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Our History, My Trauma: Non-linear Narrative of a No-knock Raid

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Reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, I heard her laugh, felt the love, smelled the weed, and remembered the sound of gunshots. I felt the trembling, numbness, the pacing of a rapidly moving heart, shaking, in response to what I thought were the last moments of our lives. At eleven or twelve years of age, I saw my small frame trapped on a sticky thread of injustice created by the web makers’ own hands. My life, no longer my own. Count me among the many that witnessed a traumatic experience left to detach themselves from it all. 

Trauma forms when a person is overwhelmed by something that is beyond their control. There are three types of trauma: acute, chronic, and complex. Acute is a one-time experience, chronic, repeated experience, and complex trauma exists when a person is exposed to various events that are invasive and interpersonal in nature. The limbic system includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus. When triggered, it sets off an alarm for a person to have an involuntary experience with a previous memory. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is a term most associated with this brain function response. Flashbacks are a symptom of PTSD. Colors, odors, objects, sensations, or sounds could cause a person to become fully immersed in memory. They may also remain partially present, losing some awareness of what is going on around them. It can happen at any moment.

Somewhere between 125th St. and Columbus Circle on the A Express Train, my body temperature increased, as my heart pumped vigorously. The images around me started to move slower than normal. The events of that night started to unravel quickly and out of order. I recalled the police lights beaming through the living room windows. Voices filled the driveway. Men. A lot of men, in SWAT gear, while I was in my PJ’s. As I peeked my head out to get a sharper view, a man yelled, “get back” while aiming what was possibly a Sig-Sauer 552P at my face.  Inwardly, I responded, NO, and slowly backed away from the window, just enough for him to no longer see me.

The SWAT team was stalled, entering my best friend’s mom’s apartment. My mother was on the phone. Calmly speaking with my friend’s mom about the choices she had to make, reminding her about the effects they would have on her children. Another shot goes off. Her daughter, who was staying at my home that evening, wakes up to the sound of shuffling, like a military team getting ready to save hostages, stop a hijacker, or re-arrest a prisoner who escaped. Only this time, it was not on TV, and they were going after one-person, frail woman, mother of two.

To remain grounded, I thought of positive experiences that took place during that time of my life. Then, seeing memories of my best friend and me, watching TV, cooking, and playing dress-up – my absolute favorite. Our faces adorned with silver eye shadow smeared wildly on our eyelids. Our small frames hardly filling the silhouette of the bold colored nightgowns, owned by my mother. Walking down the hallway to my mom’s room, balancing ourselves in her stilettos at the doorway, before the grand entrance. One by one, we would strut in, meeting each other at the end of the imaginary catwalk, which was nothing more than a small chunk of space existing between the bed and window. Giggling, we would repeatedly ask my mom, “Do you like our show”.

The giggling took me back, to that night, to us lying under the covers talking ourselves to sleep. Awakened by a familiar sound, then the phone rang. Footsteps echoed in the hall. I tiptoed into the dark entryway, which felt unusually hollow and cold. My mother waved for me to go back to bed. Her posture was tensed. It was not until after the second shot that I realized what she was doing and what my friend’s mom might have done.

Turning these images into inquiry, I began to investigate the best way to close this gate, starting by identifying the trigger. I have viewed similar occurrences in hundreds of TV shows and Films since the incident. Why now was a reoccurring question I wanted to figure out. Was it the continuous repetition of innocent people being wrongfully accused and murdered in the name of the law? Or that When They See Us was a major topic of discussion in my communities, reminding me that people will go through great lengths to see us innocently imprisoned. Maybe it was because the fear I should have had then was being made apparent now. I knew my life could have ended at a psychological level. I did not know how many lives had been taken, nor did I surmise the extent of lives that would be in the future under comparable circumstances. 

No-knock raids increased from 3,000 in 1981 to over 50,000 in 2005, according to Peter Kraska, a criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. That number per year is speculated to be at 80,000 or more now. There are several deaths connected with these raids, including the recent death of Breonna Taylor, which occurred while I was editing this article. Reading through Alexander’s book, I felt uncomfortable that I was a part of this statistic. Data gathered on my life, the black body, used to prove the need for brutality on my black body, created by problems inflicted on, my black body from, a non-black body.

