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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Right now, I'm going through a top-down transformation. I'm starting with my hair - taking it from processed to natural; and so far I'm loving it. Get updates on my process on newtonatural.com.

Monday, August 30, 2010

She Taught Me to Breathe

As a child, I suffered with asthma. The strangest things would set off an attack: overheating, anxiety, exhaustion, among other things. Since I was also a teeny tiny thing, all of the Aunts in my family basically just referred to me as sickly, so I tended to stick close to Momma because she was the only one who knew how to help me through my attacks.

And if I have not mentioned it before, we were really poor, so Momma very rarely had an inhaler to offer, so she tended to try to prevent attacks by forcing me to avoid the causes. All the other kids would be running, jumping, playing, fighting, and I'd be sitting right at my Momma's feet; listening to her and the neighbor ladies gossip. But I was hard-heated, and a natural-born tom boy, so there were plenty of times when I'd slip away right after I heard the signal, "Oooooooooooooh, chile, you ain't gonna believe this." That meant something juicy was about to come out, and Momma didn't want me to be in ear shot anyway.

As soon as the speaker took that first deep breath, I would be gone.. . running, jumping, fighting, falling, and the most predictable. . crying. And plenty of times, I can remember that right in the middle of my spurt of running wild, I'd have an asthma attack. It would come on all of a sudden.. not really. I would start wheezing and coughing maybe a full 30 min's to an hour . I could feel my chest tighten up.. but when you're a kid, you kinda have to lose a limb to slow down.

I don't know how she knew it, but right at the moment when I'd find myself falling into a bush gasping for air, there would come Momma. She'd grab me up like a rag doll, and hold me in her arms. She'd look down at me with those calm eyes, and very softly, she'd whisper, "Breathe, Tesha." Then, she would inhale and exhale so deeply my body would rise and fall with the ebb and flow of her chest's movement.

Yeah, it's that easy, right? Well, no.

I'd start crying because I knew that I was taking in my last breath. . my chest would be hurting.. and my face would be tightening up. . I could hear her praying. . I didn't want to scare her.. I just wanted this whole predicament to be over, so I'd always try.. but nothing would come out.

She'd push down on my chest, which hurt like hell - I wonder if she knew that - and much louder, she'd say, "Deeply, deeply breathe. You don't have to be scared."

Well, I was, but this is the woman who NEVER let me down, never gave up, and always pulled me through so I knew that if she was saying that it was as easy as breathing there was something to this thing..

I don't know how it would happen. Somewhere in between her grabbing the rosary out of her bosom, saying a Hail Mary, pounding my chest, steadying her breathing.. somehow my breath would come back.. My chest would still hurt.. and my breathing would not steady for hours. . and the wheezing would last all night long.. but air would seep into my chest at least to the point to where I did not die.

I truly think that in those moments of panic, when I'd be laying there watching my short life flash before my eyes while watching Momma regulate her own breath, she was literally teaching me how to breathe. . which in those moments, was a Herculean task. She taught me over and over again, that even when it hurt, I had to keep on breathing. Even when I thought the last breath was indeed the last breath, I had to keep on breathing. When noone cared that I was over there dying in the bush but her, I had to keep on breathing. When I knew that even if I started breathing, at some point, I'd find myself helpless again, I still had to breathe.

My last asthma attack occurred the day my Momma died, November 6, 2007. I received a phone call with the news, and literally stopped breathing. I don't know if it was an attack, or while I was trying to cope with the news, I just lost the will that she worked so hard to inspire. But as I laid there on the floor, gasping for air - almost wanting it not to return - I felt the ebb and flow of her chest against me. I heard her demanding me to breathe.

And here I am. The daughter of Elizabeth Francois Scott, still breathing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School

Today is the first day of school for students in Pulaski County Special School District in Arkansas.

My daughter's bus came at 6:45 am. 6:45!! But you better believe, she hit the bus stop like she was hitting the run way -- in full Diva Mode. Wow! Still, she took a solid minute out of her routine to pop into my room and give me a kiss on the cheek. I love that (no so) little girl!

Now, the boys. . Well, this morning was a wake up call for me. The I'm Awake kiss I usually get - Nope! I rushed them through the getting ready routine, and walked them to the bus stop (twice). You think they even considered puckering them lips for a kiss for the Momma that is having a hell of a time transitioning. NO!

