New Single + PhoenixEP

Hello Word to the Wise Fam!
So I dropped my first single from my soon-come EP named Phoenix.
My first single is named: Be Loved,
you can listen to it here:

Listen to Be Loved Here

I also created some visuals for Be Loved, you can watch them here:

Watch Be Loved Visuals on YouTube

Hope you enjoy + can’t wait to share the Entire Phoenix EP with you!

 

Amber.

who do you think you are?

A few months ago I set some personal goals and decided that singing at open mic’s was going to be something I wanted to do regularly. I googled ‘local open mic’ and found one that was up the street from my apartment every Monday. Monday approached and I decided to check it out first before singing. Upon my arrival I noticed that the coffee shop was occupied by mostly hipsters: women with bald heads, men with long beards, man buns, both genders typing at an actual type writer and or typing at a laptop adorned with stickers protesting all-things-mainstream. I walked down stairs to a dimly lit cave-like open-mic venue and it was packed. The stages back drop was very artsy and the nights performers together were very eclectic. Noticeably, before almost every performer spoke-or even during their poetry reading,-each proclaimed in one way or another that they were “anti-religion” and simultaneously drenched in emotional dysfunction. “I’m not a Christian even though thats what my parents wanted me to be” one performer resentfully shared.

After hearing theses sentiments consistently throughout the night my initial thoughts were about how evangelical Christianity has made many of us feel that we aren’t good enough to be loved by God; If you are a Gay, have had premarital sex, drink and don’t go to church every Sunday, date someone who is not spiritual like you—you are not good enough for God’s love. If you’ve lied, been manipulative or are a jealous person, you are not good enough for the love of God.

But as time has passed I’ve realized that self-acceptance is what we are really searching for.

So many times we project onto others that which we cannot do for ourselves. We get mad at our grandmother for not believing in our dreams and then demonize her and give her a one-dimensional identity of ‘bitch’. I mean, no human is any one thing. Our humanity is so vast. Additionally, if we believed in our own beauty and in our own ability, the opinions of others wouldn’t matter. If we believed that we were adequate and valuable, the ending of a relationship would not have the capacity to be because you lack of value and are inadequate.

We can really live in a personalized hell if we choose to. If for the duration of our lives we refuse to come to terms with who we are that’s exactly what this life will be; hell on earth. So many of us live in a constant state of anxiety, fear, depression, self-hatred, suicidal thinking, panic attacks or secretly struggle with addiction. We tourture ourselves with outlandish fears and negative thinking. Many of these habits and states are on behalf of the false beliefs we have about ourselves, false beliefs we have about others, or false beliefs we have about what others think of us (which is what you think of yourself). We are so afraid of love and peace and are addicted to pain and self-sabotage.

The Fall season is here and many of us humans fall into a depression around this time of year. Why? because of what we think of others, because of what we think of ourselves, because its fucking cold. Theres an alternative to living this way. But it takes mental reprogramming and in my experience constant self-care practice and self-love rituals. I’ll share more about how i’ve developed a healthier sense of self with my next installation. Part II if you will.

 

-amber . breezy!

on cultural appropriation and self-love

Last Thursday night I drove to LA to take a couple of dance classes. On my way to class I was walking up Hollywood Boulevard when I crossed paths with two Asian girls who had Senegalese Twists in their hair. Like, with synthetic kinky hair and shells adorning them. I had never seen this in my life; non-black non-celebrity individuals wearing a very Black hairstyle–with kinky hair at that. After witnessing this I experienced negative emotions but the fact that I was late to class ended up overriding those initial negative thoughts and I bypassed them and kept walking speedily to class focused on my tardiness. As I speedily walked up the stairs to the studio, on my way to sign in to class I crossed paths with a White girl with blonde synthetic-kinky-hair cornrows in her hair. “what?!” I thought to myself. “Is this a thing?!?” I went on to dance class 15 minutes late and it was the most amazing experience; I cried in one class. over-comer tears. On my way home I was blasting my music while singing and dancing along still on an emotional high from the experience I just had when the image of those three girls I saw before class came to my mind mid song and I burst into laughter. I thought to myself ”Their hair is as long as the synthetic hair, probably longer! Use your own hair boo you’re defeating the whole purpose!” and “They wanna be us so bad” also came to mind. But as I let the experience sink in, I was reminded of the defensiveness that my community gifts anyone who we perceive is attempting to invalidate us and our experience with. Given our experience here in the US defensiveness is totally understandable. But inevitably the defensiveness is filled with historical baggage that needs addressing and healing.

