Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anniversary of a Cult Classic

Free from school, at home, and watching Mean Girls. Can't believe this movie is 10 years old. I'm old.

"So...why is everybody stressing over this thing? I mean, it's just plastic." 

Things People Give Me #11

The three sisters who live used to live down the hall from me left another card on my door! I came back from my last final this afternoon to start packing up my car, and there it was.

The inside reads: Wishing You a Very Bright Summer! So sweet.

Thanks again Susan, Anna, and Heidi! Have a great summer! And congrats to Heidi on graduating this weekend!

Monday, April 28, 2014

"I like the way you look at me..."

I'm sick of sitting here writing my final papers and I keep turning to the Internet to keep myself awake, so I figured why not revisit one of my childhood joys? So, I present to y'all the very first CD that Ma ever bought me... From the Bottom to the Top by Sammie (now Leigh Bush), circa 2000. Sammie was the pint-sized king of the world to me back then.

My personal favorites were "The Bottom" and "The Crazy Things I Do". And who could forget everybody's jam from back in the day, "I Like It"? Ma gave me this CD as a birthday present and you would've thought she'd given me gold, I was so ecstatic. Man, walkin' around the house boppin' and singin' along to this album in my portable CD player, not having to spend days writing 20-page papers about subjects that I've stopped caring about....Lord have mercy those were the days.

Welp. Random moment of respite over. Back to tappity-tap-tapping I go...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Not like Sterling

Ma and are at a Greek family-owned pizza parlor yesterday, and they have the TV on CNN. The current hot topic is all this racist Donald Sterling crap, his slavemaster mentality, and his I'm-old-and-white-and-rich-and-I-can-have-sex-with-a-black-woman-and-show-her-off-as-arm-candy-and-use-strong-black-men-to-make-me-my-money-by-playing-basketball-and-make-even-more-money-off-of-black-people-as-tenants-but-I-don't-actually-like-black-people-and-don't-want-them-coming-to-my-games-because-associating-with-them-makes-me-look-bad BS.

Ma and I are watching, shaking our heads like Another one, really? Yesterday it was that crazy rancher and today it's this one? That's a shame. Still can't get no respect in this country, apparently. And the white girl who's been ringing up orders and wiping tables notices and kindly asks, "Would you like me to change the channel?"

I love it when white people try to be considerate in the right way like that. We declined but I still appreciated the polite gesture. A white person actually caring if we feel comfortable in a public place? Go figure. Go 'head on, white girl! Thanks for your consideration.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sessions with Sue 15

Yesterday's was our last session until I return to school in September, and in a bittersweet way it was fitting to end our last session with the same topic that we'd started our very first session with: my dad. Something happened during a phone call with him Thursday that really upset me. I won't get into the details, but basically for the past week he's had the opportunity to come up here and see me and couldn't be bothered to do so. Before I continue I must make two things very clear: 1) I don't miss my dad at all, not one bit. In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when I ever truly missed him. 2) I wouldn't have been the least bit overjoyed if he had come or offered to come, and to be honest I probably would have been annoyed that he'd interrupted my preparation for the obstacle course that is finals week. For me, it's the principle of the matter. This man told me in his own words that he was having a week-long stay in a nearby state, had taken a day to travel to another nearby state to visit his family, and "probably should've" come to see me too, but didn't. And what's worse is that he said this as an afterthought during our conversation, not as if he actually regretted it. This hit me hard, because it was yet another reminder that things haven't changed. It hurt the more that I let it sink in, and the old toxic cycle of thought resurfaced in my mind:

Other people and things matter more to him than you.
You don't matter to him.
You don't matter.

