The Silent Noise of Hearts & Flowers

This is as short story about a woman’s undying love of a notorious player. On this particular evening, they have a date. He is late. She decides to meet him, in hopes of surprising him. Her timing is perfect, as she catches him exiting the florist shop located next door to the building where he works. The look on his face tells her all she needs to know. But she dares to ask anyway, as she mentally prepares to catch her own heart in her hands, as it threatens to burst out of sheer anticipation. Or, because she senses that her lover is about to deliver a blow that her heart cannot withstand.

Are those for me?” Her voice betrayed her as it gave way, collapsing over these four simple words. Her hands automatically reflexed, without any beckoning from her brain, reaching towards the brilliant bouquet that rested so comfortably in his arms. In a failed attempt to appear calm, her lover motioned to swipe his touseled hair from his brow, a nervous gesture she had often witnessed, and had at one time, found adorable.

At that very moment, the collage of colorful petals fell to the ground with a deafening silence. She could actually hear the flowers lying on the ground, where they didn’t belong. Evidently, they didn’t belong with her either. The flowers remained there, sprawled carelessly between them, for what seemed like a tortuous amount of time. He made no move to recover them, but his lips began to motion with what she could only guess, were as many excuses as there were flowers on the ground. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead and upper lip, betraying him as well. He spoke but she could not hear him. All she could hear was the silence of those flowers, and the shattering of her heart into a million pieces.

She couldn’t help but notice what an odd scene the fallen flowers and her broken heart made, lying there together on the ground, in misplaced solidarity. Strangely, they seemed to belong together. And had she been the intended recipient of the bouquet, they would have eventually died anyway, just like their love, which she realized at that very moment, had died long ago. Flowers had always been so meaningful to her in the past. They were little colorful bursts of joy that were meant to grow, blossom, and be given and eventually die at some point, much like the heart, which ultimately does the same.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

The Beauty of my Day of Birth

Every year is so much sweeter than the last. My day of birth is more than just getting older. With each new day, I become richer with every breath that I take. I celebrated with my sister earlier today over a beautiful lunch. So precious is our time with family!!

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The Great One!!

Have you noticed how quickly celebrities are checking out of this place we call, “earth?” Do you want to cry but you can’t squeeze out not one more tear? Are you all cried out and all dried up? I can relate. These instances are happening so often it seems. But being at a loss for tears certainly doesn’t mean that I’m any less moved or saddened. It’s just difficult to digest, especially on the heels of other recent celebrity deaths.

Honestly, I’m not sure what emotion ran through me the quickest as I sat in front of my t.v. set for the first time today, and was clobbered yet again with the news of the death of another world-reknowned personality, Muhammed Ali. I could only sit and stare at the screen in somewhat disbelief, and I say that because I was aware that he had been in a medical battle for years and greatly ill as of late. But this still didn’t soften the blow any, when this news blared across my t.v. screen. Death is death and there is nothing more final.

I really don’t enjoy writing pieces concerning people that have passed on, but sometimes, it’s just simply necessary. It’s my way of paying my respects to these people. Once again, I pay homage to a beloved celebrity superstar, who has been a part of so many lives for so many years. I say goodbye with sadness for the suffering he may have endured for quite some time, due to his lengthy medical journey. I also say a bittersweet goodbye, because I believe that he is in a much better place.

Like many people, I grew up hearing and watching Muhammed Ali in my household. At that time he went by his birth name, Cassius Clay. My father was a big fan and often watched his fights on t.v. I recall being fascinated and intrigued by this larger than life man with the huge personality and even bigger boxing talent. All the trash talking and back and forth banter with the late Howard Cosell, was one of the things I enjoyed the most about this great fighter, along with the obvious, his fighting skills of course. Another important point I’d like to mention that impressed me to such a great degree, is that he was a compelling activist and spoke out and fought for the rights of his culture. He was unafraid to be controversial and unapologetic, while exuding a prideful and bodacious self-love that was contagious and often shocking. You couldn’t help but want to adapt a similar mindset after witnessing him speak in front of a crowd.

His influence has impacted the world and his mark will remain forever engraved in our hearts and memories. Thank goodness there is plenty of footage that captured the athletic and intellectual quick-witted prowess, and outspoken persona of this sports legend. All fighters that came after him, as far as I’m concerned, emulate him and aspire to be great as a result of the highly successful and accomplished career of this champion among men. What a great example Muhammad Ali was and will forever remain. Rest in peace “great one”.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

Race Is Not a Card…

Image result for free google images of deck of cardsImage result for free google images of deck of cards

Does anyone know what a race card is? Surely you’ve heard this term thrown around quite often, especially in the media. It implies that an individual of ethnicity, is somehow using his/her own race to attain some type of advantage as a result. But, here’s the million dollar question: How can a person’s race, be considered a card, that a person can flash or present at will, whenever the occasion seems suitable? Yet amazingly, people are accused of this all the time. In fact, every time I hear the term, I am astounded that it has gained so much momentum and attention over the years and is often viewed as a valid concern.

