Sunday, September 30, 2012

Listen to the Beats of Their Hearts

Life is kicking in.


I am developing a routine. I know what I’m having for lunch virtually every day. I take the same streets to work in the mornings. I know that on Sundays I post for The Graduates Guide and study for my internship. I’m adjusting in my career, but also in my social life.

I’ve met so many cool new people lately. It’s been great.

One thing I have brought with me to L.A, is something Bug (my best friend in Columbia) graced me with. The ability to listen. The ability to open up my mind and connect with people just for the experience. Yes, I do a lot of networking out here because this industry is so large, but I also like meeting other people that I have virtually nothing in common with. On the other hand I have everything in common with them. They’re genuinely nice and interesting people.

Tonight I went for coffee with a new friend. I only met her this evening, but I call her a friend because I know we will hang out again. She’s cool and interesting. She talks about things that I know nothing about like law enforcement, Kung Fu, and playing piano. I on the other hand talk a lot about film, and writing, and the South. Somehow we entertained each other. It was nice at times to not be the one talking. To know that there are other people out there with interesting things to say. I’ve said it before. Everyone has a story. This Blog isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone and everything through my perspective. I feel almost inferior.

When I speak to someone, they share with me significant moments in their lives. Even if it’s about hobbies or work, etc. Everything they share is a time or moment that they lived through. It is a part of their emotional, physical and mental make up. What they say can tell you who they are and why they’re that way. I’ve also found you can learn the same thing from the silence. I’ve tried to listen carefully to who I am. I like knowing that I’m fine with sharing my inner thoughts, but also listening to those of someone else.

It inspires me. Not even necessarily in my career. I find other people to be intellectually stimulating. They make me think. I assess characters like most people do food menus. VERY CAREFULLY.

As I pulled into my apartment building tonight, a mother and her three kids who live below me were pulling up in their SUV. One of the kids had a book bag. The other was dribbling a ball. The third had his head somewhere else and sprinted a head of the group. A street vendor in front of our apartment blew an air horn. She walked up to him and bought dinner.  Today was the first day I’d seen him around our street, so now I’m curious what he serves. I couldn’t help to think though, how neat it was. He is selling her dinner. She has a life, a family and a career and lives 15 feet from me, yet I don’t know her at all.

There are millions of people on this planet with their own story. Ideally I’d love to hear them all, but I think I want to challenge myself. Maybe I’ll try to hear three new stories a week. Meet three new people. I feel like trying to push one a day is a little unrealistic. I don’t want it to be a chore. I just want to have interesting conversations. I want to see what it’s like in the day-to-day lives of other people.

Even now as I write, I’m lying on my bed listening to classical music. I like doing this sometimes… just to try something new…

What I found is I really like “Piano Sonato No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor (Moonlight)” by Beethoven. Even that tells a story to me. It sets a mood that I will relate to for the rest of my life. I will look back on the time I blogged about listening and hear this song. I’ll be at peace with my nerves, and just feel the existence of more out there.

I must admit, I owe a lot of it to Bug. Then again, isn’t that the point. Everything leads to something else that makes up the moments that are right now? I believe so.

Listen.

Hear.

Process.

Love.

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Decisions


I’ve struggled.

I don’t just mean I tried, it was difficult and then I got in the swing of things. I mean that for the last two weeks, writing has been extremely difficult. I know it’s a combination of settling in to my new life, my busy schedule and my unhealthy obsession with voice competition shows.

Let me catch you up. Last night I went with a friend of mine to The Grove to watch a movie. We saw House on the Corner of the Street. While we were waiting in line for popcorn, I glanced over and saw someone I recognized.

Now mind you I’m in California where I know maybe a handful of people. It took a moment to sink in that I didn’t know the person I saw after all, but I had seen him before. Actually, some of you might recognize him as well. His name is Alex Newell and was one of Glee Projects Season 1 contenders. He is now on Glee as well.

I walked up to him to introduce myself. His friend turned around, and I realized it was Hannah from Glee Project Season 1 as well. I was simply beside myself.

I work in Hollywood. I meet celebrities. That is a part of everyday life here. However, I am a Glee fanatic. I love the show. I love the characters. I’m obsessed with its message, and I think that Ryan Murphy is a genius. I’m also a huge fan of writer Ali Adler, so when you wrap all of that up into a little package with a pretty bow and sit it in front of me on the counter at the concessions, I’m like a small child on Christmas.

