Monday, September 26, 2011

haunted

I haven't written about Troy Davis. Yet. Part of that was purposeful.

I didn't want to write about Troy Davis the day after it happened, because I knew everyone would do that. It makes sense, of course--as a writer or journalist type, you write in the midst of things. You write while it's on your mind (and everyone else's mind). You write while it's pertinent. And let's be honest: with the rapid fire turnaround of news information in this country of instant gratification, pertinent news stories don't stay such for very long. Events happen, travesties occur, and then we all move on, it seems. Even my Twitter timeline, which was ablaze not so many days ago with people calling out for justice to be served, has now calmed to the usual Tweets about football, mundane occurrences, and random trending topics like #SomeWhereInTheHood. (Really?*)

It's only just, I imagine. Though an event may stay with someone for days, at some point, the world continues turning just the way it was before said event. Things always go back to normal, as people always say.
Well, though I didn't write about Troy Davis right after his execution, it doesn't mean the experience didn't stick with me. It's been on my mind. And today it was brought to the forefront again, by an experience that seemingly has nothing to do with Troy Davis at all.


I'm in my hometown, enjoying a nice break from the mean streets of Miami. I've been running around all day, taking care of some various errands, and the last of my errands involved a stop at my local Publix. (The best one in the world, as it has a Chinese kitchen AND a liquor store. Nope, no Publix can be better than mine.) As I walked up, I saw an older looking Black woman sitting on one of the electric carts outside of the store. When I started to pass her, she timidly asked me if I was active in the church. I stopped, and said that I'm not, hoping that if this had anything to do with a religious speech, me saying I'm not church-active would spare me.** She then simply asked if she could speak to me. Usually never rude, and usually never one to deny someone the opportunity to speak to me, I stayed in place and removed my sunglasses.

She introduced herself as Stephanie, and told me earnestly, it seemed, that I looked nice in the outfit I had on. I thanked her and smiled, and she asked me if she could tell me her story.

Before continuing, I must express my often perplexed feelings when I find myself in situations like the one I will continue describing in a minute. I have encountered many, many people who have asked me for money, as I knew that was where her story was going. I have encountered people with myriad stories, in many places, and always, it leaves me feeling a tad helpless, as well as frustrated, and on some level, guilty. Helpless when I sincerely would have given that person something, but I only had my card, and no physical cash, not even change. Frustrated when people get mad at me, or have an attitude with me simply because I cannot or will not give them anything. Guilty when I want to help, but think about my financial situation and how I'm struggling too. It's often quite the struggle. How do I know whether this person is telling me the truth? Am I wrong for automatically questioning whether this person is telling me the truth?

I'm a giving person, and I enjoy helping others, but I'm also a cautious person, and I, like many people, try to erect guards around myself so I'm not taken advantage of. So, whenever this situation arises, therein rises the epic battle between my logic and my compassion. Can they both exist simultaneously?


Stephanie looked up at me, and she told me that she was a dialysis patient, and that her and her family had just moved to a street not too far from where we were. She told me she had twin teenage girls, and that they were honor students, and she told me that their church had offered to get them a meal the other day, but she'd tried to convince the church to instead take them to the store, because a meal would only last for one day. She told me she had public assistance benefits, but being that she'd moved from a different state, her benefits weren't set to kick in for a couple more days.

As she was explaining herself, she did something that people I've talked to usually don't do: she started to cry.

Right outside of the store, she began to cry, and as she cried, I didn't feel sorry for her.

I didn't feel sorry for her, because I know that my least favorite emotion is pity. I don't want people to ever feel sorry for me, because it automatically puts them on a different level than me.

I didn't feel sorry for her, but instead, I imagined how much it took for her to stop me, ask me if she could talk to me, and then ask me if I could help her. I know that I have trouble asking people to do anything for me. Especially when it comes to finances. I imagined that if that were me in her shoes, I'd probably cry too. I know I would cry because I would feel ashamed.

