hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Archive for the month “August, 2014”

Love People

Sometimes I surf the internet. One picture will motivate me to visit a site next thing I know it is midnight.  I have been noticing over the past decades there are a lot of really gorgeous children being born.  Is it the grandmother in me? Perhaps, but I see these little happy folks and I cannot help but smile. They are the best of humanity, they are what we all are until life and cynicism ruins us. They look at a flower and it’s color makes them happy. They don’t run from or smash it because of it’s particular shade they adore and admire it just as it is. We adults in turn have nothing but praises for the babies, “aren’t you the prettiest, sweetest, smartest, most talented little one we have ever seen. And we don’t care who you belong to.

Fast forward about 15 years, those beautiful wonder-filled beings are now starting to make decisions and voice their opinions. They are now met with, “You don’t know what you are talking about, Why don’t you behave better, What are you listening to and What is that you are wearing?” They go from the Apples of Society’s Eye to Menaces to Society in less than two short decades. All the while their main critics forgetting they once occupied that very same place in life. The reason being no one wants to stay in that place of confusion, indecision, and turmoil. We wonder what is wrong with our children as they begin to mature. We love them always, but are challenged to like them. I recall a woman I saw many years ago at the mall in Alpharetta;she was neat and tidy, dressed in a suit, had corporate America written all over her. She was carrying a Louis Vutton purse and every hair was in place. As she approached the counter in the young men’s department at Rich’s(region department store now out of business) this surly, thin,  greasy haired young man dressed in goth-type clothing came to and stood next to her. I expected her to jump out of her skin because he was so far away from who she was, but after a moment you knew this was not just someone she knew, this was her child. The were a curious pair walking out of the store. I shook my head and thought, “You never know..”

These two made me think of how we judge and make decisions about OUR young people. We have issues with our own children, so it is hard to imagine us being any more tolerant of someone elses’ and guess what, we aren’t. Do any of you recall that time in your life? The time when your music basically made your parents or most any adult grimace at the very least. The time when self discovery was coupled with fear and insecurity. The time when your excuse of being young and not responsible was fading into, ” It is your fault, You know better.” The thing that MUST be taken into consideration here is, it was a time of transitions.

Time marches forward some more. Now we have an adult he may be in our workplace being difficult or perhaps she has gotten into trouble and landed herself in jail. The significant thing here in both of these cases is; once these throwaways, these social irritants, were adorable sweet faced babies that we  all loved to love.

Too bad we don’t get to transform ourselves from beautiful-adorable baby to upstanding-citizen adult. However, that is  not our reality. We are human and we are flawed. Your flaws look a lot more serious than mine because I am judging, but then I must consider that door swings both ways that I am also on the receiving end of judgment. My son often speaks of loving without condition; from a Christian point of view, this is a difficult goal but at least it is a goal that is presented to us on a  weekly basis( although it should be a constant basis). Perhaps if we ALL task ourselves with this loving one another without condition on a regular-targeted basis, we could get closer to the goal as well. As human beings if we aren’t challenged we vegetate and die, so it is with ideas and concepts. Take the challenge and make your contribution towards solving the problem of just Loving People without condition and stipulations.  “Shoot for the moon” here, people “because if you miss you will still land among the stars…”

License To Kill

Remember that movie? Well I don’t; I was never a James Bond fan, I vaguely remember the song, and I had to research it to find out who was singing the song. It was Gladys Knight. I also found out that Bob Dylan wrote a song with the same title different lyrics. Neither is pertinent to this piece, except they share the same title.

Who are these people charged with the task “To Protect and Serve”? In a  time of controversy or civil unrest we may even ask ,” Who do they protect and serve?” Think about this one; what do you think about police in general and specifically related to YOU?

Many years ago I thought about becoming a Los Angeles County Sheriff. I did a little research, registered to take the exam, but when the time came I decided that I was not really interested in being a part of law enforcement, all I wanted was the money that was promised in salary. I knew at that point in my young life, money alone should not be the reason one gets into law enforcement.

I had a friend who went a bit farther than I did, she was a beautiful young woman with gorgeous hair. What impacted me, what made me know that she was serious was, when she cut her hair off to wear a short cropped afro because she wanted to be a part of that community. She did the ride-alongs first, she took the exam, and even passed the interview. On her was to the psychological testing, the next thing I heard was she decided against moving on. Now we can guess at or assume what may have changed her mind, but this was just a  personal tid-bit as to why I am here writing this piece now. My turning point was the idea that one day I might have to pull a person from a car who had been fatally injured, or having to aim my weapon at a suspect with the intent to “stop” them and by mistake or intentionally end their life, or knocking on the door of some unfortunate survivor to tell them a loved one would not be returning home to them.

Police/law enforcement officers are a special breed, in my opinion I was NOT that “kind” of special. Strong, stoic, yet compassionate. Honorable and trustworthy, calm and well trained. I am so very happy we have them, but when you find them abusing the power they are given, it frightens, angers, and appalls you. Why shouldn’t it. They are entrusted with our lives.  When they take that power and use it incorrectly, use it against the very ones who are looking to them for help; what do you say about individuals like that? The officer who demeans a man in the presence of his child, the individual who places an individuals life in danger by using a hold that has been forbidden and illegal for decades, the individual who hides/misplaces evidence, the wife beater, the alcohol abuser and yes this same individual still has a badge. Common sense, sensitivity, and reasoning are no longer the tools of their trade. Yet the public is told these are community leaders and turn to them for help.  These are the individuals who look at their positions and think in a manner that demonstrates they think they do in fact have a license to kill and it is open season on citizens. How safe do you feel?

