Ready to Fly

So the past few months, I started seriously considering moving out of my mother’s home. It is my first time looking for apartments to live potentially on my own or with roommates. This is something I have dreamed about for some time. Ten years ago, I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh. During my undergrad experience, I had a roommate every year. (Although, I got lucky some semesters and had the room to myself.) Each roommate was different. The first was the most difficult. She was bossy, did not clean and did not take showers every day. We lived in a very small room. I know I wasn’t the perfect roommate either, but that experience was not the best. However, sophomore through senior year I had great roommates. We did have issues at times, but got along quite well.

I also enjoyed the freedom of being away from home. I was 7 hours away upstate living around other young, diverse people as well. Sure, I missed my parents but it was so liberating meeting new people, making my own choices, making mistakes and growing without them breathing down my neck. It was an exceptional experience that I will always cherish.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I graduated with my bachelors, left the dorms and came back home. But when I think back to my 21 year old self, I sit in a bit of disappointment on how far I strayed from the original plan. I was supposed to stay at home for two years, get a full time job and then move out.

However, in life, plans do not always go as planned. I ended up getting a bunch of part time, per Diem free lance writing and educational jobs over the years that were not enough to allow me the finances of getting my own place.

Life; it happens. It changes like the waves of the ocean. It is never predictable and we must ride the waves. The motion of this metaphorical ocean has led me to a Masters in Social Work, a full time job as a social worker, and the ability to work a second job with my own side business making wire wrapped crystal jewelry. So my world has definitely developed since undergrad.

With a special package of personal growth as well, I feel more motivated to get into that expensive jungle of New York and move out. This birdie wants to flap her wings and fly. After a lot of thought, I’m ready to take that step.

There has been some naysayers on the notion however. People tell me that New York is too expensive, I should stay home to save and buy a house,  roommates are awful, etc. Especially now that I paid off my car note and I don’t have an intense bill, staying home to save does not sound that bad.

Although, it would mean giving up the chance to experience the pros that I’ve often dreamed about. I look forward to decorating a living room, inviting friends over, having my own space in the fridge, having more ownership to my space, a new adventure, and living somewhere different.

My heart is still very set on finding a place whether shared or on my own. I make enough now where it wouldn’t be a problem and I am going to look into the most financially sound solution to saving money and still have some semblance of being on my own. In New York, that means living at least with one or two other individuals.

I understand that living with different people will be a challenge, but the point of being around other people is to learn how to navigate through those differences and to make the situation work for everyone. I understand it will be a challenge to get used to paying so much for rent, but it’s a responsibility that I am ready for. I understand that I could save more to own a home if I stay home, but I honestly don’t know if I want to own a home; at least not in New York.

As an individual in her thriving thirties, I am ready to pursue growth even if there will be some growing pains. Having more financial responsibility, dealing with conflict that may come up with landlords or roommates, and my own personal challenges is part of the process of getting older. This is an experience that I am ready for and I am excited to take the next steps in the journey.

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Sis’ to Sis’

I just randomly wrote a poem. He he. I think it needs more work, but I might share it some day when I feel the need to. There is something else I feel I must share. It’s just been on my mind lately. The other day, I met a woman who was sitting by the pier. She decided to talk to me and asked me why I was there. She remarked that we both had our journals out and were writing. She asked me what brought me to the pier. She said that we don’t talk to each other enough (As black women or women in general). She was a stranger in the beginning, but during our talk, she became a mentor, a teacher and a fellow sister in my journey of self-discovery.

At times, I question the decisions and the direction I have made in own life. I am happy to have my MSW and to be closer to becoming a licensed social worker. I am glad to have pursued my creative endeavors by still writing at times and starting out with making jewelry. (Which I need to post more on here) I have joy in partaking in fun filled activities either by myself or with others to make my life that much more enriching. However, there are moments when I go down that dark hallway of my mind and question the choices that I have made.

