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January 9, 2023 41 mins

The white rural working class is so often depicted in the mainstream media as just Trump supporters; but there’s a lot of layers to this community that go unseen. Jen comes from this world and she’s also a new member of my family (my sister-in-law’s sister). We talk about her experience as the first in her family to date a person of color, the isolation caused by grief, and her struggle at times to fit in with her community. You’ll witness the most in depth conversation she and I have ever had, where I discover some of our shared values despite our very different backgrounds. 

 

“To have a good conversation, you have to open yourself up and be prepared to just listen to what somebody else has to say.” –Jen

 

Check out sites like GriefShare and others resources listed in this Love to Know article to find support. 

 

Creator: Maria Fernanda Diez 

Executive Producers: Gisselle Bances, Anna Stumpf, Nikki Ettore 

Producer: Dylan Heuer  

Associate Producer: Claudia Marticorena

Original Theme Music: Tony Bruno

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hey, y'all, o Morris, as my mother would say, so
far on when you're invisible, We've gotten to talk to
a lot of different people who have shaped me and
who I am and how I think about the world.
From the guys at the Package Center who shaped the
very first days of my adulthood. So then getting to
take a deeper dive with my community, with people like

(00:21):
Anicia and Kate and Lonnie and the workers from Ground Zero.
And another person who has shaped that for me is
my brother, who is one of my best friends. This year,
he married this amazing person, Amanda, and she happens to
be from a white role working class background, and that

(00:43):
brought a whole new community into my life. Amanda has
three siblings, one of them whose experiences I'd like to
share with you today is her older sister Jen Jen
and I started talking about what it was like from
her perspective when Amanda and Francisco started dating. I'm is
happy because you could see that it was important, because

(01:03):
she had the little bounce on her step and she'd
light up over just having a conversation. And then what
did you think of my brother when he finally met
him in person? Well, I had already known a little
bit because you know, I'm a snoop and so I'll
look on Facebook stuff. He's so wonderful. But he's also
like you know, he's Francisco, so he shows up sometimes

(01:24):
with like a button up like floral. I love his
swag and the way he dresses. I love it. He's
such a good conversationalist. You guys all talk and conversations
go in detailed and I like that. So right away
I feel like I hit it off with him because
I want to hear more. We learn from each other, Yeah,

(01:46):
which is awesome because this podcast for me is that
I love having conversations with people, and I think there's
so much to learn from each other. The way we
can be generous in storytelling, right, so many things come
out when you have a good conversation. You have to
open yourself up and be prepared to just listen to

(02:06):
what somebody else has to say. And he's very good
at that, and he can talk to almost anyone, I think,
and that's a great skill to have for some people
to do that. Yeah, he's really brilliant at that. I've
always admired him for it. Also, he writes the best
birthday cards. Really, Yeah, they're my favorite. How nice that? Yeah,

(02:28):
he's so sweet And like I loved meeting Amanda too.
Amanda was great for my brother. Similarly, there was more
of just an ease and a fun about him and
just like an openness that came with him meeting Amanda.
He isn't that's so great? Right? You wouldn't have thought
the two of them would have hit it off or

(02:50):
even known each other except for the Internet stuff. You know,
they would have never met each other any other way.
And they're both up for anything, and I love that,
you know, they really are, and whatever you need, sure,
let's do it, or let's go here, let's play this game,
or you know, hang out. It was really interesting to

(03:13):
see how our families came together. We mostly grew up
in the Midwest. They mostly grew up on the East Coast.
They're from a rural area. We're from mostly cities or
small towns. I grew up with two cultures, three languages,
and I traveled a lot, and Jenna spent most of

(03:34):
her life in one town. It's interesting to me that
my brother chose someone who is actually in like working
class white America. I remember initially being a little nervous
because unfortunately, while I am very much like a champion
working class people, we get to be around a lot