I told them both what a fan I was, and we stood there for a few moments chatting. Alex said he loved the name “Tennessee” and asked if he could have it. Frankly with that voice he can go by whatever he likes, so I told him of course. They were both ridiculously sweet. We parted ways, and my friend and I continued on into our theatre. I couldn’t help but reflect on how lucky I am to be in a place with some many wonderful people. Creative people. Fantastic people.

Tonight I went out with my fellow interns. We had dinner at a neat little restaurant called City tavern in Culver City. It was a calm little place, but definitely the type of place I enjoy.


 After that, we met up at another restaurant for drinks with the rest of the group. That group included a host of ex-interns who have moved on into their first “real” jobs, or at least the job pointing them to their career. There had to have been close to 40 people there mingling and networking. What struck me was how creative and smart and funny they all were. It’s not that I haven’t met people like this before; In fact that describes my best friends. I just haven’t seen this many in one place. 


It’s so refreshing. I love this atmosphere. I love learning something new everyday. I love feeling like I’ve found where I belong. I worried that I wouldn’t connect with anyone or have any close friends, but the truth is I would hang out with any of them anytime.

Tomorrow I am working, then heading out to Westwood to gather with the interns at a social event. Again, I love this world we’re in. I love that over coffee everyone is talking about the latest project, or their futures. I love not being the only one that constantly has these ideas of “who, and what, and where” running through my mind. My friend Kingsley is going with me. It’s nice having someone out here that I knew prior to the move. It also helps that he is in the industry as well, because it gives me a partner in crime to experience life with.

I realized tonight why writing has been so difficult lately. It’s because it had become a chore. A task. I felt guilty that I hadn’t been working on my blog posts as often, so I would suffer through them with my mind racing a thousand ideas a minute. I was barely skimming the surface. I wasn’t putting my heart into it like I have in the past.

Here’s what I’ve got for you today…

We get one shot at life. I know you’ve heard me say that before, but I really can’t stress it enough. We are all put here on this earth for a reason. Life is calculated down to the second before we ever wake up in the mornings. I truly believe that. We have the ability to make our own decisions, and those decisions affect us in a positive or negative way depending on what it is. It’s up to us to guide our lives the way that we want them to go.

The smallest decisions are often the most surprising. I sent out a tweet. Nothing spectacular. Just a tweet expressing interest in a certain television show. Next thing I know, the producer tweeted me back. I then made another decision. I decided to ask if I could write a blog post about it. He approved. That’s two small decisions I made in my life. Let me tell you where they took me.

That same producer just happened to turn out to be an incredible guy. He has a good heart, and the best intentions. He suggested my internship, gave me a recommendation, and now here I am in California pursuing the dream that I’ve had for five years now. A career in film. This all happened because I decided to tweet something. Insane isn’t it?

Let’s go back even further. Let’s go back five years ago.

I was a freshman in college. I was reckless and wild. I had no sense of self and a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas. I was a creative writing major, but really college was just one big party. It was the first time I had been given any significant freedom and I ran with it.

A month or so into school I was hanging out on campus when the RD o my building asked me to come check out her film project. I wish I could say that I did it so I could learn something new or expose myself to something different, but the truth is my softball team captain was also a film major and I knew she would be there too. I had a severe crush on her, so I went.

When I arrived, my first instinct was to go talk to the crush. She was “straight” but flirtatious, so when she asked me to look over her project and tell her what I thought, I wanted to impress her. I watched the project. I remember it like it as yesterday. The assignment was to cut together a trailer for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. I watched it carefully, but couldn’t help but get lost in the software. The fact that she had put this together. I completely forgot that I liked her, or that I thought she was attractive. All that I could think at that moment was “I want to do this.”

That decision… even if it was based on all the wrong reasons… inspired me to change my major. It inspired me to change my life. Through my decisions I have gotten to see things that my parents never saw. I have met people who have contributed to our history and culture in America and across the world. I have met people who contributed on a more personal scale, who have changed my life in ways I can’t even explain. The decision to attend Stephens was another of those that I remember vividly.

