Candidly Elle

I'm just a girl in love with words and sentences.
Baltimore Riots: Violence is not the answer.

Baltimore Riots: Violence is not the answer.

I once thought we lived in a peaceful civilized country.  But, I was wrong that was a sheltered existence that my parents gave and my naiveté believed and soaked it all in.  Now in the wake of the latest murders of Freddie Gray and Walter Scott before that Michael Brown who raised his hands shouting “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting“. It’s hard to think about MLK’s dream…because the content of ones character is out the window and the color of ones skin is the still of the utmost importance.  When will this country realized that we are much stronger united as will fall divided. I think about my son, with his pale skin and brown eyes and I wonder if the world will change in ten years? I have also been told that I don’t have to worry about the “Black man’s plight” because my son is half white.  Bullets are colorblind, therefore I worry.

As a society we need to understand that violence is just not the answer. When I think of the Civil Rights era, the anniversary of Selma and the dream that Dr. King had, it just doesn’t correlate with how we live in the twenty-first century. There is a way towards coexistence, if we all took time to put away our misgivings about each other as a race to realize that our bodies bleed the same blood. I don’t think this is the dream that Dr. King spoke about. Tearing down your own neighborhood isn’t going to provide you with the answers. What happened to Freddie Grey is a complete devastation; however if you want answers there is a way to seek them. The old proverb “Speak softy and carry a big stick.” Weighs heavily on the riots in Baltimore. You can cautiously and respectfully stand your ground while only using violence as a necessity. Don’t judge an entire group of policemen on the merit of a couple of bad seeds.

Freddie Gray’s death was a terrible occurrence in a society, where some feel as though black lives don’t matter. As a black woman I find this disheartening that the police still feel as though they are invincible. We vote people in office to serve and protect, not kill and cover up. History is repeating itself and not in the most appealing way. I have my own views on this situation; however many have told me I that I don’t understand the “plight of a black man”, because my son is multi-racial and he looks Caucasian. That maybe true to some extent but I still worry as any mother would when my son walks out of the front door in the morning for school. We are still judged by the color of our skin and not the content of our character. So I challenged that notion of not having the right or not “understanding the struggle” I am the sister, aunt, daughter and cousin of many black men. I have one brother and God forbid he is stop and judged solely by the skin color he had no choosing in. I asked when is enough going to be enough? The Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings-Blake doesn’t seem to have control of her city with the statements she’s been making about giving the looters “space to destroy“. Violence is not the answer, looting solves what problem? Take what we learned from Ferguson. Tearing up the city will not incite change.

Our ancestors had to fight for rights against racial intolerance and prejudice. Burning down your neighbors and looting in your city isn’t going to make the situation better. Violence is not a means to solution. Rioting and looting the streets will only harm the community. Also, the looting that you see on the television is not colorblind, whites and blacks are out there tearing apart the streets damaging the community. If you want change, use your voice and vote! Get an education, run for office. Hit society with words of empowerment. None of this will bring Freddie Grey, Mike Brown, Walter Scott or Trayvon Martin back from the dead. So, instead of the riots why don’t we vote the right people in office and inspire change. Make them do the jobs they were voted in to do. Don’t allow another mother to bury a son for injustice.

Thanks for reading,

Elle

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The Downside of Reality Television

The Downside of Reality Television

Gone are the days where we watched television to find a role to emulate based on talent. I miss the days when I couldn’t wait to get home after school on Friday for TGIF on ABC. Those shows were wholesome and very family oriented. Each show had love and laugher; my favorites were Full House, Step by Step and Family Matters. I lived for my weekends, because I they would consist of great television programing. Friday night would be the family shows followed by Saturday morning cartoons with a huge bowl of cereal. The best ones were The Smurfs, The Snorks, He-Man, Jem and the Holograms and my favorite Scooby Doo. I love Velma to this day! 

