17 June 2016

Granted Clemency (pt. 2)

Fast forward to April 29th: I’m at the gates of the Federal Bureau of Prisons: Terminal Island. I’m with his lawyer, Ms. Kim Savo, and my stepmom. This is a big day. First of all, Kim Savo, this miniature lawyer in a suit and a buzz cut, is the most amazing person in the world right now. Secondly, she curses like a sailor and I stan for her ass because she doesn’t take shit. Thirdly, she gave me my dad back. Her very first clemency is my dad.

Of course, the correctional officers are their usual dickish selves.

“Stand behind that line.”
“Please don’t do doughnuts in the parking lot.”
“We’re not releasing him before 7:15am.”
“It’ll be a minute.”

It’s 7:00am on a Friday. I took off work, I fought with my contact lenses at 6am, my outfit was not as cute as it was in my head… I’ve waited 8 years to jump on my dad. [Bitch, you gon’ deal with what ever the fuck I do to greet my dad.]

From behind the line, way the fuck across from the gate where he’ll be released, I see correctional officers just doing fuckshit behind the gate... laughing and joking. Where’s my dad?!

15 minutes later, I see a tall shadow of a guy in a sweat suit strolling towards the gate. There he is!! I see his waist-length dreads are pulled up into a knitted cap. There he is!!

The gate slowly begins opening. I start videoing from my iPhone. [I was gonna make a documentary, titled, “Shot on an iPhone 6.”] Fuck it, I sprint over to the gate. I wait until he puts his bags on the ground. I stop recording and pounce. “DADDDYYYY!!!” I leap on him. I’m already crying. I’m a punk, I know. What could possibly ruin this glorious moment?

One of the correctional officers huffs, “Ma’am, can you get to the vehicle first?”
My ace, muhfuckin’ Kim Savo, retorts, “Because it would just be so fucking humane of you to let his daughter hug him after eight gotdamned years.” You see why I love her?!

We finally get to the car, and he lifts me off my feet and kisses my cheek. He gives my stepmom a hug. Then he turns to tiny Kim. She’s about 5’0 and he’s 6’3. He grabs her and lifts her off her feet, hugging her. She’s tearing up, too. They’re looking at each other in amazement. She’s amazed at her work of getting him out; he’s amazed at how such a small person can be so fucking wonderful! I’m just the camera girl.

My grandfather, uncle, and cousin meet us at the gate. They exchange hugs in front of the place that we have despised for the past eight years. It’s almost over.

My dad is currently in a halfway house until July 28th, his official release date. However, it’s nearby and I can talk to him on the phone whenever I want. I can visit him whenever I want. Until July 28th, we’ve just been going to the mall and buying him clothes. Ya’ know, you don’t really think you miss a lot in an 8-year span, but it’s a lot of shit we’ve had to catch him up on.

  • iPhones – his last phone was a Boost Mobile; I had a SideKick. He has a 6S Plus, now. When he first saw my phone, he exclaimed, “That’s a phone?!”
  • Computers – he’s never really been tech savvy. We’re getting him a Mac.
  • Social Media – he was barely used to MySpace before going in. He refuses to have any social media.
  • Attire – he’s from Compton; he used to wear damn 5XL because that was “the thing to do.” We’ve finally convinced him that he’s only a 2XL.

Anyway, that is the end of this saga.
His first selfie :)

Granted Clemency (pt. 1)

Wow, time has passed by so fast. I wasn’t going to write a blog post about this particular topic. I wanted to bottle up my excitement and be selfish. However, I had already shared and poured out my soul and emotions about this topic in other blog posts. It wouldn’t make much sense to keep the good part to myself. I mean, I’m not even sure how many people even read this blog. I’ve gotten random hits on Facebook about people hitting up the Pink Brass Knuckles Facebook fan page, but meh. Anyway, I’m rambling.

On March 30th, 2016, while teaching (yes, I’m officially a full-time teacher now), my phone was BLOWING the FUCK UP! I had two missed unknown calls, two voicemails from the unknown caller, five text messages from my stepmom, and two from my paternal grandmother. WTF, right?! My students were testing and my phone was on vibrate. I looked at the text messages… vague ass messages.
“Call me”
 “Guess what”
“Hey, I’ve got some news”
“Are you at work??”
“What’s your email?”
“Have you spoken to your dad?”
“When do you get off?”

Hmmm… These might be important. My heart is beating super fast. Did something happen to my dad?? Did he escape? Who called me?
I wave a teacher into my class. “Can you take over my class really quick? I think I have an emergency.” She agrees, probably hating me since prep time is sacred time.

I rush into the bathroom to call my stepmom. Damn the voicemails; what the hell happened? She screams, “Did you talk to your dad’s lawyer?” Before I could answer, she yells, “Your dad got clemency!!!!!!” I yell a blood-curling scream from the depths of the staff women’s restroom. A few seconds later, a male teacher knocks on the door. “Who’s in there????” I cover my mouth, but I was speechless anyway. Tears are streaming down my face. I poke my head out of the door—eyes red and all—and squeak an inaudible, “I’m okay.” It’s my assistant principal. I tell my stepmom hold on and run out of the hallway and barely make it out of the front office before I collapse on the ground and bawl my eyes out. My stepmom is crying on the phone, I’m crying… it’s a mess. I’m crying so hard that I can’t breathe. I think I might be hyperventilating by this time. One of the students walks by and informs the office that something has happened to Ms. B. My assistant principal comes out and ushers me into the staff lounge. Thankfully, it’s empty. Somehow, I get off the phone with my stepmom and put my head on the conference table. I close my eyes and try to gather myself. When I lift my head, the AP, principal, counselor, and office clerk is gathered around me.

“Are you okay?”

I nod. My AP is the first to speak, “Is everything okay? *whispers* Did someone die?” I shake my head. I try to speak and just say, “Happy tears.” They stand there for what feels like forever, just staring at me. The counselor—one of my friends—finally says, “Take your time. Mr. A has your class covered.” The office clerk hands me a Kleenex and my principal puts her arm around me. She says, “Do you need to take the rest of the day off?” I shake my head and say that I’ll be back in my class in a few minutes. They all shuffle out, unsure of what else to say or do.

I get on the phone and call my mom. She’s a nervous wreck before I even say a word. She’s naturally paranoid. I called her, thinking I would be able to speak. I was wrong. When she answers, I’m silent. After her first “hello,” she gasps, “What’s wrong????” I shush her. After a few more seconds, I tell her that my dad was granted clemency. She yells, “Oh, my God!” Now, her ass is in tears. (When you’re as close as my mom and I are, one of us crying makes the other cry.) So I start crying again. She’s going on a Hallelujah-a-thon and I tell her that I have to get back to my class. She lets me off the phone after congratulating me a billion times. I text my boyfriend and the rest of my family. They are all excited. I go back to my class and don’t focus the rest of the class period. At my school, classes are two hours so I had a lot of time to have a silent party in my head.

06 June 2015

Eff Your Humility

Hello. I'm awesome. I graduated high school at 16, traveled abroad at 17, was invited to join Kappa Delta Pi at 23, received three degrees by 24, and looking into getting my PhD by 30. To top it all off, I'm a teacher. Fuck yeah, I'm a beast. My accomplishments don't make me awesome, though. The fact that I don't dim my light for anyone throughout it all makes me awesome. I have friends studying to be doctors and psychologists who are more awesome than me, and I'm still recognize my own fabulosity. Do you see how this cycle of awesomeness works? I'm awesome, I have awesome friends, we eventually produce awesome kids, who will have awesome friends, and so on and so on. No hate, no one encouraging them to be humble; it's all love.

On Saturday, Twitter was particularly perturbed by Serena Williams' so-called "lack of humility" after winning her 3rd French Open title, and her 20th major title. Who says she needs to humble herself? Serena has so many accomplishments under her belt that she can crip walk down the aisle to receive communion for all I care. Why should she have to downplay her strengths and skills because someone else feels inferior? If you feel some type of way (word to Rich Homie Quan), then step your game up. You mad, bro?

You Mad Brah? (Vine)
One of my Facebook friends once put on her status that we are raising a bunch of entitled brats who get ribbons for participating just so they don't get left out. As an educator, I can agree with that. There's no reward in getting an A for just attending. I have students tell me that I'm being unfair when I only offer them half credit when something is more than a week late. Last week, students were whining that I gave them half credit for work that was due in MARCH. There's a math teacher on campus who gives students C's for missing work. Therefore, they lowest grade they can get, without turning a single paper in, will be a C. They'll still pass. That's a slap in the face for those who try and still don't understand it, but are managing average grades. How the fuck is this helping those who didn't do it? Where is the assessment? Where is the accountability?

