Exceeding The Mediocre

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My New Web Site


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My thoughts, My beliefs--This is who I am

I know you're not supposed to write a letter to someone when you're upset. You're supposed to wait, take the time to calm down and rationalize and then write what you have to say with sound thoughts. I usually carry this rule over into my writing. But since I don't use this web site to aim at anyone in particular, I am free to write how ever I want about what ever I want. All I know is, my heart is aching to pour out it's feelings through my words.

I've been having a rough month. Things are taking more of a toll on me than I realize. Michael Jackon's death upset me beyond words. My fantasy baseball team's winning streak ended--plagued with injuries--and I had started to lose interest in checking it as often. I've lost three weeks straight. I vowed (half-jokingly, half-not) to dismiss reading any more of J.K. Rowling's series after her fifth book because she killed off my favorite character. A few years later, (just a week ago) I purchased the sixth book to read before the movie came out. It was a disappointment to me. She killed off a great character, which I can understand to give more of a dramatic effect, but another character I had always hoped to be good, finally went bad. It distrubed me. I have always been wrapped up in the Harry Potter series as juvenile as that may seem. J.K. Rowling is an extremely impressive writer and I am intrigued by and admire her work. I fly through page after page hanging on every word. I cannot say how many times, while reading her books, I question myself if I could ever be that good of an author someday. And there have been a few times that I've agreed that I could and it proves to show how much faith I can have in the talent God's given me. But the movie was even more disappointing to me. I guess that's how it usually goes since the books are always stuffed with detail and it's a necessity to cut and edit for the movie. Oh well.

None of that is life-changing dramatic for me. It's just disappointing. And all of that can build up, especially if you try to push it to the side to forget about it and try to move on to something else. But everything just came crashing down today. Just this year I thought I had been told the most hurtful thing anyone's ever said to me and it came from one of my best friends. Well, it was out done today. I received an e-mail from someone I have also considered a very close friend. I am intelligent enough to know that this person usually means no harm when saying things to me even if it comes off differently than what they meant. I have always been understanding about it and continued conversing with them even if I was to ask what they were really trying to say. But that barrier was broken today and I'm only proud of my so-called friend for actually being honest with me and saying what they've always wanted to say because I'm finally seeing the real them. It makes it so much easier to let them go now.

I'm going to be brutally honest. This has been one the best years of my life. I am doing things I have always dreamed of doing and I have never taken any of it for granted. I'm not wanting sympathy for what I'm about to say but growing up, my family has had their fair share of problems on a daily basis. My family has always been dirt poor. We know what it's like to go days without anything to eat but crackers and butter or beans and rice. We know how to live by only the light of a candle when we couldn't pay the electric bills or bring in kerosene heaters when the gas has been turned off in the middle of frigid, winter temperatures. We know what it's like to live six people in a house that was built for one. We know what it's like to get booted out of somewhere we're living because we can't afford the rising cost of rent. We know what it's like to have to walk or ride a bike to our destination or ask for continual rides to school or work from neighbors and friends because our only vehicle has broke down and we can't afford to fix it. We never had regular doctors and dentists appointments because we couldn't afford them. I know what it's like to have your best friends in high school start treating you differently after they've seen where you live. I know what it's like to be stereotyped as a piece of trash because of it too. We know what it's like to have to lie to our friends and tell them "I can't" when they ask us to come out with them this weekend to a movie or mini-golfing. They plead and we make up an excuse because we don't have the money to do so. This is how my siblings and I grew up but more so my younger brother and I around our jr. high and high school years. But all six of us know what it's like to be overlooked because of not having a dime to our name. But I will never be able to tell you how proud of each of them I am because I know what they're all doing now and how hard they've worked for it. I know where we've all come from and how we have always been treated, even by some of our own relatives.

Growing up, I used to blame my parents, mainly my father for us being so poor but he was and is still the hardest working man I know. He has always done everything in his power to help any of his children do whatever they wanted. I used to blame my parents and my older siblings. My younger brother and I had to put up with a lot of awful stuff because all of the family income was sent staight toward my older siblings' and mom's college fund, as they were all in school earning degrees. I didn't get to do most of the fun activities my friends would go out and do during high school because I didn't have any money to and I was too embarrassed to invite anyone over. My younger brother and I were forced to change schools. I was half-way through high school and he was about to begin jr. high. Of course, we were devastated but we undoubtedly made some amazing new friendships. I did lose a few close friends my jr. and sr. years of high school because I humbly introduced them in to how poor I was. That's something I don't think I'll ever forget. I never dated throughout high school either because of this. But truth be told, I'm OK with it now because money is not what makes or breaks me. It hurts to look back and see everything my family's had to endure and continues to endure, but I would not have had any other family, no matter how rich they could have been. My parents have raised my siblings and I extremely well and it leaves me speechless when I have friends tell me how special I truly am and when I hear others speaking that way of my siblings. God has blessed my family incredibly. We have never had money but we are extremely compassionate toward others and would give the shirt off our backs to anyone. We all made top grades and honors, we've all been blessed athletically, we have good health and faith in our awesome Creator.

