Happy New Year!

Thank you to my 50 followers. I appreciate your commitment.

This New Year has been a resting period for me. I apologize that the blog has been less active, and this can be expected for the next two months.

Opportunities have come up with my edible company, and I am currently trying to settle on a name that captures my brand and stands out from the crowd. Since we also offer salves.

We have sold out of products at Emerald Genetics/ Cal Sole, and our next harvest is in February. We will have on the shelves Gelato 25/ Dosido and OG. Sales and building client relationships have proven to be a challenge. I must constantly reevaluate why our product stands out and what we offer that no one else does. As I’ve been told, growing cannabis in Humboldt county isn’t enough. Even though we can’t hold onto product, I am still establishing myself as a sales face for Cal Sole. You can find Emerald Genetic Products at 101 M Street Dispensary inc. in Crescent City.

I am taking a writing course with my favorite writer Francesca Lia Block. This is the real secret my blog is being put on hold. I write ten pages a week, and I answer some questions that help me explore my characters and also myself as a writer. I then review my peer’s work and then meet on Sundays to review our pieces. It has been a dream of mine to take this course and I am very thankful to be under her guidance.

Little Lost Forest is working on getting its business license and signing up for upcoming fairs. Competing with the artists in Humboldt county takes work. All the talented people seem to come out of the woodwork to live here! So I am going strong with my Etsy and will update it soon.

My best friend, who you might be familiar with, Orion, moved in. He is going to Cal Poly and working on a social worker degree. He will be helping me with the edibles and also with the children.

My husband and I have talked about doing more things together, but we still need to do actually do them. We spent many years getting stable enough to have a child while raising our oldest. We don’t have a lot of time with each other… alone. For now, it is what it is, but since I talk about marriage and relationships in this blog, this is a genuine piece of my life. I miss having “fun” with my partner, like going on car rides along the coast or spending time together at the beach without the kids.

Please take a second to reflect on how you have come into the New Year. Reflect on all the progress you’ve made in the past fifteen days and the goals you have set in place for the rest of the year. Your goals are attainable.

I hope that you are going through the New Year with ease. Enjoy the rain Humboldt County.

Part 3 and Final Interview

Starbucks was cold and loud, so Dan, Lanie, and Natascha went over to the Shanty to continue their interview.

Natascha: We changed locations to the Shanty for warmer and quieter conditions. Hi Dan. Thank you for coming today!

Dan: Hi.

Natascha: How’s your day going?

Dan: It’s going great. It’s really cold.

Natascha: It is pretty cold day. At least it’s not raining yet.

Dan and Natascha: Yet… [laughs]

Natascha: Can you tell me your pronouns?

Dan: I use she and he. A lot of people get confused about that, so I’m here to talk about it today.

Natascha: Awesome. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Dan: I am a percussionist, and I like to paint. And I work with children on the spectrum. [Inaudible]

Natascha: You want to come a little bit closer?

Dan: I should and talk louder too.

Natascha: There we go. How has transitioning been like for you?

“Yes, the more we learn about this, the more people will have the ability to have language to advocate for themselves in a medical way.”

-Dan

Dan: So, I am intersex. For those that don’t know what that term means. It’s an umbrella term that categorizes a difference in genitalia or chromosomes. It is something someone is born as. It is not an identity. It is a way someone is born, and it is not necessarily what someone identifies. An umbrella term to talk about someone who is born without traditional male or female characteristics.

Natascha: Thank you. Why is it important to use the proper pronouns?

Dan: It brings validation. It shows a sign of care and respect. It’s like learning somebodies name. You wouldn’t- It’s understandable if you don’t want to learn someone’s name, you don’t want to get to know them. But, if you are going to ask their name, you’re not going to call them a different name [second of inaudible.] It’s a sign of respect and acceptance.

Why do you think it might be hard for some cis-gendered folks, or why they would be bothered by the use of they/ them pronouns?

Dan: Learning is hard, and it can be embarrassing if- and seeing somebody upset and sometimes in order to make yourself feel better, they’d say, ‘You have no reason to be upset.’ versus maybe I need to reflect on what I can do differently to accommodate and respect you as a human being.

[Pause.]

Natascha: Thank you. Why is it important to introduce children into the LGBTQ community?

Dan: There are LGBTQ children, and without that community, it can make someone feel isolated and alone.

Natascha: Do you feel that transition has changed you in any way?

Dan: So, particularly with my case, I’ve always felt the need to appear as Afact or a cis-female. If that means altering certain characteristics, which I’m not going to go into detail about, or hormone supplements, at this point of my life, finding a community where we are genderqueer, and I have the ability to accept myself, who I am, and all the lovely characteristics that make who I am and not needing to edit this. So, the act of transitioning for me is essentially me being myself, whatever that looks like- letting myself exist for once, as I am- as I wake up in the morning, as I. Yes.

