Every morning the past few days I wake up like every other day..

Then I remember a new detail about myself… And the every otherness of the day feels like a facade.

Somewhere, many states away, I have a little brother.

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Now this brother isn’t so little. He’s 19 and already off living the college life.

I can’t help but feel a little let down in life. And not even by my father. But my mother, which seems a little unfair to put the negativity her way.

See this little brother has been financially supported by my father because his mother took my father to court to seek child support. So for 18+ years they have been receiving financial aid from my father and will continue to get that until little bro is out of college. My mother on the other hand, preferred to just cut her losses and we’ve strugged ever since. Rather than help pay for my own college, my father’s gambling caused us to nearly be evicted when I graduated high school. So working my butt off trying to pay for community college at the time, I gave my saviings up to keep a roof over our head. My summer after graduating college consisted of working 7 days/nights a week to hopefully regain that money but it never happened….

So now, years later I am doing really well in Community College and had once used my story to help others find the courage to go back to school. If I could lose my opporunity and regain it, even if a decade later, so can anyone else.

But now I see this brand new little brother off at a well known state university, with assisted pay from the sperm donor we share, and I feel pretty jaded. I’m at a rinky dink community college, and this very well may be as far as I go. And how far is an associates really going to take me?

Ever since that fateful day of him leaving us in debt, I have been in control of my parental relationship with my mother. It was me at 18 that made sure her bills were paid on time. It was me going grocery shopping and finally having real food in the house that didn’t come from some latenight convenience store jaunt. It was me going to the laundromat with a friend having clean clothes to wear the next day. It was me walking to work to save money for bills. I had finally gained the ability to see that I didn’t need to wait for a parent anymore to have what normal children should have. <~ My independance was truly born.

Flash forward to 13 years later and my husband and I pay 75% of my mother’s bills. She gives us a little money each week but it doesn’t cover any of the expenses we pay out. My husband doesn’t mind, but it may be because he is as equally oblivious to our financial structure as she is. My mom deserves half of my father’s retirement pay but she would rather he continue to gamble and drink away the money she could be getting than have to take anything from him ever again. She wants nothing to do with him so as usual the burden falls on my shoulders.

I’ve always had to struggle to be the grown up even as a child (well before the whole debt thing) and I have always been firm in my belief that this struggle made me a strong and capable person. I did not have an idyllic childhood and I have mentioned before I don’t dwell on it too much because I feel like my childhood is an abyss that can easily take away the power I have developed if I spend too much time allowing the memories to catch up.

I realized yesterday that this may very well explain why I constantly have to be doing something.. Why I overbook myself to the max whenever possible..So my negative thoughts can’t find me….

But this little bro..the surprise has forced me to slow my pace a bit, and childhood memories have resurfaced and I am angry at the past.. disapointed in the present, and then guilty for not having the faith to feel like everything will be ok. None of that has to do with the little brother, and I don’t even want to contact or know who he is until I can get my own crap together.

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Afloat

The Trumpet of the Swan was one of my favorite books as a child. I was big into conecting with animals way better than I could other people. The book made me love swans.

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Then I learned swans are considered an invasive species to my area.They originate from Asia and some parts of Europe. These birds were brought here because some rich dude who traveled abroad thought they would make a great addition to his personal pond. They then became a novelty for those who had their own ponds. (which really, how many could that be?). It didn’t take long for these birds to acclimate and then spread…all over….thanks rich dude

When they eat, they rip out the food source making it inedible to other natural water birds like mallards. Think of a guy ahead in a lunch line that with one move flips the entire table of food onto the ground. Then stares at you and tells you to eat off the floor…..

They are also extremely agressive and prevent other birds from nesting <~ further reducing those populations… because starvation wasn’t enough.

Suffice to say… Swans are real A-holes.

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Afloat

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I think this is the photo that truly cemented my identity as a digital photographer.

I dreamed of taking this photo for weeks before my husband deployed. I wanted to take a pick of the submarine, put itnt in black and white and then have it custom printed to go in a very specific part of our living room…. I feel like I made my dream come true to a degree..until I found out the custom print would be near $300 O.O.Reality is going to have to pay for that so it may take awhile before I can make it happen :/

Wedding of Horrors

This weekend my husband’s cousin got married. She made the most beautiful bride.

During the ceremony, I couldn’t help staring at her tattoo sleeve…

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Here she is, this seemingly awesome and sweet woman….with a bunch of serial killers on her arm lol.

