Tag Archives: courage

The Anatomy of An Affair..

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Right there below physical abuse, the most heinous betrayal in an intimate relationship is infidelity. Finding out your partner is looser than the nickel slots at Hollywood Casino is shocking, numbing, and all consuming. The lies, twists of truth, and deception by omission can make life feel the biggest falsest show on earth. The elaborate ruse that cheating makes a person’s life somehow bends reality to no end. When someone decides the attention and affection they require is worth more to them than honesty or monogamy they have ultimately made the choice for their mate by their actions. The cheater who wants you back is saying “I love you, but I love me more. I have shown you you can’t trust me, but forget all that and worry about making me happy some more.” The key word for a cheater is more, as they are attention addicts who will always try their luck if the opportunity arises.

It’s not me, it’s you!!!

This cheater doesn’t understand or want to understand your feelings because it shifts the focus from them onto you. Surely, this cheater upon discovery will cry, and even become more angry than you are. There is only so much repentance this type of person has because their ego has already justified that their action was warranted or not that big of a deal. Guilt is an emotion for the weak, and this person will never admit more than you already know, and wouldn’t have volunteered info if you didn’t already know. Just like Kujo the guard dog, this person wants to followed blindly and will bite from time to time. They get agitated when asked to explain themselves because this is a delicate time for them emotionally and you keep fucking stressing them out!! The issue shifts from their infidelity to your inability to be openminded and your determination to hurt them. Voila, magic. That is truly some David Blaine shit.

Freakum Dress Out The Closet…??

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The basic bitch easiest thing to do is plow yourself with alcohol, head to the bar and find some other hurting soul to act out your fantasies of paying back your cheater. Bringing someone else into this messy situation is not okay just because you are hurting. Putting yourself out there for revenge will not change the fact your mate was unfaithful. There’s no country for thirsty women and this act of defiance ends up being rather pathetic. Instead of playing Beyonce’s fab album getting dressed to go out why not let it be the soundtrack on the treadmill ? Why not be inspired by Beyonce’s art to create art of your own? Ladies our desires are more than romantic and sexual. Channeling cheated on angst in a constructive manner will be better in the long run. Desperado, why won’t you come to your senses!?

But my family will miss you if you don’t….

Cheater’s mamas like EVERYBODY, FYI. The families of cheaters have been used to the parade of penis/pussy in and out their lives since the cheater’s high school days. They won’t shed any tears over you, and will shake the hand of the next one, the last one, and all the ones in between, all on the same day, almost at the same damn time. Please don’t think because this lady cooked a meal for you while you were at her house or gave you a little trinket that she has some emotional tie to you. It’s all part of the game!! You didn’t really think that you were part of the family did you?

Relationships are never easy, as good things rarely come easy. Waking up knowing your life is a lie and finding out your mate is pulling the strings is hurtful and scary. Remembering the only person’s actions you can control are your own is the only sane way to deal with the pain of infidelity. The assault on your femininity, your trust, and your worthiness as a mate can’t come from within. The cheater’s shortcomings don’t dictate who you are ever. If the pain isn’t used as fuel to make yourself better you are being just as toxic to yourself as the cheater is. Now please excuse me as I run on the treadmill to Jealous by Beyonce, prepare a bubble bath, chill this presecco, and get on with my life.

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The GREATEST Love of All

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There is no shortage of commentary about how talented, yet flawed Whitney Elizabeth Houston was. Every new story echoes Whitney’s greatness, and somehow points out her substance addiction- perhaps an attempt to dim the light of her brilliant radiance. Rumors, lies, and half truths swirled around her in life, and inevitably follow her in death. Despite all of the back handed compliments and condemnations of Whitney, her essence and life should permeate us all into a greater understanding of self.