(03:56):
of like minded people. Ultimately, so getting to become a
part of a family where I was like, oh, there
might be incredibly different perspectives than me. What does that
look like? And who are these people? The white girl
working class is so often depicted in the mainstream media
as just Trump supporters, but we actually don't hear a

(04:17):
lot of diverse opinions from this group. And honestly, there's
different layers of this community in our country, and oftentimes
those layers are invisible. And I wanted to talk to
Jen because she's from this community and to get to
know her on a deeper level. She's felt invisible in
her life in different ways through the isolating experience of

(04:40):
grief as a single mom, struggling at times to fit
in with her community and even within her family and
relationships at times. You guys, are witnessing one of, if
not the first, most in depth conversation she and I
have had. So it's getting up close and personal with
a new member of my family, and I am incredibly

(05:03):
thankful for Gen's ability to open up to me throughout
this conversation and sharing her experiences. Welcome to When You're Invisible.
My name is Maria fernand but I know not everyone can.
Well there are, so it's also fine to call me Maria.
In today's world, we love to tell stories about people

(05:23):
who have reached the top, like people who have achieved
positions of cloud wealth power. On this show, I won't
be doing that. When You're Invisible is my love letter
to the working class and others who are seemingly invisible
in our society. I helped to build a community here
that will inspire you to have generous conversations with others
that are different from you, conversations that might help you

(05:47):
see life in an entirely different way. How is your day?
It was a good busy day. I work at a school.
What do you do at the school now? I am
the superintendent secretary of an elementary pre k to eight school.
It's a small district, so I work right in the
main office. Oh my gosh, what's an everyday like? Well,

(06:10):
I'm right there at arrival and dismissal. I have to
know what buses come in, make sure all the kids
get to their classes on time. So as you grew
up your secretary to a superintendent now and you worked
for the housing authority. What else it like, have you done.
I'm always curious what people have done for work, if
that informs how you live the rest of your hours

(06:33):
without a job, or like the mentality you walk in with.
I have always thought of myself as a dreamer. I
have tons of ideas careers or businesses, just not for me,
for other people. To me, college was never really an option.
I did well in school, but I never really was
pushed that way. So I graduated high school and got

(06:56):
a job where my mom worked at a factory and
they worked there for a while. What kind of factory
it was? Clement Pappus and then Red Packet was like
a tomato processing factory. My mom didn't payroll in the
office there, and I got a job in the distribution area,
just office work. I've already done office work. Yeah. Do

(07:17):
you feel like part of the reason you weren't pushed
towards college was the time? Yeah? Because I graduated in
high school in eighty nine, So yes, I knew people
that were going to college, but it wasn't made like
it wasn't necessary. And then in the nineties, people had
children and they're like, yeah, no way, Jose, my kids
are going to college. You do need that time to

(07:39):
grow up. You know. There's all different ways to learn things.
You have to decide if you want to learn no
more be stuck in your own ways. I was up
for whatever, you know. If I felt like I could
do it and I understood what it was, then I
would try. I worked at a pumpkin patch too, but
I quit that and like that, and I worked for

(08:00):
two years at a trash company in the office. What
do you feel like is the biggest thing you've learned
from all your experiences. I don't know. Um, I think
everyone needs to you know, not preaching. We all need
a little more patients with each other, with ourselves. I
really enjoyed listening to Jen talk about different experiences that

(08:25):
helped shape who she is today. And I particularly enjoyed
hearing about what it's like to grow up in rural
America because it's so different from what I've experienced, so
it was brand new. I feel like I had a
really good upbringing. I grew up in Cedarville. There was
very few people here and not a lot to do. Obviously,

(08:45):
no public transportation, and you had to walk everywhere. It
was very rural. But as soon as I had children,
that's exactly where I wanted to raise them. You know,
I knew that it felt right me. We went outside,
We used our imagination, and my parents were very good

