Regret (a story/poem thing)

*Before the poem: it would be really awesome if this blog became a huge sensation and Ellen had us on her show and Oprah came to cohost just so she could interview my friends and I and we traveled the world doing interviews and speaking to crowds and offering inspiration, encouragement and laughter. But until that happens, I am supper thankful for a place to go when at 2:30 am when I can’t sleep, either from excitement about a mini vacation, or from the words you are about to read, and put my thoughts in writing. I’ve never been one for journaling as I didn’t understand the point of writing something no one would read. And while maybe only my fellow bloggers, two friends I’ve guilt tripped into reading, my family, and a handful of people who stumble across the page read it, it’s still helpful. I hope you enjoy my early morning/late night ramblings and those of my friends. And now a story/poem of my current thoughts. Not sure what it’ll end up being so we will find out together.*

I regret few things in life

Because every decision good or bad, right or wrong has played some role in who I am today.

A short list of things I regret:

1. Any time I have made a boy more important than spending time with family and friends.

And not in the like hey I’m getting to know you so I’ll be hanging out with you instead of sitting at home.

But more in the way of, I’m going to wait upstairs by the phone as my Nan lays dying downstairs. Because I’m too afraid to miss a call but I’m also afraid of death.

Other people’s and my own.

As in, spending every weekend not on call out of town for fear of argument to the point where my mother felt like I was divorcing her, I turned away from God and I’m too fearful to know how my daughter felt as words like neglected and forgotten come to mind.

As in best friends, who for a brief moment in time became infrequent acquaintances whom I feared I lost and the relationship that took its place was no where near as beautiful and amazing and important as the one being ignored.

2. Mentioned above. As my precious Nan (my maternal grandmother) lay dying down stairs, I stayed upstairs.

Watching Orange is the New Black on the worlds slowest WiFi

Pretending to work

Waiting for phone calls.

Wanting to spend the moments that I knew would be the last time I saw her, with her, but not knowing how.

People often ask where I’m from and I don’t have an answer.

But if anyone ever asked where I called Home I would quickly respond. Nan’s house.

A constant in an early childhood full of adventure and travel.

“We’re going home this summer” always meant Nan’s house.

Always felt like Home

Always felt safe

Always felt like love

Always had her

Until it didn’t anymore

I regret saying bye, having never fully said hello.

I once did a project on her in grad school but asked my mom all of the questions.

3. My father once encouraged me to spend some time at Grannie’s house and learn to cook like her.

I regret saying no

Fearful of a woman I barely knew

Memories of switches torn from branches meant for my cousins for crimes we both committed.

She was a strong, beautiful, black woman.

As a child, this scared me.

I regret not having any long, deep, intimate conversations with her.

I regret not knowing her story.

I regret, as a child, not wanting the black American girl doll that shared her.

I know I will never enjoy corn bread again.

I fear this recipe is now lost on earth but am certain it is enjoyed daily in heaven by all who are there.

I am not certain of much in life. But if this one thing I know.

God has gone to prepare a place for me. If it were not true he would not have said it.

Whether it be a mansion on streets of gold.

Or a wooden shack in a quiet wood.

In it is a table.

And at that table, maybe once or twice a week,

Nan and Granny meet.

Over a plate of corn bread and scalled buns.

And they look down.

And check in on their not so little mixed granddaughter

Who tonight, sits crying in bed for reasons she doesn’t quite understand

Over regrets, that have too, shaped who she is as a woman.

And they laugh, and they cry, and they facepalm themselves, and they high five, and talk to each other.

And occasional they whisper

“It’ll be okay.”

“Filthy” is exactly that…

FUNK is BACK!

Childish Gambino started it, then Bruno Mars picked it up and did it justice, and now Justin Timberlake is riding the wave with them!

Upon first listen of Justin Timberlake’s new track “Filthy” I wasn’t really feeling it.  I felt disappointed. It was the first thing I woke up to. Like a child on Christmas morning, I was expecting the greatest gift, but got left with Socks and tshirts.

