Dear Beyonce . . . .

Thank you, for being the soundtrack of growing up.  I first paid attention to Beyonce when the remix to No, No, No came out.  Maybe junior year of high school? I didn’t care enough to know who was in the group, and I wasn’t buying no albums.  But I really liked that song.

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Destiny’s Child

Enter the summer before College.  I spent most of my time with Nakkia, as we tagged along with folks.  We both worked at Pizza Hut, with a cool ass white boy boss, who mostly looked like Drew Carey.  He let us play our music, and the single for Bills, Bills, Bills came out.  I loved the song, and the video. The single also had song snippets.  And the 15 sec clip that was on repeat . . . Bug A Boo.

Any group that could have me feenin’ for snippets on random AOL Chat Rooms, I needed this album.

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The Writing’s on the Wall

Fast forward to every Friday Night 1st semester of Freshman Year, this was the CD for the “Get Ready” dance party.  4 Girls, in one small ass room {who knows why my single dorm was the hang out spot}, dancing in the mirror getting ready for the BATU Party.  This was the soundtrack for my first drink, my first nasty dancing in a corner at a house party, the first times I tried to do my hair on my own.

I remember the conversation we all had when the Say My Name video came out . . . and we saw new noses and group members.  We were eagerly awaiting the explanation . . . and we ain’t eva really get one.  Didn’t really matter.  The album was Flames, and we couldn’t wait until the next one came out.

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Survivor

The first song I ever sang in public (not at church) was Independent Woman, Part 1.  We had to harmonize the bridge,  and we KILLED it.  Not to mention, I somehow got the nickname Bug a Boo during my process. This album is the soundtrack of my 1st year as a Zeta.  The road trip to Blue & White in Columbus, the summer I worked in the bakery.  Aaliyah leaving Dangerously In Love on repeat in her dorm for at least 12 hours. Happy Face helped get me out of my 1st real bout of Depression.

Image result for beyonce album coversDangerously In Love

We all knew she was going solo, when we heard Dangerously In Love on Survivor.  Just like JT and Gone, we knew Beyonce was ready to branch out on her own.  This album is the soundtrack of my 1st car. . . . of the man who sold it to me, and my intro to [redacted]. This is car concerts singing Baby Boy, and driving down to Dayton to make sure I got to dance to songs from this album.  This album is #TOTGA and realizing I was in some serious like with #HIM.

Image result for destiny's child album coversDestiny Fulfilled

Their best album, in my humble opinion.  This album felt like, we grown now . . . let us be.  This album is the soundtrack of living on my own for the 1st time.  The mix CD’s I made for a childhood crush . . .  the ones he made for me as replies.  The background of the end of a significant friendship, and the rekindling of the most important one.  Every video was an entire MOOD, and we were all waiting for them to premiere on TRL.

 

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B’Day

This album reminds me of a huge time of transition in my life, the time when “Flaws and All” was my guiding light.  If someone can accept her, they can accept me, right? But I wasn’t part of the BeyHive yet.  I was just liking music and buying albums.

 

Image result for beyonce album coversI Am . . . . Sasha Fierce

This album is when I became a fan.  This is the soundtrack of MJ’s Detroit Year of Love.  This is the soundtrack of getting ready to go out every weekend.  Of attending every Greek event, and making new friends. Getting numbers for the 1st time in my life. The brief moment of self love that was shining through every where I went. This is also the soundtrack of my 1st teaching job, having fun in my classroom, making up dance routines with Nicole and Carmen, and still remembering them to th day.

 

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Whew . . . . this album.  The second major heartbreak of my life.  This album is the pick myself up off the ground . . . then drag me right on back there.  The despair of losing everything . . . and the joy that came when I got it back. Every song on this album takes me to a specific place, time, emotion, person.  Baby I miss you . . . . Nigga you lost the best you will ever have . . .  Can we try everything all over . . . .

