“i’m just trynna live as free as i can while i’m existing in this realm… i swear it’s hell until you break free, but imma break the boundaries before the boundaries ever break me”

 

wasn’t feeling much like writing today, but i realized i owed myself a post on this week’s to-dos. last week was a bit out of sorts because, while i didn’t get to cross off a lot of the items on my list, i crossed off quite a few that would have been on the list this week and next. so, i’m not gonna beat myself up for it.

week three

  • clean pantry of expired items
  • go for a run?
  • move unused kitchen appliances to basement
  • pack a box for salvation army
  • clean ceiling fans
  • bake something paleo
  • file taxes

week four

  • clean pantry of expired items
  • go for a run?
  • move unused kitchen appliances to basement
  • clean ceiling fans
  • bake something paleo
  • label and organize 12″ singles & promo records
  • pick up at least 2 crates of records from storage

hoping i can snap out of whatever funk i’m in to take on this week’s list.

“despite her past, she can’t help the attraction… he tells her that he’s nothing like the last one… he redefines in every way what love is… she fell for him and hasn’t gotten up since”

 

on thursday i had a chance to see russ, a young rapper/singer i’ve been following for some time now. people who know me would probably think his style doesn’t really fit what i normally listen to. ironically, i’m in so deep with this kid that i couldn’t tell you the difference anymore.

in his track exposed, russ says “[artists’] fans are fickle cuz your come up is a mystery… my fans gon stick with me cuz me and them got history“. and at least for me, this is true.

this is the story of me and russ.

it was 2012 when i first listened to his vacation mixtape. it was a friday and i was with my dad at his chemo appointment. i streamed the album and was taken by the let me know track that samples from the isley brothers’ song of the same title.

to set the scene a bit better, i had just left my relationship of six years leaving behind a dog and car. i moved back in with my parents… in my thirties. my dad was just diagnosed with cancer. there was a lot going on.

but russ and i met somewhere in the middle. he had lyrics that were angry and beats and melodies that were… hopeful… optimistic. (i call his style rap&b now.) so i started listening more closely to his story every friday at chemo. and week after week, i knew him a little more than the last. and i felt like his words were often mine.

“god damn, lord
give me a sign
give me your words
give me your sight
give me your mind
cuz i’m feeling blind
deaf and dumb
my soul is on a leash
sayin please let me run.”
—russ, let me know.

ultimately, he made me feel like i wasn’t alone. everything i was feeling, he was somewhere feeling it, too. and so i was hooked. i’ve been listening to every new russ track and album since. because that’s what music is supposed to do, right? tell a story. bring people together. make you feel things.

but all things said and done, russ reminds me of my dad. he reminds me of my ex(es). he reminds me of pain as much as he reminds me of love. i’d had a chance to see him last year, and i was so excited about it. he was performing at venue oakland and i had my tickets already lined up. but it was just after father’s day and i was feeling… empty. i just couldn’t muster up the courage to be in the audience listening to track after track that reminded me of my dad. so i skipped it.

but the thing was that i also needed his music more than ever. he’d become my new “spring love” by stevie b, which used to be the one song i’d never skip. no matter what mood i was in, it always made me feel better.

2016 was a big year for me and russ—the things i experienced, the things i felt. the track on this post, losin control, was especially important to me… as i cut off guy after guy from my life in an effort to start fresh. to figure myself out. to understand what i wanted and what i needed to do to get there. but even beyond that, in the context of being hurt by just about anyone—friend, foe, family… betrayal in general. the song… was me. is me.

on thursday, russ put it all on stage. he told his story. he told my story. he made me feel good. as though his come up is my come up, too.

and i sure am counting on that.

“moving to the rhythm of my intuition, anything i want i speak into existence… that’s how i’m living, that’s how i’m winning”

 

i was having a conversation the other day with a friend about her dating life. she mentioned that she had read an article advising single women that, in order to find a man, they needed to make room in their lives for a man. literal room, not emotional room.

and then he would come.

as my friend continued updating me on her recent dating experiences, my thoughts wandered to the dozens (hundreds? more?) of women who may have read this article—written by a woman—and have emptied half their closets and dressers, upgraded from their full-size beds to queen or king-size beds, and moved all their beauty products to the left side of their double-sinks.

so that he would come.

how utterly depressing, i thought. i mean, the hypothesis on its own wasn’t a bad one in my opinion. i just think it’s much less literal and far more everything else. like hey, make room in your heart, mind, and soul first. then move on to your house, yeah?

and as i’m having these thoughts in my head—with my friend still talking, by the way—i realized that i’m just not in a place where i’m ready to make that kind of room… emotionally.

around this time last year, i’d made a decision to take a “break” from guys and dating to give myself the opportunity to figure out what i actually wanted from a partnership. because if my last 5 consecutive relationships were any indication, i clearly had no idea.

