My Soundtrack of Life

My Soundtrack of Life

I came across a song on Spotify yesterday that made me travel back in time and up to today’s reality within the 3 minutes and change that the song lasted. It reminded me of a song by Musiq that I loved from the moment I first heard the opening melody and provided me with a timely follow-up/update to it. Here’s Greatestlove by Musiq–the song that represents the past.

Baby, you and me, we’re so good together
Look at how we harmonize
Girl, we’re like the perfect melody that keeps getting better
We can stand the test of time
All we had were letters till we formed the words
Started from the lyrics till we found the verses that can bridge us through
Baby, we could be the greatest love song…

And here is the song I found yesterday. I’ve listened to Karina Pasian on YouTube and added her to a couple of playlists, but I had never heard this song until I searched her name in Spotify. I looked for the song on YouTube so that I could share it and only found the live version, which is still good but you can’t hear the lyrics as well as you can, of course, in the official recording. You would think I would have had this epiphany after hearing Melanie Fiona’s Wrong Side of a Love Song, but that song didn’t speak to me the way this one did. Although, I could probably have gone with Toni Braxton’s Another Sad Love Song, but it doesn’t use the metaphor of music like these two (Musiq and Karina) do. Anyway, here’s the song that represents the present.

Now all that’s left of us is just another melody
Just another song I sing
Can’t believe you’re just music on my radio
Not in love with you no more
I’m over you
We used to be a symphony
You used to be my everything

Now you’re just just another melody…

If you know me, you know how much of a music fiend I am, so using music as a metaphor for love is just perfect to me–touches my soul in a special place. I love how songs can capture how I feel at a given moment or over a span of time, so I thought I’d share a little glimpse of my experience (which makes me a wee bit uneasy, but I’m going for the gusto, lol). Happy Friday!

I can light the whole universe

I can light the whole universe

It’s Wednesday and we’re almost over the hump of this week. I came across this uplifting song this afternoon, and it gave me a burst of positivity. So I’m sharing with you.

I am special, I am gorgeous
I am chosen, yes I know it
And I.. yes, I can light the whole universe
I am different, I have purpose
I am brilliant, yes I feel it
And I.. yes, I can light the whole universe

Never can you lose sight of your focus
Only you can make your dreams of hope come true for you
This is something only you can do
But when you’re feeling down and you don’t believe
Cause everybody’s telling you you won’t succeed
Say I am all of that and a bit more
More than you think I am

No Children Allowed

No Children Allowed

Last Sunday, I visited a church in College Park for the first time with a group of friends. I was excited until I tried to enter the sanctuary and was blocked by an usher who said, “We have a nursery.” I replied, “Thanks, but I’m not interested.” She then said, “We have a wonderful staff. I can take you back there.” I replied, “No thank you. He’s staying with me.” She said, “They really don’t like children in the sanctuary. You should consider using our nursery.” To which I said, “I’m not taking him to your nursery. I’m a visitor.” I can only imagine the look on my face at this point, so she finally said “Okay, we can give it a try.” I had my tongue set to say, “You know what… I can just go back home.” So as I sat next to my friends who were looking bewildered because I disappeared for a few minutes due to my detainment, I felt extremely uncomfortable and distracted. Any time Frederick even quietly babbled to his hands, I was looking over my shoulder to see if I was about to be escorted off the premises.

Just when I started feeling less anxious because we had made it through the sermon with no loud noises or crying, we stood up for visitor recognition, and the pastor decided to call me out in front of the entire congregation by telling me they have a nursery, although my baby was very sweet–maybe the sweetest they’ve ever had. Color me embarrassed. Thanks for making sure I absolutely do not feel welcome.

Here’s the thing… I’ve waited this long to take Frederick to church (except when he was a month old and I was still in my hometown surrounded by the church family I grew up with) because I wanted to make sure that we both were ready. Frederick is a wonderful baby who is really only fussy when he’s hungry. So I went to church armed with a couple of bottles, looking for a pew in the back of the sanctuary so that I could get up quickly if he started getting loud unexpectedly. I totally understand how distracting an unruly or upset child can be–I’ve been in front of a couple. But to expect a brand new visitor to leave her four month old with perfect strangers?? Not okay. And to basically make me feel like I’M the one with the problem because I’m not willing to?? Not cool. I’ve been to churches with nurseries–however, I’ve never been to one where the nursery is mandatory. I’m not comfortable with that one bit.

So here are just a few of the reasons that Frederick will be with me on Sunday mornings for the foreseeable future:

1. I would have to be a nursery worker myself or be very familiar with the nursery staff to leave my baby. It seems there is a new report on the news about abuse or molestation of children every week, and 50% or more of those reports involved someone at a church. Call me paranoid, but I’m not trying to take those chances with my son. Messing with kids can change the course of their entire lives. And messing with my child would change the course of mine–it’d take a whole lot of prayer to keep me from “putting them paws on em” <–#dontjudgeme, I watch reality TV, lol! But seriously, just say no to pervs who pretend to be saintly and trustworthy who prey on little kids.

