When the Words Wash Over You…

Many nights, I don’t sleep well.

Sometimes I start too early, then after about 5 or so hours, I pop up searching for answers. Answers… to what? Could be anything: math problems, that response I should have given at work/over the phone/ during that messaging time, did I lock the door?, people from the past, people from the present, the future in all of its ambiguity, the list could go on and on. I’m never particularly worried or stressed about things, I just… spend a lot of time thinking, sometimes planning, or thinking about planning.

Often when I wake for the morning, a thought comes to me- usually my cue that I need to take these words to heart. They sometimes come in the form of song lyrics, sometimes scripture, and sometimes encouraging, affirming life truths I just need to surround myself in. A couple of weeks in particular, one surrounded me, and I’ve not been able to let it go. It simply said, “It’s okay to want… It’s okay to wait.”

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For me, that could be any or all of the things I’ve been thinking about. Perhaps it’s the same for you. You are waiting for that next level. You want a new job, a new car, a new degree, a new house, a new life… and you’re trying to make it happen all on your own, yet forces keep stopping you. It could be that you need to slow down a bit, really map it out, meditate over it, and then try again. Sometimes forcing certain outcomes pushes them further away from your grasp. There is no shame in waiting for the things you truly want. No one should make you feel less than for deciding something you desire is indeed worth the wait. Sometimes, waiting ensures that the plan falls in place even more divinely than our own orchestration could have made it.

In the past few years, I’ve learned to trust these messages. I know they’re delivered to me for a reason, and the fact that I’m receptive enough to tune in and really think about what it all means gives me a reason to be peaceful– even if I can’t get a good eight hours of sleep. What I’ve learned to trust the most is that sometimes, when the words wash over you like that, you’ve just gotta them do their cleansing.

Does this happen to any of you? What do you find yourself into when sleep doesn’t come so easily?

The Time I Rode the Turquoise Jeep…

It’s not every day when a girl can say she met some of her favorite Internet sensations. This past Friday, though, I crossed another unfathomable dream off the bucket list, when I saw Turquoise Jeep in concert.

Who or what is Turquoise Jeep? Let’s just say this: They’ve been releasing videos on YouTube since about 2009, and a many of them are close to, if not past, the one million view mark. I’m not sure what keeps us dedicated Jeep riders back for more: Flynt Flossy’s raspy voice and dance moves, Pretty Raheem’s (always colorful) choice in clothing and smooth voice, Yung Humma’s dedication to smanging and the press and curl, Whatchyamacallit’s general aura of mystery along with sharp dressing, or Slick Mahony’s falsetto. What I do know, though, is we are loyal fans of this group, whether they’re real or not. For just a sampling of what they offer, check out the classic R&B stylings and green screen realness of Pretty Raheem in “Can He Move It Like This?”

 

I found out one day before this concert that it was even happening. Didn’t matter- I was going. The friends that totally relate with this obsession all live out of town; didn’t matter- I was going (for the TEAM). I had already made plans for dinner and to see The Butler; didn’t matter- I was going. My neighbor wanted to smalltalk with me forEVER during the little time I had between movie and concert to change and get a taxi downtown; didn’t matter- I went. Regrets? I have ZERO.

2013-08-23 21.44.41I knew I was in the right place when I saw the picture above. The last of the opening acts was finishing up with a rousing Jodeci chorus, and I happened to run into a couple of old buddies from undergrad. I was beyond excited. When they finally came onstage, I was front and center.

 

We got cavities, and Pretty Raheem grabbed my hand:

 

We fried (or fertilized, whatever your preference), and Yung Humma grabbed my hand:

We smanged:

We watched Flynt Flossy break it down for the lessers:

We watched them preview a new song, “Naughty Farmer,” which seemed to go over well with the crowd:

Once they were done, there was an announcement of where they would be for t-shirt sales and autographs, along with pictures. They didn’t leave until everyone who wanted to got a chance. I didn’t say much, except I hugged most of them (can’t remember- slightly starstruck), then took a picture with them and my new friend who knew the choreography as well as I did. 2013-08-23 23.12.13-1

I didn’t stay for any afterparty- I didn’t need to. Mission in foolery: completed.

If you ever get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend it. Check out their tour schedule here, and if you get a chance to see the Jeep live, you better know how you like your eggs. They will ask.

Lee Thompson Young and Tough Talks

Lee Thompson Young, 1984-2013 (photo from TMZ)

Remember that face above?

I was stunned this afternoon to find out that Lee Thompson Young, formerly of Disney Channel’s The Famous Jett Jackson, and recently of Rizzoli and Isles, had passed away today. I remember him being one of my first tv crushes, and making meeting and marrying him one of my first long-term goals. From the looks of many of my peers via social media, we shared the same sentiments. He was handsome, seemed charming, and kept up various roles past his time as a Disney child star.