I have dealt with some excruciating heartache throughout my college years for the past four years or so. It's taken me that long to complete only two years of my degree. I have experienced things that have broke me down to the point of not wanting to live on. I have met some astoundingly amazing people through those years but also some who I thought I could trust, who instead, left deep scars on my heart. I was taught more in those years than I imagine I'll ever learn the rest of my life. I'm not speaking of book statistics and grammatical structure, which I have learned, but instructions on how to go about living life--making it worth something. Some of the advice shared with me I use daily and other advice I have chose not to heed because not all is worth remembering. I left my university for good because I had been hurt worse than ever before by certain members of faculty and staff I had come to trust over many years. Despite their efforts of thinking they knew what was best for me, they truly just gave up on me, no matter how they decided to word it professionally. This was quite possibly the biggest blow of my life. I chose to stop forcing my schooling after that. In the beginning, I had accepted the university to be the school of my choice because it was family tradition. It grew on me and I learned to love it. I am not knocking the university by any means because I met a few great friends there and made memories that I'll always keep close but it was time I left the school behind. And after a few more visits, the town as well. I was starting to find more hypoctrites than helping hands.

This background information is pertinent to what I need to say about my present situtation.

I have been traveling for the past couple years. At the beginning of 2009, I made a few promises to myself. I wanted to start living for me and not everyone else. It's difficult at times because I want to make my parents proud and I know they want to see me go as far as possible educationally. I know this. But it's becoming easier at times because I'm not trying to make my friends happy all the time. I'm not living for them. I'm not doing everything in my power to help them or make them happy anymore. I'm focusing on me. Of course, some of my friendships are changing--mostly because we're all separated. And I am indeed sad of lack of communication. But I'm also getting a glimpse at who truly cares for me and wants to see me happy. Those who will always accept me and love me. The results are surprising.

I have been able to make a living but still get out and do anything I want to try. I have changed my outlook on life. I am open to more things and willing to listen to everyone's perspective even if I choose to agree to disagree. I am meeting a plethora of new faces and I've learned that the people you surround yourself with are who help make you. So I'm surrounding myself with people who build me up and truly want what's best for me. Not those who are pretenders and want to use me or who are secretly envious. I am getting to see things I never thought I'd get the chance to see. I am experiencing things I never thought I'd have the opportunity to be a part of. I am learning who I am, who I'm not and what I want to be. It's life-changing. I'm being more honest, I'm working on bettering myself and fixing my faults. I am excited and blessed to be living in a gorgeous house with teriffic roommates. I'm trying new things to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I'm glad that I'm getting this chance while I'm still young. The truth is, I've discovered that I don't know exactly which approach to take if I got back into school right now. I love writing but I don't know the exact career path I want for it. I am falling in love with other things as well that I never knew I had a knack at, like photography and even exercise health. I have all these ideas and I'm going to test them out and talk to different schools and programs to see what I truly want for myself. But as I'm doing this--experiencing life--I'm very happy. I'm very healthy. I'm in the best shape of my life. God is taking extremely good care of me. I am looking forward to discovering what my future has to offer and which routes will present themselves. I'm eager to see my next step.

I realized that no matter what I do, it's about my outlook on it. When I wake up, it's my choice to be happy that day or not, even if it's full of negative occurences. It's how I choose to react to it all. I know my parents and probably even my siblings, and maybe a few friends will worry about whether or not I finish all my schooling and start a good career so I can get married and have a family but here's the thing...

I have always felt different. I have always felt like I was supposed to do something great. I don't think I'll ever rid that feeling from me. And I don't want to. I was put here for a reason and I believe it to be extremely important. I have more than enough people pressuring me into what I need to be doing with my life but I finally felt at ease when my mom was the first to understand something about me. I do things my way, even if it's the hard way. That's how I learn. No matter what people tell me to do or how I should live, it might upset me but I will always do what I think is best for me. Yes, I'm stubborn. I'll make my mistakes but I'll also start a path of my own instead of following in the footsteps of others and I think that is how greatness is made. I choose to think differently and try everything I can, even if it puts me two steps backward, but I'll keep on keeping on. I am a very determined and dedicated individual. Passionate.

