart, but deep down to my soul.  We just fit so very perfectly, while also being so very different.  It's hard to even explain. 

So today, on our 18th anniversary, I want to say thank you, for the most amazing, life altering, wonderful, 18 years!  I love you Jamie J....happy, happy anniversary!  Here's to many, many more!  We rock! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Build Your Life!



Lately I’ve seen question after question on various interracial websites about what couples should do when family members don’t accept their interracial relationship. My answer to this is…..don’t be afraid to build a life together because you’re worried about what other people think of your relationship. Jamie and I never would have made it past dating had we listened to everyone else’s opinions about us. Here we are 19 years later, with a beautiful daughter and an amazing life!

I’m so disturbed about some of the stories I’ve seen in the news or heard from friends lately, that sometimes I feel like we are actually moving backwards when it comes to race relations. Just the other day there was a story on the news about a man who had his daughter sign a contract that stated she would not date any black men, felons, or gangsters, and if she did he would kill them. Kill them?! Really!? First of all, the fact that he lumped black men in the same category as felons and gangsters, like ALL black men fall into these categories, is stereotyping at its worst. The contract itself was twisted enough, but when the daughter actually ended up dating a black man, her father posted dead or alive posters with the boyfriend’s information and picture on them! Well, karma is a “you know what,” and Daddy is now in prison for 7 years! Clearly this is an extreme case of racial family issues, but I hear time and time again of families that will automatically disown their children if they date outside their race. How do you disown your own child? Better yet, why would you want to? Disowning someone because of the skin color of the person they love? Seriously? Why? Does this “skin color” beat your child? Does this “skin color” treat your child horribly? Or does this “skin color” love your child with all “its” heart? Last time I checked skin color doesn’t hurt people, people do.

Jamie and I have lived through it all when it comes to racism, and there were days, when trust me, I didn’t think the tears would stop because of some of the racial issues we had to deal with, but now, here we are, happier, stronger and more in love than ever. We love us, we love our life and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We never allowed circumstances or people to divide us or destroy our love. In fact, just the opposite, our strength comes from all we have had to deal with throughout the years and at this point we are Mr. and Mrs. Universe we are so freakin’ strong!  Nothing and no one can come between us….ever!

Now, back to YOU…..whatever you do….don’t be afraid to build YOUR life! Go….now….start today. Here’s to your future and here’s to your love….today, tomorrow and forever!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oregon Snowbunnies.....

Jamie and Amy
Timmy and Niki
Where do I begin? The last few months have been such a rollercoaster, my stomach is still doing flips from the wild ride that has been life lately. I try and take it all in stride and I try and go with the flow, while continuing to ride these constant ups and downs. Sadly, one of the downs that I will never understand and still can’t grasp or believe, is the loss of Jamie’s little brother Timmy to a hit and run driver in Las Vegas. Tim just turned 40 last month and he had treated himself to a Harley Davidson motorcycle for his birthday. Now before you go there…Tim was an EXPERIENCED rider. He was in the Ruff Ryder motorcycle club and has ridden for years. Unfortunately, a person with no conscience ran a stop sign and CHOSE to continue running, while Timmy was left behind. Our hearts are broken and the world will never be the same without him. Ever.

As I share the story of his loss, I’m going to share another story that will bring a smile to your face, just like Tim did for all of us, all the time!

Jamie and Tim were two peas in a pod. I count both of them as two of the funniest, craziest men on the planet! Truly. If you don’t laugh when you’re around them, well, you have no sense of humor at all! None! Another thing about the two of them is they would give you the shirts off their backs and would do anything for anyone…..especially for their family and friends. These two, big, teddy bear men are fathers that love their kids to their core. Now when I said two peas in a pod that was no joke! One of the funniest things about them is, they BOTH married white women from Oregon. Yes that’s right….both of them! For those of you that know Jamie and Tim you wouldn’t think either one of them would have gone down “that road” at all! But the fact that they BOTH did, and the fact that Niki and I are BOTH from Oregon…hilarious! Jamie has always said to Tim, “You just had to be like me didn’t you!?” So the running joke for all of these years has been, the two most unlikely “brothas” went and married white women from Oregon. Amy and Niki….go figure!

