Monday, December 23, 2013

Don't Look Back!

I said I wouldn't look back.......I did. Did it get me anywhere great? Not sure, it is too early to tell, but I have a feeling I should just keep looking ahead. Ahead is so much better than behind. Behind is where all the hurt, embarrassment, resentful, hopelessness, and inability to be strong lies. I cannot be there. I have too many important things to be do and I must continue to be who I say I am: regal, strong, and legendary. 

These are the thoughts that ran through my head in the recent weeks. It has been plenty of hell and lots of heaven. My 2013 has been anything, but predictable yet I am happy to say I have prevailed and lived through the rough parts. If I can manage to do that, I know I can conquer a new city, state, and chapter in my life. 

Like every year, my new years resolution stays the same: I wish to be an overall better person. Well, it may be an ambitious goal, but it is difficult because change is uncomfortable, stressful, strange, so many words, but easy. Regardless, I have to do it. No matter how much I want to give up and give in. In the end, God would be proud of my choice and so would the people who matter the most in my life. 

The greatest lesson of 2013 is stop giving more than those unworthy of your light. My sister, a very wise person, once told me that "You have to show people how to treat you in order for them to know. Stop accepting things that are less than your worth." I firmly believe she is right. 

It is time out for "trying." When you truly want to do something like show someone you love them, finish school, travel, write a book, learn a new language, there is no excuse, you find a way and do it. Ambition deserves a certain level of attention and focus that is much higher than simply "desiring" to do something. It takes a level of intensity that is much bigger than words, but merely actions because only actions prevail. Anyone can talk, but who is listening?

Personal growth is never simple. If it were easy, we will all be the perfect people with perfect behaviors and attitudes. Clearly that is not reality, so it takes work. More work than simply "talking." Again, you simply must do whatever it takes to prove that you want to accomplish the goal, achieve the dream, or receive the blessing you have been waiting on for so long. 

Along the many bumps and thumps of 2013, there were so many peaks. I got to see my very best friend get married in JAMAICA (see first travel blog), one of my favorite cousins got married, I got to further work on my writing, I applied for my first graduate schools, I witnessed history at Present Obama's last inauguration, became a manager, created the outline for my television show, completed 3 cleanses, back to back with great success, and began mapping out my future plans before 30. I have so much to do and so little time to achieve this, but I will make it happen because I am determined. 

I met many interesting and intriguing people especially one particular man who showed me that I have to remain truth to myself despite hearing what sounded good at the time. Thank you for the life lesson. It was not a wasted experience and the outcome will be even greater! Mounds of responsibility have been dumped on these, small shoulders, but I refuse to let it stop me on my path to legacy because road blocks are the stepping stones to success: I must embrace them. 

One day these words and thoughts will be a way of life instead of simply "hopes" and "dreams." Potential is for losers and I am not a loser, so my potential means nothing unless I fully use it for good and make my life exactly the way I want it to be. In my mind, 2014 is the year of the possible. And anything is possible once you set your mind to it. With that said, I am ready for a new year because like wine, I can only get better with time. Cheers to 2014, I welcome you with open arms. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Second Time Around

It is my firm belief that a movie sequel is always seeking to accomplish what the first film did: captivate an audience. However, this feat is rare and almost impossible to do. Most of the time, sequels do the original film a grave injustice by being bland, completely predictable, and over the top. Fortunately, there are a few films that seem to deliver the goods and recreate the magic the original film presented: The Best Man Holiday is one of them. 

Set some years later, after many marriages, kids, and career improvements/changes, the college friends reunite for the Christmas holiday weekend. Though it is not all smiles and sunshine, the beauty of their reunion warms the heart and excites any Best Man movie fans. The original cast returns with the perfect dose of humor, charisma, ensemble ambience, and tear jerking scenes that make every person in the theater question their faith, loyalty, and ability to forgive. 

With each and every scene, you are reminded why the first movie worked so well: the cast! Everything in the cast just blended flawlessly with slapstick humor, the tender moments of truth, and the hypnotizing way each character discovers a new layer of themselves. That in my humble opinion is what a sequel is all about. 

There is something wondrous in knowing that with each scene, your favorite characters from one of your favorite movies divulges of themselves, something you didn't see before. It is exciting, endearing, and the reason we go to the movies. The Best Man Holiday never disappoints because it does not stray too far from the formula for a great film: entice, invite, reveal, and leave the audience hungry for more. 

