Video by Reuben Dubscience Greene

Check out Brand Nubian’s recent performance in Baltimore at The Bambou courtesy of Speakerbox Magazine’s own Reuben “Dubscience” Greene.



light 1The thing I remember most about my ex-fiance hitting me (strangely enough) is the light. Or, as I officially refer to it, “The Light”.

RVB de baseThat’s not to say I don’t remember other things. I remember him yelling at me. I remember him calling me names, using all the things he knew about my weaknesses against me, to tear me down and make me feel small. I remember feeling ill-equipped to deal with these things. I grew up in a home where voices were NEVER raised, where I was never physically disciplined at all for any reason. I was totally unfamiliar with this kind of rage, with this kind of fear, with this kind of harsh and violent response to anything. I had not been taught to fight as a child – I never had to. I never had to protect myself from anything or anyone – at least not my close loved ones. So when he cursed and yelled and accused me of all sorts of things I hadn’t done, it was like a foreign language to me. But his raised fist crashing down on my face always broke through the language barrier.

And that was always when The Light came.

light 3It was a tremendous flash of the brightest light that would come as I squeezed my eyes tightly just before he would strike me. Just as the force of the blow took place, the burst of brilliance would leap from my brain and explode in front of the insides of my eyelids. It was as if the impact of him hitting me was a light switch, and just as my eyelids pressed themselves as tightly together as they could, The Light flooded in. It was a thousand times brighter than any lightning I had ever seen, much brighter than any spotlight or any explosion or anything I had ever seen or heard about. Sometimes the burst would be full of bright colors like some kind of discordant rainbow that had gone horribly astray, but when he hit me the hardest it was always sharp super-white bright light. And he always made a point to hit me hard, so usually the bright white light was what I saw when I shut my eyes. In fact I could shut my eyes so tightly even tears couldn’t escape them, and I could see the light through the tears trapped inside my eyelids, and the tears seemed to magnify The Light, and it would seem to grow bigger and brighter, and it seemed to move towards me as if it was trying to swallow me whole.light 5

The Light was how I knew he’d hit me. It was never the pain that immediately followed, or the blood that would begin pouring from whatever wounds he inflicted. It was the light. The light was what frightened me. Because I knew on the other side of The Light was pain, and hurt, and bruises, and swelling and lies about what had happened to me. Sometimes if he’d hit me hard enough The Light would seem like it was leading to me the other side of some great divide, almost as if I was dying and heading towards Heaven. But I never died, ever. At least not permanently. The Light never took me away from the horrors being inflicted on me. The Light never freed me from my hurt. It just illuminated it, and made me fearful and afraid and unwilling to even try to defend myself by fighting back.

light 4 with person

As the abuse continued, I found that bright light to be what I was most afraid of. The Light was what I wanted to keep away from me. When I would cry out, it wasn’t always in pain – it was often in fear of The Light consuming me. To this day, when a man yells at me, I can see The Light in my mind’s eye, and it still frightens me as much as it ever did.

To this day, I am still fearful of The Light.



kindness 1So, after experiencing a lot of painful, angry, difficult, and downright devastating actions and words from the opposite sex, (ESPECIALLY THE PAST FEW WEEKS), and giving all of these experiences a lot of thought, analysis, and consideration, I think I’ve finally figured out the issue I’m having with the men in my circle right now.

It is the absence of kindness.

kindness 2

I am a kind person. It’s not always a good thing, but it Is who I am. When I say I am a kind person, this is not to say I am kind all the time. When I am hurt, angry, or feel I have been wronged, I am not always kind, though I try to be. But I do fail at times. I say hurtful things. I lash out. But once that flash is gone (and it never stays for long), I am back to being the kind person I truly am. And I am not just kind as some sort of saintly unselfish act. I enjoy kindness…I like the sensations being a kind person gives me. I like the way kindness feels in my soul, in my spirit. I like the softness of it, the gentleness, the warmth it conveys. I like the connections it helps me make to people. I like the way it helps me combat my awkward shyness. I like how people open up to me when they sense my kind nature, and I enjoy the closeness that it encourages. For all these reasons I try to keep as much kindness as I can as close to me as I can.

kindness 3

Of late, I have been hard pressed to find kindness from the men in my life — friends, lovers, and others. These are men I have consistently been as kind to as I know how. Now some may say I should not expect kindness from anyone I’ve extended it to. I’ve never been part of that bullshit “no-expectation having” camp. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing wrong with having expectations of how others interact with you and holding your interactions with them to similar standards – it is called reciprocity and its a good thing.

