Friday, March 30, 2007


This week, I was forced to reconnect with a part of my life that I have tried so desperately to leave behind me. The time I spent at TSB, for whatever reason, was a very painful time in my life. So painful that I find myself haunted with a reoccurring nightmare that disrupts my sleep every six months. In this nightmare, I am informed that I didn’t complete one class, and I must return back to TSB for a semester to finish the class and receive my diploma. Keeping with the tradition of the nightmare, I always object to going back to TSB, but I still find myself back in the dorms I hated so much, and back walking through the hallways of a school building that I wished that I would never see again.

The reality of the situation is that I did indeed finish all of my classes at TSB, May 29, 1992. And when I graduated and crossed the stage, tears rushed out of my blind eyes. Graduating was such a liberating experience for more reasons than one. Actually finishing high school was just one of the many perks that came with having my diploma in my hand. When I started crying it was because I was finally getting the chance to declare TSB as an experience in my past. It was no longer my present circumstance. I left TSB, vowing to never return.

Well, I’ve maintained that vow, even though I think that the vow was a bit obsessive and over the top. However, I’ve not returned back to TSB physically or emotionally since I left. Besides the God awful dream I have about having to return back, I pretty much keep my memories of TSB locked in a volt, pushed in a very dark corner in one of the rooms of my mind.

The few friends that I had at TSB have always resented the fact that I decided to disconnect myself from TSB and everything that was connected to it. I now know that action was uncool, rude, and definitely over the top. (What do you expect? I was only 17 when I left TSB. Okay… What’s been my excuse all these years?)

This week, I found myself thinking and thinking and thinking about my times at TSB. Last week, when I got the call about my roommate leaving the Earth and flying away to meet God, I was forced to confront memories that I have decided to keep far away from me. I was forced to think about a place that my sorrow was so dense that sometimes I found it difficult to breathe. I was forced to think about a place that did so much to help me, but at the same time hurt me.

Sitting there in Ladama’s funeral, I got a chance to think about why Ladama made life at TSB better for me. I loved her for that. She was the diamond in a dark cavern of coal, rock, and dust.

Her death was made real to me when I walked up to her casket. Touching Ladama’s dead body electrocuted me. I felt all the emotions that I have ever felt in my entire life all at once.

When I touched her hand, I was drug back to the sidewalk that led into Dorm C, where Ladama and I called home for four years. I was lying in the twin bed in the tiny room that we called ours. I was sitting in the cafeteria at the table that Ladama and I would often eat and laugh for 30 minutes. I was in the gym, trying to be as physically fit as Ladama. I was in the wreck center listening to Ladama sing in the talent show. I was in the main auditorium, listening to Ladama play the piano in the spring recital. I was in the library helping Ladama with her homework. I was standing next to Ladama when she married the boy I hated she loved. I was walking through the campus with Ladama, clowning and laughing about anything we could think of. I was on the phone, talking to some boy Ladama thought it would be a good idea for me to hook up with. I was sitting in the TV room with Ladama, listening to videos on BET's Video Soul and Rap City. I was sitting in our room, listening to our favorite cassette tapes, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Guy, Bobby Brown, and New Edition. I was with my friend all over again.

I now know that I must deal with these memories, the good ones and the bad ones. I have to file them in a place that will help me and that will help others. Locking them away in a volt, never to be shuffled through, does not help me learn from all of those experiences.

I made a decision that I will make a pilgrimage back to the place that I died and then mustered up the courage to live. I will plan a trip to Austin and visit the place that I called home and school. I’m going to make it a point to go in the next 12 months. It’s going to be hard, knowing that Ladama is gone forever. But I still have to do this. I just need to decide who I want to go with me. I know that I will definitely have to be with someone that I can lean on in case I come face to face with some feelings that I didn’t expect to see.

Note to My Readers:
Don’t think that I am a little thrown off. And don’t think that I have mad issues. I just have some very dark experiences, thanks to the tragedy of losing my sight. I’m now in a place that I have to reverse the harm, pain, and sadness that was brought to me because of this experience. If you would like, you can travel with me. I’ll do my best to continue to update my blog as I renew myself and find my way back to love, peace, understanding, love, forgiveness, light, and acceptance of who I am.

I pray that God’s peace be all over you. Talk to God; and while you’re at it, listen for His voice. He has something to tell you.

Ms. Angela L. Braden

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