When are you going to have a baby? — June 20, 2017

When are you going to have a baby?

Sadly, I was asked this question by a person I do not know well. This person knows my husband and I know there was no ill intent in the question. I know for a lot of newlyweds the go to question (after the hundreds you get about your wedding day) is “When are you going to have a baby?”. This question haunts me. At the specific moment the question was asked my heart broke into a thousand pieces. You just never realize what moments are going to make you sad, cry or scream with frustration. This was one of those moments when I had to swallow my tears and just say “eventually”.

I’m going to be so blatantly honest right now. I thought I was going to shut down my blog. This is when I went through the IUI process (more on that in a bit). I had a lot of mixed emotions during that time. I am so grateful for the people who are always commenting and saying their entire perspective has changed about what this disease is and how it can truly affect you. I just thought it would be too hard to keep going with updates. I even had to tell my family I couldn’t update them anymore about where we are in our process because again, the questions were extremely overwhelming. I told each of my family members that I love them dearly but my emotional and mental state can not handle disappointing them, but myself too. This decision came right after our IUI last month. Obviously it failed because I am not pregnant. For those that don’t know an IUI is a term short for Intrauterine Insemination. The doctor take the catheter and puts it up as far as he can into the uterus hoping an egg will release, a sperm will attach to create a baby. So basically you go in like you are going to have your annual papp smear. They said I could resume normal activity that day because it’s basically just like having sex only there is some science involved. Side note** We did find out that my husband is performing well in all areas so our infertility issues are all on me! I was SO RELIEVED when they told me he is like Superman!!** A few days after the IUI I ended up cramping and that’s never a good sign after a procedure like that. After that I went home and rested and was no in the dreaded two week wait (tww) before we could take a pregnancy test. We had a bit of a scare because the cramping wasn’t going away and I had a few symptoms of an infection so they rushed me to the hospital because they feared they were going to have to take out my entire right side which would mean no children. Thankfully all the tests came back negative and the ultrasounds looked good. Then we waited a few more days and our doctor wanted us to test early because he thought there was a good chance we would be pregnant. I can’t really express how nervous I was. I bought a test and waited until the next day. The test was negative. I cried. Russell was bummed. And we just kinda vegged out all day in a trance like state. We discussed what we both want for the future and what choices we would need to make for the following month (this month). I developed a pretty large cyst so we are not on any type of fertility medication this month but we are hoping to get back on track next month. This month we received permission to try on our own because you simply never know what could happen.

Here’s the thing. I wasn’t going to share that I’d had an IUI. 1. Russell isn’t as fond of sharing our story as I am. He is a very private person and I try very hard with this blog to keep his feelings and opinions as a priority. 2. I am still dealing with effects of the IUI, emotionally speaking. Personally, I am not sure how much more I will be sharing. I am not sure when my next blog will be. All I can say is the women who are trying to conceive (ttc) and have given me advice and words of encouragement, thank you. Your words help keep me fighting. Russell and I have a game plan of what we are going to do each month until the end of the year. I’m going to be honest it’s been hard to remain positive during this time. I wish I were able to be that half glass full kind of a girl but there’s the part of me that’s realistic. This journey is hard. This journey is exhausting. This journey will test a couple in a way they never thought possible. Please continue to pray, send positive thoughts, speak to the universe or whatever is most comfortable to you. We truly appreciate all the good energy we are sent on a daily basis.

Here’s to continuing the fight towards Baby Young’s arrival.

