...welcome to the musings of the flawless amour...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Late Night Therapy Session

As of late, I've been feeling both constricted and restricted.  Like someone has actually placed me inside this box with dimensions so small that it's impossible to breathe as I'll take up needed space.  I don't like this feeling at all and the issue I have with that is the fact that I cannot seem to find a way to free myself.  In the midst of my newfound claustrophobia, I also feel exposed in many aspects.  I lack privacy and that is something I need to help maintain sanity.  Just some place where I can listen to my music and daydream uninhibited.  My current situation will not grant me that serenity and it's truly driving me insane.

Home is supposed to one's sanctuary; where they go to get away from the frustrations of the world.  In my case, it's the exact opposite.  I look forward to leaving for the day to rid myself of the frustrations here.  Today, on my way home from work, helped solidify my feelings.  As I got in the car, I found I had an instant shift in moods because I knew I was headed back to chaos for the evening.  It is as if I live amongst a pseudo-like family who pretends that everything is everything when really,uy we're divided.  You can feel it.

Oftentimes, I imagine myself being apart of another family but it never fully works out because I honestly wouldn't trade my mother for anyone in the world.  So, I guess it would be like my mom and me apart of another family...I don't know...That would be kind of selfish... I just wish that circumstances were different...Like, two weeks ago.  She always says that we're building our testimony and considering all that we've endured over the past 10-12 years, we're gonna reap one helluva blessing.  Is it wrong that I want to put in a rush delivery on that joint?

I try to remain faithful in all this and as long as my mother hasn't broken down or given up, I feel that I have no need or right to but I'd be lying if I said I didn't get frustrated.  So frustrated that there are things I want to say that I won't because of the people I know who read my blog.  (I learned in my media writing class that as a blogger, I should not tell family & friends that I have one; that way I'll be able to write freely.  Should've listened).

I've been trying to make my current situation my motivation to finally make a decision about my future.  I'm not 100% sure if it's working yet but it will.  I am thankful to God for being a provider for my family and me and I know he will continue to take care of us.  I don't want to say that I'm tired of waiting because that'd be rude but....

I commend my mother on her strength, determination, belief and faith in God because if I know if I were her, I'd have been a teary mess a long time ago.  Her resilience is like no other woman I've ever known and whether she knows it or not, she is teaching me exactly what I need to know to become the woman I am destined to be.

Ultimately, I just want to be happy again.  Haven't been feeling like myself lately.  For a long time actually.  No one should ever dread having to go home even if it is just to sleep and prepare for the next day.  My music and the words I share here with you are my little piece of sanity and as I am glad to have you as my sounding board, I don't want to bog down your shoulders forever with my tears.

Thanks for listening...

Monday, December 26, 2011

End of the Year Reflections

This year is coming a close and as 2012 approaches, I can't help but go back and forth with myself about what I want to see differently in the new year.  I'm not one for using cliches nor do I like to sit down to create a list of resolutions that will get lost in the every day happenings of my life.  I have pinpointed a few things in my mind though.  I graduated from college six months ago and have lounged around long enough.  I haven't been a complete bum though because I did land a job a month after being home for which I am very thankful.  Now, it is time for me to finally ease my way into adulthood.  Can't keep living with one foot in while the other is holding my spot at home.

I recently decided that I don't want to ever have to wonder 'what if' from here on out. For the past few weeks, I've been thinking about what direction my basketball career could've taken had I been more dedicated to the game.  I say the only reason I stuck with ball for so long was so that I could get my degree paid and I did that.  People couldn't understand why I didn't want to play past college.  My answer, similar to that of Monica's in Love & Basketball: It just wasn't fun anymore.

Over the weekend, my mom's friend asked how I got involved with basketball and my mom told her that it was something that just came natural to me.  She and her then boyfriend took me to DePaul's women's basketball game and they noticed how attentive I was and how I knew exactly what was going on on the court.  Her boyfriend suggested that mom sign me up for the park district and that's where it all began.  She said shooting and dribbling were like second nature for me.  From that point on, I played ever since...

...up until now.  Haven't touched a basketball seriously since the end of March.  I've shot around a few times but a full out game...probably wouldn't be good for my lungs at this point.  Times like these, I miss basketball. Wish I could go back and do it all over again from the time I started playing for Hillcrest High School up until I graduated from college (would have made things work at Grambling).  During those years, I was timid both on and off the court and I feel that hindered my progress in many aspects.  That time at Grambling was meant for me to test out adulthood and I got scared.  When the easy road was block with a succession of hurdles, I retreated back home, in search of another easy way.  I found it in Graceland along with free education but I often wonder 'what if I would have stayed and worked hard to solidify my spot on the team?'

Upon graduating from undergrad, I had very loose plans on attending graduate school in New York but once time got near, I got scared, thinking about loan money and living alone in NY.  At 23, I have never lived on my own whereas all of my friends have.  They know what it's like to make ends meet from one month to the next, figuring out how to pay rent among other bills.  I do not.  Hearing their stories both scare and motivate me because through it all, they still manage to make it.  I have been in church long enough to know that I need to start exercising my faith more as well as know that my family will be there to support me as long as I take care of business on my end.

My small group of friends are all making moves towards their future and I don't want to wake up one day and find myself left behind, still at home.  That can't be.  I have great dreams just like the next person but in order for them to become a reality, I have to work.  I have to work a lot harder than what I am right now.  Demetria Lucas said it best (can't remember if it was from her book or her blog) saying that you cannot be afraid of hard work.  Right now, that is me.  Anything that looks hard, I shy away from but I don't want to do that anymore.  I will not be successful in anything if I do.  The life I see for myself requires hard work and if I don't get over this fear, I'll be homeless in New York, trying to hustle up coins to get back home.  Once I leave here, I do not want to have to come back other than to visit.

I'm working on building a team of mentors for the new year that will help keep me focused on the goals I have and will set for myself.  Clutch Magazine actually gave me a great idea to create a vision board for my goals.  That way, they will always be in the forefront of my mind as they will be staring me clear in the face every time I'm sitting idly at home.

This coming year can be really bright for me but only if I put in the work.  I'm creating a reading list because over the years, I've become an internet/social media/tech junkie and I need to get back to my artsy side.  This blog is the closest thing I have to consistent writing these days.  My new position as a staff writer for Kids Health Club Magazine is a major accomplishment for me and I'm excited to see how it will flourish in the coming year as well as the many other opportunities it will open up for me in my young career.

I also want to work to feed my artist mind by enrolling in a beginners photography course.  I fell in love with photography the first time I watched Love Jones (is that cliche? lol) and have wanted to take a class ever since.  It's going on five years now that I'm still talking about taking a class.  And this Instagram app on my iPod doesn't make it any better, making me think I'm really doing something.

I have mentioned here before how I feel like I've received the short end of the stick when it comes to enjoying life.  Like, my time is somehow cut short and that I won't have the same opportunities afforded the generations before me to really experience all life has to offer.  But then I realized that this life is exactly what you make it.  I don't want to be an homebody any more with stagnant social skills.  I want to expand my circle of friends which will call for me to come out of this semi-introverted shell.  It's a task I know I can accomplish.