A Matter Of Trust

Have you ever been betrayed? Of course you have. You recall how badly you felt. There was a lot of emotion involved no doubt, there was anger, there was hurt and pain. Time was the only thing that would help to neutralize or erase the damage done. Then once the time had passed, what was necessary to get that individual back in good graces with you. Hold that thought and carry it with you throughout this piece.

Being a 54 year old American black woman, I am once again having to reach back and  regain my composure. I have a husband, I raised 2 sons, I have brothers, I have nephews, and then there are my friends; I must try to exist with a real monster hanging over my head, and over the heads of people I know, love , and care about. Understand the use of the word monster here, and if you don’t get it, look it up.  Fear… monsters are effective because they control us with  our very own fear.  They need not do a thing, but make their presence known and our very own psyche will do the rest.

There are some of us  who want more, so we choose to go to where the monsters can be made more tangible. Theme parks, haunted houses, and movies help provide us with a hands-on scare. However, you have to say one is still able to get a portion or even their fill and walk away. That is not the case with the monster I spoke of earlier though. This monster is ever present lurking in the dark corridors, the recesses of your mind, and maybe to some of your surprise he comes at you in broad daylight too. You don’t know exactly how to fight him because the mention of his name suggests, you are imagining things, monsters aren’t real. The “naysayers” would have you believe just that, I ask you how do you explain the dastardly deeds then? How do you defend and protect yourself from something like that. The moment you give in and say,” well maybe I am over-reacting, maybe it isn’t the way I think it is, you get hit once again. Later you ask yourself how am I ever supposed to be able to trust again.

The human spirit is resilient, but it can only be trampled over, ripped and torn, beaten up and knocked down so many times, before one invariably will lash out. The monster never thinks about that, the monster is always in the pursuit mode. Yet think of the many monster films you have watched over the years, in the end the monster usually get destroyed.

You have to realize we are talking about real monsters here, not the ones in the movies.  The monster that has treated us badly, the monster that has abused us, the monster that has lied to us and we have gotten hurt because of the monster. Then the monster says, “I have changed. I am not like I used to be, I will show you.” After all the monster has done to us, how do we forgive him, how do we begin to trust that which has been so terrible to us, when all we have is a history of being mistreated. All we want from the monster is to be left alone and at volatile times we  do want to see the monster destroyed in order for us to go back to our lives and just live. Even though we’d love to have the same outcome as in the movies, this is real life. We still have the tendency to expect the same result in real life as we get in the movies, it does not always hold true.

 

Yes It Can And Does Happen In Your Neighborhood

Listening to the crickets chirp, watching the lightening bugs float around the night, a slight hint of gardenia in the air, and sporadic sounds of life. We have several family of deer living among us; rabbits and chipmunks try to stay out of the way of the cats, various dogs walk their owners during daylight and night time. Tonight an eerie shadow is cast upon us, the inhabitants of this safe enclave  just a little north of Atlanta. I look down to the end of my block and the un-naturally  lit, lifeless house serves as a reminder of the events of the day.

How many times have you watched the news and heard someone who is interviewed say,’This kind of thing doesn’t happen here. This is such a nice neighborhood”. I cringe each time. I say, ” What are you thinking idiot, your community is immune to bad occurrences?”Today I would have been that idiot. While I may have not verbalized my feelings, it certainly was my thought pattern and behavior as well.

I  heard the beeping sound of a truck backing up at 6:30 A.M.; it is trash day, but still early. The blue and red lights flashing  from various police as well as fire department services illuminate the block. Yellow tape surround the house in question, that is NOT a good sign. About a dozen officers enter the location and about five minutes later they emerge, but there is an odd scene as a woman being rolled out in a sitting position follows. I see a few familiar faces down the block but cannot get to them because the police have created a barricade on my block.

Later we would find out there was a murder and a home invasion. Later we would find out the two children who lived there survived but they we not unharmed one physically but both impacted psychologically. Later we would find out the perpetrators were still at large. Later we would find out it was the first and only murder that had happened this year in our fair city. However for now we are in a state of shock, denial, and disbelief.

You might ask, why are we all so disheveled;  I have many times when I was simply an observer of others in similar neighborhoods. What makes us think that simply because we live among those we deem to be upstanding citizens, people who keep their lawns tidy and their houses painted, that their lives are as spotless as these home’s exteriors. We bought into an illusion and in that illusion good people you live next door to don’t argue, don’t have abuse going on, don’t hoard animals and debris. The people we live down the block from mind their own business, but they look out for their neighbors. We can leave our doors unlocked, parcels can sit on the porch or in the driveway without  the worry of someone who does not belong here entering our places or taking our things. We wave at passersby so they will know we are good folk, but we are watching you.

We have all allowed ourselves to forget the common denominator, we are all just people not immune to the flaws and frailties that make us all human. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in our kind of community, but somehow it just did.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: