Then I Came Home to Austin

12841331_10153539649669053_1897104843100891352_oI believe that the worst part of my break-up with Chef was the unfamiliarity of my life without him. I hadn’t realized up until that point how important my routines — the very patterns of my life — had really been to me. Then, suddenly, everything was so different. It happened quickly, the crashing of my life, pretty much falling to pieces all at once, and without mercy. Over the last few years, it was hard to really enjoy the routines I had set up to replace the smashed ones left behind by the break-up. Yes,some tiny parts stayed the same. I continued to drink coffee in the morning, or listen to the news while I got ready for work. Others were different, like caring for stray dogs and writing on a blog. But those were just tiny parts of a whole that seemed to still not be functioning correctly. They seemed to be connected, somehow, to my old life. It was as if their very differences served only to remind me of what I once had, and what was now gone. Overall, I was struggling for every shred of happiness.

Then I came home to Austin.

As an adult, I have never lived in Austin before, but this is the city I was born in. I took my first breath here. I learned to walk and talk here, and it has forever been synonymous in my head to my father. Austin is where my dad and his family were, and in the back of my mind, I guess I always kind of wanted to just come home. I really couldn’t have timed it better. I’m fairly sure the Lord has something to do with that.

I have new routines now. The pattern of my life is not only different now, but it is unconnected to a painful past. I find myself appreciating the 12801417_521154491392629_6713478659555648885_nbeauty of this city daily, and I still get butterflies in my stomach when I realize again, I’m living in Austin, Texas. I’m still not so used to seeing my father’s face that I have begun to take it for granted. Instead, I feel a surge of gratitude each and every time I see him standing at my door. I love to see how Texas seems to suit my daughter Rebekkah; how she has flourished into a beautiful, confident woman, happy again, and no longer suffering under the burden of caring for a very wounded mother. I feel a certain pride every time I pay my rent from a paycheck I earned, and praise God at my ability to still buy groceries and other things I need with what is left over. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much to you, but I have learned only too well how it feels to have to choose between food and a home.

I’m filling up my life again, with family, with new friends, and with things. I have enough stuff in my apartment now, I can honestly say, I would need a truck next time I decide to move. I have things I picked for myself, this time. It is always appreciated when something is given to you, but when all you own in the world is stuff people donated to you, it makes you feel worse than just poor. Over time, I’ve been getting to know myself as just me. Not a part of a marriage, or a team, or a club. I’ve found that I love the colors turquoise and yellow together, as well as gray and yellow. I like rap music…who knew?! I have become both more social as well as less. I’ll save that thought for another time. I wear different styles of clothes now, and even my hair is different. I’m kind of enjoying figuring out who I am these days.

Today, I bought a new laptop; and believe it or not, it was that purchase that made me feel so reflective about my new life today. It was expensive, and I was able to buy it without despairing over ….well, anything. I needed a new one, so I bought one. The minute I paid for it, I realized, the hard years trying to recover from such a terrible break-up are officially over. Yes, there are going to be lean times in the future. There always are. But those lean times won’t be connected to Chef, or drugs, or biker clubs, or Oklahoma. They’ll just be the way life goes sometimes, and I’m good with that. I”m finally home.

~ Bird

 

Protecting the Innocent vs. Punishing the Guilty

tulsa-drags-april-2011-076_cropSometimes, I get passionate about a stance, and it can give an impression about my beliefs that isn’t true. So, in an effort to clear up some confusion, I’d like to give you a clear understanding of my thoughts on law enforcement, motorcycle clubs, and understanding the power of power.

First, cops. I believe this country would be shit without them. Of course we need law enforcement!! If someone is breaking into my apartment, I want to pick up my cell phone, dial 9-1-1 and have them rush to my rescue. We really do have one of the best systems of justice in the world.I can reasonably drive safely because fear of traffic tickets has begotten the wisdom for us all to drive a certain speed, in certain lanes, and obey traffic signals. If everyone does their part the way we were supposed to, then the chances an innocent person would get railroaded going through our justice process are really slim. Justice is meted out to the guilty in proper measure. Ahh..but there’s the catch, right? With a multi-faceted system, there is an increased chance that someone along the line is going to do something wrong. It could be anyone from the arresting officer all the way up to the judge. But because we do have such a cool system, we citizens can kick and scream whenever short-cuts are taken, or authority is misused.

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Like the bikers, there are actually law enforcement members of my family that I have no beef with. My sister Alexa is married to cop, and he loves her. He has supported her through the loss of their baby daughter, her cancer, and taking care of our sick mother. I know Alexa, and she isn’t too different from me when it comes to those in authority over us. Lol… No one was more surprised she married a cop than I was, except maybe Alexa herself! But this guy, who has been in our family for a long time now, has something other cops don’t have in my world – a face, name, history, triumphs and wounds. I don’t see a cop when I see him. I see a brother. On the other end of that specter, I’ve been targeted more than once by law enforcement agents who felt that it just didn’t make any sense that I wasn’t a drug mule for the mob, and because they had such a scary, narrow view of who the people were in this large organization, they felt the ends justified the means. They followed me around for months, walked into my home without knocking, and I suspect, listened to my phone calls for at least a couple of years. All for what? I wasn’t the kind of person they ASSUMED I would be, and they set out to prove my guilt, never questioning whether or not I truly was innocent.

corruption in the TPD

It is always a fine line between deciding the importance between two things — protecting the innocent or punishing the guilty. Which should a person err on the side of? Should innocent people be locked up just so that the one or two criminals in their midst are taken off the streets? Is that the kind of justice any of us want? To me, that is the turn we are taking as a society. Obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Americans all across this nation are questioning tactics, motivations, and by doing so, they are holding at bay the ability to collect too much power by these authoritative agencies and their agents.

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It is okay to ask the people put in charge of our security questions about their tactics, their motives, and their general opinion of the people they are supposed to protect and serve. Only those with something to hide would take offense to that. If we as a society want to hold on to our freedoms, we’d better get comfortable questioning the standard line, and make sure those in charge over us are comfortable answering to us.

~ Bird