I am starting to realize that the way things are manifesting in my life is exactly what I always wanted; I must push myself more and have confidence in my decisions. I must learn not to let the naysayers, even those close to you, tear down the strength behind my choices.  God or the Universe will take care of me; always.

The higher power above will take care of you too. You will take care of you. The path and the choices that we make define our lives. We must believe in ourselves more and stop comparing or allowing the negativity of others to take us down. You know why you did what you did; don’t regret it. Even if it’s not working out in your favor yet, it will. Or it will be an important lesson for you in your journey to success if it does not work out. This is the road to who we are. The mistakes, the wrong turns or the right ones lead us to who we have always been.

In this journey that we take, it is also incredibly important to take time to self-reflect and discover who we are. There is something that I am starting to notice more, but I also see that it is quite disturbing in society. We put so much emphasis in getting these successful careers so that we can make a lot of money. The goal has always been to get a high paying job, get the house, get the car and you will be successful; you will be happy. However, I cannot help but notice some famous, rich people who appear to be quite happy in accomplishing all of this on the surface, but in truth are hiding behind their success. Big time celebrities make excessive amounts of money, travel the world and have the adoration of millions of fans, but are still unhappy. Many of them strive so much to be successful for objects but may not be successful with self. So many of them still have the same internal issues or worse than the rest of us. For some of them, it may be heightened because of all the energy they collect from users, naysayers, or any other negative forces they take in from those around.

My point is, why is it that we do not strive to know ourselves? Why is it embedded in us to sacrifice ourselves for these material things instead of saving time for ourselves as well? I mean it’s not wrong to want things and to work hard for them. But why is it OK to put in almost all your energy into gaining objects instead of gaining experiences or positivity from others? We could be uplifted from each other. We could be uplifted by our journeys in self-discovery. The concept of self-care is a huge theme in the caring profession since so much of our energy is utilized by giving to others. But the same can be done from other careers. It is so essential for us to know who we are and to take the time to do so. We tend to lose who we are and become mindless robots for the green. The biggest treasure out there is becoming who you are as a person and sharing that with others. When we empathize and work together as a society, we evolve.

Going back to the conversation with my fellow sister, she said she was relearning herself now that her children are out of the nest. She had her kids young and was rediscovering what she wanted to do with her life after having a rewarding career as a social worker. This queen was taking the time to get to know herself and through her words, she helped me. She had me realize how important it is to take the time to know who you are and to talk to one another. So much can happen with just a smile or a few words. We are so powerful in our own unique ways. We all know who we are at birth, but we must find the tools along the way back to ourselves; choice words she quoted from the outstanding soulstress Erykah Badu. Stay true to yourself and work on you, it is the most important goal you can have. Without it, nothing else matters.

Below, enjoy some sounds from the spiritual, neo-soul queen below.

Dry Hair, More of a Scare

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So I am a huge Walking Dead fan. (In fact, check out this vid of me talking about it with the awesome crew on Drinks with Geeks) Well I watch it every Sunday when it comes on. No one can interrupt me after 9 pm. No texts. No calls. I prefer that whatever urgent thing you have to tell me it can wait until either a commercial break or when the show is over. I can wait for the tea; the suspense of Rick and the group dealing with Negan is way more cray. I am also really into the follow up series called Fear the Walking Dead. It finally came back to kick off season 3 this past Sunday. My buddy reminded me and I almost forgot (I know. I should be ashamed). Anyway as 9 o clock approached, something else strange happened. It was a horrifying thing I myself have been dealing with. I usually try to push it out of my thoughts and deal with it the best way I can. However, that night it crept up on me like an annoying mosquito. A chill went down my spine while the thought possessed my mind. It took over my conscious making me ignore the most important thing on a Sunday night. I was being taken over, but I could not stop it. I had to know how to fix my problem. I had to find a way to combat my dry hair.

