Darren Redmond: Hello, everybody. This is Darren Redman with another edition of Again for the First Time, and we’re speaking to Tomorrow MC again for the first time. This is somebody that I became acquainted with through the use of social media. I’m a big advocate of it. There’s a lot of trolls out there and a lot of things that we need to avoid, but you also meet some amazing people who have interesting stories.
And uh, tomorrow, uh, tomorrow MC is at the top of that list. And, um, tomorrow, how are you today? And thank you for being here.
Dr. Tamara MC: Thank you so much for having me. Yes. Um, Yeah, I’m really happy to be here to talk with you today. It’s actually only my second podcast. I just did my first podcast a week ago. So this is all new to me.
Darren Redmond: Well, let me ask you, what was it like? Talk to me about that. What was that like? I mean, um, seeing how the sausage is made and everything else.
Dr. Tamara MC: Sure. Yeah. Um, and I wasn’t like nervous for like a minute or two and then I got over it and then it was fine. And then after it was published, I was really pleased.
Like it was really like, yeah. So now I guess I’m a little bit less scared today.
Darren Redmond: Well, that’s a good thing. And my hope is that I will far exceed your expectations. And I do that by just being an active listener. Speaking of that, again, where people watching or listening to us today. Tell our audience a little bit about yourself.
Anything you want to talk about?
Dr. Tamara MC: Um, let’s see. That’s a, that’s a pretty large question. So could you maybe narrate? Sure.
Darren Redmond: You are a person. No, that’s great. That’s, that’s great. So you’re a person who has a background, unfortunately, in, um, the world of being a child bride. And, uh, I am very Careful when we speak about that, because I want to make sure that a person uses their own words and only the things I want to discuss.
Um, I became informed in you about you through that world. Hashtag child bride. And if you might want to talk a little bit about that, and also something that we both talked about a little briefly during this pre interview session we just had, I want to talk a little bit about you knowing family members.
In my case, knowing somebody who raised me who was part of my extended family about the Holocaust, but talk a little bit first about your family. Unfortunate situation being a child bride and how that came about.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I think the word I’m really happy that you’re allowing me to define it.
I don’t feel that there’s actually a proper word for child bride because child bride assumes that a child was married and a child cannot actually give consent to be married. So, so even though I said, So even though I’m speaking about my marriage I’m putting this in quotation marks and I’m also putting bride in quotation marks, because there’s absolutely no way a child can be married or be a bride, even though it does happen, but a child is not ever able to give that consent.
Um, so I was When I was 12 years old, and I was married in a very unique marriage that most people are not familiar with. And it’s called an Islamic temporary marriage, which in Arabic is called a motor, and I was married in. the early 1980s. So at that time, it was super not known. So this was like, you know, how many years ago?
Well, I just turned 50 this year. So I was, thank you. Yeah, I had my little decade birthday of turning 50. Um, so, so yeah, so this, so this was almost 40 years ago. Um, so it was even more rare at that, at that time, this marriage, although these days it’s actually being used more and more. But it’s a marriage where a man is able to marry a girl, which is very sad that I’m saying the word girl or a woman.
And it’s for a certain amount of time. And the marriage ends after the time is completed. So in my case, I actually, I was married from the time I was 12 until I was 20. And I had several of these muta marriages, and I could have them for two weeks, I could have them for three months, I could have them for a night.
It was all to the same person. So actually, by the time I was 20, I had, I don’t even know how many maybe a couple dozen marriages, which sounds completely insane and it is insane. And so, so the muta happens for a specified amount of time. But there’s also no divorce, so it just kind of nulls, so there’s absolutely no divorce at the end.
So even though I was
Darren Redmond: The contract, if I may, the contract expires.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, it just expires. I guess. Yeah, the ramifications, of course, never expire, but yes, the contract expires. And so although I’ve had like maybe more than like a couple dozen marriages by the time I’m 20, I never had a divorce. So that’s also kind of a really unique thing because it’s almost this gray area of what was this, because usually if somebody is married there’s, there’s a.
You know, you have a document, you go through a divorce, but I, I never had that. So, um, the other thing about this particular marriage is that no witnesses are needed. So, I was married when I was 12 years old, I grew up in a cult from the time I was five years old, and this particular summer, my maternal family lived in Arizona, my parents were Um, became separated when my father joined this cult in Texas and I was living in Arizona at the time.
And I would then spend my summers and Christmas holidays with my father. So like more than four months of every year. And the summer after I completed 7th grade when I was 12 years old. I went to my father’s, as I always had done, and this particular summer, the leader of our cult asked my father if I could live with him for the summer.
And I’m also using the word cult, um, in a way, I’m going to interchangeably use cult, commune, community, all of these words are the same. And I do purposely choose to use the word cult because It was a cult, and according to the definitions of what cults are, and it kind of had a leader, and we were isolated and there’s, I mean you can kind of go down the list of what what makes up a cold, although.
