Minnie’s Story

It has been a long time. For some, it may seem like it was yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Others, however, wake up and relive it day after day after day as another anniversary quickly approaches.

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Image courtesy of pixabay

There are three types of people who know what I’m talking about. Those who were onlookers, those who were responders and those who became victims.

September 11, 2001. The day NYC, briefly, stood still in disbelief and then erupted in fear and tragedy. The day the Twin Towers were brought down and, for a moment, the day we were all the same.

There was no black or white, male or female, rich or poor. There was only people in need of help and people who did. There were faces full of dust and tears and the shoulders and arms they rested in.

I was an onlooker. From the safety of the television, I saw terror unfold and the fear I had was almost debilitating. Yet, it would never compare to the experience of the responders and victims who had lived through it or perished because of it.

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Minnie’s Story.

We share the same blood line. We’ve shared family meals and moments and have supported each other in many ways.

Our commonalities end at the beginning of the terror we experienced that day. Like most people, I couldn’t imagine being in that situation. Minnie didn’t have to imagine. She was there.

Today, I’ve decided to share her answers to my questions about her experience on that day.

Originally, I considered shortening her responses for the sake of this post being too lengthy but decided that if I can’t erase her experience, why would I trim her account of it.

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On 9/11, you were fortunate enough to wake up and get ready for work. Unfortunately, you would be heading towards the world trade center that would be attacked no more than one hour after your shift begun. What do you remember about that day?

Minnie:

Yes I was. I can remember how beautiful the day was and how blue the skies were. My physical and mental being was very good and in a very happy place. I always felt some kind of way about working so far downtown; however this day of 9/11, I felt wonderful not thinking about the train ride or how far I had to go in order to get to work.

I lived in the Bronx on Gates Place, where my travel to work was not complicated by having to change trains.  I would take the #4 train all the way to my stop which was Bowling Green. I always got a seat, too.

On the day of 9/11, the beginning of my day was peaceful and I was really looking forward to getting into work with a little time to spare in order to pick up a bite to eat and coffee and to support the early morning street vendors that were out.

I can remember being on the train one stop before bowling green and all of a sudden hearing some type of noise or thump and then feeling the train move a little from side-to-side.

All of the passengers were a little confused as we all just looked at each other, as the train closed its doors and move on to my stop at Bowling Green.

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I remember there being more crowding than usual and, when I finally got outside, people were gathered in groups looking up. Some were still walking but really fast and there was debris falling down.

As I walked I noticed more people were looking up and pointing and when I looked up I saw a plane in the first tower of the world trade center. That’s when sadness kicked in.

In my mind, I thought it was a terrible accident, but then as soon as that thought surfaced, another plane zoomed into the second tower and I knew that was no accident. That’s when fear took over. Panic broke out and my heart began to beat faster than I thought possible.

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Did you work in one of the towers or were you working in the surrounding area?  

Minnie:

I worked in the surrounding area. I ran to my job which was just adjacent to the world trade center.

I remember people screaming, running and yelling. When I got to my job, I was already in tears and everyone else was screaming, crying, making phone calls and running around trying to figure out what was going on.

I called my daughter and told her we were being attacked-she was home that day and was asleep. I told her to turn the TV on and watch the news.

Then the phones and everything else all shut down and there was no more contact-seemingly with the outside world.

A very short time afterwards, we received word that there was an attack taking place and the pentagon was also attacked by another plane.

We were told to form groups that we could leave with. I was in a group with five of my co-workers. As we left, we made a pact to stay together, however, that did not happen once we got outside.

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Image courtesy of pixabay

We heard something like an explosion that set fire to our fear and we got separated. I found myself alone trying to find my way out of all the chaos but couldn’t.

I had a blue pin-stripped skirt suit and heals, which I removed so I could run and, even then, it seemed no matter where I ran, I got nowhere.

The crowds were overwhelming and my feet were pounding with pain and began to swell and then later bleed.

The debris and dust were so thick and dark/foggy, making it very hard to see and even breathe.

I can remember trying to run across a street and got struck by a yellow cab. I kept running but it still seemed like I was going in circles. All of those short and narrow streets seemed more like a death trap.

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I kept running and thinking about my daughter, my life was flashing before me and I kept thinking how was she going to feel loosing her mother. What would she do, and does my family even know that I’m in this mess?

I cried out very loud, I  was weak and I began to pray asking God to forgive me for my sins and save my life because people were dying. Seeing people jumping from the building and knowing others were burning to death was too much for me.

There was one point where I had no more energy to even carry my purse so I threw it away.