What was even more stunning, though, was that reports of his death came with a speculation of suicide as the cause. Many were struggling with the concept of why or how it could happen to someone that seemed to live a fairly even keeled life, but if this is indeed the way this young man left this Earth, there is often a level to life that those struggling with depressive, suicidal thoughts never reveal.

I realize that depression is a very tough subject to tackle, and I am by no means an expert or authority on the issue. What I can do, though, is offer support, and encourage each of you out there to look at mental health issues as more than something to joke about occasionally. Don’t let someone’s pain and suffering be your punchline.

Check in on your friends. If you haven’t seen someone in a while, look into their well being. Care about people. You don’t have to make grand gestures; just letting someone know that you’re thinking of them could make all of the difference. Recognize the signs of depression and offer support and love to your friends and acquaintances that may be going through. Help combat the stigmas that surround mental health- encourage people that may need it to seek help and be unashamed.

It doesn’t take much, but I feel that these little steps can make a world of difference in someone’s life, and help those tough talks about mental health become a little less tough. So while I can’t marry Jett Jackson, I can use what little influence in my corner of the interwebs to ensure something good comes of his tragic passing.

 

Shall We Dance? The Video that Brought Me Such Joy. #31WriteNow

The only reason I’m sharing this video is because viewing it multiple times has brought me so much joy in a short period of time. I originally came across it through tumblr, where user theblacksophisticate posted this video with the caption, Home alone with my little sister, and this happens because we are freakin’ awesome!

I can’t help but agree, and perhaps you will, too:

 

As I pressed play again and again, I couldn’t discern what I loved more- the pure joy on their faces, their effortless footwork, his little sister’s laugh as he picked her up to spin her, the cheery bossa nova they jigged to (Credit: One Note Samba by Charlie Byrd), or the love that just radiated between my face and the computer screen. Just under a minute and a half, I wish this video were something I could connect to my heart as a reminder of how carefree life can and should be.

 

Also, it just does my heart so well to see Black children being children… and just enjoying life.

Blurred Lines- Jimmy and The Roots

Sometimes, I forget we’re in the dead middle of summer. For me, that captures a specific feeling- one that involves visions of ice cream trucks, children running endlessly, and cars blaring past, playing THAT song. Again. You know what I mean. Every summer, there’s that one song that people can’t get enough of, radio can’t get enough of, and I’ve had enough of by the time I’ve finally heard it through for the 3rd time. This summer, we’ve been blessed with Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. to get us through.

I can admit, while the throwback Marvin Gaye beat and line danceability has me sort of soft on the song, I still could live without having to hear it much again.

That was, until Robin came on the Jimmy Fallon show last night and did a Classroom Instruments session with The Roots.


The Roots has an ability to make everything sound good, as evidenced by these classroom instruments causing me to do many a chair bounce. These are always some of my favorite pieces the Fallon show does, so needless to say, the song’s been revived for me. If only for another week.

If you haven’t caught any of the other Classroom Instruments + The Roots + *insert artist here*, I will hook you up.

First up, Carly Rae Jepsen and Call Me Maybe.

Next, Mariah Carey and All I Want Is You, featuring some of the most adorable little ones ever.

Now, Christina Aguilera and Your Body, with office supplies as instruments. Purely genius.

I’m really surprised they didn’t do this during Justin Timberweek. Also, if you are doing various forms of chair/chaise/couch twerking, I take full responsibility.

Don’t stop. Get it, get it.

I’m really surprised they didn’t do this during Justin Timberweek.

Why Now? A #31WriteNow Challenge- Day 1

I’m going for it. You should too.

When Luvvie announced this 31 day writing challenge, something inside of me immediately said, “I’m in.” Truth is, I’ve been out for so long, I don’t know how to possibly begin being “in.” I’ve missed this. I’ve missed using my “voice.” Those who know me know that my actual voice is quite soft and often gets overused quickly, so I’ve always retreated to the pen to express myself.

Lately, I’ve felt kind of… outlet-less. I’ve had so many thoughts swirling about, but yet, I didn’t take the time to let them bleed onto paper, or even into cyberspace. But this? Right now? Typing so freely as my mind and my fingers connect in a world where performance isn’t scrutinized and the points don’t matter because they’re all mine? This feels like home.

I’ve needed this swift kick in the fingertips for a while now, and I plan to make it count for something.

Because this is my voice. And my voice matters.

At Least it can Only Get Better…

from garfieldh8smondays.tumblr.com

Garfield the cat knew one thing: Mondays suck.