White is a color. I repeat, white is a color. Being ‘colored’ isn’t about skin tone its about which skin color society decides to exploit in order to make one people group feel better than another. Being one color versus another does not make one right or wrong good or bad—more melanin obviously is not bad since everybody is trying to be tan with a big but, big lips, big ass and now they even want to have nappy hair too!—it just makes us different. When each and everyone one of us makes an attempt to be beautiful we are emulating what ever image that we believe will give us the best opportunity to feel desired, wanted, fulfilled, complete and loved. People of all ethnic backgrounds are emulating the whole BlackQueen-BoxBraids-Cornrolls-TanSkin-BigAss-BigLips-BontuBuns trend because Black Women are just as capable of reflecting beauty as the next person. Everyone else recognizes this, but when will us Black women realize this? Wear it. When will we realize that we are just as able to be beautiful and attract love as the next? When we get upset at these cultural appropriators our messaging is “This is my only opportunity to feel pretty and be considered beautiful and you’re taking it away from me!” and that is not true. This is not our only opportunity to feel beautiful and be considered beautiful. Physical beauty might get you some attention from men but it sure as hell wont make your relationship work. It sure as hell wont make you feel fulfilled. It sure as hell wont make you feel complete and happy. Our beauty is eternal Queens. Our beauty comes from a place of peace when we realize our completion. This is true beauty and no one can take that opportunity to be beautiful away from us and everyone is attracted to it!

All anyone can do is take responsibility for ones starting point in life and play to win. I don’t want to carry historical baggage with me anymore but its not going to be shed overnight. Today I have decided to realize my equality in beauty, to take imitation for the compliment that it is and decide that what I think of me is all that matters and everything else is just a reflection of that. Today I am beautiful because I am and no one can take that opportunity away from me…except me. Today I declare that this is my truth.

-Amber B

on self-care

Last May 2015 I decided to be single for a while. I had just gotten out of a relationship that was on and off for three years and going nowhere fast at extreme speeds. It wasn’t my first dance with romantic love. Prior to this relationship I was in a 1.5 year long relationship with my first love that came to a mutually confusing and painful ending. After my second relationship ended for the trillionth time, I was done. I wanted to heal and deal with the baggage that I gained from the relationship and somehow move on. I say somehow because at the relationships end I was still very much in love and was unsure of how I would move on and love again, but I was committed and that’s all you really need. Since then, I’ve been infatuated and even felt very strongly about some but nothing has “gotten off the ground” if you will, and I’m really thankful for that. I’m not one who dates a ton, or entertains dudes for fun. If I give you my attention, I’m really digging you. I’m a wanderer, I travel alone and eat at romantic restaurants only accompanied by a good book, a journal and maybe a glass of wine if I rode my bike. I’ve been a girls-girl basically my whole life and am satisfied by being obsessed with my girlfriends, dance and dreaming. I’m hopelessly romantic and simultaneously prefer to be single…unless I’m really digging someone. The difference between the last 15 months of being single and the vast majority of my life that was spent being single is that this time around there are no illusions. Back in February 2015 I stopped going to church. It was not my first time leaving the church…it was actually my third. Being single and leaving church gave way to so many illusions in my subconscious: A false sense of security, a false sense of superiority and a false sense of completion. My last relationship didn’t work because I didn’t have my own identity, my own confidence, my own opinions, my own acceptance, my own assurance, my own love and my own spirituality. I wanted my significant other to make me feel complete, I always needed assurance from him, I wanted his approval and I looked to him for an identity and confidence. I quickly realized after that relationship ended almost a year and a half ago that I needed to learn how to take care of myself, accept myself, love myself, assure myself, believe in myself and find my happiness. I had to find myself in God and use Gods Divine Super-Powers to heal myself. I had to make God my source of love and out of that abundance give love to others. Without that I was just desperately trying to take love and power from others. Take take take. But you can’t really take anything from anyone, that’s an illusion too. When you try to take love or power from another person you’re really attacking yourself. In my last relationship, being in love was a sedative that only worked for three weeks to a month. After that it went straight to hell and only came back to heaven every blue moon. Back then, I used to be so desperate for the company of others to make me fell “ok” that I would tolerate oversized-insecure egos, the constant yet subtle discounting of my opinion and an overall lack of support. I wanted to please everyone in an effort to feel loved and complete but ended up abandoning myself in the process. Once I realized my own abundance and learned how to begin loving myself I stopped being desperate for the company of others and stopped entertaining shitty relationships. When you’re alone your trauma comes out. If you can’t handle it you’ll do anything to get away from yourself and your “loneliness”. You might even run right into the arms of a friend or a lover that is not equipped to love you. These days, quite a few of the people I used to associate with are no longer with me. But when I’m alone now, I’m not “lonely” I’m enjoying myself. Even when I do feel loneliness creep in I know that it’s a false belief or trauma and I know how to cope. These days I am not generous and forgiving and accommodating because I want to please my significant other, now I love because I am loved by God first. I can tangibly see the ways God loves me and fully take responsibility for my actions. It is out of feeling so abundantly loved by God that I can give love. That’s the only time I give love. Love too looks a lot different for me these days. What I used to call love was enabling. Now taking care of myself is the way that I take care of others. Being loved by God and loving myself is the medium through with I love others