Now that Tim is our angel, this little bit of trivia about the two of them has gone from being funny and silly to holding a very special place in my heart. Niki and I have realized this odd connection these last couple of months as we continue to deal with the loss of Tim. It was ever more apparent when she stayed with us last week while we prepared for his Celebration of Life. It’s not just that we are from Oregon, it’s that we get each other. We get the family dynamics. We get the differences. We get the difficulties that we’ve both experienced. We get the hilarity. We get that Jamie and Tim’s “side” HATE “our” traditional green bean casserole. We get it ALL! It has gotten to the point where we speak at the same time and the EXACT same words come out of our mouths. It’s a little freaky!

I will forever have a bond to Nik that is unexplainable and so very special. When we share the story about both of us being white girls from Oregon, yes we laugh at the irony, but now we will treasure the connection. So through the laughter and through the tears, Niki and I will always be sisters AND “The Oregon Snowbunnies!” I know Timmy is smiling at this one, just as we are smiling at the memory of him. Love you Tim! Forever and always!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Black Comedy……


As most of you know, I’m currently in the middle of writing my book. Along with writing the book I also have some very cool projects that are in the works. Sometimes I feel like my head is spinning because I have so many balls up in the air right now. I’m not complaining at all, in fact, it’s all very exciting! I’m actually beyond grateful. Beyond!

My “angel on earth” and dear friend, Amy Ferris, recently “sparked” an introduction that has now “sparked” a project that coincides with the story of my book. However, this particular project requires a little more drama and quite a bit of twists and turns. I have to be slightly more open-minded, and think out of the box on this one. I’m being asked to think along the lines of a black comedy, otherwise known as a dark comedy. For some reason I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this concept. I’ll get there. I’m a very out of the box person so it should be a piece of cake for me…or at least a cupcake. Okay, that’s just silly humor, maybe that’s my problem! I need a little less silly, and a lot more dark! Clearly, I'm not going to be doing stand up at the Improv ANY time soon! That, I can guarantee! =)

Anywho…back to the subject matter. The other day I was having a phone conversation with my Sister, and I was catching her up on life, projects, and all the daily “stuff.” I was telling her about the project that I mentioned above, and explained that we are taking a slightly different turn on the writing. I shared the idea of the black comedy with her and she immediately started coming up with ideas of her own. She said, “You know how Jamie always has hilarious comebacks for everything and always has crazy things to say? That would be perfect for what you are looking for.” As she was going into detail, I stopped for a minute and thought, what is she talking about? What does that have to do with a black comedy? Then I got it! I smiled inside, stopped her, and said, “You do realize what a black comedy is, right? It’s a dark comedy, NOT an African American comedy!?” We both stopped, she said, “Oh my God,” and we literally busted out laughing! I cried I laughed so hard! She was going on and on about Jamie’s humor, thinking I meant “black,” as in “African American!” It was CLASSIC! Then she said, “I thought that was really weird that they would want the story to be an African American comedy.” Then I laughed some more! You gotta love it! She automatically went there because I said black comedy and I’m married to a black man. That is comedy in itself!

These are some of the silly things that come up in regards to our marriage. We don’t always have to deal with negative racial stuff, and sometimes we don’t have to deal with anything at all. Thank God! This however, was one of those fun moments, where in looking for “black comedy,” I got some "comic relief" instead! We all need a little bit of that once in a while. Don’t we?

Hopefully it will be okay with her that I’m sharing this with EVERYONE! Maybe I will send her a quick text before I hit send. Naw! I don’t think she’ll mind….it was too cute and too funny not to share. Love ya Sis!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time Flies.....


