Lost and Found Chapter 5: Creating Freedom

Hi All,

So the fifth and final song from my five month long project, Lost and Found touches on a topic that I believe to be very essential in creating peace in our lives: creating freedom. My interpretation of freedom is synonymous with serenity and happiness. Personal freedom can be extremely relative. It truly depends on what one equates happiness to be.

I can only speak for myself. Personal freedom and happiness in my own life is derived from letting go of past experiences, learning from my mistakes, loving myself and in turn loving others. Truly being present in the moment and expressing gratitude daily. These aformentioned points become intention with dedication and conscious, applied effort.

Letting go of past experiences can be difficult. When someone has wronged us, letting that hurt go can at times feel like we are excusing the poor behavior that we dealt with. But why would we want to hold onto pain? Holding onto pain is choosing to play the victim and that is a role that once habitually taken can become an excuse for how we approach life and treat others. Well, I've been hurt, people aren't shit... so I'm going to be selfish and only look out for myself.

I'm not here for the victim life. You can choose to let past hurt craft your future or you can choose to live in the current moment, open your mind and make room in your heart for peace. You have no control over others' actions; you only have control over how you react to them. And there is simply no excuse to treat people poorly. All you do when you act in a selfish manner is block your blessings. If blessings move through an energy created funnel...you truly shut that funnel down. You rack up a karmic bill that you have to pay back.

It hurts to forgive sometimes, but there is strength in not allowing someone else's pain to become internalized. The facts of the matter are that hurt people hurt people. Recognizing this fact makes it easier not to take things personally and understand that people really are doing the best they can. Even when their best is really subpar. I always say that people utilize the emotional tools they have access to. Sometimes those tools are faulty and limited. Deciding to lead by example and not feeding into poor behavior is truly the best way to not take in negative energy nor harbor resentment. There is true strength in being objective and granting forgiveness.

Learning from past mistakes is closely tied to letting go of past experiences. Serenity begs us to realize that everything happens for a reason. We are always exactly where we are supposed to be at any given time. Ego claws at us to understand every single thing as it's happening, but serenity is humble and knows that we have to let go of that need for control. There are lessons to be learned daily; normally it is in the situations in which we are most unhappy or confused that we are provided with the biggest lessons and opportunities for growth.

There is a very popular saying: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. When we say we want something, are we actually ready for what we are calling into our space? The universe tests us to see if we are in a position to appreciate what we are seeking. If we do not take heed to the tests that the universe sends us, we will continue to be tried. So rather than seek distractions and ignore opportunities for knowledge, we must learn to be still in the moment that we are in. Once the situation has passed I feel we can look back objectively and discover what we need to evolve moving forward.

Growing and elevating to a higher plane of awareness is truly something to be grateful for. It deepens our love for self. Subsequently, when we become an embodiment of love we are able to love others more fully. It radiates from within us and attracts like energy into our space. The road to self love is not easy. It requires sticking to your guns, not becoming defeated by life's lessons but truly understanding that in order to become the most beautiful version of one's self we must be tested. When life starts throwing me curve balls, when I feel stuck...I know I am supposed to stop and pay attention to what I am feeling. I know that it is a time for growth, for a deeper understanding and love of myself.

Ego tries to fight any discomfort and blocks love of self. It does not want to see the lesson it only wants to be "safe" and at ease. Ego is serenity's arch enemy. It does not relax, it does not see the bigger picture. It sees what it wants in the immediate moment rather than what it needs. The universe is love and it calls us to realize our place in the grand scheme. I do believe that in order for our self love to be strong, ego has to be let go of. I struggle with this daily. But I know I want freedom, so I dust myself off daily and keep working at it. I do not know if it's possible to fully rid one's self of ego while still in human form, but we must try to get as close as we can in this life.

I am grateful. Everyday is an opportunity to move closer to becoming free. Truly. Because with each hurdle, we have the chance to evolve to a higher level of self. Loosen the reigns of ego and let life flow through you. Allow yourself to gravitate to what is good for you. Welcome in the positive and do not become defeated by negative situations. They are brought to you to prepare you for what to come. The best is yet to come. Life is what we make it and I hope you choose to be free.





Daily Mantra

Hi All,

I read once that visualizing one's self as a tree is a great way to stay centered within one's life. I expanded upon that thought and created a mantra that I find helps me. As with all my lessons, I hope it serves as an aid for you as well.