Director Malcolm D. Lee felt so confident in his work that he left the film with an ambiguous cliffhanger that begs the question: will there be a Best Man 3? And judging by opening weekend numbers, I know I am not alone in my desire to see a trilogy. When and if another film comes to theaters, I will be there, on time, with tissues in hand, preparing to see yet another extension of the fantastic cast who I grew to love so much way back when.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Horror Head

Yesterday, my co-worker stopped by my desk to chat and noticed my screen saver (see photo to left) and said, "I never imagined you to be a horror film lover." I don't blame her ignorance because she doesn't truly know me. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore horror films! Some might call it strange for a girly, girl such as myself to be obsessed with the latest slasher, gore

 infused, or creepy ghost story to hit the theaters, but it is only natural to me. My first memory of my "horrification (entrance into horror films)" was when I was 4 years old and my parents rented Child's Play. I tried my best to watch it without flinching, closing my eyes, or freaking out: I didn't last 10 minutes. Unlike most small children who would have endless nightmares and loss of sleep, my curiosity with horror grew. I decided I wanted more: more horror, more scares, and more terror. 

Sadly, my opinion of the genre has only grown with adoration. I love horror films more than any other genre of film. In fact, I am such a huge fan that I don't wait until the movie is available at the theatre: I see my horror films at 10 pm the Thursday before their worldwide, release (in the states). I have never been a patient person which is what I attribute my insane desire to see the films sooner than later. I have become so engulfed in the genre that I cruise different websites, looking for the latest horror releases to rent and watch. October is a great horror movie month. 

Consequently, I look forward to watching The Shining, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Carrie (the remake). Horror will always be my favorite genre of film. I don't why I love the thrill of being spooked or creeped out, but I do. I believe the main reason why I love horror films is because I know those crazy things don't normally happen. However, when I got my very own, apartment in LA, I got a crash course in "too much scary is not good," when I started watching real life horrors on shows like Dateline  on ID. 

These were true tales of women who were murdered, men who vanished without a trace, dead children, and so many other, creepy, REAL LIFE SITUATIONS! Now that scared me into sleeping with every light on in the house. Funny how a movie is fine, but real life is too much. Regardless of the content, I remain an avid horror fan and hope to maintain my stance on the genre. With that said, if this new, Carrie remake isn't up to snuff, there will be one, pissed horror head in Phoenix! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Place You'll Go....

I am a natural born traveler. Been that way my whole life. My father was in the Navy for nearly 15 years, so I spent many of my formative years being a transplant in new cities and places. As a young person, this can either make or break your personality. Thankfully, it made mine! My love of unusual experiences and the unknown has only grown over the years. And as I get older, I travel more, and discover new pieces of me. 

My most recent journey took place on the gorgeous island of Jamaica. I have heard many stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly about Jamaica, but nothing prepared me for the journey that awaited on this joyous occasion. It is not everyday that your best friend gets married, but whenever they do, you must be in attendance, so off to Jamaica I went!

The journey to Marcel's home country started for me on September 5th. After spending several hours on different  planes, I landed in Miami, my first stop. While there, I managed to enjoy a few bites and fabulous conversation with my friend Rachel. This was Rachel and I's first time meeting since we were technologically introduced by a mutual friend. Like most people, we wanted to hit the Miami strip and enjoy a little fine cuisine (sarcasm) and conversation. This consisted of Wet Willies and talking about our futures, family, and the men in our lives.

After dinner and the beginning of a fabulous relationship with Rachel, I went to my great Uncle's house and stayed the night. He has lived in Miami for over 35 years, so whenever I go, it is  must that I see him! We got caught up on each other's lives, he prepared a feast for me which I happily devoured, we watched a completely, ridiculous film about genetically altered, alligators (Aunt Ruby's choice), and drank rum and cokes all night: it was awesome. The night came and went and finally it was time for Jamaica. 

I could not wait to get on the plane, slouch down in my seat, and let my mind drift away thinking about all the adventures to be had. After several conversations with my fellow "flightees," the plane landed. I got off, went through customs, got a very expensive taxi ride (20 American bucks!) to the shuttle I was supposed to take and still missed it! 

Being the ultra resourceful person I am, I found a lovely yet slightly disgruntled bus boy to walk me over to the "bus station" and ride the city bus. I hopped on the city bus wearing a flirty, floral print frock, chocolate mousse and hot neon ankle strap heels, a Louis Vuitton carryon, and the curliest, blonde head of hair they ever saw: I definitely fit in.

