Friday, May 18, 2007

Destiny's Child has a song on their Destiny Fulfilled CD, entitled Free:

"Ain't no feeling like being free/ When your mind's made up and your heart's in the right place, yeah/ Ain't no feeling like being free/ When you've done all you could but was misunderstood, (it's all good, it's all good)/ Ain't no feeling like being free/ I'm like an eagle set free and finally I'm looking out for me/Ain't no feeling like being free/'Cause my mind's made up and my heart's in the right place, yeah/"

While this song is talking about being free from a toxic relationship (no comment), every time I hear it, I feel breezy. Like driving down an empty highway in a convertible, top down (chrome spinning...okay, maybe not. LOL), shades on, kind of breezy. Walking ocean edge on a tropical island, sun kissing your eyelashes warm kind of breezy.

"I'm like an eagle set free/Finally I'm looking out for me."
Those 12 words resonate so deep within me in a place I've closed off for far too long. Maybe this feeling illuminates from the impending proposal of a new job (you thought I was going to say something else, didn't you?? LOL). I believe this job, through Divine intervention, was tailor made just for me. I've never felt so excited in my life. (Okay, maybe on Christmas Eve when I was 5, I felt more excited. Santa and gifts were my crack of choice back then, and I was giddy for a hit of the excitement.) But I can envision me doing this job. I actually see it - me behind my desk, making a difference and running thangs (and above all getting PAID). I see my business cards in a metal business card holder on my desk and in that cute Coach business card holder in my new "congrats on getting the job" matching tote. I'm confident and optimistic like a mug. (SIDEBAR: you know I gotta ask, right. What the helllll is "like a mug"?) I've already figured out the quickest route to work in the morning; the one where I can stop at Starbucks en route for my grande skim, sugar free cinnamon dolce latte - no whip, please. Yummm

Ain't no feeling like being free....
This blog is my first public venture into the freedom of my creative voice. My friends have been nudging me for years to write something...ANYTHING - as long as I was writing. These beautiful gems saw a talent in me that I never took the time to appreciate. I just didn't see my writing as important.

"Wait a minute, I think I gotta take some time and clear my mind/'cause if I don't, I might scream/ Scream out loud."
This feeling(go back to second blog for proof) coupled with the example of my friend, Rashad's work led me to this space. This blog has ever since been cathartic, it's my therapy in a way. While its been very hard to examine my true feelings, I've faced it. But unfortunately (or fortunately, depends on how you look at it), not without restraints. Trust me, I write everyday, but fear of offending someone or revealing my true vulnerabilities, something too personal or hurtful, holds me back (well, except that one time). I'm trying to learn to shake that restraint. But the tides are changing. I'm changing. I'm feeling free.

Ain't no feeling like being free.......
I feel like I've finally entered the marathon of my life. I'm at the starting point. I'm off and running. My mind is clear(on many aspects of my life...just one more issue I wish I had the courage to resolve..whatever that resolution is going to be, I'm going to stick to it; at least try to). My mind is free to venture into the next phase of my life. I'm ready. No longer afraid. I'm crying as I write this, but each teardrop is a symbol of my joy. The joy I feel that I am finally free to be me - the REAL me; the me I am discovering each day. The me who is reaching for the impossible, the formerly unattainable. I'm exploring the possibilities that life has to offer. The possibilities of life are suddenly beautiful from my point of view. I'm going to write that book. Wait scratch that. I am CURRENTLY writing that book - the story that's been on my heart and taking up space in my head for a couple of years. Maybe purging these thoughts is where this new found "free"dom and clarity originates. Pouring my words on paper is passion personified. It's the excitement of learning the body of a new lover. I approach it tenderly at first, with trepidation, for fear of doing something completely untrue to the bond we share. I concentrate on learning the rhythm of our trysts, committing them to memory. Then with reckless abandon, I pour my everything into it, give my all just as I do with a man I love, no holding back, no holds barred. Finally, after my session, I look down at this body of work that has flowed out of me. I smile with amazement, satisfied with what I am able to accomplish, knowing my words are just as happy for the release as I am. I walk away from my body of work, tired, but anticipating the next time we can spend some alone time together again. I'm giddy just thinking about it.

