Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ask Ella: Why are you single?

       "I haven't been in a relationship for 5 years," I explained. As the daughter of a single mother, it's not the most difficult thing to do. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, a business of my own and an artistic outlet. I got a dog for that "mothering" thing engrained in me. "I don't get close to people, so I'm going to push you away," I went on. I was sincerely trying to to hurt his feelings but as we waited on my train, he kept patting his chest saying, "Come here, come close." It took all my strength (and a reminder of a tentative 50% off at Louis Vuitton) to turn my "You need to back the fck up," into  "I'm gonna need two feet of space," as I literally held my arm outstretched, touching the tips of my nails to the knot of his scarf.  You'd think he'd be offended, but there's a bizarre breed of man who is determined to own you, if only at least for a little bit. They love the challenge.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ask Ella: Who Should Care?


  "I told her, that even though it's her birthday... it doesn't really affect anyone else. It's not a holiday. And that's what I said, cuz that's how I felt," I explained. As I retold it, it sounded cold, but sometimes facts feel like that. Are my feelings wrong if they hurt someone else's feelings? Or is it now that person's personal problem? 

"You probably shouldn't have said that," he told me and he's the only one who tells me the truth. I can't say that he was right... it did need to be said. It just wasn't nice, is all. Now, before I can have a conversation with a person, it feels like run my thoughts by a third party and re-adjust my real. "Don't say all that," Carl told me. But I fear it's the things you shouldn't say that matter the most. "I know why you said what you did. Believe me, I do," she wrote to me, 2 years later. "What was more upsetting was the way you went about it." I was too public. I should keep more secrets. I should tell people, privately, what everyone says behind their backs. I should watch how much I blog. I should be careful who reads this. I should remind everyone I've been the same mhhfcka since '88. 

              I usually feel like I'm the only one actually willing to have a real conversation. It's usually me staring blank-face at someone with my head tilted and asking, "well..." while they shrug and pretend to not understand whatever language I speaking in. Either that, or people sit across tables from me --or across invisible wires -- and try to explain to me how whatever they wanted me to do, I didn't do and that's why they're upset. We seem to have these scripts in our heads and expect people to fit neatly into them. When they don't we assume that person has acted improperly, when in fact... we might have simply casted wrong. I have less and less and less friends as the days go by, it seems. Sometimes, it happens like that. Sometimes, I prefer it that way. I went home last week and gave Kay K the biggest attitude because she had borrowed my sweater, but she wasn't home the next day before I left. I usually leave without saying a word to anyone, but I decided not to be fcked up to her. I was just upset she wasn't there. I was also upset I was thrown off my schedule. But... that has nothing to do with her and, in fact, really wasn't that big of a deal. Mid-Traffic, I had to pull up my message and sent by boo a sweet apology. She never tripped on me and that's because of the only reason we're friends, Kay K loves me. In the fashion of a true high-school love story, I lost my best friends the summer I met Kay K because Kay K showed me, in three months, love I had never felt in 13 years. The most painful lesson I learned is that if you don't know any better, you settle for the worst. 

            Most times, I'm the worst. Single me likes to ask why I'm single (along with single everyone else), and I realize I don't even give hope. I ignore the men who look my way. When they put on enough pressure to get my phone number, I cross my fingers and hope the conversation will make it 24 hours. I never want to see them again. They're never as handsome as they sound. I don't actually like "friends" or rappers who think rhymes can get my panties off (I'm very judgmental about rhymes & I pull mine to the side). I never know who thinks they have a chance with me and it usually ends after the third or fourth text message when I tell exactly which games I am not here to play. One one hand, I'm a completely cold, thorough and badass btch.

