Friday, December 31, 2010

What I Did in 2010

My, oh my. What a year it has been for me. List is in no particular order...

1. Moved into my first place ever.
2. Got a new job as a graduate writing tutor.
3. Traveled more than I ever have; from VA to NJ, NY, SC, NC, DC, OH, and NJ again
4. Saw an amazing concert and actually talked to the lead singer. (I love you Phonte)
5. Ate a White Castle burger in the Bronyx.
6. Sat in a recording studio as my bf recorded poetry tracks
7. Performed poetry at a wedding
8. Applied for 40 summer jobs -- got 0. Applied for 30 jobs in VA -- got one of the best jobs on campus.
9. Ended my 2nd year as a Resident Assistant
10. Managed to not flunk out of graduate school
11. Retired straight hair
12. Obtained three side hustles: greeting card writer, professional blog writer, and manuscript editor
13. *** ****** ***
14. Exercised more forgiveness than I thought was possible
15. Dealt with jealousy, fear, and self-preservation (the three enemies of a relationship)
16. Witnessed the death of The Triangle
17. Saw three of my friends entangled in their own triangle
18. Learned a few phrases in Korean
19. Went to Victoria's Secret and saw a specialist. :)
20. Switched cell phone services and bought the Best. Phone. Ever.
21. Had my surprised birthday plans ruined...but plan B involved spending more money at once than I ever had. Had a blast doing it.
22. Gave my blessings to at least 10 friends who got engaged.
23. Had my first Five Guys burger.
24. Got therapy; professionally and semi-professionally
25. Turned 25. Feels great.
26. Put counseling techniques into practice and actually helped someone in the process.
27. Drove from VA to SC all by myself.
28. Went to a nightclub for the first time. Eh.
29. Almost got published.
30. Baked cookies at least once a week.
31. Went to the Holocaust museum. Changed my life.
32. Had a few amazing photo shoots.
33. Got to the 3 year mark with the bf. Many are holding their breath for the moment I get the ring..except me. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Way

I have been a Christian since I was a little girl. I remember sitting in church, next to my mom and older brother, and hearing the preacher talk about the love of Jesus Christ. I'd heard many stories in Sunday School and at home about Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, and Adam and Eve. I even knew about Jesus performing miracles and coming to earth as a little baby. I loved those stories. However, it was something about that preacher's words that made me feel a warm sensation in my chest.

"Jesus loves me"

I knew that my parents loved me. I knew that my cousins and other family members loved me. But I felt that they kinda had to since we were born into the same family. It wasn't inconvenient, but it was obvious that it had to be the norm. But why did Jesus love me enough to give his life?

Why me?

Maybe it is simply a really good story. A metaphor for how life on earth is meant to be. Maybe Jesus is simply a nice teacher who was more of an advocate for universalism than faith in One God. Maybe he didn't resurrect on the third day and his bones are tucked away in Osama Bin Laden's hiding place.Maybe it, like all other religions, are a construction of the intricate human psyche. Or maybe Buddha is just as significant as Jesus who is equal to Muhammad. Maybe god is a figment of my broken imagination. Maybe I am god and don't know it.

I don't have certainty. Philosophically, none of us can be certain of anything. But I have faith that Jesus did come to earth, as God and Man, and died for me out of love and compassion for my sins. So that I can be free in this life and the next. I have faith that that day I prayed to Jesus for the first time, he heard me and answered.

At times, my faith is made tangible. Through an unseen comfort in moments where I faced sorrow, heartache, and despair alone. Certain evidences have appeared in my life that have blatantly hinted at a truth I learned as little girl:

"Jesus loves me"

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
—II Timothy 3:14-17

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Man Among Boys (Intro)

I am dating one of the most incredibly raw minds of this world. He sees his sporadic thinking as a flaw, but I believe that in moments where it acquires focus/purpose, he captivates the listener with a rare combination of wisdom, wit, and empathy. With that being said, it scares me when he feels that he cannot capture the respect/attention of other males. There is a part of his existence that has been backed into a corner, and I feel that speaking on his behalf would be overstepping my boundaries as the girlfriend.

His baritone has jarred me. Left me standing at full attention and ready to join him in both task and heart. While it is thrilling to watch his manhood stand out further among lesser Johns, I'm saddened that they secretly jeer at his words. And I'm unsure of the coming-of-age process. How men accept one another and respect the thoughts of another male. What convinces a male that he can stand in a man's shoes; fulfill his role, and gain the recognition of other men?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Patience

Hm.

Another friend of mine is engaged. Happily engaged. And I am forced to do that "mind thing" where I remind myself that it's okay that it's not me. Because I love him, and he loves me back. I trust that he, and more importantly, God, has a great, unique, taylor-made plan just for us. I'd rather wait another 10 years, enduring a seemingly endless dating purgatory than to do things too soon.



I'm okay.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unashamed [Quote]

"I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

I have Holy Spirit power.

The dye has been cast, I have stepped over the line.
I am a disciple of His.

I won’t look back,
Let up,
Slow down,
Back away,
or be still.

My past is redeemed.

I am finished with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, and dwarfed goals.

I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.

I now live by faith,
Lean on his presence,
Walk by patience,
Live by prayer,
Labor by power,

My faith is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven.

My road is narrow, my companions are few. My guide reliable, my mission clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, or delayed.

I will not flinch in face of sacrifice,
Hesitate in the presence of the adversary,
or negotiate at the table of the enemy.

I won’t give up shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up, for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus.

I must go until he comes,
Give till I drop,
Preach until all know, and
Work till he stops me.

And when He comes for His own He will have no problem recognizing me."

-- Worth Dying For

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mary Sibande.

Mary Sibande is a young South African artist born in 1982. 
Using paintings and sculpture, she explores the construction of identity in a post-colonial context, in South Africa, and also criticizes stereotypes of black women.

See her entire gallery at: 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Full Plate.

