At the End of The Tunnel

Survive

Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn and come up with when you’re forced to enter survival mode? New-never-before-thought of inventions are born, new lifestyles come to life.  You learn what you can live without and realize what you can cut back on, you take something that is meant for one thing and use it for an entirely different thing.  Then even when you emerge from survival mode and enter comfort mode, those life hacks you learned during your low moment can still be applied.

Let me use myself as an example.

About a month or two after my youngest was born things got a little tight financially.  When faced with the decision to either buy sanitary napkins or something cheap to make for dinner, of course I chose to feed my family, but what was I going to do about the impending dreaded visit from my….”Aunt”? I knew that I would bleed through tissue so I wouldn’t even allow myself to go there.  I also knew that my youngest had outgrown her Newborn diapers and was now a size 1 so here I had all of these Newborn diapers just sitting around.  Let’s just say, they absorb much better than regular pads! I call this finding the “Struggle pad”

Not long after running into financial problems we unfortunately lost our apartment and had to live in a hotel (luckily, for only one week!) The hotel had a kitchenette area so we were able to cook our own food which was great! One morning I decided to make pancakes (from scratch. Haven’t made pancakes from the box in years–and yes I’m showing off!) I made a whole stack of pancakes just for my four-year old to ask me to pass her the syrup. Crap.  I didn’t have any and forgot to buy some! (I’ll have you know the hotel was basically in the middle of nowhere and there was no store within walking distance and I didn’t have a car) But I did have milk, brown sugar and cinnamon! The perfect blend of the three (preferably heated up) had my daughter and I like “Syrup? what’s syrup?” We call this concoction “The special stuff”

When I find myself in situations that are meant to break me, sure I go through a moment where it’s like “oh, my God, this is the end, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel” but then a little voice in my head yells above all of the negative thoughts and tells me, “use it.” For the longest I never understood what that meant until I was forced into survival mode when I moved to North Carolina from New York City and didn’t know the lay of the land at all.  I couldn’t find a job or affordable daycare and therefore was pretty desperate and feeling worthless.  There was that voice saying “use it” and It finally clicked.  Though I haven’t made any money from it, I thereafter started using my life experiences and putting them on paper in a story-form. I notice that my writing skills grow with each story I write and I therefore feel myself grow.  It’s like I write my way out of a dark circle.  I call these creations “Potential-books-that-need-to-be-published.”

Granted it’s not a good feeling to have to be put through rough spots but at least I can create a story from it, right?  (I promise I will finish at least one….some time soon so you guys can read it! I have a really bad habit of starting one story then having another idea–A.K.A another life obstacle–pop into my head–and life–then dropping the first story then continue with the second and so on and so forth but I will get my shit together I promise!)

Did that make sense?

At last, the final thing that being in survival mode teaches you is who is really there for you and who isn’t.  Through all of my trials and tribulations, I’ve learned that not everybody around you wants the best for you.  They tend to usually keep you around for their own benefit and would have nothing to offer you when you are in need.  I call this discovery, “Growing up”

Yep, surviving caused me to grow up.

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Deaf.

“You’re deaf?”

That’s the question everyone asks me right before they start enunciating their words and cutting me out of conversations and pretending they don’t understand anything I say suddenly.  They tell me I’m not the “typical deaf girl” or that “I don’t look deaf” but honestly, what does a hearing loss look like? I mean really?

I looked at my classmate Amy, with a forced smile “well, yes, that’s why I have a sign language interpreter…” She sat extremely still as if afraid that one wrong move would somehow make me…deafer?

“wow….” she finally said, “I was under the impression that you understood me when I spoke, you laughed at my jokes, answered me when I spoke to you…wow, I can’t believe the entire time you couldn’t hear me” let me not add that this was said with a heavy dose of enunciation and a voice loud enough for the entire campus to hear her. People were turning their attention to us and I felt my skin heat up from being so embarrassed. Some people’s ignorance is annoying.

