Friday Media Prep: Black Girl In A Big Dress

Do you have any hobbies that you feel certain no one will understand? For lots of us, it’s common for people to think you shouldn’t, or can’t, like something based on your background. I remember my parents teasing me for liking Coldplay and singing along to every song on Parachutes for hours on end. I used to lay up in our old tree house, singing “Yellow” over and over until the neighborhood dogs had enough with the bellowing and started barking. I think it’s fair to say most of us have prejudicial feelings about who can like what, where we’re supposed to fit in, and why some things just aren’t cool.

What I love about “Black Girl in a Big Dress” is the way it confronts those notions. Because Adrienne,the heroine of the web series, is African American people think it’s odd for her to be enamored with dressing up like a Victorian lady and trotting off to tea parties. However, she is dedicated to enjoying her passion and gives into her heart’s desire. The show is so refreshing and riot! By watching her escapades, I’ve begun to question my right to joy even if it might seem a little crazy to the outside world. After all, who are we to deny our own hearts? Below is the first episode. Let me know in the comments what you think of “Black Girl in a Big Dress” and what hobbies you have that might be surprising!

Friday Media Prep: We Deserve A Break

Happy Friday, my friends! If you’re living in the US, or happen to been a masochist who likes to follow our news, I’m guessing you’re just as in need of some positive diversions as I am. It’s good to be involved in the world around you, and I think it’s great to allow yourself to get mad as hell – but today I’m championing things that make us feel light.

Wotd GIF
Me, all week

So, in honor of surviving the week, enduring horrendous displays of human indecency (cough*Kavanaugh* cough), and getting through anything that made you want to scream, I’ve got some music, videos, and articles that helped me get through it all. Enjoy!

The Jezebel Staff Tried CBD Gummies and Made My Life Whole

I stumbled upon this video, released one month ago, when I was angrily scrolling through Jezebel looking for someone who got my rage. They did, but better yet, they also provided a hilarious salve. The staff approached the trial very professionally, which was half the fun of it all, so I couldn’t pass up sharing this one. You can watch it [here]

Self-Care Strategies for the Freelancer

Freelancers Union popped up on my Twitter account a few years back and I have been so happy with my choice to follow them. I’ve recently decided to actively pursue freelancing once again, so their job posts and advice have done wonders for my confidence. This article lists some great suggestions for not only freelancers, but anyone who works in a “creative” field. I’ll definitely be applying these tips. You can read them [here]

Plug in a (Bad) Movie

In my humble opinion, there’s no better way to spend a Friday night than with a movie, good or bad. Tonight, I’ve opted for the particularly bad: J-Lo’s treasure trove of corny Anaconda. It’s one of those movies I will always watch when it comes on TV or if someone wants to see it, because it’s so ridiculous that I can’t help but forget the world around me. What’s better than that?

Image result for jlo anaconda

MUUUUUUUUUUSIC!!!!

The salve that has transcended time, my truest love, the one my heart beats for: good tunes. Lately, I’ve been jamming to the Active Child playlist on Pandora, which led me to these songs that I can’t get out of my head! When movies fail, music is always there to inspire tears or twerking, whichever you need. Here are my faves right now:

That’s it from me this week, folks! I hope you are inspired to take good care of yourselves and relax over the weekend. Take care!

My (Current) ‘Get Shit Done’ Playlist

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” – George Eliot

As a recovering loud kid, I can’t stand silence. Empty spaces make me sweat, and I absolutely detest the quiet game.  My parents often reflect on the day I started talking in the same grim tones you would expect to hear from a retired detective. I was never quiet, and just when I was old enough to stop crying for recognition I started talking. Then, the music started. I was singing all over the place, my voice shamelessly bouncing off our walls and into the world. Music transported me to new planes of existence long before I had the words to describe my sense of fealty, and it more often than not helped me to calm down when my emotions spiraled. Music – singing it, listening to it, learning about it – has been a life-long form of love that I show to myself.

I’ve finally discovered enough self-control to not bellow every chance I get, however my no silence affliction is compounded exponentially when I’m supposed to be working (or eating). Working simply feels like work when you have to do it without sound. You would think music wouldn’t calm a wayward mind, but it somehow creates a level of focus I can’t harness without it. Just as the quote above states: music simply helps me float through the sludge.

