Changing Directions | Making the Turn Anyways

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When it’s time to make a change or turn in your journey, you have to prepare yourself for the turn. Or, you can take the risk of losing control and just moving into your new turn without any warning. The more seasoned and prepared you are for a turn, the easier it is for you to maneuver curves and keep control.

Ever instantly identify a new driver on the road by how they slowly inch towards the turns on the roads? Or the super anxious new drivers who give their parent whiplash by not slowing down and drifting the curves like they’re auditioning for the 20th installment of the Fast and Furious?

The thing is that as long as you don’t crash or hurt yourself, a turn is a turn. A lesson is a lesson. Don’t be afraid to take that turn if you know you can make it. Don’t be embarrassed because you drive slower than molasses to get to the turn. You still got there. You’re still making a move towards somewhere you’ve never seen or experienced.

Regardless of how your change happens, make it happen. Even if you crash, pinpoint what you did wrong and don’t be afraid to get up and try again.

No one asks a driver how they exactly got to a destination. The point is they got there. So, if there is somewhere you want to go that’s off of your “projected” path, take that leap of faith and make the turn. Even if you have to slow down and bit, make the turn. Even if you missed a few of the warning signs that the turn was coming up, if you still can, make the turn.

A change in direction is not a setback if the destination is where you’re meant to be. Make the turn and if it doesn’t work out, it’s now just a path you know not to take anymore.

Signed,

Art Undone

The Art Experience | Finding The Feeling of Freedom

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July 16th was the day I felt freedom for the first time in a long time. In my favorite city of Chicago, sitting on the floor cross-legged, I had a blank canvas in front of me. My friend, Rachael, was already painting. As the “Have a Good Day” Spotify playlist played in the background, I looked at my blank canvas. I had to think. I couldn’t put anything onto the canvas until I had an idea. So, I finally eyed the color that I wanted. It was a beautiful turquoise color. It stood out among the bunch. This was it. I was finally going to paint.

In the corner of my eyes, I see Rachael going to town on her canvas. With little regard to any vision she may have had, she just layers colors on colors. Her fingernails are now a different color with a mixture of acrylic paint slowly drying on her hands as she is in her own world. I’m jealous because I won’t let myself do that. I’m trying to make sure that the paints stay on the clean plate I’ve put a couple dabbles on. The horror to imagine the paint getting into my manicured nails. I don’t know if this will stain or now. So, I carefully caress the canvas with my flathead brush as I cover the canvas with a sea of seawater blue. Every stroke feels like I’m transferring any stress from my body to the canvas. The energy is turned from stress to relief. However, in the corner of my eye, I see Rachael has now taken a cup, mixed with various colors proceeds to pour the entire cup onto the canvas. My GOD! I’m not OCD, but the mess! I’m freaking out in the inside, but more than anything I’m jealous. She’s so free. She is painting to paint without the restrictions of a vision. How ever her canvas turns out, it will be great. It’s a guaranteed masterpiece because of the energy put into.

At this point, I decide to get a little “frisky” and take a copper, metallic paint and softly stroke some on the canvas. It’s always a stroke. Precise and intentional. Boring. It’s okay. I’ve definitely painted something like this before. I know how it’s going to true out before I’m even finished. It’s my usual. It’s creative, but not risky. Just enough not to get me out of my comfortable zone. I don’t know what to do next because although this is quite boring, it’s nice. But, I’m jealous. I’m jealous because I realize I care completely too much. I was so close to asking Rachel to give me another canvas because this one was ugly (more so basic). It wasn’t going to be revived. I almost said that. But, thankfully I did something that I will forever be grateful for.

Taking a note from Rachael, I take all of the colors that spoke to me and I squeezed them on the back of the plate. Then I did something I would NEVER do at home. I took my perfectly structured canvas and splatted the paint on my canvas. And I did it again. And I did it again. And I did it again. When I ran out of paint, I put more on the plate and repeated the process. Every time I splattered the plate onto the canvas, I didn’t know what would happened, but I kept on going. I just did what felt good. I kept on splatting until I was satisfied. Then I looked at my canvas in complete shock. It was nothing I would expect, but it was everything I loved. It was free. It was freedom.

