Music

The Girl on The Seesaw

I haven't been able to write about Prince's death. I still can't. I'm still struggling to process it, and the only comforts I've had are celebrating his music, the flood of videos online of performances-some of which I remember watching a young kid-and the stories being told of his philanthropy. 

I don't think I could ever face it in its entirety by trying to sum up all his life and artistry have meant to me during my 33 years of being a Purple Army member. I don't think I can pay tribute in just one piece and then move on. Just writing those sentences above has left my heart shaking. But I think what I can do is share it in pieces when the words come like they did just now. 

So. 

I'm currently working on this and it (the colors) reminded me of the Around the World in a Day album cover. I started playing the album. Got to "Paisley Park" and started sobbing as I sung it. It happens to me every time I hear it. Since I was a little kid. I don't know what it is about THAT song that breaks me open and builds me up at the same time, but that's the kind of relationship I've always had with it, since I was very young. When I was like 5 or 6, I used to dream about being the girl on the seesaw and walking around Paisley Park with a balloon. Free. Safe. Dancing with wonder and magic. Feeling music course through and lift me with each step. I still do. 

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Beyoncé on Feminism, Art as a Vehicle For Protest, Women's Mental Health, and Empowering The Next Generation of Female Artists in Elle

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While I've enjoyed Beyonce as a performer/artist (and have had my criticisms of her over the years as I've grown up with her-we're the same age), I've rarely regarded her as a quotable person...or an artist I'd expect to hear something substantial from regarding politics or social justice matters. I've also not always been a fan of her past interviews; I feel that while they gave us insight into her as an artist or entertainer, we weren't given insight into who she is as a person and what she thinks about the world or culture, beyond Beyonce The Brand. They all felt very...standard. The few she's given since the release of Beyonce, however, where she's expressed her thoughts on feminism, motherhood, and being an artist in a slightly less guarded way, have been intriguing reads for me though. I've found myself identifying and relating to her words and experiences in a way I haven't in years, probably because I see some of my own growth and journey with these same issues in hers. I see her evolving in her understanding of them, much as I have over the last 5-6 years, and honestly respect it, even if it's considered by others to be "simplistic". (I've never taken a women's studies or feminist theory course, so I consider my own understanding to be simplistic too-there's still much I have yet to learn.)

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Her new interview with Elle Magazine for their May "Women in Music" issue is her best yet, in my opinion. In it she discusses her thoughts on feminism, motherhood, the backlash to "Formation", her desire to use her art and voice to speak to issues that matter, supporting and empowering younger female artists, and the importance of women taking care of their mental health. (A high profile Black woman who is a global star specifically mentioning mental health? I spent much of yesterday shouting "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!" and fist pumping after reading it) 

On feminism...

"I put the definition of feminist in my song ["Flawless"] and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I'm a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning. I'm not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it's very simple. It's someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don't understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you're a feminist. We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes. Ask anyone, man or woman, "Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?" What do you think the answer would be? When we talk about equal rights, there are issues that face women disproportionately. That is why I wanted to work with [the philanthropic organizations] Chime for Change and Global Citizen. They understand how issues related to education, health, and sanitation around the world affect a woman's entire existence and that of her children. They're putting programs in place to help those young girls who literally face death because they want to learn, and to prevent women from dying during childbirth because there's no access to health care. Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don't like or embrace any label. I don't want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that's my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I'm just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights."

On the "Formation" backlash and using her art as a means of protest: 

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On mental health and the cultural messaging that can keep women from prioritizing it: 

"Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish."

On supporting (and signing) younger female artists via her new label:

"I want to take all my resources and give these artists the support of the best, to nurture them and allow them to be who they are really are."

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Her new artists... 