But back to kindness.

kindness 4

Not only have I been hard pressed to find kindness in the men in my life, what I have found in its place are lots of reasons why they refuse to be kind. The reasons come together and make a stew full of chunks of misogyny, bitterness, grudge holding, hurt feelings, selfishness, misunderstandings, an inability to consider someone else’s perspective, and absence of clear honest communication. But when its all said and done, kindness is absent.

And it hurts.

Instead I find men who actually look for reasons to not be kind — especially to women. Whether its “why should I just because she’s a girl” or “she shouldn’t feel so entitled” or “she needs to be taken down a notch anyway” or “she made me mad so fuck her” (no matter what happened to make her angry), or “why should I do what she wants just because she wants it”, more and more I’m finding men with very little ability to be kind.kindness 5

Now maybe kindness isn’t a very valued commodity among men these days. But I thought men were kind to those they cared for, those they valued, those they loved. But I am finding men in my life have lost their ability to be kind to me, in spite of the many ways I’ve been kind to them, even when I didn’t want to. More and more I’m finding men who have no problem with explaining exactly why they just will NOT extend kindness to women…period. It is almost as if they’ve decided to teach us women a lesson by taking away the one thing that when they do it, makes us most happy — being kind. And a kind man is such an amazingly beautiful thing to a woman.

This is particularly hurtful for me because most of the men in my circle had always been exceptionally kind to me. They extended themselves to me time and time again. Friends, lovers, and others. They just treated me with so much care, and I love them all for it. I’ve felt like I was buoyed along in life with their always-present compassion, empathy, and assistance. They’ve talked to me at 3 a.m., or let me cry on their shoulder, or paid on my cell phone bill when I was short, or made soup for me when I was sick, or picked up my kids from school. Or I’ve watched them extend extraordinary kindnesses to others that I have witnessed. But suddenly, out of nowhere, these men simply do not want to be kind. I miss their kindness tremendously, and I fear them now in a way. My awareness of their lack of ability to be kind causes me to put them at a distance. Their resentment of women is palpable. I feel their bitterness When I talk to them, it rises up out of their cruel words and stinks, or their silent refusal to be kind to me poisons my well and makes my waters unclean. And I don’t know what to do.

kindness 6

I am not perfect, as I said earlier. But if that is a requirement for kindness from those who claim to love you, we will all shit on each other endlessly all the time. I miss the kind men who were in my life, who made my life happy, who made me smile, who I could think about when I would hear women say “there are no good men out here.” If you are a man who is kind to a woman just because…I beg of you to please continue to treat us well. Make that your personal standard – not based upon who the woman is, but based upon who you are.

And please introduce yourself to me, because I need to see you too.

Saying Yes…

Inspired by Jonathan.

This is a post about saying yes.

yes in clouds

In the very late spring of 2012, a young man struck up a conversation with me on Facebook. I’d seen his name in discussions and under comments made by mutual friends we had – and we had quite a few mutual friends. I don’t usually engage in conversations with people I don’t know who randomly hit me up on social media. And I was in the midst of a really bad breakup at the time and just didn’t want to be bothered. For those two reasons, I initially decided to blow him off. As he introduced himself, I prepared myself to be coldly polite but uninviting.

no face

But then I did something unusual. I ignored my logical rational self and said yes. And I talked to him.


I found I enjoyed talking to him. He was intelligent and interesting and funny and quirky and nerdy like me. We both loved food and music and the arts. We talked for weeks and weeks. I found talking to him to be a welcome distraction from my broken heart, and I looked forward to our conversations. He let me rant and rave and cry about how I was hurting, and he became part of my healing. He was very gentle with me, never applying any pressure or pushing me in any way. It was if he knew how fragile I was at the time, and he was going to make sure he didn’t damage me in any way.

