Prince: The Touchstone

Prince died Thursday.  I thought it was a silly rumor at first, but when the Associated Press confirmed it well, you have to believe it then, right?  Aside from the standard tears, shock and disbelief, I felt like I had swallowed a millstone.  I slept most of the day.  Something was off. I just couldn’t deal.

The next morning, I threw up that millstone along with decades of memories, expectations, disappointment and shame.  Prince was more than a role model; he was the touchstone for my creative life.

I first encountered Prince in 1984, with the release of Purple Rain.  My brother and I went to see it at the shiny new mall in Aurora, Colorado. I’d heard his music before, but Purple Rain was…everything.

You see, I was an *unusual child* as they say.  Different.  Odd.  I was highly creative, my clothes never looked right, I understood things I shouldn’t have, talked to plants and animals, and I wrote strange stories that worried the adults on more than a few occasions.  These were aspects of my personality – not a phase or anything.  It was just who I was.

I first felt the weight of conformity in 1984 as I began my journey into womanhood at the age of 12.  It was now time to grow up and act right.  I had been indulged long enough. I didn’t understand it back then, but in hindsight, being a Black girl in America was challenging enough; adding oddness to the mix seemed dangerous.

But in that darkened theater in Colorado, when I saw Prince rolled up to First Avenue on that motorcycle, I saw possibilities that gave conformity the middle finger.

Let’s examine that more carefully:  a Black man wearing makeup, high-heeled boots, a fabulous press & curl, a silk suit and ruffled shirt pulls up to a nightclub on a purple motorcycle in 1984.

What?!?  He’s not supposed to do that.  That isn’t what boys do.  I was learning the grown-up rules, and THIS went against damn near all of them!

As the movie progressed, I saw people wearing underwear in public.  They had on masks, furs, and psychedelic makeup but more importantly, they were all making incredible music.

Then there was the puppet. Nestled in its velvet purple cone, popping up when Prince needed a confidant. What, he talked to non-people too?!?  I can’t tell you how badly I wanted that puppet!! Magic did exist in the world and that purple cone was the fount from which it poured.

If he didn’t have to follow the *supposed-to-be,* grown-up rules, then why did I? It gave me hope that there was a place in this world for someone like me after all. Prince MADE his own rules and transformed the world in the process.  He didn’t grind down his uniqueness to make others comfortable.  He provided them with an opportunity to examine their discomfort and grow from it.

Prince lived and died doing what he loved.  And in the end, isn’t that the only life worth living?

be free.




My Stress Journey

I was born in stress. Literally. I entered the world with the umbilical cord wrapped so tightly around my neck, the capillaries in my eyes burst.   And once stress had its hold on me, it didn’t want to let go.

Little family
Be honest, I was a really cute kid!!

I was an incredibly stressed out kid. From swelling up like a basketball at 6 months (food allergies) to throwing my lunch box at my 3rd-grade teacher, I was always in some level of distress. And of course, this thing called adulting comes with its own issues.

Yet, through it all, I remained a rather happy, optimistic, curious person with the ability to see the world with new eyes every day.

Honestly, it has been my saving grace.

So What’s Going on Here

I have tried a variety of healthy stress management techniques: meditation, yoga, mindfulness, aromatherapy, pranayama breathing, nutritional supplements and many others.  They provided some relief, yet there was always something missing.

That missing piece was knowledge. I *used * these techniques, but I never really believed I could escape the nefarious clutches of stress.

Until I started to understand stress objectively as part of cause & effect relationship. (No evil intent at all!)

UnStress My Life

namaste1So here we are, exploring my relationship with stress and changing it for the better. I will be revisiting the stress management techniques mentioned above and many more to provide basic tutorials on each as well as showing myself using them in times of distress.

Because everyone knows it is a much more challenging to use these techniques when you feel like running around screaming!

Most of all, I want to have a great time learning about myself, others and contributing to universal harmony.