My life is like a steady stream of chaos right now. My plate is full. Pilled to capacity with carbohydrate-rich foods, salty vegetables, and meats. Socially, I have a waiting list of people that I need to hang out with. And I'm worried about all of them.

"Brittney! You're ignoring me! We have to catch up!"
"Hey! When are we going to hang out?"
"I want to see you! Can we have lunch tomorrow?"

::slops on mashed potatoes::

I've been in a game of phone tag with a friend for about 3 weeks and I can't seem to have the time to talk to her.

"Stop ignoring my phone calls!" (via message)

::piles on collard greens::

I haven't called my mom in a week. I have 3 graduate classes that all have papers/projects due in the next seven days. I've cooked a real meal in my kitchen once this week. I'm juggling two part-time jobs and attend two small groups a week. I'm worried about using my boyfriend's gas allotment to get me back and forth to work; among his other problems that he's dealing with. I signed up to make two sweet potato pies for a dinner I'm attending this weekend. I'm in therapy (basically) and I need to start looking for an internship to get my supervision hours. My computer's at the shop to be fixed, and I need it to do homework.

::adds a slab of chicken-fried stake::

I want to go home. I want to sleep. I want to bake cookies and watch The Cosby Show. I want to snuggle underneath my boyfriend's rib and not move an inch.

No matter what I do, or how hard I try, someone goes without something they need from me. I'm worried about flunking an assignment. Or being a bad friend. Or being undependable.

God knows I can't do it alone, so I'm trying to trust him. Meanwhile, keep up with the momentum.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sistah-Hood

What do you see when you look at this picture? I mean, besides the fact that this is taken from the gallery of Tyler Perry's movie adaptation of For Colored Girls....

I think of my mother being comforted by her three sisters and their mother while standing next to the grave of my brother. I think of the great bellows of laughter coming from the hair salon that I frequented as a child. I recall the knowing glances and outstretched hands that I have exchanged with another Black woman. Granted, I have the pleasure of knowing many beautiful women...across the entire palette of ethnicity. However, there is a deeper sense of unity that I feel when I, and other Black women embrace one another. Welcome one another. Encourage and affirm one another. Because we are known to bicker and be competitive. Tear down another because her hair is natural. Or relaxed. She's too skinny or flat-chested. Or too big. Lighter or Darker. Rough around the edges or materialistic. Carrying an infant or a Gucci bag in her arms.

It's nice to have kindred arms, though we are only connected through shade, hold you up. And it may not be done intentionally, but it always feels familiar. Sometimes, I have to double-take, because I could swear that the arms of my "sistah" feels like the arms of a "sister".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Language of My Politics

I believe that the political arena was created by people to help people. And there are moments in our history where it has served that purpose. The first settlers came to this land because they didn't want to be told how or who to worship. Some say that America was founded on Biblical principles. It's no matter to me, personally, because you can hold a Bible in one hand, and still grip a whip in the other hand. You can shake the hand of a red-skinned man in a gesture of brotherhood, while concealing a rifle behind your back.

Woefully, America was doomed to pay for her sins.

The same battle for freedom that the first Europeans sought from a harsh theocracy is being reflected in the subtle war of religious variety in America today. If you wish to build a land that is free from an established religion, then it must be just that. The tide will be determined, not by the power of the Christians, but by the heart/courage of the Christians. God decided to bring the Savior to earth during a time where one of the most feared rulers reigned. Why do believers feel that we are entitled to theocratic submission in a democracy? Go vote, yes. Shine your light, definitely. But don't think it strange when there are Muslims, Buddhists, and Atheists who are openly adamant in their faith. The existence of other faiths should not threaten yours. I believe in a God who is real, whether or not I believe in Him or worship Him. He will Be when America is long gone. He was here before its first Natives stepped on to its soil.

We need God back in our land, yes. But not necessarily back in the White House (assuming it ever was), or in the Pentagon. But in the people. The desperate, lost ones that walk the streets. The hurting and afraid that aren't even old enough to vote yet. We argue and bicker on the internet, in coffee shops, and in dorm rooms over policy but will go no further.

Our politics, though they can carry the weight of great moral conviction, has been reduced to propaganda. The same type that rallied naive Germans into slaughtering millions of Jews. Because it distracts and it prevents us from seeing what happens around us every day. Today, everyone's focus (and a pointed, accusatory finger) is aimed at Washington. I've seen with my young eyes, that it produces strife among friends. Disharmony among brothers. And contempt among citizens. I, for one, am sick of being handled by the machine.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

See You Later, Darling...

I still get sad when he leaves.
Not all the time, and not in a way that cripples me.
But I do dread that moment when he shifts in his seat, checks the time on his phone, and says,
"I think I'm going to get ready to head home."

I'll admit it.
My heart sinks a tad.

Yes, I know that it won't be long before I see him again.
And I have that first hug/touch/smile to look forward to...

Still.
Seeing him walk/drive away isn't always fun.
I think I'm dealing with the "see you later" becoming a possible "goodbye".
Sure, that's pretty pessimistic/paranoid, but it only takes losing someone once without warning to get you thinking about the moments you're allowed to have with those you love.
There are times where I wish he'd come back for one more hug. One last look into my eyes to subliminally tell him that I thank God for him.

I'm not sure how it became the norm, but every time he drops me off at my house, he will wait until I get my key into the door, for it to open, and for me to turn to look at him sitting in his car...before he waves at me. And I'll wave back.

He does that every time.
And that wave isn't frantic like a "goodbye" (you know, how you see at the end of movies...), but it's a subtle, unconscious "see you later". Which is why that first hug/touch/smile is so electric to me. It's like God gave us a gift in the form of a fulfilled "see you later".

