This past year has been interesting. I started it in rural California and then had the opportunity to take time off and visit six countries before I moved to the Bay Area. I learned about myself and spent a lot of time alone. I made some strides in my doctoral journey and finished the bulk of my dissertation. I met some great people and strengthened some friendships. I had one great date and enjoyed several amazing concerts. I moved multiple times and lived like a nomad for a while. I became more intentional about self care and I had the chance to flex my therapy muscles more than I have in years. Overall it’s been a learning experience and I’m looking forward to some changes in 2018.
2016 was one of the most challenging years. As usual, I didn’t get to travel as much as I wanted but I had two epic all inclusive vacations that were both a week long. While some of my year (7 months) was spent in a cubicle in a job I hated answering phones and sitting in an hour of traffic each way, it didn’t last forever. I made the decision to make a change and I put my stuff in storage and moved across the country to start a new job. I got dumped by a boyfriend and loved and lost several times. I conducted several couples therapy intensives and helped people to have better marriages. I had a beach day in Miami and several places in Mexico. I had my own apartment with cable and DVR for the first time. There were many ups and downs but I’m grateful to see the end of the year. I learned a lot about myself and others and I’m looking forward to being better and doing better in 2017.
I love Ledisi’s voice and about a week ago I went and bought her latest album that was released early last year entitled “The Truth.” It’s been the best album that I’ve gotten this year so far. This particular song has been replaying over and over on my phone and in my head. I’m listening to it as I’m driving, writing, and even working out. The lyrics and the melodies in this song are amazing. There’s not a huge amount of extras added but it keeps your attention without becoming one of those washed up songs about love that isn’t reciprocated. The thing that I love about Ledisi is that she’s such a versatile artist and her songs on this album are a showcase of her range and her musical flexibility. The lyrics to her songs also make sense and they express genuine human emotion and feelings that make it easy to relate to.
I’m not much of a moviegoer but I heard so many good things about the movie, “Selma” that I decided I had to see it for myself. If you don’t like movie spoilers you should probably stop reading this now. This movie brought out a lot of emotions due to its content. My perspective was definitely influenced by the fact that I was born and raised for the majority of my childhood in Alabama. I’ve personally been to the Montgomery courthouse and grew up in a city that wasn’t very far away from Selma. It seemed like a long movie (two hours and some change). This was probably because of the content of the movie. One thing that I noticed was that there were a lot of parallels between what happened then and the recent stories of police brutality that have been all over the media. If I had a child I would want them to be at least in their pre-teens before seeing this movie. The scenes aren’t super gory but there’s something to be said about watching the movie with the knowledge that the events portrayed actually happened. One thing I appreciated was that the actors and actresses resembled the people they were portraying. Overall, it was a good movie. I didn’t have any complaints about the storyline and the directors didn’t take an inordinate amount of creative liberties with the story. I walked away from the movie with more resolve to become educated on what is happening in the political world in order to vote appropriately. After all, people were beaten and even died for that ability.
Back in May of this year I took a weekend trip to Dallas and was introduced to this book by some friends. I’ve always been wary of self help books, but this one was different. Lately I’ve been running into a lot of people who just seem stuck. They work, go home and repeat for years without really doing anything different. They always talk about places they want to travel to but they know they’ll never go. Their lives consist of the mundane without any plans to change their routine. I am deathly afraid of becoming one of those people. This book was honestly one of the top three books I read this year. It focuses specifically on becoming the best you that you can be by making use of your unique talents and gifts. Jakes uses great examples and simple language to encourage the reader to take inventory of his or her passions and then use them to make a difference in the world. The biggest challenge in doing this is that it requires you to get out of your comfort zone and leave the familiar. You’re exchanging security for freedom. But the end result to doing this is fulfillment and the opportunity to actually leave a legacy that you’re proud of.
I rarely make comments on movies but this particular one that is fairly new on Netflix deserves recognition. I must admit I am someone who is wary of black movies with black titles due to the fact that my experience has been less than satisfactory. Bad movies are best when watched with a group of friends because it’s a bonding experience. But I digress, this movie was one of the good ones. Without telling about the entire plot, I can say that this movie made my inner hopeless romantic very happy. It centers around a man and a woman who find out that they are soul mates. Before I go any further, I feel that it’s important to note that the leading and supporting actors are not only somewhat, if not actually talented but also easy on the as well. One thing I really appreciate is that the main male character is extremely articulate about what he wants in a significant other AND he demonstrates a willingness to step outside the box and pursue a new venture. Both of these are characteristics I wish more movies would portray in their scripts. Overall, I must say that I would recommend this movie because it makes you think about gender roles and the necessary things that make relationships last. And that’s something worth thinking about.
As I was minding my business today I thought about this song. While it’s a couple of years old, it’s still one of my favorite songs. I can’t even really say that I’m a huge Keyshia Cole fan but I can appreciate the depth of the emotion in this song. The song speaks about wanting to get back to the way things used to be before emotions got involved. Keyshia sings about giving 110% and even loving the other person more than herself saying that she would have done anything for them. Yet, it’s such a reminder that the affection and attention from one person does not make up a true relationship. There has to be some sort of reciprocity. Keyshia sings about this as she says that she just wants to get her heart back. After giving so much and loving so deeply, the realization that you aren’t loved in that same manner can be extremely sad. The song is definitely evidence of that and even the instrumental part alludes to a haunting memory that builds on the initial four notes you hear in the first bar. Interesting how Keyshia sings about getting her heart back, implying that it’s in the position of another. However, Keyshia never sings about taking the action to get her heart back, she just says that she has to do it. Another things that stands out to me about the lyrics of the song is that Keyshia spends the entire time talking about how she wants to get back to the way that it used to be instead of expressing her desire to move on into her future. She wants to go back in the past before she even met the person. Thus saying that she really wishes that she never had the experience of loving that hard and getting nothing in return.
It’s not every day that I have the chance to do anything resembling leisure reading. However, I recently took an opportunity to do so and read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I heard good things about the movie but I wanted to make it a point to read the book before seeing the movie. First off, if you aren’t comfortable with an open discussion about death and dying, this book may not be your favorite. Without giving a lot away, the book follows two young adolescents as they come of age with the additional challenge of battling terminal illnesses. It explores their thoughts and experiences as they both read a book and travel to meet the author. The book was definitely more emotional than I expected but this was because I wasn’t really familiar with it. It’s a book that will have you thinking about life and also evaluating your close relationships. Green makes the characters extremely relatable and you can feel the emotion through the pages. I had to read the book with a box of tissues handy because I pretty much cried through the last half. However eliciting emotion from the reader is one of the marks of a good author in my opinion and Green certainly accomplishes that. The book is well written and clear. It speaks to the fact that maturity isn’t always age related–sometimes it occurs by experiences. The Fault in Our Stars was a really good book that challenges readers to enjoy and make the most of the hands they are dealt. To live their life with no regrets and treasure those who love and support them. I think that’s a great message.