Thursday, February 27, 2014


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about life before Los Angeles - what I went through to get here, what has made me the person that I’ve become. It’s interesting to me to recollect the patterns from one year to the next. The way that events unfolded in my life could have been nothing less than fate.

I grew up in a small town with my mother; a young RN fresh out of nursing school, and for the first five years of my life it was just the two of us. She taught me how to entertain myself as an only child. I read a lot, and had an entire entourage of imaginary friends. I can remember in Kindergarten I watched my “friend” Diannah bounce from the teacher’s desk to the chalkboard tray, and lower herself to the ground using the cord connected to a large map of the U.S on the wall. It was all in my own imagination, but I could see the map unroll, and a world of new and exciting places fell down before me. Little did I know that one day, I would travel coast to coast.

My mother remarried when I was five. My stepfather’s children had a strong dislike towards me, and to be honest I wasn’t always particularly fond of them. According to them, I was the imposter. Like most other despised outcasts, I took to the woods. There was always something so calming about the openness in the outdoors.

I would spend days on end from ages six to fourteen running alone, barefoot through the summer grass, and when winter fell, I would nestle myself into a large tree branch with my latest 400 page challenge. I always read the first page, and the last… before deciding to read the books entirely.

Books were my escape. My journey. They were everywhere I wanted to go, and everyone I wanted to be. I jumped into them like a fever… and spread every inch of myself out onto the pages, allowing the characters to infect me like they were a part of my soul.

Those pages were my reminder that there was something else out there. Something bigger than what I already knew. Words described how you felt, what you saw, how you asked for things and showed appreciation. Words explained everything you believed in, and even what you couldn’t understand. They could command an army, or break a heart. Words were life. Words were motion. Words were everything.

It was no surprise to my mother when I won a poetry contest in the fourth grade. I wrote a poem about bullying, and being different. I remember only a few lines from it. “I can run really fast and jump really high, but my shoes aren’t name brand so you won’t let me try.” I also used the example of a sinner being amongst saints… they considered him to be an outcast. But then posed the question, “What if you’re a saint in the midst of all sinners?”

I have known injustice since I was a child. It took many years before we ever danced together, but for as long as I can remember, we’ve been acquainted. I would help my mother sift through our WIC food stamps, while pushing a cart full of kids and generic food items down the aisle. We didn’t have much, but it was enough to keep us fed and sheltered. I knew my parent’s loved me in every way they knew how, but we were from “the wrong side of the tracks.” A little piece of land down a long gravel road in Olivehill. It wasn’t exactly the kind of place you wanted to come from.

I can remember the first time someone related my family to the “Beverly Hillbillies who never struck oil.” We were nothing… So they said… We were trash, so they said. It was the moment that I realized the effect of words. How they made me feel. What it made me believe about myself. It took me almost ten years to learn to listen to the words within me and not the ones outside of my heart.  

Back then I would write about my teenage years in spiral notebooks. Words scrawled in black and blue ink of love stories, tears, and broken hearts filled those pages, which explains why then I felt so empty inside. The stories that I often relive as an adult when asking myself what kind of future I want, those are the ones I go back to. Words that eventually I will one day revisit and put into a larger story… however, my heart isn’t ready yet. Those words will remain unsaid .

When I started college as a creative writing major, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that every other option was boring, and words were really the only thing I had ever been good with. I wound up pursuing a passion in film later on, but not before using those creative words within me to write a speech that I read aloud to the entire Freshman class. When I spoke aloud, I felt ignorant. Small town. Miniscule. But when I wrote… I felt as if I could capture history in tiny increments, and share it with the world. I thought, surely someone must be interested. I wanted to be President. My campaign slogan was “Pick Me, I’m Tennessee.” My accent was so thick that people couldn’t remember my name only where I was from... But it was enough. I won.

