XXXIX: Why Aren't You Watching Insecure?

I obsess over good shows and good food. You will mostly catch me watching re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Girlfriends, Living Single, Boy Meets World, or Martin, but I've added HBO's Insecure by the magnificent Issa Rae to the list of brilliant television reruns that I frequent. In honor of this creative genius, and, of the miraculous return of her show, I felt it necessary to do a slight recap of the former seasons and give you a taste of what's to come and my predictions for the new season.


Season one

In season one, we are introduced to the wonderful, and awkward, world of Issa Rae. 

We start out at her job where the kids are hounding her about her personal life instead of getting the help that We Got Y'all offers. She works for a non-profit organization that is supposed to help out within the "at risk" communities and provide resources that will help them get through school and beyond, but she finds herself struggling to say anything that will actually keep their attention. 

Issa has been in a five year long relationship with Lawrence who is played by Jay Ellis. He has, however, found himself on the lower end of the motivated totem pole as far as employment options are concerned, so their relationship seems to be taking the blunt of that blow. Issa struggles with deciding to break up with him and just not coming home each day, but her best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji) does her best to convince her that this dating game is not as much fun as you think it is.

Molly is a successful Black woman that can connect and mingle with just about anyone. Her only problem is that she wants a man but can't find one that checks off all of her boxes. In this season, we watch Molly go from dating randoms, to dating apps, to Enterprise guys and back to no one at all. 

Daniel (Y'lan Noel) is a character who we get to know fairly well. He is an old friend of Issa's who comes in and shakes things up a bit!

Season one introduces themes like: relationships, dating, race, gentrification, youth outreach and engagement, and so much more!

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Season two

This season, we see Issa try to navigate and even conquer singledom all while attempting to make a good impression on her boss at work, check up on her ex regularly, and maintain her friendships with her friends Daniel, Molly, Tiffany and Kelli. 

Although she still turns out to be just the same wreck that she's been, it is a thrill to watch her attempt to change her life's pace. She begins to explore dating apps and even neighborhood relations. All of this occurs between lies to herself regarding her love for her ex Lawrence and attempts to check up on him throughout the season. Eventually, they get the closure that they've longed for and they come to terms with the fact that their relationship is over and apologize for all that they've done wrong to each other.

Molly starts out doing much better in the dating world. She is less pressed about dating and more pressed about working hard to getting a promotion. Her focus is shifted when she runs into an old friend and begins a whirlwind of a relationship with him -- one that she struggles to deal with and find a way out of. 

This season tackles wage differences/gaps, discrimination, dating, marriage, friendships, and much more all while focusing more on Issa and Molly's work lives and the stressors that they face while there. 


Season three

We are one episode in and I have so many questions!

Last season, we left off with Issa deciding that living with her brother simply was not going to work out, so she showed up on the front door of her ex-Achille's [crotch], Daniel. Issa and Lawrence finally got the closure that they so desperately needed and we have seemingly seen the last of him. Molly was finally taking the "should" out of her life and finding out what could actually be and Daniel was being the good friend to Issa that he's always been, despite their rollercoaster of a friendship. 

What we left unanswered, however, was who's shoes were those at Molly's place when she answered that phone call because I completely thought that they were Quentin's, but all we got this episode was some rando on an island and Dro! We see Molly trying to act like she's not pressed over her situation with Dro, but clearly she is, so I imagine we will watch another season of her getting her feelings hurt. 

Another unanswered question was, WHERE WAS TIFFANY DURING THE DUE NORTH FINALE? Her husband surely thought that she was at Issa's house, but she wasn't. It's clear that there is a secret between Tiffany and Kelli that Issa and Molly are not privy to just yet, so I am waiting for this to unfold. 

Daniel, there's so much that you're not saying! But, oh so much that you are doing. Daniel is doing the most this season and showing a low level of "care" for Issa's thoughts and feelings on it. I predict that he will come out eventually and say what he's feeling.

Issa's job has taken all of it's trust and placed in a jar that Issa gets to stare at from her desk because she's surely not out in the field after last seasons mistakes. Although her intentions are usually good, things just aren't curling over for her at work and she is stressed about it! I predict that she will erupt soon and I definitely think that it will be on her boss. Yes, the same boss, who seemed to be on her side in the first season but not so much now. It seems like the pro-Black narrative that her boss works hard to push may just be all for show... hmm. 

