Sunday, March 25, 2012

Song of the Week- You Got Me

I'm not sure if I have adequately conveyed how much of an impact music has on my life. I've had a love affair with music since I was a child. The first song I remember loving was Toni Braxton's "Seven Whole Days". Ah, the memories. And still today, everything around me can change but my love for music has always remained a constant. I know I sometimes link to a song here and there but I thought I would start regularly memorializing some of the songs that I love. This is kind of a big deal for me because I like to keep songs that most people don't know about as my own little hidden treasures, but I am willing to share....a few.

This is a song that I listen to at least two to three times a week. It's from a live show that was obviously unbelievable. Each time I listen I wish so bad that I had been at the show. I respect the song because it also speaks to the politics behind the music industry. Erykah badu got the privilege to record the studio version and take the credit but Jill Scott was the one that wrote the song. The politics. The politics. Which version do you prefer? Erykah's or Jill's?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hello, Lover

Lets start with the obvious--It's been over half a year since I last posted. And with that, I might possibly be the worst blogger. Ever. Yet, whenever propositioned, and yes its a proposition not just an inquiry, of "Ericccca, when are you doing your next post?" I feel an imminent and powerful surge of guilt but just as quickly as it comes it quickly dissipates. Simply, I knew that I had nothing to say, even answering inquiries of my negligent posting as being the reason why. I had nothing to say. I have been in this awkward dichotomous place of being silent but still in continuous states of speech. I speak--but with every word feel a looming "Is this true? Do I know what I'm talking about?" I could reason that my disability with speech comes from both this metaphysical and literal place of transitioning I find myself in.

One friend told me to write about having nothing to say. Write about having nothing to say? I considered it. Still, I likened that to all the times I ever called exes to tell them that I would never be calling them again. And just like the times that I did that--if I wrote to say I had nothing to say I would be doing exactly what I was saying I would not be doing and at the same time trying to create an opportunity for something to change my mind. I would have been looking to use this cathartic place to miraculously help me articulate what I was feeling--instead of using this space to articulate what I already knew to be true. But that was just it, and still is, in this place of transition a definitive stagnant truth seems to be unattainable. So--I comfortably say I have no clue what I'm talking about. No clue. I think I can comfortably sit in this place because I am in an environment with such dogmatic people that I have grown tired of arguing just for arguments sake. It's an exhausting pursuit to be right all the time. Ironically, I think the same people that bark the loudest have the loudest internal voice saying "Is this true? Do I know what I'm talking about?" Or maybe, I am just projecting my internal voice onto them.

When I blog, all I know to be true is that the words I write are my truth and a product of where I am within the very second that it sparks in my brain reaches my fingertips to type and appears on the screen. It's a fleeting few seconds--and then that truth is either irrelevant or in the process of evolving. So, I come here only to say:

"Hello, Lover."

I say it in the same way that I first heard it. Carrie Bradshaw, of my favorite television series Sex and the City half sang it as she stood outside a store window looking down at some shoes she admired. I say it in the same way she did, whimsically, coyly. And I say that to all my readers who have missed my random musings. It's good to be back. "Hello, Lover."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Random Thoughts

I have been so horrible with blogging. Things have been moving way too fast to even think. It seems life is still crazy and getting crazier. I am having a random thoughts day so in the spirit of “killing two birds with one stone” I thought I would get them off my chest while still being able to click the “new post” in blogger.

1. Dating is probably the worst thing in life. Like, it’s unnatural. I am way too young to feel like this but I’m over it. Like, lets skip the first impressions and get to the real you and could we not do the “I have done this and this and this and this”. I really couldn’t care less. Please people stop trying to impress me with mediocre ish. And when I say mediocre ish: things you put on your resume is what I am referring to. And I really don’t need a thousand questions either. Can’t we just vibe and go off of each other’s energy and just be. (Hopefully with this upcoming date I will amend my position).

2. Drake needs a therapist. Seriously. Like, he still seems to be having the same inner demons he had two years ago. I’m all for expressions of emotions but Drake let’s get it together! I sincerely wish he would get that worked out instead of using his music as a soundboard and spreading his dysfunction. Ugh.