I applied to well over fifty schools. A large majority of them accepted me. I narrowed my search down to 7 based on their websites, mailings and my general instinct. From those seven I narrowed my search down to 3. After speaking to admissions counselors at all three, I began leaning towards one particularly. Stephens.

It was amazing. I loved it’s website. I loved the idea of a women’s college. Somewhere I could fit in. My mother and I went to visit, and met with the basketball coach. I fell in love the moment I sat foot onto campus. He offered me a scholarship, and I couldn’t have been happier. Until I saw the remainder of my tuition.

The only problem was that I was poor. Very poor. I didn’t have a college fund saved up. I didn’t even have a savings account in my name. Every dollar I worked for went towards my school clothes or gas money. I began to doubt whether or not college was even an option, especially a private school like Stephens.

I went online and researched the military. It was the only way I could think of to afford school. After reviewing all the branches, I decided that I was going into the Air Force. It was the most interesting branch to me. I loved the thought of being around aircrafts. I couldn’t fly one because I’m partially blind in one eye, but I still wanted to work with those who could. It was the best I could do, for doing something that I didn’t want.

My recruiter starting coming to my softball games. He would call me at least once a week. We had talked about the paper work multiple times, and I was nearly to the point of signing one Saturday at lunch. My mother asked me to wait. She hated the idea of me going into the Air Force and wanted me to think about it a little longer. I DECIDED to take a few days and sit on it.

Stephens called me that following Monday. They said that on top of their previous offer of basketball and academic scholarships, they could possibly offer me a softball scholarship as well. The only thing was I would have to come try out. When I told my mother, she was ecstatic. Even though that still meant her entire Social Security check every month would go towards my tuition, and I would still work two jobs on top of two sports and school, I knew that I had to give it a shot. I called my recruiter and told him I wasn’t ready to make that kind of decision, and my mother and I drove to Missouri.

Obviously if you’ve followed The Graduates Guide you know I attended Stephens College. It is one of he best decisions I’ve made to this day.

That’s why I encourage you to take chances, trust your instinct and follow your heart. You might wake up one day and realize that you were on the right path all along. Everything you have done up until this point got you to this moment right now. When you “decided” to read the graduates guide, it was just one more factor into the greater scheme of things.

This is your life. Live it.

Remember me.

I’m Tennessee





Sunday, September 23, 2012

Here's to the "Beginning"


Last night I fell asleep at nine p.m.

I think this past week finally caught up with me. I know that it seems like I’ve not said much since I arrived in L.A, and the truth is I haven’t. I’ve been soaking it all in. It took me a while to get everything moved in, and cleaned up. It took even longer to figure out my own schedule.

Let me catch you up a little.

Monday through Thursday I drive twenty- forty minutes (depending on traffic) down to Culver City for my internship. I am working for a freelance production company on everything from general assistant skills, to casting work, etc. I can’t disclose the projects that we’re doing, but I can say that it’s been a week and I’ve already learned a lot.

Friday through Sunday I will be serving as the Assistant to a well known Stephens Alumn. My hours will vary, however I’m looking forward to making a little money on the side. It’s been so nice having my own place. I spent Friday cleaning, and then Saturday was laundry day. I’m starting to get in the hang of my own routine.

What’s great about this is, it’s the first time I have ever really had it. Even when I was in Columbia recently, there was a limit to my time there.  I knew I was there for six months, then had to figure out my next move.

President Dianne Lynch at Stephens College, said to me once. “Find where it is you want to be and the rest of it will come.” Looking out my window this morning, I feel like she was right. I love Los Angeles. Even the dirt and the smog. Yes, I might hate that some drivers are inconsiderate, and the traffic is horrible. I might hate that the homeless rate is ridiculous, and that it takes an hour (maybe more) to get from one side of the city to the other. What I love about it though is that at certain points on my drive home from my internship, I can see the Hollywood sign. I love how when I’m hungry and have no idea what I want there is literally a new option on every corner. I’ve tried at least three little hole in the wall restaurants now, and I have to admit they’re bomb. I love that I’m so close to the beach, and that on any given night, I can drive down Hollywood Boulevard, and watch the families of tourists as they squat with their hands in a cement block searching for a chance at similarity.

