Bullies are Cowards

Believe it or not… I have been heavily criticized by certain people for my decision to write on sensitive topics by relatives and so called friends alike. People have said things like:

“How can you criticize a system that led you to where you are today?”

“Aren’t your parents enough for you? That’s how I would feel if my adopted children had a relationship with their biological parents” (grant you, this was a 24 year old girl who has no children and with the grace of God, she will never ever adopt children)

“What about us?, Aren’t we your family?”… said by people who have probably seen me twice in my life.

So, this is a direct response to these allegations, I would like to dedicate this post to answering each of these one by one.

How can I criticize a system that led me to where I am today? Easy. I’m not against where I am, just how I got here. Let me ask you a question… how would you feel if you knew that you were bought at a price? That the government allowed a legal agency to put a price tag on you? That the social workers, which were suppose to be the emotional support system for all parents were making a commission off of your adoption? And that once they made that commission, the government sealed your initial identity and essentially gave your family “copywrite laws” to you?… to be allowed to keep your identity a secret. And that even as an ADULT, you have absolutely no right to your birth records, adoption records, or medical history… because that was included in the hefty price tag. And then society, instead of supporting your rights as an individual… in an era where UNTHINKABLE crimes, like the murder of infants is being supported… people chalk you up as an ungrateful brat. One thing I’m not is ungrateful.But, my gratitude doesn’t always have to reflect on this ONE event that happened in my life.

I would be upset… Simple. Don’t adopt children. Don’t be friends with people who are adopted. Because the most natural thing in the world is wanting to know who you are and where you come from. Watch this video and then we’ll talk. If a parent can love more than one child… why is it so hard to comprehend that a child could love more than one parent? Sadly… when I found this video, on an adoptee support Facebook page, someone commented “Why is this on an adoption Facebook page?” Ummm…. because the fact that we came for A WOMB isn’t secret information…

What about us?… I have to love these judgers because these “relatives” have probably seen me twice in my life. Before you even THINK about making this comment to me… think and answer these questions honestly in your heart:

  • When is my birthday? Did you call me on my birthday?
  • Have you ever been inside my house?
  • Do you know where I work?
  • Can you name any of my hopes? Dreams? Goals?
  • What are my hobbies?
  • What is my ethnicity?
  • What is my dog’s name?

You can get off your high hypocrite horse now. Most of the time… bullies are cowards. Ladies and gentlemen… these are the people that are against restoring access to our records… bullies and cowards who have absolutely no relationship with adoptees.

 

8 Times I Suspected Spencer was Adopted

As a true PLL fan, I too love to look up theories and analyze the antics of the show. I’ve already seen several theories about Spencer being Mary Drake’s daughter. You can find a plethora of those theories all over the internet with quotes and pictures to support the claims. I’ve become convinced that Spencer  was the baby we saw last week being taken out of Radley Sanitarium. Upon doing some research, I saw this comment:

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 3.43.37 PM

The reality is that this “massive secret” is not limited to TV production. It’s happening all across America and other areas of the world. However, America particularly, because they have failed to reform adoption laws, perpetuating secrets and lies to the fullest. Spencer may not have consciously known that she was adopted by the Hastings. But, if I’m right about Spencer being that baby… I think that on a subconscious level, she always knew something was different. Maybe she didn’t attribute that to adoption. But, if she is, this is a very realistic portrayal of what many adoptees go through. As I’ve said previously, there’s nothing wrong with being different. But, those differences need to be embraced. God created differences for our entertainment and pleasure. How boring it would be if we all looked the same, acted the same, and had the same interests. We would all be fighting over the same man! lol. We would all have the same careers. The world wouldn’t function if we were all the same. Differences are for our benefit, not for our discouragement. But, when we treat people as if they are suppose to fit in somewhere, when it just doesn’t come naturally, the scenes shown below are very realistic. If you are reading this, and you have an adopted person in your family… embrace that they are different. Let them be who they are. Let love unite your family, not uniformity. Don’t be a Hastings.

In this scene, we clearly see that Peter and Melissa thrive on success. While everyone wants to be successful, this drive just doesn’t come naturally to Spencer. She may be intelligent, but she isn’t driven by being better than anyone else. Notice how Melissa feels like she needs to reel her in back “into her place.” The message is clear: It’s not okay to be different.

