Tuesday, September 30, 2014


So, my friend Kristi is a singer. Like a for-real for-real up and coming singer, not a closet one like me. And on Sunday she released this really smooth single "Colorblind" in which she croons about her experiences as a young biracial woman. Basically she's talented and conscious, which means we as listeners  have struck gold. To top it all off, this is her very first single!

She worked really hard on this song during the summer, and it's something that's close to her heart. So give it a listen and share widely! Get your first, second, and thousandth taste of it here.

"Big Thing"

How is it that me and this guy are the same person? Seriously, how? Also, I'm having trouble seeing what's wrong with wanting to figure out what your "big thing" is. I mean small steps sound nice, but if you don't have a sense of direction (your "big thing") guiding you, then where are you really going?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lurker/Stalker Paradise

Lord have mercy, the internet is a wonderful yet scary thing. I hadn't realized how easy it was to stalk people until I tried to suspend contact with someone (which I am doing now), particularly someone who won't take a hint. Even for someone like me who isn't the most active person online, you don't realize how much you put out there and how easily you open yourself up to being read about, watched, and accessed.

Like how creepy is that?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dying! Dead!

I'm loving this! An old-school black family and a brilliant treatment of homophobic ignorance? Bravo to this show. Bravo.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Always doin' too much :)

My mom is adorable. We passed each other as I was driving into our subdivision this evening, and when I pulled  up to the house I turned around to find that she'd followed me back just so she could give me a hug and say hi. Then she went off to the grocery store as she had been originally. But then I walked into the house and saw that there was food already.  I called Ma and asked her why she'd gone to the store in the first place (and why she was taking so long), and she replied, "Well, it just didn't look like enough to me."


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kindness Saves.

"You didn't do anything wrong. Expressing how you feel is not wrong." -Ma

I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude toward anyone I have come across in this life who has ever shown me any form of kindness. I had a two-day falling out with my dad yesterday and today, and I'm feeling really drained. But what's helped me get through it is reflecting on all the people, relationships, and even small or brief moments that have demonstrated to me that there is love in this world, and that I don't deserve to be mistreated. So to all of you out there in the world, from complete strangers to close friends and family, who have ever shown me kindness in my life, even if it was just a "Hi", a hug, a smile, a nod, a few words, a prayer, or a handshake, thank you. Thank you so much. You are appreciated. Be Happy and God Bless.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Outings: Old Town Diner and Red Cedar Cafe

Old Town Diner - Lansing (19 September)
  • Lunch stop in between leaving my internship and going to the shelter.
  • Already had to park at one end of the street and walk farther than usual to get to work due to BluesFest preparations
  • Then my smart behind decided to walk in the opposite direction toward the other and of the street, passing a nearby Mexican restaurant along the way because I thought this diner would be cheaper;  I was mistaken
  • Mom n Pop; only open until 2:30pm daily; two waitresses for the entire joint; you get what you order and they don't waste no time
  • Unapologetically old school; outdated decor and furniture;  tunes that I could live without (I just can't get with country music); BUT friendly service and plenty of Lansing/Spartan spirit 
  • Veggie omelet with cheddar + hashbrowns + big ole block of wheat toast with mixed berry jelly + big ole glass of water; all for $7-something; nothing fancy or special, but not bad at all
  • Didn't think I was going to eat it all, but I guess I was more famished than I'd thought
  • Best slice of toast I've had in my life!  I don't know where they got that bread from or what's in it, but it was wonderful
  • All in all it was alright; probably won't be coming back to this place though; I'll try the Mexican place next time

Red Cedar Cafe - East Lansing (19 September)
  • Another cafe I hadn't been to yet; straight from the shelter trying to get some studying in before closing 
  • Hardly any customers here though, and zero students other than myself; the place is kinda tucked away and their goods are overpriced, so maybe that has something to do with it
  • So much to choose from! And nice staff
  • And the award for longest wifi password ever goes to.... this place!
  • Chicken Gyro + baked chips + Superfruit smoothie; was decent but not decent enough to merit the $11-something I paid for it
  • Clever sign warning parents to keep an eye on their kids
  • Sweets so tempting! Well-made and delicious-looking desserts just staring back at me; I could faintly hear them calling my name BUT! I didn't give in 
  • Not exactly disappointed, but again another place that I probably won't come back to

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thirsty Prayer

Lord, please soften my heart so that I can learn to trust and show love to others without reservation. Please show me that there is indeed a place for me in this world.

