Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Temper on the subways #52essays2017 Week 18

Living in NYC you get to people watch during your travel and get to have so much insight into many peoples behaviors and mindsets. I have been observant and witness to some of the most amazing and consistent displays of human compassion and kindness as well as the most base obnoxious and willfully ignorant outburst and behavior by people. This here is going to be one of those times I have witnessed something that disturbed me.
It all starts with me walking on the Fulton platform waiting for my A train to arrive and walking up the platform where I can get to a spot that will allow me access to the first 3 cars of the train. I observed this Indian boy of no older than 15 yrs old, sitting on one the railings underneath the stairs minding his own business and on his phone. This was a place many people sat and or leaned back upon as they wait for their train as seats are limited on the platform if at all present. This day was already rainy and damnp leaving people in somewhat of a mood that can only verge on tense or annoyed. This older white women walks by and her plastic bag pancho gets snagged on the knee of this youth. The pancho catches and causes a tear along its side between her arms and flank. She jerks a bit from the snag, looks at the youth trying to decide if he did it on purpose. He obviusly did not as he softly apologized. She walks away shaking her head, headed back down the platform on her unmerry way. By this point I'm just passing the young guy in my swift NYC stride. This is when I hear a ruckus erupt behind me. Would you know this woman walked back to this kid and started screaming and cussing at him.
"You shouldn't be fucking sitting up there. Get the fuck down from there you fucking idiot!"
The boy, eyes wide and very intimidated started to gather his book bag and move..
Enter me, Captain save a ho got up right in his face without looking at her and said, "you stay right the fuck there. You don't let no bully get in your face and tell you to move. She had plenty of room for her plump ass to meander and navigate where she was going. You stay right where you at and ignore her stankin ass!" At this point i shot her a glare and she shut the hell on up and walked away from him.
I want to know what warranted such an outburst from her towards the youth. Granted the kid could have been more aware himself of where he sat and perhaps the length of his legs as he was quite tall but there is no need to talk like that to that young man who already apologized. I could not help but wonder would she have talked to him this way if he was a white child? Did she realize she was just as unaware as he was in where they were at the time of their collision and interaction? She could have easily watched her surroundings instead of assuming he was ware and would move.

I often mind my business but I see it more and more as people tend to lose their good sense or consideration for train and or subway they share with other people. I see people who think nothing of your space and comfort as their need to get home or wherever they are going overrides all things including others.

Today a black man screamed at a Latina woman because every time the train moved her bag or arm grazed him and he was not one to be touched in a crowded train in the over populated NYC. She was standing with her reasonably sized pocketbook clutched to her side and he wanted to tell her how she should be standing so that he would not get "bumped". Wrong Latina though. While not the best display of wit or intelligence, she went into pure survival mode and decided to scream louder than him and tell him about himself and how miserable he is and where he needs to keep that misery.. namely not directed at her.
They went at it for a short while and then it died down. I stepped closer to her because I was not confident if this man would hit her and while I loathed the notion of having to put down my kindle and scrap on the train I was ready to defend this young lady if he tried anything. Thank God it never happened and I got to read some more.

Oh new York transportation perhaps one day will clean you up and get some order... or maybe a psychiatrist present on the MTA.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Clothes #52essays2017 Week 17

Today was great.  I bought new clothes that were smaller than I'm used to buying.  I tried on shirts I couldn't close before and can now close comfortably, and fitted jeans I could or would never wear. See, people my size didn't wear fitted anything.
Going shopping has always been a depressing thing for me to do.  To look for cute clothes they never made in your size.  Feeling taunted by racks and racks of clothes that were all the stylish rage but you could never fit into. The myriads of clothing marked your size but definitely run smaller than average not only wasting your time in trying them on but dealing a back handed sinister stab to your emotions. Marked XXL but really a medium large. 
There were moments in a dressing room I stared in horror as the shirt i just tried on did not lay on my thick built body but instead clung to mounds and dimples I tried hard to ignore.  It willingly punted me to every problem area I avoided. If i stood still enough and listened i could feel the clothes laughing at me.  They carried the mirth of the manufactures who must have owned this moment.  My own private humiliation.  Tears have often streamed down my face as I looked at myself in these intimate private moments.  I would never be stylish, I would never be cute..i couldn't get the clothes I want I instead had to settle on whatever could close and button around my rotund frame.
Frustrated,defeated and annoyed as I would leave clothing stores.. wanting nothing more than to head to the food court for a will placed taco bell meal or Auntie Anne pretzel.. fuck it I can't fit these clothes anyway.  Might as will eat the goddamn carb laden food available and accept my date as the frumpy fat die with the cute face.
This day though, this day was different.. I got jeans i liked and they fit.  Clothes I was going to throw away that didn't fit me last summer I was able to keep.  This is new, this feels good.  While I don't feel remarkably attractive by any means it felt nice for once in my 34 years of shopping to actually feel positive about clothes shopping.. feeling stylish or dare I say Cute.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Brothers mine #52essays2017 week 16

