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Friday, April 8, 2016

Blooming Dara



Happy April friends! I know it’s been a minute since I posted on the Creative Corner and there are tons of reasons for that. However, instead of boring you with tedious details, I rather give you a snapshot of what’s been going on in my world. Since my last post which was April 2015 (a year flew by already, wow!), so many things have happened from artistry, travel, to falling in love…yeah it’s been a cool journey thus far. Many have asked me about my book project, Life’s Reflective Twists. I put it on hold to focus more on my art work and develop into a full-fledged artist if there is such a thing! Since putting the book on hold and the events that occurred after, I have more materials to add to my story. So, I’m back to the revising stage or as I like to think of it, the fun stage. It’s my hope to have it completed and off to be published by year’s end. That would certainly put a smile on my face.

I titled this post “Blooming Dara,” because like a flower, I believe I am blooming more into my womanhood. I am more set in my ways, and comfortable in the skin I am in. The trials and tribulations of life still exists. I still struggle. I’m still unemployed and continue to look for work. Yet, I have a better handle on things than I did in years’ past. When faced with adversity, one must learn how to look within self to cope, to keep going, and smile when you don’t feel like it (that is the hard part). I continue to smile and when necessary look in the mirror and tell self, “You are beautiful. You are smart. You got this.”

So what has changed since 2015?

For starters, I’m about to embark on a new age. I’ll turn 35 on April 22nd, a milestone indeed. I am comfortable to call myself an artist, because I honed in on the type of art I like to create. I love it so much that I am venturing into the entrepreneurship world. Wow. Just staying that gives me goosebumps! I’m still an ESL teacher, because every day I meet a new person or store clerk whose native language is other than English. It goes from pleasantries to helping them practice their English speaking skills. I also think saying, “Hi my friend” when entering their store or small business makes a difference. The other day, I visited my favorite diner in Brooklyn and a waiter, whom I haven’t seen in a long time, passed by my table. I tapped him on his arm and said, “Hi my friend, long time no see!” He gave me the biggest smile and said, “Hi, how are you?” He doesn’t speak much English but his smile alone made our brief exchange worthwhile. So much so that he gave me extra coffee. Smiling, like English is truly the universal language.

I’m a writer, and write all the time. I constantly buy notebooks or make notepads to jot down to-do lists, goals, or write down reflective moments. I also have a journal. My room is a post-it haven of notes (friends who visited my home knows this well)! I like to write something I call “Nightly reflection” on Facebook where I share thoughts, self-affirmations or something motivational that occurred during my day.

On a personal note, I’m a girlfriend to someone who I adore very much. Yet, I’m often called “spouse” or in his language Yoruba, “iyawo” which means “wife” to his friends and family. He is the reason I had the pleasure of traveling to his home, Nigeria. I visited Lagos, Nigeria last December. It was my first international experience, and an experience that truly changed my life in more ways than one. That is a story on its own, and I will certainly blog about it on a later post.

Year 2016 so far

I am constantly working on my art, from creating to research, to taking classes on how to market my work, and of course networking. I’ve taken a more serious approach in putting my art out there for the world to see. I believe if my artwork is being looked at and (hopefully) admired, I already won half the battle. I don’t have a sales background. I don’t know how to persuade someone to buy anything I make, but I hope my art will be good enough to sell itself. Free classes in sales and marketing definitely helps newbies like me. I love recycled art, taking used items and making them into decorative works of art. I love bottles and jars, whether glass or plastic, to paint and add accents to them. I like home décor. I use these jars and bottles as vases, incense holders, storage for my hair brushes or pens, or leave it as it is. In February, I opened an online store with iCraftgifts.com. It’s called Dara Sunbubbles (http://icraftgifts.com/darasunbubbles.com). I sell my bottles and jars on the site. I plan to add more items in the coming weeks.

Doodle to design?



One of the challenges to being unemployed is boredom. I took out one of my handmade notepads (I made it from a cereal box and old computer paper) and started to doodle. From that point on, I continued drawing squiggly lines and dots. Each pattern is different. There is no previous sketch or idea, I just do it. And it is very relaxing. Ironically, I made my first doodle/design on April 24th of last year. I guess April is special for many reasons. I kept at it until I bought a sketchbook and continued to draw more of these lines and dots. 

