Dear 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009
I used to ask friends about their new year's resolution just to formulate my own. 
I was a follower.
I didn't have enough confidence in myself to believe that what I needed to work on was important or valid.  
Until this year: 2009. 
Every year once the ball drops and the clock says it's midnight, I go on my knees and pray. Despite my lack of faith during the end of 2008, I still talked to God and simply asked her to help me grow in 2009. I won't go into much details about the events that occurred, but it was strange. 
Oh yes. It. Was. Strange.
Yet, it was magical. 
So many "horrible" things happened that could have made me sell my soul to the devil, but instead I told Queen God that I was rolling with her. 
And guess what, I grew up.
One thing about growth is that if you're really serious about it, you have to realize that some people are gonna be left behind. I burned bridges with a lot of "friends" and even some family members. Not because I wanted to, but because it was necessary so that I could focus on me. 
So that I could see clearly. 
So I could be in tuned and upgraded. 
I had to dismantle the old me and reboot.   
I stopped following mainstream views and made my own visions. 
I stopped worrying about living up to friends' expectations and didn't care if they didn't like the person I was becoming. 
I stopped acting a certain way to make that boy like me and no longer waited around.  
I stopped caring if standing up for myself meant making an enemy. 
I stopped caring if that friend didn't understand what I was doing with my life or the decisions I was making.

I stopped caring if friends and family members seen locs as unattractive.
One family member said "watch, you're gonna take your locs out once you find a man." Long time ago that statement would have made me unraveling my hair in seconds, but not anymore. This time I said, "well if a guy doesn't like my hair the way it is... if they can't deal with all of this, then they could keep it moving." That family member was shock by my retort because I was clearly transforming into a woman
I no longer allow people to talk or treat me a certain way. You know. That way that makes you feel unappreciated, a piece of gum stuck under shoes, or even worse, a big mistake.
I also stopped caring if fighting for what was mine or making a point meant that I would be insulted or slandered. Insults are signs of weakness. You know cowardice.
 I stopped caring if people found me weird or crazy. So the F what!!! WHATEVER

And the best of all, I found a new friend. my Self. 
Maybe it sounds narcissistic but I truly understand the meaning of being bffl with your Self. 
I stay in check with my Self. 
I don't seek out for others opinions anymore, I look within.
I don't wait for someone to give me their approval, I do what I do when I want to do it.
So queen God, thank you for what you gave me in 2009.
I asked for growth, you gave me ten folds of it.
I've been blessed.

I know 2010 will be tremendously special, now that I'm rocking with 20/10 vision. 
So for the rest of the day, before I go out to shake my booty with 900 people screaming HAPPY NEW YEAR, I'm going to work on my vision board. VIPs (very important processes) for 2010. 

Peace, safety, and blessings y'all

SEE YOU IN 2010!!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

5 months update

Monday, December 28, 2009
5 months like OMG can you believe it, I can't believe like it's unbelievable


The End

IMEEM gone

Thursday, December 24, 2009
So I know I'm super late on this (goes to show you how busy I've been) but today I finally had the chance to go on imeem to download some of my playlists and it directed me to myspace.
I mean my friend told me that imeem was merging with myspace, but I was so absorded in studying for the stupid GRE test, it didn't dawn on me that I would lose all my music. This really upsets me. I was in love with imeem. It saved me from boredom. It was the only site where I can find ALL my favorite music and mixes.


Now I need to find something similar to imeem because I refuse to open up a myspace account

Picture of the Day

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Picture speaks for itself...

Story behind "Lu'maYna"

Well...there is no inspiration behind "Lu'maYna". It's my most sold art piece, yet I can't say what drove me to draw this. I painted this Thanksgiving 2008, a day where I received some pretty bad news. I really didn't want to deal with the issue so I tuned into some Boukman Eksperyans (Haiti's prominent traditional band), grab my 18.5 x 24 inches sketchpad, pulled out some charcoal, oil pastel, and acrylics, sat on the floor for 2.5 hours painting. 

