Peace On Earth…

Okay, so these kinds of topics I generally tend to stray from because of the heated emotions that can get stirred up as a result…but this is MY blog and as an American citizen, I feel that it’s my duty to uphold one of the (seemingly) few rights that I (and WE, as collective citizens) still retain possession of–albeit, for the moment–which is my right of Freedom Of Speech. As such, I’m choosing to exercise that right.

Tonight, many of us–myself included–were glued to our television sets, watching with bated breath as the Grand Jury verdict in the Michael Brown/Officer Darrin Wilson case out of Ferguson, Missouri was officially read. I–like countless others across the nation, I’m sure–am absolutely outraged and dumbfounded by the true bill verdict that was ready. Truly. For many reasons.

For starters, the tone of the man reading the verdict just irked me. His blatant criticism and blaming of the media was nothing but a transparent shield meant to cast blame and shift the focus from those responsible for this crime. That bothered me because let’s face it, the media isn’t the one to blame here. The media didn’t spark this outrage and backlash–it simply did its job…which is to cover the news. Which is exactly what they did. They upheld their journalistic principles and kept the nation informed of what was happening in the small community that’s been ravaged and torn apart at the hands of law enforcement and the failing legal system in this country. Before this tragedy, most people hadn’t ever heard of the Missouri town called Ferguson. I know I hadn’t. Now the world knows…which is as it should be. Honestly, I’m glad this case went viral because it highlights the cracks in the system and puts a face and name to a problem that we like to ignore and pretend doesn’t exist: racism. America likes to boast that racism is a non-issue nowadays, when in reality, it’s just as prevalent as ever. We simply just don’t hear all the stories–just the select ones that have managed to grasp national attention. We can deny it all we want, but racism and prejudice still exists. And it’s not just in Ferguson, either. It’s everywhere.

Already, my news feed is blowing up with all these bigoted statuses and tweets from these professed supporters of Officer Wilson. Honestly, I just don’t get those people. I really don’t. I mean, are they blind? Or are they just plain ignorant?  Maybe it’s a little of both, I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t be surprised at how gullible and oblivious people are, but I am…a little bit. I mean, come on people! What this officer did was WRONG. He shot an unarmed man multiple times and killed him. That’s a crime. That’s murder. Regardless of whatever happened that day, a man died. That happened. Race aside, someone died. Granted, we might never know what exactly all happened that fateful day. We weren’t there, obviously. What we do know is that Brown somehow got into an altercation with the officer inside that patrol car and just minutes later, Brown was lying dead in the street, yards from the patrol car, with several bullets in him. I’m not saying that nothing happened. Clearly there was a struggle inside that patrol car that day. But that doesn’t explain or dismiss the fact that Brown died yards from that parked vehicle. That, if nothing else, speaks volumes. It says that at some point after the struggle, Brown ran from the officer and the officer exited his vehicle and pursued him, shooting. Which begs the question as to why–if the officer was so concerned for his life–why in hell would he have left the vehicle to pursue Brown? Not to mention, why would he continue shooting if Brown was obviously running away? He was no longer in any physical danger and his life was no longer being threatened. The threat was gone. So WHY the hell did he do it?

At the very least, he should have been indicted for manslaughter. The crime may not have been premeditated, but it still resulted in the death of another human being. Besides, what the hell do you call shooting someone six times? Oh yeah, it’s called excessive force and overkill. Brown was fleeing. If he wanted to incapacitate him, he could have shot him in the leg or something. Once. He didn’t have to shoot him in the back half a dozen times. The fact that the grand jury came back with nothing–not even an indictment for manslaughter–is essentially saying that the officer did nothing wrong…that nothing unjust happened there that day. And that’s just not true. Or right. He was wrong. He chose to get out of his patrol car. He chose to pursue the suspect. He chose to pull that trigger, not once but six times. Twice in the head!

People can say what they want, but if that had been anyone else who pulled the trigger that day, he/she would be looking at life behind bars. I know they would. But because this was a member of law enforcement, he got off. And to me, that’s the biggest injustice of all of this. This officer got away with what he did for no other reason than because he wears a badge. That’s not right. At all. And people wonder why so many people distrust the police and have lost all faith in the legal system these days. It’s because cops like Wilson use their badge to shield themselves and skate around the very laws they were sworn to uphold. Don’t get me wrong–there are some good police out there. There are. And yes, I do realize that law enforcement put their lives on the line every day by doing what they do–but that doesn’t give them the authority to play executioner. They shouldn’t be held above the law. They should be just as accountable for their actions as the average citizen would be, if not more so.