 

Whitney was gifted. It was an absolute no brainer that the tall and gorgeous Whitney Houston was unlike anyone who had ever graced our radios & TV screens. No one was as naturally beautiful with the soprano pipes Whitney had, even as a teenager. In another world, Whitney who famously mentored and mothered up and coming musicians, would have been a vision in Versace couture teaching Tyra Banks to man up against Naomi Campbell and showing her how to work her awkwardness. Whitney told the modeling world no, & Arista’s CEO Clive Davis yes and singlehandedly transformed the face of popular music. As Madonna pushed her sexuality and Janet flirted between sassy and political consciousness, Whitney simply exuded the type of glamor usually reserved for Fairy godmothers and princesses from Disney movies. Whitney’s vocals had the soul of old ladies in the front row of Grandma’s church, matched with the power and control of a seasoned opera chanteuse. Somewhere between jaw dropping amazing and striking beauty was the woman, who’s gifts were perhaps so effortless she may have not known the true value of them herself.

the FIRST Black Woman to Make the Cover of SEVENTEEN Magazine was... That's right Whitney

 

Clive Davis knew the value. Whitney’s songs made him a very rich man, Her catalog, loaded with hit records solidified Davis’ legacy as a  great eye for female powerhouse talents like Janis Joplin, Phylis Hyman, and Whitney’s Auntie Re Re, (we mortals would call her The Queen of Soul) With Whitney Houston more than most contemporary artists the technique and polish of her vocals turned great songs into modern day classic standard, after modern day classic standard. No one could sing a song like Whitney Houston.  She is the bar, bar none.  All anyone would have to do is Wiki her and go to her Vevo channel to see for themselves. Whitney who was too proud to use Auto Tune and sing over recorded vocals during performances in later career, and the press never seemed to let Whitney live it down. She came from a different era of authenticity. She always wanted to come from an authentic place and connect with her audience, so even when Whitney shouldn’t have sang, she sang. But to remember Whitney Houston in that way is like remembering Michael Jordan as a Washington Wizard. Is Elvis not the King of Rock n Roll?  Whitney just has a 20 plus year career of creating pop and American music history while being the definition by every future and current diva is measured to, while never portraying the image of sexpot to do so.

 

No one is perfect, and no one understands what motivates another to do what they do. We can’t even understand our own actions at times.  Also to whom much is given, much is tested. No one can imagine Whitney’s tests, I am just thankful that I was around to witness her gifts. There are so many lessons we could learn from Whitney’s life. I think above all things she’d wish for us to LOVE- ourselves.  She’d tell us to cherish that which makes us who we individually are. When I’m at moments of confusion in my life, after praying and thinking, I will think about Whitney Houston, and what my Fairy Godmother would think is best. My tribute to her will not just be support of her music, it will appear in the decisions that lead the direction of my life.  She will be my reminder despite being a giving person, being a talented person, being a beautiful person, never to lose myself in any of those things. Whitney will remind me to hold on to myself before any of the attributes that make me who I am. She will remind me, in the end no matter how many people good or bad pop into our lives, we are on our own.  Whitney Elizabeth Houston will be with me to remind me of personal greatness, and a personal commitment to always show love, especially to myself.

 

 

 

 

Teflon Dawn: Unbreakable

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Teflon is a non stick chemical that despite heat, withstands its integrity. During my personal process of becoming heat has burned treasured relationships into crisps of nothing, attempted to toast my state of mind, and overcooked the recipe of understanding, empathy, and support I formerly held in the highest esteem. I discovered many of the relationships I held in high regard were some people’s means to an end, or just affiliations others could use to advance themselves. I’ve been attacked, lied on, shut down, used, conveniently misunderstood, and yet the onslaught has not scorched my pride, my heart, or my spirit. In fact it has made it stronger.

