Holistic Event: Recharged and Loving It!

A few weeks ago, I went to a Holistic event in the Bronx called Let’s Get it Twisted: The Eclectic Bronx Natural Hair and ART Fest. It was hosted by the Bronx Holistic, Natural Healing and Wellness Center. I usually do not venture into the Bronx, but I kept seeing the ad for it on Facebook and I had to go. The world of holistic healing has been calling my name for years. I have dabbled in crystals, learned about chakras and meditate or do yoga whenever I can. But there is this world waiting for me to explore. Here comes this event that introduces this space to me a bit more. The first thing I did was buy this incredible painting by a beautiful spirit because as soon as I saw it, I knew it belonged in my room. After meeting the artist who made it Katya, I walked into a room that embraced me with it’s inviting energy. Another artist named Evan Bishop asked me how I could use my passions to help people. I had engaging conversations with a crystal jeweler and another fellow writer. I met amazing women who were entrepreneurs dedicated on working together on bringing more harmony and knowledge of self into the world. It was so refreshing. Not to mention, I also could not stop buying soaps and hair accessories. There was also a great workshop by an incredible sista named Katori Walker who spoke about the reality of natural hair in the workplace. I most definitely will continue this journey into holistic healing and natural health. My body is my temple and I strive to take care of it. Meeting so many energizing people is also a wonderful recharge to my spirit. If there is anyone else out there who is engaged in this world, feel free to reach out. I would love to here from you.

20170422_122932_001

20170422_13183120170422_13424920170422_13430220170422_15520920170422_173146

Advertisements

Natural Hair Milestone

My Galaxy phone every few days reminds me of pictures I took years ago. Sometimes it’s a nice trek back into the past and at other times in brings up painful memories. However, today it brought back a natural hair milestone for me. A year ago today, I took a picture of my hair when I was first transitioning. I never noticed before until I saw that picture but you could see the permed hair meeting the new growth. It’s remarkable to me how much my hair has changed since I decided to go on this journey. I am so happy with how my hair is turning out even though my hair often times has a mind of it’s own.

 

Twist Out Blues

You what I hate these days? I hate what Trump is doing to America; I hate driving in New York City and I hate doing a twist out and my style disappearing within two days. Honestly, it takes a lot for me to dislike or have anger towards anything. I find comfort in being cool about most things. But when you put time and energy into a style and it is gone…..it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain that zen like mood.

On Sunday night, I put my hair into twists. I sat in my bed while watching the Walking Dead and preceded to do my hair. My hands worked through my hair carefully parting each strand to the best of my ability. (I actually am very bad at parting, ha ha.) My hands put some time into each piece of hair treating it delicately. When I was done, I put a hair cap over it to preserve the look. My hair was left in the twists for about two days to continue the preservation of the look I wanted. On Wednesday, I took the twists out and the style did not look too bad. It had a mixture of perfect and lopsided curls that accentuated my style. It was not perfection, but it defined my look.

For some reason this morning, it looked even better. It had definition, volume and the curls were looking great. I was so excited. I went on to take a shower like I do every day. However when I was finished, the popping volume was GONE!!!! My hair had shrunk so much. It looked like how it normally does after a few days of a twist out. This has happened before after taking a steamy shower, but I am just so sick of it. It sucks when humidity ruins your hair. Venting here is making me feel a bit better, but it truly is frustrating when the warmth that actually puts you at so much ease into your routine destroys the time and effort put into your tresses.

However, I cannot help but love the diversity my hair naturally possesses. It changes when it feels best. I can only do so much to control it. I am loving my kinks but that love turns into frustration at times. It is like loving a child; you come into your once clean kitchen and find a tornado of a mess. Your anger rises quickly, but you find a way to swallow it and handle that situation like a champ (or try to) because in your heart you know the love you have for the sometimes wild one is unconditional. My wild mane will always have my heart. I will do my best to understand it one day at a time. So for today, I will put on my armor of chill and embrace the shrunken kinks my hair decided to morph into.