There was this little girl maybe 11 years old over my house for the holiday, and sat right next to me saying "Wow! I want to paint like you". I was in my mercurial state of mind so I didn't even acknowledge her and kept bopping to the drums.  Looking back, I regret I didn't tell her that what I do is merely out of my imagination, and that if she has any interest in art, to start exploring the textures of her own condensed sensations, and never let anyone tell her she can't make a living out of it. I'm happy to say though, that she was so moved by this piece that she asked her mother to buy her a sketchpad, paintbrushes, and paint for Christmas. So maybe it was meant for me to draw this piece to inspire a young girl whose purpose is to create her own reality/artistry. I don't know, but whenever I look at this piece, I think of her.  

The only story I can provide though, is the inspiration behind the title. At first I called it "Caribbean Goddess" because it showed that I'm a crazy Caribbean who plastered a butterfly in front of the woman's dress, hinting something sexual, a rebirth, or a metamorphosis, (these are interpretations from friends) and made it colorful and beautiful.  But I didn't like the title. I already didn't have an interesting background story and adding in a blah title like "Caribbean Goddess" didn't invoke any questions. So I called it my brush name "Lu'maYna".  

In old Haitian Creole, lumena means diva, and my favorite great aunt (R.I.P) was given this birth name. Everyone called her by her nickname, Manyi, and barely knew her real name. I don't know why, but Haitians refrain from calling a woman lumena, thus making this word scarce. So scarce that Haitian elders are shocked to hear this word come out of my mouth. I'm assuming that Lumena has some kind of negative connotation like La Celestina in Spanish, but whatever it is, I want to revive this word back into Kreyol's dictionary because it's Latin root means light, illuminate, and there's nothing negative with calling a woman light. 
I'm just saying...
Anyhoo, I changed the e and placed it with aY because I wanted the Y to represent yoni, a Sanskrit word meaning "source or origin of life", "sacred place", "sacred temple", the vulva...

Yes I'm a womanist

I used my great aunt's real name because she was my favorite person in the whole wide world. She was the most humble human being I've ever met, and she gave me hope as a kid. She was always there for me and taught me how to be humble and kind. She was my Mother Teresa, my Ghandi, cheesy but... my light when I needed it the most, and I will never forget her. Thus I call my brush name Lu'maYna in her remembrance and used this art piece as a representation of what my artwork consist of... 
the celebration of natural woman

Nota Buena

Monday, December 21, 2009
I am happy to say that I took care of all my responsibilities and now I can focus on my art. I'm officially a prospective grad applicant and so now I wait to see if I get accepted. I can feel it in my guts that Chicago would be a good move for me. I want to start my art career and be recognized as an artist. Right now, I'm working on Plan B and applying for jobs because I want to move there no matter what. The more I check out yelp and city-data talk on Chicago, I'm falling in love. If everything works out, I'll be visiting in January con una amiga. I didn't realize how time consuming and stressful it is looking for a job out-of-state. In fact I'm feeling a bit hopeless and don't think I'll ever get a job interview unless I use a Chicago address or P.O. Box. All I can do is pray and keep at it. In the meantime (I've been saying that a lot), I'll get looking for someone's basement (since I can't use mine) so I can start painting again. I have blessful friends who are giving me canvases and oil paint for Christmas and my birthday so 2010 is looking like a very good year for me, my goals, and dreams.

Poem of the Day

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.

Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.

Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

~Alice Walker

Inspiration behind "Byen Vag"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
When I was 11 years old, I visited my grandfather in Jeremie Haiti, and always sat on the balcony watching the street merchants strut by. My little sister was 5 at that time, and picked up some foul yet funny merchant-like language and was severely reprimanded. The O O's from the elders, echoed miles away when they heard such vulgarity coming from a 5 year old. She supposedly heard a merchant insulting someone and mimicked everything that she heard. One day my grandfather pulled my sister aside and quietly whispered, "stop talking like a san clase dirty merchant". Mind you, my grandfather is a loud mouth who's not afraid of anybody and knew if one of the street merchants heard what he said, they would have tored. him. up. figuratively and literally. I'll admit, yes merchants can say some pretty ugly things, but I think it's their righteous weapon against the elite and wannabe elite class who shows no respect to the hard working women who make up 70% of Haiti's economy.