Until Next Time

xoxo

Through the looking glass… — May 27, 2017

Through the looking glass…

Have you seen the movie Alice Through the Looking Glass? Ya, I haven’t either. LOL But what I can gather from the title of the film is that Alice is going back to Wonderland to help the Mad Hatter. “Through the Looking Glass”, to me, is portrayed as looking at things or people from your own eyes. Have you ever just looked at someone and caught them at a very raw and vulnerable moment? To me, that is a through the looking glass moment (Now I could be totally wrong on how I’m using this phrase so please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). This very thing just happened before going to sleep. I was going back into the living room to write and forgot I left the surface in our bedroom. I was being really quiet and I went in our bedroom to retrieve the surface but I see Russell eyes close, fingers laced together, praying. I can’t tell you what he’s praying for because he wasn’t saying anything out loud. But what I can tell you is I know he prays for me. He prays for our marriage, for our friendship, for our life together, for us to continually be as happy as we can be. For a baby. I know he prays for me to have peace because he knows there are plenty of times when I want to cave and just cry. There are moments when I’ve told him I don’t know how much more I can take. But looking at him in that moment was all the strength I need to keep pushing forward. Seeing him sending out positive vibes into the universe and praying for us to have our miracle baby, makes my heart so full. Knowing that this man is asking, begging, pleading for this month to be different gives me hope. He gives me the drive I need to keep going because there are so many days when emotionally I am not okay. I can’t tell you enough how much having him by my side has put many difficult and unexpected moments into perspective. The times when I’d ask “why?” or “when is it going to be our time?” or ” am I worthy enough to be a mother?” or ” am I being punished for something I’ve done?”. These questions are hard for anyone to answer let alone your spouse. The fear. The doubt that creeps in. All the negative emotions and thoughts that creep in every now and then are why I need him by my side. Seeing him take the time out of his day, even just for a moment to pray for us…. there are no words to describe that sight and feeling.

Going through infertility changes a woman…I’ve said this a million times before and I’ll keep saying that infertility changes everything about you. Infertility changes the way a woman looks at another with children, it can change the dynamic of a relationship, it can ruin friendships. Infertility has so many dark moments that seeing moments like Russell praying brings light into a very dark room. If there is one thing infertility has done it has brought us closer together. I feel like Russell and I are stronger and more connected than ever. I am glad I had this through the looking glass moment of watching him pray.

Keep stopping by for more updates on whats to come on your journey towards Baby Y!

Until Next Time

xoxo

Misconceptions about being Infertile — May 23, 2017

Misconceptions about being Infertile

There are many misconceptions about having infertility that I am not quite sure people are aware of. I’ll be going through some of them because they have affected me in more ways than one. Here goes my list of misconceptions.

  1. All people with infertility will be resentful of those who are able to get pregnant. This isn’t true…not fully anyway. When I was first diagnosed (and everyone knew this) it was very hard for me to process what I couldn’t have. I basically had tunnel vision and was only focusing on myself and a year and half later I realize that wasn’t the right thing to do. However, I learned a lot from last year. One major lesson was that I could be happy for my family and friends that are pregnant because I know that’s where they are at this time in their lives. They are getting married and planning on expanding their families. I am not upset or angry but actually the opposite. I am extremely happy for all my friends and family who have been able to get pregnant and have babies. Shout out to my sister who is pregnant with her first child! I am very excited for her because I know this is something she’s wanted for quite a while! I am very happy to love on this sweet new addition to our family and become an aunt again!!!
  2. I have a HUGE support system when in reality I have a handful of people who truly care. This isn’t a post to shame people but to be honest. There are very few people who’ve reached out to find out what’s going on. This journey has been very tough and unless your my husband, my mom, my dad or someone super close to me, you probably don’t know every single detail. This is because when something like this happens a lot of people don’t know what endometriosis is and can’t understand why plans are cancelled or why I’m just not feeling up to getting out for coffee or lunch. It’s not your fault, I just need lots of rest in order to feel like I can function. Plus, flare up’s from endometriosis are no joke. They last for any length of time and unless you have a serious game plan of how to get rid of them, you just have to wait it out. Shout out to my friends and family who have been my side, come to visit me in the hospital, and called or texted to check up on me. You all are the people I know I will have by my side for a long time to come.
  3. I’m not always sad. There are days that I have that are discouraging or not exactly the result I was hoping for but I pick myself back up and keep going. I know I’ve said something similar in a previous post but I allow myself time to mourn or wallow in pity. I do this because if I don’t my emotions will build up leading to a disaster. Sometimes I feel like when we go two steps forward we go one step back. I knew that going into this that it wouldn’t be easy. I knew this would be all consuming and that’s something I am still trying to manage. Don’t get me wrong there are still some days when I just want to lay in bed and wonder what the future is going to bring but I won’t do that. I pick myself up, get ready for the day and remain hopeful of what the universe has in store for us.
  4. I think this is the biggest misconception and annoyance for anyone going through infertility issues. “How to get pregnant advice”. This could not be more frustrating for me. I have people say “you need to just get drunk one night and do it…that’s how people get pregnant, you’re putting too much pressure on yourselves. But I don’t know much about what you’re situation is so that’s just my advice.” First of all, this is not only offensive but unnecessary. Do you honestly think if it were that easy I’d be going to reproductive endocronologist who has an extensive background in helping couples with fertility issues get pregnant? No, I wouldn’t. I am seeing this doctor because I have a disease that prevents women like myself from getting pregnant. It would be so easy for me to brush it off and act like that’s what I want to hear because that person thinks they’re being helpful but in reality they’re just making things worse. Telling me to relax and not stress is much easier said than done. When you have to seek these opinions of professionals because you don’t have any other options there is going to stress involved. I just think people should keep their how-to-get-pregnant-advice to themselves because they have no idea how much hurt they can cause a woman with infertility; especially if the “advice” was unsolicited.