Picture this…..your sixteen year old comes home and says, “I want to talk to you and I really want you to listen and think seriously about what I’m going to say.” What is the first thing that goes through your mind? I know…me too…..you hold your breath for a minute and hope for the best…right!?  You just never know with teenagers! You just never know. So that’s what I did, I held my breath and I listened. The last thing that I expected to hear was, “I’ve decided to graduate high school a year early.”  My eyes lit up; a little from relief and a little from shock, and then I said, “What…why?!” She said, “I’m done with high school and I’m really ready to move on with my future.” I said, “How on earth are you going to do this.”  She said, “I knew you wouldn’t even listen if I didn’t have a plan, so I already have it all figured out. I’ve talked to everyone I need to talk to, and I know exactly what I need to do to get it done.” She knows me soooo well.  Don’t just ask to do something…..know how it’s going to get done. How could I not listen after hearing that?  Not only did she have a plan, she was beyond determined to make it happen. After I heard the plan, then we had to wait for Daddy to come home so we could talk to him about it. We make decisions as a family and this was big. Without going into every little detail….after much discussion, many phone calls to universities, and multiple meetings at the school…..it was a go!

Well, that was five months ago and here we are today…..our sixteen year old is graduating from high school exactly one year early. Yes, ONE YEAR EARLY! I can’t believe this day is here! How did this happen so fast?!? I’m not talking about the five months going by fast, I’m talking about our "baby" graduating from high school!

I know it’s a cliché, but I swear it was just yesterday that we were letting go of her little hands as she walked away to her classroom on the first day of kindergarten. Flash forward! This week we will be "letting go" of her "little hands" again as we watch “our baby” walk across the stage in her cap and gown to receive her high school diploma. Proud? That is an understatement! It’s all so surreal. Boy, did she earn this one! Big time! I have never seen such determination or hard work in my life. She knew it wasn’t’ going to be easy to finish school a year early, in fact she just told us the other day that she really wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to pull it off.  But she did!  Goal - set - done!

Tatiana has always had a mind of her own and has ALWAYS done things, shall we say, “her way,” but this….I’m speechless. It’s hard to truly express how proud we are of our beautiful daughter and all that she has accomplished in sixteen short years. Time truly does fly…..and very soon, so will she.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Love of My Life.....


The love of my life..

He looks different than me.
He acts different than me.
He is different than me.

None of that matters,
because he is,
the love of my life.

They said he was too ghetto.
They said I was a fad.
They said we wouldn't last.

 Here we are today,
even stronger than before,
and he is STILL the love of my life.

His family is all that matters.
His family is his life.
His family is his world.

That is what's important
and that is why he is, 
the love of my life.

He is my best friend.
He is my partner.
He is my lover.

What more could I ask for,
I'm full of joy
from the love of my life.

He is my rock.
He is my shoulder.
He is my heart.

He is the love of my life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Agree to Disagree?

As you all know by now, I'm not one who is shy about voicing my opinions and beliefs.  I have never had a problem speaking up or speaking out about things that I feel strongly about.  In fact, when I was younger, that “attribute” got me in a bit of trouble throughout the years!  I always felt that it was more important to speak up about what you believe in then to worry about getting in trouble.  Needless to say, I was in trouble a lot! Just ask my parents. Wait, no, on second thought…don’t!  Who knows what they will reveal!  =)

Recently, I had separate conversations with different family members that left each one of us at opposite ends of the “opinion spectrum.”  Ironically, both conversations had to do with gay marriage.  I don’t even remember how the topic came up, but I do remember, very clearly, how each of us felt about the subject.  It was prop 8 all over again, but this time in my house.

The first conversation was interesting because the family member I was talking to felt that gay rights should cover everything but marriage.  I didn’t get it.  Why everything but? I used the example of my marriage being against the law back in the 60’s and asked them how they would feel if Jamie and I could not legally be married today.  They said that was totally different.  I said no it wasn’t.  They said yes it was.  Back and forth we went.  I said it was about the right to marry.  They said marriage is between a man and a woman.  Interracial marriage, gay marriage….rights are rights as far as I’m concerned.  As this banter went on, I could see that neither of us was EVER going to change the other’s mind, so I finally said, “Look, I love you, I totally disagree with you, and clearly we are just going to have to agree to disagree.”