Maybe people call them new religious movements and there’s all sorts of other words that maybe are more politically correct or more academic per se. But, but for my purposes I’m going to use that word. And I will use it too. Okay. Okay. And so, so, so the leader who I actually had known since I was five, he had three wives and multiple children.
And I think at that time he had four children under the age of six. And my father thought it was wonderful that I was being asked to go stay with the leader. I was always considered the special child. Again, that’s a word that I’m very careful to use, special, but that often happens in cults that certain, you know, I was kind of part, part of this inner circle, even though I was only a child, but I was kind of the chosen girl child.
And so, so the leader and his wives had always really liked me. And so they wanted me to live with him. So my father dropped me off that summer. I arrived just after graduating for not graduating, but completing seventh grade and arrived in San Antonio. And then my dad drove me to the, to the leader’s house within a couple of days, I don’t know how many days.
And I didn’t realize why I was there. It wasn’t actually because I was special, but it was because. I was a rule follower, like many of the other children were very rebellious.
Darren Redmond: People don’t realize that, that when you’re too much of a rule follower, you are susceptible to those who make up their own rules.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, yes, and I didn’t know that, but they knew. That I was safe, that no matter, like, I was obedient, I, I had allegiance, like everything about me was just this child who always told the truth and just did what I was told and I didn’t question anything. I also barely spoke so I was like, not at all special in the way that I was like loved which I thought special meant, but I was special in the way that like I was easily manipulated.
So, um, So I was there to care for all of these children, and I began working from the time I arrived from about 4am till about 10pm when the children went to sleep. And it was only 4am because it was the month of Ramadan, which is the fasting month. And so we were getting up before sunrise to, to actually prepare food and eat so I was kind of in charge of preparing the food and all of that.
And the house was on a very large hill and there was maybe seven houses on this hill for the leader and his three wives each had a house his mother, and different family members had different houses on this hill, and I was in the second wife’s house and. This was like, I mean, they were all pretty much mansions.
I mean, the, the, the leader was a multimillionaire. So these were like gorgeous, gorgeous houses. And, but in this gorgeous house, I had a little tiny room. It was like, like, I think a deck that had been converted. So there was nothing in there except for like, it wasn’t even a mattress. Maybe it was a futon on the floor and it was right off of the children’s playroom.
But the key part of this is there was a glass door. So there was actually an entrance and an exit to my room and there was no lock on the door. And so I was put in this room. I had never even thought twice about it. Um, and at this point, just to kind of to give some context like I had never had a boyfriend.
Um, I, I had a boyfriend in fourth grade, but I never even said a word to him like I don’t know how we became a boyfriend and girlfriend but it was just like somebody says will you be my girlfriend and I was like okay. But I was too shy. I never spoke to him. I was such a shy child. Um, so, so that was the extent of my boyfriend, girlfriend, um, experience.
And I obviously had never kissed a boy. I wasn’t a girl who ever imagined marriage. It was like. It just, I can’t even like, when I think about it, it was not even a thought that it once come into my mind up until that point, never, um, I didn’t fantasize. I didn’t romanticize. I didn’t read like books that made me think about marriage.
I remember reading Cinderella, but my whole thing with Cinderella was like I was focused on the wicked stepmother. And so I wasn’t at all thinking about the romance of Cinderella and the prince that wasn’t even where my head was. And so, within a few days, or I don’t even know time kind of gets warped a little bit, but very, very quickly.
The adopted son of the leader, and there was no legal document to say he was adopted, but he was kind of the boy child of me he was, he was older than me several years older and much more experienced. He’d already lived I think on three separate continents he’d lived in England and he had a British accent and he was super.
Experience. He was also very experienced in our religion. Like he had studied it. He’d lived with the leader for many years. I went back and forth between my mother and my father. So when I was with my mother, I didn’t have any religious education, but then, so then when I was with my father, I did, so we were at super different places.
And he snuck into my room and began violating me. And then within, I’d say a few days, I can’t, again, time gets a little bit warped. Um, he said, which he might’ve not said, but, but this is what I know now, is that he basically had to marry me because he was not acting religiously. And so it was, I think at midnight, cause I think he snuck into my room, like after we had fasted and after all, everybody was sleeping in the house and he snuck in and then he, um, He conducted this marriage and the marriage was in Arabic, it wasn’t even in English.
So I was 12 years old and I repeated after him in Arabic, something that I didn’t even understand. And I was still wearing like my, like I didn’t really have night clothes because I didn’t really have a lot of clothes. Um, I always kind of wore rags and I just was like, after cleaning dishes all day, like my clothes were still wet and we were alone.
And he basically said this. Like, like I will be married to for the next amount of time like I repeated after him I said my name, and I’m going to be married to for for this amount of time in Arabic, and just like that I was married, and that was like my wedding night completely alone in a dark room, it meant it at midnight with nobody around.
