29 September 2009

I Love My City, But.....

.......this violence has GOT TO STOP!!!!

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling GRAND! This almost NEVER happens as I am the anti-morning person. Mornings don't really work well with me. No speaking. No conversing. Nothing. Not til at least 11am (it used to be noon; I've made progress). But yesterday, I woke up feeling like it was 3pm on a bright summer day. Last weekend was awesome, my birthday party was a huge success and I spent the rest of the weekend with friends and family. I really enjoyed myself. So, on Monday morning, I put some pep in my step, rocked on to my Pandora on my SlimBerry*, and headed to work with all smiles. I felt great!

As the day wore on though, I learned of the killing of 16 year old Derrion Albert that happened on my birthday last Thursday (I did not watch the video) and as I kept being informed of his truly horrific death, my mind took a flashback to 2008, where I lost two friends I'd known since before my high school years, one of which I was really close with. (I blogged on it here)

The more information I received, the more depressed I became. This is so much bigger than the single death of this young and innocent teen in Chicago. This, at least for me, was the straw that broke this camel's back.

I really can't take it anymore!

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly blah....a complete 180-turn from yesterday morning. No more pep. Pandora was on but...I wasn't feeling it really. I was just....blah. My heart was heavy and I felt weary. The crime here is getting worse and something MUST be done in my city!

On the whole, Chicago needs improvements across the board. The education system is lacking, there's money in the city, but it doesn't go to where it needs to go to help properly educate our youth...and pay those educators a more reasonable salary to aid in motivating said educators to...educate in the first. I know funds aren't as available given the size of the city and the amount of kids and teens that are in dire need of a proper education, but something has to give.

If education (what should be a child's primary focus in their 'growing years') were where it should be, I firmly believe that the violence in the city wouldn't be as high as it is right now. It's STAGGERING right now. In 2008, Chicago reached a whopping 538 senseless killings of persons under the age of 25 in ONE YEAR! (Sidenote: My friend Kermit being the 500th- Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr was at the funeral; I spoke with him briefly). Now that total is worse than that and it isn't even October yet?! There's a problem in the Chi water. A huge problem.

It goes without saying that Chicago is one of the most important, most talked about, most admired cities in the entire world. And because of that, we even have a bid for the Olympics in 2016 to be held here. This is an event that will literally cost millions on top of millions (if not billions) of dollars. Funds and donations have been put in play for the bid to be placed in Chicago for a LONG time. It's a truly exciting event but.....

....my mind just says, "what about the violence toll? What about these kids?"

Mayer Daly's mind is primarily on the Olympics. "We'll deal with the kids and the education system later. That issue will always be there" he says with his actions.

......Okay...but the kids may not always be here.

It's just a sad situation overall in my eyes. Priorities are once again shifted onto what can be "covered up" whilst maintaining the "image" that Chicago is of "Elite-status"--one of the best of the best-the creme de la crop. Top dog. Whatever.

It's all smoke and mirrors.

The reality of the situation is.....yes, Chicago is awesome, but underneath that awesomeness--underneath the ravishness of Navy Pier, Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Ave, Hyde Park, Bronzeville, the beaches, the museums, the art and the culture--lies a terrible underbelly of a different kinda "culture"--a rawness that reeks of hate and pisses ignorance which breeds fear within our kids who are afraid to go to school for fear of being killed en route due to the senseless killings taking the lives of their peers right before their eyes.

I'm moved to start a non-profit organization of some sort--an Afterschool Program for our youth here in the city. I was a mentor in grade school and college. I'm moved not solely by Derrion Albert's death, but by the consistency of the deaths here in my city as a whole.

Something really needs to change. I just hope that change can be sought before it's too late...

*SlimBerry is my BlackBerry Tour

23 September 2009


Tomorrow is the date. 24 years on this Earth. It's my Golden Year....

And how do I feel about it?

*shrugs* I've got no feelings really.

Fact is...as I get older, I tend to look at Life through a different lens, expanding my perspective by pulling through the perception of others and their experiences and lives and also...by simply learning Life's lessons as I go.

If I could sum "me" up in just one word and expand on its meaning for me, well.......I couldn't. There are far too many adjectives that can be used to describe my person. I guess that's why I'm a Libra. I'm the most indecisive person I know. (I'm also a Virgo personality-wise, but that's neither here nor there)...

I'm constantly working on myself, trying to improve, elevate myself in all aspects of my life (intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, etc), and just try and become a better person all around. It's definitely a process that seems to never end and while I'll always be a "work in progress", I've taken note of a few things that I've noticed about myself on the way.

1. I'm Impatient - This is in reference to myself as well as things and people around me. At times I feel like my impatient nature is waning and I'm getting "better" but then something will happen (or not happen) and I'll get impatient with myself...or others around me for that something happening or not happening. I contribute this to two factors...