As she was explaining to me that she was sorry that she had to ask people for money, and as she continued to wipe the steadily streaming tears from her eyes, I'd already decided that I would help. I told her that on my way back out of the store, I would make sure I gave her something.

And as I walked around the store, that was all I thought about. My groceries suddenly became of lesser importance, and all I thought about was that I needed to hurry up, get my cash back, and make sure I helped Stephanie. I didn't want her to think that I didn't mean what I said.

When I left, I walked out the same door I'd entered through, and there was Stephanie, still sitting there. I folded the ten-dollar bill in my hand, and I told her it was for her. It's not much, I said, and then trailed off as her tears started to flow from her eyes again. She thanked me multiple times over, and told God to bless me. She then leaned up for a hug, and I hugged her and told her I know times are rough, and she asked me to pray for her. Even as I put my sunglasses back on, told her to take care, and turned to walk away, she was still giving her thanks, as I bit my lip and walked away, starting to feel the tears welling in my eyes as they are again now.


Do I know whether Stephanie's story was true? Do I know what she'll do with that ten dollars I gave her? No, I sure don't, and it doesn't matter. I know what I was planning on doing with that ten dollars before I'd arrived at the store. I'd planned on wasting it on a sub, chips, and a drink, knowing that I didn't have to, because I had leftovers at home. Before I'd pulled into that parking spot, I'd decided that I wasn't going to spend that money on that sub, chips, and drink, no matter how good they would taste, because that wasn't financially sound. Good thing I made that decision. 

As my mother always says, you never know where your blessings will come from, and I wholeheartedly believe that. I've been hustled for quarters by a crackhead before; I've been talked to death by seemingly delusional homeless people before, and I've even been criticized and called out of my name by panhandlers before. But my actions remain the same: I will not deny somebody the opportunity to talk to me. 

I know that if it were me, and the shoe was on the other foot, I'd pray that someone would stop and listen to me. I'd pray that someone would believe me. And I'd pray that someone would be able to help me, just a little bit.

As I walked away from Stephanie, I knew her tears would stay with me, the same way I knew the thought of Troy Davis would stay with me as time moved on. The same way the man with a sign touched me so much, I wrote about him. The same way I think about Derrion Albert, and wonder if anyone still thinks about him.

The point of all this is to say: I worry about our collective humanity, sometimes. I know who I am, and how I am--I am the type of person who worries about strangers. I am the type of person who will pray for someone I see who looks like they are having a tough time. I am the type of person who sat on my boyfriend's couch, my head against his arm, and cried for the injustice I witnessed the night Troy Davis was made to wait four extra hours before he was murdered by the state of Georgia, a state that runs in my own bloodline. I am the type of person who spent the days leading up to his execution frustrated, and on edge with the society I live in. I am the type of person who believes in the possibility of Nineteen Eighty-Four (so much that I told my boyfriend to read it), but still hopes it will not come to pass.

I know that this is me. I know that I will stop and listen to strangers tell me their stories. (Because what greater power is there than being able to voice your own personal truth?) I know that I cannot witness a grown woman cry in front of me, a woman who looked like she had many years on me, and not try and do something. I know that I'm the type of person who doesn't believe in the death penalty, the type of person who would have given Troy Davis another shot at justice. I know that's me. Call me a fool, hyper-sensitive, whatever you want, but I know that's me.

But what about humanity? We live in a time when children are killing adults and adults are behaving like children. A time when the latest singing reality tv show is more important than what's actually happening in the real world. A time when injustices come, and then they go. Where's our outrage? Where are our movements? Where are our Black leaders***, and any leaders, for that matter? It seems like no one cares. Like Sonny said in A Bronx Tale, "nobody cares."

And maybe after reading this, you could step to me and ask me where my outrage is, and why I'm not out there trying to start a movement, or become a Black leader. Maybe you could ask me if I think just writing about everything is good enough. Sometimes, I may wonder that myself.

