Where Were You at 11:08PM?

As I sit here at 11:54PM I can’t help but write out my thoughts about the events of this evening.  I would consider myself a bit despondent, and definitely upset about what has happened on September 21, 2011.

In 2008 I wrote my first article about Troy Davis for the Maroon Tiger and I recall being extremely passionate about it–I wasn’t concerned about whether he was innocent or guilty.  I was concerned with the fact that the Georgia State Government was about to kill a man because they considered themselves the ultimate judgement on who lived and who died in this state that I live in.

My ultimate concern here is…how did we sit back and let this happen?

With that said, I have never protested, spoke out to my government, written any letters…or anything of the sort disagreeing completely publicly about the punishment that Troy Davis deserves or does not deserve.

Many of you may be thinking….”Randol, if you’re writing this now, why didn’t you say anything earlier?”  And the thing is….it’s not my place.  I am not the final judgement on who lives and who dies in this so called patriotic “just and fair” country that we live in.

I think the problem lies in the fact that I am far too optimistic when it comes to the expectations of the compassion (or apparently lack there of) of our Supreme Court.

Earlier today I was scheduled to have dinner with a friend of mine at 7PM.  When he canceled on me to go to Jackson, GA (where Davis was being executed) I made plans to go watch my friend play basketball at a church down the street from my current residence.  I stayed at my house watching every minute of the Troy Davis coverage until 7:10PM (10 minutes after he was scheduled to be executed) only to find out he was granted a reprieve because the Supreme Court was reconsidering whether or not he should be lethally injected tonight.

While at the basketball game, I found myself wondering…”how on earth can these people be going on about their lives like nothing is wrong? People are playing basketball, people are out having dinner, my friends are at work serving customers….and how?  How are you not glued to your television waiting to find out what happens?”

I was calling my parents and friends, checking my twitter timeline, and checking my AP News app to find out if he really had been killed.

Secretly, I had hoped, that I would go sleep tonight, Troy Davis would still be alive, and when I woke up in the morning, he would be sitting in his prison cell, granted clemency once again, and I could go about my life as normal.

But I find that difficult to do at the moment.

After the basketball game I met a friend of mine at a bar where I insisted the bartender turn on CNN as soon as I walked in the building  just so I could get some type of clarification on the fact that (in my mind) Troy Davis would be happily alive.  I found at around 11:15PM that Troy Davis had been killed by lethal injection at 11:08PM.

I was devastated.

Not to sound overly self-important, but I am used to things working out the way I see them in my mind.  And at this point, I am personally ashamed to say that I put so much faith in my Justice System that I actually believed in my heart and soul that everything would work out the way I expected it to.

Troy Davis may have very well been guilty of killing Mark MacPhail and God knows who else.  On the other hand, he may have been completely innocent (as he stated in his last words)….but how on earth is it any humans place to decide what type of punishment he deserves for his actions?

You can take a man out of jail at any time, but you can never bring him back from the grave.

Where the hell do we as a country get off, killing a man, who (supposedly) killed a man, to show that killing people is unacceptable?

My prayers are with not only the family of Troy Davis, but also the family of Mark MacPhail.

I’ll end with a bible verse.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer…Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position….Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge, I will repay,’ says the Lord.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12: 12-21

 

There’s so much more I want to say, but there’s too many thoughts running through my mind.  kBe blessed.

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The Dark Side Of Love

I went to lunch today with one of my good friends who inquired about why I don’t blog much anymore.  Versus supplying the typical excuse I feed to ordinary people (I’ve been busy, I lost interest…”insert more faux reasons here”), I just told her flat out that I haven’t been able to write recently because anything I say is just too personal.

But what is the point of a blog if you can’t talk about your personal life?  I’m not here by any means to put down those involved in my life, or to air anyone’s dirty laundry.  But I feel like if I do have readers, you guys are interested in what I have to say, and what is going on (or has gone on) in my life.

I’ve said all that to say, I apologize (profusely) if anyone is offended by the following entry in my blog.  I’m just trying to express my thoughts.  And I’m finished censoring myself.  So that’s my little disclaimer.

On with the show.  Not that I’m depressed or anything (who really knows at this point), but I’ve begun to wonder why I never write about the dark side of love.  I’ve built love up to be this thing that has taken over my life.  I obsess over it, I yearn for it, I’ve formed my entire world around it.