Darren Redmond: First off, I want to thank you for sharing that with us. It can’t be easy to talk about. I want to ask you two questions or so about that, and if you don’t feel comfortable answering, please don’t. Um, how does a child process that I just graduated seventh grade, and now this person that might be charming, might be full of knowledge and the stuff that I want to learn more about, starts to do this to me.
Where does your mind go? Um, did you feel the fight or flight? Did you want to tell somebody? Did you not want to tell somebody to feel, you know, quote unquote, shame? Put us there for a second, if you can, whatever you’re comfortable talking about.
Dr. Tamara MC: Um, no, I did not want to tell anybody. I was completely alone.
My mother dropped me off. I left Arizona. I was with my father. My mother assumed I was with my father. My father dropped me off at the leader’s house and assumed I was in a safe place with the leader. And I was completely alone without any parents, which I think is super important now that like I’ve researched this, but anytime a child is left alone like that without any parents, they are prey.
Like, like when I look back and I’m like, well, how could I have been so vulnerable? But then I’m like, of course I was, I didn’t have a single parent around. And sure. Yeah, so so I think so I think that that’s super important to understand. And
there was no, I mean the leader was like, not even around, I was with his wife and his wife had all these kids and she was working me. And so there was absolutely no conversation there. So I didn’t have anybody to talk to. Like there wasn’t anybody I could even imagine talking to. And I wouldn’t have even had the words.
Like it’s only taken me this many years to come up with the words.
Darren Redmond: Yes, people don’t realize that. Yes.
Dr. Tamara MC: Like there’s just nothing I could have said because I didn’t understand anything. And I was so quiet already, but that just put me on, like that just. Switched it to where I became a selective mute where I basically stopped speaking and everything was internal, but it wasn’t like I was thinking, like, like, like the, the child brain isn’t even able to put that together so there’s no way that I could have.
put together this puzzle and tried to make sense of it at the time. I didn’t have the experience. My brain wasn’t developed in a way. No, not even close. Um, so as all as I can say, which I know the word now, but I just completely disassociated.
Darren Redmond: Yes. If I may, I get that because Sometimes we say we talk about suppressing our thoughts, our emotions, and, and yeah, a lot of that has to do with trauma on the front and center.
But sometimes, and this comes from my opinion, and the reading that I’ve done and the work that I’ve done educationally, we don’t you hit it right on the nail on the head. We don’t have the words to figure out how to discuss it. So the brain, metaphorically speaking, puts it in a draw. To figure out later and you go sort of into autopilot.
Um, I want to add, that was the second part of my question. When this, without jumping too far ahead, when this stuff started to happen again and again, did you find yourself going on autopilot?
Dr. Tamara MC: I’m not sure if I understand the word autopilot.
Darren Redmond: It’s like, you feel like this is my role. This is what, this is just who I am.
This is my role. That’s what I mean. Like, for example, and totally not the same thing, being a middle child in a divorced household, I always found myself trying to make everybody happy, placate and sort of we fell into that role. Not that anybody actually granted me that role. But it’s sort of what happened is like, okay, there’s my role.
Did you find a little bit of that? Or what would you say you went through?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, I, I’ve never thought of the word autopilot. Um, I was completely in survival mode. I had nobody caring for me. I had nobody to talk to. Um, and I was like, completely, I was, Already dealing with like working these huge hours. I’m not eating during the day.
I’m not sleeping because he would sneak into my room and then be there several hours and then leave right before I had to get up like it, um, you know, before it was sunrise. And so I was being deprived of food, water, cause I wasn’t able to drink any liquids either. And it was the middle of the summer in Texas and it’s super hot.
So, um, I was being deprived of food, water, sleep. I love affection. And in placement of that I had turned into the child domestic servant. So I was a slave for these people. So I was dealing with all of that. And then on top of it, this person who’s sneaking into my room. Now, I had never let me think how to turn how to say this but I hadn’t really ever experienced male attention.
My father was very busy after I got, after my mom and him divorced when I was five. They didn’t legally get divorced because they were never legally married. But after he left, I would go to this new place where he was living within a year. He, he, um, married again and the woman had four children of her own.
So I was basically, when I was with my dad, I was with the wife and all these kids, and then this community with a hundred other members, and my father was often traveling and would leave me alone in this community up and, you know, up until I was 12 and onwards. And so I had never really had. Any fatherly sort of attention.
Um, my mother was an only child. I didn’t have any uncles. I didn’t have any, I was, I was an old, so I had no brothers. Um, I didn’t have grandfathers, both like all, both of my grandfathers were dead. So I didn’t have anything like that. Um, the closest thing I had was this leader, but of course that isn’t really fatherly in a way that needs to be.
