Senator Warren

IMG_6238I am a HUGE fan of (Senator) Elizabeth Warren, HUGE. I admire her as an amazing role model for women, her incredibly liberal outspokenness, and for being a champion of the falling middle class.  Last night Mrs. Warren conducted a reading of her new book, A Fighting Chance, and it was wonderful. Seeing the woman who so boldly addressed fellow Senators on the Senate floor last year in person was almost surreal. Her words hit just as strong last night as they have during every single speech or interview she’s ever given in the past. Hearing her root for the middle class so passionately was glorious.

She spoke about the nearly intolerable rise in school tuitions and insurmountable amount of profits made off of the back of the students carrying the burden of a trillion dollars worth of student loans. She never wavered when saying it was unexceptable, much like when she delivered her speech again on the Senate floor on the same. As someone who, as of late, has been heavily considering graduate school; therefore tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, her words couldn’t have been more important than in that moment. Looking over the sea of faces in the to-capacity audience, it was a flashback to when Obama first uttered the words, “Yes We Can,” and we lit up believing it was possible and it was for moment. In 2008 we did and the years following the Republicans and Tea Partiers pushed back harder and with more money. Elizabeth addressed the fact that she had beat a man who had “gazillions of dollars” to throw toward his campaign and frankly in the end we did “it” again and she won. In that, she made all of us sitting there in those foldable chairs realize we can do it again.

While talking, she grasped for optimism and the fight in all of us and we left continuing the chat all the way down the elevator to the fourth floor and out the door.  Will the chatter continue? Who knows, but one can hope…because without that chatter turning into a roar there is no hope and where there’s no hope then no we can’t.

Flyer, Flyer, Pants on Fire!!

So, it’s been a while.  Yes, it has been a very long while and just like a jerk I’ve kept you guys hanging…… HOWEVER I did make sure to come back with a good story.

First off, happy first spring weekend!!  Yesterday (for me) was such a delightful day- the weather was lovely, work was low-key with minimal to no stress, and I even woke up early refreshed.  It was a good day….for me.

Hopefully this will be the very last post to ever go out involving this dude.  Obviously I speak of The Musician, whose name is actually Brian.  This situation has caused some serious patience and for a while this event caused a momentary internal battle between what was the right thing and the wrong thing.  As you all know, by now, Brian has owed me money for quite some time (May/June 2012) and I’ve been ridiculously nice about it- not demanding full payment, offering that he pay me over time in smaller amounts.  My only real request: Pay in full before the end of the year (2013).

Because I want the full, honest story to speak for itself, I’ve included the emails and later text messages.  I will of course provide other details, such as non-emailed or texted happenings but for the most part I want everyone to read this for how it all unfolded and resulted in Friday’s events….

Letter mailed Monday, July 29, 2013
Brian:

Enclosed are your keys. I would ask that you please do the same and return the keys to my apartment as well. Along with them, please include the $600 you owe me for Mingus’s vet bill. It is understandable if you need to pay it in parts, however you do need to pay me back in full before the end of the year, preferably as soon as possible. If this is the case, please include a plan for when I should expect the remaining amount to be paid before the end of the year. I would’ve loved nothing more than to have severed all ties with you as of Sunday, but I was not then nor am I now in the position to allow you to not repay such a large amount. I would also greatly appreciate it if you could mail these. There should not be any need for further discussion, but if need be do so by email only.

Thanks for finally taking care of this matter.

Best,
Tonya Collins

The rest takes place in email, as I had deleted all his contact information and had no interest in any other contact.

On Aug 6, 2013, at 6:17 PM, Brian wrote:

Hi T,

I got your letter. Do you use paypal?
I will definitely pay you back in full for Mingus. That operation saved his life. Thank you.
I can send $300 now and the rest in a couple of months, ok?
Best,
B
On Aug 6, 2013, at 9:00 PM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

Just be thankful I had it. If it had been $2 more everyone would have been out of luck because $601.89 was all I had left in my savings account.

That sounds good though. Thanks. Understand this is not me being vindictive, so if you need to do $200 now and the rest over the next couple months that’s fine. I’m not trying to prove some kind of point. My paypal account is ***

What’s the ETA on the keys? The set you have is my only spare and frankly I have no plans to pay $25 for another set.