Now it would be unfair of me to speak for other ethnicities or make generalizations concerning my own, but I do think it’s safe to say that being that one cannot change their race at will, (and why would they want to) any more than they can stop the sun from shining or the rain from falling. But for me, ‘race’ consists of a full deck if you will, that people of various ethnic backgrounds reflect 2-4-7. They represent the entire ‘deck’, all day, every day, whereas a card can be pulled, changed, and altered as often as need be.

Furthermore, would you agree that by accusing a person(s) of playing the race card, also implies that there is some disadvantage that would inspire the use of this so-called card in the first place, in order to level the playing field? If everyone had the same opportunities, the proverbial ‘race’ card instance would be non-existent. Interesting that the very people who often tilt the field in their own favor, then audaciously turn around and accuse the unwilling recipients of these accusations, who in spite of so much adversity, still manage to embrace the life-long hands they’ve been dealt, with both resilience and acceptance. Kind of reminds me of the thinking behind affirmative action. Lets start the conversation. What say you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Farewell to a Royal Prince…

It’s growing very tiresome and troublesome, mourning yet another mega-superstar musical icon. Yet, somehow, I still have some tears left. Prince Rogers Nelson is gone. It still doesn’t resonate with me, whether I write it or say it. In fact, it’s downright unbelievable! He was one of the last true baby-boomer sensations, that my generation could relate to on such a deep level.

Each time an announcement is made about the death of another larger-than-life person, of course the initial reaction is a big fat dose of denial. At least this is the case for me. But this time, denial didn’t stay around very long, as the media began to quickly flood the airwaves on Thursday afternoon, April 21, 2016, with the shocking news of Prince’s death.

Maybe you hoped as I did that this was another hoax. Sometimes people with a dark, sick sense of humor, ignite rumors of a celebrity’s passing. Incidentally, Bill Crystal has been reported to have passed away several times, but thankfully, he lives to laugh about it. But there’s nothing funny about it. Especially, God forbid, when the day actually comes and the ‘true’ announcement is made, no one will believe the news. Unfortunately, our ‘Prince’ has left the building, for real.

I must say that I am both moved and impressed by the outpouring and showings of support from all over, to pay homage to this genius of a man, known by only one name, Prince. A man that has contributed so much to the music industry and the world in general. Interestingly, I don’t see very many people shedding tears. Mostly, there is contagious dancing and laughter amidst the purple rain, that has spread like wildfire, as people gather to reminisce about their beloved ‘Prince’. The tear-free crowds are a bit of an unusual sight, but also refreshing to see because it helps to dry up some of my own. He has given us pure joy through song and selfless humanity, both of which were shared so generously with with so many; two gifts that keep on giving as his music and kindness  live on forever.

I may not have all of his music, or any of his music. I can truly love an artist and what they do, but won’t have one piece of their music. This is amazing to me even as I share this odd fact about myself. But does that make me any less a fan than the person that has their favorite artist plastered all over their bedroom wall, or owns every t-shirt ever made in that’s artist’s image? I think not. I am just as much a fan of Prince as anyone else. As always, when an artist that I adore passes away, I pay homage to them by watching every documentary, news segment, reading every article I can get my hands on concerning the person. I then get to the business of purchasing all of their music. You may think this is backwards, but I guess it’s how I roll. Regardless, I will soon be able to play his music in heavy rotation within the comfort of my home.

I’ve often heard others who don’t understand the die-hard fan nature of some people. They don’t understand how people can get so caught up and distraught when a high caliber celebrity passes away. After all, they don’t know the celebrity personally. Well, that’s easy to answer. When you truly enjoy the artistry and talent of a artist and they move you in ways that can barely be described in words, as a true fan, you develop a connection with these people. You almost feel as if you do know them. It’s called the power of music and it is magical.

Prince provided the soundtrack, backdrop, and narrative for a major part of my life, as I’m sure he did for so many others. How could I not feel connected in a strong way when tragedy strikes? His music has gotten me through some exciting, tough and very challenging times. And there’s so much music that he gifted us with. It’s so fitting that he loved the color purple. He seemed to quietly and humbly rest comfortably in knowing that he was indeed royalty. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he’s gone and that I will never get the opportunity to see him in concert. At least there’s film and plenty of music to remember him by and for that, I am eternally grateful. I will miss him greatly. Rest in peace, royal Prince.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Oh Please!!