What're your plans for the coming year?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Random Epiphany

Within the last two hours, I finally came to grips with the fact that I just may be a socially awkward black girl (Shoutout to Issa Rae...love that chick lol. If you don't know who I'm talking about, Youtube 'Awkward Black Girl' and get familiar).

Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion.

After work today, I went to my first grown up networking event and even though I stayed for a very short time, due to no fault of my own, I can say that I enjoyed myself.  The semi-old me, who is shy and doesn't like to be watched as she walks through the room, would have clammed up and ignored the invitation all together.  But the new me, that is still under construction, did what I had to do and it felt good.

As soon as I opened the door to the M Lounge and stepped in, I had this weird feeling as if I belonged.  I greeted the bartender with a warm smile and proceeded to look for the person who invited me, all while taking in the ambiance.  I was in love.  Young, black professionals who didn't appear to be that much older than me, networking/fraternizing with each other in a very laid back setting specifically for this swanky group.  I was already trying to figure out in my head how I could be apart of this select group, joining them here as often as they met.

Anyway, met with my party and the intended person they had planned to introduce me to, did a quick walk through of the space and left (if I could've stayed until the end, I would have).  The whole ride home though, I was plotting on how I could get back in the same space with those people.  Got super excited thinking about the possibility.  They all seemed so comfortable among each other.

You see, I was the girl in college who played ball and people recognized me from that.  If I didn't hoop, I'd probably be recognized as a nerd or something on campus only because I was and have always been a quiet person.  I went to class, practice, ate among the common people and went back to my dorm.  I was typically seen walking alone, blocking out the world with my iPod (don't judge me.  I like my solitude).  Now, the last college I attended was not the most ideal place to become a social butterfly but I did attend Grambling State University for a short time and had I been strong enough to stick it out, I would have my English degree from there and not Graceland University.

I digress.  And thankful for that full basketball scholarship.

Grambling is a historically black college/university and an ideal place for me to come into my own.  I was excited to learn that I would be attending such a historic institution and on the inside, I was ready to venture out and explore within my moral means.  But when I got down there and realized I had to rebuild the name I had back home because no one knew me down there, I clammed up.  I would always play the background whereas the rest of the student body was busy networking.

I allowed my shyness to rob me of that chance.  Don't get me wrong; I had a group of friends and we were starting a very strong bond.  I still talk to these ladies today.  I attended Gram over 3 years ago.  I was just the one to always keep a low profile.  I didn't like the attention.

Fast forward to the end 2011 and remnants of that person is still here today.  Was just discussing this with my best friend, telling her how I want to become like her (she swears she's shy.  I don't believe that shit lol).  She agrees that I should rid myself of that shell.  Do something out of the ordinary like (tastefully) flirt with a cutie I may happen to see in the street.  Enough to let him know that I'm interested and that it's O.K. for him to approach.  I've actually tried it a few times and it's quite exhilarating lol.

You guys may or may not know this about me yet but I HATE cliches.  In every sense of the word.  The one I just may hate the most is the whole "My New Years Resolution...".  People say the same shit year in and year out and hardly nothing ever changes.  I can't remember the last time I made one and hadn't planned on it until....

I heard about what I like to call the Glorified New Years Resolution, a.k.a. The Vision Board.

I think they're super cool although it's nothing but a collage full of your goals.  I want to do one as a project with my girls (be a good bonding experience for us) and add personal goals for myself that I will plan to accomplish within the coming year.  Having a full social calendar will be on there!!

I love the people that God has placed in my life but I want to expand my circle, specifically with those young, black professionals at the M Lounge and wherever else they gather.

What would you put on your vision board?  Do you consider yourself to be socially awkward in a sense?  Talk to me. =)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Late Night Musings...

I've told you all before about how I feel on the subject of marriage and committed relationships and each day, my feelings are validated in some way.  There are times when the emotional Cancer in me adores the little attention I get and then other days, I feel like a Gemini and my attitude has done a complete 180.  Like, I turn into a COMPLETE asshole.  Ignoring text messages and calls and if I do decide to answer a text, it is usually with a one word answer that sends the message that I don't want to be bothered.

At first, I just attributed it to me being over this monotonous thing called my life but then I figured out that I'm actually an asshole.  Like, deep down past this inviting exterior lies a somewhat evil, lightweight heartless person.  I yearn for some excitement in my life.  Just a new wave of people I can start anew with (not to say I want to do away with the current people in my life).  Just....expand (there we go, that's the word I was looking for) my circle a bit.  I tend to get bored quickly and a lot of people don't know that about me.  And when they finally figure it out, it's usually too late for them.

I was discussing this with my best friend a few days ago.  We're almost like soul twins or something.  It's crazy how much we think alike.  We discovered that neither of us can see ourselves married any time soon, if at all.  I wouldn't go as far as to say that we don't want to be...it's just hard to picture right now.  Wait.  I take that back.  The jury is still out on if I want to be married.  But that's a post for another day.

Bestie has had the luxury of being in a long term relationship that started back in high school.  Me, on the other hand, have not.  Don't worry.  I'm over it.  She's been in love and I made her tell me all about it (she's probably still cursing me out lol).  I asked if she thought she'd ever get back to that point again and she basically told me,

"Hell no!"

Only because that whole process is so time consuming and the energy that goes forth into something that real is a lot.  I definitely feel where she is coming from but at the same time, I want to experience that uninhibited type of love.  The random e-mails throughout the day talking about nothing and everything at the same time.  I want the benefit of having my best friend and my man be the same person.  I can't see that happening with anyone in my life right now.

She feels that she doesn't have it in her to give that same time and energy to someone new at this stage in her life.  We're both in the same place.  Patience is as thin as Wiz Khalifa.  No time for fuckery foolishness.  What we want is simple:  Consistency in most, if not all areas.  And common sense!!! (Jesus please be a CLUE to help them understand).

Even in the midst of my asshole-ness, I love the idea of love.  It's beautiful if done the right way.  And I do want to experience it in all of its glory.  I love the idea of meeting a guy and taking the time to cultivate a friendship before things move into more.  It's so true that things get complicated when the physical aspect of the relationship comes before everything else.  Judgments are clouded and decisions are made prematurely.  I don't want that to happen with me and my future HomieLoverFriend.

*I wanna do that*

In a nutshell, I just want someone to change my mind and make me believe that having this love is not impossible for me.  If I'm not in a committed relationship, what's the alternative?  Friends with benefits??  I'm too emotional for that sketchy foolishness.  I need stability as well as a lowered risk of contracting a virus.  Don't think that I have completely given up on love because I haven't.  It's just that this world around me is making it hard for me to believe I can have such a thing.  

Somewhere along the way, it has seemed to have lost it's value and I want to know how to get it back.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lazy Daze

Anyone who knows me knows that I am what most would call a cerebral being.  I spend a lot of time lost in my thoughts, opting to stay to myself instead of engaging in conversation.  Don't take that to mean that I'm incapable of such...just my preference most of the time.  I don't have a problem being this way.  It allows me time to sort through my many complexities.

Today, I got lost in those complexities.  Ended up being a semi-productive day for me.
I had every intention of waking up today and OD'ing on blogs and I fulfilled just that.  Yesterday, I discovered two new blogs and writers that I can definitely see myself growing to admire.  I think these discoveries are essential for me, especially in my young journalism career.  I need as much insight and *e-mentoring* as possible.