But I don't claim to have the answers, only a number of questions. And the image of Stephanie's tears, and the haunting remnants of her embrace.

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 *--this is more evidence that though Black people probably still make up about 13% of the population, we must make up a hefty percentage of the population of Twitter. My first piece of legit evidence? The fact that as The Preacher's Wife was playing last night on BET, it was also trending on Twitter. You know damn well ain't nobody watching that movie on BET, at that, but some Black, Twitter using folks.
**--spiritual, not religious.
***--sure, we have figureheads like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but are they leaders? Whom are they leading? I have yet to hear anything from them that swayed me and moved me like some of the voices I've heard from back during the Civil Rights Movement, and even before that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What is Facebook, really? (A love/hate letter to the predominate social network du jour)

Amid all of the things that have been going on recently via my social networks, I found myself alerted to the fact that Facebook has made yet another change to its interface, as my news feed was crowded with posts ranging from saying the interface sucks, to someone saying they would leave by the end of the day.

As a quasi-nomad who now has an apartment but usually only goes there for the necessities of eating occasionally and bathing (since there's no internet connection at my apartment and God only knows when the internet gods will decide that it's about time they stopped playing with our emotions), I have been relatively disconnected from what was previously a very active online life. I can only check my Facebook on my phone, since that's lately been the way I've accessed the internet 95% of the time. So, the new Facebook changes were lost to me, as Facebook mobile was still the same irritating thing it has been since I joined the smart phone world.

Even before checking the new Facebook layout, I started to experience commitment issues, and thought of leaving. I didn't even need evidence of Facebook's transgressions, I only knew how I felt: that our relationship was losing its spark, and that I needed something new.

Facebook and I have experienced such troubles before. Right before I went to college, we began our relationship, which was nothing but tame. In those days, I still had dial-up internet (what an ancient relic), so Facebook and I couldn't really see each other that often. Facebook was simple, and so was I. Facebook was just a page, with photo albums and profile information. No fancy things like status updates and chat functionality. It was a simple platform that allowed you to connect with people you were going to college with. I was a simple girl, still a teenager, really, with no smart phone, no Twitter rants, and no blog. Less Huey Freeman and more Charlie Brown. (Though in my adult life, I find myself existing within both.)

And then: I fell in love for the first time, hard, and Facebook was there. Hell, it was because of Facebook that it even happened. Facebook was there for me, allowing me to see pictures and the profile of the guy I loved, and Facebook even helped us send messages back and forth. What a great friend, that simple Facebook was.

But by the summer sun's dip in the sky, and autumn's leaves, that romance was forever through, and it was just Facebook and me again. I'm sure I pestered Facebook with my constant viewing of my lost love's profile and his pictures and searching through his friends list, trying to take clues from a dream I'd had in order to find out who his new girlfriend was, and I'm pretty sure Facebook tired of me altering my profile so often, always trying to express the most pressing feelings of disappointment, longing, and hope. (And sometimes anger.)

By the new year, I found myself asking what Facebook had really done for me. After all, Facebook was the one who brought me to the love who now was happy in a new relationship. My now constant communication with Facebook (going to college also brought the wonder of always having internet access, and leaving your computer on all day, every day) had become too much for me, and I needed space. So that April, I left Facebook. We'd talked about it before the decision was made, and there was never any discussion as to whether what we had would ever be real for us again. I left Facebook with a picture of me, half my face in shadow, and half of my face in sunlight, smiling at the camera, ironically reflecting the daily divide of my spirit.

I left, and felt that I'd never return. I took up with other relationships, and found myself thinking about Facebook sometimes, but never thinking about returning to it. We'd had our time, and it was time for new things in my life. For MySpace and for Blogger to become new comforts in the midnight hour. Frequently, people reminded me of the relationship I'd once had with Facebook, asking me about it, but it prided me to tell them that I was without Facebook, and to see their shocked expressions when I said such. (I've always enjoyed doing what differs from the norm. Huey Freeman.)

