When We Were Innocent

It took me a long time to realize Rick James Mary Jane song was about weed. For a long time, I thought Mary Jane was an actual woman he was in love with. Every time I heard the song I would smile, my heart melting at the sound of love. Even after watching the movie Friday, where there were obvious clues (such as the song being played as Smokey inhaled three joints at a time that day Craig got high for the first time), I still didn’t get it. After learning what the song was really about, I still liked it but it didn’t have the same happy feeling to it. I didn’t smoke weed so I couldn’t relate. I liked it better when I thought the song was about love.

I miss when we were innocent. Back before we really knew how messed up the world was. Back when the world was ours. Back when my Uncle told me and my siblings we couldn’t watch Bevis and Butthead. Back when the lyrics were still crafty enough to hide the “bad stuff” from the kids. When you didn’t know what the meanings behind the songs were, back when you had to be mature to know what it meant. I miss when we were innocent. Like before you really got to know someone. Back when you were besties just because. Back before we knew each other well enough to be aware of the other’s faults. When you meet someone for the first time there’s an innocence, a respect and a kindness you give because your mother taught you to be kind. As we get to know one another though, it seems like we are no longer as kind, as compassionate, or as merciful.

We take knowledge of the other person‘s mistakes as an invitation to pull back on the amount of love we give. And we do it in the cruelest way. We pull back without communication, without questions, and without checking to see if our assumptions were correct, we just leave. Abandon one another after realizing the other person was human. We didn’t do that kind of stuff as kids. We fought, argued and then invited our friends (the one we just argued with) over for dinner. We didn’t think they were possessed or insane or no longer worthy of our friendship. They disagreed with us but that didn’t mean we were enemies. We knew they were flawed, but that just made us love them better.

As you blog, not everyone will stick around. As people get to know you better, they will soon decide whether you are someone they want to keep up with. And that‘s not a bad thing entirely. People have a right to decide who they want to have around them. That’s life. People come and people go. Blogging is no different. This decision will come, either from you or from them. Somewhere along the lines, you’ll learn you either are or are no longer compatible.

If you‘re new to blogging you better take advantage of it. Those days of people being kind and generous and supportive and of you being loved on won‘t last long. Four and five years into this thing and you will look up to the faces of a completely new group of people, wondering where everyone has gone. This new group will love you now. Appreciate them for it. These are the childlike stages of blogging. The beginning of things, the freshness, the newness. These are the days when we are innocent.

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The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 18 – Love is Reciprocal

I talk a lot about self-love and the importance of learning to love yourself but do not misunderstand me: love is reciprocal. Just as you give love you should also receive love. Love should always come back to you and if it doesn’t something is wrong. Understand that loving yourself is the foundation. It sets the stage for how you will allow yourself to be treated but it is not the end. Once you are capable of fully and unapologetically loving yourself you have a responsibility to give love and you have a right to receive love. Remember, what’s in the cup is yours and the overflow is for others.

Listen to the full podcast, “Love is Reciprocal” below on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-573689310

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-pbs-blog-podcast/id1344901312?mt=2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbsblogpodcast

IG: https://www.instagram.com/thepbsblog/

To follow my personal IG page @yecheilyah


Remember that you can catch all 18 episodes by visiting the podcast page HERE. Also, my Soundcloud limit is up and I have now upgraded to a pro account. But if at any time that does not fit in with my budget I cannot be sure I will continue with this series so enjoy this while you can! I have much more urgent financial responsibilities so I will cut this off if I need to. But, know that you can always find the episodes on my Soundcloud page or on the podcast page of this blog.

Play Your Piano

LOS ANGELES, CA – (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for BET)

Vivica Fox told the story of being on the set of Booty Call. She said that she tried to take a couple naps between scenes except Jamie Foxx kept playing the piano. Being the outspoken person that she is, Vivica was not having it.

“…it was hard to be his dressing room neighbor for a few weeks…he had a piano in there, and he would just play it all the time, singing his pretty heart out!”

Vivica went out and screamed to Jamie to, “stop playing that damn piano!”

Let me give you some background information before we continue this story.

I decided about a year ago that I was not going to limit myself and that I was going to step outside of my comfort zone. This was not an easy decision. I am an extremely shy person who overthinks everything. Whatever I share online, do believe I’ve gone over it repeatedly and have examined every possible outcome. (I am learning to be less anxious however and more centered and balanced.) Anyway, I decided I was tired of reading about what I needed to do to be a better writer. I wanted to “hear it from the horse’s mouth.” Tired of writerly commandments that got me nowhere, I wanted to act. I needed to act. I decided that acting was the only true way of knowing.