The bus ride was unreal. The curves, turns, and twists had my stomach in knots, but I relished it. When was I ever going to be riding the city bus with locals dressed like a total tourist and completely unsure of where I was going exactly? Probably never again, so I better enjoy it while it last is what I thought. The bus conductor managed to fall completely in love with me during the 3 hour bus ride. He was actually a very nice, young man from Montego Bay who helped me out tremendously: he transferred my American money into Jamaican money and got me cab before I got whisked away by one of the many boisterous taxi drivers dying for a customer. 

After catching a ride, I managed to get to a destination that had many other Americans: The Salvation Army. Since my best friend is a member of the church, I felt at ease with the relative strangers. I became reacquainted with Marcel's good friend Steve and his new wife Solivi and met some other new friends. 

The rehearsal dinner had me tearing up over everything. The decor definitely screamed WE'RE IN LOVE! The colorful, floating candles, surrounded by crystals, bright orange and blue table cloths, and a soothing water fountain made the craziness of my journey to Kingston a distant memory. I knew I was among friends, best of all my best friend.  

The heartfelt speeches and tender moments shared between the couple almost helped ease the pain of being a single woman at a wedding as well as being a hungry one. Being a vegetarian in Jamaica is not the easiest. Many of the dishes that do not have meat still have animal stock. Plus almost every major meal has rice as a side. Though not a bad pairing, rice can only be prepared so many ways, before you start longing for the age old, safe plate: a salad. 

Being my natural self, I had to get a slice of the Jamaican night life, so we had to go out! Since it was Marcel's last night as a single man, it was more like an impromptu bachelor party. We ended up at a club that focused on style much more than dancing. Sure there was dancing, but there was much more "watching" of others fashions, lack there of, and of course body parts. Derrieres seemed to be the body part of choice to "observe." For this very reason, I almost got kidnapped for the 4th out of nearly 10 times in Jamaica that night. 

Side note, from my own, personal female observation, Jamaican men are extremely aggressive in their pursuit of a female. Whether it be grabbing your wrist and leading you to the dance floor, whistling, or creating a song that gives you their phone number, they are heavily after the opposite sex. It is an overwhelming yet empowering feeling that can make any woman feel irresistible and self conscious. You've been warned....

Whenever I go out, I have a ritual that I hardly ever break no matter where I am: I always eat early morning nosh. Jamaica was no different. There was not a Denny's or IHOP who happily served up the early morning calories to late night partiers, but there was a Pita Grill. Pita Grill was definitely the healthiest early morning nosh I ever had in my life. As we reminisced on all the damage we did to the dance floor, I munched on my curried, chickpea and potato pita wrap with a side of cheese fries (The American in me) and an extra sweet Sprite (foreign soda is naturally sweeter): IT WAS DIVINE!!! 

Finally, the wedding came. It was a day filled with emotion and deep thoughts. I thought about the countless conversations me and my best friend had over the years about our "future spouses," how we would never forget about one another, and how we would ALWAYS be friends. Now more than ever, I hope those words were genuine because I surely cannot fathom my life without Marcel Moore in it. 

I did shed a tear and I prayed right then and there that I would find someone who I felt I could not live without. It is a scary thought too intense to comprehend yet I look forward to the day it is a reality. Fact: Jamaican weddings are naturally gorgeous because of the glorious beach breezes that fill the church, the ocean is only a few feet away, and the lush greenery sends your mind into a permanent state of peace. It is surreal. 

The reception was especially great because I finally had some red pea soup. Side note: red pea soup does not actually have red peas in it, but red beans. I learned this from my uncle upon my return back to Miami. I didn't care what it had in it, I simply loved that it was vegetarian and delicious! At the reception, the night was definitely danced away and more emotions clouded the room. Mine, his, and every guest in the room who seemed to wear theirs on the beautiful dresses and suits they owned (a grown man cried like a baby when giving his speech to Marcel). 

After dancing my fabulous feet off (BCBG is the best place for wedding shopping), I managed to find time to relax in my hotel room for a few hours. Within this time, I had a mini photo session on the balcony (I am that girl), ordered a Ting (had to have one) from room service, and bought a few things online. The resort was especially fabulous. I felt like I could have gone out an found any guy in the lobby, grabbed him, and married him just to say I did so at a hotel so beautiful! If you are ever in Kingston, I highly recommend The Knuftsford Court Hotel....bellissma! 