So, I’m single. I’m following my dreams, I’m honestly not ready to share my life with someone right now, I don’t want to just yet. But if it happens even so…

Fuck it.

-Amber B

on turning twenty-six

I have never had to consider how I felt about aging until recently as my 26th birthday approaches. Turning 25 was a bit nerve wrecking but I didn’t have to come to terms with it in the same way that I have 26. As of October 24th this year, I will be in my late twenties. It started to hit me in July and the realization has not left me since. I had mixed feelings about it initially until one day a few weeks ago, I came home from work crawled under my covers and begged God to make time stop; I felt as if I’d rather disappear than turn 26. But like everything, things get really bad right before they begin to get better. It was after having this moment that I realized that I have to decide for myself what aging means for me and what my response to aging will be. I think our first natural reaction to aging is hopelessness and maybe cynicism. We all feel as if we’ve made countless unredeemable mistakes and punish ourselves for them with harsh self-judgement and condemnation. We value youth as if “being youthful” has only to do with the amount of years our bodies have existed on earth. Then I began to remember all of the Queens that lye all over the age spectrum that continue to follow their dreams, dress stylishly, are silly and happy, have deep relational bonds and some that are mothers and have children on top of that. From fashion guru June Ambrose or Jada Pinkett who are in their forties and fifties and doing the damn thing, to Beyonce and Multi-Media Artist Vashtie who are in their mid thirties and continue to create and do not let the desire to follow their dreams be affected by their age, then theres Rihanna who is twenty eight and the coolest thing you ever saw. After reflecting about aging not only have I come to terms with it, but I’m kind of excited to be 26! I’ve done good for myself. Today, I’ll be taking a trip to Hawaii with one of my closest girlfriends…for the fuck of it. I live in a cute ass studio apartment, I have an epic job with an amazing boss, I dance everywhere and sing at open mics, I’m proud of who I am and continue to become, I’m following my dreams and most importantly

I’m happy.

And that’s an inside job that none of the activities above has allowed me to experience. For me, I will follow in the footsteps of these queens who’s being alone is essentially timeless. My upcoming birthday has given me an urge to make some of the dreams I have yet to make come true, true. I feel lucky for that urge.

