My name is Felicia Seagle and I am from Fresno, California. I have two older brother who truly taught me everything I know. I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I love it. I grew up going to a water park called Wild Waters every summer, swam in middle and high school so i find most of my peace in the water. I grew up believing I can make a difference in the world and help teens in need so I will be going into Social Work. A lot of people ask why I am in communication classes and it’s because I feel like classes like these are going to help me understand the people I need to help. I am getting married this coming Saturday to a man named Raul and I am very excited.
I am a caucasian, woman that grew up in central california. Fresno, the city I was born in, is considered one of the top 5 biggest cities in California but it was also surrounded by farming so it didn’t seem like a big city even though it was. I grew up in a lower middle class home surrounded by upper middle class community. When I was in elementary grades k-3rd I was in the minority with the majority being Hmong and Hispanic but I don’t remember feeling like there was a difference between me and my classmates. When I was in the fourth grade my parents decided to move our family to the city over, Clovis, which was a slight shock. I came from a school where everyone knew me due to my mom working there and my two older brothers going there to knowing no one. Another way it was a shock to the system was because I was considered the majority and it felt like I was having to relearn how to interact with people even though the kids all looks like me. When we moved from Fresno to Clovis there was also a socio-economic difference between the two cities. Fresno was lower middle class while Clovis high middle class. This was hard to process because once I went into middle school I noticed everyone on the swim team was improving more than I was because their parents could afford to put their kids in club where my parents couldn’t. I quickly became envious of people with money because I felt left behind.
When I was about five years is when I first realized I was not like my brothers. It was one hot summer day and I was playing outside with my two older brothers when they both decided to take their shirts off. I thought that was a great idea so I began to also take my shirt off but I was stopped by my oldest brother, Scott and he told me I wasn’t allowed to since I was a girl. I took it off anyways. I continued to notice differences between the boys as I got older. WHen I was a teenager I was restricted from doing certain activities even though I knew my brothers were able to and when I would bring that up to my father he would simply respond with, “It’s because your a girl.” As you could imagine it caused a lot of arguments of not being fair. Once I turned 19 years old and started a serious relationship, my father decided to give me a strict curfew of 10pm to “keep me safe” even though I was legally an adult. A few months after I moved out. Now I don’t want to make this sound like I didn’t like my father in any way, he was one my best friends but that doesn’t mean we agreed on how boys and girls should be raised. I understand it was just they way he was raised to think so it makes things easier to let go of and learn from the past a fix my future family.
My family grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I loved it. The principles that were taught me by mother, father, and primary leaders taught me to be kind, help others, stand up for what you believe in, and love one another. I couldn’t imagine a life without this foundation of living. When I was 10 years old my family was called to serve in the Hmong ward and I fell in love with the people there as if I knew them my whole life. I knew a lot of Hong people from elementary but never got to know the culture and I was given this free opportunity to step out of my life and into someone else’s. I enjoyed the food, the outfits that were worn during dances, and language. Even though I didn’t get to learn the language, it was still enjoyable to listen to my friends and family bare their testimonies in Hmong. Above all I loved listening to the stories that were told on their faith from getting to the states. It wasn’t easy for most and they lost most of their families in the journey but I have never met a happier group of people in my life.
I identify as a lower-middle class, woman. I will start with discussing upper-middle class people and how my thoughts of them have changed over the years. Like I said before my family did not have a lot of money growing, at one point we had no money and we had to get creative with clothes, food, and entertainment. This didn’t feel like a hard thing to do until I would go to school or stake event where I saw kids having the latest trends and new cars given to them by their parents. At times I felt left out and even got mad because I often asked myself Why can’t our family these things? My parents work harder than their parents, they should be paid more. I often heard these same frustrations from my mother due to the fact that she had to work and most of the other moms in our stake got to be stay at home moms. I remember this one time at girls camp the young women leaders gave us a lesson on how to dress better. They told us we should have seven points on us at all times. Meaning each item of clothing represented a point and a perfect outfit would contain jeans, shirt, cardigan, shoes, necklace, hair piece, and a ring. I found this so insulting because I didn’t have the money to by “the perfect 7” outfit. I even saw this at the high school I attended where students spent thousands of dollars on their prom, formal, and sadies. They would buy beautiful dresses, hire professionals to do their make up, and rent limos to drive them around and it was almost like a club, if you couldn’t afford it, they weren’t going to be friends with you. It was like watching a live reality TV show that I wasn’t invited to.
