Saturday, July 27, 2013

Upside Down, Right Turns, & The Funk

     It often takes a bit of time to find a rhythm. 

     Especially when you feel as though the song is still being formed.

     But the song is being formed....

     I feel as though each year sings something profound and distinct over you and me. Something to make us bolder, to make us stronger, to make us kinder. But it usually isn't until December 31st of any given year, that I learn to sing the song myself with full conviction.

     You've probably read in some of my recent blog posts, that I've felt a little upside down pre- my move back to LA, during my move to LA, and after my move to LA. My emotions were all over the place. Surprise, surprise. And my usual MO would be to grab onto the nearest man-crush and to use that subject matter as some sort of potential anchor for my soul.

     It's just easier to grab onto something external, tangible, you know, like a "Smell Blankie" ---- Wait. Was I the only one who had one of these as a child?? I never sucked my thumb, but I smelled the heck out of my baby blanket until about age 8. TMI?

     Like I was saying, it's just easier to gravitate towards some sort of thumb sucking placating smell blankie, and I realized more than ever this year, that my smell blankie was man-crushes, potential husband-boos (Yes, even though I'm on a singleness vow...I know. Shameless). It felt comforting in some sort of way to have something, someone, or some scenario to fawn over. And yes, I know you're dying to know: Yes, I'm still single. No kissies. No cuddlies. Although...I did get my profile ready on a Christian dating site, to possibly be in full effect in 2014. And I was sorta asked out at work, in a weird way, but I, in an even weirder way dodged that bullet. Yeah...Let's move on.

     So, I'm not gonna lie. At times in the last few months, I was a bit panicked, but it somehow became easier these last few months to quickly chose to trust in the goodness of God over my own feelings and circumstances, rather than go down the pathway of fear and despair. And now, finally, the dust is beginning to settle and I'm slowly beginning to hear the song again.

     I can barely make out the chords, let alone hear all the lyrics, but the rhythm is becoming a bit more steady to my heart.

     I think this year's song is about making Right Turns, you know, breaking the cycles, and truly stepping into something new. Key phrase here: Breaking the cycles.

     I realize now, that I'm not exactly ready for the new, until I truly let go of the old.

     I loved that smell blankie. I mean loooooved it. But I knew I couldn't take it with me into my pre-teen years. It just wasn't made for that kind of journey.  Nor did I want to embarrass myself at future slumber parties. So I weaned myself off of it's sweet funky smells. And once I made my decision to put it away, I never looked back. Well, only a couple of times. But I remember moving on from my beloved smell blankie in a relatively short time.

     But what awaited me after this? What was the new that came afterwards? Oh, just some pretty magical things, including a greater appetite for adventure and a crazy new relationship with God at a young age.

     So I can only imagine what new things await me as I put away my proverbial smell blankie in this season and choose to cling to God and adventure with all my heart, mind, and strength.

     Meanwhile, today, I hit a speed bump.

     I did something disturbing today. I accidentally logged back into my personal Facebook account (Of which I've been off for about 3 months).

     WHAT has been going on in Facebook people? It feels like FUNK. Do yourself a favor, log-off, disconnect for at least a week, and then come back. You'll know what I mean.

     But if you're one of those people that's connected to social media, particular FB 24/7, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about, because unbeknownst to you, you have become real life.

     But seriously, I felt dirty after seeing certain things in my newsfeed. It wasn't anything astoundingly pornographic necessarily, but just FUNK and a bit foul. Like a festering boil on someone's skin.

     The vibe did not feel right, at all.

     Looking at people's edited (and often fake) personas did something to me. It made me queasy in my soul.

     You know how you can sometimes tell when a person is super rich (or sometimes on that celebrity status) because they just look miraculously, marvelously cleeeeean. Well, Facebook was given me the opposite of that feeling.

     I'm intrigued and confounded as to why I felt such strong feelings about all this?

     Nevertheless. I did.

     I mean, even people's profile's pic "felt" dirrrrrty. Like I said, not necessarily sexxy times, but just slimy somehow in the spirit. Like the light wasn't so bright in their eyes anymore. And the sad part is....I don't think most even have a clue...

     It feels a bit like the Matrix...and everyone is hardwired in.

     But not getting nourished by this thing, but instead getting the life sucked out of us.

     And all we were wanting is a little light ...that sparkling connection with others that reminds us that we don't shine alone, that we are never alone. Reminding us that we have our roots in the light of God's love. And that love is a bright and cleansing love.

