Omaha

My first day in Omaha must be told so people understand my fear of severe weather. I had just arrived in Omaha, and I was exploring my new home. The only thing I had known about Omaha or Nebraska, was that it had tornadoes. I had envisioned that the basement would be something underground that I had to go outside to access, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked down to our basement and it was only half underground! I thought to myself that there was no way if a tornado came we would be safe only being half under ground.

I went outside to continue my exploring, and I heard this eerie sound of these sirens that I had never heard before. I asked my dad what that awful sound was and he informed me that those were the tornado sirens, and that they were testing them. That they did that once a month and there was nothing to be worried about. So I took his word and continued to look around and get acquainted with my new home.

It was my mom’s birthday that day, so later that evening we were getting ready to go out to eat to celebrate. I was outside waiting and I began to see the sky turn this strange green color. I had never seen a green sky before. I also started to see lightening so I went inside. As I was going up the stairs, I heard those eerie sirens again. I was confused as to why they were going off again, so I asked my dad again what they were, and why they were going off. “Are they testing those again dad?” His response this time was with a little more fear and he said we should go into the basement.

We went in the basement and turned on the TV. The news reports were all saying that we were in a tornado warning and all of a sudden I heard what sounded like death hitting the house, but was golf ball sized hail. I had never even experienced something like this before. I mean we came from Arizona. The sever storms there are only bad lightening and massive amounts of rain during monsoon season. Nothing like this. Not to mention, I had only been in Omaha for like 6 hours and I already was terrified for my life. I remember my brother and I were hiding under a desk crying that we wanted to move back to Arizona. I soon was introduced to how powerful some of the storms can get here. And from that moment on, I became fearful of any storm. Severe or not. But little did I know at the time, the weather storms would be nothing compared to the storms ahead in my life.

Happy

Someone asked me the other day if I could remember when the last time I was really happy. I was actually stumped by the question. Happy? As in what? Sure I have had happy moments in my life. Lots of them. When my kids were born, was some of my happiest moments in life that I will never forget. But if we are talking about happy, like to my core happy, I think it goes back to when I was a kid living in Arizona. Arizona was, and in my mind, still is my happy place. It was a time in my life where everything was perfect. Before my parents divorced, before I was depressed, before I was and adult.

I was born in a small town in West Virginia. It was the typical small town where everyone knows your business, the kids in your class never exceeded 20, and those 20 kids would be in your class every single year for the rest of time. And when we finally got a Mc Donald’s, the only place to put it was right next to the town cemetery, so while you were enjoying your Big Mac, you could look out the window and reminisce about deceased loved ones.

We lived in a really nice house in the country hills. In fact to get to our house, you had to drive up a huge hill and the house sat right at the very top. I still have memories of my dad almost driving us off the ledge of that hill in his Bronco when it was snow covered. It was a great house with awesome views of what makes West Virginia beautiful.

I know times for our family back then weren’t the best. My uncle, whom we were very close with at the time, had moved to Arizona, and seemed to be doing well, so my dad had decided it would be best for us to move there too. At this time I had never been anywhere on the west coast and I was very excited about the move. I had only seen pictures from the post cards that my uncle would send us, and those post cards made it seem like paradise. So we sold our house, and off we were.

I don’t remember much about the plane ride there except for when we flew over the Grand Canyon. I literally was looking out at a real life post card. I couldn’t believe how huge it was, and it looked just like the pictures. In fact, it was more beautiful in real life. Seeing that made me feel so excited to start our new life, where I knew we would be happy.

My uncle met us at our baggage claim. This obviously was before 9/11 and when you could pick up family members still at the gate. We gathered our belongings, and started walking towards the door. I will never forget as that big sliding door opened, I was blinded with a sun so bright, and felt a heat like I had never felt before. It was the kind of heat that goes straight to your core, and is so hot, it does the strange phenomenon of giving you goosebumps.

We had a pretty good life in Arizona. Had a nice house, I made some great friends, and my family was happy. Everything was perfect. I can’t think of anything bad about my experience there. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if we never left. But for now, I can answer the question, the last time I was really happy, was in Arizona.

You’re Fired!

