Kidney failure. That’s what the prognoses very well may be. Last night, my sisters and I jokingly fought over the phone as to who was going to donate their kidney. This morning, I decided in full sanity that I am. I’ve started looking into the donation process and seeing if there was something I could do while I’m still here in Nashville to start preparing. I don’t want to be away from my job too long, I like it too much and have bills that won’t get paid. I’m confident my body will recover in record time because my tattoos always heal fast. It’s science right?
I stood over the stove last night crying while my ramen boiled and I had a 45 playing on the kitchen table. My mom put it in my pile before we took off from California. It was, a side: Dear Jesus, b side: Love, Sharon. It’s a track of this little girl who is praying to Jesus about child abuse or something, but in those lyrics, I heard my own prayer. I’m not sure if it’s harder to loose someone when you see it coming, or when it’s sudden. But the thought of not knowing my mom’s favorite song or more of her childhood stories isn’t a thing that I’m prepared to live without yet. Goodness, she hasn’t even seen the Breaking Bad finale yet.
The windows that are open in my browser right now are all related to researching kidneys, how they work, why we only need one, and how to prepare for a living donation. My oldest sister is on medication for a brain tumor, my second oldest sister is underweight and consumes alcohol. My brother and I would be the only two family members who would fit and he’s about to have another baby in the upcoming weeks. It leaves me, and I almost feel like it fate. Like the excuses for not drinking, not smoking, not doing anything harmful to my body has paid off for this very decision. Like it’s a no brainer.
If anything, I’ll probably be 5lbs lighter and that’s cool with me.
My mom is in the hospital. The same hospital where Lee lived out her last days. Which is scary. She went in last week for some checkups and hasn’t left. I keep getting different stories from my siblings. She went in one day then they called her back the next day? Or she went in one day, then went home, went to Walmart and a member from our church saw her struggling for air, then a call to my dad proceeded and ended with a voicemail message, then a call to my aunt happened which followed with a call to my other aunt and ended with being back at the hospital? I don’t know. All I do know is that I called to tell my mom to start watching Twin Peaks on Netflix because I thought she would enjoy it and was greeted on the phone by a voice that wasn’t my mom’s.
"Mom? Wait, Mamie? Where’s my Mom?"
"Hold on, let me try and get her, we’re at the hospital."
"Wait, what? Why are you at the hospital? What happened"
"We couldn’t find your dad, she was having trouble breathing, hold on…"
"Mom? What happened, why are you at the hospital?"
"I’m fine! I just had a checkup, ok, I’ll talk to you later, the doctor is coming…"
"Ok bye Momma, I love y-"
We’ve been calling her everyday and her voice sounds weaker and weaker.
My sister here just called and told me she talked to my sister at home just now. Our mom was supposed to have tests done today. She isn’t able to now. They can’t stabilize her. Our dad left the hospital. Sister at home can’t handle it on her own. She was told to leave the room and wait in the waiting room. Mom is being taken to Urgent Care. Sister here is flying back home in the morning. I’m scared. I’m sad. And I’m fully willing to give my mom my kidney if that’s what needs to happen.
“I close my eyes and I let my body shut itself down and I let my mind wander. It wanders to a familiar place. A place I don’t talk about or acknowledge exists. A place where there is only me. A place that I hate. I am alone. Alone here and alone in the world. Alone in my heart and alone in my mind. Alone everywhere, all the time, for as long as I can remember. Alone with my Family, alone with my friends, alone in a Room full of People. Alone when I wake, alone through each awful day, alone when I finally meet the blackness. I am alone in my horror. Alone in my horror. I don’t want to be alone. I have never wanted to be alone. I fucking hate it. I hate that I have no one to talk to, I hate that I have no one to call, I hate that I have no one to hold my hand, hug me, tell me everything is going to be all right. I hate that I have no one to share my hopes and dreams with, I hate that I no longer have any hopes or dreams, I hate that I have no one to tell me to hold on, that I can find them again. I hate that when I scream, and I scream bloody murder, that I am screaming into emptiness. I hate that there is no one to hear my scream and that there is no one to help me learn how to stop screaming… More than anything, all I have ever wanted is to be close to someone. More than anything, all I have ever wanted is to feel as if I wasn’t alone.”
