Tag Archives: writing

Let yourself…

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Let yourself hurt someone.

Let yourself be hurt. Feel hurt. Express it.

Let someone think the worst of you. Feel let down by you. Feel as if you’ve thrown them away.

Let your heart break as you walk away.

Let them feel that you’re the one that broke them.

Let someone think that you’re damaged. That you’re selfish. That you’re the problem.

Fear missing them.

Fear making a mistake.

Second-guess your motives.

Pray.

Cry.

Sleep.

Think.

Move forward. One day at a time.

Love yourself. Hug yourself.

Think of them. Pray for them. Bless them.

Wish them all the love you had and more.

 

You can do hard things.

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When You’re In Love With Someone That Doesn’t Exist

During my morning commute to work I was listening to some music and found myself doing what I often do…. Daydream. I let the sound of sexy male vocals and a smooth heart-thumping beat to carry into my ideal love life. Where my guy is tall and solid built, with a genuine smile that sends those cute little wrinkles to the outer corners of his eyes. He is stylish without being superficial and he always picks out the perfect thing for me to try on when we’re out shopping. He laughs freely… so freely that every worry and insecurity I have gets swept away in it. He always meets my moodiness with patience and mercy. He’s wild, but not destructive. He’s kind, but not a pushover. He’s the perfect amount of jealous that makes me not feel taken for granted, without feeling like he’s trying to own me. He’s chivalrous, but can pick up on when I don’t want or need his help… when I have things handled. My friends love him… and my girlfriends are maybe just slightly in love with him… because he’s the kind of man they didn’t think actually existed. He loves God, but is not religious or judgmental. When he’s going through tough times he draws near to me instead of isolating himself… because he desires to find refuge in me as much as I find it in him. We are equals. We are partners. We are best friends. THAT IS until I have to slam on my breaks because I wasn’t paying attention to the school bus that put its “Stop” sign out. Talk about a buzzkill. It was the best relationship I may never have.

I may not be an expert about many things, but I am without a doubt a daydream connoisseur. It could be about love, travel, death, my future presidential candidacy… anything. I credit it to being an only child which afforded me lots of experience in the art of entertaining oneself. My imaginary loves have changed and evolved over the years. They have been shaped by the music I listen to, the books I read, the men I’ve met over the years, movies I’ve seen, and dreams I’ve dreamt. I’d have to say that my current one is probably the closest to my hearts desire.

I would never say that having an active romantic imagination is a bad thing. It can actually be very beautiful. In times where my heart had been broken, I’ve gone to my imagination to find the fuel I needed to rekindle the fire of hope that had been dowsed by hurt. Being able to let myself even imagine love in the midst of great heartache proved to me that my faith in love had not yet been completely broken. Keeping the faith is half the battle. There is however a trap that you can set for yourself when you invest too deeply in the idea of someone made up primarily of desires or influences. It’s a trap that I believe is setting Generation-Y up for a mighty big failure.

A large percentage of this up and coming generation is being raised in a society ridden with divorce, infidelity, and a general mentality that to not settle means you always need to be looking for the next best thing. This is creating a life in which contentment is a lost art. The dating world has so far evolved into an experience made up of brief encounters. It’s full of quasi-relationships that last the night to fill an immediate need, or to get you through until the real thing comes around. You have porn, the Kardashians, Christian Grey, every good looking entertainer singing or speaking the right words with the right look, and every romance novel in which every woman reaches orgasm EVERY TIME. I mean COME ONEVERY TIME? These things… these people playing a role… these are the influences that create the idea of what our ideal love looks like. I also am convinced that this is why monogamy and the days of marriage are all but dying out.

Our active imagination coupled with pop culture and drive-thru relationships are creating an insatiable appetite that has begun to outweigh faithfulness and fidelity. The idea of fidelity is being replaced with an ongoing curiosity that makes it impossible to ever find contentment in one relationship. If you are always looking for “different” then you will always find it… and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that except for that it puts you in a very interesting predicament. No matter how fun or exciting it may be, no matter how free you may feel, or how leading such a life feeds your need to rebel or be different, no matter how much we love our promiscuous life and our repertoire of stories that we pull out in a room full of people, at some point in our lives we will have to eventually acknowledge that this whole “catch and release” game of love has become an exhausting venture that will leave us with many stories and little to show for them.