So, fed up with my own lack of action, I logged off my computer last year and went around to bookstores, talked with businessmen and ask the questions I’d always been afraid to ask, armed with business cards (side note: No, I don’t recommend giving your business card out like it’s candy. Most people just throw them away. These are facts.) and sample books. This weekend, I ended up at A Cappella Books, a small Independent Bookstore in Atlanta. I spoke to a man there who gave me some advice.

“Get your name out there because even if you’re in the store, if you aren’t a household name people won’t find you,” he said, spreading his arms to insinuate the rest of his thoughts, which didn’t have to be said: you are a nobody so people won’t be able to find your book among all these books by well-known authors.

Now, ya’ll know I gotta be honest. At first, I was offended. Household name? I thought. Who the hell cares? So I’m not worthy?

“Are you going to the Decatur Festival?” he continued. Interrupting my thoughts about how I didn’t like him.

“Yes.”

“Good. That’s a good place to start. I get a lot of {Indie}authors coming in and calling but if people don’t know you…”

“I understand.”

I left the store, still offended but the blow was softened by the confirmation that I’d made the right decision to attend the Decatur event. It was the third time someone had mentioned it to me and I am big on spiritual confirmations. I believe that what’s meant for me will often be confirmed through others. (The first time I heard of the Festival was at the Atlanta African American Book Festival. An older man had bought two of my books and asked me if I was attending the Decatur Book Festival. “That’s where you need to be,” he had said. The second time was when speaking with my academic advisor. I told her I was going to a book festival and she brought up Decatur.)

After marinating on the man’s words, tasting them, digesting them, I wasn’t offended anymore, and I realized that he’d just given me lots of wisdom. It was deeper than selling in a store. He was telling me that as an author I needed to build relationships with others if I intended to sell books. He was telling me, without telling me, that familiarity sells books so I needed to network and give people a chance to get to know me first.

For online this is social media but offline this is events, book signings, meet and greets, lunch and dinner meetings. (side note: think big….introduce yourself to the person running the show…speak with owners and coordinators…also, with social media, don’t feel obligated to be everywhere…go where your audience is or where people have shown they care. I don’t do much on my personal Facebook page and I really just started posting regularly on my business Facebook page. Why? I don’t have anything personal against Facebook but if I see something is not providing value I am not the kind of person to want to keep doing it….if something is not working then I need to get a new something, not force it to work. If I see that the people on my personal page aren’t interested then I am not going to keep bothering them…I am going to go where I am valued and where the people have shown they are interested in what I have to offer. For me that is Twitter and IG so I post to these accounts the most without feeling guilty about not posting the same thing to Facebook.)

Back to the guy…

I knew what he was saying was truth and have known it for years but hearing it from him directly made it more real and helped me to understand how to better sell the books I have on the shelves of the other two stores in Georgia. People must know who I am in order to walk in and request my book. I needed to work harder to build awareness.

This point was further validated (confirmed) when I saw a post by Mixtus Media:

“Even if you’re an introvert,” the caption read, “you need to connect with people to sell your book…I know it’s intimidating to put yourself out there on social media–especially for introverts. I know because I am one! But in order for your book to see success, you have to do it.”

I know now, exactly what is needed for me to take my career to the next level.

Now, let’s get back to the story.

When Vivica screamed at Jamie to stop playing, she didn’t know at the time that he would later win an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy all for playing the piano, among other things, in his portrayal of Ray Charles in the movie Ray.

What you do tomorrow is determined by what you do today. You think Jamie Foxx decided to play the piano when he found out he was gonna play Ray Charles? No. Jamie Foxx had been playing the piano since he was five years old (back when he was still Eric) and the practice helped him later in life to do something he probably didn’t even know that he would ever do.

Vivica A. Fox Book Signing, 7/22

Whether you write, sing, dance, act, teach or swim, play your piano. In other words, prepare and do what is necessary today even if you don’t understand why you must do it. You have to be ready when the time comes and not trying to get ready.

Being an Independent Author doesn’t mean you should not listen to people who are trying to educate you about improving your craft. As Vivica puts it, “when you receive constructive criticism and it helps you deliver, you have to acknowledge it.”

Vivica had another story. This one about a woman she met who wanted to be an actor. The woman was concerned that she was too old. She had gotten a head-shot and everything and wanted Ms. Fox’s advice.

