a 2016 bucket list goal completed


(Originally written on my music blog. I loved it so much I want to share it here too.)

music is art

One of my bucket list goals of 2016 was to make a youtube playlist of songs I found personally empowering. I wanted to memorize those songs so I could repeat the lyrics like mantras when I heard the melody in my head. I believe that what you tell yourself in your mind does heavily affect how you see yourself and process your life, so I wanted to give myself some musical tools to battle my own self-destruction. Considering I am a VERY musically-driven soul, I felt this would be a creative and personally empowering way to help rewire what I tell myself.

These are some of my favorite songs from that playlist.

Rise by Selena Gomez

At first, this melody didn’t do anything for me, but I only had to listen to the lyrics to change my mind. I remember riding my bike in the crisp winter night air over the gently rolling hills of the neighborhood park when I first discovered this: it made me feel like I was actually flying! It lifted my spirits as I listened to uplifting emotions and the rhythm made my feet pedal even when my legs were screaming on the fifth, sixth, seventh loop down that hill. This song has become a happy place for me.

Like the air you can
Rise from the rubble with your mind, you can hover
You can rise like the tide, like the heat it in the summer
Yes, I know there are those who will wanna bring you down
But you can rise with your mind and make your higher power proud
You can rise, like the air you can rise

Rise by Katy Perry

Another song by this title, but wow it’s so powerful in another way. Katy truly gives voices to survivors, to the ones who feel the heaviness of being beaten down yet keep getting up, who continue to try. I really love how dark this song sounds and yet how empowering the words are. One of my favorite combinations in these types of songs.

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform

Alive by Sia

You will find a lot of Sia on this list. Her songs are some of the rawest and empowering I’ve yet to find. “Alive” is a personal favorite, one that I listened to a lot early last year when I was biking to school. Its steady beat physically drove me to better fitness while the sound of a real fighter was in lyrics and vocal work. “I’m still breathing” followed by the joyful, almost vengeful cry of “I’m alive” seemed stolen right from my heart. This song made me want to keep trying, keep recovering, to keep breathing. The fighter in me who is so happy to just still be alive. “You took it all but I’m still breathing”–that there is my heartbeat. ❤

The Greatest by Sia

In my humble opinion, Sia has some of the best lyrics and musical sound right now in modern music. So much of her music is truly uplifting, while still satisfying my need for the minor key to present in melody, as you can hear in this song. Between the music and the lyrics, this is magic for me emotionally and mentally. I love the positive chants left to echo in my mind. I love how the song is not “I AM the greatest” in a prideful way, but is rather saying “I’m FREE to be the greatest” as in almost giving oneself permission to blossom into something you can’t even comprehend. ❤

Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

Unstoppable by Sia

Never tell yourself you’re worthless. Empower yourself instead. While God is the one that gives us the strength to keep fighting, I want to give myself the mental edge in thinking such powerful thoughts as this song gives. ❤

I’m unstoppable
I’m a Porsche with no brakes
I’m invincible
Yeah, I win every single game
I’m so powerful
I don’t need batteries to play
I’m so confident, yeah, I’m unstoppable today
Unstoppable today, unstoppable today
Unstoppable today, I’m unstoppable today

Hold Tight by Madonna

This is a very personal choice of a song. It’s more something I’ve come to rely on after I left my boyfriend behind for the first time in May. I had a lot of fear being so far apart; but one thing I knew: I really loved him and he loved me. I wanted to hold tight to that. For me personally, this song took the words out of my heart for him, and yet also reassured me the more I listened to it. That I recognized my confidence in us and our love for each other. Thousands of miles couldn’t stop it and this song still helps remind and uplift me even now.

A million miles later, we walked through the valley of the darkest night
We made it through the fire, scarred and we’re bruised but our hearts will guide us.
Together, I know our love’s gonna last forever, we’re gonna be alright tonight.
We live with no limits, we’ll dance in the middle of a freezing rain
With you and I in it, we’ll survive the eye of a hurricane.
Together, we’re gonna make this better, we’re gonna be alright tonight.
Hold tight, as long as your by my side.
Hold tight, everything’s gonna be alright.
Only love, only love tonight
Like stars we’re burning so bright,
Hold tight everything’s gonna be alright.

