Friday, July 30, 2010

Somebody Get Ja Rule on the Phone!

The 11 September attacks caused NATO to invoke...Image via Wikipedia
Let me pre-empt this post by clarifying the title and shedding some light on what I'm about to discuss.

Ok, so now that we've gotten that out of the way, hopefully you've gotten a little chuckle and are on the same page with me right now. The whole basis for why I've always wanted to become successful and gain some kind of notoriety is for the simple fact that the public does have a certain level of celebrity worship. People listen to celebrities regardless of whether their opinion means anything. It was always my goal to know/ be known by as many people as possible so that I could get certain messages across. I won't delve into too much of those messages now...I'll save them for some future posts. But the whole reason I have a blog right now is because I realized I've got a LOT to say. I've grown up with a mother with manic depression, an alchoholic/ recovering-alcoholic father, both parents with cancer, being raised by a separate family, and a lot of trials and tribulations in between. I don't want to blog to complain about anything in my life...all of my experiences have shaped me to be who I am today. I want to share these experiences so YOU know you're not the event that Ja Rule might not have the kind of answers you're looking for right now.
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Weight Watchers: Who's Watching YOUR weight?

2 pigs.Image via Wikipedia

In the last few weeks, I've started back on Weight Watchers, a diet plan that has never failed me as long as I follow the program. It just have to do it. But even before I started Weight Watchers, I was faithfully going to the gym between 4-6 days a week. I'm not an extremely social person at the gym. I like to do what I have to do and get out. I spend a solid 2 hours there, so I don't like to waste time socializing with people I really don't know.

Since starting Weight Watchers, my weight has significantly dropped and quite a few people have taken notice. I don't think of people paying attention to me when I'm at the gym, but this past week has proved me wrong. Countless people have come up to me to comment on just how much weight I've lost. And though I've never solicited people's opinions, they talk to me as if I had. And while it feels good to know that my hard work is paying off, I can't help but feel as though these same people must have thought I was a serious heffer before. Their reactions that include "Wow, you've lost a TON of weight!, make me feel like I must have been a giant, hot mess before now. I guess I should just be grateful that no one came up to me while I was in the process of gaining the weight to say, "Wow, you're really packing on the pounds!" So thanks for keeping that to yourself.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Dreaded "L" Word

A chicken runningImage via Wikipedia

I'm not talking about lesbian...the other L word. Ya know, the one that seems to be a point of contention with so many people. I luh, luh, luhhhhh...why is it so hard to let that word roll off your tongue to certain people? I mean we tell our family and friends that we love each other without a second thought. So why is that so many of us have SUCH a hard time saying the L word? I mean, it's just a word, right?

There may be an argument that says that men have a harder time saying than women. But for me, I feel like I have just as hard of a time as any man allowing myself to say the word. Wait, let me clarify. It's not so much that I have a hard time saying the word as it is that I have a difficult time allowing someone to know that my feelings are that strong...which equates to me being vulnerable. That's really the bottom line. It's not that I don't want them to know that I love them, it's that I don't want them to hurt me. So if I don't say it, maybe it won't hurt as much...especially if they don't love me back. Sounds good in theory, but even as I type it, I know it will hurt just as much whether they know I love them or not.

I guess it's obvious from some of my past blogs (and conversations if you speak to me in person) that love is not something that I take for granted. I LOVE the IDEA of love. And I certainly have so many people that I feel blessed to love and be loved by. I am gushing with love and I am a firm believer in telling people that I love them because I never know if it might be the last opportunity that I have to tell them. I don't mean to be morbid, but it's a simple fact that we sometimes take for granted. I've lost enough people in my life to realize the importance of letting people know how I feel when I'm feeling it. So why then, is a girl who is bursting at the seams with love, having such a hard time telling the one person that she loves in "that special way" (for lack of a better term) that I love him. Well, to be honest...I'm not having a hard time at all.

In the past, the L word was played like a game of chicken in previous relationships. It was ok to say I like you or I care about you or maybe I miss you. But there was something so daunting about saying luh, luh, luuuhhhh. Why? Well, aside from the previously mentioned reason of being afraid of becoming vulnerable or getting was also because there's something scary about being the first one to say it. What if they don't say it back? What if they really don't love you back? The what if's go on and on. But if you really love someone, the L word is inevitable...and all those what if's go out the window.

Love has definitely been on my mind more than usual as of late...and maybe even more than EVER since I met the person I'm currently dating. Within the first days of us talking and getting to know one another, he uttered those three words. I. Love. You. He said it without hesitation and unapologetically. When he first said it, I laughed it off. He said it again a few more times and I told him to stop. Who could love someone so soon after getting to know them? Not me...and I let him know that.

But why? Is it because it's against some set of unspoken rules or because love couldn't possibly be real in that amount of time? Was it really fair of me to respond the way I did when I, of all people, know how hard it is to tell someone you love them? I don't know. What I do know is that shortly after laughing it off and telling him to stop...I said it back. It wasn't because I felt obligated to say it. It was because it's how I felt (feel). In getting to know him more and more, I fell in love with the person he is and everything he stands for. And if he was just a friend, I would've said it a million times before I actually ended up saying it. And now that I've said it back, it flows from my lips (and through my texts) with the same confidence and unapologetic nature as when he first said it. And I mean it...with all of my heart and with everything I know to be true. I realize now that even if things don't ultimately work out with him, it doesn't change how I feel right now.

And since my latest surge of moving forward and letting go of fears has overtaken me, I feel a certain obligation to share this sense of urgency with others. If you love someone, regardless of your relationship...friend, family, girl/ boyfriend, husband, or wife...whether you've known them for 50 years or 5 days...don't forget to tell them you love them. Even though I know I said it's just a word, it's one of the most important words you'll ever say.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You...or at Least "Likes" You

This is icon for social networking website. Th...Image via Wikipedia

It seems as though there is nothing in the world that you come across anymore without being able to "like" it on facebook, follow it on Twitter, or find a clip about it on Youtube. Viral marketing and social networking have changed the way we communicate, do business, and conduct ourselves in every aspect of our lives. Discovering the key to social networking potential (SNP) has led to success that is paramount in nature since the internet is world wide and instantaneous. Countless people have found fame through millions of clicks on a single link.

Accordingly, it seems as though everyone wants at least a little piece of the action. Not that everyone is running out and trying to get their 5 minutes of fame, but they're at least signing up for a facebook account and connecting with the world...and as a result, getting inundated with others that are looking for their 5 minutes...maybe 10 at most. I guess this has been a prevelant thought of mine since starting this blog and pursuing my aspirations of entering the entertainment industry. As it stands right now, I'm just some chick living in the Bronx that happens to currently have 45 people on facebook that "like" me...for no other reason than I suggested it. They really have no reason to be a fan (yet), but I appreciate the love and support that their click demonstrates.

But there is a method to my madness. Why have fans before you do anything to deserve a fan base? My logic came from a conversation that I had with an aspiring hip hop artist and his climb to the top. In various meetings with A & R, he was told that he needed a larger fan didn't matter if he had all the talent in the world...more people needed to know who he was...via facebook, myspace, twitter, etc....the usual suspects in social networking. Accordingly, I've used this information and begun marketing myself before I've really taken any legitimate steps torwards my ultimate goal. This way, when the time is right and I have a body of work to show, I'll already have an existing fan base. I may only have 45 fans today...but how many do YOU have?
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

What's Your Favorite Song?

Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerl...Image via Wikipedia

One of my favorite songs, both to listen to and sing, is "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. I guess it's only appropriate being that the majority of my relationships have demonstrated the kind of tumultuous ups and downs that the song represents. Another related song that I love by Raphael Saadiq so aptly states, "Falling in love can be easy...staying in love is too tricky." Take 'em to church, Ray Ray!

The beginning of a relationship is all hearts and rainbows and butterflies. There are a million songs out there that sing of all the wonders that new love brings and the feelings it evokes. Case in point, "newness" by Musiq Soulchild, talks about the ease that we all experience when we're at love's edge, just about to fall. "Everything is cool when love is all brand new Cause you're learning me and I'm learning you." Yeah, Musiq, everything IS cool then, but what happens after we learn each other? Well, there's a catalogue of songs for that part, too.