Eventually feeding your curiosity, playing the field, never finding contentment because you’re always searching for something different, or even chasing after your daydreams will lose its luster. One day we all will wake up in the quietness of the morning or the evening, and we’ll know. We’ll know what we’ve always deep down known… that we want to settle down with someone… that sweaty hot lovemaking sessions are no longer as important as finding someone who can love you at your worst. Being in a relationship that is full of adventure and excitement is a wonderful thing, but don’t forget that adventure and fun is nothing without trust. You can find adventure and fun fairly quickly… but trust… trust is built over time and consistency.

In all your imagining.

In all your searching.

In all your excitement.

In all you do.

Remember that one day we all will find that we want to share our moments with a real live person… not the idea of someone. You may be wrapped up in the idea of someone inside your mind… or maybe you’re caught up in the idea of someone you are already with who in reality really isn’t right for you. Whichever it may be, muster up the bravery to tell yourself the truth when it’s time for you to shift your focus… And maybe… Just maybe… Get your head out the clouds.

Notes From a Novice Feminist

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“Weren’t you scared? I would be scared!”

“You’re so brave.”

“Well aren’t you just an independent little thing!”

“You did it by yourself?! * look of approval* I’m impressed!”

“I think it’s great that today’s females are so adventurous.”

These were just a few of the remarks made to me in response to me telling people that I went on a vacation by myself… 9 hours away… And I drove. Oh… and I’m a woman… Almost forgot to tell you that. Not that it matters. Yet apparently it does.

As I’ve gotten older I have become more and more a feminist. Not by choice but kind of by the natural progression of my life. I’m a 31 year old single woman with no kids, no husband, and no prospects… Yet. I went from living by myself in a 2 bedroom apartment to choosing to move into my best friend’s basement… Just because I could. I spend most nights recluse in said basement with my heating blanket, candles and Netflix. When I’m not at home I’m throwing myself into my job, or I go on a date here or there when I find someone that seems worth the discomfort of wearing my “date bra”, or you can find me doing a variety of other activities. Sometimes if I’m feeling extra saucy I’ll actually hang out with real live people! Regardless of where I’m at or what I’m doing, I am always looking ahead to the next thing I’m going to do or the next place I’m going to travel to, and in most cases I visualize myself doing it…. Alone.

Let me circle back to “You’re so brave!”, my vacation, and why I have lived a life that has organically made a feminist out of me.

I went on a vacation by myself to Nashville. I stayed at hostels, used Air B&B,  visited with a couple friends for a couple days as well (See… I’m not a total recluse!), but mostly mingled with strangers or roamed the streets solo. I met some amazing people, ate some amazing food, and listened to some amazing music. More importantly I learned so much about how to let peace guide me, about the need to sometimes guard myself from even well meaning individuals, how obsessive planning can steal your child-like wonder, and how I can make a home wherever I am if I go with the mentality of not just “What can I take from this place?” but “What can I give to it?”

I didn’t divulge many of the details of my trip to most family and friends, except for a select few… And by few I mean probably only one. I come from a small town and with most small towns come a small town mentality that usually silently (or loudly) fears the unknown and unfamiliar. I come from a culture where woman grow up to become wives and mothers who support their families from the kitchen, from the PTA, from the church pew, and who always ALWAYS seek to be better for the betterment of your family and friends. If you go somewhere… say off to college… it is usually safe to say that you will come back as an engaged woman. If you didn’t then people would wonder what you did while you were away those 4 years!  Don’t get me wrong. The kitchen, the pew, the PTA, the family… I want that. In my heart I want it. Here’s the thing though, currently I have none of that… Not for lack of trying. So what’s a girl to do when she isn’t living her ideal life? She creates a new ideal!

I wasn’t going to wait until I had a boo to travel with or to go out to dinner with. I wasn’t going to just snag the next “nice guy” I met simply because I know he’d be nice to me and keep a roof over my head (like being treated respectfully is as magical as spotting a unicorn and as if my own money wasn’t enough to give me basic shelter). I was going to travel, eat, drink, and play by myself if it meant that I would be able to experience a life full of adventure and discovery!