3. On second thought: Marvin’s room is kinda fly.

4. Sade is AMAZING. Think she may be my favorite artist. She is officially my girl crush. Her beauty comes from a place deeper than skin. If you get a chance check her out live!

5. I don’t know if I can stomach another year of law school. I am so over it that there are no words to accurately convey how done I am.

6. On second thought: This upcoming semester I am taking full advantage of this being my last chance to play like a kid! I will be skipping school frequently!

7. I wish I had gone to journalism school. This economy is no joke. And Lawyers have to be the most pretentious people in life.

8. Major Regret: basically telling someone that they could do better than their chosen career. It came from a genuine place but life has really made me want to encourage a person’s personal happiness regardless of what I want for their life. I hope every person finds what makes them happy. So many people are miserable in their careers we don't need anymore.

9. Otis Redding- Try a little tenderness has been a favorite of mine for years and I’m not sure how I feel about the sampling used by Jay-Z and Kanye. Eh.

10. Amy Winehouse. I can’t even deal. I can’t. There are no words. This hurts my soul, my spirit, my heart. I will always love you.

11. On drugs: I don’t use, however, I get it. Things have to be better in a hazy mindset. I get it. I really get it. I don’t condone it—I just understand. I wish people were more sympathetic to addicts.

12. Mistake: On a first date not being politically correct about addictions. DON’T ever say on a first date that addicts do that to themselves. You don’t know me or my sensitivities. Just a word of advice for everyone.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Musical Inspiration

The legal arena gets bleaker and bleaker by the second. I have finished two years of law school, interning at a legendary law firm and am in somewhat of a crisis about why on earth I choose to do this and what it will mean when I inevitably abandon this industry. To add insult to injury, I accompany my mother (also a dutiful member of legal hell)at her office at one in the morning as she prepares depositions for a trial beginning next week (she's been here since seven yesterday morning). So, In an attempt to brighten this bleak time in my life I thought I would do a short and simple post (quite the opposite of my typical posts) on something that makes me happy!

There are songs that I feel are perfect for spring/summer. I literally hear a song on the radio and label it by season. I get very nostalgic during the warmer months probably because some of my favorite memories took place in this season. Therefore, the songs that I label as warm weather songs are ones that make me feel good. I will include the YouTube link to each song. Enjoy.

1. Breathe- Telepopmusik

2. Anytime Anyplace- Janet Jackson

3. So Beautiful- Musiq Soulchild

4. Feeling Good-Nina Simone

5. 4 AM- Kaskade

6. Shut It Down- Drake

7. For Lovers Only- Maxwell

8. Symptom Unknown- Maxwell

9. Kiss of Life- Sade (FAVORITE!)

10. Lovestoned I think She Knows- Justin Timberlake

11. What Happened- Algebra

12. What You Need- The Weekend

13. Wicked Games- The Weekend

14. The Knowing- The Weekend

15. Actually the entire Weekend album!

16.Take off Your Cool- Norah Jones and Andre 3000

17. Everytime You Go Away- Brian McKnight

18. I love your Smile- Shanice

19. Digging on You- TLC

20. Blue in Green- Miles Davis

21. Tonight- Xscape

22. Complicated- Nivea

P.S. It's almost three...I'm still providing company (kinda)...mommy is still hard at work. Hopefully we will make it home by five.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Birthday

I realized last week that a very special person in my life was fast approaching their first birthday! I am so elated to say that me and bloggy have made it a year together. Happy Birthday Candlelight Honesty!

When I began this blog a year ago I was in such a drastically different place in my life. I had so many emotions and feelings festering and was unsure how to release them in a productive and positive manner. I sincerely believe I first started this blog due to heartbreak but the blog evolved due to my own personal healing and growth. Candlelight was the light that led me through the dark room of sadness to a much better and brighter room! Ironically, Candlelight was a name that I came up with because it connoted the intimacy that aspired to create. I had no idea that its name would end up telling the story of what this blog has done for my life.