On numerous occasions and in various ways  my dad has treated me in this manner, and up until recently I have always blamed myself and been incredibly saddened by it. But this time, though I was disappointed and upset, I was also angry. Indignant even. Like, How dare you?! I am nobody's afterthought, thankyouverymuch! Do you have any idea how awesome I am?! What makes you think you can do this to me?! So during our session yesterday, Sue and I ended by talking about this phone call and how it made me feel:
  • Your dad doesn't see you because he's probably a narcissist, and narcissists only see people as a reflection of themselves. They don't think about other people or their feelings. He's probably not even aware of what he does or how it makes you feel.
  • This is a wound that will linger; the hurt will probably never go away. But as you recognize that it's on him and not you, it will gradually have a smaller and smaller impact on how you react to him and how you feel about yourself.
  • And then maybe one day you'll be able to tell him how you've felt all these years, without being afraid that he'll get mad and yell at you.
  • In reaction to his hurting you, you've been able to move from devastation and self-blame to anger and indignance. That's progress. And you're right. How dare he? You just keep being awesome, and he'll just have to miss out.
  • You've been able to make steady progress in such a few months because you were ready for this process. You needed it. You did the work, Sue just guided you along.
On a much happier note, I am so grateful to Sue for working with me all these weeks. I know she said that I was the one who did the work, but I don't think I would've been able to make it as far as I have without her support. There are tons of therapists and counselors out there, but I honestly believe that God placed Sue in my path because she was the one best suited to specifically help me through my issues. I still have a long ways to go, and I am a little concerned about not having someone to talk to during the summer the way that we have. But I do know that I've been able to peel back quite a few old layers and equip myself with new habits and ways of thinking that will propel me forward. I can't thank you enough, Sue. You've been one of the greatest blessings! See you in September!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Now that the buds are starting to bloom and flourish, everyday I greet the magnolia tree that stands behind my building as I make my way in and out the back door.

I approach slowly and stand under its branches, silent. I am awed by its strength and fragility, humbled by its presence and beauty.

I get close to eye the flowers and say to them in my heart, "You've arrived! And look how nicely you've grown! We worried you might not make it this year, but you've come in your own time."

To the fully-bloomed flowers with their white petals and green and pink centers, I say, "You are so beautiful. Thank you for showing up and letting us see you."

To the flowers that are just peeking and pushing through their buds, I say, "You are on your way. I wonder what wonders you're holding inside. When you open, may the world open with you."

And to the buds that are still green, I say, "Not yet? That's okay. Take your time and come out when you're ready, because we want to admire your fullness!"

These magnolias smell like warmth and sweet and softness. They make me smile. I stand under this magnolia tree and I think, what a beautiful thing that God has made. How can something be so beautiful just by being there?

I greet the tree. I greet its buds and flowers. I show gratitude to an inanimate, yet no less living, thing. Because it is living and thriving on its own, and I'm able to witness the process.

Great job, Tunnel!

As I mentioned the other day, Tunnel of Oppression 2014 was a HUGE success! It was great coming back to the show after two years. I had a fantastic time and it was incredibly humbling and awe-inspiring to see how our words and our passion were able to touch so many people. Not just touch them, but also make them recognize and discuss issues/experiences that people usually wouldn't. After all, that's the whole point of the show! Here's a picture of most of the cast and some of the writers after the final show on Thursday night (thanks, Gracie!). I wasn't there because I could only be there on Wednesday, which is why you unfortunately don't see my face among all these bright and shining countenances.

Thanks so much for all your love and hard work, everyone! It was a joy meeting and working with all of you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Kentucky Derby" my behind

So the caf in my dorm calls itself trying to have a Kentucky Derby-themed dinner, but the greens are too sweet, the sweet tea doesn't taste right, AND there's no derby pie?!? Not impressed. If only Grandpa and my Louisville fam were here to show folks how Kentucky really does it.

You see how they do us?

Correction: The cornbread was actually pretty good. Props to them for getting at least one thing right. And the red-and-black decorations were nice. Still not impressed though. If you're going to give Louisville or the state of Kentucky recognition, then do it right.

Sums me up.

"Nah, she's being modest. She downplays stuff, so when she says something [about herself], really you have to add like 20 points." -Esse

 (to my other friend Nyasha. On our walk to class this afternoon, the two of them were lecturing me on how I don't give myself enough credit)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"You are the only You"

Truth from Ralph Paulk, an awesome slam poet, an intelligent and hard-working brotha, and one of the wisest young people I've ever met. He posts things like this at least once a day, so if you're on Facebook please look him up and be inspired!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Put Your Creativity to Use!

"That's good, we'll have to get you an Oscar! But seriously. You gotta keep it up, though. That there can be an opportunity to hone your skills for later on. No tellin' what it could lead to."

-Grandpa (in response to my news about how well Tunnel of Oppression went and how I wrote a scene for it)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Back on Insta!