But then again, why shouldn’t I?  My faith (Christianity) itself is based on love.  I do believe we were put on this earth to not only find soul mates, but to love the people we surround ourselves with as well.

Perhaps my optimism about love has faded due to my past experiences.

I have dated a man who would have given me the world if I asked him to, and to this day, he has been the only person in the entire world I have taken for granted.  I claimed to love him, but how can I treat someone I love like a prop?  I had never considered myself a bad person until dating him.  (No worries, I no longer consider myself a bad person…there was a lot of aftermath).

Thinking back, the fact that I treated a person who loved me as if they didn’t matter, breaks my heart.  Who would have known that being treated the way I should be treated could make me feel so awful?

I was in love with a man who did not and would not love me back.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call unrequited love.  As Kate Winslet cleverly stated in “The Holiday” (my favorite movie), being the unloved one is like “being handicapped without the advantage of a great parking spot.”

I’ve written before about how being in love is this wonderful, life changing, pleasurable and satisfying state of bliss.  I don’t think I had considered how it felt when you’re the only one doing the “lovin’.”

Wait!  I must pay tribute to the other fillers in my love life—my first and only highschool boyfriend (distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder, just distant), a man who turned out to like men (bad judgment on my part), various guys my friends have introduced me to or set me up with….the list goes on.  Nobody ever said a girl like me didn’t have time for dating!

It probably doesn’t come as a shock to many of you that I’m in love right now.  And I am thrilled to say that he loves me back.  Perhaps every cloud does have a silver lining…

So why am I single right now? (Cue bomb dropping noise).

I am tired of hearing the feigned encouraging advice from my friends.  “You’re too good for him.” “He’s stupid and doesn’t know what he’s missing out on.” “You just have to be mean to him,” (the girl who gave me that advice is currently not in a good place).  Or my personal favorite, “whoever he is, you deserve better.”

And don’t mistake me for one of those “token black women” who is perpetually dating and conversely, perpetually single.  Men experience the same thing.  For some love seems so easy, but for the vast majority of my 20 something peers, that is not the case.

Why do we torture ourselves like this?  For eight years (I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen, thanks mom!), every single aspect of my life has been influenced by my desire to fall in love.  We strive for that perfect body, look for the perfect job, and alter our characteristics to make up a perfect personality—and all for what?  So we can be the perfect person to be our perfect counterpart.

Screw perfect.  That crap doesn’t exist.

We are imperfect—every single one of us.

Since this entry is not some “woe is me,” manifesto, I will go ahead and lay the honest to God truth on all of you: we will never find the perfect person, but we can, and will, if we wait for it, find the perfect relationship.

So, is there a dark side of love?  Absolutely.  However, even though my confidence in the delight of love and companionship has dwindled ever so slightly, I’m still convinced that that perfectly imperfect relationship is out there waiting for every single one of us.

All we can do is keep hoping for, praying for, and anticipating it.

And in the meantime, remember that love is more than just getting married and having babies.  Family, friends, coworkers—I love every single person who has influenced my life—the good and the bad.  Because, let’s face it: they’ve made me who I am.  After all, it still is ALL about love, right?

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The following is a post from Black n Bougie, I DID NOT write this.  Click the link to go to their site:

Season’s Greetings, y’all. I see you. I see more than a few of you single folk out there hustlin’ for a holiday hook-up, trying to stir up some cuddle cocoa, on the prowl for the Winter Boo… um-hmm. Nothing says Happy Holidays like some new-new. If you choose wisely, you get gifts, a snuggle buddy and ye all important date for New Year’s Eve. Score! Right?

Not. So. Fast.

I don’t mind if you ho-ho-ho your way through the holidays… do you, boo boo. But can you kindly share your intentions with the new main squeeze? If you are just in it for the cocoa, eggnog and a date to the company Christmas party? Let that be known. If I had a dollar for every Holiday Hook up that fizzled before Valentine’s Day? I’d be typing this post from my vacation home in Bali. While a cabana boy named Raoul brought me rum drinks in diamond glasses and seafood on a platinum platter. Yes, that many.

There is something both magical and macabre about this time of year. On the one hand, when celebrated in the true Reason for the Season, it’s great. An opportunity to catch up with family and friends, give and receive, reach out to less fortunate, all of that. Y’all know what I’m saying – get out there and spread tidings of comfort and joy already!