Courtesy of Pinterest

Courtesy of Pinterest

Reality television wasn’t as prevalent as it is today. We had the Real World and Road Rules challenges. The theme of those two shows were to invite people from all walks of life to each stay in a nice mansion for six months or drive around the country in a Winnebago and compete for clues. These show thrived due to the constant infighting that happened between characters with zero in common. As a Gen X’er I must admit that I was addicted to The Real World every season up until 1999. It was great television watching Tami Roman getting dragged across the floor by David in her panties. We had never seen anything like that or when Irene the cop moved out early because she had gotten married. It was interesting watching people act a complete fool on camera.

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Fast forward 10-15 years and I can tell you that reality television has come along ways. Not for the better might I add. We now have Real Housewives in six cities. By the way I don’t consider you a housewife, if you aren’t or have never been married. Women who come together to fight and have catty arguments over stuff that’s really no importance. MTV and VH1 were two of the biggest music channels when I was growing up (aging myself!) Now they pride themselves on capitalizing on the spectacle of reality life with such shows like Teen Mom, Couples Therapy and Love and Hip Hop.

Real Housewives of ATL, Courtesy of Bravotv.com

Real Housewives of ATL,
Courtesy of Bravotv.com

As I watched the Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion last night, I realized that television has reached an all time low. What should be a proud moment of six successful black women coming together for a good time ends with them ripping each other to shreds. As a black woman I don’t want that “angry black woman” titled that seems to elude these women. Also, I don’t think its fair that MTV capitalized on the young and naïve. You shouldn’t be rewarded with a television show just because you are Sixteen and pregnant. I don’t think that’s something to celebrate. We as a culture have twisted the values system of what’s important in life and it’s not fighting and screaming on television. The times have definitely changed. People will sell their souls for fifteen minutes of reality television fame. I often long for the days of carefree lifestyle this country use to have. Now, I believe we are all lost in materialism and fame.

Thanks for reading,

Elle

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Unhappily Ever After

Unhappily Ever After

When I was in was younger I really thought that you need to have a man in your life to be of any importance. I tried to make a relationship that was clearly faltering and I allowed it to consume the very person I was trying to become. My mothers always use to say, “You only have one life to live, so live it well.” Finally, at almost thirty-four I see the bigger picture, doing things that make me happy and not at the expense of others.

I met a guy at seventeen teen who would eventually change my entire outlook on relationships and love. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. I was waiting for my mom to pick me up after school, when one of my friends (who shall stay nameless) asked to me go with her to a wrestling meet in the weight room. I knew why she wanted to go, there was a guy that she liked lifting that day and she wanted a wingman/person to go with her. I still had some time so I obliged. I mean it wasn’t like I had anything else important to do and Mom was usually late anywhere.

Hideous Prom Picture. Courtesy of Elle Henry

It was March and very hot, so when we walked in the lifting room it reeked of smelly boys and gyms socks. The prissy side of me wanted to leave and I almost did. Until I saw him, lets call him Jeff for now. I knew that face and he knew me. He was from the other school, boy I knew him. Jeff and I had gone to Middle School with each other, but years had past since we last saw each other. My friend went off to pounce on her prey as I stood in the doorframe admiring this boy that looks dramatically different from before. We were both seniors about to graduate soon and go our separate ways. I had just gotten out of a long distance relationship. So, having a boyfriend was that last thing on my mind at the time.

Oak Ridge H.S. 1999, Photo Courtesy Elle Henry

                Oak Ridge H.S. 1999,
            Photo Courtesy Elle Henry

I wanted to be single and have fun. I was speechless for a second as he walked up to me. Jeff and I had history. He was my first kiss and the very first boy that I ever liked. Imagine seeing him standing right in front of me four years later? We chatted for a bit caught up with each other and exchanged phone numbers. That night he called me and from that moment on he and I were virtually inseparable for the next three months. I was so in love with him and he with I that we cut off the world only focusing on each other. Later I realized that this wasn’t normal. My friends didn’t like him and thinking he was too possessive and I can see that now; however then I only saw a boy who wanted to give me his undivided attention something I didn’t have in my previous relationship.

