Travel Diary: Berlin

By: S. Davis

September; Germany:

Why am I crying? Of all places, here?

As I’m connecting the dots over the last 24 hours and strolling to the Naturkundemuseum with a chunk of cheesy bread in my mouth the noise of the city begins to dissipate, as if the volume is controlled by a DJ. There are fewer people on Chausseestr and it’s now silent in the early afternoon. Shops are busy, life is abundant yet you can hear whispers as if they were screams. According to my map, I’m a few blocks away from my destination – which happens to be in close proximity to the Berlin Wall Memorial as well. I have this afternoon filled just like that.

My neck is tight. What the hell happened last night? Did I go clubbing again or did Whitney and I get drinks? Was it both? Was I with Natasha yesterday? Maybe I should check my phone for clues. That’s not going to shed any light on what happened before I fell asleep; my nights are meant for memory-making and not picture-taking, especially when I’m on vacation. My phone spends most days, shut off, and in my locker. There’s no real point to being on vacation and being tied to an electronic leash. Its primary use is as a backup camera to my traditional model.

I’m rambling now and I’m flummoxed as to why my neck feels like someone put a screwdriver through the left side of it and kicked it through, puncturing the skin on the right. I need to eat more. Rewe’s right over the bridge…done. Wait, I already went there and I haven’t finished the bread or fruit cup yet.

The clouds are gathering once more – and I’m certain it’s about to rain shortly. It’s quiet, even the cars are less noisy along this street. Greenery, fantastic; oh, this isn’t a park in the city. It’s the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery. It’s so peaceful. Tranquil. Is it open to the public?

I have time. I can walk around for a bit, I think. Let’s put this food away, this is not a space of recreation at all. After taking a gulp of water I carefully enter the gates and feel the ambience. Two senior women are wrapped in a conversation on a nearby bench and smile as our eyes meet, I smile in return. I examine the headstones: the names, dates of a human’s existence, the family plots, the long lives and the incredibly short ones all resting here.

Pellets of rain rest on my right hand and I look to the sky. There’s still a great deal of sunlight so I have some time before I have to find cover, maybe 15 minutes or so…I guess. A marble headstone catches my attention and then an intricate tomb, another plot holding several generations of an entire family line, a teacher, a wife and her husband, a mother and her son, a beloved brother, the headstone of a child; the rain subsides.

My feet swiftly become fastened to the cement. My shoulders feel heavy. I rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise. I’m centered and I’m not able to move forward or backward; I stop spinning. As I look to the sky, the tombs, the women on the bench near the entrance and the dog walking its owner along Chausseestr…

Why am I crying? Of all places, here?

I spent hours at the Holocaust Memorial and I felt intense gloom. The lives shattered, entire families wiped out of existence; pointless extermination. Murdered; killed for no other reason than they were born and were labeled by a tyrant as different. Some of the notes I read at the exhibit forced me to sit and soak in the despair. Why didn’t I shed tears there? A few times I felt as if I was on the verge especially when I listened to the story of a woman in Nazi Germany, her name adorned the wall from the projector and under her name was a date of birth yet there wasn’t a date of death. It was empty. I’m melancholy as I type this with that image so clear in my mind. I’m in that room once more; that sad, elegant, respectful, poignant, tragic presentation that I listened to for a long stretch of time.

Tears traversed my eyeballs and not a single one escaped my eyelid. Could it be that I expected to cry, at least subconsciously, and therefore it didn’t materialize because of that same underlying expectation? There’s no answer and I’ll leave it at that.

Clouds are beginning to block out the sun as a tear runs down my cheek. I focus intently as it splashes on my sneaker and I look up at a statue of a pained woman. She’s braced on an urn, unable to stand upright with her grief. It took wind out of my chest. Maybe I’m repressing inner pain but I bent over, almost taking one knee, stared at my sneakers and let the process take over. It hurt and I was heartbroken.