Then came conversation number two.  This time with a totally different family member.  Once again the topic of gay marriage came up. Go figure.  We were discussing current events on the news and one of the stories was about gay marriage.  This conversation wasn’t so much of a back and forth, but more of a; there is no way in hell you are ever going to change my mind, kind of conversation.  The exact words from this family member were, “I hope they realize they are not going to heaven.”  Okay, are your eyes popping out of your head yet? Mine sure were! I said, “Do you seriously believe that!?”  The answer was a very, very strong yes! I couldn’t believe it. Tensions were rising, and at this point even my daughter was getting uncomfortable.  She is about as open minded as they come and she was visibly upset that a relative could feel this way about someone else’s right to marry.  She finally said, “Can we not talk about this right now!”  We were all “enjoying” a family meal and the mood had quickly gone South.  Straight to hell, apparently.

Opinions shrouded in religion drive me nuts.  “Gay people aren’t going to heaven?”  Really?  Who decided that?  Ohhhh religion…..why do you have to be so mean?  Against my norm we changed the subject and moved on.  Mind you, I’m not done…I will talk to this relative again and ask them if they really believe that gay people are “banned” from heaven.  I will ask them if they really believe God is that mean.  I know He’s not, and it breaks my heart that people are being taught this in the very churches that are supposed to teach love.  I don’t get it.

So in the end, I will love my “opposite opinioned" relatives with all my heart. I will agree to disagree.  For now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

After All This Time....

Relationships can be so tricky, especially in a mixed race marriage. In a world seen through rose-colored glasses we all get along, but once the glasses come off that’s not always the case. Jamie’s Mom (otherwise known as Gigi), was, to put it mildly, not thrilled when I entered the picture. When her son chose to marry a white woman she was not happy! She did not attend our wedding and for years she and I had no relationship at all. None. Sadly we didn’t get close until she was literally on her death bed. She became ill while visiting from Atlanta many years ago. She was in the hospital for quite some time and Jamie and I went to visit her almost everyday. During those visits she witnessed our love and our family’s closeness. She realized that her son and I were happy; and, skin color and everything else aside, in the end that’s all that really matters. All the “bad blood” had finally melted away. I’m sad it took so long, but oh so happy it finally happened. I just wish we had had more time.

Heartbreakingly, she was never able to go home and passed away while she was still visiting. We were with her to the end, so in a way it was a blessing that she was here and not home in Atlanta. I will never ever forget the heartbreak my husband went through on her very last day so many years ago. He was filled with pure and utter sadness at the loss of his mother that he loved so much.

Flash forward to present day. We were volunteering at my sister-in-law’s church and a little piece of Gigi appeared. Jamie’s sister said, “Oh, I found this the other day when I was cleaning out some boxes.” She then handed us a card in an envelope. It was a Christmas card from the last Christmas that Gigi was alive. She has been gone for almost 10 years, so it was surreal to have this card show up out of the blue. In the card she wrote that she was sending her love to Jamie, to me, and to Tatiana. Jamie and I sat on the church steps and cried. For Jamie, his mom came to life –if only for a minute through her handwriting; for me it was a little treasure of love sent to our entire family, even after all this time.

So as Mother’s Day approaches, I’m thankful, that, in the end, Gigi and I were okay.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Verdict is in....Love Rocks!

When two people of the same "color" are married to one another, there are so many things they do in their daily lives that are "issue" free. On the flip side, when two people of different "colors" are married, bizarre things come up that most people would never even think about. Welcome to my world.