Veronica can’t even fathom that Spencer is telling the truth! Apparently, the idea of not going to U Penn is so unfathomable to her. Even Melissa feels like she needs to step in and “fix it.” Why does this have to be fixed? Spencer is clearly very smart. She can go to whichever other college she wants. What if she wanted to go to another Ivy? Spence doesn’t feel like it needs to be “fixed.” But once again, difference has been shamed. Even if different just means a different school, a different path to reach the same goal. Sadly, this happens quite a bit. We project our dreams and goals onto our children. With biological children, there is a genetic predisposition to pursue certain goals. For instance, I really love school. I’m an elementary school teacher. I am getting my master’s degree. I plan on pursuing more education afterward. I enjoy school. I will likely pass those traits of being studious and loving to read to my children, particularly if their father is the same way. It’s not set in stone. But, the chances of him/her liking school are higher. But, if we adopt, we cannot expect those same chances. We’d have to be prepared that senior year of high school, we might hear “I want to be an artist.” Of course, you can expect this from biological children too. But, the chances are much slimmer. You have to be aware that parenting an adopted child means that there are apparent differences. Adopted children are not blank slates waiting to be written on. They came from somewhere. They didn’t hatch from an egg. They came with interests, personality traits, temperament, and minds that may work very differently from yours. After conducting the color personality theory test to several people, I discovered that there is  HUGE genetic component. Try it yourself! Ask your family and friends to take it… and their families too! Don’t take my word for it. Just google it and hand it out to friends and family. My mom is an orange and I am a blue: polar opposites. But, I don’t try to make her into a blue and she doesn’t try to make me into an orange. We just accept that we have different results and pursue goals that are in line with the way God made us. My mom doesn’t LOVE school. She looks at all I have to do and wonders why I would give myself such a burden. But, she would never try to convince me to leave school. She admires my endurance. I admire her persistence and ability to get things done quickly.

I grew up in a family where nearly everyone showed interest in some type of health profession. I was always inclined towards working in education and counseling fields. But, I was never made to feel stupid or less than because of it. Sure, there have been people that wondered why I didn’t opt to study a career that would make me rich. But, that’s not the area that God blessed me with talent in. I have quite a weak stomach. And I’m terrified of needles. Instead of focusing on what someone’s goals are not… why not congratulate and celebrate their strengths? Why is this so difficult for some people?

Why not… sorry you didn’t get into U Penn… but it’s their loss! You’ll get into an even better school.

You’re a great teacher. The kids are lucky to have you. Maybe you can give me some advice on how my kids would learn best. 

Acceptance and embracing one another is key to happiness in adoption.

I laugh at this scene because it reminds me of myself. I always want answers. I don’t take what people tell me at face value. I want to understand people’s intentions. I don’t just “accept” things that people do when I know they are wrong. Melissa reminds me of someone in my family… always accepting injustice and repeating the injustice to others, rather than being determined to break the cycle. Melissa has a classical “sheep-like” mentality. But, only when it comes to following Veronica. She won’t listen to Spencer. She doesn’t listen to both sides of a story. The answer is always simple: her mom is right. Spencer grows frustrated with this. I mean… how can you not? When you’ve seen that grass on a particular side really IS greener and someone just doesn’t want to listen to you and is determined at blocking you out at all costs… how is this not frustrating? Now, things like this happen every day in many families, adopted or not. But, a lot of times, being adopted can feel like your a daisy in the midst of a field of roses. You’re all flowers and you’re all beautiful. But, you grow differently. You look differently. And you have different purposes/goals. I thought this scene was very depicting of this. Lift people up in their accomplishments, their desires, their pursuits… even if their not your own. Melissa and her mother don’t even show respect towards Spencer’s feelings. Veronica clearly has the right to support Garret Reynolds if she wants to. And Melissa has the right to support her. But, they shouldn’t have shunned Spencer for feeling the way she did. They should have respected her feelings, even if theirs were different. This is a classic issue adoption within families. Be the change. Be the difference. Raise adults… not puppets.

Melissa and Spencer have never gotten along, that’s no secret. But, I have to say that I side with Spencer most of the time. Melissa is just an impossible person. In this video, she’s acting accusatory towards Spencer, when SHE was the one on the Halloween train dressed in a suspicious costume. This is the way we act when we have secrets. We are always on the defense. Then, when the truth does come out… how can you possibly have good feelings towards people like Melissa? Secrets will haunt you and they will eat you up alive. An easy solution to not becoming a defensive and scared person is… don’t keep secrets :). Be honest with people. Even if the truth behind their story didn’t start off so great, lies only become dark when they are kept in dark attics. Let people own their stories and decide for themselves what they want to carry with them. It’s not your story. Sorry Melissa… but you should have been honest with your sister from the start… the masks, the train, and the fact that you may have known she came from Radley… which is further discussed a few videos down.

Why would YOU keep this kind of secret? What about YOU? What about the secrets YOU’RE keeping?! Notice the difference in handling situations. You would think that Veronica would be SO relieved that the girls were found after having been missing for hours… that she would  allow Spencer to relax and get some sleep before she dropped a  bunch of questions. Had this been Melissa, I think Melissa would have WANTED to stay up all night, chatting. The temperament and the personality between her and Melissa is perfectly aligned. The fact that Spencer wants to handle the situation different is the real cause of conflict here… not Veronica’s inquisitiveness or worry. Once again, we have a classic case of difference=conflict.

Veronica is afraid. If she was defending Garret Reynolds because she believed him to be innocent… why is she afraid? Because she has secrets of her own, which she is afraid will be revealed. I know that fear. I’ve seen it in the eyes of so many people. Tell the truth the best possible way… with loving and kindness… or it will come out in ways that you wish it wouldn’t have.