But that didn’t happen tonight. There was no justice in Ferguson tonight. And because of it, there are–inevitably–going to be more riots. Ferguson isn’t going to find peace today, or tomorrow, or even the day after that. They may never find it because of the injustice that was committed tonight. If people thought it was bad before…they’re in for a surprise. This just set this country back. Justice wasn’t served tonight. Not at all. That officer got away with murder. And a war was just raged, and America is fighting against herself. Whatever happens from here on out–I hope it stays in the conscience of those 12 twelve individuals on that grand jury panel. I hope it stays on the conscience of Officer Wilson…because it should. This is something Brown’s family will have to live with for the rest of their lives. It’s only fair that their son’s murderer have to live with the guilt of having taken that life. He’s got blood on his hands. And that’s never going away.

So this is for Ferguson…and for Michael Brown, the victim of a screwed up system that protects its own, regardless of guilt, and tramples on the rights of the rest. May peace be with us all. I have a feeling we’re going to need it. 😦



let it snow, oh oh oh…

snow edit

Well, so much for thinking I was going to miss winter in New York…it’s already here. It’s a winter freakin’ wonderland outside and freezing as all get out…wonderful. Only one day in, and I’ve already had my fill of the pretty white stuff. Yep. Spoken like a true New York-er. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter…usually. I have some of the best memories from my childhood of wintertime…snowball fights with my siblings, trudging through feet upon feet of snow just to get to the best sledding hills, building snow forts, making snow angels ’til I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes, my grams having cookies and cocoa waiting when we finally dragged our frozen behinds inside…yeah, the best memories. As a kid, I used to love winter…because of course, it usually meant snow days and no school. Oh yeah, and Christmas. I remember a couple of years we got hit by a blizzard and there was literally like 10 feet of snow outside. The cars were covered, the plows couldn’t keep up so the roads were impassable…it was a traffic nightmare, but oh was it fun. And it got us out of school for a couple of days, so we weren’t complaining.

It’s a little bittersweet when I think of all the snow day festivities I’m going to miss out on with the little ones once I leave for Tennessee. We got these sweet little sleds for the twins that chances are, I won’t even see them use…which makes me a little sad, but I guess that’s what cameras are for.

My sister was talking to me the other day about all the things we’d be doing come Summer with the boys and I had to stop her and tell her that I don’t plan on coming back once the semester ends in May. She was under the impression that this move was just about school and that when I’m finished, I’ll come back to New York…but that’s not the plan. Granted, I’ll have to see how things work out once I get to Tennessee, but at the moment, my intentions are to stay. I don’t really know how to explain it, but this move is about so much more than me finishing my degree. It’s about finding my way, is really the only way I can describe it so that it makes sense…at least I hope it makes sense. It’s not that I don’t love my family or that I’m not grateful for all that they’d done for me over the years, because I do and I am…but I need to find my niche, so to speak. I have to figure out who I am–without them. For so long I’ve had them to lean on when things got tough…and I think that’s part of the problem. They’ve always been ready and waiting in the wings whenever something went wrong and I love them for that–but it’s time I learned how to stand on my own two feet. I’m not a child anymore. I need to make my own path in life, which I can’t do here. Not with them watching my every move, waiting or even expecting me to fall so they can swoop right in and try to pick up the pieces for me. It’s time.

I spoke to my Dad last night–first time in well, almost a year actually–and he thinks that I’m doing the right thing by leaving…and that it’ll be good for me, moving away. He made the point that it’ll be good for me to finally experience the world outside the cocoon of the family. He’s not wrong. I mean, in a lot of ways, my family has sheltered me from a lot of things. I mean, growing up we were really sheltered. I’d never have known it at the time, but in hindsight, it’s true. My grams was so protective of us–heck, who am I kidding…she still is–so it wasn’t until I left for college at 18 and was really on my own that I had to learn to fend for myself. And damn, was that scary. It’s ironic because I always felt so smothered and then when I finally got away from it–I missed that familiarity…that safety net that I couldn’t see, but somehow knew was always there. I’m grateful to her for so much, but I have to accept and have faith in the fact that I was raised right and that she instilled in me all the things I need to be a successful, independent woman. Which she did. Now it’s time that I put it all to good use.

I’m scared…hell, I’m absolutely freakin’ terrified…but I can do this. I know I can. And I really do think that the timing is perfect. I’m not the same naive shell of a girl that I was five years ago. I’ve grown up. I can take care of myself. I think I’ve gone through my “rites of passage”, so to speak. I’ve seen things. Done things. I’ve made mistakes. I have regrets. I’ve known heartbreak and heartache. I’ve experienced rock bottom, and I’ve picked myself up. Me. I did that. Not my grams, not my family…me. Not that they didn’t offer their help–they did–but it was something I had to do for myself. And I did. It took a while, sure, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I did it. There were tears…a lot of tears…and a few failed starts…but I made it. I didn’t give up, though godknows I came pretty damn close a few times…but the point is, I didn’t. I’m not naive enough to think that it’s clear skies and smooth sailing from here on out. I’m well aware that there are bumps and obstacles ahead of me if I go down this path, but I think I’ll be okay. I’m stronger now. I’ve got this. Yeah. I’ve got this. 


