Thursday, May 26, 2016

"I feel that if I had more resources, I could help more people. I have IDEAS that can make the human race... BETTER. PERIOD."

Me on a Wednesday.

[Note: I originally wrote this last Friday and was gonna post it then, but I wanted to wait until I had a relevant picture to attach. Last minute I settled on the one above, because I don't know if Drake has cameras in my house or what, but that photo is basically me on any given day. I know this has very little relevance to this post, but you guys are just gonna have to deal.]

So anyway, on to it.

Not too long ago it hit me that the same skillset I developed to get myself out of a suburban snoozetown and into a big city; out from under the care of chaotic, abusive and negligent adults and on my own; away from a controlling atmosphere with dead end prospects to freedom and the big blue world... would not be the same skillset that would take me from where I am now... a fairly well-adjusted adult with lots to be proud of, thankful and grateful for – to the next level – a very well adjusted (and well-traveled!) adult with a flush bank account, a hot mate, a fulfilling career and an endless array of fun and kind friends. Different goals require different skillsets you see. There are indeed, levels to this shit.

Over the past year, after moving out of the lovely lovely place I called home for 5 years, I have done quite a few soul-bending, mind-expanding, purpose-clarifying things. I have traveled alone, twice, to places where I did not know the language or many of the customs (France and China), without letting money or lack of a travel companion stop me. I have gotten reacquainted with my family, myself and why I needed to get away from them in the first place. I have made new friends, and had a few lovers, and then quit seeking out romantic relationships entirely. I have dug deeper into my artistic spirit, exploring the whys and the outcomes I wish to achieve via writing and creating other content. I have reaffirmed what is integral to my happiness now (having a place to call home, consistent creative expression, friends who understand and respect me), as well as what happiness looks like for me in the near future (more of that, and less overall confusion and time wasting).

So I'm readjusting. And adjusting and adjusting and adjusting. At one point I thought I'd move to France. Until I visited. Another time I thought I'd become a chemical engineer. Then I realized that although I have the brain for that type of shit, I certainly don't have the heart. There was a period of time where I fantasized about giving it all up and living the hermit life in a tiny house in the woods. Then came all the logistics... like where and how I would get food, how and where I would earn an income to pay my little bills (because woods or not, a girl needs wifi), and how I would miss NYC so much I would barely be able to cope. I fantasized about falling in love with a man who expected nothing of me financially and was fine with me writing from home, tinkering with projects, penning books, occasionally folding laundry. But unfortunately, I haven't met any men like that around these parts, and am starting to believe that there are barely any men like that at all anymore. And I don't just mean men who are providers, I mean men who believe enough in your dream to support you in achieving it.

So many career-oriented self-help books focus on knowing what you want, confidence, things like that, which does little for me because I have those things in leaps and bounds. I know what I want, but that doesn't make it any easier to take a step forward, especially when many of my dreams sound almost ridiculous and impossible out loud. I seek out the answers to questions I have, and even google seems stumped by the challenges I face. I look around me, at friends and acquaintances and all the other people I know, and feel like I see different shades of the same thing. People treading water, making their few hundred bucks every week, blowing through that and then landing in the same position the next week. People with degrees and qualifications struggling to find jobs that pay a living wage. People with tons of time and no money, or tons of money and no time. People who are prioritizing their jobs over their physical and mental health, trapped in a “never enough” vehicle that blares “SCARCITY” at every turn. People who are scraping by, living at home or with boyfriends or five roommates or maintaining several hustles just to afford existing. Blowing money to feel better but never quite able to change their habits, leaving no money for emergencies or for a vacation or for quitting. People who only think as far as the next day, because their future is too bleak to seriously ponder. I see people in the same ol predicament, their insides crying for a change, their outsides too afraid to make one. People are running at top speed, with no water, no rest, wondering if their legs will give out before they make it to the finish line. People going nowhere fast.

But I want to go somewhere. I'll admit I'm a perfectionist. It is a trait that has gotten me here, here being a well-read, worldly, picture of good mental and emotional health with a stunning physique and a closet to match, but it has also stunted me when I have tried to move forward. I look around at the people of power and high status in this country, and recoil at being part of that. I second guess. I doubt. I question, maybe a bit too much. I have wanted projects to be damn near perfect, or “as good as I can get it” before even thinking about releasing it to the world. I have scrapped projects entirely because I couldn't get in the right groove to make it game-changing. In the world of a perfectionist, there seems to be a fine line between your heart saying no and self sabotage. I have to close the gap between good enough and mastery, even if that means letting go and letting gawd. Because ultimately, I look up and see a massive gap in the world, and I know that only I can fill it. I am starting to follow my creative instincts, and just letting it flow, like water or the wind or whatever. *nature sounds

So anyway. About the plan.

