Once or…one time only.

Once,

I dated a Boy who loved me and whom I loved.

This sensitive Boy was a poet who composed songs with fragile words on a guitar.

I,

was the girl who recorded black and white visuals of everyday life on an Olympus camera.

Alas,

the Boy needed care in ways which depleted my heavily guarded plethora of emotions.

Drained,

the guard broke, and I left, taking my reserve with me.

The Boy,

recovered, found strength in his songs with fragile words on guitar and now tours all around the states.

His followers,

follow him in awe of the songs with fragile words on guitar.

Once,

I dated a boy who looked like Sting.

This boy,

was an aspiring editor who cut through slices of life with no remorse.

I,

was the girl who recorded black and white visuals of everyday life on a Nikon F3.

I,

married the boy who didn’t love me but loved what I offered in terms of him moving ahead.

Sycophant,         Image result for sycophants

is what a co-worker once called him.

I,

did not know what the word meant and looked it up in hardcover bound dictionary.

Sycophant,

suited him well for he used people for his own benefit.

The Boy,

who composed songs with fragile words on guitar was far more truer to himself.

He,

reached for the stars when they were out of reach and grasped a bunch that paved the way for his travels.

I,

self-sacrificed my recorded black and white visuals of life on a Horseman 4×5. For no one said I was good enough and I was not true to myself.

The boy,

moved on, to a sycophants’ ultimate dream of scoring one who had connections that would propel his self to a lucrative outcome.

Pity the boy could never relied on his own strength and worth.

That or Which or…What did you say?!

I work at a place

that promotes peace and self-determination.

I work at a place

which is anything but peace and squashes self-determination.

I work at a place

that practices a means for communication and conflict resolution.

I work at a place

that due to its shaky beginnings creates chaos, bad morale and internal strife.

I work at a place

which strives to be about diversity, inclusion and opportunity.

I work at a place

that recruited diversity without knowing how to relate to peoples of other races,lacks knowledge in what inclusion encompasses and due to funding lacks opportunities for growth.

I work at a place

where staff are at times, treated like the characters in “The Help” minus buckets, mops, brooms and dustpans.

I work at a place

which allows a false sense of hope in terms of promotions and breaking that glass ceiling.

I work at a place

that gives the allusion of breaking through a glass ceiling and moving upwards­–while in reality–the only movement is lateral with added responsibilities.

I work at a place

that is in dire need of micro aggression repair and reconstruction, involving staff, those who supervise staff and those who should not supervise staff; those who are clueless to culture nuances and those who fall into an economic cushion which does not include eating dollar ramen for a week.

I work at a place

that has new leadership, new structures and systems in place, grant proposals, new directions and staff training that will take this organization to its fullest potential.

I work at a place

where I respect the CEO, the undertakings at revamping an organization in need of restructuring, the hard stance on change and acknowledging what was not acknowledge for so long.

But alas,

I can no longer work at this place.

Que Sera, Sera…or, What the Bejesus Just Happened?!!!!!

Four days in a week turned out to be four days of

Stress, Drama and Conflict.

The results of my reacting to situations instead of choosing not to react.

Stress, Drama and Conflict

greeted me when the New Year kicked in along with some outright, down home-grown rudeness from others bent on hurting those crossing their paths.

I chose not to react.

A lovely staycation week from a toxic place of employment followed.

And, it was peaceful.

Until I returned, one week later.

Stress, Drama and Conflict

greeted me as I passed through the entrance door of the place called work.

And continued to linger around like Pig Pen’s dust and dirt.Pigpen

Two weeks later I started out on a birthday escapepation (escape + vacation) journey to another State.

But…

Stress, Drama and Conflict

 had no intention of leaving me alone.

On the MTA to the Amtrak station, I was shoved by an Emotional Disturbed Person on the #2 train heading to Penn Station.

Why?

Well, my backpack was rubbing against him and I, the little gnat in his scheme of the world was crushable.

Stress, Drama and Conflict

followed me as I exited the train at Penn Station and made me way through the throngs of people locked in their New York Minute rushing to whatever destinations meant to reach.

As I made my way to the Amtrak station with tears streaming down my face with no Kleenex, my intent was to leave all this behind, as it was my birthday weekend, with much to look forward to.