Daily Mantra

I am a tree. I set down roots in my life. I stand strong through upset, winds of doubt and storms of uncertainty. Unwavering in my purpose. I grow wiser, more majestic with each lesson and passing year. I am a beautiful part of something bigger than myself. I am loving and strong enough to give of myself and not wither. I am an embodiment of love and I am self-sustained. I reach my head, heart and hands to the sky in thanks for each day. Each sunshine. Each rain storm. It is through these changes that I grow. I learn. I stand firm. I am grounded.

Lost and Found Chapter 4: Struggles with Love


For those reading this you may already know: I have been releasing a five month project, Lost & Found, based upon lessons I've learned throughout 2016. Each song is coupled with a blog post to further explain my experiences that inspire the lyrics. This post is expanding upon my latest track, Never Enough. Its subject matter: love. 

I'll be honest, this particular post has proved to be the most challenging to write thus far. I have come back to it a million times, trying to decide exactly how to put into words my experiences dealing with dating and love. Sadly, dating is not my strong suit. Never has been. Never Enough was written about two people in love. They are best friends, they have each other's backs, they uplift each other, etc.

Never Enough is the one song on the project that's subject matter I have not experienced first hand. It sounds somewhat sad to say aloud, to read aloud as I am typing this; yet I am not bitter. I firmly believe that when we have a goal, we do not receive it until we are ready. Subsequently, if the goal happens to be love as with anything worth having in life, it will take time and effort. Yet I do not believe we eventually find love. I believe love eventually finds us. I think this happens once we have taken the time to love ourselves (MAJOR KEY).

In my own life, a lot of scenarios wore the mask of love but were not the real thing. This is no one's fault. I write none of this to play the victim. We all do the best we can with the emotional resources we have available to us at the time. It has not been until the last two years or less that I've truly taken the time to love myself. So many of scenarios I've engaged in and have witnessed are based upon things that love does not embody.

The first imposter is dependency on someone else for happiness. I would look to others to fill the void in my life. I would look to others to make me feel happy because I was unwilling to take the time to love myself. Our happiness is no one's responsibility other than our own. When we search to find our happiness externally, we put unrealistic expectations and demands on people. We are viewing situations behind a shattered lens; a lens not of love but of desperation. When we do not take the time to discover what genuinely makes us happy for ourselves, we settle for much less than we deserve because we simply have no clue that we TRULY deserve more.

When our love of self is not present, we cannot act with emotional clarity. We move within a space of pain; a space of fear. We then make decisions motivated by this fear and not by love. When related to love I think we mainly have a fear of being alone. Erykah Badu (love her) said that fear and love cannot reside in the same space. I do not think fear ever goes away fully in any arena. I think when we have true love of self we realize that navigating through that fear is worth the risk because the reward is so great. We have to sacrifice momentary uncertainty and take a chance. We have to run the risk of failure in order to achieve. There is absolutely no way around this.

Personally, I have never been afraid to be alone. I do not really get lonely. Frankly, it's possible that I have become so used to being by myself that I simply do not notice it anymore. I am grateful for the love of my family and friends; I have told myself numerous times that their love is enough for now. I do not notice my romantic solitude until I come across someone that sparks my interest. Then I just start floundering miserably! I think a lot of the dating advice we get these days is all ego driven. Don't text first, don't be too pressed, make him/her do this, he/she's going to do this, blah blah effing blah! All of these silly things are just ways to protect our ego. And whoever cracks first has the least control right? This is complete bullshit.

If Erykah Badu meant fear as in ego, then that's the realest statement ever spoken. If I may expand upon her wise words, EGO and LOVE cannot reside in the same space. We live in an age where we are incredibly entitled (all ego). Communication (I guess we can call it that) is so accessible that we feel we are owed everything. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, texts, etc. People are perceived to be attached to their phones. So we expect a response and conversation exactly when we want it. How egotistical is that? No regard for whether the other person is busy, going through something, or just not in a chatty mood. How spoiled is it to just assume that we become a priority in someone's life immediately, as if their life was not already moving before we popped on the scene?

I found this so draining and daunting I honestly just stopped trying for awhile. Why do I have to follow some ridiculous rules? Why does it have to be this difficult? It's difficult because our egos make it difficult. Ego says you are owed exactly what you want when you want it. This is childish, unrealistic and not soil from which love can blossom. What happened to just being one's self? Look....I just want to be the best version of me and I'll attract someone that is the same. I JUST WANT TO BE MYSELF DAMNIT.  I do not think it's more difficult than that. We have to get this idea out of our heads of what love is "supposed" to be. I highly doubt counting dates, text messages and Instagram likes is the equation to true companionship (God... is this what we've become lol).