Ain't no feeling' like being free......
I don't know where this rebirth came from. Honestly, I woke up one day, sat up in bed, looked out at the sky outside my window, and said, "Fuck it. Today is the beginning of my new life. Today is the day I live my dreams. Not tomorrow, TODAY." I have no idea what I was dreaming about, but whatever it was boy, that must have been one hell of a dream. And that was the day I wrote my dreams down on paper. On the first page of the notebook that now holds the beginning of my novel. That entire day I actually felt like an eagle set free, soaring amongst the clouds of my dreams. Not even my dysfunctional family could bring me down. I got reacquainted with the possibilities of my dreams, and let my mind go as far as it wanted to. I've never experienced this euphoric feeling before. It's exciting and peaceful all at the same time, exhilarating and calming. I can barely describe it(damn, if that's the case, this book thing is going to be harder than I thought...LOL) It's a feeling I never want to leave. Everyday I try to recapture that feeling. It's my fuel, my crack of choice these days if you will. My dreams, in particular, my words, are my dealer, enticing me to take a hit. And I refuse to resist. Yes, I know there will be days where I will feel discouraged and discontent. But that's the beauty of being free. I'm free to live in that moment momentarily, and then get back to chasing that high.

It feels so good to be free.........
Yes it does Michelle. Sing it again, please as I walk away, hand in hand with my dreams, embracing all my future holds for me. I'm ready for this. I was born for this. Freeee is meeeee...........

Friday, May 11, 2007

"As I sit back, relax, steam a blunt, sip a Becks......" Ok, so I'm not Biggie and they aren't many R&B singers that I want to give the business to (damn, I wonder if Chris Webber can sing??? LOL). But as I load my Ipod (still loving it!!!) with a gazillion songs there are certain songs that are movies in my head. The moment I hear them my mind instantly rewinds back to a moment in my life. As the song plays, I watch the movie of my memory and honor whatever emotion the song/movie evokes. Some I wish I could freeze frame and live right in that moment again; others I want the song to hurry up and end because its accompanying memory is still too painful to bear no matter how distant the memory was supposed to be.

Kissing You by Total. We walked hand in hand down the streets of New York City on a typical but beautiful sunny summer day. I talked, he listened. He talked, I listened. Smiles and laughter ever present. Our first date was full of butterflies, nervous energy flying all around. As conversation flowed as easy and steady as our stroll down the street, suddenly he stopped me, right in the middle of the sidewalk. I turned my body slightly toward him to inquire why we were stopping. He cupped my face, with his middle fingers behind my ears and his thumbs caressing my sun-flushed cheeks. Before I could fully wonder , "what the helllll??", he simply and quietly proclaimed " I have to kiss you". As just like that, his lips gently grazed mine and as if on cue, all I heard in my head was " Kissing you is all that I've been thinkin' of/Kissing you is ooooh, oooh". It was as if someone pressed play on the cd player in my head (didn't own my beloved Ipod yet). As the kiss got deeper, the music got louder and the constant roar of the city faded to a background purr. I have no idea how long that first of many, many kisses that day lasted. Whenever we stopped this very public display of sweet affection, we stood there for a moment, face to face, grinning like two 5 year olds with big plans for the dollar in our pockets. Then without missing a beat, we resumed our city stroll, hand in hand. I talked, he listened. He talked, I listened. Smiles and laughter ever present. I couldn't help but wonder (still wonder, actually) why that song?? It was most likely a decade old and it had been a minute since I last heard it. But his lips on mine was all I need to hear it its soft melody in my head.