Thanks again.

Best,
Tonya

On Aug 6, 2013, at 10:13 PM, Brian wrote:
Wow. Down to the absolute wire. Again, THANK YOU! And Mingus thanks you from the bottom of his feline heart.
I’m good for $300 now. Take it while its there :) I totally understand and don’t think it vindictive at all. Sorry it’s been so damn long.
I can mail your keys along with handling the initial paypal tomorrow. Should I send them to the house or job?
Don’t know what to write here,
B
On Aug 6, 2013, at 11:29 PM, Tonya wrote:
Okay first, I am still very bothered with you, but your closing was hilarious and it did make me laugh.
I like Mingus, I’m glad it didn’t end up the other way.
You can mail them to either address, I’ll get them. Thanks.
Best,
Tonya
On Aug 21, 2013, at 9:41 PM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

I received the $300- thank you. I haven’t however received my keys yet. When did you mail them and to which address?

Best,
Tonya

On Sept 3, 2013, at 11:50 PM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

It took me about seven minutes to delete your contact info, compose a letter and mail you your keys. It’s been over a month and I still haven’t received my keys. What’s up? Why not?

If you threw them away, could you please let me now instead of months or years down the line. Otherwise, could you please, please just send me my keys.

Thanks.

Best,
Tonya

On Oct 27, 2013, at 7:41 PM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

November is just a few days away, which means the end of the year will soon be here.  With that said, what is the ETA on the remaining $300 you owe me?  As I mentioned in the letter enclosed with your keys a few months ago, I would strongly prefer to have this matter resolved by the end of the year- I really don’t like to take any unnecessary baggage into new years.

You’re a smart and capable person and I would rather not have to consistently remind you of this situation, as I did with my keys to no avail.  This is not new to you, so it makes no sense that I treat you like a child by repetitiously asking you to pay me back.  It annoys me to ask and I’m sure it annoys you to hear it over and over again.  I would like to not send some version of this email a second, third or fourth time until you respond.  So, please let me know if there is an issue, but I would appreciate this being handled before the end of December.  If I could finally get my keys back that would be great too.

Best,
Tonya

On Oct 27, 2013, at 7:54 PM, Brian wrote:

Wow, was just thinking of this today in fact. I’m still in a rough spot financially, but will certainly pay you back by the end of the year. I’ve got a good film project contract being signed next week or 2 that will be plenty money.

I sent the keys, T! Like 2 months ago. To whatever address from the letter you sent. In Manhattan I believe.

May I ask how you are doing?
B

On Oct 27, 2013, at 8:56 PM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

That sounds great- Thank you for letting me know.

Also, thank you for letting me know about the keys.  I will find out what happened to them once I’m back in that office.

I’m well.

Best,
Tonya

On Dec 23, 2013, at 7:32 AM, Brian wrote:

Hi T,

I hope this finds you well and happy. I’ll be sending the rest of your money in the next few days. Thanks for your patience and for saving Mingus’s life.

Love,
B

On Dec 23, 2013, at 8:51 AM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

That’s great.  Thank you letting me know.

Best,
Tonya

On Jan 12, 2014, at 10:46 PM, Tonya wrote:

Brian,

I received this email on the 23rd of December, however haven’t received the money.  Today is more than a few days and has now dragged on into the new year, which I said repeatedly I didn’t want to happen.

Could you please let me know truthfully when I should expect the remaining $300?  I would really like to just wrap this up.

Best,
Tonya

On Jan 13, 2014, at 11:41 AM, Brian wrote:

Sorry. Still just waiting to get paid from early December gigs. Within a week I’ll get it to you one way or another. Thanks

On Jan 13, 2014, at 11:42 AM, Brian wrote:

And happy new year :)