The way we handle crisis is a biological/genetic phenomenon. We can learn to adjust our behaviors at any point in time. We can learn techniques on how to handle issues. But, we always come into the world with an innate way of handling things. The way we naturally conform to if no one would intervene to change it. This video shows that Melissa and Spencer have a completely different way of handing issues when they arise. Spencer is much more “go with the flow.” Melissa wants to get things done immediately… and she wants to sweep them under the rug. The Hastings family is naturally inclined to sweep secrets under the rug. It’s the way that they handle crisis. This is what Spencer has been taught. It’s the environment she grew up in. But, genetics prevails in this situation. She may have grown up being taught that this was the way to handle issues. But, her instincts tell her otherwise. She doesn’t handle crisis in the same way. How should this be handled? Spencer should be glad that her sister and her mother “get things done.” But, the Hastings should respect Spencer’s openness and honesty to handling situations.

Those of you who have had the privilege of meeting my sister know we have pretty much the same basic personality. She’s very soft-spoken and she goes out of her way to make people feel better. Do you know anybody like this? If i was institutionalized at Radley, this conversation that Spencer had with Melissa would never happen. We’re just too much alike. It’s not so much that people who are related are always so much alike. But, the illustration here is that regardless of upbringing, there’s just personality traits that we don’t shake off. People who are related, I think, have a more accurate notion of where their relative is coming from. They have a clearer picture of what goes on inside their minds. We are hormonally, biologically, and genetically in tune with people’s characteristics and why they do what they do. I was shocked that my sister had the same habit of making knots in the ends of her hair. We both have the same habit, even though we were raised in different places. We both loved backstreet boys and hated n’sync. We both order the same things at McDonalds (plain cheeseburger… emphasis on the plain)! We both hate onions. We’re both just naturally good at the same things. If she makes a certain gesture, with certainty, I can probably tell you what she’s thinking… because I do the same thing. Just because we have that natural synchrony doesn’t mean that you can’t establish that with other people who aren’t related to you. But, it does take work. My grandparents have been married for over 60 years. They have that synchrony. But, it took work! In families who have chosen adoption, this takes work too. You don’t naturally recognize facial expressions and habits. You have to observe. You have to take time. And you have to be interested. Melissa, sadly, doesn’t show interest. She’s too busy fighting the fact that Spencer is just naturally different.

And so is Veronica…

The longer you keep a secret… the more chance you have of it coming out at the worse time possible. When we make people feel like being different is bad, we’re the ones losing out on everything God has given them to offer us. Celebrate people for who they are as individuals. Realize that there ARE genetic predispositions that WILL enable people handle things differently and react differently. But, be grateful for that. Because if we were all the same, as I said, we would get nowhere. Appreciate that you have people in your family with different approaches and different talents. Consider that people who have been adopted have a story. That’s their story, as an individual. It’s their right. Where they came from and who they were before they came to be a part of your family is a part of who they are today. They are different. But, they are also beautiful.

Why Gay Rights and Abortion have NOTHING to do with one another

In America, our first amendment right is to religious freedom. This means that freedom goes both ways. The government cannot make everybody a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim. Hence, there are going to be religions that endorse the union of homosexual couples. If you would like the right to practice the religion of your choice, you also need to allow for others to practice their own. All three of the monotheistic religions above, who condemn homosexuality, also believe that we are given free will. Hence, it is not our job, as humans, to take away somebody’s free will unless their wrongdoing imposes on other legal infractions, such as the death of someone. So, if a religion is sacrificing children, for instance, the law would become involved and persecute those individuals appropriately. However, this is not the case in the event of LGBT people. As far as I am aware, LGBT people are not hosting rituals where children, adults, or animals, are being sacrificed. Therefore, the government cannot, legally, infringe on their rights.

You have the right, as a citizen of this country, to condemn or condone homosexuality. This right is not taken away from you. Nobody can tell you what to believe. As a parent, you have the right to raise your children with whatever values you wish. As religious clergy, you have the right to marry whatever couples you chose. This also extends to heterosexual couples. If a clergy member refuses to marry an interfaith couple, this is also their right. This is called religious freedom. This has not been taken away from anyone.

However, regardless of your beliefs on homosexuality, you have no right to treat people as less than human. I cannot fathom that there are actual people AGAINST protecting another HUMAN BEING from getting terminated from employment or being evicted from their homes on the basis of who they are attracted to sexually. There are no grounds for this. I will use two examples. Suppose an Orthodox Jew married a Reform convert who did not perform a halachic conversion according to the written and oral law. In Orthodox Judaism, a conversion is not considered legitimate unless the convert performed the conversion through the Orthodox branch. Thus, the person who converted through the Reform tradition would not be halachically Jewish from the Orthodox perspective. This would be against the Torah commandments, as technically, this marriage would be comprised of a Jew and a non-Jew. I have yet to see an Orthodox Jewish funded organization attempting to remove these couples from their home or have them terminated from employment on the basis of their interpersonal relationships. In Christianity, there is a warning against being unequally yolked, and is typically explained in the context of marriage. It is not advisable to marry a non-Christian. Yet, I have seen no Christian organization on the internet advocating firing employees or evicting tenants based on marriage partners. All three of the religions above advocate for sex within marriage. But, I have yet to see a funded organization advocating the above for pre-marital sex offenders. In the view of Christianity, there is none righteous. So, on what basis is this sin somehow the worse, meriting unemployment and homelessness? I’m not talking about your beliefs on what is right and wrong and what is best for marriage, families, and children. I’m talking about equal protection under the law for discrimination that is a threat to life and safety of others. I cannot fathom why ANYONE who LOVES the Almighty and believes that we are all His children and His creation, subject a class of people to be treated as less than human.