I can tell you that me and my brothers rarely had a relationship when we lived together or when we lived on our own. The interaction was arms length at best. I do not know if it was the age difference, or the emotional baggage that comes from being half siblings, or the sibling rivalry and growing pains of normal family structure. All I knew is that I felt estranged from them my whole life. It is odd I got older one day having not interacted with them in such a long while and here comes my mother with an altered reality of life and how our whole childhood supposedly happened, reminding me that I should call my brothers and see how they are doing. UURRRR!!!!!!! :Record scratch: what was that mother? Why would I call and speak to family that never really acted as such. My earliest memories were of being picked on almost every moment. The smile spread across the face of a sibling as I got my ass beat for something I did or something I was blamed for by the smiling sibling. Or the teasing and constant reminder of how fat I was or how Girly I was, or how different I was. It is odd I would somehow be asked to forget this to hold on to a notion of brotherhood that existed only in the fantasy of one mothers mind. Do not get me wrong, I do not hate or never not loved my brothers. There was an obligatory love that one learns growing up as one is reminded of the importance of blood relatives and family. However, I could not have talked to my brothers and be just fine.
When we did speak it was always the same awkward conversation of them asking me the same questions, "How are you? Still work in the hospital? Still work for radiology? Still singing?" This is it, the only questions they could ask because this is all they knew of me in all of my life on this earth. I worked in medical and I sang. Remind me again why I needed to get involved in this so called relationship?
It is then I started thinking of mortality and my mother aging and feeling if her and my father leave this earth they would really like to leave behind an actual functioning family. A legacy of family members that can stick together and carry on some semblance of normalcy. But what if our normal was this? Divided and individual aware of each other and there in theory?

I recently connected with one of my brothers as he got a new girlfriend and his first child, my niece and its beautiful to see him being a father to not only her but to his girl friends son. It strikes a familiar cord as my father raised my brothers who had their own father from my mothers first marriage. Maybe this was the legacy that was supposed to be left behind. The responsibility, the good morals to step up to the plate as you take on a new family.

This got me thinking what was my legacy? This set me down a whole new slew of thoughts.

Legacy and me? Hmmmm

Monday, April 24, 2017

Stockholm is a summabitch #52essays2017 week 15

Stockholm Syndrome is a mother fucker. I will not even understand how it happened and why it is even an actual thing.
My recent run in within my spiritual community has been a known domestic violence abuser and offender who many have ignored and or turned a willing blind eye too. One of his wives was a woman I spoke to over the years and a friend of friends and I just found out now since she could not speak of certain things until the divorce was finalized. Having viewed this mans pleas to guilt and her first hand accounts of some of the things she had to endure as his wife and mother of his children.
Me and a few others decided to put this ass on blast all over facebook and bombard his page and groups he uses to target women. We posted and tagged everyone we cold and can and have continued to.
This awareness has allowed other victims to speak up and tell their stories and thank us for our voice and the safe platform for them to tell their truth and perhaps relieve some of their burden they have not been able to share.
Low and behold my friend called me to thank me as someone who was molested and in physically abusive relationships. She called to tell me, that while I may get some push back from men for questioning and exposing toxic masculinity and male misogyny and all the privilege therein it would be women that would defend this behavior the most and be our greatest obstacle. I could not and would not believe such a thing. Why would women do that? Are they not tired and sickened by what "maleness" has done to them?
Then someone mentioned Stockholm syndrome and I had to look up the exacts of the term. Stockholm is considered a complex reaction to a frightening situation, and experts do not agree completely on all of its characteristic features or on the factors that make some people more susceptible than others to developing it. Many researchers believe that Stockholm syndrome helps to explain certain behaviors of survivors of World War II concentration camps; members of religious cults; battered wives; incest survivors; and physically or emotionally abused children as well as persons taken hostage by criminals or terrorists. In addition, people who often feel helpless in other stressful life situations or are willing to do anything in order to survive seem to be more susceptible to developing Stockholm syndrome if they are taken hostage.

