Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekly Musings on Life, Love, and Politics - Week 12

Image courtesty of Mandalas by Veeno

It's time for another helping of BuddahDesmond's musings on life, love, and politics. Check 'em out!
  1. Don't let the world of "NO" sway you on your way to the world of "YES." The break you've been working towards, the opportunity you've been praying for, the chance to SHINE is coming! Hold on!

  2. There is a fire that burns inside of each of us. It's passionate energy that we can wield in both positive and negative ways. Sometimes we forget about our fire...we forget about the greatness that lies within. And we lose sight of why we're here, what we're fighting for, and what we're ultimately working towards. Don't lose your fire. Be cognizant of it. Be mindful of it. Learn from it. Will it lovingly and admirably. As Sonia Sanchez says, "Catch the fire and burn with eyes that see our souls: WALKING. SINGING. BUILDING. LAUGHING. LEARNING. LOVING. TEACHING. BEING... Catch the fire...and live." (Influences: Sonia Sanchez - Catch The Fire)

  3. Sometimes things are only complicated and complex because we make them that way. When this happens, it may be best to fall back, breathe, reassess, and look for ways to avoid fortuitous complications. At all costs—keep it simple!

  4. Only takes a few mini-scandals to divert attention from the real issues plaguing a nation. Depending on the severity, yestime and resources may be needed to rectify the matters related to a mini-scandal.  However, they also seem to give our officials unnecessary reasons to play politics, continue pointing fingers and drag their feet on major issues that they've been neglecting. As some will say, "Any excuse..."

  5. There's nothing wrong with being meticulous. This trait can do wonders for us (and others) in many personal and professional situations. But this trait backfires when it begins to hinder our progress, especially when working with others. We have to know when it's best to cut our losses and let things fall where they may. We must realize that we cannot afford to let ourselves be ruled or get carried away with the details (all the time). 

  6. When we pamper our passions they will be good to us. Just wait and see!
Until next time... Peace, Love, and Many Blessings!

~ BuddahDesmond

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy 20th Anniversary to 'janet.'

Like a moth to a flame/Burned by the fire/My love is blind/Can't you see my desire?/That's the way love goes. ~ Janet Jackson, "That's The Way Love Goes," janet. (1993)
May 18, 2013 marked 20 years since the release of Janet Jackson's fifth studio album, janet.  janet. was a departure in sound and style when compared to Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989).  The album unveiled a different side of Jackson—her sensual side.  Songs from her aforementioned efforts like "Funny How Times Flies (When You're Having Fun)" and "Someday Is Tonight" provided mere glimpses of what would later be uncovered with janet.  

janet. stands as a declaration of Jackson taking even greater control of the direction of her music and career, composing and co-producing (with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) the majority of the music on the album.  If it wasn't clear before, janet. proved Jackson to be a distinctive, innovative, and monumental force that had come out quite far from the shadow of her family's fame.  With the removal of her last name, she (continued) to command respect on her own merits.  At the time of the album's release, Jackson was well on her way to carving her own niche—one that continues to inspire and influence fans and artists alike to this very day.

Jackson's albums are musical snapshots of specific periods in her life.  janet. represents Jackson's exploration of her softer, sensual side and the confidence which comes from embracing all facets of ourselves and honoring who we truly are (inside and out).  It's genuine.  It's real.  It doesn't comes off as contrived or pretentious.  You feel Ms. Jackson opening up in ways never heard before ("Anytime, Anyplace," "The Body That Loves You," "If," "You Want This," and "Throb").  Aside from sensuality and intimacy, janet. delved deeply into relationships, the ups and downs of love ("Because Of Love," "Where Are You Now," "Again," and "This Time" featuring Kathleen Battle), and the impact of racism and sexism ("New Agenda" featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy).  

Vocally, Jackson delivered some of her most confident, sweet, sexy, and soulful vocals yet.  The songs, expertly paced, run the gamut from R&B/Soul, Funk, Pop, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Opera, and Rock.  janet. is an album that you can play straight through, uninterrupted.  Even at 75+ minutes, it never gets tiring or boring.  After 20 years, it's safe to say janet. has aged quite well.   

