Saturday, February 13, 2016

Light Bulb!

My youngest feeding the ducks.

I’ve been in a coma.  Not a regular coma, but a living one.  I once read a story about a young man who was in a coma.  His body couldn’t move but his mind was awake.  He could hear everything people were saying, but he couldn’t move his body, open his eyes, or give his family a signal.  That’s what my life has been like.  The past two years have been an awakening where all parts of my self are beginning to move.  I found out that my youngest child has a moderate learning disability and my oldest has a mild one.  Both are highly intelligent which makes it even more frustrating.  In addition I found out that certain learning disabilities are inherited.  Hmm, I know I sucked at school, but I knew how to read at an early age and managed to get a Masters degree.  My lightbulb moment wasn’t until I went to a local learning disabilities conference.  While there I heard success stories and saw techniques used to help young people with learning differences.  I learned more about dyslexia and other learning differences including processing disorders. In the near future I am going to get a professional evaluation to pinpoint my specific issues (processing differences I suspect) but now know my genius was always there, I just didn’t have the tools to tap into it.   Back in the 80’s when I was in school it was a definitely a one size fits all educational paradigm.  I desperately wanted to learn and grasp what I was being taught but it was a struggle.  I stuck with a college major I could manage but knew that there was more I wanted to know and learn.  Like the guy in the coma, I could hear and sense a greater calling for myself but the rest of me was paralyzed.  Well, I am awake now thankfully because I’ve had to deal with my children’s difficulties.  I am awake now because I need to know how I could better help my kids.  I am awake now so I can help others.  I am awake now so I can fly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sufrir un Examen (Taking the Test)

Columbia College Chicago graduation 1998
I am determined to go back to school.  I've been trying since I finished my M.A. from Columbia College Chicago back in 1998.  But I think now after all these years, I've really grasped the importance of what education means to me.  You see, for the longest time, I thought being in school was about suffering.  I mean really just racking my brain over a test and coming out victorious.  I took physics, advanced math, chemistry, and biology for science majors while in undergrad all in the name of proving I could figure it out and "suffer" through the course (I say that because in spanish "sufrir un examen" means to take a test or "suffer" through a exam.  Spanish was one of my majors in college :-). Most of the time, I failed.   There were a few courses that I kinda breezed through (Dance wasn't one of them.  I suffered through those also, secretly jealous of all the beautiful ballerinas who seemed to turn flawlessly on a dime)  with developmental psychology being the most interesting.  I remember my brain just opened up and absorbed all of the information the teacher threw at me.  I thought that it was just an easy "A" and not a real challenging class.

Fast forward 2014 and I have to take a Tests and Measurements (psychological assessments) class online.   Everyone is scared and worried about the difficulty of this class.  Most of the students are working adults and/or busy parents going back to school.  I was homeschooling my son and had my youngest was in school part time so I didn't always have my days free.  Yet, I managed to do very well even with the challenges of writing a literature review.  Some days were tough, as I poured over article after article, nervously hoping I doing the right thing.  However, meticulously organizing notes and ideas and carefully writing in APA style pushed me to the point where I felt like maybe I had been viewing education all wrong.  It wasn't about suffering but about stretching my mental ability. It was about the curiosity of learning something new and like the butterfly in the cocoon, growing until I can work my way out and stretch my wings of knowledge to help make the world a little bit better.  I don't think folks see education as the gift it is anymore.  It's about tests, making money, and a controlled citizenry. But for me, I want to learn because for the first time in my life, I've found something that clicks with my brain.  I've come to realize that people are successful at the things that click with them.  So those who click with science are just as cool as those who click with music.  We all have our gifts and I have learned that it's not about suffering, but growing and expanding in ways which awaken the corners of the soul.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The 2014 Journey

I don't talk about my training as a Dance/Movement Therapist.  I think after so many years of being in the South and having to constantly explain and defend my work, I just said screw it.  There is one thing though I know for sure,  this training has helped make me a better wife, mother, person.  I was taught to meet people where they are,  understand that I can't "make" a person respond a certain way, and that below the surface, everyone has a story.  When I saw this blog post below by a fellow therapist, I smiled a little.  Sometimes it takes someone else to make us see that we are wonderful, powerful beings on this planet with our given gifts.  So today, I will smile a little more,  continue to move with grace, and appreciate my strength.

Check out the blog post here:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Where's my Tribe?

Am I the only person who has asked this question at one time or another? The one thing that school does is provide us with is an instant tribe. We may not like the people in it but for a certain amount of time we are subjected to this readymade community. But once school ends and we are free to express our genuine self, whatever that is, where do we find a new tribe? Straight or gay, black or white, everyone doesn't fit neatly into a package.
Just a question, just an observation...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Healing Through the Arts Fundraiser!

courtesy of the Beverly Arts Center

I was recently hired to work with the outreach program at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago.  My classes begin in October, but with the advent of the teachers strike, many teachers who started in September are on hold.  I saw on The View television show that the musician Prince is doing a concert in Chicago to help lift the energy of the city.  That in addition to the emails I get from the program director asking for patience from the artists during the strike compelled me to do something to aid this wounded community.  Below is information on my fundraiser Healing Through the Arts.  You can click on the widget to the right to donate.  Know that your donation is going to help the arts community in an area that needs healing.

The Beverly Arts Center is a valuable resource for the arts in Chicago. Its is a non-profit organization that depends on the community for support. Situated on the south west side of Chicago it provides programming and outreach for an area that is still thriving with caring communities. More importantly, Beverly Arts provides an outreach program to inner city schools in south side communities that are artistically underserved.

I was hired to be one of the outreach teachers with my start date in October. With the start of the teachers strike, many artists who started in September are on hold. Artists are not getting paid and students are not getting served. I saw on The View television show that the musician Prince is doing a concert in Chicago to help lift the energy of the city. That in addition to the emails I get from the program director asking for patience from the artists during the strike compelled me to do something to aid this wounded community.
I came up with the idea of a fundraiser to aid the center in providing support to the artists who work in local schools but also, to provide support for community programming for young people when they are not in school and outside of school hours. I know the strike will end soon, but with the state of affairs in public education, the arts are the first thing to get cut.
I want to ensure that the artists who work in the community are supported and that there is a place where young people can go to enjoy and explore their creative voice through the arts in the community. Know that your donation is going to help in an area that needs healing through the arts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I am not my HAIR!

My college years
When I was a freshman in college 23 years ago, I cut all of the relaxer out of my hair. My major was dance and I did not have time to worry about "sweating" out my relaxer. I didn't want to wash my hair everyday and blow dry. It wasn't long enough to pull back into a ponytail and even if it was, the stress from the rubber band would have broken off my hair due to it being fine and brittle.   I did texturize my hair at the time to loosen the curl but stopped doing that almost 15 years ago. My point is; I didn't worry about my hair because at the time dance was more important. Being the creative soul I knew I was meant to be overruled what people would think about my hair. I did have the occasional ignorant comment, even my Mom wasn't happy, but I never let that deter me from what I believed was best in achieving my goals.

I saw in the news that about 33% of African American women don't exercise because they do not want to ruin their hair styles. With the high numbers of obesity in our community is it not more important to be well and healthy? A healthy body makes for healthy hair, skin, and nails. We look better and feel better. It is not about the hair! It's about the health and happiness of the soul inside. I just ask that all women no matter the color look inside and work on loving the beautiful soul that is the self. No, it's not always easy with the way society looks at women, but if we collectively begin to hold ourselves higher we will teach our men and society a better way to treat us.

Here is a video talking about the hurtful tweets in regards to Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas’ hair.