Natascha: Thank you so much for coming onto Little Lost Forest and talking to me. Also, sharing with our community here in Eureka and everyone else who comes to the blog why it is important to use proper pronouns and why (cis) people shouldn’t take offense when asked what their pronouns are because we’re in this community together and to show respect to one another and the people in the community need to change the way we think and respect and appreciate members of the LGBTQ community within our society these include people with religious degrees and people that assist disabled children. When disrespecting someones announced pronouns, you don’t know who you’re talking to, their background, and what they had to endure. By not respecting someone’s pronouns, they are not respecting our community as a whole. Thank you, folxs, for coming on today. Is there anything that you want to add?

Dan: Yes, the more we learn about this, the more people will have the ability to have language to advocate for themselves in a medical way. I can’t tell you how much that has changed in my ability to talk about the things that my body needs, and that’s not something that necessarily a woman who is cis might need. And even though the doctor might see that’s what I am assigned from my birth, it isn’t necessarily what my body needs. So just those terms, the education behind those terms, just having doctors that are educated on what that is because I have come across a lot of medical professionals that don’t know. It’s healthy. At the very least, I can go to the doctor and get care.

Natascha: That is so important. Alright, thank you.   

Using the Correct Pronouns in the LGBTQ Community Pt.2

Laine, Dan, and Natascha sit out front of Starbucks, sipping coffee and talking about misgendering and using proper pronouns.

Natascha: This is Natascha with Little Lost Forest. I will be conducting short interviews today with Laine and Dan on the LGBTQ community to spread information and create co-existence on non-gender-conforming and intersex persons.

Hello Laine, thank you for coming today.

Laine: Hello, thanks for having me.

Natascha: How’s your day going?

Laine: It’s going alright, thank you. And how about you?

Natascha: It’s going good. It’s been long. Thanks for coming late at night. Can you tell me your pronouns?

Laine: My pronouns are they/ them.

Natascha: Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Laine: I’ve lived in Humboldt County for 21 years. I have degrees from Cal Poly Humboldt in music and religious studies, and I’m learning to be a dog trainer.

Natascha: That’s awesome! How have you transitioned?

Laine: I was born female, and I transitioned in several ways. I had a hysterectomy in 2019. Earlier this year, I had top surgery, which also helped me with a chronic pain condition which I’ve had since high school. I am on a low dose of testosterone which has helped in several ways, but most people couldn’t tell that by looking at me, so not everything is visible to the eye when someone is transitioning.

Natascha: How has transitioning healed you?

Laine: I’m a much happier person. I used to be very grumpy. I had a lot of anxiety about my body and I was always very depressed about my life and about who I was but I’m not like that anymore. Still a little bit because things are still up in the air with a few things, but it’s much better. And having surgery on my chest helped my chronic pain a lot. So physically- much better.

Natascha: Why is it important to use the proper pronouns?

Laine: I see it a lot of times as respect. Do you respect this person and what they’re going through and who they are? That says to me yes! I see you. I see who you are, and I will use the pronouns that you use on a regular basis. There are trans people that I even don’t respect, but I still wouldn’t misgender them, such as *** ***. She’s not a really good person, but I still would never misgender her or deadname her because that’s just not a cool thing to do. You wouldn’t go up to a stranger and say, ‘Hey you, I think you’re a man, and I’m going to call you a woman.’ Why would you do that to a person? That’s just not cool. Do you lack manners?

Natascha: I can totally agree with that. Why do you think some cis-gendered folks are bothered by others’ use, announcement, or display of their correct pronouns?

Laine: For some people, especially the Gen- X and Boomer generations, and maybe because they are older, have trouble getting acclimated to something new. [Loud background noise]  -Sorry about the traffic!

Natascha: I’m sorry.

Laine: They may be like, ‘Okay, this is really new for me. I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s a big change. You might have to remind me a whole bunch’ And that can be hard for some people, especially if it is their child or grandchild. ‘I’ve known you as “this” for so long. It’s gonna take them some time to change to “this.”‘ But for some other people, people of our generation or even younger, they see it as you are taking something from them, especially with trans-fem people. Cis-women will see it as you’re taking away their womanhood. They see it as your putting on a costume. You can’t just take some hormones or put on a dress and some make-up with longer hair and suddenly- bam, you’re a woman! They say you have to have a womb and give birth which totally pushes away cis-women who can’t give birth or don’t want to or anybody who can’t give birth and doesn’t want to because we shouldn’t just be down to our body parts. That’s not just who we are. We’re not just our genitals and our body parts. We’re who we are inside.

Natascha: Thank you. What is the importance of introducing children to the LGBTQ community?