Today I finally took a long look at Instagram again, and was pleased to find that I hadn't really missing anything. Of course there are so many beautiful and inspiring things to see, and so many connections and insightful words, and so many people's lives to try and snoop around in! But taking a break has allowed me to realize that I don't really need all that like I thought I did.

I'll probably still spend a few minutes scrolling through every now and then just to distract myself or keep myself awake during those late nights studying or writing papers. But glory be to God that I no longer feel like I need Instagram to survive! And glory be that I can now look at those images of people and what they have and not immediately feel like they're better than me! Lent this year has taught me that comparing myself to others does not serve me, and that certain distractions are only so good as long as they don't take over your life in harmful ways.

 So here's the picture I would've posted today, if I could've been bothered. #nofilter #HappyEaster :)

Ma and me, before and after.Been going 21 years strong with this lady!

Update (4/24)- Changed my mind and posted this pic as my first #tbt ever. I'm getting back into it slowly, haha.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I'm trying.

It hurts a little each time I hear or read nice things that people sometimes say to me. It really makes me uncomfortable. Because I just can't believe those things to be true. At this point in time I can't own those good words; I am not yet fully convinced that I deserve them. Often I feel bad that those kind souls are wasting their words on the wrong person, because who they think they're talking about and who I really am are two different people.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Notes from Pharrell's interview with Oprah

"Life is a lesson. It's a series of adjustments... You can't be afraid to dream." (when talking about The Alchemist and how the universe has worked in his favor)
"You should not find confidence outside your mirror. Why are you sharing your delusion?"  (when talking about the controversy over his G I R L album cover and what he calls "the new black")
"What's not real are the things that you can't take with you." (when talking about what's real to him and what matters in life)

On Repeat: "La La La"

Heard this gem on the radio during my drive home yesterday and I was so captivated by it! I haven't heard anything like it in a long time, if ever. Oddly enough though, it felt really familiar as if I'd heard it many times before. The song's style and lyrical content are not what you'd typically hear from American artists, so I wasn't surprised to learn that it's European. "La La La" is by a relatively new British producer called Naughty Boy, with vocals by English singer named Sam Smith. What impresses me so much about this song is that while EDM, it's also soulful, and the lyrics are surprisingly profound! I can listen to it without wanting to bang my head against a wall (sorrynotsorry to any EDM fans reading this). The lyrics speak of needing to drown out the toxic words of a controlling partner who thinks they know everything and can never seem to shut up:

I'm covering my ears like a kid
When your words mean nothing, I go la la la
I'm turning up the volume when you speak
'Cause if my heart can't stop it,
I find a way to block it, I go
La la, la la la la la na na na na na

When I checked out the music video I was shocked to find that it came out in April 2013. I'm hopping on the train an entire year late! Directed by Ian Pons Jewell and shot in Bolivia, the music video is colorful yet weird and confusing in a highly effective way, blending the Wizard of Oz and the legend of El Tio and adding a modern twist. I say highly effective because it seems to have increased many people's cultural literacy in a way. "La La La" currently has over 286 million views on YouTube, and many viewers have been looking up information on what its meaning is supposed to be. And now, millions of people are vaguely aware of El Tio/Bolivian myths who hadn't given a thought to it before (myself included). The song and video are practically perfect. Job well done to Naughty Boy, Sam Smith, and Ian Pons Jewell!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

When I see tour groups on campus

Now that spring is here and it's finally warming up, I pass by more and more campus tour groups on my way to classes. Every time I see them, I scan the fresh faces of those high schoolers accompanied by their parents and I want to yell, "NO! DON'T DO IT! IT'S A TRAP! IT MAY LOOK BIG AND PRETTY AND EXCITING BUT IT'S A TRAP! DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL AND FULFILLING WITH YOUR YOUTH WHILE YOU STILL CAN!"

But then I think, who am I to disturb the hopes of those kids like that? When I was in their position three or four years ago, I was in excited awe when I first visited campus. I had all these fantasies and ideas about what being in college would be like. There were so many possibilities! I felt like a new life awaited me here. And then I got here... and I was disappointed in a number of aspects. But even though these haven't been "the best years of my life" like people always said they would be, I have grown so much as a person that I hardly even recognize my highschool self when I think about her. Yeah, the disappoints and frustrations came, but they came to me in my own time. Those were my own experiences that I needed to have. And these kids need to have their own too.

