Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Morning Glory

So what's your story? I've been asked this by many. Why not write it down. How did someone like me go from being a high school drop out, career waitress with alcoholic tendencies, single mom without a driver's license become a college graduate with a license to professionally teach what I love, home owner and soon to be business owner. When someone asks what happened that made me change my life, I tell them exactly what it was. My children. The minute I decided to be a mom was when I made a commitment to provide them as stable of a life as I could. I could not have done this without people like my mom and sisters, especially when my boys were younger. They helped nurture my babies when I was at work or there were times when I lived with them or them with me. When my boys started school so did I. I always told myself I would graduate college before they graduated 8th grade. It took a bit longer but I made it before they graduated high school. When my eldest son Estevan started K-4 I went from being a single mom to moving in with the kids dad to see if we could make it work. I began studying for my HSED and driver's license. I was 28 at the time. The next year when Darren started school I applied to one of the top colleges in the state, Alverno college and was accepted. I began my studies in Psychology. At that time the kid's dad was a heavy drinker, he tended bar before  eventually losing his job and began drinking more heavily. I too began drinking more often. We were both stressed. Some nights he wouldn't come home and the nights he would he would want to fight and became abusive. There were a few nights I didn't come home after work or slept in the van or downstairs where my mother was renting. My niece would babysit while I was working evenings or stayed late drinking. When he was sober he was either sleeping or in a bad mood. The kids were old enough to notice his temper and our arguments. I didn't want the kids growing up in a home with constant strife so I began planning to move out. I had a part-time job and at the end of my shifts their dad would collect my money to pay the bills and rent. He made side money gambling and tending bar under the table. I tried leaving once to live with my sister but she had no room, I had no car so he picked us up. I waited till tax time and had my accountant transfer the funds into a new account. I made an arrangement with my aunt and uncle to move into their upper 1 bedroom rental. I had to leave Alverno due to not having any mode of transportation. I stopped the excessive drinking and decided to go back to school after taking a semester or two off. I had been in the application process for the Milwaukee police dept so I decided to study Criminal Justice at Milwaukee Area Technical College. After passing some of the tests, I couldn't get over the 6 foot wall so that disqualified me. I switched my focus to Human Resources but wasn't really feeling that. I was 33 then and that is when my hubby came back into my life after having been absent since I was 21. We quickly fell in love and were married. I took another break from school while we settled in to our new life. During this time I had to get a restraining order on my X. There was still quite a bit of animosity between us and he made sure felt it. We went to court for 50/50 placement. I had been a waitress since I was seventeen. I enjoyed the hospitality industry and you could always find me in a kitchen baking or cooking. I always wanted to enroll in the culinary program at MATC but every time I mentioned it, someone said there was a wait list so I never did. But this time I called to see for myself. The program had low enrollment and there definitely wasn't a wait. I often thought of owning my own restaurant and prior to this it seemed out of reach. In Milwaukee, the food truck industry was up and coming. This was a little more within my reach. So I set out to take on this dream of becoming my own boss. 2014, I went to school Monday thru Thursdays and waited tables Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was able to be home during the evenings to spend time with the family. Finally in December of 2017, I graduated with a degree in Culinary Management. I began working on food trucks and in restaurant kitchens in 2016 and accumulated several hours of experience. In the spring of 2018, I received a forwarded email from one of my culinary instructors. The email was from the West Allis School District. They were looking for recent graduates with work experience to be hired in their Career and Technical Education Department as a Family and Consumer Science Instructor. An individual such as myself would be able to attain an experienced based teaching license by the Department of Public Instruction in the state of Wisconsin. Being a teacher always crossed my mind but never seemed within reach. But I figured since I received this email there must be a chance. For a split second, I contemplated ignoring it, I thought to myself that I'd never get picked. My plan was to secure a job as a chef or sous chef for a few years while paying off debt and saving up for a food truck. For some reason I started the application process. It took a few months and during that time I was really hoping that this to good to be true job would turn out to be true. By August, right before the start of the school year I received a confirmation letter. I got the job. My first semester was intense! I had a few breakdowns. My husband was in danger of losing his source of income. He is a mechanic and has his own LLC. The residential garage he was working out of was about to be up for sale. Thankfully for us, the owner is a friend of the family. We struggled to secure a loan but managed to and by October 31st, 2018 we closed on the house. The house needed to be renovated but we didn't have time to do that so we moved in January 1st. Today is December 18th, 2019 and so far the hubby has made many updates to the home including a gorgeous new kitchen, roof and upper bathroom addition although the bathroom has yet to be completed.  Each month was a struggle financially. Our goal is to refinance early 2020, pay off debt, purchase a food truck and be up and operating by the summer.  I share this story with my students. I actually begin with my childhood and what led up to me having dropped out of high school. Since I didn't take the traditional route teachers take to teach, the students find my story intriguing. As a teen, I lacked guidance at the most crucial stages. I was at a high school where I was just a number. So today, I stress to students how fortunate they are to be at a high school where they have so much guidance and support from staff and administration and encourage them to take advantage of it. They are my biggest cheerleaders right now. They are always asking when and where I will open the food truck. We will see. Until then, I will continue growing professionally, paying off debt and saving up. I do plan to teach for a few more years while selling food during breaks. God willing. I am 42 now and anticipate a bright future, hopefully at least one or both sons working by my side in a very successful business or if they head off to college or a trade school that would be just as awesome. What's your story? 



















Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Daddy Issues

     One of my very first of very few memories, I was around 3 or 4. We lived in what we referred to as the Pink house. My dad didn't live there but he came to visit once in a blue moon. It was a perfect summer evening, we had just come back from a walk to the corner store. My dad bought me and my sister candy. Me, my mom and dad all sat on the couch. I sat on my dad's lap with my bag of candy. My mom sat closely next to him I remember feeling pretty damn happy. My mom leaned over to kiss my dad, she looked just ass happy as me. I watched them kiss, they looked in love. I wanted to have a kiss too, so I leaned in and my dad kissed me one big kiss that lasted more than a second. I opened my eyes and my dad was smiling, I was smiling. Then, a quick hard and fierce slap across my face. As I saw my moms look of disgust on her face I felt the stingy  pain and for the first time I felt shame. I began to cry uncontrollably as my dad very calmly asked my mom "What did you do that for?' My mom said, "She has no business kissing like that."

     Shortly after that i remember going shopping for a TV with my mom and dad, I don't remember the shopping, just on the drive home I overheard my mom or dad mention that we were probably sleeping and that we would have to be carried in. So I pretended to be asleep. My dad had the TV in one arm and me in the other. I vividly recall ever step, feeling safe, content and maybe even loved.
 
    We moved to a different house, my dad called once in a while. He called my mom and she asked if I wanted to talk to my dad, of coarse I always took the phone. He would tell of how I'm going to see him boxing on TV one day. I would go on and on, always asking when I could see him, always asking, always getting the same answer, someday soon.

   Years went by and the phone calls faded. I was in 3rd grade when I remember  the few times going to visit my dad with my mom. I met my siblings, 2 brothers and a sister. They were younger than me, the youngest in diapers still. Not to long after that my mom had another baby from him. From then on I only saw my dad based on chance. I bumped into him as a teenager and as a young adult. Of the couple times that I bumped into him,twice he asked me who I was when I approached him. I invited him for dinner a few times over the years. I made it a point that my boys new who their Grandpa was. I would text or call him every so often to tell him I love him and see how he was.

He had his own life, did I intrude on it? I tried to give him as much distance as he maybe needed or wanted. Unfortunately for me that meant I had to accept absence. It was extremely difficult for me. Over the years I wasn't sure if I should be angry, hurt, sad or show compassion and empathy. I chose the later.

   My father passed away recently. Only I knew how much I loved him. Although that love was from a distance it was an absolute love reciprocated by a distant absolute love.

   My closure is this, if there is anything to forgive, I forgive. I leave the I'll never know's, right here. I am becoming who I was intended to be through who and what shaped my existence. I can now move forward finally feeling peace. Being sure of myself, that I loved and will love unconditionally even if that means from a distance.























Saturday, July 20, 2019

Issues

Issues, we all have something we haven't dealt with. We stay occupied and try to pretend it never happened. it's not there or hope that it goes away. But it keeps popping up and sometimes, just when you thought you were free of it, there it goes again. A few days ago I was on vacation sitting poolside, sunbathing with my Aunt.  I noticed a young dark, thin girl in the pool. She must of been about 10 or 11. She was with a gentleman who looked to be about 55 or 60. They were frolicking, he would toss her, she would come back clinging on tightly, they were very close, almost intimate. I could not focus on anything else. I think my aunt was going on about something but I couldn't say because I was zoomed in on the little girl and that man. As i continued to focus in on them, I began to feel angry and that anger started growing. The anger turned to rage and rage turned to hate. I had my sunglasses on so my aunt didn't noticed the tears. When I was around that girls age, I lived across from a pool and of coarse I frequented the pool often with cousins and siblings. On one particular day, I was playing with the usual person, he would chase me and hold me with my back towards his front and hop me to the deeper end then throw me. We did this repeatedly, it was fun. But on this day he wouldn't let me go, he started breathing heavily, tightening his hold round my waist, hopping around the pool at a steady pace I tried to remove his arm but he kept saying hang on. I tried harder to remove his hand but couldn't. I didn't understand exactly what was happening but it didn't feel okay at all. He finally released me. It was then that I felt used then discarded for the first but not the last time. I was too young to realize that I should be angry, I wasn't even sure if what happened was wrong or just something boys do. I loved and trusted this person. It never came to mind that I had rights and they could be violated. I kept it to myself and put it somewhere way back in my head. I don't remember anymore summer fun days at the pool after that. The man in the pool could have had pure intentions, I doubt it but it doesn't matter. What matters is my peace, my healing process and not letting my past prevent me from living fully in the present. As I was aware of my thoughts, I stopped myself from continuing to hate that man. I forced myself to let those emotions go and allow myself to enjoy the moment and focus on as as many positive things I could, and there were many options to choose from. I thought I forgave that person who wronged me, I thought I was healed.I guess it is a process. Please, tell your daughters, nieces or whoever, please explain to them their rights and what to do if anyone attempts to violate them. This blog is part of my healing process. I'm a messy person, my issues are many, I will conquer them one by one.