          Sometimes, I'm the absolute best. It's scary to be. As I fumble my way through the music, I've found that relationships and artistry take much of the same path --one learns and matures. In both love and music, I've learned what I am good at, what I need improvement in, what I aim to accomplish and the sht I'll never do again. In both music and love, I've learned that I need to give my all. Even if I feel like I'm not enough... like I might fall short, I give myself with complete confidence in who I am because... baby, I refuse to let that change. We're all such particular people, you can't count on the next person understanding anything you feel. In competition, this becomes an advantage. There are things in music that I'm willing to try... even if others are not. There are things in a relationship I'm willing to do, even if others are not. The story though, is yours. Or rather, mine. I've stopped speaking so much. It's true, we all have "flaws," but those flaws are determined in the eyes of others. So when you tell a person your story, you can't be sure what they consider to be a good or bad thing. That is your story. Not only does that person have no experience with it, but God didn't want them to. What do they know? People don't know anything, especially when they think they do. It's how people think they know everything about you if they know your middle name and favorite color.  

        The truth is, no one cares. No one cares about you, they only see the world through their eyes. They only see how it will benefit them. It doesn't matter. Keep being a good person. Still, take note of how people treat you. Not everyone will be as loving, as caring, as honest or pure as you are in your intentions. But when you realize that, give yourself a little bit of respect and remove yourself. You can cut these relationships when you are sure that you've done that person no wrong. Even more so, you can probably point out the things you've done for that person while they say over and over how they were your "friend". You don't have to wait for people to hurt you to remove them from your life, you should hope to be wise enough to know when that relationship simply isn't headed in the right direction. This isn't a cause for war or argument. You shouldn't expect anything in return for your love, but you deserve it. Everyone has their limit, establish yours. 

        Here's the real truth: I'm so tired. I'm tired of the lazy applause. I'm tired of people silently adding up the coins in my pocket, never taking the time to open my mail. I'm tired of people wanting to use me for the nothing I have. I'm tired of being underestimated. I'm tired of pretending like I have time for people. I'm tired of people asking when we're going to get together when we have nothing to get together for. I'm tired of people comparing themselves to me. I'm tired of being compared to others. I'm tired of people saying they love me but not enough to go to my shows. I'm tired of them thinking I care if they attend. I'm tired of supporting people so consistently it becomes so natural they forget. I'm tired of having to remove myself from the world to prove I breathe my own air. I'm tired of people asking me questions about boyfriends but want me to be locked up in their houses with their spouses and children for what, tutoring? I'm tired of people counting on me in their future plans like a human savings bond. I'm tired of having been depended on and not acknowledged. I'm tired of listening to people, they don't say much anyway. I'm tired of the arguments. I'm tired of "fighting" being the only way you can show you care. I'm tired of "happy" and "joyous" being awkward feelings people think aren't meant to last. I'm tired of people asking me what my flaws are. I'm tired of people thinking God makes mistakes. I'm tired of that "nobody's perfect" bullshit. I'm tired of soft gangsters and twerking songstresses. I'm tired of trends. I'm tired of being politically correct. I'm tired of having to take the entire world's feelings into account every time I speak. I'm tired of people asking me "what do you do?" instead of clicking my fcking links and reading a paragraph - you rhyme, but you don't read? I'm tired of people thinking I want to write about them and how they do the same thing everyone else does, for profit. I'm tired of people think I want to sit back row are their events and write on them --for free. I'm tired of everyone thinking they're the best out when you're just a startup and if you know anything about business, you know that 25% of you will fail in the first year - I'm going on my fourth and I still pray. I'm tired of hearing rappers rap about luxury vehicles they've never driven, posting videos of rentals on instagram while I named mine "Kim"; she's the all-black nightrider parked outside and we just got a n oil-change so she's runnin' super smooth, but I gotta get my tire sensors checked. I'm tired of female rappers being so proud of having vaginas they forgot to focus on their lyrics, and if they won't flaunt their own bodies, they bring along "friends" to twerk on stage behind them like it makes them righteous to have hoes. I'm tired of ignoring the fact that singers should be attractive, people have to want to look at you with all those lights pointed in your direction. I'm tired of closing my eyes during showcases to ignore everyone's bum ass kicks and shared apparel. I'm tired of all your crews. I'm tired of being more gangsta than 99% of men I meet, who usually spend their evening walking miniature schnauzers, and I don't date men who own poodles. I'm tired of artists who will tell you everything about themselves except about the children they created who are sitting at home waiting on them. I'm tired of people ignoring that rapping is rhythm and poetry, over a beat and infused with bravado. I'm tired of holding this writing degree under my belt like it's not my secret weapon just because, without this rap sht, I'm crazy straight.  I'm tired of people not understanding that I am in love with words and no matter who we string them together I breathe. this. shit. I'm tired of wanting to stop being great because no matter what work you do, people just want to use you and abuse you for it, but they certainly won't pay you.  I'm tired of people telling me how I should run my business, as if my alma mater didn't do a brilliant job and as if I'm not the dopest out. I'm tired of people trying to recruit me into their groups, client lists and beds. I'm tired of looking at chicks and thinking "ewww her?". I'm tired of having to give more than I get because that's the way Jesus loved, so I live my life in present fear that since I walk his path, they'll crucify me just like him. I'm tired of having to be quiet about being in love with who I am. I'm tired of having to act like love isn't all I want or like I'm not a woman and that a man shouldn't know exactly what I need. I'm tired of being the only chick who hangs out with the guys. I'm tired of that one guys who will never understand. I'm tired of thinking I might get along with these hoes, only to end up sitting on my couch with my puppy in my lap & Univision on silent reminded that the only woman I'll ever trust is the woman who birthed me. 