As summer started drawing to a close, he asked me out on a date. Now while I might have agreed to becoming Facebook chat buddies, I definitely wasn’t going to go on a date with him. And to make matters worse, he had the exact same birthdate (both born on 2/16) as my ex did. I was so traumatized from my ex that I couldn’t imagine dating a man with the same birthday. I felt it was a sign. I had put Aquarians on my list of Zodiac signs to never date. I was all prepared to turn him down.

no with hand

But then I did something unusual. I ignored my logical rational self and said yes. And we went on a date.

yes with checkbox

We met for drinks, which became dinner. We walked through the streets of town, talking and talking like old friends with a lot to catch up on. It was wonderful. It was beautiful – right up until I asked how old he was. It turned out that he was a LOT younger than me. He knew I was a few years older than him, but insisted he didn’t expect me to be significantly older. We exchanged driver’s licenses, both shocked and at a loss for words as we compared our birth years. I did all kinds of equations in my head, calculating how old I was when he went to kindergarten, how old he was when I got my first job, how old I was when he graduated high school, etc. But he said he did not care, and asked when he could see me again. I knew I couldn’t date someone so much younger. It wasn’t a smart move to get into something that couldn’t possibly sustain itself. I approved of all the good common sense ringing through my head.

nope neon

But then I did something unusual. I ignored my logical rational self and said yes. And I agreed to our second date.

We continued to date, and eventually our dating became a relationship. We were very happy together for a while.

After being together a few months, we had a break up that I honestly thought we would not recover from as he left town for work. I agonized when we parted, and coupled with the previous breakup, I felt supremely defeated when it came to matters of the heart. I was dying inside and very lonely. Worst of all, I was angry that he’d taken me through this, especially after knowing how wounded I was when we met. I hated all those yeses I had just thrown about willy-nilly to be with him. Yes. Yes. Yes. Over and over again. Hadn’t my last relationship taught me anything? Had I said no to that asshole, I wouldn’t be the wreck I was now. All I needed was to have used my no, but I hadn’t. And now I was a mess.

what part of no

But after a few months of us being apart, he contacted me, asking if we could try to reconcile and be together again, saying he missed me and missed us and didn’t want to continue on without me in his life.

I wanted to turn him down. I wanted to send him away. How dare he! I didn’t do that kind of thing – take men back after they’d decided they didn’t want me anymore. Once I was gone I stayed gone. A man lucky enough to have me should get it right the first time, and not assume they could come back to me after some epiphany. I was going to tell him hell no, he couldn’t come back after he’d hurt me like he had, especially after knowing all my history.  I yelled at him. I cursed at him. I cried. I prepared my “go to hell” speech.

no red pencil

But then I did something unusual. I ignored my logical rational self and said yes. I agreed to try to work things out with him.

I’m so thankful that I did, because we’ve been together and happy ever since. From the outside looking in, it makes absolutely no sense. It shouldn’t work. It looks strange as hell. He and I shouldn’t fit. We are two opposite ends of all kinds of spectrums. He is young, me not as much. He is hyper, I’m laid back. He is gregarious and outgoing, I’m more introverted. Even our complexions are opposites. But it works. We work. He and I as a couple make perfect illogical sense.

the odd couple

The moral of this story is that you have to say yes to things sometimes that from the outside looking in you think you should say no to. Every yes I said to that man was scary. Every yes I said to that man was said while my brain was screaming no. Every yes I said to that man was the opposite of what I was “supposed” to do. Every yes I said to that man made me uncomfortable, and made me face my fears about myself and my deepest insecurities. Every yes I said to that man challenged the stories I’d always told myself about why my relationships never seemed to work. But ultimately saying yes to that man instead of saying no brought me what I said I always wanted, though it looked nothing like I thought it would (which means I wouldn’t have recognized it anyway so it’s just as well.)