I can only speak for myself. Everyone has different needs. Yet I do believe one thing we all need is empathy. This is where all these silly rules really irritate me. At what point do we take a moment to factor in what someone else may be feeling? Like I stated earlier, we act in the best way we know how with the emotional tools we have. Rather than assuming one thing or the other about someone, why do not we not try to understand that person? That's where that little monster called ego comes into play.

Ego avoids potential rejection at all costs. It cannot bare to feel undesired. It runs at the first sign of discomfort and uncertainty. It's fear in its true form! I'm a Leo; we are notoriously known for our egos and I will say firsthand that harnessing my ego has been the hardest thing I've done in my life! It's affected my communication skills, my perception of how love should be. If I was not being instantly gratified in a way that stroked my ego (soothed my fear), to hell with that person! Let me tell you life humbled me. Boy, did it humble me. Several times until it clicked for me. Life will keep sending you the same lesson until you learn.

Hence the reason why I am not bitter. I've been sent tests. I've learned lessons. I am grateful for the growth. I've learned that love will never be all about ME ME ME. No matter what is fed to us in these memes on IG; love is we. You cannot have a "we" with a "me" mentality. Period. Love is deeper than the amount of dates, how much money is spent, how many texts you receive and all the silly things that do not amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. Love is not a battle of wills; it's a surrender. Love is a sacrifice of ego by way of vulnerability. How can we use such minuscule things to measure such a deep emotion? It makes absolutely ZERO sense. To say it aloud really sounds insane!

Real love begins with love of self. They say God or the Universe is Love. Not to get biblical, but God is believed to reside in our souls. So if we do not take the time to get to know the love that we were created to embody, we will forever flounder. In essence we are seeking something we already have and it's been buried by past experiences, hurt, ego, unrealistic expectations. When we run from ourselves, when we are seek distractions to fill our voids, we are running away from our true form. Our true form being love.  Furthermore, like attracts like. So when we are hurting we are attracting that same hurt. I had to realize I needed to stop making fear based, flighty decisions and decide to own my future and not remain a prisoner of my past. Avoiding taking the time to love myself was not going to get me any closer to it.

I refer to my parents when I need a reminder. They met during humble times in both their lives. They met young, before they were tainted by too many painful dating experiences. My Dad was not rich but was and is an amazing man; my Mom was and is drop dead gorgeous and she told me if she would've given up on him I may not have been here. He did the best with what he had and she loved him for it. He accepted her as she was, and was not afraid to be vulnerable. She did the same for him.

They've had their hurdles. They are an interracial couple. That has had it's own set of challenges. My mother was at Howard University and my father went to the navy for FOUR years. They still remained strong(before cell phones). Money highs, money lows and everything in between. Through it all, they believe in each other and they have both thrived. They have been married for almost 40 years and have five children. I realize they came up in a different era, but what matters most really resonated then. Your word, loyalty, sacrifice, humility, vulnerability, empathy. They had to have all of these things to make it. And they have made it. They are what we call #relationshipgoals.

Nothing has changed. Look, I'm still single so clearly I have not mastered this area of my life. Yet this is what I've learned and I humbly share it with you all in hopes that if anyone else is feeling lost, they can find comfort in knowing we all deal with these same issues. We have to stop chasing situations that are not for us thinking our happiness can be found there. We have to stop settling because we think our ship has sailed. We cannot move in love trapped by the stagnancy of fear, but in freedom of courage. We MUST let go of our egos;  IT WILL NOT ALWAYS BE EASY AND CONVENIENT. And certain things STILL matter most. Above all, love of self. Integrity, loyalty, sacrifice, humility, vulnerability and empathy. Being yourself and allowing someone else to do the same. These things are the yardstick to be used when measuring love. Nothing else.

When I wrote Never Enough, it became my illustration of how I envisioned true love to be. Sending you all love today.








Lost and Found Chapter 3: Struggles with Being Emotional

Hi All,

The third track of my project touches on a very overwhelming subject to actually discuss: being emotional. Frankly, I am writing this post like WHERE DO I BEGIN? I feel like everyone at one point in time or another has been called emotional or melodramatic. Perhaps not on a regular basis but at least in one instance. Trust me folks; I've been called both countless times.