I'm sure you all have heard of writers or poets that have so much talent that they make you want to throw away whatever mediocre chicken scratch you've scribbled in a notepad.  Yea, they, along with a few others, make me want to do that.  It's the effortless way in which they string words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs that makes me want to just....ugghhh.  It's almost disgusting how good they are.

Sorry.  In my excitement I haven't even mentioned the names of these wonderful women.  The first blog I stumbled upon yesterday at work was Riva Flowz.  This young lady is the one who makes me want to toss out everything I've ever written (or at least hide it from the public) and start all over.  And to know that she's only a year older than me got me amped up.  She writes beautifully and about a lot of the things I feel but can't put into the words the way I want.

The other lady is clearly a vet in this journalism game, having written pieces for Essence, Vibe, Clutch, as well as many other publications.  I found her while checking out Riva's twitter timeline.  BenĂ© Viera is dope to me in every sense of the word.  She has a track record that is both commendable and impressive and it is definitely one I can learn from.

Both of these writers had the same affect on me as that of Demetria Lucas (you already know how I feel about her) upon first read.  I know none of them personally but I feel like I do after reading.  I want to have that same affect on my readers.  I love how personable they are, taking time from their hectic lives to interact with admirers via social networks like Twitter (I'm @neosolrkstr btw).

Discoveries like these make my heart smile and I'm glad that I found these two writers when I did.  Anticipating what I can learn from them either directly or indirectly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Letter to a Wayward Soul

I never thought you would ever experience what it is you're going through right now in your life.  I mean, how could you?  Raised by a mother who did everything in her power to provide both your wants and needs even if it meant sacrificing her own.  There was no way you could fail.  At least in my mind.  But you did because you allowed yourself to fall into the trap.  One I thought you were smart enough to avoid.

Your lack of judgment and common sense worries me...a LOT.  It scares me actually, simply because you have NO idea how deep a hole you are digging for yourself.  Either that or you just don't care.  If that's the case, we have an even bigger problem on our hands.

I often wonder if I could have done something different to influence your decision making and every time I begin to beat myself up for your actions, I stop because they are just that--YOUR actions.  You are your own person and it was you who decided to make the choices you've made.  Can't save anyone who is not ready to be saved.

I'm all for having fun and enjoying life just as the next person but I'm also an advocate of being smart and using my head.  Some may think that's me living life too safely and that's fine.  I'm perfectly OK with that.  I only wish you could adopt the same attitude.  Instead, you're too consumed with what people perceive you as and your appearance.  Artificial things that won't mean anything within the month.  Isn't it exhausting trying to keep up with the Joneses?  Why not have people wanting to keep up with you?

I didn't want this letter to become some cliched motivational pick me up but all the cliches that are associated with a wayward soul are appropriate.  You could be tired of hearing them but some repetition could do you some good.

Do you realize the wedge you are drawing among your family?  The unwanted stress and hurt you are causing your own mother?  What will it take for you to finally get it?  Is this space you're occupying now NOT rock bottom enough for you?  I need answers.

You are slowly but surely exhausting all of your options.  You don't plan for the future.  Instead, you live for today and believe that that is enough.  Once you mess up one place, you think it's simple to find another solution.  You will soon learn that your theory is flawed.

I advise you to start listening to people who have been here before you.  Listen to the ones with enough common sense to spare you since you have obviously put yours on reserve.  And if this is rock bottom enough for you, don't feed the people around you with BS about how you're going to change and what you're going to do.  Just do it!  Let your actions speak for themselves.

Things could be so much easier for you if you'd just let them.  BE the man that you are supposed to be and leave the boy that is hindering you behind.

With love...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1st is World AIDS Day...Do You Know Your Status?

I have always heard how important it is for us as Americans to know our status when it comes to HIV/AIDS.  I can remember when BET started their campaign with the many 'Get Tested' commercials, pushing how critical this issue was and still is.

It is currently assumed that there are well over one million people living with the HIV virus and approximately 1,142,714 people have been diagnosed with AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic.  African Americans make up almost HALF of that number at 42.6%.

I just recently (like 30 minutes ago) found out that TODAY, December 1, is World AIDS Day, thanks to http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com/ (probably thee funniest blog in my RSS reader.  Follow her on Twitter too @luvvieig).  Even though she is side-splittingly (made that word up) hilarious, she does have a serious activist side to her and I admire it.  She is co-founder of a non-profit organization called The Red Pump Project whose mission is to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

She posted a video on her blog that inspired this post today.  I decided to share with you all in hopes that it would inspire, enlighten and encourage you to know your status as it has me.  Click link below to check out Luvvie's post and video.

World AIDS Day

Ignorance is NOT bliss people.  Get tested.  Know your status.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Are You Worth???

For the past few weeks, I have been sitting in on the stock market program we have started for the teens at my job.  The idea was to expose them to something more than what the "low end" of Chicago has to offer them and since I know that this information usually comes at a high price, I decided to get in on the action.

Gary Harris is the financial advisor of the president of my job and also the instructor of this class.  He is a well kept, charismatic gentleman who looks to be in his mid to late 40s.  Three days a week, he comes to educate us for two hours, a service that he usually charges his well off clients $5,000/hour for.  We started this program with eight teens.  To date, only one is still actively participating.  Sad, I know.

Today, we discussed net worth.  The average net worth of a white family is $140,000; black family is about $5,000.  The net worth for women fitting my demographic (young, black woman in her early 20s) is an unbelievable -$5.  Yes, NEGATIVE $5.  When he mentioned that fact today, I'm sure my face did a number of things ranging from "WTF?!" to "That is unbelievable".  According to an article at NewsOne for Black America, a white woman's median worth is about 42 grand.  Those numbers are staggering to me.  I looked at it in terms of being kidnapped and held for ransom or even putting a price tag on myself and in actuality, I can't because research says I'm not worth too much of anything.

This class is teaching me a lot and a little further down the line, I see myself owning some stock.  Just sitting there listening to him tell us of his story and how he acquired all that he did by striving to achieve more than what the average person is willing to work for inspires me.  He is also growing my interest in increasing my net worth.  I doubt that I am worth -$5 (because I don't have any liabilities) but I know for a fact that I never want to get to that point.

Just wanted to share that tidbit with you all this evening.

Do you know YOUR net worth?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Are You Happy With YOU?

Every afternoon once I get settled in my office, I pull out my laptop and charger and check out what goodies await me in my RSS reader.  For about 30 minutes, I am glued to my seat, reading articles from some of my favorite journalists and the sites they write for.

Today, an article by Risa Dixon over at Clutch Magazine caught my eye: Doctor Claims He Can Permanently Change Eye Color From Brown to Blue.  I was almost shocked, to say the least.  The first question that popped into my head was 'Is that even safe?'  Then I started to wonder who would want such a procedure done.  Got me to thinking about how we as a human race are so mesmerized by the thought of being a better version of ourselves.  Everyone has something(s) that they wish they could change about themselves, myself included but why?  Why are we so obsessed with thought of looking like someone else?

In Dixon's article, she tells us of Dr. Gregg Homer and the "20-second procedure that removes melanin that will lighten eye color without affecting a patient's eyesight".  She too questions if the procedure is necessary.