Is this what happened? Have women felt terrorized and held hostage by maleness? Has their experiences been so traumatic they convince themselves they love these individuals and or need to defend them? I had women blatantly ask "How long ago was the abuse, because if not recent its a moot point. A thing of the past." Because trauma can simply be forgotten with some time, and no one really suffers from traumatic events of their past that still haunt them and or shape various aspects of their life. (All of that was sarcasm)
Another asked, "Maybe he has changed and we should give him the benefit of the doubt." I have never been one for giving someone more than one chance to hurt me the same way again, and while I do believe people change most often there are steps one must take in that process. For instance naming their victims and apologizing to them. In this instance a public apologizing would be even greater since so many people did not know this man who was teaching classes to the community and empowering so many was also a predator and offender.
It was women who came to the forefront and called us "Petty haters" and "Shit stirrers who are getting in peoples business." I was under the impression as a community we govern and watch out own and therefore the well being of one another was a shared responsibility.

I am appalled at this point and have no words on something that plagues so many. I only know that I can only encourage my sisters that they can and must proceed to speak up and out and being complacent and silent is not the option. As it is women have bared the pain us males could and would never and we owe them all we have. We all came from a mother or benefited from a maternal figure. I am ashamed at the eye rolling and huffing and puffing I did in my youth at girls and women who tried to tell their story. I was already conditioned to familiarize myself with the term 'drama queen'.
I apologize now by being vocal and standing along side my sisters and it has been eye opening to the reason I was called to serve under a female deity in my priestly role.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Music #52essays2017 week 14

I do not recall a point in my life when music didn't do the most for me. Music was my therapist, my friend when I felt alone, my solace in any time of crisis. I am still amazed at how much music plays a part in every part of my story.

I was maybe 2 years old when I would sing Fragile Rock theme song (correctly) and supposedly, as my mother tells it, singing to the top of my lungs "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf.

Between 5 & 6 years old I would listen to my father singing Under The Broadwalk, by the Drifters. This was a cassette tape he had made at Coney Island I believe in one of those karaoke record your own cover booths. I was enamored with the sweet Bari/tenor tone of my fathers voice.

I was about 8 years old when Mariah Carey first came out. Living in Long Island myself, and seeing this biracial long island girl rail thin with frizzy curls hitting highs and lows with such grace. I knew the moment I heard her voice I would be a singer. I knew that I wants to make sounds that were pleasing to the ear.
Along with Mariah's music I was avidly listening to EnVogues first Album, Born to Sing. I can still tell you the many nuances of that album but most notable the songs Lies, Part of Me, Boogie woogy Bugle Boy of Company B remake of the Andrew Sisters Classic, Just cant Stay Away a remake of Natalie Coles original, Don't Go and of course Hold On To Your Love. I was amazed at the harmonies and how perfect they blended with the hip hop beats that were hitting the air ways with more and more R&B melodies. These were the two albums that influenced my love of singing.
This was the late 80's into the 90's. This was the time of boy groups Shai- If I ever Fall In love, H Town -Knocking the boots, Silk- Freak Me, Boys II men- Motown Philly & Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday, Mint Condition- Pretty Brown Eyes. Or the other girl groups SWV- Weak and I'm so Into you, Salt & Pepa- Push it & None of your business TLC- Aint to proud to beg, Jade- Don't walk away boy & If The Mood is Right, Zhane- Groove thing & Hey Mr. DJ, Brownstone- If You Love Me. It was am influx of sound that became the soundtrack to the life and happenings around me. These songs informed me more than any news broadcast could. I was learning the various feelings of the times through the innocent ears and eyes of a child. I was learning about love, life, empowerment, fun, sex and various other things I had yet to understand and experience but wanted to.

My father saw my love for music and made sure to always play the good music there was to be heard. Good music were the Milk Crates which held countless vinyls of groups I never heard and artist I would only know because he made sure to point them all out to me when he played them. He made sure the Vinyls played well every weekend as me and/or my siblings did any household chores. This was Stylistics- Stop Look Listen & Betcha By Golly Wow & Break Up to make up & You Make Me Feel brand New, Delphonics- Ready or Not & La La Means I Love You & Didn't I Blow Your Mind, The Moments- Love on a Two Way Street, Dells- Oh What A Night & Stay, Manhattans- Kiss and Say Goodbye & Theres No me Without You, Main Ingredient- Rolling down the mountainside & I'm so Proud & Everybody Plays the Fool & Just Don't Want TO Be Lonely, Ojays- Stairway to Heaven & Forever Mine & Used to Be My Girl, The Originals- Baby I'm For Real & The Bells, The Spinners- Love Don't Love No Body, Summer Madness- Kool and the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire- Mighty Mighty & Reasons & Fantasy.
He took me down many avenues of female singers too Like Patti Labelle & the Blue Bells- Down the Aisle & Oh Danny Boy & Somewhere Over The Rainbow, The Three Degrees- Maybe, Emotions- Don't Ask My Neighbor & Best of My love, Rose Royce- I'm going Down & Love Don't Live Here Any More, Mary Jane Girls- All night Long, Rufus feat Chaka Khan- Tell me Something Good & Stop on By (and countless others).
This was my soul reaching music this was music that reached into me and pulled feelings out that I could not express but reveled in. I This was the music I would compare all other music and singers to. I wanted to always feel something stir in me instead of just enjoying the good sounds made by singers.

