Photo Essay: Fall Vibe

It’s October, my favorite month of the year and I’m freaking excited. I love Fall, I love October, and I live for Halloween. So I did a photo essay to get you in the mood for all of this loveliness, especially since most of the U.S. above normal temperature for this time of year.

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I’m Moving To Houston, TX

Hey everyone, I know my blog has been kind of quiet lately, it’s because I’ve been having some technical difficulties and I’ve also been very busy. Let me explain what happened really quickly and then after that, I’ll get to the moving story.

About two months back, my MacBook Pro of 5 years died and I had to get it replaced. I thought everything was fine because I backed up my computer twice a month, but when I got my new computer, I found out my new computer was not recognizing the external hard drive I’d used to store my backups. This means I lost a lot of content. I lost all the photos from my study abroad trip/travel trips and I lost a lot of documents. I was able to go into the hard drive and retrieve some photos, mostly the photos of my deceased father, but after that, the files became corrupted. So, if it wasn’t stored in the iCloud, on a flash drive, or in Google Drive, I don’t have it anymore. So that’s what happened, that’s why the content stopped because I became very focused on trying to retrieve my lost content, plus I have two and a half jobs and I’m planning an interstate move.

But anyway, moving on…

I’m moving to Houston, Texas. It literally took me a year to decide to do this. Last year when I graduated from college, my mom and my cousin tried to convince me to move to Houston. They both wanted me to change states because of the lack of opportunities in St. Louis but I didn’t want to move or, more accurately, I wasn’t ready to move. Leaving home never bothered me, as long as I can talk to my family, homesickness never sets in, but I just wasn’t ready to leave. So, I created reasons to stay. At first, it was graduate school. I told myself I wanted to go to graduate school but the way my bank account is set up, I needed to get a well-paying job first before embarking on that path because student loans are not fun. But then a few months went by and I still couldn’t find work, and the dream of going to graduate school started to fade. I’m not saying it’s never going to happen, I’m just saying it’s not happening in the next two years.

At that point, I returned to my old job, working part-time but I was still looking for full-time work. I tried a few side hustles and pick up a few extra skills, such as website design, photography, editing video and photos but I never stopped looking for full-time work. Back in January, I got really close to getting a full-time job making $37,000 a year (in St. Louis without any children, that would have made me middle class) but I didn’t get it. I was one of the final candidates but someone with more experience most likely got the job. The experience didn’t make me bitter, it did the opposite, it gave me hope. For a while, I thought I was just un-hirable. I thought I didn’t have enough skills to get a decent job but after that, I knew it was just because St. Louis is small and our economy sucks. Just to give you an example to back up my statement, during my year of looking for full-time work, I tried to get a job with the City of St. Louis. When I went to the website, there were only 27 job openings for official St. Louis City workers. St. Louis City has a population of 311, 404 (2016). I rest my case.

This is when I called my cousin who lives in Houston and asked him if his offer still stood and he asked me when I wanted to move.

For those that are wondering, why Houston? Houston is the fourth biggest city in the U.S. and it has a booming economy.

 

What Offer?

Our families are close yet distant. He’s my cousin on my mother’s side of the family. My mom took care of his mom when his mom had breast cancer. And his mom was my mom’s oldest sister and she literally helped my grandma raise my mom. So, we’ve always been connected. After he moved out of St. Louis, we became distant but I knew he still cared about us. He would check in on us, send us presents or money for Christmas, etc. He even gave me a vacation when I graduated from high school.

When I graduated from college he offered to help me transition into adulthood. He offered to help me move, give me a place to live until I could afford my own place and he gave me a car to get around in. He wants to help me foster an environment where I can focus on growing my photography business and writing my screenplays and novels without the fear of failing and not having enough money to live off of. In our family, we believe in paying it forward. If you’re at a point in your life where you can afford to help others, you help them. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I can’t wait until I can help someone else in this manner. I’m excited for this next chapter in my life.

I move to Houston on July 18, 2018.