Square Biz - Teena Marie. I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, legs swinging in time with the song, watching the scene in front of me. " I wanna go. Can I go witchu?" "No, you're too young to go to Bentley's." She replied as she wiggled her booty into her skin tight Sergio Valente jeans, perfect Farrah Fawcett flips flapping up and down right along with her. That made me giggle. I slide down off the bed until my footie-pajama feet touch the floor. Hand on hips, "But I'm five. I can go!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaase" I start singing along "I told you square bits to the baaabay. Square square bits. I talkin love dabit dabit square bits." This makes her friends, sitting on the other twin bed across from me giggle. I pout. "I'm telling Granny you won't let me go!". storming out of the room, knowing she was gonna get in trouble with my great-grandmother for not taking me with her. Why wouldn't she get in trouble? She always got in trouble for not wanting to take my very inquisitive ( and could remember everything we did) behind with her and her teenage friends. Guess who got a beating for being up past her bedtime?? Back then (before I knew any better), I thought my 17 year old aunt was the coolest person in the universe, the galaxy even. Her clothes were always funky fresh, and she had the dopest boyfriend, Calvin (sigh,my first

What is it about music that triggers a connection within?? I don't just listen to music; I've lived it. It apparently serves as the soundtrack to my memories. It's as if the music travels from my ears and reaches down into the bag of memories in my soul and inexplicable attaches itself to a movie frame in my life, and refuses to let go. They are intricately intertwined and the connection to my soul is made. One day, I can only pray my writing touches my audience the way these songs touch me. But in the meantime, I will continue to press play and relish in the memories(good, bad, sad...whatever) music is bringing to the forefront of my mind.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

In the movie, "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka", Jack Spade questions John Slade about the band following them down the street. Slade replies, "Oh, that's my theme music. Every good hero should have some." While it would be highly impractical for me to walk the streets of New York City with a band playing my theme music every step of the way, I do believe that every woman should have some theme music, playing in her ear. (SIDEBAR: if anyone out there could actually7 make that happen and get a band for me, even just for one day, one hour even, please get The ROOTS. How hot would that be?? LOL)

On my IPOD I created a playlist entitled, "STRUT". That's right STRUT. It's my walking music. Walking to the train station, walking to the store, walking to meet some friends, walking to the gym, any walking that I do. However, instead of walking, I now strut to the tunes in my ear. AND yes, there is a difference between a walk and a strut. A walk is left, right, left, right, stop when necessary. It serves it purpose; it gets you where you have to go. It's blah, has no presence, no standing out in the crowd. Now a strut??? Honey, let me tell you. A strut is more left, bounce, right, bounce, left, jiggle, right, jiggle, and stop with a swish in the hips. A strut is the walk you do when you know that fine ass brother is watching you walk away. You want him to stand there and watch until he can't see you anymore, captivated by your strut.

My STRUT list consists of music that no matter what the day holds for me, I feel like a hot seductress, taming the jungles of New York. No matter the outfit or the footwear, there is an extra swish in my hips, a little jiggle in the booty (SIDEBAR: this is intentional jiggle. Not the "I ate a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts last night after dinner and it went straight to my ass" jiggle. There IS a difference. LOL). With this playlist, I walk with my head high, smirk on my face (like don't you wish you knew what was making me smile?? LOL), shoulders high, and pep in my step, always in beat to the music. Ms. Jay, Tyra, and the contestants on America's Next Top Model ain't got nothing on me. I feel confident, sexy, carefree, even when reality doesn't always allow me to feel that way. It's a mood booster. It's my drug of choice as I walk the runway of the city. And yes, I'm addicted. No rehab, please.

So you may ask, how did I come up with my STRUT playlist. As with everything, there are rules, my friend, commandments if you will. They are as follows:

1. Songs must be songs that have a good beat. It could be mid tempo or more upbeat but the beat must be something you can strut to.
2. No depressing songs. You want a song that will make you sashay across the street not slash your wrists.
3. Song must be a song you have danced in the house to. Matter of fact, if the song has a video, you must have danced along with the video at least once.
4. Song must be a song that you would play while getting ready to go out. I mean go OUT: party, club, hot date, whatever. Something that gets you in the mood for the rest of the night.
5. Songs must connect to you somehow. When I hear every song on my STRUT playlist, I must feel all the qualities I feel that go along with a good strut. They make me smile.
6. Playlist must be personal to you. Whatever gives you that swagger, that strut, whether its the Dixie Chicks or DMX.
7. Songs can be changed at will. Replace your songs with old or new strut songs. Playlist should be fresh, never feeling old and boring. Nothing old and boring lends itself to a good strut.

