Thursday, December 28, 2017

Stay Curious

I believe the mile-markers of our ‘journeys in life’ can come in all different forms. 

Apparently in my case, sometimes, it's: hair.

There’s an article I stumbled upon this past weekend — a breadcrumb perhaps — that looks into the psychology of hair (cutting it, growing it). And with a post I did in 2009, apparently I had a premonition: “Our Lids.”

But, however you slice it, here's my breakdown:



This year represented a new start for me.

After having successfully freelanced for several years, I was brought on full-time by one of my clients. I also had navigated through a personal matter. And had also been living here in the DC area for 7 yrs when I bought my first house. 

That last one turned me into a DIY nut. And I LOVE it! 

But as I got settled in to the, then, new house — and during the first DIY of mine: gutting/redoing my bathroom — I simply forgot to schedule a haircut. My pixie cut began to grow over my ears. 

And I thought...

Hmmmm, I wonder what long hair would look like? 

That was my initial thought. And so it began...



December 28, 2017, on this eve of a new journey as I look back...

I believe, unconsciously I have been making changes to more than just my house. And perhaps I wanted a visible sign of that. 
Maybe for myself as well as for others. Maybe something to declare to others, “no use going back to yesterday, I was a different person then”  (I have that message inside my medicine cabinet to see each morning).

Of course we each are changing, every day. 

But I do recall that first day when my new, longer hair was first noticed by an old friend I hadn't seen in a while. That was cool. 

The visible change was seen them, and it was felt by me.


MANY DIY projects later and I still kept my hair growing. Truth be told, about 6 inches ago, I had satiated my curiosity about what long hair was like.

Then I got to thinking. I had grown it out purely out of curiosity, what did long hair feel like? But to do all this growing then just chop it off an throw it away, just seemed wasteful. 

So I looked up where to donate the long cut hair — specifically places that would use that hair to make wigs for folks in need, but then donate at no cost — and I settled on Pantene Beautiful lengths

And in less than 24 hours from now....

5 years of growing, learning, stumbling, achieving, and even dropping 25 lbs in the process... will manifest in cutting off & donating 10"+ of this 18" long hair. 
I'm ready.

What can I say? 
I was curious.

That's always how it begins...

Back in 2000 when I lived in the south of France for a year, I had dropped my life in the U.S. to move to France. And perhaps that big of a move in my life inspired me to buzz my hair. 

I was amazing. I LOVED it. 

My December buzz-cut in January 2000; Angelina (Paris)

Longest cut I've ever had; today in 2017 (Washington DC area)

And now this ‘growing out’ has also been a cool journey of curiosity.

Calling for patience and perseverance. Two key qualities in the way I try to live.

It has also allowed me to see natural qualities and tendencies really come to life, which couldn't have come out in my shorter cuts from years past. 

Some qualities which were surprising to me. 

For example, for the first time in my life, I literally can see my own hair (without a mirror). I've never colored it, so I can see really pretty natural flecks of auburn in the sunlight with my own eyes. I can also see grays peeking in. I'm proud of those. I love the life I've lived, and that I'm living. And gray is part of that. Or will be if you don't have them yet. Haha. And I also had NO idea that my hair was wavy. Cool. Though, cowlicks, unfortunately, do not seem to be weighted down by longer hair. AT ALL. Ha! 

Sometimes we don't really know what we actually have, naturally — because we're so busy shaping, forming, or forcing ourselves into a mold of ourselves and what we want to be. But what if another way, or look, or length works better? Or is actually more natural? Feels better. Stay curious. Try it out. Life is short. Don't get too ‘stuck.’

It's just hair.

Maybe the new style (long OR short) reflects a mile-marker or new chapter in your own life. 
I know mine does. But 
I'm done. This chapter is complete. I'm ready. #NewSlate

There are literally no more rooms in my house that I haven't DIY-ed. I'm blessed to have had a wonderful year of freelance work and awesome clients in 2017. SO grateful. I have also completed a journey of getting back to good health. And frankly, with the events in our country this past year? Lord, I'm happy to chop off the locks, share them, and start fresh.

I hope the pony tail that gets cut tomorrow goes to a really special person. 

I hope they feel amazing. I hope they, you, and I will always remember to stay curious. To follow the nudges we get in life. To do the weird impossible thing, if it's calling to you. 

Does the person getting this donation have 5 years, 5 months, or 5 days to live? I hope this makes that time little brighter. We should all live like we were dying. 