This list is not referring to bops you can sway to absentmindedly at a red light. I’m talking about the songs that inspire the laser focus of a falcon. Whether it be due to genetics, or an intrinsic level of rage , these songs get me authentically and indomitably HYPED to create. I’m able to quell my restlessness, ignore my insecurities about writing and put myself out there at least once a day. The music I’m going to share isn’t necessarily a list of club-bangers; in reality, most of the tunes are relatively subdued. However, the singer in me is inspired to focus by the sounds, beats, and wordplay of each song listed below. I’m not sure which gene they tickle, but I’ve been looking to these songs for the last few months when I need to buckle down.

So, without further ado, the playlist designed to help me get shit done!

 

Dance GIF

 

“Help Me Lose My Mind” – Disclosure feat. London Grammar (SOHN Remix)

“Rusty Nails” – Moderat

“Insane”- Flume feat. Moon Holiday

“Level Up” -Ciara

“Passionfruit” – Paramore  performing a cover of the song by Drake

“You Are All I See” – Active Child

“Django Jane” – Janelle Monae

“On The Nature Of Daylight” – Max Richter

Have You Laughed At Yourself Today?

I have always loved to sing. There wasn’t a song on the radio I didn’t know, no theme song that was safe from my loud interpretation. My desire to make noise got so overwhelming that my parents banged on bathroom doors when I was bellowing in the shower, and my brother would plug his ears with a cringe during our car rides. My body felt like it would explode if I couldn’t fill the world up with sound, so I did.

Despite the pain of hearing me imitate Whitney Houston, my parents put me in voice lessons to work on my technique. My instructor was a cool old hippie named Skip, who thought teaching me to read music was boring, so we sang the same Les Miserables songs every day until I understood what my voice could do. Soon, I was doing recitals and competitions, letting the bigness of my voice explode into the spaces like never before. Nothing could compare to the feeling of singing and watching parents react to a little girl who had no right to be so loud. Singing was the first time I discovered confidence. It also became the first time I learned to laugh at myself for survival.

By sixth grade I was ready to shine. I was in the choir and excited to be in my very first school musical, solo and all. The older kids packed a lot of talent (one is now a Broadway veteran) and I was anxious to look cool and not twelve. One day during rehearsal we received a message from the front office, which I jumped up to deliver to our choir director. I grabbed the note, inexplicably thinking this would be my moment to show how cool and chill I was, but in the most lame way imaginable. Nervously, I navigated down the risers, around backpacks and between chairs to where she sat at the piano. After handing her the note, I turned and began the treacherous climb back to my seat at the top. To this day I remember thinking go slowly, don’t trip. But what does a preteen do better than tripping? Two steps away from my seat my foot caught on a backpack, I frantically propelled myself forward into my chair, then FLIPPED over it with a crash!

The room erupted in the kind of laughter I imagine you see in the audience during really good SNL skit. The coolest kid in the room just happened to be seated to my left, and he was shaking in his chair, rocking back and forth with a cackle. The choir director was slapping her piano, hollering like a kid. Everyone was too amused to even check if I was breathing. In the span of 30 seconds I decided if I wanted to get out of that room – dare I say middle school – alive I could not cry. The crazy thing? I didn’t experience the urge to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to laugh, because it was hilarious. So, I stayed laying there and let myself laugh at what happened just as hard as everyone else was. I don’t know if my laughter made anyone see me differently, or if it had an affect on my social status, but I do know I’ve taken that moment with me as a reminder to laugh when there are no other options.

What strikes me about this memory now is how in line it is with what I’ve always wanted; that desire to fill the world up with sound was perfectly captured that day. Yes, it was at my expense, but it was still beautiful. After we finished laughing, two classmates helped me up, patted me on my back, and we all sang a little louder. My nervousness was gone from that day on. You can’t be caught up in pretending to be cool after everyone has seen you crash and burn. I was more approachable, less afraid to falter, and more at ease.

“Prepare for mirth, for mirth becomes a feast.” – William Shakespeare

Laughter is healing. A good belly laugh after a misstep is humbling, and the chorus of joy it can create is powerful. Sometimes we can’t laugh; I experience days when the pain of living can drown out any emotion beyond emptiness. I laugh when I can, make funny memories when my spirit is up for it, so that after the emptiness subsides I’ll have the grit to push on. For me, laughter has become a better reminder than pain that I can make it.

Laugh when you can. Fill your world up with the noise you want to hear.