Flashback. I saw my friend’s mom, she was an average person, as in, not perfect. Sweet as pie and funny as hell she was. If it were not for her teeth and infrequent changes in behavior, it would have been hard to tell she was a user at all. She was always well-groomed, face glistening, hair slicked back into a short ponytail. Her deep voice complimented her strong and loving spirit. Her home was as hollow as the inside of a chocolate Easter bunny. She did not have much, but the memories of us dancing, talking, and playing cards in that space are ones that I will always remember. Anyone with eyes could see the root of her contest was created by some conditions she could not control. She needed help.

It is said that 6.8% of U.S adults will experience some aspect of PTSD in their lifetime. These conditions can come in the form of panic attacks, depression, insomnia, and flashbacks. The amygdala, associated with emotional, and fear-related memories, works with the hippocampus, associated with motivation, learning, and memory, is suppressed, when stimulated. The amygdala then sends the body into a mode to respond against the threat. Fight, flight, or freeze.

Experts say the best way to deal with flashbacks is to ground yourself in your current surroundings. Become present with all five senses. Talk to yourself and recognize that it was indeed a flashback. Identify the trigger. Talk to someone, write (journal), engage in social and physical activity, and participate in creative projects (such as painting, drawing, singing, sculpting) all support positive cognitive-behavioral functions. Seeing a therapist is also top on the list.

Arriving at my office, I wrote down the flashback, seeking to discover the meaning and an entry point for continued healing. It was then that I realized my mother and I never had a conversation about that raid. I distinctly remember going to school the next day as if nothing happened. The next time we brought up my best friend, who was taken from our home by a social worker the night of the raid, was when my mom ran into her grandmother at a grocery store.

Striking up the nerve to ask my mom the million-dollar question when she came to visit me a few months post the flashback, came with a lot of unrest. What if this is a touchy subject for her? Would she relive the night as I did, or has she? Come to find out, my mom thought nothing of that day since. When asked, what was it like, to talk someone out of suicide, she answered, “I did what I had to do”.

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I’ve Been Journaling for 11 Years

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At 10:53 am on May, 15th I walked into a small white office located in the lobby of the gym. As I entered the room, a paper was slid across the conference table. My manager asked me to sign it. She said it would be used for record-keeping purposes, and all my signature meant was an acknowledgment of an error made earlier that week.  A mistake, that was more of an annoyance, to one person, her. 

At 11:20 am, arriving at my hairdresser’s home, a text came from my co-worker who was present at the meeting asking if I was OK. In less than five hours I was graduating with honors and President Obama was speaking at the commencement ceremony. I was better than OK, I was GREAT! As we continued to text, his concern was validated. My manager shared with him her disappointment in me leaving the meeting speedily, without showing any signs of aggressiveness toward her. It was then he realized that I was deceived. The document I signed was in fact a letter releasing me from employment with the organization. An organization I was set on working for the next 20 years starting with an unpaid internship, which I needed to fulfill the requirements of a certificate program harmonious to my degree. 

The sizzling noises of my hair touching the curling iron reflected the churning of my insides and the temperature of tears running profusely down my face. It was May of 2009, the Great Recession in full effect. My mother had lost her job. My father, a car broker, was not getting any clients, and now, I too was on the unemployment list. I remained on that list for the next 10 months. Arguably, the hardest 10 months of my life. Even before that time, the year itself had started off poorly. It commenced with a bad breakup.  I went from 3 jobs to none in one week. Lost a best friend. My roommate was moving out, which left me to find a place on my own, and my car was eventually repossessed. 

Newspaper articles described the current economic climate as being one in shambles, and worse than the great depression with job losses topping 5 million. Day after day, my email notifications and call logs were devoid of messages from potential employers needing my services. Determined to move on, despite the bleak prospects for my future, I emailed. I emailed every person introduced to me at a conference or school event. I also participated in job fairs and seriously considered getting a job at a sandwich shop near my house. It would have suited me well, as cereal and bread became my food items of affordability. 

A pink leather journal and a fancy boxed pencil set remained in a white Chico bag on the floor of my room for weeks. It was a departing gift from senior leadership at the organization that fired me. A crocodile print covered its surface, and gold trim lined the edges of the sheets. Closed, it radiated luxury, class, and beauty, a time of my past. One day, either needing a break from job searching online or because I received a notification that my resume did not match another’s company’s interests. I decided to write.

