My mom and my face
I have already written about my father and how he has inspired me and my education. But I should mention my mother, who I to a fault ignore in my education experience. Though my father pushed me to excel, never quit, and “make it”, it was my mother who was there for me in both the senses of the phrase. My mother would drive me to CSULA on days when I couldn’t drive do to my state of both insomnia and depression. My mother who went to every single parent/teacher conference as my father was always at work, a self admitted work-oholic. My father may have been the one to teach me about how the world was/is, what questions to ask, basically ask every question you can think of….but it was my mother who taught me how to see the world as it can be, and one day will be. Put simply my mother talks the talk and walks the walk. A dedicated Jehovah’s Witness, my mother try’s her best to live the words she reads in the bible on a daily basis. As a young girl I would ask my mother about the different races in the world, why are some black, some white etc, and she told me that we are all flowers in a garden, all different colors that make one beautiful garden. I walked away satisfied with this answer and still today am satisfied. I believe this is also something Alice Walker’s mother taught her. (I can’t remember where that is, so if you reading this do, please comment) I remember her also teaching me about feminism, well kinda, she told me that, “a man’s work is from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done” What a phrase, not her own I know, but to be able to tell that to your daughter, tell her that she will never be finished working, if she decides to get married, actually encouraging single-ness…and yes that is encouraged in our religion…Basically telling me to think twice before engaging in anything, how and why I treat people the way I do, the words I use, always encouraging self-reflection and growth. Still to this day, she encourages forgiveness, non-judgemental way of life.
One day after I took my mother to see my doc on my father at Pitzer college, there were a lot of things my mom did not expect to see… Some work on queer and transgendered people. Well, the next day I asked my mom about what she thought of the work (yes mine was the best, she confirmed) But she loved this project featuring two black gay young men giving advice on issues, gay issues directly but translatable human issues, i.e. dating etc… So I asked my mom about these types of videos and what she thought, basically I wanted to start a fight, kinda. She began to tell me a story I have never heard before and since. See what I forget, is that my parents don’t live in a bubble, they have navigated this world and seen more than I will see. She began to tell me about work, she worked at Amtrak for almost 30years, and my father referred to Amtrak and would answer our home phone “Amtrak, Gay and Lesbian Center”…good or bad this is my father and how my mother has survived it more than likely hinges on her bible reading…Back to the story, so if you can’t guess from my father’s line, there are/were a lot of gay people at Amtrak. My mom began to tell me about working there, and answering phones all day and laughing with her co-workers, which were, though she didn’t know it at the time, gay, transexual (her words) and a like. She had fun with all her co-workers and I imagine this is what got her through the day. One day she went into work and one of her co-workers was missing, and she asked why, and learned that he had died of AIDS, she didn’t even know he was gay. Her co-workers ridiculed her naivety for not “being able to tell”, but she thought of him as a friend to laugh at work with. As she told me this story tears began to fill her eyes ever so slightly, she missed “them”, those many who she worked with and who died of AIDS-What can I say, she didn’t “know” they were gay, right or wrong, because she didn’t identify them by their sexuality, she didn’t know-
So my father taught me about how the world is and my mother taught me about how the world should be.