Yes people, dry hair. I have been dealing with this horror for months. Naturalistas gave me advice on how to keep my hair from being dry. Moisture is key they said. Deep Conditioning is important they said. However, after deep conditioning my hair once a week, my hair always eventually became a dry Brillo pad. I love my kinks and you must nurture what you love; I must continue nourishing my tresses. The itch for understanding took over this past Sunday and I missed the first seven minutes of Fear the Walking Dead. (Side note: It was an incredible episode. Please check it out if you have not. We got the gift of two.) I started looking up my hair type – a search I completed about a year ago but was still not completely sure at the time. A dope site called Black Naps had a quiz which helped me learn that my hair type is…… drum roll please………4b.  I learned that my hair type shrinks up to 70%, benefits from protective styles like buns, twists and braids and requires a lot of moisture, continuous deep conditioning and gentle cleansers.

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Through more research, the goddess at NapturallyCurly showed me the light in understanding why my hair is a Brillo pad. In an article about moisturizing your natural hair, the author of the site Lisa wrote about the importance of understanding your hair’s porosity which is how open your cuticles are on your hair shaft. Low porosity means that your hair is not getting enough moisture while high porosity means your hair is getting too much moisture. There was a link that led to a test in discovering your hair’s porosity. An adventurer at heart, I had to continue the quest in creating moisture for my kinks. As Travis was going through hell in fighting for his family, (Bit of a spoiler but you still need to watch to find the goods =p) I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. The test: I had to put a strand of my hair in the cup to see if it sunk. If it sunk, my hair has high porosity. If it floated, my hair has low. As I sat back down to continue my show with the cup in hand, I sent a mental message to my hair follicle; “Little buddy, I am depending on you to help me understand you. We’re all rooting for you. I know you can do it.” I put the glass on a surface and placed the hair strand in the water then waited. While Fear the Walking Dead continued, my kink peered up at me as it stayed on the surface. A few minutes went by and it was still chilling at the top.

Discovery: my hair has low porosity. After all this time, now I finally know. The article  went on to explain how to care for the both high and low porosity hair which for me is with buttery products and oils like jojoba oil and coconut oil. The quest in understanding my kinks continues. I plan to try some butters and oils this week and see how it may help my hair. Though I loved the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead once I was able to fully focus, the fear of dry, brittle hair is far more scary. These now brown red, tapered kinky coils that sprout up from my scalp are a representation of who Tiffy is; I must honor, respect and treat them with care.

 

My Worst and Best Summer

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I wonder if I even know how to write about music anymore. Can it be a lost art? Are my fingers now rigid from lack of motivation? I mean, it’s not that I’m not inspired to write; life is an inspiration in itself. My problem is that I’m too busy living it. I’m too tied up getting caught up in it’s sticky web instead of taking the time to mark it all down.

Days heavy with heat are slowly being replaced with the complacent cool of the next season. While the city literally baked at times this summer, my mental state was transforming to liquid form. Life had lifed me, a term I learned from an incredible writer named Evan Sanders. It tripped me up and laughed at me as tears fell down my face. But it’s cruelty was a clear example of tough love. The despair taking over my soul did not win.

I lost the first job I ever loved this summer. It felt like a serious slap to the face because it came out of nowhere. I was ready to get back to work, excited to pour my best effort into it and what….huh?…..really?……You’re letting me go because of:

a)  Lack of Growth (what does that even mean?)

b) Budget Cuts (Aha!!!)

c) Disagreement to the mission (I must have had amnesia the day I ever bashed the mission.)

Nevertheless, my world was turned upside down. It sucks when something you’ve invested so much time in is suddenly taken from you. And it came at such a difficult time in my personal life.

My grandma died just the week before this happened. The woman who had raised me from a baby was now gone from my life. God took her away from us. She’s now resting peacefully at home in heaven where she belongs. It’s never easy losing someone. You know they’re in a better place. You understand that they no longer have to deal with pain. The suffering of this life is an ordeal they no longer have to go through. Yet, it still hurts.

There is also this guilt because I know I didn’t spend enough time with her when she was here. I spent too much time hanging out with friends and having fun. Now I’ll never get the chance again in this lifetime. Giving her a hug when I see her is a past time now left for my memories.