Now here I am at 24, a producer’s assistant in Los Angeles California, and an avid writer pursuing something that I can’t quite picture yet. Last week I stood 15 ft. from Kelly Osbourne, met one of the executive producers from America’s next top model, and saw Unique from Glee for the second time. This morning, I’m writing these words down, just to cast them out into the world. If they land anywhere I’ll be lucky, and if not… I know they’re there. I know that I have made it. I know that I am no longer that whimsical little girl on a tree-branch, but I’m still full of wanderlust.  These words tell me so.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sunrise, Wave, and Set

Beautiful girl lying there in the early mornings light.
Slowly open up your eyes, you'll find the day is bright. 
For when you rise my heart does too, and it lifts up the sun. 
It holds it there in the salty air, ocean waves roll in one by one.
And with each one that laps the sand, is a time I've thought of you. 
A couple hundred thousand thoughts before the day is through. 
And when night falls I'll hold you in my arms as you're drifting off to sleep.
As your head rests against the bed I wonder if I've fallen in too deep. 
Sleep will come, your heart will thump, and my eyes will flutter too.
But with every sunrise, wave, and set I'll fall more in love with you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Love is...

Love is not the fear of absence.
A mistaken identity of mixed emotions.
That feeling you get when something is gone.
It isn’t emptiness...

Love is when she sleeps on the guest bed with you
When you have trouble sleeping in your own.
When she shows up on your doorstep
Because things didn’t end well over the phone .

It isn’t the feeling in the pit of your stomach
When she doesn’t text back.
Instead, it’s the way your heart skips a beat
When you hear her voice after a long day.

Love is the way that your body tingles at her touch.
It’s the way she shivers at yours.
Love is making the changes to help things along.
Even if it means changing yourself. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

So She Said

It’s 12:34 am which means technically it is no longer Valentines day. “Was mine good?”, you ask? Incredible. She made me heart shaped ravioli, decorated the ceilings with polka-dotted valentines d├ęcor, and bought me flowers and tickets to Universal Studios for all of 2014. I’m a spoiled little bitch.

Ok… maybe I’m not a bitch. I’m far from it. Lately, all I’ve realized is how damn sensitive I am. My authoritative advisor doesn’t like me, so I cry about it. My mother loves to spend hours on the phone reminiscing about my childhood, I cry about that. And my best friend's all live over 3,000 miles away… I cry about that too….

But something new is happening. Something great, and wonderful, and exciting. I am growing, both within myself, and also within my craft. Two years ago I sat in the office of Stephens President Dianne Lynch with a Prezi online story board of my likes and dislikes. I had no guidance. No direction. Just a few hopes, dreams, and a whole lot of life experience telling me I wanted something more...

It was her who called it out.

“You want to know the thing I see on this page that has the most things in common?” she said.

“You want to write.” I think I might have either chuckled, or stopped breathing.. Looking back now, both appear to be logical responses. Telling a blue collar construction workers daughter that her final destination would be sharing stories is like telling a farmer he should pull up his crop and build a baseball field.

Crazy as it seems, it worked in “The Field of Dreams.”

I knew she was right. I didn’t know what that meant, or how to do it, but I knew I wanted what she was suggesting. So I set out on an adventure from Missouri to California. I grew from a Midwestern college admissions counselor, to an industry intern, to a Loveable Scoundrel, as my boss has coined the title, thankful for the opportunity to learn and produce.

But tonight I want to tell you about something a little different…

Something new and exciting. Something deep and sort of wonderful if I do say so myself…

I’m creating a website. It’s my latest and greatest endeavor thus far. One I am happy to share with all of you, and one that I think is truly what I am supposed to be doing at this time. I have two incredible designers building it as we speak. It will take a few months. (These things aren’t easy. Especially if you’re a broke 24 year old girl with no web designing skills, however… they have me covered. What is it you ask? The domain has already been purchased, now we’re just putting together the pieces.

The Graduates Guide will exist no more after the site is up. I will transfer over some of my better older material, but will shut TGG down. It was a great way to start, and to explore my passions, however I have outgrown my brand, and that project…. So She Said is so much more. I guess you can call it the GRADUATED version.