Emails ended here, as I was clearly annoyed that this sh*t was being pulled into my new year.   Let me explain how each new year starts for me. During the month of January or the equivalent of 31 days I go on a pure fast of nothing but vegetable and fruit juices.  While I work out, it helps to clear my mind and really to clean out all the sh*t I’ve consumed over the previous year.  At this same time, I  also clean out unnecessary bulls*t, like delete annoying people from my Facebook page, delete numbers out of my phone, and boot unproductive people of out of my circle of friends, that kind of thing.  At the same time I invite new people in, eat healthier, try some new places, and as corny as it sounds try to center myself, figure out what I want for the year.  To be honest (and still corny), this is a moment of sincere clarity, which for me meant thinking about how this moth*f*ck* hadn’t paid me my damn money.  At one point I was at the gym and killed three miles in less than 25 minutes because I was running off how angry I was becoming.  Day by day the fact that he STILL hadn’t paid me was eating me alive.  Every time I needed to buy something and didn’t have enough money, it was because of his ass.  When someone asked me to hang out and I couldn’t because I didn’t have the money, it was because of his stupid ass.  Whenever my bills far exceeded my income, it was because of his broke ass.  And finally when I was exactly $289 short for the month, all I could think about was how it was because of his lying, sorry ass!  At a time when I started hemorrhaging money (thanks to a Texas wedding), the fact that he hadn’t paid me was becoming overwhelming.  But what could I do?  He was just going to continue to lie to me by saying “…one way or another” and frankly I didn’t need to hear a lie, I needed my damn money.  Hell I work for a non-profit, $300 is a lot of money!!!  I came close to emailing that he borrow it from his grandma or his girlfriend, whatever, just get me my money.  It was like he was living in this world where he was struggling, but I had a money tree growing in my living room.  As much as I wish that were true, it’s not and there have been plenty of times (this past week included) when I’ve survived on two $1.79 bags of white, black or red beans for a week or more- no breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s hard sometimes in New York and in life, but it’s much harder when somebody owes you a great deal of money, but has no intent on paying it back.

I continued to think about how the hell I was going to get my money back every damn day.  One day I even walked over to his apartment and knocked on the door, but upon realizing I had no interest in a) seeing him, or b) having him lie to my face AGAIN, I left.  Plus I realized it would’ve been useless when he didn’t pay me and it was too much damn work to go to his place and of course have no results.  Emails didn’t work and I no longer had this assh*le’s phone number… then finally it came to me- Flyers.  Thanks to the fact that there are basically no cyber laws, I enlisted his Facebook page for a few pictures, added some copy and created a page-long flyer.  Of course I had some other work to do before I could put them out- remember the post regarding “someone” entering my apartment.  I added another lock myself.  Yes, I bought a drill, hacksaw, lock and bolts and got it done.  I dicussed it with the fantastic and dominating attorneys in my office.  All of which were gun hoe about doing it and explained there was nothing illegal about any of it.  Then I got sick.  I was out a few days completely sick.  There was no way I was going to put up some flyers when I could barely walk out of my apartment.  Then it was my birthday and everyone was all about hanging out.  That weekend I wasn’t about to get up early, put up flyers then head to Manhattan for dinner (or brunch) and drinks.  This idea started to wear on me as I thought about all the extra energy it required on my part- Ugh!  Get up early, go to his neighborhood, put up flyers all while it was cold and snowing or raining- BLAH!!!  And then I needed new glasses and we were asked to pay for yet another thing for the wedding and I realized I had $19 in my account until next payday, well over a week away.  I sat at my desk trying to figure out what I needed to cover all my expenses and I was short little less than $300!  It was unacceptable and suddenly all those reasons why I couldn’t do it, disappeared and I was up bright and early Friday morning.
BS Flyer for Blog-page-0I woke up at 5:45 that morning (two hours earlier than normal), got dressed, took the train to the shuttle, then walked the additional eight blocks to his block between Greene and Lexington.  I stopped a block ahead, getting out the flyers, tape and putting my gloves in my bag- I didn’t want anything to slow me down.  I wanted to tape and move, tape and move.  I stepped on the curb of his block and couldn’t put up a flyer as I saw two cars stopped to the light.  I thought, “F*ck this.  Let’s get this done.”  I put a flyer on every empty window, tree, bus information box, and apartment and restuarant door.  I even put one on his door and slid about four or five extras under his apartment door.  With every flyer though, my tape would break and I would have to dig it out with my nail.  My hands started to shake, maybe from the cold, but really I think because I just didn’t want him to catch me.  The whole point of this “project” was if I couldn’t get him to pay by asking nicely or because it’s what he’s supposed to do, maybe I could shame him into paying.  Shame was the word.  I got the entire side of his block done before I crossed the street as a guy walked out of bodega adjacent to Brian’s apartment and stopped to read the flyer.  I crossed the street with a smirk on my face and tossing the roll of bum tape around my arm.
Flyers on the doorI continued walking a few blocks, smiling and waving at passing pedestrians until I reached my office.  By now it was a little after 8a and the Assistant Operations Manager, Hope, had gotten there and opened the metal gate that encloses the entrance door.  I walked in, chatting about the new hair stylist I had just tried the night before and finally telling her what I had just done, including giving her a flyer to read.  It was almost 9a when it all started.  I got a phone call from a number I didn’t know so I didn’t answer it.  Then a text from the same number…then texts began to roll in.  I stood in the lobby, reading the texts aloud to some of my coworkers and laughing- sorry but given months of radio silence, reading all the panic (and anger) in his texts was funny.  And it was Friday, everybody needed some entertainment.