Hence my inspiration for doing this piece came from my childhood memories of Haitian street merchants: the mother's of
Ayiti Cherie. I called it "Byen Vag" (english translation: whatever, just chillin', I'm cool) because I can never forget their swagger. Although they don't wear the most fashionable clothings, or the latest Louis Vuitton, they walk down every block of Haiti's street like a glorified size zero on the runway, chanting with an unusual high pitch voice, de pou dola! de pou dola! or my utmost favorite ze bouyi bouyi bouyi ak fig mi!!!! attracting all the attention of them.

They have the magic to stop conversations and turn heads.
The Haitian Divas that comes in different shapes, sizes, and color.
They mirror the grace of elephants walking along a trail.
They walk with a certain confidence like nobody's biznis.
Phemonenal Women.
They are the lioness Queens of Haiti.

As I'm brainstorming different messages to convey in my artwork, I've decided to do more depictions of merchants but with an abstract pop art meets vintage style for year 2010 because I admire the strength and confidence of these women. They may not have a respectable status class, but they will always have my respect.


Ayiti Cherie: Haiti my Darling
san clase: without status or low class
de pou dola: Two for a dollar
ze bouyi: boiled eggs
fig mi: riped banana

Also O O is an emotional response that you'll hear every Haitian say. It's similar to American's OMG, WTF, etc...

Story behind "ChaOs"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"ChaOs" is well chaos that happens when you don't accept your blackness. Plain and simple, that's how the name came about. I did this piece a week after "I & I", on another summer night of 2008. This piece was more of an outlet though. Releasing anger and sprinting to the one thing that I have control of, my art. This was also the time where I wanted locs.

In my brainwashed childhood stage, I was never fond of locs because I always observed and heard old Haitian women mounting their lips in disgust, doing the wouch!!! gade gade gade and sucking their teeth tchk when a loc wearer would strut by. I was always confused when the grown ups would do that because although I wasn't fond of locs during my puerile stages of development, I always saw something regal in loc-wearers. The only reason why the thought of not having locs existed, was simply because I didn't want to be an outcast amongst my Haitians.

Fast forwarding back to 2008, I started considering locing ever since Afro Costa Ricans and Panamanians told me I would look like a nubian princess if I ever decided to loc my afro. One Afro-Panamanian knitted a big rasta hat for me as a reminder of what they taught me about Rastafarian and dreadlocks. After my study abroad experience, I told my friends "I'm gonna loc my hair but not yet though" and a lot of them said "Yea right". I told my mom and she said kisa? Ou p'ale fe'w tankou rasta? hehey! and told me to do go something better with myself. So in the mist of all this frustration, I sat in my corner and mod podged magazine papers. This wasn't one of those in my trance moment though. I really thought about this one and wanted to show blackness as beautiful as possible, abstractly showing the different beliefs and thoughts surrounding blackness.

I'm thinking of doing another similar piece in the future but on a larger scale.


wouch: eww
gade: look
kisa: what
Ou p'ale fe'w tankou rasta: You're going to look like a rasta
hehey: omg, wtf, are you kidding me

Story behind "I & I"

On a hot summer night of 2008, I was sitting on my wooden floor melodramatically asking "Why me? "What was I thinking? How could I be soooo bllliiiiind! That mothaflower got me with his lies!!!"

Or did he?

This piece of work is one of my favorites because I was breaking up. I was breaking up with a person, but most importantly, with my old self. Not only was I unaware of my patience to tear up bits of pieces of magazine paper, mod podging (gluing) tiny pieces to a soft piece of cardboard, but I also didn't realize that I wanted to change. For a long time, I had the deepest desire to change, but being the prideful Haitian that I am, thought that I was never wrong, "I'm always right" and was already in my superior form. I was lying to myself.


Somewhere inside, I was ashamed of my actions yet ignored all the red flags because it was easier to play the victim.
Ring a ling ling
"Girl oh you would not believe what happened to me this time. I sure pick them right. I always attract sons of bleeps, horse sh it and butt wipes." The same story told. I was merely 22 and my heart or soul, (not sure which) felt beat down, run down, chopped up, and getting tired. I was tired of putting myself in the same plot with different characters, but never asked myself, "what are you doing? why are you doing this to yourself? when was the last time you respected and forgave yourself?"