It will include everything from a blog, to original and other artist’s poetry. It will explore new female up-and-comers and cover interviews with fantastically interesting women. I will be sending out come-to-calls for charities and even  show auditions, as well as sharing the latest for my alma-mater Stephens College. It is women-centric. Something for ladies to turn to when nothing else in life makes sense.

I am putting my heart and soul into this site.

I am hoping that you put your hearts into it too. It premiere’s this summer. (Web-designers are like unicorns. Fucking magical, but do not question, and do not rush.) However, if you read this and tweet something with #SoSheSaid I will recognize you as an extraordinaire, and the first 30 people to share will get a shout out. Let's start counting.  

I love you each and every one. Particularly those who are going out of their way to support me and have since the beginning. Thank you… Truly.

P.S, Ellen Page came out today….. damn girl…. damn. That is all. 

Remember me, 

I'm Tennessee

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Not Meaning To

There’s something about falling when you don’t mean to.
It feels faster.
One minute you’re upright, walking with your chest puffed out,
And the next you’re suspended mid-air with no chance of recovery.
Gravity fails for no one.

And when you fall without meaning to, it’s different.
There’s no chance to catch your breath.
No time to overthink things.
When you fall, your heart skips a beat.
Or two… hundred.

It’s more than a plan.
It’s deeper than familiarity.
It is having the wind knocked out of you after you’ve already exhaled,  
Falling is surviving a hurricane, and then going for a swim.
It’s finally understanding why you never understood in the first place.

And she makes it easy, this girl who surprised you.
The one who “loved you without meaning to” back.
You forget that you’re even doing it.
Pulling your fingertips down the curve of her cheek.
As she touches you with her eyes. You can feel it.

It’s harder to leave her today than the day before.
Yesterday felt the same,
And the only place you want to be is in her arms.
If that place ever ceased to exist, you might implode.
Or at least it feels that way right now.

But that’s the thing isn’t it?
It is until it isn’t?
Things are until they aren’t. We do until we don’t.
That’s all that life has ever been for anyone.
Some people just figure it out sooner than others.

You can love her now, and for now she will let you.
So take your chance, and if you forget to think about it long enough...
Then maybe she will too.
And neither of you will overthink the thing
That never should have been thought about in the first place.

This all-consuming feeling is an old friend of yours,
But you parted ways on poor terms long ago.
This time it’s about balance and dignity.
Wellness and happiness.
Not that weak bile you spewed as a teenager.

Because anyone can touch a woman,
But it takes a woman to make her feel the touch.
Back then you were just a kid making big offers
That you could never cash the check for.
That’s how you learned to pay the price.

No one ever hurt you. You were just angry.
You had done it all on your own, so you pounded your fists against your chest
And screamed out into the darkness about how you wanted to feel something.
But time speeds up for no one.
And you weren’t ready yet.

So don’t push her buttons just because you know where they are.
Because things are good here.
The fights are clean.
She communicates and tries.
This woman is letting herself love you.

Open the cavities of your heart inside out until they are mountainous,
And spill out your hopes and dreams.
She will help you pick them up off the ground,
Because that’s what happens when you accidentally love someone.
You accidentally care.

So take it for what it’s worth, and cherish it while you can.
Because some people try their whole lives
To feel the way you do right now.
It’s hard to believe you fell in love,
Not meaning to. 

Tiphany Adams - Pushing the Boundaries of Society

It’s rare in life when you come across someone that you immediately connect with. Someone who feels like a friend the moment that you speak. Someone you understand and relate to. I felt it when I spoke to Tiphany Adams for the first time.

If you haven’t seen the show Push Girls, I suggest you stop what you’re doing right now and pull it up on Netflix. If that means coming back to finish this article, I'm fine with that.

As I sit here preparing myself for our interview, I’m curious to see how she will be without editors controlling how she comes across the screen. It’s 9:45 at night, and I’ve just left the office. I didn’t have to work late. I wanted to. I know that most normal people would be home resting by this hour, but I can’t seem to deter this urge to push myself and to learn. I ask her if she is still available to chat, and she tells me the timing is perfect. It gives her time to get home from the gym. Ahhhh. - She’s one of us.

