Saturday, January 21, 2017

Why We March

So today I attended the Womens March in LA, and as I often do when I post anything on the internet, I got some backlash. "What is the point?" "Oh cute, all of the women went on a walk together today" "What are you actually changing? nothing!"

Here is the thing, marching does change things. Marches and protests aren't new. They have been the forefront of every major social and political change. Religious rights, sovereign freedom, women's rights, civil rights... these marches have been happening for hundreds of years and they have been the catalyst to the real change. A LOT of change.

And why do people riot? Because they are angry and afraid and they feel helpless and don't know how else to express that. And yes, it does tend to be people in more impoverished areas because they feel they have no way out. Is it right? Probably not. But it is reality and the more it happens the more we have to stop questioning the effect and start questioning the cause. (not saying that there were any riots today, it was definitely all love and peace)

Is the march that I took part in today going to change the world tomorrow? No. I don't believe that anyone who was there today actually believes that. But it is a step forward in making people heard and giving them the strength and motivation to actually make the changes we all want to see. I spoke with so many people today about what is next. What do we do? How do we protect our rights and help the rights of other humans? How do we hold onto this anger and despair but turn it into a positive motivator to change the things causing those feelings?

A protest is a great way to get people off of their computers and phones and into the physical world where they are forced to interact with others and be proactive humans. What am I changing by marching? What are YOU changing by sitting behind your keyboard attacking people? I learned things today. What did you learn sitting alone on your butt in your house eating Cheetos in your underwear reposting unsubstantiated memes that support what you believe without questioning anything you have been fed?

It is easy to complain and attack and victimize ourselves. Express yourself however you want, but also know that it is my right to do the same. It is easy to say all of the things that NEED to happen or that SHOULD happen to make this country better. But you know what? I am going to stop saying and start DOING. You can post all of the angry memes you want-- this is my country and I am taking it back.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Unfollowed.

I have never been the type of person that ever just wanted to be a pretty face with thousands of adoring fans telling me how perfect I am. I have always had really strong opinions and a giant mouth. I have always been unapologetic for taking a stance for the underdog and for my people. I have always been strongly outspoken on womens rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, environmental issues, health care, etc. This isn't new.

I know we all saw the Meryl Streep speech the other night. What I find so interesting is the backlash. I feel the same backlash on a much smaller scale-- but it still blows my mind. Why, just because someone is an artist, are they not entitled to opinions? Does being a public figure all of a sudden nullify any rights you have to being a human and having human emotions and thoughts? Is your doctor allowed to think and speak freely? How about your mechanic? How about a banker? Lawyer? Nail tech? Hair stylist? Can your neighbor express their thoughts as they see fit? I hope your answer to all of these is yes because we are all humans living in the free world.

Celebrities and artists have a bigger reach, yes. And they also have more influence, totally. And with that comes a great responsibility. But in my opinion the responsibility isn't to censor ourselves-- the responsibility is to speak out on the things that matter to us. If I make a post saying I will miss Obama and 500 Trump loving, gun toting, flag waving Republicans unfollow me... cool. If I make a post about gay rights and 1 person who thought being gay was wrong goes "wait! I really like Cherry and what she believes in, maybe I should take a second to rethink"... that one moment is worth those 500 lost "fans." I AM NOT YOUR PUPPET. I am not here to dance for you as you see fit.

I want to get one major point clear here-- I DO NOT DO WHAT I DO TO COLLECT FANS AND TO BE TOLD HOW GREAT I AM ALL OF THE TIME. Is it nice to hear nice things, of course!! Does it make my spirit soar when I get to hug a girl and she tells me my videos changed her life? YES! Am I going to cry myself to sleep because some girl that posts 1000 videos of contouring and looking "perfect" has about 15 times the following that I do? Nope. We all do what we do for our own reasons. I happen to want to share my passions-- which include both superficial and non-superficial topics.

Another point I feel strongly about-- my page is not your playground for "free speech." My pages are my online living room. If you walked into my living room and started attacking me and calling me names, I would gladly tell you to get out of my house. I have that same right online in my own space, just as you have that same right on yours. But just because my space is public, doesn't mean it isn't still mine.

I love when people leave comments to try to bait me and call me a whiny liberal baby and say I will probably delete their post because I can't handle an opposing opinion. And then I hit delete and laugh. I am all for differing opinions. It makes this world interesting and colorful. And I am all for well informed, educated arguments presented without attacking or name calling. I rarely delete comments from my page. But you better believe when some ignorant man calls me "a retarded bitch" for being sad that the Obamas are leaving office, he gets deleted and blocked. I don't encourage that behavior and will not dignify trolls like that with a second of my attention.

Lastly, if you find what I post SO offensive and distasteful that you cannot bear ONE more second of following me without perhaps dying... Feel free to just hit the unfollow button. Making a big dramatic announcement that you are unfollowing me will only be met with an eye roll and will only make you look silly. Exit with grace. Move on if you must.

All of that being said, I welcome anyone to follow me that likes the things that I post and is willing to skip past the things that they don't. I welcome open minded, free thinkers. I welcome anyone interested in engaging in respectful, adult conversations. If you want to see a pretty face with a vacant space between the ears and in their heart, I am not your girl. And that is ok.

