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Diversity



As I watched the pages of Facebook recently I was reminded of the vast differences between military base schools and other public schools. The schools on military bases aren't exactly private schools, though it's usually only military personnel who are able to send their children to them. There is the odd exception, like a student who lives off base but who's parent or parents teach at the school like a friend of mine from the 6th grade, Brian P.

I see the prom photos being posted with cousins being tagged in them. I see graduation pictures of the family members belonging to my friends. I see a common theme in almost every one of them though - race.

I'm so far from being racist that I can't clearly define it. I'm very proud of that fact - and I have the Military school systems to thank for that.

The schools I went to with other military kids were always diverse. I made friends with everyone I could - I liked having friends to play with on the playgrounds. My neighbor in Victorville CA were a Caucasian man and a Pilipino woman. Their children were from both backgrounds and they respectfully kept both cultures alive and well in their home. The children benefitted from it and learned at an early age to speak two languages. In school, The kid at the desk next to mine was black. A Hispanic sat behind me, and two rows away was a Turkish boy named Karem. In the front sat a Cuban girl who's name escapes me, a very popular half Chinese girl named Hye Young and a half Japanese boy I had a crush on. We had every culture and variety in my class, including a Hawaiian kid everyone thought was just awesome. There were Samoans and Thai and Indonesian. There were black, white, yellow and pink (when I played in the sun too much). There were no borders or boundaries. We were ALL friends. We all played tether ball and four square together. We took turns on the swings at recess. We played tag - and the only people who had "cooties" we're the opposite gender. We were innocent, sure. But we were also raised in diversity.

Looking through prom photos I'm reminded of the drastic culture shock I received when I left the military school and started Jr High off base.

The white kids stuck together. The Hispanics formed their own groups. The Black kids had their cliques. The Pilipino's didn't associate with others. It was as if everything I had been raised to believe was suddenly thrown out the window. Next, someone was going to tell me cats and dogs didn't get along - but Winky and Shadow had already proven they do.

I wondered about this, but being the shy child I was, I never asked. I didn't bring it up. I was too embarrassed. I didn't want to offend anyone, even though it was me who was offended. Suddenly kids didn't like me because of my race. It didn't seem fair. It didn't seem right. I was hurt.

We moved to Utah after that and I was enrolled in another public school off of the military base. There were maybe 2 other military kids at my entire school there. Most of the students were Caucasian, a couple of Hispanics, a Samoan and one black kid. Can you believe that? There was only one black kid in the whole school. Where was my diversity? Where was MY culture of all the different people? It certainly wasn't in the public schools of Utah.

When I got a job at Wendy's, my orientation consisted of watching a "Diversity in the Work Place" video. It was a silly thing for me to watch, I thought to myself. The other kid in orientation with me was surprised at the fact some cultures didn't shake hands and had different ways of communication as well as different daily attire. I was surprised in my innocence. How could they not know?

These days I see the same separations in the great city of Los Angeles. It's sad, the way certain cultures separate. They do it because there is safety in numbers and they feel more secure around people who understand them and their own culture.

We have Little Armenia, Korea Town, Little Philippines, hispanic neighborhoods, Black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods. We have schools that are 90% black or 90% white or 90% Hispanic. There is such a difference out here in the real world that the military bases didn't prepare me for. Sure, I was sheltered from learning about the Vietnam war in my elementary schools. But I was also kept away from the Columbine style of school where children of different diversity or background or orientation were demolished by peers until they snapped. I was sheltered from the racism and hate that is bred into society. I hated moving every few years or so and I do blame a lot of my disconnection from most people on that, but I'm grateful too. I lived in a Utopia the likes of which only visionaries like Gene Roddenberry could imagine. We did have peace. We did have diversity. Sure, we had fights on the playground just like everyone else, but it wasn't divided by race or religion or belief. It was divided by basically right or wrong and which we each individually believed to be the case. The Klingons fought with the Federation long before Worf ended up on the Enterprise with Picard, fighting side by side. Gene Roddenberry must have known a Military childhood - or a military brat.

We really aren't all that different - any of us. I can't change the world. I know that. But I do so wish the world would change. I miss my diversity.


Moms.

It's been many years since I've received a mothers day gift. I honestly believe that I don't (and didn't) deserve them anyway.

