Pulling Back the Layers.
I usually start out my description of the year by saying, "I don't know where to begin." But maybe for the first time ever, I know exactly where to start. 2015. I saw myself. I heard myself. And I started to realize who I really am, and even more so, what I deserve. Can I throw in a hashtag? #recovery
I won't lie. I had an amazing year. But also, I have to admit, shit was hard this year. First, I remembered who I was as a teacher. And my students responded resoundingly. Then, I remembered how much I loved the student movement at the University of Puerto Rico of 2010...and I finished my dissertation. But more so, and probably more than any of these achievements, I remembered who I am. Maybe it was less about remembering...and more about discovering. Opening the flood gates and letting me really be me. It hasn't been easy, as most of you have observed, but here I am. Exposed. Revealed. And finally, ready to let myself to be seen. By my friends. By him. By you.
In my next end-of-the-year post, I can review more what happened...but you should know this before I present you with the annual mix....I'm in love. I'm in love with happiness. I'm in love with pop music. And I'm in love with a man (though, this part scares the shit out of me).
Undoubtedly, you'll notice a huge departure in my musical tastes from the past years. I wish I could explain it in a way that would make sense to most of you. But I know I can't. Here's the thing. I got tired of listening to sad-bastard music. And actually, this happened because of a student. She wanted to do an independent study with me on the feminism of Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. I was apprehensive, but I thought it would be interesting. And she won. By the end, I was convinced. But more so, I fell in love with pop music. I realized while I was listening to the musics of these two women, I felt happy. I felt strong. I felt brave. And then I realized, I wanted to feel like this all the time. These women made me feel good. And so, I kept listening. And it is true, I feel empowered listening to their music. And without a doubt, my life has changed as a result.
No, it wasn't just the music (sorry, Nick Hornby), but it was the music in conjunction with so many changes that I MADE happen this year. Probably for the first time in my life, I'm recognized how much I can control what happens in my life. I can make my own decisions. I can say yes. I can say no. I know, I know, so many of you think, "Well, yeah." But for those people like me, who endured the traumas, this is a big deal.
So here is how you can find access to the mix:
1) On Spotify at: One Foot in Front of the Other Mix
2) On YouTube at: One Foot in Front of the Other Mix
1. Darlin' All I Ask: Jaymay
"How I loved you suddenly, it just totally scared me. That don't mean I don't take you seriously. And I love you terribly, its just ridiculous. All I'm just saying, is I want you so bad. I wanna love you like that, I wanna be your lover, why don't you just think about it?"
2. What's My Name: Rihanna (feat. Drake)
The first song he played for me was a Rihanna song. But when I heard this one, I realized it was about him. And when he called me that night and sang, "Uhhnahhna, Uhhhnahna," into my phone, I fell in love. Because, he listened to the song I sent him. He heard me. That's it.
"Hey boy, I really want to be with you, because you're just my type..."
3. Ex's & Oh's: Elle King
Now, let's turn the clock back. Those fucking ex's and o's.
4. Hotling Bling: Ceresia
Sorry, Drake, let's flip the script. I'm sorry you feel left out. Ladies, we have to do our own thing.
5. Love in the Dark: Adele
Okay, so we need one song on the mix about the heartbreak of this year. Yes, I fell in love this year. The most fucked up part of it is that it was in a place in which I could never actually have it. Which if you know me, it isn't that weird. But, I'll dedicate this one to him. Because he made me realize so very much. He made me realize how much I was worth, despite the fact he couldn't give that to me. And with his words on that fateful day back in June, everything started to change.
6. Hiding: Florence + The Machine
And the biggest part of the fuckedupness of what happened before was that I sought out therapy after the fact. I couldn't have done this without the amazing support of Ashley and Michelle. Whether it was the shame hotline, our group chat on Viber, or sweet notes of encouragement and support, these ladies really helped me find my way. And this song, well, I dedicate it to the little girl inside of me. I just want her to know that I'm here to protect her, even when she is too afraid to let me in.