2. ...I'm Spoiled (still) - Blame P3 for this, but before him, I was unreasonably spoiled. He just curbed it. smh. No I am not the only child. I'm the middle child and I definitely had a case of Middle Child Syndrome, but I've always found a way to get my way and if I don't...I dont "throw a fit" but....I get impatient. Second factor would be...

3. ...I've got a bucketload of Pride - I've joked many a time that when I leave this great Earth, my cause of death would be none other than me partaking in one of the Seven Deadly Sins far too often. That deadly sin.......is Pride. I've got a very high self-esteem and I'm pretty independent and very used to having to deal with everything on my own. With that being said, I dont find comfort in asking for help. I see that as a weakness. Yes I am aware I need to work on this....but it, just like the other things listed, is a process, nothing to be achieved overnight.

4. I'm very indecisive. In everything - It's a mess. I flip flop my mind so much, I oftentimes get a headache. I weigh out the pros and cons of Life far too often, preventing me from simply "living" and giving trust a try. This brings me to my next point....

5. I (still) have unbelievable trust issues - I swear I'm going to try VERY hard to work on this. I say this very often. I'm serious this time lol. Me taking on the weight of myself plus the weight of others can only go so far. I'm actively taking the baby steps into becoming a more "open" person by opening up when necessary (see: giving advice, as a means to help someone else, but not just run of the mill chatter). Gotta learn to crawl before you walk and walk before you run.

6. I really do love but I'm not easy to love - It's all guard and my inability to pull said guard down at times. I realize it's all up to me. I've just got to learn patience with myself in easing the guard as well as patience with those around me as they muster the patience towards me while I very slowly let down said guard. (Did that confuse you?)

7. I'm growing out of my Fear factor I've held onto for so long but...it's still relatively there - Life experiences has me at a more "optimistic realist" approach in Life while at the same time fearing advancement because everyone knows that advancement comes with falls first. I'm just afraid of the falls. I don't heal easily. Again, still a process I have to get through. I'm learning.

03 September 2009


I don't usually do dual posts. Okay, sometimes, I do...but most of the time, they are intentional. Today though, it is not.

About an hour after I posted my last post, I discovered that Maia Campbell was on the Trending Topics list on Twitter. (For those non-Twitterers, a Trending Topic is a theme of discussion on the popular social networking site, Twitter.com). Anyway, it appears as though a YouTube (and HoodTube) video was released on the internet, which showed Maia Campbell visibly angry, disoriented, and lashing out at the "cameraman" who was clearly picking fun of her for nearly 7 minutes.

Stop. Let's rewind a bit, shall we?

Who is Maia Campbell, you ask?

Remember the sitcom, "In the House" with LLCoolJ and Debbie Allen? She was the long-haired pretty and popular high school teenager on that show. Some years later, it is rumored and "confirmed" that Campbell does drugs.
Here is the issue that most people don't/didn't know:

While it is true that Campbell does drugs, this is what people don't understand. Maia has an illness. A mental illness. She is Manic Depressive. That, in so many words, is the equivalent of her being Bipolar. What this means is....unlike the run-of-the-mill strung out person on drugs, she CAN NOT just "stop herself and get herself out of the trouble she caused" and other hoopla I've seen spread and dispersed like wildfire over the Twittersphere. Because she has a mental illness, she LITERALLY can't control her own life and "make her life change for the better" and blah blah. No. She is mentally ill. She needs help. Professional help.

"But what about her taking medication?"

That is the other thing, folks. While I am not at all a psychologist, I do know a bit about psychotic disorders and I am very well-versed on the effects of Manic Depression. With Manic Depression, the mind goes through extreme mood swings that literally go from a "manic" (extremely happy, gallant state) to extreme depression (so down, suicide is considered state). Medication, though is triggered to help the person with this issue usually has some TERRIBLE side effects. Side effects so terrible, the Manic Depressive person can literally opt out all together from taking their meds because the side effects are just too much for them to bear (some side effects are actually periods of EXTREME Manic Depression until the body adjusts to the medication and there is no telling just how long that transitional period lasts).

Enter Maia's Introduction to Drugs

Maia knows she isnt feeling "like herself" and she is well aware that she is "out of mind" or however you want to term it. But those meds? You can [almost] forget it. To a person with Manic Depression, those medications may feel like you're going "crazier". But drugs? Drugs, just like alcohol, allieviate you of your mindstate and make you feel "better" about yourself and your surroundings. This is why drugs (and alcohol) are so addictive. The "feel good" factor is something EVERYONE who has ever been tipsy, drunk, high, etc can relate to. Maia knows she needs help but the help that is offered to her makes her feel worse. The "natural" reaction is to turn to drugs--a stimulant that makes a person feel better temporarily. Once it wears off though and reality kicks in? She's back to feeling manic or extremely depressed...and she can't get out of it. Thus an addiction so that that "feel good" factor doesn't wear off so easily is birthed. She needs help. Professional help.

So stop.