Laine: Well, there are LGBTQ children, and we don’t want them to feel alone and ostracized in not knowing who they are because then it’s kind of sad to feel all alone, and once you find others who are similar to you- it’s like finding others who have the same hobby as you but you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, you’re like me. I can talk to you about this stuff. There’s somebody who understands. I’m not alone,’ and don’t you want your kids to be happy and feel like they’re accepted? And, besides that, even kids who aren’t members of our community, wouldn’t you want them to see other people who are different? Rather if your child is Caucasian, wouldn’t you want them to see people that are Black, who are Hispanic, and people who are different then them so they see that this is a glorious world? There are people who are different, and we’re all wonderful people. Don’t you want them to see people who are disabled and show them that there are people who are not like “me.” That they are still out there and not everybody’s like you.

Interrupted by intoxicated passerby: Whoah, you’re so amazing! So good!

Laine: Wow…

Natascha: I think you’re pretty amazing [Laine.] He just doesn’t get how amazing you really are.

Laine: – Show children that there are so many people out there in our world and not everyone is like what they see on a regular basis.

Natascha: Thank you, thank you so much. Do you feel that transition has changed you in any way?

Laine: Well, I am a happier person. I used to be very depressed and- but- I didn’t really know who I was. I was confused. I was in pain both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was grumpy all the time. I wasn’t a nice person. I was “Grrrr.” Now, I’ve been through all these struggles with changing my name and being on hormones, and I see people doing the same struggles, and I can help them in some way. I’d like to give them some tips, and tell them ‘This is what I did. If you’re going through the same struggle, I maybe can give you some ideas on how to pass those hurdles in certain processes in what you might need to do so you can get through that faster because I did it in the slow and long way and now you can do it a faster way so you can get through that in a much more expedited manner. And not just that, but if someone is within the community and not transitioning- just tell them what it’s like so they can understand. Or if people are outside of our community and want to be an ally, just talk to them about what it’s like, like what I am doing now. But if someone comes and doesn’t come to be an ally and doesn’t come with openness or love, I don’t have time for that because I’m not going to waste my time with a person who doesn’t want to understand and just comes with hate.

Natascha: Thank you so much, Laine. I really appreciate your time. I know it’s freezing cold out here, and we have horrible background noise, but you have been so wonderful and great. Is there anything else that you wanted to add?

Laine: I don’t know. Do you have any other questions?

Natascha: No, I think you answered my questions just beautifully.

Laine: That’s great, and I am so glad that you are doing this, and I hope it goes over well, and if I can answer more questions or if there are any comments, I’ll be there.

Natascha: Thank you, we will make sure to reach out to you. Thank you.

Laine: Thank you.

Thank you for reading. The correct pronouns list is below. Please share with your friends and family. Dan’s interview is coming up. You can look forward to reading it next week.

Interviews on Using Proper Pronouns

(Ranma)

I conducted three interviews this week on folx in the LGBTQIA community. Here is one of them!

Natascha: Hi, this is Natascha with Little Lost Forest, and I will be interviewing Ranma today. A very good friend of mine for the past ten years. Ranma, how are you doing?

Ranma: I’m doing good, thank you for asking.

Natascha: Awesome, I’m so happy to hear. Will you please tell us your pronouns?

Ranma: Well, my pronouns are she and her.

Natascha: Sweet, and as I understand, you have transitioned?

Ranma: Yes, that is correct. I have been in transition for about a year, and I think four months now.

Natascha: Wow, the time has gone by. It flies. Can you tell me a little about yourself, what you do, and what your hobbies are?

Ranma: I’m an artist. I’m very athletic. I used to break dance. I love listening to music. I love making illustrations. I try to do illustrations for the trans community, and I also do designs for everyone else. As you know, I’m very open with my artwork. As for a real job- that is basically my real job because I have epilepsy and can not work.

Natascha: Well, a full-time artist is definitely a real job, and you keep yourself quite busy.

Ranma: It helps when you’re mad.

Natascha: Yeah, it does help when you’re mad. I can agree with that. How has transition healed you?

Ranma: Um, well, it allowed me to be myself completely. And now I actually have a bigger palette of fashion than I had before. More clothes to choose from, which can be awesome and really bad at the same time. If you saw my room, you could see the toll it’s taken.

Natascha: That’s great. The clean-up might be more now.

Ranma: Yeah! I need one of those machines now that they clean the ice with-

Natascha: Like in Meet the Jetsons.

Ranma: That’s right, a Zambonie. A Zamboni or a mechanical maid or something.

Natascha: I’m sure you can manifest anything. It will come to you. Why is it important to use proper pronouns while someone is transitioning?

Ranma: Well, because, for one, that person was never actually their birth gender. Inside they were always woman or male, and actually saying so would help their body’s energetical cells (helping every trans person realize that they are beautiful, Angelic even) to actually blossom. -Because it feels good to be called what you’re striving for. It was always there, but you know, you’re just trapped in this skin suit.

Natascha: That’s beautiful. Why do you think some cis-gendered folks are bothered by others’ use, announcement, or display of their correct pronouns?