Because none of us knows if we will every see anyone later, right?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Break

  1. I performed at George Mason University. Shared the stage with people who hated Christians and thinks the Bible is a joke. Left with their respect and understanding of our differing views. Had a blast. 
  2. Left the Liberty/Lynchburg bubble. Hallelujah.
  3. Laughed more than I ever have in a very long time...
  4. Didn't drink, smoke, or go to a club. And still had the time of my life.
  5. Was encouraged and blessed.
  6. Shopped.
  7. Slept.
  8. Spent a whole day in DC, where I ate an out-of-this-world lunch at my favorite spot (Busboy's and Poets) and went to the Holocaust Museum. I've never had my heart broken over my own humanity so many times over the course of 2 hours before.
  9. Shopped.
  10. Took tons of pictures.
  11. Played outside of my comfort zone. New comfort zone established.
  12. Heard dope new music...including an unnamed college jazz group who had voices that left me breathless.
  13. Navigated the DC Metro system without any help. :)
  14. Ate my first Five Guys burger. Soooo good, but will be going to the gym frequently for the next few weeks.
My gem of DC....

Me sitting outside the Smithsonian Information Center...

Me outside of a building on 13th street (I think it was...lol). It's Colombian art...
 
Taken before going into the Holocaust Museum...the Department of Agriculture reflecting off of the window...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finally.

So, in case you missed it. I'm 25 now (have been for almost a month lol). 
My current, constant mood is peaceful. I've never stressed LESS before in my whole life. Yes, I was a fearful, worrisome child. But I'm starting to snuggle up next to my own psyche and finding contentment with who I am...even though I'm still in the process of painting that picture. The brush isn't in my hands anyway, so I might as well have some sense of joy. 
...yeah, I guess that's it. I have joy.
I am imperfect, but I'm accepted and affirmed. Just as I am.
This Unconditional Love actually drives me to grow.
Fear and pressure never does anyone any good. Let people be who they are,
and they may become more than you expect.

God bless reader. There's more to come...don't worry. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

And One For All...

Love is the most beautiful gift that God affords humanity this side of heaven. It can be tangibly seen, touched, and affect every area of your life…many times without your permission. Rarely, you will have the object of your affection in front of you, and you’re afforded the great privilege of expressing exactly what’s on your heart to them. You are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in sync with another human being and are immediately (if only momentarily) able to understand why God surrounds you with people so unlike but identical to yourself. To be one of two hearts in a consistent exchange of positive regard and unconditional care. And it is beautiful because it feels right and familiar somehow…

But what of those moments where things have gotten so out of control that we look around and wonder how Love became a catalyst for such unrest and pain? What is the answer when men overstep their commitment barriers or when a woman abuses her lover’s trust? What of the victims of gossip, manipulation, and one-sided friendships? The heart that always gives but never receives anything in return…where can love be naturally applied? I am a living, breathing testimony that Jesus is the source for all healing when you’ve suffered heartache at the hands of those you love. He is truly all you need. However, what are we commanded to do with the deep, God-given, inner desire for camaraderie and acceptance? Are we to generalize our dependence on the Father by disconnecting with each other? Or is it that a part of our communion with the Father is directly connected to our bond with each other?

Even before the Fall, God declared that it’s “incomplete” that man is alone. Adam had God all to himself…and even still he was incomplete. Not quite finished. Loved and the most precious part of His creation, but still lacking an important element: a companion. Someone like him, but unique enough to exist as a separate person. Why did God take out a part of an incomplete man (his rib) to make him complete? I feel that He wants us to remember that we weren’t always separated.

I’m thinking that forgiveness and trust is not only for the wounded heart, nor for the transgressor, but for the bond broken. For the good of us all, and not just individuals. The moment I become especially distant from the hearts that divinely pump life around me, the more the voice of my own self-interest drowns out the gentle whisper of our Lord. Love can be horrible. Confusing. And the ultimate test of our lives designed to connect us deeper and stronger to each other, and ultimately, to God the Father. I am not proposing that walking away should never be an option, but we should never forget that we are human beings. And we need each other.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Seasons.

There is a significance that hides within the order of the seasons. Fall was not meant to preceed Spring, nor was Winter supposed to come before Summer. Each transition from one season to the next has scientific and inherent meaning.

The comfort and replenishment of Spring is not meant to last forever, lest the plants be overgrown or the earth be drowned by rain. Likewise, Winter is the necessary length to cease all things, even to the point of death. However, there is the moment when the first budding plant breaks through the melting snow...which is a sign that change is approaching. The seasons are regulated without the influence of man; showing the imminence of our God, who knows and controls all things. Just as we adjust our clothing according to season, we must also submit our lives to the seasons the Lord takes us through. In times of flourishing and in times of famine.

God never promised a continuous summer, but he asks us to stand on His loyalty and long-suffering. Rest your heart with the Sustainer of the Season and not the seasons themselves. Whether you are blinded by the glorious cloudless sky or beaten down by the tumultuous rain, peer beyond and see the Father...who remains Unmoved.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How I Feel

Here.
And choosing not to be afraid of the calm.
...resting in the following:
I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Welcome Home?

At this very moment I'm sitting in my first (rented) duplex house.
Mine. 
Lounging on a bed/comforter that I paid for.
I'm a little nervous...
Not because I can't live basically alone (there's another tenant with me, but she's here temporarily). Or that I can't handle the rent payments.

I'm nervous about calling this my "home". 
Because it's just me here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Running for Dear Life. (Feelings in Figurative Speech)

I am a fugitive. 

Desperately fleeing the snares that pursue me. Nipping at the back 2 inches of my heels, I breathe deep and pound my feet harder. So swift sometimes, I am, that I no longer feel the ground. No matter if it's land or sea, my pace is so rapid that I maneuver my steps on the water's surface. My heartbeat throbs with fear, mixed with a desperation to keep my soul in tact. At times, my foot catches a blade of grass or my knees buckle from sudden pressure...but through my stumbling I fling my body further ahead. No need to look back because I know well what hounds me. And I run because it had me in its clutches before, and I dare not let it seize me again. Dear Lord, not again...