The e-mail I opened today from my so-called friend was hurtful. I could feel envy and jealousy in it. The cover up was them wanting me to succeed and get back into school, which I know they would like for me to do, but it was written and gone about in a discouraging and diminishing way. They told me that every one has a dead-end job and you learn to deal with it. I do not believe this. If you work hard enough throughout school and go on to further your education, you have the choice of being anything you want and working for anyone you want if you push yourself. As I've mentioned, my family was beyond poor and we all got our chance at college. Anyone can do it. It's just your choice. I do not look down on people who work at places making minimum wage if they are working for a better future. I am only disappointed when they feel like that's the job they deserve and they choose to work there because they're afraid of saving their money and making a living with the talent God's given them in an actual career. There are many people who have pushed themselves and actually wake up looking forward to go to their job. They worked to get to where they are and they are happy. It could have taken much trial and error but they discovered their niche and persevered. I will work odd jobs to save up money to pay bills and my schooling until I am offered a position I believe I am worthy of working for the rest of my life, but I will not be confined to some mediocre place because "that's what most people do."

My intelligence was continually questioned throughout the letter. Like I don't realize how much more difficult it will be to return to college as time passes. Apparently, I don't care about anything else because I'm happy now. Those were the exact words. I can't believe I have let myself get so close to someone who could say that to me.

I am happy because I am caring about so much!

That is the truth. I have never felt so connected to the human race. I am talking to strangers and making new friends and helping show others what they have to offer the world, how special every individual is. How wonderful God is for putting so much detail into everything. Me being happy now is like "being addicted to drugs or alcohol" because I've become too "content" with my life. When have I ever been "content" with my life? I don't think I've ever used that word in my vocabulary when it pertains to me. I never want to be content. I am always trying to better myself and do new things and go new places. That's just who I am. I know my life will always be full of it's ups and downs so I will never be content. I'm always going to want more out of my life and what this world has to offer. There is so much to learn. I've never been one for living a "content" lifestyle. I was told that my writing is getting too much like other peoples. That I'm becoming just a "normal person" like everyone else. What does that even mean? That I am a new Jayme now and it will take getting used to. I will always be Jayme and I will always have my beliefs and virtues. I might be traveling, trying new things and meeting new people but I will always be loving. I will always be a loyal friend. I will always help someone anyway I can and lend a listening ear. I will always be a dreamer even if I never reach them all. I will always do my best to inspire others and offer support for other's goals and ambitions. I will fight to the death for what I believe in and stand up for those I love. If this makes me too "normal," so be it.

I have not changed. My circumstances have just changed and that has always been the case in my life.

Nothing frustrates me more than when I have someone tell me that I don't care about something, even more so when I don't care about anything. I was told I don't care about my education--about getting back into school. But people will always judge others and make themselves believe what they want. My friend said they used to believe in me but now has their doubts. Have I become a druggie? Have I become an alcoholic? Oh, I've become too content with my life right now that I will never go on to reach out for my dreams and work toward them. Yeah, I knew I was always that kind of person. The people who know me best know I would never sit on my butt for the rest of my life doing nothing. That's not me. But I've been starting to understand how much this "friend" has never known the true me. I was told I'll probably be one of the people having to live with my brother or sister when I get older. This e-mail truly was inspiring and motivating. I was told I have too much talent to be sitting around doing nothing. Apparently, that's what I've been doing--nothing. Just wasting my talent. That was a low blow. They were telling me different jobs I should do... "at least do this or that." No, there's no "at least" with me. I don't want to be working at a job for the rest of my life that I'm not happy with. I can't do that. When I'm not happy, I can very easily get extremely depressed. I can't work somewhere, just to make money if I am not interested in what I'm doing. It will not last. I will fight to work places I can attribute my gifts and to the extreme I know I can accomplish. I'm not going to settle. Just as in my personal relationships. They think they're the only one left supporting and pushing me when it comes to this subject, like I was close to being a lost hope. I'm going down a path of destruction. What the...?!

The thing is, I am always writing or talking about my dreams but not what I'm doing in my life. I'm finally at a point in my life where I'm doing things and able to get out more and meet people making connections, figuring out what I want to do with my life. I won't apologize for my friend thinking I write boring e-mails now because I'm not filling them up with all my dreams and desires, but instead, what I'm actually doing for myself now. It will take time to accomplish those dreams and I am getting close to the position of finally being able to work toward them, but don't hate on my happiness for the time being. I needed this happiness because I had come so close to not wanting to experience anything else in life, it was scary. I don't need someone in my life pushing me and telling me I don't care anymore and I've become too "normal" of a person. But what hit me like a bulldozer was when I read this line:

I know you want a movie writing job but if you like writing then you better just find any job that pays well for your writing talent.

