California Dreamin…

On the plane headed to Cali

On the plane headed to Cali

I decided to do something really big for my 30th birthday. My twenties had been full of trial and error, marriage, divorce, having children, buying homes and cars, a lengthy stint of unemployment, dating, and learning myself. Six of those years were dedicated to school and I had not left the state of Missouri in ten long years. Needless to say, I was long overdue to get away…far away.

I had narrowed it down to three destinations: New York, New Orleans, or California. So, I opted for California for the weather and the beaches. I must say, it was the best decision I could have ever made. I booked two plane tickets and the planning began. My love and I were looking forward to the quality time with each other, the change of scenery, and the relaxation that I rarely get at home.

We got off the plane, retrieved our luggage from the baggage claim area, and picked up our rental car. Once we got through the airport garage and hit the highway towards the hotel, I quickly realized why California was the place to be; why SO many songs had been written about it, and why celebrities lived, shopped, and vacationed there. The weather was awesome. The palm trees lined the streets beautifully.

Leaving the Airport

Leaving the Airport

We stayed in Los Angeles and I had two goals while visiting. Goal #1: Eat from as many different restaurants as possible, with Roscoe’s  topping the list 🙂 Goal #2:  Watch the sun set on Venice Beach.

I made it to Roscoe's!

We made it to Roscoe’s

We had a ball touring the city on Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset where the city never sleeps. We went through Long Beach to Shoreline and saw all the little shops and boats.  We visited Redondo Beach Pier and walked along the Boardwalk where they catch all the fresh seafood. 

Redondo Pier

Redondo Pier

Seafood Market

Seafood Market

The highlight of the trip was most definitely Venice Beach.  There were so many people shopping, surfing, eating, dancing, playing basketball, getting tattoos, tap dancing, you name it.  I stopped off in one of the tattoo shops to inquire about a tattoo and almost missed the beautiful sunset! My love was already snapping pictures as I ran out to join him and took a few of my own. He got the better ones though….

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Me at Venice Beach

Overall, the trip was wonderful. We both enjoyed ourselves, each other, and being away from the daily routine of life. We made our own music playlist that served as a soundtrack to the trip. The weather, the weather, the weather, and the the beach is what I will miss most. We took lots of pictures and made videos to capture the memories of the good times we had. I am looking forward to going back real soon.

Enjoying L.A.

Enjoying L.A.

Never Say What You Will Never Do

I find it funny to hear people say, “I would NEVER (and fill in the blank of whatever it is they can’t envision themselves ever doing). I may still be quite young by some standards, but the one thing that I have lived long enough to tell about is: Never Say Never. The truth is, none of us knows what the future holds. None of us knows the situations that we may be placed in where we find ourselves desperate, vulnerable, weak, hurting, or maybe even under the influence of some mind-altering substance.

In the past, there have been some things in other people’s lives that I would look at and quickly place judgment on. How could they do that?! Not far down the line, I’d find myself in that very same situation, doing that very same thing, and on more than one occassion. These experiences brought about humility for me and I am much more understanding that as humans, we don’t and sometimes can’t always function with a sound mind.

Put the REAL into your Relationships…

circles

So you think you’re in a relationship. Your Facebook status says so. You cook together, watch movies together, you sleep together. You go out on dates with each other and talk about future plans. You enjoy each others company. You may even get married and have a few children. But how much do you REALLY know each other?

We have been socially conditioned to run our relationships by calendar instead of by natural progression. Our relationships are led by titles and marriages are led by licenses. You can’t even date someone 12 months without hearing: “When are you getting married?” Relationships have to be built and this takes TIME. More time than most are willing to wait. The more time you spend actually letting each other in, exposing your fears, fantasies, and weaknesses, the more interconnected you become.

Setting benchmarks for where you think you should be in your relationship is a sign that you are more focused on going through the motions than in building an actual relationship. For example, “It’s been 12 months so we should have a title.” “We’ve been together 2 years so we should be engaged.” JUST LET IT HAPPEN! Now, I am not speaking about the situations in which one person (usually the woman) wants to get married and the guy has no intention on marrying her so she waits around in hopes that he changes his mind. Not at all. I am talking about where both parties are headed in the same direction; taking the necessary time to truly get to know each other.

An article I read some years ago by Randy Hurlburt describes it like this: Using the picture above as a visual, let’s say each person in the relationship is a circle. In the beginning, the circles are barely touching. With chemistry and time, the circles are pulled closer together to form somewhat of an overlap. The more transparent each person becomes with the other, the more and more overlap you get. Herein lies, the RELATIONSHIP.