It’s insane. Most times it feels like just another town. One that I’m really enjoying adjusting to. Then occasionally, it hits me that this town is Los Angeles. City of Angels. Where dreams live or die.

I miss my family. The twins especially. I hate how much of their growing up I’ve missed. I know that I couldn’t benefit them any more by staying, which helps ease my mind. Sometimes I just wish I could open my front door, and hear them come running.

Peyton: “Casey! Tyler pulled a card today.”

Tyler: “Peyton, I got to put it baaaaaaack.”

I can hear it now. Their little voices bantering through the door disconnecting me from the rest of my apartment. I wish I could just open the door and let them in.

 I took last night to sort of refresh my self. I lit a few candles in my bedroom, stared at the trees outside, the wind blowing through my open window, and lay in my bed trying to connect to my inner thoughts. Week by week I’ll slowly get my together, together. I really feel like this is where I’m supposed to be.

I’m so glad you’re all here with me on this journey. It’s going to be a truly remarkable one.  

Remember Me…. 

I'm Tennessee.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Respect


It’s 2 a.m.

There are sirens outside my window. Occasionally, I hear the soft call down the street from a voice in the distance. It’s strange. I definitely feel foreign. The difference is this time, I’m not struggling to fit in. I don’t want to be these people. That would be fake.

Instead I have found myself writing my own story. I’m the main character, and all around me life plays out. I am that small town girl, living in L.A, genuinely enjoying her life. The best part is I’m doing it my way. I’m not negotiating my character or morale.

When I arrived into L.A I did a number of things. I met up with friends downtown for a birthday celebration. I went to the beach another day. Yesterday I was at the Los Angeles Country Club. Last night I met up with my friend Kingsley, (some of you probably know him from YouTube, and if you don’t, look him up. He’s hysterical). We joined two of his other friends in West Hollywood, and if you know nothing about L.A, West Hollywood is the “gay area”. Street to street. Wall to wall. GAY.

There are guy bars, and girl bars. Mixed bars. Bars for over thirty. Bars 18 and up (not for drinking). It has a little something for everyone to just go out and have a good time. We went to boy bars (since I was with three ridiculously good looking gay men.

 Have no fear. Regardless of the fact that I was at a boy gay bar, I still got hit on. Twice… Well, two and a half times I think. What I found very quickly is I won’t be dating in Los Angeles. The first girl, while nice was just absolutely not my type. When she had to ask if I was gay, I was a little thrown off. I forgot that not everyone here is. A lot of straight women attend these bars with there boys, and here I was fluttering like a fruit fly. I thanked her, and continued dancing.

I finally agreed to dance with someone, but that was short lived. After thirty seconds, she tried to kiss me, and to be frank “I’m not that girl”. I backed away, grabbed my friend Matt and fled the scene.

The “half” time occurred as we were walking back to pick up my car from valet. I was walking down the sidewalk attempting to instagram a photo when out of nowhere I felt someone grab my crotch. I’m really not sure why she did it, or if that was her attempt to make a pass but the girl whose hand just invaded my space was walking in the other direction, and kept right on going.

I was shocked, livid, appalled, etc…

Why does L.A seem so much more fast paced, even in it’s night life? Why does everything have to be zero to sixty? It’s a bar. I came to dance. Not be mauled by feline predators. What happened to chivalry? Yes. I said it. It applies to you too ladies. In my first week in L.A I need to tell you that my biggest concern is that we’ve lost respect for ourselves and each other. One of the best things about being a woman and dating women is that in a lot of ways we understand each other in an unspoken manner.

Deep down, were all looking for the same thing whether we want to admit it or not. We’re looking for genuine conversation. We’re looking for someone to eat the color of Skittles that aren’t our favorites. Someone who holds our hand for no reason, when she whispers in your ear that you’re beautiful… And means it. We’re looking for someone who “wants” us, but also respects us.
Some girls like the “bad girl” thing… But is that ever going to work long term? Eventually you’ll get tired of being ignored, or treated like shit. You’ll begin to resent the other person, and watch what once was “good” fall to hell simply because you pretended to be something you weren’t or want something you didn’t.

Be honest… With yourself, and those around you. That’s the only way you’ll find contentment.

 Start my new internship tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Finding the Words Behind Los Angeles


It’s that time.