My canvas turned into art because I gave myself the chance to be free for once and not put expectations on the outcome. I did what felt good. I did what felt free. Sitting and looking at my canvas, I couldn’t believe I made something so out of bounds. What a masterpiece. What a mess and a masterpiece at the same time. My hands were now covered with paint. I didn’t even reach for a paper towel. I just asked for another canvas because I wanted to feel that again. I wanted to allow myself to feel and not think. Just do what feels good. Art is about feelings. If you don’t feel when you make it, no matter the sentiment, you aren’t really making Art. So, I attribute July 16th as one of my many recent awakening moments. That’s the night I fell in love with painting because I felt it. So, thank you to Rachael for being fearless and showing me that it’s okay to let loose. Here’s to painting more blank canvases and allowing myself to be free.

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So, whatever makes you feel free, do that.

Signed,

Art Undone

Stop Torturing Yourself

ART - Stop Torturing Yourself.

(Note/Warning: This was definitely a self-read so here’s a look into my stream of consciousness)

At some point, you have to stop torturing yourself. Replaying and internalizing situations that you know are no good for you or are no longer available to you. You have to break up with the ideas of these things happening because at this point you are self-inflicting yourself with wounds that need time to be healed instead of re-opened for more exposure to harmful environments that can cause infections.

Stop putting yourself through voluntary mental warfare just to see if you are progressing. Allow yourself time to fully heal before you voluntarily go back to the battlefield. It’s not helping your healing process.

Sometimes you just need to let things go. I don’t mean storing them in a storage bin in your closet for ‘just in case’ scenarios, I mean take that shit to the city dump, toss it in the pile and never look back. You have to fully let go in order for something new to have the chance to grow. Scabs don’t disappear until you stop messing with them. Cut off all contingency plans and allow yourself to be free. Be free. Take off those mental chains that won’t allow your brain to process new horizons and be completely free of this mental battlefield you don’t even have to fight.

This battle doesn’t have to be fought. You already won the war. You have to get out the mentality of the game and step into something new. Have the audacity to leave the battlefield and never look back. Stop letting the ‘idea’ of someone hurt you. Stop letting the idea of someone hurt you. It’s all in your mind and even if it is true, that’s none of your business. Focus on yourself. Love yourself. Feed yourself. Free yourself.

You were once walking into the jail and closing the door because you liked the familiar surroundings. No longer. We don’t do that any longer. We are freeing ourselves of relying on these made up ideas of others and accepting people for exactly who they are. That doesn’t mean we don’t deal with them, that means that we take away the costume we put on them to make them fit into our life.

So, what are we doing now? We’re also taking off the idea of us that we have hung onto that’s hindering us from growing. We’re being honest with ourselves and loving ourselves for who we are we now, in whatever part of life we are in and not covering ourselves with layer after layer of who we think we are. Instead, we are living our absolute truth and loving on ourselves. The energy we put into creating storylines for the people around us, we’re taking that energy back. We are taking that energy back and putting it into our own mental, emotional and spiritual growth. That cloak of emotional invincibility, we’re taking that off too. We’re going to be honest with our emotions. We’re going to let ourselves feel. We’re going to let out all of those emotions and then, we are getting in the car, going to the city dump and letting all of that shit go. We’re not holding onto emotions for ‘just in case scenarios’. We’re not allowing ourselves that opportunity anymore because better opportunities are worth taking.

So, if you need to heal, take the time to do so. Comfort those demons, but after you’re done, let it go. We’re not going back just to live in the past. We’re not going back just because the feeling of pain feels almost comforting and familiar. Instead, we’re moving forward and letting all those ideas, dreams & detrimental case scenarios go. We’re going to be free. It will be glorious.

Love,

ART Undone

Dear ART at 25

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Dear ART at 25,

Hey Girl! I can’t believe I just typed 25! Woah, it’s crazy how time flies when you’re living life. I feel like we just turned 24! Anywho, here we are, live and in color.

So, ART at 25, I wish this that your 25th year is one of the best years of your life. This past year has definitely been one for the books. It’s been a fun ride that had its twists and turns. You thought you were done learning about yourself, but every day there seems to be more layers to this work of ART.

As you continue to live life, I hope you continue to learn and love yourself a little more every day. Also, don’t be so hard on me and your past. While we have made mistakes, we’ve always tried to do the best we can. It’s a learning process. You’ll make mistakes this year and possibly let yourself down in a few areas, but the good news is that if you stay true to yourself, you’ll make a way through.