26. I’m turning 26. And I’m excited about it.

-Amber B

incommon

chasing you meant
running away from myself
wanting you meant
avoiding myself
and my own happiness
but at that time
facing myself was
too scary
too too scary
my wounds were too heavy
they would have killed me at that time
loss of blood
So I chased you
and then I caught you
it was kind of surprising.
and then you fell in love with me
and we would miscommunicate
and you would run away from conflict
and i’d over react
and i’d forgive
and i’d forgive
and i’d forgive
and i’d forgive
and i’d make you feel insecure
and you were in love with me
Deep
and I was in love with you
and then one day
i didn’t know anymore
all i knew was you
and you were all i knew
because back then I HAD to have you
had to
had to
i was weak
i wasnt strong enough to face myself
my wounds were too deep
they would have killed me at the time
loss of blood
but now
i don’t know how to be alone
all i know is you
but now
i don’t know who i am
or what my truth is
or what I want out of life
but now
I don’t know anymore

This is common
i’ve heard this story many different times
from many different humans
maybe its not because the relationship wasn’t meant to be
maybe its because we don’t spend enough time with ourselves
maybe its because we aren’t satisfied
with anything
I won’t let myself believe that
it is a good thing to allow our dissatisfaction
to lead us to achievement and accolades
we were meant to be true
we were meant to be real
we were meant to be satisfied

Some thoughts this Thursday.

-Amber B

why not?

There’s a rate-race-dating-mentality
that’s super prevalent among my fellow twenty-somethings
everyones afraid
no ones saying how they really feel
quick to give up
to force things
why give up so easily?
let go, sure
but why, give up?
men are all predisposed in the same fashion
women are all predisposed in the same fashion
we only vary by the level of our mental and emotional health
one of my best friends and I we’re on the phone a few days ago
discussing her love life
and after a divorce and a messy relationship with a substance abuser, she’s finally met someone who’s healthier than most
but even so, they still have troubles.
it really stuck with me when, during our conversation she said to me
–in a deeply confused tone
“I don’t know what a ‘good’ relationship is”
She meant this in the perfectionist sense

why all the judgement?
the rigid rules on how to ‘be’
we’re all in process after all
why not relax
& enjoy the moment
why not try
with all of the light inside of you
to see the truth of another
to see if you can help them
to see if you can accept them exactly as they are
laugh with them
and then let them grow and figure out how to heal themselves
and you do the same, take care of yourself
allow space within the process
your process
together

Repeat

why not
find your own completion and play by your own rules
on your own terms
Why not?

-Amber B

why is woman?

Lately more than ever, I’ve become less prone to identify with socially constructed identities such as gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age. To be more specific, I’ve become less inclined to identify with all of the assumptions, requirements and limitations that are associated with these identities. We’re all human and we’re all on the same journey. Our differences aren’t different. But, with that in mind, still, my Black-American history, background of Faith and Female Heterosexuality all have such a direct influence on my life’s course; from the way I greet my co-workers, to my personal aspirations, to the music I listen to and the company I keep, the way I react to current events..

In this day and age, many people are choosing their racial and sexual identities. For me, being a heterosexual Black-American Woman of Faith is not someone I choose to be, it is not someone I even try to be, it’s not something I opt into with rituals and reminders. It is who I am. It is something that naturally flows out of my heart and into my life, not matter my environment. With faith it is the same; my soul instinctively longs for something bigger than itself, for the infinite, for the intangibles that are love, peace and joy. There’s no forced effort involved.

The identity that I relate to most intimately is my racial identity: Black-American. I could talk to you all day long about my Black American history and what being Black-American means to me. My female identity, on the other hand, I relate to in a much different way.

Being a woman, to me, means having a vagina and boobs. It means I get to have a sexuality that is so playful and fun and personal, yet enjoyed by so many. It manifests in my clothing style that is androgynous and feminine, in my compassionate and empathetic nature. It means I get to be the inspiration behind so many love songs and laughable gestures at getting my attention. It manifests in my ability to become pregnant and physically nurture and sustain new and vulnerable life. And..

that is where my femininity ends.

That is where my femininity stops differentiating me from men.

Many men, some I’ve met some I have not, are equally, some more, sensitive than I. Brought to tears more quickly than I. Are over-thinkers, just like me. They want to feel wanted, secure, pursued, led, loved. With this in mind, why are we treated so much differently than one another?