That’s until things took a turn for the worst after my senior prom. The week before I spent in Tampa, competing with my drama club for state competition with prom night the Saturday I came home. I wanted Jeff to come with me, but he said “I not going to my prom why should I go to yours?” So I went alone to my senior prom when I supposedly had a boyfriend. His only request was that I didn’t dance with any boys. Now, At the time my friends and I laughed at this absurd request. I mean seriously? Did he really expect me not to dance with any boys?!

 

Lets just say I ignored his request after a good talk with my mom. She thought the relationship had developed too fast in such a short time and thought I should have a life a live it. After prom things were okay, I worked my job at the theme park and prepared to go to college in the fall and he prepared to do the same. But the night of his graduation party ended our relationship only problem was he didn’t tell me it was over. As usual he can over my house to pick me up, while he was waiting I gave him my prom pictures that I had recently developed to look at as I finished locking up my house. He wasn’t happy with the pictures at all and he grew very angry with me refusing to utter more than two words the rest of the night. I didn’t realized I have kept some of the photos of me dancing (not suggestive) with my classmates. It would be the last time I saw them so I wanted to capture good memories to have for the future.

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Well, Jeff didn’t like that at all. After the disaster grad party, we were at a stand still in our relationship. The summer was here and I still worked full-time at the theme park. But Jeff didn’t want anything to do with me. I would call and he’d tell his mom to say he wasn’t home. I was devastated. My best friends thought he was a major douche with a complex and blamed me for allowing him to take over my life. The final blow was when he left to go to college. I knew nothing and he didn’t even bother to call me and say goodbye. I had to find out from his cousin who I ran into at the 7-11! I went home and cried a solid hour. He had left me in holding all summer and I allowed this to happened. I was so hurt I could stand to be in the same state as him. So, I cancelled my plans for college and I joined the military.

It would take years for me to get over that rejection and learn to trust again. A few lessons I learned from looking at that time now as an adult, never give a person so much control over your life that you have to leave where you live. Also, running from your problems or pain doesn’t cause it to subside; no it’s going to always be there until you learn to cope with it. Finally, know your worth as a human so that no one can tear you down again. Looking back on that situation I learned a lot, if I had to do it all again I would have stayed and lived my life as I planned and not allowed such a breakup to take over my life.

Thanks for reading,

Elle

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National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, as a writer I have been heavily influenced by such poets like Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath. As a matter of fact Ariel by Sylvia Plath is the reason I became a writer and I keep a copy of her book on my desk to this day for inspiration. So, here is my contribution to #NationalPoetryMonth

What Do You Do…?

What do you when the best part of you…

Feels like you are too good for them?

Do you protect your heart and run?

Or stay and let love lead the way?

What do you do when pain flows

like a river with the tears when you wanted to stay

But you choose to go?

Do you return, mend your broken heart or follow the light on to a brighter start?

My heart requests these answers.

As it aches in agony

over this lost soul.

This foolish beat.

I will contend with his decision, as he deny the existence of this brutal pain is causing.

I wish it all could fade away; however it’s all around in mediocre moments

and sudden lapsed flashes of memories.

My heart smells his scent, feels his touch and craves for a glimpse of his face.

But it’s a fable

And I must move on.

Though I ask?

What do you do when you find immaculate love and it all goes wrong?

©Elle Henry 2015

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The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop

I’m still trying to establish myself as a writer in my hometown of Orlando; however I am a lover of the short story format. I’m a published author with a book of stories and poems out now through Amazon and Barnes and Nobles title Pieces of Me. Here’s one of my stories I hope you enjoy it enjoy to comeback and follow more of my work!

Elle

 “The Coffee Shop”

She was sitting there again like a gentle breeze flowing in the wind when he walked in the coffee shop. He eyes immediately grazed upon her ever so slowly and spotted her sitting in the corner instantly. Adjusting her glasses, she noticed him as well. The tension was felt between the two. They’ve played this game of cat and mouse for weeks, neither one dared to speak just a glance here and there.

Boom, boom, boom…went her heart. Turning the page in her book, trying to seem interested in Rebecca a novel she’s read a million times. Grabbing her latte from the table beside her, taking a sip—it was cold.

He smiled and went to the register.

