My talents are mine, and yours are yours.

Maybe you think I’ve taken my talents for granted- singing, writing, making people laugh, connecting with people. But one thing should always be made clear to yourself, and that is your talents are yours. I always felt a need to perfect my talents so that it would appeal to what other people wanted from me. Am I singing too loud? Do I sound like they want me to? Like, their favorite artist? Am I writing things that people want to read? Should I share this or that? Am I making them laugh? The looming questions of what other people want, is a recipe for never figuring out what you really want and need.

I use to limit myself to one talent. Singing was my passion from the time I was able to vocalize and imitate sounds from my moms stereo that played Tina Turner “What’s love got to do with it?” over and over. I remember standing in the middle of the living room singing with her when Alicia Key’s album Diary came out. We slow danced together for what felt like an eternity of melodies. She looked down at me and said, “Wow your voice is amazing! Sing more!” I belted from my belly, words that I couldn’t understand; but I felt them. In that moment, I experienced what being in love was like years before I would ever comprehend it.

Writing has also always been my undying passion. I always felt like there was never a space to say everything I wanted to, so I created those spaces by entering writing contest, publishing my own children’s book when I was in the fourth grade, and watching my older brother win countless awards for junior writing contest. I’ve always been really good at word-play. That is, finding various ways to fit words in sentences that they would otherwise never be in. Words are so expansive. Words can be used to manipulate and persuade, and to tell a story to fit archetypes. Words are so expansive!

Much like words, we are expansive beings. It’s like we go hand in hand with a language curated perfectly for us. As expansive beings, I’ve found that there will be many things that I might be amazing at, but it doesn’t mean that that one thing will define me in this lifetime. After hundreds of vocal lessons, music teachers that never fulfilled their dreams, choral concerts, and “good jobs”, that singing wasn’t something that I wanted to capitalize off of nor put all of my energy in. My heart wasn’t in it and I feel like that’s so important as a creative.

However, I now find myself singing every moment of the day, just as I write every moment of the day. My goal is to continue to find ways to write professionally as a career. But I also set time apart to be a writer in my own space, with words that will probably never be shared with anyone. I wish someone would have told me that I could do it all. That I could arrange what I wanted for my life in as many categories as I would like. There were many people, including my parents, who wanted me to use my voice and share it with the world professionally. I can understand now that as parents they might have known just the surface of being a performer.

I’m writing this to say to you, it’s when we look at the things that truly make us who we are, that we tend to enjoy them and have a long lasting connection with them. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add things or remove things that no longer work for you. In my case, singing is still very much something that I love and enjoy and just because I’m not sharing it with everyone doesn’t mean it’s not here in the world. It provides relief for me, especially after a long day when I can sit on my floor and put on instrumentals that feed my soul. Although I never see this happening, writing could someday be in the same space as singing. But I do know that in some moments in my life, it will be a reflection of me. Therefore, I work hard at it and I support myself through the process of putting all my energy into it.

I’ve always felt that people were disappointed in me because I wasn’t fulfilling the dream that they wanted me to. I’m learning to bring forward the real parts of me, while also being open to the universe giving me other talents that I might gain in the future. I’m appreciative of the time I’ve spent with music, because it has healed so many things about me. You never know what I may revisit. And in the moments when I fear that I’m running out of time, I just remind myself that there are so many more experiences that will make me, me. Remember, your talents are yours- use them how you want.

Anxiety.

I’ve been telling myself:

“You have so much to be grateful for, what are you so worried about?”

Sometimes, most times, I become the victim of my own anxiety shaming because I haven’t taken the time to understand my anxious moments better. I bet if you have anxiety too that you’re doing the same.

But you still expect people to get it even when you don’t.

Waking up with a heavy heart and not knowing why, sets the tone for a moody and uneasy day. This affects the people that you will encounter, and sometimes they chalk your quietness up to them doing something wrong to you. But know that that’s never the case.

Naming a specific thing that triggers my anxiety would be insane, because I’m the type of person to get good news and immediately think of all the ways that it could go wrong; and I’m ashamed to admit that (but I know that). It’s always been easy for me to dismiss that agonizing feeling of doubt and pretend it’s not there. But it’s here, alive and well.