Well – and then there’s that. That forced gaiety. That “it’s Christmastime so why aren’t you happy” attitude. Some of y’all actually like snow and caroling and Secret Damn Santa. For others, it’s hard. They may not have loved ones or they may feel inadequate for not being able to give due to financial circumstances. I lost my father ten years ago around Thanskgiving so it always takes me a minute to get past that hurdle and realize he won’t be around for the holidays which he absolutely loved and made a big deal out of.

My point (wandering though it may be) – some people are especially vulnerable during this season. Goodness knows a brand new shiny boo can let you forget your troubles and get some happy. Vulnerable + holidays + pheromones = recipe for trouble. Have fun but just think about it. What happens after the mistletoe has come down and the sequined bustier is tucked away?

If you’re fortunate, whatever it was that brought you and your holiday honey together will last long after the snow has melted. If not, well blame it on the bourbon balls. But be careful, a cuddle cutie can have a few consequences that snuggling with your Snuggie doesn’t. Suit up and know who you’re sipping cocoa with. I know, I know… it’s cold outside. Folks gotta do what they gotta do. I’m just saying tread lightly, ice isn’t the only slippery slope out there.

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Lie To Me

“Tell me the truth Frank, don’t you remember that?  We used to live by it.  And you know what’s so good about the truth?  Everyone knows what it is no matter how long they’ve lived without it.  Nobody forgets the truth Frank…they just get better at lying.”-April Wheeler, via Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

My poker face is garbage–I can’t lie for the life of me.  Every time I try to tell someone something other than the truth, I end up stuttering, looking away, or visibly looking downright awkward.  I suppose I should appreciate this fact about myself, as I’m incredibly truthful (except when I just decide to omit the truth)…but sometimes I really do wish I could lie.

Why do I wish this upon myself?  Why do I wish I was a better liar?  Why do I want to lie?  better yet, why do any of us lie?

The fact of the matter is this: we lie to better the situations we put ourselves in.  Whether it’s lying to our friend about their appearnce to prevent them being upset with you or themselves, lying to our significant other about cheating so we don’t get dumped, or even lying to our peers about actions to make ourselves seem more appealing or desireable than we might be (because as Shakespeare said, “That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man, If with his tongue he cannot win a woman.”)–we lie to make our lives easier.

However, the consequences of lying are more often than not, greater than the complicated situations we strive to remove ourselves from.  First and foremost, almost every liar gets caught at one point or another. They (whoever they is) say that whatever is done in the dark will always come to the light, of which I am a firm believer.  But what about the inner conflict that lying causes?

Lying puts you in a very difficult position when it comes to your conscience.  When we lie about who we are, what our intentions might be, or what we have and haven’t done when it comes to our actions, we can actually begin to question who we actually are, who we would like to be, and who others perceive us to be.  Now April may have said that nobody can forget the truth, as they just become a better liar…but I think April is dead wrong.

What happens when we’re in so deep, that we actually succeed in believing our own lies?

This brings me to the conclusion that my longing to become a better liar would be quite the detrimental characteristic in my personality.  Even the smallest lie can throw us into a neverending downward spiral that is damaging to others and ourselves.

To tie this into relationships (because, after all, it’s ALL about love, right?), why throw a blanket over the truth?  One of my close friends stated (in a Facebook note of all places) that when it comes to relationships, lying creates an environment of distrust.  This is how the smallest of lies, like lying about where you are, can allow you to create bigger lies, like what you did to a person, or even worse, what your feelings may or may not be when it comes to them.  You get away with one…you think you can get away with them all–and meanwhile the guilt is weighing down on your conscience, while you are in the process of hurting someone you claim to love and care about.  It’s in these situations that we find ourselves tumbling down the rabbit hole of a relationship on its way to failure, because (and trust me, there’s no denying this) just as a house built on sand is bound to fall, a relationship surrounded by lies is doomed to fall apart.

Sadly, often times I find myself wishing that instead of being told the truth by someone I love, or by the stranger on the street–that they had just lied.  I think that the damage done to situations or self esteem or well being could have been evaded with just a few words.  Truth be told, you’ll never know what could have or would have happened had you told or been told the truth versus a lie in a miniscule or dire situation.  But my guess is that truth can almost always be more beneficial than falsehood due to desctruction it does to character.  It’s more than just getting caught, it’s about how it effects those around you, who you are as being, and who you might turn into as a result of your little white lies or big Bill Clinton lies (ha).

Lie to me!  Make me believe things are better than they are.  Save me from the oncoming conflict!