What are you curious about? Well stop reading this post and go do it. 

One of my clients in this amazing past year of freelancing said, "be the light." 

Another says, "be fearless." 

Yes, and yes.

Here's to amazing journeys, mile-markers, and breadcrumbs in the coming new year.

Stay curious, y'all.

This image reminds me — do I have a flower sketch from you?

I'm still collecting.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The third Thursday in April

Today is the

Whether you will honor Prince on 4/21 or today, like me — I wish you peace.
And to Prince? I’m #SoGrateful


Why the third Thursday in April?

As a graphic designer in the DC area, I am off on Wednesdays. So, for me, it was the DAY of the week that stood out more than the DATE (4/21).

Thursday, 1:07pm (ET), I got the call from my younger sister about Prince. The news. And in the days after that third Thursday in April, 2016 — I needed his words. No news. No coverage. JUST HIS WORDS. And all of them. But they didn't exist all together in one place.

So I began gathering them up. Just for me. To listen, read, and edit. And I jammed my way through decades of every single Prince song since his first, “For You,” in 1978. The file is ‘319’ pages (if you’re a Prince fan, you’ll understand).

Anyway, it was THE most cathartic journey.

Then, later, as I was seeing other fans online feeling the same way that I did about his loss — I realized this three-week long lyrical project I’d completed just for me HAD TO BE SHARED.

So was created and I uploaded my file for folks to share, read, enjoy, and take in. As I did. A sort of textbook, if you will, from our Purple professor.

The very next day I received an email thank you from Melbourne, Australia! WOW. Could not believe it. This project was really just my own small way of processing the loss and honoring a long-time, tremendous, creative inspiration of mine. So, I was really touched that someone, so quickly, reached out to say it helped her, too.

So whether you honor Prince on 4/21 or, as I do, on the

I wish you peace. I wish U heaven. Now Dance on!

And to Prince? I’m SO, so, #SoGrateful πŸ’œπŸ˜₯

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Prince’s words. ALL of them.

“Every just so often, the words of another
...seem to work out just fine.”
— Prince

Prince Schooling

( 2004, Webster Hall. Prince & a guitar. Aired together on VH1/MTV/BET )

He kills it. He jams with the audience. And he SCHOOLS the audience.
He's SO so so good! “But all good things they say... never last.” 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We March — for P Control

By now, y’all know, that I’m a deep Prince fan.

Have been for decades. 

Since his passing that Third Thursday in April, I continue to be blown away by the inspired genius in his words and music. Even re-seeing them with 2016 and 2017 eyes. And, well, some coincidences are soooooooo strong, I wonder...

Like, today.

I was coordinating with a dear friend from NY (who was part of the kick off of my flower collecting) to meet up with her this week as she’s coming to my city (DC) for Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington...

...then, I began humming this Prince song from 22 years ago: We March 

And that song is from Prince's 1995 album: The Gold Experience


You betcha! Check out the lyrics (pg 128): We March
Uno para todos, y todos para uno (One for all and all for one) 
March, we march (Whoa, whoa)
March, we march
 (Whoa, whoa)
March, we march
 (Whoa, whoa) 
If this is the same Avenue my ancestors fought to liberate
How come I can’t buy a piece of it even if my credit’s straight? 
If all the water’s dirty and I wanna lay the pipe, my damm-y
The river that I drink from, will it be the same as your mammy? 
Now’s the time to find a rhyme
That’s got a reason and frees the mind
From angry thoughts, the racist kind
If we all wanna a change then come on get in line 
Next time we march (Whoa)
We’re kickin’ down the door
Next time we march (Whoa)
“ALL” is what we’re marchin’ for 
If this is the same sister that you cannot stop calling a bitch
It will be the same one that will leave your broke ass in a ditch
If you can’t find a better reason to call this woman otherwise
Then don’t cry, you made the bed in which you lie 
Now’s the time to find a rhyme
That’s got a reason and frees the mind
From angry thoughts, the racist kind
If we all wanna a change then come on get in line 
Next time we march (Whoa)
We’re kickin’ down the door
Next time we march (Whoa)
“ALL” is what we’re marchin’ for 
March, we march
 (Whoa, whoa, c’mon)
March, we march
 (Whoa, whoa)
Yes, we do, dig — 
Now we clarify forever, in other words as long as it takes
We ain’t got no use for ice cream without the cake
We ain’t got no time for excuses, the promised land belongs to all
We can march in peace but you best watch your back
If another leader falls 
March, we march, feet stompin’
March, we march, he said it, she said it and I say 
Now’s the time to find a rhyme
That’s got a reason and frees the mind
From angry thoughts, the racist kind
If we all wanna a change then come on get in line 
Next time we march (Whoa)
We’re kickin’ down the door
Next time we march

“ALL” is what were marchin’ for 
Next time we march 

“ALL” is what were marchin’ for
Next time we march 
“ALL” is what were marchin’ for
The fun don’t stop the bacon
That’s when the money gonna stop the shakin’
I know that next time we march, yeah 

And then.......