I’m a firm believer that we all have a certain level of anxiety. I mean, look at the world around us how couldn’t you? The way we choose to maintain the anxiety is how you can witness the strongest person cry on your shoulder at the end of the day. We are all just maintaining, and not fully reaching peace.

My problem with anxiety is that people don’t categorize it as a legitimate illness, without being medically examined over and over. It’s unfair to me that when I need time off I have to make up an excuse when really I’m just afraid that anxiety might kill me that day. Having anxiety, at its highest point, feels like eternal suffocation. Everything hurts and there’s nothing specific to blame it on when it’s happening! I feel like people don’t take it serious enough, and that’s how we end up increasing depression, suicides, and harm done to other individuals in our society.

But I am truly grateful:

I’ve been able to recognize the moments that my anxiety might flair up- drinking alcohol, gossiping, experiencing change, not being truthful. So, I avoid doing those things if they have a negative context behind them. When I do slip up and indulge, I’m still in the circle of awareness with my actions and feelings. Staying aware of what you’re doing is so important. It gives you the control to take a step back and see if what you’re doing is healthy.

“Love and not fear.”

I have to tell myself this so many times through the day, because anxiety is filled with so much fear. And in reality, there’s nothing to fear. If we make good choices, good will come back and that’s really how life goes. Once I figured this out, the phrase “life isn’t fair” wasn’t credible anymore. Because life is fair. We have been given all the tools, we just have to utilize them in ways that will provide comfort and honesty within ourselves.

Don’t get confused though, sometimes anxiety is just a feeling just like being happy, grateful, angry, or sad. You are lucky if it’s never taken over your body, but it can. There’s no denying that suffering is everywhere out there and sometimes inside of you. However, taking the time to understand anxiety better is the same as taking the suffering away. Communicate your feelings with everyone and anyone you find yourself giving your love to, so that they’ll know. You’ll create better lovers for sharing a difficult part of you with them.

Hang in there. Practice love, practice communication, practice knowing yourself more, practice being, practice feeling.

Conclusion: Your personality is not finalized.

Just a couple of months ago I found myself amidst a conversation in the middle of the night about personalities, the groups of people we’re around in different settings, and what constitutes as not being truthful to who you are with everyone and everything you encounter. I couldn’t understand how that wasn’t being fake; that I may share that I love R&B 90s music with one group of people, but tell another group that I’m really into every John Mayer song that comes out. Although these two are clearly different spectrum’s of sound, depending on the people I’m around it could possibly help relate and engage with them better. As I write I still feel uneasy by this and I’m trying to understand what’s wrong with sharing both and making people accept me for what I like and who I am?

The opposed side mentioned that it’s not being fake and that it aids in a better social encounter. He even added that we have many different personalities, but they all are a part of who we are as a whole. We get to choose what we share with people, and not everything should be shared. I sat and wondered if that was because of fear of being judged from what people will say. I also scanned my own life, searching for things that I may not share with everyone and why? As a writer and as a very open person, I share it all; but that too, is a part of my personality. I suppressed my thoughts in journals, in the home I grew up in, and to make friends for so long that I can’t help but give it all to people and not care.

However, I did find one thing that I keep to myself and don’t often share and that’s the relationships that are so important to me. I hold them close because I always feel that if I share too much then I may lose it. So, I prefer to have control over that, and it seems to work for me despite the judgement that I receive from it.

Still, I knew that there had to be more to this. More than fear of judgment. I couldn’t help but think about personalities and how many are we allotted in this lifetime?

A few days later, while reading a book written by the buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn, I stumbled across a parable that talked about a man who utilized his ability to appear in the appropriate form for each situation. He had such an understanding that our bodies and who we are aren’t fixed into something so permanent. He wasn’t caught up in what he was suppose to be at each moment; therefore, he was able to help many living beings with the example for humans to take many forms over time.

How weird is it that right after this conversation I read about this? And this has been the only thing I have referred back to when thinking about this conversation.

We’ll never have personalities that are one thing; so finalized that we’re stuck with it and we should all be happy for that. Three years ago I was a christian girl who did everything wrong, but had no shame because God didn’t mind. I would lay my head on my pillow every night and repent; just to do the same awful things the next day. Now, I’m full of love with less people around me, but you can never call me dishonest. I’d hate for someone to associate me with who I use to be. Our personalities are the decisions we make. We choose for ourselves! It’s easy to blame it on our situations. However, we have the power to change our personalities to help the environment around us in positive ways, and if that means utilizing what we know to relate to people then why not make a difference?