So after I got married. Aside from all the trauma of something brand new and so unexpected, I also suddenly had somebody that really supposedly liked me and thought I was interesting and was like, I suddenly like had attention in a way that I never had. And I was with him for, for the whole summer. So around three months or 90 days, we were married at this point.
And so slowly and quickly, because they’re both kind of happening at the same time. I became very attached to him because he’s all I had. I didn’t have anybody else in the, like on this hill, anybody. And he suddenly became this person and. He was very wise and I’m putting that in air quotes because at the time I thought he knew so much and he was teaching me about religion and telling me about my role and like giving me all this.
I shouldn’t say I’m saying advice but it was really giving me all these rules of how I had to behave, but it was like somebody was actually interested in me. And so in that way. By the end of the summer, I thought I had fallen madly in love with this person. Well, of course.
Darren Redmond: That happens, unfortunately, all the time.
Um, again, using my words now, that’s part of the indoctrination protocol. Pretty standard stuff. Um, we innately, as, especially as children, have to justify Our existence somehow, some way, and we will misinterpret and for all the right reasons in our head, our survivability mode clicking in my role and these people are very good at feeling that out, knowing that this is my mark.
This is somebody who will make, I can make this work with, to, and again, by the way, you mentioned how you didn’t eat all day and that kind of thing. You know, that goes into your inability to make good decisions, even though when you’re 7th, 8th, 7th grade, 8th grader, you’re not going to be able to make those decisions anyway because the brain is not fully functional until about 25, and that’s without trauma, the fact that you are nutritionally deprived is, you know, you add it into that mix.
Um, and it started to happen again. Again, you said 18 times you had to move the marriage.
Dr. Tamara MC: I’m saying up until the time when I was with him, but I’m saying I was with him for 90 nights. So that’s a lot of time to spend with 100%. So, so no. So, um, yes. And so by the end, how I Began my summer and how I left my summer.
It’s like, it’s not like even saying it’s polar op, whatever. Like, I don’t even feel like it’s one 80. It’s like the most extreme opposites that I was came in and who I left as. And when I left and after I had to go back to Arizona. After this marriage, cause I then had to go back to my mother and start eighth grade.
Um, I was absolutely internally, not the same person, but I kept it a secret. So it’s not that that’s the other harm of this is that I didn’t tell my father. I didn’t tell my mother. I didn’t go into eighth grade and say, guess what guys I’m married. It was the darkest, most horrible secret that I had to keep within me.
Darren Redmond: And for the casual person who’s listening, and I use the word casual meaning that somebody who is experiencing learning about this stuff, please understand that it’s very easy and flippant. to say, well, why didn’t she speak up? Read a little bit about it, learn about it. You’ll understand why you don’t.
You just don’t. And, um, there are people who have trauma well into their adulthood who don’t talk about things. A child that’s magnified tenfold. So let’s what happened next? What happened six months from that a year from then? Walk us through that and as much as you’d like.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, so I went back to Arizona in eighth grade, and then at that point, the leader had basically sent him to a different country at that point, so he left America, and we then began like, a marriage.
So even though we had this Mota and it like legally ended, it’s like we were still married, but it’s just such gray areas. Like I was basically with him for the rest of my life. Like, like that was the idea. Um, so he was living abroad and I was in eighth grade. And so then we had this letter relationship.
So he was writing me nonstop letters and that continued for quite some time, but then during that he would come back to America. And I’d see him as well. And, um, yeah, so it was just a completely unconventional sort of relationship that I think it’s super hard to understand because, because it doesn’t like, there isn’t like, like, there’s not something I can say that it compares to because I don’t feel like in our Western ideas of things, like there’s something I could say, Oh yeah, there’s this temporary marriage thing.
Darren Redmond: by the way, I think that. 20 years ago, it would be even harder to talk about this stuff. Now, at least now, it’s just my opinion. Again, people want to try to understand. They might not get it, but they want to try. So to fast forward a little bit, the conversation, how do you find yourself getting your own voice that says, I don’t believe in some of this stuff.
I don’t want to live this type of life. Walk me through that.
Dr. Tamara MC: Oh, that’s such a long, long process, but I was living in London at the time with the leader and I was still caring for his children. He had more children at this point. Um, when I was 20 and I was still married to this. Person I was married to, and he had moved to London, well, to England as well.
So we were living there together and he ended up getting another wife. So I was now in a polygamous marriage and. That was just like the most heartbreaking thing. Like I had waited all, like I had been waiting all these years to have this forever marriage with him. Like where we had a proper marriage, but we still were having these muttas.
There was nothing forever about this. So I was like being strung along all along. Like I’m waiting for this thing. And then I kind of think we’re there, like now we’re 20 and like. Like, why can’t we have this forever marriage? And then he took another wife. And that was just horrible for me because I grew up in a polygamist cult.
And so most all of the men were married to three or four wives. And a lot of my girlfriends at that point on the cult were all married, mostly at age 14 and polygamist marriages. And most of their husbands. were much older than them. My situation is a little bit different than theirs. So, but I had spent eight years watching polygamy like implode more than eight years, actually, before I was 12, like it was since I was five.
