April 23, 2012

Adventures on CTA

"I don't like the B*t*h.  Point blank period.  Sh*tttt.  This muthaf*cka bets get movin'....Sh*tttttt. D*mn, I'm hungry as a muthaf*cka!"

I'm no stranger to public transportation being that I've been taking it since I was a kid.  Of course now it's not due to the lack of a vehicle but because it's convenient (and cost-effective) for most of us commuting downtown for work.  I must say I've seen just about everything on the L....that's the elevated train for you non-Chicagoans. :-)

~Beautiful gold chain snatched off a foolish woman..neck bleeding. (Thought they were flirting. Even as a kid I knew not to tell them it was real...sigh.)
~Smartphone snatched from a woman that was way too preoccupied on FB.  Grab&Run out the doors as soon as they open.  (Of course she screamed at the top of her lungs and ran off the train after him...straight into his hood in the heart of the Westside.  Wonder whatever happened to her? We did call the police. Sigh.)
~Near violent altercations between the sexes...and the races.
~Way too private sexy-type convos between a woman and...a woman, about things I'd rather not have the visuals for.

And of course, the beloved homeless and mentally ill encounters.  Always fun running into a mentally ill gentleman who throws a cupful of some type of liquid at you because you didn't pay him any attention as you walked by.  (That junk barely missed me.  I was ready to give him some attention all right!)  That same gentleman on another occasion got a kick out of crunching (loudly) on some stank pork skins on an overcrowded train (you can imagine the odors that were already floating at the end of that long day)...and then peering over his cloudy bifocals at the rather nervous and slightly annoyed caucasian lady sitting next to him.  (Reaction only feeds someone like him.)  So of course the rest of the ride was filled with him crunching those stank pork skins directly in her ears...getting closer to her with every bite.  It was actually kinda funny.  Crazy man!

With all the experiences I've had and observed during my years of riding CTA, the most disturbing has to be the disrespectful cussing young 20s and under.  Many of them are absolutely oblivious to the fact that there are gray headed folks all around (i.e. elders) that they should be ashamed of talking like that in front of.  Someone seriously dropped the ball on passing on the basic respect that we used to be taught to have.  Certain things you just don't say in front of anybody old enough to be your parent...and especially if they are old enough to be your grandparent!  And don't get me started on the cussing that is directed at some little beautiful brown child that didnt ask to come into this world...especially not to some impatient immature little "I'm still a child myself" girl.  Arggghhhh! Makes me mad!

 It takes great restraint for me to not pull these little girls by their cheap blonde weaves and drag them to every elder on there to apologize, then stuff some toe jam smellin' crazy man pork skins down their throats and make them sit in the corner thinking about their actions for the rest of the ride.

Nay.  God don't like ugly. Sigh.

So I just quietly pray for their mouths to be shut and try not to roll my eyes. 

bite of the day ~ Lord help. They don't know any better.  Sigh.


April 11, 2012

Trayvon Martin & the "self-defending" Zimmerman

Opinionated.  Aggressively opinionated.  That was me.  The younger me.  I didn't get into much trouble growing up (on my own that is)...except for talking too much.  At school.  At home. 

I remember my father pulling me into the front room of my grandmother's house, after witnessing me letting my bonus younger sister boss me around, manipulate and control me...mainly because she had toys that I wanted to play with and I had...nothing.  At least not there.  "Don't EVER let anyone take advantage of you.  Stand up for yourself."  I burst into tears because I knew I was being punked and had done nothing about it.  I was 5 and still feeling the fresh effects of my parents' divorce.  From that day, those words were burned into my heart, my bones...down to the marrow.  I developed a mindset that was quick on the trigger of defense if I even smelled someone trying to pull one on me...manipulate or control me.  I am not saying this is a good thing...and I acknowledge my interpretation of my father's words may have gone a bit too far.  But it is real...it is truth.

Because of this part of my personality, I have at times found myself on the wrong side of right...unbeknownst to me, of course.  Opinionated.  Aggressively opinionated.  Willing to fight "to the death" for what I believe is right....right based on the information that I have at that moment.  Problem is there have been plenty of times that I didn't have all the information...and I was in "fight to the death" mode  (for example, defending my fav cousin against accusations that he went in the bathroom and looked at my friend while she was on the toilet i.e half-naked....long story.  Sigh)....literally me and the accused on one side of the room...everyone else involved on the other side (outnumbering us)....and my mother in the middle with belt in hand ready to unleash the wrath, not because of the incident itself, but the LIE that followed.  Lying is her pet-peeve.  Sigh for me since I didn't know I was passionately defending a lie.

All that said, I learned a hard and valuable lesson after a few close calls where I put my foot in my mouth (and the accused let me...very willing to let me go down defending them on more than one occasion).  The Lesson:


Because I have a tendency to upchuck an unsolicited opinion/verdict, this has been a challenge to say the least.  I am working diligently to do better.  Which is why I have not chimed in on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.  And it is a tragedy. 

I have nephews around his age...have worked with youth over the years....his age.  So it is especially heart-wrenching when a baby's life is snatched away...senselessly.  Seemingly coldly.  Gone too soon.  Angry cries for justice.  All things we normally say and feel when something horrible like this happens. 

When I look at the photos that have been circulating around the net of Trayvon, I see a young innocent-looking boy.  I honestly cannot see this child attacking a grown man as has been claimed. 


