Who I am . . .

I am a woman. I've been hurt and used and find a strength within me that I never imagined I could wield.  I've been touched without permission.  My body became what it has without permission and I had to learn to love it and found wonder in everything it's capable of.

I am mixed.

My mother is from Thailand and I have her exotic asian features.  I grew up with Thai food, but it's not what you would find in American Thai restaurants.  It's squatting on the kitchen floor eating fried fish and rice mixed and fed with fingers.  It's spicy and layered with flavor that most people can't handle because it comes with smells you can't stand.  My Dad is from Texas.  He grew up with cowboy boots and chili. My roots run deep in Louisiana politics, education that was fought for and slavery that came on a ship from Africa without willingness.  My Dad marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and I own a heritage I will never need to experience because the way was paved in blood that runs through my veins.  We don't watch our heart beat but we know it does and it always has.

I am a daughter.

I have a Mom and Dad and Step-Dad.  They love and support me and guide me, even when I want to falter through life.

I have in-law parents that assure me I still belong to them.  But they have a son and the daughter I am believes they need to stop fighting for a marriage I no longer want and be the parents he needs because I get the impression I'm doing really well and he might not be.

I was a granddaughter, but I'm not anymore.

When you lose your parents you become an orphan, but losing my grandparents made me lose time.  I was lost in a void of grief for a while and I still get lost in memories of baking and snuggles and being loved beyond meaningless words.

I am a sister. 

I am a baby sister and an older sister.  I am a step-sister and sister in-law.  I am a sister by birth and a sister through adoption.  I have foster siblings that will always be close to my heart. I am talked to and talked at and loved bravely and defiantly.

I am a mom and giver of life.

I was an egg donor in 1999. I gave birth to my sons in 2001, 2003, and 2006.  I've given babies to other families as a gestational surrogate in 2008, 2010, and 2012. One egg donation cycle. Six pregnancies.  Seven IVF cycles.  Seven babies.  Five boys, two girls. Five families.  One uterus. One body.

I am a welfare mom. 

This is what it looks like. My ex was my full source of support and when he took that away and took me off of his medical insurance, I became a welfare mom. I'm not proud of it.  It's uncomfortable.  But it was necessary.  Even without child support, I have been able to take care of my kids but it comes from my family and social structures of support.  Thank you for your tax dollars.  I'm working now, but not yet as independent as I plan to be.

I am a friend. 

I'm not a good friend.  I don't track people down and insist on time together, but when we are together, I will give you all of my time and focus.   I will give you my honesty and clarity and hugs that are meant to hold you up and together.

I am literate. 

I read to escape and write to be present.  I write much more than I read lately.  I'm here.

I am brave. 

I will do what needs to be done, regardless of my fear or doubt.

I am married but I am not a wife.

I'm in marriage purgatory and it looks like separation but feels like I'm breaking out on my own and yet being pulled back by tar and grease and disgust.  It suffocates me in anger. I'm still his verbal punching bag but this morning I punched back.  I told him what was on my mind and felt empowered in so doing. I was also laughing on my way to work because of it.  The belly laughs were a workout.

I am cisgendered.  

I like boys.  I went through a curious phase in my early 20's, but I don't like kissing girls.  I'm learning that being female means I can do all of the things I needed my ex to do because what I do doesn't have breasts.  I do.  I wear dresses and jeans.  I take care of my family.  I can be a damsel in distress, but women are strong, and taught to strange ourselves into a state of being othered by society's warped standards.  We are taught to be victims because we are told we are the weaker sex, but historically, there are examples of women being the foundation of the home and the workplace and any other place we decide we want to be.  Being female shouldn't be an insult but it often is.

I am Christian.

I grew up in a Foursquare Church and that is where my pentecostal roots are buried.  I was baptized. I pray and go to church and sing worship songs.  I find that my beliefs haven't softened, but they've shifted.  I find ways to do what I see is right, and sometimes I do what is right for me. I don't see value in tearing down someone else for the sake of my religion. I love gay people.  I won't look down on them.  I love muslims.  I love atheists and Jews. I don't often proselytize.  If I can't sway you to want what I have when you see me, I won't try to embarrass others with my way of living by drawing attention to it.  I have specific wishes once I die that my funeral is not made into an alter call.  I used to be that person that was selling my joy to anyone interested.  Right now I'm enjoying the Grace that covers me where I fall short.  I may be jumping short in areas too.

I am a fighter. 

I know when to put up a fight and when to step back.  The goal of most fighters is to avoid an unnecessary fight.  It's not that I need to let others bully me, but I'm aware of my capabilities and I use my anger with intention and will try to avoid burning bridges when I'm in control.  I'm not always in control.

I am an autism mom. 

My ideals are constantly fractured and expanded by my amazing children and the spectrum they dance on.  It wasn't something I ever expected, but the greatest gifts in life rarely are.  They have grown and and learned and given me equal measure in growth and learning.  I'm a better person for what they've given me, and honored at the trust I see in their eyes.

I am a singer.  

I don't get paid to sing, but I sing at every opportunity and it pays me in happy emotions.

I am a blogger. 

I take willing readers on a ride through my heart and lend my glasses so you can see me intimately.  Into me see. I give but never ask to receive.  I can't decide if it's selfish or selfless.

I am a changeling. 

While I don't come from fairies, I was formed in a place far from where I was meant to be and I am ready to reign as Queen on my throne.  I just need a bit of growing and I'm still in transition.