And I just knew that under no circumstances was I going to be in a polygamous marriage. that was like my boundary. I was like, no way. And I tried to talk
Darren Redmond: By the way, that’s a very important thing, whatever it is, to say, this is my, this is my boundary. And bravo in finding it because a lot of times people don’t find what their boundary is because they still act yes to society, to a family member, to somebody they love or care for.
You found your boundary. That’s, that’s, that’s, that’s brave.
Dr. Tamara MC: And people may say, well, how did you not know about your boundary about getting married at 12? First of all, I had no choice. I was completely alone. I had no way to escape. I had no car. I was stuck on a hill like there’s just no way I could have escaped that situation.
So, so to put the burden on. The victim of that situation is completely like, is just uncalled for. There’s just no way
Darren Redmond: shameful, by the way. My words again,
Dr. Tamara MC: shameful. Yeah. Yeah. So, but I guess I, by that point, like I’d been with this person eight years, like I said, I’d kind of been strung along. I’d been working for the leader now for almost two years, full time in his house.
I was cooking minimum of two meals a day for maybe 10 to 15 people. Every single meal doing all of the dishes again, I was completely exhausted. And when I found out about this polygamy, I was like, you know, I begged him for like at least six months to a year, like, please leave her. And all, as he kept saying is I can’t, I love her and I’m going to stay married to you both, and I have every right to be married to you both and.
I just had to muster every ounce of strength that I could like pull, like, I don’t even know where I got it from, but I ended up deciding to leave England and fly back to America and fly home to my mother, which is one of the most difficult decisions, if not the most difficult decision I’ve ever made.
Because by that point, I was absolutely in love with this person. I didn’t know my life any other way. Like I’d been with him. My entire team, like I didn’t know anything else. So I never had another. I didn’t have a plan B. I wasn’t like going to go on to college. I didn’t have anything I was going to do except for get married and have children.
That’s it. That was all I had. And, and then that suddenly I didn’t have that and I left and that was so hard and it took me years and years and years to recover from that. And I’m still recovering. I mean, it’s not like there’s an end point.
Darren Redmond: I’m sure. Absolutely. How does a person And in this case, you, to your best recollection, your whole world was something, whatever it was, just to move the conversation along.
You’re starting from scratch. Who do I trust? Who don’t I trust? Paradigms are different. Places you used to go to find what you thought was relaxation or hobbies, or that you had to not so much reinvent yourself, but find yourself. Talk a little bit about that process, because you’re 20 or so years old. Um, all of that’s going on.
It’s not like people say, put that behind you and move forward. It doesn’t work that way. Talk a little bit about that. Uh, and then, um, two part question. Without going into detail on what you’re doing now and some of the other things. You became prolific as a doctor in education. Talk about that, um, because, um, you are, um, You have some resiliency that is outstanding.
Dr. Tamara MC: So to the first question,
any child that grows up in a cult, or I mean, I’m making a very blanket statement, but I do believe they do not have an identity because they didn’t have an identity before. And the whole thing of growing up in a cult is having Like my identity was stripped from me. I was taught not to have likes or dislikes, not to speak, not to question.
I didn’t know anything about myself. And so when I left, I still didn’t know anything about myself. And then I got married in a different marriage, like within a couple of years. And I was married for 18 years and I had two children and I was divorced about 12 years ago. And. I was in a long term relationship after that for like on and off more than eight years.
So to be very, very honest with you, I have not found that part of me to your first part of the question until the past couple of years, I didn’t know a thing. I shouldn’t say I didn’t know a thing. I don’t know, and I’m going to even put it in present tense, I’m not really sure what Tamara likes. I’m not even sure like what I dislike.
I’ve just always been so neutral and I’m so I’m like a chameleon, like whoever I’m with, they love that thing, I love that thing. And so being a wife, I was in my second marriage for my 18 years. I followed my husband as he worked and he traveled and I was just completely the most involved mother and I was always home when they came home from school.
I did all of their activities and so now my kids are, are, um, one just turned 25 and 27 and so now I’m completely an empty nester and I’m single and In the past couple and I’ve, I’ve had my own home for the first time in the past couple years where I haven’t lived with someone. Mm-Hmm. , which completely has, has had me really look at what I like.
Like I remember a couple years ago and it still goes on, I’ll still go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or wherever it is. And all as I look for is the food that my kids love. Like I’ll, I’ll go to the sections ’cause I’m just used to picking up their food. Sure. I’m not even used to picking up my food. So powerful.