As you all know we are in this nightmare trial with Otay Water et al. We are on week 3 and still standing strong. Exhausted, but strong!! Of course, before trial started we had to pick a jury. When we were all going through the various jurors, one of the things that we had to keep in mind was if anyone had a problem with Jamie and I being an interracial couple. Weird huh? I know.....this isn't something that one would normally consider when worrying about what a juror is going to think! However, I can guarantee you if there was a juror that had "issues" with us it could possibly interfere with their feelings regarding the outcome. You would hope this would not be the case, and that they would always be impartial, but in the end jurors are just people with opinions. So oddly, these are things that have to be considered. Crazy huh?! Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

It's still so bizarre to me that race plays such a part of our lives. However, things are always popping up regarding our "interracialness," so it's just a fact of life for us in our marriage. Bummer, but life. We are just "us" and nothing else, but in some people's eyes we are still an oddity or something they don't believe in at all. Hopefully by the time we are old and gray we can look back on all these weird racial situations with "fond" memories. For now it's still a very real part of our world. We don't mind if people don't get us, don't approve of us, or for that matter, don't like us.....because the bottom line is; we get us, we approve of us, and we LOVE us! The verdict is in.......love rocks, no matter what the mix!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This Is My Life....Not Theirs......

Is this actually happening?  I must be dreaming!  Somebody pinch me. OH MY GOD.....after FOUR LONG years we are going to trial!  Justice is going to prevail. Finally!  We lost our store, our health, our finances, our credit, our peace of mind, our faith in the system, our trust in authority, our dream. (click here for that sordid story)  BUT, for all that we've lost, we've also gained so much, and I'm truly overwhelmed by it all.  Strength, love, determination, support, generosity, and last but not least, faith.  What more could I ask for out of life.  What more?

And then there's my marriage.  Wow.  Who knew when Jamie and I got married 18 years ago that the strength we gained from our interracial struggles, would give us the strength to get through this madness!?  Now, after all that we've been through, we are ready for the fight of our lives.  Trial.  Ready to get up on the witness stand and speak from our hearts.  Ready to get justice for a dream destroyed.  Ready to stomp out the injustice of promises broken.  Ready to take our lives back!

I choose to stop being a victim.  I choose to stop being destroyed.  I choose to move on.  I choose to live my new dream.  I choose to live MY life.

I used to concentrate on all that was taken away, but now I'm embracing all that's coming my way.  I'm surrounded by love from family and friends who continue to rally by my side.  Love can do wonders in the darkest of times because now all I see is LIGHT!  The trial is just a detail to be crossed off the list, a blip on the radar so to speak.  I took back my life when I embraced all the love, and let go of the anger and hate. When I sit on that stand and look into the eyes of attorney's that continue to try and take me down, I'm going to think of all of you that are in my life that have helped me stay so strong.  You know who you are, and I send you my love, because without you I'd be curled up on the floor.  I would be checked in somewhere, wearing a jacket with belts, and white all over the walls!  You have lifted me up and made me whole, and given me a new lease on life.  Today I say thank you from the bottom of my heart because your love has gotten me through.

So yes, this week is our trial, and we will fight for what's right, but this is MY life, not theirs.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Letting Go.....

As you know I am a contributing writer to The Next Family online magazine. This week I received an email from the Editor of The Next Family saying that this month's theme was "Letting Go." I literally laughed out loud! This very minute, as I sit here and write, there are so many "letting go" moments happening in my life. So many!  I had to share here as well......

Today Tatiana is starting her behind the wheel driving lessons. I will be letting her go to drive on her own in a very short period of time. She has been practicing with me for 6 months and now she is going to be receiving her license. How do you let your baby go to drive on her own without worry and fear? I know I have to, and I know I have to trust that I have taught her well. She is a safe, smart driver and that's what matters. Letting her go is not going to be easy but I know it's time. Ready or not.

Today I'm also ordering Tatiana's cap and gown for high school graduation. This past January she decided she wanted to graduate a year early. She did the research, she figured out how to do it, we had meetings, called universities, and have now made it a reality. I'm letting her go to her next phase in life a year early! This one is BIG!!! Talk about letting go! She is ready, the question is, am I?