say yes to me

The tricky part of course is knowing what no things you should say yes to. The best recommendation I can make is that having as little fear as possible helps when considering a yes when you might have said no. Saying no to things comes from fear – fear of what we may lose, fear of what may happen to us, fear of experiencing things we don’t want to experience. We protect ourselves by saying no. I understand that, because I’ve done it. But you have to reach a point where you feel like your no doesn’t work for your life anymore. You have to believe your no is doing you more harm than good. You have to see your no as a deterrent to your life, not a protector of it. I have said no to a lot of things, and I can’t point to anything that I am absolutely sure my no gave me that improved my life. Sure, MAYBE it saved me from something, but I can’t say that with any certainty. But for all the no no no I’ve been doing, I should have something to show for it. You should too. Do you? So why not try something else, like a yes? Was me saying yes a risk? Sure. But I was sure risking nothing was giving me just that – nothing. Once I wasn’t afraid of whatever the yes brought me, even if it was not pleasant, I didn’t run from it. I embraced it. So you have to get fed up with your no before you can let it go.

Are you fed up with your no yet?





Six Things The City of Baltimore Must Do If It Really Wants To Improve


1.    Elect a mayor with passion and vision for the city.
City leadership has become shamefully staid, almost as if they are bored with running this city, particularly our city’s mayor. She seems to be asleep at the wheel and looks absolutely irritated when I see her at press conferences, as if governing the city was taking her away from some vitally important mani/pedi appointment. Where are the leaders who clearly love the city, who have crabmeat and Old Bay seasoning running through their veins? Where are the passionate Baltimore mayors who grew up here, spent key years of their lives here, the ones who love every dysfunctional corner of this town from the junkies in front of Lexington Market to the lines of folks out on Pulaski Highway getting pit beef sandwiches as the aroma assaults their noses?

William_Donald_Schaefer  clarence du burns Kurtschmoke

Whether I agreed with Mayor Schaefer, Burns, or Schmoke’s policies during their respective tenures as mayor, I always knew they LOVED Baltimore and they truly felt their policies would better the city. This city MUST FIND leadership who isn’t solely dedicated to securing their next political positions, and who is firmly focused on Baltimore’s present and future, not just their own. When I see this city’s next mayor on television, I want to see the fire in their eyes and hear the zeal in their voices when they speak about this city. Fervor is what I want from this city’s next mayor. I want a mayor unabashedly in love with the city and unwilling to let it down.

2.    Keeping graduates of local colleges/universities in the city.
coppin Johns_Hopkins_University's_Academic_Seal loyola MICA_Logo morgan Peabody_Institute

Baltimore attracts tens of thousands of young adults to attend the numerous colleges and universities in the area. This includes a Catholic institution (Loyola), two HBCUs (Morgan — which graduates the largest number of African American engineers in the nation and Coppin), one of nation’s finest music schools (Peabody), one of the nation’s finest art schools (MICA), and one of the nation’s finest medical schools (Hopkins). But if you check out the numbers of the out-of-state graduates who stay in the Baltimore metropolitan area once they graduate, you’ll find very few do. You mean to tell me these students spend at least four years in this area pursuing their education, and often become involved in the area’s nightlife and culture, and nothing in that time spent here makes them want to stay? These young adults are exactly the types of people who would make good citizens of this city – college educated, highly trained and skilled, and career oriented in many cases. Baltimore needs to do a much better job of encouraging these people to stay and take root in the city. Their new blood and fresh perspectives on the city as people who aren’t as enmeshed in the city are vital if Baltimore wants to move successfully further into the 21st century.