Three years had passed, and I had gotten over Facebook when an old friend showed me what Facebook had been up to since that day in April. It seemed that both Facebook and I had grown. I was a young woman, with piercings and a tattoo or two, and a "take no shit" attitude, and Facebook was a fancier platform, with status updates and pages to be liked. My friend talked me into speaking with Facebook again, and I decided to give it a shot. What could be the harm, after all? We were older, wiser, and different than when we first began our affair oh so long ago.

So, Facebook and I became an item yet again. It seemed our relationship was much stronger, as Facebook offered me a lot more the second time around, with its status updates, increased capacity for pictures, and the ability to post stuff up for my friends to see. (Like my blog posts.) Facebook was there for it all. And when I got my first smart phone, I was able to take Facebook with me everywhere. We were like two peas in a pod, it seemed.

Until I changed. And Facebook changed. Repeatedly. It felt like every time I signed into Facebook, something was different. Suddenly, there were ads that seemed to know what I was searching for and what I liked. The pages and groups changed. News feeds changed. As a bit of a chameleon myself, I understood the desire to constantly be the different thing, but what was with all the rush? What was Facebook trying to keep up with, I sometimes wondered. Was it not enough that people couldn't start their day without checking Facebook, or that now everyone--not just college students--could use it? Why did it have to always change, and without warning, at that?

More Huey on a daily basis now than Charlie, I found myself troubled by all the changes. Why did Facebook seek to be so controlling? What joy could Facebook derive out of knowing my every Google search? What joy was there to be found in knowing where I was, and where I'd been? I resisted against the change that other people seemed to take in stride. Hadn't anyone read 1984 by George Orwell? Was no one troubled by the fact that at any given moment, anyone in the world could know what you were thinking, where you were in the world, or where you'd been? In a matter of years, Facebook had gone from the simple platform I'd once known, to an entity trying to be too many things--too much Twitter, too much MySpace, too much GPS. I just wanted Facebook to become Facebook again.

But in saying that, it leads me to ask, what is Facebook, really? I imagine, to each individual, it may be many things. For most of us, we say it's a way for us to keep up with our friends, and to see what's up with their lives. But, in my recent ponderings, I have found fault with this argument. Facebook now feels like an easy way to play out the role of private voyeurs. It's what we as humans love, after all--how else could reality television have become so commonplace? Though our satisfactions might not be quite sexual in nature, how many moments of our day do we devote to Facebook stalking? To seeing who's dating, who's fucking, who's sad, who's angry, who's pregnant, etc.? In the past couple of months, I have seen a number of Facebook friends' newborn children, whose naked pictures were posted via Facebook, in some instances merely minutes after they were born. In real life, I'd have to go to the hospital in order to see that. I've also seen posts about people having been proposed to... merely minutes after it happened. I've seen pictures of people's engagement rings, their newborn children, what they had for dinner, what they're wearing to the club, the argument they had with a significant other, etc.

Facebook has given me unprecedented access to things I otherwise wouldn't know, about people I otherwise wouldn't speak to. In sitting here, debating whether a more permanent leave of Facebook is coming for me, I wonder what Facebook really is, and why I feel some reluctance to leave, though I've done it before.

For me, Facebook is many things, good and bad. Facebook is an excuse for me to not keep up with people. If I couldn't return your phone call, I can always leave a message on your wall. If I have something I need to say to you that's difficult to articulate, I can always send you a Facebook message. If I miss you, instead of writing you a letter, or even sending you a text, I can leave a little heart on one of your pictures and tell you how gorgeous you look, followed by an "I miss you!!"