Whatever your mood, feeling, or personal situationm there is at least a handful of songs that can speak your heart or mind. Music is beautiful that way. It allows us to never really feel alone. It lets us know that there is at least one other person in the world who has gone through the exact same situation. Music serves as a friend, a psychiatrist, a motivator, an inspiration, or just a comrade in pain. No matter what the genre, there is a melody that can help lift you up or allow you to perpetuate and wallow in your sadness.

Music is my true soulmate. Music has been the only successful long term relationship I have ever has never left me and it has been exactly what I needed at the very moment that I needed it. It's also served as bookmarks for periods of my life. I can vividly remember certain events in my life solely based on a song that came out during the same time.

There is no better way to hear music than live in concert! I have been brought to tears at more concerts than I care to admit. But there's something just so moving about being with the person singing the words to one of your favorite songs and singing with them. I recently went to go see a Dave Matthews Band concert in Bethel, NY and found my eyes welling up with tears as they played "Ants Marching." Memories of high school flooded my brain and I before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face.

I've seen Billy Joel twice in concert and I have to say they were 2 of the best shows I have ever been to. The first time I saw him was with my family. I was about 10 years old at the time and remember that feeling like it was yesterday. The next time I saw him was years later during high school. I went with my good friend, Jeff, who had recently had a diving accident and was adjusting to life as a quadrapalegic. We sat in the very top section of the convention was the first time I had watched a show from that perspective. As I sat there with Jeff and listened to Billy Joel pour out the words to countless songs I sung word for word, I realized how beautiful the experience was. I was so honored that Jeff had invited me to go to that concert with him...for so many reasons. As Billy came out for his encore and performed "Piano Man," you could hear the voices of the thousands of people singing the lyrics. This was by far the most profound realization that I had at any concert. It was the first time that I realized the impact and the universal nature of music. For 4-5 minutes, we all stood and sang the words of that song...each with our own memories attached to the lyrics. But in that span of time, we focused on nothing...nothing but the music. It didn't matter if we were rich or poor, black, white, or purple with yellow polka dots...there we all stood side by side and were connected by that song. It was magical. I get goosebumps just thinking of that moment.

You could take pretty much everything I owned away from me...just don't take my music. I could exist on water and music alone. The music provides the kind of sustenance that feeds nutrition to my heart and soul. The music will always let me know, that no matter Bob Marley's "3 Little Birds"...every little thing is gonna be all right.
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The Ice Cube Theory

Ice cubesImage via Wikipedia

Ahh, love...ain't it grand? Sometimes. I've got a ton on my mind today. Most of the thoughts swirling around in my head are about the guy I'm dating and the fight we got into last night. Fighting, although an almost inevitable part of any relationship, always affects me more than probably most normal people. I'm aware that I'm more emotional than most and just more prone to being affected by the figurative punches thrown during arguments (even if I'm the one throwing them).

At the end of a fight, it usually ends up being more about who "won" than even remembering what the fight even stemmed from. That being said, was it even worth having a fight if you don't remember what you're fighting about? Why are we more prone to fight with the ones we love than anyone else...seems like backwards logic. Although if broken down, we do generally spend more time with our loved ones than anyone else so I guess it's just a numbers game. Regardless of the reason we fight, I'm always reminded of the ice cube theory...a theory introduced to me by a woman who has saved my life on a million levels (but that's a story for another time).

Though it's not a theory I constructed myself, I do try to pass along the message of this theory whenever possible. I'm a visual person so the idea of picturing an ice cube just stuck with me...and hopefully it will stick with you, too. So as we're picturing this ice cube, imagine that the ice cube represents your relationship. It doesn't matter what kind of relationship it is...friend, boy/ girlfriend, husband, wife, works for any relationship. But whatever relationship you're thinking is now in the form of an ice cube, perfectly formed and even on all sides. It is the emodiment of a perfect ice cube...untarnished by ice scoops, being tossed into a glass, or dropped on the floor...perfect. That perfection is how you start every relationship...without any marks or imperfections.