Today I'm going downtown for trial preparation for our water trial next week. I'm letting go after 4 long years and I'm putting my life and my family's life in the hands of 12 jurors. How do you let go and give it all over to 12 complete strangers? How? My husband says I'm a trooper and I can do it. I know I have to let go and let the system do what it's designed to do. I don't have an option, I must.

Today, as I prepare for trial and to get justice for the loss of our original dream, I'm moving on and letting go and working on my new dream. I'm writing my book with a new fervor, and now have a deadline for finishing. It's not until I let go of the old and let in the new, did this determination and drive fully kick in. It's time to move on and then some.

As you can see there is a lot of "letting go" going on in my life right now! It feels like an entire new life is being born right before my eyes. Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be? It's a lot to handle all at once, and sometimes letting go seems overwhelming, but when I just let be what will be, then it all seems to fall into place, just as it should.

So today I give my daughter wings, today I trust in the justice system, today I let my words flow. Today, I LET GO.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Knock on Wood.....

The other day I was at Starbucks with a friend of mine. I call her my "Starbucks Homie" because that is the only place we ever see each other. Ever. We get together about once a month and sit there for hours, and I mean hours, catching up on all that happened in our lives the previous month.

As always, some pretty intense subjects come up.  At some point in the conversation she was telling me about a friend of hers that had been ill and had recently passed away. This friend, unfortunately, did not leave a will. Long story short, it's going to be a mess because there is an ex wife, a new wife, children, property and so on. After she finished her story about her friend, we started talking about our own wills, or actually lack thereof. Both of us were not concerned about the "stuff," our only concern was our kids. God forbid, what if something happened to both parents and there was no will? Who would take care of the kids? It's funny because we had similar concerns but also very different concerns. My friend and her hubby are both white and of course Jamie and I are black and white. One of my main concerns was that if anything (knock on wood) were to happen to both Jamie and I, I wouldn't want Tatiana to be raised in "white bread anywhere." All of my relatives happen to live in "white bread everywhere," so automatically unless they moved to So Cal...they are out. Then there is Jamie's family. The opposite of "white bread everywhere." What happens to her white side?  Do you see my conundrum?  So now that she is 16 and graduating a year early from high school, this isn't such an issue....knocking on more wood.....but through the years it was a worry. Mind you...we love all of our family members, but there is nobody that would be just right. Maybe I'm putting too much thought into this, but I want her to always live both sides of her "coin." We determined through much thought and many discussions that if anything had happened to both of us we would have had one of our interracial couple friends raise her. There are many reasons for that choice. The first one being that she would still live here and go to her own school. The second is, these people are like family to us. The third, she would get the cultural mix that is so important to us and to her. Lastly, she would not have to move away from all she knew. That is huge.  

So many of our friends are like family to us, so this doesn't seem strange at all. What's right for one fam might not be for the other. We have never fit into any kind of mold, so it's normal for us to think out of the box.  Clearly. 

It's weird writing about these things, in fact, it kind of freaks me out. Thankfully Tatiana is almost grown and we don't really have to worry about this anymore, because truly, how do you ever decide who is going to raise your child?  Black, white, mixed or otherwise.

Now I'm off to go knock on some more wood, big time!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Plate Runneth Over.....

Life, sometimes it can be a bit much. To say my plate is full is the understatement of the year. I need a giant turkey platter to hold all that is going on in my life right now!  Ironically I haven't been writing much because my brain is so full I can't seem to write a cohesive sentence these days. So many words...yet none of them make sense. It's like white noise swirling around in my brain! I need some serious meditation time. Or maybe an island with a really big drink! Ya, that sounds good......I'll take door number two. Now!

I know we all have challenges, and I know we all go through "stuff," but dang, can I catch a break!? Let me give you a taste of what it's been like. As most of you know we are still going through this horrible lawsuit with the water dept et al over the loss of our business 4 years ago. If you aren't familiar with our story you can check it out here and you can also read about it in the book Oil and Water and Other Things That Don't Mix.  Recently we found out that the Otay Water Dept settled with the landlord/builder who is a plaintiff and  defendant, and as part of their settlement they are suing all of us for back rent and for breaking our leases. Yes indeed, you read that right, the very people that poisoned us, got us sick, and took away our business, are now suing us!  Hmmm....you gotta "love" our legal system. Or not.