This article immediately took me back to my scholarly days where I had to read Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.  If you are unfamiliar with the great literary work, Morrison allows us to get to know a young black girl by the name of Pecola Breedlove.  In the story, she is enamored with the idea of having blue eyes like the adorable Shirley Temple.  Pecola felt that if her eyes were blue, things would be a lot easier for her.  Of course the novel explored other things than just blue eyes but that one stuck out to me the most.

Self-esteem plays a huge role, in my opinion, when it comes to self alteration.  One really has to be in a low place, for lack of a better term, to actually want to go through with something as drastic as an eye color change.  Like I said above, I have some things I wish I could change (like my pudgy fingers and short nail  beds) but I would NEVER go through with a double hand transplant.  I also played basketball for 15+ years of my life, suffering through more finger/thumb jams than I can count.

This self-esteem thing goes further for me than just altering one's natural appearance.  It's also seen in the fashion trends of today.  I've never been a "fashion whore" or someone who has to have the latest material thing.  If it looks nice and put together, I'll wear it.  Simple as that.  I don't spend hours in the mall.  I hate it actually.  Too many people for me.  But there was a time when I felt like I had to have a certain look to feel accepted but that soon wore off when I realized that I don't have to dress in this brand or in this style.  I'm an individual and want to be seen as such.

Learning to be genuinely happy with the body and features that God took the precious time to make up the unique person that is you is a process, I know.  I am constantly learning to be appreciative of my pudgy fingers and short nail beds.  Even embracing my big head took some time but I did it.  This is not something that will happen overnight but I'm asking that you start today, being thankful and embracing all that makes you YOU!

Besides, if you don't love and appreciate you, why would someone else???

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Closer to my dreams...

Things are starting to look up for me!! Well, I said that wrong because that would imply that things were down and they weren't.  Either way, I have good news!

Last week, I joined the staff of a new online magazine (not going to give any names until the site is up and running)!  A friend from high school thought that I would be a great addition to the team and called to ask me aboard and I said yes.  This is a huge step for me in my young journalism career and I feel that this is a great opportunity for me to gain the experience and exposure I need in this business.  It didn't even phase me that the magazine doesn't cover the genre I prefer because it's a start and I can't afford to be picky just yet.

I thank God for this opportunity as well as my friend for thinking highly of me to include me.  I'm excited to see what will come of this venture and how it will help me grow as a journalist.

Short post but this was something I wanted to share with you all.  This is only the beginning for me...*insert huge smile here*

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How Strong is Your Faith?

Just last night, I was having a conversation on faith only to have that same conversation reaffirmed this morning in church.  As soon as I made the correlation, I took that as reassurance that my dreams will come true...

...if I do my part.

My mother has always told me that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26 I believe) and I am starting to believe it even more as I grow older.  Yes, I can dream of where I want to be or what I want out of life until I'm blue in the face but if I don't take the necessary steps to achieve those goals, all I'll ever be is a dreamer.  I know I don't want that for myself.

Week after week, my pastor does everything in his power to encourage us to praise God unashamed in praise and worship.  I've always been one to believe that it does not take all the theatrics displayed and vowed I would never allow myself to look that way.  I understand that everyone expresses things in their own way but sometimes, I feel some take it overboard.  Like, waaaay overboard.

Growing up in Baptist churches for most of my life, those overboard theatrics was all I knew so can you blame me, being the shy soul that I am, that I was a bit reserved with my praise?  Y'all know what I'm talking about.  The random shouts, full out sprints around the whole church.  The falling out and crying.

Does it really take all that y'all??

My point is this: God is going to bless me regardless.  The speed in which I receive those blessings depends on me and my praise.  If it is not evident to God that I'm thankful for what I have now and that I'm a good steward of the small things, how/why would he bless me with something bigger?  I admit that my praise and worship could use a bit more enthusiasm and I plan to work on it in the coming weeks (don't rush me though...I like to take my time with things).  I don't want God to think that I am ashamed of him or even ungrateful for the life he gave me along with his other provisions.

My pastor blessed his father with a 2002 Cadillac Escalade this past week.  God made it so that the son (my pastor) could bless his father with one of the desires of his heart all because the father had been a faithful servant to God.  I've been a member of that church for about 4-5 years now and I've watched both my pastor and his father, the assistant pastor, grow that church.  Hearing that testimony this morning encouraged me to continue to grow my faith in God as well as not be ashamed to praise God for his goodness (remember, no rushing).

I hope this can encourage some of you to do the same =)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bi-Polar Sh*t

I've always been amazed at how quickly one's mood could change, specifically, mine.  At times, I think I suffer from self diagnosed bi-polar disease.  Not something one would wish on themselves but it's the truth.  Earlier today, I mentioned via Twitter how Sundays seem to be my most anti-social day.  I would give reason as to why but don't want to offend some of my readers...

I would say I had a pretty chill Sunday afternoon though (spent it watching movies online & read a new fave blog).  Now, as I sit here, typing, I realize that I've been in a mood for the past 30 minutes and I can't fully explain why. I know there are a mixture of things swimming through my mind faster than Michael Phelps that I wrestle with daily: projects I need to stop procrastinating on and just life in general.  My mind does a great job at daydreaming so much so that I physically have to move myself to snap out of it.  Otherwise, I'll be dreaming on this couch forever, surrounded by this BlackBerry and iPod, blogging about my unhappiness.

Pandora has a nice mix going on my Bilal station right now that is conducive to my current indescribable mood.  All I need is a strong drink that'll put a few stubbly hairs on my chest to sip on and only then will I look completely pitiful.  I have no idea what's wrong with me.  I have these moods often and the unfortunate part is that I don't have a place, corner, or hole to call my own to wallow in these random sorrows.  I am thankful for God providing a roof over my head but I'd be lying if I didn't say I am soooo over this situation already.  I miss being in my own space...being anti-social in my own room.  Here, I feel like I'm always on display and you all know how I hate being in the spotlight alone.

I don't use cliches often (at least I don't think I do) but I feel a lot like a caged bird with clipped wings so even if the cage was left open, I couldn't fly out if I wanted to.  Shit's not a good feeling.  I feel stagnant...like I'm stuck in cement.  I want to just pack up my book bag, cue up my iPod and just go.  I like to think I'm this loner but that's not reality, as much as I try to make myself believe it.  I like having enjoyable people around me but I do like my space too (please, excuse the complex simplicities of me).

I've told you all before how I have plans to move to New York for grad school, ultimately starting my independent life there.  Every time I think about it, I get scared and find ways to bitch up.  I think of every excuse under the sun (main one being: where's the money gonna come from to uproot this life and start anew?) and find reasons to stay home.  But then, I think of my best friend and how she didn't let fear stop her from accomplishing the goals she had for herself and a surge of motivation runs through me.  Yeah, it'll be hard for me but I have to grow up.

Saw a quote, by the late Steve Jobs I believe, that said, "If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough" and that made me realize my dreams must be of grand proportions 'cause I'm scared as shit.  Am I too naive for NY?  I'm a suburban girl through and through.  How will I fare in such a big city? Alone?  I like to think I'm a pretty intelligent young lady but I know I missed a few classes in Street Smarts 101.  I'm gonna be completely lost when I get up there.

But isn't that the beauty of coming into one's own?  Learning as you go along...otherwise, you'll remain a dreamer.