“I do hear you. I hear your voice and how loudly you’re speaking right now,” I pushed my left hearing aid in for visual effects “as you can see, I can also speak clear enough for you to understand me but somehow after most people realize that I am indeed deaf, they go deaf as well and suddenly can’t understand anything that I say–” I noticed she was looking over my shoulder at my interpreter and did a mental eye-roll, “so I’m not going to waste anymore time here trying to help you not fall into the dumb-hearing-folks category, so it was nice knowing you for the past three weeks” I waited a few beats and waited for her inevitable “wait…what?” to which I shook my head and faced the front of the room.

I felt like a total bitch but after 19 years of life, it just seems that the older I get the dumber everyone else around me becomes.

My interpreter gave me a sympathetic smile and using sign language, informed me that Amy looked like she felt embarrassed, I wanted to turn around and apologize but a part of me refused to.  I refused to get any closer to another person just for them to see my deafness as a barrier; just for them to see me like I’m broken or something, like I don’t matter.

I just wish that people would see me for me beyond my hearing aids, is that too much to ask?

Once class was dismissed, I opted to make myself “busy” and wait until the majority of the class left the room–including Amy, I did not want to look at her.  Just as I stepped out of the room two familiar faces approached me. As I stood trying to figure out where I knew them from I was thrown off by their…signing.

“My…name…is….M-a-r-y” signed the taller of the two awkwardly

“My…name is…R-o-b-e-r-t-a” signed the other, a little more fluidly.  “And that’s all we know–oh! we know how to say ‘what’s your name’, too” she said with a little giggle.

I was impressed and before I could express that, Mary told me that her little sister’s best friends parents were deaf and she taught them some signs.

“By the way,” she added, “I’m sorry about what happened in there with Amy, I found out a little while ago that she grew up on a farm so basically if it doesn’t cluck it doesn’t click in her mind.”  Ah, yes! These are the girls who sit towards the back of the room and are always finding something funny to laugh about during the class discussions.

We all laughed at her farm-girl reference.

“Well, I’ve been dealing with that and other misconceptions of being deaf all my life, you would think I’d have gotten used to it by now”

“Yeah, people are dumb” said Roberta, “I was on Facebook the other day and there was this article talking about a baby who was born deaf and got some type that implant surgery and someone commented and said ‘poor girl, at least now she’ll be able to do normal-people things like drive a car some day’ and I just wanted to break my phone, Kris, I swear”

At her mention of my name I realized I didn’t even formally introduce myself but she didn’t seem to mind, “Girl, don’t get me started”

Once again we burst out laughing and made our way to the school cafeteria for coffee.

 

via Daily Prompt: Impression

Impression

Unidentified Smelly Object

I don’t know why I continue to let Jennifer drag me along to these speed dating events that were usually held in hotels all across New York City.  Just because she is a hopeless romantic doesn’t mean I am, too, and just because she’s single and has cobwebs doesn’t mean I have a problem with having mine. My generation is so sexually charged, like why is it not a thing for two people to just sit down and have a conversation about Earth and not somehow end up on the topic of sex? I mean, what is wrong with people?

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I say no when Jennifer asks me to accompany her to these things? Oh, that’s right, she’s my roommate and the only one who can make sure we get a quality meal because I can’t even properly boil a pot of water without running the risk of burning our apartment building down.  So, I’m pretty much a whore for food; you dangle food in my face and I’ll do whatever you want.  Why am I so pathetic?

Why is this guy so pathetic? I get that we only get ten minutes before we have to move on to the next date but there is absolutely no excuse for why the first thing that flew out of this dudes mouth was “you have some sexy toes, I bet” like, um, no, my feet are fuckin’ gross, I wear socks and boots all year round and they could pass for a nuclear weapon, thank you very much.  He spent the last 9 minutes trying to convince me to take my boots off so he could “be the judge of how horrible they really are” as if I needed the extra verification and about 50 dead bodies tagged onto my name. Tracy Brown, Mass Murderer, The First to Effortlessly Wipe Out a Room Full Of People With The Removal Of Her Footwear.  Yeah, no thanks. I told Toe Boy he would be forever alone and wished him good luck with life before the next guy took a seat at my table.

