I grew up in the northwest side of Chicago and had witnessed quite a bit as a result. I am not talking about the usual suspects: brutal teasing, delayed puberty, feeling like an outcast, etc. No, these things made my life normal. I am referring to the lower-to-mid income families that shifted around from apartment to apartment, and trouble that always lurked nearby. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was asked to join a gang. Then luck would have it that my homeroom partner would be a "gang banger", which gave me a way out, and in turn made me feel safe. I was cool with that.
Junior year came - I landed my first job as a shampoo girl at a neighborhood salon. This was during a time when hair stylists were still referred to as beauticians. Sounded like an innocent profession to be among, but I learned quickly that I had seen nothing yet. I witnessed my first experience of back stabbing. Boom! Down my back the pain struck, up my spine the chills inflicted, I had been de-virginized of trust in the workplace. Damn, talk about being heartbroken because of someone I worked with, not by a boy I liked. I didn't want to know how the latter felt.
This became a viscous cycle. It was do or die. Every man or woman for themselves.
Here's my deal: I am done with the cruelty of man. I am tired of being abused for my dedication or having my generosity mistaken for control and deceit. When will the madness end? The flames still blare inside. I am angry that someone I trusted took advantage of my eagerness and my ability to stand up for myself. If I don't - who will? They could never answer that, no one can but me.
I have slammed many doors in the past week, most due to frustration and to let off steam. I started my vigorous dance class again in hopes of toning my body in case I get attacked in the face versus at my spirit. One's spirit: the worst part of your body to have broken. It's the backbone of every element of your life. It gives you motivation, passion and positive energy. It keeps you moving forward and not back. It's the battery lifeline in our soul that keeps the heart ticking and tocking. I will get it back, I know I will. In the end, no one is ever worth the grief of disappointment.
I look back often and ponder on my choices. Changing my life career was a risk. One that continues to be supported by my family, even when the risk has its doubts or when the light doesn't shine at the end. Then what is life without risks? A safe one, at that - no challenges means no gusto and it also means the ones who like to push others down will win. Not on my time. In the past year, I have written several entries regarding my determination to fight onward, to prove my identity, to establish the truth that it is possible to be a mother and a wine professional. Regardless of my bank account and my inability to fucking drink Chassagne Montrachet Grand Cru, Château Cos d'Estournel or Aldo Conterno Barolo at my immediate disposal (never mind vintage access at this point). If I have passion, if I have the will to try, I can fight this ugly battle in the industry I have chosen. My motto moving forward: I define myself by who I am and not by someone else's selfish and insecure actions. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call integrity.