The wedding weekend ended with a fun, witty conversation about travel, culture, and life with Marcel's friend Keith and his wife taking me back to Montego Bay from Kingston in their rental car. We had a blast! We laughed, ate some yummy fun at The Island Grill restaurant (very vegetarian friendly), got a few souvenirs, and formed an incredible bond. I will forever be grateful to them for taking me back and making sure, a single, traveling woman, got on her plane safely. The Grahams are magnificent in my book! 

Finally, it was time to get back to Miami and then Phoenix. They say, the places you'll go change you as a individual over time. This is definitely true in my opinion. Though only there for a weekend, I felt a shift in who I was before. I realized, that the adventure of a journey is sometimes the best part, money is not everything, and faith is crucial upon travel. It was my faith that allowed me to travel to a foreign country without fear of being attacked, taken, or worse. Faith is everything. 

My devine faith allowed me to see the many lovely places that Jamaica had to offer. I will carry this same faith with me when I go back which should be very soon. I love a journey, hopefully that will never change. If sitting next to a 60 something year old ,college professor at ASU who splits her time between Germany and America on the plane ride to Miami had assured me anything, it's that you're never too old to travel or have the adventure of your lifetime! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Will Remember You

It is truly better to have loved than to have never loved at all, but losing love is devastating each and every time. In the year 2013 alone, I have lost 6 people. The most shocking reality of this matter is that I have lost those 6 people within five months of each other. I lost my paternal grandpa first, two cousins, an uncle, an uncle once removed, and a lastly, my great-grandmother. Over the course of a few years, I went from being a girl who rarely lost a loved one, to losing more people each month. I cannot count the many mornings I woke in tears from the news that this relative died from a heart attack or this relative finally succumbed to cancer. The amount of stress that the human body can take is incredible. 

I have allowed the stress of these deaths to affect me in a multitude of ways. One of the main ways is gaining weight and losing focus. My mind has been so busy trying to adapt to a new job, saving money, constant trips down south, weddings, birthdays, and funerals, sometimes I don't know if I am coming over going. My faith feels like it is constantly being tested and I am failing every single one of them. 

Other than my Paw Paw's death, my great-grandmother's death was truly the hardest. This was a woman who outlived all her siblings, took care of the one's who were in poor health, raised a child that was not even hers, worked stressful jobs, lived through some of the darkest times in the country, and still managed to smile daily. During the week of her funeral, I must have cried a thousands times because I kept remembering all of the beautiful moments I had with her. I remember how she loved watermelon (especially the sweet ones), how she never ate out, she cooked daily, loved buttermilk, rarely drove, loved to watch wrestling, she prayed regularly, and most importantly, she treated everyone well. 

I cannot think of one bad thing I have heard anyone say about my Big Mama. She was loved by everyone she met. I recall when I was little and I stayed in Louisiana for the summer with my grandparents. My paternal grandma, my Mima was teaching sumer school and my Paw Paw would be asleep and resting for work. So, everyday Mima would wake me up, we would get dressed, and we would head to Big Mama's. I was not so happy to be there alone (my sister was still in school and stayed in Atlanta with my parents), but Big Mama made me feel ok. We would watch wrestling, eat biscuits, bacon, grits, and eggs for breakfast, clean up (what little I could do), and when I was sleepy, we would nap together. 

The feeling that remains with me to this day when I think of her is: comfort. I always felt love, acceptance, and comfort. I always knew I could get a warm, (fattening), delicious meal, a hug, kisses, and a slap on the butt (she always did that). I never knew anything different. My Big Mama was simply awesome. I used to marvel at how she took in so many people and took care of them. I wish I had an ounce of her kindness and generosity. I know she is no longer with us, but I would like to think I learned compassion from her. I hope to always carry these memories, lessons, and moments with me for  the rest of my life. Yeah, I don't want to cry anymore this year, I just want to remember the people I lost in the best way possible. That makes me happy. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wedding Season!

I absolutely love the mere thought of love. It is a dream state I wish to never awaken from. With all the beautiful Facebook posts and wedding invitations, I get caught up in a wedding coma. Lush pinks, crisp white shirts, breathtaking bouquets, and mouth watering cakes: I love it all! As my sister is celebrating her best friend's wedding in Kansas City right now and I wait exactly one week to enjoy my cousin's wedding in Dallas, I slowly become hypnotized by the beauty of love. These are the moments I most cherish most as a girl!