It was a relief I did not know I needed. Each day, time was set aside to think, list intentions, articulate visions, apprehend thoughts, and compose short stories. Some days, I re-read what I wrote. That was not always the affable, as areas of my character that needed to be improved were revealed along with thoughts that should change. Making these improvements beckoned for me to speak about what I was perceiving. At the time, I was not a student of any religion or spiritual sect. The principles of the law of attraction were obscure to me. Yet, somehow, instinctively, I knew speaking would help solve the problem I currently faced. Therefore, I started talking to the walls and windows of my room, pacing around my bed, describing the future I wanted to see. Over time, as words from my journal and inner self filled the space, my energy went to a new level, and the gravity of my current circumstances became as light as a feather.

Full of faith, I re-contacted folks. Instead of sending my resume, asking for a job, I appealed to executive leaders and asked to learn more about them. Most of them admired my ambition and had their assistants schedule a time for us to meet. It worked! By August of 2009, I started an unpaid internship with a well-known non-profit organization. For four months, I managed a project supporting the community’s most vulnerable population (I did my best to conceal that I was amongst them also). The $4,000 I was awarded via scholarship for the internship, was used to pay my rent and purchase monthly bus passes. With catered lunch meeting leftovers supplementing my food expenses, I was able to splurge on a pair of dress shoes to wear to work. In December of 2009, when the internship ended, I was hired as a temp for three weeks (in a different department). Two years later, that same organization made an offer for me to run the program I interned for.

During the summer of 2009 when I thought I had nothing, I realized that everything needed to survive was already in me. That fancy pink journal was monumental in helping me make that discovery. It’s been eleven years, and I write just about every day! Researchers say that writing pen to paper reduces stress, supports the immune system, improves memory, helps address issues, cultivates a greater sense of self, strengthens one’s emotional state, enhances communication skills, and connects us to the spirit. Well, the last part, about a connection to spirit, was not from the research, that is my knowing, 100%. 

To become an avid journaler, consider the following: 

  1. Purchase a journal. A good journal. I’ve tried to be budget conscious and, every time I did, the journal would magically fall apart. Leather backed journals are the best. 
  1. Set a time to write. Plan to spend 10 – 20 minutes doing so. At any hour of the day. Some say morning, others say evening. I say, set aside time and write.  
  1. Find a place to write. A coffee shop, your job (on a break!), at home, in a parked car, at the park, etc. I’ve written at those places and many more. Get comfortable and write!
  1. Let it go and let it flow. Our minds are constantly active with thoughts and images. We feel various emotions throughout our day. Start with any of those. Record what you see, what has happened, what you have accomplished, what you learned, reflect on an area you recognize in yourself (or another) that needs to be improved. Comment on a social media post you saw. Write a statement about an outfit malfunction observed. Remind yourself of your goals. Describe what you love, your fears. Anything is game! 
  1. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. They say it takes 21 days to establish a habit. Make a commitment to yourself to write every day for 21 days. Reflect on day 22. Please note: reflecting on entries can be tough, it was the only time I put down the pen. You may discover things about yourself you didn’t know or see things that make you unhappy. If this happens, how you respond is key. I picked the pen back up and sought help. Will you? 
  1. Think less about composing grammatically correct entries and more about what is being communicated. Write what you hear, see, taste, or feel. Let the emotions speak (or logic). Fantasize, laugh, cry, smile, draw, and sing. Be free.

The discipline to follow the spirit in picking up that journal and declaring my dreams came because I was at a place, finally, quiet enough to hear it speak. 

Don’t wait.

Get a journal, grab a pen, write, listen, and let the light shine from within.

Seven Useful Tips From Experts In WordPress

Human faces are very powerful. User Experience designer Aarron Walter describes in his book Designing for Emotion why we appreciate human faces so much. He explains that we are constantly exploring the world around us by looking for something familiar. Familiarity gives us a feeling of comfort and reassurance.

When we see a face, we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathize with that person. If we recognize content on a website — such as a problem, dilemma, habit or whatever else — we feel connected and understood.

Since we know ourselves so well, we unconsciously try to relate everything we see to ourselves. Obviously, we do that with other human faces, but also with when there are no human features involved. Only the recognition of our body’s proportions in a design is enough for us to perceive the design as being familiar and harmonic.

This is the reasoning behind headless mannequins. We subconsciously take what is on display and substitute ourselves for the mannequin due to the lack of ‘human’ in the image.

So faces add a human touch to your website – they help you trigger your emotions, which make them a powerful design element. Here are 10 effects human faces can have on your visitors.

