“It takes a village to raise a child.” However well meaning this adage may be, it is sometimes taken too much to heart. Recently during a visit to the farmer’s market my girlfriend and my kids went off in their own direction as I mulled over the hundreds of spices there were to choose from. I was oblivious to what they were doing until I heard what sounded like my girlfriend’s voice at an octave she never uses. I turned to find her arguing with some older woman. All I could make out was the word “Kids” so the momma in me kicked in and I hurried over to see what was going on. It seems my kids had been handling the sprouts and the woman did not take kindly to it. Now mind you, my poor sheltered offspring have been raised in suburbia where there are just regular staple items all lined up in neat little packages in your tidy neighborhood grocery store. Going to an open farmer’s market where the fruits and veggies are there in bulk for you to stuff your little plastic bag till your heart’s content was quite the experience. This being new to them they were doing a bit of exploring. My daughter asked a question about the sprouts and my girlfriend, an educator by trade, saw it as a great teachable moment. She allowed her to handle the produce as she explained where it came from and how it gets to be on your dinner plate. This is where it gets interesting. See, my children are pale little kiddies with blue and green eyes. My girlfriend is an african-american beauty of deep mocha skin and locks that fall down below her shoulders. So when this woman felt it necessary to say something about the kids handling the food she made no connection between the kids and my girlfriend. “Please don’t handle the food” she said. My girlfriend standing by doesn’t say anything not realizing the woman was talking to my kids. My kids apparently did not actually hear the lady make her request and she took further offense to that. She quickly became irritated and once again told the kids to not handle the food, except this time she used a harsh and condescending tone. “What? Are you hard of hearing? I SAID! STOP HANDLING THE FOOD!” Well, the devil came down to Georgia at that moment. My sweet-natured and normally docile girlfriend grew horns and spit fire right at this woman. The look on her face as my girlfriend announced, “I AM THE PARENT HERE, they are with me and any comments you have can be directed at me, NOT THEM! You leave my kids alone and go on about your day!” I can’t tell which made a greater impact on this woman; being put in place for scolding someone else’s kid or the confusion of having this very black woman claim these very lilly white kids. Either way, the look was priceless! As tickled as I am by that I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth made this woman think it was ok to talk to my children that way.
This is not the first time that I have witnessed someone take it upon themselves to discipline someone else’s child though it was the first time that it had happened with my child(ren). So my children were handling the sprouts, and by handling I mean they picked up a bunch, looked at it, smelled, put it back and admired how they looked all together in a giant pile. Now when I go to the produce aisle whether it be a farmer’s market or a grocery store, I pick up the produce, I touch and feel it, I may even smell it before I make my choice. What is the difference here? The age? Look around and you would see every single adult in that place doing the same thing.
Folks, adulthood does not come with a special incentive card that lets you be the authority over any and every child around you. Every child does not automatically need to be reared by you simply because you are “Of Age.” You don’t know the nature of what these children are doing or their motivation for doing it. You don’t know how the parents are choosing to raise that child or why they are parenting the way they choose to. There is little else more personal than your child. Don’t always assume that you know what is best for someone else’s kids. My girlfriend and I make it routine to expose my kids to experiences that take them away from the electronic gadgets that so plague young people’s lives today. We want them to experience the world four dimensionally and our trips to the farmer’s market is a part of that. Handling the sprouts is exactly what we want them to do. To ask questions about what they see and encounter as a new experience is the very thing we want to encourage. So, grouchy lady from who knows where, I hope a lesson was learned that day. Stay in your lane and next time you feel you the need to address someone else’s child, think twice! You just never know 😉
If you found your way here then It was you who chose to filter in. Enter at your own risk. This is my work, my thoughts, my perspective, my view, my reality. Key word, “My.” Read if you dare but censor me not! I will not conform when you were the one who chose to walk in.