Facebook gives me the ability to play detective and figure out whether you've just ended your relationship, are having trouble in your relationship, or have started a new relationship based on the frequency of your posts to people, when you remove/add the "in a relationship" from your profile, when you remove/add certain pictures from your albums, etc. So what if the detective work is actually a bunch of assumptions confirmed by my brain as truth--it's fun, isn't it?

Now, with this new Facebook layout (I pulled it up earlier to look at it, and found myself staring at a foreign entity), I find myself asking, sincerely, why I keep holding on. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Facebook right now. I find myself living in a world where it's a legal right of mine to voice my opinion, but I can still be penalized for said opinion. I wonder often if I've given too much of my life to Facebook. Given too many people I'm not truly friends with the opportunity to know my thoughts, see those I care about in pictures, etc. As a blogger, it seems strange that I would ever have a problem with people knowing my thoughts, as I have given my thoughts away free for anyone who would like to read them for two years now. But for some reason, something about Facebook doesn't sit well with me anymore. Confusing privacy settings, constant changes, and a generation that won't even show up to an event unless they get an invite via Facebook... it's all come to be a bit too much.

Maybe it's just the Huey Freeman in me, but I find myself wanting to be rid of Facebook. It's starting to feel too much like part of the norm for me, and if you haven't learned yet how much I don't like to be part of the norm, it would be useful for you to learn now. But, for every minute I ponder clicking "deactivate," what must be the sentimental Charlie Brown in me comes up with reasons as to why I shouldn't. I think about the family members I honestly wouldn't have really known of if not for them finding me on Facebook. I think of the associates I would have lost track of if not for Facebook status updates and photo uploads. And although it may seem silly to some, I think of the fact that after what seemed like a lifetime of dealing with men who weren't about the same type of shit I was about*, I waited my whole damn dating life to be able to date someone, and have it Facebook official, and have it say that I was in a relationship with... Seriously, I did.

Well, I'm in a relationship, and at the top of my ever-changing Facebook page, it says that I'm in a relationship with (insert my boyfriend's name here). Though, you probably wouldn't even know it was me, since due to a recent bout with Facebook spies** I have currently changed my Facebook name and profile picture. Consider it the witness protection program for the internet-active. Finally, I'm in a relationship, and I've said it out loud on my Facebook page, and now that I've been able to have that moment I felt was robbed from me time and time over, I'm... over it. Not over my relationship, mind you, as I am extremely happy and proud to be able to show my affection for my love via my Facebook page. But, I'm over the need to put in a relationship on my Facebook page in order to make the relationship any more "official" than it would have been if say, I didn't have a Facebook at all, or my love didn't have a Facebook at all. Or if Facebook simply didn't exist at all... what a thought. I realize the fact that the reason I was robbed time and time over of the ability to have that "Facebook official" relationship is because of the type of men I dealt with, and the type of situations I allowed myself to dwell in. Now that I have that relationship status I in the past wanted so badly, I actually now have the urge to keep details of my relationship to myself. Does every picture of every outing need to go up? Do I really need to have everyone know when our anniversary date is?

And in thinking about those family members I "honestly wouldn't have really known if not for them finding me on Facebook," do I really know them? Just because we're friends on Facebook, does that mean that I know any more about them than their name and the fact that we're related? Yes, I get to see their pictures, and sometimes that involves getting to see pictures of family members I've heard of, but never had the pleasure of knowing while they were living, but as my family members on Facebook are older, the pictures they do post are scanned on... meaning that if I took a trip to visit them (which is what I really would like to do), I would probably be able to look at a photo album and see these pictures in real life.

And as far as those associates go... well, Facebook is a nice way to keep up with them. But before we had Facebook, we had random sitings in the mall, or in the grocery store, and we had the phone. We've also always had letters, though we all know (and I lament) that no one writes letters anymore.***

That all being said, I don't know the fate of my off-and-on, love/hate relationship with Facebook. I won't sit here and tell you that I'm going to delete it tomorrow and never go back, but by the same breath, I also won't tell you that I won't delete it at some point in the future. And as far as what Facebook is to me, really?