Sessions with Sue 18

Sue has a scheduling conflict this Friday and I have one next Friday, so we had this week's session yesterday (Wednesday) and then I won't see her for another two weeks. This session was another difficult one for me, as I talked about my disappointing weekend, similarities I recognized between my life experiences and this mess, uncertainty about my future, and fears and doubts that impede me from doing what's in my heart:
  • There comes a point where children who come out of difficult situations have to take responsibility for their actions and acknowledge that they can make different decisions; you choose your actions
  • Perhaps you're at a point in your life where you'd prefer to have minimal to no contact/relationship with your dad; perhaps you would prefer interacting with him as you would any other stranger you might come across on the street
  • Cynicism and disinterest toward (romantic) relationships; maybe for you and your mom, being alone is just more comfortable?
  • Anxiety about your future, feeling stuck or like you can't do anything
  • You're the type of person who likes having a plan and school has set up a structure for you... so thinking about what comes after it just seems like a whole in the ground that you're going to walk into
  • But, good thing about being done with school is that (ideally) you won't have so many things that you don't care about demanding your time and attention; can do what you really want to do
  • A go-to phrase that you use when thinking yourself out of things: "It's not going to last, so why bother." But such is life! Nothing stays the same or lasts forever.
  • The fact that singing keeps coming up in our conversations probably means you should start making it a priority, or at least actively have it play a larger role in your life
  • Most people can't make a living with their music; if you start getting out there and being more active, are you strong enough at this point to handle someone knowledgeable of music/the industry assessing your voice and telling you, "You know, this just isn't for you"?
  • (My thought) Am I strong enough to keep going for it anyway?
  • ASSIGNMENT: Go to the Music Building and just walk around; see what's up and what postings might are up that might be of interest (groups, singing lessons, activities, etc.)

Pets Interrupting

This had me dying! Whenever I practice yoga at my mom's house, Madison always seems to think it's play or cuddle time. Sometimes she takes the hint and gives me my space, sometimes not. And sometimes I can't even get onto my mat.


To all college grads

I just want to take a moment to give props to anyone who has ever been able to graduate from college.

I've regretted coming to school and contemplated leaving so many times even since sophomore year, and this year is making it still more difficult to take  pride, satisfaction, or pleasure in being a college student. The fact is that no one really explains to you just how soul-sucking senior year will be. It is only the fourth week of of class and the second full week, but already I and fellow fourth-year graduating seniors that I know are starting to feel the weight and consequences of this reality.

This afternoon after a seminar I was talking with two of my classmates and one of them revealed that the various obligations and pressures that she's dealing with in her daily life are causing her to not act or feel like herself. "It's to the point where I don't know who I am anymore," she said. And I feel that. I feel that so hard.

This post is not meant to fish for "You can do it", "You'll find your way", "You'll figure it out", "Everything's going to work out and be alright", or any similar oft-repeated attempts at encouragement that are directed at  graduating seniors. Those are about as useful as the "So what are you going to do after you graduate?" question, and frankly I'm tired of saying and hearing all of it. As I said starting off, I just want to acknowledge all those who have somehow managed to survive college and come out on the other side with their respective degree, a modicum of sanity, and their sense of self.

It's not easy to be pushed and pulled and twisted and stretched and squeezed through a hole like that and not lose your mind or yourself, on top of your money. I hope it has served you well, as I also hope that it will end up serving me and my fellows well. Kudos and blessings to you all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Soymilk Newbie


Silk Vanilla Soymilk is the business.

Great alternative for when I want "something sweet", which is often. Smells like I'm drinking cake, but comes without the "I shouldn't have consumed that" or "This is bad for me" -related guilt. Perhaps a dessert-less life is on the horizon?

I repeat, this stuff is. the. business.

That is all. Carry on!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sessions with Sue 17

Friday's session was kinda rough for me, just because I've been having a rough time lately. My schedule picked up last week; my weekdays start at 7am now and my Tuesday's don't end until 8 o'clock. But surprisingly I've been taking it all in stride. I haven't been overwhelmed by my schedule or the pace at which things are moving too much yet. However, I have been feeling really insecure and thinking negatively. Just constantly thinking that others are better than me for this or that reason, that I'm lacking something (or a lot of things), and that I'm not doing something (or anything) right. Like I'm altogether "still not there yet", it's my fault, and I should be ashamed of myself for it. So on Friday we mostly talked about friendship and the distorted view that I have of myself:
  • Need to get more sleep!
  • Who knows where this internship could lead? Great to be in a positive, calm, reflective environment. And, you're already contributing!
  • Insecure about how you're different from others
  • Your friends are your friends for a reason; shouldn't constantly suspect them to be insincere
  • You've got a double standard; you associate with people and become friends with them because you see good in them (not because of how they look), but you don't allow people the same credit for doing the same with you
  • When what people say doesn't line up with the distorted view you have of yourself, you suspect them of lying to you and being dishonest; instead of accepting their kind words at face value and thinking, "Hm, maybe they know something about me that I don't."
  • Radical acceptance to be who you are, how you are
  • You stop yourself from doing things that make you happy because you hold your insecurities and what others might say as greater and higher than anything else
  • Ms. Yvette's email; Need to exercise that muscle to not only think better of yourself and accept good things people say, but also to be able to remember/fall back on those positive words when you're feeling down, rather than finding refuge in your negative thoughts
  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • "Too serious"; it's probable that the problem isn't you, but your environment; you have personality traits that are valuable, but they're just not valued where you are right now

Saturday, September 13, 2014

the struggle.