(Sure, you anonymous commenters would agree with me on that one; you "haters" with nothing better to do with your time than spread negativity. Don't waste your time today. This is a joyous day. You can not and will not hurt me no matter what you say because you're that insignificant you can't even post your name and stand by your words.)

It's been so long.

I haven't had many good mothers days. I haven't been with my child in a very long and grueling time. Mothers Day is usually spent with me trying to hide from the world. I don't have any reason to celebrate. My only child barely knows who I am.

Today, all that changed.

A friends child had a thing at her school today where mothers were invited to "tea" with the kids. This sweet kid asked ME to go with them since my friend wasn't able to. At first I was astonished. Then I was thrilled, surprised and happy. Then I had to fight the tears back.

I sat there this morning in my purple hat, hand made by the innocent child sitting beside me. That child's best friend sat across from us with their mother and grandmother. I was a part of something. Something good. I looked around the room at all the other parents. Some were obviously proud to be there while most were sleepy and tired, not wanting to be there but doing what they could to make their child happy. I wouldn't have missed that for anything in the world.

This is what I've missed out on. This is what has been missing in my life. My little boy is growing up so far away from me And I don't get to see it. I'm not there with him. It kills me every single day I take a breath. It's torture. It's heart break. But I know his father is a good father and is doing all he can for him. I know his father goes to the fathers day events, school plays, fund raisers, carnivals and everything else the school has. I know - because I refuse to believe anything different. I may not like my ex husband very much most of the time, but I will always cherish the fact that I know he takes good care of my little boy; my child; my pride and joy; my reason for staying alive in spite of the pain and torture i face every waking moment of every single day, just in being away from him.

Thank you, dear child, for asking me to come to tea today. Thank you for your kindness and acceptance. Thank you for your truly unconditional love. Thank you for letting me know, even for the briefest of moments, what it's like to have a child in school I can go visit and do things with. Thank you for helping me remember what it means to be a mom. I love you, dear child.

Ethan, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry I'm not closer to you. I'm sorry I'm not there every day when you wake up. I regret not having you with me. I'm sorry I can't tuck you in at night. I'm sorry you don't know me. But, my Baby, I love you with all my heart. I know you don't understand. There's a good chance you never will. But just know this. I love you with everything that I am and I continue to live in the hope we may someday have that chance ....

I love you Ethan. I always will.

Love,
Mom.


Looking for Ty


I know you're out there...
I know you're reading this...

Reach out to me as I have been trying to do to you.




Ty, Bryan, Heather,
Please don't worry about being anonymous.  I know you're there.  I know you're reading the blogs.  Please, feel free to comment.  I will know who you are - me and me alone.

DMV




Did you know that when you buy a car you have 10 days to register that vehicle or you can have it impounded? Thanks to LAPD Sgt. Brody I do now. I was pulled over yesterday coming back from a journey to Hollywood for work. Luckily enough he was a kind man with a teachers instinct. I gave him my biggest doe eyes I could muster, brought forth all of my remaining innocence and just let him talk. I wasn't pulled over for speeding or wearing my seatbelt incorrectly or wearing earphones on both ears while driving. I wasn't even pulled over for texting. I was pulled over because I have paper plates on my '91 Miata. Such an awesome little car. I really should take better care of it. It needs a bath on Saturday.

So here I sit today in the DMV waiting to get the renewal stickers for the truck at the shop and to sort out the registration on my car. I didn't get written for it. I didn't even get a fix-it ticket. But I don't want to run that risk. The next one may not be so kind to a naive and innocent little redheaded damsel in distress.

The lady next to me smells like she hasn't had a bath in weeks. The young man to my right looks like he's straight from some lush and tropical place just based on how he's dressed. In front of me sits a lady with a leopard print top and 70's headband. An Asian man dozes off to sleep beside her. A young man I can only assume is getting his drivers license for the first time paces back and forth, staring at the monitors as though the harder he stares, the faster his number will be called. There's a girl in the corner applying eye liner using a small compact mirror in preparation of having her drivers license photo taken.

An here I sit listening to my new favorite song. The artist is Paramore and it just rocks my world. It spells things out better than I could. It's called "Playing God".


I plan to post the lyrics on this blog later tonight when I get home. It just screams out my whole mind set and how I think about so many issues any given day of the week.



"I know you don't believe me
But the way I way I see it -
Next time you point a finger
I might have to bend it back
And break it break it off.
Next time you point a finger
I'll point you to a mirror."