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I can't lie-I know folks will have their criticisms to share, but it thrills my feminist and artist heart to see Beyoncé really stepping into her full power as a woman, artist, and entrepreneur. Watching her evolution over the last few years has been challenging and liberating for me and my own artistry in ways I didn't expect. She's using her voice and art to foster conversation around issues that impact people of color, and women and girls in new, bolder ways and I'm here for it. And just as she's done in the past by employing an all female band, she's now amplifying the voices of other female artists by creating spaces for them to share their art with the world. (Much like Janelle Monae is doing for artists with her Wondaland label, and Solange with her Saint Heron label and shop) As a woman, mother, and artist trying to do the same as I navigate my 30's, I respect it and find her grind motivating. 

I see you, Beyonce. Salute, sis. <insert power fist> <get in formation>

You can read the cover story here

 

 

#WTF: Missy Got Me Drake-ing It

I'm totally phoning in today's #NaBloPoMo post for 2 reasons: 1) I'm exhausted. It was a long, busy day. 2) MISSY ELLIOT RELEASED NEW MUSIC AND A VIDEO AND I CAN'T STOP LISTENING OR WATCHING BOTH.  

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It. Is. Everything. If I were to describe it in nothing but emojis I'd use all flames and probably a tombstone & Jesus to show how she killed me and resurrected me repeatedly today.  Welcome back, Misdemeanor. I've missed you so. 

Also: My kingdom for a marionette in my likeness doing splits & rocking to the beat.  

Art as Protest: Janelle Monae & Wondaland Marches Through The Streets With "Hell You Talmbout"

Janelle Monae and her Wondaland crew (artists I wholeheartedly stan for) are currently doing secret shows across the U.S. in support of their latest EP, The Eephus. Yesterday they were in Philly, not just for a show, but to also help lead a march and rally w/Philly's Black Lives Matter chapter. The rally was labeled as a celebration of "Black Joy" and featured many young poets, singers, and community organizers from the city. 

#BlackGirlsRock #WondalandRecords #WondalandGoesPlaces #TheEephus

A photo posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

150 deep, they marched through North Philly chanting and later singing a new song titled "Hell You Talmbout", which Monae and Wondaland artists wrote to protest police brutality and honor the lives of those lost to state violence. 

#SayTheirNames #TheEephus #BlackLivesMatter

A video posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

#SayTheirNames

A video posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

I followed the action on Twitter and Janelle's Instagram feed yesterday, hoping to hear the whole song in it's entirety. It was released today on Soundcloud, and with every listen, I've had to fight back tears as I sing along. Take a listen...and feel the pain and power of it as you say their names.

Let's keep fighting for freedom y'all. 


The Songs That Made Me (So Far)

If someone asked you to name the top 10 songs that have made you who you are at this very moment, right now, could you do it? Could you easily identify and compile that list?

When Nancy over at Midlife Mixtape asked me these questions earlier in the week, I laughed to myself at first and was like "Pffft, please. Do Doves Cry?!" As I began scrolling through mental playlists of music I've loved and have been moved by over my 32 years of living however, I started wondering if Prince was a purple liar and doves really don't cry at all. Y'all. It was HARD (and for this music junkie, panic inducing) to try and pinpoint a list of 10 songs max that have helped define & refine who I am at 32; a woman living up to my neck in words and paint and kids and ravenously consuming music for sustenance as I do. There are so many songs that have ingrained themselves into my being consciously and subconsciously there's no way I could name them all or narrow it down to just 10. But I'm going to attempt to make a valiant effort here based on different aspects of my lived experience thus far (and for the sake of length, because I could write about this all day.)  Ready? Let's rock. 

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1. "Un Amor"-Gypsy Kings. I'm starting off with this one because I'm listening to it right now as I type this and I'm missing my husband who's in California. (More on this in a forthcoming post) My husband and I both love the Gypsy Kings, he gets emotional when he hears it, it's an achingly gorgeous song, and I walked down the aisle to it. My wedding day was stress free and just...as generic as it sounds, it was joy and love, warmth and life. Even with it being unexpectedly cold initially, it was perfect. My husband and I always talk about how much we loved our small, intimate wedding, how much of a fucking celebration it was for the two of us and our boys. If I could go back and relive it I would. When I hear this song, especially when marriage and parenting are exhausting and infuriating, it takes me back to that day. It grounds me and helps me breathe as I continue to get used to "wife" being interwoven throughout my identity. It reminds me of how much he loves me. Cheesy, but true. 

