I am verklempt…

… Anthony got a date. His mother called me last night and told me. She didn’t give me the exact date; all she said was that it would be in October. Of this year. And yes, we were all aware that this would happen, but does knowing make it any easier?

And I know it sounds selfish, but I must be honest and say that I didn’t have enough time with him. He’s gotten under my skin, and I under his. He’s a part of me now. And his mother, oh, his mother…how she must be feeling right now. My heart aches for her, his father and his sister. I will be going to see him in a few weeks, but I’m in the middle of writing him a jPay and I don’t know what to say. I know he doesn’t want any of us to be sad, and I’m trying not to focus on it, but…it’s there. Lingering over us like a vengeful ghost.

I keep picturing him on that gurney…

But do you know what my first thought was? It was how badly I want us to be able to hug or touch in some kind of way. The fact that it’s a possiblility that he may die before ever having another chance to feel the warmth of someone else’s skin on his, an embrace, a kiss…nothing. The last hands he’ll feel on him will be those that belong to the ones who are charged with the task of taking his life.

Shit.

“Fuck fear, LIVE anyway.”

The above quote, which actually states to “Fuck fear, LOVE anyway”,  is courtesy of Bassey…check out her blog here.

Bassey says to “Let fear be the wind at your back and not the brick that keeps you from moving.”

For the past year or two, I’ve felt like I’ve been waiting. Waiting for something, but what that “something” is, I don’t know, and probably won’t know until it happens, if then.

Waiting.

Like a snake curled up under a rock, poised, ready to attack…waiting.

I don’t know why I used that analogy. I hate snakes, so why would I liken myself to one? Why would I compare myself to one of those slithery, slimy, venom-y creatures? Do I consider myself one?

Hardly.

I am  not a snake.

Way to digress, Zan.

Anyway, I hate when I get inside my head. It’s not a comfortable place for me. While I do love this new self-awareness, it scares me sometimes, because it forces me to confront head-on certain things about myself and my life that in previous years, I’d just shove underneath the pile of “other stuff” that I’ve conveniently built up in order to NOT have to deal with certain things.

See, I’m doing it again. Not dealing with it. What gives?

Is there a such thing as being too self-aware? Isn’t self-awareness a good thing? I know it’s virtually impossible to have too much of a good thing, but I guess it can be when it causes me to spend a lot of time lost in my head, trying to make sense of myself and my life thus far and how it all plays into my past, present and future. I worry too much about the future when I should really take things one day at a time and just LIVE, but when I was young and dumb and flying by the seat of my pants…living for the moment, I mean…well, you see where that’s gotten me. The result is that now I’m too cautious, cautious to a fault.

My fear of fucking up has put me in a perpetual state of limbo, waiting…waiting. Waiting for what? Who knows. What I do know is that while making mistakes is a part of life, I spent the first part of my life making so many mistakes that now I’m too afraid to get out there and make the mistake that may end up being the right mistake. So what now? Knowing this, do I just toss off the armor that I’ve put on, the armor that keeps me from living, from loving, from doing? Or do I leave it on and watch the next 5, 10 years pass me by?

(I suck at titles….)

I look inside myself, deep into chambers that I usually keep shut. I see nothing. I feel blinded, bound, tethered, caged. Behind my closed eyes there is nothing of the present or future, but the past crowds close.

A poignant, raw, eulogy for a beautiful, creative, talented woman. R.I.P., Erica.

Bassey's World:

It’s been months since I’ve visited this space. I’ve attempted to start a post ultimately abandoning it in favor of short bursts of thought on Twitter or opting to just keep whatever it was I wanted to say to myself. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to be open and expressive but had also figured out a pretty adept method of feigning transparency. I would give up enough to appear as though I was sharing (and I was) but I was also keeping enough to myself to remain properly hidden.  The last few months (maybe a year) has been no different. I’ve been thinking about coming back to this space but I didn’t know what I could say here without spilling everything. I have a tendency to talk too much and over share and then spend time worrying about who will read what and use it against me or who will read what…

View original post 1,583 more words

….

I know it took me a while to post this, but the cacophony in my head refused to communicate itself through my fingers.

I used to be a proponent of the death penalty. If you took it upon yourself to take another human being’s life, then the state has the right to take yours. Simple, right? Hardly. But this post isn’t about the fallacies of the death penalty. This post is about Anthony Haynes, a death row inmate, a man condemned to death for the murder of an off-duty police officer. More on that later. Keep reading.