But then I watched the video.

Justin Timberlake, looking like Steve Jobs, walks out to a round of applause to his “fans” per se, to show off his newest accomplishment.  And to nobody’s surprise, the crowd is eating it up.  They love his new dancing robot machine.  A proud JT is standing on the sidelines watching his newest invention dance around and mirror Michael Jackson’s swag (we’ll get to this a little later) and then once he’s done showing off his robot, *POOF*, he disappears.

Now, again, I’m not a journalist.  I’m hardly an intellectual.  But there are some metaphors in the video that made me like the song a little bit more as a whole.  I still wasn’t a fan of it mostly, and the reason why was just that it was kind of like SexyBack when it first came out.  Just a Pop beat with repetitive lyrics.  SexyBack wasn’t really supposed to be a “work of art”. It was there to serve a purpose of just being a banger, get everybody moving, and it eventually made it to that point.

But the video, long story short I think, represents how society is so zombified by tech in this world that we’re just ready for the “Next Big Thing” all the time.  And we’re so blind to maybe how simple this “big thing” is.  And JT, his character rather, is on the sidelines just eating it up.  He has his next wave of fans for the next year that will just buy anything.  Then at the end of the video, he disappears.  Where to? Nobody knows, but something tells me he’s put into the woods, to learn his “roots”.  Or whatever. Who knows…

This train of thought allowed me to appreciate the song a little better as a whole, accompanied with the video.  But then it was time to get my headphones and dissect the instrumentals, and MY GAWD, Timbo, Danja, and JT killed the instrumentals on this track.

Now this…this was the real “Filthy” part of this song.  From the intro, the song starts out bold, like you knew it was about to be high energy.  It had this whole Rock “Now coming to the stage” vibe, then he instantly changes it to these calm, trancey sounding synth, and mysterious 808 pattern. It was almost like a disappointment of sorts.  Like, all of this fanfare and lights and sound, and you show up with THIS? But a lot of times, we’re looking for the excitement when the genius of the track is right under your nose.  If you listen to it closely, you’ll be nodding your head in no time.  8 bars after the true beat starts this NASTY ass Bass guitar comes in and just freaks it. Then you get the lead guitar putting a little country twang in there to give a little foreshadowing vibe of the “woods” part of this project.  The animal adlibs along the way helps out to identify this in the track as well.  And once you get every part of the song rolling, it’s a embodiment of some old funk, soul, country sounding pop. I also noticed a little Michael Jackson vibe in his tone as well.  This along with the dance moves of the robot in the video, definitely lets you know that he at least slightly channeled MJ on this track.

Overall, I think it’s a sick track.  The socks and tshirts that I hated so much when I first unwrapped my present on Christmas morning ended up being the best thing I could ask for. Justin never disappoints me so yeah, I’m biased.  However, the weakest part of this song is the beat change-up near the end; It isn’t one of my favorites, but once they bring that “Filthy” Bass solo back into play before the outro I’m back into the trance.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of this album!

 

Edit: Totally forgot that Donald Glover is a part of the Funk Resurgence in Hip Hop

Application for Diversity

A month ago, my daughter introduced me to a new app as she routinely does. What typically happens is I notice her playing something incessantly and download it to see what it is. I then obsess over it for a few days until I reach some awful level that I can’t beat and I give up. This time, however, has been different.

Sandbox

Quite possibly the best time wasting app I have ever come across. I have yet to figure out how the name relates to the app. It’s a color by number app. That’s it. No levels. No time limits. Only constraint is you have to pay for access to more detailed pictures, which I promptly did to color in order to color this lotus flower.

It also does this awesome time lapse video after you fill it in.

So there are all sorts of pictures you can color. Flowers, cars, cartoons, people, cartoon people in cars holding flowers. Okay maybe not that one but anything is possible.