 

2. "Cleva", "My Life", "Bag Lady"-Erykah Badu. I'm cheating by including three songs together as one but I'm not sorry because they're all on the same album: Mama's Gun. I received this album as a Christmas gift when I was 18. I also got a Creed album in that glorious stack of CD bounty under the tree, but we won't talk about that. Anyway... Mama's Gun was an album that became a safe space for my mind to hide in when necessary. It became an anchor for me as I not only started processing trauma from my childhood, but as I continued to experience it as a young woman entering young adulthood. 18, 19, and 20 were excruciatingly painful years for me as I tried to start extricating myself from the impact and grasp ahold onto any sense of self that was emerging as I did. That album and those songs in particular helped me start gathering the courage to find who I was underneath years of abuse, and fight for myself. 

"Pack light...let it go, let it go, let go...I betcha love could make it better...Girl I know, you can't stop crying..." (Bag Lady)

"I'm cleva...and I really wanna grow, but why come, I'm the last to know? Said, I'm, alright with me, said I'm alright with me, said I'm alright, YEA, said I'm..." (Cleva)

"Every now and then I
Want to throw my hands up in the sky, Cause one day I know I'll be flying high
And I know yeah I got to get down
On my knees and pray, Cause in heart I know I'll see that day 

When my freedom comes along
I'm gonna run child, Cause I know that I'll go far oh, oh
Can't let nobody kill my soul and bring me down
And they know who they are, oh my life...

My life...sho ain't been too easy, my life, the life I wanna live, my life, you're gonna go through changes, my life, no turnin back now..." (My Life)

3. "Get Into the Groove"-Madonna, "Dance With Somebody"-Whitney Houston

I was born in 1982 so I was very young when I first heard these tracks. They were the songs that I remember made my young body vibratory and consumed by a desire to get lost in the beat, my body, arms, and legs instantly synced to their rhythms, to freedom. Dancing has always been an escape for me and like painting, is another creative outlet I use to express myself. These two songs help me discover that as a child. 

4. "Lyte As A Rock"-MC Lyte. This was the song that introduced me to hip-hop. Of course Run DMC and other hip-hop artists were out before she was, but I wasn't aware of them yet. It was the song that made me fall in love with hip-hop, which introduced me to the concept that you can use art to tell a story-YOUR story. My stepdad took me to go see her, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, and Salt N Pepa in concert in Philly when I was like 7 or 8 and it blew my mind. I saw first hand the power of a woman expressing herself uninhibited, fully embodied and rooted in who she is, and unapologetic about it. It set the foundation for how I express myself through art and words now at 32, and as a young Black girl it gave me confidence to use my voice, to be vocal about my ideas and opinions.  

5. "Jesus Freak"-dc Talk. As I've shared before, this song and album of the same name helped shape my identity as a young Christian. It combined my love of rock with my faith, giving me a way to worship and connect that I found expressive freedom in. 

