The voice of Amanda


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La La Land

Movies are meant to catch you in the feels. I watched La La Land last night, and it did that and more. It rang with the nostalgia of the bygone glory days of jazz and musicals, two things I’m immediately all about. It also reminded me of my streak of dating musicians based out of Los Angeles. 

Ever watch something and it’s almost not enjoyable because it’s too true? The element of escapism vanishes because you’re just watching scenes from your own life? Thankfully the beautiful musical numbers saved me from that, but the conversations could have been taken verbatim from my past. “You’re touring? For how long?” 

The conversations between Sebastian and Mia echoed those I had with a former flame, an incredibly talented jazz musician who prompted me to move to Los Angeles in the first place. His career was growing and I didn’t know where I fit. I was happy for his success but left feeling forgotten and a bit jealous as an artist, too. Was I surprised to see his name roll on the credits of the movie? Not completely. It seemed fitting. The ending of the movie seemed fitting. My ex has had a great career. I saw he did numerous performances with Michael Buble and has toured internationally. He is living his dream. 

And do you know what? I am so happy for him, but thankful we were not together for it. I am glad I have forged my own path and done some incredible things in my career that I know I would have ignored had I been focused on our separation while he toured. I’m far from perfect, and so was he, but in the end I’m proud of his achievements and proud of myself for mine. 

I cried hard during the credits because it all resonated. It wasn’t a sad cry. Plus the girls next to me lightened the mood after I exclaimed “of course my ex worked on this movie!” And they replied “fuck him!” I’m not angry, nor sad, or anything negative. Perhaps wistful is the word. We always wonder what could have been, but I know I made the right choice in leaving. 

I sent him a text to let him know I saw the movie and his name, I hope he is happy and well, etc. To me, it was the smile at the end of the film. It was acknowledging what was and is, and allowing a brief montage of the “if” before we both continue our true existence. 

The ending is only sad if you let it be. 


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Darren Wilson should be on trial

I sat in my car, patiently waiting to hear the announcement whether Darren Wilson would go to trial for the murder of Michael Brown. My body almost vibrated in anticipation, hoping that there was some chance of justice prevailing in what seemed a pretty clear case of excessive force. As the steady voice droned through my speakers, his words sunk in and I realized we hadn’t turned that corner. It is still okay for cops to gun down unarmed people of color.

Darren Wilson clearly has no remorse for what he has done, evidenced by his television appearance. Even in self defense, shouldn’t you have a modicum of feeling for ending someone else’s life? He also has the benefit of time to rehearse how he tells his story, to fine tune his wording to insist he felt imminent threat on his own life. That’s the trouble. All we have are his verbal statements, but we cannot get into his state of mind. We have to take his word on it. And if he was afraid, was his fear racially motivated? Did his own bigoted ideas influence his decision to act with his weapon? That’s not justification.

As for Wilson’s assertion that Brown beat him severely, evidence photos showed he had no bruising and just a slight pinkness to his cheek. He also said Brown tried to grab his gun. If Brown was so physically assuming and powerful, why didn’t he get the gun?

So what about the forensics. Michael Brown had one close wound in his hand. Everything else was from a distance because he was running away. How is it okay to shoot him to death when he is running away? Where is your imminent fear for your own life in that moment, Darren? Wilson claims Brown turned and started charging him, claiming Brown looked like a “demon.” Brown’s family insists that is ludicrous. Who would charge at the person shooting?

I know not to expect a guilty verdict, but I was hoping to at least see this case go to trial. There must be some consequence of killing an unarmed teenager. If Wilson was afraid of an unarmed 18 year old, maybe he never should have been a cop in the first place. If his natural reaction was to shoot, maybe he never should have been a cop in the first place. Police are meant to serve and protect their communities, not gun down its residents. With all the evidence that has come out, the only thing that seems to make it justified is Wilson saying he feared for his life. How do we disprove his claim? The forensics don’t paint a picture of imminent threat, but the grand jury felt inclined to believe the four hours of testimony from Wilson. Too bad dead boys don’t talk.

There are too many loose ends for this to be considered a closed book. My hope is that a civil case will take the money given to Wilson by the KKK. He is not the person who lost something that day and he certainly doesn’t deserve to profit from his deadly action.