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Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016: All of the Travel... Domestically Speaking

2016 was a mixed bag of a lot of things. The one thing that stuck out the most: how much time I spent 30,000ft above the ground. I thought it'd be cool to "chronicle" my time in the air, and on the ground, and what may (or may not) be in store for 2017! ☺

Key West, FL - January 4th - 9th
First trip of the New Year. It was not the warmest weather that southern Florida could've provided for us, however it was fun. The hotel was right on a canal so we had a "water view" every day. The food was really good and I don't think I've ever walked up and down Duval St. as many times as I did within these 5 days. The Flying Monkey was the most commonly visited "spot", the Hemingway House was cool, but I can live without all of the cats that were there, and the ghost tours were cheesy but cool overall.


 

Seattle, WA - February 5th - 7th
I love this place! Despite having the most severe allergic reaction to the detergent used by the hotel we were staying at (it was BAD, Hitch-status if you will), this was a low-key, fun trip. Visited a few places I hadn't been to on my previous trips and even though it was rainy for most of the trip (duh), it was good to get out of Boston... again!

 

Los Angeles, CA - April 8th - 10th
The Boo's birthday weekend! It was a lot of fun. This was also my first time staying at an AirBNB. Ps, if you use them, be sure to check "Entire Home" option, do not leave it defaulted to the "Shared Space".  Went to Disney Land for the first time. It was fun to see where the "Magic" began but Disney World will forever have my heart. Met up with some cool folks and overall, California didn't disappoint!

 
 

New Orleans, LA - April 30th - May 4th
My 1st Trip to New Orleans! Met up with one of my homies (whom I so lovingly refer to has my BroMo) who showed me the ins & outs of the place she grew up. I wasn't restricted to the Bayou; we also went to Lafayette and saw a kick ass sunset at the swamp and went to Baton Rouge where I met a host of cool people. Did the "Touristy" stuff: went to Cafe du Monde and ingested WAY too many Beignets (which is basically fried dough, but don't tell the locals that!), went to the jazz festival in a thunderstorm, skated through the French Quarter even with signs that said "No Skateboarding" (oops!), rode the trolley, saw a sink hole (yeah, that was a "thing") and just had an amazing time! 

 
 
 
 

Port Angeles, WA - August 19th - 26th 
West Coastin' yet again! After a summer full of classes, I spent a week on the west coast. I met some new/cool people, and roadtripped about a 3rd of the state (or at least it felt that way). Went to a little German town called Leavenworth, which is absolutely gorgeous! Also visited a place called Winthrop, and no, it was not "by the sea", but actually in the middle of the desert! It was pretty cool! 

 
 
Phoenix, AZ - September 9th - 12th 
Birthday trip coupled with the 1st NE Pats game of the season, I took this trip with my friends from high school. In the kind of heat that would make the devil uncomfortable, I spent my days drinking by the pool, getting a tan I could never get in a summer back home, and reconnecting with friends I've had forever while cheering for our hometown team in a building that was (thankfully) filled with AC! With a Pats win (& this was without Brady), I'd say this trip was a success!

 
 
 

Dallas, TX - September 16th - 18th
Back on the plane a week later, I meet up with my BroMo (from New Orleans) while also meeting a crop of some really amazing people! Went to the NOH8 photo shoot, ate WAY too much good food, and went to the Pride celebration in 95+ degree heat. Slept on the most comfortable couch my body has ever laid on and overall just had a great time shootin' the shizz and making all of the memories!

 
 
 

Seattle, WA - November 11th - 14th
Back to the west coast, yet again! AirBNB'd it again this time... MUCH better experience! Went to a place called Snoqualmie Falls. It was absolutely breathtaking and worth the drive out there. This was yet another little weekend getaway from Boston and given that it was near the end of the semester, it was MUCH needed!

 

December - Stayed my @$$ home!
Finished my semester like a BOSS and figured that I'd chill on the traveling (mom said to) and start planning / saving for next year!
Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal!