20170108_212333

This was after a successful twist out. =)

Gliding into 2017

Today, I am choosing to write a sort of reflective piece about the past year. I seriously do not want to write some cliché new year, new me garbage. Heck, it is cliché to even crap on people who do that. However, there is an innate desire for people to want to reflect on the ups and downs of the past year. We cannot help it as human beings as we fumble through this mess called life. Yes, I do it too. I wonder who will I be next year, how will I evolve or how will I stay the same. I personally feel in every second that we are breathing that distorted oxygen in and out of our lungs we are changing. You are never the same person the following day. But at the same time, you are not going to be completely transformed. It is more of a glide than a race to who you will become. 

This year has been an incredible year of growth, change and struggle for me. I got accepted into Hunter Silberman School of Social Work. In this grad school experience, I am learning so much about self-awareness, the social injustices that plague our society and about interventions on how we can assist those suffering from the many demons that haunt them. That whole experience deserves a level of it’s own and that is not the only level of growth I have experienced this year. I also had to fully embrace my natural hair. I learned and am still learning about what makes my kinky coils, how to take care of it and most importantly how to love it. Becoming natural was not easy, but I am thankful for every moment that I am experiencing this hair change. It was not just a change in hair texture; I feel like I am owning who I am and who I was always meant to be. As my hair transitioned, I transformed. I am finding myself becoming more health conscious. I am more invested in the world around me and want to do more in understanding the real truth about it. I no longer just accept what I hear and try to challenge what I hear on a regular basis. I smile but shake my inner fist at the world for not doing better. Ha, of course this is also school’s doing to opening up my mind to how everything works. I also find my style changing but at the same time it represents who I have always been. My growth is a representation of what I was always meant to become.

However, I am still trying to figure out who I am and what is it that I really want out of life. I know I do not want much but I do have the simple goal of being happy. In a way, I feel I have already accomplished my goal. There were some moments in 2016 that made it difficult for me to work my facial muscles into a smile even if frowning is more difficult. Trump winning was the biggest shock to many people this year. Even Trump seemed to be shocked. How could such a misogynist, racist bigot be our president? Especially against someone who was clearly more qualified. As I slowly understand a bit more about how the world works, I wonder if there is some outside force secretly laughing at the way the gears of society is turning. Of course, they must be pressing some buttons to cause those gears to turn. The continued rise in police brutality and injustices against my people only seem to grow while this man is getting closer to accepting his place at the white house. (If he ever leaves Trump tower of course). Many questions plague our minds as the shock settles into acknowledgment of a new era that our hearts truly cannot accept. However, there have been bands of unity across the country that is working against the hateful attacks that attempt to break us down. In these dark times, one thing I know for sure is that we will not be brought down. As a nation overflowing with so much beautiful diversity, we have come so far. Even as the laws may change, we have to start paying attention to the surprises to our liberties and fight it. We must continue to stay strong as a united front against these systems that work to destroy us. After all even with the negative back story to how this country was founded, it is still our home; let’s make it our home.

Twenty sixteen was also an end to some relationships I thought would never end. I do not want to waste too much time writing about this, but it was something I definitely was surprised had terminated. I did fight very hard to make it work. I learned so much about myself in what I did wrong and how I could work to do better in the future. I thought about ways that I could have rectified the situation. I constantly berated myself for the stupid mistakes that I made that could have made it work. However, through time I learned that in all my effort, both of our effort, it was not meant to last. The pains we carry with us our embedded in our spirits as a push, a lesson, a means of strength into conquering tomorrow. I would not be the person that I am today if I was still in that place struggling to make it with that person. My growth happened because of the pains I endured while in that space. The age old saying that everything happens for a reason is always on constant repeat in my mind. But it is there as a reminder that all of the crappy, uncomfortable, pains to my spirit are there to build me up into the phenomenal human being that I am becoming. It is obviously working because I am usually way more humble. Believe me, I love being modest. There is still so much more work to my character that will come to place as I get older. But I think it is OK for everyone to sometimes acknowledge how fantastic they are. As long as you are also aware that you are never done becoming awesome.

