As I take an eagle’s eye view of my life I can see many individuals and events that have contributed to the person I am today. One person who was and always will be very dear to me, my mother, who passed away when I was 42 years old. She taught me the value of love, strength, goals and a good education. I found growing up that she did not push me for the “good grades” as I took it upon myself to strive for A’s.
When I was seven year old my mother took me to the doctor due to stomach pain. He told her I worried too much about school (I believe I was in second grade but, don’t quote me), and getting the gold stars from the teacher. I was one step away from an ulcer. I ate baby food for two weeks and will never forget that experience. I enjoyed the banana flavor but, the vegetable ones, not so much. The sense of striving to get A’s (but, would accept a B) from my educational studies appeared innate. My mother tried to reinforce that no matter what grade I received, as long as I tried, that was all that mattered.
I watched her, a single mother, holding down a job while going to school in the evenings in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in social work from Empire State College. Her struggles and courage inspired me to follow my dreams. One of the happiest days I spent with her was on her graduation day. When they called her name, I had a great sense of pride. Her perseverance had paid off, she did not give up.
My mother introduced me to a life of open mindedness. Sexual orientation, skin color and all the other categories of racism were considered taboo. “We are all the same”, she would say. Being a social worker, she worked with prisoners from Ryker’s Island to the street gangs in Harlem. They all loved her and she them. She brought a child/man of 18 years old into our home, a two bedroom apartment in rural upstateNew York. He lived with us because he was let out of the child care system as adult with no money or place to live. We became like a brother and sister…a brother I never had since I was an only child. He was big, black and scary looking, but his heart was filled with gold. After living with us for a few months he decided he needed to go home, to Harlem. His alcoholic mother lived there and he felt he needed to find “his roots”. He opened my eyes to his culture as I would go with him to visit his mother from time to time. He taught me that there are people out there better off than me and worse off, so I’m not doing so badly.
Another individual that influenced me was my ex-husband. I know he deserves credit, and in this instance I am giving him his due. When I met him he was a she, a man trapped in a woman’s body. I was with him when he went through top and bottom surgeries to deem himself a man on the outside. We were married and divorced, legally. During my time with him, I was introduced to the Transgender community. When all was said and done, I realized these individual’s were a minority group that needed support regarding who and what they were. I saw the significance in society needing a wake up call. Knowledge is power and I wrote a book based on these issues and how they affected my life.
One event that took place changed my life from that point forward. I was in love with a female to male transgender and we were going to be adopting two young boys. The only way to describe what happened that day was by taking an excerpt from my Creative Non-Fiction Autobiographical Anthology regarding the hate crime. Cheaters, Sinners and Saints.
I believe that my values have guided me through life personally, academically and professionally. They include: compassion, ethics, integration, respect, honor, honesty, change, accountability, justice, integrity, curiosity, innovation and creativity, just to name a few. But, there are some that I would like to address now.
As a queer woman, I always held the motto, Live and let live. As fate would have it, I found a new group of individuals that held the same feelings as I did and willing to fight for what we all believed in, equality for the LGBT community, equality for all. I let my voice be heard on a documentary on MSNBC in 2009 (A television program that aired about transgenders getting married), and I had a meeting with the Senator of Florida regarding the LGBTQQ community.
While I found my values were innate and inherent within me, the cross cultural and individual expressions that I have learned, developed and practiced throughout my lifetime strengthened my values and beliefs. I realized that my sense of identity stemmed from a world of spiritual reality. I am a queer woman and proud of it. I follow my heart not gender. Though my own personal trauma I took many inward journeys and came to the realization that by working with others we could break down barriers of prejudice.
I carry this quote close to my heart:
Your beliefs become your thoughts / Your thoughts become your words / Your words become your actions / Your actions become your habits / Your habits become your character / Your character becomes your destiny ~ Gandhi
I have a talent for writing. Prior professors, friends and fellow students have given positive feed back on my abilities. I feel that my art of writing produces a combination of creativity, intelligence, approach and word power. I will be able to utilize my aptitude for the future as an author and screen play writer. The list is endless of the possibilities that await me.
On a personal note, I am an artist and my medium is acrylic. I have sold my art work mostly in New York and New Jersey but, my art also has traveled to Californiaand Delaware. I started painting for fun after my college homework was completed. I am a natural people have said. No real training just me, the brush and my canvas. I painted scenic scenes, oceanic scenes, clipper ships, and my highest seller was my lighthouses. I found this innate talent to be a great gift.
It was through these highs and lows, pains and moments of happiness that were intertwined with the feelings of anguish of watching lives being destroyed before my eyes by a hate crime (read my story) that brought me here…now, writing this quick autobiography. My life has been filled and weaved with a pattern of many people who influenced my life and in turn, opened a door for me to write my book, a screenplay, leading me at this time, to be a student, an eternal student.