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My predictions!

1. We Got Y'all - there's a hurricane coming and it is a category 4 hurricane named Issa. I predict that she's nearing the end of her rope with this job and not only will she start searching for a new one, she may even go off on her boss (who deserves it).

2. Molly - you're fighting a losing battle and Dro kind of pointed to that when he told you not to speak on him and his wife. Molly slow it down, you will not win and this seems like a game you're not fit to play anyway (which is a good thing). 

3. Daniel - you have feelings for Issa, but you're tired of her games. I get it but you're on the road to ruining the friendship that you both have also! Slow down buddy. Be the friend that you've always been to the woman who loves you. 

4.Tiffany, Derek and Kelli - I need information on Tiffany and Derek. How is the pregancy going? Is the baby even Derek's since y'all have tried but weren't able? What really happened when Derek got kicked out for a while "last year"? And who did Tiffany actually watch the Due North finale with? 

XXXVIII: The Target to Their Attacks (Guest Post)

By: Tatianna G. 

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Each day we wake up with a goal in mind. Maybe it’s just a small goal, “If i can just get up and get to work, the rest will all work itself out”, or maybe a goal that is much greater and more daunting, “Today is the day I will take the step I’ve been wanting to and leave my job”. Whatever it may be, we are all working toward something. The only problem with is that no matter how hard we are working to reach our goals, “life” and the devil are working twice as hard, if not harder, to make us feel inadequate, and as though we can never achieve said goals.  Some of the time these obstacles can be SO much that they actually make us think we may not be able to overcome them. In these situations it’s so important to remember who you belong to. Christ sent His son to die so that we may have life. So that we can fulfill each of the items He has jotted down in his master file for us and the moment we give into those beliefs that we aren’t enough or that our problems are just too big, is the very moment we start to become just that... depleted.

In order to overcome those feelings or attacks there are a few things I constantly have to remind myself:

We Can't be everything for everyone; heck we can’t be SOMEthing for everyone. 

While none of us want to watch or see people struggle when we know it is within our physical, and in some cases financial means to help, it is not “our job” to always jump in and “save the day”. Believe me, I know that sounds harsh, but if we are going around and trying  fix everything for all those we care about, and some we may not even know, who are we actually helping? Not only are we laying the groundwork to potentially become an enabler, but we also run the risk of running ourselves rugged. Once that happens, then you can’t help anyone. On a spiritual level, that’s not the assignment God gave us. Yes, we are to help others and love as He has shown love to us, but He does not expect us to take on all problems of those presented to us. That only takes away from His greatness. The idea is not that people come to you for everything, but that they instead go to God, having the faith that He will supply their needs as only He can.

It’s okay to not “be okay”!

If we were to use our social media pages as a bases to determine “happiness” we would all be miserable. Scrolling through these pages could leave someone who may have thought their life was going well, feeling like no more than a failure. A huge majority of what we see when we scroll, consist only of expressions of congratulations or great news of some sorts. It almost makes it seem as though having an “off day” never happens for those we follow, and more importantly, like it’s not okay for us to have an “off day” and DEFINITELY not okay to share it in the hopes of getting some support. The problem with this is that many of us DO go through things, and we do have tough days. When we are “expected” to only share the good things we encounter, we miss out on an opportunity to be transparent, and to help those that may be experiencing similar things. We even miss out on opportunities for others to pour into us, to share advice or simple encouraging words. It seems as though we’ve forgotten about the power that comes from knowing you’re supported and not alone. We weren’t meant to take this journey alone, there’s a reason fellowship with like minded individuals is so highly encouraged throughout the Bible.

A “No” today does not constitute a forever “No”

This one is so hard to grasp. We live in an era where everything we can possible want to know is essentially “right at our fingertips” with the progression of the internet and smartphones. So much so, that many of us have this false idea that EVERYTHING is supposed to be that way. The tough part is that this is by no means how life works. What we want is not always what we get, and in many cases not what we deserve. More importantly, we don’t get what we want when we want it. One of things I constantly have to remind myself is that I’m running on God’s time and not my own. No matter how much planning and scheduling I do in an attempt to make sure things go the way I think they should, in the end the only things that will be done, are those that fall within His will for my life. Just because He tells me “No” today, does not mean that we will never achieve that goal we are working at, or that we will never get that position we’ve been wanting, it just means it may not happen today. When this does happen, if we get stuck in that “stinkin’ thinkin” mindset, then we will only further prolong the victory.