12:50am. Group of rowdy and presumably drunk white boys pass by me on Grand River and go "Ayyyye!" with their hands up, expecting a response from me. I say nothing and keep it moving. Don't even look in their direction. Disappointed, one of them yells after me, "Yeah, whatever b*tch! Go home!" Never have I ever been called out of my name like that before. White boys. And they wonder what "our" problem is...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Things People Give Me #13

Below is an email that I received today from my mom's longtime friend Ms. Yvette, aka my kinda-but-not-really aunt. We were supposed to catch up and talk about my experiences in Paris during Labor Day weekend, but we weren't able to get together during that time. So she sent me this instead.

[subject: Hello from Detroit!]
Hello Ms Senior!  How’s it going?  Hate I missed you Labor Day weekend.  You know I have much to ask you about your adventures in Paris.  I was reading your blog when you were there, so I know pretty much how it went.  I could tell you didn’t like your job or your boss!  But I was so proud to read that you had a great work ethic.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too serious or work too hard.  That’s a compliment if you ask me.  So keep being serious and have integrity in everything you do.  I know you got these excellent traits from your MOTHER!

I was so worried when I read you were going to England to visit your friend.  I emailed Miriam and she told me how you text her when you left, when you got there and when you came back!  I told Miriam “ you raised Danielle right”!  I’m so glad you were in constant contact with your Mom when you were travelling.  That is a sign of maturity!

I was also worried when you met that African guy.  I met a few African guys when I was in Iraq.  After they get to know you, they start asking for things.  One had the audacity to ask me to “buy” him an Ipad.  But after I thought about it, I said to myself, “it's no way Danielle will let anyone swindle her out of any money, not the way she hates to spend money!  And I had to laugh!

Hope this year will be all that you hope it will be.  I know  you are still contemplating what you want to do after school, but knowing you, you will find your way Danielle.  You’ve got nerves of steel!  I would have never done half the things you have accomplished in your “young” life.  So be proud of all you have done!  And “KEEP DOING”  I’m expecting great things from you!

Take care and God bless!

Ms Yvette

PS Send me your address so I can drop a few dollars to you.  I know you are probably sitting on a fortune!   And I love that about you!  Keep being frugal and don’t get any credit cards!

Still got an opinion on everything, still got that sense of humor! It's nice to know that you haven't changed. Thanks for thinking of me, Ms. Yvette!

And to anyone reading this, I highly recommend that you give a big hug or send a big "Thank you" to the folks in your life who encourage you whether you ask for it/believe it/remember it or not. Encouragement is hard to come by these days, so folks like these are golden!

Outings: Espresso Royale

Espresso Royale - East Lansing (7 September)
  • Been here a couple times for French convo tables last year (or was it two years ago?); but never came to study, ordered anything, or stayed a while to get a real feel for its atmosphere
  • Came here straight from church; Sundays = sleep + study; just decided not to retreat to my dorm room this time and try a change of scenery
  • Open setup, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, warm-colors, plenty of natural light during the day, right across from campus... I see now why this place attracts so many people
  • Would've tried their vanilla matcha latte but they were out of matcha (really?), among other things apparently
  • Sea Mist Sencha (yay loose leaves!) + Vegan zucchini bread
  • Spent an hour watching "Going My Home" for Japanese class
  • Spent another two and a half hours watching Letters from Iwo Jima for another class; one of the longest films I've ever watched, but also one of the most nuanced and well-made war films I've ever watched
  • Yay for "American" films spoken in Japanese! And yay for war films that don't bore me to tears and aren't simply about Americanssupposedlysbeingbetterthaneverybodyelse!
  • Cute chalkboard sign behind the counter that read: "Welcome Back! We missed you. Coffee. Study. Sleep. Repeat"; sums up my life except for the coffee part

Make Flowers

"They literally gave me sh*t. But you know what? That's alright 'cause I'm gonna take that sh*t, turn it into manure, and make flowers... You can literally make flowers out of sh*t. And everybody likes flowers." 