The other day, however, I noticed something when a picture popped up. I had been coloring in very detailed and beautiful pictures of white women. Pictures like this.

And this

And I just want to throw out this picture of a tiger in here, because it’s awesome

There were also some really cool cartoon white people as well

But after playing for almost a month this was the first person of color that I colored

Do you see the problem?

If you don’t. That’s another post for another time. But for those who already get it let’s proceed. If you don’t, you can still proceed and maybe you’ll catch up.

I really didn’t want to believe this person was black but as I filled her in and the complexion was completed and that awkward butt thing finished I had to acknowledge it. This was their first and only black woman or even person of color all month. Unless you count this guy

And I don’t.

This one came later, but I wasn’t sure if they were black or a seriously tanned version of Gene Simmons

Even these clearly non white characters just looked like white people in costume

This initially started me writing a post in my head about white privilege. White privilege is seeing yourself represented in apps automatically and not having to question why there are no people of color.

But then I decided to try something. I never review apps or leave comments. This time I did. I left a comment for sandbox pointing out the lack of diversity and how it would be nice to see more detailed pictures of people of color and men (white men included). Diversity is an amazing thing.

I honestly didn’t expect much. Maybe a response about how they were working on it. Or no response at all.

But y’all…the most beautiful thing happened.

Every morning I wake up to 5 or 6 new pictures to color. THE VERY NEXT MORNING this is what I saw.

DO Y’ALL SEE THAT?!? Not the astronaut or the gems or the watermelon or that angry knight in the corner. No. Right there. That beautiful, detailed, obviously BLACK woman!!!

I can not describe how full my heart was when I saw that. I immediately got to work coloring her in to see how gorgeous she was. With every shade of brown that I applied my heart grew bigger. I ran to my daughter and her friend and told them what had happened. What I had done.

Yep. I’m taking full responsibility for this one. Maybe they were already working on it. But that’s a huge coincidence. THE NEXT DAY!! I’ve had guys take longer to respond to a text message than it did for this app developer to respond to my suggestion.

And then I got to thinking. Why isn’t it always that easy. That’s all it took. Correcting the issue. They didn’t have to respond. They didn’t have to apologize. All they had to do was correct the issue. No questioning. No trying to convince me I was making things up. No defending why they hadn’t had a diverse selection of skin tones up until this point. No blaming. No finger pointing. No all coloring lives matter crap. Just correction of the problem. Why can’t it always be this easy?

Maybe one day the rest of the world will learn from the Sandbox app and quickly acknowledge and correct racism when it is pointed out. Until then I will keep admiring this beautiful lady I colored in and count this as one itty bitty teeny tiny step to equality.

Here she is!

Here’s her video

And just a few days later I got to color in this possible Cardi B image that I love too

(Or is that Miley?!?)

Ps. My daughter says that if you want some good entertainment read the other reviews to the app.

My Safe Place

There’s this safe place that I have…It’s located in my home; The living room to be exact.

When people think of the term “safe place” it’s usually thought to be a place where someone goes to be isolated. To not be seen.  Somewhere to get away. And yeah, this one is kind of like that, but this safe place, is just a little different. It’s a place where I am technically isolated, but I’ve decided to share it with the world every so often.

Now, there’s only one time a week where I crave this safe place, and that is on Fridays.  Somewhere between 12p and 4p my body starts to shut down to the work week, and becomes pretty much uselss. But somewhere between 4.30p and 6p Eastern time I regain my energy. Driving home, I begin to feel the joy of having two days not worrying about anything. I stop by my favorite beverage store, Frugal MacDoogal down here in South Carolina. Then head home, and once I’m in comfortable clothes, I pour up a glass, Say “OK Google, Play my Dance N Shit Playlist”, hold my hand up as to say “aaaayeee”, and start moving my hips in the most uncoordinated way imaginable.