Why were us women—after protesting and rioting—granted the right to vote, only 96 years ago? Why—in 2016—aren’t men and women in the same field of work, with same job title, same amount of years on the job and same educational attainment, automatically paid the same salary?

Why is it socially unacceptable for men to emotionally unravel, to fall apart? Every once in a while. Why is the conservation of a man’s ego so reliant on feeling as if he is better than a woman? More financially successful, intelligent “emotionally stable”. So much so, that it creates a sense of entitlement in men, that feels emotionally abusive to relationally accommodate.

Why are humans so insistent on having someone to feel better than? What is this equality that we speak of? Equality, that our egos could not possibly, truly, desire. I understand. I too, have an ego. This manifestation in particular though, equal pay, finances, effects the course of our lives: the experiences we get to have, our right to self-determination and the pursuit of happiness. Money rules everything, and if men have an unfair accessibility to it that is based on their gender alone..the implications are disgusting.

This March, women’s history month has inspired me to reflect on my identity as a woman, the role that it plays in my day to day life, and in society at large. Upon reflecting, I feel a deep appreciation and esteem for the very specific nuances that are solely characteristic of women. Accompanying this appreciation is a deep sense of humility for how much more I have in common with all persons, and the security that this truth alone, provides.

 

An essay,

 

Amber B

 

 

 

i am what i am

london 086ascend with amber

The the theme of this month is:
unconditional love and acceptance, of self.
Achieving this is of course a life long journey, so while on that journey, lets make the month of March one that catapults us even closer to, or maybe even all that way to, unconditional acceptance and love, of ourselves. Self-acceptance and love, are so critically important, because our whole lives are a mirror of the relationship we have with ourselves. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, where I post all of my poems, you’ve probably read the poem You that sheds light on these sentiments:
2

 

Can you even see me? Our ability to love others, and treat them well, is a direct reflection of our ability to love ourselves and treat our selves well (or not). It’s kind of eerie how were wired that way. Pretty dope. Cool.

As I shared with you in my last ascend with Amber monthly letter, I am big on questioning things. So maybe, like me, you wondered for a moment, ‘why is it important to unconditionally love and accept ourselves?’ Because, when humans are uncomfortably good to one another, it is an overwhelmingly powerful force, the only force that can bring true peace; to ourselves, and to our world. The only way to be uncomfortably good to others, is to figure out how to be uncomfortably good, to yourself. Why is that? Refer to the mirror analogy and poem above. When we are unconditionally loved and accepted, we don’t need to rely on people or circumstances to be good to us, in order to be good to others. The circumstances of our lives won’t determine our outlook on life, and we will need very little to feel satisfied. unconditional love and acceptance, is freedom.

So then I ask, how? how do I unconditionally love and accept, myself? The answer to that question is different for everyone. For myself, the first step that comes to my mind in figuring out what unconditional love looks like, is: How do I unconditionally love others?

    • I assure them
    • I forgive them
    • I’m patient with them
    • I give them my time and attention
    • I learn about who they are and what they like
    • I validate them
    • I correct them
    • I apologize when I’m wrong
    • I try to be my best for them
    • I give them the benefit of the doubt

And the list goes on..

So then, in order to work at unconditionally loving and accepting myself, I’ve got to do some portion of the above, for myself. This month, I’m committing to:
assuring myself and forgiving myself.

We can disappoint ourselves so much in life, everyday. This isn’t because we are truly falling short, this is because of where we’ve set our expectations of ourselves. But falling short is not worth having no peace. In the grand scheme of things, no situation is worth having no peace. For me, assurance and forgiveness means that I continue to do my best, but to forgive myself when I fall short and remind myself that God is in control and that as long as I have my life and my health, I can have joy and peace.

Naming my months, means that I will focus in on assuring and forgiving myself, everyday, as an act of self-love and acceptance, for the entire month of March.

How will you implement unconditional love and acceptance of self into your life this month? What will you focus your energies on? I’m curious…

 

With Love and Light,

 

Amber Bernadette

 

oh p.s, if you’d like to check out more of my poems, you can follow me on Instagram at Instagram/wordtothewise__ or facebook.com/wordtothewiseblog