― James Frey, A Million Little Pieces
I’m reading this book. There once was a time when I could have related to every word written on these pages. I’m glad I’ve passed it, but reading this makes me sad, and it makes me want to tell myself 5 years ago that we’ll be fine.
I had just started college, living alone in Los Angeles, a city that will crush your dreams if you let it, and was telling everyone I was happy. That was a lie. Lee was dying, I wasn’t close, and my best friend was the worst human imaginable. Everything fell apart. College fell apart, so much so that I lie about what actually happened with college to this day.
But I’m fine now. And fine is good, and good is almost great.
So I’m almost great.
I know Jamie Nelson as a rapper from back home. His stage name is Cockamamie Jamie / Gentle Jamie. He’s one half of the rap duo The Argyle Pimps and is known around the internet for his infamous rap battle in which he pissed himself (google him). He posted this on his facebook in hopes that it would be spread and shared by all who came across it. Originally, he had found this officer’s personal account, and tagged him in his post. It has since been removed.
Also, this came out of Fresno this week too, a town that I stand by so strongly even amidst the jokes and memes. What is happening in Central California? And why is any of it okay?
"Officer John Overstreet,
We just met. You pulled up on me and my friends, got out of your car and demanded that I “sit down!” without any explanation, or reason. Your aggression was overcharged and heightened. Startled, I asked you why I had to sit down - you plowed through it with a second command, “I SAID SIT DOWN!” Steadfast, and in defense of my rights, I asked you again, “Why do I have to sit down?” You then grabbed my arm and wrist, and aggressively straightened it out, pushing it behind my back and upward, and proceeded to force me to the ground — again, with no reason — just aggression, and an apparent impunity to both the law, and Constitution, and assaulted me in front of my friends. Speaking of “Constitution,” I reminded you that I had Constitutional rights, and that I was not breaking the law, and that you had NO reason to force me to the ground, to which you replied, “Maybe you were (breaking the law)” in the same aggressive manner you had displayed throughout the initial portion of our meeting, and again, gave me NO reason why I was being detained. My friend Jacob Miller then tried to verbally intervene, asking you why you were stopping us, and what had we done, you then proceeded to jack his arm behind his back, and take him to the ground as well, again, with no cause, no justifiable reason, no care for our rights.
The officer in the van then pulled up, and dryly blurted out, “Not them,” and you stood there, same aggressive mannerisms, and attitude (nothing like the smiling, likeable guy in your Facebook default) and attempted your version of what I’m assuming was an apology, which consisted of the word “okay” to your colleague. I reminded you of how unlawful the entire interaction was, and you asked me if I wanted to stick around to file a complaint with your hire-up. I said no, that I wasn’t going to sit with you a second longer, then reminded you of what an asshole you were for assaulting and strong-arming me the way you did. Arrogant, and ripe with a salty attitude that comes from years of being an entitled dick, your partner, the eloquent servant of the law he is, told me to “get your ass out of here then.”
I thought about complaining to Fresno PD, about making an official complaint. I even asked for your name, and badge number (which is how I found you online), to which you smugly replied, “Do you want to complain to my higher up?” with that same angry god damn tone. For about 5-seconds, I admit, I thought, “Yes, I DO.” But, on my way home I thought it through, and realized that complaining to your boss does nothing to solve the problem. I realized that as an ethnic minority with NO criminal record, but one that has still found himself on the receiving end of multiple police harassment cases, there is nothing I can do to keep guys like you (cops with badges and guns that feel like they are above the law) from doing whatever they want - whenever they want - however they want (as you proved tonight), so I decided to do the best thing I could think of: head to the highest rooftop. The highest rooftop for me happens to be my Facebook account. I am a local musician, have been doing music in the Tower District for the better part of 20 years, and have made a lot of amazing friends, and met a lot of beautiful people (you’re not one of them, I’m afraid.) One thing it’s afforded me is an audience. My fans are mostly my friends; we share similar interests, and bond through the comedic nature of my music, and share in our love for the Tower District area (Jacob lives about 300 yards from where you assaulted us). It’s a great relationship. Well, given the fact that I have close to 1,500 friends, again, many of which are in the Tower area, I thought it might be in the best interest of both myself, and my friends/fans to let them know what kind of officers were protecting and serving their beloved home neighborhood.