I swear to God, Jesus, Mary and all of them, I don’t know how I ended up upstairs in this hotel room completely naked feeling the urge to smoke a cigarette–or hell, a blunt would suffice–with the God of a man who came to my table after Toe Boy.  It’s almost like we catapulted out of the room and up to this room and the rest is history.  Who knew, ol’ girl Tracy was going to get her cobwebs cleared tonight? I certainly didn’t but I’m damn sure glad I did!

We went for a few rounds before my body finally fell into a state of drunk-like stupor.  When I peeled my eyes open the next morning the clock on the night stand read: 12:00…so it indeed was no longer morning but the room was suspiciously quiet.  I sat up and looked around, Mr. Sexy wasn’t next to me, nor were his clothes, I didn’t hear anything coming from the bathroom and he didn’t even leave a thank you note.  Ain’t that a bitch?

In search of my clothes I realized my boots and socks were missing and a dreaded feeling coated my stomach.  Not only was I going to have walk through the streets of New York barefooted but I realized I got got by Toe Boy! His game is on a whole ‘notha level; he makes you think he’s a weirdo so that when you saw the next guy–Jackson something or whatever his name was–you would think you hit the jackpot just for Jackson something to lay down the pipe so good and steal your shoes so Toe Boy could come and take advantage of your feet while you were asleep.

My feet didn’t particularly look like they’d been assaulted but then again I don’t know what an assaulted foot looks like.

Just then the door to the room opened and in came Mr. Sexy Jackson something and just like that I forgot how disgusted I was with him.

“Rise and Shine beautiful, I got you something” he said with that God forsaken sexy smile of his he handed me two bags, one full of socks of all variety and the other with two boxes…shoe boxes.  One box had a pair of boots that were the exact replica of the ones I was currently missing and in the other box were these memory-foam type flip flops.

I looked up at this man, mouth agape, eyes opened just a slit unsure of how to feel.  Happy, I didn’t have to buy new boots for the summer, Sad, because my old boots had been shoenapped, scared, because this stranger bought me boots and flipflops and socks, or turned on because I really wanted to jump his bones one more time.

“Where are my boots?”

“You mean them Area 51-U.S.O-Nuclear weapon boots? Oh, I threw them shits out. I called the desk to complain about a possible pack of dead rodents somewhere in the room and they had someone come up to check it out only to find out they were your boots, so I did you a favor and I also booked us for a little treat at the Spa down the block” he looked down at my feet, “you are going to get those feet corrected once and for all, you are a beautiful woman, there’s no reason for that”

Part of me wanted to blush at the mention of me being told that I am beautiful but the other part of me couldn’t fight curiosity, “What the hell is a U.S.O?”

“Unidentified Smelly Object”

I couldn’t contain myself, where I should have been embarrassed and ashamed of myself I actually felt comfortable.  Tears streamed down my cheeks and I was pleased when he joined in.

“So what’s your name again?” I asked after we both sobered up.

“Jaxon Sumthin…and no I’m not lying. Jaxon J-a-x-o-n Sumthin S-u-m-t-h-i-n”

That was it, I lost it.

Apparently my laugh turns him on because next thing I knew, he lifted me up and catapulted me onto the bed. Oh, My God, It was about to go down! I guess we were going to make a little detour before heading to the Spa.

Daily Prompt: Catapult

 

 

Karma

As we walked into the hotel me trailing behind Jordin, I already felt out-of-place.  I looked at the sign near the entrance and took note that we were in the right place but somehow it felt like we were in the wrong place.  The National Convention for Small Businesses was looking like a snow storm and I was getting a little chilly.