Lordt. I've been referred to as emotional on MULTIPLE occasions. Honestly, it's embarrassing to admit but *sigh* it's true. I've been known to pop off. I get hype. I do not back down. I fight for what I feel is right. On the flip side of this; I am sensitive. I'm moved by things daily. I'm nostalgic. I fall hard. I love deeply. My feelings can and do get hurt.

The polarity of my emotions can be a lot for me to deal with; and the level of patience I'm sure is needed when dealing with me is appreciated. Now when I refer to being emotional, I am illustrating how I behave in relationships; that is really the only time that aspect of myself really shows itself. I feel I can break it down into the three factors that are the root of my emotional behavior. A: I'm sensitive. B: I am very black & white in my interpersonal relationships. C: I have a fragile ego in romantic scenarios. I will further explain.

First, I am very sensitive. I cry at movies, touching moments, sweet sentiment, thoughtfulness. I am very understanding and I think it stems from being sensitive to the people and situations around me. I perceive sensitivity as a positive trait, but when I take things to heart when I shouldn't it can quickly become a negative. We live in an age where it seems that showing any type of emotion is deemed as undesirable or weak. Real talk, that is an ego based thought process.

Causes B and C of my emotional struggles are stemmed in ego. Why? Let's get into cause B: being black & white in my relationships. That is totally ego. Ego needs to be control. It cannot go with the flow and objectively look at situations as they naturally evolve. Ego needs things to be all in or all out, no understanding of the need for grey area to strengthen our trust and bonds. Ego wants to avoid any kind of vulnerability or embarrassment.

Henceforth, I've rushed things to one extreme or the other. Either we are all in, super "in love" or all out ie. not speaking. That's where I get called emotional. Those are two very opposite ends of the "emotional" spectrum. But let's be real. That's not true emotion. It's EGO. I guess without realizing it, knowing exactly where I stood in a relationship allowed me to know exactly how to move. The alternative in my mind was that any uncertainty could potentially hurt my fragile ego, so I simply could not relax. To take my ego out of it would mean to be present in each moment, flow through the grey areas and just enjoy the ride.

Thankfully, I feel now that that is the best way to move through most things; just going with the flow. When we meet someone new that we are really feeling, we have to understand that we basically have to catch a wave in their lives'. Our lives are a sea of moving parts and experiences, all we can truly do is go with the flow when entering someone else's world and enjoy each moment for as long as that lasts.

Ego wants to avoid perceived hurt at all costs and needs concrete answers for everything. Nobody's life is black and white. We are full of fluidity in terms of our growth, past experiences and desires. Getting mad because something doesn't go in a crystal clear motion at all times is unrealistic and that's negatively emotional. No bueno.

Now, cause C. My fragile ego in relationships. Listen, I can handle opposition in just about every aspect of my life & bounce right back. Lordt but don't let it come from someone I'm falling for. I get mad. I get hurt. I sometimes pop off. I know I am not alone in this behavior. More often than not, our actual feelings are not hurt. It's our egos. The potential feeling of romantic rejection is something it cannot handle. So we have to make stupid points about petty matters, we have to get back at that person that wronged us, we have to make so and so jealous, we have to jump to conclusions rather than asking (asking seems as though you care, ego can't care), etc. the list could go on forever.

It is the epitome of childishness. I cannot stress enough that when we act super emotional nine times out of ten it is all ego. It is based in a fear of being assed out, being rejected, being vulnerable and at the deemed mercy of someone else. What I've learned through countless trial and error: YOU CAN NEVER EXPERIENCE ANY TRULY BEAUTIFUL EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS WITH OTHERS WHILE HOLDING ONTO EGO. All caps. Dramatic right? Remember I'm emotional.

We all have emotions. It's normal and wonderful. When they rear their head in an ugly way, take a step back and ask yourself: am I actually hurt? If not, it's ego. Let it go. Immerse yourself in the awesomeness of the unknown and all the exciting feelings that come along with the ride. What do people say when you get emotional? RELAX.









Lost and Found Chapter 2: Struggles with Lust

Hi Everyone,

What is lust? I highly doubt any adult reading this needs any clarification of the word. If one refers to Merriam-Webster, I believe the definition that will resonate with most of us is described as usually intense or unbridled sexual desire. This illustrates very well what lust feels like for the majority of us.

