Just Gimme Some Truth

When I was a child, I had an extremely wild imagination. In retrospect, it seems I really had no choice, given our limited income. I’m not saying that I was deprived, quite the contrary. I was encouraged to be creative and use my imagination to have fun. And I did, a lot.

I began reading and writing at an early age. I would write short stories and make illustrations. I loved writing assignments through school. As early as my elementary years, I was winning awards and recognition for my creativity and writing abilities. I was also getting more and more interested in the mystery and crime genres and writing stories similar to something you might find in a Trixie Belden book.

As I reached middle school, I became interested in Stephen King and true crime novels. I love to figure things out, and it seems that the more horrific the scene, the more compelled I feel in solving the case. I then entered high school and began studying psychology. By the time I was out of high school and became pregnant the following year, I was immersed in murder trials and obsessed with the hit television series, House M.D.

A few years passed by and I took a special interest in local journalism, aiding an independent newspaper. I covered stories relating to child abuse awareness, autism awareness, and the nationally recognized April 2011 tornado events. I also acted as a photo journalist and spent a lot of time (and energy) on recording events through my own camera’s lens. And I didn’t get paid one red cent.

Fast forward to the present day and it’s quite obvious I still care very much about a) solving problems, and b) ways to avoid problems in the first place. My daughter is now a teenager, and over the past couple of years has experienced numerous social obstacles relating to autism and mild ADHD characteristics- or symptoms– the term some people still insist on using.

My challenges as of late in relation to my own autistic features- along with anxiety and depressive bouts- have been centered on ignoring the events, people, things in general which (are completely out of control) are completely out of my control. These exercises, while helpful in the moment, aren’t exactly swaying my overall interest in our damned society, investigative journalism relating to the events within our damned society, and the general passion contained within my deepest core to help those in need who are struggling to thrive within our damned society.

I’ve mentioned a few journalists and programs within the state of Alabama and the southeastern United States which share that common goal of providing justice to those who have been robbed of it. Tonight, I came across an article by accident and was yet again reminded why this kind of work, while heavily criticized, is 100% necessary.

I recently wrote about an issue revolving around racism within my daughter’s high school, actually stemming from the elected school board president’s own son. I wrote her an email, which I have yet to receive the slightest acknowledgment or receipt for. However, I also wrote an email of a different nature to the school principal.

My daughter’s school principal is a special lady. When they went on a NYC band trip a couple of years ago, they visited the Strawberry Fields site, and she bought my daughter an Imagine pin. (She collects pins which cover her leather jacket and backpack.) My daughter really likes her principal, as she has always shown kindness to her and encouraged/supported her. In my email, I thanked her whole heartedly for her kindness and expressed my concern about recent events, and the behavior of a certain breed of students that has been quite the opposite towards her. She immediately responded and humbly thanked me, and encouraged me, saying that my daughter’s uniqueness and gifts are valued- that’s what she loves about her.

This past Friday, my daughter told me that her principal sat with her during the second half of her lunch period to discuss some ideas. They are planning to form a leadership group to act as a sort of liaison between the minority and the majority, in order to verbally deescalate hostile situations and bullying. I told her I thought that was a great idea and she should consider being involved in order to better communicate her perspective. She is thinking about it.

I may not be able to control a lot. I don’t want to. But when there are problems that hit home that seem to revolve in a never-ending cycle, I believe sitting on the sidelines just isn’t an option for me. It is in my blood to take a stand, to speak up, to engineer an Underground Railroad, to fight the Battle of Atlanta, to share my truth and my peace and articles like the one above.

Fear not. The truth is within me as much as it is out there. Discovering it is only half the battle.

My daughter, way back when

The Wolf

Once upon a time, there was a little girl that lived in a FEMA trailer, who, at a very young age, was exposed to anything from black mold on the walls to water leaks from the ceiling to holes in the floors. There were mice, snakes, roaches, wasps, flies, ants, and other creatures who shared this space. There were neighbors who struck their wives, relied on alcohol to get through the day, and pretended their daughters were not actually their daughters past bedtime.

The little girl was lucky. She was treated well and loved fiercely by her mother and father. She loved grilled cheese sandwiches and learned to tolerate condensed milk without complaining. She got in trouble only sometimes, like when she said “Amen” out loud after the closing prayer in church. Her mother quickly spanked her leg and cut her eyes at her whispering, “Never do that again.” She didn’t understand why the men could say it loudly, even interrupt! She never understood why women couldn’t be equal.

She didn’t understand a lot of things, but she wanted to try. She always did her best to try. She tried to always be her best. She made good grades, played aggressively in sports, learned to paint and sew, learned as much as she could. She met as many people as she could along the way so that she could keep learning. She desperately just wanted to figure it all out.

Most recently, this now grown woman tried very hard to understand why her boss would say something that she felt was pure evil. She was being scolded for not collecting a patient’s co-pay in full since they had a balance. But she understands what it’s like to not have a lot, and she isn’t one to be too pushy about money issues.

“I don’t care if these people are suicidal- they better pay us something.”

She didn’t say anything in response. She just sat there, looking back at her bright computer screen.

Is this what it feels like to be blind?

Sometimes, she thinks she would prefer being hungry again, surrounded by black mold and cockroaches.

Anything is better than this.

What is heaven on earth? May I get an amen?