That’s just my late night brain dump. I am always writing about random topics… mostly that tie into what’s going on in our world with fighting this disease. Please continue to send positive vibes and thoughts our way as we are getting closer and closer to one day bringing baby Young into the world.

xoxo

Plans That Do Not Go According to Plan — May 19, 2017

Plans That Do Not Go According to Plan

Do you ever just map out how your life or something really important in your life is going to go and then get really disappointed when things just don’t work out? Well that’s me; sting here at 1am with some very intense pain in my lower back and lower abdomen. I can never sleep so why not write a bit and try to calm down a bit to see if I can sleep? At least its thunderstorming so I can listen to that and be in peace.

Over the last year and half I’ve had plans of how everything was going to go. After surgery one in February 2016 I had a goal that I was going to get healthy and the endometriosis wouldn’t grow back (had I known then what I know now I would have just discarded all my plans). But as we all know March comes and so does surgery number 2. After March I decided I wasn’t going to focus on the negative and see how this “experience” would help me grow emotionally, mentally and physically. Well that didn’t work because I became very bitter and angry. Angry at the universe for giving me a disease that has no cure, no medication to control it and no way of knowing how bad it really its or how much of it has grown back without surgery. I cut myself off from my friends and even my family because all I wanted to do was be alone. I wanted to sit and think and really open my soul up to the universe and just try to figure out how to get out of the rut I was in. So I focused on our wedding, which was the best distraction I could have asked for. Planning our wedding was the most fun I’ve ever had! When August rolled around I had so much going on, I was finishing my year at Miss Captivating, in the final 8 weeks until we got married and then surgery 3 was scheduled unexpectedly. By this point I’d gained 25 pounds and just didn’t feel like myself. I had given up on looking good for the pageant because at that point there was no hiding the weight gain but I wanted to be present for that event and kind of shut my brain off that weekend. After surgery 3 we were in the clear (or so I thought). The final stages of putting our wedding together were going perfectly. Everything had been done and there were just a few last minute things to get for our reception. And the rest of the year went so well. We had consulted with my OB/GYN but for 3 months nothing. As newlyweds I knew that trying wasn’t going to be easy. Then out of nowhere surgery 4. The big one. The one that for me was the hardest. I think my body was in so much shock from the previous surgeries that it really had no recovery time; in 12 months I’d had 4 surgeries. In January I got really discouraged and we kept trying until this spring when we went to see Dr. K. at KHN. Ever since we’ve been going through this regimen and I’m hoping it works.