When I lust after someone, it is a very strong carnal desire to have that person physically. It can completely take hold of my body, my mind, and often times my better judgement. It is an animalistic attraction that we all possess and when I feel it I become a woman obsessed. It's as if I put common sense on the back burner and all I care about is conquering the feeling. The need I feel to gratify my desire becomes paramount; it's like an insatiable itch that has to be scratched. 

I normally encounter lust with someone I have very strong chemistry with. It's perfectly normally to desire someone you are highly attracted to in a sexual way. But when interactions go from trying to build genuine connections that include sex secondarily to flimsy associations that are predominately about sex, there becomes an imbalance. Subsequently, the journey through relationships and love becomes one of ego and conquest rather than humility and true understanding. 

I believe the reason for the imbalance is because anything that provides us with instant gratification customarily speaks to and fuels our egos. Interestingly enough, the definition of lust I referenced from Merriam-Webster is not the first definition listed. Prior to that explanation, lust is defined as pleasure, delight. I find that be very insightful, because I believe that those two words best describe the outcome of a situation that is based on lust and not love. 

Lust is about conquest. It is about feeding a desire that we do not necessarily need to feed, we want to feed it. Think about the last time you were in lust over someone. You become territorial and dominating (if the sexual connection is amazing I DEFINITELY can be), as if you own that person. You will put up with incompatibilities just to keep getting that high, to keep feeding that inner monster, and sometimes just to keep that person from doing it with anyone else. Seriously, how many times have you had NOTHING in common with the other individual on any other level other than sex?

In actuality, lust without love is just a distraction. Anything that pulls us away from what it is that we truly want is ALWAYS a distraction. Lust provides temporary consolation for the deep seated yearning that every person has for love. It feels good to be physically close to another, to kiss and feel someone on such a personal level. Lust is mistaken for love constantly; hence we have the phrase catching feelings. Of course people catch feelings, sex was designed to unite souls not just our bodies. 

Like anything that feels good in the moment, it is providing pleasure; not happiness. We fool ourselves into thinking that lust is truly fulfilling us, but it is not. On a superficial and surface level it may feel great. Yet how long does that feeling last? Is it a feeling that provides longevity, comfort and security? Can you call this person and confide in them all your deepest secrets? In an emergency? Or is the connection more like trying to stay at a certain level of physical intoxication, that once it wears off you're reminded that you are indeed still without the real thing, without love. The connection is based off of nothing other than a physical gratification that quickly wears off after the sex has ended.

I think lust coupled with genuine love is amazing. It then becomes an expression of a much deeper feeling that is grounded in trust and sacrifice; I sacrifice my vulnerability and heart to another and he does that for me.  Yet lust in lieu of love causes confusion, heightened ego and insecurity. We allow someone to access us at our most vulnerable, personal level without the blessing of a genuine connection. How can we let someone touch us so intimately when his or her interest in us is truly for physical gratification and the fleeting stroking of one's ego? This causes the confusion. We are seeking to fill a void, a band-aid to soothe us until the real thing comes along. 

Here it comes. That deeply unsatisfied feeling. We are laying next to the person that is stroking our egos and bodies for now and we know deep down in our souls we are settling. Maybe it does not feel as black and white as it seems when writing about the subject, but scenarios founded in lust or situationships do not really feed us in the way we truly crave. It's like being hungry and eating something that tastes amazing but does not give us nutrients. It subsides the surface feeling, but it does not sustain us in the way we really NEED. 

There is a saying, You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." We are made of energy and spirit, our bodies are simply the casing. So when we settle into a situationship, we are not sustaining our true selves. We are merely scratching the surface of what we genuinely need. And we need love. 

Love is the universal energy we are comprised of and it unites us all. It is what fuels us at our core. So when we look to feel that closeness, that comfort; we are looking for love. Lust will never be able to replace love because it does not feed our true selves; we are truly settling for less than we deserve. And like with all things worth having in life: don't settle.




Lost and Found Chapter 1: Running - Struggles with Self Esteem

Hello Everyone,

I think it's important to share. I think we live in an age of social media where all that we see are "highlight reels" of each other's lives. Subsequently implying that there is something shameful in going through trials and hardships. After all, it's only through difficult times that we are strengthened and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and of the world.

This is not very easy for me to do. Truthfully, I am scared. It's hard to stand in the face of judgement and be open about feelings and thoughts that you are embarassed about. Still, I strive daily to keep growing spiritually. I feel we are all in this together; humility and empathy are vital in cultivating a world of hope. Therefore, if my experiences are able help someone else then it is always worth it. Collectively, we have to help each other heal, grow and love. 