 

Friday, March 21, 2014, starting at 8:43 AM:
Umm.
I do owe you the $300, and I’ll pay. But certainly never came to your apt without you knowing.
Don’t me a maniac
Be
I’ll pay you
I teach in this neighborhood.
(He calls- don’t answer)
If any of my students same this I am in for serious life altering sh*t today when I get to school
(Me) Crazy how this is suddenly important now.
I’ll pay you the money.
T! Do you realize the school where I teach is 3 blocks from home?
And never mind the crazy timing of this which we’ll discuss if I ever see you again
Why didn’t you just call or email again?
(He calls- didn’t answer)
It’s not like I’m living some high life
I’ll send the money today.
(Me) FANTASTIC!! Thank you! :)
Me and the woman whose face you plastered have broken up. Pleas leave her alone if you do anymore maniac sh*t
I’m sorry to have hurt you. Never was my intention. I really hope I can still work at the school.
(He calls- didn’t answer)
The timing really is crazy. Just got some bread but was scared to PayPal from my phone. Last night. Swear on everything.
Yo I never went in your house!!!!
I sent those damn keys to manhattan ages ago
(He calls- didn’t answer)
C’mon you exploded my whole morning, give me 5 min on the phone?
And we didn’t break up because of your destructive childish stunt today.
I’ve worked so hard to cultivate something with this high school kids. You may have ruined that.
That only hurts them. Shame on you for that. The rest is whatever.
(I receive an alert from PayPal that $300 had been deposited in my account)
(Me) I received notification that you sent the money. Thank you so much! Have a great Friday & a wonderful weekend! :)
I did.
Thanks for saving Mingus’s life. Change your locks.
Don’t be a maniac
Did those go up on other blocks or just mine?
(He calls again at 9:16a- Didn’t answer as I’m actually at my desk working now)
He called again at noon, but I was busy and unintentionally missed the call that time.  I didn’t and still don’t understand why he felt the need to not only call but to add all the extra information in the text messages- who cares.  I was actually annoyed thinking about how he still had my number- why?  I deleted his sh*t back in July.  Plus why would he think I would answer when I said there’s no need for further discussion outside of emails?  Why was he calling me after the transaction- his and my business was now done.  My friend Sheri and I laughed the most about him texting that I should have called or emailed again, like he’s some kind of toddler that couldn’t remember how to not piss on the toilet without being reminded.  I mean, dude, how many times do I need to remind you of your responsibilities??
All day I felt what it was like to be a mobster who had just broken someone’s legs for their money.  I had taken a bat to Brian’s knees and now I got to bask in my success. Granted unlike mobsters I didn’t received thousands of dollars, but only if you could understand how that $300 was almost like getting $3,000,000 just because of shire principle.  Most of all I felt a burden finally removed.  All was settled- he and I could officially be done!  Okay so not to take away from my I-did-it high, but I was also kind of disappointed that it had to come to this point.  That I had to make the decision to become the “crazy b*tch” in order for him to take care of it.  That afternoon, Hope, came over to my desk and just stared at me.  She said she just couldn’t believe I had done it, to which I responded that I didn’t understand why I had to.  Guys always like to pretend like women are so crazy (for no reason), but really they don’t respond until we do something crazy.  All those emails, bluntly, but nicely written, requesting when he pay me back and they just went ignored.  It took me getting up Friday morning and putting up shameful flyers on his block for him to finally pay me back and immediately.  Why?  Josh, slightly eavesdropping on our conversation, agreed that it didn’t make sense.
For lunch, the girls and I treated ourselves to Tai food at a lovely place up the block, then instead of going to the gym, as I normally do, I went home and treated myself to a couple glasses of wine from a bottle I received for Christmas.  In the end I was, and I am, proud of myself.  I didn’t just let this slide as I have with other things in the past.  I called Brian on this, made him pay his debt and I’m proud of that.  I think I should be.  Anyone who stands up for themselves should be…