Tiphany is a firecracker, witty and outgoing. I loved her confidence and personality on the series, but over the phone it became very clear. I wasn’t speaking only to some reality television personality. I was speaking to a presence. One of those rare people that when they say something, you listen.  The first thing I noticed about her was that she laughs… a lot, and conversations with her feel like you’re catching up, and not like you’re speaking for the first time.

Overall it was probably one of the most natural and genuine conversations I’ve had since I moved to Los Angeles, and for that I am grateful. I appreciate those who are deeper than the surface, inquisitive and leaping bounds to make sure they’re everything they’ve ever dreamt of being in life, as well as inside themselves.

I suppose I could continue telling you how great she is, but instead… I’ll let you read it for yourself.

I am happy to bring you, Tiphany Adams – Push Girl – Inspiration.

Tennessee Martin - I’m sure a lot of my readers already know who you are, but this might be their first chance at a formal introduction. Share something about yourself.

Tiphany Adams – Let’s see… I’m very spiritual, and I love being outdoors. I don’t know if the series really shows that part of me, but It definitely expresses that I’m family oriented. I go to Barnes and Noble sometimes and I’m there for like 3 hours reading. I’ll go to spiritual hippy stores with stones and sit around reading about chakra’s and aura’s. Overall I feel the show portrays me quite well, it just doesn’t always go in depth. I’ve got a funny smart-ass side too, but they don’t show all of it. Some… but not all.

TM - How did you get involved with Push Girls?

Tiphany – I moved to Los Angeles almost six years ago. Within three days I ended up meeting another girl in a wheelchair at an abilities expo. I figured it would be good for me to connect with other people, so that’s when she invited me to a house party at Angela’s.  Later that night she invited me to go to the rainbow roomI actually got pretty excited, because I thought it was a gay restaurant or something. There I got to meet Mia and some of the other girls in our wheelchair community. That’s when Angela and I became friends. Then Angela had a concept for a show, and we ended up pitching this idea for I want to say... a year? And then one day it got picked up by Sundance…

TM – Wow, that’s so cool. So you guys actually came up with it on your own?

Tiphany – Yeah. Angela came up with this idea that was going to be based around her love story, and then our friendship was going to be the  “B” story. But you know how production is with the networks, they make changes… so the story just sort of took another spin. Then it became based on our challenges, and what we do in our daily lives. People think they just threw us together as a cast, but some of these girls have known each other for thirteen years. I’m the newbie.

T M - No wonder it seems so genuine.  It's great to have that kind of support. You were in a car accident, which left you in a wheelchair. It changed your life forever, but not necessarily the way a lot of people would think. Since your time on the show, you have become a physical, mental, and emotional inspiration to thousands of people.  How do you feel the accident changed you?

 Tiphany – Sighs Wow, that’s really good. That question. You know, I call it my divine intervention, because the path that I was on was definitely quite destructive and it was somewhat aimless. I knew what I wanted to do, and achieve in life; which is help the greater good and bring the message of truth and love and light to the entire globe. I wanted that to take place, and basically what ended up happening is the accident. It was like an awakening… you know? Like a gift. The wheelchair is something that I’m blessed to have now, because people are really listening to my voice and my story. My message has always been the same. It’s all about love. 

TM - It must be difficult to put your life out there for the world to see.

Tiphany – It’s not very difficult for me, Mia on the other hand it’s tough for her to give up her privacy. But for me it wasn’t difficult, because I tend to be optimistic and just look at it through the perspective of "I need to give up my privacy and little moments so I can share them with the world. So they can learn from my experiences." I’ve known since I was fifteen years old that I was going to be a teacher, because I love learning. The two go hand in hand.

TM - When season one premiered in 2012, lesbians around the world loved learning that you are also a lady lover. You’re very open to love and equality with any gender. How long have you “known”?