So welcome, high schoolers. Prospective freshmen. Maybe I will see you around next year. Just know that if you ever feel disillusioned, angry, or afraid because college isn't what you'd hoped it would be, know that there are literally thousands of us around you on this campus who have felt the same way.

Cups and Magnets

First it was all the plastic kiddie cups from all the restaurants and fast food joints that we used to go to when we were a family of three...

...And now it's the refrigerator magnet from my favorite TV show when I was in preschool. Loonette and Molly from 'The Big Comfy Couch' no longer grace our fridge. This was the first thing I noticed when I arrived home an hour ago, and now I'm a little upset.

Parents are very tricky people. You listen to them (most of the time), you go to college and do well like they tell you. Then when you come home, what do you find? Little by little, representations of your childhood have been thrown away. You are shocked and confused, and explain to them why this bothers you. And they don't really get it, but to shut you up they assure you that they won't do it again. And then they what? Do it again.

"They're just cups. It's just a magnet. How was I supposed to know that they meant something to you?" Uh... like you couldn't have asked? Couldn't have run it by the childhood owner of those seemingly unimportant possessions before you tossed them? You can't speak to somebody first?

I don't care if I'm being silly or ridiculous or too sentimental right now. I'm in a quarter-life crisis where I feel this overwhelming pressure to figure out the rest of my life, and sometimes it's nice to have my childhood memories to fall back on. But my things keep getting thrown out and I'm sour about it.

Monday, April 14, 2014


This Wednesday (4/16) and Thursday (4/17) TUNNEL of Oppression is going down! Featuring performances by  a number of my fellow passionate, artist students whom I've grown to love and respect. Also featuring scenes written by my new writer friend, the incomparable Kristian Gore ("Red"), myself ("Excuse Us") and other MSU students/alumni. 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm both days in the Multicultural Center (2nd floor MSU Union). This is a play about injustice that you don't want to miss! Come see the show and bring friends! See you there!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sessions with Sue 14

Friday's session felt a little uneventful for me, just because we didn't really talk about anything new. Of course I updated her on the past week's happenings in my life, but nothing monumental had happened and I didn't really have any major "A-ha!" moments during our conversation. So it was just ok. Still, as always, it's nice just to talk to someone. And Sue mentioned that I was less tearful this time than she'd seen me in weeks, and that was great to hear. My notes, as usual:
  • Maybe your presence means something to someone. Maybe your purpose is to bring something to someone else. Think about next time you "don't feel like" going somewhere or doing something amongst people.
  • You initiated a conversation with your dad in the first time in over a year and that's good. Some times it's wise to gradually let someone in and give them a chance to prove that they've changed.
  • You don't have to figure out your whole life right now. You just need to decide your next step.
  • You are becoming more grounded in what your life is; trying to take things one day at a time.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I am Karyn, too.

No one has any idea how many times in the past I'd contemplated doing what Karyn Washington has unfortunately resorted to. She could've been me.

Her story has reminded me that you never really know what someone else is going through. And as black women, we hide it all too well.

Rest in Peace, lovely. It's a shame I hadn't heard of you until your passing.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tunnel of Oppression: Last Lines

"And when it finally does happen, all we do is ask why."
"Oh, and remember to breathe..."
"And they keep... piling... up..."
"I am not my disability!"
"To know and love ourselves and each other."
"No one but I can tell you who and what I am."
"There's no room in the budget for that..."
"I don't want anyone to feel the way I do."
These are the last lines from the scenes of an upcoming play about injustice called Tunnel of Oppression. All of the pieces are written by students, including yours truly. Can you guess which one is mine? Can you guess what each scene is about?
Tunnel of Oppression will take place on Wednesday April 16th and Thursday April 17th, at the Mosaic Multicultural Center (2nd floor of the MSU Union). Shows are at 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm each night. Come to experience it once or multiple times, just don't miss out. These stories need to be heard by anyone and everyone. "THIS IS NOT OKAY!"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Focus on what you DO have."

The above quote is from a conversation that I had with an advisor yesterday. Then I saw this today and I don't think it's a coincidence.

Where's the Compassion?

A really disgusting group called Genocide Awareness Project is on my campus today, assaulting people's eyes with their graphic and hateful images. I just don't understand how people can be so devoid of compassion. I feel like I've been violated.