Five Gigantic Influences Of Gutenberg

Jelly-o cake chocolate bar marzipan. Jelly tootsie roll liquorice pastry brownie donut. Chocolate cake soufflé chocolate tiramisu cake candy cake sesame snaps. Sweet roll danish chocolate bar chupa chups tiramisu lemon drops. Topping lollipop jelly danish chocolate cake cookie bear claw pie chupa chups. Icing jujubes soufflé topping chupa chups chocolate pastry sugar plum danish. Pastry sweet roll dragée liquorice gingerbread. Oat cake bonbon ice cream. Powder gingerbread marzipan wafer sweet danish.

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Marshmallow powder lemon drops dragée marzipan. Cake carrot cake powder. Cheesecake sweet cheesecake macaroon dragée chocolate cake. Jelly-o icing halvah sesame snaps gummi bears sweet roll. Croissant chocolate chocolate bar wafer fruitcake pastry. Wafer sesame snaps sweet roll jujubes. Pie cupcake halvah wafer biscuit. Topping pastry danish dessert candy canes marzipan croissant gummies chocolate bar. Jujubes dessert halvah sesame snaps pudding de

How Sesame Is Going To Change Your Business Strategies

Jelly-o cake chocolate bar marzipan. Jelly tootsie roll liquorice pastry brownie donut. Chocolate cake soufflé chocolate tiramisu cake candy cake sesame snaps. Sweet roll danish chocolate bar chupa chups tiramisu lemon drops. Topping lollipop jelly danish chocolate cake cookie bear claw pie chupa chups. Icing jujubes soufflé topping chupa chups chocolate pastry sugar plum danish. Pastry sweet roll dragée liquorice gingerbread. Oat cake bonbon ice cream. Powder gingerbread marzipan wafer sweet danish.

Ice cream chupa chups dragée oat cake chocolate bar. Donut toffee chocolate cake halvah. Wafer toffee jelly-o carrot cake halvah cotton candy cotton candy cake. Chocolate cake topping jelly-o topping croissant danish gingerbread. Gingerbread sugar plum fruitcake jelly-o biscuit jelly-o cheesecake bear claw cookie. Ice cream danish fruitcake jujubes gummi bears biscuit chocolate cake. Tiramisu marzipan jelly-o cheesecake pie.

Cake candy sweet roll. Sesame snaps candy canes cotton candy pie cake oat cake cupcake jelly-o. Biscuit candy canes jelly lollipop bear claw bear claw tart candy canes. Gummi bears cupcake biscuit wafer biscuit. Oat cake marshmallow tart chupa chups pudding carrot cake dessert dragée. Powder tootsie roll sweet roll jelly-o pastry. Jelly beans gummies cake marzipan. Wafer candy jelly-o jelly cake. Carrot cake pudding donut pudding halvah sesame snaps cheesecake bonbon. Cheesecake gummies sweet pie.

Marshmallow powder lemon drops dragée marzipan. Cake carrot cake powder. Cheesecake sweet cheesecake macaroon dragée chocolate cake. Jelly-o icing halvah sesame snaps gummi bears sweet roll. Croissant chocolate chocolate bar wafer fruitcake pastry. Wafer sesame snaps sweet roll jujubes. Pie cupcake halvah wafer biscuit. Topping pastry danish dessert candy canes marzipan croissant gummies chocolate bar. Jujubes dessert halvah sesame snaps pudding de

Triumph at this discovery

If we trace a path that starts with Gutenberg’s use of moveable type to Malcom McLean’s invention of the shipping container, we start to recognize a very interesting pattern: Each new layer of abstraction and standardization creates value out of the resulting increases in scale and efficiency.

Today’s digital innovators can trace a similar historical path that starts with mainframe computers and monolithic applications and then, step-by-step, reveals software’s interchangeable parts until we arrive at today’s cloud-based era of microservices and continuous integration.

Microservices is an approach to building software that shifts away from large monolithic applications toward small, loosely coupled and composable autonomous pieces. The benefit of this abstraction is specialization, which drives down costs to develop and drives up agility and quality — while operating much more resilient systems.

Verne has an original mind

Cupcake pudding pastry. Jelly pie tiramisu. Biscuit muffin powder. Dessert cake icing chocolate. Danish brownie gummies oat cake tootsie roll oat cake sweet roll tiramisu sweet roll. Marzipan brownie brownie. Chupa chups sesame snaps halvah pie lollipop croissant.