You may wonder why I’d become a pen pal to a prisoner at all, much less a death row inmate. To be honest, I don’t even know. I could say that it’s because I’ve been on the other side of the law myself, but even I am not at all too sure that is the entire reason. I guess the “why” doesn’t matter. Anyway, I found Anthony’s profile on http://www.writeaprisoner.com , a website where the loved ones of inmates can post prisoner’s pics and bios in the hopes of finding them someone to make their bids a little easier. I have an ex who is in prison and I do write him regularly, so I wasn’t really expecting to start a pen pal relationship with anyone else, but when I ran across Anthony’s profile, I was intrigued. I did hesitate when I saw he was on Texas’ death row because I didn’t want to start such a relationship with someone who was condemned to die. Not for what you may think, though…the fact that he’d committed murder didn’t phase me so much as the great possibility that he’d die after us getting to know each other, to like each other…

And that is exactly what happened. You would not believe how Anthony has enriched my life, and hopefully I have done the same for him. We open up to each other about everything; he’s intelligent, well-read, very spiritual…I don’t believe he’d be a future threat to society at all. He made a mistake, reacted to a situation in the only way he knew how. Anthony hadn’t known that the victim was a police officer—the man was in plainclothes and was supposedly reaching for his credentials when Anthony, thinking the man was reaching for a weapon, shot him first. Anthony has never once denied this. Due to how Harris County’s “just-US” system handled his case, the Supreme Court had granted him a new trial back in 2009, but then reversed their decision in the following year. He’s submitted several appeals in regards to this, but his final appeal was just denied. Technically he only should have been sentenced to 20-25 years at most. But Harris County is known for manipulating “certain” cases in favor of putting another Black man on death row. Oh, don’t look at me that way. The truth is what the truth is, regardless of whether you want to see it or not.

He says that if his sentence were to be commuted to life, he wouldn’t sign for it, and I don’t particularly blame him. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life in prison, either. However, I don’t want him to die at the hands of corrupt ass Harris County. But yet and still, he has hope, and his hope is contagious. I’m a realist to my very core, but I also believe in God and have faith that His will, whatever it may be, will be done in this situation. In the meantime, I will continue to write him and visit him whenever I can. I have visited a few times with his mother, but since I don’t have a vehicle and she isn’t in Houston very often anymore, it’s now difficult for me to travel 1 ½ hours outside of Houston. His father and I have made arrangements to visit next month, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

As for Anthony, he’s going to continue to read, write letters, pray, and most of all, live. I’m praying for you too, Anthony Cardell Haynes, and I’ll be here no matter what.

There But for the Grace of God…

Last Monday night

Two girls at bus stop on Westheimer, one Black, the other White. I knew from their mannerisms that they were young but they looked older, not only because of the makeup caked onto their faces, but the tiredness in their eyes, the blankness of their glances at each other, and at me as I sat down next to them… I know that look all too well. I could tell they were not waiting for a bus…they were waiting for someONE…someone who would take them to a dark parking lot, or, if they were “lucky”, find an anonymous hourly motel to take one of them to…to satisfy his need for a quick nut, and her need for a quick buck.

“Your perfume smells really good”, the White one said to me. I thanked her and reached into my purse and offered to spray some on her wrist. She looked at me, nodded, and held out her wrist. After I spritzed it onto her, she held her wrist to her nose and inhaled, then thrust her arm under her friend’s nose, who smiled and nodded as if to say that it did indeed smell very good. I offered the bottle to her friend, but she declined, saying that she didn’t want it to mix with what she was already wearing. I understood.

The Black girl then got up and looked down Westheimer…I saw how short her dress was, how high her heels were, and how thoroughly uncomfortable she looked. Less than a minute later, a guy walked across the street from Slick Willie’s, a popular pool hall. He looked at the three of us and I looked away from him and asked the other girl if the bus had passed, loud enough so the guy would know I wasn’t there for what the other girls were there for. She said that one had just come by about 5 minutes before I’d sat down, then turned her attention towards the young man.

He was young, handsome enough, and, as he pointed out, “drove the white Jaguar parked right there” in front of the pool hall. I watched the girls out of the corner of my eye and practically saw the dollar signs light up in their eyes. He knew what they were there for, and they knew that he knew. He told them he was from out of town but was staying in a hotel down the street and wanted some company.

“The both of us?” The White girl asked. “I don’t go anywhere without my friend,” she added.

“Smart girl”, I thought.

“Stand up and let me look at you,” he said to the White girl, who was still seated next to me. She stood, he gave her the once-over, and told her she could come along, too. I looked at them and opened my mouth to speak, but thought better of it and kept my mouth shut. The three of them turned and started to head across the street to the parking lot of the pool hall. “Be careful,” I said, not loud, but loud enough for the White girl to hear. She turned to me and nodded, then crossed the street and ran to catch up with the guy and her friend.