Anyway, I am mostly content with the way 2016 played out. I have accomplished so much, grown in ways that I did not expect and now I am excited to see where my growth will take me in 2017. For those of you reading this, I know you are some pretty incredible specimens on this Earth. Please remember to honor your growth however big or small they may be; each moment is responsible for making you into who you are destined to be. Every morsel of pleasure, pain and comfort are the necessary ingredients to being. Laugh, smile, cry, scream; do whatever feels comfortable to you in your moment. Let us go into 2017 like stars and keep on shining. Have a wonderful New Year! 

20161229_213950

Grass Ain’t Greener By Chris Brown

There is something about Chris Brown. What is it?  His soft croons. His fabulous dancing. His genius decisions to always choose such an r&b beat sometimes fused with techno. Ugh! I can’t stand his fine self. Well, he could chill with the constant changing of hairstyles. Lol. Anyway, “Grass Ain’t Greener” captures my spirit. The inconsistency of the hollow noises inter-playing throughout the track catches my ears and drags me into an orgasmic musical submission from his light, smooth croons. My head is at mercy to the beat for reasons I know not. Regardless of what it is, this track always makes my body want to move into a dance frenzy even if I am on a crowded subway. Stare at me and I may be staring mindlessly into an abyss of the world around me. But secretly, I am dancing in the “Let’s Go Get My Ex” induced video right along with Brown in my mind. Now watch me make my move.

What Makes You A Writer?

20160123_115840

My life right here

This question has been throbbing in my mind for weeks. In this journey of writing, it all started in elementary school for me. I used to have these journals in which I would write in everyday. Scrawny etches of chicken scratch penmanship would litter a composition notebook on various days on anything from what nine-year-old Tiffany learned in school that day to the interactions she had with other kids. Little Tiffy was definitely a shy one. It did not change that much in high school. But during those teen years, writing was so exciting for me. Every time the teacher would give me an essay assignment, I would look at it as an exhilarating new challenge to immerse myself in. It was such a thrill and joy to be able to write. At the time, I never realized how much I liked to write until a friend and my tenth grade English teacher made me see my potential.

Today, a magazine journalism degree and a few editorial internships and “jobs” later, I question whether I am still defined as a “writer.” Other than the fact that my grammar, style and prose is probably not as up to par as it once was, I don’t write as much as you would think. One thing I have come to accept, I am a procrastinator even when it comes to the things that I love. Routine and deadlines keeps this somewhat free spirited mind on schedule. If it’s not on a to-do list or there is no deadline, it will not get done. The daily grind of work and other responsibilities constantly pushes this passion to the side for me. So even though I write when I can, I still ask myself this question.

In today’s world that’s only getting smaller and smaller, writers or so called “writers” pop up all over the web. Some people just wake up randomly one day and decide that they are going to be a writer. There are oodles of published content from people who could not write if their life depended on it to distinguished literary geniuses. There are all types of writers: bloggers, journalists, poets, content curators, editors, novelists, authors, song writers and more. Some people can write twenty or more pieces of content a day while others write a little something every week. At the end of the day, they all do define themselves as a writer.