She Said Chronicles, Part 2: The Scorned Woman

I can remember the days when men saw me as beautiful and mysterious. They had a respect for my nature and valued my presence. It used to be that man would do anything possible to protect me...But now, men and pain are synonymous. I've become nothing more than a causality. Stuck in a grief-stricken state; held at the mercy of a man's desire. As each hungry, handsome face comes and goes, I am viewed only as something to be obtained, but never cared for. Possessed, but never cherished. In the beginning, I blamed myself...convinced myself that I was attracting these self-occupied neanderthals. But even after getaways with the girls, consistent church attendance, and 2 days a week in therapy...I arrived back at the original conclusion: Men only want; they never give.

Truthfully, I'm just tired. Most times, too tired to maintain my alertness. I manage to rest my guard so that I can allow a sense of peace into my bedroom. I begin to embrace the serenity I feel while I take up both sides of the bed; stretching my limbs across my solitude and breathe in long enough to taste the air. It's bliss, I swear.

And then it happens.

Another curious, handsome carnivore creeps his way past my office doorway. Or the seat next to me on the bus. Or the adjacent study table at the library. Though well-intentioned, he is like all the rest: a souped up suitor with a superman complex...seeking to be the cure to my disdain. In the end, I am worse off because of him. He is attracted to my contentment with being by myself, because he does/will not notice me until he sees that I am blessedly whole and happy without him. Yet he swears that loving him will add value to my life.

He sees me as fresh ground to tread, and secretly desires to tap into my virtue and rob it from me as if I am his fountain of youth. As my history constantly depicted, once I am depleted...he leaves.

And I roam through the same sad cycle of Pain, Recovery, Contentment, Pursuit, and Pain again. Over and over.

I wish they would all just leave me alone.
...Or love me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How I Feel.

"With God all things are possible..." --Matthew 19:26

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

She Said Chronicles, Part One: the Insecure Woman.

Since the moment I realized boys weren't so detestable, I've warred with the Other Woman. Each day that I look into my mirror, I hope that my curls fall distinctly in the right places, that my teeth are unrealistically white and toes perfectly polished, and that I can manage to go through the day without completely embarrassing myself. It's hard work, because I feel like I have to keep two steps ahead of her. I have to be uncomplicated, single-minded, and confident. Fun and mysterious. Sexy, but not slutty. I have to ensure that the carrot I dangle in front of him today isn't too close (because once he dines on it, he'll lose interest), but not too far away (because he'll see me as a lost cause). I can't let the other woman slip her way closer towards his heart, or I'll have to start all over. Walking to class, driving to work, or lounging by the beach I am constantly thinking and observing. Both him and her. I'm afforded the great task of sizing him, my potential, up. Not with too much scrutiny, because being picky certainly won't help. But also, I need to keep an eye on her. Funny thing is, she's a worthy opponent. Out of necessity and survival, I study her. But just when I begin to know somewhat her tactics or her movement, she switches something up. Her clothes, status, or motive.

She could be the cute Spanish secretary at my job. Or my cousin's summer fling. His ex-wife who can't let go. Or even his close friend that almost became his girlfriend. She could be my roommate. Or the co-worker that goes out of her way to listen to him. Or the random girl at the party that he had a great conversation with. The shapely White girl that sits behind me in class that eyes him when he comes to pick me up. Or some girl he went to high school with.

She could be anyone, appear at anytime. And the closer I get to him, the more I have to watch out for her. Our comfort could produce his complacency. And that's usually when she'll make her move. It only takes a moment; one swift, intentional move to realign the course of destiny. No matter how hard I try to make him happy...it won't make a difference in whether or not he leaves me for her. Or dates us at the same time. It's his decision, ultimately. And it's all because I am no longer enough. I'm lacking something. There was a bit of small print that I missed when I signed on to fall in love. There are certain stipulations that I did not see...and it makes all the difference, I guess. The difference between finding a man and keeping a man.

No matter how many men I lose to her, there is always the chance to lose love to The Other Woman again. She's like the perfect women with a set of unquenchable hungry eyes and soft lips that I can't seem to compete against. Because men chase her, not me. She is their greener side. Their dream woman. The one that can turn the head of any man, no matter his relationship status. She is the woman that is a valuable commodity in this world of high divorce rates and commitment-phobic lovers. Basically, I'm driven by gaining victory over her.

Honestly...What is it that I truly want?

Peace. Emotional security. And time to learn how to give him what he's secretly searching for.... in her.
My god, why won't he give me time to evolve? Extend his attention span to notice that past my weary face is a pair of shoulders bearing the weight of his world and mine. I get up at least 30 minutes earlier (on average) than he does, just so I can prepare to give to him....and anyone else who'll need something from me that day. So, the last thing I need is him leaving me for a falsified, care-free woman who is bound to turn into someone like me anyway...

Ugly Truths. (Smile & Let it Go)