“Well, you can’t stand by the pool,” Vivica told her, “you have to get in.”

Vivica explained that the work is not just what’s on screen. I think this can apply to those of us in this digital era. The work is not just what’s on screen! On Facebook, on Twitter, on IG, on the blog. The work is constant and much of it takes place behind the scenes.

“I so appreciate that (name) put time into studying,” Vivica continues, “but I always tell people to educate themselves with real experience.”

Ms. Fox is right. Five or ten years from now you may find that the work you put in was preparing you for that one moment.

Additionally, don’t wait for someone you think is more important than you to make the decision of who you are gonna be. I got offended by the man’s words (at first) because I’ve never been a “star struck” kind of person. I cheer for everyone and give everyone the same level of respect, honoring each of our sacrifices and contributions regardless of position. These authors are people like I’m a person. They aren’t better than me and I am not better than them. They just started earlier.

This isn’t about bragging but as a wise person once said, “you will have a very hard time running a successful business with low self-esteem.” You can be humble and confident in your ability to deliver at the same time. You are not better than anyone (humility) but you have to know what sets you apart from the rest (confident). I struggle with being timid and unsure too but it’s something I am learning (quickly) I’d need to get over to take it to the next level.

If you want to be successful at anything you must see yourself as such already. Before I married I knew that I needed to become a wife before I actually was. Jamie Foxx didn’t become a pianist when people started to recognize him as such. He always was. Just like you already are. Everything you strive to be, YOU ALREADY ARE. Act accordingly.


Don’t forget to join me tomorrow for the start of the I am Soul Blog Tour! I will be visiting a total of 10 blogs over the course of the next few months and introducing some of my poetry. Be sure you are following these blogs by clicking HERE. You don’t want to miss it!

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyahs 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Judge: Lisa W. Tetting

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Lisa W. Tetting, poetry contest judge! Lisa is an author, blogger, poet and freelance writer. Let’s catch up!

Copyright©Lisa W. Tetting.

Lisa is a former call center supervisor currently based in Birmingham, AL with her loving and supportive husband. Growing up the youngest of seven in a small town in North Carolina, she embraced her love of reading which helped to develop her imagination. Her desire to write lay dormant for years until she found the courage to look within and her passion could no longer be ignored.

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She created her own brand of Romance that she dubbed LoveRotica – Love stories with an edge of sexy under the pen name L. Loren and Miss Loren does not disappoint! One of the most consistent authors I know you can rest assured Loren’s got something hot and steamy always in the works. Some of her books include The WanderLynn Experience Series: Book 1 – The Layover, Book 2 – Island Adventures, Book 3- Destination Home,  and Book 1 in the Triple threat Series titled Egyptian Nights. Her most recent work is Hall Pass, book one in the Walk of Fame Series and Love is Color, a collection of sensual poetry, short stories and visual art that depicts love in its rawest form. Lisa’s work also includes books outside the Erotica genre such as her debut The Mistreatment of Zora Langston and Southern Horror Stories. She was also featured in Volume 4 of SOUL Magazine.

Hall Pass (Walk of Fame Series 1)

Ari’s boyfriend has just granted her a Hall Pass to sleep with Hollywood’s sexiest actor, should the opportunity present itself. When she suddenly gets her big chance to live out her fantasy, things take an unexpected turn.

Dallas Monroe is sick of being labeled a man trophy. He wants desperately to find true love and change his sex symbol image to that of a serious actor. When he runs into PR Rep, Ari Nicole Couture, she will change his life forever.

“I don’t review erotica but I must say, L. Loren, is turning me into a fan! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was, in my opinion, well balanced for my taste. Just enough sexy, drama, and humor to keep me reading. I can tell it was fun to write because it was fun to read.” – EC

GRAB HALL PASS HERE

Love is Color Anthology

Love is Color is a collection of sensual poetry, short stories and visual art that depicts love in its rawest form. The stories are a gathering of diverse authors from different genres coming together to create a work of art. Whether you like second chance romance, fire-breathing dragons, interracial love, or a little bit of mystery. This book has something for you. Come see why Love is lived in Color and not in Black and White!

