Feelin the Rhythm

I went to a restaurant and lounge called Phaze 10 in Baltimore, Maryland, after work.  A friend was playing with that night’s featured band, The Foundation.  I valet parked since I was not familiar with the area, and there were no available parking spaces within my sight.  My initial impression of Phaze 10 was that it was quaint and cozy.  The restaurant seating was straight ahead and the bar, where the band was setting up, was located to the left.

I walked inside the bar area and observed people sitting in groups or at the bar.  Another friend, who also came to watch the performance, was initially seated at the bar.  She, another friend and I sat at a vacant table located in a snug spot up front, near the band.  We ordered drinks and appetizers and after sampling, began to wind down from the workday.

The ambiance changed once the band started playing.  The smooth, rhythmical sounds flowing from the instruments  invigorated the room with a mellow, engaging vibe.  The music, while pulsating through my body, was whisking the stress away.  I looked around and everybody was entranced by the music; bobbing their heads, swaying, clapping their hands, and grooving to the beat.  Shortly thereafter, I was hypnotized in a haze of rhythmic sounds that took my mind to a comforting place.

Although I had a great time, I don’t think I would have been as relaxed if I had come alone.  However, I do believe I would have enjoyed myself, just differently.  Whether alone or in the presence of others, my goal is to one day be my fearless self.  My fearless self  would have allowed the magnetism of the music to seduce my mind and body to freely express  the sensations that oozed through every fiber of my being.

Check out my amateur sample of The Foundation’s performance below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86ZCEs-4u-k&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

No Blues Here

On Friday night, I went to see Najee, an American smooth jazz saxophonist at Blues Alley, a jazz supper club in Washington, D.C.  I had been to the club before with friends and was familiar with the venue and the long line awaiting entry. The seating is general so it’s first come -first served. The show was sold out; I expected a large gathering.

I arrived slightly late, due to traffic, and asked to be seated at the bar. Once inside, the ambiance was dark with flickers of lights from candles and very dim lighting facilitating an intimate setting. Najee and his band were on stage performing and the smooth, rhythmic sounds from his band mesmerized the crowd.  I walked to the bar unnoticed.

There were three people seated at the bar, and I sat next to this professionally dressed gentleman.  Although he appeared to be consumed by the music, he gave me a welcoming smile as I sat next to him.  After a few minutes, I began to relax and my body began to sway to the music.  I ordered a drink and like the rest of the crowd, was captivated by the music.

Immediately after the show, a member from the band came to the bar.  He smiled at me and asked me if I enjoyed the show. I smiled and told him yes.  Before I could barely utter another word, people began to swarm him, but not before I was able to inquire about Najee’s whereabouts. He leaned his head over from an admiring fan to tell me. I waved bye to him and proceeded to find Najee.

As I left the venue, I noticed Georgetown was overflowing with crowds of people. I walked to my car alone, but I did not feel alone.  In addition to the masses of people out enjoying the Georgetown nightlife, I also walked with  a new level of confidence.

My Facebook Friend

It’s mid-morning on a holiday weekend, I am sipping on a fresh cup of coffee and catching up on social media. I go into my Facebook account and notice I have a new friend request from someone I don’t recognize. We have no mutual friends, but after looking at his profile picture, I decide to take the risk and accept his friend request.

For years, I had only accepted friend requests from people I knew and cherished my 20 Facebook friends. I envied people with 500+ friends. So I decided to increase my popularity.

A day later, I receive a personal message from my new friend requesting to get to know me better. I respond to him wanting to know who he is and how he found me. He told me that my profile had popped up on his page. Based on his Facebook profile, he was in the military stationed in Afghanistan. He had posted some pictures of himself in uniform that looked really nice. I thought well, he is cute and in the military so he’s got to be a good person. I decided to respond by thanking him for his patriotism. I also felt like he deserved my friendship. Hell, he was sacrificing his life for my freedom; so I told him yes, we can get to know each other. I couldn’t think of any real risk, it’s just Facebook.

For the next few days, I began to wake up to lovely messages from my new friend. The messages were sent very early, the earliest began around 4:30 a.m. I attributed this early start to the time difference in Afghanistan. His messages always began with a kindheartedness that comforted my soul – “Good morning my dear.” He was intrigued in knowing all of these things about me. It was also apparent that he had looked at my pictures based on some of his comments. He had told me so many things about himself and I felt like I was beginning to know the man behind the uniform. I had never had an online friend or even tried on line dating so this whole experience was pretty new to me.

If I am being honest, I enjoyed the compliments and conversing with my new Facebook friend. If I am keeping it real, there were several red flags. Therefore, I proceeded cautiously. I wondered why he had no family, a total of six Facebook friends, all women, and other things that did not totally jive. For those reasons, I sent him a message demanding clarifications before we could proceed with our dialogues. I stressed on numerous occasions the importance of honesty to me. I thought my message would either scare him away or if he responds, prove that he is a decent person.

I was pleasantly surprised because not only did he respond but his explanations to my numerous inquiries provided me with a better level of comfort. Afterwards, I reluctantly took a baby step towards giving him a part of my trust. The next morning when my alarm went off, I grabbed my phone and saw a new message. I smiled at the thought of the looming message. I could see the beginning – “Good morning my dear” but proceeded to get dressed for work. I delayed responding until the next day.

The following day while winding down after a long day at work, I excitedly log into Facebook to catch up and read the pending message from my new friend. To my surprise, I have a message from Facebook in my account about my new friend. They had removed his account and were trying to verify his identity. I also noticed that all of the messages that I had received from him had been deleted.

This was very unsettling to me. I began to panic and thought – Who the hell was I communicating with? I actually began to feel violated and mad at myself for trusting this person, even slightly. I had to pose questions to myself – How did I allow this to happen? Was I in need of companionship and flattery from the opposite sex?

After careful evaluation of my interactions with my new friend, I was very happy that I was cautious. I also realized that I could not blame myself for the deceitfulness of others. However, the most important takeaway for me with this whole experience is to never ignore your instincts or “red flags.” We all get them. It’s a sign from a higher, spiritual being protecting us and telling us, no demanding us, to proceed with caution.

I will always listen to my guardian angel and continue to proceed on my journey a wiser woman.

Worried about being alone at a “Million Man March”

This past Saturday, I attended the 20th anniversary of the “Million Man March.” I was supposed to go with someone but they could not make it.  The “old” me would have stayed home, but I got up and got dressed.  I was a little nervous because I knew the march was going to draw thousands of people from all over the U.S.

Walking towards the march, I noticed several people in their groups going to support this rally.  I walked alone, slightly paranoid at first, until I got mixed up in the crowds.  Once there, I was just another person in the crowd.  I actually felt very comfortable amongst this group of rally supporters.  I suddenly realized that nobody was paying me any attention and I got out of my own head as well and involved myself in the movement that was taking place.

By attending this event, I had the opportunity to listen to the words of encouragement and optimism by so many motivating speakers.  I was also able to feel, firsthand, the energy from the crowd and their hopes for peace, justice, and equality.

What bothers me is that I had to talk myself into going because I really didn’t want to go alone.  The reality is that there were over 35,000 people there so I wasn’t going to be alone. Getting comfortable with going places by myself is a process that isn’t going to happen overnight, but what I realized is that if I display self-confidence, I will be okay. Check me out at the march – enjoying myself, no less!

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