It was in my journey I began to listen to Patti Labelle as a solo artist, Luther Vandross after Change, Angela and Renee, Lisa Fischer, Rachelle Ferrell, Phil Perry, David Peaston, Phoebe Snow and countless other artists who pleased my ear and soul. It was in this time I began to be vocally trained by the late great Lilian Coran of Smithtown, and the formal training by classical vocalist who taught me music. Cynthia Lee and Anne Kollar of the Brentwood School District. I took my gift seriously and I competed in state and county competitions singing anything from Opera, to Jazz Standars to Broadway belt to the back of the house numbers. Music colored everything I did.

I am one of those music nerds (and I am so glad other singers and musicians do this very same thing so I know I'm not alone) who will find some small part in a song and become obsessed with it. Which means I will listen to that one part 5000 x's until IM tired of it because it was so overtly great and or Subtlely amazing and I needed to cackle my joyous cackle which only occurs when I'm estatic, or shaking my head and slapping at the air because anything this good encourages me to act some what violently in the most playful of manners.

It was a culmination of things that made me feel music in relation to my gift was much, much more.
Rachelle Ferrell first said two very important things that made me re think everything about music and ones individual gift. First thing she said in a live concert at the BLue Note I attended was, "Do not compare yourself to me or any other singer. Understand that what you do and how you do it is amazingly you. I cannot duplicate what you do nor create what you do, it is solely your sound and your expression. You are creating a thing in the moment only you can." This coming from a woman who could sing at opposite ends of the piano and who could give you such textures of her voice you are never quite sure is actually happening in the moment or transmuting through this reality from another world. However, what an amazing thing to say.
As someone who struggled with self worth and or talent this was something I needed to hear, the world needed to hear. I often compared myself to other singers and thought, "I cant sing like that. All that range they have and the ability to do incredible things with their voice, I sure as hell can do that. Why even bother trying to sing?" This I didn't realize was foolish simply because what I do was what I do and it was not mean to be compared against what anyone else does. I was competing with no one. I was simply creating and expressing.

The second thing she said was in a youtube interview, she said, "The Bible states that in the beginning there was the word.,, and the word was God. God spoke life and life was... this is vibration in sound. There is energy in what we do when we create sound and we therefore are creating energy and vibration.." This blew my mind. Linking the sound ministry we create with instruments and voice to creation of energy and the movement therein. Is this not the very truth by which music arrested me from the beginning? It stirred something in me, the sound of it made me tap into emotions of various kinds and I was able to empathetically connect to artist and what they were singing about despite my inability to fully relate.

Then I joined Celebration Spiritual center in Brooklyn, where I have received some of the most valuable lessons in stepping into my artistry and music ministry. I have the pleasure of vibing with a choir of wonderful singers but led by the amazingly talented Greg Stamper and Yolanda Batts who execute every song they sing with poise and power. I was pushed into this wonderful space of allowance, surrendering a part of myself to the music and letting spirit do the rest in guiding me through the song I sang or we sing. I have had the absolute pleasure of people approaching me after services and using a specific word in relation to my singing. "Healing. Honey. Warm." These three words have been repeated to me by almost everyone that ever approached me and it humbles me that I am allowing my gift to be what it is and that those who need it are getting from it what they need.

This is why music will always be my saving grace no matter what I do. It will be my muse, my lover, my friend, and my soulmate.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lost my voice #52essays2017 week 13

Sometimes we go through changes that are both physical, emotional, and spiritual. One, you would think has nothing to do with the other. If there is anything I have learned with in the last 4 years was that there is a law of correspondence. The law states, "As above so below. As within so without."
I hope to share with you a moment of transformation for me that was traumatic and detrimental and yet led me to such revelations that there was no place else to go but in the state of repair.