Sometimes, it’s okay to put aside what you think you know and start again. Be whoever you’d like as long as it’s honest and true to yourself.

The power of love

The worst lie told is one that says the greatest love comes from the love you receive from ones that are blood related to you. When this is said, I wonder which family member is loving that person and how truthful over the years they’ve been to them. I also wonder what love means to them, because over the years I’ve felt that love means different things based on the people that I’ve loved and the people that I thought I loved. However, despite the convincing that love has an unconditional and conditional side, I’ve truly found love to be never a matter of conditions at all.

We go through life trying to figure out what love really is, because it doesn’t come in one physical form. It just is, and you know when it’s present by the racing of our hearts, by our actions, and by our thoughts. A few years ago, my mom told me that she loved someone. In that moment, I felt like the love that me and my siblings were giving to her was no longer enough; as if love had a limit. She responded to my cry with the statement, “It’s just a different kind of love.”

I began questioning whether there were different kinds of love and what category did I put everyone in my life at the time. What’s funny to me is as I look back there were people in my life that “I loved” but nothing like I love now. I use to love in a way that had many conditions, and if they weren’t followed I didn’t want to love anymore. I also loved the idea of what love is suppose to be. That is, any romantic comedy or novel you’ve ever encountered. My mom loved this way too, so I have always thought that it was the right way and that it would work out eventually just like in the movies.

The power of love showed me how to love myself better so that I could be a better lover now. I truly feel whether in friendships or relationships with lovers or family members, loving yourself helps you to accept the good and give the good right back. I’ve also found the ones that I love to be a reflection of me. I take a good look at those around me and think about whether they’re feeding my soul just as much as I strive to nourish them. Note that you will treat people the way that you’ve been treated, because that’s the only way you know. It takes stepping outside of yourself to do better. This is an action that should take place at every point in your life to experience growth in the way that you love.

What my mother probably meant to say to me that day is romantic love comes with a different feeling than when you love your family. Although you love your family and you’ve spent most of your time with them than anyone (if you’re about my age), the opportunity to make a connection with a being outside of yourself is an incredible experience. It’s powerful and it’s beautiful. I didn’t know that then, that now, I’d feel the same power inside of me from romantic love. Questioning her on why she loved and who she loved is something I now get from my peers and it hurts. Because some things can’t be explained in the way that people want you to, and romantic love isn’t movies and endings with kisses that last until the credits roll. But people expect that from me, and I can’t give it to them.

What I can give, is reassurance that love is universal. It’s in our hearts so when someone isn’t loving you correctly there’s no excuse. I know that some people choose to love through control by trying to take the power away from love, but love’s power can’t be reached or we wouldn’t be constantly trying to understand it better. But now I’ve learned… if it’s coming from a place of peace love in all forms, is unquestionable.

The sun in the summer

It’s something about the sun in the summer that burns our shoulders to a tingle that feels so good, we want more. The winter was harsh for me, and I recognized the depression that comes with trying to keep up with the Jones’ during the holiday season, staying in the house because it’s too cold, trying to find cute sweaters when all I wanted to wear was crop tops and shorts that cover just the tops of my ass cheeks. But the winter is forgiving, and spring has come.

I say summer because although the date has not passed for it to be officially summer, in Georgia the temperature has hit 95 degrees and I feel it in my home, in my car, at work; wherever I go, it’s hot. But it’s never bothered me. As a June baby, I am use to the suns energy and how its bronzed my skin each year. I’m not really here on my blog today to talk about seasons, but more so about change. Seasons are so synonymous with change, and with each new season I find myself setting new goals to meet before we reach the next.

I just graduated college and I know everything and nothing all at the same time. I’ve pretty much settled on a simple fact of I don’t know anything at all and that phrase has been my saving grace. That way, I’m not held accountable for wanting to be the worlds greatest something last month to wanting to dive into my real and deepest dreams this month.

