Monthly Archives: January 2013

~Like a V6

~Like a V6

Ok so I just got home from Pushing Boundaries. That’s the exercise therapy place for handicap people. I heard about it from an quadriplegic man at Madonna. He was the one that showed me a video on his phone of him walking. When he showed me I was like WHAAT A WALKING QUAD?! I started three weeks ago. I haven’t done the walking machine yet. I’ve seen someone else in it though. The guy I saw in it is a paraplegic. I wanna do it but I’m scared at the same time. It looks a little claustrophobic. It’s a HUGE contraption. They need two people to strap a person into it. Pretty much from your chest down you are a person is secured in this thing. For right now I’m focusing on my arms and core.

My calves and triceps are SCREAMING! When Albee picked me up he said the look on my face was PRICELESS. It looked to him like I was questioning life. He laughed at me. He was EXACTLY right! Forget about uncle. I was calling Granny! NOT Mama Johnnie. She would-a laughed too and took another swig of her Johnnie Walker. I was calling for my Dad’s Ma, Grandma Walker. She was a mother of 11 children. She would take pity on me.

For real though it was a good workout. I love that they don’t treat us with “child gloves”. I get tired of people tip toeing around me. Sometimes at various appointment’s I feel like say’n You DON’T know me CUZ! You DON’T know me. Just because you’re a doctor that works with people who have MS. You haven’t worked with Allison F. BEFORE! You haven’t treated MY MS before. Wanna hear something CRAZY? I don’t know my trainers first name. It’s something like Aaron or Jamie I THINK! From the moment my front wheels hit the floor we are going. It’s like hi, hi give me 15 of these. YES I said 15. Oh and three sets of 15. It’s NOTHING like Physical or Occupational therapy. Where their like do 10 or as many as you can, do da to do…NO..NONE OF THAT. It’s straight Boot Camp for handicaps. GIVE ME 15 GOOD ONES! Oh and if you give one in using BAD form. Guess What? You ARE gonna have to do it OVER! They AIN’T play’n around.

After the first set I’ve already done MORE than I’ve done in an hour of PT. YES like working with a trainer in a gym they yell at you. You can NOT dial it in! They STRAIGHT beat my butt like a captured runaway slave. NO MERCY! You know how it is in a gym with other people in there working out at the same time as you? You don’t wanna make a lot of noise while you’re working out. Yeah by the end of my workout I DIDN’T care who heard me grunt, scream or cry. I was working out for MY life. With one VIOLENT thrust of the arms a POOT came out. For those of you not familiar with the poot YES I FARTED. There I said it! I think half of me let it fly hoping it would have made my trainer step back off me. Thus giving me a moment of REST! NO, apparently not his first rodeo. We weren’t stopping until the set was done!

On the flip I’m beginning to see the benefits. I went to roll my wheelchair to do something and pop’d a wheel-e. I was like, HEY NOW! I continued on and pop’d another one. I thought I wasn’t doing anything different. Then it HIT me! I had more strength. Now I can turn this chair on a DIME! WHAAAT! That’s really is all I to have the muscle to move my chair to and fro effortlessly. My last memories of walking is falling. I might have said this before but it bears repeating. My PT would tell me I’d be happier in a wheelchair but I WASN’T have’n it! Now I get it. How I feel working out and seeing results, PLEASE. With that I’m HOOKED. HOOKED I tell you. I can’t wait to see how I will be after a few more months of training. I’ll be able to handle this chair like a Porsche!

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~Rear view mirror…

~Rear view mirror…

My Ma made me a scrap book of pictures of my life thus far. It’s interesting looking at old pics emotions seem to jump off the page and throttle you. Looking at the picture when I was little and lived in LA made me feel cozy and warm all over. That was such a happy time. Glancing at scenes of my Mother and I, I was so in love with her. She was my world. Why did that ever change? She really could do no wrong.