  "Whoever you end up with, I'll be so happy to watch it happen," were the last words I expected him to say. I get so caught up in my emotions of the world, I treat it all the same. I'm never really looking for involvement, but since I am single, it seems people (men and more women, lately) like to try their hand. When I turn men down, they don't know if they're not my type, if I actually do have a boyfriend, or if I'm lying. When they ask to take me out and I decline (or more often ignore), I usually question myself. I wonder why I don't go. Why don't I take advantage? Why don't I do that damn thang and get a bill paid? When I decide not to reach out to "friends" anymore... I think about what I'll do instead. What will my nightlife be like? Who will I party with? Fact of the matter is, I don't take advantage because I'm ok. If I pay all my own bills, and it's my name on the guest list... I guess I'm really ok. I could be doing better, but then, I couldn't sing Independent Women so loudly and proudly. If I wasn't so sure that, one day, I'll be a great wife and a phenomenal mother (which are actually my only true goals in life, everything else is money), I'd be hesitant to be on my BeyoncĂ©. But... aside from my mother... I have very few role models.

       I'm tired of the fantasy in my head. The most stressful part of life is trying to get people to act right. Honor, loyalty, respect... smh. You wish. So partially, I've given it all up. It's not that I've lost hope or faith -- I love me some God --but I won't let the idea of anyone else (and what they are or are not doing) ruin my mood or my groove. I just know I have so much to accomplish in this lifetime. Mostly, people just distract you. We can be each other's most effective sources of inspiration or our greatest deterrents from our goals. The best partnerships in the world are the ones that uplift one another... that's all I want. Caring is obvious. A person who care about you cares about everything about you. Sometimes, they even care about the things you don't care about. We have to expect love. We have to, as much as we don't seem to believe in it. I'm still teaching myself how to truly believe. I run into the most problems in trying to "convince" people that I am who I am. I do what I do. My decisions are calculated and I can be trusted... but people lie... and what you have to do with your life, doesn't really affect them... so they don't really care what you say. Don't worry about them, and never mention them.

      I just had to get these emotions out. I hope, if you've read to the end, you've gained something. I'm actually groovy. If you know me, you know I do what I want... This is how I encourage myself *shrugs* Sometimes you just have to put your mind in the right place... first, you have to tell the truth. 

  • If you wanna know what I do, click the following link -
  • My soundcloud is finally up:
  • I'm currently working on publishing my poetry book. You all will see that first. 
  • JWWWD Magazine will print in Spring 2014!!!!!!! I'll be editing the teams' first submissions next month, can't wait to read those!!!
Most Sincere, 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Ask ELLA: How do I Waste Less Time?


  "Sometimes, it feels like you hold back," he said.  That was the best Christmas gift I had ever gotten. Sometimes, I'm amazed when people are brazen enough to be honest with me. My cousin Kiko isn't even really my cousin, I don't think. But he has been since we were 13 and he happens to be a fan of my writing. An honest one, but that's only because he knows me for the stranger I am. 