With all this renewed freedom, time was now both my best friend and my enemy. Much time was spent trying to make the best out of such dire situations. Of course, losing my grandmother was much harder to deal with than losing my job. I loved both, however, life goes on.

Laughter radiated throughout my body when a close friend would make a joke. Bliss brought me inner peace when watching random movies with my parents. Hope lifted the happy place in my mind after a great talk with an incredibly inspirational person. Even the quiet moments to myself  in the city I love or at home provided me the strength that was meant to come.

However dark life may seem to be does not mean you must live in that darkness. As long as there is air coming through your lungs, there will be opportunities to achieve joy. The people you lose will always be with you. Embrace the spirit from when they were here; it will walk with you throughout your life. My grandma’s spirit will always be with me. She had a powerful effect not only on me but on the rest of my family as well. We will always love you grandma.

Her spirit will carry me through my darkest days and my happiest moments. This summer in some ways was awful, but it was also the best for me. Never have I ever gained so much strength. Losing my job also made me reflect a lot on my time there. It made me realize that this was probably the best for me. It made me think more about what I want and about what I deserve. I still want the best for them and wish them much success, but this was God’s will. When something or someone is no longer in your life, let it go. For certain, there is an opportunity waiting for you to take a bite out of it’s sweetness. Don’t let the weight of something you lost drag you down. I did for a while, but the time to wallow in pity is over.

I started thinking more about what I require and desire out of life. Losing something I loved so much made me see that there is a position more right for me once I really thought about what I wanted. There is a beautiful piece of passion, excitement, growth, team work, challenge and more sitting in a nice package for me. Once my employment package and I meet, my life can only improve.

I am a better person now because of all that I lost. For a long time, I have not really been able to write. But I am starting to find my inspiration again. I am returning back to me and it feels great. Life can only get better from now on. If life lifes me again, I can smile and recognize the unmistakable sign of growth. Through difficult times, remember to smile; for you are blossoming.

Current Flow:  Lianne La Havas

 

 

The Enemy

It’s easier to ignore it when it’s not in your face. I tell myself, it’s not so bad; I can deal with this and use it to help me. It’s only trying to make me a better person. Although, every time it confronts me, I feel like it consumes me in an enrapture of negative energy. I can’t control it nor gain from it. I try to pull every ounce of good from this force that keeps disturbing my already not-so-stable world. I try to remain calm, cool and collected with this energy. But when you’re under a fire, it’s hard not to get burned.

What I’m talking about is something everyone has to deal with in the realms of their work place, the comforts of their homes, or from the mouths of their bluntly honest friends. Criticism has been my enemy since the first time my mother scoffed at my 85 test score and questioned why I didn’t get a 100 as a child. I know it’s just a way for people to help me. I know it’s a way for me to grow. I know it’ll only help me in the future. But, for some reason, hearing the critical truth stings to the core of my feelings every time. It’s like being in a sumo wrestling match with my conscious. The bigger, rounder, heavyweight, foot stomping fighter is the pessimistic side shouting “These people know nothing of your efforts. You can not do anything right, fool. Crawl right back under that rock from whence you came from.” And then there’s the hopeful, optimistic, more like me side that’s tiny and cowering in the corner from the massive aggressor that squeaks in a quiet voice “These people are only trying to help you grow. They want you to be better. They see potential in you. Don’t take it personally.”

Of course, the victor goes to the big, fat blob who bounces negative words on my head with every round. But the fight isn’t over yet. I’ve grown more and more accustomed to criticism. Especially after bracing the harsh winds of this cold world once I graduated from college. It truly has made my skin tougher and helped me to become a stronger person than I ever thought I’d be. So the next time my conscious dukes it out in the ring of good vs evil, I know that little sprout of positive energy residing in me will become a larger force to push me towards a greater tomorrow. Got to love that criticism.

The real enemy here is the fear of being wrong and of being a failure. This song by Kirk Franklin greatly exemplifies my enemy as its so adequately called “Hello Fear.”