I just feel like there's a lot I don't know.  Like, how I'll survive for one. Then I'll have to worry about finding a place to live once grad school is over (I've been watching House Hunters on HGTV & i'm learning).  Rent is gonna have to be paid and let's not e'em mention the other amenities and perks.

*sighs deeply & rolls eyes*

I just feel so behind.  Like everyone else my age is so much more advanced in grown up life than me.  Yeah, I'm not troubled with the stress of bills and whatnot but....man, I don't know what I'm trying to say anymore.  The shit sounds viable in my head but as I type it, it looks stupid.  I'm sure I'm all over the place with this post.  Blame my emotional Cancerian mind.  As in most cases, my apprehension stems from fear of being on my own.  It's something that has to happen though and in order to get the ball rolling, I have to shake the fear, rid this procrastinating spirit and move something.

I WILL be a New Yorker & God willing, I will be working my dream job. :)

*did you peep how I was all depressed at the beginning only to end up motivating myself? smh*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Amorous" -- Jesse Boykins III

I think I have discovered both the blog and my theme song.

I was recently hipped to Boykins' mixtape, The Beauty Created, by an acquaintance of mine and I haven't stopped playing it since.  This project is one of very few that makes my heart smile with each listen.  I've been a fan of Boykins' voice for some time now.  It's something about the velvety texture that does something to my body.

This work as a whole is nostalgic in the sense that it takes you back to those Neo Soul days back in the late 90s.  Boykins channels, to me, D'Angelo or even Dwele (these are a couple of the other two that make my heart smile).

Check out the video and even the link to the mixtape above.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed in what you hear.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sept. 21, 2011, 11:08 P.M.

Tonight, I witnessed the execution of a seemingly innocent black man by way of lethal injection.

I have never been one to immerse myself in politics or things of the such but over the past few days, I saw continuous blog posts and articles on Troy Davis and his execution.  At the time of his conviction, I was only one year old and now, 22 years later, this is my first time ever hearing about the case.  Initially, I skimmed over the articles as they popped up in my RSS Reader until I decided to familiarize myself with this man's story.

Long story short: Davis was convicted of the murder of an off duty police officer (McPhail).  Since the time of his conviction, seven of the nine (I believe) jurors have recanted their initial statement and ultimately, there is no proof that Davis was the shooter.  That alone is enough to make me believe he is not a candidate for the death penalty,  ESPECIALLY if evidence is lacking.

I was in bible study during the time the execution was to initially take place and was relieved to learn and hour later that they had postponed the execution, giving the Supreme Court time to make a decision as to whether or not they would let Davis live.  It left me hopeful that this man may get another chance at life.  In the 45 minutes it took me to get home from church, I learned that they had denied his appeal and my heart dropped at the thought of the state of Georgia killing this seemingly innocent man.

I watched as Anderson Cooper stoically delivered the news as it happened, showing us live footage of the steps of the Supreme Court where people were gathered, waiting to hear the news just as I was.  The entire time, I'm on my couch, praying for Davis' soul and wondering if he was right with God.  I'm also praying for his family to remain strong and know that God is the ultimate decision maker.

As I write this, I remember earlier today at work, I kept glancing at the clock thinking, "Man, that brother has only two more hours left to live."  What does it feel like to know the exact minute you're scheduled to die?  Do you panic or sit in silence and reflect on your life up until that point?  I wonder if Davis wished he could have gone back in time and never went to the Burger King that night.

The reporters on CNN mentioned how the death penalty and race played a part tonight saying that more black people receive a death sentence for killing a white person.  I do not know the true facts of this statement but it did touch me.  I am pro black but not so quick to draw the race card, if that makes any sense.  I don't blame the white man for all of the black man's misfortune.

Being a young African American woman, I feel it is natural for me to feel close to a Troy Davis in situations like these.  I wondered briefly during the execution that if Davis was white, would I even be concerned.  At first, I said yes because the story, void of race, is sad.  But then, I dug deeper and admitted that I probably would not be following this case as long as I have.  Yes, I would have been interested in the outcome but it would not have such an emotional bearing on my spirit as it does now and I'm sure I wouldn't be blogging about it.

My Twitter timeline blew up, telling of how the black people haven't arrived to shit yet and how the "judicial system is the modern day Jim Crow".  Took me back to a conversation I had yesterday with my colleague about how racism is still prevalent here 2011.  He's another pro black individual and he always talks about how Emmett Till's death wasn't that long ago and how Dr. King was just assassinated.  His point being the same as my followers: Just because we have a black president does not negate the fact that we are still looked down upon as a race by other ethnicities and sometimes even our own.

Davis' story and execution has sparked an interest in me.  An interest to want to get myself somewhat involved in politics and the workings of this world.  I no longer want to be ignorant to the world outside my window.  I will not overlook the articles that come across my reader any longer.  I will continue to pray for both the MacPhail and Davis families in this very difficult time.  I pray that if Davis truly was innocent that they find the true killer although that won't bring Davis back to his family.  Hearing his final words brought on the tears I was trying to fight back.

I leave you with this: learn about the world in which you live.  In the words of the anonymous source: "Be the change you want to see."

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I have decided that I am going to open a restaurant called either Swangas or Mandingo and I will only hire sexy men who are packing a third leg or something really close to it.  Their uniforms will consist of black boxer briefs (brand of their choice) and baby oil.

This is the message I sent to a few of my close girl friends and my homeboy, JB, today.  Of course, the women were all excited, calculating how much they would be able to invest while JB deemed the idea 'not good'.  He said that no one would want to eat while having to stare penis in the face.  I agree because it is a sight to be left desired but my defense was that they would have on the black boxer briefs (they do a good job at camouflaging).  And it's not like the employees would be standing right at the table while patrons enjoyed their meals.

The conversation with JB took a much different turn than did the one with the girls.  Of course, I was just joking with the whole idea of such a provocative restaurant because, I, in my right mind, know that it would never be allowed but THAT reason alone is my issue.  I pass Hooters on a weekly basis going to and coming from church and I always wondered, if there was a restaurant of it's kind, geared towards the ladies, would it be as successful as Hooters.

JB's initial answer to the message was "lol...ummm that's not legal I don't think."

My response: "But Hooters is..."

He proceeds to tell me that nothing is hanging out at Hooters and that ultimately, there's a difference.  I countered that nothing would be hanging out at my establishment either (other than glorious man breast and all the muscles one girl could imagine glistening with a fresh coat of baby oil...*mind wanders....re-group*).  I even broke down and replaced the boxer briefs (thank God for them) with plain boxers or even pants.  The baby oil was non-negotiable.

JB shoots back that penises are "real private parts". And breasts aren't?  Yes, I agree that breast are widely accepted but why?  He said that they aren't private if you can't see the nipple...cleavage is seen daily.  I knew from jump that I was fighting a losing battle but hearing his viewpoint was what interested me the most.  I already knew most men, if asked, would be against such a thing.

My whole point in what started as a joke was the double standard we all are aware of.  Women are usually the ones in movies, bearing all.  Yes, money is usually the motivation and the overall decision of the actor but my thing is this: if I can go to a movie and have to sit and watch a woman expose T & A, dammit, I should be able to see a man's 'member' (for lack of a better term lol).  Not that I'm pressed to see one because I stated earlier that they aren't the prettiest looking things around but it's all about being fair.  Even if the man did agree to doing a full frontal, I honestly think they would find some way around it.  Like using some type of shadowy effect so the viewer really couldn't see his package, instead, just a silhouette.