          You can't tell everyone everything. They simply can't handle it. You never know how they're going to react, what they're going to do with it. Secretly, everyone is looking for everyone else's flaw, that damned thing that makes us all human. The problems arise when something thinks they've cued in on this "flaw," where they think they have you defeated. But defeat only occurs if you acknowledge that trait as a flaw. If not, that person is busy focusing on a battle that doesn't even exist. With this I say as they've said: Choose your battles wisely. Most battles aren't worth fighting. Most fights aren't worth the spoils. People will always attack you, especially if you seem like a challenge. But why waste your time getting scratched up in scuffles? I interact with less and less people, saving myself from more and more drama. If something seems like a waste of time, the very first thing you should learn to do is excuse yourself. Don't engage. Don't participate.

        I'm also learning to speak less. Or maybe I'm being taught to say less. I mean... what is there to discuss? People really do talk too much. Some of the conversations we have get us nowhere, and sometimes people simply need a means of interacting with you simply to have contact. Small talk. Time's a wasting. What I've also noticed is that most people's means of interacting are in the form of an argument. Just as often as women catch attitude for a little attention, men like to say or do things that are mildly offensive so they can have some affect on you. (S/O to the men who, "that ain't your hair" as I walk down the street). There are some things we find engaging in relationships. We like to have war stories to tell. We think that what we've "been through" bonds us together, but that should be as partners on one-side, not as feuding lovers. Or maybe that's just not for me. But sometimes, we do waste our precious time holding onto something we think we're supposed to "fight" for, instead of spending your time graciously contemplating the ease and joy this person brings into your life. If a person isn't bringing positivity into your life, and doesn't make things easier... what do you want them for? You can't complain about the stress if you invite it to stay. The easiest way to avoid stressful conversations is to avoid stressful people. 

            Can you tell something happened? This is where I hold back. The most difficult part about being a writer, and an honest one, if that your emotions are going to go public at some point, and people are offended by different things --especially words. The easiest way to stop wasting time is to stop giving situations and occurrences such great importance. We let people and they way they feel (and the ways we feel about them) control our everyday emotions. Can't trust your best friend? Cut her off. Can't trust your man? Cut him off. Either that, or deal with it quietly. There are some battles we choose to fight, and each of those for our own reasons. But centralize your focus, you can't fight every battle. There will always be bullsht to deal with,  you've got to decide which is more beneficial to clean up. Some bullsht will help you grown, but mostly, it's just a mess. If you're ever upset because of a person, you need to check that person. People who love you don't want to upset you. Sometimes we even stay around because of the people around that person, but don't be fooled. That person is responsible for how they interact with you. Continue to be a good person, but keep an eye on how much you give. You shouldn't expect to receive, but when you get nothing, take note of how much nothing they think you deserve. And then turn them into nothing. Cut. Everybody. Off.

         I know they say all relationships have their ups and downs, but how many down's really? Why not progress peacefully? Why is that not a possibility? In my opinion, we waste our time building, monitoring and maintaining relationships that are destined to fail. I don't think this is a "bad" thing per say, I think people come in and out of our lives, but only as much as we allow them to. Me? I'm tired of all that. Every day, I make decisions based on how I re-tell the story to my children. Maybe that's too much. Maybe that's how it should be. Sometimes, I make decisions I question, but I make them with the best possible intentions. And I pray. Mostly I ask for patience and wisdom. I want to be able to sit back and understand the cards on the table before I make my move. But when I make my move, I need it to be exactly what it needs to be.

             Anyone aiming for an ideal knows things will take longer than we hope. So, enjoy the time while you work. The best relationships, in my opinion, are the ones where you can work side by side, towards a common goal and not distract each other. In amazing relationships, you can work side by side towards individual goals and continue to help each other produce. I have very few people in my life --to few for some, but that's how I prefer it. Sometimes, I sit back and think about all the people I would rather not hang out with and I come off cold, even to myself. But... I don't have any drama in my life. I'm not worried about who to trust. The people left in my life bring positivity, and that only. The things I "need" to do are all things I enjoy. The things I miss out on, it's probably better that I did. During those times when you're bored and alone, you should probably try to find whatever it is you're good at, whatever makes you happy, whatever might be lucrative and beneficial to you in the future.