The screams were so severe and seeing people with blood and dust all over them was extremely frightening. It felt like a horror movie but it was a reality!

I ran until I couldn’t anymore. I needed to rest, but felt if I did, I would die. My energy was gone. I could not run anymore, so I continued to pray really hard while sitting/squatting down by a van or some sort of vehicle.

I prayed and prayed. I literally heard the voice of God. He said I was saved and then literally out of nowhere, a co-worker called out my name! I will just call her (G) She was just standing there!

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It was like God just placed me in her sight and She said “Minnie”-and she reached out her hand and I looked up and took her hand and she pulled me up and we hugged and she then looked at me and she said “You Know We Are Going To Be Friends For Life, Right”?

At that time I was also still feeling pain from being struck by the yellow cab along with everything else, but when she pulled me up I didn’t care about the pain anymore.

We both started to run. I, distinctly, remember that she didn’t show any tears, she was just focused on getting out! I was happy to see her but still afraid of getting trapped.  The pain in my feet was excruciating. I had to block it out and think about living.

The buildings of both towers were continuously burning as people were diving out of the windows and the bodies hitting the ground was  devastating.

I could not stop crying and screaming, still thinking about my daughter and wondering if she was ok. There was no further contact via phone. The subways were shut down and nothing, vehicle wise, could make in it or even out of that area.

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Image courtesy of pixabay

Police and fire trucks were everywhere! People were being directed to go on the Brooklyn bridge, but my co-worker said no-way because all we could think about at that point was if we go on the bridge and there is another attack that would be the next place.

When the first tower began to fall, we weren’t out of the area yet and the noise of the falling buildings sounded like my brain was being cracked-it was extremely loud like it was in my head and was capable of mentally crippling me.

Then the second one started falling down. I saw them both just crumble down. It was unbelievable that there was so many people still in those building as they slowly fell down.

Seeing this made me feel like I was going to lose my mind. It was one of the most horrific feelings of knowing so many people were dying all at once.  I knew people who worked in those buildings.

One of my best friends worked there and I could not stop thinking of her. I had other friends that worked in the towers. Some of them died.  However, we had to keep running.

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Image courtesy of pixabay

My co-worker would sometimes make stops because I was in so much pain with my feet and we both were suffering from exhaustion, and needing to have a drink of water.

She was my guardian angel that day and she stuck by my side the entire time even when I felt I couldn’t do it anymore.

I was crying and screaming and she helped me through the grace of God. I truly believe that and I’m grateful to her.  She and God kept me going. She was such a warrior through it all.

We continued to run and made a brief stop to catch our breaths and, finally, was able to get some water.

My co-worker and I finally found our way out of the debris and the chaos. We ran from lower Manhattan to Midtown and stopped at the Omni Hotel on 41st Street and 5th Avenue.

That’s where we stayed. My co-worker actually lived in New Jersey and I lived in the Bronx and subways were still shut down and other transportation was not available.

I can remember being at work in Yonkers, New York on that day and being told the office was closing. Transportation was nearly at a standstill. How did you get home?

Minnie:

I was, eventually, able to take a taxi.  We stayed at the hotel until the next morning. When we got up we prayed together. I had no money on me or anything. My co-worker paid for me a taxi to get home which was around 10:30 the next morning.

I was still crying in the cab and when I finally got to my neighborhood, I felt a little more relaxed and so happy and relieved to see my daughter as she was to see me. We hugged so tight and we both cried all over again.

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Minnie and her daughter, Teneshia

I got a little rest but then the pain from being struck by the car was resurfacing and I decided I need to see a doctor. Honestly, I was still in shock and panic mode. When I got to the doctor I explained what happened and they were very attentive to me.

My tests came back as me being ok except for a large bruise on my thigh area however, it was treatable with over the counter medications.

Since then, many people have had to deal with the mental and physical stress caused by the traumatic events of that day. How were you affected?

Minnie:

My state of mind was, definitely, concerning to the doctors. They immediately directed me to get counseling and I accepted it. Depression, on-going nightmares, fear of any type of noise, especially planes and fear of taking trains was a real issue for me. Physically, my feet were badly damaged. Years later, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocyte Leukemia…too emotional to talk about but I am still being treated.

**(there was so much I left out but I gave the best that I can.
My emotions are still fresh from this devastation, especially with this new diagnosis – Minnie)**

What type, if any resources were made available to you to help you cope?