Which brings me to abortion. Abortion is the legal murder of a child from inside it’s mother’s womb. I don’t care about what anyone says regarding choices and the woman’s body. Less than 1% of abortions are from rape, incest, and a threat to the mother’s life. I repeat: LESS THAN 1%. These incidents are isolated and should be treated as such. Thus, I won’t get into it too much. I will say that if the mother’s life is in danger, the baby’s life is in danger. Thus, the baby is not going to live if the mother dies. So, I don’t understand why this is an argument. If the baby is inside of the Fallopian tube, for instance, the mother’s days are counted. This would result in two lives taken. So, in this case, I believe that it would be justifiable. Nonetheless, this is a TRAGEDY! Any choice would have been a sad choice. It is a lose-lose situation. I know someone, whose identity I will not share, was raped, and chose adoption. Again, however, these are isolated incidents and comprise of less than 1% of abortions in the United States. Thus, treating them on an individual basis is completely doable. For the other 99%… if you chose to open your legs to get it in, you can put your big girl pants back on, and open your legs to get it out. You like choices so much? Well, you had a choice NOT to have sex. You had a choice to use protection. Choices were made that led to a pregnancy. Now, there is a human being living inside your body. It has a heartbeat. If bacteria is considered life on Mars, then how can we not see a baby’s heart as life in the womb? This is your CHILD. YOUR CHILD. You are so blessed to have one. This is  YOUR BABY. Two people came together and made A HUMAN BEING. This child KNOWS that you’re IT’S MOMMY!!! It already has a sex. Sex is already determined at the moment of conception. Bacteria on Mars doesn’t have a sex. But, your baby does! What more proof do you need that this is a human being? Killing anything with a heartbeat is murder.I recently posted on Instagram, a story of a saline solution abortion survivor. These abortions are performed after the first trimester. It involves a dosage of poisonous solution into the womb via needle. Labor is then induced and the woman will give birth to a still born. This woman survived the abortion and a secret adoption was arranged. The parents were then upset that an arrangement was done in secret, instead of providing truth to them that their baby was indeed alive. I’m sorry, but I heavily disagree with these so called parents. You attempted to murder your child and having that child taken away was an appropriate measure to ensure her safety. You were not cheated. Your child was cheated by you for having murderers as parents.

It’s simply not normal to have the desire to abort your CHILD. From the moment of conception, the process of bonding begins. The most natural thing in the world is to love your child. It is your own flesh and blood, attached to you. You are like one. It’s just such a beautiful expression of God’s love and of motherhood. It’s nature’s perfect bond. Thus, most of the time, abortions occur because the pregnancy was a result of sinful and uneducated circumstances. Children having sex with no sex education. First and foremost, I have to ask myself why children at the age of 12 are having sex to begin with. Why is there such little supervision? Why are we treating 12 year olds like their little adults? Their not. Children need to be treated like children. They need to be supervised. There has to be rules. There has to be protection in place for children. They not only need that, they deserve it! Childhood is so short. Why are we not protecting this and putting a fence around it? I blame parents, society, teachers, schools, and the media. All of it. 12 year olds are not little adults. They are CHILDREN. They shouldn’t be attending school dances. They shouldn’t be dating. They shouldn’t be having sexual conversations with members of the opposite sex. Children need adults to protect them and provide guidelines and rules. We are failing today’s children by treating them as older than they are. Secondly, sex education HAS to be provided at the appropriate times. I would suggest late middle school/beginning of high school. Sex education is not an attempt to promote sex. Sex education has to be approached from an educational standpoint and an anatomy standpoint. I am a religious person. I embrace conservative values. But, my Bible says that God made male and female. And teaching children that male and females are different anatomically and thus, are able to procreate children as a result, is just truth. To explain what sex is, how it happens, and how pregnancy and diseases are prevented is just an extension of learning the anatomical components of sex.

An egg on it’s own is not a baby. A sperm on it’s own is not a baby. I do not advocate for the protection of eggs and sperms. Every month, my unfertilized eggs leave my body through the process of menstruation. Their nothing but cramps and puddles of blood. But, if fertilized by a sperm, then that’s not my egg. That’s my baby. And if I’m not ready to be a mom, there’s a plethora of options, that don’t involve murder, and I would be the last person to stigmatize people who make those choices. I’m sure that all of those LGBT couples who can’t conceive would feel the same.