        The truth is, no one cares how they affect you. So be who you're supposed to be right now.  They only know what they do. Ignore everyone. Do what you have to do so that when people think back and reflect on their interactions with you, all they can say is, "that was real." I don't worry about anyone's interpretations of things in the moment, because they probably aren't looking at it in the way I am... but if we don't see things the same way, where is this going, really? Sometimes we just don't want the same things as people. We disagree more than we agree. It's ok to let those folks go. To let those situations pass. We don't need to overtly involve ourselves in everything and with everyone --especially not women, in my opinion. We truly are the company we keep. We're grouped together, whether we like it or not. I actually hate to feel that way, but we women have a difficult time acknowledging societal views. We can be as free as we want to be. As modern as we strive to be, but in everyone's head is a secret definition of what a woman is. You are defined before you know it. So be yourself, and where whatever title you're given with pride. But me? I won't share someone's robes. Good or bad. I'd prefer my own.

        Spend more time with yourself. Doing what you want. For your own reasons. Under your own guidance. That way, any decisions you do make will be yours. It won't be wasted, it'll be the decisions you make. You will have earned everything given to you, everything that happens to you. Take control of yourself, your situations, your surroundings, your engagements. Take more time to decide whether to waste the time before you keep engaging. Decide if the issue is worth keeping before you fix it. Stop wasting your time, spend it wisely instead.

      Oh... and always be a good person. Be the better person than you even want to be... then there's nothing really to argue or worry about --you didn't do anything wrong. Just thank God & keep it groovy. *shrugs*

That's how I feel, anyhow. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Ask ELLA: What about Trayvon?

Dear Trayvon,

Read NAACP's "Trayvon's Law"
I don't know, brotha man... no one knows, really. Mostly, I just wonder what your voice sounded like --when you weren't pleading for your life. We've all heard the screams, whether we wanted to or not. Some better than others, as it usually goes.

You never knew me while you were here, but I'm sure that, as you sit beside our maker, you know me better than I know myself. With that said, I suppose I've owed you, but I'm at a lost of words. The only time I don't know what to say is when I can't figure out what to do --because I don't know how to feel. I still don't understand why a man who committed murder isn't behind bars. My mom passed one thing to an undercover once and got 2 years. She was just trying to feed three kids and pay two mortgages. I guess it depends on who you consider more human. 

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I don't want to talk about much. I don't want to talk about racism because they weren't allowed to in your case. We have a Black president now, so "racism" no longer exists in this country. Everyone is a liberal - in their ideals and their use of bullets. I don't want to talk about police brutality because I don't want to talk about police. I don't respect them, therefore, I can't trust them. I can't say I understand why any neighborhood needs three suited and armed officers on each corner, all I see is cops walking in and out of corner stores, spending my tax money and running their hands down the pants of the men I know --in an attempt to emasculate the greats. Every day, I see them hiding behind subway elevators, peering through the glass for the chance to snatch up a teenager being a teenager while black so they can finger print and track him for the rest of his life. Animals in the wild. If that's not it, you tell me what they're hunting for, hands glued to their revolvers. I've always hated cops everywhere, but in Brooklyn, they far outnumber the roaches. How do you control a uniformed, government funded gang? Where are the goodfellas? They've been posting more signs for rewards for information on shot cops... but if you've ever had the luxury of residing in the hood, you know the only way to make rodents scatter is to flash the lights and make some noise. I'm actually not quite sure how or where you grew up, Trayvon... but if you didn't know what it was to deal with rodents, unfortunately, you know how it feels to be one. 