BTW- Don’t try this at home unless you have good tape…

…And On…

Well, it’s the end of 2013 and it was actually a damn good year. All in all I think this year has been the best since I moved to New York three years ago.

I remember the first year living in New York was more difficult than I imagined it would be. Upon arriving, I started a job headed by a bipolar addict and I didn’t really know anyone, with the exception of the once in a while appearance by the Musician. I moved in February right after a massive snow storm and it was cold. I would love to say I was prepared but I had moved from Texas where cold (at that time) was about 40 something degrees, not ten. I felt like I was constantly trying to keep up and as soon as I thought I had caught up, I had something else to work on- a new place to live after the first month, the subway, my own apartment- it was like it never stopped.

My second month of living here, I moved into the Musician’s apartment while he was on tour and for a brief moment it was a sigh of relief that I had that squared away at least for the next 60 days. That sigh was knocked out of me once I realized I was stuck with his unsanitary, pothead roommate whose kid, although adorable, for some reason at five still had difficulty flushing the toilet. Not to add, I think he unconsciously took pleasure in discreetly construing that I was only STAYING there and DID NOT live there. All the money I was supposed to be saving by staying there, I ended up using because I would try to stay out of the house as much as possible whenever he got there. A friend came to visit one weekend and as we hung out, I couldn’t stop talking about how I never imagined moving being this hard. Having moved before, she agreed that it would be hard, but reassured me that it would get better if I chose to stick it out. Even then, like now, the notion to move (on my own accord) never crossed my mine. I had busted my ass to get here and there was no way I was tucking tail and moving back. By the end of that second month, I was already looking at apartments and praying one would come available ASAP. I didn’t even care that I paid the Musician for both months, if I found an apartment, I was so gone. This was the only time I lay in bed crying about not knowing what to do. After missing out on a completely renovated apartment twice, it finally came available and I moved out a week before the Musician’s return.

I was learning the subway and meeting a few people, sadly I still really only talk to one of them now, and I felt like I was starting to get my footing. My confidence in my decision to move was returning…..then….my company closed and we were all gradually laid off within weeks of each other. WHAT. THE. F**K!!!! It was the end of 2011 and despite being jobless in one of the most expensive cities in the world, all I could think about was making it to a year. I had just signed a lease, and forked over $4K, on a new apartment and didn’t know what the hell was about to happen. I went home for Christmas and New Year’s and after two months of unemployment, I finally told my parents we got laid off, to which an uproar incited. Momma never wanted me to move to New York and daddy being daddy was probably more concerned about if I was going to ask him for money- I didn’t, despite having spent the last of the $11K I’d saved. I came back to New York and started the search for a new job, any job while I worked as a freelance publicist. With that said, please let me give HUGE props to anyone that makes their living as a freelance anything. That sh*t is hard as hell and you have to be made of alligator skin to do it. I applaud you.

It was April before I found a job and I say a job quite begrudgingly. Although I hated this job with a passionate, this is where I met who I consider to be my original New York family. It was amazing how much we equally hated this place, even dubbing it P.O.D- Pit of Despair. It was also crazy to me how much talent was in this overcrowded retail store- dancers, musicians, lawyers, architects and almost everyone had some sort of college degree. It was like walking into the Twilight Zone everyday. I remember countless conversations where we all tried to recollect the exact moment that led us to this purgatory. Through our abhorrence, I built a bond with them and they not only helped me survive my time in that hell hole, they’ve become my first group of genuine friends. Since, I’ve spent holidays with them, gone to their weddings, hosted parties with them in attendance and planned monthly outings with them. As we all applied and were passed over for “real” jobs, we would drown our sorrows (and frustration) in cheap drinks at nearby LES bars, sometimes spotting one another’s tabs. I was barely paying my bills and in August I flew home because momma was undergoing open heart surgery and she was feeling overwhelmingly vulnerable. When momma finally came home, I sat on the couch with my arm around her as she pleaded for me to come back home. I’ve never felt like a worse human being or daughter than I did in that moment. I didn’t want to move back, not because I had so much going on but because I just didn’t want to leave New York- how f**king selfish. I called my brother, crying and requesting his advice, maybe more so hoping he would somehow relieve me of the encumber I was feeling. He couldn’t and I flew back to New York with that weight still on my shoulders. My New York family texted and called me the whole time.