No one is around, I’m comfortable being by myself, and dancing how I want without the stares of others. Letting the troubles of the week fall by the wayside, and I’m reborn again. Ready for the weekend;  Which may involve hanging out with friends, or could involve not doing a damn thing at all.

At first, I used to just go home and start doing it just to get all of my frustrations out. But over time its become therapeutic.  Then I used to talk about it on Facebook often. Then I started Snapping it on SnapChat. Looking goofy af.  Then I started posting it on my Instagram Story, and it’s just become a thing that people ask me about on a regular basis now.

I haven’t had a solo dance party in a while though. Maybe today will be the day. If so, I invite all of our ATOTC friends to join in with their own dance party.  I actually make specific playlist to dance to and have shared them with you all below, but if you don’t like mine, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, whatever tickles your fancy can hold you down. But if you’re interested in mine and you have Spotify, here they are!

(Click the images to be taken to the Spotify Playlist)

DNS  DNSTE  DNS90s

DNSLE  DNSAE

Dance N Sh*t – Consists of just a random hodge podge of up beat songs that tend to get your body moving to the beat.

Twerkable Edition – Is full of the classics like “Back Dat Azz Up”, and “Shake That Monkey”. If you looking to shake your booty, this the playlist for you

90s Edition – Songs we used to hear at all the parties growing up.  The songs that just reminded you of the good times during your childhood

Latinx Edition – This playlist will have you definitely moving your hips. And if you don’t know how to move your hips, just sit there and bounce up and down in your chair

AfroBeat Edition – Some of the hottest songs from the Afrobeat genre that you will most likely want to chill out to, but can also get your shoulders swaying if you don’t watch out.

Happy Listening and Happy Holidays!

Boring (A Poem)

No one knows how to be bored anymore

People are constantly looking for thrill and excitement

In the next adventure, the next drink, the next hit, the next person

No one wants to just…be

Especially if that means being bored

When I was little this was my favorite quote

“I’m bored”

And in true Dad fashion I would hear the response

“Hi bored. I’m James. “

My aunt once told me that I would never gain weight because I couldn’t stay still even when I was bored

I wish I could be that kind of bored again.

When I was younger my sister used to make up the most wonderful games to distract us from our boredom

Can’t touch the floor,

Barbie games that took longer to set up than to actually play,

Walking on clouds,

And her favorite

Mushed bananas. Where she convinced her bored little sister to smother her feet in lotion but some how we always ran out of time the moment the roles were to reverse.

I would quickly become un-bored the moment my mother reminded me there was always something that needed cleaning.

Boredom

No one knows how to be bored anymore

Constantly seeking the next great adventure

The next drink

The next hit

The next person

You bore me, swipe

You’re boring, swipe

Oh you don’t want to go out every weekend and get totally wasted

Boring

Swipe

No one knows how to have boring conversations that lead to tears and catharsis

Me and my friends recently spent hours that felt like seconds at a Mexican restaurant showering each other with love and praise

Lifting each other up

Allowing each other to be vulnerable

Allowing each other to…be

In these moments that passed too quickly I was not bored

My hope however is that the next time either of us feels boring

The next time either of us feel less than

The next time someone tells me I won’t find love sitting at home knitting and being boring

The next time one of us looks in the mirror and doesn’t see the fierce goddess that she truly is and just feels boring

The next time one of us considers that life might not be worth living due to loss, or feelings of less than

The next time one of us is bored

My hope is that we remember this night

That it brings a smile to our face

Tears to our eyes

Hope to our hearts

Joy to our soul

Life can be boring

But I…I am not bored

Knit With Love

I’ve gone back and forth in my head and heart about two things since “the breakup.” What to do with this damned scarf and what to title this blog post.

Options for the scarf:

Burn it

Unravel it in a fit of rage

Cut it into shreds

Hide it somewhere and pretend it never existed

Throw it in the trash

Send it with the most epic passive petty note ever written.

Finish it and donate it.

Don’t finish it and donate it.