Jackson, Jam, and Lewis easily produced one of the best and most eclectic albums of the 90s (or ever in my book).  janet. has sold over 7 millions copies in the States and over 20 million copies worldwide.  It remains one of her best-selling albums and one of the best selling R&B albums of the SoundScan era.  The album produced 6 Top Ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles charts, "That's The Way Love Goes" (#1 Pop/#1 R&B), "If" (#4 Pop/#3 R&B), "Again" (#1 Pop/#7 R&B), "Because Of Love" (#10 Pop/#9 R&B), "Anytime, Anyplace" (#2 Pop/#1 R&B), and "You Want This" (#8 Pop/#9 R&B).  

Musically, thematically, and visually, janet. took Jackson to even greater creative heights and laid the blueprint that many artists would follow soon after.  (Jackson would blow critics, fans, and artists minds alike again in 1997 with the release of The Velvet Rope).
Happy 20th anniversary to janet.  We thank you (again), Ms. Jackson, for this masterpiece.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rejection isn't My BFF, But I've Learned From It (And 6 Tips to Get Over It)

Rejection is like the friend no one ever wants to invite out because they either bring everyone down or they make everyone viciously angry.  So we keep them at bay.  But then the party of the year comes and they somehow manage to crash it.  They have a grand ole time and somehow we're left in the tracks of our own tears.  Probably not alone when I say no one wants to be BFFs with rejection.

My earliest memories of rejection stem from my relationship with my father.  When I look back, I wish I could say that my mind wreaks of more fond memories with him.  But sadly, I can't.  My father was not around as much as he could or should have been.  Thinking back, there were many times he said he was going to call, visit, or take me out so we could spend quality time together and nothing ever transpired.  My mother and I heard a whirlwind of excuses.  So many promises, all empty and broken.

One particular time, my father had seemingly gone out of his way to plan to stop by so we could hang out.  I believe I was in the eleventh grade at the time and we were off from school.  I was excited because it had been some time since I'd last seen or heard from him.  So on this particular day, I got ready and waited.  Waited.  And waited.  One hour, two hours, three hours go by, and my father still hasn't shown up.  I'm calling and calling.  No answer.  There I was, disappointed, rejected... Sitting by the window, crying, hoping that my father wouldn't leave me hanging like this (again).  

He never came.  Another empty, broken promise.  More excuses.  It was a record I'd heard all my life and I wanted its opportunities for airplay revoked forever.  From that day forward I vowed that that would be the last time I would be left crying—sitting, waiting by the window or the phone for my father (or anyone for that matter). 

I'd be lying if I said this didn't have any long-lasting impact on my life.  The rejection I felt from my father made me feel as if I was to blame...  That I wasn't good enough or deserving.  From this stemmed many of my insecurities, self-doubt, low self-esteem, confidence, my shyness, and my inability to let down my guard and trust.  After a certain age, I realized I was allowing it to hold me back from truly being me and going after what I wanted.  I also realized I was angry with my father, his not being around... And I was angry with myself for being affected by it for so long.  But I had to let it go.  I had to realize that I was not to blame for whatever my father was going through.  He has his reasons for why he wasn't there.  He made his choices and he has to deal with them.  I cannot hold myself responsible for his actions or others, especially when these actions don't stem from me.  I had to forgive and move on.

I've experienced rejection in a variety of other areas of life—love, relationships, work, school, and with many of my personal and professional interests.  Sometimes it didn't phase me.  Others, the pain from rejection was damn near debilitating.  In the past year, I've lost count of how many times I've heard "NO" after going after various opportunities.  But "YES" was never too far behind. 

Rejection is just as normal an occurrence as sunlight in the morning and moonlight at night.  It's inescapable.  It's unavoidable.  It's timing is impeccable.  And while there's nothing we can do to block its way, there's plenty we can do to avoid its lingering effects.
  1. Never lose sight of who you are.  No matter what happens or what anyone says, you must know who you are.  You must remain true to yourself and be steadfast in your convictions.  Be strong.  Be confident.  Trust, know, and believe that you are good enough.  

  2. Learn from rejection.  When rejection occurs, take a moment to look back at the situation and see if there are any takeaways.  Is there anything you can apply moving forward?  Were you really up on your game as much as you could've been?  Did you really give it your all or were you going with the motions?  Whatever you discover, do not beat yourself up about it.

  3. Do not give up.  Don't allow rejection to ruin your course of action.  If you set out to achieve something, stick with it until it comes into fruition.  You've invested too much into yourself and your dreams to give up midstream.  If you don't try, if you don't continue with your pursuits—you'll never know the outcome. 