Finding creatively inclined friends is one of my major desires right now, because I've never had those, and I have no doubt they would enrich my life and my work. So I am attempting new connections. I've always loved making friends, I've always felt that they were a necessary lifeline, but I've accepted that perhaps out of self-preservation and a little bit of ignorance, I've been pretty discriminatory. For example, I was pretty sure I'd NEVER come across an employed artist. Ha. I've decided to approach this from multiple angles. I'm forcing myself to go to some meetups in the city, most that cater to my interests. I've put online dating on pause for an indeterminate amount of time in order to force myself to get acquainted with my extrovert personality again and to better focus on my career goals. I think online dating was making me awkward and anxious, and frankly, nearly everyone I met online had a serious emotional impairment. Not my bag. So on top of that major adjustment (I was online dating and socializing on and off for like, the past 5 years) I've decided to be more... open and empathetic and ...forgiving. I can't exactly have a dozen interesting people to phone and chill with if I cut every one of them off as soon as they get on my nerves! So I'm learning. Another thing I've learned is that although I'm a very versatile person and always dreamed of having a friend I could shoot the shit with, talk about deep topics with, go clubbing with, talk makeup with, travel with, go to museums with... not everyone has that capability. In fact, practically everyone I've ever met has like, two modes. But I've accepted that people don't have to be everything to me, and sometimes two enjoyable elements in a person are fine enough.

Some of you know this already, but I'm plowing ahead with writing my book. No publishing, no editor (yet), no outside push to do this. It's not the first book I've written, but it is the first book that I considered releasing for public consumption. It's about ambition, and why we do the things we do, why we wake up in the morning. It takes place in New York City, and follows seven different characters of various ages, genders, occupations, and of course, ambitions. Some of them have made it and are unhappy, some of them have “made it” with unexpected consequences, and some of them will never make it – just like in real life. I'm also incorporating the seven deadly sins into the tale, but not in a clichĂ©, overwrought way. Basically it is this intriguing, super decadent, wonderful story that I am so in love with and feel absolutely compelled to bring to life. But the process is hard. (Duh.) I find sometimes that my personal thoughts get tangled into my novel, and then I'm forced to sort it all out, strand by strand, like knotted necklaces. Sometimes I won't write for days, and then a day will come where I'll sit down and bang out chapter after fluid chapter as I hadn't neglected the novel for however long before. I want to do better, but I'm also not sure that there's any one right way for a writer to write, or for any creative to create for that matter. Sometimes I seek out counsel, but find myself rolling my eyes at its triteness. But if I'm honest with myself, I know I need to learn discipline in this respect, even though my need for indulgence is at odds with that. The Big Five personality test says that I score moderate (50%) on conscientiousness, meaning I am fairly average in my tendency to respond to impulses and achieve goals, so I'm not totally off base. I've worked a bit with “The Artists Way” and a guy I went on one date with sent me “Letters to a Young Poet” (which apparently changed Lady Gaga's life – love her!), so I have some tools. But I want to do better. So if any of you have any resources, tips or tricks for how to become disciplined, especially after a lifetime of doing ones own thing, please reach out. I need HALP.

The third thing is... I'm starting a podcast. A LOT of people have begged asked me to do video blogs, but I'm not ready to be famous, let alone be SunKissAlba's more interesting, more eloquent, doesn't-really-look-like-her-but-she's-also-Dominican doppelganger on el Youtube, so I was like naw. But since some of my thoughts feel like they would come across better as “spoken word”, I felt a good compromise would be to start a podcast. I've decided to name it “Conversations with Lady Blue”, and once I can learn how to edit my fucking intro song on audacity, it will be up and running. (If you or someone you know knows how to edit audio, PLEASE EMAIL ME! It will save me a week of trial, error and frustration.)

What else?

