Thursday, June 24, 2021

MOVA Speech 06/24/2021

 This Morning, I had the honor of being a featured speaker at MOVA (Mass Office of Victim Assistance) For National Gun Violence Month. As it was not recorded or streamed, I'm posting my speech for my Mum Sara-Elisebeth Finley who is unable to attend zooms and webinars, due to profound hearing loss

Good Morning. My name is Lisa Robinson. I live in Mattapan, Massachusetts, having returned here in March of 2017; after living in Columbia, South Carolina for 9 years.
I am a mother, a grandmother, a longtime community activist and volunteer, a writer and a podcaster. Sadly, as of the morning of June 13, 2014.. I am also known as the mother of a murdered child.
My daughter Aja Dawn Robinson was born on February 9, 1991. For all of her younger years, she was just an itty bitty thing. I called her my bony macaroni. She was always very much on the verge of failure to thrive size wise, although you couldn’t tell by her appetite!
By the time she had turned 23, Aja was a beautiful, vivacious young woman. She was quite literally living her best life. She was working 2 jobs that she loved, she was surrounded by an abundance of friends who absolutely adored her, she had a small Goddaughter that she was in love with, she had just gotten her first car and she was happily shopping and preparing to move into her very first apartment. Life was wonderful in Aja’s world.
All of these dreams were shattered in the early morning hours of Friday, June 13, 2014, when she was followed as she left her boyfriend's house and was heading to work. When she pulled over to speak to the person from her past, she was shot and killed. He then died by suicide.
A few months after Aja’s death, I created Angels For Aja. I use this platform to share Aja’s story and to do my part to spread awareness about the distressing numbers of men, women and children who are killed and injured each year in acts of domestic violence. I’m speaking out because I do not want another loved one to ever have to feel this pain again. Our communities have lost too many already.
We need to pass common sense gun laws. Across the board. Across the US. No grey areas, no grey states or cities. It’s not too much to ask. Lets think about it this way. You would have to wait a lot less time to purchase and take home a gun legally, than it would take me to wait to go pick up and bring home my deceased child in her new Urn. Or to then have to stop and pick up her final possessions from the Police Department.
Thank You for Having Me here today.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015

I have finally reached the week that I have been dreading for the last few months…the week approaching the 1 year marker of Aja’s murder.  It still hurts to connect that word to Aja.  Murder.  It doesn’t feel right.  Murder is harsh.  Ugly.  Aja wasn’t any of those things.  She was a gentle being.  A free spirit.  My black butterfly.  Just like the Deniece Williams song *Black Butterfly*

“Now you’re free, and the world has come to see….Just how proud and beautiful you are”

Rationally, I can tell myself that I will simply put one foot in front of the other and get through that day much the same as I have gotten through every other painful day.   But man, when I tell you…EVERY fiber of my being is crying out, every beat of my heart wants to be the last beat. I close my eyes to shelter myself from the images in my head, but they just become more vivid.  I block my ears, but I can’t stop hearing Aja crying out for me. 

I think about and already miss the grandbabies that will never be born of Aja, or the husband she will never marry, the college she will never graduate from, the first house she will never get a chance to celebrate.  I think about the holidays that I will never have a chance to celebrate with her and her family, or the visits I will never get to look forward to as I get older..eagerly looking forward to having ALL of my children together with me for the holidays.  

I will still eagerly look forward to seeing my son, daughter and grandchildren; but there will always be a piece of me that keeps glancing at the door, praying that this nightmare will finally come to an end and she will come bopping through the door, arms bursting because she was carrying way too much of everything, ( because she always went overboard with gifts and decorations on holidays).. *hey Mummyyyyy!!!!  I missed you so much!!!* with that sweet smile that lit up a room.  