Shoutouts!:
  • Thank you Erryca for introducing me to TSA precheck! This has LEGIT saved my (travel) life! Being able to go to the airport an hour before my flight, breeze through security and board the plane with minimal "wait" time is fanFRICKINtastic!
  • JetBlue for being the airline of ALL airlines! They are amazing, and yes I might be a bit bias, HOWEVER, they really are a kickass airline! Plus, the TrueBlue points come in handy, like WHOA!
  • To those I visited and let me stay with them while on my adventures! You all are the real MVP <3
Of course I already have stuff planned for next year (I think it's the Virgo in me).
Here are some places I plan on going to in 2017:
  • Seattle (duh)
  • St. Louis
  • New Orleans (again)
  • Virginia Beach
  • Orlando
  • The Caribbean
  • Huntington Beach 
Image result for that's it 

For Now... xoxox ☺

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Morning After...


As I scroll through my timeline and fight back the inevitable tears (and putting my fist through a wall… anger issues, I know. I’m working on them), I mourn and think, “Is this REALLY real life”? I didn’t think it was possible to feel so many emotions all at once. However, we knew this was a strong possibility and I’ll admit that I am not shocked by this result. That alone makes me so sad.

I’m afraid. As an African American, I’m not regarded as human because of the color of my skin.



I’m afraid. As a woman, I’m told by those who don’t have my body parts what I should be doing with my body parts.



I’m afraid. As an LGBT human, what the shape of my future family could (now) look like and those at the top exuding all resources so that they can prevent my basic human right to be happy.



I’m afraid. But I am not shocked. We knew in the deepest parts of our gut that this could happen. We knew that there were members of our families; our social circles that have made those comments months ago that made you tilt your head a bit. Or they said something that made you question your friendship/relationship. Today I ask those same members, what is it about being whom I am that made you hate it so much that you voted against it? 



I read on my timeline, hear on the radio and while walking to my building… “People are tired of a corrupt system. The system/government is rigged.” You know something? You’re right. For years our system hasn’t been perfect, but each and every day, we fight and live our lives to the fullest (some days being easier than others) and we do our best to live as decent humans.



Once again, I find myself taking a page out of my father’s tree-huggin’ hippie book and trying to find a space of love and peace. This is out of our control now. We can’t go back and change it. It is forever cemented in our history. There is no denying that today will be a rough day, but one thing is certain, as a unit, we are tough. We will (and must) find our way back to love. We will find a way to accept what has happened knowing we can't change it and find a way to keep it pushing. At this point, there isn't another choice.

So when the dust eventually settles, we’ll find our way back to some kind of normalcy. We'll find our way to love, to peace, and to an understanding that even though everyone may not have the same opinion, ideals, or vision, we can respect each other as humans and live our lives the best way we know how.

I'm trying guys. I'm trying...

But until that happens, my heart is heavy for those that look like me, those who fought so hard to be in a country to escape leaders LIKE him. So for those that voted for the misogynistic, bigot, racist, womanizing ASSHOLE, at this moment in time, I have nothing for you. 


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish my homework. I have to focus on graduating so I can find a way to change the world… one day at a time!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Enough will never be... Enough.

Another day. Another week. Another month. Another unarmed black man... murdered. Before this continues, let me start off by disclaiming this is ONLY my opinion (some points are supported by actual facts), but this by no means is geared towards changing your mind on anything that is written in this post. My goal is to open your eyes where you may have been afraid to, even if only during the time you're reading this (for which I am appreciative if you make it to the end of this).
My warning to you... this may be intense.
Unless you've been living under a fairly large rock or purposely avoiding the news lately, a 49ers quarterback has been, for lack of a better phrase, "stirring the pot". Yes, I purposely left his name out for the mere fact that if you actually read the name, you'd stop reading the post.
<< method to madness, please continue >>
It's popped up quite a bit on my social media feeds over the last few weeks which warranted a response with this blog post. I can promise you this...  I won't be offended if you don't agree with what is written below, but so long as you keep an open mind, we'll both get something out of it.