Wedding season is not only exciting, but it is eye-opening. It makes you realize that what life is all about: becoming one, a union to never part. I read a story this week about a man and woman who had been married for 75 years and died one day apart. What a life to live! While they were still very young and active, they had never spent more than a day apart from each other their entire marriage! This was so incredibly beautiful to me! I remember thinking, I want this kind love. 

As I see all the fabulous engagement announcements, baby pictures of a couple's first child (my manager), and the wedding photos from the "big day", I realize one thing and one thing only: this life is not meant to live alone. Yes, you can be single and live a great life, but is much greater when you have someone to help you live it to your fullest potential. That is truly what life is all about! I cannot wait to see what the upcoming weddings bring, especially my best friend's big day in Jamaica rapidly coming up in September. I can hardly wait to be red-faced (from crying) and emotional from the greatest man I have ever met joining his wife as one. Crying as I would be truly glorious!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New You

Every now and again a person so gets so burned out they need to reinvent themselves: find the new them. The new you is actually not new, it has always been there, you have just been to busy to pay attention. You have either been working the many jobs you have throughout the year or raising kids, or attending school. No matter what the reason is, never let the new you suffocate. I had to learn this lesson the hard way.

Roughly one week ago, I had a full blown panic attack on the way to my second job. I pulled over and could not breathe for what seemed like an eternity (really it was 3 minutes). I cried profusely and asked God to help me because I was clearly not seeing straight and was lost in the shuffle. I had just left one job and started a new one. The new job seems promising, but with any new job is a certain level of anxiety. That anxiety can often get the very best of us: it certainly got the best of me at the very moment. 

I had a decision to make: was I going to let the stress of adulthood and confusion of what direction to go, get the best of me? I decided the day after that I was not longer going to be a victim of my own excuses. I am going to get back to cooking, working out, writing, traveling, and just LIVING FOR ME! I need to stop and smell the roses. No more double shifts for my two jobs, I will eventually get to where I want to go, but I cannot rush anymore. 

It is time for some major changes in my life and it starts now! Starting July 1st, I am juicing for 2 weeks and eating raw. I am going to try my best not to eat processed or fast foods for the month. I want to reinvent my soul as well. I have committed to going to church at least twice a month. I am going to take small trips to little, local places like a theatre I've never been to and I am going to start hiking. It is time out for excuses and time to start thinking about investments. They say, you only get what you put into something. It is time to put more energy and focus into Oriel, so I can truly be content. After all, that is all any of us wants in life anyway! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Healing Process

A vacation is usually a break from the monotony of your regular work week. For me, my recent trip to Vegas was more than a mini vacation, it was the beginning of the healing process for me and many others. After the unexpected death of my paternal grandfather, my sister decided we needed to cease every opportunity to live a full life. Vacations, traveling, and loving our lives is essential, so she planned a trip to Las Vegas for Memorial Day weekend. I initially was against the idea as Vegas and I have a terrible history: the first time I went it was on a whim and I was completely broke and the second time, I was with a large group of people with varying personal situations going on. Each trip prior to my most recent one was filled with fights, cattiness, anxiety, and bad feelings, but this trip was (pleasantly) surprisingly different. 

My sister, my cousin and her sister, and my aunt all headed down to Vegas for some R&R. The hoards of half naked women, salivating men, and over priced EVERYTHING made those old "Vegas feelings" return, but it did not last long. After checking into our lovely hotel, we let our hair down with a few drinks, laughs, and slowly started to make memories that will last forever. Most people look at Vegas as party city with plenty of chances to have wild and raucous moments with strangers you will most likely never see again. For us, Vegas was the beginning of a long process of healing and bonding that we all desperately needed. With my sister and I having just lost our beloved grandfather and my cousin's having just lost their beloved mother, it was nice to not think about those painful realities for a short while. 

I got to (briefly) bond with my cousin who I have not seen in over a decade and continue to form fabulous memories with her little sister who I see more frequently. 2013 Las Vegas marked yet another wondrous vacation with my aunt who is back in school and working on bettering herself educationally. Despite the many emotional and traumatic experiences she dealt with as a young girl, she has finally found her place in the world and is working on her degree so she have a fabulous future for herself and her children. The trip was so many things: hectic, frustrating, hilarious, and calming, but most of necessary! Every single red-blooded, human being on this earth needs a break from the harsh realities of daily work and family even if it is just a day away from home (stay cation) it is necessary! 