Ranma: Well, to be honest, I think a lot of cispeople are very uneducated about their own sexuality. And also I think that they’re fearful. For instance, if they see a cute woman and that woman turns out to be a transwoman, it’s like, ‘Oh Shit, am I gay now?’ You know, and vice versa. To be honest, I think it’s just insecurity.

Natascha: Do you feel transitioning has changed you in any way?

Ranma: I can’t answer that one too precisely because I have always been me, but the biggest change that I can say is that I am actually 24/7 happy.

Natascha: I’ve heard that a lot in these interviews. That it [transition] has helped with depression and has made people very happy. That is wonderful.

Ranma: One of my friends I went to bars with was like, ‘Oh my god, you’ve changed so much.’ For instance, you smile more, and I thought to myself, I thought I always smiled. No, no, no, you smile a little bit, and then you put on a depressing song for karaoke, and then you sing a depressing song for karaoke, but here you are dancing and smiling and more upbeat songs for karaoke. So I’m like, alright, well, thank you, I didn’t notice that.

Natascha: Cool, this is a question I threw in there, which is kind of important to me because I have children, and I’m introducing my daughter into the LGBTQ(IA) community.

Ranma: Awesome-

Natascha: Why do you think it is important to introduce children to the LBGTQ community?

Ranma: That has so many answers. For one, it’s really good for child evolution right there to be accepting of everyone and everything and to realize that there is more than one way to live life. And everyone is the same. You know, it is also the journey of who you are. There are grown adults who have no idea who they are.

Natascha: Yeah, absolutely, and there are people that transition later in life so, and don’t find happiness until then.

Ranma: I am one of them. I didn’t even know I could do this until four years ago when I had my trans fiance, and we broke up, and I found out that, as much as I don’t want to admit it, I was completely jealous of her.

Natascha: Does it all make sense now? Are things coming together for you?

Ranma: Yeah, the only thing I have to really be cautious of is haters.

Natascha: Can you tell me a little more about that? What kind of negative reactions or discrimination do you have to face?

Ranma: Basically everything that comes with being a woman, those discriminations (referencing that women have to go through, all women have to go through, being judged on their beauty and being seen as just sexual entities, etc.)- that type of stuff. And then there’s little stuff like my aunt still likes to mislabel me, misgender me, as you know he. And like someone did this to you! And it’s like, no, I did this to myself, and I’m happy. I made a choice. And it’s quite interesting. The landlord still calls me he ’cause he caught me at the entrance of my transition, and he’s old, he’s sweet, you know he just can’t open up that third eye and get down with me being a woman and him being able to still talk to me and chill and have a beer with me.

Natascha: Yeah, I’m sorry you have to deal with that. At the same time, I think you’re really blossoming into your true self, and you’re absolutely beautiful and stunning. I don’t think anyone is going to get you down, and if they do, you call me. Is there anything else you want to add?

Ranma: There are some of our old friends that just recently saw me and haven’t seen me in a bit, and I just went to the bar. I have this overall skirt. A beautiful overall skirt, and I think you know Kevin. You know, dreadlock, Kevin. He couldn’t say to my face that he found me attractive. He told Eddie, my housemate instead, and said, ‘Oh my god, who’s that? She’s got beautiful legs,’ and found out it was me. ‘That’s Ranma,’ ‘Oh, Ranma? Can I meet her?’ ‘Kevin, you already know Ranma. Ranma used to be Rasheed. That’s Ranma.’ ‘Oh, okay. She has beautiful legs.’

Natascha: Now you get to show them off.

Ranma: I love showing them off. Especially when an old friend hits on you. ‘You don’t recognize me?’, ‘Okay.’

Natascha: Well, you’re a new person now.

Ranma: Not even how I speak? I think I still speak the same.

Natascha: I think you do, but you know it’s a new you, and I am so proud of you. Is there anything else you wanted to add to help educate the community on transgenders or using pronouns?

Ranma: Well, all I want to offer is a little bit for everyone on this one. Loving yourself will allow you to love others. And that’s the basic thing if you’re cis, trans, or miscellaneous, you know it doesn’t matter. It all starts from loving yourself; once you love yourself, you can be yourself and learn to love everyone else.

Natascha: Thank you so much, Ranma, for coming on today. These are short ten-minute interviews. I appreciate you.

Ranma: No worries.

Thank you, everyone for reading, educating your community, and spreading the word that using the correct pronouns when someone is in transition is showing respect! I look forward to sharing more interviews early next week.

Learning Curves with a Nine-Year-Old Girl

My nine-year-old is my joy and learning curve to life. She needs to be treated delicately and with emotional support. She does not have tantrums, and she mimics what she sees in adults. For a while, I had to let her make her own decisions to learn from her mistakes. I could only tell her so many times a day not to do this or that before our relationship wasn’t fruitful. Then she will run with the reins, and I have to take them back, slow her down, and set boundaries and rules for her to follow again. We have made some significant changes lately.