         I don't trust that world, so I've decided to commit to my own.  "You prolly like them dark or whatever," Antoine guessed correctly. 19, light-skinned and riding a bike up and down the block, my for the moment dog-walking partner was trying his hand at getting my number.  I took it as a compliment but the only thing I had against him was... everything. A couple of years ago, he'd have gotten my number. I might even have made him take me for a spin on his handle bars, but Antoine was just a couple years too late. I don't know when I stopped liking them to look they're supposed to - light skin wavy hair. I'm not sure it was even a conscious choice. I had spent so much time arguing with Black men about not liking "dark" women (and therefore not liking their mothers or future daughters) that soon fell in love with the idea of what my sons will look like. I aim to have sons who look just like you, Trayon, more or less. I haven't gotten much farther than understanding that in order to care for them, I'll need land and a library (for their sanity) and a secret room storing my 2nd amendment rights (for my sanity). "What do I do with my sons?" I asked my mother after those cops killed Kimani Gray. My mother is a fair-skinned Dominican, and so was my brother and sister's father. Myself, the daughter of the brown-skinned, Cuban ex-patriot, am the only one in my immediate family to resemble the earth herself. My mother knows all about raising spicks, but the only experience she has with niggers is me. We're lucky I wasn't a son. I decided that if this country prefers to hunt my sons rather than protect them, then I must protect them myself. Gun Control is only the answer is we hold the government accountable to the same laws as it's people. If not, then the people are being oppressed by their leaders, not lead.

      America is a control based on a history or leeches, sucking what they can out of the host then pretending it never needed them. What the leech fails to realize is that without that source, it would have (and soon will) die. We've gotten ahead of each other in all ways. We are a country based on betrayal and going against our word. The settlers founded this country in response to religious subjection and unfair taxation imposed by England, but when current Presidential debates are based on tax-cuts and increases, back with religious sentiments and closed with a prayer... you tell me if any ocean is wide or deep enough to drown hypocrisy.

      It's not just the Caucasians y'all, it's us melanin-consumed folk, too. We fail to understand each other --not because we don't, but because we prefer not to.  We abandon one another. We have no faith. We fail to care for one another. Whoever anyone dates isn't my business, but deciding not to date a person who resembles you, because they resemble you seems to be a form of self-hatred in my book. It's also qualifies you as a detriment to your race *shrugs* What hurts me most, Trayvon, is that not only will my sons look like you, but their father will be America's most likely criminal. He's currently the epitome of a "gangster" and America's poster boy playboy. They tell me my man will never love me, he'll never value me... and that he probably won't be there. And if he happens to prove them wrong on those accords, they'll station police officers with itchy trigger fingers in unmarked cars at the intersection of any streets he's ever walked. When they see my kings' strides, they'll reach deep in their pockets for their egos and emerge with nothing but cold steel, anger and fear. They will react like cowards do. Like women who confuse our men's fears for deceit and promise them loyalty they're afraid to give themselves. If I'm blessed a house full of boys, they way I'd prefer it, what is going to keep me sane every time they step out of the house? God, I guess. 

       I suppose, there is nothing to do, expect love my brother better. As a human, as a sister, as a woman... as a Black woman. I am his keeper, especially when no one else has the strength to be.  I know all Black men aren't weighed down by this. I know all Black won't submit themselves to the cause. I know that most injustices are only felt by a minority, so the majority won't even understand. I know most won't agree no matter how right I am. I know there ain't a boycott or petition large great enough raise a young man from the dead - to give a mother her son back. There's no need to bash another excused murderer or grant him the honor of having a name in his strides in the name of America's institutionalized systems of racism and prejudice.

     So, Trayvon... and to the others by your name and walking fearfully in your steps, I'm here as I have always been... trying to manage the evil workings ingrained in the world, treading carefully, preparing the path for those to come & praying for the promised day. There's nothing I can really do besides that. Just pray the world will change & understand it'll take more time than we'd like.

Sorry it took me a while to speak with ya... Rest in peace, homie <3 


Mi Familia <3 RIP EJR 7.24.77-8.14.06

Monday, August 19, 2013

JTGaze Fashion Show: Featuring @Deviant_Rebel and #612Clothing & More

Featured: 612 Clothing. Photo by Marcos TKE Sotomayor - View More Photos, CLICK HERE

      I had an amazing time hosting this show. On August 10th, I was given the opportunity to host my first fashion show, directed by JTGaze of Gaze Models. Designers included Deviant Rebel Clothing, 612 Clothing, Closet Freak Boutique, Keven Sharoozi, Accessories by Tavia Sanza, swimwear by John Falacco, designs by Duant Cooley, and headwear by Misa. Yes, plenty of high heels, high fashion & high drama.