Last month was a true example of how things didn’t go according to plan. Last month I had my first round of Clomid, followed by a trigger shot and timed intercourse. And let me tell you that’s really awkward to hand your husband a schedule and say these are the days we need to try for a baby. We did exactly what the doctor and the morning I took a test I couldn’t look at it. I peed on the stick like you always do and then put it in the box. When Russell and I looked at the results, which was a negative, I broke. I never knew I wanted something so badly until that moment. At that moment I went back to bed and just cried. I realized then that this entire process is about not having anything go according to plan. I have to give up all my expectations because if I don’t I will continually be let down. This entire time I’ve had a plan but at some point I have to give everything I have to the universe and say ” Okay. I give my everything to you. You will bless us with a baby when you feel the time is right.” I ask the Goddess of Fertility for her help because I know she is looking over us.

Throughout this process I’ve had to learn how to love and let go. Let go of the baggage I’ve been carrying around. Let go of the negativity. Let go of this idea that having a baby later in life is a bad thing. Let go of the judgments I’ve placed upon myself. Let go of the what if’s. There are so many things that don’t go accordingly to plan but if having a baby means not sticking to any agenda, I’ll take it. We’re patiently waiting for our sweet bun to come to us. Until then, I’ll just keep writing and hoping we are making progress.

xoxo

Day 5 of National Infertility Awareness Week! — April 27, 2017

Day 5 of National Infertility Awareness Week!

Fast Facts About Infertility
Did you know that national infertility awareness week began in 1989?
 
And not just women suffer from infertility, men can have infertility issues as well.
 
7.4 million people suffer from infertility.
 
Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF) 
Number of married women aged 15-44 that are infertile (unable to get pregnant after at least 12 consecutive months of unprotected sex with husband): 1.0 million
I’m telling you these fast facts because the theme of this years National Infertility Awareness Week is Listen Up! The goal this year is to educate people who many not fully understand what infertility is…a crippling disease. I have been diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis for about a year and half, however, from what the doctors have concluded I have had since I was a teenager. I had my first ovarian cysts when I was 12. It ruptured right before my mom was to take us to school. I was always a drama queen so she didn’t quite know what was going on and thought my pain wasn’t as bad as I said it was. Come to find out my cysts had ruptured and from that time on I had the worst periods I’ve ever had. Please listen when your friends who are suffering from infertility say they need time or space away. Most days (for me at least) I want to be alone. I don’t want to be around others because I am reminded of what may never come. I cancel plans and don’t go to functions, not because I don’t want to but because I simply can’t.  I know I have been a bad friend but some days I simply don’t care because that feeling my friends get when I don’t go to function is magnified times ten because I feel like an even worse wife. What I hope you gain from reading this is the knowledge that this disease can’t be seen, it is felt. It’s felt in the terms of pain and the emptiness a woman feels each month when she isn’t able to conceive. Infertility sucks. Infertility is lonely. Many people don’t understand and won’t try to understand for one reason or another. I just hope this week you’ve learned something new because every bit of knowledge will help increase the chances that one day infertility treatments will be covered by insurance in all 50 states, there will be advanced ways to detect endometriosis and women will have more options to conceiving a baby.
Until next time,
xoxoxo 
I choose My Right — December 8, 2016

I choose My Right

As if 2016 couldn’t get any worse. First we elect a man who isn’t fit to be a President, then Ohio’s Governor thinks he can somehow pass legislation to make it illegal for any woman to get an abortion at 6 weeks. Do you know what could happen in 6 weeks?! A lot. For any man reading this do you understand that the majority of women who have a period don’t have a “normal” cycle, meaning their periods don’t come exactly every 28 days. Some women skip periods for months at a time and  then one day they get their period again. Some women even get more than one period a month. So here’s my open letter to our governor who needs to hear from a woman on a woman’s issue.