Minnie:

I am certified with the WTC health program as a 911 survivor, where ongoing counseling is offered, and payments for medically necessary treatment which is located at Bellevue Hospital where they also provide on-going monitoring for any present/future healthcare issues.

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♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

I am grateful to Minnie for sharing her story with me and allowing me to share it with you.

We will never know the outcome of our today until tomorrow. Some people, unfortunately, won’t know it even then. No one expected the events that changed the lives of so many that day. No one thought they wouldn’t make it home that night.

Do you still take life for granted?

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A Place For Everything

What’s a gal to do? I am almost envious of you awesome bloggers who can so eloquently and creatively share your footprints in the sand. The niches of the blogging world are endless and you guys dress it up beautifully!!

As I become Dora la exploradora in my mind, I venture off on a niche adventure to walk in your shoes.

Here’s what I got so far:

Fashion – Well, I’m not really big on fashion and can’t, for the life of me, figure out the makeup maze.IMG_0192 Anything past lip gloss and eyeliner would require lifeguard assistance… or some balloons, big red shoes, and a big red nose.

Art & Design – NOT. A. CLUE. IMG_0196Next

Money Business– Oh you money savvy sweethearts! Where do you come from? From what cloth are you cut? If only I could have one single drop of your financially free, coupon cutting, sale soliciting blood run through my veins.

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👍🏾TOTAL FLOP👎🏾

Health & Fitness – I like donuts and hate exercise. I’ve been doomed from my first bite. The end.

Foodies – Thank you for recipes that help maintain my fluffiness.

Pets – Let’s see… well, I do have a 65lb dog

who thinks he’s a cat and an 8lb cat whom we, seriously, call Cujo Kitty.

I may be able to get Cesar Milan and Jackson Galaxy on board for an awesome premier of cat-dog live.

Hmm…

Guess I better have a chocolate-2202127_640 because I’m not myself when I’m hungry.

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So, here it goes.

Walking in your shoes is DEFINITELY not MY niche. I would probably be my only follower if I even attempted to recreate the greatness of any of you.

So why do people do it?

Why replicate when you are already in possession of an original? IMG_0190 Why do people venture so far out of their zone to dance with success?

My guess? Chlorophyll. Yep, that must be it! Chlorophyll gives grass all of that rich, vibrant green color and the other side is full of it.

I don’t doubt the vanity of the green over yonder. You shouldn’t either. As a matter of fact, it shouldn’t even ping on your radar if your “agenda” is to succeed in your own element, in your own shell, in your own shoes; filled with your own interests, your own experiences and your own point of view.sheep-161389_640

If your agenda is nothing more than to imitate then please, by all means, continue to gaze and graze.

Guess #2 Self Doubt. If, in your mind, success is only achievable by becoming a surrogate to and of someone else’s hopes, dreams and hard work skeptical-2245968_640 then you are, unfortunately, a stranger to the meaning of success and possess a great amount of self-doubt.

Believe you can and you will succeed or fail.

Guess #3 Fear. We all have it and that’s ok!  I guess, it seems easier and safer to do what someone else has already done. equilibrist-1831016_640 (1) The risk factor is already subdued, right. Not at all. You still run a risk of mistake and failure.

Why not take the mistakes from YOUR ideas and learn from them? Why not use your failures as a pilot for your dreams. What doesn’t work go back in and rewrite it. Don’t let fear rationalize and minimize your potential.

Everyone and everything has its own place in this kooky world. It’s up to you to find yours.

 

It’s The Simple Things

Can you believe it? The year is halfway complete!  While we were doting on one task or other, Father Time whispered sweet nothings into the winds of Mother Nature’s kiss.

When we weren’t looking, Autumn turned to Winter and Winter became Spring as Summer patiently waits in the shadows.

Amid the changes of the seasons, some of us may have gotten caught up in the rapture of one task or other and forgot to stop and breathe.

You put off for tomorrow what should have been done today…3 (hundred) times over. Tomorrow, you will make that call. Tomorrow, you will stop by to say hello. Tomorrow, you will spend more quality time with friends and family.

Sometimes, tomorrow doesn’t come. Sometimes, that last hello is the final goodbye.

Life will always leave us with some regret. We’re not superhuman and can’t be everywhere each and every time but we can -and should- make time for the little things. For the simple things. It’s those little things that mean so much to someone whom you care for.

 

Daily Inspiration: Choosing Happiness

Happiness- the characterization or indication of pleasure,contentment, or joy.

Sound familiar?

Responses I like to hear to that are-

Yesss!

That’s the best!

Or even, I know that feeling!!

Usually, however, I get-

Huh?