Gone Away

Today marks the fourth year that I’ve been on this earth without my father. I wasn’t going to make any social media posts about this subject because I didn’t want to bring anyone down, but then “Gone Away” by The Offspring came on today and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. So I’ll leave you with the lyrics that both inspire and haunt me.
Maybe in another life,
I could find you there.
Pulled away before your time.
I can’t deal. It’s so unfair!
And it feels…
And it feels like,
Heaven’s so far away
And it feels…
Yeah, it feels like
The world has grown cold
Now that you’ve gone away.
Leaving flowers on your grave
To show that I still care.
But black roses and Hail Mary’s,
Can’t bring back what’s taken from me.
I reach to the sky
And call out your name.
And if I could trade
I would…
And it feels…
And it feels like,
Heaven’s so far away
And it stings…
Yeah, it stings now
The world is so cold
Now that you’ve gone away.

Lazy Natural Hair Routine

It’s no secret that I’m a lazy natural. I have a certain philosophy about my hair that I adopted from my journalism courses: KISS.

Keep

It

Simple

Stupid

And that is exactly what I do with my hair. People always ask me what do I do to my hair to get it to grow and I always tell them “nothing”, because I’m being honest. I do the least amount of work on my hair and it flourishes because my hair (like a lot of people’s hair) benefits from low manipulation. And low manipulation isn’t just about styling, it’s also about how you take care of your hair. So, in this post, I’m going to “keep it simple, stupid” and tell you all about my lazy hair routine.

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So I start by sectioning off my hair into four sections. My hair is thick and it shrinks a lot so working in sections has been my way of not overwhelming myself. And it also makes it easier to distribute product evenly throughout my hair.

I soak each section with water first, before applying my shampoo to my roots/scalp. I massage my scalp and then rinse the shampoo out and put the hair back into its ponytail. I do that to the remaining 3 sections and then I add conditioner to my hair and I let it sit for about 10 minutes. I rinse the conditioner out of my hair and place the hair back into the ponytails and then I towel dry my hair with a microfiber towel. I pat the hair that’s laying on my scalp and I squeeze the hair that’s hanging from the ponytail.

The next step is to detangle and style. I start with one section, add a leave-in conditioner to my hair and detangle with a wide-tooth comb. I then add olive oil to that section and start to style it. My go-to style is a twist out. So I normally just twist up that section and then move on to the next section and let it air dry. The next morning, I untwist and rock.

Every 3 weeks I do a deep conditioning treatment but the process is pretty similar. Instead of conditioning my hair, I do the deep conditioning treatment and leave it in for 15 minutes after I finish putting it all in my hair. I rinse it out and then proceed with the rest of the wash day routine.

Voila! It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

 

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Making Better Choices

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about my 8 goals for this year. One of those goals was weight loss. I know. I know. That is so basic. It’s always on everyone’s list. It’s the worst repeat offender of all time. But when I put something on my to-do list, I do it and that’s all a New Year’s resolution list is. It’s just a big to-do list stretched out over the course of the year. In February, I took some time to re-evaluate myself and my lifestyle. I’ve never been a super active person, mostly because of how uncoordinated I am but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand that working out is essential to a long healthy life. So, I work out. I do 1 hour of cardio three times a week and 30 minutes of resistance training four times a week. Plus, I walk everywhere because I don’t have a car. Yes, my legs are very strong.anigif_enhanced-buzz-9965-1402961405-27

But even with me doing all of this, I wasn’t really losing weight. I was staying toned but I was dropping weight at a glacial pace. What gives?

This made me re-examine my diet. Overall, my diet is good. I used to make the joke that I’m chubby because of my love of ice-cream. Over the course of a two-week experiment, I realized that it was actually true. I am chubby because I love ice-cream. Here, let me explain a bit.

Once February hit, I started taking this whole “30 lbs weight loss” thing seriously, so I started making adjustments to my eating habits. My normal diet was never really bad, it was just lacking a few key ingredients like…vegetables. So, I’ve been adding more of those into my meals.

I’ve also been snacking better. Instead of eating junk food when I’m craving something small but comforting, I’ve started snacking on fruit such as apple slices with peanut butter and plain/vanilla yogurt with granola and fruit. When I’m making a salad, instead of buying the garden salad mix which is basically just iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots, I started buying bags of expensive leaves. Yes. I said leaves. I’m talking about kale, spinach, chard, and arugula. I feel like I’m being ripped off because they honestly look like leaves I can find during the summer time on the trees outside my house, but I digress. I still eat my salads with ranch dressing but I no longer add the cheese and the croutons and all that extra stuff. I do eat my salads with baked chicken and I can attest to the fact that it tastes amazing.

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I also gave up ice-cream or more accurately, broke up with it. I used to eat ice-cream every single day as if it was its own food group. The only reason my weight didn’t balloon out of control was probably due to my workout schedule. I still eat ice-cream but it’s not allowed in the house. And if it is in the house, it has to be one of those pint-sized containers. I read an article about getting unhealthy food out of your reach. For me, I really enjoy ice-cream so it recommended that I didn’t have it in the house. If I wanted it, I had to go out and buy it. For ice-cream, that means I either have to buy it in the pint-size containers (so there isn’t any left for the next day) or I have to go out to an ice-cream parlor. Both of these options are kind of pricey if I do it multiple times a week, so I know I’d be able to stick to this rule. I hate wasting money.

Over the course of two weeks (even without me working out) I lost a noticeable amount of weight. I’m currently working on revamping my workout routine as well so I can maximize my time and get the best results. I really want to lose the weight but I also want to make sure I can keep it off and live a healthy life. So, I’m not going to do anything crazy or stupid to lose the weight. I’ll keep you updated on my journey. I’ll start posting pictures once I go down a pant size.

Why Don’t We Talk About Finances​?

Why is everyone so afraid to talk about finances? I grew up in a home that didn’t really talk about it as if it was “grown folks” business. It wasn’t until I was deemed old enough (senior year of high school) that my dad opened up to me about our family finances. The discussion we had was eye-opening because, for most of my life, I didn’t think we were bad off, financially.

I grew up living a simple life. We lived in a six bedroom, one bath, full basement, 3 story house that had belonged to my grandparents and was passed down to my dad. Our neighborhood wasn’t that bad, but as the decades went on, the neighborhood started taking on more and more negative connotations. We always had food and we always had clothing, a running car, and heating during the winter. We didn’t have central air, but that was because the house was a turn-of-the-century home and the remodeling would have cost too much. We had air conditioners and steel fans for St. Louis’ hot summer days. When I think about my childhood, I remember big Christmas celebrations,  birthdays, annual trips to amusement parks and even out-of-state field trips. If I asked for something, my parents always delivered it. Luckily for me, I didn’t ask for things often, so it was never really a burden on them.

But all of this was a lie. A carefully constructed lie. My family never tried to act like we were big ballin’ or whatever, but at the same time, I was purposefully kept in the dark on financial matters. During my senior year of high school, while I was applying for colleges, my father had a frank discussion with me about our finances. We were working poor. I would say we were working class but that would imply that there was money stashed away somewhere in a 401K or we had investments or something like that when in reality, we were working poor. We didn’t live paycheck to paycheck. We lived every three paychecks to paycheck.

My dad explained it to me like this: he could miss two pay periods and everything would be fine but if he missed the third one, one of the bills wasn’t going to get paid. My father was a master saver but he was a man with a family and he was the only person working. He had three kids and a wife that couldn’t really work due to the aftermath of chemotherapy and leukemia. Don’t get me wrong, my mom can work, but working a fulltime job would destroy her body. She has an extremely weak immune system and her joints are all messed up from the chemotherapy and leukemia. That all started when she was in her early thirties and still continues to this day. So my dad shouldered the burden of everything and became the sole provider for our family. We were staying afloat until the 2008 recession hit.

After two years without work, both of my parents finally re-entered the part-time workforce. Well, my dad started off as a full-time manager but because the economy was still so shaky, he slipped into part-time work and that led to another job, and that led to another job. Things were tough. By 2012, he and I were having frank discussions about our finances. My dad was of the generation that still believed that a college education was the gateway to wealth or at least financial stability. And since a fair and good education was something that my family was denied (my parents, aunts, and uncles all grew up before or during the civil rights movement) they always encouraged me and my siblings to do well in school and pursue higher education. College was seen as a gateway out of poverty.

During my freshman year of college, my father died from cancer. His battle only lasted for three months but it depleted all of his savings and the money I’d been saving while in school. It left us paying off medical bills, property taxes, and funeral fees. My father had insurance, it just didn’t cover cancer… Isn’t life great? But that’s neither here nor there. After his death, I ended up taking out more student loans because my dad was no longer giving me money for school. After four years at a private university, I raked up $38,000 in student loan debt. I know, your eyes just kind of glazed over, right? Originally, I was on track for $32,000 in loans, which would have put me closer to the national average, but I just had to study abroad (I say sarcastically). But in all fairness, I don’t regret studying abroad, I just wish I would have planned for it, starting in my freshman year, instead of doing it as an impulse thing the summer before my senior year.

But yeah, I’m $38,000 in debt and I’m not freaking out. Mostly because all of my loans are federal loans, President Obama made sure I wouldn’t be screwed over by the interest rates (Thanks, Obama!) and I plan to get an actual job. I’m working part-time, making peanuts, but I recently went through the process of ALMOST getting my first professional job. In this case, almost really doesn’t matter but at the same time, it does. It let me know that even with my very small job history, my degree allowed me to make it to the very last hiring stage of a job that would have started me off on a salary of $35,000-$37,000 a year. I really wanted that job but the whole experience just made me grateful went to college. It let me know that my degree isn’t worthless and that it can open doors that can lead to high paying careers and that made owing $38,000 in student loans a little less scary. It also made me believe that maybe my dad was right to believe that college really can be a gateway out of poverty. It just takes time.

My Natural Hair Journey

Tiny disclaimer: Everyone has natural hair if you have not chemically altered the texture of your hair but for the purpose of this article, I’m focusing on being part of the Natural Hair Movement which was created mainly for Black people but includes other POC because we have been historically (and currently) discriminated against due to our natural hair textures and forced to assimilate to a more Eurocentric beauty standard.

Introduction

 

Legend has it, I was born with so much hair that the doctors had to cut it in order to see my face. I was born back in 1995 to two loving Black parents. When I was growing up little girls still wore puffs, beads, and barrettes but it was the 90s so a lot of us also wore braids. Some of the braided styles used our own hair and some used synthetic extensions but the styles were still child-friendly.

 

 

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Me as a baby

 

When I was around 6 or 7 my mom found out she had leukemia and she became very ill and was hospitalized. During her hospital stay, my dad had to do my hair and let’s just say things didn’t go so well. He was trying his best, but every morning we’d have to wake up early to press (thermally straighten with a pressing comb, very similar to flat ironing) my hair in order to get it into the styles that he was used to seeing. After a few months both him and I were tired of him accidentally burning me and yanking my hair out. So, after talking it over with my mom and cousin, he decided it was time to relax (chemically straighten) my hair to make things easier on all of us.

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My parents on their wedding day

 

Childhood

Because I was so young when all of this happened and we didn’t take a lot of photos back then, I started to forget what my natural hair texture looked like. And as time went on, I never thought too hard about the whole thing either, but that’s a discussion for a different post. By the time I was in middle school relaxing my hair was normal and it was a normal process for all the Black girls and parents around me. In fact, it was very rare to see someone with free-flowing natural hair. I was used to seeing people with dreads/dreadlocks/locs and even older people with the “scholarly” short, grey/salt and pepper ‘Fro but I didn’t see many people with Natural hair the way I see them today.1

From the time my hair was relaxed, all the way up to high school, I didn’t have any major problems with my hair. It was thick (for relaxed hair) and it was a decent length. The only thing that upset me was that it wouldn’t grow past my shoulders. I was the girl who always had her hair braided; that’s probably why I never experienced any real hair problems with relaxing my hair. But while my hair was braided, my hair would grow about 2 inches but I would never retain that length when we relaxed my hair again.

 

Transition

Fast forward a bit; the year is 2013 and I just graduated from high school. During that summer, my parents and I were getting me ready to move onto campus and everything was going fantastic until my mom asked me what I’m was going to do with my hair. What she really meant by that was, “Who is going to relax your hair?” I had never relaxed my own hair; my mom usually did it and on a rare occasion my Aunt Nykyta would pay for me to spend the day at a beauty salon she favored. Something as simple as styling my hair sent us into a tiny panic although it seemed minor, it really wasn’t. It was more than a beauty/cosmetic problem, it was a cultural problem. We were already aware that Webster Groves was a really White county (I ended up finding out it was close to 98% White during a school project) and we knew there would be no shops, stores, or salons that catered to Black beauty needs and it would probably be hard to find a Black student I trusted enough to relax my hair. In retrospect, I now know that wouldn’t have worked either because during my freshman year I had classes in which I was the only person of color in the room. Let that sink in a bit.

 

So I spent my summer before college trying to figure out a way to solve my problem. I ended up joining Tumblr that summer as well and I can honestly say it changed my life. When I got on there, I kept seeing beautiful Black women with really long hair. Some of it was straight and some of it was puffy Afros. At first, I thought they were wigs until I started clicking on the tags and following links. That’s how I discovered the Natural Hair Movement. I was intrigued by it and I’ll be honest with myself and you all, I really wanted to know more about it because I kept seeing all of these Black women with beautiful, healthy, LONG hair. I discovered Curly Nikki and then I took my search to Youtube and that’s what solidified it for me. I knew I was going to go Natural. That was it. I was done. My radical college change had already started. It wasn’t a radical body change, religious awakening or debunking, or personality swap. For me, the biggest change I underwent was my hair and that did influence my overall personality, but that is a discussion for a different post.

I told my mom and dad what I wanted to do and they were sort of on board. Remember, this was 2013, and although the Natural Hair Movement started gaining steam in 2009 a) I was in the Midwest and b) it hadn’t hit its saturation point yet so at the time we still had people who were very unaware of it. There were no commercials with Black families rocking Natural hair, there weren’t as many Natural hair products available as there is now, and there were no discussions on who was part of the movement and who was being excluded. This was 2013, there were things available to us, but we were all still fumbling around.

 

I went to college rocking some very large and heavy box braids with the intent to grow my hair out and cut the relaxed ends, little by little, over the course of a year. During the first seven months of school, I struggled to maintain both textures of my hair. I wore my hair in semi-curly styles using Flexi rods and braid outs. My hair looked a hot mess but at least I was happy. My mom faked the happiness but my dad flat out told me the truth but at the time I couldn’t see the truth because of the way he’d stated it. During my trips back home, I had to flat iron my hair straight in order to avoid conversations I didn’t want to have, and even straightening my hair looked bad because my roots would puff up so quickly and I wasn’t used to styling my own hair. But at least it was growing, that’s all that mattered to me.

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The longest my hair grew while transiting from relaxed to natural

 

Eventually, though, my mom grew fed-up with it and decided to “help” me out. She offered to trim my ends to even it out because I’d started experiencing split ends due to the constant flat-ironing and the two textures. Instead of just trimming my ends or evening out my hair, my mom gave me a big chop. She cut off my relaxed ends and left me with about 4 inches of Afro-textured hair so it looked like it was about 2 inches of hair. I cried like a baby. But this was a teachable moment because since she cut my hair back in 2014, no one else has cut my hair. I learned how to cut my own hair because of that incident. But anyway, back to the story. After she cut it she braided my hair up into a bun with some braiding hair and the next weekend, I used my paycheck to get my hair professionally braided. I was natural.

 

Natural

 

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My natural curl pattern

After about two and a half months, I took my braids down and my hair had grown out a bit. I started styling it but found that I had a different hair texture than what I thought I did. At first, I was disappointed but within a month or two, I was fine, and a few months later, I loved my hair. For my dad’s funeral, I straightened my hair but halfway through the process, I stopped because something didn’t feel right. I washed my hair and thought everything was fine. I even styled it in a curly style and thought it looked fine. But as my hair started to grow more, I realized I had heat damage right around my right temple. It wasn’t extreme but it was noticeable when my hair was down so I started styling my hair in more pinned up styles.

 

 

During these months, I also discovered that I’m protein sensitive. That means I can’t use products that are high in protein because it makes my hair dry like straw and my hair starts to break off. Discovering this made me simplify my hair routine. Instead of using products that said things like “made with olive oil” or “made with shea butter” I just started using the actual thing that enticed me to buy it in the first place. For example, I now use olive oil in my hair care routine. It caused me to stop buying so many products and it made the whole process cheaper. In fact, on a standard wash day, I now only use about 4 hair products. 5 if you count water as a product.

 

Over the course of my sophomore year, I was slowly cutting my hair to cut out the damaged parts. During the winter is when I stopped cutting and my hair finally started to visibly grow. In some of my photos it almost looks like I’m a chia pet because the growth seemed so sudden but in reality, I just stopped cutting my hair. This is really when my healthy hair journey started and I started to see growth, both in myself and in my hair. Over the years, I’ve done blowouts to show progress and I’ve learned how to style my hair a lot of different ways but I haven’t tried straightening it since the heat damage incident. And I haven’t tried to dye it either, out of fear of damaging it. I’m hoping that 2018 will be the year that I become fearless.

 

My Natural Hair Timeline

  1. I transitioned from August 2013–March 2014
  2. Big chopped March 2014
  3. Heat damage by June of 2014
  4. My second transition starts June 2014–January 2015
  5. Healthy Hair January 2015–Now
  6. I’ve been Natural for 3 years and 9 months and I’m about 4 inches away from meeting my goal of waist-length hair.

What is your Natural hair story?

Making Friends As An Adult

Do you remember the good old days were all you had to do was sit down in class next to someone and BAM, you were best friends. It was like magic and I’ve been struggling with/failing at finding that again. Making friends as an adult is like pulling teeth. It’s a process you have to hype yourself up to do. It usually costs you money you weren’t expecting to spend and it rarely goes as planned. Sometime’s it’s painful and sometimes it leaves you feeling goofy. The whole process is bothersome if you ask me, and yet…I find myself trying.

Growing up I was socially awkward. It wasn’t until college that I become somewhat cool and even with that, I’m pretty aware that I’m a huge weirdo but at least I accept that part of myself. Embrace your weirdness. Own it. It’ll boost your self-esteem, trust me. But anyway, I’ve come to realize part of the reason I’m having a hard time making more friends as an adult is because I don’t get out much. It’s like I said before, back in the old days I made the majority of my friends by sitting next to them. Part of that was because I was so shy I couldn’t walk up to people and talk to them. We had to be forced to interact (group projects, sharing a workspace, etc.) in order for me to talk to people. Once I started talking, I usually made friends. I am a likable person and if someone didn’t like my personality, they liked how smart I was and how that could benefit them. I’ve come to realize I probably would not have made as many friends and acquaints as I did had I not been forced to be in a building with them 8 hours a day.

By the time I made it to college, I was aware of this. Most of the friends I have from college are all people that lived on my dorm floor freshman year. Sure, I made a few more friends hanging out with them and meeting their friends and every now and then I made a friend by going to an event on campus and bonding over something we both enjoyed but all of this is hard to recreate outside the magical grounds of a college campus or a school building. At work, I try to be friendly but I also try not to befriend my coworkers. It’s nothing personal, I just believe it’s good to keep your personal/social life separate from your work/professional life. So outside of work and work-related events, I rarely contact my coworkers.

But even with all of those obstacles, the biggest problem I’ve run into when it comes to making new friends is scheduling issues. Want to go see a movie Wednesday night? No, I can’t, I have to work. Want to eat dinner at my house on Saturday? Sorry, can’t do that, I already have something planned. What are you doing Monday morning? I have to do the laundry, wash the car, clean the house and go grocery shopping. What about next week? Sorry, I have a funeral to go to.

Yeah. So, even if I manage to meet someone cool I still have to deal with stuff like that.

Why is making friends as an adult so hard?

What I Learned From My Solo Night Out

I don’t get out much. Shocker, I know, but ever since last year, I’ve been on a mission to do more things by myself. I know that sounds strange. Why would anyone actively try to be alone? Well, around a year ago, I read a very introspective article written by someone in their 30s talking about all the things they wished they’d done in their 20s. We’ve all seen these types of lists but what made this one special was that it focused on all the things she wished she had done by herself. Some of the things were simple such as going to see a summer blockbuster in theatres by herself or taking more nature walks in the park near her apartment, by herself.

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At first, it doesn’t seem so enlightening but the more she talked about why it’s important to do those types of things by yourself every now and then, the more I understood why she wrote the article. It has a lot to do with what we miss when we’re with our friends. Our attention is so focused on what our friends are doing or the conversation we’re having that we don’t notice all the stuff that’s happening around us. We miss parts of the movie. We don’t stop to smell the roses or notice the bird’s nest and the baby birds inside of them. As the list goes on, the things she wished she had done by herself became more extreme such as taking a solo road trip or going to a music concert by herself. After reading the article, I’ve been trying to do more stuff by myself. I’ve seen a summer blockbuster by myself in a foreign country (so a mini trip by myself, although that really doesn’t count). I’ve gone to more events in my hometown by myself and last Sunday, I went to the Bishop Briggs concert by myself.

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The concert was held in the Duck Room of the historical Blueberry Hill bar/restaurant. The bar is a historical landmark that draws tourist and locals to the Delmar Loop from all over the country. The sidewalks of the Delmar Loop are lined with gold plaques similar to the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The plaques tell the rich history of the famous people who hail from St. Louis. Right outside the Blueberry Hill bar stands a lively statue of the great Chuck Berry himself.

The Duck Room is located in the basement of the Blueberry Hill. It’s not a spacious room but it’s not cramped either. I took a few pictures of the place before it started to fill up. By the end of the night, the room probably had somewhere between 250-300 people in it. The show was sold out. The opener for the show was a band I was virtually unaware of until that night, Foreign Air. Foreign Air at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room
I enjoyed their live performance. It was a little jarring, I’ll admit. The lead singer does a lot of voice manipulation. If I had heard the songs on the radio, I would not have thought much of it. I probably would have thought it was the other members of the band providing backup vocals but seeing it live, that was something.

The main event was Bishop Briggs. When the band took the stage and started setting up their instruments the crowd started to stir but when Bishop herself came out, the crowd went wild and she met our energy and challenged it. Just from seeing her on stage, I could tell that she was quirky and kind and was genuinely happy to be performing in front of us. She was nervous the first two songs but once she knew she had the crowd and the air around all of us started to warm with our collective excitement, she relaxed and her voice grew steady and strong. I found myself swaying and dancing the same way I do in my bedroom when I’m listening to her music. img_2502I looked around and realized I wasn’t the only one. It felt so nice to just relax and enjoy myself. For three hours, I wasn’t worried about all my problems and anxieties about my future. I wasn’t stressing over my personal relationships imploding around me and I wasn’t missing people I would never get the chase to speak to again. In that moment, under the blue, red, and purple lights, I was fine. I was happy. I was alive and I was having fun.

 

 

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Bishop Briggs Live at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room