Samantha, Olympia, WA. 2016

Samantha and I talked for a little while about growing up in Chicago, IL and her family. She is now a student at The Evergreen State College and lives in Olympia, WA. 

"I went to catholic school growing up, so that was kind of crazy. It was weird. I think I didn't really understand what was happening. Because it just felt like school to me. But I knew that it was a private school because we had to wear uniforms and there were a lot of rules and stuff. But I think once I got older, like 5th grade and middle school, I started to realize, oh this is Catholic school. This is like the bible and church and all that stuff." 
"My mom is the youngest of 9 kids. And half of those kids are really conservative republican, whatever. And then the other half are very liberal, total hippies. Total junkies. My grandparents are very conservative. And they are the ones that put me into catholic school and stuff. And then my mom is definitely not conservative. So it was this kind of weird power struggle. In like having to pretend that I agree with the conservative agenda, because thats my family.  But then at home with my mom, we would be totally the opposite."  

Monica: Do you think that gave you a good perspective then? Or able to tolerate differences a little more? 

"Yeah, kind of. I think that has definitely helped me to tolerate people more. Especially at Evergreen. We have so many different personalities, and people come from all over the world. And, people have a lot of different view points. So I think growing up in that, helped me to kind of be neutral, in some situations. And also, most of the time, I didn't care enough to really listen. Because a lot of the conservative stuff, I definitely don't agree with, but they are my family and they are paying for my schooling, and letting me live with them. So I kind of had to keep my mouth shut." - Samantha T.

Samantha in her apartment in Olympia, WA

"My mom and I are very close to my half sister and her mom. When my mom and and my dad had me in ’97, my mom realized that my dad had another daughter in Missouri. So my sisters mom and my mom became really close. Because they were both dealing with the same crazy person. And both had daughters. My mom and I would drive down to St. Louis a couple times a year, to visit my sister and her mom. It was cool, we didn't need to deal with a man's bullshit... We can just be sisters all together, hang out and spend time together. I think that was really helpful to me growing up. Because it showed me that my mom and I weren't the only ones going through it. They went through it too." 

Monica: How old were you when you found out about your sister? 

"She was always around. Like when I was a baby, there are pictures of us. But I didn't remember. My first memory of her is probably when I was 5 or 6. And she would write me letters. She was my pen pal. She's 9 years older than me. She would have these cool stickers, and pink pens. And I would cry every time she would have to leave. Because I was like 'you are my best friend!' But her and I talk every day now. And there is no way, I would have been able to get through it all without her. Because we shared the same experience. Just having someone there, who is also going through that... I didn't feel so alone in it." - Samantha T.