thank you for reading.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Marvelous

I was going to begin this blog by stating that I am no marvel. But, I am, and so are you. Meditate on that. Feel it. Embrace it. Be it. Live it. That is mostly a reminder to myself. If the odds had their way, I wouldn't be where I am. I'm by no means farther ahead than anyone, just way far ahead from where I began. Some of us really know what it means to hang on to hope. What are we hoping for? I hope for peace. That's it. Peace if I'm broke or have things, sick or healthy, alone or surrounded by others. I don't have it all together, all figured out, so what makes me marvelous? The same things that get us all up everyday, forgive ourselves for our yesterday's whatever , embrace our humanity, repent and submit to our Creator. Acknowledging that I am in need of compassion and mercy and because I have such ease of access to it, I also must offer it freely to those who have offended me and hope that when I am the offender (cause who's perfect?) that i will be offered forgiveness. That is how I move forward. If you could use some peace in your life, maybe take some time to reflect on who you could ask forgiveness of or maybe who you could forgive.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Guilt

Today I overheard a girl refer to a meme about women's indecisiveness when choosing a place to eat. Apparently we are apprehensive to choose because we made such a horrible first choice at the beginning of creation by picking the apple to give our man. It dawned on me. I have been carrying around this underlying sense of responsibility, some need to make up for a supposed sin of my very late ancestor. After all, how can we be trusted to make concrete decisions after that first mess? We must be unreliable. Not all women were raised to think that we are the bad seed. If you were raised in a Christian home, as I was, maybe you can relate. I no longer identify with those types of ideas, however they definitely still have an impact. I never allowed myself to feel or believe I was good enough. If I have an absentee parent, I question what am I doing wrong that they don't make any effort to have a relationship with me. If my boss is upset I question my actions or behaviors first. If my loved ones are unhappy I question what I did or could do differently to make them happy. The truth is, I am not responsible for anyone's happiness but mine. I have been working on being more aware of my thought patterns. This way I can stop a self-defeating idea using reason and logic. I imagine a guilt free mind. I want to know what that feels like. I can safely say that my intention is to work towards pleasing my Creator. If I continue on this path, I can trust that if I make a mistake, I can forgive myself and ask for forgiveness and after that have a clear conscious.  I wish for anyone reading this to make a conscious decision every day to trust your abilities, intuition and intentions. If you are striving to please your Creator, love will flow forward.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Goals

I'll get to where I've been, but first please allow me to share with you where I want to be.

As a Mescalero Apache, I want to learn all I can about the history, art, literature, culture, food and faith of my ancestors. I would love to learn the cooking techniques and incorporate more indigenous ingredients into my diet.

As an American, my hope is to build a stronger community through communication and continue to break down barriers of misinformation. I'd like to see less government involvement, less war for profit, and more unity among races, religions and classes.

As a Muslim convert, given the current dynamics surrounding equality vs. superiority, i would like to lessen the gap of misunderstanding between the 3 major religions of the world. I want to highlight our similarities while simultaneously debunking common myths and misconceptions concerning our faiths. 

As a professional, my goal is become Chef/Owner of a small business.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Labels

Who is Malina? I hate labels. I do my best to stay away from them, but then how would I describe myself? As I write this list, it does not go in order of importance. This is who I am today, not who I was or who I may become. I'm in my early 40's. I am the oldest of my fathers 6 children, otherwise from my mother, I was the middle child of 5 for a while until my mom married again and had her last two kids. Of my mothers biological children, I am the 3rd born. I am a wife and mother of 2 son's ages 16 and 17. To make things easier, I'm going to start a list of  "I am's"

  • Mescalero Apache, French (i will add to this after I do the DNA test)
  • American
  • Muslim
  • College Graduate
  • Culinary Instructor
I'm on a journey to learn how to be a more compassionate person. I've been hurt and have been the cause of pain, both the cure and the poison, depending on who you are and at what point in my life you interacted with me. There are some things I'm super proud of and some that I'm super ashamed of. I don't profess to be a good person, just human and far from perfect. Thankfully I am on a healing path and am enjoying the benefits of the healing process, in turn I hope to be a source of healing for some and better yet, for many. 

Throughout this blog I will share stories of my past or present experiences, post videos and sometimes just post about current events. 

Thank you to whoever cared enough and took the time to really get to know who I am.