and a year later, though i still don’t think i know exactly what i want from a man, i have a much better idea of what i want from myself.

so imma keep doing me. because i like what i’m seeing, and that’s what matters.

on that note, here’s where last week’s to-dos landed and what i’ve got planned for this week:

week two

  • read a book (again)
  • start alphabetizing records
  • clean fridge/pantry of expired items
  • try a new recipe
  • go for a run?

week three

  • clean pantry of expired items
  • go for a run?
  • move unused kitchen appliances to basement
  • pack a box for salvation army
  • clean ceiling fans
  • bake something paleo
  • file taxes

“always lying nonstop… always disrespectful… you was stuck on bullshit… i was stuck on potential”

 

happy. fucking. new. year.

like many, i waited anxiously for 2016 to wrap up. it was a tough year for a lot of people—i get it.

i’ve been hopeful. i’ve been excited.

but four days into the new year and people are still… whiny.

i mean, i understand that nothing changes overnight. i know that change is a process. i know that the problems that were still looming on december 31st didn’t disappear after the countdown.

but the start of a new year is full of opportunities—fresh perspectives, new ideas, clean slates.

…new attitudes.

admittedly, i have trouble with things i can’t control. it’s just my nature. when life throws curve balls i’m not ready for, i struggle. but i do try to focus on one simple idea:

“what we see depends mainly on what we look for.”
― john lubbock

essentially, while we can’t control what happens, we can control how we deal with it. so buck up, people. don’t get “stuck on bullshit“, get “stuck on potential“.

even more, surround yourself with it. make sure the company you keep and the people you spend your time with are present and have intentions of pouring love and positivity into your life. comisery is a real thing—let people lift you up and not bring you down.

there’s good out there—look for it. and when you find it, embrace it.

on that note, here are seventeen of my wishes for ’17:

  1. buy a freestanding heavy bag (and use it)
  2. get the leak under my kitchen sink fixed
  3. visit my family in hawaii
  4. buy a new car
  5. don’t “lend” anyone money 😛
  6. take a trip by myself (to a place that’s NOT chicago)
  7. put a stamp in my passport
  8. annual physical shows my lifestyle changes have helped
  9. don’t have to buy a single item of clothing this year that is a larger size 😉
  10. leave pandora’s box shut 😕
  11. let go of regrets
  12. take (at least) one risk i wouldn’t have in 2016
  13. make up with my brother
  14. take drum lessons
  15. see a broadway show in NYC
  16. do more of what makes me happy
  17. keep writing (for my blog and… my side project)

“you’re bad and you’re broken too, but i love that shit… just be open to the possibility of me and you, that’s all i ask… i’ve had the hoes, i’ve got the cash, now i want you”

 

i’ve had multiple conversations with girlfriends in the last few weeks on the same topic—monogamy.

i don’t believe monogamy is natural. and i’ve felt that way since high school.

i’ve always believed—even when completely virgin(ish) and inexperienced—that we were biologically and naturally created to be sexual… basically, to be reproductive. i also considered the animal kingdom and how monogamy and the idea of “mating for life” is rare across all types of species.

“but we’re not animals, gemma”

i know, i know. but my point is that the fundamental concept of monogamy relies on a universal biological characteristic that we have no control over. if we, as humans, lived “in the wild” without all rules and bureaucracy, i think our sexual natures would fall more in line with what we see in the animal world.

“so you’re okay with no loyalty in your relationships?”

of course i want loyalty when i’m in a relationship. i also am very loyal partner myself… when i’m in a relationship.

in my opinion, how i feel about monogamy doesn’t directly affect my ability or desire to be in a relationship. i don’t think they have to go hand-in-hand.

(and this is about where i lost my girlfriends. ha.)

here are my thoughts on monogamy and how it plays out in relationships:

  1. natural desire vs choice: i think, by nature, humans are not built to be monogamous. but that doesn’t mean i don’t believe in commitment. i just think commitment is a conscious choice we make. it’s not something our body decides for us—it boils down to these desires coming from different parts of us. heart vs mind, mind vs body, whatever you want to call it. you choose to be committed. you choose to stay committed.
  2. sex vs love: the sooner we can all get behind the idea that sex is not love, the sooner maury povich will be out of a job. sex is a beautiful and wonderful thing. love, too. but both can live without the other, so yes, it is possible to love someone and have sex with someone else, just as much as it’s possible to have sex with someone you don’t love.
  3. non-monogamy vs infidelity: don’t assume people who don’t believe in monogamy are “cheaters“. i think it’s important (and responsible) to be honest with your partner(s) about your… extracurriculars.
  4. non-monogamy vs promiscuity: not believing in monogamy doesn’t mean i’m out bangin‘ anyone and everyone. i can be (and have been) involved with only one person while still believing that monogamy is unnatural.

that’s all.