The Who And Why Of It
A friend suggested that I write an introductory blog to let people know who I am and tell the purpose of my blog. Deciding to blog about my life, my experiences, my pain, my joy, my life was not a difficult decision to me. It is talking about who I am that is difficult and cheesy, right up there with displaying my degrees, awards, etc. In mind I think, “Who cares about my accomplishments?” However, I know that we rarely see ourselves as others see us, therefore maybe who I am will inspire someone to dream bigger and believe they can. So here goes…
I was a teen-age Mom. I was pregnant at 15 and had my daughter, JeNae, when I was 16. She was born July 13, 1979, the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I grew up in San Francisco and attended George Washington HS (Go Eagles!). I cut school a lot because, apparently I thought being in school all day everyday wasn’t important. Interestingly, I always got all my work done, went to summer school, earned work-study credits (I’ve worked since I was 14), so by the time I returned for my senior year, all I needed to graduate was 10 credits. I do not recommend this road, nor do I share it in a boastful way. I share it as part of my story of always understanding the importance of education despite my antics and shenanigans.
I attended City College of SF before transferring to San Jose State University where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, but not before having my second child, Vinnie. The journey to obtaining my degree was not nearly as straightforward as I just wrote, lol. I would go to school. I would work and go to school. I would work. I would go back to school. I would get academically disqualified with only five classes left to finish. It was a long, bumpy, often times discouraging road. I was a young, single mother of 2, living on her own in San Jose, with no financial help from their dads, yet I was determined to finish college. It was 12 years from when I enrolled in CCSF til I earned my Bachelor’s Degree.
I remember having a conversation a few years ago with one of my boys who was contemplating going back to school but he was concerned with how he would be 37 or 38 years old, by the time he finished. I just looked at him and said, “You’re gonna be 38 anyway.” I don’t understand why people put so much stock in the time something will take. Sometimes we can be so focused on the destination that we don’t appreciate/enjoy the journey.
Every since my first internship with Project 20 in San Francisco, while attending City College, I have always worked in the Criminal Justice System. I have worked in this field in many more capacities then people believe when I tell them. I have left many good “Civil Service” jobs, you know the type people work for 25-30-40 years and retire with that good pension? I have been an Investigator for the Public Defenders Office as well as privately. I have done Death Penalty work both at trial level and on habeas appeal. I have worked as a counselor at Juvenile Hall. I have taught high school in many places – in alternative schools in the community, Juvenile detention facilities, and adults in SF county jail. I have facilitated programs in the jails, ran programs in the jails, worked with people incarcerated in state prisons preparing them for the Parole Board. I’m sure I have left something out.
I also had an opportunity to work in ministry full time at our church, Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch. Most people would love the opportunity to work in ministry full time. Whereas it was a great learning experience, I worked with some amazing people, including my son; we had some memorable times, some fun, some not so musch. But it wasn’t for me. During that time period I clearly understood that working with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated population is what I am called to do. I currently work as a Social Worker in the Adoption Unit in San Francisco as I work toward an opportunity to return to the work I am called to do, with the incarcerated population.
I have 5 children, 2 grown (36 & 29) and 3 (17, 15, & 11) at home. My kids are amazing, anointed, fun and a little bit crazy. I will blog about them more and their antics and shenanigans. What i will say now is I can see parts of me in each one of them and I find that incredible. I have 2 grandsons that get whatever they want from me, sometimes to their parents chagrin. I have many bonus grandchildren and when any of them call me “Suga Mama” they have me hook, line and sinker.
I was married to the younger kids father but unfortunately he cheated on me with crack and crack won. I was married a second time and the life changing tragedy and trauma I experienced (and he experienced separately) over a relatively short period of time was a contributing factor to the deterioration of our marriage. As I blog about grief, loss and healing, I will speak more about my marriages. Twice divorce is not how I wanted my life to be, yet I will not be bound by shame or embarrassment. There is something very liberating about telling my story and not giving one much less two hoots what people say or think.
I have chosen to be public, transparent and honest because people tend to think they are the “only one”. Shame, embarrassment, guilt, gossip and many other things keep people bound and therefore stuck. How far can you go if you are literally bound? I have been through a lot of trauma and tragedy. I have never consider killing myself but there were times when I certainly wanted to die. I have felt unloved, not worthy, less than, fat, unattractive. I have also felt strong, courageous, encouraged, empowered and able. I have suffered from depression and the struggle with my weight is ongoing (of which I am currently losing). And yet, I have learned to live in and speak my truth. I am unapologetically me. People either really, really like me or they really really don’t. And I am okay with that too.
My blog will not be succinct and may sometimes be random; there will be tales of antics and shenanigans. Some will be short; some will seem like a dissertation; some will be old fb post that I wanted to revisit. It will be passionate and may be opinionated but it will always be truth. In the end, my healing journey blog will definitely make you think, make you laugh and make you cry, sometimes all at the same time.
I welcome your thoughts, feelings, even randomness.