As I turned the pages the warmth drained out of my body and I began to suffocate. We left sunny LA and entered the GLOOM of Olympia Washington. I remember feeling OVERWHELMED by the trees. They were EVERYWHERE! I was an eight year old city kid. Where was the sun?! It FELT like it rained every day. Oh and don’t get me started on the clouds! I REALLY think I didn’t know what the term “overcast” meant till I moved here. GOODNIGHT, I was sooo SAD! Move from L.A. to Oly ?! WHAT! PLEASE BE KIDDING?
Oly was my introduction to racism. I had been called a nigger once when I was five in LA by a snotty kid. I’d really never heard the word before. By the WAY he said it I knew it wasn’t a nice word. But not immersed in racism until Olympia. I wanted, dreamed and cried about going home to LA. In truth even if we would have moved back to LA it wouldn’t have been the same. How do you unlearn hate or get back innocence?

How do I forget the boy who wore gloves when we were square dance partners because he didn’t want to touch my black hands. The teacher turned a blind eye to it. I know he saw it. It wasn’t like my partner was quiet about it. Any kid that asked why he had the gloves on he GLADLY and LOUDLY told them. I was embarrassed and humiliated over and over again. When I was a sophomore in high school the same kid asked me to the Homecoming dance. By then it was the 80’s. I was the “pretty light skinned black girl”. FUNNY I didn’t feel pretty. I was still that scared little, new, little black girl. I just pushed by him and asked if he was gonna wear his gloves? He yelled what are you talking about? A CARELESS act by a STUPID kid had HUANTED me for years. How could he NOT remember???

What about the bus driver who watched the kids make me go to the back of the line because I was Black. In second grade a substitute kept picking on me and slapped me and put me in the hall. Looking at my pictures of my Jeri curl I could see the sadness in my eyes. I was trying to look like blacks I saw on TV. What I didn’t realize that it took me further away from the whites I lived among.

So many stories so many, I don’t have the paper or stamina to recount them all. They all just added up to the same thing, emptiness. I felt so small and exposed. I don’t know why people couldn’t see the hole through the little Black girl that walked around. That was the first fracture in my relationship with my Mom. It’s interesting that it just now looking through this scrap book I realized it. So not fare to my Mom. Not fare at all. At eight I just couldn’t figure out why my Mom didn’t protect me. She didn’t know about a lot of it. I thought she really had eyes in the back of her head and saw everything.

We never talked about it. I kept it to myself. They moved us from LA to give us a better life. As an adult I’m so grateful they did. How were they to know Olympia/Lacey wasn’t ready to fully embrace the color of our skin.
There were two white ladies that were friends of the family. Even though they were married with kids they wanted a black baby. They related to us their most recent trip to the LA area. They looked in any and all garbage’s and dumpsters for a black baby. They had heard once on the news a black baby was found alive in a dumpster. I was nine and didn’t understand. I came to the conclusion blacks didn’t love their kids. White was better. These women were saving black kids. Subsequently I wanted white parents. Now you wouldn’t call these white women racist. Yet by their actions and words I learned white was better than black.

My sister asked me why does everything come back to race with you? I think it’s a form of protection. Too many times in my life I’ve thought I was in a safe place from racism but it found me. When I was in middle school the kids gave each other nick names. You know what I was given? Tarbaby. I wasn’t excepting a nick name because of my race. Another reminder I wasn’t one of them.

Albert and I were dating, an older white woman in his congregation asked him what it was like dating a colored gal? Once we were married and I was in said congregation somehow we started talking about hair. Albert made a comment about how seldom I washed my hair. He explained it was very dry. A fifty something white man POP’D off with how gross that was and some other choice words. I felt smaller and smaller. He just wouldn’t stop talking. I caught his wife give him the SHUT UP shove. It did nothing. What about my stepson calling me a nigger behind my back. What about someone relating a situation when an elderly client told her she can’t wait to get that nigger out of the Whitehouse? Why was it necessary to relate the story to me? Lincoln emancipated us in the 1800’s. Yet I’m still colored, negro, black and a nigger. No wonder I have a hard time identifying myself as an African American. We’ve only had that name since the 80’s.