3.    Long term improvements in the city’s public school system.

baltimore city public school building
It makes me so angry when I hear all of this talk about attracting people into the city to live without any real discussion about improvements to the school system across the board for the long term. The city seems to enjoy forgetting that while singles who enjoy urban living might find Baltimore a hip, fun place to be at first (which it can be) will sing a different tune the minute they marry and start families. With some quick Googling, they will quickly discover just how poorly the schools in the city perform. They realize a good deal of their financial resources must be spent avoiding Baltimore City Public Schools if they want their kids educated and not assaulted – resources they discover they don’t have once they check the tuition at Gilman or Garrison Forest School. Most city public schools simply do lousy jobs at educating children, point blank period.

baltimore city public schools

There is the occasional elementary school that happens to be cloistered away in a “good” neighborhood, but those neighborhoods are hard to find permanent housing in for that reason. So these dual income households, the very types of tax-paying households the city is in dire need of leave the city because they cannot find suitable free education for their children. Until the city can offer a school system that offers a quality free education, no one is going to stay here and subject their children to the piss-poor schools this city has if they don’t have to. But how seriously can a city take improving education when one of its former mayors manages to “lose” over $50 million dollars out of its education budget?

4.    Realistic real estate development that includes affordable housing projects.
I get that the multi-million dollar harbor side real estate developments are sexy and hot looking, overflowing with amenities like Starbucks lattes on tap and organic free range chicken boxes (or so I’ve heard).  But I always wonder what makes these real estate developers think there is a sustainable market for these million dollar plus units in this area.


I mean, do they really look at the population of this city in a realistic way? How do they conclude that there is a great need for luxury condos starting in the millions, and luxury apartments that start at over fifiteen hundred dollars a month? Really though?  Where is the pool of folks in this area that can afford those digs?  Those that can afford them tend to be a transient group because they often have careers that take them from one city to another, seeking opportunities to be more upwardly mobile, build their resumes, and earn more money. This means they move out of these units after a year or two. For the onest that stay,  as soon as those folks need to educate their children, they check out the aforementioned tuitions at the local private schools and figure why not move a few miles down the road and have their kids attend high quality public schools in other parts of Maryland or Northern Virginia? Then the developments are occupied way below capacity, are auctioned off at bargain basement prices that average Baltimoreans still can’t afford, and eventually become beautiful half-empty buildings.

affordable housing 2 Michael Barland and Kevin Bell

Of course affordable housing isn’t this glamorous thing – it’s not sexy, but it is necessary. It is the type of real estate development that could go a long way towards stabilizing the city by providing real homes for mid-level income earning tax-paying citizens who aren’t on the kind of career fast tracks that require moving around a lot, and are looking for stability and a home in Baltimore (especially if done in concert with #3.) But even affordable housing cannot be successfully created in troubled neighborhoods without making some effort to address that neighborhood’s issues. Real estate developers tackling affordable housing development in this city are going to have to look at the neighborhoods that are still at least somewhat stable and viable (“buffer neighborhoods” if you will), place projects in those neighborhoods, and create larger regions of more stable areas that can grow out from those core “buffer” zones, and slowly impact the more troubled neighborhoods by making them smaller by increasing the size of the safer “buffer neighborhoods” little by little. I see “affordable housing” being attempted in some super-high crime areas of the city and it makes absolutely no sense. The houses will remain vacant because those who can afford them still won’t live in them.

5.    Massive, properly funded, fully supported and spearheaded, and  effective programs to address the city’s drug addicted population.
Conservative estimates say ten percent of this city’s population is addicted to heroin. Keep in mind that’s just ONE drug, and that also means that conservatively, there are roughly 60,000 heroin addicts in Baltimore right now. As much as the non-addicted population likes to pooh-pooh the staggering junkie leaning folks that move through the city’s streets, this is the very population that wreaks havoc on thecity internally and externally, both in public and in private, in part  because they have very few treatment options available. They drain the city’s resources with their health care needs and their use of other federal and state resources with no end in sight because there is no rehabilitation in sight, and the few treatment options available to the general public are overburdened. In fact, the corner considered the most dangerous in the country in a recent study of crime nationwide, the corner of Gay Street and North Avenue in East Baltimore, zip code 21213, is home to one of the city’s most popular free drug treatment clinics.

methadone clinic

Whether it is the functional addict who is poorly performing at whatever job he/she has managed to hang onto through their addiction, or the long-term addict who has relied on crime to feed their addictions, this city
simply cannot afford to lose ten percent of its human resources. There is too much work to be done and we need ALL hands on deck. Drug addiction is killing this city and draining it of hard-working, tax-paying people that are vital to the city. Continuing to not acknowledge that a huge commitment of resources needs to go to this problem is doing this city a HUGE disservice — especially in a city whose major employers and real estate owners are hospitals whose facilities stand right in the middle of many of the communities being strangled by the outcomes from its citizen’s untreated drug addictions.