I miss the girly giggles between Aja, Michelle and Mani late at night.  The relentless teasing poor Aaron had to put up with from his sisters, and even worse if Kia , Jauhara and April were there too!  I miss Aja climbing her big adult self up into my bed to snuggle with me; or when I’d walk into my room to find Aja with all of her nail supplies..announcing she was doing my nails.  Even her walking in and demanding that I lay down so she could *clean up these ugly ass eyebrows* as she sang along to her favorite songs, with that sweet voice of hers.  It was always so pretty, but she didn’t believe so.  

I looked forward to those times that we spent together; I enjoyed her company so much in such an organic way.  I was so proud of the woman that she was growing into and I loved to just sit there and sort of observe her in her element, and watch how everyone responded to her..she was kind, thoughtful, hardworking, humble...and oh so funny.

Everyone says all of this will lessen with time.  I don’t know how that can be possible.  I don’t think the pain will go anywhere.  I just find different ways to navigate it and to accept the pain, welcome it home like an old friend and to understand…that the depth of my pain is simply a reflection of the depth of the love that I had and continue to have for Aja.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Life from The Sitting Position

Oh, how I wish it was as fun as it sounds.  I mean, don't get me wrong, when I'm feeling lazy...sitting around on the bed or couch all day is amazing.  I get to binge shows that my kids have introduced to, and I apparently am the last person in the world to watch Dr Who.  

I know the show has been out here forever; but I had never laid eyes on it before because it sounded like something I would have absolutely no desire to watch (sci-fi/fantasy/horror are all genres that I have never been into).  But then my son and daughter in law came over and introduced me to it.  And they did the best thing possible...they introduced me to some of the earliest shows.  So now I gotta sit and binge watch what...20-30 YEARS of a show.  No problem...I got this!

And then my daughter proceeds to start talking about this funny ass show she has gotten into...again, sounds like something I would never be into..Resident Alien.  Again, I was wrong...that show has me straight up gut laughing in every episode.  So, I will probably be sitting around next week once the boys take their butts back to daycare and school (they each were sick with their allergies all week...but allergies look too much like cold home they stayed...alllllllllll week)  That was not my idea of a fun week.

So, why am I spending so much time on my rather ample ass, you ask?  Well, because that back surgery they told me that I needed over 3 years ago?  I really should have done it.  Instead I came up with excuses..valid excuses...but excuses just the same.  And now my back/spine issues have deteriorated to the point where I am literally stuck, either in bed or if I can make my way to the couch...I sit there.  I really wish I could get up...I seriously HATE being dependent on Mani for everything.  The good news is that I have begun to give Bryson and Na'eem their first chores to help me out.  After Imani FINALLY (side eye...after about 6 weeks)did the laundry a few days ago..I had Bry and NayNay put all of the towels and face clothes away, and then had them put all of the folded laundry on their bed, for us to put away.  I've also begun to have them start washing walls and wiping down the stove.  Next will be giving Bryson the stepstool and saving small things for him to wash in the sink...spoons, bowls, cups, small plares.  No knives or forks for obvious reasons...I ain't trying to get stabbed up.

But seriously...I am hating this right now.  My doctor has put in a request for a VNA to come out and evaluate me for a scooter...oh joy.  I am OFFICIALLY old and fat now.  He also put in a referral for a PCA and a shower chair, as I have fallen a few times in the bathroom now.  Yep...this sucks.  Oh AND according to my medical chart...I have now been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I can walk for about 20 feet before my back starts screaming pain and locks up on my now.   And my limit for standing on my feet before the excruciating pain hits is about 3 minutes.

Anywayyyy....I'll probably be writing a little more.  Starting to do some chair exercising, since I can't stay upright to do them very long.  Any suggestions?  I'm open to them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Where I Am From

Where I Am From 
February 22, 2021

I am from posters of Huey and Angela, hanging on black painted living room walls
From government cheese and Jean Nat'e

I am from six flights of pissy stairs, because the project elevators didn't work.  Winding.....tiring stairs.  That made you feel like you were climbing all the way to Heaven.

I am from bright green spider plants, and fresh picked daffodils and flower pots made from discarded yogurt containers.  Filling up every available space on the large bright windowsill, the many plants, basking in the glorious sunlight.