I watched them get on the bus. Before they got on, I made a plan, and BOTH of them shot me the DON'T EMBARRASS ME look. Embarrass them? I am NOT my mother! I don't embarrass. . I just want a little pre-first day of school affection.

I wanted to believe that they had just forgotten to give me a kiss, so I met them at the elementary school to give them another chance. I KNOW I heard my 9 year old say, "I am SO embarrassed." before he pretended not to see me and headed to class. My 7 year old -- the baby that is FULL of affection - said, "Mommy, I got it." and went on. .

No love. No snuggles. No nothing.

I know my kids are getting bigger, older, more mature. Well, Stevie Wonder can see that! But I'm just not quite ready for the transition to "My Mom embarrasses me" just yet. I LOVE them! I LOVE THEM! They are my whole world!

Kisses, I don't need. But hugs I do, so I plan to meet ALL of them at home - since I cleverly took the day off - with open arms when their first day of school is over. In the meantime, I'll just lick my wounds and recover.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where I am: intersted in foster parenting and adoption

Who misses broken sleep, random crying spells, dirty diapers, teething, diaper rashes, colic? Well, me!

It's weird that I raised my children while I was attending high school, finishing college, and entering the work force; all while I was in either one dysfunctional relationship or another. Now, I'm actually in a stable place in my career, in a really healthy relationship, and well, there are no more babies. And I feel like I'm at a place where I'm ready for a baby.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Well, Thursday I'm really excited about this Foster Parenting Meeting that I'm attending. It's an informational meeting that will get me acquainted about the program. I know NOTHING, and I feel pretty passionate that once I get married, I want to adopt. So, I'm going to get all the information I can about the requirements, expectations, difficulties, everything.

I want to give a child a better life. I've struggled, and learned, and I actually have no regrets. I want to expose a child (or hey, maybe to) to more opportunity than they would otherwise have; and at the same time add even more people to love to my family.

That's where I am right now. God is good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who are these people?

I had a HORRIBLE work day today; not because our full day of meetings did not following the agenda I created or because Shop launched later in the day than I had anticipated. Actually, what upset me today was pretty significant, and it really had nothing to do with work. It had more to do with my co-workers and the fact that I learned that no matter how far I go in my career, in a lot of arenas I'm still an outsider looking in.

Well, here goes the most painful part.

We took our out-of-town vendors to lunch today. It seemed like a good idea even though the day was not going quite right. . at all..

I volunteered to drive to Whole Hog - at least one of my attempts to go above and beyond with looking like a Team Player.

We were well into lunch when A mentioned that she saw a HI-larious video. She tried to describe what it was about, which didn't sound funny, but we wanted to laugh with her, so a few people found the clip on their iPhones. Some of them smiled some of them giggled, so I thought I'd give it a looksey too. Of course, it turned out that that video was one of the worst I had ever seen.

It was an interview of this black man that lived in the projects who was describing the attempted rape of his sister and how he saved her. He was poor, and as it tends to turn out, and could not speak the standard English language to save his life. The sadness behind the story was lost on my lunch dates. All they could hear was Ebonics and all they could see was this poor black family. I was horrified. I made a face, and looked out the window.

Well, we return to work, and I'll be honest I carried some hurt with me from that experience because I just could not understand how I worked with this group of people each day to end hunger and poverty around the word, provide opportunities to poverty-stricken families, and to educate, and they found this particular video about a woman that lived in poverty and was almost raped even a little bit funny. If she lived in Nepal, or Slovakia, Poland, or even Uganda or Cameroon they would've seen her as a human being. I guess it's hard though when she's just Black. But still, I wondered to myself, Who are these people?

I went through my day anxious to the end, so I could go home and wash my day away, but it just wouldn't go nicely.

As I left for the day, I popped in to wish my co-workers and vendors a good evening, and what-do-ya-know? They're getting one last ha-ha out of the video. This time to music!

I'm tactful. I'm professional. I'm open-minded. I decide to not say a thing.

But what made my co-worker, A, text message me after the fact and explain that she apologized for offending me, but she wanted me to know it was not because she's racist? Well, in her defense, I've actually never met a true racist who thought they were racist either.

This is a look into the life of a Black woman who grew up poor, came up a little but is committed to never forgetting the legacy she was born into.