6. "Si Te Vas"-Shakira. Growing up in Texas, Latin American food and culture were peripherally a part of my life, but it wasn't until I met my 10th grade Spanish teacher that I fell completely in love with it. My previous teachers were great at teaching me the language, but not really the heart, blood, and comprehensive history of the culture both in Spain and Latin America. My 10th grade teacher, however, changed that, exposing my class to what the textbooks didn't teach and giving us as much of an immersive experience as she could in 50 minutes every day. While we worked in groups or in our workbooks, she would play music from Spain, the Caribbean, and Latin America, pushing my knowledge of Spanish-language music beyond the mariachi style and Tejano I'd always heard. She always gave us the historical background of each country's music but also exposed us to current artists who were popular. My favorites she highlighted that year were Latin pop and rock acts like La Ley, Juanes, Thalia, and Shakira. The first time I heard this song, particularly the Unplugged version, I felt it. It (and Shakira) gave me the desire to actually sing in Spanish, not just listen, and when I did, I felt the soul of the music and lyrics. I enjoy singing Spanish language songs far more than English ones and Spanish, especially when singing them with my husband (who is Puerto Rican). (I also seriously recommend listening/watching Shakira's MTV Unplugged-it's the perfect primer for her pre-English crossover albums which are stellar.)

 

7. "Young Fresh & New"-Kelis. When I first saw Kelis, I instantly said to myself "that's me." Her rainbow colored hair, her style, the way she expressed herself through music...she represented how I felt as a young Black teen in love with hip-hop & R&B, but also loved rock and was a nerd. She was (and still is) quirky, outside of the box, unrestrained, bold, fierce, colorful and unapologetic about who she is as a woman and artist. When I heard this song for the first time, I was hooked and it became one of the declarative anthems of expression of my teen years. 

8. "When Doves Cry"-Prince. My mother claims this is the first song that I actually sang along to at 2 years old and that I would lose it from excitement whenever the video played on TV. I basically take this as evidence that I was born a Prince fan and that I was born with Purple Funk encoded into my DNA. I'd dig if I could a picture and the video, but Prince is very B613 from Scandal like about his content being available online, so an embed-able link cannot be found at this time.

9. "Stomp"-Kirk Franklin feat. Salt. dc Talk and Christian rock helped me express and connect with my faith the most as a teen, but "Stomp" by Kirk Franklin finally made me use gospel music in the same way, it helped me feel God in gospel music. I say finally because while I had been exposed to Kirk's earlier work and gospel artists like James Cleveland, The Winans, Take 6, and Fred Hammond by my Mom, I just couldn't really relate to it...it was..."old". But this? Game changer. When this came out I suddenly had more than Christian hip-hop artists G.R.I.T.S to listen and bump to. It ushered in a new direction in gospel music geared at young people and eventually lead to some of my favorite gospel/christian hip-hop/worship artists like Tye Tribbett, Flame, Lecrae, Israel Houghton, MaryMary, and others putting out albums. It also lead to my using praise dance as a form of worship in church during my late teens and mid-20's. 


10. "Purple Rain"-Prince. Prince is my musical foundation. Listening to his music growing up exposed me to funk, R&B, rock, pop, jazz, the blues...Listening to him introduced me to artists like Sly & The Family Stone, Jimi Hendricks, Bo Diddly, Little Richard, BB King, Mavis Staples, Chaka Khan, Sheila E, Zepplin, Stevie Wonder, Larry Graham, Maceo Parker, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, The Time, The Police, KISS...and it enabled me to love artists like U2, Toni Tone Tone!, Guns N Roses, Eric Leeds, En Vogue, No Doubt, Nikka Costa, Glen Hansard, and so many others. The list is exhaustive because of what his artistry exposed me to musically. Purple Rain is special to me because it is the first song that made me cry while listening to it. The guitar-it's the guitar solo that cuts right through me. Doesn't matter if I listen to him perform it live or the recording, I'm crying and singing by the end of the guitar solo and the rest of the song. It helped me realize in my teens that I'm an empath, which explained so much about how I experience music and life in general. It's the song I want played at my memorial service. Again, Prince has B613 agents that ensure his content isn't widely distributed online, and I don't have time to crawl through the Internet's tunnels to find a link, so instead I'm going to just leave you with his guitar solo here. If your soul doesn't feel it, I don't think you're human. (And yes, Petty, Winwood, and Lynne are iconic and fabulous...but Prince obliterates this solo in the best way possible. Because he can.) 