I came up with the name “squiggly lines, dots, and whatever else,” because in all my doodles there’s at least a squiggly line or dot within the pattern. I love doing it so much that I drew it on a t-shirt and button down shirt, ceramic dishes, created magnets, bookmarks, and mouse pads with the design on them. I love making the bottle and jar art, as well as my “squiggly lines, dots, and whatever else” design. I look forward to marketing them further.
To learn more about this journey, check out my artist blog on Tumblr: http://darasunbubbles.tumblr.com

Hopes and Personal Affirmation

I continue to grow as a woman, and hope to grow as a future entrepreneur. I hope my art and writing will take me to new heights. I have ideas on how to promote my work and remain true to my life’s goal which is to make a difference in this world. My affirmation to self is to remain strong, smile through the struggle, and not to lose faith. I remain in prayer which allows me to build confidence in self and in what I do. I welcome feedback and support from friends, family, and even strangers. I believe in any form of art, it’s a collective of ideas, interpretations, and opinions. There are no right or wrong answers, just guidance and pathways. 
I want this blog to grow and reach more audiences, because I believe in the power of reflection. It takes people, experiences, emotions, happy and bad times, struggle, and so much more to make us become the people we are today, at this very moment. I’ve learned so much from so many people in my lifetime. From those who I am no longer in contact with or friends with, to those who are in my life currently, I learn something from my experiences with them. I look forward to learning more and gaining insight along this journey. I look forward to the near future.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New York City As of Late


Author’s note: This is an extension to my NYC Poetweet. The views expressed here are my own.

Let’s see, let’s see
What’s been going on in our city lately?
Subway fare hikes, nothing new
Update on 911 system is long overdue
Noise complaints goes unheard
Some of those courtesy ads are awkward
Potholes is still a driver’s nightmare
Still can’t afford a subway fare
Snow has left a mess on our sidewalks
Revamping garbage pickup is in the talks
Construction is happening without effort
What’s being done about those getting hurt?
Protests of injustice is seen all around
Many demonstrate by laying on the ground
Hurt and anger is an everyday occurrence
Trying to find strength through patience
The city is changing with businesses lost
Can no longer withstand the high rent costs
The vision of affordable housing is underway
People are losing their homes everyday
The City of New York is still an interesting place
Depends on how it’s viewed from one’s face 

My #NYCPoetweet via Twitter: Fare hikes nothing new/2nd Ave subway is long overdue/Potholes a driver’s nightmare/Still can’t afford a subway fare.

Remembrance

Sitting by the window
The clouds are thick and gray
Sounds of buses pass by
It’s another slow day 
Table of empty plates and tea cups
Mind is quiet with nothing to contemplate
Another bus passes by
Its twelve minutes after eight
Rain begins to fall
As droplets hit against the window
Thoughts enter the quiet space
Traffic is moving by slow
Pictures hang on the walls
Memories of yesterday’s love
A smile forms on the face
Birds fly from the clouds above
Innocence is naïve’s best friend
Heart guides the journey of feelings
Love effortlessly without sacrifice
Happiness comes from the simple things
Another hour passes as the rain falls
Eyes stare at their picture
Memories of yesterday’s love
The outside is now a blur

Monday, April 6, 2015

Messages


There are no stars in the sky’s dark blue
The incense fills the room of a smoky hue
Another night arrives as the candle burns
Read the messages of yesterday’s concerns
Poetic thought and imaginary stories
Complied together like a mini series
Still curious about the story within
That remains beneath tough skin
A desire to unfold a mystery
While trying to preserve their history
The messages that remain unsaid
Messages that are still waiting to be read


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Unpaved Path

Rain water puddles are the seagulls’ birdbath
While standing at the edge of the unpaved path
Jacket pocket is home to torn threads
Barely holding the notes of thoughts unread
Cold air hits the back of ears
Listening to the sound of many fears
Self-expression, the barring of one’s soul
Captured by a love that has no control