 

As a writer, we have the task of observing and interpreting things on levels other people rarely experience. We seek what drives certain actions, behaviors, and thought processes. We want to know the whys and the hows. We are typically sensitive. My sensitivity has been both my saving grace and what people have chosen to damn me by. My vulnerability has fueled my curiosity and been the blade people closest to me have shoved into my back with the same hands they once embraced me with. However instead of distrusting people, I have learned to trust myself. I have learned to respect myself for the principles and perspective I have. The rosy colored contacts I chose to view people with are now off and have been replaced with the all assuring presence of my intuition, and the laser vision of a realist. I finally understand people can’t be taken at their word, nor do they always mean what they say even in times of what they think is honesty. Each word I ever chose to share with any living being can simply be reloaded as ammunition used to kill my pride, spirit, and understanding. Being made of teflon the shots slide off me eventually, but I always look at the shooter in shock that of all people it would be the ones I helped the most that would try to murder who I am. When I needed a hand up, people kicked me when I was down. This is when I understood I’d have to lean on a Greater understanding just to stand back up.

Everybody dies alone. Living does not have to be that way though. Despite our needs for love, companionship, and understanding, there is nothing like being your own best friend, your own family, and your own coach. Encourage yourself, empower yourself, and be your own cheerleader. Most of the people we look at to inspire us and understand us are not what we think they are at all. People lie to themselves so much and each mirror is clouded with so much smoke people can’t even see who they are anymore. But that doesn’t have to be my fate. My need for love, family, and friendship will not overcome the need of me loving and always being there for myself ever again. When the frying pan hits the fire, I am so grateful that the residue does not have to stay with me, and after the intense heat and pressure I am still whole.

 

…After all of the stealing and cheating
You probably think that I hold resentment for you
But, uh uh, oh no, you’re wrong
‘Cause if it wasn’t for all that you tried to do
I wouldn’t know just how capable I am to pull through
So I wanna say thank you…

Fighter- Christina Aguilera 2002

 

 

What Happened To The Feminists In Music?

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…Hormones racin’ at the speed of light,

But that don’t mean it’s gonna be tonight

baby, baby….

Genie In A Bottle – Christina Aguilera, 1999

…I’m dancing alot and I’m taking shots I’m feeling fine

I’m kissing all the boys and the girls

Someone call the doctor cause I lost my mind…

Not Myself Tonight – Christina Aguilera 2010

At its basic definition, feminism represents equality and fair representation for women. Long fought battles in the 1960’s and 1970’s took women out of the kitchens and bedrooms and into the boardrooms of America, setting precedence for the rest of the World to follow. Women have always been portrayed as submissive and super horny in the media, and in music in particular. The 1980’s and 1990’s saw a wave women singing and rhyming about self-control and safe sex, while still maintaining undeniable party and radio friendly vibes. The stories they told were thought-provoking interpretations of a world that wanted to relegate them to the backseat instead of driver’s seat. Their strength was their convictions, and the added sexual element was the icing on the cake and not the batter from which the cake was made. Along the way, all that feminism was morphed into women somehow becoming mini men- hard liquor drinkin’, one night stand cruisin’ self serving righteous gluttonists. At its core feminism is the FREEDOM of being whatever you want to be, but the current state of music begs the question, what is it that women want to be?

Image is everything. Hip Hop music specifically, has maintained a love-hate relationship with female rappers. MC Lyte’s talent made her one of the boys and Queen Latifah’s non wavering Ladies First attitude made them both household names, even as platinum plaques eluded them. Salt N Pepa talked about sex, and TLC never left home without the Trojan man. Rappers like Yo Yo and Nicki D wrote narratives about how lacking self-control can put you into jams with careless punks. These women were always aware that their personal conduct had to be different from men because they were women. Da Brat’s platinum success was not so much based on a feminine stance, but because of undeniable skill. Women rappers began stealing the show from the men as Lil Kim, Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliot, Foxy Brown, and Lauryn Hill routinely outshined the male counterparts they were paired with. These mid 90’s rappers were the golden era of women in hip hop, diversifying what the young female experience was about in even more profound detail. They were able to merge Salt N Pepa’s femininity with MC Lyte’s lyrical prowess into a hybrid of new female emcee. No matter the story told, it was absolutely female. Then blatant sexual overtones and carefreeness somehow began to overshadow the genre all together. Now it seems the only thing the female rapper has to offer is blow jobs for shots at the club.

