Professionals Against Bullying

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Who I Am Not What I Am: becoming my own reality

My husband Jason Michener and I were honored to give a joint speech at the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Event in Metro Detroit on Sunday. We talked about our relationship and how our personal story leads to our professional message of anti-bullying, diversity and self-esteem. Maybe you have read my books and you realize that they range from picture books to young adult and that they focus on positive messages about embracing culture and inclusion. Maybe you have heard a few of our personal stories about our days of dating when I was in my undergrad program in college. If you have done neither-I will remind you. Jason and I became great friends when he moved to Michigan from New Jersey in 2003. He was fun, smart and had the best heart I had ever seen on a human. I fell in love and yeah-he did too. When we decided to date-we were elated. I felt as though I had been blessed with my soulmate. The only man in my life who not only loved my snort-like laugh but also worked very hard to make sure I was always laughing so that he could hear it. Our happiness was not mutual with everyone around us. I was shocked because we received an amazing amount of speculation, judgement and raised eyebrows from those we cared about and even from strangers. Why are you two dating? What will you do with your children? Your relationship is not fair to the future of your family. Yes we heard it all. We were shocked...confused and hurt. My response what are you talking about kids? We are just dating. On the other hand if this relationship goes farther than dating and we get married and have kids-we will raise them! Once we continued our union into marriage and beyond-I began my true writing career. I have been able to travel all over the United States and share my books and story with many people who needed to hear it. Now I get to share my story with the most important person that will need to hear it and understand others need to box him in. My future son. I am pregnant (5 months) with my beautiful baby boy. He is already spirited according to the ultrasound because he can't stop dancing and performing flips in my belly. I want him to keep his jovial energy and not be tainted by those who feel like his life needs to be downtrodden before he gets here. I want him to know that he is more than a color or two. He is his personality. His interests. His smile. He is our child and he is not a "what" he is a "who". -Read something great

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