“Jordin, when did it start snowing in Miami in the middle of August?” Jordin glanced over her shoulder and snorted.  Rolling her eyes she asked me “why do you always have to be such a hoodrat? This place is classy; have some class, damn”

If I had pearls I’d definitely be clutching them.  Did this bitch just call me a hoodrat? I am an educated black woman, I have a degree in Business and as far as I know, we were not going to get any business here at this convention, that was for sure.  But we’ll do things Jordin’s way as usual because little ol’ Katrina was a hoodrat.

As we stood in the middle of the lobby taking the scenery in, a short squared grey haired lady with about three to five chins made her way toward us She stared at us with her mouth agape as if she was looking into the soul of a ghost. You would have thought that she knew us from a hole in the wall because the next thing she did was had my life flashing before my eyes.

“How did you get your hair like this?” she asked, stroking Jordin’s dreadlocks, “it feels so rough, yet so…how do you say it? Um…sturdy?”

With horror in my eyes I looked at Jordin and watched her descend slowly but surely into “hoodrat territory”.  I knew by the way her left eye slightly twitched and her full lips slowly formed a thin line, she was summoning all of the Karma Gods like she usually did so no one was really safe at this point. So I did what any best friend would do.

“Black girl magic!” I shouted, startling the woman.  She dropped the handful of dreads she caressed and I ushered Jordin to the check-in desk “moving along, bye-bye, now!” Once at the desk I checked us in,  retrieved our room number and key and headed to the bank of elevators, clutching Jordin’s arm as I went.  There was no telling what she would ask the Karma Gods to do at this point and I was really not looking forward to enduring a scene from that movie Carrie. No, sir, no, thank you.

We stepped onto the elevator as did a couple who looked to be filthy rich just by the look of their luggage and their attire.  I knew for a fact neither item was made in America, I was getting an Italian vibe.  I smiled at them politely and the husband nodded back.  I pushed the number 4 and the husband pushed the number 3.  the elevator doors closed and we were lifted.

“See, darling? That was what I was talking about the other day when we were out with Debbie and Alvin.  When I was saying how unprofessional the clusters of naps looked in the business setting” I glanced over my shoulder and was met with the horrified look on the husband’s face,

“Honey, that was very rude”

“What? it’s nothing a little brushing can’t fix” She gave a little chuckle and pushed her hair behind her ear. And speaking of ears, steam was definitely blowing out of Jordin’s, but you see, she’s not a “hoodrat” like myself so she didn’t say anything so it was up to me to save the day, again. Once the elevator reached the third floor and the couple was out of the elevator just before the door closed I called out “Black girl magic you rude heffa!”

Jordin nudged me in the side and chided me.  “You really have to stop saying that, you’re going to drive away our potential clients.  You need to stop trying to do Karma’s work, people will get what’s coming for them in due time” we got off on the fourth floor and from the sour look on my face you would have thought I was sucking on a Warhead, “I knew I should have said ‘bitch’ instead of ‘heffa’ that would have been nicer right? Like, did you not hear what she said?”

“Yes, I did but you need to ignore things sometimes because I really believe in Karma, you get what you give out, so please control yourself, Kat”

Here we go with this Karma business, man listen, Karma isn’t going to let me accept disrespect, but whatever.  If I have to “control myself” for this weekend I would.

They say that we shouldn’t make promises we can’t keep but how was I supposed to know how blatantly disrespectful this crowd was going to be? When we went downstairs to the meet-and-greet gathering, comments were being made–backhand and otherwise–about everything about Jordin and myself.  Everything from “wow, your kids must be so proud of you guys” and “we sell gym equipment that focuses on the thigh area” and some crap about how much fat was in my thighs compared to how much muscle all to which I responded “Black girl magic” and kept it pushing because we don’t have any kids and I love my thighs. I did not care how uncomfortable I was making everyone feel.

“Ugh, Kat, come on! potential clients! Hello!”

“Oh, please, you think people who only use Salt and Pepper for food will know a thing or two about proper care for natural hair?”