 

So that's it. I feel like I'm leaving so many out. But there are my 10, Nancy! I wrote this as part of a fun blog hop with other music junkies like mahself. Check out the songs that made them by clicking on the links below and then tell me what songs made YOU in the comments! 

The Songs That Made:

 

Good Day, Regular People

Smacksy

Arnebya

The Flying Chalupa

Elizabeth McGuire

Elleroy Was Here

Midlife Mixtape

Up Popped a Fox

When Did I Get Like This?

I Miss You When I Blink

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Butterfly Confessions

 

 

 

Writing Fire

Current writing mood... 

Sometimes when I sit to write or paint, nothing comes and I'm left staring at a heap of dry bones. But then there are times when the Muse arrives and she flies past me in a rush, like a passing train, the force of her entrance pushing me back on my heels. I'm then left to chase after her; doing my best to keep her pace, sync my rhythm to hers and attune my ears and hands to what she's unearthing. In she sweeps, bringing words that sit in my heart, at the tips of my fingers and on my tongue, burning hot. She'll invite me to close my eyes and trust my hands as they move across the canvas, ignited by the burn of inspiration. The heat of her presence becomes comforting the more I yield to it, the more I allow it to burn away what no longer serves and what still needs refining. When she goes to depart the bones are no longer just a lifeless pile of brittleness in a heap at my feet. They are instead alive and dancing across my keyboard or across a page, brush or palette knife keeping the beat like a metronome. 

 

"Now I see fire,

Inside the mountain, 

I see fire, 

burning the trees, and 

I see fire, 

hollowing souls, 

I see fire, 

blood in the breeze...

and I hope that you'll remember me."

Ed Sheeran from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug soundtrack

Giving Me LIFE!

Thanks to the invasion and conquering of my body that is the first trimester, I've been feeling like death lately. Fevers, allergies, nasal congestion, round ligament pain, hellacious back and pelvic pain, all day morning sickness, lack of quality sleep yet bone aching fatigue....you name it, my body has been tortured with it the last 8 weeks. We're not even going to talk about what only being on one medication (an anti-depressant that triggers some good ol' rapid cycling between hypomania and depression) has done to my mental state these past weeks. Or maybe we will, but not today, simply because I only have enough energy to type a paragraph or two and then I'm going to go back to being The Blob. What we WILL talk about is the music that's been rescusitating me when my mind and body tap out. Music really IS therapy, and in my case it's been my life support the past two weeks especially.

First up we have Mr. Timberlake...I mean, do I have to say anymore? If you haven't let the groove get in you lately, I highly recommend purchasing The 20/20 experience, closing your windows & curtains, and dancing til your feet fall off.  Even my zombie ass has been shaking it-there have been days I wouldn't have been able to gather the energy to brush my teeth or feed myself had I not put on "Let the Groove Get In," "Mirrors", "Spaceship Coupe" or "Tunnel Vision."

[youtube=http://youtu.be/uuZE_IRwLNI]

I have this thing for Marc Anthony-not because he's physically attractive but because when the man opens his mouth the most beautiful sounds come out. The man can sing, period. His salsa albums are staples in my music collection, so when I found out HE'S BACK WITH A NEW SALSA ALBUM-his first in 10 years, I nearly broke my fingers trying to download his new single on iTunes. This song? GIVES ME LIFE. Gives my hips life too, too much in fact, because after dancing to this, the pain is unbearable-but so. damn. worth it.  Listen for yourself....