Like I said before, I'm not (completely) serious about the restaurant but if I were, I'd be prepared for the myriad of "No's" that would follow.  Believe that I would fight hard, using restaurants like Hooters and Tilted Kilt as a means of comparison.  I would even be willing to compromise the boxer briefs as I had with JB, allowing them to cover up just a tad.  But I would also bring to their attention that something should be done about the waitresses at Hooters.  Regardless of if they are curvaceous or not, we know what the name implies and so do the young children that are allowed inside.  Deep down, I know I'd be fighting a losing battle but that's ok with me.  I just wanted to get my point across.

Would you frequent my spot (or one like it)? Why or why not?  What's your take on the double standard?  How do you feel about restaurants like Hooters and Tilted Kilt?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Committed Relationship vs. Not So Committed Companionship...

*excuse the lateness...was supposed to post this yesterday*

September 11, 2011

I should be concerned with the Americans we lost 10 years ago today in that tragic event that reshaped our nation.  Instead, my mind is focused on dating and marriage.  Wait.  Don't deem me insensitive just yet because I do feel sympathy for those families who lost loved ones but this is just the way my Cancerian mind works.

I wrote on this topic about a month ago, asking does society still believe in marriage.  I'm still trying to decide if I do.  I agree that the union of two souls pledging their love for each other is a beautiful thing but is it still something people desire?

We've apparently entered a new realm of dating where some people, for lack of a better term, lack creativity.   Yes, I understand that people have more pressing obligations and responsibilities where their money can be spent wisely but I feel that if you're one who decides to add dating to your life's routine, you need to get more in touch with your creative side.

Me, personally, am not picky.  I'm all for free fun.  Money doesn't always have to be spent and it's definitely not needed to impress me.  Like when Jamie took Nola (She's Gotta Have It) out to a picnic for her birthday.  Yea, he may have spent a little money on the dancers but his creativeness made the date that much more special.  It is not OK to think chillin' at the house constitutes as a date.  Especially if all we're doing is sitting down, watching TV.  I can do that at home alone.  Plan a meal. Boil a pot of coffee or water for some tea. Something!

I had an interesting conversation with one of my homeboys.  He was explaining to me his views on the whole 'title' thing when it comes to relationships.  Simply put, he doesn't believe in them but he did admit that if he chose to engage in sexual relations with a lady, as well as open up to her emotionally, he does feel a "certain obligation to be there for her, regardless."  Me being the person I am, asked for him to elaborate more because I just didn't understand how he didn't view that as a relationship of some kind.  When two people become romantically involved and feelings become a factor, aren't they supposed to be there for each other, regardless?  That is, of course, if the two are on the same page and a relationship is what they're seeking.

He promptly began to break his theory down for me and surprisingly enough, I made some sense of it (I knew I should've taken notes on the conversation but I was too lazy to get up to find pen & paper lol).  Basically, he said that us women need to learn to let go of the fantasy we have created in our minds, dwelling on images of a perfect relationship and whatnot.  Instead, we need to learn to live in the moment and accept what a "Real Nigga Nigga" like him is offering.  What is he offering you ask?  Unconditional friendship, unconditional support, and sex (if that's what you need).  He is also there to provide you with that shoulder to cry and vent on, a male brain to pick and you can always count on him to keep it real with you.  And all this is available whether or not he had/is having sex with you at the time.  That seems to be a lot for someone you're not officially linked to.

In a nutshell, what my boy is saying is that a title isn't going to stop a man (or a woman) from doing what they are going to do (and I agree) which is why he refuses to lock himself into something that doesn't seem to be foolproof from jump.  He can't guarantee that you (or himself for that matter) will have the urge to step out.  What he can guarantee is that he will always keep it real with you, providing that unconditional companionship that we as women desire anyway.  He even went as far as to saying that if he was in a relationship and he happened to cheat his girl would never know because she'd be so wrapped up in the way he treated and took care of her that it wouldn't matter.

I have to admit that he almost had me sold on his theory.  Like, if I was standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and he would've hit me with one more gem of "knowledge", he would have knocked me over and I would have fallen to my death.  Some of what he was saying made sense to me whereas other parts went in one ear and smoothly out the other.  For example, if you're in a situation with a guy where the two of you aren't quite serious but everyone knows you're an item; the guy treats you right and all that good stuff but you still find more to want.  Let's say something along the lines of an official commitment.  It's kind of the 'don't mess up a good thing' situation.

Now, I'm at an in between stage in my young adult life where I don't know if I want or if I'm even ready to be in a committed relationship (or a not so committed 'situation') just yet.  The thought is enticing but I'd like to think I know a little bit of what a serious relationship entails and I'm big enough to admit that I'm not fully ready to concede.  That's a serious move that requires a lot.  I'm still young and I'm just coming into my own, figuring things out for myself.  Eventually, I'm sure a meaningful relationship will come but until then, I'll revel in my freedom.

What're your thoughts? Do you agree with my homeboy or is his logic a bunch of bull?  Are titles overrated?  Feel free to discuss.  I'd love to read your responses.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Seek and You Shall Find...

I have always been someone who cares what people think about me.  I don't know where it came from or why I still have that feeling but I do.  I've heard it many times that only God can judge us but it does not stop people from doing so (even I am guilty).

For the past few years I have become a huge fan of Demetria Lucas, Relationship Editor, writer & blogger of Essence magazine and now, in the recent success of her first book, she has literally become the 'go to girl for advice' on relationships and other things.  The digital world in which we live has made it very easy for us to connect with celebrities like her.  Daily, I watch her Twitter timeline (as a devoted self-proclaimed mentee) as she interacts with fellow Belles via regular tweets or through her Formspring account.  More times than I'd like to admit, I find myself clicking the link allowing me to read the full question and even more so to see Lucas' response.

Most of these questions she takes time out to answer are pretty self explanatory and I find myself laughing out loud at these anonymous souls because they actually make you say, "Really, dude? Did you really just ask that dumb ass question?"  Being the person that she is, Lucas shoots back real advice to these people and when they sound stupid, she tells them just that.  I love her for her blunt sarcasm because it helps my workday go by so much faster.

I can't help but wonder now are these women that low on self-esteem or were they just reaching for something to ask her just to make a connection?  Of course, as a fan, you would love to have your favorite celeb or someone you admire to tweet you back.  It's an exhilarating feeling as I have been tweeted four times and counting by my faves but at the same time, I refuse to put myself 'out there' for the sake of a retweet.

People, especially women, should find that validation they seek from others within themselves.  Yes, it is nice to have something you feel to be true affirmed by anyone, especially someone you look up to but, at times, I feel some go overboard.  I wish it were possible for everyone to be completely happy in their own skin and confident in their own abilities but, unfortunately, that is not the world we live in.  A lot of us thrive off of what others think or say about us.  Positive self-esteem is definitely not an easy task and it is one that takes patience as I am still learning.  I feel that it is something that can be achieved if people take the time to work on themselves instead tearing others down.

