I never imagined my life would be this way.
In addition to The Dutiful Deaconess, I am also interested in publishing a manuscript I wrote about a young, single college-educated woman who is struggling to find her footing in the “real world” and establish her identity. The main character, Sabrina, is loosely–very loosely–based on my own experience. I suppose, in a way, all of my main characters have a hint of me in them, with the exception of the main character in Deaconess. Anyway, one thing I mentioned about Sabrina in that manuscript is that she had a very tightly controlled plan that was supposed to guide her life after her high school graduation. In my sheltered, innocent naivete, I had concocted one of those during my senior year of high school. I even had a title for it: The Master Plan. I may have gotten semi-close to accomplishing The Master Plan had I stayed under the tight control and watchful eye of my parents, but once I left their home, the real world, got a firm grip on me. And then things started to happen.
As I have said before, although I thought my life was over after being raped, I can now look upon even that event with appreciation. The reason? The cause of this ‘mid-day randomness”–I caught myself reflecting this afternoon over the joy of having my family. I just happened to be watching my daughter fuss (I was amused by it this time, sometimes it gets taxing, I will admit), and taking care of my son’s irritable stomach. I thought about how six years went by faster than I thought, and how it is still amusing to think to myself… “Holy chicken and dumplins, I’m a MOM!”
I could not have imagined this family, this husband and these kids. I don’t think any boy or girl can truly conceive the marvel of marriage and children. They just reminded me that that terrible time of my life led to one of the happiest. Of course sometimes I get bored with the occasional rut that comes as an inevitable part of family life–children need stability and structure, so that (and financial reasons) prevents my husband and I from dashing off on random trips like we would eventually like to do. But what purpose could be more important, other than serving God, of course? One of them could be the next president or cure cancer. I try to remind myself that even on the difficult days.
I have times when I get discouraged. I have been dropping pounds faster than I expected (YAY!) and my clothes are ill-fitting and getting quite tattered. I have one old pair of sneakers and a pair of Coach boots (Christmas gift from my husband two years ago) that I wear, and that is it for footwear. I need a lot of things but cannot get them right away. Yes, sometimes that is frustrating. I do a lot of window-shopping and look at store websites on the Internet, and I often spot outfits I would love to wear. I look at houses on Realtor.com all the time and can picture my family in one of them. But it hasn’t happened yet.
In my times of discouragement I remind myself that those things will come in due time. Meanwhile, I have to focus on making the best out of what we have. I have to show my children to be content with things as are. I am not happy where we are currently living, but that does not mean I can stop taking care of the place. My family deserves a healthy, clean environment. That is where I come in. All of these things–my attitude toward life, how I treat the things we own, whether I choose to focus on the positive or negative aspect of things–will influence my babies.
As I was watching them today, I could not help but think into the future. I am not necessarily in a hurry for them to grow up, but I am excited to see what they will become. I was a curious, inquisitive child who always loved to read and write. I loved being outdoors. I climbed trees, played in mud puddles, picked up worms and bugs, fought with little boys (LOL), and had a very agreeable personality–I was not a picky eater, I was happy to wear whatever clothes my parents deemed suitable for me, I went to school and got good grades, etc.
When you have your own kids, there is a chance you will see parts of yourself in them. So far, I am not sure what either of my kids has from me, LOL… My son is exceptionally smart, but I can’t take all the credit for that. My husband is no dummy 🙂 My daughter is too young for me to make the determination, although I can already see that between the two of them, it appears my son’s temperament matches my own more than my daughter’s. She is a fiery little thing.
I am just curious as to WHO they will be. My son says he wants to be a doctor. He wants to play football. As his mother, it is my job to support his dreams, help him set realistic goals and stay on track, and provide him with challenges and opportunities that will help him reach those goals. The same goes for my daughter as she gets older. I am so excited to see what kind of people they will be, and I am even more excited to share the joys of my own childhood with them. Both of my kids already love old school music like I do… one day I am sure I’ll expose them to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins, Adventures in Baby-Sitting, etc. (My son has already seen some of my favorites). I’d love to take them to one of my favorite childhood parks this summer, Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, and feed the ducks there and ride bikes. It is absolutely enjoyable to share those aspects of myself with my kids, and in the process of raising our children, my husband and I are able to learn more about each other.