  1. We are all self-centered. Even the most selfless person is actually self-centered. We cannot help it, because we're human. The sooner you realize that it is in your nature to think of only yourself, the less surprised you are when others put themselves before you. Well..actually...the act of you being appalled that others aren't thinking of you is pretty self-centered, don't you think?
  2. The world will never be a better place. It's not supposed to be. As long as we are civilized (in the economical sense), then there will always be poor, dying people in this world. Guess what? Your purpose shouldn't be to make the world a better place, anyway. Make your world a better place. Many of us don't get that far (see number 1 for explanation). I know people who spend their lives putting humanitarian effort into other countries but fail to impact the people that exist around them everyday. You live where you live for a reason. Ignore your world, and you're life won't make much of a difference globally.
  3. Guess what will happen when you die? Not to you, but to the rest of us...still living, I mean. We will go on living. Without you. Great things will happen once you're gone. God still has a purpose for the rest of us, and yours will cease to exist. So, while you're here, stop acting like your purpose is the only one that matters.
  4. There is an ultimate truth. There has to be. If you believe in scientific fact, then you've already opened yourself up to the notion that Absolute Truth exists. But, everything else...is simply your perception. Never. Ever. Mix the two. 
  5. Kindness trumps self-righteous virtue, any day. The moment you start to think you know better than another human being, the moment you become an enemy of God.
  6. FOX News is a cesspool for bigoted, conservative bullies. And they do not represent the Christian stance. Since when does standing up for ''Christian'' morals make you a Christian? No matter how you slice it, we are not on the same side.
  7. Technically, there is no such thing as love at first sight. Maybe love at first hearing...or like at first sight, but there is no way you can love (in the true sense of the word) by simply seeing another person. Any person who believes in it is slightly misguided.
  8. Even in the smallest part, we all end up like our parents. Whether you believe in either side of the Nature or Nurture debate, you'll still get the same result. Get over it...there's still so much of you left to figure out. 
  9. Marijuana makes you an idiot. And if it's legalized then that will kill the 1.7 billion dollar underground marijuana industry that's keeping urban America afloat. So, if I were a weed man/connoisseur ...I'd keep my indignant rants to myself.
  10. Nothing, usually, is ever as serious as you're making it in the moment. There are nations of people around the world, at this very moment, that are surviving hunger, poverty, attempted genocides of their nation, oppression, abuse, societal rape, natural disasters, etc. Surely, you have all that you need to get through this as well. Just take a second. Do your brain a favor, and give it some extra oxygen. Breathe.
  11. God's given us all the choice to invent & reinvent ourselves into whatever we want, but knowing your Creator intimately is like saying hello to yourself for the first time.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Style :)

     I've been attempting to transition into another style for about 2 years. I've succeeded for the most part. The journey I've gone through with my style says as much about my growth as a person as any other facet of my life. Mind you, I'm no "Devil Wears Prada" drone. Vogue is not my bible. But, fashion, like any other "art" form, makes a statement. 


    Fall 2008
    Fresh from summer camp, I had gotten used to rocking headbands and ponytails. I remember reading my first blog on the "Natural Hair" movement and I was appalled at the rituals of African American hair care. So, I began to transition. I consciously decided to go natural in August 2008. Granted, I was afraid to chop it all off. So, I embraced the ponytail for as long as I could. With the pony, came the tomboyish look that I embraced in my young teens. Bermuda shorts and Converses in tow, I settled into the lowest level of maintenance that I could. Plus, as a first year RA, and a senior in college, there wasn't much time for long bouts in front of the mirror.

    Winter 2008/Spring 2009
    A close friend of mine introduced me to the Flat Iron; which I embraced whole-heartedly. I stopped being afraid to let my hair down. However, I noticed that my hair was completely broken off in many places due to all of the ponytail action. My hair was extremely short in the middle of my head, embarrassingly enough. But, my friend took caution with my hair, and I decided to make my style more comfortable than low-maintenance. I started wearing corduroy vests and sweaters, and began experimenting with colors. I resurrected the "fake spectacles" to add a hint of "serious student" to my style.

    Summer 2009
     No camp for me this summer. Around this time, I'd started flat ironing my hair myself. This is all that I figured being "natural" was all about. I still used all the same hair products, but at least my hair was starting to grow back. I started focusing on my semi-formal look; experimenting on different accessories. Here, I took a vintage dress of mine, and spruced it up with my favorite cream scarf. I already loved funky jewelry, so I gave it a permanent place in my fashion regiment. I was starting to get bolder....slowly, but surely.

    Fall 2009/Winter 2009
    I'd completely settled into my "chic bohemian" style at this point. I was struggling with my hair, because I'd been natural for over a year, and its thickness made it hard to manage. I came really close a number of times to putting a relaxer in it...but I never caved. I continued to flat iron it as much as possible, and work with the products that I still had. Basically, I was at a stand still with my hair care, and was searching for something drastically different. I began wearing small bits of make-up more often; settling into my womanhood around my 24th birthday.

    Spring 2010
     I remember there was a huge snowstorm at my college, and my roommate and I decided to have a photo shoot once it stopped snowing. So, a few of us trekked out into the snow and had a day that I won't soon forget. I remember coming in my room from the shower and taking the towel off of my freshly washed hair. I teased it with my comb, jokingly at first, and looked up into the mirror. Making a few adjustments and parting it in the front, I remember being astonished at how pleased I was with my hair. I smiled at the few ringlets of curls on my ends. I looked down at the blow dryer in my hand, and after a moment, I put it back on my bed. Afraid to death, I went outside and did our photo shoot. For the first time, I was truly natural. I had to go back to my natural state before I could progress any further in developing my style.

    Present (Summer 2010)/Future
    I threw away over $150 worth of hair care products. I haven't blow-dryed/flat ironed my hair in over 5 months. Out of the 6 products I regularly use, the first (greatest) of them is water. I plan on continuing many of the trends that I love, but my style is currently under transition again. 
    And here's a sneak preview: eShakti

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    They Call Me Southern Belle. (An Essay)

    I was born in a small hospital in Newberry, South Carolina. My mother tells me that she was able to walk up the street to give birth to me. I was raised on grits, cornbread [sweet like pound cake], collard greens garnished with pork, and tea sweet enough to make your teeth hurt. My form of public transportation growing up was the back half of my cousin's bicycle seat, and I felt the grip of death if I didn't make it indoors before my street lights came on. We had water hoses, not fire hydrants to use for instant water parks in our backyards. I knew the first name of my Ice Cream Truck Man, because he was usually one of the neighbors. I played My Car, Your Car on my front porch, spent at least 1 1/2 hours on the yellow bus to school every morning. I didn't speak when grown-ups were talking, and I said "ma'am/sir" as the periods to my sentences. I smile when I smell ribs and fried catfish in the air during the summer (At Cookouts...not Barbecues) and see the school cancellations on the news due to signs of frost. Slamming the screen door is a sign of disrespect, and so is not bringing a dish with you when visiting someone's home. Fried chicken is considered a food group, and I've seen my family members prepare, cook, and eat every part of a pig's body.I grew up wearing frilly dresses to church and pink foam rollers to bed. Adults are automatically given respect and the elderly are given your seat. We had porches, not stoops. Soda, not pop. I spoke stretching my vowels and smiling at strangers. Church was not optional and I said grace as soon as I could learn to speak full sentences. My first instrument was the tambourine, and my cousin and I fought usually over my mom's church fan. Family did everything together & it was my older brother's duty to hold my hand in public when we were small. I learned to fear Whites more than I was taught to hate them. I started going to the shop (not salon) when I was 10 years old. I learned that community is as much as your family as your own kin. And I never received a single time-out in my entire life....unless you mean the time it took to go get my own switch.