Because we lost our business, and have been in this legal nightmare for 4 years, our financial situation isn't a situation, it's just gone.....history, kaput, null and freakin' void! Needless to say, we have had to get very creative when it comes to money.

I'm not only a writer writing for multiple sites, magazines, and a book, while also writing my own book, but I'm also a part time Program Director at a tutoring facility, and starting this week, a part time "assistant" at an accessory company that I have been a fan of  for a couple of years. The second job is thanks to a referral from the wonderful Marketing Manager of The Next Family who is now a dear friend!  You rock Madge!! 

Then of course there is my "favorite" part time job, the lawsuit. Conference calls, hearings, depos, trial prep and so much more! All of the ridiculousness has continued to suck up my time for 4, insane, long years! Oh the good times, they just keep on rollin'. Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice? I can taste it at this point.  Oh ya, did I forget to mention...trial starts on March 14th?!  Oy vey!

As if my plate isn't full enough already, our daughter just recently decided she is going to graduate high school a year early. We have had to do some fancy footwork to get all the puzzle pieces in place to make that happen! I'm SUPER proud of her and wouldn't discourage her for a minute, but who knew we were going to add graduation and senior activities to our "platter" this year? She is so motivated, she is keeping me motivated! Love that kid!

Let's see, what else? My husband and I also "take care of" our neighbor (Cali Mom) who has recently had many medical issues, so I have been "living" with her at various doctors appointments and surgeries. Again, wouldn't change it for the world, because she means the world to us, but ooowee does all this have to happen at the same time?

Sleep at this point would be great! Whew! I'm tired just writing all of this! The funny thing is, I'm not complaining. Venting, yes, complaining, no. I'm really quite thankful....really!

I'm still doing what I love most, which is writing, I'm part of a book that helps others dealing with the worst water tragedy of all time, I have two jobs that are getting me through this case, I have amazing parents that continue to help us through it all, I have family that's ALWAYS there, I have attorneys that haven't stopped fighting for 4 years, I have friends that are constant shoulders, I have wonderful women friends from my writing world who inspire me every day, I have an amazing daughter whose motivation keeps me going, and of course, last but not least, my supportive, hard working, loving, rock of a husband! So what do I have to complain about? That's all pretty amazing don't you think? I'm surrounded by love 24/7! That just rocks!

So yes my plate is full, and as a matter of fact it's spilling all over the place, but at the end of the day, it's okay. As my hubby always says, "I woke up today, so of course it's a good day."  We have been through so many challenges as an interracial couple, and as just a "regular couple," that nothing seems to get us down anymore.  How cool is that?  Cool.

Now it's time for some deep breaths and maybe some wine. Breath in, sip, breath out, sip, breath in, sip, breath out, sip......awwww. That's better.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hair....It Continues to Amaze Me...........



One thing that I’m still getting used to even after 16 years of having a mixed race daughter is this whole "hair thing." The other day I went into Tatiana's bathroom and hanging everywhere were rows of HAIR! She had washed her weave and it was hanging off the towel racks, shower curtain, and counter. It looked like long black creatures had taken over everything in sight. At first when I walked into the bathroom I was a little freaked out, but then I looked around and literally laughed out loud!

Each time I write about hair, and there have been many, it seems Tatiana is at a different stage in her life. First, as a little girl, it was combing through, braiding, and filling her thick, curly hair with barrettes. Then, as a pre-teen, it was adding extensions, and having them braided for hours at a time. Now, as a teen, it’s long, straight extensions, after her bi-monthly trips to the salon. I don't know why this blows me away so much because as a white woman, I go through the same type of craziness every month when I get my hair cut, colored and highlighted. What's the difference? The difference is I don't have someone else's hair attached to my head and hanging throughout the house! =) Trippy!

