Monday, September 29, 2014

It's called the "Mary J Blige complex"

So...everyone who knows me, knows I love, love, LOVE music. One of my favorite artists of all times is Mary J. Blige. Mary's music just seemed to touch my soul and speak to all my inner feelings. How does she do that? Mary has the ability to croon out  the sorrows, regrets, and losts that I thought I kept bottled up inside. For that, I grew to love her and even count on her helping to heal my heart with her words. I became addicted to her pain that I knew was the source of some of the most memorable songs of all times. Mary drew me closer to her with her pain-filled notes she belted out. So much so, I became inquisitive about how she was able to do that unlike some of her fellow musical peers. When Mary allowed us access to her personal world, or to "share her world", I discovered the reason behind her ability to sing soul-stirring melodies, Mary was hurting just as much as I was if not more. So, that's how she did it! Who knew?

When I found out how much Mary was really hurting, I couldn't help but to feel bad for her. However, it was undeniable that Mary seemed to make some of her best music and her greatest masterpieces when she was in pain. Her music made others like myself feel good. Then, Mary found the love of her life and got married. As a fan, I was ecstatic for my girl. She had finally overcome the sorrows of heartbreak and had entered into marital bliss. I couldn't be happier for her. Then....the music came. "Uh-rah, Mary what is this? This ain't ya old stuff! This is not the music that would invoke others like myself to either wanna cry or get up dance." "This is some new stuff and frankly, I am feeling a certain kind of way about it." " What happened, Mary...What changed?" "I mean, I'm happy that you're in love, are happy, and all of that but can't you make the same kinda music that you did before? "I'm just saying." These were all the thoughts that I'm sure that some of Mary's most loyal fans shared with me. No one could deny that Mary created some of her best work when she was in pain. "My Life", "Not Gon Cry", and "Be Happy" were just some of the few.

I began to contemplate on the similarities of Mary's pain inciting her to greatness compared to my own life and it was a little more than amazing. When I began blogging, I was experiencing heartbreak. I was at a time in my life that I couldn't even verbalize the pain I was feeling. I can recall praying to God asking Him to take the pain away and to help me to get over it. He didn't remove the pain but He revealed to me a way to tolerate it. He showed me that all things truly work out for the good of those that love Him. Not only that,  He showed me it is truly a blessing to allow Him to take the pain and manifest it into some of my greatest gifts. After posting my first blog, the response I received was phenomenal. I had people who encouraged me to keep writing and even greater, people who expressed to me that I impacted them significantly. The lesson that I learned is this, pain has purpose. Sometimes, the creation of pain stirs up a passionate desire to ease the pain. Something that will help rid us of the pain or at least lessen the effect of it. These mechanisms are sometimes the greatest rewards that God could ever give us. They have a dual purpose, to give God the glory and to bring a wonderful manifestation of what He has allowed. So Mary, even though I am one of your biggest critics when it comes to your new style of music, I ultimately appreciate it. What I have come to discover is that it is truly your diamond in the rough. I can embrace it and even come to appreciate it because in the end I, along with many others I'm sure, truly just want you to "Be Happy".

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Keeping It Real

So....One day last week, I found myself in the middle of having a bad day. It seem like no matter what I did, the day just seemed to continue to get bad. I noticed I began to increasingly become irritable and I knew that no matter how hard I tried to not show it, others around me were starting to notice as well. I've mentioned before I really don't like to live out drama, I prefer to watch it on TV, so this was clearly becoming a problem for me. While sitting at my desk, Israel Houghton began to play in my earbuds. My ears zoomed in when he began to speak "Let the weak say I am strong and the poor say I am rich." "What?" In my simple mind, I said to myself, "Why would I say that I am strong if clearly I am not feeling that way. That's a lie, that's not "keeping it real". In the words of Jay,  that's not "Keeping it 100, hitting the lottery."

I began to cognitively tussle and wrestle with this thought and start asking God for clarification because I clearly was not getting it. I mean "God, you don't want us to LIE do you?" was part of my dialogue with Him. After playing with this thought, I became still and continue with my misery-filled day. In the midst of the discomfort, I finally got my answer from God, "Irene, you are what you say you are and you shall have what you say you shall have. The power lies all in the tongue. The combination of the words that you speak and the faith you have is what brings manifestation." "Ohhh ok, I get it now, let's put this thing to the test, Jesus" was my response.

So immediately, I put a smile on my face and start speaking in a pleasant tone to everyone, while rolling the mental thought in my mind "I am having a wonderful day and I am truly happy." Almost miraculously, I started to notice that my day became better and brighter. Had the circumstances that caused me to label my day as bad, change? No, however my attitude and my thoughts towards it had. Let me tell you, that "keeping it real" stuff is not always a good thing. Sometimes, you just have to "Fake it til you make it!" Is that considered being fake? I guess to some it may be but I have incorporated it into my survival skills and if I can totally "keep it REALLY real" for a moment, it has helped me tremendously.