Love is Color is dedicated to sisterhood! There is a freedom that comes with supporting one another and fostering each other’s dreams. As the saying goes, “You can tell who the strong women are – They are the ones you see building one another up, instead of tearing each other down.” – Unknown

GRAB LOVE IS COLOR – ANTHOLOGY HERE

The Layover (The WanderLynn Experience Book 1)

Vivacious, witty and feisty, Lynn Sutton is living the life she desires, with the smarts to match and no strings attached. As the successful owner of a luxury travel concierge service, she is building an empire that only a goddess like her can handle. Until one day, life throws the ultimate curveball when she loses her only sister in a tragic car accident and becomes the sole guardian of her niece and nephew. After years of focusing solely on the twins and her career, Lynn is left with the empty nest syndrome when the twins go off to college. She decides it’s time to refocus on herself and her love life. And she’s got her sights set on one man…Connor.

Wealthy and intelligent, Connor Wyatt has never found his true love. Trapped in an arranged and loveless marriage, he craves the one thing his wife refuses to give him, a family. When he meets the beautiful aunt of the young man he is mentoring, she immediately awakens his dormant heart and loins. When his marriage falls apart, he renews his friendship with the beautiful and curvy Lynn in the hopes that he can rekindle a fire that has been smoldering within for years. And an unexpected flight layover brings Connor the chance of his lifetime.

The chemistry between the two is undeniable, but outside forces threaten to douse their inferno forever. Will this love connection finally be made? Or is it already too late?

Read book one in The WanderLynn Experience Here

And the book that started it all…introducing Ms. Zora Langston…

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston

Zora Langston is nine years old when her father dies, leaving her in the hands of a mother who is anything but loving and siblings who never considered her family. Without her father, she is truly alone. Before the dirt has even settled on his grave, there’s a new man of the house, and he has no interest in being Zora’s father.

Despite her hardships, Zora remains true and allows faith to help free her from this new, horrible life she’s found herself in. She finds solace in her aunt and uncle and, for the first time, starts to discover what it’s like to have a real family. However, just when she thinks she has escaped her tormentors, new abusers emerge, old ones return from hiding and she must find the strength to survive.

GRAB YOUR COPY OF THE MISTREATMENT OF ZORA LANGSTON HERE

Instagram: @rebirthoflisa
Email: rebirthoflisa@aol.com

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Sponsor: Tinzley Bradford

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Tinzley Bradford, poetry contest sponsor! Tinzley is an author, relationship coach, motivational speaker, and correspondent for Bold Favor Magazine.

Tinzley Bradford was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She’s a single mom who knows all about single parenting while dating. For years through her dating blog, “And You Wanna See My Feet” and her tell-it-like-it-is YouTube videos, she has helped single moms and single women get their love lives together. The relationship coach has also been seen giving single mom dating advice on “Dr. Drew’s on Call” TV show on HLN, and The Single in Stilettos Show with Match Maker and Dating Coach Suzanne Oshima. Her local media 11 Alive News in Atlanta has been featured in a slew of articles, such as Mommy Noire interviewed by Top Relationship Coach Abiola Abrams, Single in ATL.com, Thoughtful Minds United and a ton of other blog post appearances. Tinzley is known for her no-nonsense advice for single women and strongly believes in refusing to settle for any old treatment as the key to living a settle-free life and not tolerating any behavior that is not healthy for you.

A Message from Tinzley

“I write because I want to share my message and help single moms and women make wiser choices when choosing their mates. I truly believe God has given me a gift to educate women by changing the way they view themselves hence changing the way they view what having a healthy fulfilling relationship should look and feel like. I write because I want to heal you, women, who are broken, who have been lied to, taken advantage of, mistreated, used and abused, misled. I want to be that voice of reason outside of your spiritual connection that gives you the courage needed to overcome ALL obstacles, bad or abusive relationships and self-esteem issues. I’m here to inspire, I’m here to encourage, I’m here to share, I’m here to not only help you learn to love yourself enough to not settle, but to love yourself period whether you are in a relationship or not.

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Bradford at the10th Annual UnSung Heroine Awards where she has been honored. Congrats Tinzley!