They got married at a local state castle. I have lived here practically all my life and have never been. I always thought with its name it would be like 

I used to love this show as a kid. And I always wanted to go when I was little to see if it had any dragons..

This is the castle where the wedding took place. I looked around for a bit while people were still setting up.

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Now I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think any dragons are at this castle I visited.

So adulthood crushes another childhood dream of mine :(

There were, however, an abundance of cat statues:

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Let’s Talk About Race

I really wish my mother had talked to me about race…

All she ever said was when I was older is  “Scotland isn’t as racist as the United States” <~

The thing is though, which I feel parents fail to realize, is that children will learn things one way or another. Either they learn from you as a parent, what is promoted through the education system, from the media, or from peers. There will always be someone or something stepping up to teach our children when we don’t.

I learned racisim from my babysitter’s son.

My babysitter’s son was a few years older. I’m pretty sure he’s where I learned to be rough and tumble. He was a brute of a boy, not quite a bully, but still picked on me a lot. One day at his older sister’s game, he and I were playing and two black kids  around his age came up and started pushing me around. I ran away with him to the other end. He looked over and told me to go back and call them niggers. My memory of Scotland is fuzzy, so I dont’ know if that’s a term even used there, but I had NO idea what that word was. I asked what it meant and he refused to tell me. He pushed me towards them and told me I’d see.

So, spitfire that I am.. I did go over and shouted it to them at the top of my lungs. “NIGGER!”

Those two kids, both older and with skin shades darker, raised their eyes. I remember the look of anger on their faces. And as if I had whipped them, they turned around and ran off. They left me and my babysitter’s son alone for the rest of the day.

Me, little ol Faithie.. felt like I was a wizard. I put those kids in their place using ONE WORD. Seriously, how freaking cool is that to a child?!

Well not as cool as I soon learned.. For instance that word had no power on any of the white kids I grew up around. I grew up in a predominantly white area. My school was overflowing with military children and locals who were largely ex military. In my elementary school days, I had one African American person in my classes. ONE

Her name was Eboni and she was a really good friend of mine at first. I remember playing with her on the playground and trying to see who could swing the highest. One day when we were lined up waiting to go into the classroom, she told me that I smelled nice. That made me so happy because I had showered the night before and used Herbal Essences shampoo all over my body, because duh hair is everywhere.

I don’t even know why, but eventually we had a falling out at the playground. It’s funny how I can have so much memory of her comments, but not of the bad moments. I was angry, so  I used my super power word… And just like before, she ran off. In tears.

Word got to our Principal and we had a sit down. It was the Principal that told me the meaning behind the word. Why Niggar had so much power to only a certain few. I dunno if you consider it ironic, but my friend didn’t know what the word meant either. She just knew it was a bad word that white people say to black kids. Neither of us had NO idea what we were doing, why were reacting as we did, or why we were so angry to begin with.

Kids…ever mimiciing the world around them without truly understanding..

Eboni and I never got back to being friends. In fact, she ended up ruthlessly making my middle school days so unbearable that I transfered to a different high school to get a fresh start. Still though, when I see a woman that might be Eboni all grow up, I feel so guilty and ashamed because all I remember of her is the good moments we had and how I ruined our friendship.

I will talk to my children about race. Not in the drippy “Multiculturalism way” that the schools are so fond of telling the kids. True, their kids are a lot more integrated than mine was. I will never tell them that race is not an issue until it’s legitly not. Everyone is not happily integrated and life for other races is as easy as our own.

I will tell them that the world has a sneaky way of lulling people into complinace and ignorance and the people in our society do not deserve to be misled so.

I want them to hear people’s raw stories like my good friend who at 15 was sent to jail for 9 years because his friends robbed a store and and assaulted the owner.. and he was guilty just by being outside when it all went down. I want them to know of a teenage boy just on the other side of the river who was kicked out of school, because he had a verbal argument with another student and he was viewed as too aggressive. Not even one physical altercation on his record.  Or how a pregnant teen was forced out of school because she didn’t represent the image the school was trying to uphold. Or how wearing a hat in the school across the river gets you SUSPENDED. How black male teens are 3x more likely to get supended than whites for the same violations, and how black female teens are 6x more likely to get suspended for the same violations. In our own state. Our own region.  I want them to be moved by a teen’s rap about how isolated he feels in a world of white and how he wants friends but everyone assumes he likes Skittles and Arizonas.

This white woman will talk about race…To her white son and daughter. And with hope they too will talk about race and how to make this nation truly supportive of all it’s citizens.