This last week was extremely exhausting for me. Between late rehearsals and performances, I was a complete wreck. It made me realize something that has never been considered before. I have spent the better part of my life investing in other people; their children, their dreams, their futures. When I look around, there is no one at my side. There isn’t anyone for me to take to the museum or the Halloween orchestra concert for kids. At this stage of the game, there are resources at my fingertips and ideas that overflow. However, there isn’t a child of my own to reap the benefits. It makes me sad.
It was around this time last year that I announced to my mother that I wanted to have a baby. Her “supportive” nature enabled her to advise me to adopt because pregnancy may be difficult for me. The statement fell on deaf ears given that I am a premie and wasn’t expected to see the ripe ole age of 40. The early part of this year was spent choosing nursery colors and browsing baby clothes. Apparently, the little bundles of joy can be quite stylish.
My 30s were spent enjoying my freedom and glasses of white wine. After my father died, family took on a new meaning to me. As 40 hit, I knew that my own personal unit was something that I wanted. A significant other and a baby. Experiences, love, living, and joy. The whole package is of great interest to me. Life changing is an under statement. I guess that a decade can change a woman’s mind about previous goals.
It had been a long week of work. My body was exhausted. I canceled the tree removal and lessons for the afternoon so I could rest. There was an African Pop Up Market that I desperately wanted to attend, but only if I was able to get myself together. The long hours of the days had certainly taken a toll on me. My bed engulfed me whole.
Traffic was bad. The weather was not helping. Parking was easy to find. I sauntered up to the 8th floor and there they were. Three lovely ladies from the Motherland; Kenya. These business women create crafts along with others in their group, and they travel here to sell them. I wanted to attend for so many reasons. Women from Africa represent a part of me that speaks to a strong ancestral connection. I imagined that they would have many stories about life to share. An international circle made itself present in my mind. They treated me like family. There was singing, laughter, and lots of fellowship. When I saw the jewelry that they created, and the fabrics that were brought….my creative side took over. I asked if I could take nude pictures with their crafts.
We went into another room so as not to be disturbed by the sole male member that traveled with them. You would think there were little girls playing on the playground. Different necklaces adorned my neck. Pose after pose simply flowed from my smaller frame. Wine and Italian appetizers soon appeared to complete the gathering. My Friday night gave me inspiration for my entire life. My heart was filled with joy and gratitude for the experience that was now a part of my memory.
1.)Situation #1: Mother invited me to a Harvest Festival at church one fall while I was in college. It was not something that I had an interest in, and I politely declined. Approximately 72hrs before the event, she informed me that she purchased my ticket. I politely reminded her that I told her that I did not want to attend. The Saturday of the festival, someone gave me two tickets to the orchestra. Happy did not begin to describe my feelings about the concert. Once my mother was informed with joy in my face, she told me to reimburse her for the ticket that she bought in spite of the fact that I told her not to do so…..if anyone has an explanation for this one, please let me know.
2.) Situation #2: It was a cruise to the Bahamas. I went with my sub standard boyfriend and friends. Both parties turned out to be colossal mistakes on my part…moving on. Because I would have to return and go straight to work, my transportation plans were made ahead of time and with great care. When I asked my sub standard boyfriend how he was going to get home, his response was that he was a grown man and could take care of himself. Please keep that in mind.
The morning of our return, my ride was patiently awaiting me. Unfortunately, the grown man that could take care of himself was calling his sub standard friends that could also take care of themselves since 6am, and not one person answered the phone. There he was. Stranded. He turned to me and asked if he could borrow $10.00. I asked why.
He responded…read: “To catch a cab…”.
3.) Situation #3: A handy man came to fix a few things in my home. While he was present, he mentioned that he could fix a few more things for an additional fee. I responded that since I was also having my patio cleaned by another company, his current work was all that was required. Nevertheless, he insisted on giving me quotes for things that I did not request, and left once the job was complete. I told him that I would be in touch regarding the other work once I reviewed the practicality of it. A few days later, he texted me asking if I was still saving towards hiring him. One follow up is fine. However, a few days later, he texted, “rescreen?” in reference to my patio. I promptly deleted his number as his desperation for money was seeping through the cell. An actual screen company that charged a hefty fee completed the screens for me, and they look wonderful to this day.
You don’t have to be a traditional bride that adheres to the norms of society. You can be the colorful, offbeat, individual that allows her free spirit to run wild even on her wedding day. This tip is really for me as I fall in love with weddings again…why? I’m envisioning it for myself.
How to Incorporate Yourself….
1.) Not a church woman? Welcome to the club.
-get married in the forest surrounded by fairies
-do you have a dear friend that is a public speaker and a notary? There is your officiant.
-your dress doesn’t have to be white. It can be another color or white with accents that are your favorite color.
-Does Classical music put you to sleep? Ask your string quartet to skip Bach and go straight to John Legend.
-Solo violin is all the rage with the flashing lights and strolling.
-Hired a harpist? EXCELLENT CHOICE! Ask her to play love songs instead of Greensleeves.
-Your DJ can arrive dressed in costume…
-Hate the banquet halls? Ask your planner to transform your home.
-Local bar/pub can do the trick. Talk to the owner…
-Womens’ Clubs make for wonderful wedding locations.
-The beach under the full moon is not a common affair…
1.) FYI makes me nervous.
2.) I don’t know why I am being called Ms. Crystal all of a sudden.
3.) Interacting with people on a regular basis does make me happy; however, I have to have a say in how it is executed.
4.) There are knights in shining armor out there. They have restored my faith in the opposite sex.
5.) Good food is a game changer.
6.) Sometimes, having a conversation with the right person can do everything in life for your perspective.
7.) Proper communication is essential.
8.) My approach to life has changed. I do not try to convince people to do anything anymore. I prefer to let the cards fall and lay in place.
9.) I have a lot to say.
10.) My views on marriage have changed. I do believe in it for myself.
Wedding Tip: If you are getting married in a popular wedding venue, make certain that the schedule can properly accommodate your special day. You want to be able to arrive on style and enjoy the ceremony and your pictures without being rushed to finish because the next one is about to start. You also don’t want random vendors staring at you.
My phone rang at 12:18am and immediately hung up. I checked the number to see what was happening and instantly recognized the caller. It was the sister of my former bff. Former because she used and abused me for years until she crossed a line from which our “friendship” never recovered. I banished her into another realm along with her jealousy and insecurities. Why on earth would her sister still have my number to call me by “accident” at that time of morning?
I reached out to a neutral friend that had background information. Apparently, she received a phone call approximately three months ago which began with a reference and then turned into a book about me. The sister was suddenly put on threeway to discuss me. My sexuality was questioned with rumors and the sentiments about me needing Jesus were made. My friend chose to respond by saying that she kissed a girl before and like it. She also went on to say that I live my life in a manner that makes me happy. I am free spirited and will continue to do what I want. No information about whom I am kissing or worshipping.
It was 2009 when this dysfunctional friendship was deleted. She was causing major problems in my life because of her jealousy. My weight loss brought up a lot of ugliness out of her. Here it is 2017, and she has not released me yet. Why isn’t there anything in your life that is consuming you so that you are not worried about what I am doing? On the one hand I a flattered that you find me so interesting to the point of obsession. However, it is also a rather pathetic state of affairs that you are still so taken by me. Is perhaps your sexuality in question? Do you need Jesus? You do not go to church so shouldn’t your religious views be taken lightly?
At this stage of the game, there are certain things that I will not tolerate. This is why you never heard from me again. You are not relevant or conducive to further growth on my part. Your mistreatment taught me so much and gave me most of the material for the sisterhood. We do not have any place in each other’s lives anymore. You did exactly what you wanted to do with me and made a bed that you obviously have trouble laying in. Well, I am still here living my life, doing what I want. There are nicer people around me now. There isn’t anyone that is trying to use me or stab me in the back. My existence is celebrated. I get the opportunity to have deep conversations with people and genuine feelings are shared. Some experiences are good. Some experiences are not so good, but they are all mine to reflect upon. Maybe one day, you can also heal from the trauma that you call a life and be happy for yourself.
After spending two days stomping the pavement, I was tired. I told myself that if I get one performance out of all of my efforts, gratitude would be at the top of my list. While praying at the river, my phone rang. It was a number that I did not recognize. The voice told me that we had a conversation yesterday, and I told her how I played the harp. She was engaged and wanted to receive a quote for her wedding ceremony. I was overjoyed. Home soon found me furiously typing away the numbers to email to my potential client. A week later she booked her date, and sent me the information for her planner.
This experience taught me a lot and inspired me to think about the next step. After all of the work that I did: preparing the print media, introducing myself to different venues, emailing follow ups, and updating all of my social media outlets, I was able to get a client. How can I increase my booking possibilities? Paid advertising has never worked for me. Word of mouth has always been the solution. However, people like Instagram a lot and seem to truly connect with videos. People are able to easily understand the full scope of what is being offered in addition to learning more about the vendor. I am currently looking into making a promotional video in addition to mapping out new ground to stomp. If I was able to get one client, what if I aim for another?
It was six months of me not getting what I wanted. Adults have needs that can be met by being with other adults in intimate 1:1 situations. That was the sole purpose of the association. After a one time encounter, it never happened again much to my dismay. My invitations were met with, “you play too much”. Instead, I received occasional visits which were filled with luke warm conversation. Small talk is nice. Since it was all that was being offered, my invitations stopped. I accepted the small talk. Six months passed and a train hit me like a ton of bricks.
Out of the middle of nowhere, I was invited to a night of adult fun. If I said that I was not pleased, it would not properly describe the magnitude of disdain in which I responded. The next day brought the offer of a date. My silence was deafening. It was not long before text messages about games and the real me appeared. My response was simple, “I do not play games. For six months, you were not interested in me. I stopped requesting your company and accepted the fact that you just wanted to be friends. My life continued.” As the sun rose the next day, I was informed that after work, a shower would be taken and that I would have company for the evening. My growing fear did not allow me to respond. Imagine my shock when I found out that company appeared on my property without invitation. Fortunately, my schedule had me elsewhere. I asked for all future communication to halt. My request was denied.
Phone calls from a friend started to hit my phone. Gifts began to appear on my porch. My rage began. The gifts were promptly collected and delivered to the local Goodwill where someone else could appreciate them. I was insulted by the fact that all of this effort was now being made to chase me when it could have been made well over six months ago. You were not interested in me and placed me on a shelf. I do not belong on a shelf. After a mutual friend stepped in, all attempts to flatter me ceased.
This experience proved many things to me. You need to appreciate opportunities when they present themselves to you. Time will make you appreciate what you had. Intentions should be communicated from day one. Too little too late will leave people alone in the dust. Life does not stop simply because someone does not know your worth. What you want for yourself, is not always what you need; this situation is the perfect example of this.
Ten years ago, I would have sat around twiddling my thumbs awaiting my turn in the spotlight. Now, I am forty and forty pounds lighter. Not only do I have options in my life, but I also want to be with someone that wants to be with me and makes that clear as day. There are people in the world that would shout from the top of mountains that you are their beloved regardless of what is happening in their life. That is the type of person that I want to be with. Make me feel like you know that I exist. Put forth actual effort into making me feel special. It does not require the budget of a millionaire; it is free. Acknowledge my presence in spite of the fact that you have the entire world on your schedule. A morning text message goes a long way, and so does a good night text. It is the little things that make the heart of a woman melt. It is the moments in which words are not shared and feelings are that connect two people. At the end of the day, that is all any of us want. A meaningful connection with another human being in an intimate relationship. It has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with the basic human need of togetherness.
As a professional musician, the summer is my very slow season contrary to popular opinion. I have been spending my time getting my print media into the hands of potential clients. This morning found me stuffing envelopes with brochures & cards, and then mapping out my drive to different venues. Funerals homes, spas, banquet halls and even a school proves that nothing is off limits to me. I even visit nursing homes, hospices, and adult day cares. It is important to be aware of all of the potential opportunities that exist. Sometimes, I have to put extra effort into finding them for myself.
It is also the responsibility of a creative individual to diversify as much as possible. The bulk of my business consists of weddings; however, that does not mean that I can’t perform graveside or bedside for a dying patient. Last week, I was hired to perform on the platform of a MetroMover station. Strange? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.
The emails are finished. The driving around and introducing myself is finished. The walnuts are currently being munched on, and I think that I am going to take a nap shortly. The thing to realize about all of the work that happened today is that nothing may come of any of it. A job has not been landed, and there isn’t an immediate paycheck. The hustle is like that. You have to continue to produce and put forth effort while hoping that something comes through. Also, you have to smile as the bills come in and your account dwindles.
This is important to remember when people ask for free performances or discounted services. For one thing, it is insulting to be asked to work for free. While it is my passion, make no mistake about it, this is a job. It takes money in order for me to make money. The lovely brochures that I passed out cost a pretty penny. If I do not get out of my bed all day, money is being spent on air, electricity, water, wi-fi, etc. It is not possible for me to take care of myself by simply giving services away.