It's starting to seem like more trouble than its worth.

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*--seemed better than saying "men who weren't about shit," but you know that's what I meant
**--have you ever been fired from a fuck shit job because your employer spied on you, lied about what you said on Facebook, and then tried to twist your words to make it seem as though you meant something you didn't? Yeah, me neither.

***--In recent times, the US Postal Service has talked about eliminating postal service on Saturdays, and I've heard rumor recently that they are talking about eliminating the postal service all together. As a letter writer and enthusiast of snail mail, I want the postal service to stay. But, if I live in country where schools and libraries and bookstores can be shut down, then clearly the postal service is doomed.

for whatever reason, today

For quite some time, I had nothing to write.

I always have plenty to say, so much so that I sometimes have trouble settling into sleep, for all of the monologue running through my head.

But sometimes, I don't have anything to write. For extended periods of time. I settle into life, and life takes its hold of me, and I neglect to push myself to sit here and write. For sometimes, writing is a compulsion, something I have to do. I imagine, possibly like that addict that needs their next fix. They have to get their drug of choice. It doesn't even feel optional; it's like breathing, except that it stays on their mind. Generally, I imagine you don't really notice your breathing until you think about it. Nevertheless, much like the addict searching for their next high, when writing is a compulsion, I think about it, and think about it, and search for somewhere, anywhere to write; I search for something, anything to write on. Sometimes, it's like that.

But there are other times when writing is not a compulsion. Sometimes, that urge to write hits, and I think about it, think about it, think about it, and then let the urge go. Drop it back into whatever place it came from, as quiet as its kept. And then I keep it moving. Sometimes, the urge hits, and I say, "I'm going to write about this," and then life takes its hold of me, and nothing comes forth. Sometimes, writing is a thing I would have to make myself do, if I wanted anything to come from the urges that swell and recede, like ocean waves against the shore.

Writing has always been a friend to me, but just like with old friends, sometimes, you lose touch. You know that old friend is still living in the old neighborhood, and you tell yourself all the time that you'll pass by, that you'll say hello. You look at your phone and tell yourself all the time that you'll call. You make empty promises to yourself, halfway full of hope, and halfway full of knowing that you won't visit that old friend when you say you will. You pick up your phone to check your messages, but you know you're not going to call that old friend when you say you will. Writing can be like that for me.

I haven't posted a blog entry since July, and I haven't posted anything substantial since before that. I'm explaining my absence to you, but really to myself, because I feel like saying "I just didn't have anything to say" simply isn't enough. I said that last year, and the year before that. Truthfully speaking, with summer seems to always come a lag in my writing. Does life simply happen faster in the summer, too fast for my writing to keep up with?

Regardless of whatever time vortex may exist in the summer, I don't have to explain why I was denying my old friend a visit, though I will nonetheless.

Life happened, in a manner that seemed to be even a bit ridiculous for my taste. In short: I quickly fell in love with someone, and found that a lot of things I used to say and feel no longer existed for me. No longer was I the advocate for singledom, fucking before being fucked, and existing within the pain of that which had happened to me, and that which I allowed to happen to me. I was in love, with someone who was wholly in love with me, for none other reason than the fact that I was, simply, myself. (I'd never really experienced this before.) Suddenly, my relationship with this person had gone from business, to friendship and love, and I found myself gaining perspective and closure that I didn't know I was searching for. I found myself holding hands, spending nights, crying on shoulders, sacrificing without struggle, and feeling within myself that the thing I knew I'd been searching for all the while had come to me, as quiet as a shadow in the night.

I fell in love, and all else fell away.