  4. Find ways to keep yourself inspired.  The path to your dreams is one that will be filled with tremendous upheaval.  It won't be easy.  There are moments when your faith or belief may be tested—and it may wane.  If you can look to the many things in your life that get you hype, that build your optimism, and that constantly rehabilitate your faith and beliefsyou will push through.

  5. Always look to better yourself.  When opportunities arise to increase your aptitude, jump at them (as long as they're feasible).  You may be really good or great where you are in your life, but you can always take it to the next level.  Look to those who're doing things you'd like to do and see what you can learn from their experiences.  If you so choose, reach out to them.  You just might find a mentor.  But it's crucial that you're ready when they call on you.

  6. Maintain a strong support system.  Keep yourself grounded by people who know, love, care, respect, and appreciate you.  They should hopefully be people who are honest, considerate, and will build you up when they know you need it most.  No matter how good or great you are, you can never have too much support.  You can never have too many champions.  But be sure to pay back in kind what they've given you as you make your way.
We all will experience our share of rejection in this life.  But it's what we do with it that makes the difference in what happens afterward.  As writer Ray Bradbury said, "You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance."  

Don't let rejection break you.  Let it strengthen you and your quest to be all that you've been destined to be.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Happily Ever After? (from 'Prevail')

You can make yourself as happy as can be.
But the happily-ever-after part—not too sure about that.
I think happily ever after is determined by fate, destiny, and the Creator.

So much of the happy ending is rooted in fairy tales.
After a certain stage in life, you realize that these fairy tales were fantasy at its 

Everyone fawned over the fantasy life depicted in these unlikely tales.
But life would never be that,
And if real life could be like the fantasy—would you really want it?
Is there any promise that it will be happy?
It's a farce to believe so.
One day an event will occur that will disrupt the foundation you thought could 

     never be shaken.
It's like people who say they never have bad days and they can get along with 

How can you really be like that all the time?
That's not real;
That's not life;
That's not human.
I know for sure that I would not want to be around the quasi-real, always-happy 

     people when the shit hits the fan.
I'd want out immediately.
I'd be scared for all of us.
It'd give a whole new meaning to the saying, “That bitch just cracked up.”

In all seriousness, we can make the best and the worst out of our lives.
We can influence its mood, tone, and character.
We are, after all, the main players, and we hope—one of the writers in the 

     screenplay of our lives.
We have power, but to a point.
We can create the plot and bring about a tremendous amount of drama,
But we cannot surmise how it will end.
What we can do is live like we've never lived in this world before,
Love like our hearts will burst if otherwise,
Be what we need for ourselves, those around us, and those coming up behind 

The rest—I do believe—is left to fate, destiny, and the Creator.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond 

"Happily Ever After?" is featured in the "Life" section of Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. Prevail is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.    

Related Post:
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BuddahDesmond Featured in MOOV Magazine 
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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Nothing But Love (from 'Prevail')

I'm just a brotha tryin' to make it,
livin' paycheck to paycheck,
tryin' to stay afloat.
I don't have a lot,
but I have all of the necessities,
and I'm happy with that.
Hopefully you can be happy with that too,
’cause all I can give you is love,
nothing more    nothing less,
just a healthy dose of unadulterated, unconditional love.
No additives, artificial sweeteners, or trans fats involved,
just love.
’Cause all I want to do is love you—for as long as I can.

All those other things,
like money, clothes, and diamond rings,
you know—the finer things—
they're all real nice, but can you hold on to them at night?
Will they keep you warm,
will they provide you with a shoulder to cry on
and someone that you know you can confide in?
Will they love you like I can love you?
Hell no!
They provide a temporary high
to whatever you may be missing in your life at the time.
We need substance:
something that will last and stand the test of time,
something that we can hold onto.
And I've got it for you:
it's love,
all love.
You feel me?
If not,
then we can stop wasting each other's time right now by not going any further.

’Cause I've got nothing but love for you,
nothing but love to give.
I've got nothing but love.

© 2012 BuddahDesmond 

"Nothing But Love" is featured in the "Love" section of Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. Prevail is available at iUniverse, Amazon (Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle), Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million (Paperback | Hardcover), and other retailers.    

Related Post:
101 Days Project: Prevail
BuddahDesmond Featured in MOOV Magazine 
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