Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Freedom: Be Glad for What You’ve Got

These are the lyrics to the song, “Free” by Prince from the album “1999” which I discovered and loved sometime in the mid 1980’s:

Don’t sleep, ’til sunrise, listen to the falling rain
Don’t worry, ’bout tomorrow, don’t worry ’bout your pain
Don’t cry, unless you’re happy, don’t smile unless you’re blue
Never let that lonely monster take control of you

Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind
Free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime
Glad that you are free, there’s many a man who’s not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad for what you’ve got

I know my heart is beating, my drummer tells me so
If you take your life for granted, your beating heart will go
So don’t sleep until you’re guilty, ’cause sinners all are we
There’s others doing far worse than us, so be glad that you are free

Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind
Free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that you are free there’s many a man who’s not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad for what you’ve got

Soldiers are a marching, writing brand new laws
Will we all fight together, for the most important cause
Will we all fight, for the right to be free

Be glad that you are free, free to change your mind
Free to go ‘most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that you are free there’s many a man who’s not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad for what you’ve got

~Prince Rogers Nelson

I have been thinking about what it feels like to be free lately.

This is about that feeling of freedom.

My Jeep has been acting up and it has been pretty much out of commission since the beginning of August.  It chugs and lurches and doesn’t drive well in second gear.  My hubby has been working on it and has fixed the problem a few times.  But it seemed to be getting worse and worse.  One day the problem was so bad I barely made it home from work which is just a few miles away. I was fed up.  I said, “That’s it! I am not driving it anymore.”

So, there  It sat – in the drive way –  for a few weeks until we took it to the shop.  Then it was at the shop for a few weeks.  All the while, I got rides from my husband and sons and friends to and from work and anywhere else I wanted to go.  I “borrowed” my son’s car if I needed to drive somewhere.  I liked getting driven places.  In fact, I said that, “My chariot awaits” on a few occasions.  I liked being taken care of.  That is, until I lost my sense of freedom.

I started to feel dependent on my husband and sons and friends.  That was a little bothersome.  I knew it was temporary and it would be resolved so I didn’t pay too much attention to those feelings.  I began asking my husband if he knew when the Jeep would be fixed and when I could get it back.  I really didn’t need it since I had so many other transportation options and I couldn’t really afford to have a lot of work done on it.  It’s old and requires a lot of maintenance, but I love it.  I love having a Jeep for so many reasons.  After cursing it for weeks because of it not running well, I forgot how much I loved it. Until Wednesday,

On Wednesday (three days ago) my husband picked up the Jeep from the shop.  I did not know this until he pulled up in front of my office to pick me up.  There it was!  Oh my gosh!  I was so excited.  Seeing it through the window at work, I jumped up and said, “Hey, that’s my Jeep!”

The next morning I drove to the office myself.  I couldn’t believe how good it felt to be behind the wheel of my own car again!  My Jeep felt great and I wished, for a moment, I had a longer commute so I had more time to enjoy it.  It is still running rough and needs more tuning, but I was back in my ride!  (After a month!) I felt free again.  I forgot how good that felt.  I remembered what it was like to have that freedom for the first time as a teenager.  I could identify with my sons and their feeling of freedom having their own rides.  I felt a little guilty for infringing on that recently.  But then again, they depended on me for a long time to provide transportation to all of their activities, and this was just a month. That is how I got to thinking about how much we take freedom for granted.

There certainly are many types of freedom.

My friend and client, Ana Lydia had a freeing realization about constraint and risking her own personal values in her business this week.  She said, “I pressed my colleagues to “be brave” and value their skills, while I have been scared to call on late payments or call-out injustices. . . coming to terms with that realization felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.”

A friend of mine posted this statement on her Facebook page yesterday and shared it with me:

“There is nothing you have thought…have done…that needs to be kept a secret. You were born to be free and we are not free when we carry the burden of secrets.”  ~Ali Kossack

In an effort to protect freedom in our country, this morning President Obama said “We cannot raise our children in a world where we will not follow through on the things we say, the accords we sign, the values that define us.”

I spent some time this afternoon visiting a very close friend of mine. She is laid up in bed, immobile for at least three weeks under doctor’s orders. She broke her leg recently and because she is paralyzed she didn’t know it was broken at first.  She is unable to sit in her chair, or drive her car until the broken bone heals.  She is one of the most independent women I know.  She has never let her situation stop her from doing all the things she wants to do.  Now she has temporarily lost the freedom that she enjoys.  I sat in her bed with her and I cried.

My tears are not for sadness, although I am often saddened.  My tears are not for grief, although I am often stricken with grief.  My tears are not for fear, although I am often hopelessly fearful.  These were not tears of joy, although I often cry tears of joy.  I believe these were the waterworks of tears of those who cannot or will not cry for injustice.  I cried the tears of pain for those who cannot feel pain.  I cried for the many wrongs that I carry deep in my heart.  I cried for the hope of freedom for those who have died for it unknowingly, unwillingly.  I cried for the simple feelings of freedom that I take for granted.