(09:06):
if they did a lot with us. You know, we
went camping into the beach all the time, and we
have a huge family and there was always something going on.
They kept us very busy. They made us work very hard.
When you said that you guys had to work hard,
did you do chores in the homework, or did you
also have a job while you're growing up that kind
of thing. We did chores, and we didn't have a farm,

(09:29):
but we had five acres and my dad wanted to
be a farmer. We kind of sat on a back road,
so everybody dropped their dogs back then, in like the
seventies and eighties, if a dog got pregnant or somebody moved.
They didn't treat animals the way people mostly do now.
So our house ended up being the homeless shelter for

(09:52):
all these strange animals. At one time, Maria, we had
nineteen dogs, not in the house, they were all out side,
but we fed them all bathed on. We had more
than a hundred chickens we had to take care of,
and gardens. I wouldn't even call a garden because, oh
my goodness, it was hundreds of feet long and many rows.

(10:15):
And so we did it ourselves. What did you guys grow?
We grew everything in corn, tomatoes and radishes and pumpkins,
and then my mom would freeze it. We had a
lot of geese, and then I had a pony, which
was nice. The pony. Actually, it's a funny story. It
was the summertime and I had to babysit my brothers,

(10:37):
and so I would get up earlier than them, and
I went out to feed the cats outside and do
my animal stuff, and something's making a noise over in
the little field next to the house, and I look
over and there's a pony tied to the tree. Apparently
the pony was from like a mile or so away
and had broken out of their fence. But the pony

(11:00):
was so bad that they didn't go looking for it.
What child's dream isn't to have a pony? Like the
minute you said that, I was like, what, Yeah, it
was especially fun for the first day. One time it
broke out of the little pasture area we had for
it and broke other horses out of their fenced in areas.

(11:20):
I had to leave school to go and take back
two horses and the pony to our house. Jen eventually
returns to Cedarville with her kids, but they actually move
to another town in those early years of raising her family.
I moved to Shamok and p i for ten years,
very small town. What do you feel like is the

(11:41):
biggest difference between the two. That's just different cultures from
South Jersey and farming to the mountains in Pennsylvania and
coal mining. You know, different history is what shows what
your culture is, what things are normal. Can you describe
some of the differences between Shimokin and where you grew up.

(12:03):
One of the biggest things to me is how they
raised their children. Those children were allowed that they could
very young walk the little town by themselves, and I
could never understand that that was the biggest thing. It's
a little different pace, it's a little slower, and there
was not as much opportunity. There's no employment there. You

(12:24):
would have to go to Harrisburg, which was an hour away.
I've never been to Cedarville so I haven't gotten to
experience Jen and her family and Amanda in their home base.
But I did get to spend the fourth of July
with them two years ago, and it was really lovely.
It was the first time I met any of them.

(12:45):
It was also the first time we went wedding dress
shopping for Amanda. It was fun to watch them all
be super supportive and be like, you look so beautiful
in all of it, and it reminds me a lot
of my family. It was really cool to see we
both did this. We're a little more uggy because Latinos
like hug and kiss everybody, but they were still super warm.

(13:05):
It's cool to be like, we come from two very
different cultures. I'm like, whoa, that's so cool to me.
I'm like that blending. It's fantastic that all of our
families seemed to mesh well and everyone was very open
to getting to know each other a little bit and
different things. And that's what we're supposed to do. It

(13:27):
to be honest as humans, you know, like as people
were supposed to give each other that little bit of
respect and understanding and then teach me, show me what
you do. I mean, I went to Mexico once when
I was a kid, but I've never really had I mean,
I had a friend for a long time we passed away,
and she was Puerto Rican. But it's completely different because

(13:49):
it's a different country. Yes, it's very different, and and
like that's what I think is like really beautiful to
also see because we all get stereotyped sometimes and we're different,
and it's like, oh yeah, we can be seen as that.
Just because I was raised a certain way or you
were raised a certain way. It doesn't mean that either
one of us are correct. I'm not better than You're