I have been told many times that a writing career will not pay much and it's better as a side project or hobby. I am not ignorant of the fact that to earn a decent sum of money, you have to have incredible writing talent. I have been in school learning about how to write and what jobs are offered to writers. I know I have a lot more to learn about writing but I am a damn good writer who could write screenplays for Hollywood films if it took me the rest of my life to finally get one accepted. The people who choose to criticize my passion or the unparalleled writing gift God's given me do not deserve to be a part of my goals, dreams and ambitions.

The thing that is most hypocritical to me is when I first met my friend, they were gung-ho about the idea of "not everyone has to go to college to succeed." I even heard their dad say it. Yes, that is the rare case some times but I will always, always value an education--and the further the better in my mind. But now, my friend says they'll be disappointed in me and upset if I give up on it. First of all, I have never, ever said or even thought about the fact of "giving up" on finshing my degree. On the contrary, I actually speak of earning a master's degree after my bachelors. My friend uses the excuse that it's wrong if I let my talent go to waste. Again, I have never once thought about neglecting my talent. I have always wanted to further it. But honestly, who is my friend to talk when I have never once said anything negative about them not going to college or even attempting to? I have always pushed them to fight for a better job because I know they are a lot more capable and even talented to do something they wouldn't have to bust their butt over day in and day out. If you want to tell me how I should be living and that I should be getting back into school because it's the right thing to do, look at yourself and take your own words into consideration.

I'm most upset because I know it's time to end another friendship. I had a feeling the day would come when I would have to end it because of the past we have had. There are not mutual feelings toward one another. It makes things awkward and the friendship too bumpy. Too much pain is caused from bitterness and jealousy. I know it will be best to move on even though it will be hard. I'm going to try to remember the good memories when I think of this friend but I'm smart enough to remember the hurtful ones if I ache to try and grow close again after time. I don't need anyone who tries to control my life.

Well, as always, I feel a lot better for writing this mess out. I know there aren't a lot of people who will read this but maybe that's for the best. And whoever took the time to, I hope you were able to relate to at least one feeling mentioned. I will try to take things day by day and learn to move on because life goes on, right? But my friends have always meant the world to me and that's why my heart is in two.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The King of Pop has Passed

My world was stopped today, as time seemed to stand still.

So, this isn't really going to be written formally. It's 1:30 a.m. and I can't sleep. I have a headache but at least I don't feel nauseated like earlier. Today (OK, literally yesterday since it's now Friday morning) has just sucked. Everything was going well until I received a text from a close friend from Abilene, Texas, around 3-4 p.m. Thursday.

Michael Jackson is dead.

Of course it hit me like a ton of bricks but then I realized it was probably a rumor or hoax... Until I received another text.

Did you hear that Michael Jackson died?

(Those aren't word-for-word but my memory is kind of shot after everything that's happened today.) I knew something had to be wrong so I got on yahoo.com to view the top stories. And lo and behold, "Michael Jackson rushed to UCLA Medical Center. Cardiac arrest." It didn't say anything about him being dead. So I get on Facebook because that's where I can connect with my "world"--family and friends. Literally EVERYONE was talking about it. I turned on the tv to MSNBC and it's not two minutes later, The L.A. Times and MSNBC confirmed MJ's death.

I was stunned. My hands were shaking.

I called my mom because that's what I do when something tragic happens. I needed some comfort and there's no one in the world more like me than her. She said he wasn't dead from what she had heard but it hadn't been updated online at that point. When she heard that he was dead, her voice cracked and I could tell she was about to cry. So yeah, it hit me too and I started crying a bit.

Most people might read this and roll their eyes or think I'm crazy for getting so emotional over someone I've never met. But it feels like I have known him my entire life. While growing up, my mom had us listening to younger Michael, as in the Jackson 5, with his brothers singing, ABC, I Want You Back and I'll be There. I remember my sister playing "Black or White" in her cassette player over and over and over again in the early '90s. I would dance to it with my younger brother, who was only a toddler. It's true that I wasn't even born when Michael's biggest hit, Thriller, was released but it was still popular when I came into the world in the late '80s. I think I'll always have my sister to thank for getting me into MJ, even though she wouldn't know it. I really started getting into his music in junior high. My friend and I would always sing, "Hey pretty baby with the high heels on..." every time we'd walk into our science class. One time our teacher left the room and my friend dared me to get up on the table, grab my crotch, do MJ's famous leg kick and sing The Way You Make Me Feel. I was a little shy but I never held back when it came to Mike. So I did it.