Right before I took the trip, I was feeling pretty low. Stressed from the daily hustle and bustle of life and worried about my future, the last thing I wanted or needed was a Vegas no less. Had I not gone on the trip, I would never have these memories, these awesome memories that will last us a lifetime. The high rollers, excessive line waits, pretentious club attitudes of Vegas doormen, and the overly expensive drinks only means one thing: I will not be returning to Las Vegas until NEXT MEMORIAL DAY!  Until then, the memories of Lil Veggie, Thickums, Auntie, Janee, and Heather will live on. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Love Thy Garden

            "In life, it is better to be a gardener and not a mechanic."-Ashley Balley Smith

This motto is one that every human should adopt because it breeds the type of life that is truly marvelous and fulfilling. A life where a person can continue to flourish and not have to break down to be built up again. A life that is far from what every human knows because hardly even of us follow this method of living. For nearly 23 years, I surely didn't. I completely took my body for granted and forgot that it was indeed my temple and only I am responsible for it. Being a mechanic is a tough job: they get paid terribly, work outrageous hours, and often times feel drained. A gardener has a far more relaxing, tranquil, and intriguing job because they are directly responsible for growth and creating new life in the form of a plant. Even the second description sounds more appetizing.

I have learned to adopt this motto and in doing so I have made some incredible changes. I allowed my curiosities to get the best of me and began to do acupuncture treatments. The main reason I was hesitant  was because of my needle phobia. I prayed about it for months and after going into mechanic mode and stressing over my always ailing throat problems and my very first (horrific) sinus infection,  I decided to seek assistance else where.

My good friend Ashley, who is studying Chinese medicine, administered my first acupuncture session. It went beautifully! I must say, the invasive and incredible shock therapy made me realize I was failing at something very important: taking care of myself. It is not enough to just look good. You have to feel good internally to look good externally. I believe these acupuncture treatments have taught me much more about my body than any Western doctor and prescribed drugs. It taught me about how vital consistency is.

Along with all my new and improved ways of living, I fell first in massages. I actually got my first one a few weeks ago and I was nearly put to sleep! It was the relaxation, comfort, and happiness I needed wrapped up in the hands of a totally unassuming, gentle-voiced, young woman. As I lay there (initially) thinking about all that was wrong in my life and I got to commune with myself. I prayed diligently that God would relinquish the negative in my life and replace it all with positive.

Through massages, acupuncture, hair cuts, and many other small yet significant changes, I have mastered the art of self preservation. I have traded in my cute dresses for treatments of acupunctures. I am eating blood rich veggies, and starting to work out more. I have finally accepted that though I do not have a "green thumb," I do I have a responsibility to myself to water my garden, give it lots of love, sun, and appropriate attention. Thank you Ashley for opening my eyes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Only the Beginning...

Some people go to church for Easter, others host big dinners with family, me...I go to Six Flags. I know it sounds a bit wacky, but I have been doing this for the last five years. It all started the Easter of 2007 when some classmates from college decided since we do not have family in Los Angeles that we would enjoy a rather unconventional Easter at a theme park. My classmate Nesha had her little brother visiting that weekend, so it seemed like the perfect idea! Up early and ready to go, the trip almost didn't happen. As we were dressing for this incredibly fun day that awaited us, we saw the glistening of morning dew ravaging the ground. Immediately we were discouraged, but God saw fit for that to change. The rain cleared up and we enjoyed endless roller coasters, turkey legs (pre-vegetarian days), and plenty of pictures.

After we indulged in every single thrill ride and funnel cake, we went back to Nesha's apartment to have a "nice traditional meal." The funny thing is, the meal was anything but traditional. Nesha is Jamaican so she cooked some of the best Jamaican food I have ever had (sans my best friend's mother's cooking). We feasted on ox tails, black eyed peas, cabbage, jerk chicken, and tons of cornbread. It was a meal to remember and a memory I will never forget as long as I live. After that year, going to Six Flags on Easter became apart of my own personal traditions.

Every year, despite weather, finances, or personal issues, I always try to make to Six Flags Magic Mountain for a little "r & r"- roller coasters and relaxation. I managed to go in 2007, 2008, and 2009. I skipped 2010 and 2011 because of financial reasons, but I resumed my favorite tradition last year. In 2012, I had a blast with my sister and a few other friends in tow. 2013 was even better because I got to go in my brand new 2013, BMW with my new and soon to be best friend Isabel Falcon.

