Changes I've Been Goin' Through, Part 1-Toya
This is one of my absolute favorite Mary J. Blige songs. I don't have the new record yet. She kinda lost me after Share My World so she is on the "I have to hear 3 singles that I love before I buy it" probationary period. I could not and will not ever be able to tolerate all this "hateration, holleration in this dancery" and I should never be expected to either.
If anyone has noticed, Tia and I have not really written anything for a while outside of pop culture commentary and it is with good reason. I will let Tia speak for herself about her reasons. My reason is because I have debated for weeks whether I was going to bring any of this up. I thought about it long and hard and even contemplated shutting down this blog. Let me interrupt by saying that nothing is wrong with me it's just that I didn't know if I wanted to continue this blog considering the major changes that are going on in my life.
And then I really thought about it at work today. Yes, I got a job and it is at, get this of all places, a CAR REPOSSESSION AGENCY (see the post Yes, He Will if you don't get the irony here). I thought about how there are so many people who I don't know that have written us and have said that they have been encouraged by what we write and our transparency. It's one thing to be transparent on a blog where your face isn't seen. It is however a whole nother thing when you have to be transparent in front of the world, be it on TV, on the radio or on stage and that is what is about to happen in my life for right now because as of about 3 weeks ago I signed a record deal.
(Insert sound of a needle scratching across a record right about here).
If you have been reading this for a while, you may have remember mentioning that I DJed for a former roommate of mine and I honestly did not think that I was going to continue past last year. Then one day I came downstairs and looked at my turntables and realized there was no way that I could sell them. I figured that maybe every now and then I could DJ for some bands around town. Right when I started toying with the idea, I got a call that a label was interested in signing Renee also known as M.O.C. We did a show for the label and then we found that they were interested in signing ALL of us:Renee, Nikki, Beckah (our singer) and me. An all girl hip hop group. An all girl christian hip hop group. I had never been so scared in my entire life.
I was scared because this was not at all a part of my plan. MY plan was to maybe A&R an all female hip hop group or even manage one. Maybe be on the road as a road pastor or road manager for one; not be IN one. Everything was telling me that God had been preparing me for this moment for a very long time and everything in me was telling me that I was not at all worthy of it. I have quite a few friends that have spent their lives working towards getting record deals and here I am, offered one with close to no effort on my part whatsoever. I could write a book about all of the self doubt I have gone through from body image, to guilt; from fear of failure to fear of success; From not wanting my life to change to fear of missing out one of the best opportunities I could have in my life. What it finally came down to was remembering a conversation that I had with a friend of mine named Stephen who is living his dream as front man for one of my favorite bands of all time. Stephen asked me, "If you don't do it and you are 60 years old, will you be pissed that you didn't?" The answer: Heck yeah! I have an opportunity to share an experience with 3 of my closest friends in sharing the love and joy of Jesus Christ to the world through hip hop. It's one thing to have a platform behind this laptop; it's another thing to have a platform that is actually seen by the world.
And I think that God wants to give that to many of us, especially the least likely. I also know that God is doing things in so many of our lives to prepare us for something so beyond what we could ever hope or imagine that if God would tell us even part of it, we would be to scared to breathe let alone move. If God would have told me, "You are going to move from the East Coast where hip hop was born down to (Country)Music City Nashville to be a hip hop artist with a God centered message" I would have never even packed my bags. In what I am as a person, this seems very unlikely but in knowing what God has brought me through, it makes all of the sense in the world.
And because I am not without drama, often self imposed drama, I have had my share of breakdowns and temper tantrums. I got to a point that I just would not talk about it. It just wasn't a reality for me. I was ready for it all to be pulled out from under me. People would come up to me so excitedly and say "Congratulations!" and I would look at them and say "For what?" There would be people that I hadn't seen for a while who would ask what was new and I would just reply "Same old, same old". I just simply would not talk about it outside my very, very close friends and when I did I really didn't talk about it in a positive light. I would not allow myself to enjoy it. I saw this whole thing the same way I often see marriage: I have seen my fair share of marriages (like I have seen my fair share of artists) and I know that most of it is hard work. My sister was under the impression that being signed meant that I was about to be paid and I told her that she needs to stop watching BET and Cribs. When you see new artists videos with all of the jewelry and fancy cars, that junk is rented. Not to mention we all know that 99.99% of the video girls would be no where near those jokers outside of a music video in the first place. But someone pointed out to me that although it is hard work, like marriage, it is to be enjoyed. So now that I have gotten to the point that I have allowed myself to enjoy it, I can talk about it.
So that is the gist. I have A LOT more to write about because I have not journaled at all in my own personal journal about any part of this experience. Like I have said many times before, I am the queen of ignore and deny. The thought of writing about this frightened me because it meant that it was actually happening.
Another reason that I decided to come clean about this is that there are a lot of artists and actors and such with blogs. I am not saying that I am some kind of huge star or anything but I figured if they could do it and not be weirded out by it, I can too.
If I can leave any of you with anything today it is this: You have no idea the great things that God is preparing you for. Through all the heartaches, even through your bad choices and disobedience, God has a plan for your life and it is not some big secret. The plan was already put in place when Jesus came to earth and that is that you would have life more abundantly. I am not saying that everyone will get a record deal. That is not even close to the be all to be all; that is merely a means to an end. What I am saying is that God knows and sees what you are capable of doing and most of the time we don't even see a 1/100th of it inside ourselves. Every day we wake up is a sign that God believes that we can still bring Him glory; that we still have something great to contribute to this world. Think outside of yourselves and allow God's dream to come true through you.