Cultivate: My 2021 Word of the Year

Cultivate in horticulture is defined as preparing and using the land for crops or gardening. It’s secondary definition is trying to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill). In other words in order to cultivate something you have to be intentional. Nothing can be left to chance. The land won’t sprout crops on it’s own, you have to prepare it. You won’t just wake up with all the qualities and skills you want, you have to develop them. The seeds I planted in 2020 and before, must be cultivated if I want to see real change.

In this final year of my 20’s I see myself as a sapling on the precipice of becoming a tree. I just need a little bit more water, sunshine, and fertilizer to get there. Does this mean that when I turn 30 everything will be perfect? Of course not. A tree must still gain buds that turn into blossoms before bearing fruit. But before I get to point I have to do the work.

In 2021 I want to cultivate…

Creativity: I don’t work in a traditional “creative” field (although working with small children you are forced to get creative everyday) but I am a creative person and need an outlet. That is the reason I decided to get back to blogging. I’ve loved writing since I was a kid and it’s one of the few things I always felt came naturally to me. I’ve planned and set dates for posts for the first quarter of 2021. I’ve made use one of the several abandoned notebooks I have laying around and designated it for blogging notes. So we’ll see how it goes!
Another creative hobby of mine is singing. It was my goal last year to sing at a open mic but then the world shut down. But before that I was attending open mics with a friend and trying to figure what song I would sing. That will continue in 2021 and maybe if things go well it will be safe to spend time in a bar or coffee shop. Until then I have a karaoke app where I sing and continue searching for that perfect song.

Rest: I’m what you would call an evening person. That’s someone who isn’t quite a night owl but isn’t an early bird. I have to be at work before the sun rises completely and I don’t leave until it’s nearly set. It’s a long day, and I don’t get enough rest. It’s hard for me to get up in the morning, but it’s also hard for me to get to bed at a reasonable time. Because I struggle in the morning I need an extra 15 minutes just to muster the will to get out of bed. I also need a full hour of wind down time in my bed to fall asleep. I NEED A NIGHTIME ROUTINE. I know without a doubt this will be the hardest one for me. If you have any tips or tricks please reach out. I have a 3 hour window between when I get home from work and when I need to get in bed.

Play: This one is tricky as we don’t yet know what’s going to happen with Corona, this vaccine, and when the world will be safe again. I did not leave the state of Georgia at all in 2020 so it’s my intention to travel in the Spring, domestically at least. My goal is to set aside funds for this travel.

Meaningful Work: I love teaching but it isn’t the most lucrative job. So my goal is to find a side hustle that not only helps pay off these student loans but is also something I enjoy. Ideally it would be something that has flexibility, and is worth the effort monetarily.

Peace of Mind: I have come a long way with my anxiety (shout out to therapy) but I still find sometimes my mind racing about things that either don’t matter, I can’t control, or are situations I’ve imagined. I’ll think about it all day to the point that I’m no longer engaging in the present. Then when I get home I can’t sleep because my mind is still buzzing with what if’s. I’ve used meditation in the past to help with this but for whatever reason I threw aside this tool in 2020. I want to cultivate a meditation habit so when the anxiety comes as I know it will, it won’t affect my entire day.

Self-discipline: As a procrastinator with a perfectionist complex and who’s also on the lazy side self-discipline is especially tough. How do you become more disciplined? Is there an app or a podcast? Maybe a Ted-talk? I’m sure there’s all those things. And I’m sure I’ve listened/used to them all. But I still struggle. If I want to accomplish any of things I’ve listed I have to be disciplined, keeping in mind that it won’t happen overnight. It’s hard to start a new habit but I know myself well enough to recognize that if I want it badly enough I will find a way.

I’ve always known what kind of person I wanted to be and I’m willing to do the work to get there. Today is only day 1 of 365, plenty of time for me to fall and get back up again. This could very well be another trash year but I’m going to grow either way.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

#InMyFeelingsFriday: Nina Cried Power

You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless.


It’s not the war but what’s behind it
Lord, the fear of foul men is mere assignment
And everythin’ that we’re denied by keepin’ the divide
It’s not the wakin’, it’s the risin

Like many Americans I have woken up to news headlines that have both flabbergasted and frightened me. You watch these politicians you didn’t vote for make decisions you don’t support and you feel powerless. So when I heard “Nina Cried Power” off of Hozier’s newest album “Wasteland Baby!” I felt it captured perfectly that weariness. He sings “it’s not the wakin, its the risin”. When I hear those lines I interpret it as the heaviness that you feel when you wake to bad news. Opening my eyes was the easy part but getting up and dealing with the ways of the world now that’s a little harder.

The song is a protest song that honors other artist who were known for their protest songs. Songs like Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn”, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, and The Staples Singers’ “Freedom Highway.” These songs are as relevant as they were back in the Civil Rights Era as woman and people of color continue to be denied their rights. Staples Singer member Mavis Staples is even featured on the song providing that bridge to the past.