The trip was nonstop fun from the very beginning. After a long night of hard work at the comedy club, we hit the road immediately and headed for Magic Mountain. We jammed out to old skool songs from Mariah Carey, Usher, Brittany Spears and created some new jams for 2013 thanks to Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, and Beyonce. My bladder was doing a marathon of its own the entire trip because I used the bathroom a record 5 times. That is the most times I have EVER used the restroom on a road trip.

After numerous potty breaks, random snack attacks, laughing, crying, fighting (not with Isabel), and making up (not with Isabel), I can honestly say this was the most defining trip I have had in a while because I got to further develop my bond with someone I love and adore. I can honestly say Isabel is one of the greatest young ladies in the world. She inspires me to always be truthful, do the right thing, and she has incredible style! I love that we took this trip together because of all the adventures and misadventures that occurred and mainly because I know for a fact that she is someone I wish to have in my life forever and ever.

It doesn't matter if the weather is dreary or if I only manager to ride one coaster, I will always try to make it to Six Flags for Easter. I love this tradition because I create a new memory every year and I make new friends. Last year it was Elizabeth and Joey, this year: Isabel. Life is good and getting better. As I mentioned earlier, I fought and made up with someone. God is working on this relationship and God willing next year, I won't be at Six Flags: I will be at my one and only wedding with my future husband. I love Easter 2014 already!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Passing Through....

One thing is certain in life: death and taxes. Both are inescapable and completely stressful to those who endure them. I have always considered myself rather fortunate because in 26 years of life I have only lost 3 people that I considered to be extremely close to my heart: my cousin Detrain, my Uncle Mike, and my great-grandmother Mama Fanny. Other than that I have managed to skate through life in a seamless manner of unparalleled peace and happiness always knowing my family would be around whenever I wanted or needed them. All of a sudden, in my 26th year, the people I have known all my life are slipping away from me. First, my grandfather who I loved dearly dies shockingly fast and then my cousin's mother who I always felt was a lovely person dies from a horrible bout with cancer. Everything in my life seemed to make sense and now it doesn't. Or did it ever? 

I've come to realize that intensity of death now that I have experienced my very first traumatic death. My grandfather was one of the greatest men I have ever known and probably ever will know and he is gone. I think about him more than I ever did before. The weekend of his funeral, I cried myself to sleep every night because I knew I would never see him again. This creepy sense of unease lingered over my unassuming body as I imagined him placing his keys in the door, opening it, and stomping heavily through the house to the kitchen to get himself a beer, take off his size 16 shoes, and relax from a long day at work. 

I know I will never see him again, but his memory haunts me eternally. I can't get the sound of his pickup truck or keys out of my head. I can't stop imagining what it would be like to see him one last time to tell him all the things I never said like how much I admired his generosity or how I felt he was one of the most hard-working men  and unselfish people on earth. I just want to hug him and thank him for always taking care of me and making sure I got all my needs and most of my wants. I want to say how sorry I am that his life was not more fulfilling based on his childhood and all the responsibilities he had as an adult and as a kid. But mostly I want to say, if no one else does, I forgive him. 

I forgive him for all the things he didn't do and should've done. I forgive him for all the things he did wrong and for all the mistakes he made. No one is perfect, but I do firmly believe that everyone deserves all the chances God will grant them and I do not feel my grandfather is any different. 

Everything seems so strange now. Going back to Louisiana just isn't as fun as it used to be. All the summers filled with long days of popsicles, bike riding, hours long church sessions, fried chicken dinners, and falling asleep talking my grandparents to death are slipping away and it scares me. I don't want to forget those memories that I love so dearly and I don't want to be haunted by them every time I go home either. I want them to remain forever. I want the feelings to remain cerebral in my thoughts and emotions, but I fear that it just won't end up that way. I guess that is something I must work on daily. 

And I also must work on being more considerate of my elderly grandmother who is now a widow. Besides my father, her grandchildren are all she has. I love her so much and I would be crushed if anything happened. Even though she is being quite difficult during this painful process of healing, I know she is hurting and trying to be strong. It broke my heart to leave her in Louisiana and when I told I was going to move back there and stay with her she said, "Baby, I'm 75 years old, I've lived my life and I don't want to take away yours. Now, if you want to stay, you are always welcome, but I am not going anywhere. Death is a part of life and we are all just passing through. No one is staying. Once you realize that, you will be ok with death."