Her doctor told her she had high cholesterol and glucose levels. She recommended a dairy-free diet and informed us that she was sensitive to eggs and wheat. My daughter likes candy and hates her greens. I didn’t want to make her eat anything. I felt uncomfortable knowing she would close her mouth and refuse, but something changed when I had the doctor on my side. Now it was something she had to do.

I began by feeding her kale, bok choy, and broccoli. We integrate green foods into everything we eat. She has switched to Almond Milk (she prefers the vanilla flavored.) They will not give her dairy at school, which includes many bread options (biscuits, waffles, etc.). She drinks the Silk milk and is now hungry enough to eat her fruits and vegetables. Even if the doctor made up the dairy allergy to change her diet, I am glad she did.

My daughter got kicked out of her rideshare for being rude to the elderly carpool. As much as I want to protect my daughter and stand up for her, this brought immediate changes. I assured her that we greet those who help us, ask them about their day, and say goodbye, even if we’re having a bad day. I had her write an apology letter, but these are things anyone would do. What hit home was that I took away her television and electronics for a month and refused to buy her anything that she wanted (not that she needed.) This method was very effective, and I’m looking for more changes, like saying hi to the cashier at the grocery store by name.

My daughter felt like a friend wronged her at school, and she felt vengeful. My friend and I explained to her that this was not the proper reaction and that just because someone had made her feel bad, it wouldn’t make it right to make that friend feel the same pain. She apologized to her friend. I got her The Self Regulation Workbook for Kids. She is working on managing her feelings, and I’ve noticed she hasn’t been fighting with her peers.

My daughter does chores. Her tasks include personal hygiene, cleaning her room, picking up poop, doing her workbooks, and doing the clean dishes. She is struggling in school, and even though she is in 4th grade, we work on a 3rd-grade spelling book. She reads daily and works on multiplication three times a week.

My daughter is very bright and creative. She has to match her clothing rather than wear new clothes that do not. She brushes her teeth and helps her little brother brush his every morning. She writes me letters when I am mad and always offers to pay for her things even though we won’t let her. She has proven to play with all ages and quickly talks to kids in new settings. My daughter is perfect and weird, and I am so proud to watch her grow and adjust herself when she learns a lesson. Please check out my Tiktok and IG @the_glowing_expectant to see the progress of a nine-year-old big sister and how she supports her brother and mother.

Medieval Festival of Courage

October 1, 2022- The Medieval Festival of Courage was hosted by Coastal Grove Charter (K-8th) in Blue Lake, CA. With 50 vendors, two stages, and three unique arenas, the festival attracted a large crowd dressed throughout the ages. I had the privilege of vending with TLC. My children, their friends, our friends, and school and work peers all came to indulge in the festivities. This two-day event spanned from Saturday to Sunday and was a very special showcasing of central Humboldt’s hidden gems.


At $10 a ticket, knights, wizards, queens, and kings entered the gates! Greeted by a sword-fighting arena for children and a few rowdy fathers, took on foam-covered sticks and fought to the death! The sword fighting arena was one of the most popular activities full of children’s rampage. The front stage was bedecked with belly dancers, clog dancers, poetry, and bagpipes. The days were full of thespians and musicians belching out their hearts in a medieval dialect. Surrounding the arena were vendors of jewelry, clothing, food, and wine. The cherry wine flushed the lady’s cheeks and beer overfilled grizzly bearded men’s mugs. Carmel dripped off green apples like witches’ muck, and meats and corn were cooked on open grills.


Over by the paddock was a tent for the kings and queens, dressed in authentic 500-1500 ce costumes excluded from the common folk. A large crowd lined the fences as men on horses jostled, flinging one another from the horse’s back. Between shows, men in armored suits and beautiful women dressed as royalty paraded the horses for the audience to touch. Within this arena were a petting zoo, a miniature pony ride, and even axe throwing! The animals warmed the children’s hearts while leaving their turds along the pathway.


Even though there was a metal fence on the high-top areas, I combined this arena as one. The front entrance welcomed the crowd to a beautiful children’s area and homely vendors. One tent offered toys for the children, blocks to make castles, animals to dress, and playsets decorated with dangling tassels and velvet flooring. A majestically dressed woman read stories from a book and welcomed groups on a story quest with the legend of the Sword in the Stone. Also displayed were gem vendors, free pin-making stations, and a gnome dome, the safe haven for the tired-out child to live in a fairyland.

Then there was “TLC” a non-profit showcasing local artists, including me! I represented Little Lost Forest displaying wands, resin trays, acrylic art, and ruins! I had the pleasure of live painting and reading tarot. My friend Savana showed her unique electroplating copper jewelry, and Patrick his locally made wood tables, mushrooms, and swords. We advertised for our upcoming festival in Manila next month! Behind the metal fence were aerial silk performers with young girls climbing the ropes! Musicians played at a small stage in the back, serenading us with the violin. A jump house, jewelry vendor, and archery station fit with plenty of room along the basketball court. Men, women, and children pulled back their bows and shot toward haystack targets. A few performers free-flowed with staff, poi, and Hoola hoops.