I spent the next couple years continuing this hate for people who had more than money than I did until I moved to Utah and started dating someone who lived at the Village, which is an apartment complete that is known for it’s wealth and I was ready to talk negatively about everyone I came in contact with. After meeting Raul’s roommates, my boyfriend at the time, I quickly realized how wrong I had been for so many years. They were your normal kid that had problems, hopes, dreams, hated studying for exams. I put “rich people” in a category of everything being handed to them and not having to lift a finger to get what they wanted but this label dissolved the more I got to know his roommates and other people that lived there. Did we have to same kind of problems and struggles? Yes and No, his roommates went to class like me, studied for tests and turned assignments in like me. but I learnt something valuable in this journey. That everyone has struggles no matter how rich or poor you are. We shared some of the same values of graduating, getting married and having kids, and traveling the world.
I am also a woman who lives in a culture like the LDS faith that has moments of being sexist and while I love my church I don’t fully agree with how we teach boys and girls and the roles we should take on as we get older. Like I said previously, I became aware of the difference between boys and girls at a young age when my brother pointed out that girls weren’t allowed to take shirts off. As I got older, I kept noticing that boys got to do activities like camping, fishing, sports, and barbecues while the girls learnt how to cook, sew, and serving others. I felt like all these activities were cool but I wished I could participate in the camping and sports and later learnt that the guys were jealous of all the foods we got to cook. When I was in elementary I noticed boys were into getting dirty, playing fake gun games, and running and girls liked to talk about makeup and who they had a crush on. I didn’t like the separations of genders so I started ignoring these norms to do my own thing. My brother always taught me to be independent, go to school, and don’t let any man tell me what to do. I also grew up with a dad that believed in these differences of men and women and we got in a lot of fights because of this. Boys got outside chores while I cleaned inside and we had different restrictions like the boys got to stay out later while I had a strict curfew.
Some of the similarities were wanting to go to school, getting married, and having kids. I wouldn’t say all men have these values or all women have these values because I know girls who never want to get married to prove to the world they don’t need a man while others want to be stay at home moms and serve their families in every way she can. Neither of these are wrong ways of viewing the world but I think that what makes our world so great because no one group is going to share the values. If you are a man or women, hispanic or white, not one thinks the same solely on the your sex or race.
Growing up I got most my knowledge from the church I grew up in on how women and men should act and media played a big part in the way I viewed social classes. To begin with, gender norms, I grew up in a religion that believed men should be providers and women should be nurturers. They created this idea that women should stay home and the guys had to find jobs that will give their families money, retirement, and to teach the family the ways of life. My source of information would have to be family proclamation to the world where it discusses the roles of each member of the family. I’ve read it a handful of times and I believe some members have taken some things too literally causing a culture of dominance and submissiveness between the sexes.
When I saw wealth on TV growing up, it was shown to have no worry in the world and they got to do whatever they wanted. Where I was a lower-middle class and felt like I had to work for everything and more. In these TV shows they talked about things we needed to have to be cool or to be loved and at times I believed them because I would go to my mom saying that i needed something and being told was hard to hear. I also grew up during a time facebook was becoming a popular thing to have where people could post pictures and tell their friends how they were feeling. I feel like social media played a huge part in the way I felt about upper-middle class due to the fact I would see so many of my classmates posting pictures of the new cars their parents would buy, the trips to Hawaii, or the limos they got for prom. I never felt like I went without until I would go on facebook or go to school to see the clothes they were wearing.
I have enjoyed this class because it is so interactive with the other students and I’ve enjoyed getting to know how other people were raised. The topic I have enjoyed the most was when we talked about slang and how different words mean different things for different areas of the world. Another thing I enjoyed learning in this class was the ability of being aware of different cultures around you and not being oblivious to what we do. I feel like the more culturally we are aware of others, the more we can grow together and be better communities. I really enjoy learning about different cultures. I like hearing the language, eating the food, learning about customs and I would love to continue to do so in my studies. Before He First Loved Us has given me an opportunity to learn about a culture I don’t know a lot about and I plan on going as long as I can.