“Karma is going to eat your ass up, you just wait on it”

“Well, somebody should, girl, you know how long its been”

Insert another eye-roll from Jordin, here.

As I was getting a drink from the open bar I spotted him, Brandon Tillman, former quarterback from Samsung University, Morris Chestnut meets Idris Elba with a splash of Michael B. Jordan, the object of all of my fantasies; a God walking the face of Earth.  He noticed me and my breath caught in my throat.  I haven’t seen him since our graduation day all them years ago.

Before I knew it, he was standing before me and just like that all that Black Girl Magic I had before went straight out the window.  I tripped over my words, a little squeak slipped out every now and then, I may or may not have caught myself drooling and my mind went blank far too many times but we managed to make plans to meet up later at the pool so we could “catch up”.  That’s Man-language for something more…you know…right?

Yeah, I thought so too, so after the meet and greet I got myself ready to go to the pool.  Jordin had plans to go as well so we put our bathing suits and wraps on but unlike Jordin’s choice of flip-flops, I opted for a pair of heels that I had no business wearing.  I knew I couldn’t properly walk in them and only packed them just in case I landed a hot date–you know, the type of date where shoes wouldn’t be all that necessary so I wouldn’t need to keep them on for too long.

I don’t know what came over me but the walk to and from the elevator and through the lobby was pretty smooth with these shoes on. I guess a girl who was about to get some has better balance.  Nice.

The pool was located just beyond the back exit of the Hotel and the view was breathtaking, palm trees outlined the entire area, giving much-needed shade in certain areas.  The pool was what I believe is called an Olympic sized pool, the water was a deep blue color as opposed to the regular light blue, all in all I was impressed.

Jordin and I descended the immaculate stone steps looking good and feeling even better.

That was until I caught the view of Brandon and saw him see me and in an instant my legs turned into jelly.  I plunged forward, flipped, rolled then skidded down the steps.  I landed face down on the landing and didn’t move a muscle.  I could feel a variety of cuts and scraps on various parts of my body but I did not move a muscle, embarrassment just wouldn’t let me.

The voice of a teenager all too causally asked “so, like, is she dead?” I recognized the voice as the little snob who asked me how many butt shots I got to make my butt so big. Someone, I assume it was her mother, told her to be quiet to which she responded “no, like seriously because if she’s not dead she should just go ahead and die now because her Black Girl Magic ran out, I mean that stuff should have made her float, right?”

“Gabby, for the last time, be quiet, this woman could be badly injured”

Yeah, Gabby shut up and go to hell.

I heard Jordin’s feet falls before I felt her hands on my back and I knew exactly what she was going to say after she figured out that I was okay and just a little banged up.

“You could get up now,” she whispered into my ear “Karma is done with you now” she helped me up and to my astonishment I found Brandon doubled over with a group of guys laughing so hard no sound was coming out.

I sucked my teeth.  He was dumb anyway.

Jordin held it together until we got to our room.  Only then did she melt to the floor doubled over with laughter, dreads flying in every direction she threw her head.  I simply did not see anything funny about this whole thing, I had boo-boos everywhere now.

“Now, for the last time, you need to stop playing with Karma” she managed to say through her laughter.

“No, I just need new friends” and I hurled a pillow at her body that was now rolling from side to side on the floor.

I silently made a vow to myself to never get into it with Karma ever again because she likes to go overboard

via Daily Prompt: Descend

Descend

Happy and you know it? Clap your hands

I am always interested to learn what makes people happy.  I feel like in order to enjoy life people should do what makes them happy, would you disagree?

So tell me, what makes you happy? How do you know you are happy? How would you define happiness?

For me, writing makes me happy.  I find writing to be extremely therapeutic when I am going through something tough.  I like to write my feelings and thoughts down because I believe that once you put your feelings down on paper (whether it’s in the form of a diary entry, poem, or song) you would not only have a better concept of how to deal with them but you’ll be able to get them off your mind.  I’m sorry was that confusing? Whoops.  Okay, let me try again, you go through a rough patch and you don’t write it down to get it out of your system, it builds and you’ll most likely implode whereas if you jot everything down, it doesn’t need to stay on your mind anymore.