I don’t know why those girls were selling their bodies…the first assumption that most people make is that they’re on drugs…while that is usually true, it is not always the case. For me, it was because I was homeless and naïve…I knew what I was getting into but at the time had felt like that was the best option because I damn sure didn’t want to be on the streets again. It appeared to be a good situation on the outset, but after the first couple of nights, I wanted out. There but for the grace of God, there’s no telling what had happened to me if He hadn’t sent someone to “rescue” me from my situation. I got out before I ended up in jail, beat up (again), raped or dead. There are so many who weren’t so lucky.

For some reason it’s easier for me to be open about my past drug use than it is about the fact that I used to be a prostitute, and no, they aren’t related. The drugs came way later, after the hurt and pain of my past came bubbling up from under the lid that I’d placed on that pot of bullshit. It amazes me how easily we remember the things we try so hard to forget. These past couple of years have literally been composed of me re-living things from my past life and instead of snorting or drinking those memories away, I’ve had to deal with them head-on. It’s not been easy, but I take comfort in knowing that maybe we have to experience certain things so that, instead of looking upon people with judgment in our eyes, we can look upon them with compassion and understanding.

My Obsession…the newest one, anyway…

is Kill Pink bracelets … I learned of these via  Kid Fury, and I have been in love ever since! I am officially a “Junkie”, which is Jia’s (the owner of/founder of/creator behind Kill Pink) affectionate nickname for her customers. I mean, look at these:Aren’t they beautiful? Jia also makes custom bracelets and the customer service she gives is beyond excellent! She treats us Junkies like we are all VIP, which is how customer service should be. So, go check out her site and support this Black woman-owned business! You can also find Jia/Kill Pink here and here. 😀

Untitled…

I won’t even comment on how long it’s been since I last blogged, but over the past several months I’ve been thinking about rebranding this thing…but that’s another blog for another day. I have something on my mind that I need to release.

 

It’s 7:20 on a Saturday morning and I’ve been up all night…a not so unusual occurrence for me, considering I’ve been working the overnight shift for going on four years now and, as a result, my circadian rhythms are totally off. So I’ve been sitting here watching old episodes of Cold Case and doing homework. During one particularly emotional episode, I start to think about my mother, who passed away suddenly of a heart attack in October of 1999, at the age of 45.

 

Being that my mother didn’t raise me, by the time she got me I was 16 and headstrong, and even though I loved the idea of finally living with and getting to know my mother, we all know that the relationship between a mother and her teenaged daughter is a tumultuous one. Add a drug addiction (hers) into the mix, and, well…yeah. I still love her, though…always have. I just wish I had shown it more often back then. My mother, however, on her good days, never failed to show me that she loved me, unconditionally, it seemed. It took her to make me understand that concept.

 

Anyway, there were some days I’d be back in my room doing homework or whatever, and my mother would be in the living room. She’d call me in there and she’d be laying on the sofa, and she’d beckon me to come lay beside her. Now, my mother was not a small woman, and I was much smaller then than I am now, but it was still a tight fit for the both of us. She’d hold me tightly and give me a letter that she’d written to me in her flowery cursive handwriting…the letters would always be on that stenography paper…in the letters she’d tell me how much she loved me no matter what, and that she wanted me to realize my true potential and basically do more in my life than she’d done in hers. She’d tell me things about herself that she saw in me, good and bad, and how she believed in me and never did she want me to think that she didn’t love me, even though she and I would get into it sometimes. She’d listen while I read the letters aloud and then she’d kiss me on the cheek and tell me to always remember that she’d loved me even though she wasn’t there for me for a long time, that all that mattered was that she was there now. I’d never held against her the fact that she’d left me to be raised by my grandfather and my aunt and uncle…because I knew she did it for my own good. But I know that she felt some guilt about that.

 

I had just turned 18 the month before she died, and afterwards I went through a period of transition and homelessness. I moved from pillar to post for quite sometime, and even though I tried my hardest to keep track of certain mementos like pictures and her letters, it wasn’t long before those, too, were lost. That was several years ago, but even now, to this day, I wish I had those letters. I’d like to think that she wrote them for me to have when I was feeling down, or lonely, or unloved, and Lord knows I’ve had plenty of those days. But at least I do still have the memories attached to those letters. And Mama, I love you, too.

