December 19, 2008

Having it All: Living the American Dream

I never dreamed it would be possible...

By Bobbi Miller-Moro

If you would have told me that 10 years into the future I would be writing a book about empowering women and mothers of all races, of all cultures and inspiring women to HAVE IT ALL, I would have laughed. And that would have been when I was 25 years old. I was just married to my second husband, after having a very messy divorce with the father of my three older children, whom I was married to for seven years, marrying at 18 years old. I had already put myself through boot camp as a single mother, working nights for Brinks, and was a Reserve Officer for San Bernardino Police Dept.

I was living in a poor, depressed city in the neighboring county of Los Angeles, trying to find enough strength in me to never again be a victim of domestic abuse, domestic violence, or being smothered by dominating men. I knew I had to leave San Bernardino and I knew I had to educate myself. This is where my journey really began.

From those years as a young woman living in Southern California, I was from the first generation on my mother’s side, and I was the first to graduate high school in my immediate family. My mom, having a very rough life in Honduras, after her parents had migrated from Spain and Greece, had settled with her with her sisters in Hollywood, not speaking a word of English.

She married a young, good-looking young American - a Dennis Quaid look-alike — who grew up in Burbank, living the stereotypical dysfunctional middle-class Hollywood life. My mom only spoke Spanish, my dad only spoke English, and after their harrowing marriages prior to each other, they were a match made in heaven. They were married for three years and had me.

I found out later, they both had one daughter that was taken away from before they were married. One from parental kidnapping, and one from a forced adoption. Two wounded souls, victim of their generation, their country, their upbringing and as opposite as you can possibly be.

As a first generation daughter of an immigrant mother, and an American father, my upbringing was ordinary growing up in Montebello in East Los Angeles, until I grew older and found out it was not. My mothers family was survivalist, and my father’s family were entitlist. The two will never meet.

So, I was surviving to be entitled. What a combination. I went to four different high schools, defending myself throughout my entire education in the public school system. I had to defend myself from attacks, and being harassed walking home from school because my mom didn’t drive. I was taunted for being so white: ‘Casper’ they called me in an all-Black and Latino school district. In the end, I was expelled from school for my last fight. At 18 years old, I moved out, married, and had three children by the time I was 23. And by 24 years old, I was divorced and a single mom.

Then, I woke up. And in that I awakening, I began to see the world around me. I saw a place where I remembered I had dreams of being an artist, and actor and a writer. Where I could travel, and be apart of humanitarian causes. I was inspired by the people making a difference on the planet. But, I was this single girl from San Bernardino, with no self-esteem, three children and limited education (no college).

Although my family encouraged me to pursue my dreams, they live a safe, protected life. They do not venture out of their boundaries, or rarely city limits. They are a loving family, with big hearts for children. But, I did not see progress, or innovation, breaking tradition, new ideas, taking risks, thinking big, thinking outside the box, taking a stand, making a difference, or pursuing things that have not been invented yet. I realized I was not my family. They had given everything they had to come to the United States to give me and my 40 cousins the best start they could possibly have.

It was not easy at first. I had to realize that I could educate myself, so I enrolled in years of seminar training for Leadership, I read hundreds of books, and moved out of my city, back to my hometown of Hollywood. I enrolled in Los Angeles Valley College, eventually settling in the Valley. I worked hard, and I opened my mind. I met and married one of the most open-minded, creative men I had ever met. Together we had two more children, thus equally five children. In the middle of all this expansion though, my ex-husband did not see this as a good thing. Therefore a full blown Parental Alienation had begun on his part, and has lasted nearly 13 years.

This devastating abuse of our family, had me reevaluate the journey I was on, my goals and my mission. The heart wrenching blow that my children and I suffered during those severe PAS years and countless trips to court, had uncovered a deep passion in myself for Mother’s Rights. Thus, my love affair with the written word began. I saw that I could reach women across the world with the beauty of the internet. Starting out as blogs, it has manifested itself into a powerful online catalyst for change. Not only was I enjoying the pleasure of producing human rights, educational, and transformational films with my producing partner, Luis Moro, but I had realized my purpose. Not only were there young women searching for answers, and young mothers trying to ‘have it all’, and find their identity but there is need.

The need is not just in our towns, but in our world. The further we go out of our borders, we see more and more devastation and human rights violations regarding all people, but a high percentage of women, mothers and children. Getting to the source of where this originates from is generational, non-educated, and traditional behavior. The only power we have as women is our…minds. This began a five year journey into active research and developing my book: “Having It All: Women Without Borders.” The crucial importance of raising our daughters, and ourselves, with an empowering context, of educating our minds. Not coming from fear or survival, but from living a life of full self expression, passion, and ‘having it all’.

As generations come up, and replace the ones before it, we look at a more tolerant, educated, and non-prejudiced world we could have. Yes, it is a tall order — but I have witnessed it in my own family. The first generation is now in our 30’s and 40’s. We are respectful daughters and sons of our parent’s plight in the United States, but mostly we have developed a strong passion for having a world that works for everyone. We are nurses, musicians, writers, interior designers, child development specialist, entertainment film producers, artists, health and fitness experts, computer science majors, teachers, commercial real-estate managers to name a few.

And our next generation, my children, and all the generations after us, will have the opportunity to go to four-year universities, and become CEOs, start up global non-profits for humanitarian aid, inventors, award-winning leaders and visionaries that will stand on our shoulders and live in a world that we can only dream would be possible. And how do I know this? Because they already are. ¡Viva America!

Bobbi Miller-Moro is a freelance Latina writer, and currently finishing her second book. Married to Luis Moro, an award winning, Cuban filmmaker from Cuba and together they produce transformational history making films while raising five children in LA. Reprinted from LatinoLA (www.latinola.com/story.php?story =7030)

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