How I see It

Posts tagged ‘Stories’

Everyday People – August 30th 2016

I met Robert Adams today. He’s a tall African American man with dread locks that reach the small of his back, pulled in a low ponytail. When I first walked into the historic looking high-rise building on Vermont avenue NW, Washington DC, he greeted me with charm and eloquence. He had been typing an email.

“Hold on a second, I’ll finish this email and I can be out of your way”. Just a moment later, he asked – looking down at his computer screen; “So are you in school? Or…” I smiled and told him my education spiel and how I’m working a new job now in addition to this concierge gig (updates about this in a new blog coming soon).

In the few minutes we talked, I found out he’s been playing guitar for 40 years.

“OMG that’s crazy cause I sing too!”, I said, gushing as he pulled his guitar from under the concierge desk and put it in its bag.

“Well then, you should come to our Live Music Monday shows in Silver Spring” he said, the sound of his guitar bag zipper subtle but noticeable as he spoke.

For a moment, I did consider it. I mean, I’ve been thinking about a venue where I can sing with a live band and just have a relaxed time on stage, sharing this gift that God bestowed upon my vocal pipes. As I processed his invitation, he pulled out a card and handed it to me. I looked at the card thinking; I’ll keep this. Maybe one of these evenings. Who Knows? 

“I wanna learn to play. I bought a guitar once, and my fingers just wouldn’t cooperate.

“Hah! see? You know what they say… when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, he said in response. I smiled at his subtle invitation be my teacher.

A few minutes later, his girlfriend came down to meet him in the lobby for their lunch date. As she stepped out of the building, he stayed back, pulled out a black newsboy hat, the kind with extra room for long locks like Bob Marley’s, and he put it on.

In that moment, I saw the artist in the man. He had gone from a suited up, prim and polished look, to an approachable lover of the arts, just by adding a hat and removing his name brooch.

When he finally stepped out to meet his woman, no sooner had they taken 3 steps before he extended his left hand and placed it on the small of her back; a gesture of protection, and affection. I smiled in admiration as they disappeared down the rather quiet street.

I met Robert Adams today and I saw the meaning of simple happiness. I saw love, passion, art, and life in his eyes and heard them in the words he spoke. It was my pleasure Mr. Adams, and maybe I’ll visit and listen to your show one of these Mondays.

 

Our Path To Greatness Gala

Last Sunday (May 22, 2016) I had the privilege to attend a gala fundraiser hosted by the Non-Profit organization Our Paths To Greatness. The reason for this fundraiser was to provide affordable education and other resources to Makoko village in Nigeria. This village, suspended over a body of water has over 85 thousand inhabitants, who fish as a primary source of living. The village only has one school for the thousands of children who inhabit the area. optg-infographic-d

OPTG aims to provide oportunities for “underserved africans, equipping them with the skills and resources to compete in their communities and the world, through investments in education, enrichment in arts and culture as well as various projects to aid communities in need”.

I had the opportunity to perform (back up) with Tosinger, a Nigerian folk singer and story teller who uses her art as a means to shed light on African culture and life.

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Left to Right: Gabriella and Tosinger attend the OPTG Gala

I also met with Laolu Senbanjo, a lawyer turned body paint artist who has made a name for himself as the guy who worked with the models in Beyonce’s Lemonade video, and now has a design contract with Nike.

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Left to Right: Laolu Senbanjo and Gabriella at the OPTG Gala

I was accompanied by a few of my fellow Legacy House Inc. members. Jason Nkwain, a poet and Leslie Njuakom, our financial secretary. Legacy House Inc. Is in its beginning stages of creation but we have been around for almost 4 years. Our mission is to expose african Art of any form (music, dance, literature, fine arts, etc ), to mainstream media.

