Why Wendy Wortham and The Texas Twins Team Do NOT Discriminate..
Perhaps because I was raised working rather than playing like other children, the luxury of “idle hands and idle time” has never been an activity that I’ve taken part in.
Don’t be sorry for hard work and perseverance were foundations that defined me, inspired me and created the compassionate person that I aspired to be after being a target for discrimination much of my life because, “I was different” or “you are too close to your twin- are you gay?”
For my dear and loyal readers who are well aware of our childhood and subsequent trials and tribulations, the things my twin and I were forced to overcome were the very same things that made us kinder. Life is ironic like that, you see the choice of being angry and mean due to your trauma is in fact, a choice!
We are actually the complete opposite of everything we’ve endured INTENTIONALLY. That’s right, we took everything that had happened to us in life and flipped it upside down with forethought.
Did we yearn for a mother to be kind to us, to hold us and mend our scraped knees? Yes, but we were each other’s mother since our own mother had sold us at 6 years old to run off and buy heroin “if abortions had been legal, neither one of you would be here- I never wanted a baby and much less, TWINS!”
Fool and dreamer that I am, meeting my mother and giving her money to take time out of her schedule at 28 years was my own doing. That’s right, I paid her to meet me after all those years and give me the answers that I believed were true- I was wrong in my assumption and devastated with her answers.
Children are often very cruel, where do they learn this? I had horrific buck teeth and difficulty communicating which coupled with no mother and Special Education Classes put me in the “freak” category through no fault of my own.
After my father moved us from Lompoc to Oklahoma, our lives would become even more despairing by my aunt and uncle taking advantage of him by effectively lying about his taking a position with their company that forced us into abject poverty while my sister and I struggled to be “like everyone else” in order to keep from being beat up at school or, spit on by cruel children because we had no mother and, no money.
Although my father probably had no idea what Precocious Puberty was, I started my period at my dreaded Special Education Speech class in Oklahoma at nine years old. Terrified and embarrassed, my teacher told me to get a dime and go to the bathroom- I had no money and stayed in the restroom for the duration of the class. No one had told me something like this would happen, I had no one to educate me regarding my circumstances and, was relieved when my teacher entered the restroom and realized that I didn’t have a dime to buy the feminine hygiene products or, the slightest clue on how to use them!
She offered to call my father working at my uncles chemical plant to come pick me up, horrified I attempted to beg her not to contact him with my broken a and chronic stuttering making the translation difficult for her to understand. You see, my father had a temper and, enough problems already trying to feed three children with barely any money and I was well aware that the gas to drive to the school and leaving my sister alone for the bus ride back to our trailer park would be the worst thing in the world that could happen to all of us! I went though school that day with bloodied pants (I only owned two pairs) and was ridiculed by students for something that I could not change as my fate in life was not chosen by me.
By the time that teacher entered the restroom, my white pants had already been ruined and, stomach cramps along with humiliation would be the strangers that carried me through my day. Years later, my untreated Precocious Puberty would come back to haunt me with 16 years of surgeries due to complications of endemetriosus along with benign breast lumps that had to be surgically removed and thyroid cancer. Because of the knowledge I attained over my own lifetime, my great niece, Maryssa Mahaney went through a surgical procedure to treat Precocious Puberty last year at Cooks Children’s Hospital that was replaced again this year. Growing breasts and having pubic hair when no one else does and suffering mood swings are just the “tip of the iceberg” for the isolation that children dealing with this dreaded curse are handed.
Discrimination is perhaps one of the cruelest things I’ve ever endured for being “different” for being “poor” and finally, for being “retarded” although none of these things were my own fault. In reality, I’m highly articulate and knowledgeable as well as educated on numerous topics and tested for Mensa. Untreated dyslexia taught me to view everything in my life backwards and often in a circle. By doing this I effectively understood how actions from others affected those around them. I decided to take everything painful in my life and use it to be kinder, wiser and more understanding to the plight of others.
I spent years observing people without speaking for if I attempted to converse, my inability to communicate often infuriated everyone around me. Those years were spent reading whenever possible anything that happened to be available which often included phone books, maps, encyclopedias, you name it- I read it!
By the time I was 12, I realized that of I sang instead of speaking that I could actually communicate without stuttering. This was a “turning point” in my life that would define me and by this point I realized that my history of reading and finding both solace and often the ability to transport myself in books was a gift for I could easily leave whatever was happening simply by opening a book.
I memorize all the words in songs and often sought comfort in music for my entire life. My husband never listens to the words, the words are incredibly important to me. Music and books were my escape from my life and could easily change my mood, best of all- they cost nothing! I have had library cards all of my life and love going through books at thrift stores.
My twin and I are “mixed” if we are out in the sun we quickly look Hispanic or even occasionally, are mistaken for either black or another “Non White” ethnicity. Although this shouldn’t be a big deal, for years I was singled out at “Checkpoint Charlie” outside of San Diego because I “don’t look American.” Perhaps the inconvenience and embarrassment of drivers by wouldn’t bother many of you but, it bothered me and taught me that no matter what your accomplishments in life are, there will always be someone who singles you put of a crowd simply because “you look different.”
I watched the Bruce Jenner interview with interest because although I have many friends within the lgbt community who struggle for acceptance, I was not personally familiar with the journey he has travelled. I was saddened by understand that he struggled most of his life and ironically, like me, had been driven by fear of acceptance and therefore pushed himself to succeed and that “fear propelled” him to exceed anyone’s expectations of him. In that moment, I fully understood where he was coming from along with millions of others. I also respected both of his ex wives for “taking the high road” and wishing him well on his journey. My personal observation that days later, Kim Kardashian would wind up on TV “trying to cope” with Mr Jenners life choices had me jumping up to change the channel immediately! Sadly, his family had decided to profit and gain exposure for a journey he has been forced to travel alone, tragic.
Our Little Pawners, Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney have compensating personalities just as my twin and I do. Many find the twin characteristics fascinating but don’t understand it, because of this I’ve fought for my entire life for parents to make the decision of whether or not to separate twins and multiples at schools. Twin laws are now in place and although having my twin in classes as a child would have certainly eased my journey- it was a privilege that I never had the luxury to enjoy. You see, educators are not psychologists and, they have no idea that separating siblings who have spent their entire lives together at 6 years old entering kindergarten, is TRAUMATIC!
My life has taken me on painful paths to become the person I am today and often when I hear someone say “oh, if only I could be a child again” I find myself wondering how on earth they could desire to do this all over again and Thank God that I won’t ever have to “go back” I’ve learned many things both from books and years spent watching others and at the end of the day now understand that adversity and discrimination are a part of my life that I had no control over at the time they reared “their ugly heads.”
But, I took what I learned and taught my son and all of our children to rejoice in the differences of others and open their minds to the differences. All of our children volunteered and had chores at a young age because I believe that today’s youth is being trained to be either spoiled or narcissistic and will so everything within my own power to prevent the “all about me” syndrome from touching my own family.
Learning to appreciate someone else because they are different isn’t that difficult- you could easily enrich your own life by taking the time and the patience to learn their journey.
I specifically created business to address low and middle class consumers because I have been where they are, I understand struggle and I knew that the only people that would appreciate the “gift” of a beautiful low cost or no cost ceremony were those who had nothing. It’s not rocket science, it’s reality!
Wendy M Wortham
The Pawning Planners