I am from ten pounds of fresh little chocolate balls in a big bowl at the end of December every year; turning into stale little foil wrapped piles of dry chocolate tasting powder that we tried to give away to anyone dumb enough to accept them by March, just to get rid of them.

I am from Sara Elisebeth Finley and ......hah...he's not worthy of the title Father.  Lets just call him sperm donor 67.

I'm from laughing til orange soda spills out of our noses, and knowing AND singing loudly as a family...EVERY SINGLE song that comes on the radio.
From "Don't be a tattletale Lisi" and "Stop reading in the're gonna go blind!"

I'm from "We're Marching to Zion, Beautiful Beautiful Zion!!!" with Aunties Betty, Bettie and Maxine all ready to shower me with baby powder scented hugs, kisses, praise and love every Sunday morning at Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

I'm from Boston and Scandanavia and Nigeria and the Balkans and Sierra Leone.  Boiled dinners of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage, glop, tuna noodle casserole and Fufu.

From the time that 15 year old Aja discovered "Barbados is West Indian??  I thought we were Mexican!!!??"

To the days gone by when 2 year old Aaron, suavely chatting up the college girls on the banks of the Charles, with nothing more than that big smile, a handful of dead flowers, a tired line "Here Lady...I picked this just for you" followed by some slick 2 year old conversation.  He had them completely under his spell.

From facebook, instagram, bedroom and living room walls, Steph and Lisa's houses~ filled with as many memories as they can possibly squeeze in and it still would never be enough.  Because we realize that tomorrow truly is not promised to us and there can never be too many pictures, videos, laughs, smiles, shared glances, bright eyes, hugs or memories to try and cherish

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Heavy Is My Grief

                                 Heavy Is My Grief

Weighing down my arms and legs

My eyes, feeling too heavy to open

Grief making each breath feel trapped

Halfway between my stomach and my throat

Where it would catch

And then each time, I would come back in a panic

To the future that I didn’t want to be a part of

And I’d remember to inhale            exhale             inhale

Just to start the process all over again

I started to talk to you, and tell you

How life has been going

But I stopped

Because this time I couldn’t.

So heavy is my grief

This time, I don’t want to imagine what your life would be like now

The what if’s don’t matter anymore

They’ve been taken away and now you are just GONE

Just gone.  Never to be held, touched, hugged, caressed, kissed again.

I’ll never get to listen to your silly jokes, or hear that laugh, so full of joy 

Who will I make whole bowls of potato salad for now?

Or watch, amazed as you hit the buffet 3-4 times before you stuff food into your cheeks and gums “for later”

My silly, beautiful, greedy, kind, funny, generous, forgiving girl is just GONE

And right now, I’m just feeling real heavy and real angry in my grief.  Not healed at all.  I feel like I need to start my healing journey all over again, yet I know that this is actually a part of the journey.  We go back and forth.  But right now.  Heavy is my grief.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Writers Block or Just Me Blocking my Writing?

Heyyyy.  Its definitely been a while since I updated the blog.  Been even longer since I have written any new chapters of the book.  Its for a few different reasons for both.  

I say it's writers block, but the truth is, at least for the book...I have gotten to the point in my life where I'd met Rilow, and that was just such a BAD part of my life.  Yes, the first month or so was nice..the man looked good.  But once you got past that...the next few years were pure, painful hell.  Physical, emotional and mental painful hell.

So yeah, I think my brain has sort of been protecting my emotional "self" and been kind of refusing to "go there" in terms of allowing me to get my writing in.  I haven't even been able to do any short stories, prompts or poetry for the last month or so.  I haven't even journalled, and that's talking to my own self.  But I decided tonight that I needed to get back on my shyt.  I have wasted enough of my own time.  I still have a homework assignment due from last week that I haven't sat down and committed to writing.