For some reason we had my Dad’s birth certificate and my sisters out. My father’s race said colored, mine black and AG’s African American. If we would of had Grandpa Walker it would have said Negro. We all have our own stories of dealing with racism. My Mom told me one of hers. She was just a little girl. Her parents were divorced. She was visiting her Daddy in Texas. Coming from LA where they didn’t have the whites/blacks bathrooms. She had to go potty and went to walk in the 1st women’s bathroom she saw. Grandpa Rowe was like HOL D ON baby girl! You CAN’T go in there! That’s the white one. You can imagine a child’s shock and confusion.

And DON’T GET IT TWISTED separate was NEVER equal. My Father was in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. The infamous Black Power black gloves wearing incident. My Dad explained the black athletes were not treated the same as the white ones. It was very much two separate teams. One treated inferior to the other. When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist it wasn’t about Black Rights but Human Rights. They won despite not just them but their Black teammates not given those rights by the country they represented. So when they won despite the odds it meant something.

One of my favorites was when I cocktailed at the Sheraton. A middle aged married white man was inappropriately hitting on me all night. Finally he grabbed my hand and asked where I got my light eyes from? Of course I told him, from your great grandpa raping my great grandma. Not exactly APPROPIATE for me to talk to a guest that way. But NOT like he was going to COMPLAIN to my Boss. If he did he would have to tell what his part was.

When I was a child I felt scared and alone. Since a lot of those experiences weren’t as simple as someone calling you a nigger they were hard to understand. Were these people friend or foe? We ate dinner, we worshiped I went to school with and watched the Super Bowl with these people. If you ever asked them if they were racists they would vehemently say NO! Yet why did their words HURT so much?

I remember an older guy observing me said you have no idea how pretty you are. That oddly goes hand in hand with my lil sis’s question. I don’t know an existence without race being a factor in some way. How could I view myself as pretty. Too much yarn has been rolled telling me different. Jay-z uses nigger to defuse the word and identify it differently. I talk and write the way I write to acknowledge the differences and laugh at them. In my mind it celebrates the differences.
One of the worst things someone said to me is they don’t see color. We are different. There’s nothing wrong with that. Saying you don’t see color indicates there is something wrong with color. To me that statement takes away or doesn’t recognize my pain. I know I’m not explaining this right. I don’t mean to offend anyone. This is just a part of my truth. I only represent myself. For every Black, African American or Negro whatever you want to call us theirs a different story. A different take on how they deal with said experiences.

Why this why now? I started this particular blog months ago. I’ve never been able to finish it. It takes a ban aide off a wound that doesn’t seem to heal. Someone close to me told me Black kids today don’t have a clue. When they grew up racism was the law. The dumbest white person was better than the smartest black person. Institutionalized racism in America. That same person is one of the kindest forgiving persons I’ve ever met. At 72 they told me sometimes reading my blog is hard for them. Unknowingly the way I free my soul hurts theirs. It’s Pandora’s Box all over again. My Mother would have never known making the scrap book would make me feel the way it does. No more than Jay-z would know using the word nigger in his songs would even be a blip on Oprah’s radar.

It’s 2013 and a Black Man is President. I think we would all like to think somehow we are over our issues with racism that we’ve had. The truth is someone will say something one way, you will read something, you will see something…or just a buried memory will come to the surface. It’s kind of like that saying on the side mirror of a car, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. I almost think it would be easier living back then when racism was institutionalized. It was very black and white…black restroom, white restroom…there was no confusion. When I grew up it all seemed like a grey area. They didn’t call it racism, but it sure didn’t feel good. I think that really is why to this day, I hate trees…they suffocate me. I think they represent that point in my life where I started becoming aware of these things. Trees shade things and cast shadows. I like everything out in the open, where I can see it.

I know. I know. I’m still here!!!

~I KNOW. I KNOW. I’M STILL HERE!