I was NOT there.  I didn't know Trayvon...and I don't know Zimmerman.  A picture does not speak to the totality or temperament of a person in all truth.  (I've seen folks in the height of misery pose for the camera in that moment, resulting in a very misleading picture of happiness and "I'm having the time of my life"-ness.)  What I do know is this young man is dead and Zimmerman shot him.  He has his version of the event.  Unfortunately Trayvon is not here to tell his side of the story.  I can imagine that he had no clue this encounter would end with his death.  What happened in those moments before the shooting, it is all a bit hazy...the one eyewitness account I did hear kept saying that it was dark and he can't be sure about this and that.  There are a lot of unanswered questions and loose strings. 

Now that Zimmerman has officially been charged (took way too long if you ask me)...perhaps we will start to get to the bottom of what actually happened.  Until then, I will just pray...pray for justice and healing.  Nothing will bring Trayvon back. So what justice looks like...I honestly don't know.  And I'm happy that I've finally gotten to the place that I can simply say "NO COMMENT....at this time".

bite of the day ~ Wisdom says gather, process....then speak....in EVERY situation.  Lord help me.


April 1, 2012

Getting Back 2 Basics

So my life is in topsy-turvy, upside down, violent "sifting like wheat".....change.  And has been for over a year and a half now.  I have come to the place of emotional acceptance of my transition....my crossroads...understanding I am in a unique soul space.  A tender, fragile place.  Scalpel tip resting on the crest of the chest, ready to make that most delicate of incisions....get inside and remove the junk that's got death attached.  Understanding one wrong move, the patient may not survive.  I'm standing in the middle of a dense jungle....Indiana Jones-style with old school compass and all....trying to discern which way is right.  decisions.  Decisions. DECISIONS!

What kinda girl am I?  What kinda girl do I want to be?  Cause....


Many times when difficult life transitions come, there's the urge to throw EVERYTHING away.  Be totally different...cause perhaps being how I was is what got me into this mess in the first place.  Yeah...Imma be the OPPOSITE.  And the world will know it! Nay.  Sigh.

After much praying and soul-searching and thinking and analyzing and self-dissecting...and praying some more, I've realized I need to get back to the basics.  I don't need to scrap everything that has made me me.  But I do need to be more older and wiser...and less young and dumber.  More trusting in JESUS and less trusting in self.  More reality and less fantasy (my imaginary worlds are off the chain!...in a good and bad way. Sigh.)  So I've slowly but surely been getting back to.....me.

1.  I'm having a series of love affairs...and it's with my awesome crazy and sometimes dysfunctional family.  My mother is my girl.  I enjoy her company.  She has been one of my best, if not THE, best friend in my life since I can remember.  It had always been a point of "pride" for me to be so close to my mother.  A woman who knows me...and also knows the boundaries.  Respects me as a girlnwoman, not all up in my business but is there when I need her.  Recently I realized my attitude had subtly shifted. "I don't want to be the Golden Girls!" became the thought.  And I don't.  And we won't.  But an unfounded fear had crept in.  From where??? Hm.  She is MY Girl and would be even if we weren't related. I will NO LONGER APOLOGIZE for it!  Especially to people with serious dysfunction with their own...what the hell am I concerned about what you think for!?!  That's done.  My Daddy...now he's MY Superman...proven that more in the last year and a half than in my whole life....besides when he saved me from a watery grave when I was little...but I digress.  I am a Daddy's Girl and I will NOT apologize for it!  BrothersSistersCousinsAuntsUnclesInLawsOutlaws....MY FAMILY.....I am swimming in their love and presence...I always have.  And until I got exposed to other worlds....I didn't know that this is abnormal to a number of folks.  Living life WITH your family in a healthy, non intrusive, non-controlling, proper prioritizing, putting differences aside and being there when it counts way...good bad and ugly.  This is actually an issue to some.  Go figure.  Well, love, support and (NEWS FLASH!) friendship SHOULD be the norm in families and I WILL NO LONGER APOLOGIZE THAT I HAVE JUST THAT!  I honor and need my family.  Period!

2. I'm rekindling an old flame.  I've been in love with....BOOKS ever since my mother literally brought a heavy duty trash bag of them home when I was about 8 or 9.  I read them all.  My summers were filled with trips to the library with my Daddy....at one point I thought I wanted to be a librarian I loved the place so much...plus I wanted to do the scan and beep thing all day. I started collecting books for my personal library years ago and my dream home will include a huge reading room....books to the ceiling...I'm talking rolling ladder status!  I had gotten away from my love....life and drama draining my energy and brain cells.  Well...baby I'm back...and I'm wearing out my library card too!  Call me a nerd if you want.  Me no care!  I love getting in bed with the likes of Common (One Day It'll All Make Sense), Tyrese (How To Get Out of Your Own Way) and Devon Franklin (Produced By Faith).  C'mon boys. lol

3.  Sweet freedom...I long for.  I've always felt a huge sense of responsibility to live a certain way and do what's "right".  Felt I needed to be an example, whether folks were paying attention or not.  So my personality and decisions reflected this.  However, I used to be a lot....freer.  Laughed more.  Played more.  Acted silly more.  Danced more.  Hoped more.  I was SURE of my future and felt a sense of control because after all, it was in my hands.  All I had to do was the right things based on my faith, my family and my values....and I was home free.  Instant AWESOME life.  WRONG! The more I lived and the more I experienced, the less free I became.  Less laughter...less play...less joy.  Pain, disappointment and survival replaced confidence, certainty and peace about the  future.  Bondage to fear....of more pain.  Well, I've decided I'm done with the heavier side of life.  I'm stepping out of the abyss and into the Son-Light.  After all, I am light...the giver and lover of life.  Time for me to get to know myself again.  Selah.

bite of the day ~ Somethings are meant to change.  Life will be better for it.  But somethings are from the core of YOU.  Hold on to them for dear life...and let no pain or negativity strip them away.