Pop music used to be sprinkled with sexual innuendo, carefully blended with coy tongue in cheekness and hypnotic grooves. Janet Jackson, the underrated queen of pop music launched her Rhythm Nation in 1989, calling for unity, peace, and understanding. The ambitious record was Janet’s most commercially successful album, bringing topics like education, racism, and sexuality to the forefront. There was deliberate consciousness to confront ignorance and violence in Rhythm Nation 1814, the most fitting follow-up to the pro woman stance of her Control masterpiece. Madonna coupled her Like A Virgin antics with the pro-choice anthem Papa Don’t Preach, showing a more complete picture of what the modern woman’s life was really like.  Mariah Carey was then known for powerhouse singing instead of ass and titty bearing. The evolution of artists like Christina Aguilera went from sugary pop flirtations into full-blown dirty limericks. Christina’s signature song Beautiful, started a trend of female pop singers singing deeply personal records as Pink sang about abuse and depression. The trend the Beautiful started quickly evaporated, as Beyonce and Destiny’s Child were left as the sole bearers of feminine substance, singing about being independent women, not being Federlined in the hit Bills, Bills, Bills and embracing their curves with Bootylicious. Very few female artists could maintain visibility and talk about female issues on such a grand scale since the hey day of these artists, as once again the sexual overtones and blatant objectification ran all the positivity out of pop music. Classic tales like Unpretty and Waterfalls by TLC have been replaced with songs about kissing girls, Daisy Dukes and bikinis, and brushing your teeth with Jack Daniels. By the way, these songs were recorded by women.

It is a slippery slope to define women singing about sex as unfeminist. Women CONSTANTLY singing about sex is unfeminist. The current state of women in music is appalling as even talented women that sing about love like Corrine Bailey Rae can barely chart, let alone women who take on the subject matter of feminism. Women have allowed their place in music to be in the bedroom and the club instead of the minds and souls of their listeners. I can definitively say if I didn’t grow up in the 1990’s with TLC, Janet Jackson, Salt N Pepa, Lauryn Hill and many other female representers I would not be the woman I am today. Although these artists have integrated sex in their music, they have always exacted balance on what they represent. Will we look back on this era of female music as the exploitation era? I wonder what the culture of Ke$has, Mileys, Nickis, and Katys will breed in the young women of America. I hope they realize the world is watching.

History hidden from me
To hide my identity
So I’d never feel
I am somebody
You’ve gouged my eyes
I see more clearly
You’ve tried to rub me of my humanity
My spirit you tried to break
My soul you tried to take
There’s no need to be afraid
“Cause I won’t do unto you now
Amen
All that we’ve been through
Our time has come to rejoice
A new agenda’s due
Amen
It’s time to know the truth
Our time has come to rejoice
A new agenda’s due
Because of my gender
I’ve heard “no” too many times
Because of my race
I’ve heard “no” to many times
But with every “no” I grow in strength
That is why
African American women
I stand tall with pride
You want to know what it takes
To rid yourself of me now
There’s nothing you can do
Accept me for who I am now..

New Agenda – Janet Jackson From the Janet Album, 1993

Stop Letting People Feed Off You- The Last Supper

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Bella from Twilight isn’t the only chick that gets seduced by bloodsuckers and howling wolves pining for her attention. The world can be like a zombie flick, with souless, hungry, pariahs starving for a chunk of your flesh, time, and money so that they can live. The bloodthirsty will not rest until they’ve sucked you dry and you’ve become one of them. Since garlic won’t ward them off, internal strength is the only thing that can keep these vampires at bay.

Hurt people really do hurt people. Accepting that good and bad are built-in guarantees in life are hard pills to swallow for most people. Many chicks have been beat down into thinking that the negative things that happen to them are cruel life fucking them and only them once again. At first a victim mentality can cause feelings of fear that paralyzes and stunts growth whether it be personally or professionally. Victims can evolve into bully assholes with a chip on their shoulders because they feel the world owes them a settlement due to the life sentence they have in their own bodies. These sheep in wolves clothing lash out at everyone and everything that opposes them, ripping everything to shreds until they’ve gotten their emotional release. These monsters have long killed any sympathy due to them, and refuse to take personal responsibility for their problems. Experts at having people by the balls, they play the blame game like four square- bouncing emotions to everyone else around them, not satisfied until someone else feels the pain and distress they deal with everyday.