It was odd when my voice changed. It was gradual. It was a process learning to be quiet, growing in exhaustion in which to speak above a whisper felt arduous. This started after two years with a man I had fallen in love with. At that time I felt that self sacrifice and compromise was the qualities and traits in which to probably keep someone. That if he saw how much I would give up for him or see how much of his needs and likes I would place before my own that this would somehow make me more loveable.

I had lived through the awful experiences of not being loved or desired by those I seemed to be attracted to. I still wonder if I attracted those individuals in a subconscious sabotage because on some level I felt I would not attain such a person or relationship in my life or did I just have the worst fucking luck when it came to picking potential mates. I remember going to the clubs with the cuter and even the not so cute friends who still got hit on or were desired by others. I stood in the side lines sipping my drink while watching their drinks or watched their coats from the table. I would see them lost in revelry dancing with the guy who vied for their attention. I remember feeling so invisible.

The loudest voice of all would always be the creep voice. The creep voice is the voice that tells you all the things you aren't and may never be. The creep voice never had laryngitis, and probably would never get it. This voice asked all the unanswerable questions. Questions that had no real answer just left you there willing to fill in the blank with what you think the answer may or must be. The voice never speaks certainty to you, just suggest slyly what may be and then abandons you to your thoughts. In the above examples brought the questions to mind rolled though my mind like thunder through the sky just before the storm hits.

Here they came

"Always the bridesmaid never the bride. When will someone notice you? Are you desirable at all? Maybe you do not look interesting enough to even notice. Is it possible you are much uglier than you can realize? Will you have someone? Will you ever be happy with someone? Will someone you like ever like you back?"

Left with the assumptions of NO and Yes as I felt they applied.

Just riding these feelings and these thoughts I had just started a new spiritual practice. I had started to learn about the Orisa and my spirit guides and started to really delve into feeling something other than my brooding thoughts. MY mentor at the time had told me to get to know Oshun who in most respects had been the Yoruba Deity of Love and attraction. She never knew how I felt inside as many did not, I never mentioned or hardly ever mentioned what was wrong with me. Sure I acted out at times when I could not carry it anymore, but I think people just chalked it up to my quirkiness or acceptable crazy. My mentor had told me to do a trabajo or spiritual ritual to help bring things I want in life. I made 5 small yellow cakes by hand and decorated them with 5 different toppings. I was to place this in the Name of El Caridad Del Cobre but dedicated to Oshun.

I of course poured out my heart to Oshun asking for a man, I needed someone to love me and better yet show me they wanted me. Notice me and want to be with me for something long term.

My shock when a week or two later a man hits up my online dating profile, a profile many did not hit up unless they wanted sex or wanted to see more pics before ultimately deciding I was the six packed blonde thin guy they actually wanted. This man was black, mature, employed and had a love for music and the arts. This was a far contrast from the people I met and/or tried to get to know.

We started seeing each other exclusively with in the first month of dating, or so we said. We started having great sex and when I refer to great sex I am referring to the sex that makes you forget of your size. Fellas and Ladies if you have ever had a size issue or body shaming issue and you were able to have sexual relations that made you totally not focus on your insecurities or focus on what position you can or cannot get into you find yourself in a position of opening yourself up and allowing your usual guard to be taken down. This was such an important thing for me... someone who encouraged me to take off my shirt during sex and demanded I be fully exposed and fully me and who knew the weight I carried on me physically and emotionally. I think this was one of the factors that made me fall all the way in.
This man loved music so much and would introduce me to new artists I never heard of and would buy impromptu tickets for us to go see them live. This was someone who wanted to shower me with gifts and not the other way around.
This man loved to cook and my fat ass will never complain about that. I wasn't the one cooking for a man I liked and trying to entice his affections with a well cooked meal, just the opposite. I was receiving a plate of food.
This man met my parents and got along great with my father, in fact we went on vacation with them. Something I thought I would never do in my life.
Within the first two years this man proposed to me. Funny story I sent him a picture of the ring I would want if he ever thought about such a thing as proposal. He received that pic the very day he was going to actually get the ring to surprise me with. The funny thing is he went to a jewelry store and happened to find that exact , ring and the person who sold it to him was named David. He was willing to propose to me and declare this to all his family and mine.
These first two years were bliss. My notion of love was all of the above.

It was the next 5 years that I questioned what had led me to that exact place with this man? What was I asking for when I did that ritual? What had I released into the universe not just in my words but in the undercurrent of my energy? It was the desire to be seen and be on someone's arm for pride sake. Yes I had thrown the word Love in the mix but based on an idea of what love looked like instead of what love is. How could I have known? I had up until this point not experienced any love, but Oshun/God brought me what I ultimately asked for.

