#XD30-four-Lifetime

Some of my fondest memories revolve around Lifetime, Television for Women. I’m not sure when it became a family staple, the movies were always so captivating, about one woman or the next in some sort of struggle or fight to save her own life. This was years ago, before all the options that come with contemporary TV and ratchet reality. I feel like as a family we always found ourselves drawn to a space that was created with the channel. We would commune on the coach, all five or six of us would easily crowd each others space, sharing chips and blankets to cozy around one television screen, together.

A lot of those experiences feel lost with our millennial generation. We spend a lot of time separate, individualized in front of the privacy of the screens of our personal devices to the point where we can miss the chance to continually connect. There are always things that will bring us back. Lifetime still has a hold on me.

We drove through the night and checked into our hotel around 8AM this morning. As easily annoyed as I can be by my family, I love the intimacy of this space. When we turned on the TV to rest up I noticed that we all were watching it together. From Criminal Minds to SVU and finally, Lifetime, we actively participated with each other. Talking back to the screen, asking what was missed when someone stepped out of the room, or even having my sister make me a sandwich when she went to grab her own food, a lot of this day reminds me of childhood.

My mother still asks a million and one questions, as if we all aren’t watching the same movie, or she finds inconsistencies that the production team must have overlooked. There was a movie today that had a young girl treated for an injury in one scene yet in the next her bandage was gone. We still are easily frustrated when the characters make stupid decisions that are common sense, and I can be caught yelling and carrying on just as loudly.

What’s interesting is the fact that just last weekend in MD/DC I found myself having the exact same experience, with friends. A Lifetime movie was on and I was completely captivated! I wanted my friends to watch just as eagerly and I caught myself telling them what was happening, as we watched. I definitely fussed about how stupid I thought the white woman on TV was being,

I probably never watch Lifetime, Television for Women, at home. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a lifetime movie, its not a channel I scope out often and I have no desire to schedule time to watch. But I love how familiar it feels to watch it in the company of others. I now see that it’s something I look forward to, that company of others. In preparation for my move to CA this summer I’m moving back home, into my mom’s house for a few months. That doesn’t excite me, at all, but I can’t wait to actively be with my family. Sharing in that love and the joy of our connection will fuel me and I need to store up on about as much as I can get before I am thrown into a new season of isolation.

#XD30-three-I’m Hungry

I’m hungry. I decided to do a 21 day fast after turning thirty. A friend of mine mentioned he would do it, so when asked if I was interested in participating I said (mind you, before thinking) yes. Because that’s the type of friend I strive to be, over a cliff. This is not my first fast. I remember a few years ago I fasted for Ramadan as well. Honestly, I said I wasn’t going to talk about this fast, I don’t want to be misguided by the showmanship of it all, but I’ve changed my mind in order to keep my focus. To center and balance my experience, an effort to keep it cleansed.

I’ve got more than a few reasons to seek God out and gain some clarity. For starters, turning thirty! Ya’ll everybody don’t make it here and I’m not interested in taking that lightly. Secondly, I am moving to L.A. by the end of the summer. That’s a huge deal. I need to know that my efforts are consecrated, that I’m not acting on impulse or want, but navigating my life in a way that services my greater purpose. I completely recognize the impact of living life on purpose, that requires a certain level of discipline, one not so easily ascertained.

It is so easy to convince ourselves that we are making the right decision. I have done it a ton of times in the past and found all too often that I was excusing myself to make the decision that felt the best to me. When I first started thinking about moving to L.A. it had come to me in a frequent of three dreams. I could easily say, “thats it. This is the sign!” To embrace the idea that it had been planted in me, that this move across the country would be the will of God for my life, and that following it would lead me exactly where I should be. I have done that before, but it’s also easy to miss the mark. Lets be clear, I don’t doubt the things that come to me, but if you don’t find a harness to stay linked to that spirituality you will yield nothing.

We live in a world that is consumed with image and the idea of what looks good. Everything is centered around perspective and illusion. Yet, life hardly ever fits that way. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be true to me, to live as transparent as possible. I am not afraid to move. At this point, I can see all that I have lived through and there is so much to see. That is a comfort to me because the worst that could happen, nine times out of ten it has already been experienced.

So, yeah. The most effective thing for me to do is to fast. I’m a few hours into a drive to Florida with my baby sister, baby brother, and mom. I am starving and irritable, but I’m quieting myself.

