Reflections on Inauguration Day

Yesterday’s inauguration was a day that will go into history.  No matter what people may think of our president we will not forget the day surrounding him being sworn into office for his second term.  I had many friends (including myself briefly) who traveled from all over the country to attend and revel in the festivities.

At one point or another yesterday we all have thought about where we were four years ago when we witnessed President Obama being sworn into office for the first time.  Many were in DC watching in the cold, had friends over that they spent the time celebrating with, and many other ways like cleaning up at home alone (which is what I did this year).  

Four years ago I watched the inauguration at Fox Sports Grille at Atlantic Station in Atlanta with my fiance, Timile.  That time was very different for both of us.  My life was definitely in a transition.  I left my job running the photo department at Walgreens and accepted a position monitoring mortgage loans for a lot more than I was making in retail.  The day before I started the company went bankrupt.  It was October 2008 and the beginning of the crisis that brought on the tailspin that we are still recovering from and I had become a statistic.  

On top of this happening Timile and I had broken up and moved back to Virginia.  We were not on the greatest terms at all.  We still spoke fairly regularly but many time our conversations got heated and there would be tension and arguments either over the phone  or through text messages.  My friends who were still around could tell you that I was definitely going through it at the time and would say those conversations got real.  While she was convinced that she was staying in Virginia, I had other plans and many obstacles to overcome to show otherwise.  I had to make an extremely convincing argument and pretty much demonstrate that she needed to be back in Atlanta.  We didn’t need to be together but she just needed to be back (In reality, the plan was for her to get back on her feet and she’d figure the rest out later).

Timile had to come back to Atlanta because she left her car at our apartment.  She originally flew up to Virginia and coming back for her car allowed her to drive some more of her belongings up with her.  We had spoken that she would come down a few weeks prior and her new boyfriend would fly down and help her drive back up.  No problem.  No sweat.  Well, at least that’s what I made it seem like on the outside.  What I did during that time was I hustled.  I was a member of various temp agencies (which didn’t have much for me to do except a couple of one day assignments) which had me doing everything from bussing down motorcycles for auctions, to selling Owens Corning insulation at home and garden shows.  Not only was I doing that, I was also helping out my cousin Jackie take care of her 95 year old husband and around the house because she had MS and he was bed-ridden.  However, he had doctor appointments all of the time in which required me picking him up a lot, and driving them all over the city for many different appointments.  I’d also be driving back and forth from one side of Atlanta to the other for mechanic appointments and take Jackie to the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) because she was a world renowned professor there.  I ate peanut butter and jelly unless my good friend Kofi took me to get pizza and beer from one of our favorite spots from college, Rocky Mountain on 10th Street.  

The other parts of my plans consisted of getting her an apartment of her own and a job.  I spoke to a good friend of hers and set up an interview with her teaching at a daycare as well as possibly being a substitute teacher in case the daycare position had come in slowly. In order to get her housing deposit, I sold all of my gold jewelry except for the ring that is on my finger in order to get that $250.  I also used the rest to pay for her plane ticket because she didn’t have it at the time (in which she was late for her flight so I had to do some serious negotiating to get her on a flight the next morning).

By the time she got to Atlanta, she had no idea how much was going on behind the scenes to make things happen.  It seemed like everything was cool and I had it together while I was in the midst of this situation.  That first night we got into it a little bit.  I don’t remember what about but the next day we made a truce because it was inauguration day.  As I stated, we went out and watched it and had a good time.  It almost seemed like the first two years before December.  That was a good time.  I spent hours yesterday looking for this picture I had of her looking up at the tv watching Obama get sworn in.  I can’t find it, but I know it’s around somewhere.  Six weeks later she did move back to Atlanta and while we had many many MANY other tough times after at least we had them together.

I look back at that time four years ago because it was really a defining time.  Watching the inauguration was a break from a serious hustle and bustle for a brief moment of celebration.  Not only that, but the work that went into making something happen was incredible.  I really related because as much campaigning and sleepless nights, help from others, etc it took to get that man up there.  While my situation paled in comparison I understood doing so and taking a leap out on faith for what on the outside seemed like it was impossible.  Until the day Timile died she never knew what went on during that time she wasn’t around.  I told her “Yo, that time was rough and I had to make things happen.” but she never knew the details.  She didn’t need to.  That wasn’t the point of doing it.

The point of telling this story trough an Inaugural backdrop is simple: make your own fate. 

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