I remember when we were all excited to find out Blue was coming.  This is definitely when I became a card carrying member of the Hive.  This album was on repeat in my car.  This is my . . .  Beyonce done Grown Up, album.  She was singing about different shit.  I started to take notice.

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Beyonce

I was in a hotel room when this album dropped.  [REDACTED] Someone bought this album for me, on iTunes, because it wasn’t on Spotify.  This album is the soundtrack of my going back to AZ. Of starting something new . . . and holding on to someone I should have let go.  The soundtrack of a specific relationship, of starting it and ending it.  Of living alone, and being happy in my space alone.  These videos take me to a specific feeling of awe, that Beyonce is constantly able to do something new.  Being in awe of her talent, her seeming perfection.

 

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Lemonade

At this point, Beyonce had become a black cultural phenomenon.  We all gathered whenever something was happening. To comment, Stan, be in love with Beyonce the entity.  We had warning.  We knew it was coming, but we were unprepared.  We had just lost Prince, we were reeling from that . . . and along come Lemonade.  There was a collective sigh on Social Media as it started . . . I think i have 83 tweets for that day.

It was the Black Female experience in a way we never knew it needed to be told.  The raw emotion Lemonade evoked . . . seeing this person you’ve come to Idolize, be human.  Have flaws, have been hurt publicly.  IT was so beautiful to see the progression of that time in her life.  In a real way, without making everything look shiny and new.  And she had the NERVE to give us a remix with Dixie Chicks.  The only other soundtrack of my Freshman Year of College.  It was everything I didn’t know I needed.

Image result for everything is loveEverything Is Love

This album . . . is the soundtrack of the summer my life changed.  This album is Malachi, and #ThatNigga, and #HE, and letting go of #HIM.  This soundtrack of driving around in downtown Detroit, and random events around the city.  Of looking for a job, then studying for my teacher certification.  This album feels like once the storm is over, and you just need to celebrate.  

Beyonce finally letting the rapper that lives inside free.  She bodied Jay on every verse.  We con’t care that he wrote them, she BODIED every beat.  I love vulgar Beyonce.  She don’t give a good hell about your feelings.  She is happy, in love, and a mother of 3.  You better get the fuck in where you fit in.

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Homecoming

I mean . . . . . BeyChella was the blackest thing to happen ever.  In life of ever.  It took me back to college, and step shows.  Watching my friends introduce their kids to her, having my sandz send me pics of her son dancing when he thought no one was looking.  Watching people react to seeing it for the 1st time.

Before I Let Go . . . . The best, most blackest, most awesome thing ever.  The fact that we finally got the album of BeyChella, then she had to do one more Black Ass Thing! Take the best Hustle song, and add a bounce beat to the back of it.  We don’t deserve Beyonce. I’m just so grateful we have her.

All of Me . . .or the night I discovered H.E.R.

Spotify has truly changed my life.  Not just because it’s all music all the time, but because they have some CLUTCH playlists.  While living my best life, I happened to stumble across a playlist called Silk Sheets.

 

The rotation of songs changed every 3 weeks or so, but 2 weeks ago, there were like 3 songs by H.E.R. on it.  I got my LIFE. I was like who is this girl, who sings The Weeknd type songs . . .but better.  She was telling my life story, in all it’s glory. She knew all my secret longings for relationships.  Also, her music is an edible-influenced wonderland of sonic pleasure. {I mean, that’s what I’ve heard anyway . . . }

Sometimes I get fed up with all the games
Sometimes you all just act the same
Maybe I’m the one to blame
That’s just how the game goes

When you’re feeling alone
Everybody got somebody that they mess with on the low
Now I just want you to save me
I just want you to save me, Ohhhh

I’ve been trying to figure you which path to go down, relationship wise. It’s hard to flesh out which lane you wanna go down, when you can’t see what is at the end of the road. My need to control outcomes has turned into me not making any choices at all.  BUT THIS SONG THO!