It is important to me to be self-aware as a mother. I respect those stay-at-home moms who are perfectly content to do just that. While I understand my role as the mother and how what I do contributes to my children’s–and husband’s–well-being, I also have other aspirations. I would not have pursued a Master’s degree if I did not intend to use it. I do not think it is wrong for any mother to have goals that take her outside of the home as long as her duties in the home and responsibilities to God and her family come first. So I am perfectly comfortable saying it is important to me to have a job outside of the home, and as I have mentioned, I have been looking.
As a matter of fact, I came across not one, but TWO fraudulent job postings today. Both came from Craigslist, so I was already cautious when I responded to them. The first was an advertisement for a Receptionist/Filing Assistant. The email that came back seemed to be in opposition to the original ad in terms of the job duties listed. It came from someone who identified himself as “Johnson Jude” who supposedly worked as a Financial Services Professional with the Georgia Marble Company. I was immediately suspicious because I was offered the job right away, and asked for my bank account. I do not expect a reply, but I did ask “Johnson Jude” in a reply email:
“Out of curiosity, how many people fall for this type of B.S.?”
I promise if “Johnson Jude” responds, I will share that with you.
The other posting was for a similar job in a dental office. I was tipped off when “Angel Campbell” from Hiring Services responded and provided me with a link to a “formal application”. The first page of that new website asked for a few identifying details, including my name and address. Then all of a sudden, I was redirected to another page that requested I enter more information in order to be a part of Who’s Who 2013. Again, I do not expect a response, but after I exited the application I sent the following email to “Angel Campbell”:
“The fact that I was redirected to another site that in turn asked me to confirm information as related to my candidacy for Who’s Who 2013 has left me questioning the legitimacy of this job posting. If this is in fact a true job posting, I would ask for a link to complete my application that does not include this step”.
It sickens me that people can be so slimy. It really does. I do not have that within me. I cannot dupe people. People that fall for scams are usually in a desperate situation. The fact that people would take advantage of that just nauseates me.
Speaking of nauseating, my good friend who patrols Huffington Post (formerly known as AOL, I guess) came across an article almost equally as nauseating. While she got a good laugh out of it, I took offense:
To be brief, Morgan Triplett, a 20-year-old University of California at Santa Barbara student, allegedly posted advertisements on Craigslist (a lot of sleazy, underhanded transactions obviously occur via Craigslist) for someone to beat her in exchange for sex. Not surprisingly (not surprisingly to me, at least), several men responded. The one she chose beat her as requested, and had sex with her. At first, she had asked for someone to shoot her with a small caliber gun. Regardless of the method used, after the encounter the young lady called 911 and said that she had been raped by a stranger on a campus trail. Police determined the claim was false 10 days later. Morgan Triplett’s father initially stated that while his daughter allowed the physical assault, she did not consent to the sex. However, it has also been reported that Morgan admitted the whole thing was made up. Suspicions first arose when she declined to have DNA taken at the hospital. Prosecutors say the young lady sought the physical assault because she has been depressed and suicidal and wanted to feel alive again.
I read this article several times as I tried to get a grip on it. Of course, my judgment might be clouded by the fact that I am truly a survivor of sexual assault. I understand that no one can really understand what happens when you report a rape unless they have done it or seen a close friend or family member do it–it is truly like getting victimized all over again. Not to mention the humiliating, intrusive rape kit–I do not see how ANYONE would volunteer for that examination with no grounds. That leads me to a multitude of questions and thoughts:
I must say, if this entire thing was in fact made up, I have strong feelings against people who lie about such a life-changing and potentially ruinous event. I take personal offense to that. It is already difficult enough to report and prove a rape. Stories like this do not help. I remember being questioned by detectives when I reported my own–my word was not good enough, nor were the vaginal tears, bleeding, and other evidence. It was scary enough to come forward, and being treated like a liar made the experience that much more infuriating and humiliating. Rape is one of those crimes where you see a preponderance of victim-blaming–that alone may compel victims, male and female, to remain silent. When the prosecutor returned his report to me on whether or not he would prosecute my assailant, the answer was NO, and one of the reasons was because I had had several drinks earlier that evening. Disregard the fact that my assailant admitted to everything I had said in my version of events, except for me saying NO.
I do not sympathize with my assailant, but I do sympathize with those who have been falsely accused. Had Morgan Triplett gone so far as to identify an “attacker”, there stood the chance for an innocent man’s life and name to be ruined and his freedom relinquished. I understand that depression and suicidal thoughts are real, and they are scary–but I have to wonder about the mind underneath those things that would contribute to such a hoax. I also have to wonder about men who responded to the ad: What kind of guy would want to A)beat a woman and then B) have sex with her???? What kind of mind operates like that?