In the words of my man Timerland, “It’s been a long time. Ya thought I LEFT YOU…” PLEASE! If you’ve ever seen my seen or heard my BIG MOUTH you know I’ve got more to say. It’s been a minute. It’s been a minute. Where to start? Ok..Ok.
Well we are off and running in the new year. 2013. Who would have THUNK it? 2000 was thirteen years ago. WHAAAT!! It’s still odd to me to no longer be living in the 19th century. The thing I ABSOLUTELY love about new year’s is new beginning’s. Everything that didn’t work the previous year you can brus off. Just leave the disappointment and sadness of last year in last year…

Let’s talk about these holiday short weeks. Cool right? NO! NOT AT ALL! You’ve just got four days to get five days of worth of work done. Everyone is all CRANKY. Why you got to take it out on me? I’m just try’n to help you get your STANK carpets before grandma comes. Oh and here’s a bit of truth. She knows you NASTY and only cleans them when she visits. The tech told me by the look and smell of them granny AIN’’T been here in a couple of years.
I had one more procedure on my trigeminal nerve since we’ve last spoke. Yes I mean in addition to the surgery in November. My doc said YOU realize you don’t get frequent flyer miles for these procedures. He’s got JOKES! A less aggressive procedure than the surgery but still addressing the same issue. My left side this time. I must say so far so good. Nothing else has pop’d off. The bottom half of my face is MOSTLY numb. But hey NO pain, right. Acurately putting on lipstick is another story. Not feeling half of my face I’ve forgot to take pills a couple of times. That being the case I’ve now started cutting back on pills. I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, Eagle Rare/Dr. P and a Cosmo. HOLLA!!!
Ok so at this point I’ve lived in the PNW for like 32 years now. RIGHT. So the rain is not even an afterthought to me. It’s NOT even a thought! But it has been raining NON-STOP! When I say raining I mean pouring. That is unusual. Normal is more of a misty style of Seattle rain with the occasional heavy stuff. But this MESS is enough to make a Seattle-ite come up OUT of they SKIN! I know it’s not hurricanes’. So SHUT UP Allison.
A funny thing about this time of year is the “Good doers”. You know what I’m talk’n about. Somewhere about November 20th to December 23rd their on a mission. They make sure every family has a turkey and every child has a present in. the community I can’t wheel myself anywhere without someone offering to help push me. Ok PEEPS I like to roll myself around sometimes to stay in shape. We wen’t to the mall Christmas Eve. Some WOULD call that a death wish. We call it SMART shopping. Extra mark down’s and not as many people. A BIG tip is to go in the afternoon like a couple of hours before everything closes. We parked at one side of the mall. Then shopped to the end. We decided to eat at a restaurant on the opposite of the car was. So Albee took our new lute to car and move said car closer to the restaurant. This allowed me to roll to the restaurant on my own.

Not one person offered to help me. It was like the “Good Doers” said it’s the 24th we only help 11/20 to 12/23. TRICK you on your OWN! However, If you need help between those days next year we got your BACK! Until then DEUCES! Don’t get me wrong I wanted to roll myself. I just think its CRAZY how quickly it changed. It’s as if being nice and doing things for others 39 days 0ut of 365 is enough to get to heaven! NOOP! NOT even close! I mean people would NOT even give me eye contact. Twards the end I was even sucking wind pretty bad. I would have accepted a shove or two. SORRY little black girl. Better put your back into it. Funny funny…