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Left to Right: Jason Nwain, Leslie Njuakom and Gabriella attend the OPTG Gala

I learned so much from being around like-minded indivuduals who strive to excell at what they do and move Africa forward. This gala reminded me of a few things:

a. Keep doing what you love to do. You will see your hardwork come to fruition soon.
b. Do your best to give back. There is never nothing to give. We each have something to offer.
c. Enjoy life. At the risk of sounding cliché, I say we only live once and we must make the best of every moment and recognize how blessed we are each day.

Happiness is a choice. Live life, No Worries.

 

Survive

love.     family.       friends.      dreams.               truths.           lies.           chaos.          sadness.            anger.     hate.    frustration.          meditation.           clarity.         forgiveness.     happiness.        peace.                moments.          memories
LIFE.       SURVIVAL.

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time
When humanity knew harmony
When people smiled and said ‘good morning’
When looks held love

When husbands respected their wives
When wives revered their husbands
When children obeyed their parents

When learning was a passion
When knowledge was pride
When books were treasures

When music was therapy
When words were lyrical
When movies were messages

When men were gentle
When women were classy
When children were innocent

When the forests were greener
When the seas were cleaner
When the air was purer

Once upon a time
When Paradise was Earth.

Reality

Excuses they say, are the reason you can’t get what you desire.
Work hard, hustle, fight, find a way, they say. Or your failure is on you.
Yet reality laughs in your face.
Your lost Irish pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Environment and Nature, opportunity and luck. Birthright, Golden spoons.
The forces that be.
Some things were meant to belong to some people.
Others were born to keep trying.
Humanity is doomed to seek more than we can ever get.
It’s never enough
Don’t lose faith they say, Cause you just might be close to it.
Whatever IT is.
What’s the deal? We’ll all perish anyway, someday.
And It, will stay on this rotten planet.
And torment generation after generation of we who never lose faith.

-GaBriElla

Fresh Air Inspiration

b2aa27133c7d3bf6826232c60f60e053It’s freezing outside, and her ears feel numb, like they just got pulled out of the fridge. They’re so cool they tingle with something that feels sharp. But it is a bittersweet kind of pain. The kind of pain that you can afford to endure for just a minute, another minute in that chilly night, where everything smells fresh and the air is pure. She takes a deep breath and she can’t help but smile. This crisp air makes her think of times when nature was pure, untouched, void of contamination. Times when nature was all that mattered and one could feel every creature, seen and unseen. She smiles again as reality hits her. That’s all gone now she thinks. Everything gets in the way now. Just then, her thoughts are interrupted by the door into Knight Hall, the journalism building at her university. Confirmation much?

She’s been walking to class after an afternoon of watching “The Carrie Diaries” on a borrowed computer, in the huge school library. It’s 6:55pm on a Tuesday night and she has class in 20 minutes. It’s her senior year… well almost her senior year. She wants to take an extra semester, which means starting her senior year next semester.

She’s here now. She walks into the building and the artificial warm air hits her. She’s relieved that she will soon regain feeling in her ears. Her body is tingling, as it adapts to the warmth inside the building. This unnatural, forced warmth. Thank God for Heating systems she thinks. But then the air isn’t pure anymore. It smells corrupted; a mixture of several perfumes/ body sprays, sweat and warm air. Nothing fresh about that. It doesn’t smell bad though. The scents have mixed up so well that it almost smells like nothing.

The classroom is empty except for the three professors, one of whom will leave in a few minutes because his work day is over and he has to get back to his life. “Hello” she says as she walks to her seat.

She sits down and logs into the computer. Her mind drifts back to that cool air outside. She had felt very inspired in that short walk. It was something about the coolness of the air, and that long deep breath she had taken. She wants to write and as she logs into her WordPress account, she’s thinking I didn’t know fresh air could be so inspiring.

Moment Under His Tiny Black Umbrella

Common, Now? Really? Carrie sprinted across the street, her slender legs carrying her as swiftly as possible towards the bus stop. There had been a storm warning, one she hadn’t considered well enough. Her timing had been off and her hopes of being safely seated in the bus when the rains began were shattering with every fat drop of cold liquid that hit her exposed arms. “Shit” she cursed softly as she began to run.

