Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In One Breath



So many people say that one breath your life can change. As I heard that growing up, I never thought for a second it would ever refer to myself. I always thought it would refer to someone else. Never in a million years did I ever see my life unraveling such as mine.

I came from a loving home, a mother, a father, and to top it off a brother that I learned to hate while growing up but then later realizing he is an amazing human being. Siblings typically grow up teasing and causing pain to the other and driving parents crazy, Well, my brother and I did just that. We drove my parents not only crazy but we challenged them on the thoughts of why they even had kids.

Yet my life resembled that hand knitted scarf with one piece of yarn missed in those hundreds of interlocking pieces. If one were to pull that one missing interlocking strand of yarn, the entire scarf would begin to come unraveled.

I have been trying to find my path in life for years. My purpose on this earth, what am I supposed to be doing with my life? While in high school so many girls that I either knew or knew of had plans. They knew what they wanted to do and they set out to achieve those goals and they did it style, beauty and grace. Some married money, some were financially successful. I think one of the already crashing moments of my life was when I saw Gigi Tierney at the hotel I worked at.

She, along with four of her close friends, dinned at the cafe I was working in. She shared how she struck it rich in the real estate world, another woman shared how she married money, another shared with such conviction and strength her valedictorian graduation from Western Law now focusing on the laws of domestic violence issues  and last but not least, the one woman I envied so much even more than Gigi, she was the president of her very own fortune five hundred company.

There I stood before these women who seemingly had everything all together and I who was living minimum wage paycheck to paycheck struggling financially, going through a divorce so nasty while living in a small low-end apartment. I felt ashamed of my life and when all four of those women felt the need to share their successes, I just wanted to become that Ostrich that buries her head in the sand so not to see their life nor mine.

We have all had those moments in our life from either someone that we knew or someone that we wish we never struck up a conversation with. Society puts such a stigma on what we should be doing instead of focusing on what we are doing. Does money and power actually define who we are? I thought our lives were supposed to be defined by how we treat others, how we are while out in public? Our own successes should be measured by our accomplishments no matter the size or the definition of what they may appear to be.

 My mother God bless her soul who still to this day at a great beautiful age of eighty-four, still has a need for lipstick when she walks out of the house, her hair perfect, her clothing pressed and detailed with jewelry, her nails manicured and stunning. Then there is me who is most comfortable at throwing anything on matching or not head out to run errands. Often my hair is tasseled and unruly my eyes resembling a raccoon or my pants wrinkled giving the impression I just pulled them out of the bottom of my dirty clothes or clean hamper.

I never thought in one breath that I would ever blog about my life for the vast world to see once I hit that "Publish Post" key that I pound my story on through my laptop. Never did I ever expect to write about myself nor sound so narcissistic or invite others to my "Petty Party"

Yes, we often do make choices that will reflect us as human beings, some choices may be grand and some may be failures that will haunt us like the skeletons that dangle in our closet that when opened, it is a constant reminder of the choices that we have made. Funny how the successful choices we have made are not the same skeletons that remind of the success we have planned, nope, only the bad choices of those skeletons that hang and frighten us each time.

I came from a family of money, much money. When you come from a family of money the challenges come with it as well. The expectations from others can suffocate one so greatly that no matter how many times you inhale or exhale you just cannot seem to catch up to the expectations. My mother, a woman who I have learned to love, begged for her forgiveness for the pain I have caused her, came from a family of old and new money. Appearance was and still is everything to her. How we dressed as kids, the impression that we must leave when out in the world, how we were supposed to be the happy family of our lives was exhausting. My father on the other hand was the one that was and still is down to earth. He is more realistic to the world of life.

They say that opposites attract and well, whoever coined that phrase was not kidding. How my parents have made it to sixty-one years of marriage blows my mind. My fathers family were farm people growing up and living on a farm. My grandfather that employed African Americans as slaves living on his farm is the complete opposite of my mother. My mother grew up in the rich homes, she had the plush life, she had the fancy cars, the social parties that she attended. Go figure!!

Because my mother came from money, not only did she know how to live with money, she knew how to make money and make money is what she did the best. When my parents married they received a piece of land from Las Vegas during the early fifties. Not sure what to do with it, the uncle that passed this to her told her, "hold on that lil' darlin, some day you will find yourself rich, rich, and very rich"

Fast forward ten years later, my parents received a certified addressed letter from the state of Nevada explaining how they wanted to obtain their land for a casino. They wanted to buy the land. This was before condemnation take place.  My parents refused to sell and well, the negotiating games began. First it was one million, then four million, then eight million to purchase this huge piece of land.

Then finally, my mother told the state of Nevada, "Fine you can have it for ten million with fifteen percent residuals from your casino for the next twenty-five years" the documents were signed, my parents received a huge check along with the promise of receiving fifteen percent of profits. Well, my mom didn't stop there. She then turned that ten million and turned to invest half of it into Disney, Ford, you name it, if it was a growing company, she invested. My mom knew when to sell and when to buy.

We went from a small practical home to this huge home, nannies, fancy clothes, country clubs, fancy cars. My life had taken a turn for something that was expected of myself and my brother. Success! That is what defined my mother and she expected us to follow in her shoes. She expected us to be successful in whatever we did. From our homework to our business and personal  life. If we failed, then that was our own fault.

The expectations never stopped there. My mother expected me to marry money and she always tried to introduce to me friends who had a son that was destined for success. I remember this one guy Rick he drove a Mercedes at sixteen, lived in the same style home "LARGE" his family was friends with mine. They were also members of the same country club as my parents. They owned sail boats, land, money, and more money. Both set of parents would hold their breath as we dated expecting to announce our engagement at eighteen years old.

Well you can imagine my moms dismay when I told her I broke up with him because he cheated on me. I was even more shocked to learn that she told me to turn my face, not to pay attention to it. She explained to me that it was part of the lifestyle that wealthy people did. She told me to forgive, so I did and he did it again, I forgave, he did it again, I forgave...well you have the jest of this story. Finally I just told Rick to take a flying leap and lose my number. My mom and his mom was devastated that we stopped seeing each other. I think I was more disappointed in my mom's expectations of allowing him to cheat. I began to wonder if my father did that as well.

Did she turn her cheek each time he did something wrong? Did she ignore my fathers short comings? Did she stay married because it was cheaper to stay married? Only she knows.

In one breath, my life changed.