(14:11):
just different. Mm hmmm. So how did your parents grew up?
My dad grew up in Williamstown and my mom grew
up in southern Ohio. Like her family were hillbillies. I
have a picture of her grandfather in a rocking chair
in front of the cabin with no grass in the yard,
any of like fourteen kids in this little cabin. So

(14:34):
they were very hillbilly, very southern where Ohio meets into Kentucky.
One thing that separates Jen from her family is that
she's the first person to date outside her race. And
that was one of the reasons I wanted to talk
to Jen in the first place, because Jen did experience
pushback for that. Her mom especially struggled to accept the

(14:57):
fact that her daughter had married a black man. I
married this man and my mom did not come to
my wedding or talked to me for like, Yeah, how
did that feel? Did you have a conversation around it
before that happened? Did you guys have a fight And
when was the moment you found out your mom was
like that? Oh, I knew that before I started dating him.

(15:19):
I knew that when I was in elementary school. I
was friends with Tyrone. We were just friends seventh and
eighth grade and he called and I was on the
phone with him, and she came over and she took
that phone out of my hand and she hung it
up and she said, you will not talk to him.
And my dad got mad, you know, he was like, yes,
you will. That was a battle between them. Like my

(15:41):
dad and his family, they never talked about people like that.
My dad did not allow the N word at all
around him, did not allow it. Do you feel like
that was something that happened in your community where you
grew up, where the N word would be used? Yeah?
Oh god, yea, And people will still talk to me

(16:02):
today because I'm white that they think I feel the
same as they do, you know. And the first thing
I want to do is, hey, do you see my kids? Yeah?
Which right, what is it like as a white woman
who does get some of that? And you're like, no,
my kids are biracial, and like, oh, they're surprised. I

(16:26):
was the same as my dad. I never allowed any
of that. And it didn't matter what it was. You
don't say those derogatory words. Kids here things. They want
to know what they mean. We don't treat anybody different,
anybody that ever came over. Those kids get the same
exact thing you do. And I think it's part of
it is My parents got divorced when I was fifteen, fourteen,

(16:49):
maybe even younger than that. Said that it was two
separate households, so like she ran her ship the one
way he did. And then I moved out when I
was seventeen anyway, and I went and lived my dad.
So I had already was on the fence with her.
She was mad about that way before. I didn't get
married until he was twenty, not like it was, but
it was like a couple of years down the road.

(17:11):
But yeah, she didn't know. She didn't like it, but
eventually when I had Sam, she changed. Jen had two
kids with her first husband, Sam, who was her oldest daughter,
and c J, who's her middle child. Did having grandkids
change her perspective? It did? Do you feel like there's
remnants of it. It's taken her a long time to understand,

(17:32):
but she has changed and she'll even stand up against
other people now you know that say things and she'll
say I was wrong. So she is a lot better.
So it did take all of that. See, she could
have been small minded forever and lost out on opportunities
to spend her life around her family. People do those things,

(17:54):
and you know it takes a lot. What do you
feel like? Makes people feel like they have to feel
better than another group of people? People want to feel special, yea,
They want to feel more than so sometimes making other
people feel bad makes them feel better. Or maybe is
it fear of someone encroaching on something they have They

(18:17):
feel like they're going to lose it because someone else
is there or I don't know what it is because
it comes into all kinds of things, race, religion, financial background, ethnicity,
all different things. Hearing that story about Jen's mom changing
is good to hear, and yet it is complicated to hear.

(18:40):
To me, it's crazy how it can take another human being,
like who is it already your own daughter to like
change your reality and your perspective. That it took her
being a grandmother, that it took her seeing like a
brand new baby being born into the world to start
to change her for perspective. But at the same time,

(19:02):
I'm grateful for it, because there are people out there
who would never change and choose not to change at all,
and much less even say anything about that change. Like
I also believe strongly in the ability to admit the mistake,
like when you are able to literally say out loud,
I used to be this way and I was wrong.