I am a different flavor.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Finding My Real Father

Me and Dad before the news
When I was 12, my parents called me downstairs and told me that we needed to talk. I remember my mom started getting choked up and the first thing that she said was "sperm doesn't make a dad, it makes a father." She went on to tell me that the dad I had known and loved for 12 years wasn't my biological dad. I looked over at my always stoic dad and saw tears in his eyes for the first time in my life. I felt like those movie scenes where the camera zooms in, but the background zooms out. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I had no idea what to think or how to feel.

They told me that mom had gotten pregnant when she was 16 and bio dad, Daryl, was 15 and just a friend of a friend. I was conceived and born in Southern California and as far as I know, bio dad only met me once or twice as a baby. His mom wanted to adopt me, but mine said no. When I was almost a year old, my mom decided that the neighborhood we lived in wasn't safe anymore so she moved up to Portland, OR to live with her dad. After the move, she lost contact with Daryl and his family and shortly after, met my dad and they got married and he legally adopted me when I was a few years old.

Being adopted is such a weird thing. I had a dad. And growing up, my dad was great. I didn't need anything. But I still felt like something was missing. I started to feel like something was wrong with me. What had I done to make him not want to stay? I dealt with so many years of abandonment issues. I remember the day they told me, going up to the bathroom mirror and just staring at myself. I felt like a stranger in my own skin. I felt like all at once I knew exactly who I was, but also had no idea. That night I lay in bed just feeling my face and arms and legs and feeling like an alien.

After that day, I thought about Daryl every now and then but never gave finding him much thought. My mom let it be known from the beginning that finding him was totally up to me and she would support me either way. These were the days before the internet-- finding a person involved a lot of work or Maury Povich. When I was 24, I was diagnosed with a heart condition and every piece of paperwork I filled out had an entire blank half that was "family history." I started to think more about finding Daryl, but was still scared and held back.

When I was 26, I moved to LA. One day I was getting my oil changed out near where I was born and drove by the hospital for the first time that I was born in. It finally hit me-- I needed to know. That night I called my mom and told her I was finally ready to find Daryl and she was behind me 100%.

The next day, I started what I thought was going to be a long and arduous process. All I knew about this guy was his first and last name, his approximate age, and where he want to high school. That was it. My first search was Facebook and that turned out to be a bust. Next I tried classmates.com since I knew his school info. I hit the enter button and up popped a face that matched with the name. I sent the pic to my mom to see if it was him and her words were "Oh my god. He is older, but I'll never forget that face."

I sat staring at my computer screen for a long time. I studied his face. He looked kind. He also looked like he had broken his nose a few times. He was young and handsome. I hoped he was a good man. I held my breath and wrote the weirdest and scariest email I have ever written in my life. I basically told him that I wasn't sure if he had a new family or if they knew about me and I wasn't trying to stir up any trouble. I told him that I wasn't asking him for anything-- money or a relationship-- I just had some questions I wanted to ask. I even said that if he could put me in contact with his mom instead, that would be totally fine. I didn't want to scare him away. I hit the send button and cried a little and then let it go.

Two days later, my mom called me crying, barely able to speak, and told me to open my classmates profile. There waiting for me was a message from Daryl. He told me that he had missed me my entire life. He told me that he had been through some trouble, but when he finally got it together, he couldn't find me or my mom and it was too late. He sent me his phone number and within hours, we were talking on the phone. He told me that his entire family knew about me and that he kept a picture of me in his wallet. He told me that I had 3 brothers. He told me that there were no major health problems on his side. He told me that his birthday had been a few days prior and that finding me was the best birthday present he could have asked for. He wanted to meet me immediately.

At the end of this day, my head was spinning. I was thrilled! I had been wanted after all! There was nothing wrong with me! I wanted to meet him and his whole family RIGHT NOW! I went home and Trevor sort of talked me off of the ledge. He told me that maybe I should slow down and take it all in and figure out what I really wanted to do and not get swept up in my Oprah moment. He was right. A few months later, Daryl was in town so I agreed to take Trevor to meet him and his girlfriend for dinner.
Me and Daryl at my wedding

We sat across the table from each other just staring at each others faces. I can't even tell you what a Twilight Zone moment that whole dinner was. It was the best and most weird all at once. After dinner we parted ways but kept in contact. The following year, Trevor and I got married and I invited Daryl. Let me tell you, he was the talk of the town. For 27 years, to my entire family, Daryl had just been a name. And all of my friends thought he was a babe, which was super gross and weird. It is the curse of having young parents. But I am glad that he came and was able to share in one milestone moment
in my life.

I don't consider Daryl my "dad." I also don't consider him my sperm donor. He is a nice man that gave me life. He has a good heart and he has tried his best. We have since fallen out of touch, but that's ok. I went into finding him with an open mind and no expectations and I feel that what I got out of it was the best of all possible scenarios. I know that a lot of people go on the same hunts only to have their hearts broken. I wake up every morning now feeling that my last puzzle piece is in place and knowing exactly who I am and why.
Thank you for my life, Daryl. It is the best gift anyone has ever given me.