It is important to be aware of the degree of overlap that you have with each other. Some people have only 20%-30% overlap and jump into a committed relationship or even marriage. Some non-married couples are more “married” in terms of overlap than couples that are legally married. It’s all about the CONNECTION. The connection IS the relationship. You have to gradually overcome the fears and barriers within yourself and your partner in order to build a true relationship.

Focusing on the connection and the degree of overlap between you and your partner provides a more accurate picture of where the relationship is really headed opposed to just tracking the days, weeks, and months. Once you begin to think in these terms, you will not be as easily misguided by the superficial.

 

rings

 

Aleisha Marie

Free Pass for Dead Beat Dads???

Transparenseeblog

Free Pass - Lanyard and Badge

There seems to be a quite a number of these being handed out, particularly among the black community and it really breaks my heart. A few days ago while browsing through my Facebook news feed, I came across an informal advice column where a young woman was asking advice on how to handle a situation with her daughter’s father. According to her, this would be her daughter’s seventh birthday party and she had become fed up with “inviting” her daughter’s father because he shows up for the birthday parties each year, empty handed, with a different lady on his arm every time. Pretty much absent throughout the rest of the year by choice as she put it (he hadn’t seen his child in the last 4 months) and he provides no other support for the child. The question posed was: “Am I being petty for not inviting him?” My reply:

View original post 312 more words

Free Pass for Dead Beat Dads???

Free Pass - Lanyard and Badge

There seems to be a quite a number of these being handed out, particularly among the black community and it really breaks my heart. A few days ago while browsing through my Facebook news feed, I came across an informal advice column where a young woman was asking advice on how to handle a situation with her daughter’s father. According to her, this would be her daughter’s seventh birthday party and she had become fed up with “inviting” her daughter’s father because he shows up for the birthday parties each year, empty handed, with a different lady on his arm every time. Pretty much absent throughout the rest of the year by choice as she put it (he hadn’t seen his child in the last 4 months) and he provides no other support for the child. The question posed was: “Am I being petty for not inviting him?” My reply: HELL NO! OK, well…maybe not that bluntly.

What upset me most about this post were the responses received from various readers that defended this absentee father’s behavior, even to the point of insulting the woman who posed the question. I couldn’t believe it! “Oh let him come for the child’s sake” “Who cares if he doesn’t bring a gift as long as he shows up” “So what he has a different woman each time, you must be jealous” (I’m paraphrasing of course, but you get my point). The response that took the cake: “Well, not seeing her for four months is better than father’s that don’t see their kids at all” –Needless to say, this response came from a  woman that had no kids of her own.  (We’ll give her a pass)

This really struck a nerve with me because I realized how so accustomed we have become to absent fathers, single parent homes, and partial parenting that the bar is set VERY low for these men. As a father, you should be just as active in your child’s life as the mother. No one should have to hold your hand, push, or force you to be there. A father shouldn’t require an invitation to his child’s party because he should have already either been planning something on his own or teaming up with the mom to figure out what they can do collectively. I am in no way saying that there aren’t mother’s out here that are dead beats also, but most of us know that is the exception rather than the rule. Single mothers are usually the ones left to carry the weight of the family, act as both mom and dad, and are held to higher expectations than single fathers. This behavior is just NOT ACCEPTABLE in my book and it never will be. Your thoughts??

-Aleisha Marie

A take on the current state of Hip Hop by DMC of Run DMC: Has hip hop lost its artistry?

DMC 

 

 

 

 

Legendary Hip Hop Artist DMC (Darryl McDaniels) seems to think so as he comments that Hip Hop has been watered down by major corporations and what was once a multi-dimensional genre has become one-dimensional. “It was inevitable that hip-hop became commercialized but along the way our power got taken away. Now you got the same 12 records on radio being played over and over again. Lil Wayne, Jay Z ain’t hot, it’s just they’re programmed so many times people are brainwashed.” DMC commented in an article posted today on Reason 4 Rhymes.

This is one topic that will be argued for years to come and I do agree with him partially. Personally, I am a fan of Hip Hop and I respect its originators, but I must admit I am a bit too young to fully appreciate original Hip Hop music because I just didn’t grow up in the era that Hip Hop began. My earliest memories of Hip Hop: Biz Markie “Just A Friend”, LL Cool J “Going Back to Cali” , Salt N Pepa “Push It” (and even then we’re talking YOUNG) when I really didn’t have too much control over the music I listened to. So what do I consider MY era of Hip Hop? Pull out some early 90’s music and now you’re speaking my language. I’m a fan of all kinds of music so my early years didn’t just circulate around Hip Hop in particular, but for the sake of the topic I’ll stick with it. This is when we come into Snoop, Dr. Dre, Warren G, Salt N Pepa (in the 90’s), Bahamadia, 2Pac, Biggie, Nas (my all time favorite), Eazy E, Bone Thugz N Harmony, Ice Cube, and of course the list goes on and on. That was Hip Hop to me. 