With all of this in mind and weighing on us daily, it can be so hard to just keep moving, but the prayer is that you are able to find some encouragement and strength in your daily walk. Find something or someone that will step in and let you know that the victory is yours, and all you have to do is stay the course. No matter how stressful, tired, or overwhelmed you get, just take a moment to regroup, maybe even shed a tear or two, but keep moving. Keep your head up and your eyes focused on the prize and He will carry you through.

XXXVII: Have You No Shame?

Before I start this rant, I want it to be crystal clear why it’s happening. This is happening because I am sick and tired of seeing people smile to my face only to talk behind my back; I’m tired of people telling me how much they appreciate my honest nature and then crying about it when it’s a truth that they don’t like; and, I’m so tired of seeing you guys whose lives I’ve seen in person, live completely different lives on social media. So I guess this is for all of you insecure jealous types that have nothing better to do with your time other than TRY to tear other people down. I can assure you that if your life already sucks enough for you to be acting this way, then there are plenty of other things that should be occupying your time right now, no? 

Now, Lets Start Here:

I know who I am. 

It took me years to become comfortable with the fact that I'd rather tell the truth at all times, than lie and sugarcoat; I'd rather have my own style than follow what I see on television; and I'd rather 'be' as opposed to talking about being. 

A lot of people are still lacking in these lessons, and this results in them projecting their own insecurities about their many shortfalls onto those of us who know who we are. Now, for some reason, people nearest me have gotten me confused, lately, with someone who is willing to put up with their side-eyes because they settled (well, were settled for), and their snark comments because they'd rather lie and gossip about everyone and everything than just live happy freaking lives.

My advice to you guys is to learn yourselves... Cherish yourselves... Love yourselves... THEN, you won't spend your time trying to tear other people down. You won't spend your time giving your altered side of the story to your 'friends' who are too afraid to tell you the realities of your situation but instead just sit and nod in agreement with your bad decisions and lies. You all need help, you're all toxic and you should stay far away from me until you get the help that you so desperately need. 

Lets Follow That Up With: 

I know my worth. 

I watch a lot of you insecure types settle for way less than what you (possibly) deserve. You clearly don't know your worth! You're okay with being lied to time after time, you're okay with being the liar! You lack morals. You lack values. You lack substance and yet you want to squint your eyes in my direction as if you could honestly step to me on the same level. You simply cannot.

You want #relationshipgoals and #friendgoals with people that treat you like you're disposable. You're selling the perfect picture to all who will buy. News flash, I'm not! I get it when a situation breaks you down and you want a friend or a lover to change, so you put up with a little bit more than you should while that person, "does better for you". We all know that they will not change. You're not worth the change to them and that's why they did this to you in the first place! The quicker you can get that through your head, the better. Also, the sooner you'll realize that there are so many people in this world that you should NEVER settle for the one who cannot figure out how to treat you right the first time. 

I've been there and I know that taking care of me is much more important than that little piece of my brain that says that 'I don't want to be alone'. I'm sorry that you all listen to that little voice and choose to settle for the trash covered in flowers that you do, but that's not the case over here. I know what I want. I know what I deserve. And, I don't settle -- not with friends, not with lovers, and not with your side eyes. So, save those, and use that energy to learn your worth so that you can elevate your circle and quit lying about "#FriendGoals" that nobody should ever actually strive for. 

DO BETTER.

And, Let’s Finish With: 

I am not taking your crap. At all! 

Don't let the professional fool you. I’m definitely not taking any crap from people who don’t demand respect from everyone in their circle, who don’t respect themselves, and who don’t even know who they are, so if you fit into any of these categories, whether you admit it to yourself or not, stay out of my way.

I do not have the time, at this age, for toxic and enabling people like the above-mentioned. Y'all literally drain my energy. I'm mellow as it is, but you guys take me (the cynic) down. If that happens, then you should know that you're wrong!

Just know that I've been very nice for a long time, and I've let people disrespect me in an attempt to keep the peace and remain professional, but trust and believe, there are ways for me to demand respect and remain an adult about it. I'm definitely not keeping quiet anymore, so beware. 