It started with invalidating everything I had. Let me buy you a new CD player because yours is old. It was a disguised gift wrapped in satin ribbons and bows of judgement.
Having moved into my apartment after a subletting "incident" with his place, I noticed all my things I had needed to be changed or his accepted and used. I tried to cling to the things that felt familiar and were fully operational but I was told I was being immature and sensitive.
When disagreements arose and I would voice my annoyance or my feelings, he would storm out slam doors and shut off emotionally and communicatively. I was left abandoned in a room unsure if I can or should follow, in fear that at any moment I could be alone and unpartnered.
The intimate interaction ceased as he one day told me he would no longer play a versatile role in our exchanges leaving me to be the sole one to be on the receiving mode of his affections. There was no regard for what I felt about it or how it related to us, but the decision was made. I took back what power I could by telling him he would only get sex when I wanted then because I was not going through all the preparation required for gay sex. He was therefore on Booty rations. Yup that's right, Booty rations.
I noticed I began to grow tired very quickly and in turn in fear of not fighting or seeing his upset I would rather stay silent and avoid all of it.
This led to me being put in a position of almost no opposition. I had not strength or will to fight. I had no voice. The once strong, "I wish a mother fucker would silence me and try to control me!" was grossly silent and bound in the fear of loneliness.
My singing voice had totally changed. My once high and clear voice had become raspy and much lower as I lost the range I once had. None of the things I could do on a good vocal day were available to me. I was betrayed by my own damn voice. I took no notice or realization that my singing voice was only mirroring my figurative voice which was no longer being used to express itself...myself.

This was the start of some very heavy feelings, guess which voice reared its ugly head in full volume? Just guess which voice reeked of Creep and was back to remind me of those same kind of questions which had no definitive answers but left me feeling just as hollow and empty when I had to answer them or attempt to?

My voice at this time was lost, it hurt to try.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Unconditional Love #52essays2017 week 12

It was 15,000 years ago when Man domesticated dogs. The dogs have since then been bred and modified to best serve mans aesthetic pleasure or desire to have an unconditional companion. I think most experts say that most people fall into two categories, cat people vs dog people. I grew up with dogs through every single moment of my childhood. They were the fist loving interaction I had that encapsulated affection and the expression thereof. Despite my love for the canines there was always some trauma that left me bereft.

When I was a child we had Pebbles she was our Chihuahua that my uncle bought from a crack had for I believe $20 bucks. We also had a Doberman mix named Olly. I believe Olly found his way into something poisonous and died somewhere in my 4 years of age. Pebbles, however was the little ball of affection. Her small rounded head her large ears and her fearlessness of anything and anyone. She moved with us from Astoria, Queens as into our Brentwood, Long Island home.

In this time we had acquired an Alaskan Malamute we called "Lobo" on the account that he looked like a wolf. He was a crazy dog who hated being contained by fences and would often attempt scaling the fence and was successful a few times. He also tried to hump any living female dog he encountered whether they were in heat or not. We all loved Lobo, but one day upon coming home he was just gone. We couldn't tell if someone came in the yard while we were away and took him or if he successfully scaled the fence and ran away to some dog "haven" where he spent the rest of his days happy. (Once can still dream)

In the interim we had found a Doberman on our door step one day. She was affectionate and hungry. We just had lost Lobo and we still had left over dog food. We fed her and watered her and when no one claimed her we took her in and named her, "Dutchess." She became our new love and quickly fell into the family fold. She was very protective and intimidating and was a natural alarm system when visitors approached the house. She would lay down and place her head down when we had stopped to pray, which was often in a house of Jehovahs Witnesses. The only issue, we had to keep her away from Pebbles. Pebbles the first fierce Queen of the Sosa household was not to be usurped by a dog 5 times her size. No one ever told Pebbles she was a small little thing, she was grander and tougher than any Doberman that could ever enter her space.