Even better news, I’ve set you up for the ultimate come up! You know what you have to do, you just have to do it. Don’t spend so much time pondering what needs to be done. JUST. DO. IT. Yes, get up and do it and stop talking yourself out of your greatness. I may not have made every layup, but I have the ball in the air; All you have to do is catch it.

Side note: you know that one thing you ridiculously afraid of failing at? Do it anyways.

This year, I hope you surprise yourself. I hope you exceed every expectation you once had of yourself. I hope you get out of that comfort zone and rise to the occasion. You are gathering all the tools you need for your journey, the only thing that is missing is you putting your all into it. I hope you decide that you deserve to give life your full court press.

It’s important to remember that you’re not always going to be at 100%. Sometimes, you’ll be operating at a much lower level. That’s completely okay. It’s okay to do something, instead of nothing at all. Stop holding yourself back. Progression over Perfection.

Let’s not forget: No matter how strong you are, you didn’t get here on your own. You have been blessed with an amazing support group that shows up and shows out for you constantly. Don’t take them for granted. They have helped you grow exponentially. It still takes a team. Nurture those relationships.

Also, don’t forget to make yourself smile. I see some new things entering your life. Remember that the essence of ART is ART. Don’t forget about ART. Love her. Cherish her. Appreciate her and all her forms.

Remember, instant gratification is a sham. Save your coins so you can take even more trips.

Finally, just do the best you can with what you have. Cherish your family. Save your coins. Read more. Please read more. I can feel that this upcoming ART year is going to everything you could ever want in the best possible way. Get ready girl, because your future is BRIGHT and ready to shine.

I love you girl, don’t you ever forget it.

Love,

ART at 24

P.S. This year was LIT! Don’t let anyone tell you different. You lived your best life as ART at 24. Doors have opened that you have never even thought of and more great surprises are on their way!

P.S…. Every day the world is changing more than we ever thought it would. In some ways, it can be very terrifying. Please don’t forget that there are good people out there. Remember that you are one of them. Don’t compromise your truth for temporary gain or satisfaction.

Computer Love | Hitting Reset

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Has your computer ever start ‘failing’ you while you’re hard at work typing your heart out?  You have all your current tabs open and you’re working, but minute by minute, your computer is starting to malfunction. You have everything you need open and you’re working hard, but your computer is responding slower with every click. You get the same “time for an update” notification that you’ve ignored for over a week. You ignore it. You figure you can push through a little bit more and your computer won’t let you down. You are doing everything in your power not to have to restart your entire laptop, but you know and your computer knows that it’s inevitable. Just your luck, right?

Well, here’s the thing: Once you update your computer, you know it will work that much better. The update will also give you a clean slate to start on. You probably didn’t need all those tabs open anyways.  Even if you get the “restore all tabs” once you reboot, you’ll be more cognizant of overloading your computer the next go around because you remember how it felt to have start all over again because of the last reset.

So, ART, what the heck are you talking about? Are you really writing about a computer upgrade!?!

Just follow me… Imagine, your mind is the computer. While you may be the latest and greatest version, at some point, you’ll need to restart your computer and update (or reset). Imagine the tabs and programs are tasks and thoughts in your head. While you may be able to contain and process many things at a time, if you overload your computer, usually one of two things will happen: the computer will slow down and completely stop working (forcing an involuntary shutdown and reset) or voluntary shutdown and restart because you have taken the ‘power’ in your own hands. The choice is yours. It’s imperative to pay attention to the signals and know when to reset and when to keep going. Taking care of your ‘computer’ is the same thing as taking care of yourself.

More specifically, realize that sometimes you need a fresh start to operate better. It’s all great and dandy to be able to exit out of a couple ancillary tabs and keep it moving, however, a complete reboot comes with a clear mind.

If you find yourself working on a project for an extended amount of time and nothing is going how you imagined it in your head after multiple attempts or you see yourself slowing down drastically, don’t be afraid to completely shut it down and refresh. Yes, updating means you are completely taken out of your zone. However, this gives you a chance to come back with a clear head and fresh approach. Yes, time will keep moving and you may feel idle while everything is updating; However, tell me what’s better than logging onto your computer after an update with a clear screen and a clear mind? Also, the time you’ve had to wait and reset can offer new benefits you never knew you needed. Timing is everything.

So, go ahead and give your computer some love! Hit that reset button and update. Tell me how it goes :-).

