Angela.

 

It's okay to not be okay. 2017 hasn't been easy. I moved to Illinois with nothing. No job. No place to live. I've been taken advantage of by people I considered close friends. I've lost several loved ones. (R.I.P Jesse, Alton & Primo Rangy). I've battled with my physical and mental health. In the midst of these experiences and lessons, I've had countless blessings. I've met some of the most beautiful souls that I have ever encountered this year. I've grown as a person, a business woman, and an artist. Regardless of the tragedy and unfortunate circumstances, I'm here. I am grateful for it all. I am loved. I am important. I am worthy. 

I will be the first to admit that I am complacent at times. I've allowed people to treat me as less than I know I'm worth. I've let things slide rather than confronting it in fear that I would lose something, whether that loss be a friendship, job, or opportunity. On the other hand, sometimes we do everything right, and we still lose. We all fall. We all waiver. We are human. Life is not about what happens to you, it is about how you come back from it.

This is my comeback.

We are powerful beyond measure. You are good enough. With God, you cannot fail. The universe is on your side. If you believe you cant, you wont. When you believe you can, you will.

I vow to no longer accept the things I cannot change, but change the things I cannot accept.

"And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." - J.K. Rowling.

K.O.T.F.

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Keeper of the faith. 

 

The last 25 years haven't been easy, but I'm here. I've battled more than anyone could ever understand. I'm a very private person. I've just been hurt to the core so many times by the people I love, so I refute. I run. I'm a runner. 

I promised myself I'd "live a little" this year. I went to Chicago for my birthday in July, and it was amazing. The week I came home, my life changed. A high school friend, Jesse Garcia, was senselessly murdered. Even now, his murderer roams the streets carefree while Jesse didn't live to see his 24th birthday. It hurt. It still hurts. Jesse losing his life really changed mine. 

I always talk about having faith and believing in God. To be honest, I wasn't walking by faith. I was living in fear... doing what is comfortable... playing it safe. Why? Simply because of the fear of the unknown. 

Jesse was so honest, caring, and ambitious. He made a huge impact on my life while he was here and even more now that he is gone. Life is not promised. Everyone says that, but do you really understand what it means? We all have a headstone with our names engraved on it. It's just a matter of time. 

Time. 

Time is the most valuable thing we will ever have. The one thing in this world we can never get back. What are you doing with yours? Me? I'm living. Truly living. We all have the power to do whatever we want and be whoever we desire. It won't be easy, but you have to try. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. We don't have time to live in fear. Life is already so short. Live your life and live it unapologetically.  

 I can say for the first time in my life... I'm living. I packed my belongings and with the help of a dear friend, I hit the road. I am a Chicagoan.  Every day is a challenge, but every moment I breathe another breath is a blessing. Im going to make a conscious effort to blog throughout this journey.  

I guess the message for this post is... Take risks. You never know until you try. Shoot your shot. 

Also, Rest in Heaven Jesse. If you'd like to stay updated and support the cause - please join the #JusticeForJesse group on Facebook. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1814659275432920/ 

thank you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's...

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I'll be 25 years old in 29 days. My life isn't what I imagined it would be. For whatever reason, the ideal 25 year old in America should have a career, family, and house with a white picket fence... You know, "The American Dream." The older and wiser I get, the more I realize that the "The American Dream" is bullshit. You should never let your family, friends, society's norms, the media or history dictate your path. We, myself included, should stop trying to live the American Dream and live out OUR dreams. I've had it all & I've had nothing. Here I am. Still standing. That is what is important. Money can't buy happiness. Money can buy things that make you happy sometimes, but what about the times it doesn't?

Life is about the journey...the thrill...the experience. Rather than trying to live up to society's standards, let's just live. Let's love. Let's grow. Let's help each other. Let's support each other. Let's laugh. Let's do what we love. Let's love what we do. Every day we wake up is a blessing. Life is too short to do something you hate. Don't settle... EVER! God would never give you something that you can't bear. I know life isn't easy, but it is a blessing. Don't let it go to waste.

 

"You will die. The question is, "Are you going to live first?" -- Judge Lynn Toler

Two.

I always like to say I'm living life with no regrets, but I'm being optimistic. I have a few regrets, and the biggest regret being allowing others opinions to negatively affect my life.  My whole life I've tried to be an overachiever. Whatever I did, I wanted to be the best. Why? Because I wanted others to be proud of me. I needed validation. I never received it, so I tried harder. I need to be the cutest. I need to be the smartest. I need to be the funniest. Why? Trying to fill a void. We all have something we lack, not materialistic, but within ourselves. For whatever reason, I've always lacked confidence. When your loved ones don't believe in you, it's hard to believe in yourself. It's human nature.

Let's refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Right after the basics, biological/physiological needs and safety needs, there is love and belongingness. It's human nature that we need to feel cared about, loved, reassured, and a part of something. Following love and belongingness is esteem. Humans need to feel a sense of achievement, prestige, self-respect and respect from others. Somewhere along life's path, I felt as if I lacked love, support and respect from the ones I loved, supported and respected. That lack from others caused me to lack those qualities within myself. I stopped trying as hard. I stopped doing what I loved. I just stopped. I was existing...  

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The picture above is a little over 1 years progress...1 year. Look at the penmanship alone...This is what happens when you start to believe in yourself. Imagine where I'd be if I never stopped creating. Imagine where I'd be if I loved and believed in myself from the very beginning. As much as I hate the fact that I allowed myself to "lose my way", I'm blessed that I found myself. It took me 23 years to find who I truly am, to be confident in my being, to love myself wholeheartedly. Being YOU is the best feeling ever. Of course I still care about what my loved ones think of me. Of course I still want others to see in me what I see in myself. The difference now? I don't let it define me because I think highly of myself. I see greatness within myself. I know my potential and I work everyday to make sure I live it to the fullest! I can truly say I am living rather than merely existing. 

Today, May 25th, 2016, marks two years since I picked up a paintbrush and started creating. I still have moments of doubt. Every day is not easy. What I can say is, every day is truly a blessing. To be able to wake up and see beauty in the simplest of things, to find beauty in every aspect of life, and to see beauty within yourself is a blessing. To be able to express myself using art is a blessing. To be able to wake up and love life even in the hard times is a blessing. If I could overcome 23 years of doubt, self-hatred, and lack of confidence, you can too. It doesn't matter how long it takes; it matters that it happened.

Don't compare yourself to others. Life is a marathon, not a race. Stay in your lane. Go at your pace. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. If you say you can't, you've already lost. You won't know the outcome if you never try. Don't let the opinions of family, friends, strangers, social media, or anyone else dictate who you are. Know yourself. Love yourself. Trust yourself. We all have a talent. We all have a purpose. Do what you love. Perfect your craft. Live in your truth. Believe in yourself. Invest in yourself. Love yourself! 

I know this is easier said than done. Trust me, I know. I've had those moments where I no longer want to exist. I've had those moments where I thought all hope is lost. When times are hard and you don't think you can keep going, just remember you can. 

"You are fearfully and wonderfully made." - Psalms 139:14  

Pressure bursts pipes, but it also makes diamonds. You are a diamond. They can't break you!!! 

Nearly 25 years in the making...

After looking at it for a few days, I fell in love. I realized that the painting was like my journey in life. Starts off with a great vision..as things progress everything looks perfect.. then things appear to be falling apart.. you do everything you can to make this "pretty picture" you once envisioned, but it doesn't come out that way... after the dust settles, you find that your imperfection is what makes you beautiful.

This painting means the world to me. In 9 days, it will be two years since I've created it. I will celebrate. Why?

Because life is good. God is good. I'm blessed.