This is a love song I wish I could sing to . . . HIM. We don’t use names, cuz we protect the guilty.  He’s kind of the greatest person I’ve ever met. He gets me.  Without having to say a word, or ask, or sometimes even call.  He’s just . . . there.  Always. Having my back, and keeping me safe, and making me feel like I matter.  I’m quite sure he would beat up a stranger if I asked him to, or even if he felt like they had done me wrong in some way. Sometimes, you the perfect person has been in front of your face the entire time . . . *le sigh*

 

The things that I would do to you with just a couple seconds
I would color every moment, make you feel like it’s forever

I’m comin’ over, so you can start undressin’
I’m givin’ you a chance to finally make a good impression
On me, yeah

Why she only made this song 1:39 leaves me flummoxed. Its the PERFECT Textual or in-person seduction song.  It’s also the song you send to the dude who has been talking Cash Shit about their sex game.  Like, I’m on my way over, it’s time to put all them words into action.

Because it’s clear I’m getting bigger
I know you visualize my figure
I was the one that made you look
At your old girl and reconsider

It’s mad intimate as well.  Because her comments in between, about her insecurities about her figure and weight, Real Shit.  It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was 27.  You can be attracted to me, but I also figure if you spend time looking at me nekkid, you will notice the changes.  So when I gain weight, I hope and pray that it’s not off-putting.  Cuz how you view me, matters.  I need you to love everything I see as a flaw, even when I don’t.

 

Yeah, I know you on the way, but now I want it I can’t take it
I’m merely tryna chill, but I’m impatient

Stay on my mind, Can’t sleep at night
And I ain’t get dressed for nothin’

I ain’t put on this dress for nothin’
I know you’re comin’

 

 

 

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Fall 2019 Playlist: Free Write

So I decided this summer, to create a playlist for the season.  Put some songs together that reminded me of specific people, places or things.  It all started at The Read Live in DC.  They were playing so MANY good songs before the show started, I had to find them and at them to my Spotify Rotation.

That Playlist is the perfect way for me to get all up IN my feelings, cuz this past summer was life changingly awesome and horrible, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  It’s always good to repeat an excellent Idea, so I made a Fall 2019 one as well.  I present, some thoughts about life thanx to Spotify.

Issa Photoshoot

Aye, I’m CUTE.

I don’t know if you knew.  You should know . . . I’m getting cuter by the day.  Shouts to My Personal Trainer.  I’ve lost about 30 more pounds this summer . . . I’m wearing clothes I never thought I would.  I set goals that would have been outrageous 6 months ago, and now, completing them by the end of the year seems very possible.

Unfortunately, with the Glow Up comes the stragglers.  Folks that wouldn’t give me the time of day 50 or 100 pounds ago.  Now it’s, “Heeeeeeeeeey MJ, you are doing so good.  I’m proud of you. You should call me.”

Why? I’m the same MJ . . . just smaller. If you wasn’t tryna drink out the 2 Liter, you can’t get the 20oz, ya dig?!?!  Also, I can’t call you. . . . My Personal Trainer doesn’t allow me to train with other people 😉

Can’t Be Broken

So many times in the last year, I’ve felt like . . .It can’t get any worse.  Nothing else could come into my life what is harder to understand than this thing I’m trying to heal from right now.

Then . . . Here comes Harder.  Some kind of way, I keep fighting my way out.  I keep clawing my way out of the low places I’ve found myself in.  That’s the lesson – You can Always Get Out.

Even though it feels like there is no hope.  You will get out of it. I know it seems impossible.  I know the weight feels like it’s trying to break your chest ON PURPOSE.  But you getting out of it, will let you know just how Strong you are.

You Don’t Know

Jill Scott made this album before I grew up.  When it first came out, I wasn’t really feeling it.  I listened, then went back to the albums I already loved. The vibe of the album didn’t appeal to where I was in my life.

A year ago, I listened to it again, and realized why Jill Scott had changed in the last few year.  She grew the fuck up.  She realized the type of love she was looking for required Preparation . . . Sacrifice . . . . SelfLessNess. Things I’m STILL trying to learn about.