Dear Governor Kasich,

I am writing you this letter to let you know that your “Heartbeat Bill” isn’t such a great idea. Women in the state of Ohio (and across the country) should not be told what to do with their bodies, especially not by men who aren’t doctors. Women get pregnant every day in our state. Some women are trying and some women aren’t. There are also women who are having protected sex and still somehow get pregnant because contraception isn’t 100% effective. When you look at why women get abortions there are plenty of reasons. Some women get abortions because they know their babies are going to have problems, their baby won’t make it the entire 9 months and will be still born, personal reasons, etc. There are a hundreds of thousands of reasons women decide to get abortions. But ya know what, its their decision. A woman has to choose what she’ll do when she finds out she’s pregnant, which usually isn’t until at least week 8 or later. And here’s my other issue with your bill. You and your fellow cronies want women to have the babies they are pregnant with but you don’t want to help support them when women ask for help. When a woman has to ask for government assistance because they are raising a baby with a minimum wage job that barely covers the bills, you and your government turn your noses up at them like they are useless and not contributing to society. Our state and government needs to come up with a better way for women who are having babies to get the help they need without being judged. Asking for help with formula, diapers, etc., should not be a bad thing when a woman decides to keep the baby she is pregnant with. Why are food stamps, WIC and other government assistant programs frowned upon but you want every woman to keep their unborn children. You sir, can’t have it both ways. If you want women to keep their babies, you should be able to have the funding and programs to help. Otherwise, you need to mind your own business. Women get pregnant for all kinds of reasons and some of the reasons are deplorable. If this bill passes women will still find ways to have an abortion, only this way it will be illegal and could result in more than just an abortion, but a death with the woman carrying the baby. Taking away a right isn’t going to stop abortions from happening. Governor Kasich, you nor anyone in Senate should NOT be making decision regarding women’s health or reproductive rights. A woman should ALWAYS have the right to choose. I stand behind Roe vs Wade and will continue to support women when they have to make decisions, such as getting an abortion. If you want to make 2016 suck a little less than it already has, you won’t pass this bill.

Sincerely,

A woman who will forever and always stand by her right to choose

Surgery #3 — August 13, 2016

Surgery #3

 

Yesterday was hard day. Really this entire week has been hard. I’ve been stressing about surgery and what will happen in the future. I know the future is not something I can control, however, I still find myself wondering what will happen. Yesterday I had my third surgery in 6 months. Pain wise for this one was just about as bad as my partial hysterectomy. I’m resting now but it’s very hard to do things without help. I had a laparoscopy done, endometrial biopsy, chromopertubation, and a hysteroscopy. I’m sure many of you are asking “Angelica what the heck does any of that mean?” Well, my laparoscopy was done as usually, it was done in my first two surgeries, to allow my OB to see where my scar is and if it’s spread any more. The endometrial biopsy is taking a piece of my endometrium to be tested for any abnormalities. The hysteroscopy is normal, that just allows my doctor to look around and see if anything isn’t going right in my uterus. And lastly, the chromopertubation is a fancy term for poking holes in my ovary. Because insurance companies don’t cover A LOT of women’s reproductive health issues, the doctors and nurses have to find ways around procedures so the insurance companies do cover them. How crazy is that? The reason they poked holes in my ovary is to help give me the optimum chance to have as many follicles as I can get. Remember I only have 1/2 of an ovary so we are already behind the game here.

Yesterday surgery took about an hour and forty five minutes. I woke up in a lot of pain and just wanted to come home. Any one else just get that feeling after you’ve been in the hospital for so long that all you want to do is go home and lie in bed? That’s what I kept asking until they finally let me leave. I’m on bed rest and can’t do much. Sleep doesn’t go well because I can’t sleep on either of my sides. Getting up and around is hard because there are two incisions to add to my collection. They are located right on my belly button (or slightly above) and one a little further down. You never realize how many muscles in your stomach you need until you are restricted from using them.