(19:22):
I also have much more respect for working class people
who choose to change and choose to open and choose
to be more willing, because, like I do believe, when
you are afforded more opportunity, when you are afforded more privileged,
when you are afforded more traveling, and you still maintain
a closed mind perspective, or you still choose not to

(19:43):
do the research, that's a different kind of ignorance, and
that is to me a more malicious kind of ignorance.
It seems like some of Jen's family has clearly had
to work through and grappl with some important social issues,
and it seems like they're open to change. So thinking
about this, I was curious as to how all this

(20:03):
translates in how they vote and how they talk about
politics outright? Were you guys like a political family? Was
politics part of your life? We always voted. I always
knew that it was something I had to do. My
grandma wanted to see my vote sticker every year. Did
you vote? Where's your sticker? That's so interesting? Yeah, and

(20:26):
it was weird. I always knew that it was something
I had to do, you know, and if, oh my god,
I didn't vote, oh my gosh, you have to vote.
It was a big deal. And I'm also from a
time when my mom had me. She was not allowed
to have a checking account. You know, she had no
credit card, no checking account. It was everything was in
my dad's name. And I don't feel that old people
don't realized that it wasn't. I mean, I guess fifty

(20:48):
years is a lot, but to me, it's not. She
wasn't somebody that we didn't go out and protest things,
but you made sure that you had knowledge on what
was going on, and you voted what you felt was
the right way for everything, not just for president. No
one really talked about who you voted for. We didn't
have big political conversations. Do you guys talk about it

(21:12):
now or now? We do, especially since two thousand sixteen. Right,
of course, I feel it for everyone. Oh my gosh,
did it ever? So we do talk about it now,
but it's also in your face more, it's everywhere. How
do those conversations go over pretty civil or do you
feel like it gets heated? I have one brother and

(21:34):
sister in law that it could get heated, so I
didn't try to avoid it a little bit because there's
been some hurt feelings, and these are also things that
they're gonna have to figure out on their own. But
we don't dwell on those things, because the funny thing
is we mostly all agree on a lot of things
how to treat people. So then I don't understand how
you can writewards that one side, you know, but movement

(21:57):
eventually it'll just level out a little bit, it Right,
That's definitely a hope I like to talk about the
stuff that's going on. But I do try to stay
with the people that are like minded. I don't want
to have heated conversation. One of the biggest reasons is
because I don't know enough to have a good conversation
and to be I could have a conversation and just

(22:20):
say how I feel about something, but I definitely can't
stand on a soapbox and defend something, which is so
important to say out loud, I think because I think
sometimes people get stuck or they believe, oh, I'm supposed
to stand on the soapbox and say everything, or like
I feel insecure, so I'm gonna do it rather than

(22:40):
be like I think most of us don't know. You
have to know what you're talking about if you're going
to stand up for something. If I were to do that,
and then I would make sure that I researched and
I understood what was going on and the best I could.
But don't stand there and act like you know, because normal,
regular everyday people that don't study this stuff and really

(23:04):
spend time analyzing it. We don't know all that stuff.
We don't know what's all going on. You know, you'll
only have to try to do the best you can.
It is hard to vote and you don't know enough,
but I try to go with people that are at
least calling. Stay tuned for more from one Year Invisible.

(23:25):
After this break, welcome back to one Year Invisible. I
started a family when I was twenty one. I was
married to my first husband for ten years. Jen met

(23:45):
her first husband when she was nineteen while they were
both working at a local factory. Some of the things
that caught her eye was his nice smile and his
love of reading and travel, which are two of her
favorite things. He was a smooth talker and impressed her
with a lot of attention and new experiences. Eventually, the
two of them and their kids moved to Pennsylvania, where

(24:08):
she was away from the rest of her family. During
these first crucial years of her young adult life, some
really difficult things happened that she was isolated and often
alienated for as a result. I went through a lot
of stuff with him. My first husband went to prison.