Bring that up. And it’s like, I still, I go to the grocery store and I just look around and I’m like, what does Tamara want to eat? I have no idea most of the time. And I just think, oh, well, you know, my husband loves this and this child loves this and, and so I think it’s really, really hard to get to that point and just to find hobbies because growing up in a cult, we didn’t have hobbies, we were always praying, learning.
serving, working. So there weren’t any hobbies. So it’s something I really struggle with. I don’t know. I’m a workaholic and I don’t really, like I, I struggle. I’m like, like today, it’s a Sunday. I’ve been working all day long. I have done nothing fun. I don’t know what fun is.
Darren Redmond: No, and it’s important eventually to learn what that is, even if that is sounds not so much fun to other people, you know, like for me, without getting to my whole backstory to me fun is I go down a rabbit hole, and I want to.
Oh, this seems interesting let me pull on this string. To me I find that give me a nice cigar. I sit outside. I talked to people for the first time I listen I like to listen. And this is interesting I want to find out more. That’s my phone. And that’s probably boring as heck to most people, and I don’t need to justify it to them, and they don’t need to justify it to me.
I just, I like it, you know. It’s funny, I like to hear people’s voices very loudly, while I sit in silence. That’s the way I put it sometimes. And then just real quickly on that second part, when did you know that you were interested in pursuing what it is that you pursued, and you got your doctorate?
Because for me, I didn’t get my master’s until I was well into my adulthood. Just kind of poof one day.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, so when I returned to Arizona when I was 20 I started working as a waitress, and I just knew that’s not what I wanted to do because I had spent my whole life serving and it just felt Wow. Like that is all I had done.
And now I was doing it again. And I was like, I just something inside of me was like, I cannot do this like much longer. And it just so happened that I had learned that the university was had Arabic classes. I don’t even know how I knew that. But I had studied Arabic since I was a child. It was something I had learned with my father.
My father became, um, fluent in Arabic and taught me. And I’d always loved languages because on, in our commune, we had so many people from so many different countries. And so I was used to being around language and I loved language. And that was one thing that the commune did really right, was teach all of the children, multiple languages.
And So then when I went, I found out that there was Arabic and my first semester I took my Arabic class. And then I was like, Oh, they have second semester Arabic, then I took second semester, and then I just like grew and grew and then I was like, Oh my God. They have women in Middle Eastern studies. I gotta take that class.
Oh, they have history of the Middle East. I have to take that class. Oh, they have the Arab Israeli conflict. I gotta take that class. And, um, so I ended up actually graduating from my bachelor’s degree, I think in about three years, maybe three and a half, but I was taking, I don’t know, 2730. I don’t even know how many credits, but it wasn’t because I was trying to graduate.
It was because I just had insatiable I was so curious and I like had all these questions and I had to get to the bottom of so many questions I had. And so, so that’s how it began. And then after my bachelor’s I found out that there was a master’s program I could get into. And then after my master’s I was like oh there’s a PhD program and it’s like all of it.
just came from this idea that I wanted to learn more. And I always like now I just study and study and study. It’s just like, I get a question in my head and until I get it answered through research, then I just, I keep going. I keep going. And then all these new questions, one question leads to another, to another.
So it’s endless.
Darren Redmond: So I wanted, I wanted to ask you before I let you go, because I was not until I took a deep dive in your history. I know you have people in your life who were affected directly by the Holocaust. And so did I and not my family, but in my, where I was raised, and I’m seven years older than you.
And the truth is. That we are the last generation, unfortunately, that will have direct correspondence um, relationships with people that went through that. As a general rule, what are our responsibilities, if there are any? And what do you think we’ve learned, or you have personally, or I have, I could talk about that, but going forward, so people don’t forget.
That this was only 90 years ago, 80 years ago.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, so my grandmother on my mother’s side is a Holocaust survivor from Lithuania. She spent four years in ghettos and concentration camps. And I grew up with her in Arizona. She lived right next door to me. And she watched me before and after school. And she’s the closest human to me.
Um, she was 94 when she passed away. And that was about 12 years ago when I went through my divorce. And my grandmother was different than I think many Holocaust survivors, is that she always shared her story with me. And I was ravenous for her story. I just, every time we were together, I just wanted to learn more about her.
I wanted to learn more about her family, my family, um, who didn’t survive. I wanted to know about all of her experiences, um, and not in a way that, like, and she was very happy to share them with me. And It was incredibly difficult, but I wouldn’t do it any other way like if my grandmother, like I can’t imagine her having lived her life and not knowing the things that I do, like it was difficult on me as a child, and maybe it was difficult on her and telling it although she never made it seem that way it just came very easy to her.
So, so I’m very, very close to, to the Holocaust. And that seems like kind of a weird thing to say, but you know, my, actually my mother right now is in Germany and I just got a text from her today. And she’s in Nuremberg where the Nuremberg trials took place and I’ve also visited there as well. And she wrote me like what a difficult day she had.
And I, I can only imagine. So, can you ask me the question I feel that that you know that kind of that, like what to do again because,
Darren Redmond: because what happens is, and I don’t mean this in a grand scale with those who do not learn from history or doomed to repeat it. I mean this as There was a time and we’re going to have this with the people who went through the civil rights.