Signed,

ART finally resetting

Fun Gone Wrong | I Got Stuck In The Pits of Hell!

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I got stuck in the pits of hell. Don’t be me.

I don’t think I’ve ever been claustrophobic, but I can tell you I was close to the edge. *Cues Lil Uzi ‘XO Tour Life. I’d been in the freaking foam pit for approximately 30 seconds, but it seemed like an hour. Without even thinking, I jumped into the foam pit at Sky Zone. Immediately surrounded by an insane amount of foam squares, I couldn’t feel my feet. Well, I could feel them, but standing was an issue. I instantly regretted my spare of the moment “brilliant” idea to jump into the foam pit. Also, forgetting to realize that I’m a big ting that wouldn’t just float on foam!

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Immediately deciding I didn’t like my predicament, I tried to walk to the to the edge of the trampoline where I could climb out. Nothing moved but my roots, which started to sweat out my silk press. So, I started to panic. I tried to step on the form squares and push myself upwards. NOTHING. At this point, I’m completely freaking out. I see the trifling worker looking at me like, “I don’t get paid enough to have those problems”.

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Ugh! All, I was thinking at this point is that I need to get the hell out of here and right now. I tried a couple different techniques in a rush to free myself from the pits of hell and…NOTHING. Your girl was shooketh to the core. I felt hopeless. So, how am I here today…

By the grace of God and whatever angels may have been looking out for me, I told myself to calm down. Breath in. Breath Out. Now, think. And that’s exactly what I did, I calmed down and thought about the most feasible way to get out the pits of hell. About 30 seconds (or more, who’s counting?), I was freed from the pits of hell and I never ever looked back or jumped into another foam pit. I swear, I’ve never felt so relieved in my life.

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Moral of my horrific story? When life throws you into the pits of hell and all hope seems to be lost, you need to calm tf down and think. While we are trying to better our situations as soon as possible, the urgency to change our predicament causes us to act without thinking. With no time to think, we usually make mistakes we normally wouldn’t make with a little pre-planning and quick thinking. No, I didn’t stay in the pits of hell for 10 minutes whining and thinking, I took a second to gather myself and thought of an efficient exit plan.

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So, don’t be like me. Instead of panicking and simmering in the pits of hell, keep calm and plan your exit.

Signed,

ART never jumping in a Foam Pit

Turks & Caicos | Banana Bread & Cocoa Men

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Hello! Here’s a journal entry on my time in the Turks & Caicos. Enjoy!

We’re at the airport waiting for our plane to leave from Turks & Caicos. While I’m extremely sad to leave, this has been a relaxing, interesting and fun vacation. Turks & Caicos is filled with beautiful men and even better views. Gosh, the water is so blue! I could see my manicure gleaming underneath the water.

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Out of everything, I think my favorite part had to be the water. Moving so weightless in the water is one of the most beautiful and invigorating things I’ve ever experienced. From swaying to dancing to just staring at the endless sea of blue, I could stay in the water for hours. It’s so calming and instantly takes all your worries away. I tried to create this feeling of urgency as I was floating, but it just wouldn’t happen. I was just so relaxed. The water would only allow me to breathe and keep my head above water. Every worry and thought just melted away.

The locals were all so kind and helpful. Bartender bae. Lawd, I definitely have a type. A dark chocolate man with a beautiful smile gets me EVERY TIME. Your girl realized how easy it was for her to get back in the grove of flirting. We also met this really nice older taxi man who hooked us up with a discount and took us to a restaurant. I now have a connect in the Turks & Caicos! Ayee! I have no complaints.

This one man yelled from the boat, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The Lord is my Shepard and I see what I want”. Without fail, the islands remind me who the heck I am…. As if I ever forgot. 🙂

Anywho, so omg! I went parasailing! Thank God for the kind cutie on the parasail boat who took pictures for me because Nanny did NOT come through for your girl lol.

20171126_123952While the Turks & Caicos is known for being extremely expensive, we stayed on quite a tight budget and made it work. The best thing about traveling with family is that we work as a team. We had a very successful trip for around $600 for two people… wow, right? Let me explain…

We didn’t rent a car, the resort had free bikes for that we could check out for up to 2 hours at a time. On Sunday, I went parasailing and Nanny just stayed on the boat. For the parasailing and Nanny staying on the boat, the total was $115, including tip. It was definitely worth it. I stayed in the air for a while and the view was beyond breathtaking.