(24:28):
Wasn't something I did. I didn't have anything to do
with it. While I was married to him, living in Shimokin,
which like I said, was a very small town, I
worked at the housing Authority. He actually was a construction
manager for a pretty good company. He had a decent job.
He just had drug issues. He went to jail. He
did not go to jail for drugs. He went to

(24:49):
jail for rate. Wow. I had to sit through that.
I had to listen to that. I had children to
raise in that town, and I chose to stay there
for another six years after he went to jail. It
was very hard. There was articles in the newspaper. Everyone
knew what was going on. And that was a town

(25:11):
where if you wrote a bad check that went in
a newspaper. Every story was a story. So how do
I raise my children because that's not the life that
I was brought up in, or wanted to raise my
children in, or even thought that I was getting involved in.
I had to figure out what was important to me
and try to get up every day and put in

(25:33):
as much effort as I can, and if I have
a bad day, then I have to again be patient
with myself. And I think that really changed my views
on things. I'm in awe because one as a person
who loved someone and who thought of someone in a
certain way, and you're like, holy sh it, that's not
who you are or now there's this new thing. Having

(25:56):
to deal with that, and then also having to be
a mother and being like, how do I explain it
to you? Do you feel like you figured out how
to explain it to them? No, it was very difficult.
Sam was six and c J was four. No, maybe
younger than the three and five. No, it was always
very difficult. They both attended a program Headstart for three

(26:17):
year old. Great program, but teachers actually came to your
house once every other week, and you, as the parent,
would plan an activity for the teacher and the children.
And we lived at the time on the top of
a mountain, so one of the things we would do
is go out and do berry hunting and we'd come
back and make muffins or a pie. Well, I had
the teachers say I'm not coming to your house because

(26:41):
of what was going on, and he was not in
the home. I understand that. I never argued with her
or it took it out, but I had to explain
that because we had planned and that was such a letdown,
you know, and they were young. I think about how
women and children often become collateral damage and tough situation.
We talked about this generalized community. Yet it's truly just

(27:05):
a group of people, and we as individuals can change
the course of that community, and as a result, changed
the course of individuals lives. And I think to me,
Jen and the kids could have used more support than
they got. You don't know how much stays with them
and then questioning things. And then I took them to

(27:26):
see him in prison, which was it a mistake? I
don't know. I divorced him. They knew that, you know,
he was okay with that, But I still took them
every other month because he was also right there. The
state prison was right in the same five miles, not
even and his nurse was my daughter's best friend's mother,

(27:50):
you know, the nurse in prison. It was tough, you know.
But I could have ran away, I could have came home.
I don't know if what I did was right or wrong,
but I wanted to be strong. I wanted to show
my kids that I can do this on my own,
we can do this together. How is your family during
that difficult time. Do you feel like you got the

(28:12):
support you needed? I did. My mom and my dad
and all my brothers did something to help me. At
some point or another. I let the pipes freeze in
the house and at one time what was accident. It
was the mountains. It was cold. I didn't realize that
they would freeze, and so my uncle and my dad
and my brother had to come up and crawl under

(28:34):
the house and fix it. I would meet my mom
with the kids and we would go and do different things,
little day trips and stuff. Yeah, I had support and
they wanted me to do what I wanted to do.
And nobody had any real money though school clothes. Everybody
would pitch in and help a little bit if needed.
But you have to figure this stuff out on your
own too. It was a very difficult time. And you

(28:58):
know that I lost my son se J and he
had gotten on drugs. Again. I don't know what it
was that went into all this. As Jen talks about
this incredibly tragic experience of losing her child, she is
scrappling and going back and forth between the experiences that

(29:20):
led to that moment, and often as contemplating as I'm
sure many parents do, the idea of what could have
done different. Because then he got out of jail and
c J was eight and I spent two years just
he was a problem, and then I moved the kids
here to New Jersey, and so then I was just