I can’t believe how hard it is to try to build a LIFE with someone. To have to get out of your own head . . .let go of your own shit . . . make them let go of theirs . . . and try not to fuck it up by assuming the worst about EVERYTHING.

It Ain’t Yours to Throw Away

Look, Nashville had some GOOD ass Music.

I’ve had some days y’all. I’ve had some days where it seemed like being around wasn’t helpful to anyone else.  One of those days, I put my phone on shuffle, and this song came on 1st.

What if you’re just a vessel,
And God gave you something special,
It ain’t yours to throw away
It ain’t yours to throw away
Every time you open up your mouth,
Diamonds come rolling out
It ain’t yours to throw away
How can you hear those words . . . and not feel like God was sending you a gentle reminder?  It ain’t over yet.  Its the life I gave you . . . so only I can take it from you.  Check on your Strong Friends.

Wonder

Being a teacher is HARD.  It’s not hard cuz you have to teach kids how to read.  It’s hard because you have to Heal Children, AND teach them how to read.  Every day, some child is looking at me, hoping I can help them with whatever ails them.
Then, we all have a moment.  A Silly Moment in Class. The 1st time one of my students had Pop Rocks . . . Extreme Wonder on his face.  The Wonder in small kids, learning new things.  Finally making sense of a word, or a math problem.  The Pride on their face.
That’s why I’m still a teacher.  Giving something like that to a child.  Being blessed enough to be able to do that.  When things get bad . . . I can always remember, that I can bring wonder into a child’s eye.
That Blessing . . . Is not Mine to Throw Away. 

The Love We Had Stays On My Mind

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this blog. The 1st blog after I lost my WHOLE Heart. My whole world is different, because my Mother died.

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I had a plan for this summer. It didn’t include this. I made the dopest playlist ever {See Below} . . and made my plans to travel all over. Then . . .

Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer.

The foundation I’ve rested on . . . started to crumble. I reached out to my people . . . because we had decided we were going to just . . . Live the Best Summer Ever.

Together. Me and My Mommy.

  • Life got in the way.
  • Other peoples issues got in the way.
  • 600ML of Fluid on her Lungs got in the way.

She started saying her goodbyes. She left messages for me with her friends. Directions on how to function without her.

She was tired.

I gave her permission . . .to stop fighting. To Stop being a Warrior for me. I told her everything. My plans, the back-up plans, and the people who were going to help me meet those goals.

Now She’s Gone.

  • Moving on feels like the Worst Thing Ever.
  • Being Happy feels like the Worst Thing Ever.
  • Because she’s Gone . . . and That’s the Worst Thing Ever.

thank you

To My Brothers: Thank You. Thank you the calls, for coming, for sitting right next to me as I said Goodbye to My Mother. Thank you for the Hangouts conversations, the cards, the everything you’ve done.
To Stacey: I’m so Grateful for the way you Loved My Mother. Thank you for being ME, when I couldn’t be there. I’ll never be able to repay you for the last 2 years.
To Emmanuel: Thank you for picking me up off the ground. Thank you for helping me pick up the pieces. Thank you for being You.
To Kaitlyn, Raji, Diamond, Aaliyah, Chavi, Jo, Nisha, Dom, and Michelle: Thank you for being my Sister Circle. For answering every text and call . . .for letting me cry, and vent, and breathe . . .for the Spanish Inquisitions, Disney Adventures, and Gourmet Meals.
To The Cousins: Thank you for surrounding me with Love. Thank you for the arguments, and chicken wings, and bottles of liquor, and stop overs, and UFC Fight Nights. For loving my goofy ass dog, and checking on me daily. I promise to be around more, because If i don’t, Joyce will haunt me.

Thank you to anyone who sent a prayer, positive thought, text, message, smoke signal, edible, hug, emmisary on their behalf. I don’t have enough words to say it. So Just . . .

Thank You.