I know I’m happy when I feel like I’ve grown in any area of my life.  Whether It’s making an improvement in my writing, turning a new page with my kids, learning how to better communicate with my husband, or making a new friend, the feeling of growth is how I would best describe my happiness.  As long as I am growing and gaining new experiences, I know that I am happy.

As long as what you do doesn’t feel like a burden or a job that you don’t want, I think it means you’re happy, right? If you could wake up every morning and look forward to doing what you do everyday it would be safe to believe that you are happy, correct?

Now, with that said, if you aren’t happy, what are some of the ways you can become happy? What advice would you give someone who is stuck on their road towards the pursuit of happiness?

I would love to hear your thoughts! I might be able to make use of any advice anyone may have.

Finding my way to you

They say that your past does not have to define your future and for the longest Tracy didn’t believe that.  She’d been homeless since she was a teenager, often turning to prostitution to survive. She didn’t always feel good about herself and she sometimes found herself wishing that she wouldn’t have to live that life anymore–or life period. She’d decided that she needed a change but didn’t know where to start, that was, until she saw an advertisement on a passing bus.  She knew just the right place to start and for the first time she felt like life was starting to look up.

****

Jordan had always tried to do the right thing but somehow his efforts always went unnoticed and instead of being rewarded, he was always punished. The way he made his money wasn’t all that great but the world refused to look beyond his current occupation and see past his skin tone; he was always just another stupid black man in America. Tsk, what was life? Granted, it wasn’t the best thing in the world to be a drug dealer and he just happened to be good at it and never got caught, but it was all about the principal for him.  His father was disabled without any medical insurance, his mother passed away from heart failure the month following his High School graduation and he had to take care of his four little siblings who relied on him for a meal on the table every night and clothes on their backs.  He was basically the man of the house now and needed do what he did in order to keep his family afloat.  But what would happen when it was no longer enough?

He liked to take a walk on the nearby beach to clear his head.  There was something about the crashing of the waves that soothed him.  He hopped on the bus and once he got to the beach an advertisement on that bus caught his attention as it prepared to drive off.  It read “Have you ever felt like you needed a change? Ever felt like you wanted more from life? It’s never too late to get a start.  Enrollment for the Fall semester at Future University starts today!”

He pulled his phone out and Googled Future University and found the address.  Tomorrow, bright and early he was going to make a trip there to see what it was all about.

****

Tracy woke up the next morning feeling refreshed.  Today was going to be the first day of the rest of her life and she was actually looking forward to it.  She put on the best outfit she could find that didn’t look too inappropriate–to her at least.  She was on her way to being a college girl, with her GED under her belt,  there was absolutely nothing stopping her from getting a college degree.

She got out of her taxi and took in her surroundings.  The university was absolutely breath-taking, though she didn’t like the side-eyed looks she was getting from the students who walked by her.  She asked for directions on how to get to the office of registration and after getting eyes rolled at her and having people ignore her, she finally found her way.

Soon as she walked into the office, she felt something in the air, maybe it was a fresh breath of air, maybe it was a new lease on life but she definitely felt it.

****

When Jordan saw her walk through the doors of the registration office, he felt as if his heart was trying to escape his chest.  The woman with the too-tight red tank top and too tight black jeans looked as if she’d had a rough life and was working with the cards she had been dealt, but nothing turned him on more than a woman who was looking for a way to better herself, just like him.  He knew he had to make the first move if he ever wanted to get to know her because from the looks of it she didn’t even notice him.  He made his way over to her, tapped her on the shoulder and said with a smile, “Hello, my name is Jordan, future pharmacist–legal one at least”

****

Tracy looked up into the strangers eyes and couldn’t help bursting out laughing.  He looked like a dope boy but there was something different about him.  She offered her hand and replied “Tracy, future nurse”

six years later when both graduated with their Masters degrees in their respectable areas of interest, on the way to obtaining their PhD’s they’d been happily married for two years and they didn’t plan on giving up any time soon.  They loved each other even through all of their flaws and past mistakes; they supported each other through all of the blood, sweat and tears that the pressure of College brought on.  She wasn’t going to let her past define her future and he was finally going to be rewarded for doing the right thing instead of being punished, life was finally looking up for both of them.

“You know,” Jordan said one night over dinner, “I think it’s amazing how big of a maze life is. We have both turned corners and hit wall after wall but somehow we found our way through and found each other and now nothing is going to be able to stop us from breaking down any wall that might pop up. We’re invincible, babe”

Tracy reached over and placed her hand on his.  Bringing his hand to her lips she kissed it smiled at her husband, she knew he was right. “I love you, Jordan”

 

via Daily Prompt: Maze

Maze

Can You Believe that?

Almost everyone around me associates themselves with a religion.  I, however, do not.  I don’t consider myself in any way, shape or form, religious.  I think that the best way to describe my belief system would be that I am a spiritual person.  But don’t get me wrong, I am very aware of the different religions out there and I try my best to learn about them; I may even take a little of what I learn and align it with what I believe.  In other words there’s a little bit in each religion I’ve learned about that I hold with me.

I feel that my choice not to be affiliated with one religion gives me the ability to be religiously free.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong religion, I don’t think that there is any belief that is wrong.  I actually respect the differences in people’s beliefs.  I try to understand why they believe what they do rather than try to tell them that they are wrong.

I remember when I was in College I had an art class–but we didn’t draw anything and that upset me! I was tricked because no one told me it was an art history class (bore, bore, snoozefest, cue in the snoring).  I remember specifically learning about the Greeks and Romans and all of this stuff about the way they lived and how they captured their lifestyles in their art.  I remember little things about why their sculptures were the way that they were and so on and so forth.  I remember one day the topic of religion came up and my professor talked about Jesus on the cross.  My sign language interpreter made just about every face in the book and kept shaking her head and adding “that’s wrong” or “that’s not true” whenever my professor would explain a “textbook fact” about Jesus.

There was one comment that she made that has stuck with me through all of these years because I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t care about what’s wrong, I just care about what the professor is saying because that is what’s going to be on the test and I need to pass this class.”

When my professor mentioned the shape of the cross and how Jesus was positioned on it, she said it was a plus-sign shape and Jesus’ arms were stretched out on his sides. my interpreter who was a Jehovah’s Witness said to me in sign language, “that’s not true, that’s the stupid Catholic belief.  In the real bible–my bible–it states that the cross was in fact not a ‘plus sign type-shape’ but it was actually a ‘x shape’ with another piece going straight down in the middle.  His hands weren’t stretched out across the cross either, his hands were actually tied up above his head because think about it, if you hang someone up on a ‘plus sign shaped’ cross with their hands stretched out, gravity would cause their body to fall and possibly detach from their arms and the cross would fall forward, whereas if it was positioned the way it shows in my bible, Jesus would have had more support. Plus, it makes more sense that way”

I remember looking at her feeling a growing pang of annoyance.  I couldn’t immediately determine if I was more annoyed by the fact that she was telling me this, or if I was more annoyed by the fact that since she started telling me this my professor possibly switched topics three or four times, or if I was annoyed with the fact that she seriously called another person’s belief stupid.  It’s a belief system as far as I am concerned, none of it is proven facts.

The bible has been repeatedly altered throughout the years to match the evolving times so what right does anyone have to say what is wrong or right?

I believe in the power of love, freedom and respect.

My grandparents are Jehovah’s witnesses, I have an uncle who is a converted Muslim (If thats the proper termonology), I have aunts who are Catholic, a whole family of Christians whether they are devout or not, I have friends who are Atheist, I know people who are Protestant, I know people who practice Hinduism, and with that being said me, not being affiliated with any religion makes it easier for me to absorb everyone’s belief.

It also makes it easier for me to see people for who they are beyond their choice of religion, or their choice of lifestyle like being Gay, for an example. (Let me just say, I don’t like using the term “homosexual” I feel it’s just as offensive as the word “Faggot” which I don’t use either; I prefer to use terms like Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender etc.)

If you’re human and you happen to be Gay–as long as you are not going around killing people or harming other people in any way–I love and respect you (that goes for anyone, whether you’re gay or not). Why is it a problem that you love someone who happens to be the same gender as you? As long as you found love, and you are happy nothing else matters.  I don’t feel like being Gay is a “sin” I don’t believe that being Gay is even wrong; I honestly see nothing wrong with being Gay. I hear the saying “people should be fruitful and multiply” but some people don’t want children (even ” straight” couples) and children are expensive as hell…I know this from experience.  I’ve heard the saying “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.” Man, listen, God made, Adam, Eve, Steve, Shaquana, Taquan, Richie, Raul, Maria, Su yung and all of them, if you believe that God made all of us, right?

A belief system is a belief system, and I want to share with you my belief system.  In addition to believing in love, freedom and respect, I also believe there’s a reason why everything happens and people die (before they get old).  This might be a little confusing but I will try my best to make as much sense as possible.

Okay, so, everyone has a different walk of life, everyone goes through different things and everyone turns out to be who they are.  Why? Because every walk of life teaches people different things that could either help them grow or give them knowledge that they could pass on and potentially plant a seed in another person who would then have the power to change the world.  We all go through different things in order to polish us and groom us so that we could be functioning human beings–life to me is all about learning.  We all turn out to be the way we are so that other people could learn from us and experience some inner growth.  We need other human beings to survive, is what I believe.

I believe that if you wronged someone in any way–and if you are religious it’s always a good thing to ask for forgiveness from your God–but even if you are not, it’s also a good thing to face the person or people you’ve wronged and ask them for forgiveness as well.  Give people and yourself a peace of mind to be able to grow and move through life as smoothly as possible without carrying the weight of being angry or resentful.

Is this confusing? I hope you at least get the gist of what I’m trying to say because my belief behind death might be a little more confusing.

When people are faced with a tough situation they tend to pray on it to their God.  I pray to any loved one of mine that passed away.  In most cases I pray to my Uncle Tony.  I ask him to look over me and I ask him for clarity.  I ask him to give me signs that I am walking the path I’m meant to walk and he always comes through for me.  It gives me comfort because I actually know my uncle, I know what his voice sounds like, I know his personality.  I know what faces he might make if I ask for something ridiculous like if he could find a way to make it so that when I wake up in the morning, a million dollars would be sitting on my nightstand.  I know his laugh so when I think of something funny I can hear it.  I know him personally.

Which brings me to my reasoning as to why he and many other people passed and still pass away “before their time”. I believe that each death has its purpose.

I was too young to understand what–if anything–was going on in my family around the time that Tony passed away but I do remember feeling like my family became closer after his death.  I remember feeling like everyone was checking in on everyone often and everyone was helping everyone out more often. So, I think that the reason he had to pass away was to wake my family up and to make them aware that even though on the outside we may look healthy, we might be fighting internal battles (diseases or otherwise) and we need someone to reach out to us and help us because we may not always be too forthcoming when we need help.  I think it’s safe to assume that my family also learned to appreciate the gift of life and became more driven to achieve their goals being that Tony was in his late 30’s when he passed away. He was very young.

I’m currently twenty-six years old and will be turning twenty-seven at the end of the year and I want to do so much with my life, I have so many ideas but I don’t know where to start. I started this Blog with hopes of figuring that out.  I have to admit that I feel a little impatient because I am not where I want to be, but I do believe that when it’s my time to put all of my ideas in motion, I will do so with a bang with the help of Uncle Tony and other humans in my life or who I will eventually cross paths with.