So, you can be pro human rights and anti-abortion. After all… doesn’t that make the most sense?

 

 

Why are college students so immature?

Simple: We enable them.

65 years ago, my grandparents married at the age of 19. It wasn’t against anyone’s will. They weren’t coerced or threatened into the marriage. 65 year later, they are still as in love as they were in their wedding photo. My grandmother didn’t stay with my grandfather because she was financially unstable. Actually, she is a very educated woman with high degrees. She attended university during the time she was married, all the way through graduate school! She married my grandfather because she loved him and saw marriage as a natural step in the relationship. But with marriage comes responsibility, a word today’s generation is not comfortable with.

Centuries ago, college was a privilege. It was a responsibility to be taken seriously, much like marriage is also a responsibility. But, we’ve stripped these away and replaced with with a carefree extended adolescence. Few college students take on actual adult responsibilities, such as working full time or making payments. It’s a paradise for the young and the wild. Professors don’t expect more from their undergraduate students than they would a high school student. There are no serious repercussions to one’s actions, which I find difficult to assimilate. Back in the day, if I decided to skip class, I would not be e-mailed or phoned. I would not be asked not to appear in class again. It would simply effect my grade. But, consider the “real world.” If you decided not to show up to work frequently, you would likely be dismissed from employment. So, what are we teaching students today? We are not preparing them for the workforce. We are not treating colleges and universities like serious institutions that demand respect. “Clients” would be a more appropriate word to replace the term “student” for today’s university attendees.

In South Florida, where I live, many students live with their parents while attending university. In this case, I place a large blame on the parents, as well. Many parents don’t enable their adult children to be independent at this stage in life. They set ridiculous rules and place no adult demands. They continue to pay for their son or daughter’s phone bill, car payments, car insurance, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that an 18 year old will have a hard time finding full employment to sustain themselves AND be able to become successful in college. I don’t condemn assistance from parents. But, many of the college students I know who are living with mom and dad are just perpetual children. Even post-college, I know several of these perpetual children. It’s not to say that moving out of your parent’s home is the essential ingredient to being an adult. There are several reasons why one may be living with parents. But, those who do should be 1) treated as adults and 2) act like adults. They should be doing laundry, picking up after themselves, making their own meals, and assisting with bills, like any other adult member of the household. These parents do their children a huge disservice by continuing to extend childhood. For financial reasons, I lived with my mother and grandparents during my undergraduate years. I did laundry, I cooked meals, and cared for the animals. When I bought my first car, I made the payments on that vehicle. Nobody told me to do those things. But, I wasn’t raised to be an eternal child. From the moment I was born, I was an adult in training. The problem is that today, we are so focused on raising children, that we forget to raise adults.

We’ve traded our books for cheap beer on “college night.” We’ve traded our fine point pens for drugs. We’ve traded courtship for a one night stand… or several one night stands for that matter. While sororities and fraternities use to be a prestigious honor, their now the central headquarters for illegal and racist activities. We’ve traded professional dress attire for the “SLUT WALK” wardrobe. I’m all about what the SLUT WALK stands for. A woman’s dress is not an excuse for a rapist. We are not wild animals. We are made in the image and likeness of HaShem, and we should behave in accordance with His righteous ways. There is no excuse for raping someone. But, why must condemning an offender come at the expense of promoting immodest dress?

Today’s college ideal is simply about living for the flesh. Anything that appeals to the flesh is regarded as an activity one is encouraged to partake in. Neon lights. Loud music. Unhealthy food. Lustful sex. Drugs. What requires discipline is not: spirituality, good eating habits, long-term committed relationships, monogamous relationships, responsible spending. Ironically, these are not things you learn in college. But, these should be in the center of learning as you prepare for life as an adult.

It’s no surprise that we treat 20 something year old mothers as if they were teen moms. We treat 20 something couples as if the woman was a child bride. The other day, I came across some quote about how you should be irresponsible in your twenties. I beg to differ. In your thirties, your fertility decreases by more than 50%. If you are looking for a father for your children, this would be the time to be responsible about your marriage partner. If you are financially irresponsible, your credit can be effected immensely during this time. If you buy a home in your 20’s, you are likely to receive a lower mortgage rate because you have much more time to pay off the mortgage. Everything suggests that this a time to be RESPONSIBLE vs. irresponsible. Most importantly, draw close to God in your youth! He loves you! Learn to listen to His voice NOW so that you can distinguish it from the many voices that try to do the exact opposite of His will. You don’t have to listen to the world’s way of doing things. You can set a path for yourself, apart from the ways of the foolish.

My grandparent’s responsible decade of their 20’s brought me great blessings. It brought me aunts and uncles, and later cousins, close in age to me. It’s brought them the joy of seeing their great grandchildren. It’s given my family and myself a paid off home to live in. It’s shown our family that true, genuine love really does exist. Their responsibilities have never stopped them from achieving their goals. On the contrary, it has always enabled them to work harder, and teach us all the work ethic necessary for success. It’s just a sincere shame that this isn’t the mission of our colleges and universities today.