I licked the tears from my top lip and exhaled. There was a child’s headstone that took me to another level. I’ve been in cemeteries before – and I’ve never had a reaction like this…but on this day, for reasons unknown, it was befitting. I grieved and didn’t wipe a single tear from my face. I wanted to feel it all. There are times I can be robotic, to the point where I even question what’s brewing within my soul. My heart’s beating and I’m in tune with my emotions. A human exists; Sean is still there.

Death doesn’t shake me; I’ve been exposed to it more than I’d like to admit. When life gives you lemons, right?

My brain begins to send signals to my feet and I’m able to move again. The tombs are intricate, large and small. Some are worn and others look new or freshly cleaned. A small portion of the headstones have recent dates of death and those affect me immediately. A light drizzle turns on a dime and the rain intensifies which forces me to pull on my beanie. I feel angry, I feel depressed, I feel weak, I feel strong, I felt it all. I shut my eyes and say prayers as I walk along the resting.

I mourn. I’m sure the emotion here is connected to this cemetery, these people, and the experience at the Holocaust Memorial. This was a slight detour. The ones I love when traveling without a plan. It’s the reason why I don’t make any.

Lastly, to the three joggers and two bikers: You’re assholes.

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Diaries
Part 1: France
Part 2: New York City (JFK)

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Travel Diary: New York City (JFK)

By: S. Davis

September; New York City:

Strange. Odd. Revealing. Empty.

I sit here waiting for my connecting flight to Paris and…nothing. No anger or sadness, no happiness, excitement or joy. I’m home – as much as I can call an airport that, but nonetheless I am technically in New York City and not a single emotion is rising to the surface.

Apathy?

I’m thinking about all my failures, mistakes and questionable decisions; good, bad…unclear. The outcomes those choices yielded – and how I processed and lived through them. What were the lessons, the silver linings? I can’t find a single one at the moment. I’m sure they exist but I feel like a robot at the moment. The planes are rolling around, awaiting signals to reach the runway, outside of the window and I’m staring at Queens. I am in my city, my heart deeply in Brooklyn yet inside my chest is silence.

My eyes fixate on five birds; it all seems so simple for them. Envy? Sure. The simplicity fascinates me. I place my hand over my heart to make sure I’m actually existing in this moment and I haven’t died in a plane crash or I’m deep into a dream unaware it’s time to make my way to LAX. Am I asleep?

After stepping away from the window I press my right hand into my chest – to the point of discomfort in order to feel my beating heart. Faint, eerily so. My cellular battery is at full capacity thanks to the charging station. As I sit, I contemplate every woman I dated, my education and, above all else, my childhood. My mother, my sister; the concept of home.

What exactly is home?

Where have I gone? What have I accomplished?

Besides surviving some cruel luck I can’t answer that in a tangible manner. I love my true friends with every bit of my heart and whatever’s remaining of my soul but I hate when they attempt to sing my praises for overcoming a devastating upbringing. Life doesn’t award medals just for living it, I suppose. Actually I’m sure it doesn’t. My sister didn’t celebrate a tenth birthday and I’m older than my mother was at the time of her death. Is that true? It is. Does a silver lining exist there?

There are times when I’m maniacally convinced that my life is being televised to another dimension where wagers are being placed on the exact time I break, mentally. Twelve? I was on the brink. Fourteen? Fifteen? Sixteen? Twenty-four? Twenty-nine?

Why am I at my happiest with my backpack, foreign currency and a map finding my way through a foreign country?

I would sell every one of my possessions and leave everything behind to travel the world for the rest of my days. If I found a career path that paid me a salary to travel, I wouldn’t need a full week to shut down my life in Los Angeles.

I’m trying to create luck and opportunities for myself but, personally, I feel that I’m failing, once again. I’m acting, writing and performing but not to the point where I can pursue those avenues solely according to the standards I’ve set for myself.

Shockingly, I find myself inundated with anxiety. I’m bathed in the shit. It’s like a sticky, thick, pungent film that I can’t seem to wash off. It’s resting in my subconscious and it invades my sleep. It won’t subside even on the days I feel like I’m progressing. It’s eroding my ability to self-motivate. I’ve never been a person that felt victim to that emotion and now it’s a consistent, troubling insecurity I cope with.