No,

Stress, Drama and Conflict

came along for the ride as the train rolled out with me sitting in the ‘Quiet Car’. They say, “You can’t take it with you…” but I did, as the mofo (mother f***er) hid away in the side pocket of my cheap Amazon roll along luggage.

Stress, Drama and Conflict…
Stress, Drama and Conflict…
Stress, Drama and Conflictimages

was January’s contribution to my birth month.

My birthday escapation (escape + vacation) was not what, it intended to be, but rather a hard knock into what truly is and my avoidance at seeing what was in front of me.

Stress, Drama and Conflict.

A necessary part of life that counterbalances all the good feely great days in between. When everything groovy, smoothy and loveable falls into balance. A euphoric high, bliss for hours on end. images-1

Until…

the time arrives welcoming,

Stress, Drama and Conflict.

 

**Photos courtesy of the WWW

 

Tara-Habby Natural Born Killer or…”I killed a mouse and got away with it.”

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Tara-Habby came to Berkeley Place as a kitten, curious and full of, well…serious attitude!

Who would have known this independent, my way or the highway kitty would grow into adulthood with a ‘tude (attitude) of ‘God save the Queen’ (she is the Queen­—all others, peasants).

The Hab lived with mom and each respected the others’ routines and weirdness. With mom’s passing, she was confused, normalcy disrupted and left alone for long periods of time in the apartment she shared with a person no longer there.

As I was also going through grief, I felt sorry for Tara-Habby. We bonded as kindred souls missing the one who loved us unconditionally. Not sure if grief is over for her as it isn’t for me.20545222_10214218078151672_6773839232260018413_o

She’s adapted well to living in a household with three cats, bent on dethroning her reign with a stint in the dungeon ending with a beheading!!! The greyhound she accepted as I believe she thinks dogs are stupid and not worth the stress.

And yes, the greyhound is basically Santa’s Little Helper.

Tara-Habby is a natural born killer of mice. No compassion, no empathy, no nothing…

She’ll taunt and growl as she plays soccer with their precious bods and although I have tried to intervene, she manages to grip the mouse in her mouth, threatening me, sort of like, “If you come one foot closer I’ll off the head”.

She drives me crazy, but alas she is my mother’s cat as I am my mother’s daughter.

Happy New Year Tara-Habby!

 

 

 

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The Good Work or…putting this piece to use.

As a person of Afro-Caribbean descent, growing up in pre-gentrified, Park Slope, I was that someone who would go to FDNY for help rather than approach a New York City police officer. In my ‘hood, once a place to escape but now a place where most want to live, for me the presence of cops was not a good thing. I treated the NYPD with caution since my experience was that interactions became confrontations, with no guarantee of my own safety.

Years later, when I joined the organization I currently work for, I came with a suitcase of administrative skills; but in the side pocket of that suitcase was also my distrust of the NYPD. I shared these feelings with colleagues and our former CEO, in response invited me to observe one of the NYPD mediation trainings.

After going over our curriculum in preparation, the CEO informed me that I was not only going to observe, but I would be co-training segments as well! Through his encouragement, I was able to demonstrate mediation techniques to the officers. The officers were not just receptive to my instruction, but to my surprise, they shared another side of who they are.

While demonstrating de-escalation skills used by mediators, the conversation naturally shifted to how officers feel they are seen by the public. I felt privileged to hear from them about their challenges in meeting difficult objectives in a difficult environment, and responding to a public that distrusts their blue uniform. As one officer stated, “Civilians don’t trust us and see us in a bad way”along with another officer’s experience as being called ‘a killer’ when responding to 311 calls are some of the stories I heard, and still hear. During breaks and lunches, the officers and myself shared personal stories of a New York City going through many political, racial and economic changes. We also shared family photos and compared tattoos.

Over time, rather than seeing the antagonism I experienced from officers in the past, I saw hardworking, dedicated men and women who care about their work and communities! To me, they were no longer officers behind a uniform, but people with families, going through life, experiencing ups and downs as we all do. Essentially, they could be my next door neighbor, the boyfriend of a friend, the person I joke with on the check-out line­­—in other words, a regular person.