Just stop with the the jokes and making her a hit on the Trending Topics list. It isn't funny. Stop with the assumptions on what you think you know about her situation. She may have "done this to herself" as far as doing drugs goes, but if you REALLY think about/educate yourself on/take a minute to let it all sink in.......she literally can't help herself. She needs help.

When you are out of mind, you are literally not responsible for your actions. Period.

I advise people to read a very good book by my favorite author, her mother, Bebe Moore-Campbell. Her mother died in 2006, a day after Maia's 30th birthday of a brain tumor/cancer. Before she died, however, she penned many a novel and is a GREAT author. The book I advise yall to pick up and read is: "72 Hour Hold". It's a fictional tale about a mother and her relationship with her daughter that has Bipolar Disorder (later termed "Manic Depression"). This book is also closely related to her relationship with her daughter. I read somewhere that it is that relationship that gave her the inspiration needed to write the book.

To learn more about Manic Depression, click here...

CB on the TV

(I couldn't think of a more "catchy" title at the moment. Deal with it.)

I haven't really blogged in what feels like months. Busy as a bumble bee. Nah...busier. But now that I've got some time, some thoughts to share with the world, and a little soapbox to stand on, I figure I'll give it a go. Ride with me:

So last night, I was watching Larry King feature Chris Brown's first interview since the fight him and Rihanna had in February. Twitter went crazy over the talk of Brown's ridiculous bow tie as well as his very apparent juvenile-esque demeanor while being interviewed.

Here's my take on the interview:

I think that Chris Brown held his own during the interview. In such a greatly media publicized debacle, I believe that given the circumstances, Chris Brown acted as any guilty, young celebrity who is bombarded by Larry King with the same question asked 527 different ways should act. He was respectable to both himself as well as Rihanna, well-mannered and to my surprise, didn't lose his temper one time. Personally, if it were me, since I hate being asked intrusive questions, much less asked the SAME question over a hundred different ways, I'd have exploded. But of course, I'm no celebrity.

Many times, Larry King asked intrusive and rather "illegal" questions trying to pick into the private conversations Chris Brown had with Rihanna and each time, Brown responded with, "I'd rather not get into those details out of respect for Rihanna as well as myself". I'll have to admit that I was impressed with the boy, not to mention.....he looked fine as wine. Damn. But that's completely besides the point (I just never really noticed it much until last night, but still....). And of course, Chris Brown stumbled a little on his wording and appeared "inexperienced" in his interview. I'm not making excuses but I majored in journalism in college. At the end of the day, Chris Brown is a very young young man in a very grown-up type situation. I understand that Chris was/is nervous and spent the ENTIRE segment making sure his words were articulated correctly. It was obvious that he did not want to say something that could be twisted around in a way he did not intend. And if he came close to saying something questionably incorrect (wording-wise), he had his lawyer present to step in. I can't fault this interview at all.

Many times during the interview, Chris Brown apologized, citing how sorry he was, that he still loved and is still in love with Rih Rih, how his actions were "not like him" and how he wished he would have "handled the situation differently and better". He even stated multiple times that he had no recollection of the night's events. He blacked out. I believe it fully. Why? Well because it's happened to me before. There have been (very VERY rare occasions) where I've gotten so angry my face turns red and I can't see clearly. When this happens, I usually just fall asleep but if I don't? I won't remember anything that happens immediately after I get in the "mode". One of my friends even called me "Hulk Mal" last time I was in the "mode". The point is...black outs happen. And they can happen while angry.

Personally, I think everyone should give him a chance to redeem himself. Just like any other human, people make mistakes. We should only criticize those that make the same mistakes over and over with no lesson learned in sight.

It goes without saying that no one can tell Rihanna what to do as far as reconciling with him on a relationship level. I can only say what I would do. In such a situation, I strongly believe in "forgive but don't forget". While I am probably the worst person to say this since I have grudge issues myself, if it were me, I would probably forgive Chris and accept his apology...........but I would not reconcile to be his girlfriend again. Again, this is just me, my personal views. At the end of the day though, everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves a "second chance at life". He just won't be getting a second chance as my man.

I think that some people truly tend to forget that these celebs are humans first before they are celebrities. It goes without saying that Chris Brown did something HORRIBLE. He SHOULD be reprimanded, fined, and punished. However, I also don't believe that his one infraction should cause a permanently tatted Scarlet Letter to be drawn on his chest forever labeling him a "horrible person". If the tables were turned and you were Chris Brown, wouldnt you think you deserved a second chance?

I've never been a purchaser of any of his albums but I do enjoy his music. I do hope that he receives the help that he needs (I hope that BOTH of them receive the help that they need because for both of them, things are far more than what we see on the surface, psychologically) and somehow puts this behind him.

While watching the interview, in between laughing at his bow tie (really though--a BOW TIE?! smh), the compassion in me kicked into high gear and I couldn't help but really hope for the best for him. I can't and won't write him off yet. I just hope that when he does come back, he is a better person both inside and out.

Here is the clip of the show in case you missed it: