Music to Inspire...

Anders Koppel doesn't have an extensive Wikipedia page, nor does he have a bio on Spotify, yet somehow the engineers at Spotify managed to incorporate one of his songs in my Discover Weekly playlist. Everything Is Subject to Change is the title of the song that I was fortunate to hear for the first time in 2015, and my writing game hasn't been the same since. Music has a beautiful way of placing you in a certain time period and it also has the power to inspire creativity - in this particular case - writing.

In general, on this blog, I tend to write about how daily occurrences, activities, feelings, and moods can lead to certain 'a-ha' moments or discoveries from within. Music has been the catalyst to help bring those observations to a documented platform.

stimulate conversation

To me, the point of writing to publish is to clear up thoughts in my head and transform them into something tangible that one person can walk away with. Whether it's a thought, an idea or a conversation. If everything is kept behind closed doors, there's little opportunity for others to be inspired or provide feedback.

No one needs to know about every single thought I have. However, what I've found is that writing on this platform has proven to be worth the effort of sitting in front of a blank screen, formulating cohesive sentences and clicking publish.

The only way I can improve as a writer, as a friend, and as a mentor is to share how I think about the world and everyone and thing in it, publicly.

the 6 best moments of year 31

Spinning off of last year's post, I decided to write out the highlights from another turn around the sun. Maybe I'll keep this going through this decade, who knows. But it feels good to reflect on what I accomplished, who I helped and who helped me during these 12 months.

I've maintained keeping track of thoughts, deadlines, goals, and tasks in my planner and journals. If it weren't for these, I probably wouldn't have remembered half of the things that happened this year.

This year's subliminal theme was all about slowing down. Shortly after I turned 31, I began to pay attention to the physical aspects of my body - why I couldn't lift as much weight or do certain exercises how I used to. In the middle of conversations with my therapist around November of 2015,  she told me to take it easy on myself. Stop forcing things to be as they were - in the literal form of exercise and expecting similar results, and metaphorically - allowing change to happen.

I stopped doing all the things that I had been doing for 6+ years, and just tuned in to sensations and emotions that came up when I sat still instead of feeling the need to "do" something to occupy time and space.

Little did I know what would come up when I just stopped resisting, everything.

The 6 best moments that happened this past year were: 

Major takeaways from each:

  • There are a handful of people that truly know what I've managed to overcome throughout the years. I'm stubborn and often times hard-headed, but I know what I'm capable of accomplishing and creating. These same people helped me remind myself how dope I am :) I took another leap, and am now in complete creation mode - working on projects that will make our world a better place to live.

  • Being able to share my skills and donate my time to two local organizations that are literally changing and helping lives of our future generation, has been a tremendous honor. Focus on our youth - they absorb everything and we have every resource and tool to help them succeed.

  • Slowing down also meant feeling - everything. I stopped CrossFitting religiously, actually, entirely. Protecting my body from more physical damage has been my main goal, and working with a physical therapist has proven to be life-changing. Aside from the physical benefits of gaining a bit more mobility, I've managed to jump into a rabbit hole of connecting chiropractic care to mental health. Everything (almost) makes sense now :)

  • Yoga, mindfulness and meditation are all buzz words now. The self help industry is an $11 billion - yes billion - dollar industry. In the U.S. it feels like everyone is trying to "find happiness" in the midst of what seems like a complete clusterf*ck of ideas, people and policies. However, what has helped me reclaim my sanity and create work from love instead of fear, has been my consistent meditation practice. When in doubt, focus on your breath.

  • With that said, clearing my mind allows for space to create. It took me over a year to announce and manifest #tanthemat into something tangible, and here we are. What felt like a small project at the beginning, manifested into something completely different than what I expected, and I have a network of beautiful humans over the world that are not only inspiring me, but are healing communities through their work.

  • #somanybabies. 2-3 years ago, four of my closest cousins/brothers/sisters got married. These same people popped out babies this year. The world is so much better now that there is a generation of women [smile] with roots from Haiti, India, Cuba and Singapore. #diversitymatters. I'm incredibly grateful to be an aunt and role model for them!

32. I welcome you with open arms. It's my magic year - let's do this.

it's in my blood.

Activism. Writing. Researching. Storytelling. Back in September when my aunt & uncle came to town, a friendly debate came up amongst my family. This isn't abnormal considering after family dinners, a night cap almost always involves coffee while discussing politics - specifically around U.S. and Haiti - with my father 'leading' the conversation by mostly arguing against what else everyone is saying. Or at least striking up another point of view, to stir the pot.

When the topic of activism came up during times of political turmoil, coup d'etats and fighting for human/civil rights in Haiti, I asked something along the lines of 'who were the women who were fighting for justice in Haiti.'

The room fell silent as everyone seemed to be deep in thought, with my dad mentioning...'yes, there were some women who were involved' but no specific names were dropped. My aunt, Marlene answered in a way of genuine curiosity and concern saying that she didn't know any off the top of her head, but that she'd do some research for me.

A few weeks later, she sends me a beautiful piece on what she found and I'm proud to share that her story has been published on Abernathy.


let go of your crutch.

“I know the modern world would look strange to him… there ain’t nothin’ to be afraid of… marvelous, (Marvin)” – Mos Def

"You need me" isn’t a new declaration, but it’s something that I haven’t heard directed, specifically to me, in well…ever.

It took me a minute to gather my thoughts when someone told me this for the first time because 1. I realized that it’s kind of true and 2. I’ve never been on the receiving end of this statement before.

During my tenure at my previous job, I’ve always felt that people needed me to conduct their job.  I felt that they depended on me, and this is one of the reasons why it was difficult for me to resign.  I was afraid to leave because I felt that I was a crutch for these people.  If I left, it meant that they would no longer know what to do; they would no longer know whom to lean on.

Now hearing, “you need me...” I add in "...until it's time to move on."  I know not to depend on anyone but myself, but as I've gone through transitions in my life I've learned that it’s okay to have someone to guide you.  I also know that I should lean on just enough to listen to the point that it resonates and allows me to reach (and see) my potential, and not to rely solely on this person.

For reasons that I probably will never be able to describe into detail, the basis of this statement has a deeper meaning.  A lot of people get stuck in this mindset that they are confined to what people give them.  People are so dependent on a safe job, a safe school, loans, steady income, benefits etc. that it’s hard for them to make a decision on why to leave this security, this crutch that they rely on so much. I get it.

It’s somewhat of a catch-22.  It’s comfortable to have someone or something to fall back on, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be your go-to source for personal improvement or development.  You’ll never get anywhere if you depend on a crutch.  Digging deep into who you are, on your own – by learning from your trials and tribulations – will allow yourself to achieve and do great things. You’ll be able to inspire others to realize  and do what they’ve always been capable of, on their own.