Tomorrow I secure everything I own in the back seat of my car, and I hit the highway.

I’ve been planning for two months. Really I’ve waited for this my entire life. Everyone has a dream when they’re a child. Obviously mine wasn’t to be a writer in Los Angeles at age seven, however it was to be great. I wanted to change the world.

I wasn’t even sure what that meant. To be honest I’m still not sure.

My mother told me everyday that I was special. She told me that I was great, and would do big things. I really couldn’t tell you if that was true at the time, but when you’re told something every day of your life it eventually sticks.

When I was in the fourth grade I entered a poetry contest. Everyone in the fourth and fifth grades were required to enter. To be honest, I can’t remember the name of the poem, however I do remember some of the content. The poem was about people who were different. It was about treating everyone the same, because we’re all human.

One line stated, “I can run really fast, and I can jump really high… But my shoes aren’t brand name so you won’t let me try.”

I didn’t come from a wealthy family, so I was often overlooked. I was denied equality based on my social status and family’s income. At age nine, not only did I recognize inequality, but I wanted to change it. Another line was about being a brunette in a group of blondes. Later in the poem I reversed it to be a blonde in the midst of brunettes. And took a sinner in the presence of saints, to a saint among sinners. The truth is, someone is always the minority. It just depends on whose perspective you look from.

I saw that then. I realized that we were all equal, and it wasn’t fair to discriminate. Maybe that’s why I’m so passionate now. It has always been my fight.

I came in second place, and won a $25 gift card. A fifth grader who wrote a poem about fishing won. Actually it was about telling a lie about how big the fish was. Don’t ask me how I remember all this. I guess there are just a few significant moments in my life that I will always remember.

I knew then I wanted to be a writer. Of course at that time I also wanted to be a scientist, a professional basketball player, and a member of TLC. I am terrible at math and science, I am 5’5 and un-coordinated and can’t sing or dance for hell, but I still want to write. I make an effort to write something almost everyday.

It’s not even just that I want to write. I want to write something significant. I want to write for the greater good of humanity. I want my words to help change the world. I know that I’ve got something important to say.

It took me until two months ago to decide that’s what I wanted to do for a living. It’s funny, because I’ve had people tell me most of my life that I am a good (sometimes even great) writer. That I have an interesting perspective, or original tone. People tell me that my words and thoughts feel like their own. I’m relatable. Despite all of that encouragement, I never felt good enough. I was afraid. I thought that I “couldn’t do it.” It took me sitting down with the President of Stephens College, and a half-assed Power Point of all of my likes and dislikes, before I ever really considered it.

I had four different types of writing I enjoyed on the Power Point, but for some reason I still couldn’t see it as the obvious answer. I still considered it to be a hobby. She made it very clear.

“Something on this page keeps popping up.”

“Writing.”

“Yes. Do you love it?”

“Yes.”

“Is it your passion?”

“Yes.”

“Then go for it.”

A lot more went into that conversation. A lot of thought. A lot of tears. A lot of worry, and anxiety. A lot of prayer… But I made up my mind.

Tomorrow, hobby or not… I’ll go for it. If it’s a hobby, I’ll find out the hard way.

But I’ll have a beautiful story to share with my grandkids (in place of Christmas presents, because clearly I’ll be broke). The story about the time that grandma moved to Los Angeles with nothing but a few boxes, an air mattress and a dream. I’m taking a chance. I’m giving life and happiness a fair shot. If you need me, you’ll find me on the beach with a peanut butter sandwich and a lap-top.

I couldn’t have done it alone. I’ve had a number of people supporting this dream along the way. I’ve even had a few try to tear it down. I thank them as well. It only fuels my flame.

Here’s what I propose.

If you’re looking for some entertainment. In the mood for a story. Or if you’re just bored…

Go on this journey with me. I’ll be tweeting from @TennesseeMartin and Instagraming under TennesseeMartin. I’ll also be blogging each Sunday still on The Graduates Guide.

Meet my friends (you might know a few of them). Experience Los Angeles. Watch the rise and fall of my everyday life in the film industry, and probably a sunset or two. This is my open invitation to you to come and check it out. Also, don’t be shy. Ask questions. Make requests. Every time you engage with me, it’s one more thought or idea I might not have come up with on my own. Let’s live a little.