Doing so definitely pushed my boundaries and comfort zones. I had to get past what I felt people may have been thinking when they saw a woman sitting in a crowded restaurant alone eating dinner, or the pangs I felt in my heart when I felt not empowered but very much alone while I sat next to a couple in a dark movie theater… while also trying to hear the movie over the sounds of their tongues slapping against one anothers (talk about feeling awkward!). I had to create a life which clearly defined the roles of loneliness vs  being alone. Taking a vacation by myself was for me the true test. Like a game of chicken between me and my independence. In the end both won the game because I found more of myself when I pushed my independence passed a new limit. Though there is more where that comes from.

The older I get the more I refuse to let my gender or race, my circumstances, general consensus, small or fearful thinking to limit the amount of fulfilment or contentment I have in my life. Regardless of if I’m traveling the world or spending another quiet night on my couch, I will be at home with both worlds within me. The adventurer and the recluse. The social introvert. The single woman with the spirit of a gypsy and the heart of a housewife. I can be it all. I am it all.

That is why as I’ve gotten older I have become more and more a feminist. The older I get the less defined I want to be. The less defined I am the more I do things that people think are brave when really if a man did them it would be seen as “being a bachelor”… When really it’s just “being”. Being in the moment. Being an active participant in your life. Being the creator of moments instead of just hoping that the moments that happen to you are ones you can survive.

Don’t be astonished by the things I’m doing that color outside the lines… I have much more I hope to do… and  there have been women doing much more long before I came to exist. Instead create a life that makes you astonished with yourself. That makes you say “Wow! I did that!” That makes you more and more believe that you can do anything you put your mind to because… Well… Look at everything you’ve done thus far… And many of those things you did while experiencing fear and anxiety, and yet you did it!

I’m not brave. No braver than anyone else.

I’m just refusing to stay stagnant waiting for someone or something.

I am that someone. And I’m doing something.

Life Became Music the Moment I Started Living

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I’ve finally become the music writer that I never thought I’d be.

My passion for music goes far beyond loving one specific genre or favorite band. It goes beyond listening to “Black music” simply because I’m black. It isn’t defined by what’s popular, who’s “Hot” right now, or if it’s age appropriate. I love music because it is a soundtrack to life. Like living your own movie everyday, and having that one song come on that makes that certain scene come to life.

I’ve sang my whole life. In church, in choirs, weddings, funerals, in collaboration with other up-and-coming artists, etc. It was so frustrating to me that I could bring life to other people’s lyrics and yet I couldn’t write my own. I just couldn’t! I tried for years… and I mean YEARS. I’d sit for hours trying to come up with one verse… one chorus… one verse that sounded good with the one chorus. I’d get myself so worked up that I’d end up sobbing, feeling frustrating, defeated and lacking in talent. I’d give up for months… a year… and then I’d try it again without success. I journal constantly and was failing miserably at forming words already written into a melody. I tried to write about life, love, things I saw other people going through. I tried it all. Every effort ended in tears, a pen, paper, and maybe a couple sentences if I was lucky.

Today however is quite another story. In the last couple weeks I have written 2 songs. That’s right… 2 songs in 2 weeks! Pretty much a record breaker for me! Prior to that I’d written maybe 3 songs since the beginning of the year. Something clicked. Something changed. It had nothing to do with method, because I tried ALL the methods in previous years. It had nothing to do with not having enough material, because my life was full of material. It had nothing to do with needing to develope a way with words, because that has always come pretty easily to me. So what was it then?

There was this build-up of suspense and excitement that kept growing within me as I neared my 30th birthday last January. It was this feeling of “My 30s are going to be the best years of my life!” I had no idea what that even meant. All I knew was that I could feel a shift happening inside me. I was growing restless and it felt as if my skin no long fit the person I was becoming. I knew that if I was going to enjoy the many years ahead of me, I was going to have to expand myself. Spread my wings. More accurately, I was going to have to develop my wings.

And I did…

I am…

Feather by feather.