I decided to write and record the songs of Lost and Found for two reasons. To aid and to heal. Not just for myself but more importantly others. I felt I needed to write and sing about struggles that we all face yet often feel very alone in dealing with. The first track released from this project, Running touches on what I struggle with the most: Self-esteem.

Before I begin delving into some of my demons, I want to preface this by stating I am not looking to play the victim. We all have trials and tribulations that we face. As an adult, I believe it is my responsibility to aim at overcoming my issues as best I can and assist anyone else that may struggle with similar issues in the process. I am not looking to place blame or garner sympathy from sharing my experiences. With that caveat in place, I open up my journey to you.

I have always felt different. I can be in a large room of people and still feel very much alone. I think this may be due in part to being extremely introspective; I spend a great deal of time "in my head". Nonetheless, I have always felt like I do not truly fit into any place. It's as if I am always right on the perimeter yet never fully immersed in the majority. It is a feeling I have dealt with much better as an adult than I did as a child. Some of my first recollections of this feeling stemmed from my ethnicity.

This started at a very young age for me. Being biracial, throughout childhood and adolescence I felt I did not really belong anywhere. Not really fully Black but not White either. I've always had predominately Black friends and truthfully resonate more with my Black heritage. Yet coming up I would always feel I had to prove my Blackness. I have so many memories of being made fun of for my hair, my fair skin, my freckles, etc. My physical attributes were under constant scrutiny. So when I looked in the mirror, I did not have confidence in what I saw. 

Thankfully, as I've become an adult and exposed to more ethnically diverse groups of people; I embrace my cultural differences and do not feel self conscious about them anymore. I am tremendously proud to be both African and Slovenian American. But as a child, it was extremely detrimental to my self image; as children normally want to blend in with the majority and "fit in". I can remember crying in my room; praying to God, asking Him why I could not just be one or the other. During these times of distress; I would have given anything to have an adult to run to for an uplifting word and/or encouragement. Unfortunately, that is not the type of environment I grew up in and that too played a role in my plight with self-esteem.

Frankly, there is a certain level of guilt I feel in writing these next few paragraphs. I do understand that our families are not perfect and the people we look up to in order to guide us are still learning about themselves while simultaneously trying to help us grow. Furthermore, I do not intend this to be an expose. But facts are facts; I did not grow up in a space that I deem to be conducive to positive self image. 

I was raised in an extremely controlling and religiously overzealous environment. Growing up, irrational reactions were given to mistakes. There was a tremendous amount of guilt and shame attached to a child's mistakes; mistakes being a necessary part of learning. I carried this shame and guilt with me to the point that I constantly felt I could do nothing right. It shattered my belief in myself. It was even to the point at times that I would be afraid to even try something because that guilt manifested into extreme self-consciousness.

Sadly, these illogical and shaming reactions to mistakes were not balanced by words of encouragement. You were allowed to quit at things. You were allowed to not try. There was no guidance. I was always fed, I was always loved as best as I feel was capable, but I was never guided. I was told what I did wrong and that was it. I yearned for the type of love that exalted you and praised you. Consequently, that desire led me to seek it in places that it could never be.

So when I began dating, I found myself consistently attracting and settling for unhealthy relationships due to my negative self-image. I needed closeness, the illusion of being wanted. I would cling to situations that bore little to no resemblance to love. I did not want to be alone, especially alone with my self-deprecating thoughts. So it was easier to settle into physical relationships, or relationships in which I was granted much less respect than anyone deserves. This toxic cycle of running to escape from myself in other people continued on for a long time until I started to step back and realize why.

Interestingly enough, my most painful interpersonal relationships served as the catalyst that helped me begin to heal my damaged self-esteem. Being that I was hurting, my energy attracted other hurting individuals. I realized how many of my own issues were present in the people I gravitated towards. Subsequently, when a hurting individual would cause me emotional pain, I would realize that their actions reflected behavior that I displayed as well.

I began to wonder why I was settling for this treatment and what was internally causing me to display much of the same behavior. I thought of all the derogatory opinions I had about the men that hurt me. Then I had an epiphany: these were the same opinions I had about myself. I started to take a step back and analyze the things I told myself about myself daily. None of what I was saying to myself was positive. 