I’m 37. I’m running out of time.

Travel Diary: France

By: S. Davis

 

For three weeks of September I was in Europe behaving like a caveman pumped with gallons of absinthe. It was fantastic. The last time I had a chance to travel – over international water – was 4-5 years ago and that was a crazy jaunt through the majestic island of Puerto Rico.

Since I have a few of these journal entries – I bring a small notepad to write during quiet moments – why not publish them? I have some that go back as far as eight years ago that I have to track down and once I read them, they’ll be here.

This overseas voyage took me through France, Germany, Austria and England. I’m not publishing these in order because I don’t always value linear storytelling and they weren’t written in that fashion to begin with.

September; France:

A few days into the trip; I’m eating dinner at Le Café Palais Royal, directly facing the Louvre. This has been a looooong day, though it started at a snail’s pace. However it’s one of the hidden nuggets of travel that you uncover while in the middle of it: The day always finds a way to fill itself out, no matter the beginning.

Paris is a beautiful city. The Eiffel Tower is worthy of its reputation yet I find myself exponentially drawn to the Louvre over anything else I’ve seen thus far. I love museums; I could spend an entire day browsing. In fact I spent my first day in Paris within the massive structure for over six hours. I could’ve stayed longer if I didn’t want to eat my arm for dinner.

I admit it wasn’t one of my brightest ideas when you include that I didn’t sleep much the night before and my body refuses to relax on a plane. Additionally, I spent over 12 hours in combined flight time getting to France so my internal clock was flummoxed, not to mention the two-hour tarmac dance at JFK. Aren’t there regulations against that sort of thing?

First, we were delayed an hour and then it took another 60 minutes until we got to the runway, hoping for an opening to takeoff. Akin to painfully cruising through the parking lot of a packed supermarket while fighting the urge to urinate on yourself while at the same time holding the urge to scream waiting for a car to open up an available spot. Just like that…but worse.

Side Note: The elongated game of “Will We or Not?” most definitely cost me a chance at a fun flight with a stunner named Chellie. So I arrived at my aisle seat to find this striking woman sending a text and resting her head on the window. I checked to make sure my seat was correct: 39 H. Yes, it’s on my boarding pass. She’s seated in 39 J. It could be much worse. She’s got the window; I have the aisle and the near future includes a seven hour flight to get to know her. Why wasn’t her seat 39 I? It comes after H in the alphabet though. Sean!

I’ll get back to the Louvre in a second…

Once I sat, I smiled to myself as I absorbed the scent of vanilla, cinnamon, lilies, peach, coconut and baby powder seeping from her skin. Mistakenly I kicked her foot – not a mistake – to get her attention. I apologized and she politely waved it off with a smile. She returned to her phone and as hard as I tried I couldn’t get a sight at who was demanding so much of her attention. Boyfriend? Husband? Girlfriend? Has to be, right? Now there wasn’t any bauble on her fingers but what does that mean? C’mon what are the odds here?

After placing my backpack in the overhead compartment I sat down and she placed her phone into her purse and fussed with reading a novel adorned with a fluorescent cover in…French. This is it; my opening to diplomatic relations with France. Our countries need a better working relationship and I’m the guy for that.

Now over the last few years I’ve felt that my future wife won’t be American. I feel strongly about it. It’s not that I don’t find American women attractive – they’re women, attraction takes care of itself. Emotionally and mentally, there’s a connection I find with international women that I just can’t explain. There are sensibilities…about life that I share, overwhelmingly, with women of an international upbringing. It’s lacking with the women in my country and I’ll simply leave it there. The woman who gets me to utter, “til death due us part” will, more than likely, have an international passport. French women were on my list but in the bottom half of my top ten. Where is my list?

Back to Chellie: She skimmed over a few pages, checked her phone one more time before sliding it into her cappuccino colored, leather purse. She rested her head on her chair and gazed out to the sunny, New York, afternoon with a great view…of the airport terminals. Ugh! I was reading an article on my phone and she took a deep, long, breath followed immediately with a long sigh. I looked over. “Let it land, give her a few seconds before you go all Sean.”