They’re getting older to that first person reflections that people would give you that we now can pass on second and third. Um, I’ll just tell you my story, but it might answer your question with me. Two things really stand out one. I told you about a gentleman named Henry, only one chinette in Brooklyn.
And when kids turned about eight years old, give them for free a milkshake or whatever they wanted. French fries. And he would roll up his sleeves and show them the numbers. And what he did that for is really twofold. One, just tell him what happened, his, his history. And two, that you never know what people hiding underneath to be very respectful because you don’t know the trauma that they’ve gone through.
So, later on, with my wife, we’re married 26 years and we’re with her grandparents, and it was this wonderful journey. Older person. who would help out around their house. And her grandfather was part of the U. S. troops that would, that freed a couple of the concentration camps. And he took photos. And what happened was this, the story of the Holocaust came up and the kid, and he’s not a kid, he’s an adult, but older man, was very, you know, that was overblown and this and that.
And it sounds very hateful at first. But there was compassion from the grandfather says, No, here’s what happened. Let me show you. And he cried because he was taught in school that that never actually happened. That was all, but he is his love for his neighbor that he lived next door to for years. He knew he wouldn’t lie to him, and he had photos to prove it.
So my point is my next jet because he’s now passed. I need to tell that story and and and not like this, but like we’re doing right now just have discussion. So that’s kind of what I mean the second part of the question, because you had first person reaction to people that went through it.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, I mean there’s so much I can say, first of all, I’m in no way speaking to anybody.
That would who believes that the Holocaust did not happen like there’s no way to ever penetrate anybody like that. So that is not who I’m speaking to. But, um, there’s so much I can say, um, Hitler did not want my family to live. And here we are today. My grandmother is the greatest survivor and the most resilient, kind, loving, joyful human I’ve ever experienced in my life.
And going back to my child marriage, the only reason I think I am the major reason why I am who I am. Is because of my grandmother and she was my greatest example. And anytime I ever thought that I have it, had it difficult. And anytime today that I ever think my life is a little bit difficult, I think about my grandmother’s life and nothing can compare to that.
Nothing can compare to being completely starved, beaten, worked, raped, all the horrible things, um, aborted all the horrible, horrible things that happen. And so is. As extreme as my situation is it pales in comparison to my grandmother’s. And so, and all of the Holocaust survivors that had to go through that and any survivor that’s been through genocide.
So, I guess. What I always do is I just bring the strength of all survivors with me in every situation and they’re on, they’re with me at all times and all the work I do. I am so driven and I am a workaholic, like aside from, from, from what you and I just discussed, I have so much that I want to accomplish in my life.
I have so many things I want to say that I don’t have time to I, I just, I have, I just think about all of my family that isn’t here, and I feel that I am here to be able to not be their voice because you can’t be anybody’s voice but to give a voice to our experience and their experience. And with Hitler not wanting us to be here.
Like, I think my. It’s not just I don’t even know what the word is. It’s beyond that. But it’s like this. Um, what is it that life force, like my grandmother had this life force that made her survive. And I feel that I have that within me as well. And, and so, so kind of going back to my grandmother. I think when somebody doesn’t want you to live it makes you want to live even more.
Absolutely. It makes you fight every day for your life. And So, so I’m in this world and that that’s why I and that’s what I do is I feel like I’m always fighting. But the thing to also know is it’s a very, very, very lonely place to be is to be the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor.
Darren Redmond: Absolutely. And once again, I want to thank you for sharing your truth.
With us today and to not just with me, but everybody watching and listening. And before I ask how people may be able to learn more about your story and again, in contact with you, only if I may ask that wonderful photo over your right shoulder, can you tell me a little bit about that? Because that I can’t take my eyes off of it.
Dr. Tamara MC: I’m sure. Yes. So I just want to go back because I hadn’t finished about the law. Okay. So. So coming out of the Holocaust, I have an incredibly small family and my grandmother only had my mother and my mother only had me and I have two sons. And to be in the world and to not have aunts and uncles and cousins and all this extended family.
It is very, very hard not to have those ties and to have that, that group that like, like, I don’t even think people can understand because so many people here have like family members. And even if they don’t like them. And when people joke about the holidays, oh, they don’t want to go to their holiday party.
I’m just thinking what I wouldn’t do to be at a holiday party with family. So, so for me, um, I just want people to know that the Holocaust effects and genocide and any sort of trauma like this. affects all the subsequent generations. Yes. The Holocaust affected my mother, it affected me, and it affects my children.
And I can’t, I don’t know how it’s going to affect their children, but it doesn’t end. So it’s so important to keep that in mind.
Darren Redmond: Henry said to us as children, they didn’t just murder my, Hitler did not just murder my mother and my sister, but every child that would have come from those people and how that could have helped people.
What murdered that same day. So they didn’t just kill one person. They killed their generations thereafter.
Dr. Tamara MC: Exactly. So are you talking about this photo? Yes.
Darren Redmond: No, this one. Yeah, yeah. Right. That one with the people.
Dr. Tamara MC: Okay. I’m pointing here. Yes. Um, that actually comes from, um, one of my travels. I I’ve been to Bangladesh.
Hmm. Okay. And it’s actually from a Rickshaw. And it’s the rickshaw art and it’s beautiful And they’re they’re just these beautiful artists that like create this rickshaw art and it’s made out of aluminum And I brought it home on the airplane and it’s really sharp. So, um, yeah, so so there’s like a woman and they’re dancing and there’s lots of hot pink and It’s kind of but the one over here is actually my grandmother my holocaust survivor.
Darren Redmond: I was going to That’s a photo that that I was going to ask you about was that? Because you see some writing there, which of course we can’t see, but that looked kind of personal.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, and that,
Darren Redmond: and that’s so wonderfully of her.
Dr. Tamara MC: And it’s actually, she wrote in Yiddish something, and I was asking her what piece looked like, and she wrote it in Yiddish, because she couldn’t write in English, and then the other part is translated, and I translated it in English for her.
So yes, yeah, so that’s my grandmother.
Darren Redmond: So it’s very interesting you mentioned that, as you know, it’s born and raised in Brooklyn, lived there. My whole life, got my undergraduate there, played football there, and I bring all that up because there’s a lot of Yiddish words that are part of my everyday vernacular.
And I went out here to California, and I love living out here, and we’ve lived out here 16 some odd years, and people look at me like I have nine heads. There are certain words they don’t know, and after a while, I don’t realize that they are indigenous to Yiddish words. But, uh, it’s, talk a little bit real quick.
About that language, because a lot of people don’t know what that is. They’ll say, well, is that Jewish? Is it? Talk a little bit about Yiddish. I have a friend of mine, by the way, next door. I’ll mention his name. Wonderful doctor, Ron Lichtenstein. Um, and him and I talk about The emergence of Yiddish language, uh, quite a bit.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. I mean, I’m not an expert on the Yiddish language. I kind of have what I call kitchen Yiddish. Like I learned Yiddish in the house and actually my family didn’t speak it because they wanted me to know English, which was really important to them. So they mostly only spoke Yiddish when they didn’t want me to understand things, which of course just made me want to know more.
Um, Yeah, but but Yiddish is a Germanic language and so there’s many German words that it shares with so like I ended up going to Germany, when I was much older like when I was in my late 30s, and I understood so much German just from knowing Yiddish and, um, Now Yiddish is really hard for me to listen to because I think of my grandmother, so it’s a very sad language.
So, so now even I think Duolingo, you know, the, the language, um, app. Like, like they actually teach Yiddish now. And I’m like, I would love to do that, but I’m like, I just can’t, it’s too painful. So, so I think. Yeah.
Darren Redmond: So tomorrow, how does somebody learn more about you get in touch with you follow you on social media or wants to hear more because your story is incredible.
Dr. Tamara MC: Thank you. Um, so, yeah, and I would love. I kind of made this. I made this inner what it’s not a rule but kind of this inner decision that once I turned 50 years old I wanted to share my story so I wanted to wait quite a bit in my life, so I’m only sharing my story recently, so I am absolutely open now for presentations or talks or anything I’m absolutely looking forward to sharing my story so that hopefully it can resonate with one person one girl one child one woman who can be like, Wow, I didn’t realize that this person doesn’t share the whole experience because there’s probably not a ton of people who have a child marriage, but maybe there’s one little part of my story that they resonate with.
And so, so that’s really important to me. The best way maybe is through Twitter, Tamara, T A M A R A. And my last name is just two letters capital M capital C MC. So I think it’s Tamara MC PhD or tomorrow. And pretty much all of my social media can be under tomorrow MC PhD in some way, and always my Twitter.
Messages are open so you can feel free to send me a message that way and I’d love to hear from you And hear about your story as well I think like Darren I love listening to people’s stories and I love being an active listener. So so that’s really important to me
Darren Redmond: Well, I want to thank you For spending some time with me today and with our viewers and our listeners I truly believe you help some people at least want to learn more.
And that’s really the first step in anything that we do in life. And I am privileged to have got to know you. And hopefully that will continue. And thank you for sharing your truth again for the first time.
Dr. Tamara MC: Thank you so much for having me and for reaching out and finding me. I just I guess like that’s the beautiful thing about social media is you can reach out to people you would never normally speak to.
So thank you for including me in your podcast and, and um, so I have so much gratitude for the opportunity to speak with you today. Thank you.
In todays episode we listen to Dr. Tamara MC share her story from the time she was in a religious cult as well as her experiences after leaving the cult.
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