2. I want my child to see me worshipping at church. He hears me singing my gospel songs all the time: when I’m trying to push through bad days, when I’m grateful for the life I have, or when I’m just making sure I still have the chops since I don’t use my talent very often. He sees me praying from time to time. He sees me reading the Bible for myself (although it’s usually online so he probably won’t actually identify what my physical Bible looks like… hmmm maybe I should pull it out sometimes as he gets older). And I read him Bible stories. I want him to see all of it because I’m his primary example.

3. Frederick needs to learn how to behave in different scenarios, and in church is one of them. He needs to see when it’s inappropriate to talk (how many adults do you know have side convos in the middle of the sermon? Precisely.), that he needs to be able to be still for a time period, and all the other things that come along with being at church or any other program where there are certain expectations. The only way to learn is to practice.

4. I hadn’t thought of it before reading this blog post about church nurseries, but the germs… I know Frederick is exposed to some at his primary childcare facility by virtue of just being around other people, but at least I know the procedures and precautions taken there.

So I’ll be writing a letter per my mom’s advice, and including this passage:

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. Matthew 19:13-15

Expression Under New Management

Expression Under New Management

I haven’t been writing as much as I once did because I have felt stifled and unable to express myself freely. I am working on my perspective and figuring out what I need to do to feel okay to say what’s on my mind again.

I’ve realized that over the last year, I’ve begun caring a lot more than ever about what people think of me, how they interpret what I say (even when I didn’t think there was much wiggle room in the meaning), and how others may use my words against me. This is new territory for me because although of course I’m human so I’ve had some level of care, it never really stopped me from being who and what I wanted to be or saying whatever I had to say. Even when I was a Hillary Clinton fan in the 2008 primary election being questioned about my blackness, lol–I still didn’t shut up or let anyone make me feel less than awesome because of my beliefs. But now, I’ve found myself not wanting to share my feelings largely because of the fear that people will feed on the weaknesses that I have sometimes and exacerbate them or judge me for being on a path I didn’t plan to be on or anything else negative I haven’t been certain I could handle. That pit bull my ma has said I am has turned into a bit of a poodle. (But watch out because I’ve heard poodles aren’t wimps either!) Interesting turn of events.

I used to be a person who believed in taking risks and not having regrets, and I’ve now come to regret being that way. Isn’t that something? But I war with myself because I also feel like not taking risk is a risk in itself–a huge risk of one of the things that makes me who I am. But is that really who I am or is that just a chapter of my life? I dunno.

Stay with me. I’ll be back posting on a regular basis (instead of once a month) and writing posts better than ever soon (I hope).

Thanks to everyone who has been reading me since my old blog on blogger back in the day and those who read now. I appreciate you, especially those of you who comment and give me feedback.

Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past

Two nights ago I got a message on Google+ from a familiar but distant name:

Ranada. . .would your middle name happen to be Dejoi?

I replied “Yes my middle name is Dejoi. Is this <enter his name> from Vicksburg that went to summer camp with me in middle school???”

And he replied, “Yes. It’s me. WOW…”

Wow is right! It’s been 17 years since our last correspondence. He was the cutest boy in the academic camp we attended at Hinds Community College Utica Campus, and it turned out that we both had mutual crushes on each other. We spent most of the camp shyly flirting, and finally, after a maybe a week of “going together” lol, he gave me a smooch (at that time, I still thought french kissing was mucho yucky, and it would be another couple of years before I tried that out, lol!) by the swings (but not after dark) as a sweet gesture because of my love for the Subway song. After camp, we wrote letters for a brief time.

A couple of years ago, I found an envelope of stuff from him that I had saved. I did a FB search and didn’t find anything. Of course I wondered where he was, how he was doing, and if he even remembered me, but after the fruitless FB search I gave up. So imagine my surprise when I saw his name in my email inbox!

He is doing well now–he has a wife and a baby girl due any moment. But guess how small the world is–he lives in Atlanta too and moved here the year after I did since we both moved for graduate school. It warms my heart to know that I had good taste in junior high, lol. He seems to be doing well for himself as an adult, and he is still handsome! I just thought I’d share that blast from the past. It’s awesome to see how people are doing now. I keep up with a few of my summer camp friends (I went to an academic camp every year from 6th grade (really, before!! I just remember my first overnight camp was at Pineywoods Country Life School the summer after 6th grade and I was technically too young but I was in the right grade!) to 10th grade (I spent the summer after my 11th grade year taking a senior English literature class that was the exact same as an AP English class I had already taken just so I could have my diploma since I was skipping my senior year to attend Tougaloo)). I’m so happy my mom thought it was necessary to make sure that I spent my summers with other smart black kids on college campuses so that I’d know I wasn’t an exception to any rule about black folks (I came home from a trip with the gifted program asking were the other two black students and I different since we were all there were in the entire program). Now I am blessed to know and be surrounded by so many sharp, amazing people.

Here’s an ode to my junior high school summer camp boo.