7. Nicki Minaj Records "I Still Rise" by Maja Angelou Still, I rise.
8. I'm Out: Ciara (feat. Nicki Minaj)
'Nuff Said. For my ladies.
9. I'm the Best" by Nicki Minaj
I listened to this song, over and over again, before my dissertation defense.
"To all my bad bitches, I can see your halo..."
10. Feeling Myself (feat. Beyonce)
Ladies, anytime the self doubt creeps up, just turn this one up loud.
11. Only: Nicki Minaj (feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown)
Listen to Nicki's verse. I fell in love with here with this song. I mean, seriously, duct tape, pop quiz, cutlet and seasonin'. Goddamn she's good.
12. Birthday Cake: Rihanna
This was the song. He won me with this one.
13. If I Can't Have You: Etta James
When I realized, that I need you.
14. Compartir: Carla Morrison
Quiero reír y llorar, con tus ojitos,
Quiero compartir mis secretos y mis suspiros,
Quiero aprender a entender al mundo contigo
Pero hay una cosa que te debo decir,
No es nada fácil, estar tan lejos de ti..."
15. You Da One: Rihanna
When you fall for someone hard, but rather, you realize you choose to fall for someone. Because you deserve it, and they deserve your love.
"You the one that I dream about all day
You are the one so I make sure I behave
My love is your love, your love is my love
Give me all the time
Baby we meant to be
You got me, smiling all the time
You know how to pull me back
When I go runnin', runnin'
Tryin' to get away from loving ya
I won't lie, I'm falling hard
Yep, I'm falling for ya
But there's nothin' wrong with that..."
16. I'm Yours: Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara is absolutely adorable.
"Some nerve you have
To break up my lonely
And tell me you want me
How dare you march into my heart
Oh how rude of you
To ruin my miserable
And tell me I'm beautiful
Cause I wasn't looking for love no
Nobody asked you to get me attached to you
In fact you tricked me
And I wasn't trying to fall in love but boy you pushed me
So all that I'm asking
Is that you handle me with caution
Cause I don't give myself often
But I guess I'll try today
Cause I've had my heart
And I promised I would never let me hurt anymore
But I tore down my walls
And opened my doors
And made room for one
So baby I'm yours..."
17. Best I Ever Had: Drake
At first I thought that I only had one king in my kingdom, which was Idris Elba, but this year, I also made room for Drake. Not just because his dance moves, but because yes, he gets it. And yeah, there are some other fellas who might think this is about him, but this is about my one and only, because he is the best, the best I ever had.
18: Simple Things: Miguel
Yes, baby. I just want someone. I just want you. And maybe Miguel. Haha.
18. Flawless with Beyonce (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Again, to all my bad ass bitches, to my boss ass bitches, you are fucking #flawless. Every time I hear this song and watch this video, I can't help but think of all my ladies.
Yes, I worship at the altar of Queen Bey.
"Bow down bitches..."
"But tell them winning is my motherfuckin' protocol, ' cause, I score before I ever throw the ball, this bitches washed up and there ain't no fucking soap involved...mayday mayday, earth to bitches, slap these hoes like we birthin' bitches, the Queen of rap slaying with Queen Bee, if you ain't on the team, you playin' for team D..."
19. Can't Feel My Face: The Weeknd
What can I say about The Weeknd? Beautiful.
20. All Eyes On Us: Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill
You heard us, we are the ill-est. I think he catchin' feelins. I can't wait to celebrate the New Year our counterparts, Nicki and Meek.
21. Amen (feat. Drake): Meek Mill
The day after my defense, I listened to this one 873 times. And one of my favorite parts is when I forced Jennie Ann to listen to this song in the middle of the night. And she wrote me back and said, "I'm not sure I'm listening to the right song, this one is about church..." And I wrote back, "Listen more closely." Ha. I love love love this song. Wealth and health, y'all. Plus, how can you not love a song with Meek and Drake. What's good, Nicki, what's good?
"Plus I’m on probation, when they test me I just pee Rose..."