One day I was super tired and I had went into my parents room to lay down for an afternoon nap. The room had been empty because usually we would place pebbles in there when we let Dutchess have roam of the house. After waking I got up and hazy from sleep I walked out my parents room and into the kitchen where my parents and some of my siblings were sitting chatting. Everything happened so fast, Dutchess hopped up form her bed in the kitchen ran towards me and it was too late before I looked down and saw pebbles was just stepping forward from between my legs. it was all to fast Pebbles let out a growl but Dutchess grabbed her with those Doberman jaws. The next few seconds I could only stare and hold my breath as I saw Pebbles play the part of a ragdoll in the throws of a death shake that large dogs and wolves only do to kill smaller pray and or render flesh from a fresh hunt. I don't remember how they got Pebbles out of Dutchess's mouth but I watched in further horror as pebbled tried to gain balance and walk but could not as it appeared Dutchess's front canines had impaled our precious Pebbles head and caused some major brain damage. We all were in tears and Pebbles took her last breaths in front of us and Dutchess went to lay back down as if her territory was now claimed. The raw survival and brutality of the animal world is always existent no matter how much we may intend to domesticate.
Dutchess had mated with another male Doberman and gave us a litter of 18 puppies. Who knew Dobermans came in so many colors. We had Black Dobermans, Red rust colored Dobermans, Blue silver Dobermans, and the rare Fawn Sandy colored Doberman. We sold all of these rare dogs and somewhere in the mix my mother and brother decided we should breed the dogs. Pick the best sire of the litter and find other Dobermans of various colors and create contracts with the owner of the Bitch and or Sires of the other Dobermans. From this point on we were used to having puppies in the home, seeing mothers through their pregnancies late at night or the resuscitation of puppies who may have been birthed in distress or who seemed unable to draw their first breath with ease. We learned to bottle up formula and bottle feed the runts of the litters or the puppies the mother rejected. We even had to aid a whole litter who suffered from respiratory problems due to a condition of the blood the mother Ruby, a red Doby from one of our litters had developed. It was the night we failed to save 6 remaining puppies and had to bury them in our back yard in the wee hours of the morning. I remember feeling so powerless at not being able to help these puppies after having successfully helping other litters into their new lives.

The Doberman breeding soon became too much. My mother was not in the spirit of continuing on this mission and my brother picked it up instead. He wound up finding a way to breed White Dobermans the rarest of them all. He also took up dog training and would train the dogs to react upon command. Often I would dress up in a padded suit and he would sick the dogs on me and would call them off in german commands. He extended his training to Rottweilers and German Shepherds which he would sell back to the Suffolk county police.

IN this time I was getting older and like most young teens I wanted something of my own. I wanted my own space, my own room, my own clothes, my own style, and my own pooch. It was at this time a woman we knew had found a mid size Staffordshire Terrier who was wandering the streets of Brentwood. The story was she may have escaped form some local resident who may or may not have fought dogs. The evidence was that her ears were chopped to the smallest nubs. This was explained to me a way for other dogs to not get to bite at those sensitive ear flaps if the dog fought. When I first laid eyes on this pitbull, she stole my heart. Its like we saw only each other in that small span of time we were introduced. She ran to me like she had always known me and I quickly through myself to her level and let her nuzzle close into me. Reassuring her that I was not dangerous and very much friendly. MY parents watched with smiles, but I saw that look on my mothers face that held suspicion about the breed of dog. At this point in the 90's Pits were only known for dog fighting and mauling people. I convinced my mother my responsibility factor and how much I would walk and feed this dog and they agreed as long as she got along with the dog we had at home, Apollo.

Oh Apollo.. Apollo was a fawn Doberman from the first litter Dutchess ever gave us. He became my fathers pride and joy, and my brothers as well. My brother had trained the dog exceptionally well. When we bought "pepper" my new pit bull baby home we introduced her to Apollo through a fence. They did not take to each other. Apollo puffed himself up, the ridge of his neck and back raised in threat and growls from somewhere deep in his throat. Pepper stayed put and remained alert her stance solid her stare firm. She did not back down at all but just stood her ground unafraid and willing to take what he was going to give. My brother having observed dogs in such close proximity having trained them he viewed himself as somewhat of an expert. He decided the fence allowed too much of a barrier and would not give them the actual opportunity to smell each other and interact. I thought it a horrible Idea and I was so scared to have lost this dog I already imagined spending so much time with. THe gate was opened leashes were placed on both dogs there circled each other and mock played and then the interaction of sizing one each other up because tails wagging and the two began to play fight. We all breathed out in relief.
Pepper became my best friend she cuddled me and would gentle take my hand into her mouth and place my hand in between both her paws and lick at my hand as if that was her way of holding me like perhaps she would with one of her puppies, if she were to ever have one. This dog was the sweetest dog I had ever encountered or had within our home she was docile and loving. She slept in the kitchen on her large dog pillow a few feet away from Apollo.