    Laid back & friendly. Generous & charming. True Southern women are more than their portrayed scantly clothed bodies & round, rotund behinds. We are more than "ya'lls" and huge church hats. Crazy hairstyles & kool-aid. The women who raised me taught me in the Southern tradition: family, dignity, and grace. I am deeply southern-bred, and it is one of the facts about myself that I am the proudest.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    New.

    So, I'm trying a new blog template out...
    I'm sure you're used to the deep brown background that I love so much, but I thought I'd try to spruce the place up a bit. Hope your eyes aren't hurting too much. (smile)
    Kudos to Blogger for finally stepping their game up, because I've spent a good bit of my blogging time on Tumblr. (gasp)

    I'm feeling a bit reborn these days...going through the fire (metaphorically speaking) will do that to you. 

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Quote

    The wonderful fact about True Things is that your belief in them cannot make them any more true, and your disbelief won't take away from their ability to be True. I seek Jesus in order to be True. That way, affirmation from others becomes appreciated, but optional. --Me

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    How I Feel. (July Photo Edition)

    I only pretended I didn't need anyone.
    You, with a Love as gentle as a whisper, found a way into my heart.
    Now, I'm not so afraid to let them in anymore.
    {1 John 3:16}

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Dream Girl. (A List)

    I am 24 and are still considered an unmarried woman.  I've made plenty of mistakes, but have gained a bit of wisdom in the process. Granted, some of this list is pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how often we've/I've intentionally did the opposite.
    1. Keep your priorities straight. Despite popular opinion, a relationship for an unmarried person should be at about 4th or 5th on the list. With God being 1st, family 2nd, academics 3rd, and work/life goals 4th. A man can tell if he is too high (or too low) on your priority list.
    2. Don't reveal too much, too soon. This applies to anything regarding intimate pieces of your Self. I can't tell you how many girls I've known that were heartbroken over a guy they've only known (not dated, known) for 6 months. Enjoy the process. And if you're trying to keep up with other couples, then you're probably going too fast.
    3. Value yourself, completely by yourself. Solitude is a beautiful thing, and is valuable even in relationships. If you're waiting for a person to make you feel whole, then you're setting yourself up for consistent disappointment. Plus, the time spent away will rejuvenate you and enrich the time you have with the other person.
    4. Learn to let your hair down. First of all, this requires you to be comfortable in your own skin. Many women make the mistake of over-primping themselves when they know they'll see their significant other. If you are serious about this man, show him you AS IS. This applies to the soul, as well. I know that you're a strong, powerful woman, but learn to let that wall down...one brick at a time.
    5. Do some revision of that "must have" list. Sometimes our high expectations can be hazardous...in any relationship. Be wise, but gracious of others humanity. A man who feels safe to be himself is sure to give you the love you desire.
    6. Learn to cook. (If you're not much of a cook, at least master the basics.)
    7. Be competitive, not docile. Meaning, don't just let him win the basketball game. A man, though his ego may be bruised, loves it when his woman makes him step his game up. And engaging in any physical or competitive sport is always a good thing to share in a relationship.
    8. Have a sense of humor, and a hearty laugh. Those cute giggles will get annoying because they're not genuine. Stop coaxing his ego by laughing at his wack jokes. Instead, use a healthy amount of sarcasm. He'll be pleasantly surprised at your wit...because it keeps him on his toes. Which men like.
    9. Have a hobby or skill that he doesn't. It's good to share talents, but he'll appreciate that you're cultivating some other passion a part from his input. 
    10. Have an open mind. You don't know everything...so don't pretend you've got all the answers. This attitude will turn you into the classic "nag" that helps make a loveless marriage.

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Best Romance in Cinema (My Comprehensive List)

    Many romance movies borderline a pointless pornography theme, and others dupe the consumer with emotional propaganda that, in no way, represents True Love. However, in my lifetime I've come across many films that stand out. With its genuineness, creativity, and heartfelt message on the love that exists between two people. Granted, I appreciate a good "romp" film or chick flick like the next female 20-something, but only those mentioned are what I classify as Romance.

    {Idea taken from my friend, Don.}
    This list is in no particular order.


    1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    This is one of my favorites. The premise of being able to try and literally erase one's ex from your memory, but then attempting to reverse the process, is such a creative concept for a love story. Many of us would like to permanently remove hurtful memories, conversations, and circumstances from the brain. But it gives me a really good feeling when the heart seems to defy the mind and choose to cherish the memory. Jim Carrey is brilliant in this too, and the scenes allow you to vividly travel with him as he fights to get her back.







    2. Love and Basketball
    I'd say that Brown Sugar is a close runner-up to this movie, but I'll choose this one because of its sentimental value to me when I was a teenager. Classic tale that depicts real circumstances of a young, Black couple that everyone seemed to relate to. This movie struck a cord with me because I was in love with a ball player in high school too (who wasn't, for that matter?). I sort of lived vicariously through Sanaa's Monica because I hoped one day that he'd recognize how amazing I was and we'd both fall madly in love. Eh not exactly my story. Regardless, it was still heart-wrenching to watch the moments after she'd lost that final game and Quincy (played by the gorgeous Omar Epps) said, "Hey...double or nothing." This movie showed me that what is meant to be, truly will be. And this movie has an AMAZING soundtrack, by the way.