I got all of my friends more into his music throughout high school. We would get to the point of popping that one burnt CD into the car's player and jam to Beat It and Bad while driving to our soccer, basketball and volleyball games. Even my coach would blast Rockin' Robin! 'Til this day, I can't stop jerking my head back and forth while I dance because of Michael Jackson. He taught me that move and it stuck. I know it doesn't look right while line dancing to country music but it can't be helped. I used to tell my high school buddies that you can snap along to the beat of almost any one of the man's songs. And boy, there isn't another artist out there who can dance better. Any time I have ever heard one of his fast tempo songs, I get chills. He has that effect! And I have to move. I can't contain myself. Even if I'm deeply depressed, when I hear one of his tunes, I'm ready to dance. No other musician has ever had such an immense impact on my life. He paved the way for my generation's pop artists and girl/boy bands without a doubt.

In college is where I really shined with my MJ obsession. Everyone in my dormitory knew me as "the chick that plays Michael Jackson music and dances." I always had people asking me to do the moonwalk. "Put on Billie Jean and I will," I told them. "And a smooth floor would help." Sometimes I would pay to attend the talent shows just to see someone performing as Michael. One of my best friends got me a DVD copy of most of his music videos. I would sit and watch it for hours. Dormmates would pass by my room and poke their head in to say, "I love that video!" Michael was driven to perfection. I'm reminded of myself with my passion for writing. I want to be the best at what I do. MJ did that. He's an inspiration for anyone with a passion. He revolutionized the music industry. I was still hoping to see him in concert even if he was moonwalking at 70 years old. That can't happen now but I'm glad he's left us with some incredible music, dance moves and videos.

I think what has made me most upset is people who are judging him after his sudden death. I read posts questioning, "Why are people so sad? It's not like he was Elvis." And others that only talk about being scared for their children because of people like him. Another person said MJ's life had been declining for the past 15 years so why are people acting like this is such a tragedy when his career died many years ago? I can understand these statements to an extent, but why are there always pessimistic people around every corner? Do they just crave attention? Can you not let people sympathize for the death of a man? For a friend, a brother, a son, a father? He was human, just like us. I'm not saying he's a god. Sometimes I get frustrated that God gave me such a big heart because I empathize with everyone whether I know them or not. I will put myself in their shoes and try to see where they're coming from. Michael had a rough childhood. His dad was hardest on him. He was the seventh of 9 children--born to perform. It is not a fact that Michael molested young boys. The first time he had surgery on his nose was because he fell on stage and broke it. It wasn't for vanity purposes. And people will always question whether he bleached his skin or if he had the skin disease he mentioned.

This is what I think. Michael Jackson has had as much, if not more, bad publicity, due to both rumors and strange behavior, than good. But when you die, do you want people remembering you for your wrongs at your funeral? That would suck. It would be like, "Dude, what was I even put on earth for if no one remembered how I changed it a little bit?" Every person affects the world in some way or another. Michael Jackson had a profound impact on the music business. He was respected as an artist by millions, including hundreds of celebrities who made appearances in his music videos, concerts and world-wide benefits. He helped break the race barrier. MTV wasn't playing Black artists until MJ's Thriller debuted on it. It was groundbreaking. Everyone started wearing the red, leather jacket with zippers, the single glittered glove and that hat. He was a pop icon. He was the pop icon.

Michael Jackson is one of the few artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He's won 13 Grammy Awards and had 13 number one singles in his solo career. He's set multiple world records for Guinness. He created some of the most popular dance moves that choreographers continue to build off of today, including the robot and moonwalk. I could go on and on about his achievments but it's almost 3:30 a.m. I've been breaking to watch MTV's non-stop replays of MJ music videos. BET has been doing the same. Most of the radio stations were dedicating the entire day to playing his music. It was special to me when my neighbors were opening their windows and turning up the volume so people could hear Michael's voice throughout the streets of Chicago. Honestly, I'm scared to fall asleep. I figure if I keep watching the news, his videos and listening to his music that he'll stay alive--that this was all a whacked-out dream. But I know when morning comes, I'll awake and think to myself, "Is Michael Jackson really dead?" As I'm sure most of his fans will ask the same. And thus, it begins to sink in and we learn to live with the loss of a legend. Our worlds slowly begin to spin again.

He is and will always remain one-of-a-kind. I extend my thoughts and prayers to Michael's family. Let's take the time to mourn but also to celebrate his lifetime of outstanding accomplishments!

Here are two videos I would like to share. I'm not posting his extremely famous ones because everyone has seen them at least once, if not a hundred times. The one's below represent how well-respected Mike was as one of the greatest performers of our time. He could get ANYONE in his videos. He wanted to help others; he wanted to change the world and it was contagious. Michael, you definitely left your mark on not only the world but our hearts.