My, my, my…

…oh how time flies when you have a blog that you haven’t updated in Lord-only-knows-how-long! It’s 6:10am on a Tuesday morning and I have been awake–save for the one-hour-long nap I’d FORCED myself to take yesterday afternoon–for the past 37 hours…and yes, I’m still counting. To be honest, I don’t even know why I’m here right now…I haven’t blogged in so long.  I obviously have something to say but it’s such a clusterfuck (I love that word) that it probably wouldn’t make sense to either of the two of you that may actually be reading this nonsense. But at least I can somewhat blame it on my lack of sleep. I surely wouldn’t want y’all to think that Zan’s slice of cheese (mmm, cheese…) has finally fallen off the cracker, huh? Yeah, you already do, I’m sure. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. Refer to the title of my blog; letting friends and some “strangers” have a peep inside my head is rather cathartic, you know. Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, please ignore that previous reference to myself in which I referred to myself in the third person.

Totally random and apropos to absolutely nothing (that should be the title of this blog)…well, not really because the holidays are coming up soon…ahem…anyway, I will share with y’all a memory from Christmases of some years ago, when I was a little girl living with my widowed grandfather. My grandfather was a preacher with an interesting sense of humor, which, looking back, is a requirement when you are a 60-something year old man raising a toddler practically on your own. I have many good stories to tell about my upbringing with him, but I digress.

Okay. Do y’all remember those stuffed doves that used to adorn Christmas trees way back when? Let me see if I can find a picture…

All these years later, I'm still creeped out by these things...

Okay, this is very similar to the one my grandfather had, except his had these reddish-orange-rimmed eyes and it was a little bit bigger.

Scared the living crap out of me.

Every year, my grandfather would take that thing and put it on top of our Christmas tree, and every year, family members and friends would wonder why I wouldn’t voluntarily go within 10 feet of the tree and why I’d scream bloody murder if someone picked me up and carried me over to it.  When I was finally old enough to voice my fear of the thing, my grandfather seemed to take pity on me and when it came time to decorate our tree, the bird stayed in the box of decorations while I eyed it warily as if it would come to life and attack me.

When I was about eight years old, our house caught afire and we had to move while repairs were being made. It turned out that the thing had survived the fire and followed us over to our temporary abode. I didn’t figure this out until one day my grandfather came out of the garage storage area with something held behind his back.

“Daddy,” I said sweetly, “what is that you have behind your back?”

He continued to approach me while smiling from ear to ear. Spoiled child that I was, I smiled also, thinking that he’d decided to surprise me with a  new little trinket. I walked closer to him and he withdrew his right hand from behind his back, and in it was…the thing. *cue Psycho shower scene music*. What did I do? I ran. I’d thought that there was no way he, a 70-odd-year-old man, would give chase to a frightened 8-year-old who was very quick on her feet, but I was wrong. I looked behind me and he was close on my heels, laughing all the while. I screamed and cried because I could just feel those red eyes on me. Finally, he gave up and picked me up and put me on his lap and told me that it was about time I’d given up on such childish fears and that was his way of showing me that life sometimes throws curveballs and–unpleasant–surprises our way and that the last thing we should do is run from them.

Thanks, Daddy…

…but 20 years later, I’m still scared of those birds.

A New (Blogging) Start

As I mentioned in my last post at the old site, I have been a really shitty blogger lately but hopefully this move to new digs will inspire me to blog a little lot more and also to be more open in my blogs. For some reason, it was a lot easier for me to reveal myself in often-embarrassing ways in the good ole’ days of the TMI Thursday posts, brought to us by the lovely LiLu, but those days are gone now and since I didn’t start blogging exclusively foor the purpose of contributing to TMI Thursdays, I am certainly not about to stop blogging because there are no more TMITs, however grateful I am for the exposure my blog has gotten from my participation.  As all good things do, TMIT has come to an end and it is time for this little birdy to leave the nest, so to speak. That is, of course, not to say I won’t be posting any more TMI’ish blogs; I mean let’s face it: no one can resist a good TMI story, right? 🙂 I will probably never be as great or as popular a blogger as the aforementioned LiLu or the beautiful Wicked Courtni , or hell, any of the other fantastic bloggers you see there in my blogroll to the left, but I am sure that with more experience and feedback from my readers (this means you), I can be a good and well-liked blogger. I am sure that no real blogger gets into it for popularity or fame, and it damn sure isn’t about the money.  As far as I’m concerned,  blogging can be a learning experience for both myself and for my readers. I could give a shit about comments (love them though I do).  I take joy and pride in knowing that I have benefited you in some kind of way, whether it be by making you laugh, making you think, or by you learning something from my experiences. I have taken something from each and every blog post I have ever read, and I hope that one day someone can say the same for mine.