The goal in every relationship is to maintain the form that you started with. For every unkind word or action, you slowly chip away at the ice cube. You can never un-say or un-do those words or actions once they happen. And once you chip away at the ice cube, you can never put it back. And so the ice cube, your relationship, is left with these marks, sometimes so many that there's barely anything left. And when you think of chipping away at your relationship that much, it's easy to realize how trust is lost, faith dwindles, and there's really no foundation left to sustain a relationship.

So just remember the next time you're about to say/ do something hurtful to someone you love....remember this love them. Seems simple, right? But we all know, in our haste and feelings of anger, our tongues are swifter than our usual, level-headed minds. Try to catch yourself before you say or do something you can't take back...and forever alter your ice cube.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

In Between Jobs

17/52 - A Midsummer Night's DreamImage by ξωαŋ ThΦt via Flickr

As you may or may not know, I've been out of work for quite some time now. It's not something I openly advertise. And even when asked, I ever so elusively give the response that I'm currently "in between jobs," something I heard during my unemployment that sounded so much better than just saying I was unemployed. I usually also quickly add that I just finished my second masters degree so as to avoid the feelings of shame that generally follow someone asking me this question. This has been a tremendously difficult year for me both personally and professionally.

I was let go from a job last summer that I gave my life to. I travelled a lot locally and worked from home, which meant I almost literally never stopped working. I used to think working from home would be a dream. The reality is you never leave your office so there's no separation between your work day and the rest of your life. It was stressful, time consuming, and the most demanding position I've ever had. I sacraficed personal relationships, social gatherings, and even family emergencies (including the death of my aunt) just to stay on top of my work.

When I was not working from home, I was travelling everyday into a different borough of NYC...anywhere between the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. I visited a different school every single day. Many of my days started as early as 4:30 a.m. to catch a train, transfer, and whatever else mode of transportation to get to a high school in time for their first bell. It was stressful...and I lost of lot of sleep...but I loved it. I had no problem giving up anything just to make myself available for that job. In the end, there was no reciprocity in my professional relationship. I gave it my all and got nothing in return...sounds hauntingly familiar to many personal relationships in the past, as well. The result was the same as those aforementioned relationships, too...tears...many, many tears.

But I'm not writing today to cry anymore tears or to whine about a job that stressed me out. I'm writing to make good on a bet that I made in a past blog post. I said that in the last year of my 20's, I'd finally make a conscious and true effort to live my dreams. My dreams have evolved over time. What once began as a dream to take the stage and perform all over the world still glimmers dimly in my heart. But as the reality of the industry and my age sets it, my dreams have become different...age appropriate, if you will. My dreams still involve music...but are now also encompassing acting and writing. I have always been a creative person. This has never been a doubt in my mind...or the minds of most of my employers...for better or worse. Some employers have just been more appreciative of my creativity than others. This is understandable, as not all of my positions have been juxtaposed to such a personality type. Regardless of this, my mind has always wandered to the the creative and expressive.

As I am currently just past a year of being unemployed and having dealt with some personal issues during this time, I'm finally in a place where I have no excuses left and there is nothing else that could possibly go more wrong than it already has...a bold statement, but I feel confident that it's true. Accordingly, this coming week, I am heading out to casting agencies, armed with headshots and a strange confidence I've never had before. I've questioned this confidence a bit and come to the realization it's stemmed from the fact that I have absolutely NOTHING to lose. I've already lost my job. I lost most of my pride in the last year. And I've lost the ability to apply for jobs that I have absolutely no interest in doing. More so, I have lost the ability to apply for jobs that I am over-qualified for only to be turned away because I have too much education. I never realized all that school would work against me.

I'm now heading into an industry where my education is irrelevant. Nonetheless, it will serve me well in terms of communicating who and what I am and what I want. The very worst that can come out of any of this is that I still have no job. Returning to that previous statement from a former blog that states: fear can not be felt in the same breath as desire, I head into this week with a new score on life. Desire: 1. Fear: 0.
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