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After not seeing or communicating with him for almost three months, I thought when I finally did see him that my heart would stop and my stomach would drop -neither happened when I ran into him in the hallway today.

13100890_10207943549445542_7039338577417378047_nWhat did linger was a nervous energy similar to the caffeine shakes I get after taking a NoDoz. What lingered was this nagging urge to cry. Through stubborn pride and self-respect I willed myself not to shed a tear.

At the very moment we made eye contact, the person I was calling on my phone answered diverting my attention thus leaving the exchange to an acknowledging nod and half smile in response to whatever it was you mumbled. So here we are several hours later and you haven’t reached out to say anything.

As I have reminded myself so often in the past months, if he wants to talk to me, he will reach out. In the meantime, keep moving forward toward the day when I will no longer love him.


What does that mean to you? To me? How does it manifest itself in your life? In mine?

loyaltyRecently I posted an old picture of some family on Facebook. This picture brought back many warm memories but also some very painful ones. Bitter sweet and conflicted, it invokes emotions that reveal just how complicated and conflicted life can be. That picture’s image is juxtaposed against the actual reality I was experiencing at that time. Pictured are loved ones who have passed to the next realm, a few that are still with us and despite the seemingly boyish grin, a child molester.

When posting the pictured, I tagged several extended family members so they could enjoy their own trips down memory lane. Forgetting that most of those relatives are friends with “He Who Shall Not Be Named” (HWSNBN), I was taken aback and shocked he requested to tag himself in the picture – a request that I have ignored. But this brings me to the question of loyalty.

Many, if not most, family members know what happened because I told them years ago. They are all his FB friends, except for my mother. It bothers me and I wonder is it unreasonable for me to want her to NOT be connected with HWSNBN?

Even though I have forgiven, I have not forgotten nor do I allow him access to my life. Is it asking too much to want all of my immediate family to cut ties with him as well? Does loyalty to me preclude them having any contact with him?

As I sat in the amphitheater listening to Joe Williams’ baritone voice, I longed to talk to my dad. I find myself walking to another section in the amphitheater and sitting on my dad’s lap. Laying my head on his shoulder, I tell him how much I miss him. He responds be telling me how great Joe Williams’ voice is and how I just missed his performance with Joe Sample. The rest of the conversation is a blur but it was more about some great musicians.

This happened last night. It was all a dream. My father’s been deceased 17 years.

I went to bed last night feeling some kind of way about my current life situation and I longed to talk to my dad. It’s been 17 years but I still miss him. The older I get, the more I miss him.

FramptonLiveI could engage my dad in hours-long conversations just about anything but talking about music made the man glow. GLOW! I remember being 9 or 10 years old standing in the driveway of our home to view the lunar eclipse when he opened the trunk of his car to retrieve a pair of binoculars when I saw an album with a white man on the cover. I asked, rather incredulously, why he had that album.  “Baby, that’s Peter Frampton!” He goes on to tell me how awesome the LP was (Framptom Comes Alive). I can’t recall the details of the conversation only how my dad’s face glowed when he talked about it. He was in his sweet spot.

My dad had a vast music collection. An impressive collection of vinyl of which he was very protective and forbade my sister and I from playing without his “assistance”. That assistance was him taking the album from the sleeve and putting it on the turntable himself. He didn’t want his vinyl scratched son!! I did eventually earn his trust and was allowed to use the stereo and handle his collection without his supervision.

Through my dad, I learned to love music, all music, as much as he did although I’ve never amassed a music collection as he did. But I do remember the very first album I purchased though. Al Jarreau’s “Breakin’ Away”. Daddy was so proud that his 13 year old daughter’s first purchase was mister scat himself and not, say, New Edition or Stacey Lattisaw.

As I sit here listening to George Benson and remembering last night’s dream, I’m thinking of my dad. Still missing him but feeling a little closer through the music.

There I go, there I go, there I go, there I go
Pretty baby you are the soul that snaps my control
Such a funny thing but every time I’m near you, I never can behave
You give me a smile and I’m wrapped up in your magic
Music all around me. Crazy music.
Music that keeps calling me so very close to you.

“You can torture or bomb us, blast our district to the grounds. But do you see that? Fire is catching…If we burn, you burn with us!” – Katniss Everdeen “The Hunger Games”

Olivia A. Cole

eric garner

Today, like too many days, I am angry. Today a grand jury voted not to bring criminal charges against the white officer who killed Eric Garner, father of six, with a chokehold. The killing is on video, which many people hoped would mean an indictment and, eventually, a conviction. Not so. Today, America tells us once again that the value it places in black life is nil, insubstantial, nonexistent.

The protests have already begun in New York, and I’m thinking about anger, rage. I’m thinking about things that burn. When the grand jury in St. Louis County announced that it would not be indicting Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Ferguson burned. Over the weekend, I saw the latest Hunger Games film—Mockingjay—and in it, the Capitol executes unarmed civilians, their deaths broadcasted for millions of eyes. I couldn’t stop thinking about Eric…

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I keep replaying that moment over and over again in my head and also the video, minute marker 2:10 to be exact. That moment I jumped, no, glided out of the plane  at 14,000 feet in the air, 2.7 miles, on my very first tandem skydive.

After sharing the pictures and video with friends and family via social media, I was met with feedback that was overwhelmingly positive and replete with admiration.

AWESOME! Kick Ass!! You Rock!!

So many have also responded that they’re too afraid to do something like that. Ironic because this jump was to serve as an impetus for letting go of emotional baggage, expectations, and putting an end to my desire to control things in my life as well as facing my fears. The fear of heights, failure, and yes, success. The past two years has been a long continuous lesson on letting go of material possessions, relationships, expectations, negative thought patterns, behaviors and habits. This skydive was the final exam of sorts.

In that moment when I jumped, I felt more alive than ever before. It was such a freeing experience and I never want to forget that feeling which is why I keep replaying it over and over again.

The goal now is to fill my life with those types of “moments”.

This life is to be lived without boundaries and without fear. I plan to do exactly that from here on out.