    3. The Notebook
    I'm sorry, this movie still makes me cry like a newborn. It's story is too beautiful to be ignored, and it stays with you long after you've finished watching it. In typical Nicholas Sparks' fashion, where one or both characters die, he still manages to promote the theme of Love that is truly selfless. This principle is a gem in the the midst of movies where women leave their boyfriends for flings had abroad or formed through some great, but short-lived adversity. Many movies show how quickly people are to forfeit commitment for excitement, but this movie emphasizes the opposite. At first viewing, I cried because of the thought, "This is so unfair! How can this happen to two people who love each other and fought so hard to be with one another?" After watching it several times, I realized that their Love was strengthened by her disease, not crippled by it.



    4. Moulin Rouge
    Another movie that never fails to leave me surrounded by wads of tissue. Not only is this movie a musical (which I absolutely love), but it's beautifully made. It's theme of "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and to be loved in return" is promoted as a philosophy in life; which is what is left with the viewer...rather than a mere feeling. It carries the same realness & transparency as Pretty Woman (which deserves an honorable mention on this list, if I had the room): True Love is able to help a person desire the best out of life. Nicole Kidman's Satine is a woman of ill-repute. Nonetheless, Ewan McGregor's Christian helps her fight to choose a better life for herself. Love makes you want to be your best; for yourself and for that person.



    5. Away We Go
    This is one of my recent favorites, because it is a straight-forward portrayal of a young couple and their struggle to find their place in the world; together. The movie is hilarious, but has an element of intelligence with its characters (who are all portrayed by great actors with memorable characters). This movie isn't well known, but the fact that it slipped somewhat under the radar makes it special to me. I could heartily relate to Maya Rudolph's Verona and  fell in love with the charm and kindness of John Krasinski's Burt (which is an awful name, but actually adds to his lovableness). Ultimately, you grow to care about the couple and pray by the end of the movie that they find as much happiness in the world as they've found in each other.




     6. Slumdog Millionaire
    First off, Bollywood movies are the best. I was pleased to find out that this movie followed in the Bollywood cinematic tradition, and was not let down while watching it. Beautiful film! It has a rich historic feel that gives as much emphasis on the life of Dev Patel's Jamal, as his struggle to rescue his long lost love. This movie, more than any other movie I can think of, is so much more than a romance.








     
    7. Shakespeare in Love
    I adore this movie, because I'm a huge fan of Shakespeare. In my opinion, it is the best explanation of Shakespeare's relation to his Romeo & Juliet. I believe all stories are written from some part of the writer's experience, and I'm sure Shakespeare had a muse to inspire Romeo & Juliet. Combine a beautiful storyline, great actors, and a script that would make Shakespeare proud, and you have a solid romance film. My favorite character is actually Judi Dench who brilliantly played Queen Elizabeth.






     
    8. Titanic
    C'mon. This is one of the greatest love stories of my generation. I've never had my heart broken while watching a film before....until I dared go to the theater (Yep. And that's a long time to sit in a theater chair, too) with family to view this historic tragedy. I'd never even learned all about the Titanic prior to....so not only was I (at 12 years old) faced with the grave fact that so many people senselessly died on that ship, but that there is the realization that a potentially great love was cut short in the process. And these lessons are still with me to this day.






     
    9. Beauty and the Beast
    Yeah, it's a cartoon. So what? I remember watching this a child, and desiring to have a heart just like Belle: kind and selfless. She was portrayed to me as a heroine that ended up being rewarded for her character. Despite her seemingly disconnected nature with those around her, she still possessed the noblest view of life and love. Quite a pair of shoes to want to walk in; despite the fact that they were first drawn on paper. Magical, be it may, it still resounds an important truth to kids and adults alike: Love is only as powerful as it is unconditional. For that, Disney got it completely right.






    10. Forrest Gump
    Laugh if you want to, but I've never seen a man love a woman as much as Forrest loved Jenny. Not only is this one of my favorite movies of all time, it's a favorite romance movie of mine. He traveled the world, and found himself in the center of history a number of times. Yet, in the midst of all that travel, he never mentally left his back yard...which is this place where he protected his love for the only woman he'd ever loved. The relationship Tom Hanks' Forrest has with Robin Wright's Jenny is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Love's known to be like that sometimes...

    Saturday, June 26, 2010

    Wishlist (Repost)

    I want to be wealthy, but live especially below my means.
    With a warm, welcoming house to raise my kids in; one that will grow up with them.
    And a room full of books and a large window where my spouse and I can write and read.
    I want the biggest room to be the kitchen...

    And I want to be able to see the stars at night, and have a back yard in case we decide to get a dog.
    I want to grow my own vegetables.
    [I can picture helping my little girl plant her first batch of tulips.]

    I want laughter, joy, and chaos.
    A messy house every now and then.
    Mischief on Saturday mornings and intimate whispers late at night.
    I want adventures that were not planned or expected.

    I want to love on children that aren't my own.
    And write for the rest of my life; never retiring from it.
    I want to love/be with my best friend for the rest of my days, and have children that will have his kindness and my strength. I want him next to me as we introduce life's adventures to them.
    I want to hold & kiss my great-grandchildren.

    I want to touch people's lives by acting out God's love.
    Be a walking, breathing message that He is real.
    I want to leave the world having gave all I had; leaving my best behind for my children.

    I want to grow wiser with age, but keep a youthful heart.
    To love my full head of gray hair and worn hands.
    I want my inner beauty to grow as my body's slowly dims.

    And live my life as one, huge act of gratitude...

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Timing.

    I am a dichotomy of sorts. At times my ideals conflict with my actions. One of those being that of timing. I have an awful sense of timing; despite having a strong reverence for the value of time itself. Losing my brother at an early age opened this door to my mental; showing me that time is precious. No words should be left unsaid. Actions are meant to be intentional, meaningful, but sure. We're only given one life, and a numbered set of chances. Surprisingly, even to myself, I've had my brave moments.