Originally, my greatest fear in starting this was that I would fall short in either stories or expression of those stories. With great insecurities I would post anxiously awaiting folk's response. Yet, constantly I was reassured that what I was doing here was being well received. Still, originally many of my readers were friends and I thought their opinions were clouded by our relationship. It was in January of this year that I realized that maybe my dream of one day becoming a published author was not so far-fetched. Demetria Lucas, relationship editor of Essence Magazine, author of the highly anticipated A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Living (out June 14th) and Blogger of the award winning A Belle in Brooklyn featured Candlelight on her blog! It was here that I received such encouraging words from readers and I knew that their opinions were not clouded, these were people I had never met! That changed the way I saw myself as a writer.

I do not know how much longer I will blog—or how frequently (we all know that I am quite infrequent!). I do know that I will continue doing this until I choose to stop. I also know that this blog, similar to what it has done for me on a personal level, is only a small platform that has shown me that I will aspire to have larger platforms to share my work. Thank you so much to all the readers that have taken the time to read my blog. I always love readers that comment but I also know that, similar to how I use to feel when I read blogs, sometimes there are no words to add. Some of you send me direct messages and I appreciate that as well. Still, how ever you choose to embrace this space is appreciated. If I never get any more positive feedback, what each of you have done for me thus far is enough to propel me to aspire for bigger dreams!

Special thanks: to the reader who frequently visits and when there is a new post turns off all the lights and reads in a dark room. (That is a beautiful image for me). In addition, I sincerely thank readers who have shared with me that my words have brought them to tears. I am not so much happy about the tears but overjoyed that I could inspire any kind of emotion.

Lastly, my dearest bloggy--You are a personality of your own. When I don’t want to write I feel that you almost call me to. A year ago I was sad and today I feel like my old self again! I thank you for that. Happy Birthday my love!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cinderella Rears Her Ugly Head

Typically, I am not an impulsive writer. Correction: typically, I do not post my impulsive writings. Yet, as England makes itself busy sweeping its streets, clearing away evidence of today’s royal bonanza, I awoke from a evening nap with this very lucid and sobering thought: “Oh no, back to this Cinderella sh*t again.”

At four o clock this morning, not at all by any progressive steps of my own making, I was lured into tuning in to watch Prince William and (formerly) Kate Middleton’s nuptials. Surprisingly, over the last week I had gotten entrenched in the media spectacle covering the perpetual countdown of the big wedding. Last Sunday I watched the Lifetime Network’s adaptation of Kate and William’s love story. I assumed their version would be too cheery and not at all the kind of true depiction I enjoy. Still, I watched understanding that in a decade or so I’ll get the much darker and more authentic tale when Oscar nominated actors, skilled directors, an amazing cinematographer, have enough of the details to give me something to really sink my teeth into. Last week, with so much emphasis back on the royal family I watched a YouTube of the 1995 BBC interview that Princess Diana did with interviewer Martin Bashir (infamously known as the interviewer that did in Michael Jackson). And then yesterday my favorite blogger, Scott Schuman, over at The Sartorialist, atypical of his normal communication through photography, put a simple post entitled “so are you actually, really interested in the royal wedding?” Normally, I do not take the time to leave comments on The Sartoralist, with the site’s enormous fan base* I know that my comment will get lost among the hundred others. However, I responded:

I also will have my DVR set! I have a law school final tomorrow so...I have no time to get up to watch it! I think that in the grand scheme of isn't "important." Yet, I think some people take some extra concern in this because of its connection to Princess Diana. Clearly, this isnt about her...but seemingly the world has always been fixated on anything that involves or relates to her. As this is her child getting married and many saw him grow makes sense. Also, we are a society that is obsessed with weddings. And this is why I am excited to see the DRESS. Plus, the ‘commoner’ kate story is about as real life Cinderella as we probably will ever see in our life time. So, although odd...I do think to some degree most people are "really" interested in this.

And my DVR was set and ready to defy time, making it possible for me to later go back and scan through the whole procession to the moment that I have argued is the real centerpiece for American (and obviously English) weddings—the dress. I wrote here last summer about my fascination with wedding dresses. I actually debased weddings entire purpose to the dress. I was “thrilled to bits” (paying homage to Princess Diana) to see the dress, and I knew I would later on in the day.