It no longer mattered that the "love of my life" had moved on and didn't even leave a return address. It no longer mattered that the victory of a recent "conquest" rang hollow like the inside of a gutted log. It certainly didn't matter that an old "friend" found fault with me for not coming to pick him up during a visit so we could have an empty quickie, presumably, in my vehicle, and it didn't even matter that the ex I gave two unofficial years to moved back to the land he wanted so badly to fit into and didn't even return my Facebook message. In fact, everything became rather comical, because all of the mistakes I made and all of the experiences I had led me right to the front step of the man who now took my heart and spirit into his arms and held them tightly.

So, I fell in love. Became a girlfriend. Became a friend. It's been a lovely journey that I sincerely enjoy, but you understand, this kind of journey takes time and dedication. Hence, putting off that visit to the old neighborhood for yet another day.

And then, everything else happened. My roommates and I moved out of our condo. (There went my consistent internet access.) I was supposed to move to California. That didn't happen. (I'm never ruling you out, oh California fantasy of mine.) My City Year came to an end. I found a job with another AmeriCorps program that didn't start until a month after my City Year ended. So I had a job, but didn't have a job. My only sister graduated from high school and started college. After my roommates and I moved out, I didn't have another location set up to move to. (This time around, I will start looking for a new apartment when I still have six months on my lease. I've learned.) I took on two housesitting jobs for about an entire month. I stayed with the boyfriend. I moved the majority of my things into my future boss's house. I ate. (A lot.) Put on a little thickness. I cut my hair again. (Natural round 2.) Boyfriend and I made the commitment to start locs together. (December, I'm ready.) My car decided to pitch a fit and scrambling had to be done to ensure it would be fixed. Started new job and found myself dissatisfied before new job had really begun in earnest. Food stamps ran out and the office conveniently didn't get my paperwork. Finally found an apartment that was bug infested. Had to move into said bug infested apartment because roommates wanted to rush things. Job sucked. Was making no money. Struggling. Had bills. Struggling. Spent plenty of days lamenting the decisions I'd made (or hadn't made). Wondered why I couldn't just want to do something lucrative, like handle people's stocks or cut people's chests open. Wondered why I hadn't just stayed in school forever. Hated the city I was in. Wanted to go home but knew that wouldn't solve my problems or feelings. Prayed, prayed, prayed

for a resolution.

And then, the boss I never really connected with fired me on some bullshit logic and shady business practice. Surprisingly, the resolution I'd prayed for had occurred, but I was not in the business of realizing such. All I could think of was how livid I was that an employer lied in order to find a reason to fire me. All I could think about was how everyone that worked there or had something to do with them sucked, and how I shouldn't have trusted anyone. All I could think about was the fact that I graduated from a relatively big deal of a PWI*, in three years and cum laude, at that, and this job, that I still performed for even though it didn't matter to me nor my future goals, this job that wasn't even a real job, but an AmeriCorps placement fired me. I've never been fired from a job, barely received as much as a reprimand, and I'd been fired from a joke of a job on some 1984 shit. (Big Brother is real, ladies and gentlemen.)

But: I'd wished I could have time to actually read. (In my absence from writing, I also unfortunately hadn't been reading either. Completing Steven King's It clearly took its toll.) I'd wished I could be outside in the sunlight rather than stuck in a small cube. I'd wished I could make more money. Wished I could be doing anything other than what I was doing. And now, I sit here, in the middle of the day, writing, watching the sun shine on the palm trees outside this Barnes and Noble, beginning to feel slightly dizzy from the focus I've been giving this screen for the last half-hour, but I'm free. Free to do all of the things I'd been hoping I could. God may not answer the way we want Him to, or expect Him to, but He does answer. He does.

So, all that being said, I haven't written in a while. I've been passing the old neighborhood by, saying I'm going to drop in on that old friend, but every time I find the time to stop by, I find something else that needs to be done. Like plucking my eyebrows. Or taking a third nap. Or checking my Facebook.

I haven't written in a while, but today I got tired of passing that old neighborhood by, and thinking about the old friend I've been neglecting.

I'm sorry I took so long.

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*--Predominately White Institution

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