R.I.P. August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009


Let us remember him for his unparalleled contribution to the world of music, his generosity of spirit in his quest to heal the world and the joy he brought to his millions of devoted fans throughout the world. -Mariah Carey

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Now I have Two

I promised it, so here it is. My outlook and opinions on music. Add it to your bookmarks.


I'll be updating it once a week on Tuesdays until further notice.

Chemistry on the Court

We were taking a water break.

It seemed almost effortless the way one of the men was jumping to smack the backboard with his entire hand. What was he trying to prove? So you can hit the backboard. But I've got the backbone.

A couple weekends ago, I spent an afternoon playing basketball with my roommate and a group of strangers. Some women might hesitate when invited to go head-to-head verse a pack of men in a game of ball. Not me. I have always had faith in my ability to play basketball. It's the best adrenaline rush out there. I've played for most of my life. I hadn't really got into it during my years at college but about a week ago, I was focused and on my game. I can't tell you how many games we played but I can say, I never wanted it to end.

I felt alive.

I was driving to the basket and making my shots. Who was I? My shot had always been from the outside. There were no lines on the rough asphalt, no nets hanging from the rims and no red square on the backboard to guide my aim. I had no fear of getting shoved to the ground by guys three times my size, who brought nothing but their street game. And believe me, I was knocked around and almost knocked out at one point but I kept at it. I was getting complimented on how fast I was. I was the Big D on the court, sticking with my man at every cost. I think these big boys were impressed by a girl.

Usually I get a little giddy when someone's flirting with me but not on the court. My roommate was laughing with the man she was guarding because the guy I had been defending apparently liked me. Or maybe he was just turned on by my mad skills.

Then, beyond all doubt, I stole the ball and dunked on him.

OK, so I didn't. But it did cross my mind. If only I could wrap my little hands around a NBA-sized ball better. It's fascinating how something like a game of ball at a park can lift my spirits higher than anything purchased or guiltily indulged into my body. I felt like all I needed was a ball and a basket to produce instant happiness. Nothing else mattered while I was on that court. I made new friends that day, and I was probably the last player wanting to leave the scene. As my roommate and I drove off, I thought to myself how much I have missed the sparks created between the game of basketball and me. It is truly magical.

I'm hoping to get in to it more, especially since I'll have a full-sized court--with nets--at our new apartment complex. I did make my roommate search a few stores to find an actual WNBA-sized ball for us to play with. Hey, women do have smaller hands. But if I'm ever asked to play with the opposite sex again, you can bet that if they're out to prove manliness by shooting with a bigger ball, it's not going to repress my desire to step up and feel alive again.

This woman has backbone.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Wandering Nomad Settles?

I would have never saw myself traveling around the United States at 23 years old because I'm a poor kid, but God has shown me I can do whatever I desire. And you know what else? People are good. I have been blessed to know some amazing ones.

Right now, I am happy.

I've never felt like I have so much to say as I do now. Maybe that's just part of being happy--you want to share it with others. And happiness is contagious, just like a smile... or maybe a yawn. I'm sitting in the apartment watching the cat (who lives here as well) swipe his tail back and forth while sitting on the window sill staring at Chicago passersby. It's about to rain. OK, so what could possibly make me more happy? Writing, of course. Glad to be back on this again. I've missed you all.

I've realized I'm beginning another chapter of my life, as cliche as that sounds. I'm saddened by the fact that I might not get to "hang out" with my college buddies whenever I want, like I have for the past four years or so. I don't think I'll ever create friendships like those again but hopefully, I'll keep them forever. It's difficult for me to let go and deal with the question of when the next time will be that I'll see them again. But new people are being introduced into my life and that's reason enough to have a happy heart. A stranger today and a friend tomorrow. I love meeting new people.

I'm in great shape. That's keeping my mind in a healthy state as well. I'm working out five days a week and drinking more water than that which rolls off the falls of Niagara. I stopped drinking soda around my senior year of high school and stopped chewing gum this past year. Soda's not good for you in general and sugary gum is bad for my teeth. No, I'm not going to start chewing sugar-free gum. Sick. I guess I'm trying to discipline myself more. I've set up my own work out schedule and exercises since the beginning of college. I've stuck with it, varying a few things once in awhile. It's been five years. I'm feeling good and looking good.

Fantasy baseball. I've never taken part in online fantasy sports before this spring season, but I'm in a Yahoo! league with my siblings and a few others. I think I might be one of the only players who has never played. I didn't know how to play after I signed up, so I didn't get on for the first three weeks. I got on before the fourth week began and I was in last place. For the next three weeks, I taught myself how to play and how to get wins at that. I haven't lost since. I was in twelfth place--three weeks later I'm in sixth--but I'm headed for first. I love baseball and I'm committed to this fantasy thing.