6.    Re-funding of youth centers and programs for at-risk youth/young adults

Crime crime crime. Yeah, the city’s got it. Sure there are lots of things that could be done that might provide relief. But if I had to put my efforts into a single enterprise with an eye towards reducing crime, I would pick this one. We need the rec centers back. ALL OF THEM. And we need them staying open LATE, until midnight during the summer months when school was out like they used to. We need BNBL (Baltimore Neighborhood Basketball League for those too young to remember) back. We need summer job programs back. We need someone to finally build a legitimate sizeable dirt bike course so these kids could at least have the option of racing there. We need every type of program that directs youth’s energies to positive things. We need everyone involved, from the big area businesses to the small ones. It kills me that these are the first programs to go when the cutting budget time goes, but a youth jail miraculously appears in the place of these things. You have no idea what could be avoided if a young man could say to his friends, “nah man, I’m going up to the rec. I’ll get at y’all lata.” So please give them other options.

rec center

Just my two cents mind you. What do you recommend?


Thanks to everyone who supported “Tula Talks” in 2013. Yes I will be writing more here this  year, but I wanted to give you some numbers to show how supportive (nosy) you all have been!

For example…

This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2013. A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

May I continue to be as brave and open in my writing in 2014, and may all of you, and even more of you, continue to be supportive (nosy) in 2014!


TULA TALKS IN 2013 — Stats from Word Press!

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 In Review — I’m BBBAAADDDDDD!!!

In spite of the way some people pooh-pooh New Year’s resolutions, I’m not a person who does that. I’m down for anyone seeking self-improvement, and if you need the calendar to motivate your self-improvement, cool. It doesn’t even bother me that a lot of people who start out seeking self-improvement in the New Year don’t get very far, because there are one or two who will get far, and it is important those people do what they do. Like many people, I tend to reflect on the past year and look at how I want to move forward, if for no other reason to seek the lessons the previous 365 days sought to teach me. And after careful thought and consideration to the hand 2013 dealt me, the lesson that was meant for me was that I can have unshakable faith in myself in every aspect of my life. 2013 showed me that I am truly a self-sufficient, highly resourceful person. I really can handle anything life throws at me successfully, without losing my mind, my soul, or my peace of mind. 2013 even showed me that I am more capable that many people I think very highly of and who I am aligned with at times, and that it is okay for me to step around less capable individuals to take a leadership role and move forward if that is the only way forward movement and positive growth can take place. 2013 showed me that the next step in my evolution means fully stepping into the foreground of every part of my existence and fully demonstrating just how capable I am – even if doing that makes others uncomfortable. And it will make others uncomfortable, which is part of the challenge I face.

am i making you uncomfortableI’m not a confrontational person. I don’t run from confrontations like I once did, but I don’t seek them out either. I’m not a person who spends a lot of time trying to convince others that I’m right. Typically I’m a person who holds their tongue and carefully considers every aspect of something before I speak on it, and once I do, I am very careful, direct and precise on what I have to say. As a result, there are oftentimes I take way too long dealing with something because I am spending so much time carefully considering every single thing. This is not to say I need to make snap judgments in the coming year, but I must admit oftentimes my “careful consideration” of things was just me avoiding conflict with someone who I knew full well was going down a path that wasn’t going to be a good one for me. I knew it was gonna be bad, and I just didn’t say shit because I called myself not rushing to make judgments. As a person who is going to have full faith in my self-sufficiency in 2014, including my own judgment, I will not be dragging my feet when it comes to those types of situations. People so often say “don’t judge me” these days, but judgment is a necessary component of effective decision making. You have to look at things, and decide things, and choose things based on judgments you make. So in 2014 I will be more decisive and clear and swift in my decision making when it is appropriate to do so.