IMG_3906.JPG

When I graduated high school I was 17 and they asked me “What are you going to do now?”. And I had an answer because my parents drilled college in my brain for my entire life. THEY told ME what the plan was and I followed. What I did have control over was where it would be. I just knew I wanted to go far away from the home that they had chosen. I wanted to make this grand decision on my own. So, I found a small college six hours away from “home”, throwing myself into a new environment and a life that I had to shape by myself.

Seventeen year old me, inspires me. She was a girl who saw a vision and made it happen. She knew she didn’t have many options for college due to unforeseen events during high school, but she created options that weren’t yet visible and took them. Much like the sun in the summer that makes us want more, I can feel that same energy now. I want more! Lately, I make plans for myself to move along in life. When I get to the stage of it frightening me; with the “what if’s”, I back away and rearrange my plans to a place of comfort.

FullSizeRender (2)

My goals for the summer involve everything that will make me uncomfortable. I hope to form new relationships with people through my blog and in real-time that will hold me accountable. Most importantly, holding myself accountable probably will be the main discomfort of it all! However, stepping out of your comfort zone is always the beginning of something great, and I know this first-hand. Everything amazing that has ever happened to me, came because I did something that was absolutely uncomfortable.

Also, I was thinking in terms of growth and how I want to grow into something better. A better lover, a better person to others, and a better me to myself. If we’re not at a constant state of working on ourselves, we’re really just like non-watered flowers withering away in soiled pots that we call life.

I’m grateful to have plans brewing in my mind and heart, and I’m looking forward to sharing it all here with you.

XO

Sex shame

With this past weekend being the football homecoming for my college, there’s been a lot of sex, alcohol, parties, the whole bit involved. It really opened my eyes to both sides of this spectrum.

One side says: have a good time, enjoy your twenties, don’t settle down  too early.

The other side says: watch your body count, or no sex at all, find that Prince Charming, stay at home, dress like a nun. Wait, wait, wait.

Although I feel like at times I choose to live my life conservatively, I am not at all for judging others for doing what they want to do with their own life and bodies.

I had a friend to tell me that I was unhappy because I wasn’t in a committed relationship and the things that I choose to partake in should be with my “boyfriend”. I thoroughly explained to her that I am the happiest that I’ve been in a year and that I’m having a blast right now. I am able to wake up with a clear mind and all I have to think about is myself. It feels great that I’m not spending extra money on someone that did not deserve it like I had done in the past year. I like being able to choose and  I like to take my time to figure what it is that I want and I feel amazingly happy doing it. This is not to say that I don’t want to settle down with someone as well, but I know there’s a reason for every little moment and in this moment I want to be grateful for it and live in it.

I do despise how there’s never an in between. I also hate the double standard on this issue. Women are always always always told to be perfect little flowers and I’m honestly sick of it. Especially when often times men and women share more likes than differences. I minor in Sociology and lately I have been blessed to study that all of these thoughts that people have about others sexuality is all socially constructed. Instead of evolving into a new era, people are so fixated on being content with judgement.

I honestly wanted to write this blog to possibly reassure someone out there in the Internet world. I’m a 21 year old and I’m in my fourth year in college. I love God with all of my heart and I know he loves me and I don’t doubt it. I don’t feel like I’m letting him down by living my life in any way. I party, I enjoy being sexy and confident, and I am a spontaneous young woman. I put good things into my body to live a long and healthy life, and I work out often. I treat people really well and I have a lot of people that often thank me for it. I no longer carry shame for sex and I know there’s someone reading this that’s incredibly shocked or disappointed. I will not accept judgement at all. It’s not allowed over here. I’m learning so much about myself and my body through an endless exploration to fully know myself.

My advice:

Don’t let society (wow, such a broad term to me) or even your friends right next to you place sexual shame on you inevitably because you’re a woman. Don’t let words like slut, whore, or even the concept of “that hoe over there” scare you from what you want. However, do thoroughly decide what it is that you want for your life. You are the only one that will be with you for ever so you don’t want to disappoint yourself. You also have the right to change your mind. You’re not going to not find your “Prince Charming” (my mom always says this term haha) because you’re doing the same things that he probably is doing as well. Take every little moment in. Some moments you might hate but there’ll be a lot you’ll love. And that’s not sexually, that’s just to say that even trying a new food is a worthy option. You don’t have to mold yourself into this one person or category.

Get to know yourself.