John, you should be ashamed of yourself, but you never will be.
You should be ashamed that you’ve gotten so far away from what’s good, that you resort to assaulting the very people you are hired to protect. Your immediate intimidation, lack of compassion or remorse, and violent behavior is disgusting. This can’t be new to you, John. This can’t be the first time someone has asked you to provide a reason, a lawful reason for stopping them, I refuse to believe you’ve never come across that question. You’re an older guy, you’ve been in the force a while I’m assuming, this can’t be new to you. You lack finesse, you lack kindness, you lack forgiveness, you lack compassion, you displayed a disturbing hair trigger for violence, and you should be ashamed of yourself, but you never will be. I have no hope that officers like you will ever care. It pains me to admit this, and hurts even more having crossed paths with you.
Here’s the bottom line, John: You ruined my night. You didn’t brutalize me, because I caved in, and let YOU have YOUR way. I have no doubt that if I persisted further in protecting my civil rights - my CONSTITUTIONAL rights - that you would have taken your violent assault on me further than you did. That if I had stood in protest to your actions by refusing to sit down without a lawful reason, that you would have taken extreme and immediate physical measures to assure that you got your way, because you are a bully, and you feel like that badge gives you control.
To those that I do not know that might read this and say, “He was just doing his job,” I say SHAME ON YOU. Shame on you for not taking the time to look into the historical plight of your fellow man (especially poor people, and ethnic minorities), and understand that this type of treatment has been going on for decades, and that this is NOT a case of an officer “doing his job,” that it’s a case of an aggressive jerk running a muck on your streets because his badge and gun give him power to do so. Shame on you for not protecting the Constitution, and shame on you for probably being a racist prick.
Look John, I’ll end this the way I ended it with you on that curb tonight by telling you that you are an asshole for treating me the way you did, and fuck you for ruining my night.
It’s fitting that you like Creed.
PS - I see you know my friend John Lanier. He’s a compassionate, forgiving, and loving man. You should sit down with him someday and learn something from him.
(dictated but not read)
- Jamie Nelson”
I don’t know what it means to be “happy”… Pleasure is not happiness. Because I kill pleasure – you know what I mean? I take too much of it, and therefore I make it non-pleasurable – like too much coffee, and you’re miserable. And I do that to pleasure often … there’s no pleasure that I haven’t actually made myself sick of.
The late Philip Seymour Hoffman on happiness, in conversation with philosopher Simon Critchley at the Rubin Museum in 2012. Complement with 7 excellent reads that attempt to shed light on the mysterious art-science of happiness.
Models: Shelby, Janelli, Jennifer
Photographs by (me) Elizabeth LeAnne
Wardrobe by Sandy Gonzalez
I’ve got an arm full of mosquito bites from holding the light but look at how amazing they are!!!!!!!!!!
This week I realized I’m a target for people to snap at for no reason. I think at one point during the week I even thought, “okay, I think this moment just reassured that moving away from toxic people, no matter how loyal I am, is the right thing to do”. I do not enjoy being humiliated, nor yelled at in front of others for something I didn’t do. After talking tonight with this couple I’ve babysat for multiple times, and crying, (lots of crying) I’m ready to leave toxic people behind. So I’ve set an actual date for a my cross country move! I’m excited to start new relationships and experience people outside for the central valley!
#HBD Gwen Stefani 🎂 V53 by Mert & Marcus
Photography by Katie Eleanor. Lingerie by Yelena Buck.