That was until my neighbor from hell decided that at four o clock in the morning he wanted to walk around overhead loudly and thump (which I later learned was him falling *deathstare*) and awake an already anxiety ridden, sleep deprived neighbor beneath him. I was beyond irked! I looked at the clock and realized that only two hours had passed since I went to bed and became even more annoyed. I also realized that he had woke me up in the nick of time to catch a peek at the bride. I didn’t realize that when all the national networks started picking up the coverage in England they would have two full hours of coverage until the bride was revealed. Still, in a state of law school finals anxiety, annoyance with my neighbor, I found myself on my couch, eyes literally burning from sleep deprivation, in front of the television.

I wish I could say that the coverage wasn’t exciting but even I, with a head full of cotton was enthralled with the royal procession. The beautiful cars with their unnaturally clear windows and equally spectacular passengers. It was all rather whimsical. And then the moment that I was waiting for—Kate emerged, playing peek-a-boo, strategically getting into the car without letting the billions of viewers see the dress. Still, from the headshot image I could see from her ridding in the car I was positive that I wasn’t going to really be moved by the, what was announced later to be designed by Sarah Burton of the late Alexander McQueen, dress.

And then something very odd happened. As I watched the angelic looking Kate being driven to the Westminster Abbey in a Queen’s Classic 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom, I literally—wait for it—shed a tear. I could not believe this disgusting display of daintiness. I was shocked. I didn’t understand that emotion, and I might add I am very in touch with my emotions. I quickly became dry eyed, laughed at myself and dismissed the previous emotional blunder as pomp and circumstance.

Somewhere in the back of mind though, I knew what that tear was about and it had nothing to do with the ceremony, per se. As a woman who, for the past two years, has openly made it known that I do not wish to get married nor do I find marriage necessary, it is safe to say that I do not believe in the traditional fairy tale. In my adulthood I have become a lot more realistic with the way that I view relationships and my expectations for love. It was my feminist enriched undergraduate education that helped reconstruct how I viewed the ridiculous Cinderella story. As a feminist, regardless of my views on marriage, I have difficulty endorsing any storyline that allows a man’s affirmation of a woman dictate her fate. Even with Pretty Woman being my favorite movie, I ended up having to reevaluate why that movie has a special place in many women’s hearts including my own. I have discovered that while grown women try to abandon childish ways it is through Cinderella stories like Pretty Woman, masked in mature plots and sexual scenes, that the little girl in us is awakened. We say that we don’t believe in fairy tales but the years of conditioning that we received as "good girls that wait" is not so far in the past.

But there was that darn tear. As I watched Kate get what I had labeled as the most real life Cinderella story ever known, her evolving from a plain girl ridiculed for her looks to a full-on princess, the little girl in me that believed in princes and fairytales reared her naïve frizzy head. Adulthood has taught me that Cinderella stories are only relevant in imaginary worlds where fairy dust resides. Yet, I was teary eyed. After I laid in bed after my abundantly refreshing nap this evening, clear headed, I cursed Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Catherine and her wickedly fantastic love story, full of love, challenges, break-ups and ultimate reunions, just set feminist and the like about three hundred years back. Thanks your royal highness!

* You can catch an interview that was posted on this week about both the site and Mr. Schuman’s aim as a fashion blogger here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Foreign Tsunami

It’s hard to be apathetic for things you don’t understand. When I heard about the Japanese Tsunami last week*, I shortly gasped and feigned shock. I rhetorically stated how awful it was. This was my reaction not out of organic concern but because I knew I had to get it up for the messenger delivering the news. I know when a reaction is expected and more often than not I give it. I didn’t understand what had occurred in this foreign land nor did I have the concern to really get into the details of it. I saw the media typhoon covering the international disaster and wondered why my internal reaction was so minimal.

Yet, I still remembered distinctly a scene from a fictional dramatic series leaving me literally walking around my apartment sobbing and babbling in a fit of hysteria. Even more recently, Maya Angelou on Oprah’s OWN network discussing her life, emotionally touched me in a way that left me in a complete state of stillness. The vast difference between the disaster in Asia and my reaction to scenes played out on my television screen is not of magnitude. Instead, the difference lives in my connectedness to the issues.