Tiphany Adams – Since I was around 12 and saw Victoria Secret Magazine, and Glamour magazine. That’s when I really knew. I remember I had the biggest crush on Alyssa Milano.


Tiphany Adams  - Right?! And then I kissed a boy, and thought it was gross. Then I kissed a girl, and wanted to do it again! Ha!

T M - We've all been there before. Was coming out to your friends and family difficult for you?

Tiphany Adams – It’s interesting, because I can remember when I was younger I came out to a few of my friends and some of them started acting differently and stopped changing around me and stuff. All I could think was “are you kidding me? I would never look at you like that.”

TM – I went through the same thing in high school. They assumed that because I date women, I must be attracted to everyone with boobs.

Tiphany Adams – Yeah, but then I had other friends, my best friend Gina, and friends Nicole and Heidi they were fine with it. They just said “That’s you. That’s just who you are.” My dad didn’t really get it at first. I think he finally put it together when I was around twenty? He basically said he didn’t care if I loved a purple shoe as long as it loved me back.

TM – That’s incredible. I love that. What advice do you have for other women (or men) who are going through their own “coming out” process?

Tiphany Adams - Another good question. I feel like I could have avoided a lot of turmoil within and wouldn’t have struggled as much if I could have openly just been like “Dad, this is who I am”, but I think that everyone has their own time where they have to deal with that reality of accepting who they are. It was really profound what my best friend Gina told me. She said “Tiphany, the only one I think is really having a hard time accepting this is you. You seem to be so concerned with what other people, friends or family members are going to think of you, but if they all seem to be ok with it, maybe it’s something you’re dealing with internally.” I realized she was right.

TM – I dealt with the same thing.

Tiphany Adams -  Yeah. I mean everyone deals with their own thing, and we all deal differently.  I think you just have to be honest with yourself and everyone else. That’s what sets you free. And it doesn’t have to take that long. If everyone wouldn’t be so hard on themselves, and judging themselves…. If we erase that picture of what we think perfection is, we realize that’s not what life is about. We’re all human beings. We’re all beautiful spirits, and it’s about connecting to one another on a deeper level.    

TM – I absolutely love your perspective. You know, I loved the episode where you and Mia went speed dating. I agree that five minutes is a long time to talk to someone you don’t know under pressure. If you had an ideal five-minute conversation with someone… and wanted to connect on a deeper level, what ten topics would you want to cover?

Tiphany Adams – Five minutes and ten topics? That’s thirty seconds per topic!

TM – It’s speed dating! Isn’t that the point? Fine. I’ll let you pick five.

TIphany Adams – No. I can come up with ten easily. Let’s see… Spirituality. Sexual Preference. Ethnical background. Family Values. I would ask what they were passionate about. What their career choice is. Whether or not they’ve traveled. Their educational background, whether they’ve went to college or not, and if so I would ask what they’ve studied. Whether or not they’ve ever dated anyone in a wheelchair. (*She laughs*)… And where they see themselves in the next five years.

TM -  All great topics. You can get a strong sense of someone’s core based on questions like those. I know all of my loyal followers would love to know what your idea of a perfect date consists of. How can they win your heart?

Tiphany Adams – Ah! There are so many things! I like adventure a lot, so something outdoors would definitely be a number one for me. Something active whether it’s kayaking, or horseback riding and maybe a picnic. Like a surprise picnic… you know, where I don’t know what’s in the basket, but it happens to be all of my favorite things. And you know what I think would be more romantic than watching the sunset, would be watching the sunrise. I’m not sure how we’d get all of that in there. It might have to be an all night date. Then you get to sleep under the stars right?

TM – That is easily the best answer I’ve ever heard for that question. I love it. You’re so certain. So sure of yourself, and everything else. In season one you and Auti take Chelsea to get her first pair of heels, and you talk about feeling sexy again for the first time. Do you think that feeling sexy is a dress, a mentality, a reaction?  What advice do you give other women to help them exude that inner confidence that you have?