I let a moment pass and inquired about the reason for the sigh. “A little tired,” she spoke softly, barely above the volume of a whisper. She rubbed her eyes and then checked the time on her wristwatch. “I’m Sean, hello.” I extended my hand and she sat forward, “I’m Chellie, nice to meet you.” Then the conversation picked up for about two minutes until the captain announced a delay – which prompted her friend to walk over to our section. Miraculously there was one open seat in the cabin to which she wanted Chellie to fill. What are the odds? Yeah…so that was curtains for that.

So I now had two seats to myself. Yayyy! Ugggggggh! The flight was banal, unspectacular. Totally memorable as I hate flying but I love seeing the world.

Tangent over…

The famous glass pyramids of the Louvre courtyard is ripe for those looking for selfies and such but the actual collection of art itself surpasses the grandeur of the unforgettable glass structures. Impressive is an understatement – and I’ve visited some of the most renowned museums in the world. Hell, I’m from New York City and the Metropolitan Museum of Art is my gem along with a trove of other popular collections of art. The Louvre is damn special. Truly.

Honestly I was dragging my body through the halls and I felt the weight of each individual limb. With the exception of a brief nap, really brief as in I dozed off for 14 minutes before my body remembered that I was on a flying bus and responded accordingly, and flying across several time zones – departing from LAX is abhorrent – I was sleep deprived for over 30 hours. It wasn’t the ideal way to begin my tour of Europe but I’ve done it before. Taking a look back the two-hour delay was a blessing as I was scheduled to arrive in Paris at 7am instead of the 10:30am(ish) time the plane landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport (from which I hopped on the train to my hostel).

There was a stretch of time where I sat for an hour in the museum, people watching mostly, until my legs ceased throbbing. I had a moment where it was obvious that my body had enough. I’ve prided myself on being great when it comes to directions: Where I am in a foreign city, how to get home, what wings I’ve seen in a particularly massive museum, etc. I knew my tank was on empty when I was walking in circles, walking through corridors I’d previously visited, seeing the same staff members in the same places as earlier and trying to find an exit when a kind employee gave me clear instructions on how to accomplish that. Clearly my brain was powering down all systems.

I yearned for the two glasses of red that I had on the flight but I knew that it would be a bad idea to stop for more considering my energy level at the Louvre. It rained for the entirety of that afternoon and the downpour only intensified as the sun fell. I gathered myself and looked at my city map. “Where exactly is the Eiffel Tower in relation to where I am?” The night was here and I was collecting my jacket, having found my way to the main hub before exiting. Boy was it a great idea to buy a jacket before leaving the weather-averse confines of SoCal. I don’t own a coat at all. I donated all of my winter garments before leaving NYC. Being from the east coast and innately familiar with the weather patterns in the beginning of the fall, I knew I would need something heavier than a simple sweater but less clunky than a legitimate winter coat.

My calves burned but I wanted to get the Eiffel Tower done. I have this drive to knock out several major attractions within the first two days in an international city so the rest of my time there I can mill around aimlessly. I was determined to get it done. It was a chilly, rainy evening but those are the types of nights I ache for now that I no longer live in New York City. I’m doing this!

After passing over the Seine River – by the way of Pont Du Carrousel – and seeing the tower illuminating the sky I ignored how the water began to add weight to my jacket. Maybe I should’ve gone with a waterproof option? No question. I made my way down Quai Voltaire/Quai Anatole France with my pace speeding up as the rain become more unrelenting. Underneath my jacket was a simple v-neck t-shirt and I was warm but my forearms were cold. I felt goosebumps. I knew exactly what was happening. I stopped at the Musee d’Orsay to get out of the weather. Rain had penetrated my jacket to the point were there was one layer keeping me from feeling like I was standing in the shower, drenched. D’Orsay was closed but I stood there to track my position on my map and remove my hat which was saturated with enough water to where my head couldn’t possibly remain dry for more than five minutes of consistent exposure.