The most delicious dish to these emotional gluttons is kind and giving people. They are the buffet that the tyrannical feast on. To these people, kindness is a weakness that should be exploited and eaten until nothing is left. If you find this beast’s teeth in your neck, examine how the blind eye turned to their behavior got you in this position. Man up and let people know when they’ve crossed personal boundaries. Do you even have personal boundaries? Examine what boundaries are. Don’t wait for a habitual line stepper to do what they are best at doing. Hand ups differ from hand outs. Examine why its your responsibility to be the Salvation Army to every unfortunate soul you meet. Why are you the one with the mop and bucket cleaning up other people’s messes? When intuition sends the fuckery alert signals louder than speakers at the club and the conscious choice is made to ignore them, that is not Frankenstein’s fault. You and all the other bitchass people encountered by this creature are complicit in creating it. Help someone by setting standards and expectations. Be the person that makes this needy person think. Standing up for yourself will feel better than the face down ass up alternative position. Thou art not the savior, stop being crucified for the sins and fuck ups of others. This stance is not intended to advocate self-righteous prickness, but to take the blinders off the most intimate personal donations of time, emotions, and even money. Discernment is the only magic power that keeps you safe from toxic, no air situations. Learn to tell your boss, coworkers, husbands, homies, congressmen, mommas, and strangers no- AND STAND BY IT when something is not feeling right.

We are not built with fuckery force fields to shield us from the bullshit raindrops that fall down inevitably upon all of us. We are blessed with intuition, ears, eyes, and good ol’ common sense. It is very important to grasp the smoke and mirrors concept of suffering as a personal thing and accept it as a universal one.  Look at others and yourself with compassion and empathy. We should all see everybody is going through something, but ultimately it is upon us as individuals to get through our problems. Life’s punches can hit like Laila, so defend yourself and dodge the blows that you can. Grow a backbone and give of your heart, not because you’ve allowed yourself to be tricked by wolf in grandma’s reading glasses licking their chops to take a bite out of you.

Laughter: Nature’s Prescription For Souls With The Sniffles

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There’s a recession. There’s AIDS, single-dom, questionably wack music, no scripted TV shows, a horrible political situation in America and no end in sight for the problems that afflict us everyday. Sure there’s prayer, but the soul-stirring ache of a good belly laugh is the best medicine to check out of livin’ la vida loca and go somewhere else for a little while. When it comes to self-help, laughter is the underrated step child to meditation, yoga, religion, and ideas like The Law of Attraction. Culture makes humor almost unintelligent though some of our most richest and present moments are based on laughs. Though funny can be a debatable topic, good laughs are essential to the health of our souls.

As a child, I remember laughing with my sister until one of us almost wet ourselves. Chuckles and giggles keep us forever young in our hearts. Cracking up also actually keeps us younger by relieving stress, and 100 laughs a day equals out to fifteen minutes on an exercise bike. In reality laughing strengthens the heart, increasing the heart rate and deep breathing while giving the good ol’  flabs and face a mini work-out. The endorphins released by the brain suppress stress hormones, and relieves adult problems like anxiety, anger, and tension. Laughter is like our internal middle finger from the outside stressors in life. It’s quite unbalanced to point out the necessities of a healthy food diet without even mentioning the benefits of a healthy appetite for humor. In life, the jokes often write themselves and even in spooky times we laugh to keep from crying.