Never has it been truer than the old adage: you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I’m starting to feel like ‘some of the people‘ is quickly moving into the ‘none of the people‘ category. It has become increasingly difficult to gain the approval and/or acceptance from others, for simple acts of kindness both big and small. The more you try and satisfy everyone, the further away you seem to drift from that goal altogether. To please or not to please? A most appropriate question in this instance.

So, you might conclude, why even bother? And who could blame you if you feel this way? Especially when you’re more likely than not, to be shot out of the sky. Why would you not opt to fly closer to the ground, where the crash landing is bound to be less painful? But what fun would that be and what about your satisfaction? When you’re a ‘people-appeaser’, it’s very hard to retrain yourself to be of the opposite mindset. And why should you feel like you have to change who you are? How unpleasant of an experience would that be for you, to behave in a way that goes against every grain of your character, just for the sake of what others may or may not think?

You might find, that as soon as you change your modus operandi, those very same people, who couldn’t acknowledge your good efforts in the past, will come for you, with guns a blazing, to show their…wait for it, wait for it…. displeasure in your ‘new attitude’. Which would be more disheartening for you, the seemingly never-ending hard to please people around you, or the facade you decided to wear, in a sad attempt to please those who cannot be pleased? After all, isn’t misrepresentation of yourself, the worst representation of all, since it does not reflect the real you?

What are you to do when going left wreaks havoc, and going right compounds things further to your disadvantage? Should you continue doing what makes you feel good, even at the risk of having your good intentions and gestures promptly returned to you, like a letter that unexpectedly comes back to you in the mail marked, ‘return to sender?’ In the end, you have to be pleased with yourself before you can please anyone else, right? Or are you simply reading this post while concluding, “Oh please!!”

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Beneath My Granddad’s Hat…

Image result for free google images of drawings of men wearing hats or caps

My granddad on my mom’s side always wore a hat, one with a brim on it that very effectively hid his eyes from the world. As a little girl, I remember stooping over while trying to peer underneath the hat. I just wanted to see his eyes. Granddad was a tall man, about 6ft 2 I imagine. His ever-present hat made him appear to be even taller, such a majestic and powerful figure as seen through my youthful eyes. When I would call out to him, he would often tilt his head just right, revealing two shiny brown balls of joy that made my heart dance with excitement. His eyes always seemed to be filled with laughter, even when he wasn’t smiling, but the smile was never far away.

It was a rare occasion to find my granddad without his hat. Sometimes, I would stand and watch grandpa sleeping under its safety and security. I used to think it was so funny when he would fall asleep in his favorite chair, his faithful ‘companion’ completely covering his face. At those times while granddad slept, the hat seemed to take on a life of its own, as it loyally watched over its owner. while providing a kind of protective shield from onlookers. As granddad quietly snored, the hat would rise and fall with each intake and exhale of his quiet rhythmical breathing.

It has been a very long time now since my granddad went home to Glory to be with his Father. Even though the window panes of my memory have aged, I still remember him exactly the same way I did all those years ago. While the hat he wore accented his signature style, the man underneath was, is and will forever be…..priceless!!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google Images

Is Support M.I.A.?

Every now and then people do really nice things for one another. Some people are blessed enough to have this happen more times than they can count. Then there are those of us that have a hard time recalling when a gesture was made on our behalf that just blew us away. Well, I’m happy to say that I now know what that feels like.

A very good friend of mine knows all too well my struggle and is often on the receiving end of my ranting. Little did I know that she was gathering information to do the ultimate “good deed”. My friend took the time to research and set up a Gofundme campaign on my behalf and titled it: Hearts Connecting for Sylvia/shortlink: http://bit.ly/1ecBS8O or gofundme.com/heartsforSylvia. I don’t know who was more excited, her or me.

Aside from a handful of very giving people, the most peculiar thing is that the response has not been what we had hoped for. The campaign has been posted numerous times via social media. I am disheartened, disappointed, and down right sad to find that the people I expected to be supportive, are the ones that are quiet as a mouse. It costs nothing to share the link and make others aware of the cause, but that isn’t happening either.

When I view the campaign, it is astounding to me that there have been hundreds of visits to the page, but where is the support? Don’t people realize that a little goes a long, long way? A donation counts whether it’s $5.00 or $25.00, $50.00 or $500.00. Every bit helps and every bit counts. I would never have imagined I would be writing a post like this to express the urgency and the need. I have come to the aid of others on numerous occasions without a second thought. I’ve always been taught that if you’re blessed to give and show your support, than you should pay it forward.