Tiphany Adams – It’s definitely internal, but there are certain things that spark and ignite that feeling, whether it be a pair of heels, or an amazing new lip gloss. For me, I feel the sexiest after a great workout when I’m really sweaty.

TM – How can they find what makes them feel sexy?

Tiphany Adams – I am a firm believer in thinking about the things that you want instead of the things that you don’t want. Exude joy, and love, and happiness, because that is what is going to attract the kind of people that you want around you. And also, certainly taking care of yourself and minding the foods that you are ingesting. Eating garbage and grease will just make you feel weighed down. Meditation. Staying active. These are the things that really affect our confidence and happiness.  Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and support your mission.

TM - You’re such a great role model for so many women. What is that like for you?

Tiphany Adams – It’s an honor… It truly is. It’s just an honor to be able to help someone on their journey to a place where they’re becoming who they are truly meant to be and help them feel comfortable in their own skin.

TM – What would you say makes you truly happy?

Tiphany Adams - I love, love. I know it sounds silly because it seems so simple, but I really do. Sometimes I get on a little detour with it and I don’t focus on myself as much as I should.  I think so many women do that. But it’s really important to stay focused. Self-love is so hard for some women to obtain, but it’s something everyone has to work at daily. Loving myself and loving others. That’s what truly makes me happy. I also like to read and to learn. I think I do it because I get bored to be really easily to be honest. That’s why I like doing the filming and modeling stuff. It’s always exciting, new and different.

TM – I know exactly how you feel.

Tiphany Adams – What sign are you?

TM – Pisces.

Tiphany Adams – No you’re not!

TM – What? Whoa…. What’s wrong with being a Pisces?

Tiphany Adams – It’s just a pisces nature. We’re very emotion driven.

TM – Wait. You’re a Pisces too?

Tiphany Adams – Yeah, March 5th.

TM – SHUT UP. That is my birthday.

Tiphany Adams – NO! That’s so random!

TM – I think you’re the first person I’ve met that shares my birthday.

Tiphany Adams – Yeah, because it’s not common at all. I know how to read charts, it’s like a hobby of mine… But March 5th is the day of Agony and Ecstasy. We feel things to the highest high, and then to the lowest low.

TM – You are blowing my mind right now.

Tiphany Adams – It’s true, the colors on our palette are just so bright, but then there’s the darkness so there is that contrast. 

TM – Ok, so I think we just became best friends, and I hope you’re fine with that, because I don’t know anything about astrology. I’m totally going to force you to share some of this information.

Tiphany Adams – Of course! People tell me all the time that it’s going to be part of my job at some point in the future.

TM – Wow. We will talk more about this later. Reeling it back in, tell us what you’re up to besides the show. What can we expect from you in the future?

Tiphany Adams - I just did Wish Upon a Teen, which is a foundation for teenagers that are dealing with Chronic Illnesses. I got to design 3 rooms with amazing kids who haven’t gotten to leave that space. I know what it was like to be in a hospital for a long time. It’s very cold and drab, and there is nothing personal about being there, so I got to help change that for some of them. I’m an ambassador for the foundation and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I am also a new sponsor for Permobil’s standing wheelchair. It's great for my bone density, and just being able to stand and look people in the eye when I speak to them... There are other things to look forward to that  I can talk more about in the future.

TM – You’re such an incredible inspiration, and it’s truly refreshing to see someone giving so much of themselves back… You have a good heart. Thanks for sharing it with me. 

And when I finally hung up the phone after she told me a random fact about the Earth’s electromagnetic frequencies, and something else about the black moon, I laid there on my bed smiling. Thankful for where I was and what I was doing. Where I was going… What I was learning... about life in general, because that’s what women like Tiphany make you do. They make you appreciate life, think outside of your boxes, and pursue your goals despite the obstacles. They force you to test your own hypothesis and grow in your answer. They give you that extra push…

Follow this Push Girl on Instagram and Twitter at @tiphanyadams.