For most of 2009, I've been living in Chicago. I visited home in St. Louis for two weeks and then took a Texas vacation for about two to three weeks. This past week I drove down to Atlanta, GA, to look at apartments and jobs. If things go well, I'll be moving down there at the end of June with my Chicago roomie. The road trip was only about a day and a half long but enticing. I got to see a few more states I had never been too, so I'm all for that. It's humid in Atlanta but I'm used to that from St. Louis and Abilene, TX. The state is really pretty. It has an abundance of tall trees. I think we found our apartment complex, which is south of Atlanta in the county of Riverdale. We fell in love with it. Basketball and tennis courts, two outdoor swimming pools, car wash, two laundry facilities, fitness/work out room, racquetball court, business center, etc. It's all gated in with security surrounded by hundreds of trees. The staff was extremely courteous. I'm hoping we're lucky enough to nab one of the few apartments left for rent. Atlanta's downtown is spread out. It's pretty big so I'm excited about that. I don't think I'll ever get bored. Why the move? Well, for one, my aspiring dream to become a rapper. But really, I love traveling and living in new places. In time, I felt like I could eventually call Atlanta "home." That might sound strange but it was a good feeling for me. And the fact that my favorite sixth grade teacher repped the city (Go Braves!) every day we were in his classroom. The warm weather's not bad either...

You know what's crazy? The longer I'm away from my family, the more I miss them, but whenever we're all together we get along like Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump. Or maybe a better analogy would be the Yankees and Red Sox. We're a pretty big family, especially if you throw our pets in the mix. I know my mom doesn't read this, which is probably a good thing, but I just wanted to say how proud of her I am. It has made me extremely happy what she's doing for herself. I'm just going to leave it at that. I don't think there's a person on the face of the planet who works harder than my father. My older brother is rockin' out English to the Costa Ricans or "Ticos" as they're called. I'm happy for him teaching others. I hope to visit him in Costa Rica. My older sister has the world in her hands. She's young, got her undergraduate and master's degree. She can do whatever she wants because she works her little behind off. And my younger brother? Well, he's still a dork but I'm proud of him for working this summer to pay off his courses he's going to take for the next couple months to further his college education. He's got a bright future ahead of him. No one motivates or inspires me more than these few people, even though I usually talk more about my friends. I love my family.

I've been getting in touch with numerous friends from my past. The experience is incredible to me. Who would have thought fifteen years later I'd be talking to a friend I used to study Bible verses with in Sunday School? Or to my first grade, best buddy who learned how to read with me sitting across from him? Kids I used to play foursquare and basketball with on the playground or jumped off the swings with in elementry school. I guess I owe thanks to Facebook. But also to these kids who are now grown adults making a living for themselves who haven't forgotten about the girl who kicked ass on the kickball grounds despite peeing her pants in the first grade. (Hey, everybody did it.) It's interesting to see how some of the "popular" kids from high school now have two to three children and are gaining weight rapidly. Or how the "nerds" now have college degrees and starting their careers. But then there were the average kiddos who are now married and have a baby on the way. Well, whatever makes people happy, more power to them! There's no such thing as popular anymore. You are who you are and you learn to accept it. I'm still finding myself and what I want... and it might take the rest of my life, but I know what I stand for and what I believe in. I won't back down. I'm fascinated by my old friends returning into my new life. There's a lot of catching up to do but oddly enough, they're still the same friends I had when I stood four feet high--passionate and genuine.

If I can get back into school this coming fall or next spring after I move to Atlanta, I'm thinking about changing my print journalism degree to Public Relations and getting into advertising. It's still under the wing of journalism. If not that, maybe photography. I have taken classes in both subjects and earned the highest grade in both classes. I'm not trying to sound conceited; I just want to go down a path I'm interested in and can achieve greatness. I have the opportunity to be more creative in those majors than print journalism. I have experience writing for a newspaper and the deadlines and forced news stories aren't forgiving to work with. I am definitely sticking with the arts though. I'm an imaginative person. And yes, I'm still planning on writing a screenplay and even a book or two... or three. I'm thinking about starting another blog. It's going to deal with music--individual songs specifically. Each entry will be written/reviewed about a song of my choice. I have a variety of ideas so hopefully I'll find some time to get it up and running soon. Yes, I'm keeping this particular blog. I just wanted to expand my writing more.