And that’s when I found my song. I found it not just in life, but in living. Sure, I had a life full of stuff and things but I wasn’t living. I didn’t take any risks… calculated or otherwise. I feared feeling regret and tried to avoid it at all cost, which meant I only went after things that I knew I wouldn’t fail at. I stuck to the things I was good at and didn’t try to find out if there was anything more to me… fearing that looking too deep into myself would reveal things I wouldn’t be able to fix myself and would feel too ashamed to ask help for from anyone else.

I found my song when I finally started to live.

I learned that song writing is about transparency. That’s the essence of music. People connecting to the humanity expressed in your lyrics. That’s what gives a song meaning… not just words on a page or the act of singing to an instrument. That’s why I wasn’t able to write. I was guarded. I was an actress portraying an open book. You don’t have to be an open book, but pretending to be one is worse than simply saying to the world “I don’t want to let you in because I just like to keep some of me to myself.” There’s nothing wrong with keeping a secret garden, but mine wasn’t filled with delight and intrigue. It was filled with pain, rejection, and self-sabotage. I couldn’t write because deep down I wasn’t living an authentic life. Not in secret and not in public… and your words will always expose you one way or another… and I think on some level I knew that. I think I knew that people wouldn’t hear my words through the wall they were written behind.

So then I started to develop my wings… and I started living… authentically. The good,  the bad, the ugly, and the “I don’t even know what that was”.

Funny. The “I don’t even know what that was” makes for some great songs.

Why Catcalling Should Be the Death of the Music Industry.

And every other industry for that matter… including the fashion and beauty industry.

If you haven’t seen it already (which most of you have), there’s a video that’s gone viral that shows a woman being videotaped while she walks all around New York City for a day. In the video she walks around silently as she’s being catcalled, approached, or addressed in one way or another by men on the street as she walks by. You hear everything from the obviously sexual remark, to “Hello” or a “Good morning”. The point of the video is to showcase the harassment of women and what we can be subjected to. It is raising awareness, raising eyebrows, and  flaring some interesting debates.

The thing that gets me are all the comments on Facebook or YouTube attached to this video. Most of which are some variation of disgust with men, and how women are so sick of being treated like this, or that the men that say these things are perverts or something. Here’s the thing: The men in this video… the men some of us women encounter who make comments that make us feel uncomfortable… they are all just one piece of a very big puzzle. A puzzle that is made up of music, social media, culture, and dare I say… Women.

Oh Lordt… I can feel the hater rays from some people already! Do me a favor… put on some shades and hear me out before you rule me out.

Music is full of lyrics that make the female body seem as if it is something to be made a spectacle of, not necessarily appreciated in the more respectable sense of the word. You have Nicki Minaj who has turned butts into something like an episode of Animaniacs! You’re like “Okay… This is hilarious, and weird, and awkward, yet way too entertaining to stop watching!” You have Meghan Trainor who, with good intentions, may be sending the message that women with “Bass” are better because they got that “Boom boom that all the boys chase.” Then you’ve got hip-hop and R&B, of which 90% refers to women’s ASSests in numerous NSFW ways. Well… I hate to break it to you but these artists didn’t make themselves popular… We made them popular! You may say that you don’t approve of women’s bodies being objectified, but yet when some of you hear “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo, you ask your friend to hold your drink because THIS IS YOUR JAM! Curse those tricky beats with their seductive bass! Gets even respectable people every time!

Social media would all but almost shut down if girls would stop posting videos of themselves twerking, and if we’d stop sharing them… Even if just for the shock value. Again, we are reinforcing that bodies aren’t interesting in and of themselves… Not unless we wiggle, jiggle, and gyrate! This only contributes to what some men see when they look at us. Projections of music videos and YouTube videos that were made by men AND women, and then shared by men AND women, are being played out in their minds toward us. If we are not part of the solution, then we’re part of the problem.

