I am not a professional writer. I am a reader. I am 62. I was a professional in the workplace in a Fortune 500. I didn’t finish college but I did take advantage of thousands of hours of company sponsored education on a wide variety of topics from information technology fields. I researched my areas of expertise pretty thoroughly so I could compete without my finished degree. I was trained or self-taught and worked in computer operations, automation systems analyst, operations management, process management, project management and business management and people management including middle management. I then took a job in quality assurance evaluating responses to RFPs for multi-disciplines across a wide variety of industries for 10 years before retiring with 30.
I traveled a great deal, experienced a lot of things, good and bad, been a lot of places where I was the only black woman in the room.
My dad was in the Air Force. I was born in Topeka Kansas. Started school at 4 in Edmonton Alberta Canada. Heard the N word for the first time when I returned to the states in grade 4, with a proper English accent and was bussed to an all white school. Columbus Ohio. Then my parents divorced, mom took us to grandma in Denver Colorado. Grandma loved the horse races, fishing, drinking and cursing. Then mom sent for us to meet her in the Bronx NY. My first primarily black school. An alcoholic abusive stepfather who became a murderer when I was in my 1st year of college. Academic scholarship for a fine private white institution which out 100 minority scholarships that year. I left school and worked, got married the following year. Marriage lasted 3 years. Way too young. I raised my daughter in upstate NY.
I remarried and raised 3 children, 2 whom I adopted and had special emotional needs, due to exposure to illicit drugs during their mother’s pregnancies.
I worked in a while male establishment. I was a token more than once and mostly didn’t care because I thought I was gaining success. Not realizing I would only be permitted so much “success” within carefully crafted boundaries. I didn’t quite fit in White Plains and Somers NY business meetings with my mini braids and my ethnic clothing. They were the only way for me to express me. I swore with the boys but couldn’t golf.
When I put a picture on my office walls of 6 African American women, in various ethnic dress and hairstyles, one of my middle management peers threatened me when I said I wouldn’t take it down. The year was 2003, for goodness sake. I started in 1978 and had been forced to take many equal opportunity or later diversity classes. A requirement I was told for all manages. When I complained, I found out this individual had never in 10 years of middle management taken one, not one diversity class. Not even sure it would have helped.
Oh, yes, forgot. Took a side trip to rehab for a cocaine addiction I wasn’t supposed to be have because cocaine wasn’t addictive, right?, for a long time, at least until Richard Pryor caught on fire. Also had 3 quiet mental breakdowns. Not institutionalized, mind you. But I couldn’t leave my house except for therapy. Major episodic depression.
My second husband was diagnosed as bipolar at age 45. My adopted daughter was severely depressed during her teens, in and out of institutions. My adopted son was a delinquent but a smart, suave, charismatic one. I was not impressed and had family court put him under PINS. In NY, it’s persons in need of supervision, required to be evaluated psychologically, then report to probation weekly. It helped some. He is incarcerated now for a long time. It hurts my heart to say so. My girls are well. The one mentioned above does relief work in El Salvador. My other daughter has done a wonderful job caring alone (well, I’ve helped some) for a handicapped son now 22. His father died when he was 6 or 7.
Why would you care about any of this? This is my degree in life. Trust me, I’ve only skimmed the surface. I’m now a God fearing woman, who is willing to share some stuff to anyone who wants to listen. I also want to continue in my world studies. So I want to hear what you have to say.
That’s why I signed up as a member on Medium. Not for sympathy but an exchange of ideas and views. Not to be abused. Been there. I won’t take it. I expect that Medium will hold people accountable when they attack others for no reason.
The word you is very powerful. It’s personal. It should be used sparingly, especially if one doesn’t know anything about a person. (I almost said you don’t know. Lol!) I wasn’t laughing yesterday. I felt something I hadn’t experienced in some time. That subtle edge of something that just barely slithers across the line of a personal attack. If you’re following me, you know what I mean. If not, don’t worry about it.
Except for you, @Ev Williams. You should care. I truly hope you do. If not, well… I guess I won’t be here long.
Peace, love and soul!