Umm, yeah…sure.

Right, I guess.

For a long time I was guilty of the latter and I must admit I, occasionally, still have slips and dips into the land of uncertainty when it comes to my happiness.

The thought of happiness should emit mental imagery similar to the feel of soft cotton sheets against freshly cleansed skin. Unfortunately for some, it signifies the search for the last cotton candy colored unicorn in a field of spineless cacti on a cool day in hell.

It may not always seem true or possible but our happiness is just that. OURS and, sometimes, we make the biggest mistake with it. We give it away to people and situations not worthy of it and replenish it less because, well, happiness is also reciprocated and there are far too many people who lose theirs in the same shuffled deck of cards that you do.

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No one wants to see you happier than you do and it’s foolish of you to think otherwise. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the “Look” that other people present as their lives but sometimes looks can be and are meant to be deceiving.

You are like no other and no other is like you. Embrace that! Self acceptance is the diamond engagement ring to your happiness. It may be one of the only priceless things that only you can afford to have that can’t be replicated.

When you love yourself you recognize your strengths, weaknesses, struggles, mistakes and accomplishments as equal contributors to the definition of you. You accept the fact that life isn’t always sweet but any lemons bestowed upon you are yours and yours alone to make a lemonade suitable to your taste.

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We all experience situations that, if ever granted that one special wish, we would want erased permanently from our life record. Of course, that is not an option! So what do we do? We carry every hour of the past into every day of the present. We torment ourselves. We allow our memories to keep us trapped in an emotional quicksand. The more we fight the more we sink.

Let It Go! Let go of everything that is rooted to that situation. It is weighing you down and preventing you from being free to be happy.

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I know I’ve said it before and I know you’ll hear it again, no one wants to see you happier than you do. Some people don’t want to see you happy at all! Your happiness intimidates them. It angers them. Usually, it’s because they don’t know how to be happy for themselves.

Defeat their regime. Kill them with kindness. Shower them with everlasting happiness. Bring them aboard the happy land train.

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There is a difference between sharing your happiness and giving it all away. When you give it away, it’s gone. There’s nothing left but shadows and misery. When you share your happiness, you invest in it. You make it stronger and, in the process, you allow someone else to gain strength from your happiness and build up theirs. It’s the type of contagion you want to spread.

Six steps to make on your yellow brick road to happiness:

  1. Happiness starts with change and change starts with choice. Choose to be happy. Every effort you make must be a conscious one toward happiness. Crowd your psyche is positivity and happiness will overflow.
  2. Be grateful. For everything, everyone, and every situation in your life…even the bad ones. Good things are capable of manifesting from the most boggling situations.
  3. Be you. Your life is not a competition. Don’t waste time trying to make yourself be like or better than someone else. It will make you too tired to stay awake for when your real self shows up.
  4. Learn forgiveness. Forgiveness frees you from the mental imprisonment caused by painful experiences. Don’t do it for the situation, do it for yourself.
  5. Make changes to your social circle. If you’re surrounded by sourpusses how can you expect happiness to flourish?
  6. Try a little R & R (resistance and resilience).  When trouble comes knocking say not my circus, not my monkeys and stand strong on your path to happiness. Resist the urge to be drawn into the negativities that surround you.

You deserve to be happy. Take the steps today to make it happen!

In the arms of depression

Life is definitely like a box of chocolates. You never know what each second of it will reveal. It’s no surprise that there will be moments of joy, bouts of sadness and periods of loneliness. These are all normal growing pains that we are bound to by default.

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Feeling down is nothing to be alarmed about. We all experience situations that tug at the strings of our various emotional stages. We struggle, we experience loss, our ego’s take a few hits and, usually, we bounce back.

Sometimes, however, some of us lose our bounce. The continuous pounding from the fists of life come too hard too fast. We lose are footing and we slip and, while we’re down, it seems the fists keep pounding. Relentlessly.

When the sun isn’t shining on the inside there are a few things that you can try to do to boost your mood.

  1. Connect with friends and family that you enjoy spending time with.
  2. Get in touch with the beauties of the world. Visit an art gallery or botanical garden.
  3. Grab a book in your favorite genre and get lost in the pages.
  4. Music soothes the savage beast! Turn it up and dance!
  5. Turn on the comedy. Watch your favorite movie or stand up comic.
  6. Pets are very therapeutic.
  7. Treat yourself to a spa day. Massage the tension away.

There are many factors that can lead to depression. Abuse, death, illness, family history, medications and drug abuse are just a few of those factors.