I am done crying for today.

My tears cleansed me.  Now I am free to carry on.

In most cases, the feeling of freedom comes from knowing you are doing the right things.  Freedom comes when we exercise our core values.

Freedom comes when we are glad for what we’ve got.

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Everything Miz Meliz

Flip Flop Day

I’ve been on a Spring Break vacation. It’s a road trip. Over 2400 miles in a week’s time. I’ll write all about it in the next few days. I saw this sign in Flagstaff, Arizona today. It sums up my feelings on most non-vacation days. It reminded me to be grateful for relaxation and easy going days! It made me realize how lucky I am to have fun in the sun, sandy beach, wiggle my toes kind of days.

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If you would like to take a rest and transport yourself on a mini-vacation, click here.

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Whatever You Do – Don’t Laugh! Being a Total Rock Star Isn’t Easy!

In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.

One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed.  I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed.  I don’t want to place blame.  That doesn’t change things now.  Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am.  It won’t really matter.  I already know. I am the way I am.  I accept myself the way I am.  I have fears and I handle them.

I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself.  I began doing that when I began blogging.  Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free!  That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.

It’s my time to shine!

Miz Meliz at Urban Desert Cabaret http://mizmeliz.com photo property of Lito Reyes Copyright 2013

This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists.  When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation.  When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind.    The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic.   What if I mess up?  What if they laugh at me?  What if no one likes my poem.  What if I get sick to my stomach?  What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on?  These things have happened before.

The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge.  They are just a part of me.  I want to show the world that I can do these things well.  I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement.  This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before.  It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what?  I rocked it!  It was great!  Not just because I did not get ill.  Not just because my friends said I was good.  Not just because I didn’t mess it up.  I enjoyed the experience.  I shared my talent with my friends and family.  And – no one laughed!  I did great because I believed in myself.

The Urban Desert Cabaret

Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged.  The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it.  Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert.  These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love.  Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you!  You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.

copyright Joe Garcia 2013
It was exciting to be named in the event flyer!

I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia.  First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs.  Their music is transfixing.  It brings me to a place of soulful reflection.  Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree?  It opens up your horizons.  That is how Joe’s music is to me!  He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.

Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC.  Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up.  He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?”  I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did.  And I was!  I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show.  It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.

Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile.  She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs.  His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before!  (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!!  Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the  Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas.  They were awesome!

Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces.  When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time?  Well, I am about to bring you down.”  Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival.  She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning.  It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment.  It was an honor to be a part of it!

My performance is on my You Tube Channel and the poem is posted here: That Funky Tree.

Two Funny Brains

Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too!  I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity!  It is not easy to be a woman and be funny.  That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!  two funny brains

I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home.  Debbie Anderson was there, too.  I couldn’t believe how lucky I am!  I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting.  She was surprised by my question.  I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions.  But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)

photo credit AJ Ferman Copyright 2013
Jessica Bern & Miz Meliz

To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way.  I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy.  I know it is not easy. 

The Poetry Salon

After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood.  I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon.  It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love.  What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion.  (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.)  I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet!  I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)

Photo Credit Deanna Leigh of Poetry Salon copyright 2013
Miz Meliz with Jamie Gall and Jennifer Styperk

Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most.  No matter what, keep at it!  Don’t ever give up hope!  Face your fears.  Find ways of making it work.  It’s your time to shine!

Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly.  Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn, Jamie, AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!

Everything Miz Meliz, Poems

Sunshine and Rain

Where is the sunshine?
Where is the rain?
What happened to the fun times?
Before all this pain.
 
I identify with the seasons;
the elements are my friends.
I know all the reasons,
I’ve followed all the trends.
 
You are my sunshine
You are my rain
You are the fun times
You are the pain
 
There are days when I understand
everything that is happening to me
and there are days
when I am completely lost
 
The fog comes over me
The fog comes over me
The fog comes over me
It is dense and thick
and I can’t see
What is happening to me?
 
Where is the sunshine?
Where is the rain?
What happened to the fun times
before all the pain?
 
I am the person they come to
with all their problems
I am the one they seek
I have all the answers
I am at the peak
 
My intuition tells me
what I need to know
The answers come from my heart
the truth is what I feel
 
Everything is very clear
it is always the same
The fog lifts now
and I know your name
 
You are my sunshine
you are my rain
you are the fun times
you are my pain
 
There are times when I am lonely
There are days I am in need
You aren’t my one and only
But to you I make this plea
 
Be there for the sunshine
Be there for the rain
Be there for the fun times
Be there for the pain
 
When the fog has lifted
When the fog has lifted
When the fog has lifted
 
Come to the one with the answers
Come to the one who knows
I am the one with the key
If love is what you need
then I can set you free
 
Melissa Reyes
2-13-02