(29:41):
the meanest person in the world at that time. CJ
was in sixth grade and Sam was an eighth So
I don't know what was right or wrong, what would
have made a difference. Both of them had great memories
of other things because I worked really hard to make
sure that we had also so many fun times. Yes,

(30:01):
we worked, but they ended up having great friends and
it was families that got to know us and didn't
judge by what was going on. Yeah, which is a
huge testament of character, it is, And so that's what
I wanted them to see. I thought, in the end,
we can run and hide from this, or we can
just accept it because it's not going to be the

(30:24):
only bad thing that happens in our lives. I think
that's a really important lesson to learn, because life happens
and you sometimes have you know, like no control control,
and like was it good or bad? It just is?
It just is. That's what I decided, and that's what
I tried to do when they tried to stick with it,

(30:44):
you know, um, until I couldn't anymore. Right, right, So,
if it's not something you want to talk about or
anything like that it's totally okay here that losing a
child is one of the hardest things you have to
go through as a parent. What brings you comfort? How
have you worked through or wrestled through or lived with

(31:08):
that grief? Lived with is a good way to explain
it to me, and I do believe everyone is. It's personal.
It's your own thoughts, you get in your own head,
so you have to figure out how you are going
to live with it. Because personally, I have not done
enough for myself with that. So I dwell on things

(31:31):
and I shouldn't. I need to go figure that out.
I haven't taken the time for myself, and I think
it's really important if people do. It is definitely something
that you don't wish on anyone. But there are so
many people that have lost their children, and you know,
the drug epidemic in this country is awful, and nobody
wants to really talk about it, and no matter what
anybody says, there are no real answers or support. There's

(31:54):
are people that are trying it. To me, there's not
enough being done. And it's not just for myself, it's
for so many people. We just had another kid that
Sam went to school with her brother just died the
other day, and these kids are now thirty. But it's
not only that, even if you lose a child to
other things, for cancer or car accidents and unthinkable horrible things.

(32:19):
I definitely think that you can't do it on your own.
I don't practice when I preach. It's been hard for
Jen to reach out to her wider community and professionals
to help her with her grief. And my excuses that
I live very rural and there's not a lot of
options there are now online and I need to take
the time for that self care and figure that out myself.

(32:42):
But it's a very personal thing that people go through
and blame myself for so many things. So that's things
that I have to work through. When you become a parent,
you feel responsible for everything. I do have my days
where I get very emotion chanel, and eventually I'll get

(33:03):
myself the help that I so desperately need. You live
life and you put feelings sometimes and thoughts on the
back burner to make it through each day. Yeah. Yeah,
And while you say it's an excuse, I think it's
also very real. If you're in a rural area, if
you like in person support like it is harder, and

(33:23):
it is hard hard than like then want to reach
out to like an online version of that and to
find that. And I love what you said about being
patient with yourself and that's okay it is to be
in the process of it. Please know, like if there's
anything we can do as a family, Like I love
getting to know you guys, and I love being a

(33:43):
part of the family. I appreciate how Jen is willing
to look at these gray areas of life and these
questions we all carry in some version, and they don't
often get talked about. So I'm grateful for Jen being
open to sharing these thoughts. We've added for this episode

(34:06):
a link to resources in the show description, so please
check that out if you need them or would like
to take a look. And please feel free to pause,
do whatever you need to take care of yourself, and
we'll be back after this break. Welcome back to When

(34:44):
You're Invisible? When do you feel most seen? And when
do you feel invisible? Oh? Boy, well seen by who?
I don't think I feel most seen ever. To be honest,
I don't really think so. Maybe I don't try to
be seen either. Maybe I try to be in the
background invisible is when, and I think it's a lot

(35:06):
of people get caught up in their own self and
you don't matter anymore. You are nothing, and that's how
you get spoken to. Sometimes I don't need to be
catered to, but I want to be spoken to with
respect the same that I am giving to you. And
there's so many people that don't understand that that it's

(35:27):
important the way that we speak to each other. It
also creates a culture creaty who you are when you
take that second and realize that somebody else is having
a really bad day too, And in the end, if
you knew what was going on with them, you probably
would change your attitude. But why do you need to know?