 -Esse, my friend

Friday, September 5, 2014

On Repeat: "Tokyo City Underground"

I was distracted watching Japanese music countdown videos this afternoon and look what I came across! It's a song called "Tokyo City Underground" by a band named Passepied, and it's pure. magic. The pace changes, the high-energy, the jazz undertones, the sophisticated musicality... it's almost out of this world how special this song is. The high-pitched singing (yes, that is her real voice) started to grate my ears when I first heard it, but now after a few listens I just find it charming. Passepied's style is very similar to that of Soutaiseiriron), another Japanese pop/rock band known for its high-pitched vocalist, mysterious persona, clean production, instrumental layers, experimental sound, and often anime-worthy tunes. However, what makes Passepied different is that they're a little more daring and willing to be seen. Plus the animation in this video is pretty cool. Check out "Tokyo City Underground" below!

Outings: Grand River Coffee Cafe

Grand River Coffee Cafe - East Lansing (5 September)
  • Had plans this evening;  came here to pass the time between my appointment with Sue and said plans
  • Couches, comfy chairs, a fireplace, an indoor watefall; makes you feel like you're in someone's study or living room 
  • Veggie "panino" + carrots + steamer w/ skim milk and honey
  • Was supposed to get a bunch of reading done, but kept getting distracted with Japanese music countdown videos; trying to get back into J-music and see what artists over there have been creating this year
  • Only managed to get through one reading for one class
  • Was about to leave but just as I'd finished packing up my stuff, a storm hit
  • Waited for the storm to ebb before going back to campus; my evening plans fell through but that's cool because by then I didn't feel like venturing out again anyway

Sessions with Sue 16

This afternoon was my first session with Sue since spring semester ended. Since May I'd been keeping a list of things that I wanted to talk about, so we spent the hour touching on some of those items. But for some reason it all felt underwhelming. As if I was just going on and on, talking about nothing for no reason. Since today's was basically a catching-up session, I don't have any overarching theme or a bunch of notes this time around. Just two things:

  • There's lots of heavy stuff going on with my family and some of my friends, but I don't seem to be affected by it. Oddly enough I feel better than I have in a long time
  • Being proactive (rather than reactive) and being more engaged about planning out my days and activities has been doing me well! One of many things that going to Paris was good for

Trees Fall

"It is my deeply-rooted belief that trees do not judge themselves when they fall. No one can convince me otherwise."

 -Lacey, this morning's Yoga Basics instructor

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Outings: Spartan Remix and Tutti Frutti

Spartan Remix 2014 - The Rock (4 September)
  • Annual multicultural/welcome-back event; I've gone every year
  • "Infinite Harmonies"; whoever came up with this theme deserves a hug and a high-five!
  • Was finishing a French capstone project... didn't get there until the last hour
  • Sun was setting, some student orgs were already packing up
  • Performance stage on one end; pretty groovy band (Desmond Jones) playing in the grass on the other end
  • Tons of people showed up! Yay for all the people I know who helped organize this event!
  • Tried looking for friends who I knew would be there but only managed to find three
  • Wasn't much going on so I left; 30-ish minutes counts as attending an event, right?

Tutti Frutti - East Lansing (4 September)
  • Walked from Spartan Remix to a nearby meeting; was in near Ivy's on-campus apartment building so I gave her a ring
  • Met up with Ivy and she gave me a tour of her apartment building, showed me her apartment, introduced me to her super cool roommates
  • Wasabi Triscuits!
  • Sweet-bitter whiffs of high quality maccha that Ivy brought from Uji last year; Ahh the Japan nostalgia!
  • Ivy and Dia were heading out for frozen yogurt with Dia's boyfriend Pedro; they invited me to come along
  • Rode in Pedro's car to Tutti Frutti, one of many places in EL that I still hadn't visited
  • Kept it simple this time around: Green tea yogurt + blueberries + Heath bits
  • Had just enough time to make our selections, enjoy our treats, chat it up, and snap a picture before the place closed
  • They dropped me off and told me to visit again anytime; how great it is to have friends in the neighborhood!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Big Question

"Good luck with that big question!" -Paul S.

All of my school friends and acquaintances that I've come across so far are in the same It's-senior-year-I'm-freaking-out-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-my-life-gahh-the-pressure-I'm-not-ready-for-the-real-world club. Every single one of them. Just like me. A bunch of us ran into each other between classes today and the conversation that followed confirmed this for me. And while I wouldn't wish senior year uncertainty or anxiety on anyone (given my current position I now feel incredibly sorry to every person to whom I've ever asked the "What are you doing after you graduate?" question), it is comforting to know that pretty much all of us are in the same boat.

Above was the parting well wish of a school acquaintance of mine named Paul. And the way he said it just really struck me. What he said was simple, but the message I heard was much deeper than that. Like we all have our own Big Question, and only we can figure out what the unique answer to our own Big Question is. And not only that, but we will all find our answer(s) in our own time. Thanks Paul.