As I'm writing up this post,
the next song up (it’s actually song #1 on the album) was straight from our Electoral-College-appointed, President-Elect’s own crass lexicon, “P Control.”

In Prince’s 1995 song, however, Prince lauds women who overcome the men who cave into weak sexual temptation. 

Donald Trump (our next President) on the other hand HIS OWN WORDS from the 2005 mic-on interview — IS the very man Prince sang about, the BAD one who caves to temptation. And THIS is about to be our NATION’S freaking leader? WOW.

TRUMP:   Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. 
BUSH:   Whatever you want? 
TRUMP:   Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

God, bless America. ‘Cause we’re SURE gonna need it. Wow — I did not vote for this joker.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Capitol? Or Capital?

When something is hard to remember — I usually give a visual to it.
Works every time.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Glory. And, yes we can.

This is my 500th blog post.

For those of you familiar — it was eight years ago that I first taught myself to blog. Directly inspired by an incoming President (our first-ever social media President), who was using new technology in amazing and wonderful new ways to reach out to folks. Many of us reluctantly got onto FB, not understanding, yet, this need to share so much of our lives...
So. A whole lot has changed since then. But a seed of inspiration was actually planted in me much earlier, through the audacity of a random speech I heard in 2004. By an unknown Senator from my former home, Chicago. I'm listening to it now, 2017, for the first time since 2004, even as I write this. 
I was living in Florida, as an Art Director at Disney, when this speech aired live.
I was in the other room in my apartment, and was literally lured into the living room by the motivating, inspiring, passionate tone of someone... a politician? Well, this was a first (in my lifetime). And as I sat on the edge of my sofa listening to a man, whose name I couldn't pronounce... I recall thinking — no, KNOWING — “he's going somewhere. I don't know what, or how, or when, but keep an eye on this guy, he's gonna do great things.” 
In 2005, I moved up to DC after 3 major hurricanes (Charlie and others) had hit Florida.
After my move, late summer, I began work as an Art Director at Discovery Channel. My cable wasn't hooked up yet, but I kept hearing about a hurricane heading to New Orleans. I didn't have any scope of what was about to unfurl. When I saw it I was stunned. Heartbroken. And through a group at my church, we went down afterward to help and we saw the damage to the lower 9th ward. Wrenching.
Fast forward to January 20, 2009.
2009 Inauguration,
Quilt of Quotes
In frigid temps, I left my house at 3am to attend my first-ever Presidential inauguration. A VERY high bar was set, indeed. I created a Quilt of Quotes, to ‘bring’ my friends and family in spirit with me to the event. And I remember every single thing about that day.
I remember feeling the history of the moment. Envisioning old wooden wheeled carts pulled by horses over the National Mall. As I stood on the hill of the Washington Monument looking toward the Capitol. This was the song we sang: Yes we can. I remember compassion. Hope. The support of folks who came here from OTHER countries to witness this event: Ireland, Italy, Australia, Germany. Unprecedented.
Now we are eight years on.
I try to live with no regrets. “Just do it.” So, for those of you familiar with my flower collecting, whether I get one or not, I’ve asked President Obama for a flower sketch. I even asked Prince for one after seeing him in June, 2015. That was not to be. But I asked.
But another thing I wanted to do, I did complete this week: I visited the National Museum of African American History & Culture (this was my second visit, but first to the lower level/history). It was so important to me to have completed my visit(s) to this museum — before the end of this President’s term was up
That day will happen exactly two weeks from today. And lot of uncertainty lies ahead...
Ironically the quote I added to the my own 2009 quilt was: “today we are walking through the pages of our history books.” I think we will be doing that again, but most definitely a different vibe than 2009 and 2013. Like a 180ΒΊ different vibe...
With the angst of this past year, the [hidden] Contemplation room (left of the cafe, lower lever) was overwhelmingly cathartic. Like falling tears:  