RIP Nipsey

I can’t believe that Nipsey’s death is effecting me like this. I’m not a “fan.” I listened to Victory Lap maybe twice . . . while driving to Maryland.  Not my bag . . but I’d seen him and Lauren London on Instagram and Twitter.  And they looked HAPPY.  Not the bullshit Hollywood faux Happy.  But they loved every flaw and crevice of each other.  This makes no SENSE.  Just a life, wasted.  Somebody with such drive to empower his people, doing things everyday in the community he grew up in. A whole generation of children without his .  FOR WHAT?!?!?

This probably has more to do with some news I got earlier this week. I feel like a friend just died.  His light just went out.  His son will never have a relationship with him, at least not during the formative years. I just can’t believe he did this.  And I can’t talk to him and find out.  I’m just out here, wondering how the fuck he got here. Life is CRAZY right now.

I feel like Black Folks are just at war with ourselves at this point.  Has the burden finally become too much? Has we finally folded under the generation pressure? This Nipsey shit scared me.  In Front of His Daughter?!?! The Streets don’t have a code AT ALL no more?

This summer is going to be A LOT. For everyone.  I’mma stay prayed up.  Ya’ll should too.

03/06/2019: Free Write

*Today’s soundtrack is my saved song library on Spotify*

Wonder – Emili Sande

I’ve been afraid to write this year.  Not because I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that what I feel like writing is hella personal.  Remember when everything I posted was relevant to everyone, had a kind of global feel?   When it was social commentary and satire blogs?  The past 3 years have just been . . . me.

I told myself I’m going to publish whatever comes out tonight.  So here we go . . . 

Might Not Be Ok – Kenneth Wallum

Depression is a thing.  The latest wave . . . took me ALL the way under.  Crawling inside myself  and still trying to function on 0%. The good news, I’m coming out of it.  I called a therapist yesterday, set up an appointment for ASAP. I’ve been faking the funk for quite some time, and last week just slapped me dead in my face.  Thank God for music, and friends you can be 100% honest with.

My circle sho’nuff saved me this week. 

I Gotta Find Peace of Mind – Lauryn Hill

First of all, FUCK YOU SPOTIFY. Here we go.  So I met a guy.  He was amazing.  It was amazing . . . then it was over.  {*SeePreviousSection} This song reminds me of him.  I miss hanging out with him.  Conversing with him filled a hole I forgot even existed.  I got used to it too soon.  Losing it was NOT awesome. There are more Words . . . Thoughts . . . and Feelings. . . but those will go in the blog I don’t post. 

Big Green Tractor – Jason Alden

Hilarious!!! I love this song.  It reminds me of a student I had at the Tucson JCC. I asked what he wanted to sing in circle time, and he said, “Big Green Tractor!” I was like, that’s a kid song I don’t know, which is rare.  Then he sang it . . . I was like DAMN he’s white as HELL!

I know all the words to this song.  Because I like it.  Because I listen to country music.  Because some of my friends do.  Because some of my friends are white as HELL. I grew up with them.  So I have learned to not feel uncomfortable in white as HELL situations. . . . [however If I see bikers or too many trucks, I’m Out!]

Spar (feat 6Lack & Kodak Black)

This is definitely in the Summer 2018 playlist.  Whew, I miss Malachi! I do better when I have a running buddy.  Someone who is always ready to go out, and get into something new.  I had Bono for that in AZ, and Malachi here.  I gotta figure out who that’s gotta be, ‘cuz I want to explore Detroit: The Gentrified Version. I’ll look at all the white people with derision, but I want to go throw a Got Damn Ax!

This summer, I’mma be running around in booty shorts and crop tops.  If I can CONSISTENTLY take my ass back to the gym, it’s gonna go DOWN. At least 10,000 steps a day and water workouts, ya’ll not READY. I’m going Fowling, and indoor skydiving, and ropes courses.

I’m looking forward to it.