But never mind me, there are thousands of women here at MSU. You don't know how many of them have had abortions, what their motivations or circumstances were, you don't know anything. Yet you shame them and equate their actions with genocide? Really? I just don't get these people. May God have mercy on their souls.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Today = First Day



Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Our People

Being at the MSU Grammys on Friday reminded me that,

There's nothing like when black people get together.

There's nothing like when young and vibrant black people get together, doing what they want to do, saying what they want to say.

There's just nothing like us.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Sassy Girl*

*props to any K-POP/Korean cinema fans who get this reference

Today was a great day at the animal shelter for three reasons:
1) The weather was absolutely beautiful
2) The trails were finally clear of ice and snow
3) I met this lovely dachshund mix named Sassy!

Giving the side eye to passersby
Sassy is very energetic and full of personality, but she really only gets "sassy" with other dogs. With humans, she's a total lovebug. The first time I walked into her kennel, I sat down and she waddled right into my lap and wouldn't budge. I sat with her like this for a while, took her out for a walk, and then came back and sat with her in her kennel some more. As a self-assigned dog walker I try to walk as many dogs as possible during the short time that I'm there, so on a good day I can work with up to 5-8 dogs. Today I only got to 3. I walked two, and then I got to Sassy and I ended up spending so much time with her that before I knew it the shelter was closing. She was just so trusting and adorable that I didn't want to leave her!

Now of course I have breeds that I prefer to work with (hounds and bulldogs/pitbulls), and I take to some dogs more quickly than others when I meet them. But for some reason I get especially attached to the overweight dogs I meet at the shelter. First it was Girdie, and now it's Sassy (who weighs about 50 pounds). Maybe it's because I'm overweight too. It's more than just finding them cute or giggling as I watch them waddle. I see them and think, I feel for you. You might get overlooked because you're not as trim as the others, but pay that no mind. Someone is going to see you and love you and take you home. Until then, we're in this together! I just can't help it. I want to rub them and hug them and walk them and let them know that their chubby bodies are loved as they are.

So yeah, Sassy's my new favorite! I would love to play with her again next week, but I'm also hoping that she'll find a nice forever home between now and then so I won't have to. If anyone's interested in adopting her, you can find her information here.

Update (4/9)- Sassy got adopted yesterday! Enjoy your new home and your new family, lovebug!

More Grammy Pics

Thanks for these, Irene!

We Did It!

Tonight (Friday night) was our first stage performance, and it was a success! Hilena and I were singin', our friend Irene (Ivy) was playin', and all of us had a great time. Looked good while doing it too, as you can see.

For me, this occasion was extra special because my mom and my aunt from Indiana came to watch and support us. In fact, you have Ma to thank for recording the video below. Thanks, Ma!

First of February + Irene Li + MSU Grammys = So much fun! I'm blessed to be able to perform with such beautiful people! Awesome job, y'all! FoF originally formed to prepare for this event, and it's amazing to see how it all came together. I am so proud of us!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sessions with Sue 13

Having not met in two weeks, we talked about a number of things today so it's hard for me to pick a theme for this one. I guess if I had to, it would be growth:
  • You've managed to bring yourself out of a really dark place and you're showing tremendous growth.
  • You're getting so much better at accepting yourself as a person who makes mistakes and takes risks with no guarantees.
  • Receiving and accepting compliments. You need reminding that you really are as good as you are!
  • This band probably means different things to you and Hilena. Maybe it won't last long. Maybe this will have been just a practice run meant to allow you to be comfortable singing in front of people and to embrace your passion for music.
  • You might have to start over sometimes, and that's okay! Everything doesn't have to be all good the first time.
And much to my relief, after expressing my reservations, we agreed to table the idea of medication for now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pain is a Part of Life

"Even people with good judgement can be fooled.  You can't protect yourself from getting hurt all the time. That's just a part of life." -Ma

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


First of February will be performing in the MSU Grammys THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 4TH! This is for real, not an April Fool's joke! We're not playing with y'all! Come check us out and enjoy some great talent!

Wack April Fool's Day

It's April Fool's on Facebook and everybody's like, "I'm in a relationship", or  "I'm pregnant," or "I'm engaged." Just. so. original. I. can't. handle. it.

Umm... I thought these jokes/pranks were supposed to be creative and clever? If not that, can they at least be funny? What's April Fool's without the funny?

Somewhere along the way people confused good humor with shock value, and it's just not doing it for me. Maybe next year.