I wasn’t that far. I murmured to myself as I fished my scarf from my backpack and wrapped it around my neck. I took a brief detour down Rue de I’Universite, Rue de Bac, Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue de Varenne for no particular reason. I can look a little disjointed at times but it’s fun because I allow myself to get lost in order to remember neighborhoods, restaurants, etc. Streets, monuments, shops get burned into my brain that way (more on that in a later entry) and yet this was not the time to explore. I picked up some euros from an ATM and scurried back to the shelter of the Musee d’Orsay. My will finally, mercifully, listened to the message my body, and more importantly, my brain were sending: You have to punt on the Eiffel Tower tonight. Reluctantly, I listened. As I crossed the Seine for the second time and was on the cusp of crossing Quai Francois Mitterrand along Place du Carrousel I noticed the Eiffel. I snapped a grainy, wet, photo and smiled. Maybe my camera had enough too; the battery indicator was blinking; drained. Poetic.

I made it back to the hostel, soaking wet and exchanged pleasantries with fellow backpackers I would have time to converse with throughout my stay. I flirted with the women and went to my room to change. There are new encounters to be had in a new city. Hell yeah! I fought my body for as long as I could. Whatever, brain, I’m going out to meet some women.

After sitting to peel off my wet garments and feel the warmth of the room – I really should’ve remained on my feet – my brain vetoed any further actions along with my carnal desires for the evening. I completely powered off. I was on auto pilot so I was able to hang my clothes and keep my area neat before falling swiftly into a deep slumber. It was a long day. Europe will have me for a month; a night of rest was needed. A night of rest it shall be.

Visit The Barber?

By: S. Davis

Funny how in the aftermath of the Michael Vick interview with Jason Whitlock people are now jumping behind a guy that was maligned for his play as a quarterback and the decisions he made on and off the field of play. So he’s the one to rally behind as it relates to Colin Kaepernick’s abilities under center? Oh the lines people draw….

Vick had to ingratiate himself to any and all who would listen. Furthermore he needed the vetting of Tony Dungy just to get the ball rolling on his NFL career when he was released from prison. His advice to Kaepernick was genuine and I feel that he was doing it for the greater good of the quarterback’s future – but you have to view it from Vick’s distinct point of view. There were steps to take; he had a list of objectives he needed to meet in order to earn his desired result: employment in the National Football League. His whole existence – as far as the NFL is concerned – is to redeem himself in the eyes of the power brokers. Even now, as a retired player, he’s still on the redemption tour when doing goodwill for his  youth camps and outreach for his commitments related to charities involving animals. These are the lenses in which he’s viewing Kaepernick – and the barriers he’s facing in resuming his career.

It is not even close to being in the same universe.

Football is my favorite sport but I personally may go without my favorite way to kill time – until Kaepernick is signed or he retires. So people who have taken lives, although not through convicted murder, can line up on Sundays. You can beat your wife and assault other human beings, drive drunk and kill animals but someone who happens to be African-American QUIETLY protests and that’s the line? That’s the transgression that the league deems as too extreme?

We can’t have that in our game!

How odd is that? Why don’t white people, by and large, understand that the American experience isn’t the same for everyone? It isn’t.

Hey, white people do you remember that tiny, secret, work-exchange program called slavery. It happened. No matter how much you want to forget it. Listen this isn’t a diatribe against white America but we all view this country based on our experiences. Your worldview is built upon those experiences – and the black experience is not remotely close to those who happen to be in the majority in America.

Why the hell are white people so sensitive about the truth of this country? This ridiculous stance the league is taking against Kaepernick is proof.

Vick needed a fresh start. He was convicted of a crime and went to jail. He needed to make things right and be redeemed. There was a legitimate stigma and baggage that followed him. He had a mandate to be presentable to the 32 owners and general managers in the league.