 

*editor’s note*

Creep – sung by VINCINT 

As I was packing up, this song came on. VINCINT’s version of this song, is the 1st time I ever actually listened to the damn lyrics . . . because sad white boys do this song at Karaoke all the damn time. I tune them out, it’s usually the bathroom break.

VINCINT’S interpretation of this song . . . is me walking through the world. 

Every. Single. Day.  

 

2018: The Love Letter Edition

You Bring Me Joy, when I’m down . . . 

Thank you, for being my friend.  Thank you for accepting all my flaws, and making me feel beautiful, on even my ugliest days.  Your smile lights up my day, even if I don’t see it until the end of the night.

I Like Your Face, Loser.

You’re the Finest Thing I’ve seen in all my Life. . . 

Thank you.  I couldn’t have planned for you in a million lifetimes, and yet I know this happened on purpose for a reason. Your honesty has gotten me through some hard shit . . . and I’m forever grateful.

You Know I Got You, Right . . .

Thank you for trusting me.  It meant the world to me.  Thank you for making me understand the true meaning of friendship. If ever you need me, all you have to do is call. 

You’re All I Need To Get By . . . 

Thank You, for always reminding me who I was raised to be.  Thank you, for listening to my angst and helping me work through it.  Thank you for sacrificing for me when you shouldn’t have, and for loving me enough to do so. 

You My NIGGA . . .

Nigga, I’m so glad our friendship survived this move! Summer 2019 is the travel goals.  Passports and er’thing.  Damn the Man! Also, who would have thought OKC would create a genuine friendship?!?!

You Are My Best Friend . . . 

I missed you, when you were gone.  I’m so glad we came back to each other. I don’t understand life when you aren’t there.  I can’t picture life, without you right by my side.  I Love You.

I don’t know what I’d ever do without you,
From the beginning to the end.
You’ve always been here right beside me,
So, I’ll call you my Best Friend

Hopefully, you figured out which one was directed at you.  Thanks for making 2018 great for me!

2018: (A Series) Maybe Its Time…

If you’ve read a blog I’ve written this year, you know my life is crazy as all the hells. It’s become this thing I couldn’t have planned for if I tried. More frequently than I’d like to admit, I’ve had to stop myself and say, “This is Real!”

I had this conversation with my Blacko-Rican Best Friend, about us being ‘Late Bloomers.’ We seem to be living our lives about 10 years behind. Changing careers at 35, having major adult epiphanies right now. After we’ve watched almost everyone else we went to college with, seemingly prosper. They have great jobs, and happy families.

Yet we, just aren’t there yet. And we’ve finally accepted it. Without shame, or fear of judgement. We are becoming the Best Versions of ourselves, with the knowledge gained from 10+ years of ‘not living up to our potential.

That recognition, that we’ve paved our own path is so….freeing. It’s a weight lifted off our shoulders, that we were so used to carrying, we forgot it was there.

I dance, all the time. In public, around people I don’t know. I Sing Again…I found my voice again.

Because, the weight has lifted.

I’m not trying to get my shit together anymore, I’ve actually done it. When my car broke down, I didn’t scramble and cry….I looked at my budget and figured that shit out.

Maybe Its Time, To Let The Old Ways Die…..

I’ve lost 82lbs this year, with minimal effort. In 12 months, I went to the gym 3 months out of the year. Now, those 3 months were INTENSE, but it was just 3 months. The rest of the time, I’ve just been moving.

Teaching 6th grade, having to work around that big ass classroom everyday, I was averaging between 13,000 to 17,000 steps a day. When I lived in AZ, I struggled to get 6,000 steps a day.

I should have done this 10 years ago!

I think if I had, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

The Best Benefit of being a Late Bloomer….you’ve actually made all the mistakes. You’ve learned from them. You’ve struggled, and worked those emotional muscles….you already know you can make it through anything…because you already have.

I had to make the decision, to stop doing things the way I always had. It wasn’t working for me. I was beating a dead ass horse (FUCK YOU PETA). My arms got tired.

The minute I did something different, every single thing in my life changed.