She remained silently still in her position, showing no expression returning back to the book. Realizing that she would need to get up from a refill, then deciding to wait. There was no way she could speak to this man. He was too handsome in his khaki pants; red cable knit sweater and thin blue jacket. The reflection he preceded wasn’t the heart he held. It was frail, timid and saddening. The same as hers…but she wasn’t aware of that.

Observing her movements out of the corner of his eye, his nerves begun to quake at her very sight. An odd complexity given his physical stature was so tall, broad and muscular. Feeling her survey him from behind he smiled at the barista and ordered his usual.

“Tall house blend, please and keep the change.” Handing her crisp ten-dollar bill, he decided to sit today. It was a slow day at the office. The short spiky haired brunette barista returned moments later with his piping hot house blend. He nodded thanks again, and then headed over to the condiment counter to add his one creamer and three sugars. After fixing his coffee just right, he grabbed a seat at the table by the window. It was starting to snow a little outside and this time of year always made him sad. Sweet November, Maria died around this time two years ago. The death of his wife Maria caused him to become a recluse for a while. Maria was the soft wind against his cheek, the smile on his face when she spoke. Cancer took her from the earth’s presence and left Mark flowing in a trance every since the soil covered her remains. Until he spotted the beauty in the coffee shop with the pensive look concentrating on the different novels she read. He needed saving and yet the beauty he admired in the wind needed salvation from herself. As he stay gazing out the window thinking about Maria, he noticed the beauty with the book motion to the counter to get a refill. Taking a chance he gets up to say hello.

A gentle tap on her shoulder.

“Hi, I’m Mark.” He said with a casual smile that made her stomach churn with nervousness.

“Hello—I’m Naomi.” She said as the spiky haired brunette looked on annoyed waited for someone to order.

“I noticed you here often and I would like to buy you a cup of coffee.” He said handing the annoyed barista another ten-dollar bill, before Naomi could interject a response.

“Well, now I’m indebted to you Mark thanks.”

“The same ma’am?” the barista said as Naomi handed her the cup.

“Ummm—Yes with soy please.” Trying to figure out what else to say to the handsome stranger, who just did a kind deed. “Thanks—Umm…Mark?”

“Yes and please join me.” He say as the barista came back with the coffee he motioned again for her to keep the change, which put a smile on her previously unhappy face.

“I guess for a minute.” Then they walked over to the cozy chairs in the corner where she always sat. They were both nervous, but he took a leap by talking to her at all and that made him smile.

“What’s so funny?” she inquired.

“I don’t know, if you know this but I have been gaining the courage to come over and speak with you for weeks now. But you are always so focused on your books.” Naomi smiled in returned, so he had noticed her as well she thought. She wouldn’t be as bold enough to admit as much to him.

“No, I hadn’t noticed that.” She lied and her cheeks flushed revealing her truth. Taking a sip of her college it was nice of him to buy her refill, but coffee and small talk was all she could offer.

“How long have you been coming here?” he pressed.

“Since grad school. I’m working on my Ph.D. in counseling.” Replying as he admired her dark hair and olive tone skin, considering her low self confidence internally she was dressed nicely in jeans, leather ankle boots and a pale pink sweater. She was a very beautiful woman, someone he would really like to get to know better; however this was as far as he could go now.

“You seem like the educated type, I always see you with a book.” He said.

“Books don’t turn on you.” She said sipping her coffee again, his presence was making her uncomfortable.

“Why do you say that?”

“It’s a cold world and people are cruel.” She said matter of fact. “I’ve had to learn the hard way.”

“I suppose you are right.” He agreed and she begun to pack up her things. “Leaving so soon?”

“Yes, I’m a student teacher and I have to be there in thirty minutes.” She added, “Thanks for the coffee Mark.” Then she grabbed her purse and bag a stood to leave.

“It was all my pleasure Naomi, until next time?”

“Maybe” She smiled as she walked past him and that was that. He was happy and a bit shocked that he spoke to the beauty in the coffee shop. Even though it was a brief conversation it was better than anything he had experienced in the two years since Maria’s passing and it was also rewarding for Naomi. She walked away with a smile.

© 2014 Elle Henry

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