There’s really no way to get around it, is there? After a weekend of doing things according to whatever schedule you determine is best, it’s time to get back into the swing of things, and begin the transition to dutiful worker. Mondays are full of transitions, and just to make it to lunchtime is half the battle. This Monday in particular hit me with one too many whammies, though.

Am I too young to be able to use this as a reference?

I began work today knowing I’d begin training for a new position I’d accepted. During the first part of the morning, we learned a colleague passed away this weekend from cancer (PS- Cancer SUCKS!). People in the office didn’t take it well.  I had been up a part of the night with my baby sister who was having issues with her pregnancy (her first, and my first by proxy), and I just wanted to make sure she was well.
Keep in mind this is before I get to my own personal issues…

I’ve been dealing with the most devilish allergy attack since the weekend began, and before having to be awake and productive, had been medicating with drugs that render me useless after 30 minutes of ingestion. I’m on day 40 something-or-other of an ordeal I’d rather not call out by name, but the process and treatments in itself have been taxing on my body. Oh, and two of the six teeth I need removed started wanting to erupt more today and leave the right side of my mouth supremely tender. Joy, right?

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Days like this don’t happen often, but I try and remember that many of these issues are not any I can handle on my own. If they were, I’d have fixed them, right? So, in those cases, you wear a smile, say a prayer, and just look for the shortest goal to accomplish. Towards lunchtime today, my only goal was to make it home. Once I got home, I hopped into bed without dinner and just rest myself to decompress the day. I do realize that things can only get better from here, and it doesn’t necessarily have to start with tomorrow. Why not now?

So, let me know: Have you ever had a Monday that just wouldn’t quit, or are you one of those freaks of nature lovely people that don’t have bad ones? Share in the comments below.

Chin up, kids. Things really do turn around.

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Quvenzhané Appreciation Day.

Warning: This post may contain strong language. Feel free to exit if such wording offends.

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.

This oft-repeated line, part of a larger rhyme, has been passed on through generations. Last night, while watching the 85th Academy Awards, I saw all of the shots taken at young Quvenzhané Wallis, and wondered if the line had changed to “Clooneys and cunts, and receivers of brunts, that’s now what little girls are made of.” On a night where a little girl was having the time of her life, she was subject to jokes and humor she likely does not understand. Who am I to complain, though? Just another day in the life of a Black girl, right?

Miss Wallis has had to deal with media reporters calling her Annie (granted, she is the lead in an upcoming remake of the film), quips on the Red Carpet about which department store her dress came from, and humor about her sexuality which is low even for Seth MacFarlane. A so-called anonymous member of the Academy comments on not voting for “anyone whose name he can’t pronounce.” She takes it all in stride, even flexing her muscles in her signature “Beast it!” move from the movie, only to be called cocky by Chrissy Teigen (who is famous for whatever she does with John Legend) and a whole legion of Gawker readers. Tuck it in- your privilege is showing.

How on EARTH is a nine year old girl being a nine year old girl cocky, insufferable, and sassy? I hear these words and wonder if the Olsen twins ever got called that as they made their first millions purely on catchphrases and ‘tude. Who cares where her dress came from? She likely looked better than your favorite, and rocked it with a purse shaped like a puppy. I bet nobody questions the origin of Suri Cruise’s wardrobe, as she unofficially wins awards for being one of the best dressed kids under 10. The 2010 movie Kick Ass, featuring an 11 year old Chloe Moretz, bore a lot of controversy due to the styling of Moretz as “sexualized” and her use of that awful c-word. We want to shelter the children, right?

How come this doesn’t apply to all of them, then?

How long did reporters and other people that knew they’d have to say her name have to get the pronunciation of Quvenzhané’s name down? It’s not like the nominees were announced on February 23rd. There’s even a video where SHE says it. In my observations, this reduces many people of color I’ve known, both domestic and international, to either shorten their names or “adopt” a “more American” name. Of course, I live in a generation of people that have named their children after galaxies, bacteria strains, and their favorite foods, but a friend from Nigeria has a “tough” name? Just say what you really mean- “other” names make me uncomfortable.

Today, though, I want Quvenzhané, her parents, her family, her friends, and many admirers to rest in the fact that an amazing young woman is being bred. May she never lose her smile, her penchant for puppy purses, and the ability to “beast it” when times get rough. I want her to know that even as a little brown girl, she can still find, and keep, a portion of happy in this life- even as the world tries to stomp out every single bit of it. I want her to enjoy this moment, because it is just the first of many, many to come. I want her to know that all that she is, and all that she’s done, is truly appreciated.

Beast it with me for a Quvenzhané Appreciation Day.

By the way, if you’re still struggling with the pronunciation after all of that, it’s “kwah–VEN-juh-nay.”

