2018 is over and I’m glad! JK

2018 has been one interesting year.  I decided to date, then I decided not to date, then I decided to date again, and now I’m not sure if I’m dating or not…*shrugs*.  I moved from one state to another 2 states away. I realized that making friends as an adult is hard for a slightly antisocial introverted person.  BUT, I’ve also shed some of my introverted ways as well…kind of.  However you put it, I must say that this year was pretty good.  I’ve had highs, and I’ve definitely had lows, but we’re going to end this thing on a good note, so I’m just going to get right into it. In no particular order, these are my favorite moments/things about 2018:

Concerts Concerts Concerts

I’ve decided to lump this one together.  Why?  Well, because I didn’t want three different concerts taking up my list.  DUH….

I was never a concert goer growing up.  I didn’t go to my first concert really until I was like, 25.  My first artist I ever saw live in concert was Bruno Mars, and ever since then, I’ve been in love with it.  Now, people may have considered me a big music guy, and I am, but I’m not that big on crowds, or I wasn’t.  I’ve grown to overcome that over the past years and now I even make friends (with the assistance of alcohol)  The concerts I’ve been to this year were Miguel (twice) w/ DVSN, Janelle Monae w/ St Beauty , Sam Smith, Tank and the Bangas w/ Big Freedia, Allen Stone, and Jessie J.  All of these shows were awesome. Janelle Monae, was BY FAR my favorite with Allen Stone and Sam Smith coming in at close second.  If you want to know why, just ask, I’d be more than glad to ramble on about her fierceness.  There’s nothing like seeing an artist in person, be it your favorite or not.  The sheer talent that these humans display is just utterly amazing.  If you find yourself close to any, check them out. You won’t be disappointed.  Here are a few videos of my favorite songs from my favorite concerts from this year.

Janelle Monae – Django Jane

Sam Smith – HIM

Allen Stone – Unaware

Moving from Charlotte to Washington, DC

Most definitely the BIGGEST decision I’ve ever made in life and from a professional standpoint, I feel like it was a great decision.  From a personal standpoint, I’m not sure yet.  My personal/social life hasn’t been the best, but it hasn’t been terrible either.  It’s kind of hard being an adult in a new city who’s trying to find their footing.  The friends I do have here that I’ve known from College though are great and I really appreciate them for all their help when I just want to talk, or go out to Happy Hour or whatever, but I’m still trying to find my own place…My own little circle, if you will.  Anywho, this post isn’t about that.  This move has really let me know that I shouldn’t be complacent or be satisfied with complacency and if there is an opportunity to better myself, that I should think of all the options and go out on a limb if I believe in myself. And that’s what I did.  I don’t think I’m ever looking back, although I do love Charlotte, it was pass time for me to leave, and I’m glad that the pieces fell in the right place for it to happen.  I’m loving DC btw for anyone who’s wondering

Bowling with Stonewall Sports (Charlotte)

So, thanks to a friend from a couple years back, he introduced me/forced me to play sports with Stonewall in Charlotte.  I started out playing winter volleyball (in a gym) and honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing. It got me out of the house during the week, and I was able to socialize a bit and make some good acquaintances. But then bowling season came around, and I’ve never loved being social as much as I did once I discovered that.  I think it’s just the non competitive demeanor of most players.  Everyone was there to have fun and you could also drink beer while doing it without looking like an alcoholic, lol.  It’s a very low key, social sport and that’s what I enjoyed most about it.  I’ve made some good friends playing, and I honestly miss those guys the most outside the circle of my close friends.  Stonewall Bowling will forever be ingrained into my mind as one of my favorite memories of 2018, and of Charlotte as a whole.

Friends

In addition to making new friends through Stonewall this year, I’ve also had friends who have always been there for me.  Obviously some of us don’t talk on a daily basis, but we can definitely chop it up as soon as one of us says hi and has something to talk about.  And sometimes we don’t even talk about anything, we just like to say hello and keep it moving.  I hate that I wasn’t able to spend more time with my most bestest best friend Lanita, but I know that she’s got my back any time I need it, and I have hers just as well. Also, shoutouts to my new best friend and former roomie Caroline.  I hope I didn’t drive her too crazy for that year she lived wit me.  She’s helped me with more than she will ever know over the last year and I’m forever grateful. Lastly, shoutouts to my BFFFFFF and blogmate Lee, for putting up with my mess and silliness and stupid emotions over the last forever.  Not sure I would be as sane as I am without ranting to you on a daily basis. I can’t say enough to embody the appreciation I have for all of my friends.  I love them all, and hope that they all prosper in their jobs, family lives, or whatever else they want to have success in for life.