Lastly there’s culture. You’ve got pop culture all over magazine covers, billboards, and ideas are being shared through commercials that say that a woman IS her body or the way she looks. There are products that touch a woman’s insecurities, and are advertised as something that will make her more visually appealing. So we buy into it because we feel unattractive, or we’re trying to snag a man, or because we need our ego boosted. Then we go out into the world looking and smelling good, and then we feel uncomfortable if we are noticed for all the OUTWARD things we just paid a lot to have in order to look attractive. ATTRACTIVE. As in to attract others by appealing to their senses. I’ll just give you a minute to let that sink in.

This world is full of extremes and everything in between. It may not be fair and it may not be right, but it’s a fact. It always has been and it will be long after we’re gone. Catcalling is not a new concept. There have been women long before us that it made to feel uncomfortable as well. The differences between then and now is the extreme frequency and broad types of platforms in which women can be made to feel harassed or objectified. The other difference is in the way in which women view themselves. If a woman was called a “Bitch” then, it was viewed as offensive and disrespectful. Today many women say a “Bitch” is just a term for an independent woman who knows what they want, so they don’t shy away from that word anymore. We are also owning our sexuality more. We are allowing ourselves to be more sexually assertive and not letting ourselves be defined by “Male” or “Female” sexual roles. Women are even making pregnancy sexy! The red carpet is full of pregnant women in down-to-there v-neck dresses while flaunting their baby bumps. So many women view their bodies less gingerly then before, which changes the way others view their body too.

There are so many messages about the female body, and many of them are telling us that a woman’s body is a spectacle. That it’s something with visual impact… like art… Which it really is! Yet what we forget is that what we the artist intended in creation, the observer takes by way of interpretation.

Men need to be reprogrammed on how to be appreciative, but respectful of a woman’s body… And to be respectful of even the women who don’t respect themselves. Ladies, we need to be respectful of our bodies, as well as the bodies of other women… even if they don’t respect it themselves. People, we need to stop participating in the very thing that we hate. Catcalling is catcalling. PERIOD. I’ve seen women do it to men. I’ve seen men do it to men, and women do it to women. I’ve seen a “hot” person catcall to someone and get a MUCH LESS disgusted reaction then “Other” types of people that catcall within the same stretch of sidewalk. Let’s call it like we see it: Most times there are conditions and exceptions based on… based on whatever! Who really knows except the person that’s being approached by men. Or women.

So can we really say we hate it? ALL catcalling across the board? Do we only hate it when it’s the wrong person, or when we aren’t entertained by it, or if we’re not in the right mood for it? Does it depend on if it serves us in the moment, or if WE are the aggressor?

I guess these are questions only you can really answer for yourself.

Yours Truly, Andrea

Ode To Bloggers

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To write from the heart… from your life… in such transparency and honesty… without any award or reward (in most cases)… without having any motivation to do so other than believing that your words carry weight in this world… to possibly have no other experience or expertise except that which living has afforded you, and yet perfect strangers still drink in your words as if they were being served from a golden chalice. This is life of a blogger… and this is why I feel that bloggers deserve more respect and notice than most journalists the world over. They use the letter to coerce the world. We use the letter to shed light upon it… and ourselves.

Blogging is simply an online journal that is shaped into something more presentable that any journal I have completed in my lifetime. When I look through all of the journals I have kept over the years, they are filled with all the ugliest and most beautiful thoughts, moments, and feelings I’ve had. They are also barely legible! You would have thought I had a doctor write all of my pages for me! I don’t judge myself for it though. As I read line by line I begin to feel the buildup of emotions I felt while writing every word… every page. My writing wasn’t being led by the need for proper grammar, spelling, or any kind of etiquette. I would write something and then I’d scratch it out and write the HONEST version of it. I had many scratched out sentences in my journals… even as early as last year… because even then I was struggling to trust that even words on a page would not betray me. Yet a year later here I am… blogging online… for an unimaginable amount of strangers who may be holding my words with razor gloves.

I pour myself into other people’s online journals. The wealth of wisdom, insight, and inspiration is enough to last you a lifetime. Most are not experts. Most haven’t written a single book. They miss an “And” or “The” here and there. They are living their words. Every word is a verb no matter what it is and that is wonderous to me. They are living their life just as I am. They are the journalists for the People. By the People.

Support bloggers with the same fervor you would while supporting local farmers or local businesses. Investing in them… in us… is investing in You.