My point with this blog post is to tell you it’s not been easy. I’ve receive a lot of criticism from people I thought were supportive. People are uncomfortable with my openness when it comes to endometriosis. I would apologize and say I’m sorry but I’m not. How many women can honestly say before they knew someone with endometriosis, or they are going through it themselves, knew what is was? Because I sure didn’t. No one ever informed me that I could have an invisible disease that could potentially stop me from having a baby. For those that don’t understand why I talk about my struggles, it’s because I want women to know it’s okay to talk about your struggles. It’s okay to ask questions about your body. It’s okay to be scared. I share part of my struggle with others in hopes that one day maybe the right person will read this blog and say, ” Hey maybe we should be talking about these issues and giving women more options when it comes to reproductive health care”. I’m not doing this to gloat or for anyone to feel bad for me. I know I am on this path for a reason. I know that in the end when I can hold a baby in my arms all this pain will be worth it.

until next time,

xoxo

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How are you feeling? — March 7, 2016

How are you feeling?

Do you ever just have something happen to you and you look back and see what you could have done differently to prevent it?

Well that’s been me for the last few days. To say I’m in some pain would be an understatement. I was finally able to change my bandages and look at my wounds for the first time. It’s definitely not what I thought it was going to look like. I thought since they went in laparoscopically my incisions wouldn’t be so bad, but I was wrong. Two of my incisions are quite large and my belly button has two more incisions with another small incision close to my left hip. The pain is constantly throbbing and my back almost always hurts.

Here is what they did to my body: Going into surgery I knew that my uterus was going to be reconstructed because it was somewhat damaged. However, my OB found that both my ovaries were conjoined, which were attached to my uterus, and my uterus was attached to my bowels. So basically all my parts were frozen together, giving me all these crazy symptoms when I was on my normal period. During surgery my left ovary and fallopian tube were so enveloped in scar tissue that they were damaged beyond repair. Once they took out my left ovary and tube it was time to take care of my right one. My right one wasn’t perfect, it had some damage that they were able to fix but in the end I am left with half of my right ovary and a fully functioning tube. (YAY) Of course after that was done the rest of the endometriosis was removed. From what I understand there was a lot of damage done an it was very hard to fix (surgery was 4 hours)but they got the job done which is all I wanted.

The main question I keep getting asked is this: How are you feeling? Well honestly, I have no idea. I’m out of work for two weeks if not three, I can’t do much of anything because of the amount of pain I’m in, and we only have a 25% chance of conceiving a baby the natural way. So the answer to “how are you doing?” is not so great. I feel like I have to say I’m fine or that things are going well because people don’t want to hear about the awful stress my body and my emotions are going through. There are plenty of times in the hospital that I cried because I don’t have all my lady parts. I cried for Russell because I feel like he is marrying someone he is always going to have care of. I wonder if I would have taken better care of myself if this could have been avoided. I wonder how I got so lucky by having someone love me as unconditionally as Russell. He is always willing to take care of me even on days when he isn’t feeling well or he’s having an off day. Sometimes I feel like he deserves to be with someone who is healthy and can do everything he wants to do. But I’ve come to realize that’s not life. Life is growing old with someone, taking care of them because you love them, being selfless in a time when you probably deserve to be selfish.

Finding out that I have stage 5 (extensive) endometriosis it felt like my world was falling apart. I felt like I was being kicked in the gut. Each day brings a new struggle. Each day a new emotion arises that I have to face head on. Today I am feeling overly emotional because I want a baby. I want to give Russell a family. I want to feel what it’s like to give birth to a baby. I want to be up all night feeding and changing diapers. But what people don’t understand is that this disease can rip those hopes and dreams away from a woman in a heartbeat. I want to be one the women who can beat this. I wan to be able to say I have “x” amount of children. It may take a while to get there but I have to keep faith that everything is going to work out. My plan for life has already been mapped and I just have to keep following it.

xoxo

 

I Am That Girl — January 27, 2016

I Am That Girl

As many of you know, I am now the new Dayton Chapter Leader for the AUH-MAZING non-profit organization called I Am That Girl. For those that don’t know this non-profit is a fairly new organization. I am beyond grateful to be the leader for the city of Dayton. So here is some information so you can get to know a little bit more about what I will be doing and trying to accomplish.