What's your stance on validation? Is it something that you seek or have sought in the past?  What changed your views?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How I Feel About The Help

For this past week, I've been reading reviews and commentary on the movie, The Help and honestly, all the negative feedback made me want to see the movie more.  Yes, I understand why women of color were so against this film because no one wants to see a version of themselves being portrayed in such a subservient role.  But then again, I thought to myself that we support much more degrading material than this (i.e. music) so, I wanted to see what all the hype was about.

The movie made me laugh and even made me want to cry.  Overall, I enjoyed it.  Throughout the film, I kept wondering if I should feel the same amount of anger exhibited by the journalists I had spent all last week reading.  When that feeling didn't come, I began to wonder if I was comprehending the movie like I should have been.  Something was suppose to light a fire within me or at least that is what I thought.

Don't get me wrong because there were a few scenes that made me cringe and the snotty Mrs. Hilly made me want to jump through the screen many a time and choke her out but as a whole, the movie was good.  Skeeter was my favorite character of all because I saw bits of me in her.  I admired her fearlessness in taking on the task of writing a story from the help's perspective, especially with her being fully aware of the consequences if caught.  I admired her drive as a young journalist, allowing nothing to stop her from getting what she wanted most.  I also loved the genuine love and appreciation she showed towards the black maids.  For me, it was a needed break from that 'entitled' aura the other women gave off.

Miss Celia was another favorite of mine because, like Skeeter, she showed a genuine admiration for her help, sharing a meal with Minny, her maid, on more than one occasion.  That gesture made me smile, nearly bringing me to tears because in most cases that I've seen, maids aren't shown how much they are appreciated or if the families even give a damn.

As soon as I left the theater, I checked Twitter and saw the former Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine, Angela Burt-Murray tweet that the film was "so bad and so inaccurate.  Minnie would have been lynched for that pie stunt" and I would totally agree with her.  In the theater, it was funny but one can't help but think, in real life, Minny wold have definitely lost her life in the name of revenge.  Makes me want to watch the movie again to look for more inaccuracies.

I was surprised to see how many of my favorite journalists disliked the film.  I honestly don't know what I expected them to feel but this response is not it.  Both the film and the book (which I begin tomorrow) were recommended to me by a close friend) so it was always a top priority for me.  I'm hearing that the book is much better than the movie but isn't that how it usually goes?

Can't wait.  Maybe i'll see some things the movie didn't have the chance to illustrate.

Have you seen the movie or read the book?  What're your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moment in Time

"If I could make time stand still then I know we'd live this moment forever..." 

Well, not exactly THIS moment but...I guess what I'm trying to say is that I realize, for the first time in my life, that we're living in what is called our 'last days'. Quite honestly, it's scaring the mess out of me, mostly stemming from uncertainty.  I've been baptized and basically raised in the church so I know what the Bible says and how Jesus is coming back again. My issue lies with society & how things aren't EVER what they seem.  You really can't believe everything you hear (or even half of what you see). Ordained ministers are getting caught in the same scandals they try to preach us away from so I can't help but to think who am I really to trust here? 

I know. God should be the only one of importance to me but I'm really having a hard time trying to grasp what's been ingrained in me since I was a child.  Maybe, no, I KNOW, I need to spend more time studying God's word for myself as well as spend time with him because that's the only way I'll be able to hear him when he speaks.  

For as long as I can remember, I've always been told that our time here on Earth is considered 'borrowed time' and that our real home is in Heaven. That means that none of us will be here for long. I'm not 100% sure about how I feel about that. In a phrase: I wanna live forever. Without all the riff-raff, of course but seriously, I do. I feel that I won't get a fair chance at life like people before me. I feel like there are things I'm missing, have missed and will miss out on because Jesus will decide to come back and it'll be too late for me. I almost want to say that at times, I've received the short end of the stick called life. 

I know I shouldn't be scared to die but I am.  Why do we have to die anyway, spending eternal life in either Heaven or Hell? At 23, I'm reaching the very confusing stage of trying to define myself as a woman...learning how to think for myself & make rational decisions as a "grown up". I watch some of my peers and to me, some seem to have this shit figured out, leaving me wondering where I was when the memo was sent out and why wasn't I invited to the class....

I don't really know what I wanted to accomplish in this post other than to vent a little bit & I'm almost scared to encourage comments but, if you feel so moved, the box below is free.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do You Still Believe?

"Some say that I'm a dreamer 'cause I talk about it often..." --Common

For as long as I can remember, I've always been an emotional something.  I tear up at the sappiest of movies and the most romantic novels.  Anything where anyone is showing some form of genuine affection and you'll have to find the nearest wrench to stop that water works.  A bit much, I know, but, it's me.

Simply put, I'm a sucker for love.

Oddly enough though, I cannot recall a time where I sat and fantasized about being someone's mother and wife.  I may have played around with the idea a few times but it was never something I dreamed about like the women that came before me.

The idea of love to me is refreshing and once you think you're in it, the feeling is even more grand, especially if it's genuine but as I get older and am starting to really observe my surroundings, I wonder if marriage is something men and women of today really want.  I see marriage as one of the biggest promises of all time, one that canNOT be broken.  You're pledging your life, love, "and all that other shit" to the person you have decided to share your world with.  That's a lot.  Like, you really have to be in tune with your god and yourself to know that this person is for you.  At 23, I don't see how I could ever get to that point.  Hell, I'm still waiting on a good date worth talking about the next day.

According to the NY Times, 51% of women are living without a spouse.  So not even half of the us are married.  Does that mean we are complacent with just 'shacking up', allowing the cow to be ravaged of all it's milk at no cost?  If that is the case, I'm definitely not knocking another woman and her decision because I'm not completely sure I want to be married either.  Like I said before, it's a lot.  And not to mention, society has played a part in making it seem like a trap to me so it'll be a while before I say the words 'I do'.  But, is there any security in that?  How can you build a life with someone that you won't know will be there tomorrow?

The issue with this lies in my upbringing.  My grandparents have been married for at least 40 years and although I've witness disagreements between them, they still remain together.  I couldn't even imagine one getting up one day talking about, "I'm gone!"  It just doesn't seem likely for people at their age.  Not so much for my generation.  Just as quick as we are to get married, divorce comes even quicker.  I was brought up in the church so I understand that marriage is a covenant before God with you and your mate planning to love each other unconditionally and no matter what, work it out.  People my age don't seem to understand the severity of the situation though.  I've heard of couples divorcing for something as trivial as one wanting to stay out late nights while the other stays home.  Yes, it's unacceptable but no, it's not grounds for divorce in my book.  You're two adults.  Sit down and talk it out.

Maybe we just don't see the value in being married anymore.  I mean, a lot of us don't have any positive models to look after to show us how to do this marriage thing right anyway so how can we be expected to value such a gift?  Don't get me wrong because I would like to one day be in a fulfilling relationship. I may even end up married  (Mom wouldn't approve of me shacking up anyway...lol).  I just wonder where along the lines did our little girl dreams get so lost to the point where marriage is not even in the forefronts of our minds anymore.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garbage In, Garbage Out

My mother always told me whatever you feed your mind, be it good or bad, it will eventually come out.  As I got older, I saw the truth in her wisdom.  Prior to, I just thought she was trying to turn me off one of my favorite rappers, Common.  For days on end, I would blast his instant classic album, BE, deciphering lyrics, metaphors, & similes.  I would recite the lyrics proudly as if I had wrote them myself.  I could tell you what each song meant down to the T but I didn't realize that with some songs, I was filling my young, impressionable mind with images I wasn't quite ready for (i.e. one of his top singles, "GO!").