There I was back in New York, working at this ridiculously underpaying job, about to succumb to debt and all I could think about was momma and if this was even worth it. New York was always my dream, but for some reason this must of been the part of the dream I forgot about when I woke up. I didn’t foresee not having a job/career I loved or something happening to my family. I couldn’t leave for Christmas until after the holiday, and instead watched the Musician leave for home days before. I sat up in his bed as he gathered his things and caught the honking cab downstairs. I missed him tremendously once he left and now I realize it was because I needed something/someone more to hold on to in New York then just my friends. The feeling subsided when I got home; momma was much better and I no longer felt like I needed to justify my staying in New York. I wasn’t even back a week when I learned that daddy’s doctor found a tumor on his kidney. Before flying back I buried my head in the Musician’s chest, this was not what I imagined. At one point as I raced down the hall with daddy’s surgeon and  jumped in the elevator with daddy’s gurney which was headed back to the O.R in order to stop unforeseen bleeding, I couldn’t help but think what the f**k am I doing? What am I doing in New York? What kind of assh*le leaves their family?

I flew back in a daze a week later (the end of January) while daddy was still in the hospital. As a penalty for my absence, I wasn’t scheduled to work that entire week, but another girl had a death in the family and suddenly they needed someone to cover her shifts. As much as I wanted to tell them to go f**k themselves, I needed the money. I wasn’t paid for the previous week and needed at least the $300 for that week. How was this my life? That Wednesday I got a call…to schedule a phone interview. Two weeks later, I was set to start a real position. I sweetly gave a resignation, but ended up quitting in a It’s-been-real-f**k-you email one weekend. Again my friends in New York stood by me the whole time.

I’d be lying if I said since February I haven’t thought about my not being in Texas with my family, but now I FaceTime my parents and everything seems to be fine again. I’ve met my second New York family in the people I work with and I finally love my job. I’m so proud of all the things I’ve gotten to experience this year- adding new friends, working in a slightly different capacity of communications and honestly unexpected setbacks. Ironically today is the Musician’s bday which has unconsciously garnered him more thoughts, but honestly I think the sever vexation I still harbor has probably kept me from cussing way more people out than I have this year….although I did get someone fired the other day. Realizing you’ve been a five-year F**k Buddy can fill you with immense anger, in case anyone was envisioning that scenario, which I doubt. Now as I sit with my parents (momma back to her old, active self and daddy completely cancer free) writing this, I can very confidentially say I am happy where I am. Granted my apartment sucks sometimes, my neighbors suck all the time, I still don’t really like Brooklyn nor have I bought snow boots to keep me from slipping while I walk, but dammit I love MY city. I’ve always kinda believed in the saying three’s a charm, but I now wholeheartedly believe three is my new favorite number because year three has been a lucky charm. Now be a diamond, 2014.

The Year End Rush

Okay, so this is going to be super short because I’ve got to go to bed.

Christmas season is crazy.  As of Wednesday my office will be filled with over 2,000 toys that my boss, myself and a few volunteers have to go through and organize for our families. I have gone to purchasing ALL Christmas gifts online and mailing them to mom & daddy’s house so frankly I don’t even have to deal with them until I land in Texas. I’m also managing my house stuff (removing valuables) because I’m renting out my place during my absence to Mike & Jamelia- two random people I’ve never met in my life. This guy who I’ve told I have absolutely no interest in keeps texting and calling me (ugh), to which he gets no response and I suddenly realized during a VERY snowy day that I don’t have reliable snow shoes.

These are fun times…more to come!!!