I am trying so hard not to lose faith in people but this instance makes it very difficult. I feel like I’ve been walking a tight rope, slowly and cautiously, all the while thinking supportive people are behind me and there to catch me should I fall. But instead, I look over my shoulder, and not only are they not walking on the rope with me, but they they seem to have left the building. Many of these people I’ve known for many, many years so they know the strength of my character. The life battles that I am now fighting, have inspired me to be more transparent about my life than ever before. It’s not easy to be this open, but it does provide a kind of therapy to release my thoughts. I just need some support to carry the load. I may not be dying or on my last breath, thank God, but it’s a fight every day just to survive. So, I’m appealing to the goodness and selfless nature that I know must exist in most people.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Goodbye To My Girls….

Don’t you just hate goodbyes? Just as you get to know someone or get use to the way things are done, the person leaves or the situation changes. I think this has been the story of my life. It seems like I’m always saying goodbye to someone or something. Sometimes the goodbyes are bittersweet, in that people are moving on to bigger and better things, while leaving me behind. At other times, the goodbyes are just bitter, leaving me feeling like I’ve lost a part of me.

Well, I’m about to embark on the biggest goodbye of my life. The time has come for me to say the dreaded two words, that come together to mark the ending of an era. But this is no ordinary farewell. Honestly, even as I’m writing this, I still find it hard to wrap my head around it. How hard would it be for you to say so long to friends that you’ve known your entire life? These girls have rode with me through thick and thin; true ‘ride or die’ chicks. My girls have been there for me even when I didn’t seem to notice or unintentionally took them for granted. When the chips were down, they stood with me in solidarity, while lending there silent yet powerful support. They made me proud and instilled in me a confidence that made me honored to be represented so well by them. I can only hope that I’ve done them the same justice. Yet, the time has come in my life where I’ve come to realize that things can change, even my girls. My ‘ride or die’ crew is no longer what they once were. They’ve become a danger to me to me that cannot be ignored.

Even as I sit here, writing and sharing about how good my girls have been to me, it makes me so sad to think about what my life will be like without them. Of course, there will be newbies that will rise to the occasion I’m sure, but there will never be another pair to replace the originals, in my heart. I know that they would remain if they could, after all, they’ve been with me from the beginning. But I’ve got to let them go and it hurts in a way like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

So, fellow bloggers, please keep me in your prayers and turn up the volume on Wednesday May 20th, as I undergo radical surgery and once and for all, say goodbye to my girls.

Sylvia Porter-Hall

No 2-Ways About It

I was checking out the Yahoo news stories this morning and came across an eye-opening article that was both interesting and maddening at the same time. In Illinois, Cigar and Stripes bar owner Ronnie Lottz, has a 2-way mirror in the women’s bathroom of his bar. As reported in the Huffington Post Women by Sebastion Murdock on Tuesday April 28, 2015, the mirror has been part of a long-time gag that has entertained patrons for 15 years.

Originally, the mirror was installed next to a little closet-like room in the bathroom where a monster would appear at the flick of a switch, virtually sending women screaming for their lives, hence supporting the popular ‘haunted’ bar theme. Mr. Lottz’s suggestion is simple: Look behind the door before entering to use the facilities. Frankly, it’s surprising that he hasn’t been sued by now for scaring the living daylights out of people. I’d be pretty mad if I went to use the ladies room, only to discover that there’s something lurking in there just waiting to shake me to my core. I don’t think I’d have had a single giggle left in me, had I been the butt of this obviously bad joke. Now mind you, I am someone with a pretty darn good sense of humor. It looks like the line has not only been crossed, but erased entirely when it comes to playing a gag and having good sense…of the common kind that is. I’m just saying.

Female comedian Tamale Rocks, recorded the 2-way mirror’s existence and shared it via a Youtube video she posted, exposing what she feels is wrong in more ways than one. Mr. Lottz quickly volleyed back that this particular comedian’s career may have needed a little boost. He further implied that drawing attention to the 2-way mirror in his establishment, was Miss Rocks’ way of getting some attention for herself, while pumping some much needed air into her deflating career.

Can you guess where the bar owner now stands on this topic; now that his long-time mirrored antics have been more widely exposed? Well, evidently Mr. Lottz has no intention of taking the mirror down. Was that your guess too? Certainly, he is aware of the extra publicity his business has gained, as a direct result of Miss Rocks’ expose’. It looks like a win-win situation for both. No 2-ways about it!!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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