Tonight I’ll be spending the afternoon with my step mom and co. in Savannah, Tennessee. Tomorrow I will wake up at 5 a.m and hit the road. I’ll be honest. I’m nervous. In the last few days a lot in my life has changed, and with that I thought I’d change my mentality. I also changed my route (or at least the people who are on it.)

I’ll be going through Dallas, TX first. I’ve been there once, years ago. I have a good friend there, who dances, so I’m grabbing lunch, watching a rehearsal and spending a few hours catching up. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen her.

I’m not sure yet if I’m staying in Dallas or a few hours away, but from there I am heading to Vegas.

In Vegas I will meet one of my Twitter followers. We have been friends since last January, and I’m looking forward to meeting a fresh face. Unfortunately I will have driven approximately 18 hours by that point so we won’t be going out on the town, however we are getting breakfast the following morning before the rest of my trip.

Those last few hours will be tough. I can already feel the nerves. I’m excited. I’ll be meeting my new roommate for the first time. Unpacking what few items that I have stowed away in my car. I have an air mattress, a guitar I can’t play and a heart that I’m trying to piece back together.

I’m most excited to see my friends. The ones who have supported me from afar. On the 12th, my plans are still up in the air. The 13th my friend is having her birthday celebration. The 14th I’m gathering a few good people together to head down to the beach (I’ve really missed it. The 15th I will be at the Los Angeles Country Club on Wilshire for an event with some very incredible Stephens Alumnae. The 16th I will begin my internship… I’m nervous, but I know I can do it.

Following that, I have no clue how life will go from here. What I do know is that it’s not up to me. I won’t even attempt to make a plan, because I know that will interfere with the one God has in store for me. I plan to just approach life with an open mind every day, and appreciate the little moments that he allows me to experience. The good and the bad. I’ll learn from them all.

I’ve gotten this far. I can do anything. All I have to do is pray about it. He will give me the power if it is in his will.

Also, if you have followed me on Twitter lately, you know that I am working on a new project with another writer. Her name is Rae. You probably know her as My Silent Half. Together we are creating a project called WomanKind. It’s a social experiment compiled by 8 female writers. We will be releasing more details regarding this project over the next few weeks, so keep it in the back of your mind. You’ll be hearing about it later.

Finally… The time has come. 5 a.m will come very quickly. Remember. Twitter. Instagram. I’ll be posting!

This is my story. This is my life. This… Is The Graduates Guide.

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beethovens Symphony to You


I decided to write a poem…
Not just any poem.. A poem about you…

And not just any poem about you. This poem.

This poem.. Of all poems.

Would be written in front of Beethoven’s Symphony Number 3.

                                    (So here it goes.)


Blue.
The sky it smiles upon us.
The sun cuts through the windows.
A happy chase.
They found me.
They met me with your arms for the first time.

You lingered back to find my bags, the nerves tampering with your heart.
Your heart pounding. We made jokes, and laughed softly the entire way home.
My hand rested upon yours.
Binding me to you.
My feelings gliding out, tying ribbons around your fingertips.

I felt them too. The nerves. Trouble breathing. I blamed it on the change of altitude.
Really I think you took me higher. Higher than I’d been before.
You took me.
My heart.
I knew.

When we stepped out of the car, we wheeled my things to your room.
I sat them down, and within minutes those tender pink lips were upon mine.
Your hands on my lower back. Holding me up.

Necessarily

                                                (As my legs nearly gave way.)

You bit down, and my body melted. Every muscle tensed, like an uncontrollable chain reaction.

The music drifts down now…..

I can feel the tension disappear. The nerves subside.
I’ve known you twice a million years, and care not what you hide.
For now is a change of manner. And now is a change of pace.
To avoid an unnecessary banter, trust that you’ve met this place.

The place where our hearts began to unfold, and life happened all around.
So as we sat, arms opened wide, each others chests are what we found.
Chest to chest, nose to nose we came closer than before.
Skin to skin, and dream to dream, closer we could get no more.

I laid bare breast against you. You held me in your arms.
My breath it drifted across your neck, you wooed me with your charm.
Sweet nothings running through my ears. Hints of “Babe” and “Baby Girl.”
We lay there free unto the world, and let our love unfurl.

