I knew that the Fall of 2016 would bring change.

I was full of drive and hope for myself and my country. Till a dark cloud started misting my view and then hovered over me. I started to become disoriented from my previous reality.  I felt shock, sickish, sadness and then anger. I couldn’t catch a breath, like a heavy weight dropped on my chest and I was about to die. Extreme and dramatic as that sounds, it’s my truth. The election polarized everything for me. I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite fit in and realized early on that I was different and a free thinker… albeit stifled by living life in the “norm”.  The good news is, with my complacency ripped away, it’s go time on expressing myself more than ever, full well knowing it won’t be popular. Keeping in mind that I’m not seeking the popular vote here anyway. It’s a freakin’ blog. haha

Always agreeing with others to appease has always made me so unhappy. Dr. Phil once said, “tell people what they wanna hear cause they might not like you if you don’t.”(obviously sarcasm)  So I avoided confrontation for the sake of being liked, which does make one feel like they escaped an argument and judgement in that moment. What really happens though is those buried feelings spill over into doubt, fear and anger for not speaking up. It’s hard to breathe while wearing a mask, isn’t it?  Yes! And standing up for myself and what I believe in may fracture relationships and may have already…. especially when our views are opposing. It’s been said that blood is thicker than water, but it’s not necessarily as kind or supportive. This, in no way cancels out the love I have for my family and friends. Just wish that all sides could learn to “agree to disagree”, at the very least. Debate. Don’t bully or intimidate. Have respect for one another’s point of view, but please don’t devalue my worth as a woman and human being. It’s not a joke to me. Everyone’s true colors are reaching the surface and I know it’s happening so I can weed out the unkind and unwanted. I sensed things were headed for change, but didn’t foresee this kind of huge disconnect causing The Divided States of America. So sad. The most intense election ever, a lot of cracks in the system, creating shock waves around the world. All bets are off.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written a blog. I had good thoughts and good intentions. It’s definitely not a lack of something to say, because lord knows I can hardly ever shut up, especially when I’m excited. So I tweeted a lot instead of blogging. On a deeper level I was questioning what is appropriate to write about?  Should I or shouldn’t I?  Does anybody care? Does anybody even want to know what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling?  So for nearly the entirety of 2016 of doubting myself on all those questions, I am no longer indecisive about what to say or do. I’m checked in, unlocked and ready to go!!!

I’ve taken a few Facebook breaks over the past year for good reason and completely necessary for my sanity. There is much “noise” out on the internet and if you are someone that is going to have strong opinions and be perceived as controversial, well…be prepared. Stepping away for a minute and getting centered is my way of dealing. There is a reason why they call it going against the grain and that is because when you do, it’s a rough ride. For example, when posting videos of the animal cruelty that exists and to help bring awareness to a real life saving cause, once again shows peoples truest colors. I too love the sweet photos of deer and bunnies snuggled together and pigs with kittens napping together, but if I post an animal slaughterhouse of cruel proportions, I get blocked or unfriended. So I too will exercise my right to block and unfriend you with no exceptions especially when I am tagged in your photo of smiling deer hunters showing off their kill. I don’t come to your wall and push my views on you, yet time & time again people who apparently think they are being funny, like to follow me and push their agenda, full well knowing I am not about that. What is preferred needs to come out in a positive way and I’m really trying.

Over the summer I took classes at eCornell, so I could get my certificate in plant-based nutrition. Receiving that piece of paper really meant so much to me. On a daily basis, I get questioned about my diet. “Where do you get your protein? It’s not healthy to eat all those carbs! Ummm, B12? How do you eat so much food and not get fat?! What is your secret? Ok, you must just have a really good metabolism now because you’re still young, but when you get older you’re gonna be just like the rest of us…sick and overweight!” The thing is, when you are used to eating a certain way your entire life, there is a lot you don’t know. In the beginning, I was truly freaked out that I would lack in essential nutrients and that I would get super fat from eating too many carbs. The only thing I cared about was not eating animal products, deciding I would starve before I ate another piece of meat. However, it’s taken me a long time to get to this point, where I finally feel the true healing that my body is so deserving of. Even though I spent hours on YouTube searching for help, the answers I was looking for didn’t fully come to me until I took T. Colin Campbell’s courses. It was tough. It was demanding. It took up all of my time, 7 days a week, for 6 weeks straight, but I loved every minute of every lecture because that knowledge is something I was passionate about having in my back pocket. Suddenly all the pieces fell together and that is when things really changed for me. No longer can people assume I’m talking out my ass. I have the facts, and the science and I want to share that knowledge with whomever is willing to listen.

“Okay, Dena, we get it, you’re vegan, but what else do you do with your life?” It’s no secret that the other passion in my life is music. Singing makes me feel free and most alive. The music business on the other hand, not so much. It’s ugly. To be honest, many times I’ve questioned if it was even for me. It’s not what you think it is when you dream of the stars and the moon. If it was, then why are so many celebs in rehab? I had to walk away for awhile. A long while. I didn’t wanna hear about new artists. I didn’t wanna turn on the radio. I didn’t want to watch an award show, (I still don’t). I didn’t wanna know anything about anything happening in the music business anymore. For ten years I lived and breathed it day in and day out. I sacrificed a normal life completely and here I was starting over at zero again wondering how it could all go so wrong. I took a break from singing and only listened to meditation music with no words. I felt betrayed, I felt I wasted so many years of my life on a pipe dream, I felt I trusted all the wrong people and worst of all, I still blamed myself. I am talented and I know I have what it takes. I have confidence, but shaking off that nagging feeling that I still felt somehow responsible and a failure, it was embarrassing. Through healing, I’m ready again. I didn’t become a teen sensation and it didn’t destroy me. I am probably a lot better off. Soon, the world will hear my voice out there again singing. I’ve been rehearsing a lot these past few months with my new band members. It’s nothing like I’ve done before. I don’t have investors behind me anymore, but I have my truth. I have my stories. I have my knowledge. I have the ability to finally control what I sing, how I sing it, how I dress, how I wear my hair, and what I say to my fans. I have social media and I have my hard feelings to go along with it and with that there is a world of possibilities. Yeah… I’m jaded, but way smarter.

Maybe it’s just the artist in me, but I feel like I have so much inside that I want to express. Not just through music, but in all sorts of ways. Blogging my thoughts is one of them and if you are interested in reading them, well thank you. I hope in someway I can inspire you to better yourself and to live your own personal truth without any fear. Maybe you’d like to join me on the journey to self love. Although I feel right now as if I have lost a lot of people who were close to me, sometimes that is what is absolutely necessary to allow room for the new, more like-minded people to come in. People who will instead lift you up and love you for who you truly are as opposed to who you were pretending to be. Don’t apologize for the tears or the anger for there is a story behind them. It’s time to attract your own tribe, but the only way to do that is let your own heart guide you there. Trust in your highest excitements. No expectations, no predictions, just ride the wave.