We also went to Albee’s mom’s place in Oregon for a few days. We were meeting up with his sister and fam. We had the easy commute of six hours. His peeps where coming from DEEP in Texas, Amerillo. Have you heard of such a place. I hadn’t until meeting Albee. Sounds like a place my people better be INSIDE when the sun goes down.
So there were cousins, grand kids, niece, nephews, husbands, great grandkids a GRIP of people coming. Can you believe I have a grandniece?! So some of the fam coming I’ve NEVER met before. Why are girls so DUMB? I had to take time to put together my outfit. Took my SWEET time getting my make-up just right. I was nervous. Yes, I was going to be the only DARK spot in there. Worst yet in a wheelchair with crooked fingers. Ofcouce they welcomed me with open arms. MAN I’M DUMB! Immediately babies were pop’d in my lap and flashes POP’N off everywhere. Nearly blind me. Ok. Ok. I’m family. I get it. My insides get warm just thinking about it. How can you love people you’ve never met before?
Albert’s fam is seamlessly blended. There are his, hers and ours at every level. But his mother is grandma to all. One of our nieces gave a daughter for adoption when she was a teen. Now she is in her late 20’s and has three girls she is raising with her live in boyfriend. One daughter from a previous marriage and two are her boyfriends. They ALL come every year to visit her adopted out duagther. The girls refer to each other as sisters. IT’S BEAUTIFUL!
Ok let’s get something STRAIGHT! If I hear another man gives another PITIFUL excuse for not being romantic!!! I WILL come up out this chair! Said niece above boyfriend is a rough, tough, Harley riding man. Yet, she sat us all down to watch her video xmas present from her man. It was a thought out picture presentation put to music of their life together. It featured pictures of her, him and her, their girls, the whole family and their Harley riding friends. The video ended with a proposal of marriage. What an AWSOME proposal!!!

I hope this becomes family tradition! It was time well spent. We played dice into the night wit a drank in hand. It took me back to backyard barbeques at Aunt Mae’s in L.A. I didn’t realize how much I missed those days.
Ok so ONE thing I didn’t get. Just about everyone owned a gun. A couple times various ones went to shooting range. In different conversations guns came up. It was so matter of fact. It was strange to me. DON’T get me wrong. They are responsible licensed and registered gun owners. It’s just a different culture.

This is what I know about guns. Mama Johnny had two. ONE in the glove department of her car and ONE under her pillow. Living in South/Central L.A. you need a gun. Remember when Reginald Denny got pulled out his truck in the L.A. riots of the 90’s? That was a block or so from Mama Johnny’s. Threw the course of that evening she would step outside on the porch and fire a few rounds in the air. Her reasoning words were and I quote, “I DON’T want them FOOLS comin up in HERE!” Se made sure the neighborhood didn’t get it TWISTED. Mz. Rowe was packing HEAT! Then there was the occasion she was rear ended by the Latino man. He barely spoke English and had no insurance. She grabbed her gloc from the glove department. She ever so carefully placed it under his chin. Perhaps she thought it would help him learn and speak English. When the Po Po arrived they had to talk her down. Oh and YES the POOR man peed himself. Oh and NO they didn’t confiscate her gun. I know RIGHT.
Here is the flip to the story. When Mama Johnny got older and had dementia she almost shot my uncle dead. He went to her place and open the door with his key. She didn’t recognize him and pulled her gun on him. After his 6’3 body got down in a squatting position and pleaded for his life she put her piece down. Oh and YES he also peed himself. At that point they knew it was time to take the guns away. The only problem was they only could find one gun. Fortunately Johnny couldn’t remember where it was either. Finally my Mom found it under a cushion of the sofa. Which made perfect sense. Mama Johnny had long stopped driving at this point. She sat on the sofa most days. She always kept a gun in arms reach.
Here’s the NET NET. As a child I was told the truth about guns. Not that they were bad or toys. They were protection from bad people. They weren’t tucked neatly away in the closet somewhere. You never knew when something BAD was going to POP OFF. NO person with BAD intent is going to wait for you to RUN ang get your piece. Shooting ranges where ANYWHERE you were in danger.

Guns were real to me. I grew up with a healthy fear of them. I never had any desire to play with them. The only in my life that had one was NO JOKE. Warm and cuddly wasn’t her middle name. I don’t remember her bake’n cookies. Cat fish, black eye’d peas and greens YES with a drink her left hand. I did however feel safe with her. NOT because I knew she had a gun. Rather because she knew where it was and would and could use it. MAN I MISS HER! Is she dead? Her mind is. Dementia turned into Altimzers. Her body is here but Johnny Mae is long gone. It’s 2013 and I’m a part of a new family. I’m excited to make NEW memories to add to the existing ones. It’s a NEW year! It’s gonna do what it’s gonna do. Might as well stand up straight, put a smile on your face and meet it HEAD ON!