The other night we were all getting ready for bed and Jamie looked down and thought our little black poodle was lying really still on the floor, when in actuality it was Tat's weave! We had all been watching a movie together and she had taken it out piece by piece, and eventually it ended up in a nice, neat pile on the floor looking exactly like our dog. Hilarious! It just cracks me up that this black fluff ball on the floor looked more like our tiny toy poodle then my child’s hair!

Because I always want to know as much as I can about what my child goes through, I recently sat down to watch Good Hair. Good Hair is the documentary hosted by Chris Rock that follows where the hair extensions come from and how they eventually get to the heads of black women all over America. I haven’t watched the whole thing yet because once I started watching I asked Tat if she had seen it, and she said no. I want to sit and watch it with her so she can see the history behind what is attached to her head. It just fascinates me that there is a documentary about this! I’m sure the black women that are reading this are cracking up at me because this is just part of how you were raised and who you are, but for me it’s a totally new adventure.

Whenever we go to buy Tat’s hair we have to go to the “hood” because of course you can’t by “her hair” in the suburbs where we live. Even though our neighborhood is quite the melting pot, we still don’t have a beauty supply place that caters to the African American crowd. What’s up with that!? Hmmm, maybe I should open one....would that be weird? I’m always the only white person at the beauty supply where she shops so why not be the only one in our area that owns one!? It’s a thought. =)

As Tatiana hits each of the different life stages, I continue to learn something new. I love it, and wouldn’t change a thing. So even today, after 16 long years, her hair continues to amaze me and probably always will!

You can check out some of my other hair stories from at the links below:

http://themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/10/salon.html

http://themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/07/where-can-i-buy-pick.html

http://themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/05/hairsimple-right.html

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Didn't Know You Were Adopted....


You probably thought this story was about me after reading the title didn't you?  Guess again. This one would be about Tatiana and the assumptions that are made when strangers see us together. This time the scenario went like this.....Tatiana drove to school, pulled into the parking lot, we both got out of the car, said goodbye, I hopped into the drivers seat, and drove away.  Someone who obviously doesn't know her very well came up to her and said, "I didn't know you were adopted." Tatiana said, "Um, I'm not." The guy just looked at her like she didn't know what SHE was talking about and said, "Oh."

This isn't the first time I have written about this, nor I'm sure, will it be the last. However, normally when "confusion" arises as to who "I" am, the comment is, "I didn't know your Mom was white," not, "I didn't know you were adopted." This makes me giggle and frustrates me all at the same time. When you carry someone for 9 months, have 20+ hours of labor and raise them for 16 years, you tend to want to shout...."Ya she is my daughter!!"

Now for those of you that know me well, or have been reading my stories for a while, you know that I am an adopted child myself. So why does the comment this boy made to my daughter irritate me? I love my Mom with all my heart so I don't know why it "bugs" me to hear someone ask if my child is adopted. Is it all the hard work I put into the pregnancy and labor? With all the grief I gave my Mom during my teen years she deserves an award for "that" work! Not even 9 months of pregnancy and 20+ hours of labor compare to the grief I caused my Mom during those years. We will leave it at that for now. That's another story for another time! =)

You would think I would be used to these "mom" questions by now, but I'm not. My kid is my kid. Period. I'm very proud and protective of my family so when someone tries to change the reality, I get a little "buggy."

The funny thing is, nobody ever questions Jamie and Tatiana when they are out and about. What's up with that!? She is a mix of the two of us in looks and color, so why don't they question him? is it because he is big, and black, and scary, and they don't dare!? Or is it simply because she is brown and so is he, so there is no question? Hmmph...I'm still bugged.

I wonder if that's why I'm so passionate about writing for my blog and The Next Family? I love my family so much and when anything about them is questioned, I tend to go a little "mama bear," if you know what I mean!

So just to clarify; No, she's not adopted. Yes, I am white. Yes, her Dad is black. All clear? Good. I feel better now.  On to the next question.