The Medieval Festival of Courage was a well put on event that brought the community together, offered affordable vending spaces, and showcased some top performers. The children ran the show, and Coastal Grove Charter did a good job relating its artistic and out-of-the-box curriculum. More adults (then I think would like to admit) dressed in their favorite garb and transported back in time. At the end of the day, the playful and innocent collaboration of our communities youth shinned through, and I can’t wait to return next year.

Four Years of Marriage in the age of Polyamory 

Millennials (1981-95, that’s me!) grew up with parents, Baby Boomers (1946-64), who came from families from the Silent Generation (1928-45) where marriage was a lifelong bond and until the no-fault divorce law came to be in 1969, they needed a reason to get divorced. As things changed, the Baby Boomers had the highest divorce rate ever, spiking from 1990-2012 (my parents were part of this statistic). There is no wonder why marriage is less common for Millennials and self-development takes over importance. It may seem “new age,” but more families have kids without getting married or wait until later in life to tie the knot. Some are opening up their relationships to avoid the devastating regrets of being cheated on or, worse, being the cheater.

My father being closer to the Silent Generation than my mother, a Baby Boomer, instilled in me the Christian ethics of marriage and lifelong partnership. When I met my husband at 26, marriage was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t sure how to be in a committed relationship or end my many friendships with “benefits.” I was conflicted between “if you want me to commit to you, we need to be dating” to “I can still make out with my friends, right?” Influenced by the Burning Man polyamory scene that my peers were partaking in. 

It wasn’t long until I met my husband’s three-year-old daughter, and things changed. I suddenly needed commitment. Not just from him, but I longed to change my single ways and craved stability and family. I suddenly wanted kids so they too could grow up close in age to his daughter. After helping my husband obtain full custody of his child, the ball started rolling even faster. It wasn’t a matter of, I love you so much, let’s get married! Even though I loved him so. I was now questioning how I would play the mother’s role in his daughter’s life and how I wanted to go about it. Being fully committed to my husband and his daughter by raising her, taking her to school, keeping in touch with her grandparents, and helping her expand her social life, there was no doubt in my mind that I would do anything to be her mom. 

We got married in 2018, and eight months later, I adopted her. This was the biggest miracle in my life, but it was a full-time commitment. I saw walls being built between me and my friends. As if overnight, I went from a social butterfly to being a mom while sustaining part-time employment. Reality sunk in, and being unable to go to this or that show or party created resentment within me. The first year of marriage was the hardest. He was working toward his career, and I was obtaining a higher education. We struggled to get on our feet as we worked, spending time away from our child, living in small, unkempt one-bedroom buildings with two dogs and two cats. Things became very stressful. So stressful that I wanted to leave. 

Not my family, just the life we were grinding to achieve. So, we did. In 2020, our second year of marriage, we moved. We left our families and our friends to live in a more affordable place that offered us job security and a home where we got our own rooms. I had always promised our daughter when we had enough space for another child, it would happen, and it did. Our family continued to expand; even though children cost money, we began to make more. We became more stable by the day. Our stress levels decreased, and opportunities became more abundant. 

I enjoy being married to a partner who allows me to be me. The constrictions society had fifty years ago has been broken with gender identity, sexual orientations, and ways of life broadening. People are finding new ways to conduct and maintain relationships. I’m not saying jealousy, rules, and boundaries aren’t in action, but I believe more acceptance and a willingness to try to please the ones we love for who they are and not who we want them to be helps sustain a relationship.

What advice would I give to the younger generations? Don’t push commitment without reason, a dying desire, or a meaningful purpose to marry. Otherwise, you are feeding the government more money off a concept they sell as “love.” Love yourself, love your partner, but most of all, love your life. Love your day-to-day routines. Be thankful for the life you’re living because it is beautiful! Everything else will come together. Not only will it come together, but you will notice things becoming abundant. Love, space, time, we control all of this subconsciously. It’s up to you how you use it. 

Most of all, don’t feel trapped. We are not trapped in the lives we live. We weren’t back then (history), and we’re not now. It takes honesty with yourself, what you want in life, and if what you are doing is making you happy. If you find yourself unhappy, then there is no reason to keep doing the same things every day, which calls for change. I don’t despise my parents’ divorce- it was time for a change. And who knows, my marriage is still young. Yet, if you enjoy your partner, if you don’t want to change them, if you appreciate them for who they are and how they compliment you in achieving your goals in life- then put a ring on it. There’s no documentation necessary for that. 

Malakai Turned One!