Stand By You by Rachel Platten

This song brings me to tears because the words feel ripped right from my heart to all who I call a friend or hold dear, and who hold me dear in return. It’s less a personal mantra on self and more a mantra about how one wants to treat those they love. I heard this a year ago and singing its lyrics have always helped me express how much love and empathy I have in my heart for those around me and it encourages and empowers those feelings.

Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you

Hall of Fame by The Script

This is actually a long time favorite of mine, so it was less of a “discovery” and more a song I just couldn’t leave off my list. This is the definition of a classic uplifting song, from the major chord to the empowering “you can do it” like chanting. Its almost cheesy, something you’d hear in the climax of a feel-good movie maybe. But hey, we all need a cheesy movie moment, where we’re Rocky Balboa at the top of the stairs feeling like we can do anything. This my song for those moments.

You can throw your hands up
You can beat the clock
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don’t wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you gon’ find yourself
Standing in the hall of fame (yeah)
And the world’s gonna know your name (yeah)
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame (yeah)
And the world’s gonna know your name (yeah)
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame

Just like Fire by P!nk

I had nearly forgotten this song till later into the year when I heard the lyrics on the radio. A family relative recently described memories of child me as “a ball of fire.” And honestly remembering, it’s a great description. As a kid, I had so little that held me back. I lived life loudly, boldly, unafraid to express every bit of emotion and thought in my mind. I was just like fire. Besides maturing since then, I’ve been smothered a lot too, through fear and depression and insecurities of all sorts. But I really want to get back to being like a ball of fire again. So, I’ll keep singing this song to myself to I’m finally who I was made to be. Cause no one can be just like me anyway.

Just like fire, burning out the way
If I can light the world up for just one day
Watch this madness, colorful charade
No one can be just like me any way
Just like magic, I’ll be flying free
I’mma disappear when they come for me
I kick that ceiling, what you gonna say?
No one can be just like me any way
Just like fire, uh

Before I end this, I just want to pose a question for everyone to think about quietly to themselves: What are the words and lyrics you allow into your head and why? I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to that question. I just think it’s a great question. ❤

~Jamie

In My Skin For a Day


(This is what it feels like to be me for a day.) *written to this song, in my DQ outfit.

girl, swing, and freedom image

While Working Night Shift at Dairy Queen.

Sticky. Covered in sprays and sprays of ice cream up and down the arms and all over the apron. Streaks of chocolate on forearms, red dye staining across fingers like my nails bled. Sweaty in the black uniform, hoping the deodorant holds out. Bruised in the oddest places; upper hip, mid calf. Sneakers catching on the floor, co-worker playfully poking me in the side, me ignoring how badly I want to sit down. Hands cold. Head hot. The strain in my muscles carrying heavy loads from the back to the front, then swelling with pride when coworkers cheer and call me a beast. Sometimes straight up sleepy, and sometimes frustrated by rude or difficult people–sometimes wanting to snap at someone but always biting my tongue at the last minute.

Usually, I’m happy, surrounded by coworkers who seem to all appreciate me so much. Inside jokes that warm me, the laughing fits where I’m almost in tears, the banter, the smirks traded between us all as cars roll by the drive-thru window forever. That smile or supportive word from someone which  gives me that next shot of energy to keep going. Ears overwhelmed by machines whirling and voices echoing and car engines rumbling. Keep standing. Keep smiling. Trying not to make it harder for anyone else by becoming frustrated. Trying to diffuse tension in the atmosphere when the night becomes overwhelming. 20 minutes feeling like 60. The heart thumping when I have to learn something new. Listening to everyone complain to me about each other. Trying so hard to empathize with them all. Wanting to hug them all because they’re all trying so hard in their own ways.

How amazing it is to hear: “We gucci, homie?!” “I want you on all my shifts!” “I missed you, Jamie.” “My shifts with you are so much better!” “Who else would I work with if you weren’t here.” “You’re an amazing person, Jamie.” Like wow. 

flowers, black and white, and drawing image

Fingertips counting dollar bills, fumbling with coins, slamming the window too hard. Hearing my customer service voice that somehow flows like honey, even when things are at its most chaotic. The surge of relief in my chest when backup arrives and I can breathe again. Throat so dry from being stuck in the drive-thru for two hours: “what size?” “need a lid on that?” “anything else?” “That’ll be four-forty four.”; a couple gulps of water in the back before the next wave hits. The happiness of the next paycheck in my pocket.