Nasty, mean, evil, cold people exist in the world. I've watched good people get hurt recently. I'm tired of it all. I've always rooted for the underdog. Now it's time I do more than stand back and cheer.

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

You are, each of you, good and strong people. You are the kinds of people I value and want in my life.

But we all need to remember sometimes that negativity breeds negativity. I will do for each of you what I would only hope someone who cared for me would do for me in return.

NOBODY will speak ill of you I. My presence. If they try, Heaven help them. We're ALL better than negativity. I admit I've been wrapped up in my own negativity lately, but I gave my one last honest try to bring civility to my surroundings and I have made my position publicly know. I did that specifically to raise a point and that point had been made. I'm done.

So the next time someone points a finger - not necessarily at you, and in fact it doesn't even have to be someone you like - stop them sea in their tracks. Negativity breeds negativity, hate breeds hate. Let's see what a smile does. How far can we share a laugh?

I'm only one small person. I can't change everyone. I can only modify my own actions and behavior.

And I plan to make a stranger smile. I will make a friend laugh. I will watch out for those in a position unable to defend themselves against a pointing finger. And I will start a culture.

I cannot change the world. But I CAN change the world around me.

Can you?












Thank you, Steve. :)









Try No More




I tried.  Nobody can say I didn't try.

I wrote a letter to my former roommate today, letting her know it was time to stop beating a dead horse, making a spectacle of trying to ignore me and move on.  I did it as nicely as I could... This is what my letter said...


This has gone on long enough.  I can't stay quiet anymore.

I know this won't be kept private.  I know this will likely be shown to everyone you know, and you have every right to do that.  This is your letter, written for you, and it's now your private possession.  You may destroy it, burn it, tear it up, spit on it - whatever you wish.  I'ts yours.  But I wanted you to know...

If I had been prostituting my body out or was only interested in money, I would have just married [my former employer] when he asked me to go to Fiji and Cayman with him.  The honest truth is that I didn't want his money.  What I wanted was someone to love me for who I was - whether they lived in a mansion on the beach or a cardboard box in an alley.  If I had been doing that, you would have known before anyone else - since we not only shared a roof, but a room. I'm a broken person and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, even if they paid me.  Especially if they thought they needed to pay me.

If I had done certain things to you, I would not have remained silent about it.  I would have boldly come forward and said that yes, it was me.  I am not the type to hide.  The fact that your finger is still pointed at me only leaves you more vulnerable to whoever it actually was.  That makes me worry about you. Please take care of yourself.  Find out who this is and press charges.  I won't go into details but the same thing just happened to me, so you're not alone.

I freely admit that I lied to you about having paid off your debt to [my former employer].  That was because you didn't know him as I did and I figured you would be more willing to pay me the money to give to him than you would to him.  I couldn't afford to pay him myself and I needed your help to do it.  I'm very glad to hear from your mom that you have now entered into an agreement with [my former employer] and are paying back the debt now.  I know he appreciates it.  I knew the day we got the loan from him that you would pay him back.  I had total faith and confidence in you that day.  For lying to you, I'm sorry.

I would prefer that neither of us feel we must stop our jobs or whatever we are working on in order to face away from one another in an obvious display of ignoring the other.  I'm not asking you to be my friend or even like me.  Truth be told, I would prefer you not.  I'm not like you - you shouldn't want to be friends with someone like me.  We're two completely different people from two completely different worlds.  That will never change.

But for old time's sake - for the sake of Thursday morning breakfasts at Maratha's on 22nd Street, or the meals at Denny's, the road trip, the adventures, the fun times... lets just go about our lives and do our jobs to the best of our abilities.  [Your employer] needs you.  [My employer] needs me.  Let's stop trying so hard to ignore one another.  I wouldn't mind saying good morning or good bye to you once in a while, just because you're there.  Whatever else either of us may be, we are both human and we both have hearts.

It's been a rough start to the year, and already this year is nearly half over. Lets just let sleeping dogs lie.  Lets bury the dead horse in the ground, not continue to beat it.

Amanda






I folded my letter and put it into an envelope.  From there, I mixed it in with the mail for the Animal Rescue she works at and I left.

When later I returned to my car, I found an envelope on my windshield.

This is what I got in return.





Perhaps that explains why she stops everything she's doing when I walk into a room in order to make a very blatant display of showing me what the back side of her pony tail looks like.  I admit, I feel sorry for anyone on the other side of her when she does that.  All they can see are nose hairs.