Another Valentine’s day has gone by and so I found it a perfect time to write about something that has been on my mind for some time. One of the experiences in my life that has served as a catalyst for my rededication to writing and a motivator for starting this blog. On March 28, 2008 I met someone that truly changed the ENTIRE course of my life. I had a typical life and lived in the typical soccer mom world. I baked cookies for my kids, I prepared orange slices for little league games, volunteered for almost every cause there was…I even taught Sunday school. And on that pivotal day in March, I fell in love with a woman. Having to face the reality that I could feel such an attraction for someone of the same sex was daunting enough but what came soon after jarred me to my core. I did not want this! I did want to want her, I did not want to walk away from a perfect life, a perfect marriage. I ever so desperately did not want to be gay! My attraction was inescapable though and the grip she had on me was unlike ANYTHING I have ever known. I was lost. How can I deny this feeling but how dare I even consider walking away from my perfect life? How can I disrupt the life that I built for my children? How dare I even think of affecting their lives in such a way? For every ounce of doubt and guilt that I felt she gave me strength in my desire to examine who I really was and what kind of life was most genuine. Truth be told, I always felt out of place. In a stepford kind of world I felt I stuck out like a sore thumb. I resisted my feelings and fought my curiosity to no avail. One day she kissed me and in that kiss I became me. Like born for the first time but having the capacity to recognize it as that. A new birth. The sun seemed brighter, the leaves on the trees were greener and the breeze I use to barely notice made my skin tingle constantly. I felt as if my senses were awakened for the first time. Like I had never really looked at things before or felt or smelled anything until then. I fell desperately and madly in love with her. I lost myself in the euphoria of it all and didn’t realize what was happening. I was so caught up on the intricacies of balancing my need to safeguard my children from any kind of pain and allowing myself to indulge in what I was feeling that I just didn’t see it happen. Each day she took liberties I never gave permission for. She became more comfortable in that the way I loved her left a space for her to do her will. I was blind and full of wonder at the person I saw past that which she presented. I dare say I knew her better than she knew herself. I think she feared that and in turn feared me. Her fear turned into something much uglier. She was hurtful, harsh, cruel and mean. She hurt me in ways that are much harder to repair. Sometimes I actually rather she’d just hit me. A bruise eventually goes away but what she did remains. I never meant to give away so much of myself. Never meant to entrust her with that kind of power. When I finally gained an ounce of clarity after dealing with one last betrayal, I walked away almost three years after I met her. I started a new normal, me, my real self and my kids. Time went by and regardless of the hell that I lived through with her, thoughts of her haunted me still. Damn it if I didn’t STILL love her. I hated myself for loving her more than I could ever hate her. I couldn’t understand why or how I could still love her. She plagued my mind. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work. The thoughts that overpowered me were filled with sadness at the realization that our lives could have been great. I loved her genuinely and was truly devoted to her. If she had been humane in any way, we could have…well, those thoughts honestly aren’t worth finishing. The reality was that she wasn’t. She didn’t, she chose not to, she couldn’t. I struggled with this internal battle much longer than I care to admit. When my head finally came down off that cloud I barely recognized myself. I got angry enough to shake myself back to reality and never look back. I had learned to begin again before and so I was not afraid to do it once more. It took some doing but I was determined. I vowed to be alert to who I am and be faithful to myself in that. I am a new person now, stronger and much more in tune to what makes me who I am. I am surprised at some of the things that I am honest with myself about and I am enjoying discovering new facets of what makes me “Me.” So on the day after Valentine’s day I release what was left of that past that so forcedly tried to remain part of my present. I let go of the wounds that so harshly scarred my heart to make room for what I genuinely deserve.
Truly Yours, Trulyliz.
The past few years have been quite transforming for me. I have made some drastic admissions to myself that have led me to a life I’d never imagined for myself, both good and not so good. What I can say is that this transformation has made me more honest, more real and much more true to who I am and always have been to my core. Hence the chosen name; Liztruly for the person that I am today truly is me. I started this blog because I find writing to be not only cathartic but also helpful in putting one’s thoughts in perspective. Sometimes I am bombarded by differing positions on an issue, a topic or a situation within my own belief system and I come to a point where I can’t decipher which will win out and define me at that moment. So I write and in my writing I find the clarity that I need. Sometimes I read things that I have written and think, where was my head when I wrote that? I’m sure there will be a lot of that in this blog and I will be the first to point out where I have voiced an opinion that is just plain crazy. Now that I am putting my words out there for people to read, I brace myself for others telling me when I say something they feel is crazy. Ready for the challenge, off I go! I hope to challenge minds and to broaden perspectives. I hope to blow apart stereotypes and preconceived ideas brought on by generalized misinformation. I hope to bring about an opportunity for everyone to really look inside themselves and either recognize who they really are or discover that they don’t and need to do something to change that as I have done. At the time I took that step to live this life as genuinely as possible I didn’t think it was very brave. Today, I know it was and I am glad I did. Join me for it is all good when it is truly YOU!