Boston

In April of 2016, I traveled to Boston, Massachusetts for the first time. My eagerness to travel was based on several factors. First, I was feeling burnt out at work. Working full time and attending graduate school full time can certainly take a toll on one’s body and mind. While my academic writing skills were up to par, my creative writing skills were lacking. I attributed it to lack of motivation and inspiration. I believed that traveling to Boston would inspire me and I would overcome my writer’s block. It did! I was eager to share my experience upon my return. But, life got in the way. I had other responsibilities to attend to and until this point in time, I had not found the time to sit down and discuss my experience. But, given that I’ve traveled again since Boston, I think this is the right time. I should not delay it any longer.

The day did not start off well. I decided to drive myself to the airport and self-park. Due a delay in the garage, I did not make the flight on time and had to delay my flight to the night. At this point, I figured I would park at the tri-rail station and take an uber back to the airport. A good friend of mine picked me up at the airport so that I would not have to be sitting there for hours. Believe me, we’ve already had a good laugh about this and it was recorded thoroughly via snapchat. So, please hold your laughter and giggling. I debated not taking the trip at all, feeling nothing but apprehension, given the many delays I had already encountered. But, I’ve overcome more difficult fears. I was going to Boston. On a 9:45PM flight.

Boarding the flight, I was filled with tension. I hadn’t been on an airplane since 2008. I was comforted by the fact that the flight was quite short. The majority of those on my flight were traveling back home while I was traveling towards my vacation. Naturally, people who aren’t from Miami just tend to be nicer. I’ve found this to be a fact, rather than just an opinion. Side note: I was flying JetBlue out of Fort Lauderdale Airport. I hadn’t had a chance to have dinner. One girl, waiting to board, about my age, heard my loud and obnoxious stomach growling and offered me her muffin. I was appalled and comforted by the fact that people like this still exist in the world and I was eager to be traveling to a place where many people like this came from: New England. My flight with JetBlue was incredible. The seats were the most comfortable I have been on. There was sufficient legroom. There was wifi. There was dinner! I had my own TV, where I watched a Bernie Sanders rally. By the grace of God, the plane landed and my worries subsided. I felt as though I would be able to enjoy the city the following day if only I offered myself the opportunity of a good night’s rest. As I walked to the area where the taxi cabs waited, the cold air touched my face. It was quite a surprise boarding a plane in a city where the temperature reached 89 degrees and exiting a plane where temperatures were 39 degrees! My eyes took in everything different from what I call home. For one, it was interesting to see Massachusetts license plates, rather than Florida. Driving through tunnels was a rather different experience. The taxi cabs, in and of themselves, were much different looking vehicles than those you would find in Florida. But, the breathtaking moment was when I arrived to the hotel.

I stepped out of the cab and my jaw dropped to the floor. I stayed at a Hilton in downtown, a historical hotel which I was able to get for a wonderful price due to my government employee discount. Thank you state of Florida for letting me be your employee :). It was completely breathtaking. I thought I had entered into the set of Pretty Little Liars. I thought the plane had landed in Rosewood. I can’t quite describe the feeling, but it was like I had been there before, many, many times. This place was familiar and comforting. Regardless of all the hassles, I was so happy to have arrived there. It was nearly 2:00 in the morning. Now, this isn’t Miami. This city does sleep. But, the city itself, has a personality. The city has an energy about itself, like no other. Despite the deep and rich history it holds, it doesn’t bear a haunted vibe. It’s cheerful. It’s beautiful. Up until this point, the phrase “take your breath away” held no real meaning other than a figure of speech. But, seeing the mere street that I was staying on, in Boston, took my breath away. Grant you, this was prior to seeing Malibu, California: that will be my next post!

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I have both bachelors and master’s level education on… well… education. So, I am an academia persona by trait. I am, indeed, a nerd. I love to study. Since I work in the field of higher education, I naturally enjoyed the ambiance of higher level learning institutions around me. I embraced the world of the ivy’s… and I was quite surprised as many of the stereotypes that I proved to myself were false.

Harvard is an amazing place. Perhaps it was the fact that it was the weekend of Easter, but the campus had a far smaller population rate than what I had imagined. It felt that the majority of those on campus were tourists or families taking advantage of the amazing and beautiful campus. In the main courtyard, children played, dogs ran, and students walked across. It looked like a scene straight out of a movie.

The nightlife in Boston is quite different from that of Miami. As a person who drinks very limited and does no drugs, I often shy away from Miami nightlife completely and totally. But, Boston’s nightlife is inviting to a much more diverse population. Since my visit was short, I visited two pubs. Both are the oldest in America. Sitting near the window at Green Dragon was historically chilling. Looking out the window, I could imagine the horse drawn carriages driving by. The 1776 newspaper article hangs on the wall.

It was more than Boston’s charm and physical beauty. It was that… in 39 degrees, I felt warm on the inside… warmer than I’ve ever felt during 90 degree summers in Florida.