I offer insight on the importance of not settling for unfulfilling relationships which I believe can often lead to drug abuse, depression, abusive relationships, prostitution, sex trafficking, mental illness, and self-hate. Over the years, I’ve seen so many broken women who just can’t seem to get unstuck and many of them have become this way after being in a bad or abusive relationship. I’ve seen people with so much potential become drug addicts, prostitutes, criminals, abuse victims, and many become mentally ill, insecure, and no longer have any get up and go about themselves and they have just given up on hope. I want you to know it’s time out for settling for mediocrity and not wanting better for yourselves. I want you to know that no matter what your past or present situation may look like, there is hope…. You Are More!” – http://www.tinzleybradford.com

The Book

The Settle-Free Dating Method for Women

A beacon of life and hope not only for single mothers but for all women! Tinzley’s Settle-Free Dating Method will SET YOU FREE! “AND YOU WANNA SEE MY FEET” was the book based on the popular lifestyle blog by top relationship coach Tinzley Bradford. The quirky name of her blog came from an unfortunate encounter from one of her many pursers who wanted to judge her worthiness based on her feet when he wasn’t even up to her level to himself. A single mother herself, she’s the daughter of a single mother and the mother of a single mom and for her, the cycle ends now! The Settle-Free Dating Method is more than just a dating guide…this is a way to conquer your relationship life and make it fun, healthy and spicy so you get the love you deserve! Because YOU ARE MORE!

Twitter: @TinzleyB
Instagram: @TinzleyB

Available on Amazon and @ the Medu Bookstore at Greenbriar Mall, ATL Ga.

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Sponsor: Dr. K.E. Garland

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Dr. K.E. Garland, poetry contest sponsor! You may remember Kathy from her excellent Introduction Interview on this blog HERE. Well, she’s back and has a lot of exciting things going on! Join me as we catch up.

Dr. K.E. Garland

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Katherin Garland was born and raised on Chicago’s west side. She has spent much of her adult life teaching secondary and post-secondary classes in Florida. Kathy is an amazing writer and First Place Royal Palms Literary Award-winning writer for Creative Nonfiction. Her work has been featured in the South Florida Times, Talking Soup and For Harriet. The Unhappy Wife is an anthology of 12 fictionalized stories of real women’s marriages. Her first book, Kwoted includes 100 original and inspirational quotes focused on living a conscious life. She typically writes in order to inspire social change. Other examples of her work can be found on her personal blog.

Kwoted

The quotes encompassed in this book are the result of advice and mantras that the author lives by and offers to those around her. Through this book of quotes, she hopes to broaden the range of encouragement and support for any person who seeks to live consciously, activate dreams and participate in relationships with their whole hearts.

Support Kwoted Here

The Unhappy Wife

You may remember The Unhappy Wife from my five-star review earlier this year (check it out HERE).

Twelve women share one thing in common – the quest for being happily married to the men they chose; however, each one finds herself in an unexpected marital predicament. Inspired by real events and told from each woman’s perspective, these short stories are firsthand accounts detailing the realities of marriage well after each woman said, “I do.”

Four women represent The Voiceless Wife. Although circumstances vary, these women give their power away to friends and family. The result is a loss of intuition and self. The Detached Wife symbolizes five different ways wives can be disconnected from their husbands and themselves. Sex, intimacy and self-discovery are central to understanding these women’s narratives. The Committed Wife includes three women who demonstrate the depths of devotion. These final stories show that wives sometimes need more than loyalty to be happy.

Also included is an afterword by Dating and Relationship Coach and Instructor, and founder of Relationship Architect Academy, Anita Charlot. She gives valuable insights as to how and why some women become “unhappy” wives and what we as women can do to maintain healthier relationships.

Support The Unhappy Wife Here.

Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships

I am “uber” excited for this one! Daddy is Kathy’s latest anthology and is currently available for preorder. She is also doing a special feature of the writers who contributed to this piece on her blog.

A father’s presence is important in a daughter’s life. He is the first man a little girl sees and knows. He demonstrates how men relate to women. But what happens when the father-daughter relationship is dysfunctional? Daddy answers that question.

Included are fourteen memoirs that describe the impact a failed father-daughter relationship can have. These women share essays and narratives that detail various stages of breakdown. Whether an event occurred in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, each story explains how their father’s physical, emotional, or psychological abandonment has affected them.

The book is separated into two parts. Part I shows the proverbial truth in the phrase, hurt people hurt people. While some stories confirm why or how men mistreat their daughters, others show how daughters sometimes internalize neglect and continue the cycle either with the relationship they have with themselves, or others. Part II illustrates how compassion can lead towards a path of inner peace and happiness, no matter the state of the relationship.

PreOrder Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships Here

Kathy’s NOT done! She is currently a sponsor of my 2nd Annual Poetry Contest and has generously donated six books! Six ya’ll. This means you have a chance to win a copy of both The Unhappy Wife and Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships when you support this contest. Details of how to enter are coming soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for more Author Spotlights for this year’s contest and be sure to go support Kathy’s work! You won’t be disappointed.

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