But when I walked through the lower part of this museum Wednesday. To see “our” history. It was clear to me this is not just black history, white folks have to own this, too. Created much of it. Caused it. But it is our collective history — but a black history that has not been spoken of. Not included in the history books I read. It's an amazing museum — such thoughtful detail. Painful AND beautiful things. So much — TOO MUCH — that I didn't even know about. And I'm so immensely grateful that the museum is here, finally. For all to see. 
Two moments that got me, Wednesday at The Museum.
As I stood near part of the exhibit with elements from the 1949s-50s, many KKK items. I struck up a brief but powerful connection with two beautiful women. They were up here from Florida and a bit into our chat, I said, “I just wish none of this had ever happened.” And tears just welled up and fell, and fell, and fell. All three of us. Strangers. And my hope is restored, in that, as a human, a woman, and here these two black women and me, a white woman — that we each felt the same thing. Horror. But hope.
I think the unexpected moment for me, however, was there would be a second gush of tears to come.
This time I was solo. 
I was nearing the end of the exhibit, they have an area showcasing the decades. And just past the 80s (with chairs from Oprah’s Harpo Studios, the big ghetto blasters with Run DMC) was a wall of images/screens — much like our over stimulated lives. It was the 2000s.  
Katrina, Obama, Trayvon. How is this still happening. And the tears came... and it was also the power of music. John Legend and Common’s GLORY pierced in and grabbed my heart and squeezed it — then it pumped me up. 
I knew what I needed to do. 
Eight years later. Went back
to my Inauguration spot. 
I left The Museum and walked directly right to the very spot I stood on The Mall in 2009.
I recommend this catharsis for anyone able to go back to “your spot.” Fill up. Remember that feeling you had in 2009. Remember that audacity of hope. Remember things in that museum — we shall continue to overcome. And, this past very windy cold Wednesday, I stood with noone around staring at the Capitol, taking in all that has unfolded. And BLASTED this on my music as I stood in that space, with the wind blowing our American flags straight out as bold as they can fly. I love this country. I'm proud to be an American (with all our warts and beauty). And I will move forward in this already great nation.... with the audacity of hope. Keep on reaching.
God bless America. Please.

GloryCommon & John Legend 
One day when the glory comes
, It will be ours, it will be ours, 
Oh one day when the war is won
We will be sure, we will be sure
, Oh glory (Glory, glory)
 Oh (Glory, glory)
Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon
Formed against, yes glory is destined
, Every day women and men become legends
Sins that go against our skin become blessings
The movement is a rhythm to usFreedom is like religion to us
, Justice is juxtapositionin' us
Justice for all just ain't specific enough
, One son died, his spirit is revisitin' us, 
Truant livin' livin' in us, resistance is us, 
That's why Rosa sat on the bus, 
That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
, When it go down we woman and man up, 
They say, "Stay down", and we stand up
Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up, 
King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up

One day when the glory comes, 
It will be ours, it will be ours
, Oh one day when the war is won
, We will be sure, we will be sure
, Oh glory (Glory, glory), 
Oh (Glory, glory)
Now the war is not over, victory isn't won, 
And we'll fight on to the finish, then when it's all done
We'll cry glory, oh glory (Glory, glory), 
Oh (Glory, glory)
, We'll cry glory, oh glory (Glory, glory)
Oh (Glory, glory)
Selma's now for every man, woman and child
, Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd, 
They marched with the torch, we gon' run with it now
, Never look back, we done gone hundreds of miles, 
From dark roads he rose, to become a hero, 
Facin' the league of justice, his power was the people
, Enemy is lethal, a king became regal, 
Saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle
, The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful
, We sing, our music is the cuts that we bleed through
Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany
, Now we right the wrongs in history
, No one can win the war individually
, It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people's energy, 
Welcome to the story we call victory
, The comin' of the Lord, my eyes have seen the glory
One day when the glory comes
, It will be ours, it will be ours, Oh one day when the war is won
, We will be sure, we will be sure
, Oh glory (Glory, glory), 
Oh (Glory, glory)
, Oh glory (Glory, glory), 
Hey (Glory, glory)
When the war is won, when it's all said and done
, We'll cry glory (Glory, glory)
, Oh (Glory, glory)

Written by Che Smith, John Legend, Lonnie Lynn.  
Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello, 2017

Hello, 2017. Let’s do this.

New Year’s tradition: white fresh flowers.
Focus this year: clarity.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...