An enemy of the realistic present
Tortured by this strange attachment
Desire for the message to be heard
Felt, embodied, and read word-by word
Silence separates the connection of two
The grass along the path loses its dew
Seagulls fly away together as one
Cannot change what has already been done

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Air

It’s been a while since I posted here on the Creative Corner. I guess with any writer, there are those slow periods where one wonders what to write about or is suffering from writer’s block. For me, it was none of those reasons. I’ve been writing, a lot actually but for self mainly. I find it easier to write freely in my journal than online since it’s more personal, and I get to express myself exactly how I’m feeling at the moment. Some who read this may wonder then why I have a blog or writing a book. Good news. Some of those journal pages will be included in the book. Some things need to be said while some need to remain with me. I love to write. I love to express myself. I feel blessed that I get to do that anytime I want, whenever I want. I also find comfort in expressing self through art. Crafting not only allows me to try new projects or make a mess in my room, but to express feelings I am unable to do verbally or through written words. Colors have a way to show one’s emotions or message without doing much. It’s all interpretation and imagination.



A park
Painting is very relaxing to me and helps put my feelings into each stroke. I never ponder on what I’m going to paint, or what color scheme I plan to use. I just dip the paintbrush in and whatever happens, happens. When I cut cardboard, I release any frustrations I have and try not to cut self in the process. Once it’s cut, I feel relieved. Then the fun begins. When I make things out of cardboard, I am asked if I plan such projects. I usually don’t. In fact, I gain ideas when I am out taking a walk. Sometimes I am inspired by other people’s art, but most of the time I just look at a box and begin working without any plans. I don’t measure and never sketch out my creations. I just do it and the results speak for themselves. That’s how I like to live my life, just do it and whatever happens will happen. If a mistake is made, acknowledge it and start over. For the past (almost) 3 years, my life has been about starting over. I had to learn how to cope with it despite my stubbornness to hold on to what once was. I had to let go which is something I struggle with at times.

Spring is here and it is one of my favorite seasons. It’s not only the time when I was born, but it represents newness. It’s a very reflective time for me, because I turn a new age, I think about how far I’ve come, and what I want to do going forward. This is the first year I didn’t have any surgeries. I am happy I get to experience this season without any pending or reoccurring surgeries. However, my hip is still not in good shape. I have problems with balance, and continue to walk with a cane. Traveling via public transportation poses many challenges. Standing on crowded trains with its jerking motion is very uncomfortable and puts pressure on my hip and leg in general. Going up stairs isn’t easy and I have to take my time. The added frustration is constantly looking over your shoulder when people want to rush past you, push, or sneak up behind you. My fear is getting pushed down a flight of stairs. I fell down a flight of stairs when I was in high school. It was in the subway. Thankfully I only suffered from a sore face and broken glasses. I fell a lot during my adolescence. Taking the bus is okay since most of the time I get a seat or someone offers me one. I love to travel and try not to let my limitations hinder me from traveling, but it’s difficult and painful. 

I don’t like to complain so I rarely talk about my challenges. I just pray that I will get from point A to point B without incident. However, I am aware of how I feel and taking important steps in dealing with this dilemma. Through hardship, one learns how to swallow their pride. Since I have a lot of pride, it is difficult to ask for help or seek resources that will help me. I quickly had to realize that if I don’t take care of self then I am in trouble. We only get one shot at life, and I want to make the best of it.


I am constantly working and looking for job opportunities. It’s been an incredibly slow process, and at times I want to put the resume away. I am focusing on creative ways to not only obtain employment, but to be my own employer. I am always writing and jotting down ideas and to-do lists. I am working on a draft for something that is not only of interest to me, but I believe will be an interest to others. At least that’s the goal. I am almost done with the book. I can’t wait to finish and pursue publication. The thought of having my happy face on the cover of my book on a bookstore’s shelf excites me. Socially, it is quiet. I try to meet up with friends when possible. I was recently asked if I am dating. I’m laughing as I write this. The answer is no, I am not dating anyone. I laugh, because that word is like a foreign language to me. I will always be interested in dating and relationships because I love to love. I cannot say when I’ll date or whether or not I’ll fall in love. That is truly out of my hands. I will share this tidbit. I would love to be loved by a man, and I’d love to love him. It’s that simple. I am waiting for that, and when those moments of “why am I still single” thoughts pop up, I yell out, “I don’t know, now leave me alone. I have cardboard to find!”

It’s fun to laugh at self sometimes. It takes away the sadness.


The journey continues one step at a time, literally!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another Reflective Night: Happy New Year 2015



The reflection continues on this 15th day of January. It’s a quiet night. I’m doing my usual, listening to my favorite artist, Damien Rice, thinking, and writing. It’s a soothing experience. I tend to become melancholy at night. His music goes so well with my mood. It’s a new year, one that is off to a slow start. I don’t have any major updates to share except, I’ve been on an interview for an ESL teaching position. The wait continues. I am still crafting and hoping to get that off the ground; hoping to someday sell my items. I watched my favorite painter, Bob Ross on TV and he said something that really touched my soul. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, that “it’s not about the pocketbook,” but about someone wanting to buy something you made. He expressed how happy he felt when he sold his first painting for $20. It wasn’t the amount of money he cared about, it was the fact someone wanted something he made. It’s refreshing to know I am not alone in that sentiment. I never cared about money even when I taught. It was about the love for teaching, the love of creativity and expression.

 That’s how I feel when I craft. It makes me happy. I am not perfect at it, who is anyway? However, I enjoy the ideas that come to mind and actually bringing it to life. That alone makes me smile, as well as my love for cardboard! Lately, collecting cardboard boxes have become a hobby. I use it for my crafts, and I am amazed by its versatility. The excitement is either finding it, or asking a store owner for it. I’ve made friends in the process, and met some folks who gave me strange looks. I don’t mind. I have pictures of my art on my phone just in case someone doesn’t believe me. I also like to explore new places and where there’s places there are stores. Stores get deliveries, they have cardboard. I’ve been lucky and now have various stores I can go to make such a request. In general, I like collecting stuff. Metrocards is part of that stuff.


Besides crafting and endless job hunting (which I hate, it’s one of the not-so-fun things to do), I write. As of late, I’ve been writing a lot but mainly for self. I haven’t felt inspired to share my inner thoughts with anyone. A sad reality for me lately is I am losing more people in my life than gaining. I had an argument with a dear friend before the holidays and now our friendship is over. Although, I felt we were growing apart, it’s still sad. I always feel bad losing a friend, especially if I’ve known them for years. Every time I trust someone enough to share my feelings, there’s some form of backlash. Sometimes it’s petty and sometimes it’s not, but when the trust is broken it hurts me. When I am hurt, I walk away. I rather do that than to argue. It’s not good for the spirit. I pray also. Prayer gives me strength. I do believe everything happens for a reason, and not everyone is meant to stay in your life. Although I understand that is a part of life, it still bothers me. I’m tired of getting hurt.




As 2015 entered, I celebrated with my family. We prayed and thanked God for allowing us to be together. I wished some friends a happy happy via text and social media. Soon after, I wrote out my goals for January on a dry erase board, wrote in my journal, and went to bed. I became sick after Christmas, so New Year’s Eve was a relaxing one. No partying for me, I drank ginger ale. I’m just now getting over whatever it was that was bothering me.


I don’t know where this journey is taking me. I often wonder about that. Sometimes, I feel I am grasping at air because I can’t obtain the things I need (and want). I am not healthy and doing what I can to change that. I strive to remain happy and motivated when at times I cannot see the light. I feel lost yet I’m stubborn and won’t give up. There are those days when sleeping late, watching silly comedies, and eating snacks is comforting. Then reality sets in. There’s work to do, things to create, inspirational stuff to read, and putting a smile on the face despite the tears trying to fall. I avoid looking at the mirror because I don’t feel beautiful right now. I look at pictures of how I was as motivation, a reminder that I can regain my life back. I just have to work harder, find a new path, pray more, and remain in faith. This is a hard journey, it’s real and I couldn’t fake it if I tried. Yet I am here and there is a reason for that. I am grateful as the journey continues.