….or better yet, don’t.  I care too much about my psyche (and yours), and our relationship, to let them be damaged beyond repair.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”-Mark Twain

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Dirty Shakespeare!

Check out this post in my other blog, (it’s ALL about love 2.0) for some dosage of a dirty great poet 🙂

Still having severe writers block.  New updates soon…when my brain stops being stubborn!

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Brilliant Quote #492

You’re hoping you’re wrong. And every time she does something that tells you she’s no good, you ignore it. And every time she comes through and suprises you, she wins you over, and you lose that argument with yourself, that she’s not for you.

I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn’t know you had inside you. And it doesn’t matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends… you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he’ll see the light and show up at your door. And after all that, however long all that may be, you’ll go somewhere new. And you’ll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.

Here’s a Little something we can all relate to, my from my favorite movie, The Holiday.  This quote comes from Iris, portrayed by Kate Winslet, who also happens to be my favorite actress.

Sorry I don’t write in here as often as I should.  I’m working on several entries, I just have to tailor them to be fit for the public eye.  Coming soon: “I think we should fracture up” and “Does your mate match up to your ideal?”

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To commit or not to commit?

I go to the movies on average about 5 times a month…sometimes because I have nothing better to do.  However, this time of the year it just so happens that I’m on a bit of an Oscar mission, and it involves seeing any and every movie that might be nominated for an Oscar in the coming weeks.

I even watched The Young Victoria, a very boring account of Queen Victoria of Great Britan, and her marriage to Prince Albert.  Two hours of Emily Blunt throwing temper tantrums and being in love.  Joy.  I do have to say though, Emily Blunt is a great actress…

Anyway, the most recent Oscar film that caught my attention has been Up In The air, and ever since watching I’ve been fascinated with the topic of commitment.  Up In The Air tells the story of Ryan Bingham, a middle aged hired gun (he makes a living off of firing people) who spends the majority of his life away from his “home.”  As someone who spends 300 days plus away from any real ties in life…he finds it easier to live without attachments, responsibilities, or commitments that aren’t necessary to his every day life.  To convey his dedication to such a lifestyle, he also acts as a motivational speaker who constantly asks the question, “what’s in your backpack?”  Implying that any non-necessity links in your life will simply hold you back from what is important.

After contemplating the film for several days (I saw it like a week ago) I’m beginning to wonder…is unnecessary commitment, really necessary?

Sure we will all always have jobs, and families, and most of us will even have friends…and those all require a certain level of commitment in our lives.  But, speaking from experience, as someone who is easily detached from all things not-self-involved, Mr. Bingham may have been onto something….

Take for example romantic relationships.  Think about how many relationships you’ve had (that obviously haven’t worked out because you’re not in them anymore) and think about how much trouble could have been avoided without the unnecessary commitment of such an endeavor.  And sure every experience is a learning experience, but, did it set you back?  Did it hurt?  Did it possibly derail you being able to find the person you’re really meant to be with?

Or…what if there’s really not one person you’re meant to be with?  As statistics show (sorry if this sounds cynical…it’s more realistic than anything) only 50% of American marriages succeed, so what are we really holding out for?  A 50/50 chance of true passionate love?  Some people are willing to take that risk…while some aren’t exactly jumping at the opportunity.

When it comes to relationships and commitment, what if we are wasting our time and emotions…on things that just aren’t meant to be?  What if all this energy we put into our “romantic” commitments just ends up leaving us bruised and wounded?

How about those opportunities we get in our organizations, or side projects at our jobs, or favors asked from our friends…that eventually end up falling through?  You commit to doing something for someone who supposedly “needs” you…and then in the end, not only does it not work out, but it’s taken your time and focus from things that really are more important…yet another unnecessary commitment wasted.

Should we go all out for that guy or girl that we’re head over heels for?

Should we put time and energy into finding a spouse when there’s a good chance it will not end in rainbows and butterflies?

Should we make a promise to a friend or co-worker to carry out a task that could potentially jeopardize the things that really are necessary in life?

…Am I should-ing my pants too much?

I know what the million dollar question is….”Randol, what if it really does work out?”  And my answer is…it just has to be a chance you’re willing to take.  It’s up to each and every single one of us to decide who and what we really care about.

When Ryan Bignham asked his audiences about their big backpack burdens…he was simply trying to make a distinction between what’s important to an individual and what isn’t.  And if you’re willing to carry around the weight of something or someone you give a damn about…then I’d say it’s worth a shot.

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