Art in it’s various mediums is a great way to broadcast political messages. Music is able to communicate to the world a powerful message in a three-four minute enjoyable package. Hozier isn’t American, he hails from Ireland but I appreciate his tribute to the protest singers before him in this highly contentious time in our country.


And I could cry power (power)
Power (power)
Power, Lord
Nina cried power
Billie cried power
Mavis cried power

(Photo by Shawn Hoke)

#InMyFeelingsFriday: Duet

I’ve seen you, I know you, and I’m not going anywhere.

I’ll be honest with you I don’t know anything about Penny and Sparrow. I haven’t heard any of their other songs. I randomly came across “Duet” on my way home one afternoon and have not been able to forget it. It’s a simple love song with a few good voices over a slow melody. It’s simplicity is what pulled me in I believe. The lyrics aren’t heavy with metaphor or cool word play. It basically says this: I see what you’re going through, I know it’s a lot and I don’t always make it easier. But I’m here for you, and I’m not going anywhere.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be seen, to be known, and to know we’re not alone?


I bet your back can carry more than
Just the weight of your button-down
One by one, they’ll come undone
When we get home

I’ve seen you carry family
And all my insecurities
One by one, they’ll come undone
When we get home

Because I’ve seen you
And I know you
And I’m not going anywhere

#InMyFeelingsFriday: Superposition (Reflection)

I don’t believe in fate
No psychic vision
But when things fall into place, superposition
In any universe you are my dark star

Young the Giant

Indie rock band Young the Giant has always been favorite of mine since their hit “Cough Syrup” rocked my soul in 2011.
Their 2018 release “Mirror Master” is great and I encourage anyone to take a listen. Today they released another version of the first track on “Mirror Master”, Superposition (Reflection). The song melds the poetry of science with the beauty of love. Superposition is defined as the action of placing one thing on or above another especially so that they coincide, usually sound waves. In the first line of the song, lead vocalist Sameer sings of not believing in fate or psychic visions but of relying on chemistry to overcome the space between them. Although superposition is technically physics I get the sentiment just the same. Let’s not worry about whether it’s meant to be, the connection is clear between us so let’s explore it


I don’t believe in fate
No psychic vision
But when things fall into place, superposition
In any universe you are my dark star


I want you to want me
Why don’t we rely on chemistry?
Why don’t we collide the spaces that divide us?
I want you to want me

Popular culture tends to put romantic love on this magical pedestal of meet cutes and predestiny and that’s why this song has me in my feelings this week, because it scoffs at that idea. All of that stuff is noncommittal, I want you, so let place ourselves in each others lives and see what happens.


Superstition aims with imprecision
But when things can’t be explained, superposition, oh
In any universe you are my dark star

Photo by Bryan Goff on Unsplash

#InMyFeelingsFriday: Don’t Dream It’s Over

We know they won’t win

Cover of Lauren Daigle’s Look Up Child

Contemporary Christian singer Lauren Daigle is one of my favorite voices. She has the silky buttery tone that is a style all her own. To promote her latest “Look Up Child” Daigle did a cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream it’s Over for Spotify and it has me in my feelings. The 80’s classic is a favorite of mine I was excited to hear Daigle sing it. I was not disappointed. The original has easily recognizable beginning chords and I was surprised when I didn’t hear them and instead heard some jazzy guitar. I loved Daigle’s rendition, I found myself gently swaying while I drove listening to it. I love it when a classic is re-imagined in a way that it’s not a carbon copy but honors the original.


Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

I couldn’t tell you what the artist meant when he wrote it but to me “Don’t Dream its Over” means don’t give up. The world is full of battles, but don’t let the circumstances win. Easier said then done for sure, but in the world of 80’s pop songs anything is possible 😉

#InMyFeelingsFriday: American Republican Jesus

For those who might not have heard of them, Gungor is contemporary Christian husband and wife duo. They’ve become increasingly political as of late with Trump’s presidency. They’re newest album “Archives” was released on March 1st and the track that has me in my feelings this week is track #18 “American Republican Jesus”.
The track hold’s nothing back, the first verse pretty much lays it all out.

White Jesus, why is Your goodness so bad?
Why are Your people so mad?
Why do You need so many old white racists
To gather Your cash?
White Jesus, I know the Donald’s Your Man
I know He carries Your plan
To purge all the world of all the non-white people
Lest they go cash

This administration has used Christianity and conservative values as a weapon against the masses. The song calls them out as what they are, “old white racists”. Because Gungor is a Christian band I was shocked that they would be vocal on this particular topic when some of their peers have stayed quiet or doubled down on their support of Trump. They’re risking alienating some of their listeners but maybe this song will wake them up.