Now, I feel sorry for every boy and girl that fits into the categories listed above but that empathy wanes when y'all start disrespecting people that have done nothing to you but are openly loving on and forgiving those who have done you wrong. 

Have some shame. Learn to value yourselves, and maybe your life will become the light that you already pretend it is.

In short, do better... to each other and to yourself.

XXXVI: Angels Can't Swim: A Novel (Review)

Written by: Alexandra McCann
Published by: Kindle Direct Publishing


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What a book.

When I received the offer to review this book, I was apprehensive. Mainly because I am very picky about what I choose to leisure read since I rarely, if ever, get the opportunities to read for fun. But, once I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

This book follows the lives of the three main characters: Jenna, Maggie and Eden who are college swimmers ranging from not-too-shabby to absolutely amazing at the sport. But, apart from that aspect of their lives, they're tackling other monsters that threaten to change the lives that they've grown comfortable with.  

As Far As Length Is Concerned:

I actually read this book while flying from California to Colorado, so, for those of you that have made that flight, you know that that’s a short and sweet read on a short and sweet flight (thank you Southwest). 

The book is 100 pages total and 16 chapters long. It is definitely a short read, but it covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. 

My Initial Thoughts:

When I started the book, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t stick. I thought that I just wasn’t going to get into it. Alexandra McCann has a style of writing that is different from anything else that I am used to, so it was very tough for me to see past that. 

I thought that the structuring throughout the chapters was oftentimes confusing (which is why I initially thought that I wouldn't make it through). What I mean here is that, a chapter would start from one character's perspective and then three dots would appear and the topics would drastically change, or all three characters would randomly be included in the new storyline altogether. It was initially off-putting but, once I made it to the end of the book, it seemed more worth the read than when I started. 

Another thing that threw me off originally was that fact that, in the chapters, the stories seemed to be from a weird perspective. One minute, it would be from the perspective of the lead character of the chapter and the next minute, it'd be the perspective of a removed narrator. It confused me a bit, but I could see the difficulty in writing from different perspectives (first person vs. third person vs. omniscient). It seems like a confusing process of writing and editing, but, once learned, it would definitely come in handy for future works. 

But, apart from that, my thoughts went straight to the themes introduced! 

The Standout Themes:

This book covered a number of themes. It definitely did not do in-depth discussions on the themes, but, it did enough to support each character’s storyline and give the reader the understanding that they required. 

Maggie was a Christian-raised character that struggled after finding what she thought was love, losing it, and ending up with an unexpected surprise that would forever change her life.

Jenna was an all-star with a tight-knit relationship with her swim coach, who internally struggled with a need to be loved, accepted and wanted which ended with her in more trouble than what she initially bargained for. 

And Eden was a young woman struggling with the ideas of what a woman should be and who a woman should love. Her life took a huge 180 spin when she discovered the one thing that would change her thoughts, attitude and perspective -- therapy.

Somehow, within 100 pages, Alexandra McCann managed to intertwine three different worlds all while discussing friendship, religion, love, unplanned pregnancy, family dynamics, sexuality, mental health, and inappropriate relationships that oftentimes occur behind the scenes on collegiate sports teams.

Tips, If Any, To The Author On Her Next Book:

Because I am not an author of this sort just yet, I don't really have any tips for Ms. McCann. I believe that publishing a work of art like a book, for instance, is an amazing and enormous task, and it's one that I haven't yet taken on (although I have been in the process of writing for years now).

I cannot relate on this level of artistry just yet, so I can only congratulate the author on, first, writing the book, and second seeking out publishing options, and then finally PUBLISHING HER BOOK. 

Overall, I think that this work is amazing. It will be another helpful work for the LGBT community, as well as the mental health advocates. 

Alexandra, congrats on this amazing feat! You did a great job.  

XXXV: Book Versus Movie - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

As you may already know, given my summer reading list post, I have had a couple of "good reads" just sitting and festering away in my GoodReads online bank. So, given the fact that I had a month off from law school, which never happens, I wanted to take this opportunity to read for pleasure and not in the name of all things Socratic. This will be, not so much a review, but my opinion on the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and the movie Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone.

The Book

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I do have my complaints about it, but overall, I really enjoyed it. Of course I watched the movie before reading the book, but I watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone much less than I watch the newer Harry Potter movies, so I really didn't remember a lot of what I read in the book, nor did I remember much of what I re-watched after reading the book. 