Kaepernick carries no such baggage and, no, he doesn’t need to visit the barber. He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

On the “Dan Patrick Show” yesterday Vick was thoughtful and apologetic. “I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Colin Kaepernick. I’m not a general manager, I’m not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed, and I’m truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words. Obviously we all know his afro has nothing to do with him not being signed.”

Why isn’t he signed to a contract yet? It’s the end of July. There are not 32 quarterbacks in the league fit to start. Kaepernick was a handful of plays away from having a Super Bowl ring on his hand. He had 16 touchdowns against four interceptions last season when possessions/turnovers is the most important facet of football. There’s not a single job for him?

Outside of the game, he’s an activist donating time and money to the causes that inspire him. If Tom Brady led the exact silent protest I wonder how he would be viewed, covered and dissected. I know the answer, he’d have a church erected in his honor and the country would cite him as the coming of a new deity. People already worship him as if he is one.

If whites protest an issue that draws their attention they’re viewed as passionate and true Americans whereas any protest involving African-Americans (and other minorities) get labeled as malcontents, mobs, and breeding a dangerous element. It’s shameful and the media covers things in such a way where it’s normal for them to pass those adjectives out.

This country was started on a rebellion. Americans wanted freedom of expression, clear of tyranny and rule from Great Britain. America protested. America fought. American gained its independence and in that same vein mandated that its citizens do the same. Yet a quarterback staging a quiet and personal protest against the National Anthem – which was penned by a slave owner and anti-abolitionist – is wrong for exercising his right? What he’s doing couldn’t be more American in nature.

He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

Democrat, Republican or American?

By: S. Davis

trcl

Which are you?

It seems like an odd question to drop at someone’s feet or is it? I don’t think it is – and if I did I wouldn’t have much to write about honestly. When you take into account all the missteps that Donald Trump has, and will continue to make, you have to look at those still firmly in this corner. How does it make any sense at all? Maybe that’s another point because none of this seems plausible.

Is America an evolved nation? It’s hard to say that when half of the country is determined to bleed for a party whose current face is belligerent, hateful – and if not glaringly racist, then racially dismissive to frightening degrees while being a known bully to women. Republicans, are you really going to vote for this man?

Once it was clear that Trump would be the nominee of the GOP I considered the vision of him actually taking up residence in the White House. I know how divided this country is, across too many issues to count, so I took a moment and realized that enough dedicated republicans could make that a reality. The feeling that turned in my chest wasn’t one of comfort. The fact that he was doing well in the polls didn’t frighten me per se, I was far more alarmed at the support he garnered to boost him forward. He cultivated a following that would not mute themselves or sit idly on their hands waiting for their turn. There was a level of support that caught a lot of Americans – and those around the world by surprise.

What’s the conscience of this country?

Factoring the damning evidence, video and audio recordings that portray Trump in unflattering ways how can any American look to him as a leader; as the person fit to represent the entire country? His followers defend the indefensible, adorn him with praise at his rallies and keep up their fierce loyalty. It’s as if he’s a deity in their eyes.

From the time I could remember, I was taught in history class how church and state should be separate. I could also realize how that’s not remotely possible being that God and religion is intertwined in government and United States legislature at every level.

Americans scream to the mountains about keeping religion out of politics but isn’t following a candidate, strictly due to party affiliation, a form of religion in itself?

Believing in a message? Check. Ignoring the inadequacies a candidate may express? Check. Defending the most abhorrent transgressions? Check. Crying about being misunderstood when there are decades of evidence proving that the masses truly understand the human you are? Check. Acting with aggression towards a dissenting faction, namely, democrats or independents? Yup.

This isn’t a public service announcement for the campaign of Hilary Clinton, not at all. As a registered democrat I have no qualms about the fact that I will vote for her but I can say with a clear heart that I have voted across party lines in the past because I’m American before I’m a democrat. Is she perfect? No. Is she trustworthy? Maybe I’d let her baby-sit my nephews, maybe? The most important thing to me is that she seems capable of handling the highest office, she has experience – and above all else she seems reasonable.

Republicans, are you Americans or members of the GOP first and foremost?