Being drop-dead tired after seven-day work weeks or the days with surprise double shifts because the homie is sick and can’t come in; crying outside by myself from being so tired between those shifts. The boyfriend’s phone call comforting me as I crouch on an empty ice cream crate before returning for another six hours. The cold air of the freezer doors. The crunch of paper bags in my arms. The happiness when co-workers become more like friends you’re paid to hang out with. And the soaring happiness when a select few become more like family than friends. Knowing you have each other’s backs in and out of work. ❤ That’s honestly the best. ❤

When I’m At Home.

anime and anime girl image

Tired. Yet wired after usual night shifts, left sitting up till early hours of the morning trying to unwind enough to sleep. The computer’s glow tiring my eyes. The happiness of finding a goodnight message from my boyfriend every single night while kicking off my shoes. Music pounding in my eardrums. Scrubbing ice cream off my arms and face. Trudging around the yard looking for scorpions, toeing the dirt, the scent of poison. Getting lost in the music for an hour and a half while pacing back and forth under the moon–time feels frozen. Processing emotions of the day, imagining novel scenes, breathing sweet fresh air, self-therapy.

Soft bed covers. The glow of Netflix across the room keeping monsters away.  The shock of it being 2 AM. Snuggling something soft in my arms and getting hit by how much I miss him. Mostly drifting off to happy fantasies of snuggles and warm hugs, on rarer times feeling my heart shatter when I almost remember the scent of his hair. Feeling the tears fall, feeling those 2000 miles between us, devastated to be so far away. Flipping the pillow over to the dry side right before sleep hits me like a truck.

For sure no one knows how much you want this when your spouse passes away:

Waking up mid-morning groggy and grumpy. The happiness of his good morning waiting for me, making me smile and roll over, the first thing I see every morning. A keyboard at my fingertips. Tip tap. Tip tap. Tip tap. Music in my ears. Smiling at the funny things he and I message each other throughout the day. Sadly watching the clock slowly countdown my return to work for another evening. Searching my part of the fridge for food. Getting to Skype for a couple of hours. The joy in my chest when I see his smile, the sweetness from hearing his voice in my ear again. Laughing and laughing, talking and talking. Knowing love and how it pains and how it means more than anything. Sometimes sadly lying on my bed being quiet together, because we’re just so tired. The relief when he prays with me to have a good shift. Happiness. Feeling loved.

Then leaving for work again, ready to do it all over again. Soon to be sticky again.

Image by Elisabeth.Niyaha

~Jamie

 

Currently: On My Day-Off


anime, anime girl, and art image

Currently listening: a lot of new pop songs, just for the taste of them! 

Currently sitting: in the loveseat in the living room, laptop on my lap. XD

Currently liking: my one day off for the week tonight. I got some shopping done, cashed in a lottery ticket, skyped with my boyfriend to play Path of Exile, and grilled burgers for dinner.A nice day!

Currently drinking: Powerade is my latest drink of choice, strawberry lemonade or citrus passionfruit.

Currently reading: I’m in the middle of several stories rn, and it’s hard to find time to get to them. But, I’m about 87 chapters into I Am A Hero, a zombie manga, and about two pages into the first Game of Thrones book. I’m also reading Bone Gap.

Currently writing: alternate endings to one of my old novels. I don’t know why, it just keeps happening. XD

Currently watching: at this exact moment, The Great British Baking Show. Other things I’m currently watching include final episodes of the current season’s anime shows. And I literally just finished watching Breaking Bad.

Currently obsessed with: “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay. I’ve not heard much by either of these groups, but I do adore this song!!

Currently tired: from my last six full days of work. I’ve been resting today on my one day off today; but I’m tired quite a lot lately. Besides that, my body clock is off since I work mostly night shifts; I’m not out of bed till about ten in the morning, but I don’t head to bed till about two or three in the morning too.

Currently excited: that I get to work with my favorite people tomorrow night! Eileen has basically adopted me as her second daughter and I love working with her. And even on busy hectic nights like Saturday, when I work with Trent and Matt, I know I’ll be laughing and talking about the silliest funnest things!

Currently failing: at getting my bedroom floor picked up. I keep saying I will…but it still hasn’t happened yet. >__>

Currently scaring myself with: the thought of using most of my money I’ve saved and sinking it into a car…and then having the new expenses of insurance, ect. I need to get a vehicle soon though.

Currently stuck in my head: well, see that song up there? It’s really stuck. XD

Currently wishing: that I get a better work schedule next week, with all my friends and homies. XD I love my work family so much!

Currently praying: for family and friends alike, for varying reasons too private to share. But, you know. ❤

~Jamie

6 Fun Interactive Books for Adults


I’ve slowly picked these different books up over the past year and I’ve had so much fun with them that I wanted to write about them! Have you tried any of these out? What are some of your favorite interactive books?

  • Music Listography. This is easily the one I’ve written in most, and my favorite of the Listography books (I’ll be featuring three in this post.) I found it barely used at a thrift shop and it tickled my music-addicted soul pink. There are so many lists to fill out; I’ve loved documenting my favorite songs by decade (90s list is the longest!) I’m taking my time with it, enjoying the questions and pondering which 20 albums WOULD I take to space with me? 😛

  • Me, You, Us. This was designed to do with either a significant other OR with different friends and pals, with a place at the top for the names and date of who you’re talking about. I bought this as something fun to do with my boyfriend as a silly conversation starter and something to bond over or make us think about “us” and it’s terribly fun! I need to have a pack of crayons with me for the next round, because one could easily add on pictures and drawings on each page. I love it!

  • Spirit Listography. I bought this with an amazon gift card; I haven’t looked at it closely, but it’s a mix of intrapersonal reflecting and proactive “make the world a better place” type mix of prompts to list.I’d much prefer more intrapersonal questions to reflect on, but it seems a decent mix. Plus the cover is gorgeously beautiful. I’m happy with it! And in usual Listography fashion, it has the most quaint little illustrations with each list that I enjoy rediscovering as I flip the page.

  • Wreck This Journal. My sister in another state Rebecca bought me this during my first visit to Georgia when we went bookstore prowling together. It was the first time I’d seen it in person and I couldn’t leave it behind. This is as interactive as you can get with a book. It wants you to throw it, tear it, do everything it says on each page and its stupid therapeutic amazing fun! This would be the best thing to take with you on a camping trip even where you can throw it as hard as you like without it sailing into the neighbor’s yard. XD

  • My Future Listography. I’m pretty sure I found this with the music book. Basically, you fill in the different lists about what you hope to do, visit, see, or read, ect. I filled in bits and pieces of it, and have already looked back through and been to checkmark some as done! I like seeing how my wishes or wants change as time goes by too; a perfect little time capsule to remind you what the past you wanted to do, or to see how far you’ve come!

  • The Amazing Story Generator. I love this book; it creates some of the most creative and silly and challenging story prompts ever! I bought it off Amazon with birthday money it’s really fun to keep around for a laugh or challenge! If you’re a by-the-seat-of-your-pants fiction writer, I’d highly recommend for kicking writer’s block in the butt or for a fun random challenge! See picture below for an example of how this book works!

Do you have any favorite interactive books?

~Jamie

My Want-Not-Need Shopping List


juliana rabelo | illustration: ilustrasunday:

  • New cute stationary and cards.
  • Strawberry Lemonade Powerade.
  • Gel pens.
  • A pretty food journal.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy.
  • Too many tapestries to count.
  • Pretty yarn skein combinations for a new blanket project.
  • Hot fudge, for ice cream nights.
  • Dream catchers.
  • Rescue books, from thrift stores.
  • Michiko to Hatchin DVD set.
  • Foaming soap.
  • A bigger writing desk.
  • Yearly zoo or aquarium pass.

You know there’s always a difference between the shopping lists of things we NEED versus the things we WANT. That’s my current WANT list, it was satisfying to write. What’s on your want-not-need list?

~Jamie