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Symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of energy. Depression has the ability to absorb all of your energy. Many people with depression report being lethargic and sleeping more often.
  • Loss of interest in things previously liked. People with depression may become withdrawn from activities that were once pleasurable for them. They may no longer want to hang out with friends and family or participate in their favorite pastime hobbies.
  • Restlessness/anxiety. Where others may sleep, there are some who just are unable to. Their minds are constantly rotating thoughts and their adrenaline is pumping ferociously, making it difficult to relax and rest.
  • Change in eating habits. For some, eating more may be a symptom of depression or way of dealing with it. For others, eating is all but forgotten.
  • Emotional roller coaster. Unstable emotions can manifest during depression as uncontrollable outbursts of crying and anger. The seesaw effect of your emotions can leave you feeling over-stimulated in an undesirable and overwhelming way.
  • Giving up. People who become severely tangled in the grip of depression often give up on themselves and the idea that things can get better. They lose their desire to live and feel that the only solution is to commit suicide.

Signs of suicide ideation include:

  • Talking about killing oneself.
  • Voicing feelings of hopelessness.
  • No longer showing interest.
  • Constant sadness.
  • Fluctuating moods.
  • Participating in activities that could lead to death.

If you or someone you know are being held captive by thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention hotline is there to help at 1.800.273.8255 or 1.800.784.2433. 

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Feelings of depression are nothing to be ashamed of. Some people think they would be looked at differently if they were to admit that things were not quite right. You are not alone!

Millions of people suffer from some form of depression all over the world. If you feel your ordinary ‘down’ feelings are being a little to persistent or if there are changes in your behavior or that of someone you know, seek professional help. Your doctor can help guide you in the right direction.

The world is unique because of you! Don’t let depression tell you otherwise!

 

Loving Through Addiction

When the magistrate confirmed your vows and pronounced you husband and wife (or husband and husband, or wife and wife-this is reality) that became the most happiest moment of your life. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, til death do you part, you made a promise to always be the person your spouse needed you to be. Not once did you imagine how thick it could become and how thin you would be spread.

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Finding out that your spouse has a drug addiction is the beginning of a long, hard journey to fate – be it sobriety or continued serfage. When substance abuse becomes an issue within a relationship it can cause a severe collapse in trust, respect, and communication. It can create an environment of fear and discomfort  for all those who have to witness it and is especially frightening when there are children involved. Where there was once peace there may now be turmoil. Confusion and anger become a constant equation for hurt that is easily mistaken for hate.

Loving someone with an addiction is far from easy. There may come a time where giving up seems like the only option. Remember that while drug use is a choice, drug addiction becomes an illness and just like any other illness the afflicted individual may need support. There is no quick fix for kicking a habit and the struggle for the user  who wants to quit is just as intense, if not more, than it is for the spouse.

I’m not here to tell you what you should do in this particular situation or how you should react to or treat the person who has the addiction. I would like to share with you some things I feel it’s important to understand.

It’s important for you to recognize when your suffering is enabling the other person to essentially suffer in the way that they choose – in this case by way of drugs. Do you recognize these 5 enabling habits:

  1. Providing money that you know will be used to buy drugs.
  2. Ignoring the issue hoping that it will go away. you may think it’s better to ignore the problem. Maybe if you ignore it- it will eventually go away or maybe you’re just in denial.
  3. Lying and making excuses for them to cover up the habit.
  4. Taking over their responsibilities. Paying their bills, rent or giving them a place to stay can enable them. They will rely on you to take care of their needs.
  5.  Fear. The fifth enabler is ultimately what holds a hellish grip on you. You are either afraid that something may happen to the user if you don’t take care of them or you’re afraid for your safety because the user may make threats if he or she is not given what they want.

You may decide that you’ll confront the problem but every time you confront do it just leads to other problems like arguing, fighting and crying but no resolution. This is not a battle that cam be fought alone. Seek counseling to help you survive and support your loved one in a healthy manner. You may reach out to your church priest or pastor or find a rehabilitation facility.

>It’s important for you to understand that no matter what you do, if the person who has the physical issue of drug addiction is not willing to comply, there’s nothing you can do.

>It’s important for you to understand that although you don’t have the physical issue of drug addiction, you now have the mental and emotional issue of drug addiction and you need to make sure that you’re ok, that your family is safe, and that you’re able to maintain a stable life for both yourself and those who rely on you. Once these things are established, you are ready to provide your spouse with proper support.

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You can expect that there will be a tug-of-war between checking into rehab and continuing bad habits. Unrealistic promises will most likely be made-promises to quit on his or her own just to pacify you. For the sake of your sanity and the success of rehabilitation accept nothing less than enlisting the help of professional services. This will be the hardest time to stick to your guns but don’t give in.

Take the initiative to research rehab facilities and choose the ones that you feel offer the best program. Speak with the program director and gather as much information as you can to provide to your spouse. During your search, be sure to ask if the facility also provides family support .  Although you know the person  who now has the drug addiction  you may not be familiar with the new behaviors they have taken on .  You will benefit from having someone who is able to explain to you and your family what’s going on with your loved one and what you can expect, as time progresses,with and without proper help.

Again I have to reiterate that if the substance abuser has no desire to quit, they won’t. It doesn’t matter what you say. It doesn’t matter what you do. So be realistic on what to expect. Prepare yourself to meet with a lot of resistance. In their weakest moments is when they need you to be the strongest. Make every effort to help them see how much you love them, how much you want them to be happy and how much you will support them on this journey to wellness as long as it doesn’t sacrifice the safety and mental wellness of those directly affected. Just like it’s not easy for you it’s definitely not easy for them.

The Theatrics of Reality

Earlier this month-during the first snow of the season actually, I curled up on my couch under my favorite soft, warm and fuzzy blanket with a cup of chamomile vanilla tea and watched a movie titled Me Before You.

Unfortunately for my husband, he had to venture out that morning for work. Fortunately for my husband, him being at work allowed him to miss watching this movie with me.

An unspoken pact that I made with myself was that, this year, I was going to step out of my comfort zone (more like my holding cell). I was going to do new things, meet new people and build new relationships. In true baby step fashion, that’s exactly what I’m setting out to do.

As intended, I am making strides at purposely interacting with new people. It’s actually not so bad. Every now and again, however; the introvert in me taps me on the shoulder to ask me what the heck am I doing but, so far, I’ve been able to ignore the summoning of her call.

I have to admit that starting this blog has allowed me to come in contact with some interestingly talented individuals. This particular movie was not my usual genre of entertainment but it was a recommended watch by a fellow blogger so why not, right?

My blogger comrade wrote a review about the movie and I’m glad she did. I know you were probably expecting to hear me say the movie was awful. Especially since I mentioned that my husband was fortunate enough to not be able to see it. Well, it wasn’t and he was. This movie induced a waterworks convention that he would not have appreciated.

Under normal circumstances, I’m sure I would not have been moved by the sappy storyline of a romantic drama. Especially since I consider myself to be a horror movie connoisseur with a dash of mystery, splash of sci-fi and drop of fantasy.

ME voluntarily watch and enjoy a romance anything? Rubbish!! ME identify with the visibly subliminal message of something associated with a romance anything? PREPOSTEROUS!

But I did.

Me Before You made me think about the choices I made in my own life and the many moments realization confirmed that a change was needed.

“I don’t want you to be tied to me… to the restrictions on my life. I don’t want you to miss out on the things someone else could give you.”                         -Will Traynor, Me Before You.

The light bulb turns on.💡

It took a long time before I realized that person was me. I was the someone else who could give me the things I was missing out on. I was the one who had mentally handcuffed myself to the restrictions of someone else’s life and tried to grow based on his limits; not realizing that my limits hadn’t even been born yet and his wasn’t equipped to be stretched-at least not to the reaches of my potential.

Don’t get your undies in a bunch. This is not a feminist statement. It’s a realist observation.

I don’t think you understand me so let me explain.

I spent many years (more than I care to specify) in a relationship filled with more violence and tears than I wish to remember but can’t forget. I spent years trying to get someone to see the good in me- to the point where I stopped seeing the good in myself. All that resonated to him about me was all the bad he saw in everyone else. Every step I took in a positive direction seemed to catapult him into a 180 degree paradox. Eventually turning me into a real life version of Disney’s Maleficent and sans my true ability to smile.

I get the ‘every relationship has its ups and downs’ spiel but neither one of us was able–come on, let’s just call a spade a spade– neither one of us was SMART ENOUGH to call quits to something that was supposed to have sizzled then fizzled after a few months. Given the history of that situationship, I can admit that I was broken.

How broken? Like the mother of every child who has ever skipped down the street and purposely stepped on a crack kind of broken. I’m pretty sure that a lot of who I little-girl-dreamed myself to be was dreamsnatched never to be seen again.

Maybe that’s not so accurate.

A dream can always be revamped. It just takes a strong mind to manifest it and a strong will to finalize it.

~Liz McKenzie

It wasn’t easy to find my ‘Alright! Enough is enough! See ya later… unless I see ya first’ breaking point. This was the one time when my high tolerance for pain and suffering was clueless; and my Mother Teresa love for humanity GPS lead me astray. Being forced to make the decision to bungee jump off a cliff or tear down the wall that was pushing me towards the cliff was my turning point.

With or without rope, I’m not jumping off of anything! The wall had to go. It was one of the scariest things I have done. Leaving the familiar, no matter how unhealthy, is not an easy thing. But let me tell you how fresh the air is on the other side. My ozone gained another layer.

So, to anyone who is being suffocated by the restrictions of someone else, I know I don’t know your situation. Your blues may not be like mine [were] but we share the same 365 days a year, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. That time doesn’t wait and it’s not coming back. Find your potential and own it. You’re worth it!

“Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle.”-Will Traynor, Me Before You

 

The World Through My Eyes

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Where did I go? As I walk to the mirror to see what it shows. The face that looks back at me holds-

A resemblance of a girl I used to know. Her eyes, though the same color are darkly tinted with hurt and fear, blood and punishment,confusion and hate.

Her body wears scars of war. A war she physically survived but mentally she’s no more.

Teeth marks, stitches, scratches… Bruised by choking, palms, fists and feet… Knives, belts, bottles,chords…guns… She’s still here but doesn’t realize she already beat defeat.

Why? Only God knows why. Only God can make sense of the life he designed. Only God can describe the pieces he arranged for the puzzle of a life that’s mine.

Only God can describe all the work that he’s done to redirect the pieces of me that I destroyed because I felt

Because I felt they didn’t belong.

Who was I to challenge God’s masterpiece design? To take it upon myself to edit any lines written by Him on what would become me- who I was then and who I was destined to be. Why couldn’t I recognize the disaster I would create and all the work He would have to put in to set my mess straight?

Why is the flesh so strong and the mind so weak? Why do we want more but want to do less to make it complete? Why do we blame others for our actions that become our mistakes? Our regrets that take over every moment we are awake.

What’s wrong with this place called Earth? Why are there so many wars? Why do I see so many men and women with potential behind bars? Why are women having babies for the color of his eyes to be raised up in the system and constantly fed lies?

Why are our boys becoming girls and our girls becoming guys? Where is mankind headed? Am I watching its demise? Rick is with Renee and Tina with Ty. Ty and Rick are in the closet and Tina has Sean, Mike, Derrick and Dave on the side.

Don’t forget Kim she wants a piece of that pie so she’s subtracting her value with all of them to make sure her light don’t die -but 8 a.m. the next morning she still standing on that welfare line. Why?

We’re birthing kings and queens but raising thugs and thots. Teaching our boys to wear makeup and our girls to grab their crotch. Where’s the love for others? Where’s the love of self? Where’s the savior for this generation? They can’t save themselves.

We have Pastors stealing money and Priests raping boys. Teachers bedding students and children mistaking guns for toys. Known murderers walking around free to kill again.

While somewhere A man lies dead.

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41 Shots for the wallet that was in his hand.

Kids can’t play outside because the gangs are going to war. Then again they’re not safe inside because the bullets are busting through their windows and doors. You have parents deciding they can’t take it no more; leaving their children annihilated on the bathroom floor.

We’ve already lost trust and hope is fading fast. Don’t know about you but I’m tired of blaming my future on my past. We all want change-justice, equality, more food and money for the poor but when the opportunity knocks, we’re afraid to open the door.

As I look in the mirror I see the world in my eyes. I see all the confusion and hate that’s disguised-

As love for our friends for our families for ourselves but all it is-is a bounty that we collect for someone else.

We don’t gain fame for hating ourselves or each other. That news coverage make us infamous gracing mugshot  books, obituaries, and America’s Most Wanted Covers.

It’s sad and it hurts. All I do is cry. I wonder if I’ll ever see a change before I die. If not in others then definitely with myself but I have to realize that I can’t just sit here and wait because this circle of life can’t change itself.

Choosing to be Better

A quick check-in as another week is nearing it’s end.

Sundays are notorious for being church, laundry, house cleaning, big meal cooking, sports watching or do nothing all day kind of days because the new week – be it a work week, school week or homemaker week – is about to begin.

Regardless of what you have to look forward to in the upcoming days, are you happy to face them as the same person you were yesterday? You probably met deadlines – barely, interacted with people in a not-so-great mood, started a new diet with a little enthusiasm and a lot of self-doubt, or had a mountain of items on your to-do list and only managed to check off the box for the things you didn’t get done. Maybe  your milestones were at the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you jogged that extra mile, drunk more water, or spent less time on social media and more time with family.