Police officers are required to attend the trainings provided by the place I work for and usually show up reserved, unhappy about the morning commute, the disruption to their schedules, and unsure how mediation training will help them through a tour. The officers accumulate mediation skills to fill their own suitcase of knowledge. At the end of four days of training, officers are better equipped to mediate conflicts before they escalate, defuse charged interactions, and build relationships and repair trust with their communities. They also learn to appreciate that when we slow down escalated interactions, we begin seeing others more three dimensionally, something we also teach our mediators.

What I didn’t expect was that I would be the one learning to see police officers more three dimensionally.

I am honored beyond all measure to train and coach NYPD officers of various backgrounds and have come to appreciate what they do to keep us safe. Thank you, NYPD, for your dedication towards the job and most of all, thank you for doing what you do!

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After the glory…or Marathon Blues 101

Wowza.

So, I did a little something on November 3rd, 2019.

That little something transpired from 6 months of training runs breezing through Spring, suffering through Summer and damn right anxious to get it over with by Fall.

I completed my 2nd TCS NYC Marathon and crossed that finish line 30 minutes faster than last years’ time at the same marathon when it was my 1st. 989336_297160320_XLarge

Oh my…

The glory is truly mine!!!

Actually, the glory will always be mom, my mom, who encouraged me to trot (run) the marathon in the first place.

So yeah.

The glory is mine anyway!!

But…

After the marathon is done, the pain in the hips and knees linger for a few days. The ravenous appetite, the rampant endorphins, Facebook pages blowing up with “Congratulations” and other accolades galore—the glory gradually dissapates.

Glory, Glory…hallelujah!

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Yesterday the doldrums came and took the place of glory, sometime after midnight, while I was trying to sleep, fighting with my greyhound over bed space she feels entitled to. Today the doldrums left and I’m back to reality.

No guts…no glory!

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Back to a schedule, back to work, back to crowded subways, back to garbage pick-up days, back to life back to reality.      

 Glory be.

 In three weeks, (God willing) I’ll be running another marathon on another Sunday, November 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Got to keep chasing Glory!!!

 

 

 

“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round”…or Boredom is a b…h.

This week…
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to experience each day as most were not.

This week…
Has not been the greatest, in terms of my living through each day.

This week…
Was filled with drama, angst and all bad things I’d like to drink away which one knows doesn’t work.  Once the drunken haze dissapates, reality kicks in big time and not always on the butt.

This week…
Should I break it down? I guess.

Work
At times it can be a mindless job with no mental or creative stimulation. At times the work reminds me of an assembly line production with an oversize stamp freshly dipped in a way too small ink pad primed to stamp ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ on a pale beige Staples office envelope. (ok bit of exaggeration on the assembly line thingy)
Work
Is where I go to make the Benjamins.
Working 35 hours at a place filled with drama, angst and all bad things or how about having my mind on autopilot reciting Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy. As paperwork piles up only to realize on the 3rd round of chanting— I AM the monkeys!

Work
It can be a job where your strengths and creativity are appreciated and used to the best of your potential. It can also be a job where your strengths and creativity are stifled, squashed and thrown out the back door.-oh well.

Work
If you don’t own your own business, you are subject to the rules of others, sought of living the life of a peasant on a lord’s land (the lord being your boss and the land, well that depends where you work).

Work 
Is all the wonderful stuff that makes most of those who work only working for a the Benjamins at the end of the day.

*John Lennon 

 

Not sure where this came from but worth the read:
A father before he died said to his son: “This is a watch your grandfather gave me, and it is more than 100 years old. But before I give it to you, go to the watch shop on the first street, and tell him I want to sell it, and see how much he offers you”.  He went, and then came back to his father, and said, “the watchmaker offered 5 dollars because it’s old”. He said to his son: “go to the coffee shop”. He went and then came back and said: “He offered $5 father”.  “Go to the museum and show the watch”. He went then came back and said to his father “They offered me a million dollars for this piece”. The father said: “I wanted to let you know that the right place values you in the right way. Don’t find yourself in the wrong place and get angry if you are not valued. 

Those that know your value are those who appreciate you, don’t stay in a place where nobody sees your value”.

 

 


—images from the WWW

 

Running…

Running reminds me of mom

As I’d leave for a training run she would open her door on the first floor and say, “Remember to trot!”.