I’d really like to know. How can anyone think that Trump is fit to be president? I find those that are unrelenting in their support of the republican ticket, knowing the platform – Does he have one besides bluster? – and positions he’s taken to be a kind of human being I probably couldn’t agree on dinner plans with. (On that hypothetical evening, she and I would have to avoid talking about politics at all costs which is fine in my book.)

Remove all political party ties from the equation and think to yourself, as an American citizen, can you vote for him to be president? If political parties did not exist, could you walk into that voting booth and select him?

I’m Just Black…Don’t Kill Me

By: S. Davis

I don’t like to write with anger. There are obvious reasons why but the last few days in America make it damn near impossible. So now it’s not safe to reach for my wallet…ok. How can I provide my identification without being pumped full of bullets?

We surrender and we die. We raise our hands in the air and you still shoot. I tell you that I can’t breathe because you’re putting pressure on my throat and I die. I’m fleeing arrest – and maybe I shouldn’t have run, I get that – but that’s no reason whatsoever to kill me in a hail of bullets that all enter my back.

Do you want us to leave your country? Because I honestly feel you still want us in chains, subservient and asking permission to look you in the eyes while we shine your shoes and press your clothing. Still, in 2016, we aren’t given the same respect as human beings. Pets are treated better in this society than the African-American male. That’s not a hyperbolic statement! An animal is treated badly and there’s such a vicious reaction and sympathy but a black man is gunned down by authorities and thoughts are expressed such as, “Well, he should’ve complied with the officer” or “Why did he talk back to the police?”

What’s the excuse now? “We feared for our lives” is the common response. Fear? When you have the advantage in numbers and the benefit of the doubt in the justice system? You’re afraid? You should feel emboldened to keep the status quo in this country alive and well. I can’t even see straight right now, I’m seething.

Race relations in this country aren’t better; not at all. They’re far worse than at any time since the Civil Rights Movement. You shoot, we die, there’s outrage, it soon evaporates and then another African-American male is riddled with bullets while the world feigns concern and then the news cycle just motors forward. Race will always be a problem in this United States of Racist America. The country was founded on it and that stain can never be washed from the fabric. That needs to be understood before we can mend relations going forward.

We need authentic understanding, dialogue and action. Cops don’t have to kill but they’re trained to use lethal force in almost every instance when tensions are on the rise. Apparently death is the only way to remedy conflict of any kind. I get it. Why can’t training be altered? Is that impossible? Can you just stop pretending to protect and serve and just put on the white hoods already? At least cut out the pretense of justice and get right down to your true nature.

All Caucasians aren’t racists, obviously, but a good portion of their population doesn’t care about race because they say it doesn’t factor in their lives. That’s part of the problem as well. Hey racists, you do know that whites had important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, the abolishment of slavery (this does NOT include Abraham Lincoln) and all the protests currently? Ignoring race and color only exacerbates the problems for everyone in this country. Look at the faces in anger gathered together in the crowd, they’re not all brown and dark tinted.

The problem is too many whites in America just don’t give a shit about anything outside of their bubbles. They don’t feel that they’re part of the larger issue because they have black friends to prove they are clearly not racists. (Because having a minority friend is the end-all to these issues, right?)

I don’t feel American at all today and looking at that flag makes me want to fucking puke. Dialogue is full of shit, action is needed. A(nother) black man will be killed very soon…and America will do nothing about it.

My heart goes out to those in mourning today. My prayers go out to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. My heart goes out to the families of those officers that died in Dallas. It’s just more tragedy…on top of tragedy. It’s savage, disheartening and not a single answer will come out of it.

Land of the free…

What Is Happiness?

By: S. Davis

What is “happiness”? How exactly is it measured?

Personal success? Financial stability? The amount of lovers you’ve had? Being a parent? Having a successful marriage/relationship? Having a great family?

I ponder it often. It must be answered, solely, by each individual. I try to think that “happiness” is relative to expectations – and how close you come to reaching those goals you set for yourself.

I haven’t arrived there yet.