Five Years Clean… A Poem.

There you go, this one last time

Running across my mind

Images of us

Limbs and hearts, all tangled up

Now what?

Your name, a forgotten whisper on these lips of mine

Another time, another life, flashes before my eyes

Of promises spoken, and soon thereafter broken

Time stands still, that’s what you said

Oh, we were so misled

Time and time again, everything’s alright

Until the next fight

And back I go

Back to the good old days

Before the big reveal

Before all the accusations and dirty little lies

Of the worst kind

Lust, the thing I craved most

Just left me feeling empty inside

And wondering why

We were saving love for another day

But we couldn’t save us

Now there’s nothing left that’s sacred

Fifteen months of our lives, just gone…wasted

And baby, I’m so jaded

Climbing high, falling hard

Is he another you?

Will he hurt me too?

I have to trust again

That’s what I tell myself

So I…

Face the demons

Close the book

First love, ex-lover

I say goodbye

Taking this new love

One day at a time

Headed in a new direction

Learning from my lessons

Mistakes I made with you

Taught me everything not to do

His eyes, the same sweet evergreen hue as yours

But they’re warm, not cold

Similar yes, but not quite yours

As they’re staring into mine

It’ll be different

I’m sure of it this time

‘Cause I’m not the same girl you remember

I’m stronger now

Not quite as broken

Not nearly so defective

No longer afraid of my own reflection

I’m holding now what I call a brand new perspective

New love, new outlook

Another chapter in my book

Clean slate

Future sealed in the steady, knowing hands of fate

Where this takes me

I’ll have to wait and see

Here I am

I’m five years clean

Never thought I’d hear myself say

That in letting you go,

I found I’m worthy of being happy.

At long last, I’m free.

Of your memory.



Treasured Moments…& This Auntie’s Dilemma

Well, he did it. My little Ty Bear took his very first steps yesterday! It was beautiful and perfect and absolutely one of the best moments ever! Its the sweetest thing, really. I mean, he’s been crawling around nonstop for weeks, pulling himself up on everything, everyone, and anything, so it’s been coming. But still…I wasn’t prepared. At. All. I didn’t even notice it at first. Jacob did. Yep. I was on the phone with my grams at the time and I look over and Jake is sitting on the floor just staring up and I look at Ty and I literally had to do a double-take. No joke. There he was, at least a foot or so away from the recliner, not holding on to anything. And for a second he just stood there, not wobbling, nothing. Just stood there. Then out of nowhere, he just moved his little foot forward and then the other and then he turned his little head and looked at me like “uh, what do I do now?” And god, it was the most amazing thing. Really. Amazing. Incredible. The adjectives are endless.

I freaked of course. Meanwhile, my grams is on the line going what, what?! And I was just going, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…tears going and all…it was something. A real sight to see. Me, the crazy Auntie a blithering mess of tears and oh my gods, and Ty probably thinking, yeah, she’s lost it. And I had, because I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to be here to see it. I mean, I know most babies start walking before they’re one and he’s been on the move, but I figured it’d be my sister or brother-in-law that saw it first–which would have been completely fine and all–but yeah. I didn’t think I’d ACTUALLY be the one to see his first steps. But I did and I was and gosh, it was just an incredible feeling. My little Ty Bear is mobile.

bashful ty 10.31.14

The rest is going to be blur, I know. Next thing we all know, he’s going to be 16 and getting his license and we’re all going to be wondering where the years went. It’s crazy. Gosh, they grow up so damn fast. It’s not even fair. It’s really not. At all. In fact, I just had a phone fight with my oldest niece, Angelina earlier this afternoon….which is a perfect example of the insanity. So my mother calls me to get the information on her iPod, something about needing it replaced because she cracked the screen or whatnot–details not really important. Anyhow, the conversation quickly escalated into how my mother took away the iPod because Angelina’s been using it nonstop and my mother’s caught her on Instagram and other sites that’s she’s been told not to go on. Now, Angelina is eleven. ONLY 11 years old. Which, in my book, is WAY too young for social media–that includes Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and well, you get the point. Now, my mother’s not really in-the-know when it comes to the internet or social media for that matter, but she knows that I’ve told Angelina not to use Instagram–AND that I’ve deleted the app from her iPod on several occasions already. Anywho, my mother’s talking to me and Angelina’s in the background telling her to shut up and whatever and so I have my mother put her on the line. Angelina comes on and as usual, immediately starts LYING about how she didn’t have Instagram on there and when I told her I knew that she did and how she’s already been told NOT to use it, she told me to shut up and hung up on me. Oh yeah. I looked at the phone and was like–what the hell?! She did NOT just hang up on me. Ironically after, I was on my Facebook and ranted about it and a couple of people commented back about how times are different and that we (us adults) were just like that when we were growing up, wanting to do things that our parents told us we couldn’t…and that we have to learn to adjust with the technology and teach them how to be safe rather than trying to stop them from using it altogether…and things of that sort. So naturally, I responded back with MY OPINION. Which basically amounted to…um, hell no!

I’m not an idiot. I know that things are a lot different now than they were when I was growing up with the technology and whatnot. But I’m not ancient. I’m 27. Which means, all this social media stuff, came out in my generation. We’re the ones that have implemented all of it. I know how it works. And for that reason, I do not want my 11-year-old niece using it. I’m an adult. I do know how it works, so I know how unsafe certain aspects of social media can be. She doesn’t. She’s a child! I’m not saying that she shouldn’t be allowed to use the internet or be barred from using technology altogether. That’s ridiculous. Especially in this day and age. But she does not need to be uploading selfies to Instagram. And she sure as hell doesn’t need to be “networking” on Facebook. If she wants to network, she can do it the same way NORMAL kids have done for decades before Facebook and Twitter existed…in school. These parents who let their 9-year-olds go to school with their own iPhones and let them set up their own profiles on Facebook because they think its cute–it’s for the birds. What was said in some of those comments on my rant was true–in that the times are different. They are. Because, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t remember kids EVER being as cruel as they are today. I’m constantly reading stories about kids being bullied in schools across the country and now with the internet and Facebook–cyber bulling is one of the biggest threats. And there’s little that can be done about it. You can’t monitor everything. To think that you can is just a joke, because you can’t. Kids are going to be kids and they’re clever little devils, especially the kids today. They know how to get around on the internet, some even better than we do…which is saying a hell of a lot considering I think I’m pretty good at maneuvering the ins and outs of the internet. Like I said in my response though, it’s not so much my niece that I don’t trust. I trust her–somewhat–I mean, she is a kid so the trust can only go so far–but she’s at that age where she’s so impressionable. And trusting. She doesn’t have a clue yet how cruel the world–and other kids for that matter–can be. She doesn’t GET that there are predators lurking in the shadows of the web, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting children like her. That’s what people are forgetting. The monsters aren’t just on the streets now. They’re in our homes. On our computers. They’re in places where you can’t see.

And these kids don’t get the consequences of their actions. Take sexting for example. These kids are sending texts of themselves to their boyfriends and girlfriends, thinking there’s no harm in sending a few pictures…when in reality…there is. Aside from the fact that you’re sending something across a connection that isn’t as secure as you’d like to think to someone who, chances are, you’re probably going to break up with in a week or two anyhow, how about the fact that should these pictures fall into the hands of the authorities? What then? Suppose you’re a 17 year old guy and your girlfriend is just shy of legal? Well sorry, but that “completely harmless” sexy pic just landed you a lovely spot on the sex offender registry buddy. Is that fair? Well, no. But the laws haven’t caught up to technology just yet so there’s nothing you can do about that. And that’s just one example. I could give you plenty others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media. I do. But I’m an adult. I can protect myself. My niece can’t. And she shouldn’t have to. At least not yet. She should be able to surf the web and be a kid and not have to worry. That’s all I want. And some may call me a hypocrite or call me overbearing, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t want my niece to be another headline that someone like me is going to read when they scroll through their news feed one day. I don’t want to see her beautiful little face marred by tears as she’s holding up cards in some YouTube video she’s posted because she’s decided she can’t take one more day of being cyber bullied–god forbid that should ever be something she’s confronted with. And I don’t want her taken advantage of by some sicko who’s trolling for kids on the internet. I realize that I’m going to be leaving and moving to another state soon and that I’m not going to be physically here to monitor what she does and it breaks my heart that I won’t be able to protect her from everything–because god I so badly want to, more than anything, to protect her from all the evil in this world…but I can do what I can now. I can try to convince her that right now, she doesn’t need to use these sites. It’s not that I’m trying to stop her from growing up–as much as I wish I could–but that’s not my intention. I just want to give her a chance to be a kid, while she still can, you know? She doesn’t realize how fast it goes and how precious this time really is–and all too soon she’s going to learn that things aren’t as black and white as they seem to her right now–and she’s going to want this time back. I guess, I just want to try to save her from herself, in a way. I mean, as her aunt–as someone who loves her–and I do, I love that little girl so much–I just want to keep her safe and protect her. I just want what’s best for her. Though, come to think of it, a nice little bubble that’d she fit in would be absolutely PERFECT right about now… oh there I go again, wishful thinking…


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