Live. Love. Beast.

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Words and Phrases that Need to Stay in 2012

I am not a fan of repetition.

 

The easiest way to annoy me is to ask me to repeat something more than twice. The second easiest way to annoy me is for you to repeat something more than once. I don’t doubt the benefits of repetition as a learning device, as it does wonders for young people when teaching them fundamentals (the alphabet, colors, cuts of beef, etc.), but I usually have to be in Nanny McBeez mode for that to not bother me. For those who don’t know, Nanny McBeez is my awesome alter ego who is a wonder with tiny people and is sort of a baby whisperer. She also accepts payments through Square reader for your convenience.

 

Anyway, 2013′s near here now*, and the end of the year usually brings up those “best and worst of” lists of anything that range from music to memes. To kick it all off, I submit for approval (of the Midnight Society), Words or Phrases that Need to stay in 2012:

  1. Slander: Often (incorrectly) used when one person posts an opinion that another person disagrees with. I could say “I don’t care for that dress Beyonce wore to *insert event*” and I would get hit with responses calling me “hater” and “50 shades of b*tches.” Friends, that is not slander. True slander gets people in trouble legally, and (most) opinions don’t fall in that category.
  2. Flow: Attached to hashtags on instagram, used as a suffix to seemingly ordinary events in a person’s life. Does the word ‘flow’ suddenly make your commute to work more palatable? Do you have to add #Churchflow to your pictures on Sunday for us to guess that you may have gone to church? Do I have to see your paycheck (routing numbers and all) for you to prove your #workflow is, indeed, flowing? I don’t know about you, but I always imagine Alex Mack liquefying herself when I see ‘flow’ all over the place.

    Now that’s flow.

  3. Officially: Much like flow, this word is used too often, and attached to regular events. “I’m officially at work!” “I’m officially making dinner tonight!” “I’m officially a member of Christian Mingle!” This is how the meanings of words get diluted over time. Traditionally, ‘officially’ had some kind of authority attached to it, like with legally binding documents and such. Now, we’re officially announcing our hot messes, and Beez ain’t pleased.
  4. Literally: It. Means. ACTUALLY. It is not the new ‘like’ or ‘um,’ and has never been a speech filler. In fact, I’ll let the image below, from one of my favorite cartoonists, The Oatmeal, explain exactly why this is such a gear grinder. Most of you are saying literally and don’t know what you’re talking yourselves into.

    The Oatmeal seems to share my same disdain from the word. Image is his, not mine.

  5. “It’s just the internet/twitter/tumblr/whatevernetworkyoufrequent:” Community is important to people. With technology in mind, we cannot discount the power of online communities. I know far more genuine people who I’ve networked with online moreso than the ‘crazies’ our moms would warn us about.  I’ve seen “just the internet” rally together for a cause where people in person would avert their eyes or shiftily promise to help you later. The Internet sent a man home for Christmas to see his babies after a run-in with a major airline. “Just the internet” people have helped me in uncountable ways- from couch crashing, a good meal, or even a call just to see how I was doing during a rough time. The thing is, internet people are real people, and if we can give folks in person chance after chance to either wow or disappoint us, why not hold our distanced friends to the same level? I’ve been wowed.
  6. “B****es/N***as/Unicorns/Jalapenos/*fill in the blank* Be Like…” I have hated this meme since the beginning. It’s like the “S**t ____________ Say” videos resurrected themselves in the same YEAR in written form, and I’m just not here for it. I won’t kill your joy with it because people still post and repost these on Instagram and everywhere else, but I can’t take it.

Honorable Mention 1: “Cray:” This one kind of died out on its own, thank goodness. Between the incessant repetition of the word, the ongoing arguments in hood circles, card tables, and porches across America about the etymology/spelling of the word, and Aziz Ansari (I love him, but I just had to throw him in here for reasons), cray just would not go away. Although with the impending birth of the Louis Vuitton Donkey Cub, I wonder if it will make a comeback.

Honorable Mention 2: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  Sweet Brown was funny for a little bit. She was funny in July when I first found the video. She was still a little funny in September when everybody on facebook discovered her (don’t act like you don’t know your facebook friends are at least 7-18 weeks late on current events. If you don’t know, you’re that friend). But by Halloween, I was through. Stop the memes. Stop the madness. We all know some of the things you say you don’t have time for, you’ll make time for. It’s what we do as grownups: Be semi-responsible and do things we don’t like.

So friends, what words and phrases are you hoping stay in 2012? Feel free to share below.

May Auld Dumb Sayings Be Forgot and Never Brought to Mind,

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*I totally drafted this about a month ago and couldn’t finish it. Soon enough, darlings.

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