[youtube=http://youtu.be/yUv321zEGko]

And finally, THE SONG that has just been KILLING me not so softly every time I hear it is the latest from Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu. First of all: Monae. Badu. Are you freaking KIDDING ME? I'm still in shock that two of my favorite female artists (who are bad ass on their own individually) collaborated on a track together. And unlike LL Cool J & Brad Paisley or Beyonce & Andre 3000, these two have crafted a funk/rock hybrid that's a f---king masterpiece. From the lyrics (especially Monae's rap at the end!) to the music itself, it's just an incredible piece of work, and a welcome relief from the oversexed R&B/hip-hop/pop nonsense that's dominating the airwaves right now.  And the video? Pfffft. S-I-C-K. I dare you not to shake or twerk something to this....but for the love of all that's holy, PLEASE don't record a video of you doing so-the world doesn't need yet ANOTHER video of a female (or male) twerking it in booty shorts. Leave the webcam off :)

Anyway, enjoy the epic-nes that is "Q.U.E.E.N." Pure art & pop genius. WERK IT.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEddixS-UoU&feature=share&list=UUdxFg3dVeT50SsT1v3ptxTQ]

What music is giving YOU life these days?

 

I Wish I Was Stronger...For Both of Us

"I can feel your pain, I can feel your struggleYou just wanna live, but everything so low That you could drown in a puddle That's why I gotta hold us up, yeah hold us up For all the times no one's ever spoke for us To every single time that they play this song You can say that that's what Bobby Ray wrote for us When the tides get too high And the sea up underneath get so deep And you feel like you're just another person Getting lost in the crowd, way up high in the nosebleeds Uh, because we've both been there, yeah, both of us But we still stand tall with our shoulders up And even though we always against the odds These are the things that've molded us And if life hadn't chosen us Sometimes I wonder where I would've wound up Cause if it was up to me, I'd make a new blueprint Than build it from the ground up.."

It hurts to watch the people you love and care about wrestle their way through the sh^t life throws in their face. I hate it. I try my best to be there for the people in my life who are grappling with life and trying to endure it's ugliness, even when I'm grappling and struggling to endure the ugliness myself.

It's especially hard for me to watch a loved one (friend or family) fight mental illness. It's hard for me because I know from experience how hard it is to fight for your life and well being when all you want to really do is give up...or at least give in for a little while. Sometimes I feel strong enough for others to lean on and gain strength & comfort from...but there are times when I feel helpless...when I wonder if my words and love are piercing through the armor of illness that surrounds their thoughts....when I wonder if I'm doing enough or do I need to do more...should I reach out and push or back off and just wait? Am I being empathetic? Am I allowing them to be vulnerable with me? Am I sitting in the darkness with them but still shining even the tiniest flame of hope?

It's hard to know sometimes...especially when you aren't afforded the chance to actually see the person face to face and you only have Facebook, Twitter, email, and text messages to say "Hey, you're not alone. You matter. I hear you, I know you're in pain. I'm here with you. You can get through this, you WILL get through this. I love you. You're beautiful. Don't give up."

When I'm in a really awful place, sometimes just having someone to sit next to me so I'm not alone with my thoughts helps. I hate that I can't sit next to some of you when you're in that place. It kills me.

When I heard this song today, I thought of you. I thought of where you're at and how helpless you feel in your fight to live...and I sang this for you, out loud with tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart that you make it through this....and I vowed to remain in this fight with you, for however long it takes, until you win. Until we both win, because I'm not just fighting for you and I'm not just fighting for myself...I'm fighting to be stronger for both of us...for all of us. We're worth the fight...so let's not give up, okay?

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHeC1MoeDBo]

Mixed

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"I could be daydreaming but for a moment And somehow they're creeping back in I could be sleeping awakened the torrent Somehow I get caught in their grips again

And here I am in my shame spiral I'm sucked in to it again And I reach out for your benevolent opinion You bring the light back in

Don't leave me here with all these critical voices Cause they do their best to bring me down When I'm alone with all these negative voices I will need your help to turn them down..." Spiral/Havoc and Bright Lights/Alanis Morrisette

no one loves you. you're so weak. first name incapable, last name burden-that's you.

the Voice. it mercilessly plays it's record of shame endlessly on my inner loudspeaker, stirring up my irrational insecurities into a paranoid frenzy.

no one loves you. you're so weak. first name incapable, last name burden, that's you.

tiny arms reach up & around my neck, pulling me in close as if to say "You're mine, I won't let It take you."

boyish grins light up their faces as giggles escape from their little bodies as if to say "you make us so happy."

little legs struggle to climb into my lap, seeking solace & comfort as if to say "I need you...we're safe here, together."

his voice travels confidently through the phone, reminding me once again that I haven't been abandoned to wander Illness' deadly streets on my own. "you're not alone, you have me, I'm here, I came back, I'm not going anywhere. I love you, we'll get through this together," he says.