NAS2

The point I am trying to reach is that even in my era of Hip Hop, things had already changed from the days of original Hip Hop music. To put things into perspective, all genres of music have been innovated over the years. Look at the R&B songs now compared to the “Old School” R&B of the 70’s and 80’s that my parents grooved to. Gospel music has even taken a wide turn from the days of Shirley Caesar and Mahalia Jackson, right? As DMC put it, the change is inevitable but I believe there are still SOME artists out here making great music, it’s just different, that doesn’t mean it’s bad music. However, the respect for the culture of Hip Hop is slipping away and some artists don’t have the right to be labeled as a “Hip Hop artist” so I understand his plight. But what will we do about it? Can Hip Hop be saved?

Full article available to read: http://www.reason4rhymes.com/2013/08/hip-hop-news/dmc-of-run-dmc-lil-wayne-jay-z-aint-hot-people-are-brainwashed/

Just Say No

Air Force Logo - Silver and Blue 3D, with text

Twelve years ago yesterday, I was standing at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) at the top floor of the federal building in downtown St. Louis. This was the final stop for all that wished to enter into any branch of the United States armed forces. I had already sworn in once for my branch of choice, the Air Force. All that I had in my possession was a duffel bag with plain white t-shirts, underwear, and toiletries. My personal belongings had been locked in storage and I had sold the ’95 Dodge Shadow that I owned, the week prior to my scheduled date to ship out for basic training. I had just graduated high school. Everything I had known was behind me. I was ready to start a new life. The two pieces of advice that were drilled into my head from my Air Force recruiter were: “Say NO to anything they ask you.” and “Don’t get married”.

The time had come to see the medical examiner that would clear us for basic training before leaving for the airport. My weight and height were proportionate and I didn’t have any bad joints, bones, or muscles. I was in perfect health. As I started to walk on through what had become an assembly line, the examiner called me back and asked, “Have you been to a doctor for anything in the past 90 days?” Completely forgetting that this was my cue for the “NO”, I said honestly and emphatically, “Yes”.

That “YES” is the reason that I never made that flight to San Antonio for basic training on August 1, 2001. I often reflect back on this pivotal moment because something that minute changed my entire life’s path. Everything happens for a reason, as the old adage goes. But I wonder, what my life would be like now had I followed my recruiters instructions and said, “No”? I surely would not be living the life I am today and I even question the path I chose after that to get married and have children at such a young age. Now a divorced, single parent of three children, and just finishing college (although a great accomplishment) was not the life I envisioned for myself when I stood at the top floor of the federal building that day. In hindsight, I think about how the decisions we make in this life can affect us in many different ways. Some decisions we can go back and correct, but others we have to live with for a lifetime.

 

Welcome to my blog…

I’ve dreamed of starting my own blog for about 5 years now and I finally did it. What held me back you ask? Fear, p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-o-n (most likely), or maybe just the fact that I didn’t have a clue how to begin one. The good thing about the Information Age is that you can learn to do just about anything! So, for all my readers, followers, and visitors: WELCOME!!! This is a work in progress but I assure you I will get better and better at it as time progresses. 

Now that I got that out of the way, I want to briefly discuss my purpose for starting this blog. It’s simple-my passion for writing and my passion for FEELINGS. Being in tune with your feelings is the key to the door of the unknown aspect of ourselves and our personalities. When we consciously pay close attention to how various situations and circumstances make us FEEL, it brings about understanding of who we are and it provides a connection to a deep, distant, and possibly repressed part of our past. Dreams, Freudian Slips, and overreactions of situations reveal little clues about our unconscious mind and the why’s of certain behaviors. “Why am I always late?” “Why am I always lying?” “Why can’t I be faithful?” “Why can’t I sleep at night unless the hand towel in the bathroom is perfectly straight and centered?”

Understanding the unconscious mind, reveals the parts of us that we cannot see. For those interested in taking this journey, I recommend the book below, Actually, It Is Your Parent’s Fault. It is one of my absolute favorites in helping to understand YOU, especially where intimate relationships are concerned. Most of us are aware that relationships are the top candidates for bringing our private issues and personal battles to the forefront. So, regardless of where you are on this journey of learning you, this book is a very excellent and highly suggested read.

Actually-It-Is-Your-Parents-Fault-308386