Generally, this is the difference that resides within all of us. The difference that makes us seem insensitive when someone else’s heartstrings are tied and pulled tightly around an issue. We all have led lives with varying degree of experiences, helping to facilitate how we view and react to the things put before us. I reacted weakly to news of the Tsunami because beside the images I viewed over at CNN I have no point of reference for it. Not only did Tsunami feel foreign to my tongue as I played with it in my mouth, the concept of a real life natural disaster was remote. Simply, Tsunamis are someone else’s devastation, not mine.

What’s disastrous to me are the saddening things that happen in my orbit of reality on a daily basis. If I want to see disaster, I don’t have to look across an ocean, disaster lives in my own backyard. When I heard about the eleven-year old girl in Texas getting rapped by close to two dozen men—that was disastrous to me. I could relate—not because I have ever been sexually violated but because as a woman, who was told at an early age to always let her parents know if anyone touched her, the possibility of sexual violation has always been in my orbit of reality.

Not to mention, that I think I have just become overtly desensitized to large scale disasters. Literally, a plane went through, at that time, the two largest buildings in New York. And I sat, at age fourteen, a few states away watching it on television. I watched people cry, bleed, and die in the street. But wait, two years prior to that, at age twelve, on every news station there was coverage of a boy walking into a high school and killing thirteen people. And then more recently we had black people, my people, floating in dirty water for weeks--the president, apathetically, in plane flying overhead. Approximately two thousand people died from that--and I watched it on my television screen. Then to round things off, in 2008 there was a lunatic running around the streets of D.C. playing a game of Russian roulette. Those disasters are in my backyard and the frequency of them numbs me for the next disaster. Thus, when I heard about Japan’s Tsunami—a natural disaster I couldn't understand it. I understand man-made disasters. I understand people hurting people. A tsunami--is just foreign.

And this awareness is what is starting to transform my own reaction to others who seem cold and indifferent to things that deeply affect me. I am becoming more apathetic to those whose icy dispositions I can’t understand. Prior to, it would anger me when people couldn’t understand how I felt, or seemed to meet my emotion with coldness. Within the last few years, as the result of personal experiences, I understand both sides of the coin on a few issues. Now, I understand both being apathetic about those issues and later being deeply invested in them. You can't fully empathize with something unless you have been through it. Now, I understand that the person that hurts me and doesn’t apologize isn't necessarily a jerk. The person just hasn't experienced that kind of hurt yet. That kind of pain is foreign to them.

Race relations, from a very broad lens is not about ones hatred for another’s race. Instead, it’s apathy for a group of people and the issues of those people we know only abstractly. I can’t understand the issues that specifically affect white people. I realized this was the case when I, during my time abroad, sat in a room of predominately white people and watched a movie about the Holocaust. They wept. My eyes were dry. Yet, I have not ever attempted to watch Roots and every time I try to watch The Color Purple I can’t deal with the emotions it elicits. Jewish suffering—I don’t relate to. Black suffering—I do.

As I watched a woman back in September (the same day that I had the “chance encounter” that I discussed here) become uncontrollably emotional, I realized the power of relevance. She was sitting outside of Pottery Barn with a woman that looked to be of relation to her, a flow of people passing by, a steady flow of tears freely and shamelessly drawing lines down her face. The way that she cried seemed so natural and effortless that I surmised she had been crying for days, at minimum the entire day. She seemed comfortable, so settled into her sadness that I couldn’t imagine her as anything but.

There would have been a time that I would have looked at this young woman and quickly and disgustedly labeled her weak. I would have figured that she was weeping over a man and that she should just wipe her tears, have some pride about herself, and pretend not to care. There was a time that I believed a nonchalant exterior created an indifferent interior. On that day, though, I understood that you cannot pretend away pain. There’s not enough pretending in this world for that to be a plausible remedy. At that point, I had comfortably sat with my own pain and therefore didn't look at her with pity—but instead with understanding.

And so, while I don’t understand what is going on in Japan—I will have empathy. Not because I can relate to the Tsunami, as I’ve said, the Tsunami, the natural disaster, the country, all of that is foreign to me. What isn’t foreign, though, is the suffering. I understand suffering. And for that, for that which I understand, my heart is genuinely heavy.

*I started writing this the week of the Tsunami. Out of respect for the people affected by the recent events, I halted writing and decided to postpone until now.