 

 

 

The Truth about being in a Sorority

I don’t have regrets about joining a sorority. In fact, I am very grateful that I went through this experience. I was able to meet women who I formed a life lasting friendship with. I had the chance to engage in leadership opportunities, which I probably would not have had the same chance otherwise. There’s much to say about every experience: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m not here to out the drama that happens when 150 woman come together to have a discussion about dramatic events. I’m not here to share personal issues that every chapter experiences individually. I just want to clear the air and tell you what it’s NOT. This is an honest “yelp review” of what it means to be in a sorority.

The marketing for sorority life is filled with women who are happy and whole. Stories are often shared about how joining a sorority changed someone’s life and made them into the person they are today. But, the reality of the situation is that joining a sorority is not finding the Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s not some freeing experience and it’s most certainly not sisterhood of the traveling pants. This is what is advertised. The marketing for sorority life is exceptional and I applaud the marketing crew. They are truly successful and their skills should be rewarded with high financial compensation. They truly are great at what they do. At this point in my life, I found myself wanting to fit in somewhere. I thought that in a sorority, I would find a sisterhood filled with genuine friendships, which I had craved for so long.

I was the perfect sorority candidate. I was bubbly, happy, and stylish. But, this version of me faded as I spiraled into a depression. Like a domino effect, it all happened so fast, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a death in the family that effected me a great deal. During the time that he was ill, the surgery and rehabilitation took place nearly 600 miles away for two reasons: 1) insurance and 2) because we really believed it was the best hospital. Having a close family member in a life or death situation 600 miles away leaves you in a state of heightened fear constantly. The only way you know any information is by calling. Every call was either going to be positive or negative. He was either going to get better or get worse. It was rarely ever the case that he was doing the same. In this state of worry, you’re only way of surviving is by holding up the fort. You don’t let yourself break, no matter how much you’re cracking. The same thing happened when my baby girl, Luna Mia, was poisoned by a toad. I arrived to the animal hospital faster than speeding bullet. I was concerned, but poised. As soon as the vet took her in her arms, that’s when I broke down. I think we intuitively are aware of when we need strength and when we can give into our emotions. His illness was not a time to give into my emotions. It was in my best interest to be a rock to everyone around me.

But after he passed away, that’s when the cracks finally broke. The pain in my chest grew rapidly, but I had no time to care for myself. I dealt with this while working a full time job, a second part-time job, taking a full time load of classes, and meeting the requirements of being in the sorority. I started spiraling slowly, but surely. The bags under my eyes were reaching the floor. My hair was always in a messy bun. I was so incredibly tired. I ran on about 5 hours of sleep a night. I was driving home from my second job around 7pm and I had to pull over because I legitimately thought I was having a heart attack at the age of 22. I opened the car door and started throwing up. My vision was blurred. My fingers were purple. If you would have seen me, you would have thought I was dying. Low and behold the effects of chronic stress (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9527/10-signs-you-have-way-too-much-cortisol.html) . This is what happens when a person has reached their limits. Since that day, I have never been the same. I don’t discourage challenge, but, try to remember that there are only 24 hours in a day. I had quite a few friends stick by me at my worse. People who saw past the messy bun and the dark circles. People who saw my life for what it truly was: a grieving person trying to hold it all together: her job, her school, her life. But, to the chapter as a whole, I was invisible. I only held value when I was the epitome of what was advertised at every recruitment event.

To make matters even more offensive, during recruitment, I was told by someone not to share with the potential new members that I was adopted. The topic came up because someone asked me about heritage. I am no stranger to this occurrence. It happens all the time! People are always asking me if I’m Irish or Russian, especially people who are not from Miami. Then they say… where did you get your accent? I love being the unique individual that I am. I don’t find myself “weird” because I deviate from the “norm” in this respect. It just makes me unique. I can understand how some things are inappropriate to share at an event. You wouldn’t share that you are a recovered drug addict. The point of recruitment is to mimic a professional environment. You become keenly aware of how to  talk to people, how to hold positive conversation. Thus, it’s not the appropriate time to to delve into emotional or controversial topics. But, this is not controversial. This is a fact. This is a legal process that occurred. It is documented and notarized. I am not interested in anyone’s opinions. The purpose of sharing was not to engage in a debate, but rather, to answer the question: where did I get my accent from? What would they have preferred? For me to lie? How convenient that must be, huh? To erase yourself and conform to something that fits into a nice, neat box with a bow and not have to share something about yourself that makes you different. Adoption doesn’t change race or ethnicity. If you can’t accept that, then you should just purchase a doll and save everybody the anguish. Don’t adopt children and raise another generation of people as dumb as you.