#XD30-two-We Sat

We sat. I can still feel the numbness in my limbs as my feet dozed to and fro in sleep. Restlessly. We sat there for hours, an eternity of seconds since the last gasp elapsed my lips, you took my breath away. I’ve never known silence this way. The walls in this room are yellow. They beam a brightness as bold as the mustard sky. You introduced that color to me. The flowers have not escaped the last of their scent, the lavender hovers in the air, I can smell it each time I sniffle. There is nothing I can do to stop the snot and I am too stunned, too wounded and broken to move. So I sniffle, in silence, once every three inhales I wish there was breath in my body I knew how to hold longer. I don’t want you to notice me, in this moment I want the least amount of attention as possible. But, there is no more air so I inhale, so deeply I can feel the exhale rise out of my knee’s, but it does not calm me. There is no more air in this big bold room. The walls have dimmed. Through tear stained eyes I see rust and willowed leaves. We sat for hours. You over there, somewhere else. You feel far, and foreign. I can’t feel you in my spirit, the way I could before. The only reason I know you haven’t left is because I can see your feet. Across the room you sit back to pillow, upright on the hunter green coach you helped move into this space. I had you shift, turn, and cater-corner it in every direction until you finally grew exhausted in all of my angst and sat it down in its place. It fit perfectly.

#XD30-one-Dear Thirty

Dear Thirty,

Here we are, face to face. In all of my dreams I’d never thought we would meet this way. You have always been seen as something foreign, to me. A year and experience that would both be life altering and staggering. By the time I turned twenty five I had enough foresight to see that fear rested in thirty. I had remnants of the same fright at twenty five then twenty six and twenty eight. Feelings of unworthiness, disappointment, and loneliness.

I was relieved when you brought me something different. I spent a week joking about age and how being a year older, thirty, changed everything for the worse, but in all honesty I feel the opposite. There is power in you. Like, a spark that’s been ignited that in so many ways has been the erasure of anything that may have come before. I feel invincible.

My twenties were all about the idea of finding me. From all of the hair experiences to wearing make up and being gay- navigating gay friends and gay culture in Virginia, to unreal romantic experiences and all the responsibilities that come with learning to be an adult.

I have literally spent thirty years learning to be myself. When you look at it that way it is easy to see how thirty is just the beginning. There was so much time spent pretending to be someone else, living for so many other people, to the point that I am ready to cement myself in you. I know who I am and who I want to be and you, dear thirty, are the catalyst to such a greater experience.

I received an email yesterday confirming that I am an official graduate of Norfolk State University and in that moment I realized just how successful I have become. It took me eleven years to graduate from college. I started in 2006. To see that dream deferred, complete, is enlightening. Also, it is so telling of life’s experiences. You really are the new twenty. You come with a new set of challenges; operating on discipline, facing mortality, and cleaning up all those petty insecurities that still lie within me. However, you are a shield to it all.

You give me the next few years to be free. You are the experience that we all spent all of our lives waiting for, freedom. There is no more noise or cloudiness. I can do whatever I want.

DAY 11: A Song that you NEVER get Tired of

These are harder than I thought they would be! This one is really tough because there are so many songs that I love and they never get old to me. I wanted to go with the first song that comes to my head, but then again, I also want to choose music that will be impactful and make others feel the same.

The first time I heard Mariah Carey I had to have died a little bit. I don’t know why or how I even relate so much to who she is, vocally, but I say it all the time, the first dream I ever had was to sing backup for Mariah Carey. Like, I’m pretty sure I was still high school  trying to actualize this dream! I knew the lyrics, I have the hand gestures down, and back in high school I could easily belt out one of her infamous whistles. You couldn’t tell me nothing!

Anyway, this song always shows up when I shuffle my apple music, each time I scream at the top of my lungs trying to hit the whistle sequence at the end. If I’m good and warm, on a good day, I can hit a few.

30 DAY MUSIC CHALLENGE

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Better late than never! I have been looking for a blog challenge, because I haven’t done one in so long, when I stumbled across this gem on IG. It’s the perfect prompt for me because music is such a huge part of who I am. So for the duration of the month, each day I will post a song and blog about the reason I chose it.

I’ll do the first seven days sometime between now and the 30th. I would love for you to participate with me and if you don’t want to write about your song choice, you can always comply with the challenge and share your song of the day with me. This should be fun! 🙂