I’m not sure if the term’trot’ felt more secure than her visioning me running. Trotting is safe, running, well… we won’t go there.

Unfortunately, I am not as graceful as a penguin or as fast as Usain Bolt.

In comparison to penguins, their trotting is far more graceful than mine.

In comparison to running, well, I’m definitely not him.

I think I’ll just stick with ME. Running, trotting, with mom’s memories and encouragement tucked inside my heart.

People hurt…

People hurt and continue to hurt with their words and actions.

I hurt and continue to hurt people with my words and actions. 

Can’t speak for others but my hurt is usually a reaction of feeling powerless to events dealing with cultural ignorance or bullying-you know, those who feel privileged using rude actions and words because of belonging to the majority rule.   

I’d like to think I hurt people less than they hurt me because when people hurt me it really hurts because I allowed them access to my vulnerabilities and thoughts. Of course, I should know better at selecting whom to share with and whom not to. Because all it usually takes is one ignorant comment to set me off.

Well…

Sometimes, that’s what happens.

(Not as severe and there may be a be a tad of exaggeration with the gif)

I once believed in transparency for it eliminates lying. Lying has a way of accumulating more lies which in time is impossible to keep track of what was said in the first place. Transparency is well…transparency,  except when it’s used against you to file a formal complaint based on a one time reaction during a heated diversity discussion in which you mention something that another found offensive and antisemitic. 

Does that person even know what happened in Rwanda when one race was exterminated without the gas chambers while the world turned its backs on the killings because well…black lives truly don’t matter except amongst our own which is adapting the black lives don’t matter and killing their own because society says its ok to do so. 

My ongoing battle with race and trying to find my place in its many levels of acceptance, bigotry, entitlement and so on, is so done. I’m okay with who and what I am, as, I am my father and mother’s daughter who fought an incredible economic and social battle to make sure, me…yes me would be taken care of-emotionally, identity and financially wise.

GOD bless my parents who created, nurtured (though at the time I didn’t think so) and prepared me for life in a country that disrespects POC’s and is intent on making our lives a miserable road to hoe.

My hoe is sharpened and hangng in my left hand. As I say to those who try to stomp me down, “Don’t Fuck With Me!”

Time waits for no one…or, Mom is 100% right.

Time waits for no one…

Procrastination and I were once best buds. We’d hold hands preventing me from moving one step forward, relishing in the here and now and not getting what needs to be done, done. I’d bitched to mom about the consequence of not getting it done and she’d sing song, “Time waits for no one. It passes you by and it goes on forever like the sun in the sky”. Annoyed with her singing I would repeat the song and insert the “sun in the sky” with “a bird in the sky”. Mom replied with, “Birds don’t fly forever” and we would lapse into back and forth retorts ending with hysterical laughter.

Faith move mountains…

“My second interview with them, do you think I’ll get it?”, me to mom.

“Que será, será…”, mom to me.

“What!?, me to mom.

“Faith move mountains”, mom to me.

“You mean Faith moves mountains”, me to mom.

“No. Faith move mountains”, mom to me.

***Me-throws eyes up to the sky while leaving the room

Elenita or Boobie

Almost everyone in this family has a nickname.

Judy

Nina

Peggy

Bobby

Dinero

Tub of Lard

Aggie

Fatee

I’ll…

No nickname.

Just plain ole Elena from most in the family and those ‘most’ not even pronouncing it correctly. (Thank you, my uncle, for naming me after Tia Peggy’s middle name!). 

But…

Not mom, my mom. 

I was “Elenita” and most especially when she was so happy with me, “Boobie”. 

Boobie, to me, means love, a mother’s love, unique and so only bestowed to the child mom truly loves, her undisclosed favourite. 

Yes.

I am/was my mom’s favourite and no shame in that.

Not all have a blessed mom for whatever reasons and, 

You know what?…

That’s more than okay as you don’t need a maternal figure to get that special feeling or nickname from: some fathers, friends, uncles, aunts, cousins-relationships period- that make you feel so special, unique and loved for who you are.

If there is no one for you, I will be that someone for you!!!! 

(As being alone right now with no mom or support from family, I know, cannot always be so good).

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