Oh my while writing a chapter back in December, I was reminiscing about a basketball player that I met years ago, while at the Boston Shootouts..we had exchanged numbers and spoke for a while afterward and whooooo muhcy, my lil teenage self LUVVVVVED me some him!  (and about 4-5 others at the time, lol)  So, I got nosy and googled him...why did I find out that this brotha is an accomplished politician in his city...still fine (even finer than before..but definitely married) and someone that I have actually checked out when he has been on tv and never made the connection, lol!  Dangit man...ya girl dropped the ball on that one big time!!

So I REALLY REALLY want to change blog hosts..this one gives me a lot of issues when it comes down to sharing.  I don't know if other users are having problems with it, but I know that neither facebook or Instagram will allow me to share the links to it.  I get a message that the content that I am trying to share contains violence.  Instagram locked down my account for like 6 months after I put my blog link in my profile info.  I couldn't figure out why I was locked down until I was looking at my profile and saw the link and removed it.  As soon as I did...the account opened back up immediately.  So yeah, I really want to switch to another host, but the lazy in me is tf do I switch over so many years worth of blogs?  Thats a hell of a lot of copy and pasting!!  But I'm gonna have to step up and get to doing..... 

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Place She Used To Hide Out

The Place She Used To Hide Out

There used to be a time when her bedroom was the the place where she used to hide out.  It was her sanctuary, her reading nook, her place to regroup and to escape all of the bullshit that life had thrown her way throughout the day, the week, the month.  She knew that no matter how hard work was that day, when she got home; she could count on going upstairs, kicking off her heels, shedding her bra, putting on her most comfortable muumuu and closing the door to her inner sanctum.

There used to be a time when she could enter her room on a Friday night, and not leave it for the whole weekend.  She had an attached bathroom, so there was no need for her to leave.  She could order food to be delivered, or have someone just bring her a plate from downstairs.  That was a benefit of having older children.  Sometimes, her room would even be the place where her children chose to hide out.  And she didn’t mind that.  Her children seemed to love the peace that the room brought them just as much as she did.  She could be laying in bed, and one or both of them would come in, light an incense and just curl up on the bed with her.  Content to wrap an arm around her leg, or rest the head on her arm.  Or they would meet her at the door after she got home from work, with mischievous smiles on their faces, holding a giant Walmart bag of junk food...letting her know it was going to be “Girls night in Mummy’s bed”.   And they would all curl up in their pajamas, eating their favorite ice cream out of the cartons, watching trash tv and eating ridiculous amounts of candy until they all fell asleep still laughing. 

After the tragedy, the bed became the place she hid out for different reasons.  She didn’t want to face the world.  Couldn’t face them.  She hid out in her room, hoping to disappear forever.  But her friends wouldn’t allow her to do that.  Tiffany and Tee would sit quietly by the side of her bed, watching over her.  Nobody spoke the words, but they didn’t have to.  They wanted to make sure that she didn’t hurt herself.  She said no words.  Just rocked herself in between fits of crying.  Eventually, days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months.  Tiffany and Tee turned into Michelle and Mani.  Michelle became the Mother she had so needed her own to be in her life.   She dedicated herself to being a daughter and a sister.  And then…..tragedy.

And after tragedy, heartache, anger, hurt, confusion.  And then a new life.  And suddenly, the place she used to hang out became a place for new life.  There was no way to hide out anymore.  There was this beautiful new life that needed her and smiled when she was tired and ready to give up.  And then there were two new lives.  And the place that she used to hide out was no longer her place anymore.  Now the two new lives had taken over the place.  Now there were some nights, she would actually get up and go to sleep in the living room, just to have a few moments of quiet time to herself.

And then the final straw.  She was finally happy again.  Living in a brand new place.  Loving the new space that she could call her place to hide out.  And then she was attacked.  In that space.  Violated in the space that she needed to feel like she could go to be in her sanctuary.  And she was destroyed all over again.  But this time, it was temporary.  She worked through it, reclaimed her space, rearranged spaces and renamed it.  And now it is “The Place She Calls Her Sanctuary” and “A Place of Love”.