I recently went on a job interview for a school whose website boldly states, "We avoid the social promotion of students before they meet the grade level standards." In my interview, I asked them to clarify what they meant. The interviewer said, "If a student does not meet the grade level standards, we will implement certain interventions. If the student still does not meet standards, we will not be promoting them. They will be retained and need to repeat the grade." It took the strength of Buddha to stop me from yelling, "Yaaaaaassssss, bish, yaaaaasssss!" (I hope I get that job.)

Excuse my rant; back to Serena Williams being unapologetically amazing. Who is anyone to tell her to be more humble? Shit, I couldn't ever tell her to chill out. If I'm kicking ass and taking names, I'd be crip walking, hitting my Nae Nae, and Schmoney dancing through life with a tiara on my head. There's a fine line between being arrogant and confident. As long as she isn't slam dunking on newborn babies, she can do no wrong so fuck your humility.


23 May 2015

The Myth of the Good Cop

"Not guilty."

Those two words are powerful. They tell an entire nation that Black lives don't fucking matter. They tell us that, at any opportunity to kill a nigger, the cops will jump giddily. Ku Klux Kops will play their role in the court room. They'll make a plan to chug beer and hammer some sluts with their bros later, but first, they have to deal with the business of beating a murder trial.

When my fellow Black citizens are being warned to keep the peace (because a KKKop couldn't keep his), there's always that dumb ass yelling and tweeting, "Not all cops!" Bitch, what? Shut the entire fuck up. If there are so many "good cops" out there, why are they letting the bad ones gain notoriety in the media? Where are they to tell these "bad cops" that, if they fear so much for their lives, then maybe law enforcement isn't for them? Where are the good cops in speaking out against the injustice? When are the good cops going to assure the public that there will be no more names being hashtagged for justice? Will the real good cops please stand up? Stand up against those who change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter because that has proven to be one of the nation's biggest lies.

Cops get so upset when people wear Stop Snitching shirts, but where are these so-called "good cops" to start snitching on the bad ones? Stop calling for peace when one of these cops decides that a bruised ego is worthy of another Black life gone. Good cops, my ass. Was the good cop the one driving up to the scene while the other murdered Tamir? Why haven't we heard from him? Was the good cop standing behind the 13 firing 137 shots into a Chevy Malibu?

I'm peaceful, but when a "democratic" nation tells me that my Black ass life is barely worth the letters after a pound sign, I say, "Fuck you, let's burn this bitch down!"

💋 P.

18 May 2015

Not Your Typical Teacher

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that I didn't "look like a teacher," my student loans would probably be almost paid off. I'm 25 (and look 18, at the most), 5'2.5, and I have 10 tattoos (only 4 are visible when I have on jeans and a t-shirt). Of course, I'm not the typical clean cut, middle-aged married white woman everyone is used to. Yet, here I am--three degrees and a credential later--teaching English at your local middle school.

On the weekends, you can probably find me lounging in a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt, drinking wine (or whiskey) and grading a stack of essays or reading assignment. No, I'm not your typical teacher who is oblivious to the ways of social media lingo. I'm fully aware and I use it to my advantage. I'm passionate about what I do. I want each and every one of my students to succeed. If it means dissecting a rap song, lyric by lyric, or explaining the how Drake's "woes" are open to interpretation, I will do it if I can do it within my capacity as an English teacher. It takes nothing to give a lesson on language by using a rap song.

Walk into my classroom and you'd probably see me sipping a milkshake while explaining to a student that "on fleek" is not appropriate in a school setting because "fleek" isn't a word. My methods aren't traditional at all, but they work. On any given day, I am in my classroom an hour before school begins, throughout the entire snack and lunch periods, and two hours after school just to help students with any subject. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm perfect, but you cannot teach students you don't understand. My students recognize that, though I am young, I'm also not ignorant. I know all of the social media that they use, and I won't scold them for it. They're young and that's not my decision to make. However, if their parents haven't informed them, I will let them know that they are more accessible to misinformation and ignorance.

I'm definitely not a perfect teacher, and I make mistakes all the time, especially being a new teacher, but don't ever think that me not being the "average" teacher is a bad thing.