And when sweet kisses brought me down, from a place higher than star dust.
I felt the tingle of our release crossing through every bough from your touch.

And afterwards you held me. Gentle kisses on my face.
I knew within that moment there’d never been a safer place.

You were the girl I was meant to find. The one to call my own.
I had waited all this time, and knew finally I wasn’t alone.
I’d waited all my life to love with tears and laughter.
I’d waited even longer for a happy ever after.

So if there’s a chance you might be mine, why wouldn’t I check to see.
Why wouldn’t I encourage you to want to be with me.
I may not be the best one yet, but I work harder everyday.
And I promise I’ll always consider every word you have to say.

I’ll never leave you lonely, if you promise me the same.
And ill do my best, to pass the test, if there ever is a game.
For you’re the one I’ve waited on. The girl who is all mine.
You’re the voice I’ll listen to forever, ‘til the end of time.

So I’ll gladly take you by the hand, and walk you proudly by my side.
An honor to be with such a wonderful she, this girl, this love, this life. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Sky's the Limit

I find myself with every breath that I take. Every action that emits
from my body and mind shapes me. Even now as I aspire to live one day
at a time my mother reminds me…

 “Stop stressing so much. You’re to young to stress.”

 She doesn’t mean don’t take on so much responsibility, or don’t try
your best in every situation. She just means that whatever I do, as
well as I do it, understand that the outcome is ultimately out of my
control.

We try so hard to manipulate our everyday lives. I have to ask myself
why? What are we really trying to get out of it. When you sit down and
review your life, and compare it to your future… do you really know
what you want in life?

 I’m not talking about saying “I want to be a doctor, and marry Susie.”

 hat’s a great overview, but what are you going to do to get to that
point? What are you going to do tomorrow? Can you really plan out
everyday over the next five years? No. Our brains don’t work on that
capacity. That’s why we place a vision of what we “Think we want” in
our minds, and guide ourselves one day at a time towards that. Maybe
in five years, if Susie, and med school are in the cards, you’ll get
there.

 But what if after three years, Susie decides that she “Needs to focus
on herself for a while” and you take an art course as an elective that
makes you realize you like the shape of the human body, but not really
working with it. What if you want to be a sculptor?

 We have no idea what is going to happy in five years… or five months.
We can’t even really predict today. Why would we spend so much time
preparing for tomorrow, when we still haven’t used all of today to our
advantage.

 Some things we can never get back. Time is one of them. I saw a
simple quote last night that makes it very easy to understand.

 “Time is like a coin. You can only spend it once.”

 What will you spend your time on?

 When you wake up in the morning, will you have any regrets about what
you could have done today? Don’t wait for special occasions, like the
“Last First Day of Class” to celebrate. Make sure you appreciate the
second and the third as well. You will only be in classes for so long.
Will you remember everything you learned? Absolutely not. However, you
should make a valid effort in that direction.

 We live in an incredibly large world. Look at it like this:

 Whatever room you are in right now, look around.

 Are you inside? If so are there walls keeping you in? Is the room
large or small? Regardless, this is just one room. There is a roof
over your head. How many objects are in the room? Is it empty, or
cluttered? Are there a thousand tiny things sitting around you ranging
from books to utensils, shoes to lamps etc.

 So now think about the effort that went into that room.

 Someone built it. Likely a number of someones. Someone designed it,
constructed it, painted it, decorated it. A number of people also made
the objects around you. And the device you’re reading this from. Those
people had bosses above them, and went home to their families that
night. Already you’ve expanded to a couple of hundred people. Think
about the number of people they interact with.

 This world is so much bigger than you and I, which means you have no
limits. If you’re not happy with your life, then change it. Walk up to
any of those people, and begin a journey to discover not only
yourself, but your possibilities.

 I’ve been lucky enough (maybe na├»ve enough) to believe I can’t fail.
That’s why in approximately two weeks I will be in Los Angeles. I
could easily count down those days. I could sit here and wish the time
away in between, but I refuse to do that. There is still so much to
do, and feel, and experience before I go.

 Like right now. I’m winding down from a wonderful few days getting to
know myself and others. Letting myself feel. Being a little crazy, and
acting on impulse. It has been nice. I haven’t been the least bit
stressed.