Whatever your flow was this week do it better next week. Think about what you can do to push yourself forward and what you need to do to eliminate those things that keep you stagnant. Make a greater effort to host a positive atmosphere because the energy you give off has a way of finding it’s way back to you. Take small steps each day to be better than you were yesterday. Remember, little things can turn into big things if you focus on it long enough. Just be wise about which little thing you want to grow.

Enjoy!

 

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Through the Looking Glass

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with the husband of a woman who had recently passed away. This was my first time ever speaking with him but I immediately felt a connection. He wasn’t sad about her passing. In fact, he was happy to share feelings about his wife’s life and death as well as his own. He said talking about it kept the sadness at bay. Listening to him pushed a multitude of emotions through my system. It made me happy, sad, nostalgic, curious and enthusiastic. It also made me appreciate and respect all that life is and can be.

He spoke about his past and, being an older African American man born and raised in southern Alabama in the late 1930’s, his past was full of good, bad, and ugly. He talked about cousins lost to lynchings, brothers tarred and feathered, sisters raped by white men, and friends beat beyond recognition because they looked at a white woman.

He talked about watching his mother struggle to make ends meet when his father had to leave home for long periods of time just to find work, and often coming back empty handed. Altogether, there were 11 of them-his father, mother, 6 brothers, 2 sisters and himself.  The lucky seven. That’s what his mother called them. All 7 of her sons lived through a time when many became strange fruit or alligator bait. He remembered how they all would pitch in to help earn money to put food on the table-cleaning yards, chopping wood, delivering groceries and anything else they could find to do. He remembered a time when the only thing he could call shoes was the 2 pieces of cardboard that he had to tie to his feet-but he still went out and chopped that wood. He said his momma taught him how to cook, too, and that’s why his wife married him.

When he and his wife met they were both getting over previous relationships and had children of their own. He remembered how fond his mother was of his wife. She told him, ‘don’t you hold that gal in a drawn out situation if you dont want to hold her heart through life. She’s better than that last one you had and she deserves better than that last one she had’.  He told me he was almost certain, to the best of his old mind, that those were his mother’s exact words. Then she asked him what he was going to do.

I now pronounce you husband and wife…

As a couple, they had been married for 54 years. They had their ups and downs, which is to be expected in any relationship, but they never gave up. I listened to him reminisce about the different things that they did together. He laughed at how often his southern charm put him in hot water. His wife was a firecracker and she didn’t take no mess. She had been sick for a long time, cancer, and as much as it brought him joy to see her smile, his heartache tripled to watch her suffer.

Towards the end, he had become sick himself and had to be admitted to the hospital. “I got that wheezing problem and have a hard time breathing”, he told me-asthma. His wife was supposed to come visit but his daughter called and said she hadn’t been feeling well and was taken to different hospital. He said when he was discharged, he would go visit his wife and, even laying in the last bed she would rest on, she would vibrantly cuss him out for that old southern Alabama charm and those nurses.

Till Death, Do Us Part…

On her last day, he had an appointment and wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital until later in the day. He said she called him. She sounded tired but he was used to hearing her like that. He said she asked him how much longer before he would get to the hospital because she was trying to wait for him but it was getting too hard. He knew what she meant. He said he told her not to worry because he would be there even if she wasn’t. They exchanged I love you’s and said their goodbye’s. That was the last time they spoke.

I allowed him to speak for well over an hour and in that hour he was able to recount what took more than 54 years to live. Yes, he was going to miss his wife. Their lives together was the equivalent of a single strand of dna. He would miss her but he will always find her in those memories as long as he was able.

Remember those emotions I mentioned earlier? Well, I was happy because I was blessed to be able to get a glimpse of the past through the eyes of a stranger. Nostalgic because he made me think of my childhood and how vastly different it was from his. My sadness was because, like most children, I didn’t recognize or appreciate my parents and the sacrifices they made as much as I could have. My curiosity and enthusiasm made me think about all the things that were to come. I don’t know the order of my steps but I’m looking forward to where they may lead. I appreciate this man for allowing me a glimpse at his life. I now have a more heightened respect for those older than myself. The next time you encounter an elderly person, I hope you are as lucky as I was to have been taken through the looking glass. I know I will never speak with this man again but I thought it would be appropriate to give him recognition.

Thank you, Mr. Gordon!

 

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.