This is discrimination and unfortunately, discrimination does happen in Greek Life. You recruit based off of your preferences, without any type of real, solid qualifications in place. You’re recruiting people for a clique but sugar-coating it with words such as “sisterhood,” “home,” and “baby *insert mascot here*.” I was enamored during my recruitment process because I would hear girls introduce each other as “my sister.” People’s social media was always filled with cute pictures that usually contained matching shirts and a quote about sisterhood. But, this is part of the marketing process. It’s not to say that you won’t meet genuine people. I did. But, the marketing for sororities portrays that you will find a home away from home, when in reality, that’s not what this is. Being in a sorority can be compared to a part-time job or any other campus involvement. There’s a standards committee in place to hold people accountable. There is no alcohol served at events. In fact, active members cannot be caught drinking alcohol or holding a red cup while wearing sorority memorabilia.  There’s a dress code for chapter meetings, which is strictly outlined in the handbook. If you are not dressed appropriately, which can mean that you’re shirt was sleeveless, for instance, you will not be allowed into the chapter meeting. If for any reason, you’re grades were to drop, you would be suspended. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these standards. I applaud the fact that this is not an open invitation to be wild. The issue is that it is presented as a community of friends who gather together to drink tea and have mixers. It’s advertised as a community where you could let your guard down and be yourself. And this is precisely what it is NOT! If you get too comfortable, if the smile comes off, if you’re falling apart, you will be held accountable and penalized. At the very least, you will be looked at differently. It’s a professional atmosphere cloaked in superficial friendship.

I reiterate that I DO NOT have a problem with this. This is how every organization on campus works. But, sororities primarily do not draw in crowds that are interested in that, because that part of the story is never advertised. People come for the sisterhood, the friendships, and to be part of a “family.” I think that people are vastly disappointed when they discover what it really is… not because it’s “bad,” but because it’s deceiving. I think a lot would be solved if there was honesty in the marketing. If it were presented as an opportunity to grow and develop leadership skills and give back to the community, it would be honest. But then again… just like in adoption… honesty means a great loss of money. If you can gain the same in the Pre-Health Club that you would in a Greek organization, why would you join the one where you have to pay? Trying to turn in the invaluable into a monetary figure has become the trend. If you want to join because you want the experience and you want to break out your shell, by all means! But, join for the honest reason. Don’t be coerced into joining for something that these types of organizations cannot provide you.

Society’s Letter to an Adoptee

Dear Adoptee,

It is our understanding that your mother cannot provide for you, so we will be sure to take full responsibility for placing you in the best home possible. Although no price can be put on a human life, please be advised legal fees will run up to nearly $35,000.

It is our understanding that from the time that you were five months old, you recognized your mother’s voice, scent, language. This is why it is imperative that from the moment you are born, we have to separate you from her immediately. Evidence has shown that you will probably cry day and night because you are afraid that the only person you have ever known is missing. Pretty soon, we’ll be sure to advise you that referring to this person as your “mother” will be deemed highly inappropriate and we will be sure to call you an unappreciative, angry adoptee for showing this type of animosity towards the people who adopted you. You are also discrediting our largest marketing tool, which is that you are a “blank slate” and that genetics play no role outside your looks.

We completely understand that you have way more in common with your biological relatives than just your looks. You likely act a lot like them too. You share plenty of interests. You share talents and research has even shown that there are major patterns in career choices among blood relatives. But, if we were honest with a lot of our prospective adoptive parents, we wouldn’t be making any money, now would we? We are a 14 BILLION dollar industry! That’s not money you see every day!

So, we do what we can to protect that slogan. In 44 states, we will seal your birth certificate. In all honesty, it’s really none of your business where you’re from. When your parents handed us a big hefty check and promised to take care of you, we made sure to do whatever was in our power to ensure them that you were theirs AND ONLY theirs. If you had a name prior to being adopted, we didn’t inform them. So, you will be receiving a brand new name, much like the witness protection program. Be advised that you will be receiving a surname and we cannot ensure that you will have any connection to it. For instance, if you are Asian, you may receive an American last name with your new identity. If you are American, we are likely to supply you with a Hispanic last name. Please be advised that this identity crisis will go on for your entire life. You will spend endless hours explaining why it is that you have the last name you do when you look vastly different from another person that will have this last name. Be prepared to hear inappropriate comments during this time by others who will call your first mother a villain, telling you that she abandoned you. Be prepared for us to tell you that you are endowed to your second parents and referring to them as a savior. We completely understand your frustration, however. But, in this society, these are the rules. You are expected to keep your first boyfriend in your heart forever, but expect different about your first mother.

If you left any siblings behind in your first family, you are likely to long for their presence growing up. After all, siblings are your closest genetic mirror. Unlike your parents, they contain DNA from both your parents, just like you! It’s quite common that you find you have more in common with them than you think. You will have similar personalities and temperaments. However, once again, we advise you to keep all emotions to yourself so that you don’t make the rest of society feel uncomfortable.

Please make an effort to conform to the culture you were given. To make your personality more similar to those around you. To not burden us with how you’re different and how your family is different from those children who are born to their families naturally. Make an effort to fit in. Put your interests on the back burner. You owe it to your saviors to keep that old identity sealed and conform to the new one we gave you. After all, it cost $35,000.

Sincerely,

Society