     Those I think, may or may not have been the high hopes I had for Facebook, and perhaps they may be met somehow in the years to come. But as of now, it's proving to somehow be a trap of some sort. A light stealer. A bit of a funk spreader.

     As someone who mentors teenagers, it's always encouraging to see your teen girls half naked, in compromising scenarios, pseudo-illegal situations, on the verge of soft pornographic poses, doing a duck face, and wondering why they aren't getting fully respected as women and growing in their spiritual walks with God as they still choose to live a double life of sorts. Of which, I know of allllllllllllllll to well. Selah.

     I used to weep with such despair after seeing the online lives of some of my teens. Now I just breathe deeply and pray.

     There's so many ways for our lights to grow dim. And in this day age, the ways have just become a bit more sophisticated. But the end result is always the same, we're left feeling insecure, devoid of real peace, worse for the wear, numb, and of course dirty (whether we fully realize it or not). Becoming less than a true shadow of ourselves.

     But it doesn't have to be this way. Ever.

     If only we would remember to walk away from the light dimmers. Those light stealers. Those seductive and tricky light thieves.

     And learn to bask more intently in the light of love. Allowing our mindsets and actions to align with the truth of love.

     Putting away our smell blankies.

     And welcoming the new adventure.

     Knowing that you can come home at anytime.

     Because the lights are always on for you.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

- I John 1:7

Friday, July 12, 2013

Soft to the Touch

Photo Credit: Joshua Anderson

So last week, we sat next to each other.

Bodies stiff and tense. Neither of us looking at each other. Just straight ahead, as if we were waiting for a pop quiz, or for someone to catch us.

This of course, is my own play by play. Biased as usual.

And then our hands accidentally touched.

Yes, this was pretty much out of a Jane Austen novel.

He could be my Darcy.

Wouldn't that just be perfect and romantic.


No it would not.

But what urks me the most, is that his hand wasn't harsh or wasn't furry like a man-wolf. Instead, his hand was soft and unassuming.


One more reason why I can't be trusted to be in a relationship at this stage of the game. I'm basing my decision on hand softness. What.

I don't even think I like him, but simply knowing that I am on singleness vow, brings out the fiesty-ness in me. Dumb.

I'm sure I'll forget about this by October.

And then, at that point, I'll simply be counting down until Dec. 31st.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."
-Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Artist Next Door: Keeley "Lockn'Key" Kaukimoce - Part 2

Keeley "Lockn'Key" Kaukimoce & Osea

     "For some time now, I've wanted to share these people with you in great detail and splendor. I wanted to honor their struggle, their process, their manifested dreams coming true, and those dreams that they are still contending for. I wanted you to understand how I've been shaped as a person, because of their presence in my life.

     The people that I will feature each month in this on-going series, titled, "The Artist Next Door", will highlight these extraordinary people, and will give you a sneak peak into their world, the behind the scenes of people you may have heard of, or may not have. Often I'll split my interviews with these artists into 2 parts, just for the simple fact that I like to build anticipation.

With that said, I can guarantee--you can do anything but forget these stories or these artists after meeting them. And I'm pretty positive they'll stir something in you. Something perhaps you didn't know was still there."

(If you've missed Part 1 of Keeley's story, you can click here.)


Now tell us a little bit about the community of dancers that you've connected with over the years and how have you maintained friendships. 

I've connected mainly with the street dancers. Basically all styles, Bgirls, Bboys, Freestylers, Lockers, Poppers, etc. I think we just understand each other in a way that studio dancers don't. Some of my close friends are also studio dancers but they are usually the ones that rep in the hip hop community to some extent. I have really maintained friendships with people who are truly good people. The Groovaloos and Beat Freaks are really my main dancing friends. We've been through some rough times and made it through. Forgiveness is key.

We talked about the dreams you had when you were 20, but let's talk about the new dreams you have now, what are they? 

You know.... I'm discovering that I've hustled in this city for so many years that my dreams are really just becoming to enjoy my family and to provide my kids with the things I couldn't have as a kid. I want to focus on them more and the bustle of this city challenges me in that area. I would still love to overcome my fears with singing. I'm working on that one still. My husband is a great supporter of me when it comes to that. I would love to see success as a singer but I'm not as eager to tour because I also long for stability and peace. I think it's a fine balance. But belting out a heart felt note and lyric can change peoples lives and mine, and I'm all about it. 