Through all this mental pondering, at least for now I think I can answer my question. I am a writer because of one simple reason: it brings me joy. You would not even know how happy I am just writing this particular post. All the posts, articles, rewrites, blog entries, essays and journal entries I have written in my life has always provided me with true happiness. The ability to pour out our thoughts and give it life is a true gift that all of us human beings have. So whether you write to give your business more traffic or because you report for a blog or news organization, find the joy in what you do because that my friend is what makes you a writer.

image

Forest Hills Drive Album Review

As a writer, I appreciate a great story teller; J. Cole is a rapper born to tell a story. From his first mix tape The Warm Up, I fell in love with his raw honesty on “Lights Please.” Such a deep brother is a nice inhale of fresh air from the smog filling my soul on a daily basis from the crap on the radio. And it’s not just me. People are loving this renaissance of “realism” in our music. The other day, I was watching his video for “Crooked Smile” featuring TLC. It’s truly an uplifting tune, but I was actually paying more attention to the video. Commenters on YouTube (Best believe that there is ALWAYS a fight in the comments section) argued that the visuals had nothing to do with the lyrics which I actually agree with. But here was J. Cole retelling a true story about a man getting arrested for selling a dime bag of weed. But that’s not the real heartache. The cops stormed into his house like it was a drug raid, arrested him, and shot his daughter on her birthday when they saw her peeking out from her room. He leaves us with this at the very end: And Please Reconsider Your War on Drugs. It had me scratching my head like what does that mean? In the comments section, two people were having an intense discussion about the war on drugs. One spoke about a documentary called “The House I Live In.” I found it on Netflix and was mind blown about what’s really going on in the prison system. It’s terrible and is practically a legal form of genocide. The point I’m trying to make is just from checking out J. Cole’s video, my mind was able to expand; my conscious was taken to another world. It opened me up to a new issue I never thought twice about. J. Cole really makes you think and I respect him so much for that. I listened to Forest Hills Drive the other day and just felt I had to write about it. For anyone who’s a fan of his knows it came out last year, but it’s better late than never right?

When listening to Forest Hills Drive, imagine sitting right across from Cole. You’ll see the emotion spread across his face as he lets you into his past, his dreams, his fears, his life all in an hour and six minutes. Feel the acne and butterflies from teen years rise up when tuning in “Wet Dreams.” This time warp of a track takes us back to two teenagers, young Cole pretending to have “experience” and a young lady who is indeed inexperienced facing intimacy for the first time. It’s so cute it will make you blush; Oh what the imagination of a young man will make him do. In “Adolescence,” he literally shares the thoughts of his teenage self – a shy guy wanting more out of life. He almost gets into the drug game, but his wise “mentor” wakes him up and reminds him of his own potential. The lone wolf cries combined with the slow beat take my senses to the cold fence he was once perched on in this self awareness tale.

“A Tale of Two Cities” and “Fire Squad” go into the desperate minds of the cunning living in a land where trying to survive is not enough. His flow in “Fire Squad” has my head bobbing so much I might be tempted to drop some F bombs at random in the street with my arms pumped up. Side Note: I do not curse. I love the message he relays from the middle to the end about how rappers are always talking about who’s the best instead of waking up and realizing who’s taking their sound. He further goes in to say that we are all kings; we shouldn’t “cling to the need for power….Today I know we are the same…….we’re all poets, cause deep down inside I know we all just want to be loved.” #Truth.

The very next track brings the mood down from high intensity to cool grooving in “St. Tropez.” The low tempo collection of drums, violins, a saxophone and the dreamy lulls of the chorus can teleport you right to the beach. Now only if it could literally do that, it would be the dopest song EVER. “Role Models” has such a HOT beat. “Don’t save her. She don’t to be saved. Don’t save her. She don’t want to be saved” – Damn, this song really has me going. It speaks a depth of truth about some (not all) women in our society who are just “lost.” And of course “Apparently,” his hit single from this album, is one of my favorite tracks to listen to right now. His realization about the integral people in his life, including the one who carried him for nine months, is both refreshing and uplifting to listen to.

I could literally write about every song on this album, but I will stop here. Forest Hills Drive is an astounding package of the exemplary electrical impulses going on in that pink mush of his. It makes you dive into the deep waters of adolescence, surviving in the game, gratification for loved ones and self awareness. It’s a true testament to what conscious music is all about.