For the past 2 years, I have worked as a cosmetology instructor at a school. I strived on being an excellent role model for not only the students that attended, but also my fellow co workers. I covered others shifts and always volunteered my time to help out the company. A lot of people relied on me for many tasks. I took pride in my classes and the message I was teaching to my students. I loved my job. Which is why I didn’t see any of this coming.

Weeks leading up to my departure, my students came to me with concerns about a new rule change. They were upset and frustrated that no one would hear them out. I decided to be the voice of all of them and bring the topic to discuss at a staff meeting. I regretfully lost that battle but the students were aware that I tried to be the voice of reason. They knew I tried my best to get the answers they were so desperately seeking.

At a whole school meeting these topics were brought up again only this time the students themselves were voicing their frustrations. They not only stood up for themselves, but they stood up for me too. They said the most beautiful things about me and appreciated that all I did was listen and acknowledge their feelings. I was in complete amazement how much they valued me. However as the nice things kept pouring out about me, I quickly realized that not everyone in the room was as pleased as I was to be hearing those words. I could tell my boss was growing more angry and defensive by the minute, obviously thinking I somehow orchestrated the whole thing. I knew at that very moment I would pay a price for it.

I started my morning just like any other that day. I got up, went to the gym, got my kids ready and dropped them off at school. I had just sat down to watch my favorite soap, The Young and the Restless when my phone began to ring. I am like every other person in America, when I hear my phone ring, my first initial thought is why someone is calling me in the first place and not sending a text. I looked at my phone and saw that it was my boss calling me. ON MY DAY OFF. That never is a good thing. I answered and was asked to come by so we could “chat.” Immediately I knew something had to be wrong. Why call me on my day off? Why not wait until I were to come in the next day? I hung up and got into my car right away.

Upon arrival I was greeted with a very pleasant hello, as well as a thank you for showing up on your day off. I was escorted into the office, sat down, and before I could say anything else, I heard the words. YOU’RE FIRED! Excuse me what? I am fired? I had never even had any disciplinary actions or a write up before. And I was fired?

When I could gather my thoughts enough, I managed to be able to ask the golden queston, why? I wasn’t given any sort of answer other than a pitiful excuse that we are going in different directions, and that I needed to leave. It was as if my heart was literally ripped out of my chest. I had dedicated so many long hours, and missed out on so much of my children’s lives to work at this company, and none of that mattered anymore. I was let go. I was to somehow go on with my life in a different direction. One that I had not a single thought on because I never planned to not work there anymore. If anyone has been fired before, I am sure you can relate to that awful feeling. All I could think about was how my students would think I gave up on them. That I failed them. And that they may think this was their fault. I couldn’t stomach them thinking that I didn’t want to spend my days with them anymore. I loved them. All of them. I got up, walked out of the office, and gathered my things only to walk out of that building one last time.

The next few days I was in complete shock. I had gone from career woman to stay at home mom in a blink of an eye. Not that I wasn’t happy to be able to spend more time with my kids. I’ve always struggled with being able to balance how much time I spend working to how much time I spend with them. I am sure every working mom struggles in the same way. But my kids weren’t out of school yet, so I found myself doing nothing but laying on the couch watching old episodes of Roseanne. I felt lost and wasn’t sure what I should be doing. It almost felt like an out of body experience. I knew I wasn’t supposed to go back to my job anymore, but I almost felt like I was doing something wrong, like playing hooky.

I received many messages from my co workers as well as my students after my departure. All with such words of encouragement. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the impact that I had on people’s lives in the time I was there. They looked up to me. They thought I was a role model, and they were waiting to see what I would do next in my life so that they could follow and be a part of the new plan. It was at that moment that I realized I was going to be ok. I may have lost my job, but I stood up for what I believed in and I had gained the integrity of the students. It was all of their love and support that made me realize what I wanted to do. I want to help people. I want to change lives. Just as I did before, but this time on my own terms. I want to encourage others by sharing my stories of heartache, deception, and betrayal. I want to utilize my skills in a way that I can help other women feel good about themselves by teaching beauty tips and tricks. I want other moms to not feel alone when we are supposed to have all our shit together all of the time, but don’t. I want to share my life with others in hopes that I may make a difference in someone else’s. That’s how I came up with this blog, and that’s why I am sharing this embarrassing story with all of you. This is me. Marcie Manna. Uncensored.