Malakai

Last year on August 10, 2021, my husband, Jeremy, delivered Malakai, at our home in the seaside town of Eureka, California. I am very grateful for the beautiful experience and the baby it brought me. Malakai is developing quickly for his age and is rather a large (2-3T/tall) boy. He is kind and plays well with others. Malakai’s birth has also been a transformational experience for me; I have found myself much more organized and future-focused. I have taken up business classes and organizational skills I didn’t have before. I had a summer off from substitute teaching and played in the sun with my children going from one campsite to the next, one town to the next. 

It was a beautiful mothers day in May when my son started repeating his first word, “Dada.” The ramblings of “Da Da Da Da” went on for months until Halyaya (his sister) and I couldn’t help but reply, “I am not dada!” Toward the end of the summer, my son started saying, “Mama.” I might close the door behind me, and he will stand with his arms outstretched, screaming, “Ma ma! Ma ma!” Or he will be in a sour mood and ask to be held with his hands opening and closing and a crying plea “Mama, Mama,” snuggling his head into my chest and rubbing his nose against my blouse. This little victory was exciting for me, just as much as his little first step, which led him to run through the house with other children or play outside in the backyard. 

Malakai started eating food which felt like it took forever as my friend’s babies were being fed bananas, strawberries, and avocados, but Malakai refused it all. He eats meals with us, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He loves snacks. Like Halaya, he prefers warm foods over cold foods. On my birthday, two days after his, Malakai fell into the fireplace and got a cut on his eye that bled profusely. We rushed him to the ER, and by the time we got there, he didn’t seem fazed by it. He is one tough cookie. 

I love the community I have met, the friends and acquaintances my son draws in at festivals or parks. Even at the grocery store, I can have a sour attitude, and a lady will approach me and comment on the kindness in my son’s eyes or how much they love his smile. At his daycare, where I picked up a shift or two over the summer, I watched as his cheerfulness and playfulness spread amongst the teachers and infants. It will be hard for me to return to work and place my one-year-old in daycare in a week when summer comes close. Halaya, Malakai, and I have had two months of intensive bonding.  

Even though we are no longer breastfeeding, Malakai still cosleeps with us. My husband and I want him to sleep in the cradle, but it is hard for me mostly to separate from him. He no longer sleeps next to us but more like against us, on top of us; sometimes, we find him at our feet. He will whimper or cry in the night, and one of us will get him a bottle. I love to soothe his cries. I expect that the cosleeping will be coming to an end shortly. 

Now that Malakai is one, and I look back, I had thought the first year would be more challenging. I was surprised to have gained somewhat of life back, to continue to have a healthy relationship with my husband, and still have time to spend quality time with my daughter. Even though I have to commit more time to raising my child, I have learned to cut out certain times of the day to get things done, like writing my blog. Things that are harder than I assumed would be going out in public or leaving my children with someone else to watch. If I were to do it again, I would have breastfed longer, introduced solids sooner, stuck to using cloth diapers more often, and maybe would have been less eager to go out in the town. But in all, it’s just been great, and I couldn’t be happier with the little family we have created. 

LGBTQ in Children’s Animation

Living in a liberal state, I am surprised to hear the uproar in the mom’s’ community on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) in Disney, Pixar, and children’s animation in general. Children’s’ cartoons have always had heterosexual lead roles. As society becomes more accepting of people in our community, diversity is inching onto the big screen. Yet, some parents insist that homosexuality is being pushed onto their children. For years the princess will one day meet her prince was the “only way” that a child’s movie would play out. I want to ask, “How long are we going to keep homosexuality in the closet?”

In 2013, the hit movie “Frozen” came out, a coming-of-age animation about two princesses, Elsa and Anna, one of whom is overcome with the powers of winter. Frozen was the first Disney movie to portray witchcraft in a positive light, a significant progression compared to Disney’s bias towards Christianity. The hit song “Let it Go” was said to have been an innuendo for coming “out of the closet” and a piece on self-acceptance. Even though I did not find any correlation with to homosexuality in this film, this song started the buzz. When will Disney include everyone in their movies, not just heterosexuals? 

In 2020, the Pixar animation “Onward” was released with a butch lesbian supporting character as the father figure. By no means was this character a leading role. Now with the cat out of the bag, we’re not all made to fit into generic categories. I witnessed mother’s’ taking offense to this character like she was invading their children’s perspective on how they might feel about themselves. If this is the root cause, then these parents also need to reflect on how they view their children, and whether they would love them if they are different. Perhaps that is what Disney has tried to teach people through diversity in their movies: to love everyone and not just those that fit into your category. 

“When The Proud Family premiered on Disney Channel in 2001, it was not only the first original animated show on the channel but one of the few all-ages animation programs on television at the time centered around a Black family.”

(-Radulovic, polygon.com)

Bringing backThe Proud Family” was nostalgic to all 90’s babies. What kind yet strong-headed lead would we want on television for our kids, other than 14-year-old Penny ProudDisney brought it back asLouder and Prouder,” and accompanying the Proud family, in a supporting role is a gay couple with non-binary siblings. They brought in voice actors that also identify as their characters—bringing work and awareness to the community. I am an open space, but it pains me to hear other mothers take offense to this rising trend and the feeling that we can’t be honest with our children about treating people as equals. Let your children follow their hearts instead of making them feel like they have to hide. 