I realized this had to change. I began to become aware of how my energy would draw similar energy into my plane. Our worlds are direct reflections of what energy we carry inside of us. We must radiate love in order for it to be mirrored back. I realized that carrying pain and hurt from my past did not generate energy within me that would attract positive energy nor create more in the process.

It dawned on me that my self-esteem is cultivated through me and only me. My healthy self-esteem was my responsibility. I had to inwardly love myself, despite of what was going on around me. I realized that when I mistreated others, it was because I was hurting. So the detrimental experiences I went through were not worth clinging to; hurt people hurt people. Furthermore, most hurt people do not realize they are in serious emotional pain; myself being a prime example. I was doing the best I felt I could at any given time, and so I was able to begin to loosen my grip onto past experiences. I realized that anyone that wronged me was doing the best they could, and it was not anything personal. And if it is not personal, why should I let it affect my view of myself.

I started to recognize that I held the power to love and heal myself. I began to tell myself positive affirmations. I would tell myself I was beautiful, talented, kind, smart, determined. Those thoughts led my actions to change. I began to carry myself like a beautiful, talented, kind, smart and determined woman. And when my actions changed, my energy changed. And when my energy changed, my world changed.  I knew that empathy toward myself was imperative; not only in forgiving myself for my mistakes but in forgiving those that I felt did not aid in boosting my confidence growing up.

It was clear that I had been running from myself in search of myself. I could not find anything external to supplement my internal. The love I pined for needed to begin with me, and nothing outward should shake that divine energy that lives within me without my permission. With these lessons I continue to cultivate my love and knowledge of self. 

I am so grateful for these lessons. Not just for my own personal benefit, but for the opportunity to help heal those around me. We all want love and we all want someone to care. We can only truly love others once we love ourselves. And I choose to share my lessons and love through song. I hope that this first installment, Running proves to be as cathartic for you as it has been for me. I pray you can tap into the empathy and keep a piece for yourself. I pray you can begin to heal. Above all, I pray you know you are never alone.

I am so humbled and thankful to share this chapter of my journey with you. Blessings Always.







Hi Everyone!!!!

I will be the first to say that I'm a thinker. Subsequently, at times I've been called an "over-thinker". I believe this attribute to be a strength and a flaw; a gift and a curse. This trait provokes me to break down things to their core, until I can see just the framework. It is through that simplifying of people and situations that I feel I am able to be understanding in my assessments and formulate the best way to process whatever I am being presented with. 

This part of my makeup is also partnered with the fact that I feel very deeply. Whatever I am experiencing, I feel it to the fullest extent of the emotion. This can be amazing when I am happy, but this can also be awful when I am sad or angry. Still, I have come to recognize and accept that this is a part of what makes me who I am. I say this all to say that recently I began to break down an attribute we all clammer so desperately to perpetuate: strength.

I began to notice a common behavior amongst myself and some of my loved ones. It was this constant practice of being "on guard". I will be the first to say that it's 2015, we live in crazy, unpredictable times. With all the violence and lack of empathy we witness in the headlines daily, it is easy to understand why most of us feel like we have to be on the constant defense. We have to be "strong". Couple that with the fact that we live in a social media age, where the majority of us only share the "highlights" of our lives; no one wants to be hurting, scared, defeated, vulnerable, etc. It is as if there is something shameful in going through hardships. So we do everything in our power to avoid these feelings.

I have come to the realization that by avoiding hurt, you are avoiding LIFE. 

Many will not want to hear this; but pain in life is inevitable. But so is joy. Yes, there is a lot of negativity in the world, but there is also a lot of joy. Everything has balance, there is no positive without a negative and vice versa. I am of the mindset that we are all connected, and that my life is not simply about me. I never know how what I may experience affects ripples of others surrounding me. I've began to notice in myself as well as others that we make a lot of "defensive" decisions. How many times have you expected something to be wrong so you can exit a situation? Perhaps expected is too negative; let's simply say if something were to go awry that we would not be surprised? This can be with jobs, friendships, relationships. We are so on the defense all the time, that we don't take a moment to actually enjoy what we have been given, to express gratitude for that present gift, to love it fully and be happy. This is a travesty to me.