Who is your favorite dancer and why?

My favorite dancer is honestly Michael Jackson. Just so much finesse and magic in his movement. It's amazing really!! But as far as people around me the ones that get me the most hype are the ones that ignore the world around them and get into the "zone" with the music and in the spirit and let loose. When those two things are combined it's so inspiring and raw. 

Who is your favorite singer and why? 

Again, Michael Jackson. Do I really need to explain why?? But I really love Stevie Wonder, Shirley Murdock, CoCo from SWV, Jon Gibson and the most current artists I love are Bruno Mars and Daniel Merriweather.

I often end my blog post with some sort of wisdom nugget, also known as "Wisdom's Knocking". I'd like you to leave us with a personal wisdom nugget of something you've learned either recently or in the past that has left a serious imprint on your life: 

The greatest nugget I learned was when I was asked this question "Who would you be if you could NOT sing, dance or write music?" I thought long and hard and the answer that came to me was " I am a child of Christ" Once you know where your true identity lies and learn that what you do is not who you are, you will make all of your decisions based upon your true identity. Then your life, heart, soul, spirit and mind will thrive where it really matters.

And there you have it. That's an Artist Next Door. I have such love and respect for Keeley. And now, this week she and her family will be embarking on their amazing missions trip to her husband's homeland, Fiji. Prayers and blessings go out to her and the fam as they bring positive cultural transformation through dance and the arts in this upcoming month!

If you know of an Artist Next Door, that you want to highlight, holla at me. I would love to meet those folks that are currently inspiring you in your everyday life.


Finding the One...

Photo Credit: Evan Kaufmann

     Mother Trucker.

     I can't believe I only blogged ONE TIME in June.

     Well, if you must know, I was taking a personal. Also code for...being lazy. Okay. That's partially true. I also knew, if I had the moxie to come to this laptop and write, that I would probably tell you far more than I intended to. So yes, I was hiding a bit.

     Why does the truth almost knock the wind out of us?

     I love the quote by Gloria Steinem, "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."


     As I try to make sense of "not being perfect", I feel a rush in the atmosphere, something trying to push me, something trying to push me to have answers, solutions, and to know things. It's not a good push feeling, it's the tornado-like momentum of a city and its many visions and aspirations, most of which are incomplete.

     And as I listen to the whispering yells of voices and opinions around me, I try to remember those things that are uniquely important to me.

     Because you see, we all have something that is uniquely important to us. And it should be. These things should matter. These things shouldn't be glossed over and treated like yesterday's news. These things shouldn't be ignored.

     Tonight is a night I want to feel free, and to share my stories.

     A night where I want to go dancing in the streets of Italy.

     Where I want to look into the eyes of a stranger and find a true connection.

     These things have happened before, in fact, they're happening to someone right now. Right this very moment.

     There is living to be had. Here and now.

     But something in this city is pushing me uncomfortably forward, and not allowing me to hold and cherish those things that are uniquely important to me.

     This is what I was afraid of.

     Being overly underwhelmed and agitated. Stiff to the touch of my own desires, those things that cause my heart to sing.

     The truth is, I feel as though something within me is just half birthed and not yet fully expressed. I'm somehow waiting for permission to be me.

     Hesitation brings tension and a mixture of hope deferred. And I feel that I have now entered into a posture of hesitation, which is so unlike me. And then the pain strikes, as it often does when we're already vulnerable.

      The pain of the unresolved. The pain of waiting. The pain of disappointment. The pain of embarrassment  The pain of feeling left behind. The pain of only being half alive. And the pain of feeling dreams slip through your hands like sand.


     I think I'm longing for something complete and settled.

     And just more time.

     More time to think, to see, to know, and to live.

     Not just someday, but today.

     Because in my spirit, I feel as though a terrible, terrible shaking is eminent somehow. As if time itself will stop and I would have never expressed my ability to fly, to soar, and to share that with someone of like heart, or to truly express that to those that I love.

     Letting go is such a difficult and powerful thing to do.

     It makes me want to punch someone in the face.

     But once I do it...letting go, that is--

     Something changes...actually, everything changes.

     And I'm ready to be found.

     And like clockwork, in the midst of the forest of tears, tension, and heartache--

     He finds me.

Wisdom's Knocking:

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart." 
-Jeremiah 29:13