Last week, I was woke up around six in the morning by a strange sound outside my bedroom window. I thought it was a bird or squirrel. I looked out the window to see a baby raccoon scratching at the pane. I had never heard the sound a raccoon makes until then. At three years old, you don't normally learn it along with "the cow goes 'moo' and the pig goes 'oink'." But this little raccoon was adorable. If I wouldn't have known better, (rabies) I would have ran outside and kept it as my own. It wasn't five minutes later when it's mother jumped off the back of a pick-up truck parked nearby and headed toward my window as well. Now, this momma raccoon wasn't one to reckon with. She looked like a fat, ugly, stray dog. Anyway, they eventually ran off and I fell back asleep. The next night, my roomie and I heard the baby raccoon out back again so we went to go see it. It was limping around because it's back leg had been hurt. It's momma was no where to be seen. This baby raccoon was crying out a lot. My heart broke because there was nothing I could do for it. We went out to eat and I'll admit, it was hard for me to get my mind off that little guy (or girl!). We haven't seen it since. My roommate thinks it died and when she saw the look on my face after saying that, she quickly responded back with, "But I'm sure it's in raccoon heaven." Maybe it did die but I don't want to think about it. I was almost brought to tears seeing it like that. Maybe I'm a pansy but maybe I just love all of God's creatures big or small. OK, maybe not snakes. We need more veterinarians in the world. Ones that go out on rescue calls to save limping, baby raccoons in Chicago dark alleyways.

I hope I can understand that I don't have to keep traveling to keep life interesting. I just have to be creative with where I am, my resources and the people around me. I need to start focusing on my talents and refine them. I want to get extremely good at something, if not the best. I want to make a name for myself and help change the world, if even by affecting one person positively. I know I can. I'm very blessed...

But I make that known often.

Friday, May 01, 2009

New post coming Monday the 4th or Tuesday the 5th. (Yes, May.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Meandering at 23

I hide my emotions very well... except when I write. That's OK with me though.

Lately, I've been so stressed out that I've been grinding my teeth harder than I ever have while I sleep at night. I cracked my molar the other night and chipped a piece off. I woke up today with a bite mark on the inside of my cheek. If I ever needed a sign that I was stressed, I would say that would be it.

I wish I didn't let people get to me the way that I do. Nothing frustrates me more than when a person tries to decieve, judge or change me. That's why I am extremely thankful for the handful of close friends I have even if they're scattered around the states. They know me. They understand me. They're patient. They listen. I received a late birthday card from my best friend who I haven't seen since last October. I can't remember the last time I had laughed out loud so much--and from only words on a card! But they are my best friend's words and I cherish every one of them. She knows me better than anyone. Today, I've had a couple of my buddies sincerely ask what they could do to help. I can't explain how much of a comfort it is to know that I have people in this world that would do anything for me. When someone tells me that seeing me happy is what makes them happy, I can't help but smile. There is nothing in my life right now that means more to me than genuine friendship.

I know I'm not the greatest friend. I know my biggest fault revolves around attendance issues but I am loyal. I would do anything for my friends. I'm 23 now and I have a feeling I'll be a wandering nomad until God reveals a plan for my life. I'm uncertain what I want so I'll continue to search until I know. I'm OK with it. The only part that gets to me at times is never feeling like I have a home. I'm always a visitor. And where I grew up? It's just my parent's place. It's disheartening to feel like you don't belong anywhere but life's like that sometimes. I know I belong to God but sadly, it doesn't feel like that's enough. (If I get struck down by lightning today, you'll know why.)

I have a big trip ahead of me. I am not a planner; I let other people plan. I've learned better. Nothing in my life has ever gone "according to plan." Change is constant and inevitable! Listening to music and writing are my only escape. When I was younger, playing basketball made the list as well. I'm hoping I'll get lucky enough to add another golden leisure to it after making this trip--sitting on a beach. I have never seen one, save from pictures online, tv, movies or magazines. I know beaches are synonymous for R and R and the majority of people swarm toward them for vacation, but I believe the magic evoked from seeing one for the first time will engrave itself upon my heart forever. All I've ever had is a desire to live on or near a beach. I've never visited one but the thought alone is incredibly peaceful, meditative and awe-inspiring. Nothing calms me more than being outdoors exploring Mother Nature's beauty. It comforts the soul.

I have a cat. She's about six or seven. She's my cat. Her name's Gracie. Truthfully, I'm more of dog person but I love this cat. She was the outcast of her litter; the only gray cat out of tabbies. She's small. She's dumb. Boy, is this cat dumb. She loves me though and she knows me. I think my traveling has been taking it's toll on her. I've been back at my parent's place for two weeks and she hasn't left my side--or lap--once. No one really likes her. She's kind of a menace at times. I still love her. My parent's have wanted to get rid of her more times than I can count. I'm going to miss her when I leave again. A pet's devotion is consoling.

Well, one good thing about living out of a suitcase is avoiding the hassle of packing before a trip! So I'm set.