As if punishing her for daring to complain, the drops tripled and quadrupled and the winds hurled louder and stronger, almost hustling her to the ground. She couldn’t run fast enough, not when the heavy breeze was blowing right into her eyes, making it hard to see anything. Everyone everywhere around was rushing for the nearest sheltered place. Carrie couldn’t find shelter; she needed to find the bus stop. Missing that bus would mean going at least an hour late to her second job. Manager Justin wouldn’t like that at all. So she kept running.

She noticed someone rushing by. He wore a short-sleeved black polo T and black slacks, and had a backpack tightly strapped to his back. He was in just as much of a hurry as she was. The tiny black umbrella he attempted to protect himself with, was useless against the gust of winds that were tearing through. Its weak spokes flopped around in whatever direction the wind chose to blow it. He passed her and crossed to the other side of the road. Just then the rains doubled force and the light white cotton blouse and black pants Carrie was wearing, were now soaking with heaven’s tears.

He stopped rushing when he had reached the other side and looked over at Carrie who was hugging her novel and journal closely to her chest in an unsuccessful attempt at shielding the precious books from the pouring rain. Is he smiling at me?, she wondered and ran straight to him as though the smile meant ‘come here.’

“Haha, are you Ok?” he asked once she had joined him under his tiny suffering umbrella.

“Well, I’m soaking wet, and guess where I’m headed. To work!”

“Me too.” he laughed. “I have an extra shirt in my bag but…”

“Good for you! This is me right here. I have nothing. At least you thought to bring something with you. I’m coming from another job and I didn’t expect to get caught in this little disaster.” They chatted on; laughing at what would have been a miserable experience.

“I guess this makes for a great story to tell someday” Carrie said between smiles.

“I guess so!” he said and laughed. They exchanged first names and continued to talk. She found out he was Venezuelan and had been in the country 7 years, a tiny detail she appreciated all too much. The company was proving to be great and Carrie was yapping on about whether or not to go home considering her soaking condition, to which Tony said he couldn’t. He was the manager at his job, which meant mandatory attendance.

They were now approaching the bus terminal and she cursed every step they took closer to it. She was enjoying the bond she and Toni were sharing. Their chat had now settled on where she was going and what bus to take.

As if fate disliked that she was making such a good experience out of what could have easily been a miserable situation, his bus appeared in front of them on the other side of the street.

He pointed to it and said “I take the 38 bus. Does it go your way?”

“No.” she responded, disappointed that he was leaving, and taking away a great conversation, a sexy voice and his tiny black umbrella with him.

“Do you want my umbrella?” he asked as if sensing her feelings.

“No. You’ll probably need that later.”

He smiled at her and waved at the bus which was now almost leaving him behind. When he rushed to the door, he called back at her; “Bye!”. She smiled and waved at him as he disappeared into the closing doors.

 Why didn’t you take the Umbrella Carrie? What is wrong with you? She kept reliving that conversation over and over wishing she had taken the umbrella as a souvenir of that moment.

Standing in the train 15 minutes later after deciding to go home, she thought about how charming he had been. His slightly bearded face was cute and he was easily at least 6 feet tall. His smile was warm and he had the sexiest voice a girl could ever dream of hearing; soft, yet very manly. Maybe the gushing wind had provided some sound effects.

It was the perfect way to meet someone. Someone with whom she could have shared many dinners and late-night calls, held hands and walked on the beach. She smiled at the thought of telling the ‘how we met’ story to their mutual friends and family. It was just too perfect!

Walking home gave her time to revel in that encounter. What if she had taken the umbrella? What if she’d mustered up courage and asked for his number? What if she had followed him on the bus?

The what-ifs seemed endless and she would always wonder. But somehow, that was the beauty of it all.

She had lived that moment with Tony, a guy she most probably would never meet again. She would never know what could have been. She convinced herself it was OK. After all, the magic of that moment under the tiny black umbrella is safely preserved in the mystery of not knowing.