White Jesus, oh how could You blame us
For doubting Your heavenly Father
Would burn us
For doubting Your heavenly Father
Would burn us
White Jesus
American Republic Jesus

#InMyFeelingsFriday: Fake Smile

Early last month Ariana Grande released her 5th album “Thank U, Next”. Although I am not an avid listener of Top 40 artists like Grande, there’s no denying the ponytail pop star is crazy talented.

There’s a few good bops on the album, the track that had me in my feelings is #5 “Fake Smile.”
As an introvert who worked retail for a number of years and struggles with mental health issues, I’ve faked plenty of smiles in my life and was intrigued by the title alone. The song starts out with a sample from “After Laughter” by Wendy Rene. “After laughter comes tears,” sings Rene just as the R&B beat comes in.

Grande has been through a lot in recent years, the death of her ex Mac Miller, the public break up with Pete Davidson, and the most harrowing the terrorist attack that took place at her concert in Manchester in 2017. All of that is combined with the day to day issues of living your life in the public eye, which Grande sings about in the song.

Hear what they’re sayin’ on the TV, it’s crazy
It’s gettin’ hard for them to shock me
But every now and then, it’s shocking, don’t blame me
I know it’s the life that I chose
But baby, I’m grateful, I want you to know
I’m happy for the love and all of the above
If I’m being honest, I done been through way too much

As a regular person I can’t relate to the pressure of celebrity, I relate to the song in a different way. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression my entire life. And I’ve felt like I couldn’t tell anyone because of my own shame and embarrassment. I always felt it was better to pretend all was well then risk letting people know what I was dealing with emotionally. I don’t mean that I started telling all of my problems to anyone that asked, I only mean that if I didn’t feel like going out with a friend I didn’t do it. If I needed to skip out on a social event I no longer felt guilty. Sometimes when I come home from work or class I put my phone on silent so I can unplug. Because sometimes I just don’t have the mental capacity to do it. And that’s okay.

And I won’t say I’m feeling fine
After what I been through, I can’t lie

Fuck a fake smile, smile

#InMyFeelingsFriday: Almeda

Twelve days ago Solange released her highly anticipated 4th album, “When I Get Home” and I’m still processing it. Much like her last album “A Seat at the Table” this album gets you thinking. Solange is a highly original and individual artist and she leaves her art open to interpretation. The song that has me in my feelings this week is track number 9, “Almeda”.

You’ll find a lot of opinions on the internet with opinions on what exactly the lyrics coupled with the unique music video means. To me, when I hear that trap-ish beat and Solange’s voice singing about all things black and brown I hear a celebration of blackness.

Brown liquor, brown liquor
Brown skin, brown face
Brown leather, brown sugar
Brown leaves, brown keys
Brown zippers, brown face
Black skin, black braids
Black waves, black days
Black baes, black days
These are black-owned things
Black faith still can’t be washed away
Not even in that Florida water

The music video affirms this. It is filled with black faces. Some in afros’s and beret’s, some in those stiff auntie hairstyles and long red acrylic nails. There’s also this scene of a bunch of black women, Solange included, in brown dresses and blonde wigs dancing. I’m not sure what it all means but the message to me is quite clear, we have to celebrate ourselves, our culture, our skin, our blackness because no one else will.

Diamonds they shine in the dark now
Diamonds they shine in the dark now
They takin’ me in, what I done? (What?)
They takin’ me in, what I done? (What?)

Under Pressure

Do you feel that? 

That pressure all around you? 

that’s the weight of being alive 

the heaviness of indecision

the force to be successful

the burden to take care of those who depend on you

the energy to take care of yourself

the pull to be happy

the need to be in control

the drive to keep going, when you want to give up

the hope that’s a fire within you.

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

15 Small Things That Make Me Happy

After a long hiatus it’s time I dust off this blog. So for my first post of 2019 I wanted to go with something light and joyful. Sometimes when I can’t seem to shake off the sadness I think of things that can make me happy, small things that lift my spirit. So maybe today you find yourself slightly down, I hope this lifts you up.

1.The first sip of coffee in the morning. Green Mountain’s Breakfast Blend is my personal favorite

2.A great opening line in a book. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

3.Songs about love. A lot of the greatest songs ever made are about love.

4.Random texts from old friends.

5.”The End” in an old movie. After you’ve been holding your breath in anticipation of every moment the entire movie, those two words let you know that you may breath now.

6.The first “I love you”.

7.Learning cool new facts about someone I’m already a fan of. Did you know that Audrey Hepburn helped the Dutch Resistance during WWII by smuggling secret messages in her lunch box?

8.Waking up and realizing it’s the weekend.

9.Going salsa dancing. 💃🏾

10.Lunch with my coworkers. Where I get all of my tea. 🐸

11.Rainy days at home. Preferably with a cups of tea, and Netflix.

12. Nineties alternative rock. Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt, 1995.

13.The podcast “The Read”. They keep me abreast on black culture while also keeping me laughing from my soul.

14.The laughter of a child. Who doesn’t love the sound a little kid laughing?

15.A bottle of good wine. Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti, 2016.