Her wisdom never cease to amaze me. We as humans truly are passing through and everyone must die. Though I don't like it, I must accept death somehow, someway. In order not to die in vain, I must focus on all the projects I am working on. I must continue to build my legacy and I must do everything I set out to do no matter how expensive, stressful, and difficult it may be. I know my Paw Paw would've wanted me to live a full life for me and for him. I surely will Pop, I surely will! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Year of the Milestone

If someone would have told me by the time I was 26 years old I would be a vegetarian teetering on being a full fledged vegan I would have said, "YOU'RE CRAZY!" Life has a funny way of working itself out because I am in fact that vegetarian who just recently celebrated one whole year of not eating any animal flesh! I can honestly say this is a proud moment for me because I had so many doubts and fears about taking the plunge. I am from the South: meat is in my DNA. I thank God daily for the affirmations and the faith I desperately needed to focus on my diet more intently and be more determined than I ever have been before. I love that about God, always on time and never late. Right before the new year hit, I dubbed 2013 "The Year of the Milestone." Not simply because we collectively as a society managed to avoid the end of civilization, but because I finally finished school. I felt like that was the start of all my major milestones in my life, but now there are so many more. So far, I attended my first ever inauguration of my favorite president, got my first writing job as a freelance writer, bought my first car ALL BY MYSELF, and I have so much more to look forward. I plan on moving to Washington D.C. this year and getting further into my craft, I am going to start my own business, I am going to Jamaica for the first time to see my best friend get hitched, and I plan on doing a whole lot of traveling. I thought 2012 was pretty epic, who knows, the year of the milestone, 2013, may be my best year yet! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The WIll to Live

One would hope the day would never come that they would see a loved one slip away from them before their very own eyes. This very phrase is my exact reality at the moment. Though my paternal grandfather has been far from the perfect man, I love him dearly and I cannot imagine my life without him. Brought up in the rural south with limited opportunities and many strikes against him (black, poor, uneducated), my Paw Paw managed to forge a fairly nice life for himself. He started working at the most profitable job in the small town of Jonesboro, Louisiana: Smurfit Stone Papermill. He worked there for 51 years and never missed a single, day of work. He dedicated his life to working hard and making plenty of money. He also owned a pulpwood hauling business and car repair shop. He was always business minded and focused on taking care financially. Financially comfortable, my grandfather failed to oversee his family life with the same great care. It did not seem as traumatizing when his children were younger, but now that they are older they have managed to understand and deal with it. I imagine my grandfather has millions of thoughts running through his head right now. The only thought I wish he had constantly was the will to live. After a years of heavy drinking, smoking, and poor eating, his health has finally caught up to him. He had a quadruple bypass in 2010 and still did not manage to work on improving his health....and now its too late. He has irreversible heart problems, poor blood circulation, and diabetes. These very problems resulted in the life saving amputation of his right leg. All my family and I want is for his health to improve and for him to return home and all he wants is to give up. If it were not for the mercy and love of God, I am sure he would. All and all, my grandfather's state of life is a constant reminder how NOT to treat your body. No excessive drinking, smoking, bad eating, or overworking myself. I MUST always treat my body as the most precious temple before it is too late. I love him dearly and want him around to see my children grow up, but if that were not to happen, I will always remember his hugs and kisses, his weekly allowance of $33.33, his buying me ICEE's and chips, and riding through the countryside with all the windows open. Paw Paw, please live because if you don't, surely a part of me will die forever. I love you. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Man's Woman vs. Woman's Woman

There are two women in this world; the man's woman and the woman's woman. A man's woman is a woman who is "team man." She is most likely in a relationship, "in love," and will do anything for a man. Typically, these women rarely have successful relationships with other women. They often are social inept and cannot manage to have positive and healthy connections with their own sex. The woman's woman is a woman's confidante. She is willing to go to any length to see women accomplish something in life. She is also respectful of the challenges and setbacks women have faced and always makes it a point to support women above all else. The main redeeming and truly amazing quality about the woman's woman is the mere fact that she has balance. She can be a true friend to another woman and love a man at the same time. She does not choose the admiration of a man over her own gender and manages to always be loyal. I have recently come into contact with a mutant strain of the man's woman in the last few months and I can honestly say I am repulsed by their behavior. It is not so much that they love a man beyond understanding, but rather they cannot find the delicate balance of  relationship/female loyalty. This particular quality about them truly bothers me because I feel like no woman should ever side with penis over their own vagina! Maybe it is the feminist in me or the fact that I have not been so fortunate in love, but I do know one thing for certain; no matter how many romantic engagements I entertain or girls I meet, I will always be a woman's woman! I could not live any other way!