So in my deepest thoughts, this art piece was created. It was totally uncalculated. I remember listening to music, sitting in a corner surrounded with magazines, a marker, pencil, mod podge, and a paintbrush for the mod podge. I believe it took 3 days to finish but apart from that, when I was done, I took a look at it and realized that I finished a puzzle. Every single piece fit just right and made sense to me. I wanted to break away from old bad habits/patterns and that's exactly what I expressed.

The truth was knocking, but at that time, I told it to go away because I was afraid to change. It was after an end of another fantasy chase where I said "Hello! Welcome! Please come in!" to the truth. So at first I named it "Peace" because it looked peaceful to me, but this year I changed it to "I & I" because it was time for me to keep it Irie. I respect I eternally. That is my hidden superior form and that's what I wanted to portray.

Even though this piece is oh so très personal, I think a lot of people can relate. At some point in your life, you want to, or you'll want to, break away from fear, false assumptions about yourself, and live in your superior noble form.

There is nothing noble about being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. ~Hindustani Proverb

P.S. This is my first art entry kudos to me!

Poem of the Day

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I recently discovered an island, that I never knew existed; an island where life exists in all its glory and simplicity; an island where people do live in harmony despite what the world tells us; an island where a village raises a child. I recently saw an island that I was too busy to notice; too busy being a teenager, chasing after futilities, problems that did not exist. I was too busy wanting to be American, hanging out at the hottest clubs and giving the rich money that they did not need. I recently visited an island in which I lived for 19 years, but never appreciated. I remember counting the days for me to leave to come to a land that after 6 years still does not feel like home, a land that for some after 40 years has never felt like home… I recently went to an island and saw a people that live in what some call extreme poverty; a people that wakes up every day, laughs, smiles and is able to dance for 3 days straight despite the hardships. A people where elders often live a whole century and do so being a picture of health. I recently lived in an island where I was taught to respect my elders, taught to work hard, taught to value family and friends; a place where I was taught to treat EVERYONE as an equal, no matter their social status, the color of their skin or their education level. I recently talked to an island that cried out to me because its children had forgotten about her… They left and never once looked back. It hurts her even more they act like they miss her, as if they value her by painting her on their bodies. She sees how they forget the customs and values that she fought hard to inculcate I recently listened to an island that told me how upset she was her children were unable to hold on to their culture, and favored another to hers. She was appalled that some forgot to speak her language, how so many could not whisper a French sonnet, or sing in our beautiful creole I recently was on an island who urged me to bring her children back, to do everything in my power to recruit those who truly missed her and remind them they have a home, they have a heritage that soon may no longer exist… I cannot force you to come back to Haiti, as a matter of fact I would not. I just want you to know that for 13 years, from that faithful night on August 14th, 1791 until we proclaimed our independence on January 1st 1804, our forefathers fought to give us something to be proud of, something to fight for, something to keep alive… Haiti is our country and we have a responsibility to do all we can to keep it alive and take steps every day to bring it back to what it was… LA PERLE DES ANTILLES

By~ Djimitri Celestin

Excuse me, but I didn't quite catch that. Can you repeat that again?

Friday, December 4, 2009
So, I was watching a covergirl commercial where Rihanna was the spokesperson and noticed that her Bajan accent is




I remember when she first came out, I felt so connected with her because she had a strong Caribbean accent, and even though I'm not Bajan, I felt like she was the new young representation for us West Indians. I remember saying "alright alright she's not trying to cover up sh sh sh it". All of a sudden she's trying to emulate the Americanize accent.

The reason why I even bring this up is because whenever I watch a season of ANTM, I always get pissed off when Tyra Banks puts a person of color, or a non-American on the spot and says, "You have to work on your language as a model. You must be articulate."WTF. So if you don't have an American accent, you're not articulate? Why is it that American people can't try to understand a different enunciation. Why the conformity? Why assimilate?