For Real This Time...
We can't deny the following: A conversation has been sparked. A conversation has begun. A conversation needs to continue. You know what's missing from this conversation? Compassion, understanding and the removal of anger as to what he's doing being replaced with the genuine curiosity as to why he's doing it. If I may, why has society become SO "angry" when he decided not to stand for the national anthem? Why does it make society so uncomfortable that a man of color deciding to make a statement in the most peaceful way possible make the masses "uneasy"? Please disregard the fact he's half white and was raised by white parents, it does not take away from the fact he's still viewed as a black man. It does takes away from the core issue here, which is the injustice that so many people have subconsciously/unconsciously ignored.

I feel this strong need to join the conversation, and perhaps maybe start one with you. I want to do my best in answering some of the questions/statements I've seen on my feeds. I hope being who I am can shed a little perspective from the viewpoint of someone you know. Even if you don't know me personally, I hope I can emit some light on an incredibly dim situation.


What is he actually protesting against?
The protest is against the police brutality against those of color that has been occurring in recent days/weeks/months (but has been going on for generations, but that's besides the point). It's not about the flag. It's not to say all cops are bad. We know they're not, but hat isn't the point. When someone of color is murdered by an officer of the law on film, the case goes to trial (or in other cases it gets thrown out), and the officer in question is placed on paid administrative leave, the response shouldn't entail "All Lives Matter". We get that, but again, that's not the point either.

Just as a reference point (told you... facts), for those who may be thinking there is blatant disrespect to the anthem and what it stands for, here is a stanza from the Star Spangled Banner that may or may not have been the "tipping point" for what sparked this conversation/controversy...

No refuge could save 
The hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, 

Or the gloom of the grave:...

If you are unsure of what this particular stanza actually means, it glorifies slavery in the worst way. Granted it is no longer a part of the anthem that is sung, but just because it's not sung does not mean it doesn't exist. So when Mr. 49ers QB decides "enough is enough" and takes a knee, quietly (which by the way, he had done a couple of weeks before anyone noticed), it bothers so many people. Why?
 
But so much progress has been made, why is this such a big deal?
You know something? You are right. A great deal of progress has been made, but when a woman is killed in custody because of a broken tail light, a man is killed for selling CDs in front a convenient store, a man's car has broken down, he has his hands up, he's unarmed and he's murdered, unfortunately, a large amount of that "progress" goes to shit.

You may (as well as are entitled to) believe what you'd like to and continue to think that racism doesn't exist but it's hard to not believe the facts that are presented. Sure, some of you may be saying/thinking, "Well, he didn't comply with the law." "He should've done what was asked of him." "We don't know what happened up to that point." All valid points. You know what else is valid within these points? Murder. You have to admit, it's hard to argue that. And yet, the fact that so many people are in actuality arguing against this point... THAT makes it a "big deal".

Why now? What's the point?
There will never be a perfect time to deal with anything that makes society uncomfortable. Change, of any kind, can be a scary thing and when people are pushed beyond their comfort zones, one of two things can happen: change or regression. I'm not sure about you, but I am beyond heartbroken to continue to read/watch/hear the news of yet another black male who was unarmed and murdered by an authoritative figure for reasons that will never make sense. I am beyond heart broken that when people of color are telling to society to "Stop Killing Us" and the response is "But...". I'm beyond heart broken to see the grainy cell phone video of someone's father, brother, uncle, son murdered for reasons my brain will never comprehend. So you ask, "Why now?" My response, "why NOT now?"

Again, let me apologize for the insertion of yet another disclaimer, but I want to keep reminding those of you that have made it this far in reading this post this is how I'm currently feeling about everything that has been going on. And before the rebuttals begin with all of the gusto about race, socioeconomic status of Mr. 49ers QB or the fact that you think he's being an " ungrateful brat", hear me out.