Carrot cake bear claw tootsie roll tiramisu. Candy canes danish dragée gummies chocolate cake bonbon. Danish tootsie roll dessert brownie jelly-o. Sugar plum sweet roll lollipop carrot cake soufflé. Donut powder sweet roll chocolate cake. Marzipan cookie candy canes cookie chocolate cake danish.

Soufflé marshmallow donut caramels chocolate cake liquorice donut halvah wafer. Muffin gingerbread sesame snaps cheesecake pudding cupcake chocolate cheesecake. Dragée chocolate topping. Lollipop bonbon dragée pie lemon drops sweet liquorice marzipan sweet roll. Chocolate cake cookie topping donut tart muffin pastry. Jelly-o pudding tart cake dragée dragée macaroon lemon drops soufflé. Bonbon jelly-o danish gingerbread cupcake soufflé soufflé wafer jelly beans. Pie cake chocolate powder biscuit. Tootsie roll gummi bears donut bear claw wafer cotton candy.

Inspire & Motivate People

Human faces are very powerful. User Experience designer Aarron Walter describes in his book Designing for Emotion why we appreciate human faces so much. He explains that we are constantly exploring the world around us by looking for something familiar. Familiarity gives us a feeling of comfort and reassurance.

When we see a face, we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathize with that person. If we recognize content on a website — such as a problem, dilemma, habit or whatever else — we feel connected and understood.

Since we know ourselves so well, we unconsciously try to relate everything we see to ourselves. Obviously, we do that with other human faces, but also with when there are no human features involved. Only the recognition of our body’s proportions in a design is enough for us to perceive the design as being familiar and harmonic.

This is the reasoning behind headless mannequins. We subconsciously take what is on display and substitute ourselves for the mannequin due to the lack of ‘human’ in the image.
So faces add a human touch to your website – they help you trigger your emotions, which make them a powerful design element. Here are 10 effects human faces can have on your visitors.

15 Awesome Things You Can Learn About Design

Apparently we had reached a great height in the atmosphere, for the sky was a dead black, and the stars had ceased to twinkle. By the same illusion which lifts the horizon to

On crossing the imaginary line drawn from Punta Mala to Azuera the ships from Europe bound to Sulaco lose at once the strong breezes of the ocean. They become the prey of capricious airs that play with them for thirty hours at a stretch sometimes. Before them the head of the calm gulf is filled on most days of the year by a great body of motionless and opaque clouds. On the rare clear mornings another shadow is cast upon the sweep of the gulf.

The dawn breaks high behind the towering and serrated wall of the Cordillera, a clear-cut vision of dark peaks rearing their steep slopes on a lofty pedestal of forest rising from the very edge of the shore. Amongst them the white head of Higuerota rises majestically upon the blue. Bare clusters of enormous rocks sprinkle with tiny black dots the smooth dome of snow.

Then, as the midday sun withdraws from the gulf the shadow of the mountains, the clouds begin to roll out of the lower valleys. They swathe in sombre tatters the naked crags of precipices above the wooded slopes, hide the peaks, smoke in stormy trails across the snows of Higuerota. The Cordillera is gone from you as if it had dissolved itself into great piles of grey and black vapours that travel out slowly to seaward and vanish into thin air all along the front before the blazing heat of the day. The wasting edge of the cloud-bank always strives for, but seldom wins, the middle of the gulf. The sun—as the sailors say—is eating it up. Unless perchance a sombre thunder-head breaks away from the main body to career all over the gulf till it escapes into the offing beyond Azuera, where it bursts suddenly into flame and crashes like a sinster pirate-ship of the air, hove-to above the horizon, engaging the sea.

Human Faces in Web Design

Human faces are very powerful. User Experience designer Aarron Walter describes in his book Designing for Emotion why we appreciate human faces so much. He explains that we are constantly exploring the world around us by looking for something familiar. Familiarity gives us a feeling of comfort and reassurance.

When we see a face, we are automatically triggered to feel something or to empathize with that person. If we recognize content on a website — such as a problem, dilemma, habit or whatever else — we feel connected and understood.

Since we know ourselves so well, we unconsciously try to relate everything we see to ourselves. Obviously, we do that with other human faces, but also with when there are no human features involved. Only the recognition of our body’s proportions in a design is enough for us to perceive the design as being familiar and harmonic.

This is the reasoning behind headless mannequins. We subconsciously take what is on display and substitute ourselves for the mannequin due to the lack of ‘human’ in the image.
So faces add a human touch to your website – they help you trigger your emotions, which make them a powerful design element. Here are 10 effects human faces can have on your visitors.

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