If this entire thing is false–I cannot say that enough–I wonder how far Morgan would have allowed it to go. I wonder if perhaps she was attempting to set someone in particular up to be charged. It was reported that initially she was not satisfied with her bruises and asked her–assailant?–to hit her some more. Or was she just trying to get attention? Has she really been sexually assaulted and is simply afraid to identify her true assailant and reveal the real circumstances? I do not know. I can definitely make inferences, but I think I have said enough. I am confused by the whole thing. I guess my underlying thought is, why would anyone even want to pretend to be a rape victim? It is NOT a fun process and the attention that comes from it is usually pretty damaging.
Being raped not only damages an individual–it involves that person’s family and friends too. When I was raped, a piece of my parents was destroyed as well. Imagine if I had made that up, how it would have affected them? I could not conceive of putting them through that. The night it happened to me, my parents were over two hours away. According to my sister, my dad drove over 100 miles per hour in the night trying to get to me. Imagine if he had gotten there and found out it was a lie? Yikes. Not only that, he had his gun on him and definitely had the mindset to kill my assailant. That is what happens when people lie.
I am hoping that this young lady did not make this up in its entirety. If she did, I pray she gets help and that no innocent lives have been affected.
Now that I am done with that, I always like to end on something positive:
In short, all 85 graduating seniors at this all-male charter school, most of them Black, have been accepted to four-year universities or colleges. This has happened for three straight years.
Do not get me wrong–I applaud academic excellence for ALL races. But anyone who is willing to say so can admit that our Black children, in particular our Black boys, need help. Why are there more of them in prison than in college? Exactly. From what I have gathered, the school is situated in a pretty violent area in Chicago, and a lot of students come from lower-income households. A lot of negative Nellies have decried this study, mainly using the argument that charter schools cherry-pick the brightest students, or that anyone can find a for-profit college or university to accept them, OR that college admission does not automatically mean success, without even attempting to find a kernel of positivity.
My opinion that I adhere to as I raise a Black boy is that there are several determinants of academic success:
1. Parental involvement. I am at my son’s opening assembly each morning. I have his teacher’s email address and use it frequently. I sometimes go there during lunch to monitor the class. His classmates know who I am, as does his principal, the deans, receptionists, etc. My son also knows that his father and I take his conduct in school and his performance VERY seriously. He is given rewards as is appropriate. Parental involvement also needs to be appropriate–I hate the situations where I have seen a parent cuss out a teacher because his or her precious baby EARNED a failing grade or a suspension.
2. High standards. As I mentioned, my son wants to play football. I wish he would play something with less physical contact, but so be it. Regardless, even if he excels in football, that grade point average still has to be a 3.0 or above or he will not be playing. I cannot count the Black boys I have known who have shown superior academic prowess and are thus treated by their parents (and coaches, school administrators, teachers, etc.) as though that is going to automatically be their ticket to success. The stats do not support that–a lot of Black boys show exceptional skill at football and basketball, but a very small percentage ever see action in the professional leagues. It does our sons a great disservice to nurture their athleticism and neglect their intellect. Why do we make our boys into commodities?
3. Instilling a sense of personal responsibility. That kind of goes back to point 1. The parents who blame everyone for their son’s shortcomings and bad behavior are not doing them any favors. Even now, if my son were to come home with a bad grade, we would involve him in the process of figuring out why he got the bad grade and how to fix it. If he does something bad at school, we hold him responsible for it.
4. A supportive home environment. Even with low income, a home can still be warm and inviting. I know in some areas, what is outside may not match what is inside, but parents have to do their best within their means. For me, this means making sure our home is comfortable, both in terms of cleanliness and the relationship my husband and I have. It also means providing my son with the proper nutrition to keep his body healthy. Healthy body, healthy mind.
5. Acknowledging potential issues. I have personally known several parents who were offended when they were told by healthcare or education professionals that their son or daughter had some type of disability and refused to get their child help. The child ended up getting further and further behind and finally discouraged enough to drop out in most cases. Parents have to get past their pride and be willing to admit when their kid may need extra help, whether it be in a particular subject, with a behavioral disorder, or managing a learning disability.
6. Providing good role models. This one bothers me a lot because a lot of the Black males our youth see and often feel they identify with are not positive. However, I think the bad influences can be counteracted by consistent GOOD ones, and discussions about why they should not look up to the Lil Waynes and 50 Cents.
The major determinant in life success, in my opinion, should go without saying–raising your children up to know the Lord. (Naturally!)
The duties of motherhood are calling. Back later 🙂