It all came to a head. My brother had bred Apollo with another Doberman bitch and the litter produced some beautiful fawn Dobermans. Two were left a runt we named Kojak and his brother I named Caramon. They sat I our kitchen in a large crate away from Apollo who was threatened by the two small but male pups. One day Apollo really feeling himself decided to urinate all over the cage and small puppies, a display of his dominance over his territory. Apollo was an asshole, it was plain and simple. He was like the Grumpy old man you knew lived with you but you put up with because the whole family accepted him. In my younger years Apollo once growled and cornered me to try an intimidate me. He was a 120 lbs Doberman, I decided my crazy out matched his and so I took the broom from the corner and lit that ass up. That was the first and last time Apollo tried it with me ever again. The air was off that day, there was tension in the air but I could not tell what it was or where it came from. One of the dogs had started to bark and it set Apollo off he ran towards the cage baring his teeth, to meet him was Pepper whose maternal instinct for the two puppies was in full effect. Apollo did not take kindly to her challenge and decided to attack her. This was my worst nightmare happening right in front of me. A large 120 lb Doberman and Pepper, a 75lb mid sized Pitbull fighting with all their gusto I had no other choice but to jumped in the middle trying to break this up. I grabbed them both by their collar trying to hold them apart, I paid for it with a thigh that was bit up in the confusion. I will not go into detail as even writing this causes me to tear up, but that day I was traumatized at the state of both dogs as they were finally successfully separated. They were torn and tattered, I was not given the time to really process what happened because I had a appointment that day to get my braces removed. It should have been a happy day for me. After the orthodontist office I got home only to find that Pepper was gone. I asked my parents where my dog was and they broke the news to me that they had dropped Pepper to the nearest pound. I remember time stopped and my heart just beat dully in my ears. I was in shock, my baby, my friend whom I spent nights and days cuddled with and shared in long talks as I walked her around the neighborhood.. she was gone and worse I had no say in it. I had no chance to say good bye. My last memory of her was her face bleeding and ripped open from a fight with a Doberman my parents decided to keep due to how long we already had him. The only expendable pooch was the newest one, mine. I cried and wailed and asked, "WHY??!!" in my best Nettie from color purple impression. I demanded answers I never got and I just eventually lost the will to ask any more questions.

Caramon was sold and Kojak, the runt of the litter was still around. Unfortunately he was about the dumbest dog I ever seen. He was the dog that you threw food too and he sniffed around like he just barely smelled it and couldn't find it, he would run into the wall unable to stop his momentum. I couldn't do him.. I opted to research Doberman rescue and get him in their care because I couldn't love him fresh off of losing my Pepper.

In a small window, another dog had made its presence in my life. Her name was Crystal, she was a brown and white spotted pit bull. I cannot remember where this dog even came from, and on a swift mission to come off of my loss of another pitbull I convinced my parents to allow me to keep her. Guilt, I played on their guilt. I told them about the hurt and loss I experienced with Pepper. Me and Crystal clicked like to long lost friends this was instant love. Crystal was way more energetic of a terrier than Pepper was. She was the runner and the chaser. She was my energetic baby. Here came the drama... New neighbors moved in. This was a black family who were cool but had the worst BEBE ass kids to grace this world. Those little bad ass children would torment my Crystal when she was left in the yard to run. They would throw water balloons at her or push sticks and toys through the fence taunting the poor pit until she chewed up all they placed through the fences holes. This caused her to develop a mistrust and negative disposition towards children and anyone black. When my parents decided to sell their house they suggested I find the dog a home. I cannot get into the specifics of this either but the dog wound up in my sisters care in an apartment in Manhattan.. from yard to confined elevator spaces... to this day my sister claims a woman took Crystal to a "farm" where there was plenty of room to run...
"the farm" yall, the "farm"..

Last but not least my last dog was a rust colored Dachshund named Teesa. She was a result of my Ex surprising me with a puppy. She was my little baby girl and I was gonna be the best parent to her... this resulted in me breaking up with my boyfriend of that time and having to find a place to live. Having a Dog was not making that process any easier and I made a tough decision to find her a home with someone else. I got her a home with a pet Psychic and Astrologer in Long Island, named Jane. She was mourning the loss of her Teacup Yorkie who dies after a ripe old age of 20 years. After two years she was looking for companionship and Teesa found a home with her. I visited the first 3 times as was prompted by Jane who encouraged me Teesa would always be my baby and a new home and owner did not change that. Teesa was renamed Lucy. This hurt me too much to see her and have to leave her, I think I felt how perhaps some parents feel when seeing their kids with a step parent. I couldn't handle the sadness and so I left Teesa in her new mothers hands and moved on with life. There is not a moment I do not see a Dachshund and get a little sad.

I am thankful to all the dogs I was able to have in my lifetime and the joy and affection they allowed me to experience but I cannot at this point think dogs and I just will not mix. I can have interaction with them by visiting friends with dogs. I can catch a brief glimpse of old nostalgia with mans best friend.