I am loved, they love me. I'm strongest when I'm weak because I don't give up. first name Addy, last name capable, that's me.

I am loved. I am needed. I am strong. I am capable....no matter how mixed & chaotic this illness makes me.

*I've been in a hypomanic/mixed mood since we left. It's been hard, but thanks to my meds & my family I've been managing ok....until this past week. I've upped my meds again & am trying to wait patiently for the Austin VA to place me in their system and assign me a psychiatrist....I was told today it's going to take 3-4 weeks. I'll be fighting like hell to keep the heaviness & chaos from weighing me down...and praying my mind doesn't get any worse. In my next post I swear I'll finally tell you about the awesomeness that has become our lives in Austin...and those fears I mentioned last post-have to share those too. In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day weekend lovelies.*

Dance Party Friday: Theme Music Edition

Theme songs. Every one has one. I have several. They are the ones that resonate and connect with me more than others, the ones that seem to define and give voice to a moment, situation, circumstance, or emotion in my life I can't quite seem to articulate with words. Tightrope by Janelle Monae is a part of the soundtrack of my life. She's mixed in there somewhere between Prince, Nirvana, Hillsong United, dc Talk, Shelia E and an incredibly long list of other artists who make music that defines pieces of me. I've written about my love for this song before, and the lessons it's taught me over on James & Jax's blog, and when I think about what my life is like trying to manage Bipolar Disorder, I can't help but find myself singing and shuffling my feet to this very song.

So...whether I'm high, low or somewhere in between, I'm gonna keep tippin on my tightrope. Motherhood. School. Faith. Bipolar Disorder. Medication. Therapy. LIFE...I gotta keep my balance and keep dancing my way through....

Now....this video y'all. It's so far from perfect it's not even funny. I first recorded a dance to this last week, but every time I went to save it, my software kept crashing on me. When I recorded it today (like 8 times) I just couldn't get it right. I have to be honest and say I'm pretty embarrassed and frustrated by this....I want to do better quality stuff, but the techie in me must be burnt out because I can't figure this one out y'all. Maybe I need a better webcam, better software, a new laptop (goodbye Dell, hello Macbook!) or I don't know a better ME, but....something's up. I wasn't going to post this, but my amazingly supportive friend flooded my facebook with demands that I post it and "give the people what they want." (her exact words, I promise) So...here it is. I hope at the very least it gets ya to boogie because forget me, the SONG itself is pure FIRE.

Shuffle and toe tap away my friends :) Enjoy your weekend. Start it off dancing :)

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/31934510]

you can also find my other DPF videos here, here, and here

My Weekend Playlist

If music were a drug, I'd be strung out and wouldn't bother going to rehab for treatment. I'm a junkie, it's been a habit I know will be lifelong. What I listen to depends on my mood, but I love a variety of genres...here's a sampling of the artists on my playlist for tonight & this weekend....enjoy :)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWE-93AxN_c]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy9mFKFPsDA]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-0eyrNuGL4]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc8fK0ns53A]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LttKbL4sv7E]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt7wnWrortA]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4EPnM62O8A]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0f5bjxmheQ]

Shine.....So I Can See You

My prayer as I start this week.......

(and can I just say how much I freakin LOVE DCB?!!!!!)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8cAU475dQo]

And the promise I'm holding on to as I go into my week...holding on to this knowledge with a white knuckled grip....