When people think of Common, in all his sexy splendor, they praise him for his positive messages as he penned songs encouraging people of color.  He's never been labeled (to my knowledge) as misogynistic or even negative and everyone around me was hip to this.  Everyone but my mom.  She still found fault, starting with the single mentioned above.  The lyrics celebrate sexuality, glorifying the freedom of expression and she deemed the whole album inappropriate.  Even went as far as to confiscate it.  The NERVE!

Needless to say, I got the album back and jammed on but I now understand what she was trying to do.

Fast forward six years and there's talk of the Illuminati and everyone involved.  I consider myself to be a pretty avid music listener with a growing collection, spreading from one genre to the next.  If seen out, you can bet I have my iPod on me; about 90% of the time, it's playing in my ears so there's hardly ever a moment where I'm not vibing.

When I was first introduced to the whole idea of the Illuminati, I was sitting in the congregation of my then church, staring in disbelief at the pulpit.  There was a guest speaker schooling us teens on Jay-Z's involvement with this "secret society".  I remember him playing Hov's "Lucifer" backwards (a method called 'backwards masking') where the whole congregation heard Jay's voice saying, plain as day, "Murder murder Jesus 666".  I was done at that point.  Didn't go as far as to erase him off the pod but I shuffled right past his songs when they came up.

Now, when I hear people talk about it (the organization) in amazement, I tend to distance myself simply because, it's one of those conversations where everyone has deemed themselves an expert on the topic, spewing "facts" that they've heard from someone else.  It really makes my head hurt.  This guy at work is actually the only other person I listened to outside of that guest speaker that day.  And surprisingly, he kind of made a little sense of it, although I'm still a little skeptical.

Basically, he stressed how money is the root of all evil and signs of that are evident, especially in this corrupt society we live in.  He said that what these people who are alleged to be apart of this organization do is sell their souls to the devil to reach a level of star power pretty much unattainable to the regular people.  As a result, in the case of singers/entertainers, they shoot to the top of everyone's chart and they're seen and/or heard just about everywhere.  He also stated how this is not just limited to entertainers but doctors and lawyers as well.  Virtually anyone seeking wealth.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it all boils down to subliminal messages and what you allow into your psyche.  Mom always told me to guard my mind and my heart and in order to do that, I have to make sure my spiritual man is intact.  If the Jay-Z track is in fact real, that message is seeping it's way into our minds, planting negative seeds that we may not believe will come to fruition.  If you don't agree, just think back to something like sex and how it's pretty much forced upon us daily.  Before you even knew what it was for real (or the people it was intended for), you were curious about it. Some even ventured out to explore.  The subliminal messages we were exposed to played a huge part in that.

I'm not here to tell you that the Illuminati is real nor am I judging the music you listen to but I am encouraging you to BE INFORMED to the best of your ability.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What does family mean to you...?

Because when I think of the word, my mind automatically takes me to a happy place...kind of like a family reunion type setting where all the kids are running around, playing with each other.  The adults are chillin' at the picnic and card tables with their choice beverages, laughing and reminiscing.  Music playing through the speakers and the sweet smell of barbecue being prepared.  In my mind, that word is supposed to generate happy thoughts.

Not when it comes to mine.

I know that everyone is not meant to get along with one another and yes, there will be differences amongst the bunch but, in the end, I feel like it should all be brought back together.  You know, kiss and make up.  If only it were that simple.  In the past few years, a lot of things have been revealed to me about my family.  A lot of which hurts my feelings, especially knowing that I am apart of a unit that could be this way.  Whereas some people who may not be as mentally strong would fall into a fit of depression, I am using this as a learning experience so I can know what to look for when it comes time to start my own family.  I'm learning that there are a few men in my family that I cannot look to as an example for what to look for in a potential mate of my own and as sad as that is, I'm (kind of) o.k. with it because in retrospect, they're teaching me what not to look for.  It's also sad because my two young brothers and cousin have no strong, positive males to model themselves after.  As a result, they are teaching themselves how to be men, desperately needing redirection.

But can we completely blame them?  Granted, they know right from wrong but if they don't see the positive outcome in front of them, why would they want to stray away from what they think is fun?  Just last night, I witnessed, by far, the toughest thing to date.  I will not go into detail or even tell what it was I saw but just know that it broke my heart, literally, into pieces.  All day, I've been going back and forth with my feelings as to whether I should feel sorry or play the tough love role.  The emotional Cancer in me is trying desperately to prevail but I know that this is something that had to happen and I'd rather it happen the way it did, rather than being left to the streets to be rectified.

Said incident has left a thick film of tension behind and I doubt if I'm the only one who can feel it.  I wish I could read everyone's mind here to see what they're thinking and who they're placing the blame on (although, I already have an idea).  Things have not been "happy" around here in a long time and as a result, it's pulling me further away from everyone to the point that I don't like being around anyone, other than my mom, for too long.  The place you call home is suppose to be a peaceful place.  A place where people can escape the foolishness of the outside world until tomorrow but, in the meantime, enjoy being home, with family.

I miss those family reunions and days where everyone liked being around everyone.

I feel like it's too late to start anew...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reality Check

I don't know why I always thought we'd be here together, forever.

Now, that's not the case.  We're growing up (hopefully, not apart) and life is happening.  Maybe I'm the only one who hasn't made plans to make moves.  Or maybe I'm just too afraid to.  The dreamer in me does a great job at thinking up these grandiose ideas but when it's time to put a plan into action, I tend to fall back into that comfortable space.  Just yesterday, I wrote about stepping out of said space and I guess that would hold true for this instance as well.

As a recent graduate, I've given some thought to applying to grad school, simply because I'm not ready to fully "grow up".  Thought about staying in Chicago, which would be ideal for me to establish myself (a sign of obvious fear, in other words) but I also thought about going to the east coast.  The thought is exciting and scary all at the same time but that would be the ideal place for me to flourish as a journalist.  I would be throwing myself into adulthood because that would be new territory for me.  I'd be so far away from my family and friends and although I know my family would help, I would have to eventually support myself.  I guess, now that I'm thinking about it, I probably need that because I think that I rely too much on the people around me more than I do myself.  I look to them for help when, in reality, the outcome will directly effect me.

My best friend just informed me that she got accepted to a graduate program in Texas and I'm ELATED for her because I know how much she's wanted this but on the converse side of things, I'm sad.  Partly because she's leaving and partly because I feel like I'm stuck in the mud.  Maybe her acceptance will be the final push I need to go for mine.  Actually sit down and decide what it is I need to do and devise a plan to get there because I cannot stay in this dream-like state.  It won't pay the bills that are to come and it won't get me my dream job.

As I sit in this office, fighting with my emotions to keep it all together, I think about some of the actions that need to take place.  I need to gather the materials to this 1000 piece puzzle, also known as my life, so I can fit it all together.  Make some sense of this hazy picture I see of my future.  I need to start taking steps to break away from the nest.  Living with my mom is intended to be temporary.  As good a relationship as we have, I know that I don't want to live under her roof forever.

Time to grow up...