I express all this not to say that life is perfect all the time. Yet I think accepting that perfection does not exist is vital in letting your armor down and beginning to be free. This is where my analyzing comes into play. I believe that what I see and experience on the surface is not always what something truly is. There is always a reason behind everything, and true compassion begs us to try to understand that reason. Not just compassionate to others, but compassionate with ourselves. To be kind and loving in the face of pain and anguish; to have the courage to see past those barriers and love some more. To not beat ourselves up over failures or mistakes, but rather accept them as a part of growing and learning as we evolve into our truest selves. In my eyes, creating that cycle of positivity is imperative to growing, evolving, and thriving in the very crazy world we live in today. 

So when I think of true strength, I will always tie it back to the ability to be grateful, compassionate, and loving through it all. It is not always easy, but love is always the answer. It bonds us all and only from it can true strength be attained. 



"Change of Plans"

Hi everyone!

So if you're reading this, first of all thank you for stopping by! Secondly, I am very excited to be sharing my first solo project with you all, "Change of Plans." I wanted to share a bit about how this project came to be and why I am so humbled and grateful for the excitement and support I have garnered.

My journey with music has been a long road, one that is still in essence just beginning! I have always wanted to embark out on my own and pursue a musical career but was honestly very afraid to take the leap. I think I can speak for most of us when I say that for a long time I was sucked into the proverbial, "this is what I should be doing" monotony. I say this with the caveat that there is nothing wrong with a 9 to 5; I just knew that for me I felt like a fish out of water.

I felt that if I had a 9 to 5, a steady relationship, etc. that I was "on track". It was so confusing to feel like a puzzle piece that simply did not fit anywhere. I have always been a hard worker and could not understand why I felt I was not getting to the "promised land". Everything I tried seemed like "the right thing" at the time. I am the type of person that has a very hard time fully devoting myself to something that my heart is not in. I have no grey area;  I'm either all the way in or all the way out. Shortly after conception of these situations, the tiny voice in the back of mind screamed that this was not for me.  And I had to regroup.

It was an extremely frustrating cycle to be in, to feel as if I was simply wandering aimlessly. Music was always calling to me, everyone would always ask me about it and I always put it away in my mind; though I knew deep down it made me happier than anything else. The only reason I put it away was because I was afraid. Yes afraid. It's a hard thing for me to admit; I'm extremely prideful and don't like to give up on anything or show weakness if I can help it. Still I feel sharing these hardships in my life is important, because we all face obstacles and speaking about them brings us closer together.  I came to the realization that there is no virtue in chasing things that are not for me. I was afraid of the risk, what my family would think, that music is not a "practical job",  and I grappled with that up until last year.

Then everything changed. My relationship ended, a relationship that I thought was leading to marriage. My best friend of 10+ years and I parted ways. I hated my job to the point of tears. I was pushed all the way out of my comfort zone. I was out on an emotional limb and the only thing that stayed constant through it all was music and the people that believed in me and had my back no matter what. When I would lay down at night and pray to God to give me answers as to my future, the very next day someone would contact me for a feature or ask me if I was still singing. I knew I was fighting my calling, but I was still afraid.

Then one day I literally felt like I could have jumped out of my skin. I felt I had outgrown my life. Everything had to be shed; it just was not fitting anymore. I was in school, studying towards clinical psychology and I decided I was not going back. I called my friend and said, "let's get to work." And by work I meant music.

There have been ups and downs, moments of uncertainty, financial struggles, relationship drama, home drama... you name it... it's happened. But music has always been unwavering through it all. No matter what I've dealt with, music was there to soothe, uplift, heal, help and guide me.

So I continue to push onward. I let go of everything I was holding onto; convincing myself I needed. Whatever obstacle came my way I simply fought through because my love of music is so strong it simply did not matter. I knew that God had my back and if I did my part, He wouldn't let me fail. And through that faith I am doing what I absolutely love.

I call this intro project "Change of Plans" and coupled it with the Lebron James photo to demonstrate the twists and turns life can throw our way. Lebron was traded to the Cavaliers and everyone had an opinion. Everyone will always have opinions. At the end of the day you have to know yourself, your heart, your journey and push forward. One must rise above opposition and triumph in the knowing that you are on the path you were meant for. With that faith, failure simply isn't an option.

I am so humbled to be able to share the beginning of something that means so much to me. The joy I feel when I create a song is the same joy I pray each person feels when they hear it. That cycle of positivity is everything to me and to be able to do that for the rest of my life is just about the best thing that I could possibly imagine. To all my friends, family and acquaintances that have supported me to through this journey; I whole-heartedly thank you! I can't wait to share my music with you all!