(35:47):
Why does it have to be something bad? Yeah, something
doesn't have to be wrong to treat a person. Well,
why can't we just say I appreciate the things that
you're doing for me, and this is what I need.
I'm a secretary to school, so I get yelled at
my parents all the time who act like their needs
are more important than the person next to them. First

(36:08):
of all, you're letting your children see you act this way,
so that tells them that this is the way they
should act. I just think if we take a breath
and you say that person is just as worthy as
I am. Who do you see as your community personally?
First my family, that's my community, and then it is
my neighbors. My community is Cedarville, the school that I

(36:32):
work at, I am a big part of that. I
try to attend things outside of school that are community based.
I try to help the food banks in the town.
So I always think about different groups that are looking
for things and they need volunteers, and I try to
put those people together. So to me, that my community.

(36:54):
To me, it's like crazy. To Jan you were like,
I don't have interesting stories like this all time. I'm like, wait,
tell me more. Yeah, you don't think about that for yourself,
I guess. And I'm very thankful that I've lived. I mean,
I've definitely had some experiences in my life and some

(37:14):
amazing ones too. Like we got into more emotional ones.
What are some fun ones just to balance it out. Oh,
when I was eighteen, we went on an amazing four
week camping trip to Wyoming and back. It was amazing. Yeah,
And we had a van and a pop up camper

(37:35):
from Jersey to Wyoming and camped every night. That must
have been stunning. Maybe one day I'll get to do
something like that myself. I never did that with my kids.
I took them camping by myself a couple of times.
I was proud and impressed myself. What's something that's exciting
or sparking your fun or curiosity right now? It'll be
simple for some people. I want to be a grandmother,

(37:58):
a grammy to the dog, she's my grand baby, but
I want to be a grandmother. Other than that, I
still feel young minded. I don't feel fifty one, so
I feel like I got lots to do still, I'm
not done yet, But in most of all, I'm would
be most excited to have grandchildren. Talking to Jen reminds

(38:21):
me how there's so many different ways that people are perceived,
and if you are not close to them physically, culturally,
or familiarly, there's a lot that we don't get to
learn about. I feel like Jen's interview truly surprised me.
There were a lot of assumptions that I think I
walked into the door with because of what I had

(38:44):
heard through mainstream media, and in many ways I was
also able to relate to her. One being like the
first woman in my Latino family to day outside of
my race, and so what it's like to navigate that
with your family who had as their own history, their
own bias, their own culture, and when you're kind of
one of the first to change it. Thinking about all

(39:08):
of what she's been through, one thing that really stayed
with me is her perspective of not judging people and
being kind and patient with people because the moment she
said it, I heard it in my mom's voice, because
my mom says that all the time too. Despite our
differences and there's a lot of them, right, we also
do share some really important things. So thank you for

(39:33):
joining us on this journey. In this episode. Next week's episode,
we get to take a look at another part of
my family. My parents are going to close out this
season of When You're Invisible, and we'd get to talk
about their life as immigrants in the US and now

(39:58):
dual citizens and what it's like to have ties to
different countries and raised children in different cultures. Thank you
so much for listening to When You're Invisible. Don't forget
to like, comment, and subscribe. You can find this episode
and future ones on the I Heart Radio app Apple

(40:21):
podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm your host
and creator Maria with executive producers Anna Stump, Nikki Etour
and Bans producer Dylan Hoyer, with associate producer Claudia Martha
Corena and post production producer Daisy James. Original theme music

(40:44):
by Tony Bruno. When You're Invisible is an I Heart
podcast Network production in partnership with my Cola Podcast Network
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