So on that note, is it just a rising trend? This is a rebuttal I heard the other day. “I would be okay with it [homosexuality in animation] if they [animation studios] weren’t doing it to make money from a fad.” 

Well, I hate to break it to you, but as a bisexual female, I have been waiting my whole life for homosexuality to be in children’s animation. I honestly found heterosexuality kind of gross growing up. Seeing the go-to man marry a woman scenario over and over; got me sick. There are so many things we should be protecting our children from,: war, violence, hatred, negativity, but love? If we shield our children from love, what kind of hope are we giving them for the future?

Lastly, Disney released a short film called “Out,” about a man having difficulty telling his parents he’s in a relationship with another man. He switches lives with his dog and they play cat-and-mouse, almost exposing his live-in boyfriend to his folks. My husband didn’t like the movie when he saw it. The situation was all too familiar to him. We’ve all heard of the struggle LGBTQ people may have coming out to their parents. He wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. This was the first step. There it’s “out,” it’s been spoken. For a story to be told, it has to build from the beginning. Otherwise, the audience may not understand the world’s laws, but here it was. I would expect Disney to prep their audience to understand the struggle of queerness through this simple short, so that more complex characters can come into play in the future. Instead of immediately judging the characters, the audience may show compassion. We all live on this earth together. 

Radulovic, P. Feb 17, 2022. Polygon.com, The Proud Family creators: ‘There’s not just one view of Blackness or a Black family.’ https://www.polygon.com/disney-plus/22939385/proud-family-louder-and-prouder-creator-interview

Camping with Young Ones

Last month I went on three camping trips with the kids, to the Summer Music and Arts Festival, Grizzly Creek campsite, and with my partner to Ruth Lake. We had a great time and no one got sunburned! Here are a few quick tips on how I made it camping for a month with my kiddos!

The Sumer Music and Arts Festival was the hardest of the trips. We were vending and had a fairly large pop-up behind our booth but it’s not easy keeping a ten-month old in the shade. He enjoyed walking around and listening to music. I brought ear muffs for the kiddos so they could enjoy the stage and a wagon to pull the baby in. We were placed next to a yoga dome that was never built so there was less traffic our way. My daughter got poison oak in her eye on Sunday and we had to rush to the ER and they dosed her with steroids. I’d say we reacted properly and got her help as soon as it was obvious the swelling wasn’t going to go down with over-the-counter drugs. I came back to pack up without the kids. We brought lots of water to this event and had friends camping with us to help along the way.

Grizzly Creek Campsite we were able to cook on the fire. Check-in took a little while but the kids played with the freshwater spickets. Friends came and went and our dog Zed protected the campsite. Halaya set up her first tent which was a huge accomplishment. I took the kids swimming and Malakai had a blast in the water. He wasn’t a fan of his LifeVest but we had a lot of fun in the shallow area. I didn’t bring enough formula and the surrounding stores didn’t have any but I was able to contact a friend to bring it before it was too late! Camping with the kids isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. The baby wakes up twice a night and I have extra bottles made. I made the bottles with hot water but I might have made a bottle or two during the day without making a fire and heating it. We brought baby sunscreen and a little sun hat. Halaya read to me at night and wrote a haiku in her journal. On Sunday we went hiking and explored the forest and river. I used my Ergobaby backpack to comfortably hike with the baby. It was a path off the road that doesn’t look like it gets a lot of foot traffic and leads to a beautiful clover field.

My husband got jealous of all our camping and wanted to come with us on an excursion. He loves to fish, so we went to Ruth Lake. Ruth Lake is beautiful. You can see the trees on the hilltop are burned from recent fires and have a white tint. The valley had come back, with lots of greenery and life. We wanted to camp at Boy Scout Camp but so did everyone else because it was full. I would recommend getting a reservation for that one, word says it has great fishing. Instead, we settled for the first campsite Fir Cove Campsite. The sites were more spread out than the other sites, there was easy access to the water and hiking trails. We brought both the dogs on this one and they did great! Halaya and I walked the trail closest to the water and it lead to the next campsite. We swam in the water which was mushy and full of tall grass. I swam pretty far out and the weeds continued to tickle my body. We cooked hot dogs and let the dogs swim after the beach was clear of other guests. We drove around looking for the perfect fishing spot but couldn’t find it. I recommend reserving a boat, fish are released into the lake seasonally.

Overall camping with the kids is magical. In the forest, no work and time spent together. I loved every moment I got with my children, friends, dogs, and husband. I appreciate everyone that was a part of my camping excursion. The biggest tip is not to forget sunscreen, lots of water, and formula. Don’t be scared to sleep in the tent with the kids and spend time under the stars.

Till next time!