My first impressions of the book were those of amazement. As a Creative, I always wonder how and where other Creatives find the inspiration for some of the flooring creations that they come up with. How J.K. Rowling thought up a story this intricate and insanely brilliant is beyond anything I'll probably ever be able to do!

Minds like these are the ones that I'm interested in most. She didn't get this school of thought because of her "difficult background", she got it because she had a gift and she honed in on it, trained it and perfected it. But, anyway, let me get to the actual reading:

So my overall thoughts on the layout of the book were that the chapters and chapter titles were the perfect roadmaps to what was to come. Ms. Rowling did an excellent job of keeping the book organized and sticking to each topic that she started in each chapter. Now, as a student and a blogger, this is amazing to me. I normally start a paragraph, and by the end of it, I forget the topic of my paragraph completely because I've gone off on so many tangents that the meaning was lost in the minutiae! This does not seem to be a problem for J.K. Rowling at all. Her chapters were so well focused that there's is no way the outline of this book wasn't the most solid part of her creation process. 

Another great thing about this book is that she was able to imagine up precise characters. In many of the books that I read, when we get a description of a character, we get a partially in-depth description. But, in this book, we get more than enough information to be able to read the book and all come up with the same mental picture of what characters like Hagrid and Malfoy would look and sound like. This was then translated to the characters that we saw in the movies. And, of course, I have been primed by the movies to see the characters as they are in the movies, but J.K. Rowling described Hagrid's character (for example) exactly as he was casted and I found that to be amazing. When we read the book, I am sure we all had a general idea of what each character would look like and I am sure that our general ideas are all pretty much the same based on her vivid descriptions. 

The descriptors for this book were on point, the plots were not rushed and the story is intricate through and through. Overall, the book was amazing! 

My only complaint, however, is that the book was very busy. It seemed exhaustive! It's like Harry Potter never sat down and chilled at all and so the reader was also stuck on this rollercoaster of ups and downs each page, chapter, and minute.

The Movie

I thought that the book jumped around a bunch (even though the chapters were well organized within themselves), but that the movie jumped around just the right amount. Even though the book and the movie follow each other very well, when reading, it just seems so spastic as opposed to how it feels while watching the actual movie. Now, don't get me wrong, it is clear that she outlined all of this, but while reading the book, it seems as though we are literally jumping hurdles from one chapter of action to the next. I was exhausted reading the book. I literally thought, 'So, Harry Potter, just doesn't ever sit down and chill?', and the answer is NO, he doesn't based on both the book and the movie. 

Either way, my favorite part about the movie was the soundtrack! John Williams has done it again and I am such a huge fan. The fact that a whole world to match the imagery of the book was introduced with music to match the magic really blows me away. Everything about all of the Harry Potter movies exudes excellence and honestly, it only got better with time. Each year that they released a new movie, there was something new and amazing about it. It's like the cast and crews of each movie were learning and applying nonstop up until the final movie. 

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The reveal of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was epic. The camera pans you over this mystical and beautiful landscape of the castle and the surrounding waters and it is a scene that you will not soon forget. The traveler in me says that this is a building that you wouldn't find unless you are visiting Germany, France or Denmark. Everything about it, inside and out, is displayed as beautiful, vast and phenomenal. 

Which Do I Prefer?

For this first book, I actually prefer the movie. Although the author of the book was very clear with the imaginary that she wanted the readers to envision, I saw the biggest art form with this series in how this book was brought to life on the big screen! 

Why? 

Something about the cast, the soundtrack, and the visuals still takes my breath away, and now I'm just at a point where I don't want to give that up and go back to just having the book. 

But Wait, There's More!

How on earth did John Williams create the infamous Harry Potter theme song and ever-so-memorable soundtrack? If the comparison for creativity started with John Williams, then I'd have not a creative bone in my little, sad body!

Think of a movie with an amazingly memorable soundtrack (that is not filled with pop music) and I can bet you a shiny penny that said soundtrack was composed by John Williams. Just to name a few, he's created magic in: 

Jaws

Jurassic Park

Harry Potter

Star Wars

Superman

Dracula

E.T. 

Indiana Jones

Home Alone

I could go on because the list of his accomplishments is literally never-ending, but I am sure you get the point. The man has created literally all of the themes that have been stuck in your head for decades. I'm such a fan! 

Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.
— Albus Dumbledore