Back in college I had a Taiwanese roommate who introduced herself with her American name. I said "HA Amanda huh, now what's your real name?" She told me her real name and quickly said but you can call me Amanda. I said no no no no no Imma call you by your Asian name, so please rewind so I can pronounce it correctly. What's funny though, is that most of her American friends called her by her real name (because I was the pesty roommate who had a predilection for being real and would NO her name is not Amanda it's...), however, her Asian friends called her Amanda. I asked her one day "why do you feel the need to have an Americanized name?" Her response was "back in my country, we're assigned an American name to make it easy to pronounce"

funny huh

I bet you, if she were to study in another country of color, her name would not change to Zarifa, Yaa-Asantewa or Celestina Guillermina Arelis or Ti Elize, Kiskeya, Ayida...


The point is that when non-whites or non-Americans feels pressured to assimilate, we lose our culture. We lose our uniqueness. We no longer stand out.

F assimiliation support integration

Maybe I'm too much of a black hippie who wants to connect with every and appreciate what makes us different, but I honestly feel like people should embrace every aspect of their heritage. Since English is seen as the universal language, I really wish people who conforms to the media's requirement accepted that not everyone speaks the same English. It's a damn shame that Rihanna's accent is almost gone. So what if your range tone is different! So what if you roll your Rs and speak so fast that you put sonic to shame! So what if you click when you speak! So what if your lexical tone is low mid high! Who cares about the accent. Having an accent does not mean you can't speak, or that you're not articulate.

Everyone can speak

The problem is nobody is listening

Artist's block

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

If could describe my self a few months ago(or even a year), I would sum it up with one word: clueless. I left college a year ago thinking that I had it all figured out. Ran into the real world with a huge smile on my very eager face and said "Now what?" It was the most difficult question I had to answer. Of course I did what most Grads do, looked for a job but it still wasn't enough for me. I'm not one to follow other people's path, but without having your own direction and guidance, it's very hard not to use someone else map. So I turned to my first love, art, and started dreaming again. I step out of myself for awhile and created. After doing a couple of pieces and shared it with friends and feisbuk friends, some asked me why am I not selling my artwork. Some even asked if I ever thought of going to school for art. It was very hard for me to take my people seriously because I still didn't believe in my abilities even though deep down I know I was made to be an artist with a message.

Although I did price some of my work, I am now experiencing a block. I feel pressured. I have no ideas. Aspiration extinct. I compared myself to other artist's, became envious of their success and recognition, took rejections personally, and paralyzed myself. I have a ton of sketches stored inside my mind and soul but can't put any on paper. My sketches are banging and clawing the walls of my brain, screaming "Tarra bring me to life! Let me breathe!", but every time I pick up that pencil, the music stops and my vision gets blurry.

A few nights ago, I went to bed and cried because I felt like I had no direction or guidance. I felt that everything that I've done was done in vain. I whispered, "Will I ever have guidance and be successful?" The second I said that, I dreamed.

I was on a canoe with approx. 10 other people. The canoe started to sink and everyone jumped into the water and swam to a nearest island. I was the only person remaining on the canoe because I can't swim. People starting throwing floating devices in the water, but I was too afraid that the floating devices would not save me. I past the island where all the people were waiting, and held on to the tip of the canoe. The tip of the canoe lead me to a different island where I saw a tall brown castle/house with the name Gabriel. I stayed on that island, staring at the name Gabriel.

The next morning I woke up and asked google my professor, who is this Gabriel. Gabriel is an archangels who plays an important role in several religion, angel of communication and the arts. She assists us in following our life's path and souls calling.

what what what

I was speechless. I'm far from being a religious person, but I am a spiritual being. Immediately I knew what I had to do. Stop comparing and just do me. I need to start listening to myself. Really stay quiet and just listen. I was stepping in my own way and created this block because I didn't believe in myself and started drawing things that I think people would like and understand. So from now on, I'm going to trust myself and start sketching whatever comes out. I'm not ready to paint (haven't found a studio yet), but my vision is back to 20/10. I'm even thinking of blogging about art pieces that are close to me. I stopped caring if people like my artwork or not, nor do I care if it's misunderstood. When the time is right, I will be that humble artist that caused a commotion at a exhibition, the one who inspired someone to dream again, the one who made young girls recognize their worth and true beauty.

In the meantime, I'll remain silent and just trust...