There is a downside to having my theme music playing in my ear. I want to sing out and dance right in the middle of the street or on the train, like I'm begging for change. While I may listen to Beyonce (my alter ego by the way..LOL), I probably sound more like Bea Arthur. So singing out in the middle of the street may get me beat up, arrested, institutionalized, or most likely, all of the above. I think there should be a car on the train for those who want to sing along to their IPODS. This would allow us to belt out the favorite part of the song or the whole damn song if you want to without the stares from the other passengers. Hey, it's an idea. Who's ready to sign the petition to the MTA?? LOL

This blog wouldn't be complete with out a great STRUT song. Ladies, get to STRUTTIN' and fellas, watch out for the bounce, jiggle, swish; you will be mesmerized.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One of my girlfriends, Tania, gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy about 2 weeks ago. It made me think back to when I first met Tania - at a club. She worked with my best friend, and I met them at some after work spot right by the bar. I remember she made me try a drink called a Purple Motherfucker. One sip and she became my new best friend. When I started working for the same company (for future reference, let's just call it "HELL") a few weeks later, I could always go to Tania's desk to know where I should go that night, or any night of the week. She was my party guru. Our friendship grew, along with a select group of other women, out of camaraderie. We all were intelligent, recent college graduates(stressing the intelligent part, a rarity at company HELL), and were working in HELL. Long before Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte made life in New York glamorous, we painted the town brick red (red with a hint of brown in Sipping cocktails over talk of men, parties, relationships, work, men, family, men, future dreams, and MEN was ever flowing just like the cocktails. One by one, we left HELL, for different opportunities, but our friendship remained in tact, and in fact grew stronger. Yeah, we had to make more of an effort to see each other. We could no longer walk over to each other desks to catch up during a break, or fool our supervisors into all of us taking lunch at the same time. I spent the better part of my 20s with Tania and these women, enjoying life, and it seemed as if the party would never end. But then the 30s hit. And like a walk through the looking glass, we've somehow become adults, making adult decisions. Friends have moved out of town, gotten married, are having babies, climbing the corporate ladder.

The birth of Tania's son (did I mention that he is beautiful) has me thinking a lot about my own journey in this life and apparently has my mother thinking about it as well. For those that know my mother, she is the quietest person I know. Whenever anyone in our crazy family has previously asked when I am going to settle down, she would pipe up and say, "Leave Janelle alone. She will when she's ready." My mother has always instinctively known that I march to the beat of my own drummer, that I have to do things in my own unique way. I guess that way of thinking went out the window when after telling her about Tania's baby, she asked me "Soooo, ummm do you think you'll ever have kids??" I kind of stammered out a half ass, "ummmm, I don't know. Maybe???" I wanted to ask her, "Ma, where is this coming from??" This was the first time ever she has ever asked that of me. I believe she is worried about me. As my friends around me settle into "adulthood", I think she thinks that I am missing out on something. I wonder if I should tell her about my back up baby daddy? Yes, you read that correctly. I have a back up baby daddy. I made a deal with a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) that in the event that if by a certain predetermined age (which shall remain under wraps) and I am not in a serious relationship with a man I want to have a baby with, then he and I will have a child together. See?? Simple. No pressure, no worries. I chose a man I have a great friendship with, intelligent, attractive (my aunt once told me to look at a guy's pictures of his family before having a baby with him. She said this after a cousin had a not too cute child with his wife...LOL), and by all accounts is a great dad to the child he already has. Maybe that's why I'm not so pressed about having a baby. I think every woman needs a back up baby daddy. a break in case of emergency sperm bank if you will. You will find that once you've secured that Plan B, you don't look at every guy you meet as a potential husband/father of your children. You can date without pressure. The biological clock may be ticking but mine is on vibrate at the bottom of my gi-normous bag as I walk down the nosy street called life - can't hear a damn thing. At least not yet. So don't worry, Ma, I got a plan!!! And while my plan may be flawed, it works for me, and I'm not asking any guy I date about his sperm count and family medical history. So for now, I am content to spoil Tania's son (ADORABLE) and all my other friends' children (yeah they are cute too), until the time is right for me to give up the Purple Motherfuckers for purple dinosaurs, and trade in my stilettos for stinky diapers.