 A couple of months ago, when I started toying with the idea of
heading back to Los Angeles, I was nearly in a panic. What would I do?
Where would I live? How would I support myself? Was this the right
decision?

 It felt right, but I decided to just see where it went. I found a
roommate first. On the 12th I’ll be moving into my Hollywood
apartment, where I can see the Hollywood sign from my balcony. She’s a
nice girl it seems. We Skyped and discussed our personality traits and
pet peeves to see if we were compatible. I’m pretty easy to get along
with, so I didn’t expect there to be a problem.

 After that I began finding my way into little projects. I am working
with Let Love Live clothing company (see the Let Love Live blog post)
to help raise money for other non-profits. I also reconnected with a
friend of mine out in L.A who is starting her own non- profit. Another
friend told me yesterday that she might just have me a job. Things
fall into place. You have to be open minded, and actively pursue
opportunity, but if you do that and have faith then that opportunity
will come. Life will come.

 When I flew out of O’Hare last week, I was on a smaller flight out to
Fargo, North Dakota. The plane was tiny. A man in the row behind me
spoke up to his mother who was sitting next to me, and said that they
would talk once they hit the ground. Me being who I am (combined with
the fact he had a window seat) offered to switch seats with him. He
said thank you, smiled politely, and we switched. When we landed I saw
him while he was grabbing his luggage. He smiled, silently thanking me
again. Such a simple interaction, but still significant.

 As I stood today to go use the restroom before my return flight on a
Tuesday afternoon at 5:10 p.m, I passed this same man. Surprised, we
both stopped and laughed. He hugged me. Mind you, I’ve not even gotten
his name at this point, but we both recalled that moment from the week
before. That minute gesture got me an interaction, and sincere
appreciation from another human being.

We talked briefly. He asked how my trip was. I said that it went
really well, pleasure, not business. He said that he was in town for a
funeral. His mother’s brother had passed away. I couldn’t help but
quietly thank god for instructing me to switch seats with him that day
so he could be closer to her. God really does work in mysterious ways.
This man, from Austin, Texas, who just happened to be traveling in the
same direction as myself came into my life for a reason. Maybe it was
to help his mother in her time of mourning. Maybe it was to help me
appreciate life a little more. Regardless, I am glad that it happened.

 He asked if I had a layover in Chicago, and ironically I do. He asked
if I would like to grab a drink and chat. Now as most of you know, I
don’t drink, however my best friend has taught me that there are times
to show appreciation, or camaraderie. Times that having a drink is a
sign of respect or a polite way to say thank you. In half an hour or
so I will sit at a small bar in an airport, sipping on a scotch and
water next to a man I barely know. I will get a glimpse into the life
of another kind heart. I will enjoy the little things.

 Again. I encourage you. Take a chance. Reach out. Get to know
someone. Even if that moment is brief. You’ll appreciate the
experience. You’ll learn from it. Every moment in life is significant.
If you begin to appreciate those moments, then you will find
fulfillment is right there at your fingertips. It could be one seat
away.

 Don’t measure your life in the giant successes. The truth is, those
are few and far between. A successful life is a collection of little
moments that build up the greater picture. If you make it to work
without spilling your coffee, celebrate. That’s one more sip of coffee
you get to enjoy, and one less pair of khakis ruined. I know it sounds
silly, but it’s so much harder to get disappointed, when you
appreciate everything.

Even if you do get a spot of coffee on your pants, be thankful that
they weren’t your favorites. If they are your favorites, then trust
that God wants you to go get a new pair. Maybe he wants you to meet
someone at the store while shopping. Or maybe those new pants will be
the thing that makes you feel good about yourself, and gives you the
confidence to put your best foot (and leg) forward at your next job
interview.

 I can’t stress it enough. LIVE. ENJOY. ENCOURAGE. APPRECIATE.

 Incorporate these simple actions into your everyday life, sit back
and watch the incredible changes that God has in store for you. When
you begin to experience these changes, don’t forget to reach back and
thank him. Also don’t forget to pay forward the blessings you have
been given. This is what life is about. Living. It’s about the
experience. It’s about loving one another, and being a part of a much
bigger picture.

Remember me,

I'm Tennnessee