    I am not, by far, one of those people who go from spontaneous moment to the next. Maybe because I feel peace when something I put work and effort into, actually meets success. Some things are meant to have the accompaniment of planning. Even important, lofty things like dreams cannot become reality without your own two hands' determined grasp. Regardless, unplanned or thought out, each transition from one season to another is birthed through a single moment. Where you make a decision to move or act. Granted, it's only 1/18 of a second in light of a lifetime, but these moments are the vehicles of our lives.

    The moment where I decided to pick up that pencil and paper and write my first poem.
    ...Where I filled out that college application.
    ...Where I stood in front of a microphone at my first open mic.
    ...Where I kissed him back and peeked open my heart.
    ...Where I prayed that prayer with my pastor.

    I've had my brave moments. But I wasn't alone.
    Something was always present; beckoning me on. Calling me higher.
    Encouraging me not to live life afraid; hiding from the bad moments.

    Which is why I don't see life as a rollercoaster meant to only be enjoyed and endured until the ride is over. Each turn, rise, and fall is meaningful. The destination is sure to come, but that doesn't make the journey any less beautiful.

    Look up from your grind and notice the handwriting in between each minute on the clock. Pay attention to the hidden pull of Love, and its urgency to call you higher from where you've settled.

    Timing speaks and it says that there's more.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    200.

    My 200th post! Feels pretty exciting...
    Mainly because I've been able to stick with something consistently. And with all of the changes that have taken place in my life since my first post,  I'd say that this is somewhat of an achievement. Or maybe I'm just a know-it-all (lol)....either way. Here it is: number 200...


    Random thoughts:
    1. My pride of having a black president is starting to wear off, and I'm getting increasingly worried that President Obama may be completely ignoring civil opinion. I fear many things about the future of America. One of them being that our first minority president is being corrupted, despite all of his good intentions coming into office.
    2. Why are all of these music artists coming out with reality shows about their lives? Truthfully, I don't care how you grew up (which doesn't take a whole season to reveal) or your struggle to put together a huge birthday party in Miami. Even though your music may speak some relevance to me, I cannot relate to your current woes about which island in the Caribbean to spend Christmas. I don't care.
    3. This summer is confirming to me that hell is not an option.
    4. I need more fun in my life; whether I have money at the time or not.
    5. I hate it when my beloved is stressed out. More so when I see that he's attempting to handle it all on his own; trying to convince me that nothing's really wrong. He doesn't know that I see him more than he thinks.
    6. I need to get married. Now. This limbo between seriously committed couple and engaged couple is getting old. lol And I'm only partially kidding...
    7. I love my hair. Thank you Kinky-curly :)
    8. I don't care if Drake sold almost 500,000 units in his first week. I still do not like his music. 
    9. My perfect concert: Janelle Monae/VV Brown with B.O.B & Lupe Fiasco (I love alternative Hip Hop/Soul. I can get my rock fix with some bomb instrumentally thorough tracks that have dope lyrics).
    10. I'm doing 25 HUGE. I'm already planning...

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Love & War

    After much self-inspection, I am still not sure exactly how I survived the past 16 months. While I am grateful that a Being more sovereign than I saw fit to accompany me every step of the way, acting as a guide/protector, I am still taking inventory of all that my heart has endured. Years ago, I would have submerged myself into a vat of self-pity labeled "Victim-mentality", but with 25 less than 3 months away...I'm finding a different perspective. On what it means to live. Truly live. But foremost, on how to truly love.

    One cannot be sure how strong the bond is between two people unless it has been tested. Taken through a variety of turmoil and even betrayal. However, I feel that it isn't just the strength of the love that's stressed, but the power of the Will of each person. At any moment after a betrayal or crisis, only one person is needed to decide not to continue. To be committed to another person is the weightiest vow a human being can give, because he/she knows that love alone just isn't enough.  We gladly give our lives (and rightfully so) to the notion of possessing love. To give ourselves completely to it. We innately desire to be disassembled by its ways; changing us from the inside out. Then, we realize that intense feelings can be duplicated from person to person. The addicting high that comes with connecting with another person can be experienced repeatedly (as you move from person to person)..and we can feed off of the excitement of an individual's mystery for years. The Love is there, but the Will has not yet taken the reigns.

    The first time I fell in love, it ended because he slept with another woman. After 2 years of dating, we had just begun to get to know each other. It was my first adult relationship and we both knew early that we wanted it to lead to marriage. We were insanely in love and it drove our lives. I had just gotten over a 5 year crush/fling that left me empty and afraid. I was war-torn. I can remember the first time he held me, because it was the first time I'd ever been held like that by a man. I was intrigued and enamored by him. So, we allowed ourselves to be caught up in the ebb and flow of our love; with nothing else sustaining us. In retrospect, I believe that we could have worked it out. We could have taken this season of war and used it to strengthen a love that was already present. But we did not.

    I allowed that relationship to form my original philosophy on relationships: Love is a Choice.

    Afterward, I stopped being afraid of enduring war in Love. I realized it was necessary, and a testing agent to how strong the Love is. Currently, I am still in awe of how much stronger my heart is now. Because it had been broken, subtly and repeatedly. Others have broken it intentionally. However, my Love for my Beloved is so much stronger than it was 16 months ago. My choice to love him is as fiery and passionate as a summer fling, but it's girded with the stuff that allows Love to see its golden years.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    War.


    Raheem DeVaughn 
    Feat. Jill Scott, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Algebra, Chrisette Michele, Shelby Johnson, Ledisi, Citizen Cope, Dwele, Chico DeBarge & Rudy Currence

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    How I Feel (Photo & Words Version)

    Rest.

    Take one moment to pause.
    Stop to catch your breath.
    Because you are about to engage in the rest of your life. 
    So stretch your tired muscles
    Take the smile inside you out of hiding 
    And point yourself in the direction of your destiny. 
    No need for certainty,
    Only gather Faith.
    Look around for just a moment and marvel at your surroundings,
    and remember how far you've come already.
    Be grateful.