In a month or two, I'll be apartment hunting in the city. So that will be a job of its own. One that is unpaid and full of anxiety and desperation. Send me leads! (I'd obviously love a studio or a 1 bedroom so I can flourish alone, but I'm open to apartments with two roommates max who don't smoke, have pets, touch my shit, or expect to be talked to constantly. Rooms with private bathrooms shoot to the top of my list, as well as any apartments in Brooklyn, of course.)

So the new year has introduced a money overhaul. I took the best of You Need a Budget (assign every dollar a job, live off last months income, save monthly for infrequent expenses), Mint (gives you good sense of where all your money is going aka what is valuable to you), Dave Ramsey (debt snowball), Suze Orman (Young, Fabulous & Broke) and whatever else I could scrounge together from the personal finance subreddit, and I created my own “financial budget plan of satisfaction excel sheet galore” that I plan to implement this summer. It will allow me to splurge with even less guilt, while continuing to pad my savings account, creating a nice little cushion that takes years of stress off my mind and body. (I sleep sooo much better on a bed made of money, don't you?). I had to be honest with myself about the most random things, like the fact that I need a haircut every 6 weeks instead of every 3 months because my hair grows like a weed and the fact that no matter how many clothes or beauty products I have, I am miserable without a shopping & beauty budget. I also allowed myself $200 or so for things like random expenses, extra charges, cabs, cleaning supplies and my skincare supplements (which are STILL working their magic! Matter of fact, I really need to do a #TopShelfie follow-up post). I also have four savings accounts – Home, Luxury, Travel and Emergency Savings, plus an etc savings bucket for when I wanna do spontaneous shit like buy a bike, or a car, or dye my entire head of hair copper red. Budgeting for those odds and ends and miscellaneous extras is really important. So yeah.

Things I'm loving right now:
  • Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks – I have meringue (peachy nude), pickled ginger (electric pink), pepper (mauve) and sweet cream (peach rose), and want thistle (purple tinged nude), sake (purple mauve) and one of the reds (I'm torn between tannin, gazpacho and sour cherry). I'm thinking about hitting the Bite Beauty Lab and creating a custom color because meringue isn't pink enough for me and I might like pickled ginger better as a sheer shade.
  • Drake's One Dance *heart eyes emoji* Actually, Drake's whole VIEWS record was pretty dope. I agree with everyone that the record doesn't show much lyrical progression, but sometimes it bes like that. And sometimes the people critiquing Drake haven't progressed at all in their whole entire lives, so there's also that.
  • Mina Myoung – A flawless dancer and choreographer at 1Million Dance Studio in South Korea, who is basically my idol now.
  • The writings of: DearCoquette, Penelope Trunk, Jen Dziura of Bullish, Jessica Crispin formerly of BookSlut.
  • The stars: Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Does was great), FKA Twigs (in general), Cardi B (I am sooooo relieved that she fixed her teeth!)
  • Orphan Black season 4... (but the entire show is amazing, really).
  • The Bad Boy Family Reunion Concert that I went to last Friday. The show had mic issues, and I wasn't a fan of the crowd or Diddy's "performances" but I give him props for bringing out damn near everyone: Mary J. Blige, Usher, Ty Dolla Sign, Mario Winans, Carl Thomas, Faith Evans, 112, Total, Cassie, Lil Kim, The Lox, Lil Cease, Jay-Z, Nas... and there's probably more, but that's all I can remember.
  • My new, baby blue, All Saints, suede, BABY BLUE, leather jacket, THAT IS NEW.
  • Avocado Oil – as rich on my skin as argan oil, but sinks in much faster.
  • Arcona – I just ordered their Booster serum, Vitamin A serum and Hydrating Serum and am singing their praises all over again.
  • The Big Five Personality Test – I scored very high (92.5%) in openness, high (80%) in extroversion, moderate (50%) in conscientiousness, low (50%) in agreeableness and very very low (17.5%) in neuroticism. I'm not sure why 50% is seen as moderate in one category and low in another, but who cares, because they're both accurate for me.
  • Toronto – I'm trynna get there and party to mad reggae this summer.
  • Hong Kong – It turned out to be surprisingly charming, despite the psycho, cocaine-snorting, diabolical narcissist I had to deal with when I was there (Tedla Ebou Khan). Details coming :)

And lastly, I am loving that I can make the space to grow, that I have the self awareness to improve, the guts to make hard choices to ultimately have the dream life that I've always desired. The goal is to go into my 30s with all the worries and problems of my 20s assuaged and solved. Or else, I'm just a lazy bag lady.

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