Decisions sign in the sky

Another aspect of my life where I am going to step into my faith in myself is my performing and writing. I have not always had the most confidence in my writing voice and my performing style for various reasons – the primary reason being that I didn’t see myself in many of the other artists I admire or that I think are good. And because I wasn’t like them, I thought I wasn’t as good as them, or that I could be as good as them. But 2013 has shown me why my voice is different, and that difference doesn’t mean less skill or talent. I get why I’m different than them, and that difference is my greatest strength. My lack of ability to be ashamed of much of anything I’ve said or done is what makes me a force to be reckoned with when I step fully into my power onstage. Women are supposed to be ashamed of this or that, and that’s just not where I am in my life, and because of that lack of shame, there is a lack of fear. That lack of shame or fear in my writing is what people respond to, and what I need to put out there even more in 2014. The funny thing about this is that every time I think I’m comfortable with what I do as a performance poet, something happens to show me I’m really not as comfortable as I think. In the case of performing, though I am good at it, I still find an arrogance about it that seems weird to me and has makes me uncomfortable. A performer basically they’re so good at something, so talented, so amazing that they have every right to gather people together, oftentimes for money, to see them do whatever it is they do, and that those they gather will love it, enjoy it, and pay to see them do it again. I’ve often thought takes a really arrogant person to feel that way about themselves, and I just didn’t feel I had that kind of arrogance. But truth be told, I do. I do possess that kind of conceit, but I’ve just been ashamed of it. But in 2014 I am learning to embrace arrogance and reject humility when it comes to what I do. And I have every right to reject false humility, because I really am skilled and talented. So what good am I doing myself, or the world by going around acting as if I am not as good as I know I am? It’s dishonest actually, and I am rejecting false humility and embracing honesty in 2014, including honesty about how amazing I am.

WHAT WEEKLY PIC OF PETULA EDITEDFinally, 2013 taught me that I’m tough. I went though a pretty bad breakup earlier this year, and though we have since reconciled and now we’re trying to see where this thing goes, at the time the breakup occurred, I was a wreck. Worst of all, I’d had a really awful breakup the previous year, so the added weight of my latest relationship failure was really pulling me down. I was in a very sad place. I felt awful, looked awful, and was just in an awful place. I cried and screamed and wrote blog entries, feeling sick inside and looking sick outside. But in spite of all the hurt, at no point did I feel like I was never going to be okay. I never felt like I was going to be sad forever. I knew I was going through a season of sadness, but even at my lowest points I told myself, “this is just how it is right now; it isn’t always going to be this way.” Even in my despair I knew I was strong enough to pull myself out of it eventually. I never felt like my low point was permanent. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to be in the low place, and I definitely didn’t know how I was going to get out, but I just instinctively knew I would pull myself together and be okay in time as long as I xpectwas honest with myself about my feelings. I instinctively knew as long as I didn’t try to hide my pain, or conceal it, or use destructive behaviors to numb it I would eventually move past it. So I allowed myself to freely and openly be hurt and wounded. I hid nothing. I cried while walking down the street if I felt like it, and I leaned on my friends as hard as they would let me. I wrote angrily in my blog about the breakup, the breakup from the previous year, and how their combined impact was really giving me the blues. But I knew I was going to make it. And when he came back to me, saying he was sorry and willing to try again, I was able to be open to receiving what he had to say, and I was willing to believe and trust him, and more importantly, trust in my ability to make sound decisions about him, and about us. His willingness to admit he preferred his life with me as a big part of it was something I was able to accept. I appreciated his ability to put his pride aside when it came to me, and so we are now attempting to see if the highly unconventional coupling we’ve created together has any staying power. We’ll see what happens.

So, in 2014, expect to see more of me. Expect to hear more of me. Expect to re-discover me. Expect to read my work, see my shows, and wonder why I kept so quiet for so long. Expect to see me at my sharpest, my most clear, and my most certain.  Most importantly, expect me to be the most confident I’ve been since I got to this planet, and expect to either reap the benefits, or suffer the consequences.

Happy New Year!

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