Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him

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Respect for the Arts

Despite a long, busy and draining week…and despite sincere attempts to keep my friday night free of commitments (aka obligations).. I found myself leaving a recording studio at almost midnight. WOW I am worn out!

Considering this is my first time EVER being in a real recording studio, the experience was exhilarating, stimulating and HARD! I have a new level of respect for what artists do, both on the front end and behind the scenes (sound workers, etc).

A few days ago I was told that our worship team pianist was ready to finish recording his song “I will declare”… and was a little surprised because I really did not think it would happen when he mentioned it months ago. So when I was asked if I could be available sunday, I said “sure.”

Then tonight, I get a call from a random number, shortly after eating my dinner, and discovered the only possible time for us record was tonight or saturday morning… so with hesitation, I called back and agreed to come in tonight… especially after I discovered where the studio was located.

I absolutely LOVED the vibe. Chill, well decorated, and you could tell, there was history… if only the walls could share their stories.

But my excitement rapidly faded as I heard and saw myself (literal outer body experience).. struggle to sing small excerpts of the song. I felt my throat tighten up… and found it difficult to even project… considering I am one of the loudest singers on our team, this is pretty insane…

I felt the pressure… the pressure to get it right, to not torture the sound technician and composer of this piece.. I felt the pressure as they whispered and told me to listen and re-record multiple times… the pressure of just not being good enough. Where was all this coming from?

Notes were off, voice cracking, mouth getting dry… you name it. We spent about 2 hours with me just singing sections over and over.. and practicing by the piano, going back to square one… and each time I sang… i thought to myself, man, you sound terrible….at least through the strange echoing I heard through the headset and microphone.

At the end of the day, I knew the other 2 guys and the other girl (who will be recording tomorrow), were much more experienced and better than me vocally.. and I was just worried the composer (aka lead vocalist) was going to regret asking me to do this.

Ironically, I was not nervous, but the pressure was actually shaking my confidence and causing me to hold back on belting vs oscillating vs filling out my tones, where needed.

After multiple takes, the lead finally gave me the “it’s a wrap” and asked me to come into the sound room to hear it…. and crazy enough, it sounded WAY better, even before polishing, than what I heard through the headset. By the time he included the other male vocals and instruments.. I was like WOW.. it was like magic. Though I still know there are ways I could have improved had I been more relaxed, I think it was actually decent.

That being said, I give props to the artists who go through all this just to put out singles and/or albums of songs… the job is certainly not easy. On a side thought, I want to do this again… hmm.



Dating Standards

Tonight, I decided to skim through Clutch Magazine online since multiple pages of the website were left up (on my computer) by a friend of mine, who seems to love reading their articles. Though I have never seen the purpose of reading this mag (for reasons I will not expound upon here), I decided to give it a shot and dive in.

As expected, articles ranged from struggles with “transitioning” from relaxed to natural hair; to debates on whether some young black boys were either sexually abused, gay, or just influenced by some of the horrendous “music” that is put out in today’s culture; to people’s blatant opinion on why black women should ditch college and get married… essentially, its like the soap opera of whatever seems relevant to the “black community” at the present moment.

Though I will choose not to focus on the overall magazine, there was one article in particular that seemed worth commenting on.. mainly because I have had a number of discussions and/or debates with people about the general topic.

“My Panties Are Staying On If…” dealt with some of the challenges faced by the writer as she decided to return to the dating scene following a 2 year hiatus from her “insecure and possessive lush of an ex-boyfriend.” But what intrigues me about the article, really has nothing to do with the title… but more so with some of the commentary made by readers supporting the notion of a man not being worthy if he does not have a job and at least a bachelors degree.

Of all the comments, one woman mentioned how she passed up multiple good men in her lifetime due to being “selective”… aka having standards…

Good points but be careful ladies, you get my age and you realize these are just rules. I passed on so many great men and now in mid age, I know that all I want is a man who loves and respects me. I wish the guy I loved had money but he doesn’t. I am ok with that because no one can love me like he.

Somehow, present culture has taught us that meeting standards are what make us worth something. We are groomed that we must be educated to attain decent jobs, to be respectable, to be of value in society… and nowadays, it appears to even be worthy of love.

But why?

When did it become a crime to just be a good hearted, decent human being, who works hard and is supportive? Who says that everyone who has achieved “success” in manners we can measure (ex. income, degrees, etc) are truly the ones worth considering?

But most of all, do WE want to be held to those standards? Do WE want to be judged based on our merits?

I personally think someones character is what will dictate the future of a relationship. Their character will greatly influence the values instilled in the family hoped for. And I surely, do not want someone looking at my track record… though I may be educated, my net worth is definitely in the red.

Don’t get me wrong, if you happen to meet that guy who is “successful” according to whatever standards there are… and is truly of upstanding character… a blissful future I bid you.

But do I personally think elimination based on a list makes sense? No. And chances are, if you are miserable in your singleness because of this… you might want to loosen the grip just a little bit, see beyond the list, and evaluate them on something that counts for more.

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Last week, I returned from Brazil, 1/2 happy to be back in my space and 1/2 dreading the anticipated return to mundane lab work. Without a doubt, I do enjoy science on some fundamental level but certainly do not enjoy the tedious nature and repetitiveness of my current experiments. So… here I am.. back to the routine. The one benefit to routine is that you have plenty of blank spaces that enable subconscious and conscious reflection, which tend to be drowned out when over stimulated and excited by new ventures.

Within this week of return, I have gotten into disagreements with friends…been hurt…come to realize that people’s insecurities seep out in the strangest ways…been encouraged…stressed…blessed physically and spiritually (both of which made me happy)… angered… you name it. And in the midst of it all, I can’t help but to think on the common statement that people made while I was in Rio… “as long as your happy, that’s all that matter.”  Really?!

Sounds so simple…and seemingly ideal. In this present world, where we hope to all just get along… we hope that everyone, no matter who they are or what they believe or what they look like (etc), they will be accepted… they will be loved… they will be secure… and on some level be significant… whether through the rights they can exercise… or just to that other person that truly sees them.

But what is the standard to decide that happiness? What is the standard for what we term “ideal? Every measurement requires a standard… whether it’s a distance (measured in meters), time (in seconds), etc… so what is the measure of happiness that we should supposedly strive for?

A friend of mine recently shared a news report with me about a radio host couple that committed suicide together (… as tragic as the situation is, it was pretty ironic considering they were life coaches and gave people advice on how to live. Yet an excerpt from one of the letters made it clear that the male companion could not “take it anymore” because his wife was in pain. But what really made this report stand out to me, were the comments on the bottom… people arguing back and forth about the couples right to choose to leave the world together… and others saying how they are hypocrites etc… so many opinions… so many ideas of morality, truth.

So whats the standard? And if truly, all that matters is that your happy… realistically.. should more of us contemplate death?

By no means do I support suicide… despite having contemplated (/planned) it in my past… but I ask people to really think about happiness and how fickle it is.. just as people are. Happiness waivers… it is never constant… it does not remain. tragedies happen.. people hurt people… inexplicable cruelty occurs for reasons deeper than we may even care to delve into…. and in all honesty, acceptance is usually based on what can be mutual benefited from one another… judgement occurs.

So I challenge people to really consider if happiness is enough.

Ironically, though I am a scientist by training…as a wonderful friend of mine pointed out this week… i am a believer in a God that I can not see, taste, touch, etc…  but what people don’t realize is that the experience that marked my change in belief is one that I can never deny. What happened was beyond my natural mind… what happened was more real, intimate and deep to the core of my being.. than any relationship with a lover… than any sexual sensation.. any high… any fear…

This intimacy and knowledge of Him… has provided me with a standard… and that standard is not dependant on my emotions… nor my circumstances… nor anyone else around me… it is dependent on Him.

This reality for me, also provides me with the renewed concept of love (growing process) and hope. And as stated many times, an opportunity that my “joy may be full.”

(more thoughts to come)

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Returning Home

For the first time in years, I had a conversation with my mother.. my mom who raised me… that truly just brought me to a deeply needed place of love. Currently holding back tears.. as I hear the trickling of drops outside my bedroom window…there is an overwhelming sense of stillness that yields a satisfying peace in me.

Most nights, after a day of monotonous lab work, I come home to relax… aka “VEG”…but right now, not even the habitual whispers to just lay down and watch something, could real me in.  Something in me just began to sit still.. to usher a thank you without even saying the words… to release burdens into His hands…

For the first time in a long time, I truly felt loved by her. For the first time, in the midst of our conversation, I knew she actually listened and heard me… she actually understood…and as if she was reading my heart and mind… she spoke words of encouragement

Without the history of our relationship.. and knowledge of our sputtered communication… it would be hard to really understand what just happened.

I will marinate in this right now….the convo that began within my soul (whenever it did)… has finally grasped my undivided attention.