Family

I will be the first to admit.  I don’t visit my family as often as I probably should but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.  They probably think differently though, lol.  Either way, the times that I did visit my family this year, it was for special reasons, and I enjoyed every moment of it.  I want to be there for them more than I have in the past so I want to make it my mission to visit more often, talk to them more often, and just be around/present more often.  Unfortunately, it may be harder since I live farther away now, but we will try.

 

Sora

I owe pretty much all of my sanity to my wonderful, but crazy dog Sora.  She was named after the girl in Digimon, but only after I found it on a pet name site.  despite having a pink coat, a purple harness, and no male genitals, people still think she’s a boy dog, and everyone in my apartment building either is in love with her, or is scared of her. lol.  Sora wouldn’t hurt a fly, but she is very energetic and doesn’t know how to turn if off.  The joy and excitement she has when she sees me get up every morning, and when I get home in the evenings, puts a smile on my face that I just can’t avoid.  I love her to death.  I have literally a MILLION pics of my loving pup on my phone and I’ll try not to share them all here, but OMG I don’t know how I would be without my lil sweetheart.  lol

Just look at this pup!

This Blog

Even though I haven’t written a lot here lately, most of my content comes from this year and I can’t thank you all enough for tuning into the craziness I call my mind.  Everyone who has given me feedback, I have taken it and hopefully applied all of your input to make this thing better for everyone.  I’ve been told by many people that they enjoy reading my posts and even had some who were inspired by them.  As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think of myself as that type of person, one who inspires, but I’m glad to hear that 1) you all are no different from me and 2) that we all go through life in different but similar ways and 3) that we all can provide some kind of inspiration or insight to help  each other out, even if you don’t feel like you can. Also, I love that my blogmates have been here to share in these experiences as well, and hopefully we can grow to even more followers in 2019. Here’s to our followers and to us for another wonderful year! Year 2 will be a blast!  We love you all!

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Pictures that make me happy

I like to think I’m sort of a photographer when I’m out and about in places I’ve never explored before.  I sometimes even look like a tourist in my own city.  Constantly pulling my phone out to take pictures of the Charlotte Skyline, or something that I think is just “neat”.

I used to didn’t really care about taking pictures with my phone.  I was definitely all about living in the moment and just enjoying it for what it was.  But having a camera allows us to relive these moments over and over.  The pictures I take with my Google Pixel has captured most, if not all, of my happiest moments in life.  Looking back at each photo, each tells it’s own story and it reminds me of good times when times aren’t necessarily so good.

I’m by no means a professional, at all and I would love to own a DSLR camera one of these days to see what I can really do.  Maybe there will be an opportunity in the future for me to buy one.  Who knows? And if I do ever get one, maybe I’ll find more things to take pics of.

I’d like to share with you all some of my favorite pics.  All of these pics are my own, and I should probably watermark them before posting here, but ah hell, who cares.

 

 

If you like these pics, I have more on IG @eM_Daht. Beware, there are a lot of selfies!

 

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.”

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.

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

Artist Spotlight: Pell

 

pell-girasoul-artwork

I feel like I’ve been slacking on the music rec’s for you guys recently and I apologize for that.  So today I’ve decided to do a Spotlight on one of my favorite artists right now, Pell!

Pell is a little known artist hailing from Jackson, MS but originally from New Orleans.  He had to move due to Hurricane Katrina, from my understanding.  One of the best Indie artists I’ve come across, his style and flow reminds me somewhat of B.o.B., but he has his own swag.

With only one full length album under his belt, you’d probably ask how could someone you’ve never heard of can be so talented. Well, that’s just the joy of independent music.  There’s a whole entire world of music out there that youc an explore.  Pell just recently dropped a 6 track EP that lives up to the greatness that was his first album and I can’t wait to hear more from him.  If you want to venture out of mainstream rap, do a quick search and check him out.  Or check out my short playlist on Spotify!

For the Pell of it – Spotify

 

Wednesday Weekly: All About The 90s

WW9WW5Wedweek

 

 

 

 

Today I’m hitting you all with THREE! Not 1, Not 2, but THREE playlists for the Wednesday Weekly! (Mind you, two of the playlists have already been featured, but I got a theme going on here so why not, right? )

Anywho, I have three bangers just waiting to be listened to to get you through your workday. Or maybe you’re not working and you need some good ol “cleaning the house” music.  Or maybe you just want something different to listen to.  Whatever the reason, I got you right here!

Early 90s Hip Hop/R&B (Vol. 9)– Explores some of the most influential artists of the early 90s Hip Hop and R&B scene where a lot of artists seem to get their influence from today!

Late 90s/Early 00s Hip Hop/R&B (Vol. 5) – That nostalgic era of Hip Hop/R&B that we used to jam to in middle/high school

Sounds like the 90s/00s (Vol. 1)  – Newly released songs that are clearly influenced by the many hits of the 90s and early 00s

Enjoy!