(and yes, my music crush on John Mark McMillian is super fierce)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiuPcrW01zo]

Wistfully Nostalgic Wednesday: Disney Movies & Hammertime

I moved into my new apartment today-FINALLY. Although things haven't turned out the way I thought they would or wanted to this summer and renting a place from my new school wasn't what I was expecting, all in all, I'm grateful that God provided it. We have a roof over our heads, and while we need a break from each other, my ex and I are still BFFs. So....to say I'm grateful is a huge understatement. Today was hectic, frantic, and overwhelming. Trying to find a grocery store nearly gave me a panic attack and I feel bad for whoever winds up living underneath me because the sound of my boys' "pitter-pattering" feet sound more like a stampeding herd of stegosaurus' :) Oh well, I'll be sure to buy them lots of gift cards, offer study notes, & give them cookies at Christmas time to make up for it. I did find a Target & a BJ's so that kind of made up for the edginess I felt today.

But, this post isn't about my move. It's Wednesday which means I'm supposed to be telling you what I'm missing in the pop-culture realm from my youth. Because I'm beyond tired, this will be quick:

Disney Movies...not Disney Pixar movies. Don't get me wrong, those are great but I miss the classics like the one you see to the left. Thank goodness they just re-released this one. I used to have em all-I mean ALL....on VHS. 101 Dalmations, Robin Hood, Aladdin...(sigh) yes, my kids  and I need a marathon of these one weekend.

A-Ha, Human League and pre-Kaballah Madonna...you know back when she was desperately seeking attention some chick named Susan and not Brazilian boys men old enough to be her sons? In case you need a reminder:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ipe2L9L0bI]

You can wear all the meat dresses and hatch out of all the eggs you want Gaga, but remember-she ACTUALLY hung out with Warhol.

And since I mentioned A-Ha, feel free to enjoy this as much as I do....

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914]

And since I'm already on an eighties music roll here, I'm awfully nostalgic over this:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtXrVyMbf1A]

While other girls my age were posting New Kids on the Block posters on their wall, and Mark Wahlberg was with some creeps called the funky bunch, I was busy belting my heart out to Prince. If I'm not mistaken this song as well as his Around the World in a Day album was my favorite when I was in elementary school....You know, back in the early nineties when MC Hammer was telling us what we couldn't touch....

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otCpCn0l4Wo]

And before you even ask, yes I still know all the words and moves to this song, and I even saw his movie :)

Welp I'm off to "do the bump" right to my bed and that's what I'm waxing nostalgic about this week, how about you? Feel free to share!

Still Standing

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4KiGN1j1No]

"Shadowfeet" Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet towards home, a land that i've never seen I am changing; less and less asleep made of different stuff than when i began And I've sensed it all along fast approaching is the day when the world has fallen out from under me I'll be found in you, still standing When the sky rolls up and the mountains fall on their knees when time and space are through I'll be found in you There's distraction buzzing in my head saying in the shadows it's easier to stay but I've heard rumours of true reality whispers of a well-lit way You make all things new.... When the world has fallen out from under me I'll be found in you, still standing Every fear and accusation under my feet when time and space are through I'll be found in you

So much has been going on in my world the past 2 months and my emotions are definitely a little worse for the wear. But my battle weary heart is still fighting with each beat, my aching feet continue to move my body as I strive to dance through the rain that's pouring over me. Listening to this song today reminded me of His promise to me that no matter how much it looks like my world is falling apart, no matter how painful this growing process is, I'll make it, and be who He created me to be at the end. A better woman, mother, friend, believer, counselor, dancer, writer, teacher....and no matter how lonely it may feel, I'm never alone, because He's right here with me, and it's in Him where my refuge & peace are found.

I couldn't ask for a more beautiful battle cry to carry me through....

"When the world has fallen out from under me I'll be found in you, still standing Every fear and accusation under my feet when time and space are through I'll be found in you."