Sunday, we took a bike ride to the grocery store and spent $70 on breakfast foods and some lunch food. Also note, since we flew Southwest, we got to bring 2 free checked bags, so we were able to bring some breakfast cereal, snacks, and water in our suitcases. That definitely cut costs. We had some unexpected things come up so having food for breakfast and lunch was clutch.

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Also, we found this great ice cream and Jamaican food parlor that had beef patties, banana bread and some other stuff for cheap that was fresh. The banana bread was EVERYTHING! It was also my first time having Beef Patties, but they were fresh and delicioso! Haha! The parlor was on the way to the hotel from the grocery store so we were able to get a very inexpensive lunch and move on to the beach.

While the weather can get really hot, the bike ride to the grocery store and shopping areas is a pretty nice one. It was just great vibes.

Coco Bistro was a great restaurant to eat at and the most expensive for our trip. We spent $100 there, but it was well worth it. I can definitely see how people can easily spend over a $1,000 per person on the island. Turks and Caicos has a lot of great options for food, but since everything is imported, the prices can add up quickly, especially with a 12% tax and gratuity.

But anywho, Turks and Caicos owes me NOTHING! I had an amazing time and I look forward to coming back and enjoy this great island…

P.S. A good travel partner is key to a good trip and I just so happen to have a soulmate as a travel partner! My beautiful Nanny!

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Let me know if you have any questions, I’d be glad to help out! Check out my blog about traveling solo!

Signed,

ART simply in Cocoa Heaven

Traveling Solo | You Can Do It Too

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I love traveling. I love traveling so much that I don’t have time to wait for my friends to get on board.

So, let’s talk about solo traveling. First and foremost, it’s the best! Traveling by yourself means that everything is in your hands. Depending on the reasoning of your trip, you can decide on what kind of vacation you want. Do you want to sleep all day? Do you want to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the best view of the ocean? Either way, wherever you are, you don’t have the pressure of being on anyone else’s time, except dinner reservations! Now, let’s talk about how you can make sure your solo trips are that much better!

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Google Maps!

I may be late to the game, but Google Maps is definitely bae when you are traveling. Once you have solidified where you are staying, you can create a map of all the places you want to go around your area. Especially if you aren’t renting a car, safety is very important when you are traveling alone. Creating a private list of your destination with restaurants, activities and shopping places will help you plan out your days better. For instance, if you want to get breakfast, watch the sunrise and go to a museum, you can visualize the path, where you can walk and when you may need to catch an Uber. Google maps is also good at showing you ratings and gives you easy access to your plan right in your phone compared to pulling out an itinerary, etc. Did I mention easy access to reviews!?!

Tripods

Tired of the same angled selfies that only capture part of your face and part of the thing you’re trying to show everyone? You can get a tripod for $20 on Amazon, with a Bluetooth remote. It will honestly and truly change your life. Yes, some people may look at you crazy, but who cares if your photos come out good and you have better memories than an awkward selfie. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with a nice selfie, but let’s upgrade our catalog! Plus, it’s always awkward asking a stranger to take your picture, especially if you’re picky!

Uber Eats/ Delivery is your friend

There is nothing like trying new restaurants when you’re traveling, but as it gets dark, it may not be the best decision to walk around a new city late at night. You can knock off some of the restaurants on your Google Maps lists right in the comfort of your hotel or Airbnb. Yes, this is a risk, but it is also a risk going out super late by yourself. Also, breakfast in bed is a treat and may be cheaper than ordering room service with the added-on fees 😊.

WAKE.UP. EARLY.

As an advocate for sleeping in, waking up early is definitely not my favorite thing to do. However, on vacation, waking up early can get you more bang for your buck on vacation. If you are in a very busy city, waking up early may get you some of the more sought-after attractions all to yourself. Just sacrifice a couple of hours and take a nap after lunchtime. It will be worth it.

Last but not least, HAVE FUN

You’re in a new place and it’s your personal playground. Learn how to roll with the punches and make the best of your situation. There is no point in dwelling on things not going exactly how you planned.

BREATH. ADJUST. OPTIMIZE. Optimize your experience regardless of the obstacles. As long as you feel safe, even a vacation around your hotel or Airbnb can be one to remember.

Signed,

ART simply trying to catch a flight 😊.