The source of where the laughs come from separates the funny from the infamy. KKKramer was ironically blacklisted from the industry a few years after a crazy racist rant during a routine, and the Bed Intruder Song makes some cringe about making light of stereotypes. On the heels of shock jock Don Imus’s nappy headed hoe debacle and the forever branded Fuzzy Zoeller fried chicken and watermelon “jokes” directed at Tiger Woods, laughter has taken an unfair hit as a desensitizing by-product of racism, sexism, and many other existing isms in our world. These moments bring issues out of the shadows and gives everybody from the water cooler, to Al Sharpton, to the Pastor something to talk about. Awareness is increased and ignorance is brought to light. It’s said that what a person laughs at reflects their character, but humor is always subjective. Two people can look at the same thing and draw different feelings about what they have collectively seen. While some instances of rogue humor are undeniably nefarious, others fall in a gray area. Pop culture, music, movies, and diversity itself has given us unprecedented access to each other and grants us a universal familiarity with one another that is more of a uniter than a divider. We laugh at each other as we laugh at ourselves, and laughter gives us the ammo to shoot out prejudices within ourselves and each other. Mark Twain has said the human’s race most important weapon is laughter. Laughter challenges us to look at ourselves and fine tune anything from race relations to a shiteous wardrobe choice.

So, with all that said, we should laugh together. NSFW Links!!

At Your Best — In Memory of Aaliyah

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The world will pause and a reflect, even for just a second to reminisce on Aaliyah Dana Haughton, the R&B songstress who was taken from us nine years ago today. Aaliyah, whose smooth grooves captivated and inspired us is always remembered as a graceful and humble woman, was on the cusp of becoming a break out star when tragedy struck on the shoot of the visually moving Rock The Boat video. We celebrate her memory and the impact she made in her short time on this Earth and in her memory contemplate the importance of our own legacies that we pass on to the next generation of young girls.

When her first hit single Back and Forth dropped in 1994, it shot up the charts and led her Age Ain’t Nothin But a Number album to multi platinum status. At 14, Aaliyah was praised for her Sade like yearning and soul far beyond her years. Her voice dripped with an aching, melodic echo that was a perfect blend with R. Kelly production. Part of Aaliyah’s mystic was her apparent enigmatic demeanor and cool unforced sensuality. Amid rumors of liaisons and a marriage with accused pedophile R. Kelly, Aaliyah’s approval with the public never really took a hit as she switched up to the futuristic pop funk team of Timbaland and Missy Elliott to produce her follow-up album One in A Million, which sold eight million records worldwide. On this album, Aaliyah mesmorized her audience showing off clean and polished dance routines in her videos and a cool confidence that would no longer be confused with being shy. Solidifying her as a formidable star and establishing Timbaland as a bona fide hit maker, Aaliyah parlayed her rapport with the public into movie roles and ad campaigns with Tommy Hilfiger. Before her untimely death, Aaliyah was already the sweetheart of R&B music.

Despite enduring a drama with R. Kelly that could have been a career killer, Aaliyah stayed in tune with her calling. Choosing not to bow to the depths of the gossip and speculation around her, Aaliyah proved that talent, ingenuity, and resolve would reign over smack talk. Her humble, angelic disposition left a resounding imprint on her fans, even as artists to come failed to duplicate this from Aaliyah’s arsenal. Ciara may have copied from Aaliyah’s blueprint, but we all could learn a thing or two about how being your One In A Million self and dusting yourself off to Try Again can open up a world of possibility and opportunity. Her gracious and grateful spirit will reign forever, as we will never forget who Aaliyah was, and in her memory today and always be At Your Best.

I Miss You- Aaliyah featuring Jay Z

Aaliyah’s Last Interview FOUR DAYS before her death

This Industry Was More Like A Different World
When It Was Just Me, Monica, And Baby Girl, Aaliyah
I Never Got To Tell You How Much You Mean
I Wish You and Me Both Were Sittin’ Here Working With Tim
Just To Be In The Presence Of The People That You Affected
At the Personal Level Just Makes Me Stop For A Second
[Breath]
You Were Such A Blessing
You Helped Me Answer All My Questions

Should I Go- Brandy-Brandy’s take on Aaliyah’s impact on her life.