Options for the title of this post:

What it’s actually titled or

Knit with (unrequited)Love

So first things first, I am well aware that knitting is about the most grandma hobby an almost 30 year old woman can have. Go ahead and get your jokes out of the way now. I’ve probably heard them all. I’m okay with it. While you’re laughing you should know that I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s therapeutic. And there’s just something about creating something out of nothing that gives me great satisfaction. It’s the same feeling I get whenever I grow a vegetable garden. “Look I made a thing!”

Long story short. Before I came to my senses and ended a terrible relationship that was sucking the life out of me, I was working on a scarf for the male counterpart in said relationship. I began this scarf despite his jokes about my knitting. I worked on the scarf despite him saying multiple times he would never wear it. I secretly wanted to finish the scarf in hopes of it being a way for him to see how much I cared and prayed that maybe, finally, he would believe it. I had a lot of hopes and dreams put into this scarf. Poor scarf!

About halfway through the making of the scarf the relationship ended. And then the question immediately presented itself. What to do with the scarf? I hid it in the compartment in my couch where I keep all my current knitting supplies. (Side note: if you’re reading this and wondering what to get me for my upcoming 30th birthday, some sort of knitting supply storage container or bag would be a lovely idea). I began and finished other projects. More than once I looked into the compartment and seriously considered unraveling the scarf. More than once I tried to throw it away. I tried to pretend the blasted scarf did not exist.

But, alas, the scarf is still here. But I have a plan. Thanks to an old friend who does great work every fall/winter collecting coats for the homeless people of Charlotte, this scarf will soon have a new home. I decided to just bind it off and send it away as is. Half finished, random hearts, spots that were planned for more patterns, and full of hopes, dreams and unrequited love.

But then…I still had the decision of what to name this post. I assumed there would always be a post about the scarf as soon as the decision to make a blog began. Knit with (unrequited)Love was always my go to title. Just seemed to fit. But then, as time has gone by, as my heart as healed, and as I have decided every thing happens for a reason and there is something to be learned from every seemingly terrible situation, I decided on the title we have. Knit With Love.

No matter what, this scarf was knit with love. Whether returned or not. I invested time, energy and a piece of myself into this scarf as I like to believe I do in all relationships, friendships and other areas of my life. Whether those things are returned or not I can not control. I can only decide to love. To love fully. To love completely. To love despite the times that it hasn’t been returned. I have decided not to let those moments of unrequited love ruin my outlook on life. I have decided not to become bitter. I have decided to learn from it and not let it ruin me. I have decided that if for the rest of my life I put out love and it is unrequited that at the end of it all I will not be mad that I loved without boundary and without fear. Okay there’s a little fear but that’s only normal.

So tomorrow the scarf will be handed off to my friend. Not completed but bound off with love. Filled with the hope that whoever receives it will, if even for a moment, feel loved.

The plan is to continue to knit things. Scarves. Fingerless gloves. Ear warmers. Etc. to donate next year, and for years to come or to give to people I like or love. Because even if it’s the lamest of all hobbies…there’s nothing wrong with knitting with love.

Oh, and Incase you didn’t know:

Wednesday Weekly: Straight Outta the UK

WW7

So I like to pride myself on listening to artists of the R&B, Hip Hop and Pop influence from many different parts of the world.  Some of my favorites come from the UK. So today’s playlist is dedicated to some of my favorite artists who originate from there.

I like to try and introduce new music to the masses so I hope you enjoy this one.  Most of the songs are R&B influenced with a few Pop/Dance tracks and like 1 or two Hip Hop tracks, just to give you an idea.  Just give it a chance and I hope you enjoy!

Spotify

Sorry to my Apple Music peeps, but this is going to be a Spotify exclusive unless I get a lot of feedback from the Apple Music users.

P.S. – I know my UK flag playlist art isn’t technically right, so if it offends anyone, let me know, but I tried my best in Microsoft paint. lol