I have friends / family in the military, past and present (& I'm sure at some point, the future). I also have friends / family who are in law enforcement. They are great people and would trust them with my life. I, for many years, have stood when the anthem was being played. Even at home, unless I really really REALLY had to pee, I was standing for the anthem. I didn't think twice about it. It's just what I've always done.

Then here comes Mr. 49ers QB and this idea of not standing. I'll admit, I was a little thrown off by it as I'm sure many of you were as well. I, too thought it was disrespectful to the values of this country, but the devil's advocate in me thought "Well, he has the right to protest how a certain demographic is being treated, does he not?". Then I did some research as to WHY he took a knee.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong (no, seriously, please do), doesn't the first amendment afford him this right to take a knee, peacefully? He's a citizen of this country who has exercised his right to free speech (or in this case, not to speak), yet... his peaceful protest is a problem. He could've rioted, marched, used his celebrity status to voice some choice words that would've sparked national outrage. He took a knee, quietly... and that's what sparked the "outrage". It's no disrespect to those who have put their lives on the line so that he may be afforded these freedoms. However, when his black counterparts are being murdered without any form of justice, I ask with the utmost sincerity, where does the "disrespect" really come into play?

When our founders were constructing the constitution and the freedoms of its people, they were not for all men to be created equal under God. Sure, it's a nice notion, but let's keep it 100 here. These were written at the HEIGHT of slavery. Can you, in good faith, honestly believe that a black man living in this country thinks he has the exact same freedoms that are afforded to his white peers when he's followed in a store? Wearing a hoodie? Holding his hands up and informing law enforcement that he is a medical professional trying to help his patient, but is still shot anyway? I sure don't, and I can't imagine that you honestly believe that either.

I'm going to be brutally honest here. If you are not a person of color, have not experienced what it feels/fears like to be a person of color in this country, there is no way to fully comprehend what's going on. And you know something? That's okay! Seriously, it's okay. Most people of color aren't looking for your understanding. We are looking for your compassion, acknowledgment and comprehension of the severity of what's been occurring to our people for generations.

If I may provide an example that could provide a legitimate example as to what's happening. Imagine you're Jewish and someone tells you "the Holocaust" never happened. 6 million people weren't murdered. Families weren't ripped apart at the seams and Hitler wasn't as bad of a guy history made him out to be... it's the same thing! The evidence proved that this atrocity actually happened and to this day, people will still question it's validity. Sound familiar?

So when we say "Black Lives Matter", it means we matter too. Our ancestors paved a road drenched in blood, doused in tears, and for what? To be murdered with our hands up by those who took an oath to protect us? You can feel the tears flowing from their graves knowing this isn't what they fought for...

Frederick led the anti-slavery movement. Toussant led a revolt against slavery. Rosa sat in the front of the bus. Malcolm preached of equality and peace. They, along with many others, all mattered. Their lives mattered. The lives of the Sandra Blands, the Alton Sterlings, the Treyvon Martins... they ALL mattered. You can continue to express the notion of "All Lives Matter. The first amendment affords you that right, but understand this... All Lives Will Matter When Black Lives Do. It's that simple.

I am aware I may not have hit on all points you may have thought I would have with this blog post. There was so much more I wanted to write, but enough is enough, in more ways than one. I am open to any conversation you'd want to have with me regarding this. I am not here to fight / argue / change the beliefs of any who reads this. I am merely writing this as a means of release for myself, for anyone else who's heart may be hurting but didn't know how to express the pain they may be feeling, for any exchange of peaceful dialogue... or none at all. My hope is there will be a continuing of conversations and the coming of some understanding of what it could feel like to be on the other side of all of this... whatever that may look like to you. 

I wish I knew who drew this. What a horrifically powerful drawing...
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope this has, in some way, opened your eyes. If it didn't, that is okay too. Again, this isn't meant to have you agree with what was written. You've done more than you know just by making it to the end of this post. That,... is a start xoxox