I AM That Girl (IATG) was founded in 2008 by Alexis Jones and Emily Greener. Their mission is to empower young women through having honest and open conversations in a safe environment. Thank goodness for women like them starting their own non-profit to bring women up, not tear them down.

I decided to get involved because all too often we see how awful people can be towards one another. I have seen first hand the way young women are spoken to and I want to change that. I want to change so many things about our society (but that’s another post for a different day). I want to change how women view themselves. How many times do we say “I’m fat” “I’m ugly” “I’m not wearing a cute outfit”…the list goes on. I want to change that. I want girls to say I’m pretty without having to wear a lot of makeup. I don’t need to be a certain size for me to think I’m pretty. I want women to say my body is the way that is it and I’m so thankful for the way I was made because that’s what makes me unique. We all can’t be the same. We all can’t look the same. BUT we all can defy the Hollywood stereotype of what makes a woman beautiful. I’m telling you what ladies, ALL of you reading this is beautiful. You are all unique and that makes you special. You don’t have to be a model to be pretty. You don’t have to have a lot of money to be pretty. What makes a person pretty is what is in their soul. Are you the kind of person that wants to see others succeed? I hope so.

I personally believe your vibe attracts your tribe. If you are negative you are going to get negative friends. If you are positive you are going to get positive friends. You can’t lead a negative life and expect to get positive results. What you put out into the universe is what you will receive. So surround yourself with like minded women who want to change the word. Because I tell you what, it only takes one woman’s fierce determination to change one thing. It’s better to change one thing about the world and leave it a little better than you came into, than to not try at all.

Until next time!

xoxo

Black or White? — June 16, 2015

Black or White?

Rachel Dolezal has started a conversation in America that we may not be prepared for. By Rachel Dolezal, born a white woman to a white family, saying she identifies as a black woman, the country is going to start the conversation of does race matter?

Yes race does matter. But being honest about who you are matters too. You can be a white person and identify as black. You can also be a black person and identify as white. All those things are fine. But if a black person altered their identity to look more white and told people things that weren’t true, that would become a problem.

Here’s my issue with Rachel. She lied about who she is. She changed her appearance, which is fine because how many times have we seen people alter their appearance to who they truly are. Bruce Jenner, Laverne Cox, and Aydian Dowling to name a few. These people were not afraid to change who they are and teach people that being your authentic self is very important. Here is how they are different from Rachel, they didn’t lie. They never lied about who they were previously. They have their own stories to tell but it seems Rachel has taken her “story” and tried to make a difference being a black woman. Did she think that was going to make her like other prominent black women in history?Did she think she could get away with this forever? Does she think she can tell people whatever they want to hear and they will believe her? Well so far, she has. She has told stories about an African American man being her father, which is simply not true. She is not black at all. She simply identifies as black.

But where is the line crossed? So what if she wants to have dreads, a perm or even darken her skin to get the “look” she wants. She crossed the line when she worked for the NAACP in Spokane and told people she is black. The NAACP is a highly prestigious organization that helps better black communities through the country. However, why couldn’t she have made a difference being a white woman? Was she afraid that the black community would shun her or make her work harder? Would she not be accepted like she wanted to be? Why did she feel like the only way to make a difference was to lie? Identify with what you want. Dress how you want. Do your hair how you want. Talk how you want to talk. But don’t lie.

Rachel Dolezal has sparked a conversation about what it means to be black or white, but I’m not sure it is for the right reasons. This country needs leaders who are going to be honest, forthcoming about who they really are. This country needs strong, level-headed, honest leaders who are going to be inspirations to future generations. These leaders should be people who aren’t afraid to be who they are. However, these leaders also need to be transparent. Without transparency there is not trust. Without trust there is unrest. With unrest comes violence.

I’m not sure Rachel truly thought through the consequences of her actions, the only thing she is thinking about now is the amount of money that will soon (if not already) be coming her way, since every news outlet will want to interview her. Every publisher will want her “story” and the production companies will want to tell the world who Rachel Dolezal really is.